Guess what? I was trying to come up with a filler for time machine by using the site that first led me to Cashbox, Alaska Jim. Well, Jim apparently got tired of waiting around for CB as well, and found a dude going by Tropical Glen (Oh, what irony!) who has the charts on his site. So with a little extra work, we can get back to where we were.
I’ve been debating a change for a while. We’ve reached on Time Machine the point where A) I was keeping my own top ten, and thus it was becoming less of an exploration for me to do; B) I was in High School, with attendant bad memories; and C) let’s face it, music was going a bit downhill- the really good songs were getting fewer and farther between, and disco was about to rear its ugly head. Therefore, we are resetting the dials and starting anew.
Welcome, my friends to the 5th week of 1970. Today we get a visit from Mr. Pina Colada, Ruppert Holmes; a buttpile of birthdays; and the third number one of the decade. Plus the same features you’ve come to know and love. Watch your step, here we go!
Ten songs debuted on the hot hundred this week in 1970, and we’ll look at 3 of them. At #84 was the Polish Prince, Bobby Vinton, with his rendition of My Elusive Dreams. At #64 came Santana with Evil Ways; and the high debut was the classic Bridge Over Troubled Waters by Simon and Garfunkel.
Now these songs are celebrating their 42nd birthdays; lets check out the other birthdays this week, and there’s quite a few. Turning 35 this week are David Soul’s Don’t Give Up On Us, George Harrison’s autobiographical Crackerbox Palace, and Jackson Browne’s Here Come Those Tears Again. Turning forty is Neil Young’s Heart Of Gold; turning 45 are Sock It To Me Baby from Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, The Disadvantages Of You by the Brass Ring (hands up those who remember the theme to the old Benson and Hedges 100s cigarette commercials), and Johnny Rivers’ cut of Baby I Need Your Lovin’. Hitting the big 5-0 are Sam Cooke’s Twisting The Night Away and the doo-wop classic by Don and Juan, What’s Your Name?
I almost forgot our big movers for the week. Coming down, Tommy James and the Shondells She falls 18 to #40; going up, the Delfonics with Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time zipping up 32 to #46. And we have a whole set of people in the grandpa chair at a paltry 15 weeks- however, they are all in the top 40, so we’ll get them later.
Today’s look back in time had me catching my eye on an instrumental big-band hit called Wabash Blues, which hit the top in 1922 for a bandleader named Isham Jones. Isham was born in the southern Ohio mining town of Coalton and grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. He was just getting started out when he met music teacher and fellow saxaphonist Joseph Edgar Maddy. Maddy had been playing a piece he called The Trombone Jazz; Jones revised it put in a “dueling saxes” bit between himself on alto and Maddy on tenor, and soon later the re-christened Wabash Blues was in the midst of six weeks at the top, the first of his 6 chart-toppers.
That brings us to #50 and the Where Are They Now segment. I didn’t recognize the name Lenny Welch at first, who was at the magic number with a cover of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do. But, I soon remembered the voice which had a #4 smash in 1963 with Since I Fell For You- which was also a name I didn’t recognize until I heard “You-oooo… made me leave my happy ho-ooome…” Lenny was an old timey crooner who was on his way to becoming the next Johnny Mathis until A) the owner of Cadence Records abruptly closed up shop in 1964, leaving him without a contract; B) he got drafted and served a hitch in the military; and C) then took some time off to get his head together and polish his image. Timing is everything, and though he’s still a popular “Vegas and Love Boat” act, he never again really caught fire. His website says he branched into acting, making several appearances on General Hospital, but I could not confirm that on IMDB.
Four songs work their way into the top forty this week. A bubble gum tune called Jennifer Tompkins by an “act” called Street People comes in at 38, up 8. The force behind this song was Ron Dante, better known as “the Cuff Links” and “The Archies.” Dante as the Cuff Links had the big hit Tracy, and then had to throw together an album. The lp was all him, but he put together a touring band (which he was NOT in) and sent them on their way. In the meantime, Dante as the Archies had just signed a new contract that made him exclusive- thus no more Cuff Links. Unfortunately for the multi-talented multi-personality, the Cuff Links label demanded one more lp- one he could not be in. He did the lp, the other label said, “Not so fast, my friend”. They erased his vocals and added those of neophyte producer Ruppert Holmes to most of the album, including Jennifer Tompkins. For whatever reason, they decided not to release it as a Cuff Links single, therefore, Holmes released it on his own as Street People. Thus the Street People single and the Cuff Links album track are “virtually identical”.
Where were we? Oh, yes, the other debuts. And these are by no means as obscure. At #34, up 8, the legend, the man BB King with The Thrill Is Gone; at 33, blasting up 17 spots, Brook Benton’s Rainy Night In Georgia; and at 32, up an even dozen, CCR with Travellin’ Band. Coolest thing in that song is “state militia” rather than “national guard”. Different name, amazing results.
One song joins the top ten this week, one drops out. Falling from 7 to 19 is Tommy Roe’s Jam Up Jelly Tight.
Our first top ten in the new format (TA-DAHH!) Leads off with 3 songs holding their positions. The first at #10 is Miss Dionne Warwick with I’ll Never Fall In Love Again. The second at #9 is Tom Jones’ cover of Without Love (There Is Nothing). And the third at #8 is Ron Dante as the Archies with Jingle Jangle. After peaking at #2, Led Zeppelin drops from #4 to 7 with Whole Lotta Love. Then we have 2 more frozen in place; at #6, the King, Elvis Aaron Presley, with the heartbreaking Don’t Cry Daddy (I don’t know if he could do it, but I can’t); and at #5 the former top dog Someday We’ll Be Together by Diana Ross and (nod, nod, wink, wink) the Supremes. Slamming up 9 notches from #13 all the way to #4, Sly and the Family Stone with Thank You (Fallettenme Be Mice Elf Again). At #3 and holding, the first #1 of the decade- BJ Thomas’ Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, which is one of the three in the grandpa chair (the others being Peter Paul and Mary’s Leaving On A Jet Plane at #22 and She Belongs To Me by Rick Nelson and the Stone Canyon Band at #30). That brings us to #2, and our six degrees victim of the week.
Slipping a notch to the runner-up spot was I Want You Back, the first #1 for the Jackson 5. The quintet were discovered by Gladys Knight while on tour with her Pips in support of the Diana Ross and the Supremes farewell tour ( though Berry Gordy, always trying to find new ways to kiss Diana’s butt, made it seem that Diana had found them). That farewell tour ended on January 14th of 1970 in a show in which Berry introed Jean Terrell as the new Supreme. He then had second, or possibly fourth, thoughts, and went back to first choice Syreeta Wright to join Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong, but Mary vetoed it. Suddenly Gordy “washed his hands” of the group, Mary, Cindy, and Jean slogged on alone, and Syreeta met up with rising star Stevie Wonder. Stevie was approaching his 21st birthday, and in order to get more artistic freedom (a battle Gordy was already losing with the Supremes and Marvin Gaye), he was going to exercise the clause in his contract that let him void it on reaching majority. He encouraged Syreeta to start writing, and her first fruits were their collaboration on It’s A Shame, which would soon be the Spinner’s swan song with Motown. Stevie put together an lp that Berry had no choice but to release (as it was the last one he’d get from Wonder) called Where I’m Coming From, and it’s big single was another collaboration- this time both writing and singing- called If You Really Love Me. The pair were married soon later.
And that leaves us with the new number one song. And that is…
Mariska Veres and Shocking Blue with Venus!
Well, what do ya think of the new TM? Let me know, and tune in tomorrow for the 70’s countdown!