You see, the Celebration of Life concert, a seven-day long concert featuring some seventy acts, including 27 rock bands, was supposed to be starting today. You can look up further details here, but short story is that this was a concert made a few feet south of heaven. Massive rains, a huge community backlash that resulted in start dates and locations being bounced around like Ping-Pong balls, and the fact that many of the acts allegedly performing hadn't even been contacted by the promoters, were just the start of the troubles this event suffered. It was finally begun on the 24th, in a river bend plantation on the Atchafalaya River, after a week that saw four fans drown in the river trying to cool off, a poorly constructed stage structure collapse in a driving thunderstorm, and members of at least three motorcycle gangs being rounded up after behavior ranging from shooting from across the river "to see the girls' boobies bounce when they ran" to out and out rape and assaults. In the end, only seven national acts- John Sebastian, Chuck Berry, War, Stoneground (the nucleus that would become Pablo Cruise), Jimmy Witherspoon ( a top R&B act of the late 40's- early 50s), Bloodrock ( of D.O.A. fame), and the Amboy Dukes (who'll be coming up in the birthday list)- answered the bell after the concert opened with this invocation:
The festival began Thursday night--three and one-half days late--with Yogi Bahjan taking the stage, chanting and saying, 'God bless you. Let us meditate for one minute for peace and brotherhood.' 'Fuck you. Let's boogie,' responded a member of the crowd.
Final totals there included over 100 undercover drug busts, one OD, and $700,000 in tax liens levied on the promoters when the rains returned Saturday and washed it all away.
Welcome to Time Machine, where you can get your music fix a lot safer and for free (the Celebration of Life cost $28 a head for all that fun!). This week, a decent crop of birthdays- despite no one turning 30- including... guess who:
|Hey, hey, hey hey hey...|
But before the fun starts, it's time for the almost weekly bad news. This week we lose Slim Whitman. Now back in the day, when all we knew about Whitman was his TV album All My Best and the high note on Paloma Blanca, we found him amusing to our sophisticated teenage tastes. But the truth of the matter is a #9 pop hit in 1952 with Indian Love Call, and 11 country top tens. Not only that, but his single Rose Marie set the UK record with 11 weeks at #1- a record he held until Bryan Adams' Everything I Do (I Do It For You) held the top for 16 weeks in 1991- thirty-six years later. God Bless ya, Slim.
|...but that high note is still funny...|
New in the hot 100, which I once again forgot to count for a total, include these hot waxes: At 93, Neil Diamond sings a song he wrote and the Monkees made famous, I'm A Believer; the Bee Gees at 76 with How Do You Mend A Broken Heart; Cat Stevens at 74 with Moon Shadow; and at 68, the Rolling Stones with one of their best, Wild Horses.
And thus to the birthday list. As I said, we ended up short on the 30-year-olds, but still marked up 15 tunes hitting an anniversary this week. Turning 35, we have the Commodores with Three Times A Lady, Bruce Springsteen's Prove It All Night, A Taste Of Honey with Boogie Oogie Oogie, ELO with Mr. Blue Sky (which is one of the greatest hits of all time in UK music polls), Tom Petty's I Need To Know... and, as you must have gathered from the picture, the Village People's first chart hit, Macho Man.
Turning 40, Chicago's Feeling Stronger Every Day, Gilbert O'Sullivan's Get Down, Helen Reddy's Delta Dawn, and for a good laugh, Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen with Smoke Smoke (Smoke That Cigarette). Turning 45, The Vogues with Turn Around, Look At Me, and the aforementioned Amboy Dukes (featuring Ted Nugent) and Journey To The Center Of The Mind.
Checking in at 50 years old this week, we have Little Stevie Wonder with Fingertips Part 2. Part one was the a-side, the mainly instrumental beginning; but the b-side where he began the "say yeah" parts, was what became the hit, peaking when it couldn't get any higher. Then came to the "false ending", when Stevie actually walked offstage, leaving the band to play- then he returned, and by the time he did the bass player for next act Mary Wells came on stage, hopelessly confused, and if you listen on the record you'll hear him yelling, "What key? What key?"
And finally, turning fifty-five we have Bobby Darin's Splish Splash, along with the beginning of a curious Ricky Nelson story. It seems that a 4-song EP was released containing the song in question, Poor Little Fool. When the EP started hitting big, 55 years ago this week, the company rushed out a single- and that single went on to be the first #1 on the spanking-new Billboard Hot 100 chart. So wait a few weeks, and we'll do this all over again. (BTW, the other four songs were covers of Unchained Melody, I'll Walk Alone, and There Goes My Baby).
