Welcome to Time Machine, where we have a lot of things happening- but first, yet another sad note.
In happier news, this week's show includes: a big bucket of birthday songs, including the song EVERYBODY was singing in 1968; a 45 on 45 that the group didn't want to sing; mobsters in the lookback; the man best known for the song he never released on Where Are They Now; and a six degrees that goes straight to Heartbreak Hotel! Plus a top ten with no debuts- and no droppers! (Really, Sherlock? And your first clue was...) All right here on
Fourteen songs debuted this week, and for a change, I'm going to mention a bunch of 'em! Free Movement comes in at 98 with the turnabout-is-fair-play hit I've Found Someone Of My Own. Two notches higher, a young Broadway star named Beverly Bremers with her song Don't Say You Don't Remember. Delaney and Bonnie and Friends come in a spot higher at 95 with Never Ending Song Of Love. Jean Knight comes in at 93 with Mr. Big Stuff; the Grass Roots blast in at 75 with Sooner Or Later. And at 72, James Taylor with You've Got A Friend. Oh, and the Joy Of Cooking re-entered the chart after falling out two weeks ago with Brownsville. But that's getting greedy so forget I mentioned them.
|Giving Beverly a shot at the third annual TM Beauty Contest.|
We have either 22 or twenty-six birthday songs, depending on how you want to look at it- explanation forthcoming. Turning 30 this week, we have Michael Jackson with Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'; Bob Seger and the boys with Roll Me Away; Donna Summer's She Works Hard For The Money; The Fixx with a song I love (I had a really neat dream with it as background a long time ago... possibly 30 years ago), Saved By Zero; and a song that would have been Lee Greenwood's biggest hit if he hadn't got all patriotic, I.O.U.
Turning 35, Steely Dan's FM (No Static At All); Todd Rundgren's Can We Still Be Friends; a song by Kansas you might not be familiar with, Portrait (He Knew); the late Bob Welch with Hot Love, Cold World; Joe Walsh's Life's Been Good; and Kenny Rogers' Love Or Something Like It.
Achieving the age of 40 this week are the Carpenters' Yesterday Once More; Diana Ross's Touch Me In The Morning; and the first version of Charlie Daniel's Uneasy Rider.
Slipping past those turning 45 for a moment, let us go to the 50-year-olds. The Chiffons' One Fine Day, the Tymes' So Much In Love, Easier Said Than Done from Essex, and Tom Glazer and the Do Re Mi Children's Choir with On Top Of Spaghetti. Want more novelty hits? Turning 55 this week are Sheb Wooley's The Purple People Eater and the Coasters with Yakety Yak. And now...
Turning forty-five are three songs... or maybe six. Cliff Nobles and Co.'s big instrumental, The Horse, as well as the Fifth Dimension with Stoned Soul Picnic. But then I started seeing double... or triple. Because a song debuted this week in 1968 at 86... and 89... and 97. This song originated with a skit originally done in 1929 by one Pigmeat Markham. Now Pigmeat was an old Vaudeville buddy of Sammy Davis, Jr'.s mom, and Sammy borrowed the catchphrase of the act for a skit that went viral ( before anything but viruses went viral) on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. This phrase was then simultaneously turned into a song by three different acts: Shorty Long, a Detroit soul singer; the Magistrates, who were actually the Dovells (Bristol Stomp); and another Detroit area band who threw together an up-tempo version and called themselves the Buena Vistas.
The catchphrase, and thus the song? Here Comes The Judge.
In a postscript, Pigmeat decided he shouldn't be left out in the cold here, and after a cameo on Laugh-In, recorded his own version at the age of 64- and it hit the chart 2 weeks later at 87.
|Order in the court room...|
Speaking of 1968, this would be a good time to do the 45 on 45. This week in 1968, the #45 hit belonged to the Lemon Pipers. They had started out as Miami U. (Ohio) students who played rock, blues, and a dab of folk- keyboardist Reg Nave called it straight up rock. And they did it well, coming in second in the 1967 Ohio Battle Of The Bands to an as-yet Joe Walsh-less James Gang. But when a chance at recording success came, they signed with Buddha Records, who were riding the bubblegum craze with last week's 45/45 victim, the 1910 Fruitgum Company, as well as the Ohio Express, already on their roster. They determined that the Pipers were gonna do BG too, whether they wanted to or not, and a couple of staff writers came up with Green Tambourine. The band didn't want to do what they considered "funny money" music, but the word from on high was, do it, or don't let the screen door hit you. So they did it, and hit #1 with their psychedelic take on gum. They went on to manage a few songs they wanted on their two lps- including a tune called Rainbow Tree which I'm listening to now and wondering why they were so bent about things in the first place (IOW, not much difference). They did the same thing on a second album, and the "funny music" single there was the one we find at 45 today- Jelly Jungle (Of Orange Marmalade).
