Let's deal with the hot 100 debuts first. There were a whopping 13 of 'em this week, and I'm going to mention not one, not 5, but EIGHT of them! Coming in at 100 was the first of many great Bruce Springsteen covers by Manfred Mann's Earth Band (at least the first that pop audiences were going to know about), Blinded By The Light. At 98 comes the Doobie Brothers version of a Michael McDonald composition that Carly Simon had just missed the top 40 with, It Keeps You Runnin'. Foghat, always the great party band, comes in at 83 with Drivin' Wheel. At 81 is a song I heard at Quaker Steak and Lube a week or so ago, a song I had the 45 of, Queen with Somebody To Love.
Donny and Marie come in at 79 with their cover of Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing. George Harrison debuts at 78 with This Song; Bread's swan song, Lost Without Your Love, cracks the chart at 73. And the top debut 35 years ago this week was Aerosmith with Walk This Way. With that, we take a deep breath and hit the special list.
This list is the "top ten" songs I have the fondest memories of played at parties by my high school group. Along with each group, I'll throw out an interesting factoid. Factoid #1: The initiation to our group was to be the first with the blindfold played in Lorraine and Phil's basement- an event that usually featured somebody becoming intimate with a metal support pole.
10- Never Gonna Fall In Love Again, Eric Carmen, from All By Myself, Ann and Kathy's collection. Everything else on that lp was too depressing for words.
9- St. George And The Dragon, Toto, from Hydra, Phil's discs. Basically the title cut for the album. Phil had about all the Toto lps, but this song was my favorite.
Moving back to the birthdays this week, first off we have one song with two different birthdays this week- and neither was the best known version. (I Know) I'm Losing You, for me at least, meant the cover by Rare Earth, with all the echo effects. But the versions that celebrate this week are the Rod Stewart and the Faces (turning 40) and the original by the Temptations (turning 45). Also turning 40 were (speaking of Rare Earth) Hey Big Brother, and Betty Wright's Clean Up Woman (which got a mention in six degrees a week or so ago). Also at the 45-year anniversary is Wilson Pickett's Mustang Sally. But catch a whiff of all these birthday songs turning 50: Neil Sedaka's Happy Birthday Sweet
Factoid: Despite the fact that our school was known as Goat Roper U., I don't remember any of us having goats.
8- Foreplay/Long Time, Boston, Boston, my records. This was my signature album, and we all had one. I remember this as being the most popular, though.
7- Bandstand Boogie, Barry Manilow, Tryin' To Get The Feeling, Lorraine's stack. She had all the Manilows. And all the Carpenters. And most of the John Denvers.
The big mover this week, up 27 spots from 89 to 67, Kenny Nolan's I Like Dreamin'. And I did, because it was the only way to get a girlfriend for me back then. The big dropper, surprise surprise, is in the top 40- but as we're not ruining the surprise, I can tell you that it was Fernando, dropping out of the top 10 from 10 to 24- a 14-notch fall.
Factoid: Signature albums- Mine was the Boston lp; Phil was Meatloaf's Bat Out Of Hell; Lorraine, (insert Manilow, Carpenters, or Denver album here); Ann and Kathy, probably Seger's Against The Wind. I remember Vince being involved with Cheap Trick's Dream Police; I really don't remember what Rosie was into, though I think she got me Gary Numan's Cars one year for Christmas. (or was it Jay Ferguson's Thunder Island? I don't remember for sure...)
6- Running On Empty, Jackson Browne, Running On Empty, Phil's wax. I remember most of us being in the school creative writing club ("Free-lancers"), and Phil's contribution was a poem/song based on this song.
5- Peaceful Easy Feeling, Eagles, Greatest Hits, my stuff. I remember trying one day to express the thought that it was nice to have a friend (Rachel) who was a very beautiful girl, yet such a good friend that there was really no "internal pressure" to fall in love with. I said, This song reminds me of 'Happy' (her nickname)" . Lorraine says, "You want to sleep in the desert with her?" I look at Phil, we both shrug, and I answer, "Well, there IS that..."
Our Where Are They Now nod goes to #49, Eric Clapton's Hello Old Friend. Ol' Slowhand has been a very busy bee, touring last year with the likes of Jeff Beck, Roger Daltrey, and classical Violinist Tom Norris. He also released a sel-ftitled LP last year, and played the Prince's Trust benefit at the Royal Albert Hall. This year he's just finished a South American tour. He married wife Melia in 2005, and they have three daughters: Julie, 10; Ella, 8; and Sophie, 6.
