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


Friday, December 28, 2012

Time Machine week 48

Before we start, I want to mention the passing of Fontella (Rescue Me) Bass.  I am currently planning on a Time Machine look at the musicians we've lost this past year, coming next week.

Today is December 28, 1970- and nothing has happened of note for the last two days- or will happen for the next two.  But oh, what happened three days from now!  That was the day that Paul McCartney filed suit to dissolve the Beatles partnership.  It wasn't a step he desired, despite all that had happened this year- he was advised it was the only means at his disposal to prevent financial "guru" Allan Klein from raping what was left of the Beatles' fortune.  Paul had never liked Klein, and in fact refused to sign the paperwork putting Klein in charge.  So Paul began to dig into Klein's manouvering, and found a lot more than what the press and the other Beatles saw as sour grapes because Paul wanted to put his father-in-law John Eastman in charge.  He found a more-than-a-year long stretch that no one at Apple records could produce ANY accounting documents.  He found that, although Klein's contract allowed him 20% of any INCREASE in royalties he managed to negotiate, he was taking 20% of the TOTAL royalties.  And while his claim was tenuous to any royalties on the members' solo projects, he intended to take a cut there as well.  When Paul found out, he directed EMI not to pay any of the royalties from his solo lp to Apple, to put them "on hold" until he found out what was going on.  EMI did this, but gave an accounting of the amount to Apple, and Klein deducted "his cut" from the Beatles' general fund!

It was pointless to explain this to the others, especially with Lennon and Harrison's utopian view of their fellow man.  They learned later, when Klein tried to keep Yoko Ono from recording on Lennon's album, and when his last minute finigling put some of the funds from Concert For Bangla-Desh in limbo for decades- while he sold promo copies of the lp and pocketed the money himself. Then, they too, sued Klein.   Somehow, I don't think either of them went to Paul afterwards to confess what fools they were.

Paul WAS right- who'da thunk it?
Welcome to Time Machine, your weekly time-trip into the world of music how it was, and other interesting tidbits.  This week, a salute to a man who spent 65 years with one woman and 44 years with one record label (Hint, it ain't Gene Simmons), A Where Are They Now featuring a rock'n'roller who retired to become an evangelist (still not Gene Simmons), and a six degrees that meanders its way through Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, George Benson, and Anita Baker (but not Gene Simmons).  Plus a top ten that has NO new entries!  So if you're not too busy celebrating that the world didn't end (or sitting in misery that the world didn't end), climb aboard!

This week's show sponsored by Gene Simmons- JK

This week, a week that we turn over zero % of the top ten, we turn over a fifth of the hot hundred!  However, I'll be mentioning just five of the 21 debuts.  The Osmonds come in at 95 with One Bad Apple.  A worse apple awaits at 94 for you death metal pioneers- Bloodrock's classic D.O.A.  Let Your Love Go comes in at 76- and not the Bellamy Brothers' song from '76, but Bread's totally different single from... well, from this week in 1970.  Gordon Lightfoot comes in at 69 with If You Could Read My Mind.  And at 71, well there's a funny thing about #71.  You see, this holiday marked the first appearances of three Christmas classics- and they all spend their last week of the season on the charts this week.  The Carpenters' Merry Christmas Darling moves up 9 to #41- and that's where it stops after 3 weeks.  The Jacksons' Santa Claus Is Coming To Town shoots up 14 to #51- and that's where it dies after 2 weeks.  And this week, Joe Feliciano spends his one and only week this season with Feliz Navidad at... #61? No, #71!  How's that for weird coinkydinks?

That leads us to one of our smallest hauls of birthday songs we've yet had.  Turning 30, which is of note if you watched the Brian Setzer Orchestra on Fox's NFL pregame this week, are the Stray Cats with Stray Cat Strut, as well as Duran Duran's Hungry Like The Wolf and The Who's Eminence Front.  Turning 35 is Clapton's Lay Down Sally; turning 40 are Lobo's Don't Expect Me To Be Your Friend, The Spinners' Could It Be I'm Falling In Love, and the Eagles with Peaceful Easy Feeling.  And wrapping us up with a song that turns 45, Paul Muriat's orchestra with Love Is Blue.  Blow out the candles...

Our big climber this week belongs to Jackie Moore, with Precious Precious moving up 19 to 43. I've a feeling we'll learn a little more about Miss Moore in a couple of weeks. The big dropper was I'll Be There, who can fight off gravity no longer and tumble 33 spots to 47.

Another act we'll probably be hearing more of is our Where Are They Now victim at #50.  Joe Simon is in that spot, with a tune called Your Time To Cry (I haven't listened to this yet, so I'm not sure if he's talking about Judy or not*).  While a bigger name on the R&B chart, he did get 8 tunes into the top 40, including the three that hit #1 R&B- 1969's The Chokin' Kind, 1972's Power Of Love, and 1975's Get Down, Get Down (Get On The Floor) (which hit 13, 11, and 8 respectively).  The Choking Kind was designed as a country tune, written by Harlan Howard, who also wrote the immortal I Go To Pieces for Patsy Kline.  In the late 70's he bowed out of the music business and went into evangelism, becoming a licenced Bishop (obviously not a Catholic bishop) and running a congregation and a foundation in Flossmour, Illinois.  This spring, he quit putting off a problem breathing and went to the hospital, ending up having life saving quadruple bypass surgery in late March. (*longtime Leslie Gore fans will get that one.)

Oh, YOU know who that miserable little slut Judy is...

