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


Friday, June 8, 2012

Time Machine week 19

Now you are here today,
But easily you might just slip away.
'Cause we live in a time,
When paintings have no color, words don't rhyme.
And that's why I've travelled far
'Cause I come so together where you are.

I was just about to start this blog with news of yet another death.  But Bobby G got me first and told me former Fleetwood Mac er Bob Welch committed suicide at the age of 66.  Bob hit #8 with Sentimental Lady, a song he first did as lead singer of FM, as well as the AOR hit Hypnotized.  Health issues, the excuse read.  A  shotgun blast to the chest sure beats surgery.

Earlier in the week, original Platters bass singer Herb Reed, the one member that sang on every one of their singles, passed away.  A member from founding in 1953 to breakup of the original band in 1967, Herb fronted a reformed version in the seventies- and he was not alone.  By the mid-90's, various other members had formed versions, and their friends, and their friends, until upwards of 80 bands billing themselves as one iteration or another of "The Platters were around.  Reed began legal reconquest of the name, which he won 20 years and a million dollars later, just last year.  At his death, there are still four different versions out and about.

Welcome to a sombre Time Machine, June 8, 1970 episode.  This week, other than our semi-regular visits from the Grim Reaper, we have a show for you that includes a new top dog, Tommy James dying on stage- sorta, the reason behind Wayne Fontana wearing the lady Justice costume to court, that darn Tony Burrows again, and an oldies feature on a fellow that almost all I found out about him was he was born in Wales and sang Way Down In Old Indiana.  Watch for scythes and let's go!

In case you thought I was kidding...

13 songs debut on the hot 100, and I'm going to mention three of them for knowing them and three for... something else.  Starting at the top this week, we have Crosby Stills Nash and Young coming in at 66 with Teach Your Children.  The Five Stairsteps break in at 70 with Oo-oh Child.  And Sly and the Family Stone at 75 with (I Want To Take You) Higher.  Which is a great segue into the second half on our debut salutes- covers of big hits, that didn't end up doing quite so good.  Higher also debuted this week for Ike and Tina Turner and the Ike-ettes at 81, which isn't surprising since Ike and Tina did that alot (see Come Together, Proud Mary).  At 92 Paul Davis comes in with a cover of the song A Little Bit Of Soap, which the Jarmels took to #12 in 1961; at 96 the Lettermen cover She Cried, which Jay and the Americans took to #5 in 1962; and at 97, Merry Clayton, who was the female lead on the Stones' Gimme Shelter, breaks in with her own version of the song.

Birthday songs ( those that debutedyears ago this week) start with 30th birthday celebrants Survivor's Eye Of The Tiger, Hard To Say I'm Sorry by Chicago, and Genesis' Paperlate.  Turning 35 were You Made Me Believe In Magic by the Bay City Rollers, REO Speedwagon's Riding The Storm Out, and RamJam's Black Betty, a song notable to me for being a projectile fired by me and striking my niece (and fellow idiot) right in the bridge of the nose edge on.  Good times. Turning 40 are the duet Where Is The Love by Roberta Flack and Donnie Hathaway and Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) by Looking Glass.  At 45 this week we have the Four Seasons' C'mon Marianne, and a song I don't know, You Gave Me Something (And Everything's All Right) By the unusually-named Fantastic Four.  Rather than cosmic-ray irradiated adventurers, this four was a Motown group led by one "Sweet James" Epps.  50 years ago today, Brian Hyland debuted with Sealed With A Kiss (another anomaly- Bobby Vinton's cover debuted 40 years ago last week).  And one more oddity- 55 years ago this week, Bill Haley and his Comets debuted with (You Hit The Wrong Note) Billy Goat.  I'm going to have to youtube that one later.  Blow out the candles...

Our look back to the past this week brings us to a gent named JW Myers.  Myers was a cylinder music pioneer, in not only the recording and composing end, but also owning a company for a few months in 1896 before the cylinder companies began to fold with the coming of the vinyl disc.  He had 26 top tens between 1900 and 1907, and four made it to # 1.  One of them, whose lyrics I failed to find, was called Way Down In Indiana.  As for John W Myers hisself, he was born in Wales in the 1860s by best estimate, as his story is shrouded by time.  After a follow-up to Indiana that actually hit #2 110 years ago this month called Mansion Of Aching Hearts, he dropped from sight for over a year before returning to the recording game.  A researcher thought he might have passed in 1919, but he might have just returned to Wales, which is nothing like death, from what I hear.

The big dropper this week is George Baker's Little Green Bag, falling 29 spots to 45.  Three notches below that, we have the fast climber, the Impressions moving up 22 to #48 with Check Out Your Mind.  And in our #50 slot (AKA the Where Are They Now position) we have Tommy James and the Shondells with Come To Me.

