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


Friday, June 24, 2011

Step into my time machine week sixty-one

It's June 24th, 1976- a warm, humid, rainy day.  Welcome to Time Machine, where we delve into the days when music was good, look at a couple of "birthdays", and connect Dorothy Moore with... well, with a lot of things.

Starting off with the hot 100 debuts this week.  There were ten of them, and they featured: at 99, Silver, featuring our old friend John Batdorf of Batdorf and Rodney, with Wham-Bam-Shang-A-Lang; The "Elvis of England", Cliff Richard( who had on his UK resume 68 top 40 singles, 41 top tens, and nine #1s, while in the US he had just 2 top 40s- 1959s Living Doll (30) and 1963s It's All In The Game (25)), with his at-long-last breakthrough hit, Devil Woman at 88; at 78, the recently mentioned Let 'Em In by McCartney and Wings; and at 77, one of my favorite Chicago tunes, Another Rainy Day In New York City- appropriate then, appropriate now.

Our look at the #1s of other years this date is next, and we're back to the zeros.  In 1990, it was New Kids On The Block (groan) with Step By Step.  I hear that title and think of a much better song done by the late Eddie Rabbitt in the eighties. In 1980, top dog was the endlessly annoying Funky Town by Lipps, Inc., which was actually a set of session musicians brought together by disco songwriter Steve Greenberg. 1970- 41 years ago today- The Beatles spent their last week at #1 with The Long And Winding Road.  In 1960, Connie Francis topped the charts with Everybody's Somebody's Fool- a b-side that beat out the a-side (Jealous Of You, which hit #19) and not just in the USA.  In addition to crossing over to the Country and Western chart (24) and the R&B chart (2), it hit 5 in the UK, 1 in Australia, New Zealand, and Norway, and 25 in Germany, where the German-language version she recorded was the top song of the year.  She also got the 15th best song of the year in South Africa.  Not bad for a b-side, eh?  (refer to lesson #1- most A&R men were idiots.)  And wrapping up in 1950, where we have a repeat customer- not surprising as it held the top spot for 11 weeks that summer- bar musician Anton Karras and the theme to the movie The Third Man.

Our big mover this week was Neil Diamond with a song I didn't recognize (although the tonal quality was very Love On The Rocks-ish), If You Know What I Mean, which rose 22 notches to land at 43.  The big dropper was likewise a song that we hadn't mentioned before- a tasty cut by the Isley Brothers called Who Loves You Better.  You should check out Ernie Isley's guitar work on this, it stands up well against Who's That Lady.  This song unfortunately peaked last week at 62, and plummets 25 this week to 87.

This week, I thought I'd do shoutouts to the songs that hit birthdays this week.  Chubby Checkers' Let's Twist Again turns 50 this week; Marvin Gaye's haunting Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) turns 40.  Other shoutouts this week- Boogie Fever ascends the grandpa chair at 22 weeks on the chart.  Almost But Not Quiters include Today Is The Day by America (today is the day it peaks at #25) and Heart's Crazy On You, which got undeserved short shrift with 2 weeks at 40, and slips now to 41. The acoustic guitar lick by Nancy Wilson was reminiscent of (and inspired by) the one on the Moody Blues hit Question.

Our top album this week- 13 weeks after it hit the top the first time- is Frampton Comes Alive!

Now, our where are they now segment, which falls on the still-climbing Save Your Kisses For Me, a Tony-Orlando-and-Dawn-ish pop tune by the Brotherhood Of Man.  This band, basically a long-lasting set of session musicians- was the brainchild of manager/songwriter Tony Hiller, whose first BOM attempt was headed by singer Tony Burrows.  As longtimers here might recall, Tony was a very busy man- he hit #5 as lead singer of the impromptu band Edison Lighthouse with Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes); #13 as the lead singer for his main band, White Plains, with My Baby Loves Lovin'; #9 as half of the novelty duo the Pipkins with Gimme Dat Thing; and #4 as the singer for the artificial band the First Class with Beach Baby.  He would hit #13 again with BOM on their first big hit, United We Stand.  That incarnation of the BOM would dissolve, only to be resurrected by Hiller and new singer Martin Lee to do songs such as Save Your Kisses For Me (one of those songs you'll recognize once you hear it).  Lee courted and married bandmate Sandra Stevens in 1979, and they remain together to this day.  The band broke up in the mid eighties, but reformed to do a show called The Seventies Story, where they cover a lot of the eras classic hits, including ones that you'd never think of such a vocal group doing, like Foreigner's Juke Box Hero.  They remain together, doing Nostalgia shows, and have become popular in the LGBT community, where United We Stand has become somewhat of an anthem.

Hitting the top 40 this week are 4 new tunes.  Climbing 8 to #40 is Keith Carradine with  a favorite of mine, the one hit wonder I'm  Easy.  Aerosmith joins the forty at 36, up 9, with the third of their 21 top 40s, Last Child.  Funk masters Parliament climbs 10 to #39 with  Tear The Roof Off The Sucker, a song better known by its chorus, Give Up The Funk. And another one-hit-wonder at 35, up 6, former where are they now feature Vicki Sue Robinson with Turn The Beat Around.