We have 6 new members of the top 40 this week.  At 39 we have the male version of Judy, Stephen Stills, with Love The One You're With climbing 10 spots.  Rare Earth moves up 9 to 38 with Born To Wander.  Los Angeles one-hit-wonders Redeye go from 42 to 37 with their hit Games.  Edwin Starr hits the 40 with his unwillingly typecast follow-up to War, Stop The War Now, climbing 9 to #36.  Eternal optimist Curtis Mayfield also climbs 9 to 32 with (Don't Worry) If Ther's A Hell Below, We're All Gonna Go.  And with a bit of irony after that one, the high debut, climbing from 44 to 31, is Lynn Anderson with Rose Garden.

Jeez, Curtis, it ain't THAT bad...
Our lookback falls on someone who was a big hit in the 40s- and has the #27 single this week as well!  Perry Como (first name Pierino) was the first of the horde of Como children born in the US of A.  He became a musical prodigy as a young child, but it was the other talent he was prodigious at that was his first goal.  He set his sights on becoming the best barber in Cannonsburg, PA, and by age 14 had his own shop.  He was soon hiring on, and his specialty was singing to wedding party customers as his boys gave the groomsmen the full treatment.  He was content with this life, marrying the woman he'd be with for the next 65 years, Roselle, in 1933.

Somewhere along the line, he was heard by bandleader Freddy Carlone who offered him a shot as his vocalist.  It would mean leaving his newlywed wife at home and trading a $125 a week job at his Barbershop for a $28-a-week salary as vocalist for Carlone.  He went home to ask his father, whom he thought would smack him upside the head and say, "What're you thinking?"  Instead, his papa told him if he didn't try, he'd never know if he could have made it.  So he tried. 

Shortly thereafter, he got an offer from the Ted Weems band, who offered him $250 a week.  He was going to turn it down out of loyalty, but Carlone told him to go for it.  Weems had just gotten a record deal and a radio show, and the radio guy told him "lose the singer, he sounds too much like Bing Crosby", which Weems promptly said he stays or the deal's off.  However, they did work on his singing style (which Perry admitted it was hard to understand his words on).

In 1942 he quit Weems' band and went home, willing to say, "It was fun, but it's time to get to work again".  While he tried to arrange a place for a new barbershop, he got contacted with a slew of offers- including what proved to be a long-term engagement of a radio- and later TV- show sponsored by Chesterfield Cigarettes.  Within a week, RCA Victor signed him to a recording contract- and he stayed with them for 44 years.  For their trouble, they got a singer that sold so many records, he asked RCA to stop keeping count, including 48 top 10s and 14 #1s, including his biggest, Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes from 1952.  While his biggest year was 1949- 15 hits, 6 of them top ten, including the #1s Some Enchanted Evening and A-You're Adorable- his hottest period was a July 1945- June 1946 streak that saw him score 12 top tens, 10 top fives, and 3 number ones, including Prisoner Of Love and Till The End Of Time.

His time of constantly being on TV ran from 1948-67.  He retired in 1994 and passed in 2001, just 3 years after his beloved wife.

Perry with two of his great loves- barbering and his son Ronald.
NO songs come into the top ten, so none fall out!

Gypsy Woman slides from 5 to 10 for Brian Hyland.

Badfinger blasted its way into the countdown, hit a wall, and now bounce back from 6 to 9.

The Supremes vol. 2 move up a notch to 8 with Stoned Love.

The Partridges flutter down three to 7 with the former top dog I Think I Love You.

Chicago edges up one to 6 with Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Santana moves up from 8 to 5 with Black Magic Woman.

Dawn shoots up 6 to #4 with Knock Three Times.

And our six degrees contestant is at #3.

Tears Of A Clown, which slips a notch, Was the brainchild of Stevie Wonder and his writing compadre Hank Cosby.  They had come up with the tune, including the circus-like calliope section, but had no words.  They took it to the 1966 Christmas party at Motown, and played it for Smokey.  Smokey took the circus riff and came up with words.  It was an lp cut on their lp Make It Happen, but was never released until summer 1970, when Smokey was considering retirement and Motown UK wanted something to release.  It topped the charts there, and of course did so here as well a few months later.

One of the stand out lyric lines, "Just like Pagliacci did/I keep my sadness hid", he took from another song he wrote, My Smile Is Just A Frown (Turned Upside Down), that was a minor hit for one Carolyn Crawford.  Carolyn's career never really took off, and she spent a couple of years with a group called Chapter 8 in the mid-seventies before giving up.  She was replaced by the much more famous Anita Baker, who of course had her own stardom including the breakout hits Sweet Love and Giving You The Best That I've Got in the eighties.  The second was written by one Skip Scarborough, whose repertoire of love compositions include a song we had in the top ten not long ago, the Friends Of Distinction's Love Or Let Me Be Lonely, along with LTD's R&B hit Love Ballad which George Benson later covered for a top 20 hit, and one of my faves, Bill Withers' Lovely Day.

Sliding into the runner-up slot are the 5Ds with One Less Bell To Answer.

Which means that we have a repeat top dog this week....

....George Harrison with My Sweet Lord!!!!

Next week, we'll look back at who we lost in 2012... along with hopefully some other cheerful and more funny bits.   See you next year!!!

1 comment:

  1. CWM:
    I always "test myself" when it comes to your list of songs...and I DO remember MOST of them (thankfully).

    Your Perry Como look-back was BRILLIANT!
    Can't beat a barber (who can also sing) from PENNSY...LOL!
    Sorry, my bias is showing.

    He WAS one of THE greats of my time (as well as my parents).
    Talk about STAYING POWER.
    Can't say the same for someone like...GENE SIMMONS, right?
    (wink, wink...nudge, nudge)
    Another excellent ride.

    Keep on rockin', 'cause you only rock once.

    Stay safe & warm up there.