Gott get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Shoulda been done long ago
What if you knew her and
found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?
Welcome to May 4th, 1970. Time machine seems to be landing in a lot of pivotal places lately, and here's another. Whether you see innocent kids blown away by an oppresive government or leftist -inspired troublemakers and a few misloaded guns, this day changed everything. We all grew up. And none of us learned.
Time Machine is a loaded weapon today as well, as class # 4 of the Martin HOF gets inducted today, and the inductees include our Where Are They Now feature; our big dropper becomes part of a somewhat new somewhat feature; and our six degrees has more different people and groups than any in a long time- and I never get past the second degree! Let's think good thoughts and move onward...
15 songs debut in the hot 100 this week, and we feature four of them. Blues Image comes in at 95 with Ride Captain Ride. Mac Davis is at #88 with a song which, if you've never heard it, you need to- Whoever Finds This, I Love You. At 78 come the Moody Blues with Question. And up at 75 is Freda Payne with Band Of Gold.
Our other birthday songs this week include, at turning 30, Joan Jett's cover of Crimson and Clover, Karla Bonoff's Personally, Ronnie Milsap's Any Day Now, and .38 Special's Caught Up In You; turning 35, England Dan and JF Coley's It's Sad To Belong, Barry Manilow's #1 Looks Like We Made It, Peter Gabriel's first single, Solisbury Hill, and Rita Coolidge's cover of Jackie Wilson's (Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher; turning 40, Jimmy Castor's Troglodyte (Cave Man); turning 45, Music Explosion's Little Bit Of Soul; and hitting the big 5-0 Johnny Tillotson's It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin' and one from ANOTHER new MHOFer that I'll mention in a bit.
Oh, heck, why not now? In the Top Men Category, we have two inductees- with 15 top 40 hits (including The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, which turns 50 this week), Gene Pitney; and with 9 top 40s and a pair of #1s, The Righteous Brothers!
In the Top Women category, two inductees- with 11 top 40 hits, Dusty Springfield; and with 25 top 40s including a #1, Gladys Knight and the Pips!
The big mover this week is a catchy instrumental by the band El Chicano, Viva Tirada, going up 22 spots to #53. El Chicano, does what is termed "Chicano" music (go figure) and is still active despite the deaths of founding members Bobby Espinosa and Rudy Regalado within months of each other in 2010. The big dropper is not only in the top forty, but part of a new feature. Kinda expanding on the almost but not quite that I've done on and off, we will be looking at all the chart songs that don't make the top ten and are beginning their sad descent (providing anyone actually knows them). We have two on the list- first up is our week's big dropper, Neil Diamond's Shilo, which I was astounded that it climbed no higher than #23. It falls 15 to #38. And Then Came Bronson theme Long Lonesome Highway by Michael Parks peaked last week at 13, and falls to #20 this time.
In the Golden Oldies category, I have two new inductees. First, with no top 40 hits, no #1s- or all of them, depending on how you look at it, the late lamented Mr. Dick Clark. And with 20 top 40s and a #1, with or without the Bellmonts, Dion DeMucci!!
In the Not Quite Rock'n'Roll category: A recent #1s of the past featuree (said feature returning next week, BTW), with 83 top 40s and 21 #1s in the days before Billboard, Al Jolson. And our Where Are They Now feature, with 7 top 40s (including this week at #50 So Exited)- and three R&B #1s, the man, the legend- BB King!!!
There is way too much bio to go through on this great bluesman, so we'll stick more or less to topic. In 2006, he had went on a "farewell tour" of Europe. "...on June 28, 2009 King returned to Wembley arena to end a tour around Great Britain with British blues icon John Mayall. When questioned as to why he was embarking on another tour after already completing his farewell stint, King jokingly remarked that he had never actually said the farewell tour would be his last...During a press conference on November 29 in São Paulo, a journalist asked King if that would be the actual farewell tour. He answered: "One of my favorite actors is a man from Scotland named Sean Connery. Most of you know him as James Bond, 007. He made a movie called Never Say Never Again."
That pointed out, I add that this man, who has performed over 15,000 times in a 63-year career, will be here in Fort Wayne in just 18 days! Oh, if I had money to throw away frivolously...