Now it's time -or would be time- for the 45 at 45. However, Joe Tex's single from last week is still there this week. Soooo.... let's move on.
Our big mover for this week is the duo of Dave and Ansell Collins, a Jamaican music act, with Double Barrel, climbing 18 to #75. On the way down, Love Her Madly tumbles 18 (I've heard that somewhere) to 52.
That brings us to our Where Are They Now- and sitting at 51 is Joe Walsh and the James Gang with Walk Away. This was off the lp Thirds, and was the last Walsh lp with the Gang. While everybody knows Walsh has been both a popular solo act and a card-carrying Eagle, what about the other dudes? At this point, that would include bassist Dale Peters and drummer/keyboardist Jim Fox. Peters was even a later member of the band than Walsh (only Fox was an original). He remained longer than most, though. Jim Fox has been there in every incarnation of the band, including right now, because Joe and the Boys are remixing their old hits in a new lp as we speak. Jim is also one of the nation's leading License Plate collectors!
And one last I Don't Know How To Love Him update- Helen stops a second week at 19; Yvonne slips one notch to 31.
Our lookback takes us to 1959, where the biggest mover this week was Pat Boone with Twixt Twelve And Twenty, moving from 55 to 32. Now I could tell you a boatload on a man who's been around as long as he has, but I'm going to concentrate on one facet. That starts in his early career, when he became the white knight of R&B, taking black hits and redoing them for a white audience. Those included covers of Ain't That A Shame (#1 in'55), I'll Be Home (#4 in '56, with a flip side of Tutti Fruitti), Long Tall Sally (#8 in '56), I Almost Lost My Mind (#1 in '56), and Don't Forbid Me (#1 in 57).
I was surprised not to read anything about people having a problem with this. However, at the other end of his career (1997 to be precise), he released a record of watered down metal numbers called In A Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy. This featured such tunes as Judas Priest's You Got Another Thing Coming, Metallica's Enter Sandman, Dio's Holy Diver, Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water, and his neighbor Ozzy Osbourne's Crazy Train. And, believe it or not, Ronnie James Dio and Purple's Richie Blackmore helped out on the lp, along with Merry Clayton (screamy lady on the Stone's Gimme Shelter) and, of COURSE, Dweezil Zappa. But it wasn't the music that got him in trouble. No, he almost lost his job on Trinity Broadcasting for wearing black leather at an American Music Awards performance. (He got it back after explaining he was doing a parody on himself. Jeez, you couldn't figure THAT one out on your own, TBN?)
|How does anyone take THIS seriously?|
Two songs enter the top ten, two drop out. Joy To The World (9 to 12), and Superstar (8 to 18).
Wilson Pickett moves up 4 to #10 with Don't Knock My Love.
The Osmonds move their "One Bad Apple" knock off, Double Lovin', from 13 to 9.
The Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose sneak up a pair to 8 with Treat Her Like A Lady (which must have been a comfort to Rose).
This time it's just Donnie Osmond, with Sweet And Innocent holding at 7.
The Stones slip to 6 from the runner up spot with Brown Sugar,
And at 5, the six degrees victim.
The Honey Cone slip from the top to #5 with Want Ads. Want Ads was co-written by General Johnson of the Chairmen Of The Board, originally a somewhat different tune called Stick Up (which would actually end up being their follow up to Want Ads). Of course, the Chairmen were known for using the Motown house band, the Funk Brothers. One of those bros was Jack Ashford ( known as Jashford to friends), percussionist and tambourine player. He played the tam on lots of Motown hits, from Edwin Starr's War to Thelma Houston's Don't Leave Me This Way. That song was originally supposed to be the follow up for Diana Ross after her #1 Love Hangover. Ross turned it down-as she almost did Love Hangover- and it was given to Houston, who hit #1 with it. In the meantime, the recalcitrant Ross followed Love Hangover with seven songs, none of which charted higher than #19 until 1980's Upside Down. I guess that's what happens when that Berry Gordy attitude rubs off.
Holding at #4, The Carpenters with Rainy Days And Mondays.
Carole King May be too late, but her song It's Too Late still moves up 3 to #3.
The Partridge Family move up 3 to the runner-up spot with I'll Meet You Halfway. Bring it on, I got a sign ready if you top the charts 2 weeks...
And the new #1 song....
...the magical Ringo Starr with It Don't Come Easy!!!!!
That's it this week! Stay alive, keep singing, come back next week!