Wow, summer is about over, and it's Labor Day weekend! And you know what that means (ACD car auction? Sheee-yeah, on my budget?)! That's right, we have a special Labor Day feature. Now, I know that I war with unions on a constant basis here, but I am offering a weekend olive branch and having a Labor Countdown! Also this week, evidence that the "wings" in Paul McCartney and Wings are flamingo wings, The further adventures of Barry DeVorzon, guest shots by Joe Walsh, Manfred Mann, Nat King Cole, and David Hasselhoff, and a Where Are They Now that for those like me steeped in mainstream pop is more of a Who Was That Now? And a new top dog both on the singles and on the albums!
Let's Start off with the opening salvo of our Labor Day Countdown, shall we?
And on we go to this week's debuts. Off of a list of ten, I see three of prominence. At 96 we have Nadia's theme, by Barry De Vorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr. Just to clear up some misconceptions about this tune, here are the facts. Nadia Comenici never used it herself in the Olympics, but the network used it in a montage of her legendary exploits. Yes, It was the theme to The Young And The Restless, but before that it was a tune called Cotton's Dream, complete with lyrics and everything. You see, Barry was a well known songwriter, and had had a hit of his own on the pop charts as Barry and the Tamerlanes with I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight (a different tune than the big Boyce and Hart hit) that hit #23 back in '63. And if that isn't odd enough, he wrote the Theme From SWAT as well as the music to my all-time favorite cult classic, The Warriors, including the Joe Walsh/Eagles hit In The City. Now these lyrics, with a slight modification, were used one season on the soap opera (CBS was trying to "young-up" the audience, and also had lyrics to the Search For Tomorrow theme), and beautiful they were. And years later, David Hasselhoff sang it with the original lyrics. His version went like this:
Gone, dreams of the past
Gone, with a love that moved too fast
Gone, bright shiny days
Gone, in a young and restless haze
Why did we love, then run away
So little time, so much left to say
And now, it’s gone
Young and restless friend
You’ll never pass this way again
So drink the summer wine
Reach for the stars
While you have time
Your restless heart
It will lead the way
So dream your dreams and live for each day
While you are young, while you are young
While you are young
Debuting this week at 91 is Gordon Lightfoot and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald; and way up at 71 are the Bay City Rollers with I Only Want To Be With You. Also, a curiosity at #94. While the a-side of Kiss' Detroit Rock City debuted last week, the b-side- Beth, debuts this week, although Cashbox has both as a single entry (with 2 separate "weeks on chart") at 94. Happy 35th birthday to you; and we also have a short list of songs celebrating a 45th birthday this week: Last Train To Clarksville by The Monkees; Summer Wind by Frank Sinatra; Reach Out I'll Be There by the Four Tops; and the Four Seasons with their classic Cole Porter tune, I Got You Under My Skin. Blow out the candles...
Big jumper this week is NOT, I repeat NOT, Disco Duck this time (though it didn't miss by much). ABBA takes the prize with Fernando, up 23 spots to #63. The big dropper was I'll Be Good To You, falling 15 to #56. And More X 3 still holds the grandpa chair at 25 weeks.
7-Union Man, Neil Young. I was hoping to attach a video so you could enjoy this (I suspect) tongue-in-cheek salute to the working life, but alas, I found only some knock off band doing the tune at NeilFest. You're on yer own here, kids. You'll find it on the 1980 lp Hawks And Doves.
So #49 this week is a funk/jazz number, ironically called Hard Work, performed by one John Handy. I knew neither the song or the man, so I had some research to do. John, whose specialty though by no means the only thing he does is the alto sax, is one of the best jazz musicians of our time. His credits stretch far back before my time, and he has 2 Grammies to his credit. Hard Work itself was featured in the movie All About The Benjamins, as well as the Bernie Mac Show. In addition to being a veteran side man, he tours with a trio of violinists/vocalists known as With Class, performing what he calls "classical jazz". Like many of our featurees at WATN, he has taught music at many schools, including Stanford and UC Berkeley. He continues to do shows at the age of 78, and his last record release was Mosaic Select in 2009.
