First of all I’d like to make a hearty thank you to Bobby G., who has managed to pass his sinus cold through the WWW to me. So if I get off track, lose my place, or generally sound like sneezing my head right off my body would be a good thing, blame him.
That said, we have a really big shuuuue for you today, that will include the Denver Nightingale (?), the Cuff Links revisited, the very first Beach Boys song, and a six degrees that covers Bananarama to the Stones. Let’s do this before my eyes remove themselves from my forehead, shall we?
We had 8 debuts on the hot 100 this week, and I’ll stop off at 4 of them. Badfinger enters the national consciousness at #100 with their debut single Come And Get It. And two spots later, if you’d forgotten we’re going back to 1970 now, you’ll remember when I say the name… Bobby Sherman, who debuts with Easy Come Easy Go. 94 is a debut by Fleetwood Mac, pre- Nicks/Buckingham, with their first American single, Oh Well. And waaaaay up at #76, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition come in with Something’s Burning.
All of which brings us to our birthday songs this week. Turning thirty are Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ I Love Rock And Roll and Huey Lewis and the News’ Do You Believe In Love. Reaching the age of 35 are Natalie Cole’s I’ve Got Love On My MInd, Jennifer Warnes’ Right Time Of The Night, and ELO’s redux of the old Move song Do Ya. Hitting 40 are BJ Thomas’ Rock’n’Roll Lullabye, Yes’ Roundabout, and that song that in a few short years has went from song your mom won’t let you play to halftime marching band staple, Black Sabbath’s Iron Man. Turning 45 are Herman’s Hermits’ version of There’s A Kind Of Hush and Leslie Gore’s California Nights. And turning the big 5-0 is the very first Beach Boys single- Surfin’.
One comedic (to me) moment on that last week was Bobby Rydell who debuted at 74 with a song called I’ve Got Bonnie; then, seemingly in response, debuted at 76 with one called Lose Her. Well, I thought it was funny.
Our big dropper this week revisits our friends from last week, the Cuff Links (AKA Ron Dante), who fall (falls?) 53 spots from a peak at 31 all the way to 84 with When Julie Comes Around. The high climber is a little less dramatic- the Chairmen of the Board climb 19 to #46 with Give Me Just A Little More Time (Brrdrrdrrdrrdrr…).
Our Where Are They Now contestants this week almost got double billing as the high climber, moving up 16 spots. And that would be Simon And Garfunkel with Bridge Over Troubled Water. The boys actually had a tour set up in 2010, starting in March; sadly, years of smoking led to Art getting a bad case of vocal paresis, and after several delays cancelled the tour altogether in June. Art put away the smokes then; and he announced in November 2010 he was nearly well enough to go back on the road. Paul of course didn’t let the grass grow under his feet; among his recent events was performing at Ground Zero on the 10th anniversary of 9-11.
Which brings us to our top 40 debuts this week. Sly and the Family Stone, whom we’ll “hear” later with Thank You Fallettenme Be Mice Elf Again, hits with the flip side of that same 45, Everybody Is A Star. It moves up 3 to lead off the top 40. Up thirteen to #39 is Dutch band the Tee Set with Ma Belle Ami. An international hit, they also hit #1 in their homeland with the follow-up She Likes Weeds; this song, however, got banned in the US of A, for...er...drug references. Guess we know which weeds she likes, eh? One notch ahead at 38 we have Johnny and June Carter Cash with one of the many versions of the song If I Were A Carpenter. The Delfonics come in at 36, up 5 with Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time. RB Greaves, best known for his Take A Letter Maria, comes in at 35, up a dozen, with Always Something There To Remind Me (Which I didn’t know was the song’s only top 40 appearance until the Naked Eyes version- I remembered it from Dionne Warwick, who cut it a a b-side and only got to #65). And finally the highest debut, rising 11 spots to come in at 33, CCR with Who’ll Stop The Rain?
Our look back in time takes us back to the first decade of the 1900’s and the Denver Nightingale. Billy Murray was a vaudevillian and a very popular recording artist of the day, with a slight comedy sound to his tenor. He was not only an artist who recorded on most of the major labels of the day, but was a huge baseball fan, alleged to have played a game or two with his favorite team, the future New York Yankees (then known as the Highlanders). From Wikipedia:
He also supposedly sometimes called in sick to recording sessions in order to go to the ballpark. Murray recorded "Tessie, You Are the Only, Only, Only", which became the unofficial theme of the 1903 World Series, when the words were changed from "Tessie, you know I love you madly," to "Honus, why do you hit so badly?" (A reference to Pirate shortstop and hall of famer Honus Wagner.)
Billy was at #1 this week in 1908 with Under Any Old Flag At All, and in 1905 with Come Take A Trip In My Air-Ship. A neat song, but when a guy sings a girl’s lyrics and doesn’t switch genders, I get a little uncomfortable.
Our first Almost But Not Quite of the new show goes to Arnold Dorsey AKA Englebert Humperdink, who stops at #13 with Winter World Of Love. And dropping from the top ten this week are : Someday We’ll Be Together, from 5 to 21; and Jingle Jangle, falling from 8 to 16.
Vanity Fare brings its baroque stylings into the top ten with Early In The Morning moving up a notch to #10. The King slips from 6 to #9 with Don’t Cry Daddy. Exploding into the top ten, jumping 7 spots to #8, the Guess Who and No Time. Led Zep holds at 7 with Whole Lotta Love. Dionne Warwick’s I’ll Never Fall In Love Again jumps 4 big notches to #6, as does Tom Jones with Without Love (There Is Nothing) at #5. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head slips grudgingly down a notch to #4 for BJ Thomas. The Jackson Five also slip a notch to #3 with I Want You Back. Climbing over them to #2 was the aforementioned Sly and the Family Stone and Thank You, etc. Which brings us to the repeat #1 song and the six degrees victim- Shocking Blue’s Venus.
When this song came out, it hit #1 in 5 nations: the US of A, Belgium, France, Italy, and Spain (but curiously not in their own country). It of course was covered in 1984 by Bananarama, who hit #1 in SIX countries- the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Switzerland. Curiously again, BOTH versions hit #8 on the UK charts. The girls of Bananarama wanted to make it a dance song. Their producers resisted, and so they switched to production/songwriting team of Mike Stock, Matt Aiken, and Pete Waterman, who also fought them before giving in. Stock-Aiken-Waterman made their rep here on the single You Spin Me Round Like A Record by Dead Or Alive (Which hit #11 here in 1984). DOA’s other accomplishment of note in the USA was a cover of KC and the Sunshine Band’s That’s The Way I Like It. And percussionist for the Sunshine Band was one Ollie Brown, who had credits ranging from being a member of touring Rolling Stones in the mid ‘70s to drummer on the first Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio lp.
God, I made it! Enjoy, my friends. I’m going to take more good drugs and go back to bed.