This week, we get two of the more bizzarre stories to be done on TM, probably the most important birthday song we've done to date, and a special announcement! Shake off the turkey shock- as I am trying to do- and let's go! C'mon, squeeze it in, pal!
9 songs come into the top 100 this week, and I'll mention three of them. First, the next release of Boz Skagg's Silk Degrees, What Can I Say? comes in at 92. If you don't know it, give yourself a treat and youtube it. Barry Manilow pops in at 85 with Weekend In New England, and the Bay City Rollers make 81 with Yesterday's Hero. Not impressed? You should see the top 40 debuts...
I'm going to go backwards of usual on this week's other birthday songs, for a good reason. In 1961, this week Johnny Cash's original Tennessee Flat Top Box debuted. I bring in this one because of my years long love affair with his daughter Rosanne, who in the eighties took it to #1 on the country charts. Having a 45th birthday this week are the Blues Magoos with We Ain't Got Nothin' Yet. Turning forty this week are I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (both versions), Al Green's Let's Stay Together, as well as a song I mention because of the Valley Of The Dolls post a while back- Heaven Bound featuring Tony Scotti and Five Hundred Miles.
Oh and that big birthday? Don McLean's American Pie turns 40 this week. Bye, bye...
Our big dropper has avoided being noted until this moment. John Valenti was, as the lead singer of a band called Puzzle, one of the few white acts on Motown, with a style reminiscent of early Stevie Wonder. He went solo in the 70's and his single Anything You Want, which peaked at 43 a couple weeks ago, falls 20 to #72 this week. Our big mover awaits in the top 40.
I'm thinking of revamping the top songs of other years feature (no, that's not the big announcement), and this may be the last week you see it as it's been. Or not, I haven't quite decided. Anyway, the number for this week is the 2's and 1992 this week was topped by How Do You Talk To An Angel, sung by Jamie Walters- Alex O'brien of The Heights- as the theme for the show. This TV theme- which saw it's show cancelled one week after the song fell from #1- was the first to top the charts since Jan Hammer's Miami Vice Theme did it in 1985. In 1982 this week, the top song was Laura Brannigan's Gloria. In 1972, the Spinners' I'll Be Around; 1962, the Four Seasons' Big Girls Don't Cry; asnd in 1952, a repeat featuree- Patti Page's I Went To Your Wedding.
That brings us to our #49 song, AKA the Where Are They Now victim. And this week we have a fast moving song I've been avoiding because a) I liked it about as much as Bobby G. likes Disco Duck, and b) I wasn't sure anyone would remember it anyway. It is the big-band-influenced disco hit Cherchez Le Femme by Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band (Buzzard pronounced buzz-ARD). This group was the brainchild of one Thomas August Darnell Browder (then going by August Darnell) and his brother Stony (I didn't name 'em). They put out three lps from 1976-9; and then, playing on their mixed ethnicity, Darnell became Kid Creole and formed Kid Creole and the Coconuts with fellow DBOSB member Andy Hernandez, AKA his sidekick Coati Mundi. In this ensemble they had three top 10 and 7 top 40 hits in the UK, but pierced our hot 100 only once- getting to 90 with a team up with Barry Manilow called Hey Mamba in 1987. They did get American exposure through a handful of movie soundtracks, notably the track My Male Curiousity on the movie Against All Odds. Darnell still leads the Coconuts on tour, and they released a new album, I Wake Up Screaming, a couple of months ago, although the only remaining original member with him is "Bongo Eddie" Folk.
And the top 40 debut list is just as long as the big mover list- one song. At 40, up 31, is Rose Royce's Car Wash.
I do want to give a Almost But Not Quite shoutout to Peter Frampton's Do You Feel Like We Do, which (although it made top ten Billboard) peaked last week at 13, and drops to 23 this week. It was recorded exactly 36 years and three days ago, and nearly didn't make the lp. When Frampton submitted the what-he-thought-was-going-to-be-a-single-disc Frampton Comes Alive to his record execs, the response was, "Where's the rest of it?" So they put together a second disc, and Do You Feel was on it.
The list of songs entering the top ten is also just one tune long, so the only dropper is Beth, falling from 7 to 17.
Alice Cooper cracks the top 10 at the leadoff spot, up 4, with I Never Cry. Steve Miller's top dog Rock'n Me drops 5 to #9. Firefall, which was basically a regeneration of the Byrds, moves up 1 with You Are The Woman to #8. At 7, up three, the Spinners yet again with The Rubberband Man. Nadia's Theme moves up 2 to #6. The Bee Gees (and glad to hear that Robin's finally out of the hospital this week) move up1 spot to #5 with Love So Right; also moving one place up is Boston's More Than A Feeling. And that brings us to a one-man six degrees.
The drummer on Gordon Lightfoot's Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald was longtime session man Jim Gordon. By this point, Jim had put together an amazing resume. In the sixties, he'd played on such classic lps as Pet Sounds and Mason Williams' Classical Gas; as time rolled on, he piled up a discography too long to count, which included lps by the Byrds, Bread, Jackson Browne, Stephen Bishop, Glenn Campbell, and the Carpenters. He was a member of the Delaney and Bonnie touring entourage, and split off with Clapton to form Derek and the Dominoes. The Dominoes first gig was being the band on George Harrison's masterpiece All Things Must Pass; then they did the Layla lp, which Jim actually composed and played the piano part of that long, beautiful ending. He was also the drummer on Seals and Crofts' Hummingbird single, as well as on Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic lp, including the single Rikki Don't Lose That Number. He was drummer on the lp Alice Cooper Goes To Hell, as well; but then he went into a hell of another sort.
Years of substance abuse began to warp his mind. "Anyone who has ever wondered about the destructive horrors of substance abuse, " a friend writes, " should know about Jim. It's one of the saddest stories ever." He began to hear voices, and this somehow became his mother in league with the devil. In 1983 he bludgeoned her with a hammer, then stabbed her to death. In California, his heretofore undiagnosed Schizophrenia was no defense, and in 1984 he got 16 years for the murder. Twice denied parole, he spent most of this time in the psychiatric ward; and though he should have been released sometime this year, I could find no evidence that it has happened as yet.
Deep breath, pause, move on. #2 again this week is Muskrat Love, and the story is the same at the top, too- Rod Stewart at #1 with Tonight's The Night.
And now, that annopuncement. As the Great Sixties Countdown was one of this blog's big successes, with 42 comments over its 16-week run (Which is a drop in the bucket for some, but almost 6% of all the comments I've EVER got), and I've had two highly influential requests to do this, I'm announcing that, probably next Saturday, I'll be starting the GREAT SEVENTIES COUNTDOWN!!! I'm still doing some tweaking of the lower rungs, but it will be a 300 song, twenty-a-week format just like the sixties. Just remember- IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!! And God Bless you for it! So tune in then.