Today is March 8th, 1971 and you know what happened tonight...
Welcome to another hard-hitting Time Machine episode. This week, a six degrees that explores how the instrumental Frankenstein got its name, the very spotty career of Murray Head, a cameo by the Groovie Ghoulies, a lookback on the man who got his first job in music the same day as his buddy Perry Como, the long-awaited return of the almost but not quite shoutout, and a new number one! Touch gloves, go to your corner, and wait for the bell!
First, another bit of sad news. Or two. Jewel Akins died last Friday at the age of 79. He was in a band called the Turnarounds, who were offered a chipper little song called The Birds And The Bees. The rest of the group hated it, so Akins recorded it solo, and hit #3. Also, Alvin Lee, the guitar virtuoso who played lead on the Ten Years After classic I'd Love To Change The World, passed Wednesday.
So onto the hot 100 debuts of this week. A whopping 21 debuts this week, but I'm going to mention 5 of them. If you remember a while back, I mentioned the hit Mathews' Southern Comfort had in the UK with their cover of Woodstock- and it comes in at 98 this week. Helen Reddy's take on the JCS song I Don't Know How To Love Him comes in at 86. And at 85 we have a song ripped from the immortal Sabrina and the Groovie Ghoulies...
...Daddy Dewdrop's Chick-A-Boom (Don' Yew Jes' Love It). Daddy was actually one Dick Monda, who threw together a band to play a song for the cartoon which included Tom Hensley (who became Neil Diamond's musical director) and Butch Rillera ( who later joined Redbone). Trying to re-create the Archies' success, the song was released two years after its cartoon debut. I think it was done on the show by the Mummies and the Puppies, but don't hold me to that.
|I always kinda hadda thing for the one with the long pink hair- even if she wad dead and had one eye.|
Which leads us to the birthday section. Turning 30 this week is Jon Anderson's country crossover Swingin', along with one you may not know- Robbie Patton (with some help from Stevie Nicks) and Smiling Islands. Tipping the scale at 35 years old, Jefferson Starship's Count On Me and Player's This Time I'm In It For Love. Turning 40 this week, War's The Cisco Kid, the aforementioned Mr. Diamond with Cherry Cherry, and Stealer's Wheel, with the dulcet tones of Gerry Rafferty, and Stuck In The Middle With You. The new 45-year olds include the Monkees' Valleri, Donovan's Jennifer Juniper, the first entry for the Moody Blues' Nights In White Satin ( it would have to chart twice more before becoming a big hit), and Hugo Montenegro's orchestra with the theme to The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (and for you youngsters, that was a Clint Eastwood movie and not Obama, Pelosi, and Reid). And finally, turning 50, the Chordettes with Lollipop (lollipop, oh, lolly lolly lollypop...) Blow out the candles...
Our big mover was James Brown with Soul Power, up 20 notches to 46. The dropper of the week was Joe Simon's Your Time To Cry, falling 24 to 54.
And moving into our #50 spot, the Where Are They Now spot, we have Murray Head with his song Superstar. Murray has an extensive recording career- in fact, he is still recording and touring. However, he has only made the charts twice- with this song and the big 1984 hit One Night In Bangkok, which (according to his website) hit #1 in 12 nations, including Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. However he has kept busy; he landed some movie parts in the UK and is currently an in-demand actor on British TV. In 2012, he released an lp called My Back Pages- covers of songs by others that were "flagposts" to different stages of his own life. Including sixties hits like One Two Three, Gimme Some Lovin' and the title track, he ranges into (somewhat) more recent songs like Dust In The Wind and Beds Are Burning.
|Getting his kicks above the waistline for 30 yeras...|
Our lookback takes us to the big mover this week in 1954, and yet again it is where the song peaked. The name of the song is Hold Me, the singer Don Cornell, the leap from 43 to 27. Cornell was born Luigi Varlaro in the Bronx. Fighting off bullies led the aspiring musician to a boxing career, in which he was 27-0 before his mother's pleas to return to music took effect. He got his first job in music the same day that his buddy got his first job in music- the buddy being Perry Como. In 1941, Sammy Kaye heard him on the radio, and soon hired him as his new lead singer. But when he introduced "my new singer, Lou Varlaro" , he was booed for the crime of being Italian-American in 1942. Thus without warning, the next time Kaye introduced him as Don Cornell- and the name stuck. He soon went solo and embarked on a career that only ended with his death in 2004. He had 16 top tens- and though he never got a top dog, he hit #2 4 times. His biggest hits included It's Not Fair, Hold My Hand, and I- for 40 years the only one-character title song in history. That career, by the by, began after a stint as a decorated ETO bomber pilot in WWII. In the midst of all this the man sold an estimated 50 million records. A far cry fromSir Hubert Pimm, eh?
|I looked for a pic of him boxing, but no such luck.|
Three songs move into the top ten, three fall out. Dropping are I Hear You Knocking (7 to 14), Scotty, stops growing (8 to 16) and Mr. Bojangles dances away again (9-26).
Wilson Pickett claims the leadoff spot with Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You, up a pair to 10.
Tom Jones powers his way to #9, up from 15, with She's A Lady.
Jerry Reed is up 2 spots to #8 with Amos Moses.
And our six degrees is at #7.
Sweet Mary moves down a pair for one-hit wonders Wadsworth Mansion. This Rhose Island band was led by Steve Jablecki, who died in 2005 and has a statue in his honor in his hometown. A bar band that got lucky, they toured extensively for their one lp, including with the Edgar Winter Group. The players of the instrumental #1 Frankenstein ( so named because it was a patchwork of pieces stitched together from an even longer work), they were also known for the hit Free Ride. This, along with much of the lp They Only Come Out At Night, was written by Dan Hartman. Dan hit first with the dance hit Instant Replay, and later much bigger with I Can Dream About You, a #6 hit in 1984. That tune was from the Michael Pare flick Streets Of Fire, and was originally written by the late Mr. Hartman with Hall and Oates in mind. They declined it at the time because "they didn't do covers", but included it on the 2004 cover lp Our Kind Of Soul, with somewhat changed lyrics. Of course by then their last top 40 hit was fourteen years gone, so mayhap they should have done it sooner.
The Partridge Family blast up 8 spots to #6 with Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted.
Gordon Lightfoot moves up a spot to #5 with If You Could Read My Mind.
The rest of the top ten is "change partners and dance". Lynn Anderson's Rose Garden slips to four, while CCR moves that notch up to 3 with Have You Ever Seen The Rain.
And the Osmonds drop to runner-up with One Bad Apple after three weeks at the top. And that Means, moving up that notch to the new # 1 song...
...the Jackson Five with Mama's Pearl!!!!!
Ain't no fight, that was fun! See ya next week!