A very personally frustrating Time Machine Today- Almost anything I've searched for has come up empty! Adding to the frustration is the realization that, if we were visiting my home that day, we'd likely be dealing with the grief of my mother's recent death. It's kinda hard to veer away from that moment without reflecting how she shaped me in all areas, including music- a fact coming out so well on the sixties countdown I do on Saturday. My life was just about to turn in so many ways- and high school was just weeks away. But just like then, we go on. This week, we get bit by not only yet another repeat on Where Are They Now, but also a stagnant top of the chart, and a six degrees that just-would-not-be!!! Nevertheless, put on a happy face and climb aboard.
I'm going to be honest with you- I'm toying with the idea of re-setting our journeys to an earlier time now- music was beginning to take on a different feel for me at this point. The energy and imagination of 1975-6 is beginning to wane; probably more importantly, I was growing out of innocence and into teenaging. Happy poppy songs were being overtaken by angsty ballads and - brace for it- disco. The songs I truly loved are going to get fewer and further between. Strangely enough, I was still months away from the top ten I used to keep. I'm a ways yet from making any rash decisions, though, so feel free to put in your two cents on the subject as we continue on.
Anyhow, this week's hot 100 debuts (AKA the 35th birthday bunch) are a trio. It was almost a "quatro", but Crazy On You was caught sneaking back in after a previous 11-week run at #91. Why, I don't know, but I have a suspicion that I'll share next time. Firefall, which was a de facto reuniting of the Byrds, enters this week at 97 with what would be their first big hit- You Are The Woman. DJ Rick Dees and his Cast Of Idiots take us to one of our lowest points ever- Disco Duck debuts at 88. And our high feature out of the week's 8 debuts is Steve Miller with Rock'n Me at 86.
Further birthday songs this week include: Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey, Maggie May, and the Guess Who's Rain Dance (If you don't know this song, you need to youtube it- NOW!) celebrating their 40th; You Can't Hurry Love, the Kinks' Sunny Afternoon, the Cyrkle's Turn Down Day, and Los Bravos' Black Is Black, their 45th; Bobby Vee's Take Good Care Of My Baby, its 50th; and the 55th anniversary of the debut of the King's Don't Be Cruel.
Unfortunately, with birth we also have death. 2 days ago a singer/songwriter named Billy Grammer passed away. His biggest claim to fame was the 1959 hit Gotta Travel On, which was a #4 pop and #5 country hit. This is a special song to me, because almost every wedding reception I went to in my youth had one thing in common (other than a wedding couple, natch)- this song and Proud Mary got played by the band. This is another one you should look up on your own time- I know it'd make me cry if I tried it right now.
Guess what? In keeping with the frustration theme, we have for the first time BOTH of our big movers in the top forty! Go figure. And that brings us to our Where Are They Now segment. And at the magic number 49, we have a song called Springtime Mama- by Henry Gross, who we featured weeks ago when Shannon stopped at 49 on the way down. The last two weeks have been the Michael McDonald composition show, the 2 before that were the Todd Rundgren double feature; and now this. So rather to find a second week's worth of stuff on the redoubtable Mr. Gross, here, just listen to Springtime Mama.
Since that feature left us in the lurch, let's go onto the #1s of other years feature. We are in the sevens this week, which as usual means I don't have the first clue about the 1990s entry. This week in 1997 the top dog was Puff Daddy and Faith Evans with I'll Be Missing You (and the feeling is NOT mutual). In 1987, U2 was on top with I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For from their album The Joshua Tree. One year from where we are parked right now, Andy Gibb will be at #1 with I Just Want To Be Your Everything, the first of his three straight top dogs. The Beatles hold the top this week in 1967 ( my kindergarten year, and possible target for a re-adjusted TM) with All You Need Is Love. And at 1957, the King returns with (I Want To Be Your) Teddy Bear. This song was written by Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe, who through their writing skills and their founding of Cameo records helped launch many a career, discovering Chubby Checker and penning Wild One for Bobby Rydell and Mashed Potato Time for Dee Dee Sharp.
Four debuts into the top forty this week. Silver, whose story got told a while back when we featured Batdorf and Rodney, come into airplay alley at 38, up 7, with Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang, a song that really got to me back then... not as much these days. Moving in at 37, up 9, is Boz Skaggs with Lowdown. Orleans makes an 8-notch jump into the 40 at 35 with Still The One. And our big mover for the week warps 24 notches to 33- and with that lead-in, you might guess it's Jefferson Starship
Two of my favorite disco/soul songs of the era get Almost But Not Quite mentions today- Last week Parliament began its descent from a high of 20 with Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (We Want The Funk); and this week, Candi Staton begins the drop from a peak of 23 with Young Hearts Run Free, which obviously got a lot more play wherever I was listening those days.
Sara Smile by Hall and Oates continues to sit the grandpa chair- they took one of their biggest falls in the last month, a whopping three notches, to spend their sixth week out of the top forty at 51. Which gives it now 27 weeks on the chart, and they didn't even need two runs at it like Dream On did.
Two new songs in the top 10, two fall out. The victims of gravity this week are Let Her In, from 7 to 14, and Moonlight Feels Right, from 6 to 13.
Keith Carradine leads off the top ten with one of my all timers, I'm Easy. It climbs up one notch. Leaping 8 to join the ten at #9 is our other debut, Wild Cherry's Play That Funky Music. Lou Rawls croons his way to #8 with You'll Never Find (Another Love Like Mine), which has certainly grown in my appreciation over the years. Seals and Crofts edge up one to #7 with Get Closer. Former top dog Kiss And Say Goodbye by the Manhattans slips one more to #6 this week. The Bee Gees slam up 4 spots to #5 with You Should Be Dancing. The Beatles slip a notch to #4 with the Paul McCartney composition Got To Get You Into My Life, while another McCartney tune, Wings with Let 'Em In, climbs that same notch to #3. And as I said, stagnation at the top- which means Starland Vocal Band continues to hold #2 with Afternoon Delight, and Elton John and Kiki Dee are still on top with our six degrees contestant, Don't Go Breaking My Heart.
Now despite my very best efforts I couldn't string together six stops for this song. I did manage to gather some interesting factoids, though. Here are the top six.
1. This was, amazingly enough, Elton's first #1 in the UK. That's hard to believe.
2. Kiki Dee was the first white female signed to Motown Records.
3. Elton has replaced Kiki on this duet on TV with both Miss Piggy and Minnie Mouse. Russi Taylor, the voice of Minnie Mouse since 1986, was married to the late Wayne Alwine, who was the third voice of Mickey Mouse (Walt Disney himself being the first).
4.Kiki was given her stage name by Mitch Murray, a songwriter whose credits include How Do You Do It? by Gerry and the Pacemakers and I'm Telling You Now by Freddie and the Dreamers.
5. Kiki's first hit, I've Got the Music In Me, was written by keyboardist "Bias" Boshell. Boshell later replaced Patrick Moraz with the Moody Blues, who had been asked to leave. Moraz was used to this- he got the bum's rush from Yes as well when the guy he replaced, Rick Wakeman, came back. (This was as close as I got to a true six degrees.)
6.The video is famous as the "cheapest video ever made"; the director was working a Rod Stewart TV special when asked to knock it off. They turned a nearby sound room into a "studio" and had Elton and Kiki fake their way through the song, and a piss-poor job they did. To finish off this mess of a post, here it is (with Spanish subtitles, for whatever reason), so you can see how "professionals do it. See you next time!