Only one newbie in the top ten this week.  Making room for them is last weeks #7 Sara Smile, down to 12.

Claiming that top ten spot is Starbuck, climbing three to 10 with Moonlight Feels Right.  Moving up one notch to 9 is Eric Carmen and Never Gonna Fall In Love Again.  Dropping four spots to #8 is Diana Ross and the former top dog Love Hangover.  The Manhattans move up 2 with Kiss And Say Goodbye at #7. Holding at 6 are (as we used to call them) the Captain and Toenail with Shop Around.  Last week's top dog Silver Convention slips into oblivion, dropping to #5 with Get Up And Boogie.  And the Andrea True Connection noses up a notch to #4 with More More More.

Since last weeks feature-ee is still holding the top spot  sans la balle, we have to slip down to the second highest song without the bullet- and that is Dorothy Moore and Misty Blue.  Dorothy's story spun a web that gave me several interesting links, though I couldn't comfortably get any of them to six degrees.  But here goes, anyway:

#1: Dorothy recorded Misty Blue at Malaco Records, an indy who generally shopped good songs to the major labels.  King Curtis' Groove Me and Jean Knight's Mr. Big Stuff are examples.  But no one would take Misty Blue, so the company ( which was wiped out by the tornadoes of April 15th this year) put every dime it had left into putting it out itself.  The rest is history (and another referral to lesson #1), and the song came in second in the R&B Female Performance to Aretha Franklin's take on Bridge Over Troubled Waters.  Aretha recorded her version live at Filmore West in San Fran, and they made her put in songs like Bridge and Love The One You're With to appeal to what was expected to be "a hippie audience".

#2 Misty Blue was a country song written by Bob Montgomery, who was high school best friends with Buddy Holly, and performed with him as "Bob and Buddy" until Buddy was discovered by Marty Robbins' agent at a show headlined by Bill Haley and his Comets.

#3 This song has been recorded, by Montgomery's estimate, some 200 times, and hit the Country top 10 twice in 1967- once by Wilma Burgess, who took it when Brenda Lee turned it down (#4), and once by Eddie Arnold (#3, and #57 on the pop chart).  Joe Simon was the first to turn it R&B in 1972, though not very successfully (47 R&B, 62 Cashbox).  After Dorothy's version went big, Billie Jo Spears had a hit on country with it as well (#5).

#4 Dorothy's next hit was Funny How Time Slips Away, an old country tune by Willie Nelson that had also been covered a million times, including by Eddie Arnold who seems to have been a real crowd follower.  Her third was the first without a country pedigree, I Believe You.  (The Carpenters did a cover of this on Passage, but the single flopped.) This song was written by Don and Dick Addrisi, who were famous for the Association's big hit Never My Love- a hit so big and so covered that  in late 1999 the Publishing Rights Organization Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) announced it was the second most-played song on radio and television of the 20th century, trailing only You've Lost That Loving Feeling and just ahead of Yesterday.

 And there you have it- Dorothy to Malaco to Tornadoes; Dorothy to Aretha to hippies; Dorothy to Bob Montgomery to Buddy Holly to Marty Robbins' agent; or Dorothy to the Addrisi Brothers to BMI's top songs of the 20th century.

And with that taken care of, we are down to the top two songs this week.  Holding on to #2 for a second consecutive week are Wings with Silly Love Songs; and our new top dog- on the heels of a seven notch leap to the top...

Bill, Taffy, John, and Margot- the Starland Vocal Band, with Afternoon Delight!!!!

That wraps another TM for this week, kids.  See ya next time!


  1. CWM:
    That was a marvelous ride this week...
    Nice touch linking Dorothy Moore to the Addrisis...never would have guessed that one in several lifetimes.

    IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN was a really GOOD Neil Diamond song...
    off of his BEAUTIFUL NOISE LP (still have my vinyl), and the lyrics are fantastic (imho)!

    Don't know how MANY times I played THAT song.

    And I love MISTY of THE great songs of all times.

    Connie Francis was my late Mom's favorite female singer...and she got ME hooked on her songs.

    Excellent ride in your time machine, "Doc".

    Have a great weekend.
    Stay safe up there.

  2. Holy lord my friend, you put a lot into this! That was awesome. I have to say though, in 1976, I was 8 and playig with barbies, so I think I missed most of these songs unless of course Donny and Marie were singing "I am little bit country, and I am little bit rock roll!" then I was all over it!

  3. Tracy, the nice thing is that the songs live forever, especially when you've got the memories tied up in them that I do. And yes, it's usually about three hours research and two or so of typing. And I did have a "barbie", left over from my sister, but she had to put on a cape and hang with Batman and GI Joe.

    The Dorothy Moore stuff took an hour on its own... I kept trying to find a six degree link, but ended up with four three degree links instead. If I wanted to streeeetch it, I could've roped Connie F. in it too- she remade one of the three songs I mentioned in a later cover album.
    I gotta say, Neil D. was real hit and miss out here- you either heard a song all the time (like, say, Song Sung Blue) or, like this one, you didn't hear it at all. A lot of east coast faves got short shrift out here, where the Beach Boys and ELO were always much bigger here.