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


Friday, September 21, 2012

Time Machine week 34

It's today, September 21, 1970, and a much busier Monday than the one we had last week.  Two days before, we were reading about the death of Jimi Hendrix.  But today is much better.  For one, Vida Blue of the Oakland A's (a team that would become my favorite in just 2 years) threw a no-hitter against the Twins.  He walked one and struck out 9, and Bert Campaneris hit a 3-run homer off Jim Perry (Gaylord's brother) in a 6-0 win.  Not a baseball fan?  Well, that night, Monday Night Football debuted!  The Browns beat the Jets 31-21, overcoming the 2 TDs scored by the wonderfully-named Emerson Boozer by picking Joe Namath 3 times- the third was a contest-ending 25 yard pick-6 by Billy Andrews.  I even have something for you liberals- the first modern Op-Ed page was printed in the NY Times today.  And here's something I'll bet you didn't know- Op-Ed does NOT mean "opinion-editorial";  It refers to the section's physical location, OPPOSITE the editorial page.  You have my permission to stop reading and play "stump the significant other" with that one, if you come right back.

And this?  This is another excursion on the Time Machine bus.  Today we feature:  The BeeGee that burned down Johnny Cash's house; the Saturday Night Live star who graphically designed a rock'n'roll album cover; why Bing Crosby shot his first movie roll in handcuffs; a six degrees that is more like six one-degrees; and a cameo by The Gong Show!  (Hopefully, that will not prove to be prophetic.)  Climb aboard and let's rock!

Okay, who's singing Feelings first?
Today we have one of those rare occasions when the highest debut in the hot 100 is in the top 40!  While you mull that over, also among our 11 debuts this week are: at 60, Crosby Stills Nash and Young's Our House; at 92, Bobby Bloom's Montego Bay.  Here's another "stump the significant other" for you:  despite being a one-hit-wonder singing-wise, Bloom was a co-writer on that international piece of immortal classic music, Tommy James and the Shondell's Mony Mony!  Finally I want to mention the song that comes in at 98 this week.  You may not know it because it didn't get far- Poco with You Better Think Twice.  Now some of you remember that Poco had the 1978 hits Crazy Love and Heart Of The Night.  But these boys had been toiling around for a long time.  At the point that this song was recorded, they were still basically the remnants of Buffalo Springfield, with Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Timothy B. Schmitt in the roster (Schmitt having just replaced Randy Meisner, who went to the Eagles).  But by the time they became known, a lot had changed.  Furay had left to join JD Souther (You're Only Lonely) and Chris Hillman (the Byrds) in the Suther-Hillman-Furay Band; Messina had left to do a solo career (but got sidetracked into being Kenny Loggins' partner), and Peter Cetera of Chicago had recommended one Paul Cotton to take his place.  And when Schmitt decided to pick up where Meisner left off once again and joined the Eagles, the band went on hiatus, and Cotton and original member Rusty Young set off as a duo.  But the record company would only take the completed album if it was marketed as a Poco album.  Thus, the other remaining original, drummer George Grantham, was out of the band without either quitting or being fired.  The album cover was done by a young graphic artist and up-and-coming comedian named Phil Hartman, later of SNL back when it was still funny occasionally.  That album was called Legend, because Poco, with its collection of stars was indeed a legend- even though the highest single they ever charted before this lp only made it to #50 (Keep On Tryin' in '75, and Indian Summer two years later).

Phil Hartman's finest hour- except for that Telly Savalas spoof.

Which brings us to the birthday song section.  Turning thirty this week are Billy Joel's Pressure and Chicago's Love Me Tomorrow.  Chicago also has a 35th birthday this week with Baby What A Big Surprise, as well as Kiss' Love Gun, Judy Collins' Send In The Clowns, the Carpenters' cover of Calling Occupants, one of my favorites- Pablo Cruise's A Place In The Sun... and one more.  In fact, when I was still doing the Volume One TM (which started in 1975), this was the date that I was considering wrapping up Time Machine all together, because it was the debut date of the song that changed music forever- How Deep Is Your Love by the BeeGees, the first cut from Saturday Night Fever.  But then the Cashbox site went down, I re-booted, and the rest is history.

