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


Friday, May 3, 2013

Time Machine week 66

Today is May 3rd, 1971.  In Washington, DC, the biggest mass arrest in US history occurred as a group of anti-war rabble calling themselves the Mayday Tribe (nice name for a bunch of pinkos) topped off 4 days of protests trying to shut the city down by battling it out with capitol police.  Around 7,000 out of a crowd estimated at 12,000 to 15,000 ended up spending the night at the fenced-in practice field of RFK Stadium.  This motley crew was led by one Rennie Davis, famous for being one of the Chicago Seven ( protest ringleaders at the '68 Democratic convention who got let off on technicalities by our wonderful judicial system).  Ironic that the were protesting at the convention of the party they would one day embrace, eh?

Before I launch into a "when you lay down with dogs" parable, let me kick off things here on this week's Time Machine by taking care of the news we don't want to have to do.  George Jones passed in this past week.  Although George wasn't a top 40 star (His biggest chart hit was White Lightning at 73), he was big on the country charts, with 62 country top tens and 14 #1s, from 1959's White Lightning to 1985's I Always Get Lucky With You- and including the classics She Thinks I Still Care and He Stopped Loving Her Today.  He added 13 top ten duets as well, including 8 with once and future wife Tammy Wynette, and also two top ten guest appearances.  Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg on a man whose life certainly didn't run as smooth as his career out side of it.

You know this old world is full of singers
But just a few are chosen
To tear your heart out when they sing
Imagine life without them
All your, radio hero's
Like the outlaw that walks through Jesse's dream

No, there will never be another
Red-headed stranger
A Man in Black and Folsom Prison Blues
The Okie from Muskogee
Or Hello Darling
Lord I wonder, who's gonna fill their shoes

Who's gonna fill their shoes
Who's gonna stand that tall
Who's gonna play the Opry
And the Wabash Cannonball
Who's gonna give their heart and soul
To get to me and you
Lord I wonder, who's gonna fill their shoes

God bless the boys from Memphis
Blue Suede Shoes and Elvis
Much too soon he left this world in tears
They tore up the Fifties
Old Jerry Lee and Charlie
And old Go Cat Go still echoes through the years

You know the heart of country music
Still beats in Luke the Drifter
You can tell when hew sings I Saw the Light
Old Marty, Hank and Lefty
Why I can feel them right here with me
On this Silver Eagle rolling through the night

Who's gonna fill their shoes
Who's gonna stand that tall
Who's gonna play the Opry
And the Wabash Cannonball
Who's gonna give their heart and soul
To get to me and you
Lord I wonder, who's gonna fill their shoes

(George hit #3 with this in 1985.  No one's gonna fill your shoes, bud.)

In tribute, we'll have a six degrees that leads us to George Jones, as well as:  that last piece of unfinished business from last week's lookback; a song from Richard Carpenter solo; the return of Lt. Calley; 4 new top tens, but a top that is having sort of a chain reaction pile-up; a cameo from Laugh-in's Gary Owens; not one, but TWO videos; and the usual hijinks and other whatnot.  Tune in, turn on, and scroll down!

This week's hot 100 has 15 debuts, including a couple of fairly high flyers which I didn't know and we'll no doubt deal with in the next week or two.  Three of them, however, I'll mention now.  At 69, the new-look Supremes with an underrated hit called Nathan Jones.  At 87, a song written by Kenny Loggins and performed by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band called House At Pooh Corner.  Now, the version that I am more familiar with is the one that Loggins and Messina did later in the year but did not release, and the one with an added verse, re-named Return To Pooh Corner on Kenny's solo lp of the same name.  If you have a chance, you should look it up; it's always been a tear-bringer for me.  Finally, one of the big hits of the year gets its start this week- the Raiders' Indian Reservation at 98.

Our birthday song list is a pretty good one, with a pair of entries that (if you are my age) will surely make you feel old.  Turning 30 this week:  Hall and Oates' Family Man, Weird Al Yankovic's Ricky, Don't Pay The Ferryman by Chris DeBurgh (better known as "the song that didn't smother you in syrup before he did The Lady In Red"), Bang The Drum All Day by Todd Rundgren, and Madness' Our House.  Turning 35, Barry Manilow with Even Now, the O'Jays with Use Ta Be My Girl, and a disco version of Chattanooga Choo-Choo by a band called Tuxedo Junction- which is only notable for the following story:  Once upon a time, my dad came to me and said, "Did you here about that old-time song that they made a new version of?"  I said, "No, what was it?"  He said, "Oh, I can't remember.  I know it had four words in the title..."  When he finally remembered weeks later, I kept trying to count to four on my hands, but just couldn't figure out where the third Choo got off to.  This was brought to you by the man that thought "Afghanistan" was "Fagistan" and Robert Young was Robert Mitchum.

Turning 40 was Bette Midler's Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy; Turning 45 were two songs.  One of them I had to play to make sure I remembered, and I did- Gene Pitney's She's A Heartbreaker.  The other I knew I did, because it only takes the first note to freeze me in my tracks- Merilee Rush's Angel Of The Morning.  The other song I mentioned that might make you feel old turns 50- Leslie Gore's It's My Party, along with the unquestioned song of that summer, the Japanese-language hit Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto.  Blow out the candles...

Merilee Rush- because it's my blog and I'll stare if I want to...

In one of those real rarities, both the biggest gainer and loser in the countdown this week are in the top 40.  Be patient.

