I've got some good bedtime stories for the trip tonight (as I'll be working tomorrow), including a MHOFer in the Where Are They Now feature, the birth of a brand new feature, two of the stupidest group names of all time, meeting a Beatle at the urinal, and we'll connect Rod Stewart to Eric Burdon and War. You ready? I am! Let's all go...
We kick things off as usual with the hot 100 debuts from this week in 1976, and there were ten of them. A couple that I recognized I'm going to hold off on mentioning- for now... But I will mention 4 of the set- 2 of them debuting in unusually high positions. Coming in at 89 is newcomer Stephen Bishop with a song I really liked back in the day, Save It For A Rainy Day. Bob Seger introduces us to his Silver Bullet Band at #80 with the title cut to their Night Moves lp. Get yer lighters ready- the debut at #56 is none other than Lynyrd Skynyrd's Free Bird. And all the way up at 46, from the mega album Songs In The Key Of Life, Stevie Wonder with I Wish.
Joining these now-35 year old hits in birthdays this week, three songs turning 40- Day After Day by bad luck's poster children, Badfinger; Carly Simon's famous Heintz Ketchup theme, Anticipation; and the Grateful Dead's opus Truckin'. And four songs turn 45 this week: Paul Revere and the Raiders' Good Thing; the Monkees' #1 I'm A Believer; the Mamas and Papas' Words Of Love; And a song called 98.6 by the unusually billed Keith. Actually James Barry Keefer, this song gave him his greatest fame. One result of which was getting slapped on the back and told how great a song it was- by John Lennon, while side by side at the urinals. I guess if he was the kind to wet himself when meeting a celebrity, he was in the right place. However, things had fallen apart by 1968, when he had the double whammy of a flop second album and an arrest for draft evasion. He quickly went from "Pissing With The Stars" to "Serving Coffee To The Four-Stars". Happy birthday, anyway.
Our big dropper this week was Dr. Hook's top ten A Little Bit More, falling 22 to #77; the big mover was Blinded By The Light, climbing 25 to #57. And that brings us to #49 and the where are they now segment. Why #49? Because it's my age! Where were you in '62?
And at 49, we find the steadily climbing Lost Without Your Love by Bread. Now anyone that cares knows that Bread was David Gates, who is alive, kicking, and singing. The other members have some good stories, as well. Jimmy Griffin, who was the second most successful of the members, eventually left the band, sued Gates over names and royalties, and eventually joined with fellow member Rob Royer to form Toast. Jimmy died of cancer in 2006, as did drummer Mike Botts. Botts joined on the second album, replacing veteran sideman (and one man six degrees from last week) Jim Gordon, who left to join Clapton in Delaney and Bonnie's entourage. The remaining original (and Surviving) member was Rob Royer, who also left early and was replaced by Larry Knechtel. Royer was partnered with Griffin for a long time before and after Bread, including writing the Carpenters' hit For All We Know. After Griffin's death, Royer finished in 2010 a project started years before with Griffin, a deathbed request. It was a trippy sci-fi narration deal which would take mouch more time to explain than for you to just look up on Wikipedia if you're interested. In the meantime, Knechtel- who was already famous for being the piano man on Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Waters- died of a heart attack in 2009. Thus, the reunion tour they did in 1997 is all there is. The band was inducted into the Vocal Groups Hall Of Fame in 2006, and the MHOF in this last crop of entrants.
Three songs enter the top 40 this week, and once again the Lords of Irony rear their familiar head. Last week's WATN victim Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band climb 9 from the magic 49 spot to 40 with the triple song Whispering/Cherchez Le Femme/Ce Ce Bon; I Like Dreamin' by Kenny Nolan moves up 8 to 39; and the aforementioned Mr. Clapton goes from 43 to 32 with Hello Old Friend.
