It's April 1st, 1976. We're looking at a high of 45 today, with snow flurries and ice pellets giving way to some drizzly rain. In the news today, an unassuming bedroom "office" has just seen the formation of a partnership by Steve Jobs and Steve "Woz" Wozniak to make computers- they're calling it Apple. Another partnership is being formed by the Federal Government today. The former Penn Central, Ann Arbor, Central of New Jersey, Erie Lackawana, Lehigh Valley, and Lehigh and Hudson Railroad lines have been combined to form Conrail. Karen Ann Qunilan begins her first full day off her respirator and into an oblivious coma that would last another 9 years. And if you were tuned into the BBC this morning, you "learned" that at 9:47 am, the combined effect of the gravity of Jupiter and Pluto, moving into conjunction, would soon have drastic effects on Earth, courtesy of announcer Patrick Moore.
We, on the other hand are going to delve into the realm of music, and see if Gary Wright will remain dreaming at the top this week. As an added bonus, let's throw in a little game. Instead of just doing the usual look at the top songs of other years- we're on the 8's this week- I'll give you the top song and the weeks highest debut, and you can guess which one's the real top dog. Of course, one April Fool is that there is no 1998 entrant, as Cashbox was out of print. In 1988, choose between Next Time by Pretty Poison and Man In The Mirror by Michael Jackson. In 1978, your choices are Night Fever by the Bee Gees and You're The One That I Want by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, a couple of movie hits. In 1968, you get to choose between Valleri by the Monkees and Tighten Up by Archie Bell and the Drells. And 1958 is either Twilight Time by the Platters or Tequila by the Champs. Answers later on, gang.
We had 9 songs hit the hot 100 this week, but only two that we look at today. At 88, the duo of Pratt and McLain debut with the Happy Days theme, another one of those "really lets you know where you were when" songs. And at 78 we have Billy Ocean, long before he was telling his Caribbean Queen to get in his car, with Love Really Hurts Without You, a song I really love and most other people say, oh, he did that?
Our big dropper this week is Roxy music's Love Is The Drug, tumbling 25 notches to 53; the big jumper is last week's high debut, John Sebastian's Welcome Back, up 24 to #48.
We move out of our one-week gauntlet in our look at the number one albums of the seventies this week. We are at November of 1974, and the last of nine one-weekers in a row is It's Only Rock And Roll by the Rolling Stones. The album in which the band made the transition from Mick Taylor to Ronnie Wood, it featured the title track with its backup vocals by David Bowie (#16) and a cover of the Temptations' Ain't Too Proud To Beg featuring Billy Preston on the piano(this was the lone survivor of an original plan to do one whole side of covers; it hit #17). It also featured the AOR song Dance Little Sister and a tune called If You Really Want To Be My friend, featuring the backup vocals of Blue Magic, who'd just had the hit Sideshow.
The last week of November saw the ascension of an album I used to own on cassette (and lost along the way somewhere), Elton John's Greatest Hits. This collection held 2 #1s (Crocodile Rock and Bennie And The Jets), 3 #2s, a #6, a pair of #8s, a 12 and Border Song, which was included because it was his first release ever (hitting #92). In the UK and Australia, where Elton never released Bennie And The Jets, that song was replaced by Candle In The Wind, which hadn't yet been released here. Greatest Hits held the top spot for five weeks on EACH side of the year, ending its run the first week of February 1975.
That was followed by another one week wonder, the Ohio Players' Fire. Featuring the #1 title track, Fire held the top spot the week of February 8th.
We have 3 songs enter airplay alley this week, including 2 of my all time favorites. The one that isn't is the Salsoul Orchestra with their disco version of Tangerine, the first of their 2 career chart hits. Moving up 6 to #39 is Henry Gross' Shannon, his second foray into the hot 100 outside of Sha Na Na and first to make the top forty. And at 37, up seven, ELO's follow up to Evil Woman, one of the 3 songs at my very top all time, Strange Magic. This is their 6th hot 100 and third top ten.
In our almost but not quite, we have a couple of shout-outs. First is Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath, which peaked at 74 last week. One of those put it in perspective moments- this is a song heard all over AOR radio as well as several commercials, but not big as a single. Also, Larry Groce, an announcer and family-style folk singer who once recorded an lp called Winnie The Pooh For President, peaks out at 20 with the novelty hit Junk Food Junkie. Billboard had it much higher due to their airplay component, peaking it at 9 a few weeks back.
Only one song enters the top ten so just one falls out- All By Myself, tumbling from 9 to 17.
Ready for the winners? First in the who cares category, 1998's number one this week was All My Life by K-Ci and JoJo (isn't this where I insert the "monkey boy" joke? Maybe not.) 1988's top song this week was (you know you got this one right) Man In The Mirror. In 1978, it was Night Fever, in the midst of its 8-week run. In 1968, it was the Boyce and Hart-written Valleri at the top spot. And the real topper this week in 1958 were the band that would later become known as the Champs with Tequila. This song was the b-side of a song called Train To Nowhere by a group formed by singer-writer Dave Burgess and a cast of other characters, including a group-within-the-group called the David Flores Trio. Flores wrote Tequila, and the song was basically just the trio, with Flores himself supplying the one-word lyrics. Train To Nowhere was going exactly there when a Cleveland DJ flipped the record over, and the rest was history. After it became a smash, Burgess put the whole group together as the Champs, and they drifted off into collective obscurity.
The lone debut this week into the top ten leads things off; Dr. Hook with their cover of a Sam Cooke song that amazingly only got to 28 itself, Only Sixteen, up one notch. Former top dog December 1963 (Oh What A Night) by the Four Seasons drops from 4 to 9. Up 2 to #8, the Bellamy Brothers and Let Your Love Flow. Then we have three straight songs holding their spots: the Bay City Rollers' Money Honey at 7; Aerosmith's Dream On at 6; and Rufus' Sweet Thing at 5. Maxine Nightengale jumps from 8 to 4 with Right Back To Where We Started From. Gary Wright begins his journey to the other side with dream weaver, falling from the top spot to #3. Johnny Taylor moves up 1 to #2 with Disco Lady. All of which means our new #1 is...
That's it, kids; watch yer backs, it IS April Fools day!