Welcome to this week's Time Machine. This week, one new song joins the top ten and two fall out (?), a big week if you're stoned, where Baron Longfellow is now- and who he is, and a new # 1! Make sure your safety glasses are on in case I have to blow my nose, and lets go!
Thirteen songs debut this week, and I'm going to mention three now and one more in a little bit (and no, that doesn't mean it debuts in the top 40!) James Taylor comes in with one of his best, Carolina In My Mind, at 93. Dawn debuts at 87 with Knock Three Times. And at #72, Three Dog Night with One Man Band.
This leads us to our birthday songs of the week. Turning thirty Are Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with You Got Lucky, Air Supply with Two Less Lonely People In The World, and Michael McDonald's I Gotta Try. Turning 35 are Elvis with My Way, Randy Newman's controversial (if you were an idiot) Short People, Sean Cassidy (not the Cassidys again!) with Hey Deanie (which was a neat song but a bad name for a girlfriend), Samantha Sang's Emotion, noted atheist Billy Joel's Just The Way You Are, and a dance hit by a band called Odessy you might remember, Native New Yorker. Turning 45 is Johnny Rivers' most underrated hit, Summer Rain, and my personal vote for stupidest song of the sixties, John Fred and the Playboy band with Judy In Disguise. Finally, hitting the big 5-0 is Go Away Little Girl- not by Donny Osmond, though he was (amazingly ) 5 years old at the time- but by Steve Lawrence. Blow out the candles...
The road to the top 40 is a rocky one, and perhaps never more so than this week. The Supremes sit at 54 with Stoned Love; Barbra Streisand sits at 69 with Stoney End. And debuting at 95 is an instrumental called Stoned Cowboy by a Miami outfit called Fantasy. Formed in 1967 around twin brothers Billy and Bob Robbins, brother Billy soon went missing... his body wasn't found till years later, cause of death never determined. 16 year old Lydia Miller took his place as lead singer, and they did one lp before she went out to find success solo (which she never did). The rest of the band renamed themselves Fantasy Year One, but never again hit the charts.
We have two big climbers and one dropper this week. The dropper is (where have we heard this name before) Three Dog Night, falling 44 spots to 85 with Out In The Country. And the climbing pair each rise 22 spots- Chicago's Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is to #42, and Santana's Black Magic Woman to #63.
And that brings us to our Where Are They Now feature, and this week we feature Baron Longfellow. Who, you ask? Why, that's a pseudonym for Andrew Youakim! Still blinking your eyes? Okay, our number 50 song this week is by both of these men- AKA Andy Kim, who hits with his cover of Be My Baby. Andy, a Lebanese-Canadian, had attained his first measures of fame as a bubblegum writer for the Archies- he had a co-credit on Sugar Sugar. He soon had his first hit with Rainbow Ride, and followed it up with the #9 hit Baby I Love You. He wrote his #1 Rock Me Gently in 1974, and by 1976 he stopped touring. After a half-decade of inactivity (partly because he thought his actual dark Lebanese complexion was at odds with the image his songs gave of a blond-haired, blue-eyed Canadian), he emerged for a pair of mid-eighties lps under the name Baron Longfellow. He also had a 1991 hit in Canada under just the name Longfellow with a single called Powerdrive.
A couple years later, he did a one-shot show that also featured the band Barenaked Ladies. Ten years later, BNL singer Ed Robertson coaxed him out of retirement. He is recording again, and has organized a charity Christmas Show in Toronto every year since 2006.
|Andy Kim... he thought you were expecting some blond guy.|
3 songs enter the top 40 this week. Up 4 to 40, the future "Disco Lady"s man Johnny Taylor hits with I Am Somebody. Climbing 8 to 36 is Ronny Dyson with I Don't Wanna Cry. And up 10 spots to 33 are Woodstock stars Canned Heat with Let's Work Together.
Our look back this week is Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra. Another Canadian act- and you know how we love Canadian acts- they got there start as the Orange Blossoms, playing at the Casa Loma Hotel in Toronto. After getting a contract, they left the hotel and changed the name (having never played at the Casa Loma Hotel as the Casa Loma Orchestra), and moved to New York. There, they were incorporated, with every member being a board member and stockholder, and each being responsible to the board for their performance. For example, Gene Gifford, their arranger, was responsible for their early unique sound- but came before the Board in 1935 for his alcohol problems, and was bought out. Originally Glen Gray, the saxaphonist, was "first among equals" and not the leader; It wasn't until 1937 that he was "elected" to the lead. The band's career ran on the charts from 1931-1945, and they recorded long after. Their big year was 1934, when they hit the top 20 17 times, six of those in the top ten. Their biggest hit was 1943's My Heart Tells Me (Should I Believe My Heart?), one of their 5 #1s and 30 top tens.
The band was featured from 1933-36 on the Camel Caravan, a variety radio show whose theme was the band's hit Smoke Rings. The show itself went on until 1954, with various acts featured until Bing Crosby took over in 1939. By the mid-forties, Gray found himself the owner of the corporation; ill health had him retire in 1950. The band continued, though, under his ownership until his death in 1963.
I have three Almost But Not Quite shoutouts. Teegarden and Van Winkle's God Love And Rock'N'Roll peaks at 14 this week; The Who's See Me Feel Me peaks at 16; and Blood Sweat and Tears' Lucretia McEvil drops this week to 24 after peaking last week at 17. Also, a Yellow River progress report: it moves from 32 to 25 in its 20th week on the chart-and third on the top 40.
One new song joins the top ten, but two drop out. How does that happen? Well, unlike last time, it's not a mistake on my part. A song that had dropped out of the top 10 climbs back in this week. So two songs drop- Lola, from 10 to 13, and It's Only Make Believe, falling from it's peak of 9 to 11.
Sugarloaf moves back up to #10, a one notch climb, with Green Eyed Lady. Welcome back!
Free drops from 6 to 9 with All Right Now.
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles blast up from 12 to #8 with Tears Of A Clown.
Bread holds at 7 (drat! No "rising" joke this week!) with It Don't Matter To Me.
100 Proof Aged In Soul moves 2 to #6 with Somebody's Been Sleeping.
And that brings us to a slightly underdone six degrees.
I'll Be There, which drops from 2 to 5, was the first ballad for the Jackson boys. Berry Gordy decided it was time to take a chance, and called in a new group of writers for the band, headed by Motown producer Hal Davis. Hal would also co-write their first foray into a more disco flavor, the hit Dancing Machine off the lp G.I.T. Get It Together. This lp also had a former Temptations and Rare Earth song called Hum Along And Dance. The Temps had it as the b-side of our recent WATN feature Unite The World, while Rare Earth had it on their acclaimed lp Ma. Both the Jacksons and RE were instrumentals with basically the only words being one band member saying along the lines of, "Hey, why aren't there any words?" and another answering, "we didn't have time to write any!" Which was basically the only contribution to the song on their lp, since Gordy didn't allow the Jacksons to play on their albums (which led to their leaving Motown soon later), and the only other thing they did was shout, "Play it!" at each other. Of course, the Temps had the same thing on their cut, with the Motown studio band the Funk Brothers handling the music.
James Taylor holds at 4 with Fire And Rain.
The Carpenters step down to #3 with last week's top dog, We've Only Just Begun.
The Partridge Family climbs 3 to #2 with I Think I Love You.
And the number one song this week...
And that is another stitched together epic on Time Machine! See you next time!