That's right, the song that made me a believer in music even as a baby debuted 13 weeks into my life, and fifty years ago this week. Happy birthday, my oldest friend!
Leap ahead 8 years to August 17th, 1970. Two very important- and very different- things launched today, 6,100 miles apart. The Soviet ship Venera 7 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and would become the first man made object to land and send back info from the surface of Venus 2 days shy of 4 months later. It fell on its side, which left the antenna in a bad position; thus we got 35 minutes of really good data right off the bat... and 23 minutes of pretty weak recordings a few weeks later when the planet moved the antenna back into position. The second was SOOOOOOOOUUUL Train, which had its debut as a local show on Chicago's WCIU-TV 42 years ago today. It wouldn't be until October of the next year that the "data stream" would go from the "weak" local stream to the "strong" stream of syndication, but it would then send out "good data" till the end of the 2005-6 season.
Yes, this is that bowl of useless trivia and musical noobobs known as Time Machine, and today's teaser nets you Dr. Kildare, the Riddler, the Battle of Britain, a double dip of Neil Diamond, a six degrees that leads us from Karen Carpenter to Connie Francis, and the return of the Duke of Earl! Let's go shopping, shall we?
|Neil Diamond- don't share an order of salsa with him!|
He's a double-dipper!
We had a whopping 19 hot 100 debuts this week, and I'm going to share 6 of 'em. Squeezing in at 99 is everyone's favorite cross-dresser, Lola by the Kinks. Hotlegs, who in a few years would morph into 10cc, debut at 88 with their novelty hit Neanderthal Man. Neil makes his first appearance this week at 85 with Cracklin' Rosie. (Deep breath, Chris...) Charles Wright and his 103rd Street Rythm Band (Okay, draw a normal one now...) come in again with their original version of a song I first heard on Bruce Willis' cover (yes, that Bruce Willis), Express Yourself. That one comes in at 83. At 73 is one of my favorites- former Monkee Mike Nesmith and his First National Band with Joanne. Finally, way up at 57 is Tom Jones' version of the oft-covered I (Who Have Nothing).
Those songs all turn 42 today. The rest of the birthday songs include: turning 30, the Gap Band's You Dropped A Bomb On Me; at 35 today, Brownsville Station's Martian Boogie and Marshall Tucker's Can't You See; at 40 today, Elvis' Burning Love, Rod Stewart's You Wear It Well (might be my fave of his), Curtis Mayfield's Freddie's Dead from Superfly, Bill Withers' great Use Me, and the very underrated Leon Russell's Tightrope; and turning 45, Brenton Woods' Gimme Little Sign ("Just gimme some kinda sign love, oh my baby/ to show me that you're mine girl, all right"). Blow out the candles...
The big mover is in the top 25 this week; the big dropper is Teach Your Children, tumbling 37 notches to 54.
Our Where are they now feature has at #50 Ike and Tina and the Ikettes with their cover of Sly Stone's (I Want To Take You) Higher. I must say that the story of Ike and Tina is one of the more disgusting that you'll run across, with such highlights as: former Ikettes and Tina herself having to be on the run from the man; low pay, bad treatment; an affair (Ike and Tina's while Ike was married) that Tina felt forced into and Ike described as "it felt like I was strewin' (sic) my sister (sick)"; and knock down drag out brawls that cullimnated in Tina leaving potential millions behind in the divorce just to get away from him. Luckily, its where they are now we're concerned with. Tina held a final "50th anniversay in show business" tour in 2008, although her record company keeps repackaging old stuff- and a 1989 single The Best (which hit 15 in the US of A) became an internet hit once again after being drafted as the theme for the Glasgow Rangers soccer team, peaking at #9 in April 2011 in the UK.
Ike died in 2007. After finally figuring out that you might have a cocaine problem if you have a one-chamber nose, and a little help from an 18-month prison sentence in 1990-1, he was straight for most of the nineties. He allegedly relapsed after trying to rescue a friend from a crack house and "smelling the fumes". He died of cocaine toxicity, aged 76.
As for the Ikettes, they were a big name in the early sixties, but Ike's controlling and pittance for pay eventually drove them away. Jo "Joshie" Armstead left first, trying to record under the name of Dina Johnson so Ike couldn't track her down, and eventually hooking up with Ray Charles' writers Ashford and Simpson to write some of Ray's 60s hits. Clydie King and Vanetta Fields would leave for Ray's Raelettes in 1965- after they had a big hit with a song called Peaches And Cream, Ike kept them in the studio, and recruited a new "Ikettes" to tour with him and Tina. This didn't go over well, as one might imagine. King and Fields did some solo stuff, formed the Mirettes (since Ike wouldn't let them keep the Ikette name), and ended up doing session work, including for Humble Pie , joining Delaney and Bonnie and Friends for Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs And Englishmen tour, and doing background vocals to Mick Jagger and Merry Clayton on the Stones' Gimme Shelter. Later incarnations of the Ikettes had lesser success, and some of them toured with Tina when she went solo, although not surprisingly she changed their name to "my little flowers".
