Follow by Email

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


Friday, August 31, 2012

Time Machine week 31

Today is August 31, 1970.  Among the musical notes on the police blotter today is the arrest of Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul and Mary.  He was busted for doing what "was common practice, unfortunately..."  to wit- indecent liberties with a 14 year old groupie.  Not to worry:  realizing he was a good little leftist anti-war dope smoking hippie, Jimmy Carter pardoned him in one of his last acts in 1981.  At least though, Peter learned a valuable lesson- you must BE CAREFUL WHO YOU LET...

...puff the Magic Dragon!
And with that rim shot we move onto this week's Time Machine.  This week we feature mobsters, attempted murders, Buddy Miles doing Neil Young, a six degrees that ends in this week's debut at #68, a new top dog, the difference between a Seeker and a New Seeker, and probably the dumbest statisical study in the history of Time Machine. And with a cameo by Ed Sullivan, you know it'll be a reeeeeealy big shue! In the words of Styx, Light Up, Everybody...!

12 songs debut on our hot 100 this week- including the one we'll mention at the end of six degrees.  In addition, I have 6 more to mention.  Before I do, I noticed a couple of songs in the nether reaches that debuted before and you might be thinking, "Didn't Chris mention them?  Why aren't they in the top forty yet?"  Well, here's why.  Christie's Yellow River debuted 9 weeks ago, and is still moving- slowly- upwards, rolling along 7 to #83.  And Sugarloaf's Green Eyed Lady has taken the last 4 weeks rumbling, stumbling, bumbling from 97 to 90.  Be patient, they're on their way.

Coming in at 98 this week is Bryan Hyland (yep, the Itty-Bitty Teeny-Weenie-Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini guy) with Curtis Mayfield composition Gypsy Woman.  R. Dean Taylor is at 89 with Indiana Wants Me.  At 86 is Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma, by the New Seekers.  What's the difference between a New Seeker and an Old Seeker? The original Seekers broke up when my darling, my love Judith Dunham left for a solo career.  Guitarist Keith Potger decided to make an updated version of the band, and founded and produced the New Seekers in 1969-70, though he only performed on their second lp.  The originals re-united with a new female lead in 1977, while the New guys broke up in '74.  Both bands have de-formed and re-formed since then, with Judith returning to the originals in 1992.  But as they say on TV, any resemblance between the two bands is strictly coincidental.

Anyway, a band called 100 Proof Aged In Soul debuts at 82 with the raucous Somebody's Been Sleeping; Johnny Cash comes in one of my favorites, the heartbreakingly vivid Sunday Morning Coming Down; and at 65, Three Dog Night hits with Out In The Country.

And that brings us to our birthday songs.  Turning 30 this week are Kool and the Gang's Big Fun, the duo of Kenny Loggins and Steve Perry with Don't Fight It, and the duet of Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes with Up Where We Belong.  Turning 35 are Foghat's I Just Wanna Make Love To You, Dave Mason's We Just Disagree- along with another that I'm going to save for just a little bit.  Turning 40 are the Spinners' I'll Be Around and the Doobies' Listen To The Music.  At 45 this week are The Association's Never My Love, Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze, and Lulu's To Sir With Love. Turning the big 5-0 are Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kicker Five with the very first charting of The Monster Mash, and the legendary Gene Pitney with Only Love Can Break Your Heart.  Oh, and turning 60 is a song by Guy Mitchell called Feet Up (Pat Him On The Po-Po).  After reading the lyrics, the song is about his newborn son, which of course means his "po-po" is his bottom.  Hmmm.

This might not seem the time for it (but there's a method to my madness), but right now I'm going to do this week's almost-but-not-quite shoutout.  Since we've dealt with this one a couple of times now, I'll mention Neighborhood's version of Big Yellow Taxi peaked last week at 24, and slides to 30 this time.  The Who's take on Summertime Blues topped out at 14 last week, and slides to 25 this week.  And dropping from 11 to 13 is the inimitable BJ Thomas with another long-winded title, I Just Can't Help Believing.  Which got me thinking that it might be interesting to set up BJ against some random singer and see if his proclivity for long song titles is as bad as I make it out to be.  But then I was doing the birthdays, and amongst those turning 35 was Barry White's It's Ecstasy (When You Lay Down Next To Me).  And I said, y'know, Barry has a lot of loooong song titles himself.  And I decided it was time to find out who was the king of long titles.

So I went through BJ's discography first.  He charted 45 songs with a total of 216 words in them- including an 11, a 10, and 5 eights- for an average of 4.8 words per title.  Barry charted 56 times with pop and R&B, rolling up 286 words- never breaking double figures, but piling up 4 nines, 4 eights, and 8 sevens- for a per-song average of 5.1.  So from now on, I guess I'll have to use the Barry White School of Long Song Titles.

Lissen up, baby, my titles aren't my LONGEST thing...
Speaking of big things, the big dropper is a song we haven't mentioned yet (and likely never will again).  Paul Kelly peaked at 54 with his tune Stealing In The Name Of The Lord last week; it falls 39 spots to 93 this time.  Big mover's in the top 40 once again.

