We have a big week this week as we roll inexorably towards our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!! To celebrate, the next three weeks, we're going to be inducting the first three classes of Martin's Hall Of Fame! More on that as we roll along, but I will make this announcement up front: if anyone would like to nominate an act to be honored, put it in a comment and I guarantee I will respond. I don't guarantee the nature of the responce though; and since this is basically a family blog, you might not want me to respond to nominees like George Michael or the antichrist's favorite act, Michael Bolton.
We had 12 debuts, and I'm going to mention a bunch of them for various reasons. At 99 we have Seals and Crofts with Get Closer, a song that I still think would have been better if they would have left Carolyn Willis out of the mix. At 93, we have Love Hangover by the Fifth Dimension, which I mainly mention because of how bad it's about to be clobbered later on. At 87, we have Johnny Cash and the Tennesee Three with One Piece At A Time; at 85, a song I mention just because of how stupid the entire concept was- The Fonz Song by the Hey-ettes. At 82 is a vastly underrated tune, Boz Skaggs with It's Over. Neil Sedaka's follow-up to Bad Blood comes in at 81, Love In The Shadows. At seventy comes the 5D beat down- the reluctant miss Diana Ross with HER version of Love Hangover. And the top debut at #65, Wings and Silly Love Songs. Our high mover is well into the top 40; the big dropper is Good Hearted Woman, dropping from 45 to 76, a 31-spot drop for those mathematically lazy out there.
Okay, here's the first thing you need to know about the MHOF: Each of the three classes I induct over the next three weeks will have 6 categories: 4 of them will be the big name, long lasting acts; 2 will be male soloists; 2 will be women or female-dominated acts; one will be a not-so-rock'n'roll selection; 1 will be a personal favorite (like they all aren't); and one will be a golden oldies act for a total of 11 entrants a class.
We're on the nines in our look at #1s from other years besides where we are right now (which to the newbies is this week in 1976). 1999 had TLC at the top with No Scrubs, which I did listen to to see what it was until it began to swerve from just ignorable to annoying. 1989 was another grand disappointment: the illusory Milli Vanilli with the ironically titled Girl You Know It's True. 1979 was the Doobie Brothers and their second #1, What A Fool Believes. The Fifth Dimension get some payback for our debuts section with the #1 song this week in 1969, Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In from Hair. And in 1959, one of my classic faves, the Fleetwoods with Come Softly To Me. And I defy you to listen to this or Mr. Blue and tell me Gretchen Christopher doesn't sound like Jane Jetson!
Five songs hit the top 40 this week. Bad Company hits with their 5th straight top 40, Young Blood, moving from 44 to 40. At 39, moving up 7, is Olivia Newton-John's 9th top 40, Come On Over. Dorothy Moore scores the first (and biggest) of her two top 40s with Misty Blue jumping 11 spots to 38. Daryl Hall and John Oates come in at 36, up six, with Sara Smile; their first hot 100, She's gone, peaked at 60 but will return to the big boys sonn after Smile makes it to the top 10. And our big mover of the week, second week in a row, is John Sebastian's Welcome Back, a theme so good that the producers of the show it was written for immediately changed the name of the show from Kotter to Welcome Back, Kotter upon hearing it. It leaps from 48 to 22, a 26 spot jump.
Our look at the #1 albums of the 70s is up to February of 1975. The day after Valentine's, Linda Ronstadt's breakthrough Heart Like A Wheel hit the top for one week. At the end of her contract with Capitol, she wanted to split off from her folk-rock past efforts and acquired Producer Peter Asher and arrainger Andrew Gold (whom you know for Lonely Boy and Thank You For Being A Friend). The result was the #1 You're No Good and the #2 (#1 on Cashbox, as longtime followers know) cover of the Everly Brothers' When Will I Be Loved. This lp also featured the pretty remake of Buddy Holly's It Doesn't Matter Anymore.
One week after both the lp and the lead single hit #1 simultaneously, they were knocked out simultaneously by AWB by the Average White Band and its sole single, Pick Up The Pieces. This album that amazed the world by showing that a Scottish band could do jazz-funk, had a one week reign on February 22. It was succeeeded by what some people say is the best Bob Dylan album ever, Blood On The Tracks. A highly personal album (or not, depending on who you interview), it contained the #31 Tangled Up In Blue, #68 on Rolling Stone's all time best songs list. It was inspired by a weekend listening to Joni Mitchell's album Blue (or not), and was highly drawn on by the much later Hootie and the Blowfish tune Only Wanna Be With You. The album also contained the AOR track Shelter From The Storm.
A almost-but-not-quite shout out to the Stampeders, the Canadian band that most Americans only know fro their big hit Sweet City Woman. Their cover of Ray Charles' Hit The Road Jack peaked at 41 last week and is on the way down. I recommend checking out the video, which featues the lead singer calling Wolfman Jack and asking for a place to crash after his girlfriend kicks him out at the start of the song, and Wolfman (after "consulting" with Ray Charles) telling him they can't help and hanging up on him at the end.
And on top of all the other garbage packed into this trip, we have 3 debuts into the top ten, which means three fall out. December 1963 (Oh What A Night) falls from 9 to 13; Dream On, now the official grandpa of the countdown at 26 weeks since You Sexy Thing finally fell off, drops from 6 to 15; and Money Honey slips from 7 to 16.
How 'bout we split the top ten and put the MHOF class #1 in between, eh? Moving up 2 to #10, amazingly, is Action by Sweet. This is a HUGE divergence from Billboard (as well as reality as I remember it) since BB peaked this song at #20. At #9, also up 2, Queen's ubiquitous hit Bohemian Rhapsody. At #8 and jumping 16 big notches are the Sylvers with Boogie Fever- I think it's going around! #7 and climbing 3 is Dr. Hook with Only Sixteen. Rufus and you-know-who slip a notch to 6 with Sweet thing. And that brings us to MHOF class #1.
From category #1: with 49 top 40s and 21 #1s, of course the Beatles. With 42 top 40s and 3 top dogs, the Rolling Stones. With 16 top 40s and (like the Stones) a Super Bowl appearance, the Who. And with 17 top 40s, five of them #1s, the Eagles.
From cat 2: with 106 top 40s and 15 #1s, the KIng, Elvis Presley. With 25 top 40s and 3 #1s, Barry Manilow.
From cat 3: with 33 top 40s and 7 top dogs, the Supremes. With 31 top 40s and 2 #1s, Dionne Warwick.
From cats 4,5, and 6: With 117 top 40s and 6 #1s, the Chairman Of the Board, Frank Sinatra. With 20 top 40s the Electric Light Orchestra. And with 8 top fortys and 1 #1, the Coasters. There you have class #1 on the Martin Hall of Fame. Now, back to our countdown.
At #5, down two, former top dog Gary Wright's Dream Weaver. Jumping from 8 to 4, the Bellamy Brothers and Let Your Love Flow. At #3, climbing one notch with a song especially written for her that she didn't want to record (she was out of music), that she tried to get an aproximately $50 lump sum for (since she didn't think royalties would amount to much) and almost became a duet with it's co-writer (but they tried him out on another song and his voice sucked), Maxine Nightengale with Right Back To Where We Started From. At #2 is last week's top dog, the captain and Tennillle's Lonely Night/Angel Face. And that means this weeks new #1 song is...
...Johnny Taylor and Disco Lady!
WOW, this took forever tody! I can't wait until Blogger gets done goofing around with the "underlying issue" on paragraphs and I don't have to do this on HTML!