The version of the band that had most of the hits (except Hanky Panky, which the original band did and broke up before it hit big) broke up in 1970.  It came right after a concert that ended in mid-show when Tommy collapsed from exhaustion.  In fact, the wiki article suggested that he had actually been pronounced dead at the scene.  But further research turned up an interview in which James said the whole thing came about when he passed out, and an onlooker remarked, "He looks like he's dead."  Somehow this got picked up by the teeny bopper press as "Tommy James near death"  when "nearly asleep" would have been more accurate.  The band reformed to do a soundtrack for Tommy's biography (which was considered for a movie for a while) which was released in 2010.  The book was called Me, The Mob, And Money- the title described the band's experience with Roulette records.  The label was a mob front and money laundromat, and their boss, Morris Levi, was an unabashed "arm twister".  Tommy estimated the band lost about $30 to  40 MILLION in record royalties to the mafiosos of Roulette records.  The band still does nostalgia shows, with surviving members James, Mike Vale and Ron Rosman.

That brings us to this week's top 40 debuts, and there are 5 of them.  Johnny Rivers' cover of the Van Morrison tune Into The Mystic (Which I am listening to as I type) moves up 2 spots to 40.  Aretha Franklin comes into the 40 at 39, up ten, along with session band the Dixie Flyers with Spirit In The Dark.  Mountain hits at 38, up 3, with Mississippi Queen.  Up 8 spots to 37 are Three Dog Night with Mama Told Me (Not To Come).  And up 7 notches to 36 are the Pipkins with the ubiquitous Tony Burrows and Gimme Dat Ding.  

Two songs join the top ten, two dropped out.  Falling from 10 to 13 is Diana Ross' Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand); from 4 to 15 goes Tyrone Davis, who wishes he could Turn Back The Hands Of Time.

The top ten starts off with Tom Jones moving one spot into the ten with Daughter Of Darkness.
The Moments come in at 9, up three, with Love On A Two Way Street (Of which Stacy Ladislaw's 1981 cover was about the only one of the Tiffany/teeny bopper girl songs of the early eighties I cared for).
Former top dog American Woman by the Guess Who tumbles five spots to #8.
Rare Earth has the first of three songs in a row to nuzzle up one notch.  They move up to 7 with Get Ready.
The second is Joe Cocker's version of The Letter, to #6.
The third is the Poppy Family to 5 with Which Way You Going, Billy?
And at #4 lies our six degrees victim, and last week's #1, Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkel.
Written in tribute of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music who was martyred in the persecutions of Roman emperor Alexander Severus in 230 AD, Cecilia was covered the next year by the band New Wave Band.  NWB was essentially what had been Hotlegs (Neanderthal Man, #22 in 1970) and would become 10cc- Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley, and Lol Creame- along with former Herman's Hermits lead guitarist Dereck Leckenby.  Stewart had recently had fame as the second lead singer for the Mindbenders, singing on the hit A Groovy Kind Of Love.  He had replaced Wayne Fontana (they had been Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders for the hit The Game Of Love in 1965) after a long string of comments about the immense size of Wayne's ego caused him to walk out on the band in the middle of a concert in 1965.  One of the band members told the press it was no big deal afterwards- "All we lost was our tambourine player."
Wayne's ego inflated into mental-illness proportions by 2007, when he reportedly poured gas on top of the car of a Bailiff sent to serve him and lit it off with the man still inside.  At his court date, he appeared in the costume I showed you at the beginning, and fired his lawyers for good measure.  He avoided prison by becoming a guest of the UK's mental health system, and is back on the road with a new set of Mindbenders.  Given his past, though, he might just want to consider a less-suggestive name for the group.  He's already a bit bent, eh?

CCR gets pushed to #3, down one, with Up Around The Bend.
The push comes courtesy of the Beatles, as The Long And Winding Road leaps from 9 to #2 this week.
And that means our new #1 song is.....

Ray Stevens (here depicted from his video for Jeremiah Peabody's Polyunsaturated Quick-Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green And Purple Pills) and Everything Is Beautiful!!!!
Okay, that wraps it up for another week.  Be back here Saturday for the eighties countdown! (Because you'd rather be here than where Herb and Bob are...)

1 comment:

  1. CWM:
    Another great ride this week...can you believe the people we're losing these days?
    Never would have thought Welch would off himself like THAT...

    Lots of really good songs here today...and WHY don't we hear ones like that THESE days?
    Seems to have all petered out during the 90s...(I think it was a

    Very FEW (if any) songs these days have the power and the messages we USED to hear all the time of the radio...
    Very sad.

    Again, job well done.
    Keep those hits coming.

    Stay safe up there.