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


Friday, September 14, 2012

Time Machine week 33

Today is September 14th, 1970.  Nothing much happened today- apparently the world stopped for the wedding of Stevie Wonder and Syreeta Wright.  Now, yesterday, though, was a bit different.  With a $25,000 fee kicked in by a group of drug-running bikers called the Brotherhood Of Eternal Love, the Weather Underground helped LSD guru Timothy Leary escape from his prospective home for the next 20 years, the Federal Penitentery.  Leary was hustled to Algeria where he unloaded his presence on "fellow" fighter against the establishment Elbridge Cleaver.  The Black Panther leader thanked him for the visit by holding his wife and himself hostage for ransom.  They escaped again, and fled to Switzerland and then later to Afghanistan, where he learned you ain't in a country that doesn't extradite until you make it off the plane- and he didn't. A wonderful ending for the man who just months before announced his gubenatorial run against Ronald Reagan, a campaign whose "Come Together" slogan was the inspiration for the Beatles song of the same name, and which ended with his change of address to San Luis Opisbo Jail.

Or, Lock Up, Turn Around, Bend Over.

Welcome to Time Machine, and this has been a difficult one, frought with problems- not the least of which was having to step back a day to get a halfway decent lead-in.  But I think I have cobbled together a decent tale, featuring Bing Crosby, the Maharishi, Bernie Mac, and cameos from thousands.  I'll get to the problems along the way, and maybe when I'm done I'll just kick back and watch some football.  Ready?  Let's go!

10 hot 100 debuts this week, but only two worth mentioning- but they are biggies.  James Taylor hits the hot 100 for the first time with Fire And Rain coming in at #89; and the Carpenters roar in at #67 with We've Only Just Begun.

Which brings us to a rather short list of birthday songs- another one of the delightful problems this week.  Turning 30 are CSN's Southern Cross, the Pointer Sisters' I'm So Excited, and the Stray Cats' Rock This Town.  One of my sacred songs turns 35- Jimmy Buffett's Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes.  Turning 40 are Lobo's I'd Love You To Want Me and Eric Clapton's Let It Rain.  And hitting the big 5-0 are the Crystal's He's A Rebel and Chubby Checker's Limbo Rock.  Blow out the candles...

30? But that means we're... EEEEEEYAGH!

The big dropper this week are the Who with Summertime Blues, plummeting 52 spots to #92.  Two songs climb 25 spots this week. The New Seekers move to 44 with Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma; the other one is in the top 40, so no peeking.

On August 19th of this year (2012), the Facebook page of the site where I get my look back contestants posted this message:

I'm changing the web hosting of Music VF.
In a few hours, the sites should be faster and more reliable.

Today, the new, improved site was down.  When it came up, it still wasn't working right, so I had to do it the hard way.  And did I have my work cut out for me!  Because it's time to switch to the thirties, and I start off with a story so big, an epic sweeping as Elvis and the Beatles.  The top act of the decade- Bing Crosby.

Such a huge story, I can only hit a select facet of, even in a TM denuded of other features like this one.  Bing was a big star before he starred as a solo act, having been vocalists on many of the age's big bands, especially the previously featured Paul Whiteman.  It was 1927 when his first solo effort- his cover of Just A Gigolo- hit #12.  He followed it with his first chart topper, Out Of Nowhere (which certainly didn't match his situation).Bing totalled 16 top tens just that year, including another #1, Just One More Chance.  His last year to chart a new song was 1960, and in between he racked up 37 top dogs (the last one 1948's Now Is The Hour) and 15 gold records.  But of course his greatest accomplishment was his recording of White Christmas.

Everyone knows that this was the biggest single recording of all time.  But how did it get there?  The single charted in 20 different years, hitting #1 not only at first release in 1942 (for 11 weeks), but also in 1945 (2 weeks) and 1946 (one week).  it topped out at #3 in 1947, #5 in 1944 and 1949, #6 in 1943 and 1948, #7 in 1955 (its last top ten charting),#12 in 1961,  #13 in 1950, 1951, and 1954, #21 in 1953, #26 in 1960, #34 in 1957, #38 in 1962, and hot 100 chartings in 1956, 1958, and 1959.  In 21 years, it failed to chart only in 1952.

