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


Friday, August 24, 2012

Time Machine week thirty

Today is August 24, 1970.  At 3:42 AM, a Ford Econoline packed with a ton of the same stuff used in such places as Oklahoma City, which had been pulled up next to the Sterling Hall at the U of Wisconsin's Madison campus, explodes.  The objective, the Army Mathematics Research Center on the second, third and fourth floors.  Despite having enough explosive power to damage 26 surrounding buildings and to put van fragments on top of an eight story building three blocks away, the objective floors are so lightly damaged that only one day of work was missed.

The 1st floor and basement were not so fortunate.  In the basement was Dr. Robert Fassnacht, a physics professor who had come in late at night to work on some experiments before heading out on a family vacation.  He left behind a wife, a three year old son, and a set of twin one year old daughters.  Another professor, Henry Baschall, saw 25 years of his life's work destroyed.

I won't dignify the leftist scum who did this by naming them other than they called themselves the "New Years Gang."  One of them was never caught, and is reported to be hiding out in Canada.  If any of my Canuck readers find him, I think treating him to his own episode of "The Grey" would be appropriate.  Two others served three of their seven year sentences.  One of them was later busted in Indiana for meth making, and later died of lung cancer.  The other passed the Oregon bar in 1987, but was refused admission because of character issues (AKA not repentant of his earlier life of terroism).  The ringleader served 10 of a 25 year sentence, and then spent a lot of time making a living on the Madison campus selling juice and food.  Somehow, this is not real surprising , the Madison campus traditionally such a hotbed for communists and anarchists that the only thing that surprises me is that the bombers didn't go to the faculty first to see if they'd have pitched in for a ramp so they could've driven the van into the second floor.  In 1986, the lead worm had this to say in an interview:

"I still feel we can't rationalize someone getting killed, but at that time we felt we should never have done the bombing at all. Now I don't feel that way. I feel it was justified and should have been done. It just should have been done more responsibly."

Which is Moronspeak for, "If only we hadn't f'ed up and actually trashed the AMRC, it would have been justified to take those kids' father from them."  I'll bet the Wisconsin bar would admit him, though.

Welcome to Time Machine, and this week is going to be a bit odd.  We have two of those oddities coming up in the birthdays; a cameo by the Waring Blendor;  an in depth discussion of the difference between a Billboard #1 and a Cashbox #1; and a six degrees that, like a coconut creme pie you just dropped on the floor, is kind of all over and includes such notables as Tommy James, Jay and the Americans, Paul Simon, Dion, and Donna Summer.  Teased enough?  Okay, let's do this!

Hey, Kyle!  Wake up, I said, "Let's DO THIS!!!"
This week the hot 100 debut bell rings nine times, and I'm mentioning four of 'em.  At 100, mentioned for the why rather than the what, is Elton John's first American chart hit, Border Song.  James Taylor comes in at 86 with Fire And Rain; just above him at 85, Linda Ronstadt's first solo chart hit, Long Long Time.  And three spots north of that, Free hits at 82 with All Right Now.

Those songs turn 42 this week.  And now to kick off the rest of this week's birthdays...

My son KC turns 23 today! When he was born, pop music stunk... Richard Marx was at #1 with Right Here Waiting.  HOWever, where music counted- the Mainstream Rock Chart- we were 2 days away from Tom Petty hitting the top with Free Fallin'.  That one, KC would aprove.

Moving from 1989 to 1982, we have four songs that turn thirty.  Juice Newton, who recently capped off the Eighties countdown, celebrates the 30th birthday of Break It To Me Gently; Huey Lewis' Working For A Living also hits 30, along with Joe Jackson's Stepping Out and country crossover Sylvia with Nobody.  Turning 35, ironically, (and stay tuned for why that is ironic) is Peter Frampton's version of Signed Sealed Delivered, I'm Yours.  Along with, we also have Eric Carmen (with the Beach Boys) and She Did It, the Commodores and Brick House, and one very special birthday child.

This week 35 years ago, Paul Davis first hit the hot 100 with I Go Crazy.  This song took a slow, meandering course to popularity;  it took 11 weeks to hit the top 40.  6 weeks later, it would seemingly peak at 22, and by week 19 it was out of the top forty.  However, it returned to airplay alley on week 22, and two weeks later surpassed its earlier peak. It was into the top 20 in week 25, and reached the top ten on week 29.  It peaked at #7 in weeks 31-2, and finally passed out of the hot 100 after spending week 36 at #59. On Billboard, it actually made 40 weeks, holding the record for one-appearance singles for several years.

Other birthdays included Emerson Lake and Palmer's From The Beginning, Johnny Nash's I Can See Clearly Now, and the Eagles' Witchy Woman turning 40; Peter Paul and Mary's tongue in cheek I Dig Rock'n'Roll Music turning 45; and Bobby Vinton's Rain Rain Go Away turning fifty.  Blow out the candles...

Big dropper this week is the Jackson boys with The Love You Save, falling 27 spots to 64.  The big mover is a top 40 debut.

Last week I mentioned that we were moving into a stretch where the Cashbox #1s weren't necessarily the Billboard #1s.  I gained the opportunity to do a little deeper When double dipper Tommy James landed on the Where Are They Now spot yet again, climbing to 50 with a song called Ball And Chain.  And what I found kinda surprised me.

