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


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Time Machine #62

The annals of polar exploration are full of tales of both the heroic and the tragic- and sometimes a mix of both.  Thus it was with eager anticipation I set out to learn about Fran Phipps, the first woman to set foot on the North Pole, on April 5th, 1971.  That soon turned to despair as site after countless site told me just that- and no more (except for a handful of foreign sites that had her erroneously reaching the South Pole).  But then I learned yet again, behind every good woman is a good man.  I happened to stumble onto the obit of the Canadian adventuress' hubby, one "Weldy" Phipps.  Weldy, a long time aviator who was a POW in WWII, ran a polar airline called Atlas, which made trips to the pole for medical emergencies for the Eskimos and other such.  And it just so happens that one afternoon, he brought the wife along, and the rest is history.

What she lacked as a courageous heroine she made up as a courageous mother, raising nine children for Weldy.  Weldy, himself, was quite the character, achieving a rescue for himself and a mate in Holland by waving the only white flag he had- his underpants.  He was quite quotable:  After one rough landing, a passenger exclaimed, "You could fly without wings!", to which he replied, "But I couldn't carry cargo!"  Another time, he told a co-pilot, " The problem with passengers is that they are always laughing when they should be praying."

Hey, Sarge?  Whose flag is white with a brown bar down the middle...?

And welcome to this week's Time Machine, where I will attempt- even with the sinus cold to end them all- to top Weldy Phipps with: a "you can't do that" six degrees; the short career of the highest charting British male of the fifties;  the Trashmen who stole a hit; and a new #1!  Seal the hatch and let's roll!

As always, we begin with the hot 100 debuts for this week in 1971, and out of 10, 4 get a mention.  One of them, however, doesn't get a mention here, because it breaks in as the high top 40 debut as well!  Of the others, you have John Lennon with Power To The People at #58, my very bestest group, the Doors, at 79 with Love Her Madly; and one I'd like you to get to know.  With Bee Gee Maurice Gibb producing and playing bass, here is Aussie band Tin Tin with Toast And Marmalade For Tea.

That delightful little tune comes in at 82 this week.

Our birthday songs this week total EIGHTEEN!  Turning thirty, Irene Cara's Flashdance Theme; ZZ Top's breakthrough Gimme All Your Lovin'; U2's powerful New Years' Day; After The Fire's big hit Der Kommissar; and a song longtime AOR-heads might remember- a tune called Why Me?  by the Planet P Project, which was fronted by former Rainbow keyboardist and eventual solo act Tony Carey.  Turning thirty-five:  Patti Smith's Springsteen cover Because The Night; Heart with the appropriately- named Heartless; Seals and Crofts' You're The Love; and Little River Band's Happy Anniversary.  Big week for Australia, eh?

Turning 40:  Elton John's Daniel; Alice Cooper's No More Mr. Nice Guy; and the last top 40 hit for the fabulous Perry Como, a cover of Don McLean's And I Love You So.  Hitting 45, Archie Bell and the Drells with Tighten Up (did you know that Archie's younger brothers included Dazz Band (Let It Whip) lead singer Jerry and late Tampa Bay Bucs RB Ricky?); and the Rascals' A Beautiful Morning.

Hitting the big 5-0, My old boss Lt. Larry's favorite song, Lou Christie's Two Faces Have I; the Beach Boys' Shut Down; and the original The Birds' The Word by the Rivingtons.  Soon afterwards, the nasceant group the Trashmen would find this song and the Rivington's other hit, Oom-Pa-Pa-Mow-Mow, combine the verses and delete the choruses, and make a hit called Surfin' Bird (for which they would be sued and not only end up sharing credit on that song but on another future tune).

Wrapping the birthdays up, the Platters turn 55 with Twilight Time.  Blow out the candles...

The big dropper this week is If You Could Read My Mind, falling 49 spots to pause at 78 on the way out.  The big mover- stop me if you've heard this one- is in the top 40.

