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


Friday, July 22, 2011

Step into my time machine week sixty-five

Yesterday, our home temp peaked at 102.0.  In 1976, today peaked at 78, so let's go there.  Welcome to a very special Time Machine- not because of the great debuts (almost none) or the great stories (a bit thin), or even the Where Are They Now piece (subject has been dead for 27 years).  But special because today we get Laurie's top ten (actually eleven), to which she affixes the disclaimer of her top "comfort songs", which I've tried to explain that it means the same thing.  YOUR top ten are the ones that make YOU feel good.  And today you'll get a look at the very unusual ten (ELEVEN!) that she picked out.  Here come the first two:

10. The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane- Ames Brothers, 1954.  Like many of her songs, this was a song that she and her mom listened to together.  "Not a song to listen to on a regular basis, " says she, "but a fun song when you're in the mood."  If you don't know it, you tube it; I guarantee, the last line makes it all worthwhile.  A #3 hit.

9. It's Going To Take Some Time- Carpenters, 1972.  Where would a top ten in this family be without the Carpenters, really?  "The part that catches me, "  Laurie says, "is the lyric

But it's goin' to take some time this time

And I can't make demands
But like the young trees in the wintertime
I'll learn how to bend."

This hit #12 for Karen and Richard .

This was a horrible week for debuts, as out of 8 coming into the hot 100, I found but one worth mentioning (two, if you're a diehard Alan Parsons Project fan and know that their first single, The System Of Doctor Tarr And Professor Fether, debuted at 99 this week).  That one is Waaaay up at 76, Orleans with Still The One, precursor of a couple of seasons worth of ABC shows.  Happy thirty fifth birthday!  And we have a handful of other birthdays coming up here.  Rare Earth celebrates the 40th birthday of, uh, I Just Want To Celebrate.  Reaching 45 today are They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha Ha! by Napoleon XIV, Bus Stop by the Hollies, and Sunshine Superman by Donovan.  The Jarmels' A Little Bit Of Soap turns 50 today, and at fifty-five is a neat little segue into the next of the Laurie's top ten.  This week in 1956, Frank Sinatra hit the top fifty with a song from the movie High Society called You're Sensational.  This is a great fun movie, you should check it out.  If you already know it, I'll add here that it had three other charting songs, alongside this one (which grazed around the bottom of the top 50 three weeks out of four):  True Love, sung by Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly, which reached #4 in October of '56; Well, Did You Evah? by Frank and Bing, which grazed the hot 100 on Billboard, and Now You Has Jazz, with Bing teaming with Louie Armstrong, which did the same.  However, the song Laurie put on her chart was an unreleased cut:

8. Little One- Bing Crosby, 1956.  A scene between Bing and his (ex) girlfriend's little sister, Laurie says, " I watched this movie with Mom- it was her favorite musical.  For years all I could remember was a scene with a wedding table full of gifts (this was where Frank and Celeste Holm sang Who Wants To Be A Millionaire); eventually, someone helped me remember which movie it was.  The best part of this song is at the end, as little sister says,'I now consider us engaged', and runs off.  Satchmo looks at the camera and says, 'Right song... but the wrong goil!!' "  We actually taped the songs onto cassette a while back. Ironically, this was Grace Kelley's last film role before becoming Princess of Monaco.

7. Don't It Make You Want To Go Home- Joe South, 1969.  When Laurie decided to try to track down this childhood memory gem, we really struggled to find anything about it- until we searched Smoky's Record Shop one day and found it on the back of one of those two-hit discs with Games People Play.  No doubt about it, the late Mr. Montgomery was a city treasure.  "My memories are of Mom playing it, which makes it important."  The song hit an undeservedly low #41 on the Billboard chart, and if you've ever looked longingly at your now-missing childhood home, it might get to you, too.

