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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, November 9, 2012

Time Machine week 41

It's November 9, 1970.  Some people will tell you that today's biggest news was the death of Charles DeGaulle.  Renegade general for Free France to trusted ally to the man who charted an independant course for France, not caring whose feathers got ruffled.
Or, for the more domestic-minded, you might say that the big news was the Supreme Court by a 6-3 vote refusing to hear arguments about a new Massachusetts law giving citizens the "right" to refuse to fight in an "undeclared" war.  Considering the era of declaring war died in Korea 20 years before, I've my doubt how long that lasted.
But I, your humble author have found the most far-reaching news of this day.  Today NASA launched the OFO- the Orbiting Frog Otolith rocket.  Despite the fact it was now 16 months after Armstrong walked on the Moon, now we decided to shoot a pair of bullfrogs into space to measure the effects of weightlessness on the inner ear (specifically the otolith part) and balance.  The frogs were "surgically prepared" (which included strapping them in to prevent movement- other than their heads, which were moved remotely by scientists- and hooking them up to IV nourishment) and sent off to orbit the earth.  The mission was a "success"- they found that there had been "changes" to the inner ear in space, that reversed themselves after 10-20 days.  Like they couldn't have figured that out from the men, chimps, and dogs who'd ALREADY been shot into space, but whatever.


Welcome to Time Machine, and I have a wealth of info on music and such for you today, including the case of the strangled aunt on the Where Are They Now, the mystery of the band leader who partnered with Batman to solve a crime, the connection between Free and the Travelling Wilburys,who came up with the old jingle "Raise your hand if you're Sure" and why it appears on a music show, and the Curious Case of the Talking Guitar.  Oh, and a new number one!  So let's have at it, shall we?

We start off as always with this week's hot hundred debuts, and out of 12 new songs on the overall chart, I'll mention 5 of them.  Coming in at 99 is an act billed Runt (because Todd Rundgren thought "Todd Rundgren" might be a bit of a mouthful) with the saga of LeRoy Boy and his dating troubles called We Gotta Get You A Woman.  At 91 we have Van Morrison (who'll reappear in a couple minutes) with Domino.  Santana breaks in at 85 with Black Magic Woman; at 66 is Neil Diamond's version of the Hollies big hit He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother.  And at 64, Chicago follows up 25 Or 6 To 4 with Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

I know, it's time for our birthday songs, and we have a bucketfull of 'em!  Turning 30 this week is the Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney duet This Girl Is Mine, along with Men At Work's Down Under, John Mellencamp's Hand To Hold Onto, Steve Winwood's Valerie, Phil Collins' cover of the Supremes' You Can't Hurry Love, Frieda (from ABBA) with I Know There's Something Going On, and Prince with 1999.  Turning 35 are Kansas with Point Of Know Return, Andy Gibb's Love Is Thicker Than Water, Earth Wind And Fire's Serpentine Fire, Van Morrison (see, I told you he'd be back) and Moondance, and a song about a talking guitar by the band Stillwater called Mind Bender:

My Daddy was a GIBSON
My Mama was a Fender
That's why they call me Mindbender
Mindbender. That's my name
You better believe it
It was a mind-bending thing



Turning 40 this week are Jethro Tull's Living In The Past, Eric Carmen and the Raspberries with I Wanna Be With You, Three Dog Night's Pieces Of April, Curtis Mayfield's Superfly, and Stevie Wonder's Superstition.  Turning 45 are the Monkee's Daydream Believer, The Bee Gees' Massachusetts, the Small Faces' Itchycoo Park, and Gary Puckett and the Union Gap with Woman, Woman.  Hitting the big 5-0 is the Drifters' Up On The Roof; and Chuck Berry's original on Rock'N'Roll Music and Jimmie Rodgers' Kisses Sweeter Than Wine hit 55.  Blow out the candles...

Our big mover this week, speaking of the Supremes (which I did if you were paying attention), are the Ross-less Supremes with Stoned Love, climbing 19 to #64.  The big droppers both fall 16 spots- El Condor Pasa, still in the top 40 to #30, and Three Dog Night's Out In The Country to just outside at #41. 

And that brings us to #50 and Where Are They Now with the dropping Unite The World by the Temptations, which peaked at 30 two weeks ago.  The Temps are one of the longest running bands in history, so I will focus on the quintet featured on this particular song. 

Otis Williams is the one surviving original member, and one of two who never left.  He was the group's organizer and leader, but never the frontman.  He is still touring with the band at the age of 72, with a group of younger men headed by Ron Tyson, brother of the Manhattans' David Tyson, and the third-longest tenured Temptation.

Melvin Franklin is the second longest.  He and Otis promised themselves, amidst the ever-changing lineups, that they would never leave, and Melvin stayed as long as he was physically able.  Cortisone shots for his years-long battle with arthritis gave Melvin scads of autoimmune problems, including diabetes, and in 1995 he fell into a coma and passed away.

Dennis Edwards had replaced lead singer David Ruffin by this time.  He was with the band from 1968 until Otis Fired him in 1977.  He returned in 1980, but building a tentative solo career led to him missing rehearsals- and shows- and he was replaced again by Allie-Ollie Wilson in 1984.  In the late 80's, he formed a project with two other former Temps singers- Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks- which fell apart when the others passed away.  He still leads "the Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards" with the son of another Temp, Paul Williams, Jr.

