Friday, March 2, 2012
Time Machine week 5
Well, if Bobby G. had his way, you are all here to see my thoughts on the death of Monkee Davy Jones. This is a sad moment that cut across the generations, and nothing I can say on that subject can do justice. The Monkees did all the things we wish we could do and still be cool. And I’m not going into the behind the scenes stuff. This moment doesn’t deserve the acrimony and harshness that would bring. But I do have some fun stuff planned, including a set of Monkee trivia questions and my top ten Monkees songs, as well as their top ten hits by chart position. Plus the usual fun and games. Annnd away we go!
So, just so you have enough time, let’s hit the trivia questions which I will (maybe) answer as we go on.
1. Name the Monkee who sang lead on the most songs on their 5 first albums.
2. What was the reason that Mickey played the drums on screen when Davy was better at them?
3. How did the Monkees indirectly cause the formation of the Archies.
4.How many tracks on their very first album did any of the Monkees play an instrument?
5.I’ll give you four cities- you tell me which monkee was born there. (Davy’s a gimme, but the others might make you work.)
a. Los Angeles
c. Washington, DC
Okay, now back to business. We had eleven hot 100 debuts this week in 1970, but the only one I knew was the moving Reflections Of My Life by Marmalade, coming in at 93. Which brings us to our birthday list, which is also a bit sparse. Turning 30 this week is Paul Davis’ ‘65 Love Affair and Kool and the Gang’s get Down On It. 35 years ago this week, When I Need You by Leo Sayer hit the hot 100. 45 years ago, the Five Americans’ Western Union debuted. And reaching their 50th birthday are Rick Nelson’s Young World and Shelley Fabres’ Johnny Angel. Blow out the candles…
The big mover down this week goes to Jay and the Americans’ Walking In The Rain, drizzling down 18 to #39 (yeah, I know I’m supposed to save top 40 movers for the top 40 segment, but they only missed by 2), while the fast comer is Neil Diamond and Until It’s Time For You To Go, climbing 29 spots to #60.
Answer to #3: Don Kirchner, who helped put the Monkees together, crossed the line with the boys when he released their second lp, More Monkees, with out permission, input, or even giving the band a copy. (They had to go buy one at a record shop!) The infighting became so bad that Mike punched a hole in an office wall and warned Kirchner his head could be next. Finally, Kirchner breached his end of their contract and was fired. Furious over having to deal with artists who exercised their own opinions, Kirchner went on to create a group that would never give him backtalk- an animated cartoon band- the Archies.
Our Where Are They Now segment once again takes a detour into the afterlife. Jr. Walker and the All-Stars- most famous for their big hit Shotgun, and this week at #50 with Gotta Hold On To This Feeling- were on the way down in 1970, but Junior himself stayed active well into the proceeding decades, including doing the sax solo on Foreigner’s Urgent in 1981. Original drummer Tony Washington is the only surviving member. His replacement James Graves died in a car wreck in 1967; Junior passed of cancer in 1995. Guitarist Willie Woods died in 1997, and piano man Vic Thomas died in 2010.
Answer to #2: The producers were concerned that the short Davy wouldn’t be seen over the drum kit, so they shoehorned Mickey into it. The band members agreed that the best line-up would have had Mickey out front and Davy at the sticks.
In the interests of keeping things moving, and a tip of the hat to Bobby G., my look at past #1s (more of a blink this time) shows us that this week in 1966, Ssgt. Barry Sadler was at the top with The Ballad Of The Green Berets.
Since I was just about to forget all the things I promised, howsabout we do the top charting Monkees songs? (I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone was #10; 1986’s comeback hit That Was Then, This Is Now at #9; D.W. Washburn #8; Seventh was Words; #6 is Pleasant Valley Sunday; #5 was Valleri; at number four we have A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You; Last Train To Clarksville was #3; Daydream Believer at #2; and their biggest hit, of course, was I’m A Believer.
Top 40 debuts this week: Moving up 13 to #40 is Edison Lighthouse with Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes. Bobby Sherman enters at 34, up a dozen with Easy Come, Easy Go. James Brown comes in at 33, climbing 9 with It’s A New Day. And the high debut is good ol’ Aretha Franklin with Call Me. I’m listening to the JB song right now, and not terribly surprising I don’t know it; I’ll play Aretha when he’s done screaming. OOPS, he just got done. Excuse me while I cue up Aretha… done.
Answer to #5: Davy, the lone Englishman, hails from Manchester; Mickey was born in L.A.; despite errant press releases, Peter was born in Washington, DC; and Mike was calved in Houston.
An almost but not quite shoutout to Joe South and the Believers, who peak at 12 with Walk A Mile In My Shoes. And with 2 songs into the top ten, two fall out. Dropping are I’ll Never Fall In Love Again (10 to 25) and Arizona (9 to 16).
Answer to #4- One. Peter played guitar on Papa Gene’s Blues.
Moving up 4 notches to lead off the top ten is Ma Belle Ami by Tee Set. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, but still hang on in the top 10, dropping 2 more to #9. Shocking Blue drops 5 to #8 with former top dog Venus.
ANNND now, My favorite Monkees tunes. At #10, the spoken word Zilch (if you don’t know it, google it for your own insanity). #9, Words. #8, Pleasant Valley Sunday. #7, Papa Gene’s Blues (which I have the hardest time remembering by name). #6, Take A Giant Step. #5, Valleri. #4, I’m A Believer. #3, For Pete’s Sake. #2 What Am I Doing Hanging ‘Round. And #1 by the slimmest of gossamer margins, Last Train To Clarksville.
Up a big 6 spots to #7 is CCR with Travellin’ Band. Up 2 to #6, Brooks Benton and Rainy Night In Georgia. And rising one to #5, the Temps with Psychedelic Shack.
The answer to question #1- Mickey, 25; Davy, 21; Mike, 11; more than one lead vocal, 5; and Peter, 2.
The Guess who hold at 4 with No Time. And that brings us to Sly And The Family Stone, slipping to #3 (down from the top) with Thank You Fallettenme Be Mice Elf Again- the six degrees victim.
Sly Stone was rasied in the gospel atmosphere of the Church of God in Christ. One of the stars of his band was Larry Graham, a Jehovah’s Witness who converted Prince to the JWs. Among Larry’s many projects was the debut funk lp by Betty Davis, an ex-wife of jazz man Miles Davis.Miles had been introed to some off-the-beaten-jazz trail melodies by Graham’s Boss Sly Stone, as well as by Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix allegedly was having an affair with Betty while the recording sessions for Miles’ classic Bitches’ Brew (Which apparently was named by, and not about, Betty). Though Jimi didn’t live long enough to record with Miles, among the many talents on BB was fellow jazz star Chick Corea, who to complete our trio within a sextet, was a Scientologist.
And that, at last leaves us with the top 2. At the runner-up spot, Eddie Holman pauses for a second week with Hey There Lonely Girl. Which means the new top dog is….
Simon and Garfunkel, up 4 to the top with Bridge Over Troubled Waters!!!
And that wraps up this tribute. Tune in tomorrow for the seventies countdown, and see you next week right here.