Factoid: "Free-lancers" were Mentored by Mrs. Hursh, who planted the seeds of much of my adult musical choices by letting me borrow CSNY's Deja Vu and Jesus Christ Superstar.
4- Her Strut, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Against The Wind, Ann & Kathy's music. Always hard to say whether he said, "they do respect her, but..." or, "they do respect her butt..."
3. Surrender, Cheap Trick, At Budokan, Not for sure if Phil's or Vince's. This was the song the seniors played at graduation practice my junior year. That was the year they let a bunch of birds loose in the gym/auditorium, and our cross-eyed janitor was sent after them with a bb gun.
The top 40 debuts this week include: coming in at 39, up 4, David Dundas with Jeans On; at 34, up 7, the Sylvers' Hot Line; and at 31, up a big 14, Dazz by Brick.
Let's do a quick run through the #1s of other years, the 1s this week. 1991 was topped this week by Prince and the NPG and Cream- a song Prince said he wrote while looking in a mirror, which is all I need to know before deciding not to sample it. 1981 was topped by Olivia Newton-John's Physical, which I would probably prefer Cream to if I knew it. Isaac Hayes' Theme from Shaft was at #1 in '71; Jimmy Dean ruled 1961 with Big Bad John. And a repeater at the top in 1951- Eddie Howard's Sin (It's Not A Sin).
Factoid: Our senior class were the ones that put for sale signs all along the front of the school, and a burnt-out car, an out house, and stop and yield signs in the courtyard planter.
2-Summer And Lightning, ELO, Out Of The Blue, My stuff, among others. This was me and Susie's song- except that all we ever did was meaningless flirting, and it was only "our Song" in my mind. Good enough for me.
1- and could there be any doubt about this- Paradise By The Dashboard Lights, Meatloaf, Bat Out Of Hell, Phil's platters. A song with truly something for everyone. Action, adventure, sex, and Phil Rizzuto.
The other two that fall from top ten grace are Disco Duck, from 4 to 12; and If You Leave Me Now, from 9- to 21.
The Ten biggest songs in the land start with a debut in each of the first three slots. At 10, up 5, are the Spinners with Rubberband Man. At 9, Firefall climbs two with You Are The Woman. And the high debut jumps 5 to #8- Nadia's Theme by Barry De Vorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr. Holding at seven is Kiss' Beth. The Bee Gees climb two spots to 6 with Love So Right; Boston moves up one to #5 with More Than A Feeling. Former top dog Steve Miller and Rock'n Me drops one to #4; Last week's #1 The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, sinks to 3.
Which brings us to our six degrees victim- Captain and T's Muskrat Love. As we've previously discussed, this was first released by America off the album Hat Trick. Now I COULD go down a VERY familiar road here; Billy Hinsche, Bruce Johnston, and Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys sang backup on the title track (And tap dancing was done be Lorene Yarnel of Shields and Yarnel!). But I'm going to scroll down to the track Green Monkey (which I did sample and it was very good), wherein Joe Walsh supplied some GEE-tar. Now, Joe had just left the James Gang and formed one of the best bands who never get mentioned when their songs play- Barnstorm. (most of their work is considered "Solo Joe".) One of the members of Barnstorm was one of those ubiquitous names I recognized- drummer Joe Vitale. Now I didn't realize that he was a touring member of CSNY (and wrote Live it up and That Girl for them on my Live It Up cd) or the Eagles, nor that he co-wrote Joe's first Barnstorm (AKA solo) hit, Rocky Mountain Way. But I did know he co-wrote my favorite Eagles song with Joe, Hotel California's Pretty Maids All In A Row. And that he was one of a roomfull of people (including the aforementioned messers Seger and Ferguson) who got writing props for The Long Run's Heartache Tonight.
And with 'Skrat Love at #2, that means that we have a new top dog- and I've seen the future, and the man's pitching a tent. That man would be...
No sixties countdown to pimp anymore, so just tune in next week, when things return to a semblance of Normalcy.
Factoid: Music had degraded so much by the time that we graduated, the week of the event, my top "ten" was Against The Wind, Little Jeanie, and some third song I don't even remember. So I began to build a time machine...