And now, the new feature. Last week, I announced the demise of the #1s of different years portion of our show. To replace it is somewhat of the same thing with a different spin. A dude by the name of Josh Hostler has a site where you can find the #1 song on whatever date of ANY year. Now sometimes he jibes with what you find on other sources, sometimes he doesn't. Accepting his entertainment value if not his accuracy, I'm going to pick one song that catches my eye from that date each week and spotlight it. And all of you growing up on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In like I did will understand why I picked this one.
The #1 song for this week in 1929 (although Wiki says it was actually #1 in May) was the "theme song" for famous crooner Nick Lucas- Tiptoe Through The Tulips. This was the bigger of two hits he had from the movie musical Gold Diggers Of Broadway. The first color film by Warner Brothers, this was the #1 grossing film of all time from 1929-1939. This song has actually been covered several times, including by two of the truly stupid named bands of all time- Uke Til U Puke and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Of course the definitive cover of the song was by Tiny Tim; and when he and Miss Vicki got married on the Tonight Show, they were serenaded with the tune by Nick Lucas himself. How's that for a heartwarming story?
Three orders of business before we enter the top ten. First, an almost but not quite salute to the Commodores' Just To Be Close To You, which peaked at 11 last week and drops to 20 this time around. Second, we have two new top tens, and thus two songs make room for them. The Edmund Fitzgerald goes down fast, falling from 3 to 13. And former top dog Rock'n Me drops from 9 to 18. Third, I'd like to note the trio of my all time favorites who are banging on the door. Burton Cummings climbs from13 to 11 with Stand Tall; Nights Are Forever Without You does likewise from 14 to twelve; and Livin' Thing moves from 20 to 17.
Climbing 5 to join the tops of the pops at #10 are Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis with You Don't Have To Be A Star. Moving up one spot to #9 is Alice Cooper with I Never Cry. Firefall holds at #8 with You Are The Woman. moving from 12 to 7 is Leo Sayer with You Make Me Feel Like Dancing (which I think should have been covered by Uke Til U Puke). The Spinners climb one to #6 with Rubberband Man. Nadia's Theme likewise climbs one to #5 for Messers Botkin and DeVorzon. Boston holds at four with More Than A Feeling. The Bee Gees leapfrog Tom Scholz and Co. to move into the #3 slot with Love So Right. Holding at #2 are the Captain and Tenille with Muskrat Love. And that leaves us with our #1 song- and our six degrees victim.
The whispered French in Tonight's The Night by Rod Stewart, as I've mentioned before, belongs to his babe-at-the-time Britt Eklund. Britt came to the world's attention as a Bond Girl in the film The Man With The Golden Gun. Gun was scored, as were many Bond flicks, by John Barry, who composed the theme, which was sung by Lulu. The only Bond theme not to chart in either the USA or the UK, Barry himself hated it, and it was described as "inane" (having read the lyrics, I'll vouch for that) and "one long stream of smut" ( which may be a bit strong, but it was a Bond theme, after all). Ironically, the aforementioned Mr. Cooper was asked to write a theme for the film- which he did- and it got rejected. It ended up on the lp Muscle Of Love. While not any of the things the Lulu version was described as, it certainly was repititious. Anyway, that brings us through Lul to the "Jimi Hendrix incident." This occured on the UK variety show that Lulu hosted under various names from 1968-75.
"...one episode remains famous for Jimi Hendrix's unruly live appearance where, after playing about two minutes of Hey Joe, Hendrix stopped and announced "We'd like to stop playing this rubbish and dedicate a song to The Cream, regardless of what kind of group they may be in, dedicate to Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce". He then broke into Sunshine of Your Love. With the studio director signalling for Hendrix to stop he continued. Unrepentant, Hendrix was told he would never work at the BBC again. He told his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham "I'm not going to sing with Lulu. I'd look ridiculous".
And to finish out with a biiig stretch, the last performance that Jimi made before his death was a jam session with- Eric Burdon and War. And with that, and a congrats to Mr. Stewart for his third week in a row at #1, I bid you good night and good music.