That brings us to the Where Are They Now song at #50 (note: in thirteen days, I will turn 51, and the WATN feature will be at 51, accordingly)  is the plummeting former top ten For All We Know by the Carpenters.  We all know Karen left us too soon in 1983, but Richard soldiers on.  When Karen was battling the anorexia that would claim her, Richard was fighting Quaalude addiction, which he beat in rehab in 1979.  He would marry Mary Rudolf in 1984, who was an adopted first cousin.  The fact that they had dated for years caused friction between them and a disapproving Karen, but finally they had blood tests done that cleared the way and Richard told Karen to "just drop it".  The marriage has produced five children, and the couple are active in philanthropic endeavors.  He himself has recorded two albums (in 1987 and 1998) and is said to be mastering a Christmas lp.  One of his first album cuts I want to share with you- a haunting tribute to Karen, with only his piano and Herb Alpert's horn for background.

(Clears throat, wipes eyes, moves on.)

Five new songs grace the top 40 this week.  Up 8 spots to 39 is another that we lost recently and too soon- Richie Havens with Here Comes The Sun.  Another 8-notch riser moves to 37- Brenda and the Tabulations with Right On The Tip Of My Tongue.  Our big mover of the week goes from 70 to 35 (liberal fanatics, that is a 35-spot rise) with Terry Nelson, a Russelville, AL, DJ, and a studio band called C Company with The Ballad Of Lt. Calley.  Now you know where I stand on Lt. Calley from the lead in that featured him and fellow recent convict Charles Manson a few weeks back.  But in the interest of hearing the other side, let me give you some of the spoken-word lyrics to this song:

Sir, I followed all my orders
And I did the best I could
It's hard to judge the enemy
And hard to tell the good
Yet there's not a man among us
Would not have understood

We took the jungle village
Exactly like they said
We responded to their rifle fire
With everything we had
And when the smoke had cleared away
A hundred souls lay dead

Sir, the soldier that's alive
Is the only one can fight
There's no other way to wage a war
When the only one in sight
That you're sure is not a V.C.
Is your buddy on your right...

The song would sell big numbers very quickly, and then fade away; in fact, it comes in this week higher than it would peak on Billboard (#37).

Finally Tin Tin comes in the forty with the song on the video I posted a while back, Toast And Marmalade For Tea.  They also climb 8 to #33.  And the high debut this week is the Rolling Stones, climbing 25 to #28 with Brown Sugar.

Now on to that unfinished business.  Last week we told the story of the song This Ole House.  One of the things I noted as I looked at the long list of names that have recorded this song (everyone from Boxcar Willie to the Brian Setzer Orchestra), I saw the name "Mrs. Miller".  Naturally, I said WTH and looked into this story.  And got a good laugh.

Mrs. Elva Miller started out as a lady with an operatic-style voice who wanted to do something good with her "gift".  She took her own money to press a 45 of Slumber Song and passed it out to local orphanages.  Whether they appreciated it or not is questionable; her voice was later described by The Book Of Lists 2 as "roaches scurrying across a trash can lid".  However, an arranger she met suggested she try her hand at more popular songs;  somehow this led to her being discovered by Gary Owens, who had a comedy radio show in the early sixties and would later be the announcer on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.  She then signed a contract with Capitol Records, thinking (apparently) they thought she was a GOOD singer; the man who signed her, Lez de Azevedo, is now a producer of LDS music and won't talk about her ( presumably out of shame for lying to her, but that's just a guess).  They purposefully would have the musicians play alternately ahead of and behind her to mess her up, and the results made me giggle.

This song actually hit the charts at #82, and the b-side, A Lover's Concerto, popped in at 95.  Listen if you dare.  I know I laughed from end to end.  She retired from the "business" in 1972 and passed in 1996, aged 89.

That Greatest hits lp?  It was her debut album, BTW.

Before we move on, an almost but not quite shoutout to Alice Cooper who peaks at #21 this week with Eighteen.

Four songs enter the top ten, four must vacate.  The droppers are:  She's A Lady (6 to 11); One Toke Over The Line (8 to 13); Just My Imagination (9 to 15); and the week's big dropper (bet you thought I forgot, eh?) Love Story (10 to 26).

BTW, as I'm typing, I made the mistake of trying Mrs. Miller's A Lover's Concerto... I didn't know you could make a human voice do that without a rap turntable.

Debuting in the top ten this week at 10, up three spots, is Stevie Wonder's cover of We Can Work It Out.

Dropping another 4 to #9, Marvin Gaye and the former top dog What's Going On.

Bread enters the top ten, up 3 to #8, with If.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters by Aretha Franklin jumps 28 spots to land at #7.  I am convinced many buyers thought Simon And Garfunkel had gotten back together and bought it by mistake.

In a fifth week in the lower half of the top ten, Paul McCartney moves up a spot to 6 with Another Day.

And with that, our six degrees for the week.

I Am... I Said starts a disturbing trend, holding at #4 this week.  Neil Diamond recorded this on the lp Stones, which among other songs featured a cover of Husbands And Wives.  This was a Roger Miller song, which he took to #26 here and #5 country in 1966.  You know Roger best for the 1964 top five pop/#1 country hit King Of The Road, a song covered by... George Jones on the 1966 lp Love Bug, whose title track was a #6 country hit that year.

Going on with the disturbing trend, The Jacksons hold at 3 with Never Can Say Goodbye; Ocean holds at #2 with Put Your Hand In The Hand; and that means that the #1 song remains...

...Three Dog Night with Joy To The World!!  But just so you don't feel cheated...'s three pictures of a dog, one taken at night.  See you next week!

1 comment:

  1. I grew up on George Jones and its sad to see him gone. I loved his songs. Who's gonna fill their shoes is so great.