It is April 19th, 1971. The Soviet Union launched Salyut I, the first manned space station. Of course, the "manned" part was a bit tricky. Stung by the US of A's Moon lead, the Russians had this project on the drawing board from 1964, and what finally took to the upper atmosphere was a patchwork of half-completed projects raided in this one cause. It was 4 days later when the cosmonauts of Soyuz 10 reached the station- and went back down after not being able to open the door. On June 7th, Soyuz 11's crew entered for the first time, but many problems, including an electrical fire, forced them to leave on the 29th. The problems didn't end there; the Soviets didn't use pressurized suits in their capsules, and paid for it when the S-11 returned with an air leak and three dead cosmonauts. Re-designing that problem forced the Soviets to raise the Salyut to a higher orbit to prevent spiraling in while they worked on it; but supplies on-board the ship (I'm presuming fuel) ran out and in October they lowered the orbit to begin the Salyut's breakup and fall. Sometimes we think that space travel was safe before Challenger and Atlantis; we forget Gus Grissom, Apollo 13, and Salyut 1.
Ten songs debut in this week's hot 100, and we've got 4 to talk about. WAAAAY up at 47 is Aretha Franklin's cover of Bridge Over Troubled Water. Murray Head and his Trinidad Singers are back with attempt #3 of trying to hit the big time with the song Superstar, from the A L Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The previous two attempts racked them up 18 weeks in the lower dregs of the chart, but the third trip will be the charm.
Last week, the Guess Who debuted with their tune Broken. This was, in fact, the b-side of the single; the a-side, Albert Flasher, comes in at 95. And at 99, more JCS- Yvonne Elliman's version of I Don't Know How To Love Him from the soundtrack comes in at 99. Helen Reddy's version came in 7 weeks ago, and is piddling around at #58 this week. Sorry, Helen- I like you, but I love Yvonne.
And that brings us to a list of EIGHTEEN (count 'em) birthday songs!
Turning 30 this week, we find: Rick Springfield's Affair Of The Heart; Culture Club's Time (Clock Of The Heart)- one of my faves; Journey's Faithfully (not one of my faves, sorry Steve Perry junkies); and Sergio Mendes' comeback hit Never Gonna Let You Go.
Turning 35: ABBA with Take A Chance On Me; Linda Ronstadt's take on the Stones' Tumbling Dice; The all time classic, Jimmy Buffett's Cheeseburger In Paradise; Michael Johnson's melancholy Bluer Than Blue; and Genesis' first top 40 single in the US of A, Follow You Follow Me (third in the UK).
|I like mine with lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French fried potato..|
Turning 40 this week, Jim Croce's signature Bad Bad Leroy Brown; the Stones' You Can't Always Get What You Want; The Spinners' great One Of A Kind (Love Affair); and the Doobies' Long Train Running.
Turning 45 are Spanky and our Gang with Like To Get To Know You; Turning 50, Sam Cooke's Another Saturday Night; the original Da Doo Ron Ron by the Crystals; and another original- so well covered by my aforementioned love Yvonne Elliman- Barbara Lewis' Hello Stranger. And finally, turning 55, last week's lookback feature, the Everly Brothers with All I Have To Do Is Dream.
|You can always come blow out my candles... birthday May 16th...|
Now, drum roll please- I came up with the idea listening to a Beatles cover the other day, and I wondered how many of such ditties have made the hot 100? I found 30 of them, and in lieu of the usual specials, I'm going to count them down. Here are the lower ten:
30- Good Day Sunshine, Claudine Longet. The former Mrs. Andy Williams took this one to 100 for one week in 1967. Like many of these, the Fab Four never actually released it as a single.
29- All My Loving, The Hollyridge Strings. These were the easy listening guys you heard in your doctor's office or in elevators when you were a kid (if you were a kid when I was). The Beatles never released it stateside, but did in Canada, and cross-border traffic took it to #45; the Strings hit #93 in 1964.
28- Eleanor Rigby, David Cook. American Idol fans remember how he smoked this live on the show in 2008; downloads of the track, which the Beatles took to #11, pushed it onto the main chart at #92.
27- Back In The USSR, Chubby Checker. That's right, the Twistmeister took this track to #82 in 1969.
26- From Me To You, Del Shannon. While the first attempts of the boys to crack the US chart sputtered (this was the original b-side of Please Please Me, which ended up at #41 on its second attempt), Del became the first act to chart in the US with a Lennon-McCartney composition, hitting 77 in 1963.
25- With A Little Help From My Friends, Joe Cocker. The second half of the Sgt. Pepper opening medley was taken to #68 by Joe in, er, 1968.
24- Day Tripper, Anne Murray. 1974 was Anne's year for Beatle's covers. Her second of the year, which the originals took to #5, she took to #59.
23- Come Together, Ike And Tina Turner. The #1 song was covered by the dynamic duo in 1970 and made it to #57.
22(tie)- I Want To Hold Your Hand, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. This classic #1 was turned into an instrumental by the light-classical master and hit 55 in 1964.
22 (tie)- Something, Shirley Bassey. That's right, the Goldfinger lady took the #1 flipside of Come Together and hit 55 in 1970.