We have a pile of top 40 debuts this week. Leaping 19 spots to #40 is Tom Jones with Daughter Of Darkness. Up 13 to #39 are The Moments with Love On A Two Way Street. At 37 are The Who, climbing 4 with The Seeker. Joe Cocker moves up 13 to #36 with The Letter. Dionne Warwick comes in at 35, an 11-notch rise, with Let Me Go To Him. The Airport Love Theme by Vincent Bell flies up 10 to #33. Diana Ross moves 12 to #32 with Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand). And because I think I missed it last week, I'll mention that Mark Lindsay climbs 3 spots in his second week to 31 with Miss America.
Ready for the last two categories? the first is My Personal Choices, and one inductee enters there- with only the one top 40 (which wasn't even one of my favorites) Todd Rundgren and Utopia!!
And last but not least, the Big Names category gets 3 inductees. With 8 top 40s, and 5 #1s on the Alternative Chart, R.E.M. !! With 23 top 40s and 4 #1s, the Jackson Five!! And with 14 top 40s and 2 #1s, Tommy James and the Shondells!! Check out the Martin Hall Of Fame link on the top (under Nixon) to see the whole list.
Two songs edge into the top ten, two tumble out. Up The Ladder To The Roof falls from 9 to 14, and Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes goes from 8 to 24.
The Ides Of March climbs a notch to lead off the top 10 with Vehicle. Up from 12 to 9 is Tyrone Davis with Turn Back The Hands Of Time. The Friends Of Distinction (high class Quakers, perhaps?) move from 10 to 8 with Love Or Let Me Be Lonely. Next comes a run of three tunes that hold their place- Badfinger's Come And Get It at 7, John Lennon's Instant Karma at 5- and our six degrees victim in the middle.
The First Edition, featuring "hippie" Kenny Rogers (at #6 with Something's Burning) were, with one exception, former members of the New Christy Minstrels. You could almost say "who wasn't?" because the still-extant NCMs have had some 300 members at one point or another. The founding spirit was Randy Sparks, who named the band after a group that personal hero Stephen Foster penned most of his songs for, Christy's Minstrels. They formed in the late fifties, and after having some success in their "first" incarnation, he dropped back to be producer/business mgr. Among the members in NCM 1.0 were Jerry Yester, who went on to play piano for the Lovin' Spoonful on hits like Do You Believe In Magic, as well as producing for his brother Jim Yester's band- The Association. Another was prominent folk singer Dolan Ellis, who was named Arizona's State Balladeer in 1966.
Dolan left in 1963, to be replaced with Barry McGuire- who would go on to hit #1 solo with Eve Of Destruction. Barry sang lead on their 1963 hit Green Green (their first of 3 top 40s, peaking at #14.) Also joining about that time was Peggy Connelly, who had been married to comedian Dick Martin since 1957. Another next waver was Gene Clark, who would soon leave to join Jim (later Roger )McGuinn and David Crosby in the Byrds- in fact, McGuinn was slated to join as well, but bailed to be accompanyist for Bobby Darin. Can you say this story is a name-dropper's paradise?
From 1963 to 1966, Larry Ramos was a member; but like Yester, he left to join the Association, and was featured on Never My Love and Windy. It was in 1966 that Rogers and his future First Edition bandmates joined, along with Kim Carnes (#1 in 1981 with Bette Davis Eyes, remember?) and Karen Black, who gained fame as an actress in such films as 5 Easy Pieces, Airport '75 (where she landed the plane), Day Of The Locust, and Nashville.
I have heard that John Denver was a NCM, but found no proof of this on their website, which has an exhaustive membership list (and I mean exhaustive!). So I dug deeper, and found that Sparks had sold his shares of the NCM in '64 and started a band called the Back Porch Majority, which was intended to be the NCM's "farm team". It was this group that Denver was a member of, so he was actually just "shirttail relations". One other name I took note of was legendary Novelty act Spike Jones' son, Spike Jones Jr.
Sparks spent much of the next 30 years being opening act and writer for Burl Ives until Ives' death in 1995. Then he leased, and finally bought, back the NCM name and continues to manage the group to this very day. See why I only went 2 degrees?
Let It Be tumbles a spot to #4. The Guess Who move up 1 to #3 with American Woman. The new MHOF act the Jackson Five slip from #1 to #2 with ABC. Which means our brand new #1 top dog is....
If you missed last Saturday, go back and check out week one of the Great Eighties Countdown, and be back here Saturday for week # 2!