His last top ten appearance was True Love from the movie High Society (which if you don't remember, you need to watch), which hit #3 in 1956.  Perhaps I'll do a little more on Bing in next week's episode- Lord knows, there's enough there for more!

Now, did ya evuh?... What a swell party this is!

Our next problem is that once again, we have a Where Are They Now contestant who has passed from the mortal pale.  That being Isaac Hayes, who passed in 2008 after a second stroke in two years.  He is at #50 this week with the song I Stand Accused.  Much of the last part of his life was the controversy that his Scientology faith brought him, especially his well-publicised break with the degenerate cartoon show South Park.  But in his 13 years of faith, he established the Isaac Hayes Foundation (1999), worked in varying capacities with several human rights groups, oh, and was elected to the Rock'N'Roll Hall Of Fame in 2002, proving that they can do some things right.  He fathered 12 children, 14 grandchildren, and so far 3 great-grandchildren.  His last public performance was in the movie Soul Men, where he played himself and co-starred with headliners Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac- who died himself just the day before Hayes did, on August 10th, 2008.

Six songs enter the top 40 this week.  At 40, up 3 is a song called Eyerything's Tuesday by the Chairmen Of The Board.  Up ten to #39 is the Four Tops' Still Water.  Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band come back in with Express Yourself, up 6 to #38.  Then come three big climbers.  Glen Campbell's cover of It's Only Make Believe jumps 19 to #36; Three Dog Night also climb 19 with Out In The Country at #35.  And the big mover #2 at #34 this week was Free with All Right Now, up 25 spots.

Since it's been such a frequent topic around TM lately, I thought I'd give the ol' Almost But Not Quite to Elvis' I've Lost You, dropping to 27 after peaking at #18.  On a similar vein, two songs enter the top 40 so 2 drop out.  (They Long To Be) Close To You makes its second drop out of the top ten, falling from 10 to 23, while Bread's Make It With You falls from 8 to 16.

Dawn, featuring Tony Orlando, breaks 11 notches to #10 with Candida.

Blood Sweat And Tears parks at #9 for a second week with Hi-De-Ho.

Philanthropist and teen idol Bobby Sherman leaps from 13 to #8 with Julie Do Ya Love Me?

Eric Burden and War spill 4 notches to #7 with former top dog Spill The Wine.

Enough number jokes.  Chicago nudges up one to #6 with 25 Or 6 To 4.

CCR also moves one to #5 with Lookin' Out My Back Door.

Which brings us to this week's six degrees victim.

Mungo Jerry tumbles 2 to #4 with In The Summertime.  It was a #1 hit in the UK, and much covered.  One of those covers was the Idle Race, best known for being the first band for ELO's Jeff Lynne.  The band, who never managed to chart under Lynne in spite of a lot of nice ELO-esque cuts, had to replace Lynne when he moved on to The Move, and they did so with one Dave Walker.  His lead vocal on In The Summertime, which was virtually indistinguishable from Mungo Jerry's, took them to a top ten charting- in Argentina.  After the Race broke up, Walker ended up on a short stint with Fleetwood Mac, contributing vocals on two cuts of the album Penguin, including his own composition The Derelict.  Another new member of the band on Penguin (but with a longer stay in the band) was guitarist Bob Weston.  Bob was fired during a subsequent American tour for having an affair with Mick Fleetwood's wife, causing  the great Fake Fleetwood Mac Scandal, which I'm sure I'll get to someday.  More germaine to six degrees is that that unfaithful wife was one Judy Boyd, sister of Patti Boyd, who was George Harrison's wife until she left him for Eric Clapton.  Now, whereas Patti has the distinction of being the subect of several songs, including the Beatles' Something and Clapton's Layla, Judy had but one- Donovan's Jennifer Juniper, which hit #26 in 1967.  Judy made the acquaintance of the folk-singer as a member of the all-star group that accompanied the Beatles to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's retreat at Rishikesh, a group that not only included the two sisters and the Fab Four, but (of course) Donovan, Mike Love of the Beach Boys (see, the Beach boys connect to everything!), and Mia Farrow and her sisters, as well as jazz man Paul Horn.

One big happy, whacky family.

Diana Ross is up a pair to #3 with Ain't No Mountain High Enough.

Clarence Carter is up 2 to the runner up spot with Patches.

Which means, for a second week, the #1 song is Edwin Starr and War!!

And there ya have it!  See you next time.

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