This week, we get the lowdown on the Lowdown, visit with Ringo and his All-Starr band(s), get hit by the dreaded #49 blues yet again, and ask the question, what song released in the USA in 1965 that hit #1 wasn't released until 1976 in the UK, only making it to #8 despite being voted one of the greatest British songs of all time? (Hint: it's the Beatles- kinda.) Let's get to it shall we?
BTW, next week I'll be doing my semi-annual inductions to the Martin Hall Of Fame. Suggestions? Bring 'em on. My crack staff (of one) will evaluate any and all nominations with the exceptions of the Antichrist (Michael Bolton), Aretha (Franklin) and the Heavyweights, Jay and the (F'n) Americans, and the Doors.
6 songs debut in the hot 100 this week- two of them noteworthy. First is a song that placed in my top 5 of the decade- England Dan and John Ford Coley with Nights Are Forever Without You, at 83. And way up at seventy, the "other" classic by Rod Stewart- Tonight's The Night (Gonna Be Alright). Happy 35th birthday to you two, and here come our other birthday songs. Celebrating forty years from debut this week is the Grass Roots' Two Divided By Love. What an underrated band they were! At 45 years old are Lady Godiva by Peter and Gordon and Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Turning 50 today is MHOFer Jimmy Dean with Big Bad John. And turning 55 this week, Richie Cunningham, is Fats Domino's Blueberry Hill. Blow out the candles...
Dropping 16 this week, the big droppers are This Masquerade ( to 48) and Let 'Em In (to 45).
Our big mover gets tangled up in our where are they now segment. Rick Springfield's Take A Hand decided to hang out another week in our magic spot, so I moved down to 50- where I ran into our week's biggest mover. Not a song I knew, so I didn't mention it last week, it debuted at 68 and lept 18 to 50 this week. That song is A Dose Of Rock And Roll by Ringo Starr, which turned out to be another delightful little, typically Ringo song. So what's the former Mr. Starkey up to these days? Well, in January he released his latest studio album, Y Not. In April, he celebrated his 30th anniversary with wife Barbara Bach. And next month he kicks off a tour of Brazil, Mexico, and Chile, among other stops.
But the thing that caught my eye in the Ringo story was his All-Starr band tours. And what an assortment of stars he had! The first tour was way back in 1989, and among the names along for the ride were the Eagles' Joe Walsh, the late great Big Man- Clarence Clemmons, Dr. John, Billy Preston, and last week's six degrees hero, Jim Keltner.The second tour was in 1992, and included Burton Cummings (whom I believe I mentioned last week...), Dave Edmunds, Todd Rundgren, Walsh and bandmate Timothy B. Schmitt, and his already famous son Zak Starkey, who you could practically do a six degrees on himself. The 1995 version had John Entwhistle of the Who, Felix Cavaliere from the Rascals, Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, once again Preston, and switching Guess Who members, Randy Bachman.
The 1997 version included Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke along with Peter Frampton; the 1999 set switched out Frampton for Rundgren. The 2000 version had Eric Carmen, Edmunds again, and the voice of Supertramp, Roger Hodgson. In 2001 Sheila E. became the first woman All-Starr, and was joined by ELP's Greg Lake and Howard Jones (who if you don't remember, treat yourself by youtubing No One Is To Blame or What Is Love.) And in the last one I found in 2001, Sheila E. was joined by Paul Carrack and former Babys frontman John Waite. Wow, wouldn't you like to see the reunion tour of THAT band?