I dunno, with a title like that, maybe they were right. But listening to it, it beats Rainbow Tree. But a little too much like Green Tambourine to stand out.
Our big dropper for a second week is the Buoys' Timothy. The big climber awaits it the top 40.
And at 51, our WATN victim is Clarence Carter, who moves into the happy seat with (appropriately enough on this episode) The Court Room. The funny thing about Mr. Carter, who I didn't realize heretofore was blind almost from birth, is that while he has a stack of big hits- Slip Away (#6, 1968), Too Weak To Fight (#13, 1968), and of course Patches (#4, 1970)- he's most famous for the one he COULDN'T release. Too risqué for sensitive radio ears, his record company put the records not in the hands of DJs but into jukeboxes, where it became a classic. That song, of course, is Strokin'.
Now, the word is that he still tours in the south, but I couldn't get confirmation or further details, because his website got taken down on the 8th of this month. OOOOOOH, S#!t, Clarence Carter!
|Drank many a beer to THAT song...|
Four songs sneak into the top 40 this week, and they all line up on the bottom. At #40, up 11 spots (which would make it last week's WATN victim) 8th Day's She's Not Just Another Woman. Up six to sit at #39, the Fifth Dimension with Light Sings. Tom Jones, who had the high hot 100 debut last week, enters the top 40 up 14 to 38 with Puppet Man. And the biggest mover is also the high top 40 debut- Carole King's It's Too Late, up 22 spots to #37.
Our lookback moves this week to 1956, where the biggest mover this week belonged to the McGuire Sisters with Picnic going from 33 to 20. The three daughters of a Miamisburg, Ohio, minister (Mom, not Dad) first sang together in 1935- when Phyllis was 4 years old, Dorothy 7, and Christine 9. They racked up 18 top 40s and a pair of #1s- 1955's Sincerely and 1957's Sugartime. Much of the girls' press however belonged to Phyllis and her longtime relationship with mobster Sam Giancana. She credited "wise investments in oil" for her lavish lifestyle. After retiring from the biz in 1968, they reunited in 1996, notably for a 2004 PBS special in which Phyllis' recent botox treatments gave her those big, full lips that changed her speaking voice. Dorothy passed on September 7th last year.
|From left: Christine, Phyllis, and Dorothy.|
Well, I don't have any droppers out of the top ten, so how about a couple of almost but not quites? Richie Havens hits his peak at #15 with Here Comes The
Ocean lowers its level 7 spots to #10 with Put Your Hand In The Hand.
Ringo Starr moves up one with It Don't Come Easy.
So does Lobo, going to #8 with Me And You And A Dog Named Boo.
The Door are sticking, however, at #7 with Love Her Madly....
...Mainly because the Honey Cone move up 2 to #6 with Want Ads.
Daddy Dewdrop moves yet another notch to #5 with Chick-A-Boom.
And that brings us to a six degrees that isn't quite... but close.
Three Dog Night finally relinquishes the top spot, falling to #4 with Joy To The World. JTTW was composed by Hoyt Axton, who originally started it with, "Jeremiah was a prophet..." but record execs didn't think that would go over as well as an alcoholic amphibian. Hoyt's mom, Mae Boren Axton, helped Tommy Durden write the Elvis classic Heartbreak Hotel. Durden started from a news story about a man who committed suicide, leaving only a note that read, "I walk a lonely street..." Mae added music and the suggestion that every lonely street has a heartbreak hotel at its end, and away they went. But how does Elvis fit in? Why, Mae met him at a show and introduced him to Colonel Tom Parker- and she pushed RCA exec Stephen Shoals into signing him. Shoals would go on to establish a UK record for most #1s produced in his work with the King.
The Stones move up 2 (the maximum this week, thank you) with Brown Sugar at #3.
Aretha Franklin also rises a pair with her gospel-ish take on Bridge Over Troubled Water.
And the new number one song (In English, with a picture and everything...)
All right, the thunder rolls, so I better put this to bed before I lose it. Peace!