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


Friday, March 15, 2013

Time Machine #59

Today is March 15th, 1971, and we really have a case of the bookends of history.  It is claimed that the first internet chat room, of sorts, was launched today.  I wasn't able to find the details, but it may have had to do with an interactive connection between the U of Michigan and Wayne State.  The coming of the future was balanced with a passing of the past- CBS cancelled the Ed Sullivan Show.  Citing the aging demographic and sliding ratings (which were still in the 11 millions in 1970), the last show that wasn't a special or a rerun aired live on March 28th, and featured among the guests Melanie and opera singer Joanna Simon- sister of Carly Simon.

Ed and frequent guest Topo Gigio, worldwide mouse star.
Welcome to Time Machine, where we fill the vortex with sweet music.  This week, Gordon Lightfoot to Paul McCartney, via Dolly Parton, in six degrees; the Class of '55; the Three Stooges meet the Where Are They Now Victim; and a great big catch of birthday songs.  Hop in and let's spin!

We have 12 debuts in this week's hot 100- but despite a handful that we might see (or hear) later, I'm only going to mention 2.  The Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose enter at 92 with Treat Her Like A Lady; and Ocean, a Canadian gospel band led by Gene MacLellan (who wrote Anne Murray's Snowbird) with Put Your Hand In The Hand at 84.

That brings us to one impressive rack- of songs that hit anniversaries this week.  Turning 30, Bob Seger's Even Now; Naked Eyes with their Bacharach-David cover, Always Something There To Remind Me; and good ol' Bryan Adams and Straight From The Heart.

Turning 35, Peter Brown and his dance hit Dance With Me; one of my favorite Billy Joel tunes, Moving Out (Anthony's Song); The ungrammatical song Too Much Too Little Too Late by Johnny Mathis and Denise Williams; my all-time fave Aerosmith tune- which of course means it charted low- Kings And Queens; and one more that has a odd story to it.  George Benson's cover of the old Drifters' hit On Broadway debuted 35 years ago this week- and the original debuted 50 years ago this week!  An amusing addendum- when James Taylors redux of Up On The Roof charted, Casey Casem always referred to it as "the old Drifters' tune", which I- being an idiot at the time- turned into "the old drifter's tune" and wondered why drifters would go around singing that particular song.

Turning 40 this week, Steely Dan's Reeling In The Years;  Clint Holmes' Playground In My Mind (which I used to think was Three Dog Night); and a pair of your more unusual instrumental hits- mentioned last week, Edgar Winter Group's Frankenstein; and Dutch band Focus with Hocus Pocus (trust me- if you were around then, you'll remember it).

Turning 45 we have one of my more bizzarre favorites- Four Jacks And A Jill with Master Jack; Tom Jones with Delilah; and the Irish Rovers with their delightful faerie tale The Unicorn.

And finally, joining the Drifters in turning 50, Peter, Paul, and Mary with Puff The Magic Dragon (I don't know why, but the thought of that song being 50 brings tears to my eyes); Gene Pitney's Mecca; and Little Peggy March (who's a not-so-little 65) with I Will Follow Him.  Blow out the candles...

The big jumper this week is Glen Campbell's remake of Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream), climbing 29 to # 47.  The big dropper is the recent top 40 Just Seven Numbers by the Four Tops, falling 27 spots to 69.  That brings us to # 50 and our Where Are They Now Feature.

 This week, we find another cover, this time of the Jackie Wilson classic Lonely Teardrops, served up by Brian Hyland.  You know the story of Brian- made a name with the novelty hit Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (which wasn't about a teenager, but the songwriter's 2-year-old daughter), hit the heights again a couple years later with the sweet ballad Sealed With A Kiss, then a comeback with 1970's Gypsy Woman.  While the hits didn't exactly fill in the spaces, Brian was recording an eclectic range of genres including folk, country, ballads, and you-name-it.  Nowadays he's still on the road, touring with his love/writing partner/performing parter Rosemari and their drummer/son Bodi.  In addition to recording new music and collecting old, they are collecting stories for a book about life on the road.  He has also been involved in a lot of charity projects, including special recordings, original pen and ink artwork, and performing for groups like Special Olympics.  Oh, and Brian is a cousin by marriage of Larry Fine of the Three Stooges.  Nyak, Nyak, nyak!

Another five songs enter the top 40.  From 43 to 40, the Chairmen Of The Board hit the forty again with... The Chairmen Of The Board.  A twelve notch climb for Freda Payne with Cherish What Is Dear To You (While It's Near To You) at 39.  BJ Thomas moves 9 to 38 with No Love At All; a four-spot climb for the third version of the Love Story theme, this one by the Francis Lai orchestra, the actual original score.  Finally, Paul McCartney is up 12 to 36 with Another Day.

