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


Friday, December 21, 2012

Time Machine week 47

Why does the sun go on shining?
Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don't they know it's the end of the world....
Welcome to an End Of The World Time Machine!  Today we're going to celebrate today's impending apocolypse by a special Skeeter Davis salute!  She's getting the where are they now treatment AND a six degrees that will connect her to of the most famous "non-official" college football themes of all time!  Plus my own personal end of the world music list, and a top ten that has a 40% turnover and a new #1!  And lots of exclamation points!  Hurry up and get in before it all ends!
I do a lot better on this weeks hot 100 debuts- out of 14, I'll mention 5.  Bobby Goldsboro comes in at 88 with Watching Scotty Grow.  Judy Collins' a capella Amazing Grace hits at 80.  The Grass Roots score at 76 with Temptation Eyes.  Coming in at 68 is a song we mentioned a few weeks back as being in the British top 5- Dave Edmunds' I Hear You Knocking.  And at 65, the Jackson 5 hit with their version of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.
That brings us to a good crop of birthday songs.  Turning thirty this week are Bob Seger's Shame On The Moon, The Pretenders' Back On The Chain Gang (perhaps appropriate to an end of the world countdown- "And I'll die as I stand here today/knowing that, deep in my heart,/they'll fall to ruin one day/for making us part..."), and Musical Youth with Pass The Dutchie.  Turning 35, ABBAs The Name Of The Game, Raydio in Ray Parker Jr.s first big break with Jack And Jill, and the beautiful Heatwave ballad Always And Forever.  Turning 40 this week are a couple of pairs of oddly matched songs.  One the one hand, you have Christian and Jew (the Doobies' Jesus Is Just All Right and Don McLean's Dreidel), and on the other you have good relationship/bad relationship (Anne Murray's Danny's Song and Edward Bear's Last Song).  Turning 45 are the Beach Boys with Darlin', Boyce and Hart's I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight, and for you Neil Young Decade fans out there, Buffalo Springfield with Expecting To Fly.  Del Shannon hits fifty this week with Little Town Flirt, and hitting fifty-five is the big hit for Tom and Jerry, Hey Schoolgirl.  The sharp among you know this as the first hit single for the duo later known as Simon and Garfunkel.  Blow out the candles...
Our fast climber this week is, not surprisingly, the Carpenters' Merry Christmas, Darling, which rises 25 to #50.  (Any other week, that would mean a Where Are They Now appearance!)  The big droppers- and there are two- are a pair of tunes falling 32 spots, after  just exiting the top 20.  Two weeks ago, Canned Heat was at #17 with Let's Work Together, and Wilson Pickett was at #14 with Engine Number 9.  This week they are at 54 and 57, respectively.  So there's an end-of-the-world bonus- Big droppers and almost but not quite shoutout in one fell swoop!
No's time for a where are they now for Ms. Davis.  She started her career as a trio with two other girls (unrelated to her) who called themselves the Davis Sisters.  One of them was prevented from touring, so it became a duet with Betty Jack Davis.  They had a huge country crossover hit in 1953 called I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know.  It spent 8 weeks on top of the country charts, and no less an expert than Billboard's Joel Whitburn named it the #65 country hit of all time.  Unfortunately, as it was climbing, they got into a terrible car accident.  Betty was killed and Skeeter was seriously injured.
Skeeter and Betty Jack
Betty's sister Georgia joined the act for a time, but in 1956 Skeeter decided to retire to get married.
She returned as a solo act in a couple of years, and racked up 4 pop and 24 top 40 country hits, including the last to chart, the ironically named #12 from 1973, I Can't Believe It's All Over.  Sometime that year, on her way to the Grand Old Opry, she observed Nashville police dragging in a group of "Jesus freaks", and that night dedicated a gospel song to them.  Shocked by such a blatent display of free speech, the Opry kicked her out for a year and a half.
December 15, 1973-Skeeter Davis was suspended by the Grand Ole Opry. As Skeeter said, "Hank Williams got kicked off the Opry for drinkin' too much old wine. Me? I got kicked off for singing about the new wine." What happened was that Skeeter was on her way to the Ryman for an Opry performance when she witnessed the arrest of what were known as "Jesus freaks", which was another name for the young people who were protesting not only in Nashville, but around the country. The arrests enraged Skeeter and on the Opry that night, she expressed her rage and by talking about it, singing about it and weeping about it. When she came off the stage after her performance, she was dismissed from the Opry. Later, a newspaper account of it said, "Her support of the 'Jesus loves you' street people made headlines, made enemies, made for a quick review of the unwritten rules against editorial comments on the Opry. She was stunned when told she was no longer a member." 18 months later, she was invited back to return to the Opry.

She later told an interviewer, " I felt so unloved (when the Opry exiled her)... it seems to me I've been a rebel all my life, too."

Skeeter passed from cancer in 2004 at the age of 72.

We have six top 40 debuts this week.  BJ Thomas avoids more teasing from me by hitting with a short-titled song, Most Of All, up 8 to #40.  Also up 8 is former Monkee Michael Nesmith and the 1st National Band with Silver Moon at 39.  Climbing 7 to #35 is a song I gave a rather dubious mention to when it hiot the hot 100 a few weeks back- Melaine's cover of Ruby Tuesday.  Gladys Knight and the Pips climb 7 also with If I Was Your Woman.  The Bee Gees rocket up 20 places to #34 with Lonely Days.  And Barbra Streisand climbs 8 to #33 with Stoney End.

