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

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Time Machine week 38

Welcome to October 19, 1970.  As the first tenants began today to move into One World Trade Center (though the upper floors were still being constructed), a grisly Manson-esque murder was being committed in California.  Dr. Vincent Ohta, his wife, two kids, personal secretary, and cat were shot execution-style and dumped into their swimming pool, and his mansion designed by a FL Wright protege was lit afire.  At first there was no clue except a note that read (in part):
" today world war 3 will begin as brought
to you by the people of free universe. From this day forward, anyone
or company of persons who misuses the natural environment or destroys
same will suffer the penalty of death by the people of the free
universe."


The savior of the universe was soon caught as Ohta was a friend of the hippie community.  John Frazier, who was leading a normal life until mescaline and LSD turned him into an "eco-freak" six months earlier, was fingered and despite being pretty much out of his mind, ended up getting life in prison (once California abandoned the death penalty) and to this day is one of those government expenses they are having so much trouble meeting.  For more on this story, go here.

This is Time Machine, and this week I have a mini-special.  In honor of this being the week 50 years ago that Sherry fell from #1, we're going to play a little trivia.  Also this week, we find out who sang the meows on the old Meow Mix commercials, link Tony Orlando to the second of two look-back features, oh, and a new #1.

Plus, it's that time of year again! Click on the Martin Hall Of Fame link at the top of the blog (up by President Nixon), peruse the list, and see if there's anyone you'd like to nominate, and in two weeks we'll bring in the latest class of honorees.

Let's kick it off with the trivia feature.  Throughout the blog, I'll list the songs that were in the top ten when Sherry slipped from #1.  You try to guess which one knocked Sherry out of the top spot, and I'll rattle off the top ten that week in order later on to see if you guessed right.  Your first three contestants: Nat King Cole's Rambling Rose; The Crystals' He's A Rebel; and Chris Montez's Let's Dance.

Now onto the hot 100 debuts this week. There were 14 of 'em, and I will note 4.  Singer, actress, and political expert Barbra Streisand comes in at 98 with Stoney End;  Badfinger debuts at 92 with No Matter What; at 90 is the song I want played at my wake, the Guess Who with Share The Land; and at 87 the Fifth Dimension with One Less Bell To Answer.

Which of course brings us to our birthday songs this week.  A lot lighter a list this week.  Turning 35, we have Queen's We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You, Rod Stewart's You're In My Heart, LeBlanc and Carr's Falling, and Chic's Dance Dance Dance (Yowzah Yowzah Yowzah).  Turning 40 are Gilbert O'Sullivan's Clair, and Billy Paul's Me And Mrs. Jones, that tramp.  Hitting 45 are Dionne Warwick's I Say A Little Prayer, Gladys Knight and the Pips' version of I Heard It Through The Grapevine, and Glenn Campbell's By The Time I Get To Phoenix.  Turning 50 this week, apropriately enough, is the Four Seasons' Big Girls Don't Cry, along with The Tijuana Brass' The Lonely Bull and Elvis' Return To Sender.  The King also hits 55 this week with Treat Me Nice, along with Sam Cooke's You Send Me.  Blow out the candles...

Your next three contestants? Booker T and the MGs' Green Onions; Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-kicker five with the Monster Mash; and Bent Fabric's classic instrumental Alley Cat.

The big mover this week belongs to- where have I heard this before- the Partirdge Family with I Think I Love You, climbing 17 spots to #52.  WHICH reminds me- it was pointed out last week by Bobby G. that I might indeed be a closer look alike to Dave Edmunds than to David Cassidy, as I had posited.  Let's see, shall we?


Me 'n' Dave:  There are some things you can't cover up with lipstick and powder...

The big dropper this week is Clarence Carter's Patches, falling 35 to #52.

Which then brings us to our Where Are They Now contestant.  And this week at #50 we have Mark Lindsay, late of Paul Revere and the Raiders, with And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind.  This would be Mark's last venture into the top 50, despite soldiering along both as a solo act and with the Raiders, except for the big hit Indian Reservation (which was actually a Mark solo recording credited to the Raiders).  He retired from touring briefly after the band broke up in '77, becoming A&R head at United Artists (in which capacity he had something to do with Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street, but my research only managed to turn up that the previously reported story about Rafael Ravenscroft being paid for his sax lick with a bounced check was a fabrication:  "Don't believe everything you hear," Ravenscroft said when asked).  He also wrote ad jingles before turning back to touring after doing a concert to celebrate the Statue of Liberty's centennial in 1985.  He "retired" from touring again in 2004, but soon returned and is currently doing the Happy Together tour with Flo and Eddie, the Grass Roots, the Buckinghams, and Mickey Dolenz.  At least, that is how it appears- he hasn't updated his "official website" since October of 2010.

Final three contestants, so you have some time to mull it over:  Dickie Lee's Patches; Gene Pitney's Only Love Can Break A Heart; and the Contours' Do You Love Me.

Which rolls us up to the top 40 debuts this week, and we have five of them.  Moving up 8 to #40 is Dionne Warwick's Make It Easy On Yourself.  Up 4 to #39 are the aforementioned Grass Roots with Come On And Say It.  Joe Cocker's Cry Me A River jumps 15 to land at #38.  The Temptations come in at 34, up 8 with Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite The World).  (Aren't you glad they at least subtitled it?) And finally at 33, an 11-notch climb for the hardest working man in show business, James Brown and Super Bad.

