We're going to swing back a little farther than usual here at the beginning of the show. It's 1966, I'm four years old. How does my day start? I begin to wake up hearing the morning get together of my dad and his two brothers for coffee before they pile in the car of whoever's week it was to drive, and head off to work- my dad and uncle Dick to International Harvester, Uncle Len to the Falstaff brewery. Mom settles in to read her prayer book for a half-hour or so. I emerge as the TV comes on to the last half of Wayne Rothgeb's farm show (hopefully to root for my sister's school, Woodlan, in the FFA quiz). The a half-hour of cartoons with Engineer John before Captain Kangaroo, and...
Wait a minute. Who is Engineer John?
He was John Seimer, a pioneer on WKJG-TV who pulled on his gray bibs every weekday morning, climbed aboard his cardboard train , and played cartoons. I bet every one of you had an "Engineer John" in your town. Mine passed away Sunday at the age of 89.
This week on Time Machine: a new top dog; who hit #1 with Crying In The Chapel (and it wasn't Elvis!); more video evidence that local djs of the era needed to be whupped; Taco's real name (remember Putting On The Ritz?); the Reverend Patrick Henderson (?); the act who fans have been waiting for a second album from for almost forty years; and the connection between the Cowsills and Tommy Tutone. Let's get this engine rolling, John!
Thirteen songs debut this week, and I know that there's probably a couple I won't mention we'll hear from later. But today, I'll mention four of them. Debuting at 96 is Bachman Turner Overdrive with a rockin' number called Gimme Your Money Please. Alice Cooper comes in at 94 with arguably the best song he ever did, I Never Cry. Another one you might not be familiar with- but should be- is the first stateside single for Australia's highly underrated Little River Band, It's A Long Way There, which debuts at 76. And all the way up at 60 is the Captain (who'll get another mention later) and Tenille with Muskrat Love. I had thought this was an original by America from their album Hat Trick in 1973, but the original was actually done by the composer, a now-cult figure named Willis Alan Ramsey, who made a great impression in Texas music history with his self titled debut (on which the song was called Muskrat Candlelight) in 1972. He had some legal wranglings with his record label, the upshot of which is that, despite his regional popularity, he has never released a second album.
All those guys celebrate there 35th birthday on the chart. Reaching forty this week are Cat Stevens' Peace train, and the redoubtable Delaney and Bonnie with Only You Know And I Know. Also, Tommy Roe's Hooray For Hazel hits 45 this week, and Dion's Runaround Sue turns fifty. Blow out the candles...
The Beatles chalk up another "honor", as Got To Get You Into My Life is the big dropper this week ( falling 28 to #61). The Bee Gees are the big mover, climbing 27 to #52 with Love So Right.
Our look back at the #1s of other years is in the 3s this week. In 1993, Mariah Carey held the top spot with Dreamlover (presumably not a Bobby Darin remake). In 1983 it was Putting On The Ritz by Taco (real first name? Taco). Grand Funk Railroad, still one of the coolest band names of all time, ruled 1973 this week with We're An American Band. In 1963 the top dog is a song you'll be hearing MUCH later on the Saturday sixties countdown- Bobby Vinton's Blue Velvet. Now 1953 isn't such a clear story. On Cashbox, the #1 was Crying In The Chapel. The trouble here is the lovely early Cashbox policy of combining all versions of the same song as a single entry. And there were four competing versions at the time (none of them Elvis' which came out in 1960). One belonged to Darrel Glenn, whose father Artie wrote the song for him when he was in a high school band; it hit #4 by Billboard. The other main competitor was June Valli who had hers up to #6 on BB. So what did BB have at the top? Well at the time, BB did three separate charts- the best seller; most played on jukeboxes; and most played by DJs. Of course, djs being a difficult lot (Grrrrr.....), they had the Ames Brothers' You You You at the top,; And where the people had the choice, both charts were topped by Les Paul and Mary Ford's Via Con Dios. We're all about options here at time machine!
One thing you don't get an option on is the #1 album this week- still Frampton Comes Alive!
Our #49 this week is Rock 'N Roll Music by the Beach Boys, and thus the Boys are our Where Are They Now victims du jour. First, let's run down the six main members of the classic Beach Boys.
Brian Wilson is amazingly still out and about. Just 2 years ago, at the request of the George Gershwin estate, he did a retrospective Brian Wilson Re-Imagines Gershwin that received critical acclaim (better late than never, eh?). And producer Bill Pohlad and TV screenwriter John Wells are currently working on a "life and times" feature on him.