Our big dropper this week is Taking It To The Streets, which plummets 19 to 36.  Eeek, that's in the top forty!  One of the two biggest climbers is as well, so I'll just say that the other, Fleetwood Mac's Say You Love Me, leaps 21 notches to land at 42.
Which brings me to #49 and our Where Are You Now victim o'the week, Marvin Gaye's I Want You.  Of course, we lost Marvin on April 1st, 1984, in a domestic incident I don't feel is right to go into here.  Suffice it to say, celebrity takes a toll, and it often ends tragically.  Just cue up the Commodores' Night Shift and fade out...

6. Looking For Space- John Denver, 1976.  A recent member of the TM family, this song reached #29 not too long ago (Time Machine Time).  "Like It's Going To Take Some Time, this song reflected how I felt about life in that period."

5.  The Longest Time- Billy Joel,  1984.  The fourth single of An Innocent Man, this tune reached #14.  "I don't know why I like this song, I just have ever since it came out."  I get some small amusement in that Mr. Joel also has one of her least favorite songs, She's Always A Woman.  In this she is like me, in that Billy runs from some of my favorites (Allentown) to some of my least favorites (Only The Good Die Young).
Our look at the #1s of other years takes us to the 4s this week.  1994's top dog this week was Don't Turn Around by Ace Of Base, one of the few pop acts I could stand back then.  In 1984 it was Prince's classic When Doves Cry from Purple Rain.  1974's top song was George McRae's Rock Your Baby. 1964 was one of those years that the release dates were on either side of today's date;  if you round down, you get one of my all-timers, the Four Seasons' Rag Doll;  if you round up, you get the Beatles and A Hard Day's Night.  You can't lose there, folks.  Which reminds me- if you remember a while back, I shared you a hundred or so songs off my mammoth favorite-songs-of-the-seventies list.  Well, now I'm currently working on a similar list for the sixties, and I will share that with you if and when.  1954 has a repeat player- Kitty Kallen's Little Things Mean A Lot, which was in the sixth of her 7 weeks spread over three different times at the top.
Two top 40 debuts this week.  The first is our other big mover- KC and the Sunshine Band's Shake Your Booty, moving up 21 from 61 to 40.  The second is Dr. Hook's racy (at the time) A Little Bit More.  And an almost but not quite shout out to ABBA and Mamma Mia, which peaked at 36 2 weeks ago and slides to 41 this time around.  A #1 song in Australia (who was ABBA-crazy at the time), the UK, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland, #2 in Belgium, New Zealand, and Norway, and top five in Austria and South Africa, it didn't get near the love in North America (only 20 in Canada).  I assure you though, those numbers hadda be MUCH higher here in Ft. Wayne.

 4. Bread- Look What You've Done, 1970.  A cut from their second lp On The Waters which appears on the second side of Best Of Bread.  "What catches me is the line, 'There is someone you ought to meet/ that's me, Mr. Incomplete' ".  A fine song which to my surprise (though not Laurie's) was never released as a single.  I think it stands well with all but the best of their hits.

3. Papa Gene's Blues- The Monkees, 1966.  It should come as no surprise to any friend of Laurie's that the Monkees would be in here somewhere.  This is a cut from their debut lp that was actually misprinted as "Papa Jean's Blues" on the first run of album covers- a mistake I myself have perpetuated down through the years.  "This is just one of those songs you like, " Laurie says, a statement that can be well applied to most of their repertoire.  I can never remember it because "Papa Gene" is never mentioned in the song; but call it by the chorus line, "I love you and I know you love me, " then I know it.