That brings us to our Where Are They Now victim, and at 50 this week we have the Impressions with Ain't Got Time.  The Imps are probably best known for the band that gave Curtis Mayfield his start, as well as the hit People Get Ready (which Rod Stewart would cover in 1985).  In 1961, they would hit the charts with the original of a song just recently on our chart via Brian Hyland- Gypsy Woman, reaching # 20.  The group had a series of ins and outs, during which they still hit the pop top 20 10 times and #1 R&B 4 times.  After Mayfield went solo, though, they fell on hard times, save for a flurry of hits in 1974-5.  Fred Cash and Sam Gooden are still touring with the group out of the set that were inducted into the Rock and Roll HOF in 1991.  Jerry Butler is a musician and a Cook County, Illinois, Commissioner for about the last 30 years; Richard and Arthur Brooks seem to have dropped off the grid.  The remaining HOFer, Mayfield, died in 1999 from complications from being paralyzed.  He was struck by falling stage lighting in Flatbush in 1991, and recorded his last lp lying flat down.

Next up, our top 40 debuts!  Coming in at 38, up 13 spots, is the vocal group Ocean with Put Your Hand In The Hand.  King Floyd, who just had the top ten Groove Me, moves up 8 to 35 with Baby Let Me Kiss You.  The aforementioned Sir Elton John rises 7 to # 34 with Friends...

Aw, c'mon!  It's been a long time since I've done the duck bit!
Our big mover within the 100 climbs 25 spots to #30- a song called Stay Awhile by a Canadian band called the Bells, who once claimed Music Box Dancer Frank Mills as a member.  And finally, the high debut this week on both the hot 100 and the top 40- the Jackson Five with Never Can Say Goodbye at 29. 

Our lookback was in 1958 this week, and landed a big mover- jumping from 24 all the way to 8!  It was a 13 year old boy from the UK named Laurie London and a song you all know well- He's Got The Whole World In His Hands.  This major hit, which peaked at #2, made Laurie the highest charting British male on the American charts in the decade.  It did not, however, make him a career, as various other ventures flopped and he retired (for the most part) from the music industry at the age of 19.  He's been rather more successful on the business end of things, and currently owns and manages the Ship And Castle pub in Portsmouth, whose website you can visit at your leisure.

Two songs get almost but not quite shoutouts this week:  The Grass Roots peak at 16 with Temptation Eyes, and Chicago's Free peaks at 19.

Likewise, two songs get bounced from the top ten this week.  Bobby Sherman Cried Like A Baby but still got shoved from 10 to 11, and One Bad Apple fell from the tree and rolled all the way from 7 to 22.

Santana leads off the top ten, climbing 3 to 10 with Oye Como Va.

Paul McCartney moves 2 to 9 with Another Day.

Fellow former Beatle George Harrison holds at 8 with What Is Life?

And our six degrees victim is next.

The Carpenters slip a notch to 7 with For All We Know.  Richard Carpenter first heard the song, sung by Larry Meredith, in the Movie Lovers And Other Strangers, and immediately decided to record it.  On the heels of its popularity, it won the best new song Oscar- but at the awards ceremony, the duo were not allowed to perform it because they had not been in a film.  They picked Petula Clark for the honor- and she paid them back by singing it again at a concert just a day or two after Karen's tragic death.

The oboe part was to have been a guitar part- and not just any guitar.  Jose Feliciano was a big fan, and wanted to play on a Carpenters song.  He recorded a guitar intro for the song- but the next day, his agent called Richard and said under no circumstances were they to record Jose's intro.  Thus, the oboe.  Jose was new to fame, only recently having had his big hit with a cover of the Doors' (my bestest group) Light My Fire.  Although the Doors apparently didn't mind Jose's version, a far different story emerged later.  While Jim Morrison was incommunicado, the rest of the band was approached for permission to use the tune for a Buick Opel ad ("C'mon Buick light my fire...").  The rest of the band agreed; but when Morrison found out, he threatened to destroy an Opel with a sledgehammer on worldwide TV if it ever saw the light of day.  Jeez, testy people...

Marvin Gaye knows What's Going On- he's moving up 3 spots to # 6.

Ike and Tina hold at 5 with Proud Mary.

Janis Joplin and her friend Bobby McGee slip a spot to #4.

Which means the Temptations reverse course, climbing back up one spot to #3 with Just My Imagination.

Tom Jones retreats a notch to #2 with last week's top dog, She's A Lady.

And that means that our new #1 this week is....

Yes, the Partridge Family (with Laurie look-alike Susan Dey*) and Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted!!!!!

(*who says I use the same bits all the time?)

That's it for this week!! See ya next trip!

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