Turning 40 this week are Mott The Hoople's All The Young Dudes and Seals and Crofts' classic Summer Breeze.  Turning 45 are the Doors' People Are Strange (and Jim would know), and another all time favorite- Strawberry Alarm Clock's Incense And Peppermints.  Turning 55 are Bobby Helms and My Special Angel and the Everly Bros with Wake Up Little Susie.  Blow out the candles...

The big dropper this week is the Assembled Multitude's Overture From Tommy, falling a whopping 47 to #80; the big climber is Sweet Baby James Taylor's Fire And Rain, up 25 to #64.

And that brings us to another rock'n'roll casualty in our where are they now segment, as sitting this week at #50 is Johnny Cash with Sunday Morning Coming Down.  In addition to being a country superstar, Johnny hit the top 50 on the pop charts 15 times, with tunes like I Walk The Line (#17), Ring Of Fire (17), Folsom Prison Blues (32), A Boy Named Sue (2), One Piece At A Time (29) and Daddy Sang Bass (42).  One of his old tunes that I loved in my youth and heard a million times growing up, I was surprised to find was never released- San Quentin.  He also wrote over a thousand songs, including I Walk The Line, Folsom Prison Blues, and Tennessee Flat-Top Box, which daughter Roseanne took to #1 on the country charts.  His last big success was the cover of Nine Inch Nails' Hurt, which despite only hitting #56 (and #33 on the modern rock chart), was named 2003 song of the year by the CMA.  It was filmed in a former home of his that had been converted into a museum, but had since closed and fallen into disrepair.  After his death, Barry Gibb and his wife Linda had bought it with an eye to renovation.  Unfortunately, their hired workers failed to read the section about flammability on the linseed oil they were using to strip it down, and burned the place down.  This was memorialized in Roseanne's song Burn It All Down on her powerful album Black Cadillac.

Eight songs hit the top 40 this week.  Up three to #40 is Donovan with Riki Tiki Tavi.  The Moments climb 11 to #38 with If I Didn't Care.  Climbing 16 to #37 is the haunting Linda Ronstadt song Long Long Time.  22 spots up to #36 is Canadian (yes, Canadian) singer/songwriter R. Dean Taylor with Indiana Wants Me.  Taylor, who was actually a Motown act who had co-written songs for the Supremes like Love Child and Living In Shame, composed this one after watching the movie Bonnie And Clyde.  Jumping 9 notches to 35 is the New Seekers with Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma.  Up 8 to #34 is the Grand Funk Railroad classic Closer To Home.  Simon and Garfunkel crack the top 40 one last time before the split with El Condor Pasa moving up 13 to #33.  And our high debut, the high debut on the whole chart- have you got your guesses in yet? -are the Jackson Five with I'll Be There, making their Hot 100 debut at #28.

Today I bring you part two of the Bing Crosby salute.  Now Bing had gotten a start of sorts with a vocal group called the Musicaladers (?).  They broke up a couple years later (1923), but Bing and fellow member Al Riker (not Roker, Riker!!!) formed a duo.  They were noticed by a member of Paul Whiteman's band, and Whiteman signed them onto his touring entourage.  They returned the favor by introducing Paul to Al's sister Mildred Bailey, who not only would sing with Whiteman, but on her own would collect 10 top tens, including 1938's So Help Me.

Now, Paul and Bing didn't exactly get along despite his popularity, because of Bing's drinking.  Not to mention Whiteman's fans weren't exactly enchanted with the duo of Crosby and Riker.  Whiteman's solution to both problems was to throw another lush into the mix.  That lush was one Harry Barris- future uncle to The Gong Show's Chuck Barris.  He and Al both played piano and all three sang, and soon the newly christened "Rhythm Boys" were all the rage.  Not so much with Paul, though;  He was filming a musical about him and the band called King Of Jazz, and not only were there high expectations on the film, but the Rhythm Boys were to be getting their first national face time, and Bing was to get a solo.