Our where are they now victim this week are the Fifth Dimension, who land at 50 this week with On The Beach (In The Summertime).  The original group had unravelled a bit after the hubby/wife team of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., left in 1975.  But a succession of replacements kept the band alive, if not on the charts.  In 1990-1 McCoo and Davis joined them on tour, and in 1995 they put out one last album of new stuff, In The House, before accepting the mantle of "nostalgia act".  McCoo and Davis still perform together.  Ron Townson left the band in 1997 and died 4 years later; Lamonte McLemore retired in 2006, leaving Florence LaRue as the last original still with the group, still touring at 68 years old.

Top 40 debuts this week include: up 2 to 39, another WATN featuree Lost Generation with The Sly, The Slick, And The Wicked; our big mover this week, flying up 31 to 37, Neil Diamond with Cracklin' Rosie, giving Neil 2 debuts in the last three weeks (Solitary Man is at 27 this week); Ernie the Muppet, AKA Jim Henson, comes in at 35- up 17- with Rubber Duckie; Anne Murray wings in 8 spots to 36 with Snowbird; Tom Jones gains 13 to 34 with I (Who Have Nothing); and Dawn leaps 27 notches to 33 with Candida.

Hey, Bert!  I'm in the top 40!

Our salute to the past this week focuses on Ruth Etting.  Weaned on Broadway, Ruth piled up 62 top fortys, 38 top tens, but only hit the top with the second to last song of her 12 year (1926-37) career, 1935's Life Is A Song.  One of her best known songs wasn't a chart hit, but a tune from 1931's Ziegfield's Follies- the classic Shine On Harvest Moon.  She was married to gangster "Moe the Gimp" Snyder, who agressively managed her career.  In addition to song and dance, she did several movie shorts and three feature films.  One of those was 1933's Mr. Broadway, which starred (and was co-written by) Ed Sullivan as an entertainment reporter who ran into many of the stars of the day (who played themselves in the film).  By 1937 she was pretty much retired and divorced Moe the Gimp.  He wasn't exactly graceful about it and shot her pianist and new boyfriend Myrl Alderman.  Moe was convicted of kidnapping and attempted murder, but like a good gangster got out on appeal a year later.  A decade later her life became the movie Love Me Or Leave Me, with her part being played by Doris Day, and- naturally- the part of Moe going to Jimmy Cagney.

"' I told him, Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player!"

Three new songs in the top ten, three come out.  The three droppers are: Tighter, Tighter falling from 8 to 23; Lay A Little Lovin' On Me from 7 to 12; and Close To You from 6 to 11.

Ronnie Dyson, a graduate of the BJ Tho Barry White School, holds at 10 for a third week with the 13-worded If You Let Me etc., etc.

A six-notch jump from 15 to 9 for CCR with Lookin' Out My Back Door.

It's 9 to 8 for 25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago.

Diana Ross leaps 6 as well to 7 with Ain't No Mountain High Enough.

Moving up six is all the rage this week; Clarence Carter does it to #6 with Patches.

And dropping from 1 to 5 is our six degrees victim.

We've actually done a six degrees worth of stuff on Stevie Wonder's Signed Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours), but here's some more.  As we know, the song was redone years later by Peter Frampton on the I'm In You lp.  One of the background vocals on Frampton's effort was an old hand named Mike Finnegan.  A veteran session man on organ, Finnegan has among his credits organs on a couple of the cuts on Hendrix's Electric Ladyland, the songs Rainy Day, Dream Away and Still Rainin', Still Dreamin'.  Another player on these songs was world famous drummer Buddy Miles.  And this week on our hot 100, Miles scores a debut at #68 with his version of Neil Young's Down By The River.

Bread slips a notch to 4 with Make It With You, a song my son says would have been better if somebody else did it.  I think he was wanting some electric guitar on it.  Hmmm.

Mungo Jerry moves up 2 spots to #3 with In The Summertime.

Edwin Starr lays siege to the top spot, moving 2 to #2 with War.

Which is ironic, because the new #1 song this week is...

War, featuring Eric Burden, with Spill The Wine!!!

Yee hahh, another show done!  See ya next week!


  1. August 31, 1976: After a day and a half on a train, I arrive at the Navy's Great Lakes Recruit Training Command. My life hasn't been the same since. But, I can sure fold my underwear.

    1. That would have been nice to throw in a year or so ago, when I did 1976. Not the underwear part, though.

  2. This is insanity, where do you come up with this stuff, or where do you find all of this stuff :) I can't believe that opening story though, that's crazy in itself! Have an awesome weekend CW :)

    1. It is a labor of love, MB. The first story I thought ironic in that one of last weeks birthdays was their I Dig Rock'N'Roll Music, which, as well as being a damn good song, was also a cynical dig at the RNR industry. They got so holier than thou on the subject (being folk singers, they were above that sorta thing), and then excuse statutory rape with, "Everyone's doing it".

  3. CWM:
    Good find with Moe the Gimp...LOL
    (never heard about that until I read this)

    ANd of course, you ran the gamut of fantastic songs...songs we can't seem to create THESE days.

    Makes me wonder when the paradigm will shift and we CAN make even better songs...if such a thing can still become a possibility.

    Excellent post.

    Stay safe (and music-filled) up there.

    1. Yeah, well, the chances lessened with Hal Davids death...