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


Friday, June 1, 2012

Time Machine week 18

And that is what a Seattle Pilots uniform looks like.  The color scheme sort of followed them to Milwaukee, after their one and only season in the Great Northwest.  This is not Jim Bouton, however, and he's why this is being discussed here at TM.  Who's Jim Bouton?  Well, in 1970 he was a once famous pitcher for the Yankees and others who was approaching bottom out time for his career.  He had been grafted onto the woeful '69 Pilots, and used that year to base his expose on Baseball, a book called Ball Four.  The book had been excerpted a couple weeks ago in Look magazine, and was due to come out in mid June.  On June 1st, however, Commisioner Bowie Kuhn summoned him to his NYC office.
The next day, (June 1st) Bouton met with commissioner Bowie Kuhn in Kuhn’s Manhattan office, along with Marvin Miller, the head of the player’s union, and Miller’s aide Dick Moss. Kuhn told Bouton he was disappointed and shocked by the excerpts he had read, so much so that he felt compelled to remove the magazines from his house lest his sons read them. He was particularly discomforted with reports of drug use, sexual verbal jousting amongst the players, and especially the playful kissing game on Seattle’s team plane. Bouton responded that all of it was true, and that no harm would come from his revealing it.

Mainly, Kuhn brought Bouton in to get him to apologize..., but Bouton did not give an inch. Failing that, Kuhn and Miller spent two and a half hours arguing over a suitable press release. What was finally agreed to was short and non-informative: “I advised Mr. Bouton of my displeasure with these writings and have warned him against future writings of this character. Under all the circumstances, I have concluded that no other action was necessary.” After this brief statement was read, Bouton was asked if he regretted writing the book. “Absolutely not," responded the pitcher-author.

As I understand it, Kuhn's version of the presser would be Bouton saying it was 100% fiction.  Bouton went on to have a crappy 1970 with Houston and retired, but not before Pete Rose succinctly summed up what Bouton's fellow players were thinking (several times, I might add, from the opposing dugout): "F#$K you, Shakespeare!"

It's June 1st, 1970, here on TM, and this week we have a ton of birthdays, a ton of top forty debuts, half the top ten gets kicked to the curb, and one of our features undergoes an unexpected, unwelcome, but totally overcomeable change.  Plus, what does a debut at #100 have to do with the late Donna Summer?  Let's find out!

That debut is the song Tighter And Tighter, by a band called Alive and Kicking (though nowadays they go by Alive N Kickin').  You know the tune- "Hold on... Oh, just a little bit tighter now, baby... I love you so much that I can't let go, no, no, no..."  What you didn't know that this was a make up to them from Tommy James (A&K were on James' record label) after he had decided to take a song he wrote for them and record it with the Shondells instead- Crystal Blue Persuasion.  At keyboard in the original band was one Bruce Sudano, who went on to found with Joe "Bean" Esposito to found Brooklyn Dreams- where he met Donna Summer, whom he married within the year and stayed with until her death.

Also coming in, out of a class of 6 debuts this week, was Eric Burdon and War with Spill The Wine at #91.  Which brings us to our birthday tunes this week.  Turning 30 this week: Steve Miller's #1 Abracadabra, Melissa Manchester's You Should Hear How She Talks About You (an all-overplayed hall of famer), and Bow Wow Wow's I Want Candy.  Turning 35 are Peter Frampton's I'm In You, The Commodores' Easy, and Crosby Stills and Nash's Just A Song Before I Go.  Turning 40:  Donna Fargo's Happiest Girl In The Whole USA, Argent's Hold Your Head Up, and Daniel Boone's Beautiful Sunday.  Turning 45, Johnny Rivers' Tracks Of My Tears, Petula Clark's Don't Sleep In The Subway, the 5D's Up, Up, And Away, the Bar-Kays' rowdy Soul Finger, and Stevie Wonder's I Was Made To Love Her.  And finally, joining Laurie and I at the big 5-0 are Bobby Vinton's Roses Are Red, Joanie Sommers' Johnny Get Angry (how long's it been since you heard THAT?), and the Isleys' version of Twist And Shout.  Blow out a lot of candles...

Since it's been a while since I mentioned the Grandpa song, and it's in the neighborhood, Something's Burning spends week #17 on the chart at #55.

There's gonna be a change in the lookback segment.  Josh Hosler informs us that Billboard did not renew his contract with them for the info in his #1 on this day in history site.  No reason was given, though his hope is that they will be creating their own site on Hosler's model.  My suspicion is that they want to drive more people into subscribing.  FAIL, BB!  So instead, I'm going to look up the older (and I do mean  OLDER) acts on that MusicVF site and find acts to feature from there.