We come now to the top songs of other years segment, and we're in the 5s this time. 1995's number one this week was Mariah Carey's Fantasy, and this brings up a story reminiscent of last week. If you include her Boyz II Men duet, Mariah is on a run here that sees her at the top 25 out of 30 weeks. Who needs variety, eh? One of the great songs of all time was #1 this week in 1985- Dire Straits' Money For Nothing. Man, drunken memories. Last year at this point we saw David Geddes at the top (at least on Cashbox) with Run Joey Run. The top song this week in 1965 was the most played song on American radio from this point until 1972- eight years! It is the most-covered non-Gershwin song of all time, with over 1600 recorded versions. However, it was the song that began the dividing of the Beatles. That song? Yesterday. McCartney wrote it and recorded it with just an acoustic guitar and a string section. The other Beatles fought putting it on the album, saying it was too unlike their style- but the alternative of having Paul release it under his own name was unacceptable. Therefore, EMI refused to release it as a single in the UK- and it still made the airplay top ten! When EMI's contract with the Beatles lapsed in 1976, they got their one last fling with the band, releasing as many singles as they could dig up all at once. 23 of them hit the hot 100, 6 made the top 50, and Yesterday peaked at #8. BMI estimates this song was performed 7 MILLION times in the twentieth century alone.
And now, the red-headed stepchild which is the top song this week in 1955- The Yellow Rose Of Texas by Mitch Miller.
5 songs hit the top 40 this week. The fastest climber of this bunch is Boston's More Than A Feeling, which zoomed up 16 to land at 40. Moving up 6 to #37 is the Ritchie Family with a song I had forgotten- The Best Disco In Town. This song was a medley of r&b/dance tunes including Reach Out I'll Be There from the Four Tops, the O'Jays I Love Music, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes' Bad Luck, TSOP by MFSB, and their own recent hit Brazil. Moving up a dozen spots to 36 is Frampton (who still has the top lp for one more week) with Do You Feel Like We Do? The next two both move up 10 spots- The Commodores to 32 with Just To Be Close To You, and Barry Manilow to 31 with This One's For You. Man what a great bunch that was!
Two songs enter the top ten, two fall out. Play That Funky Music drops from 8 to 14, and A Little Bit More goes from 9 to 15. And as I'm out of specials until the six degrees story, here comes the top ten.
Getaway by Earth Wind And Fire holds at 10 a second week. Up 3 to #9 are the Bay City Rollers with I Only Wanna Be With You. Finally realizing the dream in its 23rd week between two attempts, She's Gone by Hall and Oates climbs 3 to #8. This is, as I've mentioned before, off their early lp, Abandoned Luncheonette, which I just loved. So here as a bonus, here's one of the best H&O songs you've never heard, from this album.
Dropping 5 to #7 is KC and the Sunshine band's Shake Your Booty; Orleans edges up a notch to 6 with Still The One. Cliff Richard holds at 5 with Devil Woman. Climbing to 4, up 2, is Chicago's If You Leave Me Now. And that brings us to last week's top dog- and our six degrees victim.
Which is ironically the song from Silk Degrees- Boz Scaggs' Lowdown. Now there's a million ways you can branch from Boz, including the Steve Miller Band (where he came from) and Toto (who grew from his band) routes. But among the other players on this song were a couple of background vocalists. The woman is Carolyn Willis, whom we've mentioned as the female vocal on Seals and Crofts' Get Closer (which is still sitting in our grandpa chair at 27 weeks on the chart). The other is Jim Gilstrap, who as a session musician and vocalist, has been on things as various as backgrounds on Starship's hit Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now and the male vocal on the theme to the TV show Good Times. But probably the most famous place you've heard him was a place you never knew he was at- he sung the first two lines of Stevie Wonder's You Are The Sunshine Of My Life, while a young lady named Lani Groves sang the next two. I found precious little more out about Lani besides her background credits on Stevie's lp Talking Book and some voice credits on the 1984 My Little Pony movie. But Talking Book had a number of big-or soon to be big- names as guest musicians, including Ray Parker JR, David Sanborn, Denise Williams, and the legendary Jeff Beck. This despite the fact that three of the ten tracks Stevie did everything himself.
So that leaves you a choice at top dog between :
...and Donald Duck!
And it's Rick Dees moving up 2 to #2 with Disco Duck, so the new top
duck dog is...
That's it for this week. Tune in tomorrow for the sixties countdown, and be here next time for the new MHOF class!