Dennis Wilson was the first of the Boys to pass on, proving that drinking and diving don't mix in late December back in '83.
Carl Wilson toured through his final illness in 1997, though he was on O2 after every song and sat down save for his solo on God Only Knows. He died of lung and brain cancer in February of 1998.
Mike Love currently lead the touring Beach Boys, who still do 170 shows a year. Among those with him in the group is John Cowsill, who not only does Carl's parts and drums, but was the drummer both for his family band- the Cowsills-and for Tommy Tutone on their big hit 867-5309/Jenny.
Bruce Johnston, also known for writing I Write The Songs and the background arrangement for Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me, is also in touring Beach Boys.
Al Jardine first formed his own band called Beach Boys and Friends, which included his sons Matt, and Adam, Brian's daughters Wendy and Carnie, the mentioned in an earlier post Billy Hinsche, and Daryl Dragon, otherwise known as the Captain (who had been a member of touring Beach Boys a long time ago). This band had to cease and desist when Mike and Carl's estate sued over the name in 2007. He now tours with the Endless Summer Band and has released a critically acclaimed lp of his own in June of last year. It was called A Postcard From California and had as guest musicians Neil Young, Steve Miller, the surviving members of America and others.
The Boys en masse are the subject of swirling rumours about their upcoming 50th anniversary. The rumors run the gamut from a one night show to a new lp to a reunion tour that may include both Brian and early member David Marks. Or they make just issue a press release, who knows. Apparently they have practiced a time or to together, to which Brian said, "Not bad singing for a seventy year old man!" How's that for perspective?
Five songs debut this week. The first I'm going to share with you because I'd never heard it before last night and my reaction was, WHY OH WHY did my local DJs fail me? It's Called Did You Boogie With Your Baby, and it's by Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids.
This song moves up from 45 to 39. Coming in at 37, up 19, is Gordon Lightfoot's The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald. Another one I didn't know (and didn't exactly flip over) was Diana Ross at 36, up 6, with One Love In My Lifetime. Up 15 to #32 is Blue Oyster Cult's classic Don't Fear The Reaper. And the high debut, shooting from 44 to 29, is ABBA with Fernando. Damn, I'm hitting backspace a lot- time for a banana!
Odds and ends time: A shout out to almost but not quites- Summer by War, which peaks at 15 last week here and drops to 17 this week, though it placed #7 on BB's hot 100, 4 on their R&B, and #1 on easy listening. And to Jefferson Starship's With Your Love, which stalls here at13. Also, Seals and Crofts now sit the grandpa chair with Get Closer at 25 weeks; and the lone dropper from the top ten is You Should Be Dancing, from 6 to 19.
Our six degrees victim this week is the #10 song, (down from 4, and the banana didn't work) I'd Really Love To See You Tonight (in fact, I think it made it worse!) . This song, along with the title cut from the lp Nights Are Forever, was written by one Parker McGee, who there's precious little info about out there. What I did learn is among his credits is the #16 hit American Music By the Pointer Sisters, from their album So Exited! (and you know what else was on THAT album!). In perusing the track list of that album, I noticed a tune called Heart Beat, who had among its co-writers the Antichrist, Michael Bolton, and one Rev. Patrick Henderson. The good Reverend was (not surprisingly) a Gospel musician, who allegedly appeared on several Michael McDonald lps and McDonald-era Doobie Brothers recordings. I only found him credited on the Doobies' One Step Closer, though, where he played keyboards on the top 5 Real Love and a couple other tunes.
The rest of the top ten stacks up like this: Dr. Hook moves one to #9 with A Little Bit More; moving into the top 10 at #8, up 3, is Orleans' Still The One; up 2 to #7 is Chicago with If You Leave Me Now; Cliff Richards moves up a spot to #6 with Devil Woman; Rick Dees is at #5 up from 8, with Disco Duck; up one to #4 is Walter Murphy's A Fifth Of Beethoven; last week's top dog, Wild Cherry's Play That Funky Music drops to #3; Boz Skaggs moves up to the runner up spot with Lowdown; and that leaves us with our new top dog...
That's a wrap for this week, kids. Be sure to be here bright and early tomorrow for my favorite moment of the week, the great sixties countdown! Until then....
(PS: Despite about a million backspaces, spellcheck still caught me 8 times! Not to mention the three I just fixed on proofread. Next time I'll eat the banana before I start!)