This week I fell upon one John S. (BKA "Harry") Mcdonough.  Harry, a Canuck born in Hamilton, Ontario, had a career spanning the late 1890's to the early 1920's, beginning in the old Edison Studios.  He racked up 66 top tens between 1900-16, even hitting the top with his last release, The Girl On The Magazine ( ending up as his second-biggest hit.  He was also a founding member of SH Dudley's Haydn (or Edison) Quartet, an act which logged 39 top 10s and 7 chart toppers.  They were a "close harmony" (like barbershop) vocal group, and among their #1s were their takes on old standards like Sweet Adeline ( 1904) and In The Good Ol' Summertime (1903).  Harry also scored another #1 and 13 top tens in various duets with Quartet members and others.  And the Quartet racked up 9 more hits as backup to other famous acts, giving you a total of 127 top tens and 17 # 1s!  Harry went on to become management at Victor, going from NYC studio manager, to national sales manager, to (God forgive him) A&R Director.  He would repeat the process with Columbia Records from 1925 until his death six years later.

This week, we have a pair of whopper droppers.  One of them falls farther from the top ten than any song featured on either iteration of TM thus far; the other is our big dropper for the week.  The Theme to Airport by Vincent Bell takes a 53-spot bath from 31 to 84.  Our biggest climber will be waiting for us in the top 40 debuts.

At 50 this week and on its way down is the former top ten Love Or Let Me Be Lonely by the Friends Of Distinction.The group, founded by Harry Elston and Floyd Butler, first hit the charts the year before with their vocal version of Hugo Makasela's Grazing In The Grass.  The group had varying fortunes thereafter, and disbanded in 1973.  For whatever reason, a split developed between the two founders, and they didn't speak until 1990.  Harry finally went to Floyd with the idea of reuniting, and they were laying plans for the rebirth when Floyd had a massive heart attack and died in Harry's arms.  Life is short, my friends.  It took Harry 6 years, but in 1996 he re-booted the band with new members and they are still touring today.

Jeez, Harry Mcdonough, Harry Elston.  It's been a harry week!

Nine songs enter the top 40 this week.  Freda Payne comes in at #40, up six, with Band Of Gold.  Climbing 10 to come in at #39 is Bobby Sherman's Hey Mr. Sun.  I think I had this on one of those records that they pressed into the back of a cereal box, but it was the definition of scratchy.  Slamming up 13 to #38 are the Temptations with Ball Of Confusion.  From the BJ Thomas school of unneccessarily long titles we have Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band with Love Land, up 10 spots to #37.  The Moody Blues bust in at #36, up 7, with Question.  The Chairmen Of The Board climb 9 to #35 with (You've Got Me) Dangling On A String. Sailing up 26 big notches to #34 are Blues Image with Ride Captain Ride.  Wicked Wilson Pickett moves up 15 with his version of the Archies Sugar Sugar to #33.  And our big mover, up 36 spots to land at #23, the Jackson Five with their best, The Love You Save.

Exactly half of the top ten drops out this week.  Reflections Of My Life drops 6 to 13; Spirit In The Sky falls 10 to #15.  Bobbi Martin slips 8 to 17 with For The Love Of Him; Vehicle goes into reverse, dropping 8 to #18.  And the aforementioned Jacksons drop 25 spots, from 6 to 31, with the former top dog ABC.

And now, the five party crashers!  Up 4 to #10, Diana Ross' Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand).  Up 10 big spots to #9, The Beatles and The Long And Winding Road.  Up 4 to #8, Rare Earth and Get Ready.  Up 6 to #7, Joe Cocker's version of The Letter.  And finally up 5 to #6, a song which has grown on me to the point of being a "tears at the first note" ordeals for me- The Poppy Family with Which Way You Going, Billy?

Ray Stevens climbs 3 to #5 with Everything Is Beautiful.  And that brings us to our six degrees victim, Tyrone Davis who remains at #4 with Turn Back The Hands Of Time.   Among the backup singers on this record were Barbara Acklin and Eugene Record.  Now, Eugene was the lead singer and main writer for the Chi-Lites, and Barbara was his oft-times collaberator.  She had a list of songwriting credits, including a big hit of Jackie Wilson's called Whispers.  In addition to a short solo singing career, she also sang backup for a mess of acts including Fontella Bass.  So that was her harmonizing on Fontella's big hit Rescue Me ? No, that honor belonged to a young Miss Minnie Ripperton.

 American Woman slips from top dog to #3 this week for the Guess Who, which means we have a new #1.  It won't be CCR; while CCR did have a Cashbox charts #1 (but that won't be until this fall), they hold the record on Billboard with the most #2 songs (Proud Mary, Bad Moon Rising, Green River, Who'll Stop The Rain/Travellin' Band, and Looking Out My Back Door) without ever hitting #1.  This week, Up Around the Bend peaks at #2 on CB, but what about the others?  Well, Proud Mary did hit #2, held out by Tommy Roe's Dizzy; Bad Moon Rising went from 13 to #2, but the Beatles were at #1 with Get Back, and so they did; Green River stopped at #3, Fortunate Son at #6, and Down On The Corner at #10.  The two sided Travelling Band/Who'll Stop The Rain were separated by CB rules- and as you might remember, Rain stalled at 13 and Travellin' Band stopped at #5.  So no record on Cashbox.  But speaking of records, the #1 record this week is...

...Simon and Garfunkel with Cecilia!!!

That's it for another week, have a great Firday, and stop in Saturday for the next installment of the Great Eighties Countdown!

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