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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Time Machine week 9

It's March 30th, 1970.  The great triple crown winner and movie star Secretariat was foaled today.  The Soviet hockey team completed a 9-0-1 run to win the world championship with a 3-1 win over Sweden.  Longtime Dynamo Moscow star Alexandr Maltsev picked up his 15th goal of the tourney to lead all scorers.  And there we were, listening to music.  But that's what we do on Time Machine, and this week the reign of the top ten blasters continues as three songs take big jumps in or within, and one of them jumps all the way to make its top ten debut as #1!  Also, the interesting story of Little Sister, a heartbreaking story on WATN,  the probable first jazz song ever recorded, linking up Edison Lighthouse to the Pink Panther, and the mysterious phrase, "Klaatu barada nikto"... and what it had to do with the Beatles.  Saddle up cowpokes, and let's ride!

This week, I remembered to count all the hot 100 debuts- there were 11 of them- and three are worth noting.  At 88, Ray Stevens- always better for me when he's serious- with Everything Is Beautiful.  Chicago comes in at 84 with Make Me Smile.  and WAAAAY up at 55, BJ Thomas hits with Everybody's Out Of Town.  Happy 42nd birthday to you all, and let's see who else celebrates this week.

Turning 30 this week are Genesis' Man On The Corner, Charlie Daniels' great vietnam vet song Still In Saigon, and an AOR track from Shooting Star called Hollywood that I drank many a cold one to.  Turning 35... well, let's hold off on that for just a moment.  Hitting the big 4-0 are Paul Simon's Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard, the Staple Singers with I'll Take You There, and Todd Rundgren's I Saw The Light.  The Byrds' My Back Pages turns 45 this week, and turning 50 is Jimmy Dean's PT 109.  Now, about the 35th birthday crowd... We have Stevie Wonder's Sir Duke, Alan O'Day's Undercover Angel, and Bill Conti's Rocky theme, Gonna Fly Now.  And one more...

You perhaps have never heard of a Canadian band called Klaatu.  Named for the alien from The Day The Earth Stood Still (thus the "Klaatu barada nikto" tease), they were a three (and later, a four) piece rock band that hit this week in 1977 with the original Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (which the Carpenters would hit the top 40 with in a couple of months) from the lp 3:47 EST (which was the time that Klaatu's ship landed on Terra Firma in the movie)- which was simply titled Klaatu in the US of A because record execs figured the public would be too stupid to get the reference.  They had modest success in Canada, and a little less here- until the Providence Journal's Steve Smith combined 1) the fact that there were no names in the albums credits- just Klaatu; 2) a somewhat Beatle-esque sound to the record; and 3) an abysmally slow news day, into a wildfire-like rumor that Klaatu was just a front for what was really a Beatles reuinion disc.  That not everybody was taken in was proved by the headline soon after in the UK mag New Music Express- "Deaf Idiot Journalist Starts Beatle Rumour".  Eventually, somebody had the brainstorm of checking at the music patent office, and the wildfire rumor fizzled out.  Still, the record was a pretty pleasant listen, and no animals were harmed in the commision of the rumor.

Neil Diamond bags the biggest dropper, with his Until Its Time For You To Go tumbling 20 to #64.  And the Ides Of March take biggest mover props with Vehicle moving 40 notches to land at 59.  Real close, in fact, to our Where Are They Now artist, Bobbi Martin with her classic For Love of Him.  Now, I have an unusual story here, which was written in 1989 (Bobbi having died from cancer in 2000) and reprinted on in 2007.



Sunday, January 8, 1989 - The drummer wanted the Coney Island baby who worked the Steeplechase. He got her. In the amusement park swirl of their affair, Virginia became pregnant.
Are we going to get married, she asked the drummer?

