A bad day for debuts and birthdays- (unless you're Joe Satriani) - The only noteworthy birthday is CCR's Sweet Hitchhiker turning 40 this week. And debuts? We have seven. Three worth mentioning. And two of them have been this way before. The only "real" debut is Earth Wind And Fire with one of my faves, Getaway, at 92. At ninety-five, Bobby Gentry's Ode To Billy Joe re-enters for its 15th week, on the strength of the new Ode To Billy Joe movie that's come out, starring Robby Benson and directed by Max Baer, Jr.- yes, that's Jethro of the Beverly Hillbillies. And at 92, Atlantic records has decided that now that EVERYONE knows who Daryl Hall and John Oates are thanks to Sara Smile (which, BTW, is our grandpa song at 23 weeks and just exiting the top 40, and was actually PROMOTED by their new record company, RCA), they'll re-release She's Gone, which got only to 52 in it's 10-week attempt two years ago. Nothing like striking when someone else can do your work for you, huh?
A sluggish big mover week too- Silver climbs 18 to 74 with Wham Bam Shang A Lang. The droppers were a different story, though. Four songs dropped 22 notches this week, and they're all in a cluster. Get Up And Boogie falls to 40, Marvin Gaye's I Want You tumbles to 42, the aforementioned Sara Smile to 44, and Love Hangover to 45. Also, while 41 was a climber, #43 dropped 19 (not the 21 I told Laurie last night, after I thought about the mathematical impossibility and re-figured). That was, BTW, America's Today Is The Day.
Graciously, Todd Rundgren moves up off the #49 spot this week and gives us a new where are they now victim- Henry Gross, who slips into the honor spot with the dropping Shannon. Henry was a founder of Sha-Na-Na right outta high school, but left soon after to start a solo career. Despite an ever growing list of regional hits, he never got the big break until Shannon- and despite constantly recording since, never had another big hit. These days, he's just released two new CDs , called Right As Rain and Rhymes And Misdemeanors. He's also contributed songs to a fellow old timer, Johnathon Edwards (remember Sunshine Go Away Today?), and is releasing them on his own Zelda Records, named after his mom. He claims they are his best work ever on his website ( of course, he also claims he's a jackass for not regularly updating the website, too, so it's all a matter of perspective).
An almost but not quite shout out this week to Cyndi Grecco for her one hit, the Laverne And Shirley theme Making Our Dreams Come True, which slips to 34 after peaking at 21 last time out. This song, like the Happy Days theme, was written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox- veteran writers who'd already hit with such classics as Sergio Mendes' The Girl From Ipanema and Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly With His Song. This time, though, they had zero information to go on, according to Fox- all they knew was their names and that they would be blue collar workers (Unlike the Happy Days deal, this show was only in works, and the pilot hadn't been filmed yet). So they set to work on the concept of two girls who had a dream and were working and hoping to make it come true- even if the writers had no clue what it was. So they came up with the song "Hoping Our Dreams Will Come True"- which the producers rejected. "No, these girls won't just sit back and hope. They're the kind that will go out and take the bull by the horns and wrestle it." So Norman re-wrote the lyrical dynamic into MAKING the dream come true, and a song was born. And finished it before the producers had stumbled onto the bright idea that it might work better if the show didn't use their last names in the title (which they did, apparently, in the pilot).
At least we had some debut action in the top forty- five songs came onto Airplay Alley. At 38, Chicago entered with Another Rainy Day In New York City, up 5. The second cut from Frampton Comes Alive! enters the 40 at 37 this week- Baby I Love Your Way, up nine. A 15 notch climber comes in at 36- Wild Cherry and Play That Funky Music. At 35, up 7, is Candi Staton with Young Hearts Run Free. And this week's high debut is the Bee Gees' You Should Be Dancing (yeah), going up 12 to #29.
Our look at the top dogs of yesteryear is in the threes this week. In 1993 was the entirely forgettable Weak by SWV, which stood for Sisters With Voices. Now there's a unique qualification for a singing act. 1983 this week was headed by the Police's classic Every Breath You Take. In 1973, we have a Billy Preston song for the second straight week on this feature- this time it's Will It Go 'Round In Circles. Making a donut, I skip to 1953 where we find Eddie Fisher, who's just replaced previous honoree Percy Faith's Moulin Rouge Theme with I'm Walking Behind You. No, he's not being a butt-man, he's referring to his daughter and her upcoming wedding. Back to 1963 we go to find a band put together by Marines at Camp LeJune, NC- The Essex, with Easier Said Than Done. The lead singer, fellow Marine Anita Humes, died just over a year ago- May 30th of last year- at the age of 69.
Three songs enter the top ten this week, three drop out. Falling are Silly Love Songs, from 4 to 11; Misty Blue, from 8 to 15; and Shop Around, from 9 to 16. Oh and before I forget (which I already had), the number one album this week is still Wings At The Speed Of Sound.
First up in the top ten is the big hit for Thin Lizzy, The Boys Are Back In Town, climbing three to #10. Steve Miller climbs a spot to 9 with Take The Money And Run. Coming in at #8, up 3, are the Brothers Johnson with I'll Be Good To You. The high debut comes from the Beatles, still weaving their magic with Got To Get You Into My Life climbing from 12 to 7. John Travolta edges up a notch with Let Her In at 6. Moonlight Feels Right moves into the top 5 for Starbuck, also up one spot. Continuing the trend is Gary Wright, who moves up that spot to #4 with Love Is Alive.
Speaking of trends, ever since I decided to graft the six degrees special to the highest song that's lost the bullet, I've gotten lots of repeat offenders. Well, Silly Love Songs finally fell, so of course, Afternoon Delight just had to do the same thing. Which means that yet again we go to the second-highest song without ammunition, which is Andrea True's More More More at #3 for a second week. Now, we already discussed Andrea's former (and future) occupation in an earlier TM, as well as the fateful trip to Jamaica where a coup forced her to make some money to get home. This is where she called good friend Gregg Diamond, a record producer, who came down with the song that she recorded to pay her way. Gregg became later known for producing a disco studio group called Bionic Boogie, which featured the lead singing talents of Luther Vandross. He had met Luther through Gregg's brother Godfrey, who was a soundman when Luther was working with David Bowie on his Young Americans lp. In addition to singing, Luther had come up with the backup vocal arrangement, which included the riff "I heard the news today, oh boy" taken from the Beatles' A Day In The Life. That part of that song was written by John Lennon, who was also involved in the Young Americans lp, particularly on the song Fame. Anyway, John had based the opening part of the song ("He blew his mind out in a car/he hadn't noticed that the lights had changed") on the tragic accident that killed 21-year old Tara Browne. The young socialite was the son of one of the famous "Golden Guinness" heiresses, Ernest Guiness' youngest daughter Oonagh (pronounced "ooo-na"). This would be the third child of her to meet a sad end- a son had died months after birth, and a daughter died as a 14-year-old from a reaction to Diptheria vaccine. So there you have it- porn star Andrea True to Gregg Diamond to Luther Vandross to David Bowie to John Lennon to Tara Browne to heiress Oonagh Guinness.
Which brings us to the top two, and since I already announced we'd have a new top dog, that means Afternoon Delight and the Starland Vocal Band slip to the runner up spot. Which also means our new top dog is.....
... the Manhattans, with Kiss And Say Goodbye!!!
Another good week in the books. Have a good weekend!