The difference between the two charts were in the method of collecting and interpreting data.  Imagine you're checking out the weather radar online.  You have a choice called "smoothing" that takes the jaggedness and short term spikes out of the picture if you turn smoothing on.  So think of BB as "smoothing on" and CB as "smoothing off."  With the Cashbox charts, you get a lot more of the "real time" changes without the "smoothing that made BB more pop-py.  That said, I checked the charts from our current start at January 1970 to the original Time Machine's start in late Spring 1975.  And the results are that CB had a lot more #1s than BB- a LOT more.  Of the 190+ #1s on CB in that time period, a full 35.5% were songs that did not hit the top on BB.  I won't list all 69 rogue #1s; but on the other side of the fence there were 7 tunes that hit BB's top but not CB's in that same span:  Janis Joplin's Me And Bobby McGee and the Stones' Brown Sugar in '71; Michael Jackson's Ben in '72 (Which was odd, because the Jacksons' Mama's Pearl, Never Can Say Goodbye, and Got To Be There all hit #1 on CB but not BB); Maureen McGovern's The Morning After in '73; Cher's Dark Lady in 1974; and the Eagles' Best Of My Love and the Doobies' Black Water in early '75.

Just three top forty debuts this time around.  The big jumper, The Spinners' It's A Shame shoots up 23 to #38; Ray Stevens hits at 39, up 2, with America, Communicate With Me; and edging in at 40, up five, is Detroit rockers Frijid Pink with Sing A Song For Freedom.

Our blast from the past this week is Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians (more of Bobby G.'s homeboys).  In an 11 year recording career, they charted 50 top 40s, 32 top tens, and 5 top dogs.  These included his biggest hits, Memory Lane in August of 1924, and the next biggest- their first- Sleep from December of the year before.  Waring and his brother first founded their dixieland/jazz band at Penn State, back before PSU stood for Pedophile State U.  At first doing upbeat, novelty-styled tunes, they grew into more serious musicians by the dark days of the early thirties.  Wiki just says he abruptly stopped doing recordings in 1932;  another site let me in on the reasons.  Radio stations were finding it cheaper to play recorded music that to have in house bands; but the artists were getting no royalties-per-play.  Waring became heavily involved in the Artists Protective Society (APS), and it was for this reason that he quit recording altogether.  If they weren't going to be paid for playing on the radio, then you'll just have to go see him live.

He remained involved in music until his death in 1984.  He ran choral schools for 37 years; and was the star of his own TV show from 1948-54.  He also became an investor on the first electric blender sold commercially; he put his own name on it, and the Waring Blendor became a cultural icon.  Fred actually died after recording a performance at Penn State in 1984.

"...put me through some changes, Lord, sorta like a Waring Blendor..."

Just one song into the top ten, one drops out.  Band Of Gold descends from 9 to 20.

Ronnie Dyson pauses at 10 for a second week with If You Let Me Make Love To You, etc, etc.

Chicago rockets into the top ten, up 5 to #9 with 25 Or 6 To 4.

And dropping three to #8 is our six degrees victim.

We've already mentioned how Alive And Kicking's Tighter, Tighter was a Tommy James comp, and that the future Mr. Donna Summer, Bruce Sudano, played in the group.  In between ANK and Brooklyn Dreams, Bruce and his buddy and also future Brooklyn Dreamer Joe Esposito were members of a reborn version of a band called The Mystics.  The original Mystics recorded the original Hushabye, which hit #20 back in '59.  This was their second attempt at a first single; the first one they were offered was taken away from them and given to Dion and the Belmonts- and that was Teenager In Love.  After Hushabye, they struggled to get out of Brooklyn.  After their first lead singer quit, he was replaced by a kid going by the name Jerry Landis- although you probably know him better as Paul Simon.  After he left to be Tom (or Jerry, I'm not sure which) in the duo Tom and Jerry (AKA Simon and Garfunkel), he was replaced by Jay Traynor- yes, Jay of Jay and the Americans.  Thus, the Mystics hold the record for lead singers having the most hits after leaving, without ever hitting the charts WITH them.  The Mystics split in '61 and reformed to become a nostalgia band in 1969, and it was this incarnation which Sudano et al joined briefly; they remain together, more or less, as a nostalgia act.  Alive And Kicking?  They disbanded in 1972 to get away from Mo Levi and the mobsters at Roulette records;  the band reformed later, and now they hire out as a wedding band.  You can get the full band for one price, or founder Pepe Cardona and his son as a duo a bit cheaper. You can also get a deal on those two and the female lead, who is not an original.

Robin McNamara moves up one more to #7 with Lay A Little Loving On Me.

The Carpenters long to be Close To You: you must have slipped 3 notches to #6.

Mungo Jerry climbs 2 to #5 with In The Summertime.

Edwin Starr also climbs 2 to #4 with War.

Bread drops 2 to #3 with last week's #1, Make It With You.

Eric Burden and War moves 2 to #2 with Spill The Wine.

And the new #1 song (and the reason why that Peter Frampton birthday song was ironic)...

Stevie Wonder with Signed Sealed Delivered (I'm Yours)!!!!

That's it for this week.  See ya next time!

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