We interrupt the special countdown for a little bit of the regular business. There were but three top 40 debuts- a 7.5% turnover compared to the 10% hot 100 turnover and the 50% in the top ten. Daddy Dewdrop finally reaches Airplay Alley with Chick-a-Boom (Don' Ya Jes Luv It), climbing 7 spots to 37. Up 6 to 36 is Matthews' Southern Comfort with their rendition of Woodstock. And at 27, up 14, is John Lennon and his amazing friends with Power To The People.
With 5 songs moving into the top ten, five have to fall out. And those five are: Me And Bobby McGee (10 to 20); Proud Mary (6 to 19); Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted (4 to 14); What Is Life (7 to 13); and Help Me Make It Through The Night (9 to 12).
The middle ten, maestro:
20- Ticket To Ride, Carpenters. Karen and Richard took the #1 tune up to 54 in 1969.
19- Dear Prudence, Katfish. This was a bar band from Maine who hit the big time just this once, taking this track to #53 in 1974. If you Youtube any of these tracks, make it this one, it is exceptional IMHO.
18- Let It Be, Joan Baez. Joan took the 1970 #1 to 49 that same year.
17- Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, U2 with Paul McCartney. Bono and Paul hit #48 in 2005.
16- Magical Mystery Tour, Ambrosia. One of the great unknown bands (being in large part the early Alan Parsons Project, as well), they took this into the top 40- at #39- in 1976.
15- She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Joe Cocker. Joe's second attempt fares better, reaching #30 in 1970.
14- Birthday, Underground Sunshine. These psychedelic rockers took a track that John called "a piece of garbage" (undoubtedly it didn't lean left enough for him) to #26 in 1969.
13 (tie)- Hey Jude, Wilson Pickett. The Wicked One took his cover of my "piece of garbage" Beatles song to #23 in 1968.
13 (tie)- Come Together, Aerosmith. The tune which actually started me on this, which I prefer to the original because of its sheer savagery, peaked at #23 in 1978. It was from the Bee Gees/Peter Frampton ill-fated Sgt. Pepper movie.
11- Michelle, David And Jonathan. The Biblically-named duo were actually Roger Greenway and Roger Cook, a songwriting duo who, separately or together, were responsible for tunes like You've Got Your Troubles (the Fortunes), My Baby Loves Lovin' (White Plains), Long Cool Woman (the Hollies), I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (New Seekers), Talking In Your Sleep (Crystal Gayle), Say You'll Stay Until Tomorrow (Engelbert Humperdink), and enough country tunes that Cook was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter's HOF. They took their cut to #18 in 1966.
And once again we interrupt- here's the start of the top ten!
Love Story finally cracks the top ten- and it's Andy Williams' rendition, moving from 12 to 10.
Brewer and Shipley drift from 13 to 9 with One Toke Over The Line.
Paul McCartney fared better than George this week, but stays at #8 with Another Day.
The Jackson Five leap ten spots from 17 to 7 with Never Can Say Goodbye.
The big move belongs to folk group Ocean, leaping 16 to #6 with Put Your Hand In The Hand.
And now... the ten biggest Beatles covers:
10- Eleanor Rigby, Aretha Franklin. Boy, she sure has a way of cashing in on other people's success! Aretha took her version to #17 in 1969.
9- Here Comes The Sun, Richie Havens. This was our biggest mover of the week, up 16 spots to #57. On Billboard, it would peak at #16.
8- Oh, Darling, Robin Gibb. Also from the Sgt. Pepper movie, it went to #15 in 1978.
7- You've Got To Hide Your Love Away, the Silkie. With John producing, Paul on guitar, and George on Tambourine, the otherwise 4-person folk group took it to #10 in 1965.
6- Got To Get You Into My Life, Earth, Wind, And Fire. Just three years after the late release and top ten appearance of the Beatles' original, EWF took it to #9 in 1978. Another Sgt. Pepper movie cut.
5- You Won't See Me, Anne Murray. Her second Fab Four cover in the countdown, Anne took it to #8 in 1974.
4- I Saw Him Standing There, Tiffany. Thank God she changed the gender or we'd have thought she was singing about Debbie Gibson. She hit #7 ( the original got to # 14) in 1988.
3- Fool On The Hill, Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66. My hands-down favorite, Sergio and crew took this to #6 in 1968.
Now, the last two hit #1, so technically, it's a tie. But because of the rarified nature of the one, I'm going to drop it to #2 and let us have a clear number one. So, without further ado...
2- Stars On 45 Medley, Stars On. A combination of 13 Beatles tunes, plus the guitar riff from Shocking Blue's Venus and a pinch of the Archies' Sugar Sugar, this hit #1 in 1979.
And the #1 Beatles cover...
1- Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Elton John. But you knew that, right? Elton, with a little help from John Lennon, hit the top in 1974.
|Picture yourself on a field with a football...|
Neil Diamond (who is not in the sky that I know of) claims the last debut spot, jumping (maybe he is flying?) from 15 to 5 with I Am... I Said.
Tom Jones slips to 4, a one notch fall, with She's A Lady.
Marvin Gaye falls from #1 to #3 and asks, What's Going On?
The Temptations hold at #2 with Just My Imagination.
Which means our new top dog, leaping from #5 to get there, is....
Three Dog Night with Joy To The World!!!!
Next week- Tiny Tim covers! You won't want to miss that!