How to explain this next feature?  I grew up in the sixties.  Between Vietnam, the Bomb, and the ecological collapse, a lot of people thought the world would end at any moment.  Some songs, like Barry McGuire's Eve Of Destruction, talked about it directly.  Others but brushed the subject.  And in my pre-eight-year-old mind, there were certain songs that reminded me of the impending end whether they had anything to actually do with it or not.  Leaving out our theme song for today, this is a "top ten" (based on how much they had this feeling for me) of my "end of the world songs".  Feel free to scratch your head as we go along.

10- Hurdy Gurdy Man, Donovan.  This was actually a later entry into the group.  When you look into who the hurdy-gurdy man was, it kinda creeps you out, like when you learn what "ring around the rosie" was about.

9- Love Child, Supremes.  I mentioned before how I always heard "worn, torn" as "war-torn", and I imagine that's how this got here.

8- Keep Searching (Follow The Sun), Del Shannon.  Songs about sunsets and songs that are the last big hit by an artist both have that kind of pull that drag them here, and this one has both.

7- California Nights, Leslie Gore.  See above.

6- Downtown, Petula Clark.  Long time Fort Wayne residents will get this- everytime I hear this song, I think of Wolf and Dessauers, Hutner's Paris, and the way Christmas used to be.

5- This Guy's In Love With You, Herb Alpert.  I think it's his sad horn here.

4- We'll Sing In The Sunshine, Gale Garnett.  Because it always reminded me of the #1 on the list.

3- Walk On By, Dionne Warwick.  I think it's the horn here, too.

2- Eve Of Destruction, Barry McGuire.  Self explanitory.

1- What The World Needs Now, Jackie DeShannon.  This one's pretty self-explanitory, as well.

We have 4 new top ten songs, so four jump ship. The quartet of droppers are Share The Land (6 to 11), 5-10-15-20(25-30 Years Of Love (7 to 12), I'll Be There (10 to 14), and Heaven Help Us All (9 to 16).

Since there's no connection to the top ten (and thus no reason to interrupt it), we'll do the six degrees next.  The lyrics to The End Of The World were written by one Sylvia Dee, who was memorializing her father's death.  She had other songwriting credits as well, including the lyrics to a song on the Elvis soundtrack Blue Hawaii called Moonlight Swim.  Her Co-writer here was Ben Weisman, who Elvis claime wrote more songs he recorded (57) than anyone else.

Among the credits on Blue Hawaii was Floyd Cramer on piano.  In addition to being one of those in-demand session men, Floyd had some hits under his own name, including the 1960 instrumental Last Date (which, ironically, the King's Are You Lonesome Tonight kept out of the #1 slot).  That song, in ever widening irony, was given lyrics by Skeeter in 1960, and the result- My Last Date With You- also peaked at #2 in 1960.  Boudleax Bryant, half of the husband/wife songwriting team of Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, assisted in these lyrics.  F & B Bryant had a few well known songs to their credit- Love Hurts, which Nazareth covered with great success; several songs for the Everly Brothers, including All I Have To Do Is Dream and Bye Bye Love; and the unofficial theme song for the U of Tennesee, Rocky Top!

Rocky Top, you'll always be... home sweet home to me...
And that brings us to our top ten this week.

Climbing 5 spots to #10 are Dawn with Knock Three Times.

The Ross-less Supremes edge in from 12 to #9 with Stoned Love.  I think this is now the Colorado state anthem...

Up 5 to #8 is Santana with Black Magic Woman.

The high top ten debut is Chicago, up 4 to 7 with a song from the BJ Thomas school, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Climbing a pair to 6 is Badfinger with No Matter What.

Brian Hyland's Gypsy Woman dances down a spot to #5.

Former top dog The Partridge Family's I Think I Love You slips a pair to #4.

The Fifth Dimension moves two to #3 with One Less Bell To Answer.

The Miracles drop a spot to #2 with Tears Of A Clown.

And that means the new #1 song this week is....

George Harrison with My Sweet Lord!!!

Well, if you made it this far and the world hasn't ended, and you wonder why, here's a possible explanation which I shamelessly stole from Facebook...


  1. CWM:
    Wow, those 2 Mayan guys really get around...LOL!

    Love the apocalyptic countdown, too.
    I plumb FORGOT about Skeeter Davis' I know I'm getting old.
    Did not know the U of T song was ROCKY TOP...
    (we used to jam on that with our guitars a LONG time ago.)
    McGuire's song was a big hit during 'Nam.
    (as was Fortunate Son and All Along the Watchtower...wonder why?)

    Hey, if thw world HAS to end (latest odds are about 20-1 against from Vegas), I can't think of a better way that spending some time HERE and taking a tune-filled ride when music was much better than it is today.
    (good stuff - nice sleigh)

    Have a great weekend.
    Stay safe up there.

      I could get along without you knowing about Rocky Top, But SKEETER???

      Oh, don't forget to throw Sky Pilot onto your list.

  2. My brother, Scott, was born the same year that "Watching Scotty Grow" was released. Of course, my parents bought the record. Ohhhhh.....blecccchhhhhh.
    How syrupy saccharin.

    1. You'd like it better if you just change where he sings "ol sleepyhead" to "old Knucklehead".