But Paul thought a good morale boost for the boys would be to buy them all brand new Fords to tool around LA with.  But putting a drunk in a car is never wisdom, and soon Bing had crashed his right in front of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.  Incarcerated during filming, Whiteman pulled strings to allow Bing- in handcuffs- to do his bits in the movie.  But the solo was scrapped, and after the movie was in the can, Whiteman fired the lot of them.  More Bing next week.

Shoulda bought me a boat... a lot less things to hit... oh, the flaming wreck behind me... had nothing to do with it... Bu Bu Bu Bu.....
2 songs enter the top ten this week, two fall out.  Spill The Wine spills from 7 to 17, and Hi-De-Ho hits the ol' sweet roll from 9 to 21.

Aretha Franklin and the Dixie Flyers nudge up a notch to 10 with Don't Play That Song.  No worries there, I don't care for Aretha.

Neil Diamond leap 9 big notches to #9 with Cracklin' Rosie.

Mungo Jerry slips from 4 to 8 with In The Summertime.

Dawn moves up 3 to #7 with Candida.

Chicago holds at 6 with 25 Or 6 To 4.

Bobbby Bobby Bobby Bobby Sherman moves from 8 to 5 with Julie Julie Julie Do Ya Love Me?

CCR moves up a notch to #4 with Lookin' Out My Back Door.

And that brings us to an attempt at a six degrees for this week.

Edwin Starr falls to 3 after two weeks on top with War.  I tried several different ways to do this.  I started with the fact that the Temptations had done this first, a much milder version on the lp Psychedelic Shack.  Demands were made by fans and DJs to release it, but the Temps, or at least their management, were afraid of what such an inflammatory song would do to their image.  Thus it got pawned of on a "third string singer" in the Motown stable named Edwin Starr.  And that's where the Temps line petered out.

So then I saw in one Wiki article that the Undisputed Truth were the backup vocalists on Starr's version.  However, another source said it was another house group, and I never found any proof to the first story.  Two lines now shot.  So I thought, let's look at what else Starr did.  Well, he had had one prior hit- 25 Miles, which I know and love, but found very little info about.  So I looked the other way, and on the pop charts he was shot after his follow up Stop The War Now.  He didn't want to do this song- he figured doing a carbon-copy would type-cast him and ruin his career.  But far be it from anyone to tell Berry Gordy he was wrong, and Starr proved right.  However, he did do some cameos with a couple of strange British acts later on.  One of them was a two-girl rap group called the Cookie Crew (presumably because one of the ladies had been a chef for the Ministry Of Defense).  Another was a dance music outfit called the Three Amigos, who broke up when one of the members thought that making money the old-fashioned way (selling cocaine to London gangs) was preferable to music, and had to take a 7-year break in the penitentiary to think about it.

Diana Ross comes one step closer to the peak with Ain't No Mountain High Enough edging up to #2.

And that means our new top dog this week is.....

Clarence Carter with Patches!!!

Okay, that's it for another week, a much better effort than last IMHO.  Tune in next time when I get even better!


  1. CWM:
    Now THAT was one heckuva walk down memory lane...tons of tidbits I never knew.

    I wonder why we don't hear a lot more of the songs YOU mention on the oldies stations?
    I would think that an oldies station would NEVER have want of a repeat tune...not with ALL you have to choose from.
    Then again, they need to play MORE music...and talk less (imho).

    To me, a TRUE oldies station should follow the playlists they USED to have "back in the day"...that would seem a lot more in step with things.

    And to think some of those songs have been around since I was (at least) TEN...ooh, man, I AM getting old(er).

    Nice info on the "Bing-meister"...
    (you been digging deep, ain't cha?)

    Another excellent ride this week.

    Keep on rockin' 'cause you only rock once!
    Stay safe up there.

    1. Oldies stations tend to play the same songs all the time do to methodology. I was a member of one of those sessions once. Magic 95.1, I believe. They gave us sets of like five songs in a group and asked which one we'd rather hear. Then they co-gagulate all the responses, and if you don't have a base that has as wide ranging of tastes as ours, you end up with Bob Seger's Old Time Rock And Roll and Van Morrison's Brown Eyed girl 5 times a day, often about the same time every day. That's why Pandora and Sirus XM makes such good money.