Our look back at #1s of other years (I really gotta get an acronym for this feature!) takes us once again to the zeroes. Our 1990 top dog was Sweet Sensation with If Wishes Came True, a typical I-listened-but-really-don't-recall 90's popper. 1980 saw Christopher Cross at #1 this week with Sailing (another one of those songs used to wake up the Space shuttle crew on that same journey we took last week). 1970 had Eric Burdon, that long-haired, leaping gnome, and War with Spill The Wine. The 1960 top dog was the King with It's Now Or Never, the 8th of Elvis' 14 weeks at #1 that year. And in 1950, we have a song repeat, but a different artist I think, as Gordon Jenkins Orchestra, with vocals by folk group the Weavers, was on top with Goodnight Irene. It knocked Nat King Cole's Mona Lisa out of the top spot, which is ironic, because a few years later, Jenkins would do the arranging on 4 NKC albums that many critics said were the best works of both men.
Top Forty Debuts! Sneaking up 3 to #40 is CBer Red Sovine's classic Teddy Bear. The remaining two weren't so subtle. Heart leaps 15 to 33 with Magic Man, and the aforementioned Disco Duck flaps up 20 spots to splash down at #30. Also, this week's Almost But Not Quite goes to Peter Frampton and Baby I Love Your Way, peaking at 16 this week. And the new #1 album is the self-titled Fleetwood Mac. It hits #1 after 63 weeks on the chart, a record not broken until Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl took 64 weeks in 1989. In addition to the singles Over My Head (#20), Rhiannon, and Say You Love Me (both #11), this album contained the airplay hits Monday Morning and Landslide. Funny thing here is that the lp was a dud in the UK. In fact, the band didn't have an lp that was a real big hit on both sides of the Atlantic until Tango In The Night. After Rumours made such a big splash, the Fleetwood Mac lp was revisited in Jolly Ol' with somewhat more success, but it never did the business there that it did here.
One song enters the top 10 this week, one falls out. Dropping from 10 to 13 is Kiss And Say Goodbye. More irony there, eh?
Debuting at 10, up 5, is the great Boz Skaggs (who is another act I just got a CD of) and Lowdown. Afternoon Delight is well into the evening, dropping 2 more to #9. Walter Murphy's A Fifth Of Beethoven is at #8, up one. Also up a single spot is KC and the Sunshine Band with Shake Your Booty at #7. And at #6
is both last week's top dog and our six degrees victim du jour, Let 'Em In. Our chain this time goes first to the "brother Michael" mentioned in the song, Paul's brother Mike, whose professional name was Mike McGear. This was apparently beat slang for "fab", you tell me. Anyway, McGear was at one time a member of a bizarre little trio known as Scaffold. They did "comic songs, comedy sketches, and read member Roger McGough's poetry." As none of them had any musical talent at the time they utilized session musicians- and the list of those used included Jimi Hendrix, a young Elton John, and Jack Bruce from Cream. Before Cream, Bruce was briefly a member of Manfred Mann's outfit, and was on the single Pretty Flamingo, which hit #29 here (and much higher in the UK) in 1966. And there you have it- Wings to Flamingos in 6 easy steps.
England Dan and John Ford Coley are up 1 to #5 with I'd Really Love To See You Tonight. Lou Rawls also moves up one to #4 with You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine. Former top dog Don't Go Breaking My Heart drops a spot to #3. Wild Cherry moves up 2 to #2 with Play That Funky Music. And our new #1:
And of course, now it's time for our #1 Labor day song- a song that reflects the seriousness, the commitment, the dedication that we all have for our respective jobs. Here, then is our #1 Labor day song.
And there you have it! See you tomorrow, approximately the same time, for the sixties countdown.