Kendricks was with the band from the beginning until a final blow-up with Otis and Melvin in 1973, and had solo success with the #1 (and now commercial jingle) Keep On Truckin'.  He did go back for a reunion tour in 1982, but was cursed with lung cancer, which took a lung in 1991 and his life less than a year later.

Paul Williams was considered by many the heart and soul of the group, but was a man dogged by mystery.  He left the band under mysterious circumstances shortly after this lp (along with Kendricks), and soon later was found dead in a Detroit alley.  He had just left his girlfriend after an argument.  He apparently shot himself in the head- but the family disputed this because he was found with the gun in his off-hand.  His royalty checks were to be divided between sons Paul Jr. and Kenneth.  Kenneth went to jail in 1989 for strangling his aunt with a phone cord and served 20 years.  He had asked his sister to save up his checks, but when he was released in 2011, found that she had spent them all- around $220,000 worth.  He is currently suing her.

We have 6 top 40 debuts this week.  The Guess Who leap 12 to #40 with Share The Land.   Recent WATN feature Mark Lindsay's And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind climbs from 41 to 39.  Up 5 to 38 is a song called Part-Time Love by Ann Peebles.  Ann, in addition to a reasonably successful R&B career, wrote the hits I Can't Stand The Rain for Eruption (#18 in 1978; she also released it and hit #38 in 1973) and I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down ( #13 in 1985) for Paul Young.  Up 8 to #37 is one Jake Holmes with So Close.  Jake is better known for being the writer of Led Zeppelin's Dazed And Confused, as well as for a string of commercial jingles that included "Be all that you can be" for the Army, "Be a pepper" for Dr. Pepper, and of course, "Raise your hand if you're Sure" for Sure anti-persperant.  Another recent WATN, Mashmakan's As The Years Go By, moves from 44 to 36 this week, and at 35, up 11, are Washington, DC soul group The Presidents with 5-10-15-20 (25-30 Years Of Love).

Our lookback, as I promised in last week's comments, features the Kay Kyser Orchestra.  Kay became a household word for the long-running (1938-49) radio quiz show Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge, but he also led- and sang for- a very talented band.  They racked up 41 top tens and 5 #1s from 1935-48, including the #1 Jingle Jangle Jingle.  He was known for making stars of band members, including future talk show host Mike Douglas- and one guy I always wondered about. 

You see, I grew up watching Gene Rayburn's Match Game, and one of the completely random terms often thrown in was "Ish Kabibble".  Ish Kabibble was actually the stage name of Kysers' cornet player and class clown, who got the name from a "made-up Yiddish" term "Ische ga bibble" which perported to mean "I should worry?"

In February of 1941, he became the first bandleader to perform in front of military personell.  Unlike many who faded away as the reached the end of their career, the Kyser band got hotter, with 7 of their last eight hits making top 10, 5 of those top 3, including the #1s Old Buttermilk Sky in September of 1946, and Woody Woodpecker in June of 1948.  His band also appeared in a handfull of movies playing themselves, often with plots revolving around them (including one where Kayser learned acting from John Barrymore and another where he had a "hypnotic eye").  In another ground breaking move, he appeared in Detective Comics #144, in which he and Batman discovered that he had a sax player who moonlighted as a crook.

Kyser became a Christian Scientist in the mid 40s after drugs failed to cure his arthritis.  He passed away in 1985.

Three songs enter the top 10, three fall out.  Dropping are Green Eyed Lady (5 to 11), Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma (10-13), and Cracklin' Rosie (7 to 18).


The Kinks slide down 2 to #10 with Lola.

Glen Campbell comes in at 9, up 2, with It's Only Make Believe.

100 Proof Aged In Soul climb a notch to #8 with Somebody's Been Sleeping.

Bread rises (another pun you'll never get tired of) from 13 to #7 with It Don't Matter To Me.

And here sits our six degrees victim, Free falling to #6, down three, with All Right Now.

Everyone knows that Free basically morphed in to Bad Company when singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke got tired of the soon to mbe deceased guitarist Paul Kossoff's drug problems.  Another member of Bad Co. was Boz Burrell, who had been the bassist for the ever-revolving door of Prog-rock band King Crimson.  Among Burrell's bandmates there was Bill Bruford, who was KC's fourth drummer and became the first drummer for Yes.  He was there for Yes' first 4 lps- which means he played on the hits Long Distance Runaraound and Roundabout- before moving on to KC.  There, he replaced Ian Wallace, who went on to have a big career as a studio guy, performing on such songs as Stevie Nicks' Stand Back, and- the Travelling Wilburys' first single, Handle With Care.

The Partridge Family pulls their bus up 10 spots to #5 with I Think I Love You.

James Taylor climbs 2 to #4 with Fire And Rain.

R Dean Taylor moves on up to #3 with Indiana Wants Me.

The Jackson Five step out of the top dog seat, going to #2 with I'll Be There.

Which means i have to find a new picture for th the new #1 song this week is...

... the Carpenters with We've Only Just Begun!!!!

Well, that was fun!  See you next week!



1 comment:

  1. Cwm:
    Holy woodwinds, that was a great find about Kyser and Batman,...!
    ANd I LOVE the song SHARE THE LAND!

    Did not know that ANY of the original "TEMPS" were still alive, let alone "kickin'.

    November 1970 - was workimg at my FIRST job after high school - warehouseman at the old SEARS in Philly.
    Now THOSE were some good days to listen to good songs.

    Excellent ride this week.

    Stya safe up there in Musicland!

    ReplyDelete