2. To A Sleeping Beauty- Jimmy Dean, 1962.  A spoken word #26 hit (#15 country) for the late MHOFer, this might be the biggest tear jerker of the lot.  "My favorite 'makes me cry' song.  If you are a father or a daughter, no matter your relationship, it will get to you.  It struck me and my sister because it showed a relationship with a father that we always wanted- and never got."  If this song doesn't get to you, you may need to consult here. 
One song enters the top ten, one drops out.  Falling is Take The Money And Run, from 9 to 14. 
Holding on at #10 are Thin Lizzy and The Boys Are Back In Town.  Coming in at #9 is Queen with probably their only mainstream pop song, You're My Best Friend.  Andrea True tumbles 5 to #8 with More More More.  Then we hit a long parade of songs that move up just one, starting with The Brothers Johnson's I'll Be Good To You at #7, the Beatles' Got To Get You Into My Life at #6, and John Travolta's Let Her In at #5.
Now, I told you that Laurie had eleven songs on the list, but in a sense of numerical symmetry, she's decided to go with 2 #1s- one secular and one Christian.  The Christian one, and I'm estimating the overall top dog, is from Steve Green's 1984 debut lp, called:
1 (a)- Proclaim The Glory Of The Lord- Steve Green, 1984. This is a powerful song, and Laurie usually does it justice by playing it at volumes that I normally reserve for Kiss.  "If you like Christian songs, orchestra, and really big productions, you'll love this.  Plus the message."
And the secular song?
1(b)- Where Does The Heart Go (When The Love Song Ends)- Chuck Easterday.  Yes, Laurie's brother is an accomplished musician, having played with local bands Renegade and Silverado, and even doing a first audition for America's Got Talent.  This particular song was the result of a friend having lost his wife in an accident at an unmarked railroad crossing in Ohio.  " This is the big tear jerker.  What he says in this song is so moving... ' From I Do, He gave her everything and more/ from I Do, she showed him just what I DO was for...few could ever love like this/ how could he ever love again... A heart that up till now had only known how to begin/ tell me, where does the heart go, when the love song ends..?' "  Okay, now I can't see the keyboard.  I haven't the tech to bring you this particular song -yet- but if you'd like to see how talented Chuck is, log onto and search "Slicknickel", or just watch this youtube clip:

Two more song remain on the "move up one" parade:  Starbuck to #4 with Moonlight Feels Right; and Gary Wright to #3 with Love Is Alive.  The Starland Vocal Band holds at 2 with the former top dog, Afternoon Delight.

 Which leaves us with a repeat #1 song, and our six degrees contestant for the week- the Manhattans and Kiss And Say Goodbye.  This song became the second to win the new platinum record for 1,000,000 sales, the first being Johnny Taylor's Disco Lady.  Johnny had a list of guests on the record including Parliament/Funkadelic's Bootsy Collins, and Dawn's Telma Hopkins, who was also for you cable nuts on the first season or so of Family Matters.  Telma also was the one who says "Shut Yo' Mouth" on Isaac Hayes' Theme From Shaft.  Now, in return for doing the movie score, Hayes had been promised an audition for the movie lead (which he did not get, although he did a cameo as the bartender at the No-Name bar).  That role went to Richard Roundtree, which was his second film role. The first was in the Allen Funt adult-candid-camera film What Do You Say To A Naked Lady (where Richard apparently played as half of a naked interracial couple with Donna Whitfield, who I learned absolutely nothing else about other than this might be a picture of her from her only other credit, Torture Dungeon.).

(But which one, I don't know.)
  This film was scored by one Steve Karmen, who wrote two of the most successful beer jingles of all time- When You Say "Bud" and "Here Comes The King".  So there you have it- from a bud commercial to a #1 song in six easy (ha!) steps.

Hope you all enjoyed Laurie's top ten (ELEVEN!!!) as much as I did. See Y'all next trip!


  1. I loved and owned the first Alan Parsons Project Album because I was a fan of Edgar Allen Poe. Great music. Great blog. Brings back lots of memories.

  2. Loved the Monkeys, and Billy Joel.
    Not familiar with a few on your list though. 1976 probably had me mooning over some other pop stars
    Great post

  3. CWM:
    Taking a BUD jingle to a #1 THAT is way too cool!

    And you've got some EXCELLENT songs in the mix this week.

    Jimmy Dean always reminded me of Johnny Horton in some ways.

    BOTH can tell a story in song brilliantly.

    Got my hummin' stuff "fix" for the week, now...thanks!

    Stay safe up there.