Sure enough, sweetie.
He got a friend in the band to dress up as a preacher. He pronounced them man and wife.
Virginia believed it, too, until one night in the club, she heard them laughing about the joke they played on Al Ellsworth's girl. The drummer caught her shame and anger. He said, c'mon, honey, let's get married for real.
She said fat chance.
A few months later, Barbara Martin was born, as hungry for love as ever a child is.
She felt some love from her mom, who raised her until momma joined the Army. She felt some from her grandmother whom she lived with in Baltimore.
But mostly she felt love when she opened her mouth in song. God, that girl can sing beautiful, said momma, said grandma, said her friends who would crowd around her at parties. She sang for them.
When Barbara was old enough to ask about her daddy, her mother just said: He's dead.
The little girl believed it for a while, but then she found herself singing for her lost father, too.
When she was 15, she showed up at a little club in Baltimore and sang for a man named Kahn. She worked there every weekend at $10 a night, all night long.
It was a child's dream and she worked hard at it. If she could only get famous enough from her singing, everyone would love her and maybe her father would appear.
She knew she couldn't get famous shuttling back and forth between Baltimore and Minnesota, where she lived with her mother. Go. Chase your dream, said her mother. Just remember you can always come home.
Bobbi Martin, 17-year-old singer, moved to New York City. She moved in with a Baltimore girl and got a job working for a union. On lunch hour, she'd cross 8th Avenue and sing over at a veterans function for a few bucks.
Soon, she got a good manager, a recording contract. She even had a minor hit in 1965. Whatever town she played in, she checked the phone book for Ellsworths. None of them was her father.
In '69, she wrote a mid-tempo ballad with plaintive, almost childlike, words:
``For the love of him,
Make him your reason for living,
Give all the love you can give him,
All the love you can.''
She recorded it, just like so many other songs. Then lightning struck.
Bobbi Martin had a major worldwide hit. She did the Ed Sullivan show. She did Carson 10 times. A near regular on Dean Martin. The Christmas show in Vietnam with Bob Hope. She sang from Australia to Vegas but nobody called to say he was her father.
She was playing Harrah's in Reno in 1970 when her mother showed up. She was grinning from ear to ear. Told everyone she was Bobbi Martin's mother.
Popular woman, that Bobbi. She got married a year later. After the wedding, she had some time to kill before she went on the road. She visited her momma's home in Minnesota.
Her mother was lying on a couch saying she didn't feel so well. Her mother had never told her she had cancer.
A week later, the nurse said come quick, your mother is slipping fast. I love you, said the daughter.
Her mother winked and then she was gone.
Bobbi Martin lost her singing voice. The doctors called it a swelling of her vocal chords. Here's what it was:
She had no one's love to sing for.
She did have a daughter to raise, born in 1975. She tended to family life in Dallas, loved the girl, brooded about her mother's death and her father's absence.
In 1981, her marriage fell apart. She lived off the remnants of ``For The Love of Him'' royalties.
She knew she needed a fresh start. She worked painstaking hours with a vocal coach. Gradually, her singing voice returned.
She called her New York City music connections. What's close to the city and a good place to raise the girl? Last year, she settled in New Windsor.
First thing she did, out of habit, is check the phone books for Ellsworths. She figures he's dead.
But she has a life to live, a daughter to love, music to make. She has a job she likes, selling real estate.
Last month, she sang in public for the first time in years. She was the entertainment at a dinner for Korean- Americans at the Middletown Holiday Inn. She sounded great, her voice rich and strong. The audience was appreciative but they didn't know her, never heard of her hit song, and they had some socializing to do.
The singer didn't seem to mind. All life long, she had always sung to please someone. Her father, her mother, her daughter.
Bobbi Martin knows it's time she learned how to sing for herself.

