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


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Step into my time machine week forty-five

Good morning and welcome to Time Machine, where we delve into the days when music was great and you could guess who the artist was after a couple words instead of looking it up on the MP3 download page. Before we move on, I had the most curious tune playing in my head when I woke up. I thought I knew it from Captain Kangaroo (yes, that long ago) but wasn't sure what it was. But the magic of internet brings all answers, and I thought I'd share it with you to start things off today.

Now, wasn't that fun? Okay, lets get down to business. We had 9 debuts this week, and among them are some of my favorite songs of all time! This tremendous debut week kicks off at 93 with Fleetwood Mac and Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win); Rhiannon was to be the queen of Wales in Celtic myth when at a pre-nup banquet, her king foolishly promised a subject that he would grant the man's request to do a favor for him so far as it was in his power, and the man turned out to be a jilted suitor who asked for Rhiannon in marriage. They set a date a year later so that she and the King could plot to return her to the king. Somehow he tricks the man into a "magic bag" from which he'd only be released if he released Rhiannon. Too bad we don't have one of those bags to gather up Obama and make him promise to go away and take Harry Reid with him!

Moving on, the next debut is at 88, Misty Blue by Dorothy Moore. Then a three-song run; at 77 one of my top 3 of all time, ELO's Strange Magic. At 76, we have the Elvin Bishop Band with lead singer Mickey Thomas (who years later replaces Marty Balin and Grace Slick in Jefferson Airplane), and Fooled Around And Fell In Love ( makes ya just want to start rocking back and forth, don't it?). And finally, former Sha-Na-Na singer Henry Gross, with heavy support by the Beach Boys, with his ode to Dennis Wilson's setter, Shannon. God, I feel warmer already, and feel a choke in my throat. This is why I go on these time machine trips.

The big dropper this week is Somewhere In The Night, which is somewhere in the 70's (specifically 74), a 43 notch plunge. The big climber is the Carpenters' A Kind Of Hush, which moves up 29 spots to 45. A new feature I thought I'd try is the Old Man Award, going to the song with the most weeks on the hot 100. This week it's technically a tie; Hot Chocolate drops from 17 to 29 with You Sexy Thing in its 21st week. Also at 21 weeks- though they are non continuous, 7 of them having occurred a couple years back, is Aerosmith's Dream On, which knocks at the top ten door, up 4 to #12. American Idol fans can muse about the irony of Steven Tyler getting an old man award, but in fairness, I'll be subtracting those weeks henceforth or we'll never get Aerosmith off the podium.

Let's look at what was on the top dog chair in other years this week. In 1995, Madonna is on top with Take A Bow. That little sweetie George Michael and Wham! are on top in 1985 with Careless Whisper. Just missing our column last year, in 1975 Olivia Newton-John with Have You Never Been Mellow; in 1965 the Beatles were on top (as per usual) with Eight days A Week.

Now, the top in 1955 this week is a little problematic, mainly because back then Cashbox would combine the data for every version of a song currently playing, while Billboard did not. So on Cashbox we have at #1 a song called Melody Of Love (no, not the Bobby Vinton song). The lead single of this tune was an instrumental by Billy Vaughn and his orchestra, which peaked at #2 on Billboard. Then comes two, count 'em, two versions by David Carroll and his orchestra- an instrumental that peaked on BB at #9 and a slightly different version that begins with a spoken-word intro. Then, as it seemed to often happen in the early fifties, the Four Aces also had a version- which was barely more than an instrumental itself- which peaked at 11 on BB. Then we have Leo Diamond (not the guy who makes the Leo Diamond) and HIS orchestra (he shoulda just borrowed one of theirs, they knew the tune) who made it to #30. Even Frank Sinatra got in the game, though his version charted neither on Cashbox or BB, but did somewhere else. The combining of all of these version produced a #1 hit on Cashbox. Billboard, in the meantime, was actually topped with Sincerely by the McGuire Sisters. On Cashbox, they were stuck at 3 for three weeks, 2 for the next three weeks, before all of them got leapfrogged by Bill Hayes (yes, the Doug Williams on Days Of Our Lives Bill Hayes) and the Ballad Of Davy Crockett, a song I wore the grooves off of when I got my first little record player.

Top forty time. the debuts this week are: at 39, up 5, Frankie Avalon's disco redux of Venus; at 35, up 8, Carole King with Only Love Is Real; at 31, up 15 big notches, the Sylvers breakthrough into the top 40, Boogie Fever; and at 27, up 14 pretty big notches, is the late Johnny Taylor with Disco Lady.

Our countdown of the #1 albums of the 70s takes us now to September of 1974, where we find Stevie Wonder's Fulfillingness' First Finale. This Grammy winning record featured the singles Boogie On Reggae Woman (#3) and the Jackson 5 cameo-ed You Haven't Done Nothin' (#1). Stevie's two weeks at the top kicks off a run of 9 straight one week toppers on the album chart.

The first of those one -weekers is the self-titled Bad Company. A supergroup composed of former members of Free, Mott the Hoople, and King Crimson, and fronted by Paul Rodgers for most of their commercial popularity, this album, their debut, contained the #5 Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, the #19 Movin' On, and AOR hits Rock Steady, Ready For Love, and Bad Company.

They were replaced on October 5th by the Beach Boys compilation Endless Summer. Another record I wore out, this was a pre-Pet Sounds greatest hits compiled by Capitol records with Mike Love's assistance and was one of three compilations (the others being Spirit Of America, which is on the cd player at work, and Good Vibrations: Best of the Beach Boys, which we have on vinyl) that filled in between the 1973 Holland album (which contained my beloved Sail On Sailor) and the 1976 15 Big Ones (which had the Chuck Berry cover Rock 'N' Roll Music). It contained 2 #1s (three on the cd with Good Vibrations as a bonus track), 2 #3s, 7 top tens, and 12 top 25s.

2 songs enter the top ten, two go out. The droppers are Grow Some Funk Of Your Own, falling from 9 to 13 (though its b-side continues its climb this week to 18); and Love To Love You Baby, which drops from 6 to 15.

With no real almost but not quite in the offing, I will mention the oddity of Baby Face. After dropping out and re-entering a few weeks back, it is pulling a "Feelings" and has climbed since from 40 to 38 to 37 to this week at 36.

The top ten leads off with a debut at 10, up 2 notches, for Nazareth with Love Hurts. (BTW the Roy Orbison original never charted here, though it was a #5 hit in Australia.) The Bee Gees move up a notch to 9 with Fanny Be Tender. Leaping 6 to #8 are the Four Seasons with December 1963 (Oh What A Night), a song whose original Bob Gaudio-penned incarnation was a song about the repeal of prohibition called December 5th, 1933, but was changed at the suggestions of Frankie Valli and Gaudio's soon to be wife and lyricist Judy Parker. Gary Wright moves up one to #7 with Dream Weaver; also up one is the Captain and Tenille at 6 with Lonely Night/Angel Face. Holding at their respective positions are the Eagles' Take It To The Limit at 5 and former top dog Paul Simon's 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover at 4. Rhythm Heritage falls from the top spot to #3 with the Theme From SWAT. Eric Carmen climbs to 2 with All By Myself, up one. That means our new top dog this week issssss.....

Love Machine by the Miracles!

All right, that wraps up another trip on the TM. See ya next time...

1 comment:

  1. CEM:
    Man, I don;t know HOW, you manage to find all this cool stuff...and WHEN you get the time to sort if all out...AMAZING.

    ANd thanks for filling my head this weekend with SO many good songs from a time when music MEANT something.

    Keep on Rockin...'cause you only rock ONCE!

    ...And keep reaching for the stars.