Before I go to the lookback segment, an almost but not quite shout out to three songs that are on their way down.  The Spinners peaked at 15 last week with It's A Shame, and it's a shame that it now drops to 37.  Hotlegs' Neanderthal Man (no word on whether the Geico caveman is offended) falls from a peak of 20 down to 40.  And finally, Michael Nesmith's First National Band drops from 17 to 45 with what should have been another top ten hit, Joanne.

Our lookback this week is on Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra.  "The Sentimental Gentleman Of Swing" started out working with older brother Jimmy- the Trombonist/clarinetist duo played with many top bands, including (and didn't everyone of the era start with) Paul Whiteman.  After doing their own band for a while, the brothers split up and became "solo" stars.  Tommy racked up 132 top 40s, 81 top tens, and 11 top dogs according to MusicVF, and hit his peak when from November of 1942 to October of '43 he had (again, according to MVF) his top 4 all time hits- There Are Such Things, It Started All Over Again, In The Blue Of Evening, and Boogie Woogie.  I have some problems with MVF this week, and one of them is that while they say this is his top 4, two of them didn't hit #1 (It Started.. peaked at #4, and Boogie Woogie at #5).  I think it has something to do with whatever arcane formula they use to combine the US and UK charts.

Anyhow, Tommy acquired a rep for head-hunting from other bands, as well as hiring and firing based on his perfectionism, and apparently his mood at the time.  At one point he loaned Glen Miller money to start his band; but when Miller didn't want to give Tommy a percentage as part of the payback, he sponsored Bob Chester's band under the condition that they play the same style as Miller in order to compete with him.  Like many big bands, they broke up right after WWII as musical style changed; but when a greatest hits lp was a big hit the next year, he reformed the orchestra, hitting #9 with How Are Things In Glocca Morra in March of '47.  He went on to have 3 more singlkes- two top tens- in 1949.  In 1956, a combination of a big Thanksgiving dinner and sleeping pills led to his choking in his sleep.  With the permission of his wife Jane (whom he met at the Copacabana in 1948), Warren Covington continued to lead the band, and they hit the top ten with Tea For Two Cha Cha in 1958.

Two songs enter the top ten this week, two drop out.  Ain't No Mountain High Enough tumbles from 7 to 16, and Looking Out My Back Door falls from 4 to 23.

Ready for the Sherry answer?  Here's the top ten fromthis week in 1962: 

Let's Dance was #10.
Only Love Can Break A Heart was # 9.
Alley Cat was #8.
Patches was #7.
He's A Rebel was #6.
Green Onions was #5.
Do You Love Me was #4.
Rambling Rose was #3, after spending three of the six weeks at #2.
Sherry was #2.

Which means our answer was...

... Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Monster Mash!  Did you get it?

Onto this week's top ten.

Anne Murray slips from 6 to 10 with Snowbird.

Moving up five to #9 are Three Dog Night with Out In The Country.

Rare Earth slips from 5 to #8 with (I Know I'm) Losing You.

Up five spots to enter the ten at #7, Sugarloaf and Green Eyed Lady.

Up 3 to #6 is R Dean Taylor with Indiana Wants Me.

Free moves up 3 to #5 with All Right Now.

The Carpenters zoom from 10 to 4 with We've Only Just Begun.

And that brings us our six degrees- along with a mini-lookback.

Candida by Dawn falls from the top spot to #3.  It was a collaberative composition by several people, including three members of the Tokens (The Lion Sleeps Tonight).  In fact, Tokens' drummer Phil Margo played on the record.  One of the members of this original iteration of Dawn was a woman named Linda November.  Linda was a session singer who made a name as a commercial jingle singer, and sang the catchy "meow meow meow meow" song for Meow Mix cat food.  She was also one of the main singers of the Wing And A Prayer Fife And Drum Corps, when they took their disco-ized version of the old standard Baby Face into the top 40.  Baby Face was first recorded in 1926 by the Jan Garber band and hit #1 according to wikipedia.  Jan (short for Jacob Charles) was a band leader in the Guy Lombardo-Rudy Valley mold who had 59 top 40s, 26 top tens, and 3 #1s according to MVF- BUT Baby Face was NOT on their list for some unknown reason.  It was, on their list, a #6 hit for a man called Whispering Jack Smith that year, though.

The Jackson Five move up a spot to #2 with I'll Be There.

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

Neil Diamond with Cracklin' Rosie!!!

Don't forget to comment with your nonimations for the MHOF!  See you next time!

2 comments:

  1. CWM:
    ROFLMAO...I thought this psot would another treasure-trove of musical wionderfulness and a trip down memory lane...UNTIL I saw that pic of DAVE EDMUNDS..then I was GLAD I didn't have a mouth full of soda...!
    Nice find of THAT particular picture...and yes, I think there is a resemblance.

    Now, to the MUSIC:
    Good call with the look-back at Tommy Dorsey.

    And Tommy had a PLETHORA of talent passing through HIS bandstand in the years his orchestra was playing, not the least of which was SINATRA, whose singing "style" mimiced the dulcet tones of a slide trombone...wonder where he got THAT from?

    (Gotta thank my late DAD for allowing me to appreciate the music from that era - that's all he used to play on that new-fangled stereophonic system with those vinyl LPs)

    The more recent hits were too numerous for me to comment on, but I will say that although those songs seem (to me) to never really grow THAT old...WE HAVE...and I can't believe SO many years has passed since those tunes first came out...amazing.
    Did not know about the connection between the "meow mix" gig and DAWN...wow.

    Great ride this week (as usual).
    Best E-ticket ride this side of DISNEY...!

    Keep on rockin' up there!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I was seeing "spit take" when I found that picture too.

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