Our lookback takes us to the big mover in 1955 this week- Carl Perkins with the original Blue Suede Shoes, which moved from 28 to 11.  Unlike most of the tunes we've hit on this feature, this one went straight on to the top.  Perkins was a member of a poor Tennessee sharecropping family.  He and his brothers worked in the fields after school and 12-14 hours a day in the summer for 50 cents a day.  Hearing the Grand Ole Opry on the radio, he wanted a guitar which the family couldn't afford- he made one out of a cigar box and a broomstick.  Later, a down on his luck neighbor sold him a beat up guitar with worn strings that he had to tie when they broke because they couldn't afford replacements.  Moving nearer to Memphis, he finally got a chance and was signed by Sam Phillips at Sun Records, and toured with the rising stars Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.  In March of 1956, he and others in his band- including his brother- were in a serious accident which lead to him nearly drowning and ending up with a severe concussion, three fractured vertebrae, a broken sternum, and various cuts.  His brother ended up dying from complications of the accident.  His songs were hits for others- of course you know about Elvis' take on Blue Suede Shoes, but he also wrote hits like Cash's Daddy Sang Bass.  Though BSS was his only pop hit, he had 9 songs make the country top 40- the last of which was Birth Of Rock And Roll, a cut from the lp Class of '55, featuring himself, Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison, in 1986.  Perkins passed in January of 1998.

The Killer, Perkins, the King, and Johnny, back in the Sun days.

Two songs enter the top 10, two drop out.  Dropping are Rose Garden (4 to 13) and Sweet Mary (7 to 22).

Wilson Pickett has picked himself the #10 spot and is staying there again this week, with Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You.

And right away, here's the six degrees game!

Gordon Lightfoot falls from 5 to 9 with If You Could Read My Mind.  This appeared on the lp Sit Down Young Stranger, which also included the second-made recording of Me And Bobby McGee.  That famous tune was written by the famous Kris Kristofferson and the lesser-known Fred Foster.  Foster's big claim to fame was producing most of Roy Orbison's big hits, as well as the first charting single for Dolly Parton- 1967's Dumb Blonde, which hit 20 on the country charts.  That came from her debut lp Hello, I'm Dolly, and was written by one Claude "Curly" Putnam, Jr.  He was not only known for his hand in the hits Green Green Grass Of Home, My Elusive Dreams, D-I-V-O-R-C-E, and He Stopped Loving Her Today, but his country home was the inspiration for the Wings' hit Junior's Farm after their visit while recording in Nashville.

Holding at 8 is Jerry Reed with Amos Moses.

The Temptations blast their way in at #7, up 5, with Just My Imagination.

The aforementioned Me And Bobby McGee, this time by the late Janis Joplin, moves 7 to #6.

Tom Jones roars up from 9 to 5 with She's A Lady.

PRE-sent BRAS!
The Partridge Family move up 2 to 4 with Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted.

CCR holds at 3 with Have You Ever Seen The Rain.

The Jackson Five slip back to #2 with Mama's Pearl.

And returning to #1 after a one-week break...

... The Osmonds with One Bad Apple!!!  Maybe it should have been One Bad Penny, since it came back!  (ba-dum-DUM!)

That's it my friends!  See you next week!


  1. If you need some details about that internet chat room, you can probably give Al Gore a shout. I think he can be reached at Al-Jazeera.

    1. Damn, I wish I'd have thought of that one!

  2. In 1971 I was 9 so really didn't care about much except playing outside or sitting and reading a book everything else didn't interest me wasn't even into music back then............

    1. Everybody's got their thing... I can't remember a better time that sitting listening to music on a warm afternoon in a fresh-cut back yard, waiting for the approaching thunderstorm to roll in.

  3. CWM:
    LMAO..."one bad penny"...nice rimshot!
    Love the Carl Perkins spot...didn't know that much about him really.
    But I do NOW.
    Used to REALLY like George Benson...great guitarist!
    BREEZIN' was THE album to have back then (for me, anyway).
    He'd be a good "what happened to?"
    And yes, I STILL miss Jackie Wilson...great singer that had a depressing ending in a NJ hospital.
    (It IS sad to die alone.)

    Excellent ride this week as usual.

    Stay safe (and song-filled) up there.

    1. Well, for the next couple months, George just has to hit #50... or 51 after May 16th.