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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Step into my time machine week forty-three

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends... oops, wrong lead in. It's another trip back to this week in 1976 for the tops in music from the era when music still meant music. This week is long on hits and short on debuts, and we will have the results for my widely-ignored call out for YOUR personal theme song- and I will show you mine, albeit in a somewhat altered form.

As usual we start out with the songs that debuted on the hot 100 this week. And while 11 songs cracked the list this week, I only recognized 2 of them. Coming in at 96, from the classic album Aqualung by Jethro Tull, Locomotive Breath. "In the shuffling madness..." And at 80, and musically at the other side of the scale, is ABBA with I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do. I'm putting their picture in to capture the Swedish vote as I have the German with Silver Convention.

Now on our big jumper/big dropper this week, we try something I don't believe we've had in the history of TM- the big dropper is in the top 40, but not the big climber. The big jump was from one of last week's debuts, Maxine Nightengale's Right Back To Where We Started From, which leaps from 77 to 50, a 27 notch climb. Since it's not in the debuts in the top 40 (obviously), I can go ahead and tell you that the big dropper was Sing A Song, which tripped down 23 spots to 34 this week.

Let's hit the tops of other year's charts first in our specials this week. We are up to the threes again, and in 1993 Whitney Houston was in the midst of her 8-week run of butchering I Will Always Love You. I absolutely love this song when Dolly Parton sings it. Whitney, to me, sounds like she's singing into the mirror. And no, I never watched The Bodyguard. In 1983 Australia's Men At Work were at the end of a 5-week run with Down Under. Did you ever try the Vegemite? Not I. In 1973 Norman "Hurricane" Smith, an engineer who worked with both the Beatles and Pink Floyd, at the top with the Satchmo-esque Oh Babe, What Would You Say? In 1963, Paul and Paula (who were actually Ray and Jill) were on top with Hey Paula. And in 1953, Teresa Brewer was in the midst of a six-week run with her second #1, Till I Waltz Again With You. What a sweet little voice!

Debuting into the top 40 are, again, 2 songs. The Commodores enter Airplay Alley for the third time with Sweet Love, up 4 to 37; and Tony Orlando and Dawn come in for the last time with a rather subdued version of the much-covered Cupid, climbing from 59 to 35. Our Almost but not quite call-out goes to the amazing Harold Melvin And the Bluenotes, who have peaked at 15 with Wake Up Everybody. Co-written by McFadden and Whitehead, who had already scored a major hit with the O'Jays Backstabbers, and would have a million seller of their own in the coming years with Ain't No Stopping Us Now. This, I am told, was the last hit that the group had with lead singer Teddy Pendegrass, who was disappointed that it wasn't T.P. and the Bluenotes, and went solo.

Now for the look at our top albums of the seventies. First, we have the two albums that were wrapped around by Band On The Run last week. The first Is Chicago VII. A double-album that was half-jazz and half pop, it contained the singles I've Been Searching So Long (#9), Call On Me (#6, written by Lee Loughnane, the last original member to get a songwriting credit), and my all time favorite, Wishing You Were Here (sung on the verses by Terry Kath, who would go on to accidentally shoot himself to death 4 years later, and with harmony vocals by Beach Boys Al Jardine, Carl and Dennis Wilson, # 11). It held the top spot the week of April 27th, 1974.
The next 5 weeks, until the first of June, was dominated by The Sting soundtrack. A movie set in 1936 with music from the 20's it was written by Scott Joplin and performed by Marvin Hamlisch. The Entertainer was the single from that track, and it made it to #3.
Now we move on up to the weeks of June 22-29, after BOTR had had its return to the top, and pick up Gordon Lightfoot's Sundown. This was Gordon's 10th album, but only the fifth to chart in the USA; and while he had 10 top 20's in Canada (and 2 #1's and a #2 on Canadian country), he'd had only one hit in the USA, If I Could Read Your Mind. This album gave him 2 more- the #1 Sundown (which came verrrrry close to being the first single I ever bought) and the #10 Carefree Highway, which would have been a good choice for my theme song if I had limited myself to the 70's. Sundown, BTW, was inspired by then-girlfriend Cathy Smith, who would go down in later notoriety as the woman with John Belushi when he died. For more on that, check out the Eddie Money song Passing By The Graveyard (another tear-jerker for me).

Only one song comes into the top ten. The dropper was Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, falling from 7 to 24.

Coming up 2 notches to enter the top ten at 10, Elton John with Grow Some Funk Of Your Own. At 9 and holding is ELO with Evil Woman. Dropping 4 to #8, former top dog Barry Manilow with I Write The Songs. Climbing 3 to #7 are the Eagles with Take It To The Limit. Hot Chocolate drops from 2 to 6 with You Sexy Thing. The Miracles nose up one to # 5 with Love Machine. Eric Carmen moves from 8 to 4 with All By Myself. Donna Summer holds at 3 with Love To Love You Baby. Rhythm Heritage shoots (so to speak) up to 2 with the Theme From SWAT, a 3-spot climb. Which leaves us, for the third week in a row, with Paul Simon at #1 with 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.

And now...

I want to thank those of you who responded to the call for your theme songs. Bob, I checked out An American Hymn, but the copy I found was not real good. Even at that, those lyrics sounded really cool. However, I guess I wouldn't have made you for a Floyd fan, although if you listen to Scrappy Radio on pandora, I guess I have no room to talk. Chocolate Angel, John Denver is a very good choice. So were the Eagles, ms nk rey, but I can't Imagine Witchy Woman ever applying to you. Now, my son, the self-proclaimed "main Event", I think The Joker is perfect for you. And since my one friend threatened me with "a right to the chops" should I give my choice for her, I guess you'll all just have to wonder on that one.

And Mine? I have here a video of a live version of my theme song. The video seems to have a couple freeze spots, and the singer adds a new verse to the middle, but this acoustic rendition just blew me away when I watched it for the first time. With out further ado, I give you Counting Crows. See you next week.

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