The top 40 has 5 debuts this week.  At 40, up a measely 3 spots, is Neil Diamond (again with Neil Diamond!) and Shilo.  Also a three notch gain to 39 for Gary Puckett and the Union Gap with Let's Give Adam And Eve Another Chance (another graduate of the world famous BJ Thomas school of unnecessarily long names).  At 38, up 9, is a song called You're The One, by a girl group called Little Sister.  Once agian, I have ferretted out an interesting story here.  Little Sister consisted of Vet Stewart, Mary McCreary, Elva Moulton, and Tramaine Davis.  The started out in gospel and then became the backup chorus for Sly And The Family Stone.  Davis soon went solo, marrying Walter Hawkins, brother of the Edwin Hawkins of Edwin Hawkins Singers fame, and ended up singing on their hit Oh Happy Day.  She went on to have a highly successful gospel career.  Sly promoted the remaining Sisters for their own contract, and produced their lp, including this hit song.  However, he shortly lost interest, and the girls went back to being chorus for the Family.  McCreary left then, and was soon married to Leon Russell, and collaberated with him on The Wedding Album.  Small world, eh? Anyhow, the remaining debuts are:  Shocking Blue's follow-up to Venus, Mighty Joe, a 4-notch move to 37; and British band Marmalade with the haunting Reflections Of My Life (which I once thought was the Hollies), moving 11 spots to 34.

Our look at years past tumbles us onto a duo of Arthur Collins and comedic tenor Byron Harlan.  They had the #1 this week in 1909 with Right Church, But The Wrong Pew, and in 1911 with Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey.  From the mid 00s to the mid 20's, Collins and Harlan were top of the line action, having rolled up 12 top dogs and 89 top 40 hits- all of them making the top 10.  The list included their takes on such standards as Under The Yum-Yum Tree and Alexander's Ragtime Band, both of which they took to the top.  Also under their belt is the very first recording of what might be termed a jazz tune- a song called That Funny Jas Band From Dixieland, recorded on November 8th, 1916.  The beginning of the end for them- at least for Collins- came in October of 1921, at a demo of the "Edison Diamond Disc" sound recording system.  He was supposed to sing with the record player before an audience, then walk away when the lights were doused, leaving the audience to guess whether it was live or EDD.  Unfortunately, some idiot left a stage trap door open, and Collins was seriously injured upon falling into it.  Those injuries would eventually contribute from his death from heart failure in 1933 at the age of 69.

Two songs bolt into the danger zone that the top ten has become the last few weeks: taking the hit this week are Rainy Night In Georgia, down from 3 to 11; and Ma Belle Ami, down from 6 to 17.

Santana slides 3 from 7 to #10 with Evil Ways.  Norman Greenbaum blasts into the top ten from 19th to #9 with Spirit In The Sky.  The Hollies nudge up from 9 to 8 with He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother.  So does Frijid Pink, moving from 8 to 7 with House Of The Rising Sun.  The Jaggerz slip from 2 to 6 with The Rapper.  And that brings us to the song holding at #5- and our six degrees victim.

Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes by Edison Lighthouse was written by Tony Macauley and performed basically by the ubiquitous Tony Burrows, who was also the First Class, White Plains, The Brotherhood Of Man, and maybe even Klaatu.  Macauley was also successful at his trade, having written hits for his band, the Foundations, such as Build Me Up Buttercup.  Later on he would pen the #1 Don't Give Up On Us for TV cop and frustrated musician David Soul (the Hutch of Starsky and Hutch- the TV show, not the movie).  Soul's first career choice was music- so much so, that he had appearances on the Merv Griffin Show circa 1967-8  as the masked "Covered Man", who "wants to be known for my music".  Soon after, he became known for a role in the TV show Flipper, and music took a back seat to acting.  Flipper was scored by a Polish immigrant named Henry Vars, who among a long list of other things did music for Daktari.  (Kids, if you don't remember Flipper or Daktari, you need to get into the classic dvd section and look them up, especially if you have any love for animals.)  Daktari featured music composed by Vars and conducted by percussionist Shelly Manne, who has also a list of credits as long as an Obama speech, including playing the drums on the themes from the Pink Panther Movies.  And there you go.

Bob, I'm sorry but Bridge Over Troubled Waters drops from #1 to 4th.  Instant Karma shines up a notch to #3.  The Jackson Five leap from 10 to 2 with ABC.  and the new number one song, jumping from 12 last week to #1 this week...

The Beatles and Let It Be...

Enjoy your tomorrow (AKA Friday) while I'm off making the big bucks at work on OT.  Tune in tomorrow (AKA Saturday) for the top ten of the Seventies countdown.


  1. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane!

  2. No problem, GP. The pleasure is mine.