That gets us to the top 40 debuts, and we have a whopping seven of 'em. The Duke of Earl himself, Gene Chandler, breaks into the 40 at at 40, up 9, with Groovy Situation. At 39 is the second attempt of Neil Diamond with the song Solitary Man. Back in '66, this was his first charting single, but only made it to 55. This week, the second attempt climbs from 51 to 39. Up 15 to 38 is Aretha Franklin and the Dixie Flyers with Don't Play That Song, which I didn't know (but surprisingly, since I generally can't stand Aretha, I kinda liked). Rare Earth's (I Know I'm) Losing You is up 16 to 36. Elvis Presley, another notorious double dipper, is at 33 (up 10) with I've Lost You. If you recall, the flip side The Next Step Is Love was our Where Are They Now song last week, and is at 46 this week.
|Listen Neil, now you keep your double-dippin' chips outta my dip! Hmmm... think you can write a song with that line? That's burnt, man. Now I'm hungry!|
CCR move up to 29, a 13-spot jump, with Looking Out My Back Door. (Probably watching out for Ike Turner!) And finally, Diana Ross' Ain't No Mountain High Enough is the big jumper, going 32 places from its debut at 55 to 23.
Our look back in the past feature brings us to a lady named Marion Harris, widely known as the first white singer to have success singing jazz and blues. Marion was born "probably in Indiana" in 1896. She kicked off a 15-year chart career in 1916 when her second hit- I Ain't Got Nobody- made her a name. Yes, that is the same one that became joined to Just A Gigolo for the first time by Louis Prima in 1956, and became a big hit for Van Halen's David Lee Roth. She racked up 39 top tens and 4 #1s, including Tea For Two in January 1925 and St. Louis Blues in August 1920. The latter was the song that started her on her blues career, and Victor refused to let her record it. So she left them for Columbia, and the tune hit #1. She would move on to Brunswick two years later, and eventually do an 8 minute long "promotional movie"- a video to you kids.
She retired in the early 30s to marry an English theatre manager and moved to the UK. Their home was destroyed in the Blitz in 1941, and it was the start of a run of bad fortune. She returned to the US for treatment of a neurological disorder in very early 1944; though she was soon released, she died in a hotel fire in April.
An almost but not quite shoutout to Mark Lindsay's Silver Bird, which peaked last week at 20 and falls to thirty this time. Can anyone admit to being old enough to remember when this song was the basis of a motorcycle commercial- "Yamaha, won't you drive me away/Yamaha, today is the day!"?
One song joins the top ten this week, one falls out. The Five Stairsteps step down 5 to #12 with O-oh Child.
Up 6 spots to lead off the top ten, Ronnie Dyson's If You Let Me Make Love To You (Why Can't I Touch You?).
Dropping 4 to #9, last week's six degrees victim, Freda Payne and Band Of Gold.
Robin McNamara holds at 8 with Lay A Little Loving On Me.
Mungo Jerry moves up 3 to #7 with In The Summertime.
Edwin Starr rolls up to #6, up 3, with War.
Alive And Kicking is just that, moving up one spot to #5 with Tighter, Tighter.
Eric Burden and War hold at 4 with Spill The Wine.
Which brings us to our six degrees feature.
The Carpenters slide from the top to #3 with the Burt Bacharach/Hal David tune (They Want To Be) Close To You. Far from the original of this song, it was a hot 100 hit for actor Richard Chamberlain- or almost was. It was the a-side of the 45, but DJs played the b-side Blue Guitar- which peaked at #42 but was top 20 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It was Chamberlain's second attempt at a music career, having hit #10 with the theme to the TV show he starred in - Dr. Kildare- called Three Stars Will Shine Tonight. Co-writer on that tune was one Pete Rugulo, who got face time on screen when he joined his cool-jazz group in a movie where they were led by future Riddler Frank Gorshin. They were called a dialectic jazz band back then, but were second fiddle to the star of the movie. The movie? Where The Boys Are; the star, Connie Francis.
Moving up one notch to #2, Stevie Wonder and his cast of thousands with Signed Sealed Delivered (I'm Yours).
And that means the new top dogs is, ur, are:
AHEM... Bread, with Make It With You!
No more countdowns! Sorry Bob, I'm NOT doing the nineties- 100 hours of digging to find the fifty songs I actually like from that decade! Be back here next week for the start of a three week out of five span where the number one on Cashbox does NOT hit #1 on Billboard. Who are the rogues? Find out starting next week!