Boy, do we have a lot to get through this week on Time Machine! A new #1, Johnny Horton and his premonition come true, two of the greatest bands of all time entering the top 40, George Clinton and some famous covers, and in an idea brought to us by Bob G., we play the six degrees of separation game, and link Paul McCartney to Jesus- no doubt to John Lennon's chagrin. But before we get started...
Pray, if you would, for the Big Man, Clarence Clemons. The long time sax man for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, Clarence went down with a massive stroke earlier this week. While early reports were not optimistic, as of this composition he was reportedly doing better. Mind you that better in this case is highly relative- he's stable and responding to the presence of friends and relatives. But they are saying that even that progress is "miraculous". And yet, many of us watched the "miraculous progress" of Capt. Phil Harris on Deadliest Catch last season. Clarence isn't out of the woods yet- and the forest is deep and dark. So please keep him in your prayers. I have to add to this story, though, Clarence's version of the first meeting of him and the Boss:
One night we were playing in Asbury Park. I'd heard The Bruce Springsteen Band was nearby at a club called The Student Prince and on a break between sets I walked over there. On-stage, Bruce used to tell different versions of this story but I'm a Baptist, remember, so this is the truth. A rainy, windy night it was, and when I opened the door the whole thing flew off its hinges and blew away down the street. The band were on-stage, but staring at me framed in the doorway. And maybe that did make Bruce a little nervous because I just said, "I want to play with your band," and he said, "Sure, you do anything you want." The first song we did was an early version of "Spirit In The Night". Bruce and I looked at each other and didn't say anything, we just knew. We knew we were the missing links in each other's lives. He was what I'd been searching for. In one way he was just a scrawny little kid. But he was a visionary. He wanted to follow his dream. So from then on I was part of history.
Moving on, this is the way my six degrees game will work. I decided that the starting point will have to do with the highest ranking song to "lose the bullet", which will normally be high in the top ten. And that's where it will be this week.
Eleven songs hit the hot 100 this week; we will focus on three of those. Entering at 93 is the man from Michigan, Bob Seger, with one of my all time faves of his- Nutbush City Limits. At 84 is the second single from Frampton Comes Alive! (and my apologies for forgetting to put in the ! in earlier mentions), Baby I Love Your Way (and can we have Will To Power banned for screwing up the verses in their cover?). And finally , coming in at 82 is Dr. Hook with what probably should be the theme to viagra or cialis commercials, A Little Bit More. The big dropper this week is former top dog Disco Lady, slipping 22 spots to 61. The big riser is George Benson and This Masquerade, from 84 to 67, up 17.
Last week I started the Where Are They Now segment, and sitting in the finder's chair (#49) this week is Parliament with Tear The Roof Off The Sucker. When you say Parliament, of course, you say George Clinton, the founding father of the funk genre. George started out with a doo-wop group called the Parliaments, though legal hassles over the name turned this same group into Funkadelic, and that nearly same ensemble was also Parliament once George won the right to the name back. This p-funk empire expanded continually, taking up splinter personalities such as the P-Funk All Stars and bassist Bootsie Collins' side project, Bootsie's Rubber Band. Such an amorphous grouping can't last forever, and in the early 80's both Parliament and Funkadelic ceased to exist as touring bands. George continued as a solo act, with the All-Stars, and in various other side projects. In 2008 he released a solo project called George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love, which was an lp of classic covers with some help from his friends: Sly Stone and El DeBarge on Ain't That Peculiar, the Red Hot Chili Peppers on a raucous version of Let The Good Times Roll, and Carlos Santana and his powerful guitar on Gypsy Woman. George will be turning 70 in a couple of weeks, and shows no signs of letting up.
Three songs enter the top 40 this time out. Coming in at 35, up 11, are the Beatles, 6 years after their demise, with Got To Get You Into My Life. This song, originally recorded on Revolver in 1966, was their 49th of 52 top 40 hits, the first of 4 post breakup tunes. Whether it would become their 23rd #1 is yet to be seen. Queen comes in at 31, up 14, with You're My Best Friend, the third of their 12 top 40s. And the high debut are the Beach Boys with the 29th of their 36 top 40s, Rock'N'Roll Music. Also up for debate now is whether this will add to the 3 #1s they already own.
An almost but not quite shoutout this week to Rhythm Heritage, Their version of Barretta's Theme peaks this week at 16.
We are in the nines this week on our look at the tops of other years. 1999 and 1989 have that dreaded thing in common- I don't know them! 1999 had J-Lo's If You Had My Love at #1 this week; 1989 chimes in with Richard Marx and Satisfied. This week in 1979 was the heart of the disco era, and Donna Summer's Hot Stuff was the top dog. In 1969, we have one of those 22 #1s for the Beatles- and the only one they ever shared a credit on- Get Back, featuring Billy Preston. 1959 saw us in the midst of the 9-week run of Johnny Horton's The Battle Of New Orleans. In November of the next year, Horton had a near-overwhelming premonition that he would die at the hands of a drunk. He desperately tried to beg out of a gig, and once he arrived in town he stayed away from the hotel bar, safe in his room. He sped to get out of town afterwards, but on a narrow bridge he met up with -you guessed it, a drunk driver in a pickup truck. Horton could only watch as the 19 year old driver slammed one side of the concrete and then the other before smashing into his own vehicle. Horton was dead at the scene- just as he foresaw.
Three songs come in the top ten this week, three drop out. Falling are Welcome Back, from 5 to 11; Fool To Cry, from 9 to 19; and Happy Days, from 10 to 21.
Eric Carmen enters the top ten solo for the second time with Never Gonna Fall In Love Again, moving from 12 to 10. The Manhattans make a six-notch jump from 15 to 9 with Kiss And Say Goodbye. The third debut climbs 5 from 13 to 8- Afternoon Delight by the Starland Vocal Band. Sara Smile slips a notch from 6 to 7 for Hall and Oates. The Captain and Tenille are at 6, up one, with Shop Around.The Andrea True Connection rises 3 to #5 with More More More. Last week's top dog, Diana Ross' Love Hangover, plummets to #4. Dorothy Moore moves up one to #3 with Misty Blue.
That brings us to our highest song sans bullet, Wings and the former top dog Silly Love Songs, reversing course and climbing back into the runner up spot from #3 last time. We take leader Paul McCartney, and link him to bandmate Denny Laine. Laine was a founding member of the Moody Blues, singing lead on their first hit, Go Now. Laine's first professional gig, though, was in a band called Denny Laine and the Diplomats, along with future ELO drummer Bev Bevan. Bevan, in turn links to Black Sabbath, as he was the touring drummer on the post-Dio Born Again tour. In the studio, though, that post was filled by original (and newly sober) drummer Bill Ward. From here, we can go either of 2 ways, or both. Ward got his start in a band called Mythology, whose lead singer was Mike Gillan. The new lead singer for Sabbath on Born Again was (the apparently unrelated ) Ian Gillan, who sang the part of Jesus in the original production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar. And there we are: McCartney, Laine, Bevan, Black Sabbath, Ian Gillan, Jesus.
And that leaves us with our new top dog- one certain to get the attention of our German friends. At #1 this week, up one big notch...
Silver Convention with Get Up And Boogie!!!
Well, I kinda liked how the six degrees game turned out. What do you think? Leave a comment- it's cheaper than a self-addressed stamped envelope!