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


Friday, June 28, 2013

Time Machine week 74

It's June 28, 1971.  Today, a very odd battle occurred in the Supreme Court.  You see, Cassius Clay, AKA Muhammad Ali, had been drafted into the army, but claimed conscientious objector status because of his conversion to Islam.  The local draft board denied him and had him arrested.  The board of appeals asked the DOJ for advice, and they said he did not meet ANY of the three requirements (of thought, conscience, or religion)  for the status.  The appeals board  thus turned him down; and despite their disagreeing with DOJ on 2 of the 3 requirements, the Fifth Circuit also denied him.  After Thurgood Marshall recused himself, the court had voted 5-3 against Ali.  But in researching to write the majority opinion, Justice J.M. Harlan found he was convinced that DOJ had misrepresented the case and changed his vote (this according to Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong's book The Brethren).  This would have left a 4-4 deadlock which would have sent Ali to prison; but Justice Potter Stewart came up with a compromise.  Throw out the basis for the deadlock, and judge it on the fact that the board of appeals had never given Ali the reason for his denial after they got their "advice" from the DOJ.  Therefore, they had violated his rights; and today, the court voted 8-0 in Ali's favor.

"I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong ... They never called me nigger."
Welcome to Time Machine, and a bit different one than you're used to.  This week, we begin the Great Fifties Countdown!  Along with the handful of fifties songs each week for the next five weeks, I'll be doing just one of the usual features... and this week, it's the 45 at 45 with Bobby Goldsboro!  Also, a decent sized set of birthday songs, and a new top dog!  And I'll even throw you in a video.  Let's float like a butterfly, sing like a bee!

15 songs debut this week, and three of them get a mention.  The Undisputed Truth come in at 91 with Smiling Faces Sometimes; Chicago stops in at 74 with Beginnings; and the high debut was Marvin Gaye at 67 with the haunting Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology).

I thought we were going to have another bumper crop of birthday songs this week, but it fizzled out in the sixties and totaled a decent 14.

 Turning 30, we have Taco's Puttin' On The Ritz, a song first performed by Harry Richman 84 years ago.  Along with it, we also have Men Without Hat's Safety Dance (a song the rest of the world loved far more than I), and an overlooked hit by ELO:

Turning 35 are Foreigner's Hot Blooded; Eddie Money's recent Geico hit, Two Tickets To Paradise;  one of my all timers, Chris Rea and Fool If You Think It's Over; Teddy Pendegrast's Close The Door; Alicia Bridges' I Love The Nightlife; and Rick James' debut single You And I.  Wings' Bond theme Live And Let Die turns 40 this week.

An unusual anomaly in the 45th birthday songs:  nestled in between the debuts of two different versions of the song Dreams Of The Ordinary Housewife (Wayne Newton's at #75, Glen Campbell's at #77) lies the Moody Blues with Tuesday Afternoon.  Also turning 45 are the Doors' Hello I Love You, Tammy Wynette's D-I-V-O-R-C-E, and Mason Williams' Classical Gas.  And with that, blow out the candles...

And now, the first five for this week...

100- Love Potion # 9, The Clovers, #23, 1959.  One of those great Lieber/Stoller comps that the Coasters did so well with, it would be more famously redone in 1965 by the Searchers.  The Clovers would hit #14 R&B with another hit made bigger later- Blue Velvet- in 1954.

99- 16 Candles, The Crests, #2, 1958. A true multi-ethnic band, with an Italian-American, a Puerto Rican, and three blacks- including Luther Vandross' sister Patricia.

98- Love Is Strange, Mickey And Sylvia, #11, 1956.  This is the Sylvia who hit the charts in 1973 with Pillow Talk- but not, as Casey Casem once said, the same Sylvia who hit with  the country crossover Nobody in 1982.

97- Secret Love, Doris Day, #1, 1954.  One of two hits in this countdown for Ms. Day, Slim Whitman hit #2 at the same time with this.

And, another candidate for next year's beauty contest!

96- It's Late, Ricky Nelson, #9, 1959.  Written by Dorsey Burnette, father of Billy, who replaced Lindsay Buckingham in Fleetwood Mac.  One of 5 Nelson appearances.

The big mover, climbing 24 spots to #62, former Monkee Davy Jones with Rainy Jane; the big dropper- and it ain't very far- is in the top 40, falling-from-the-top-ten division.

Our 45-at-45 45 this week is Bobby Goldsboro, on his way down this week in 1968 with Honey.  Bobby had had moderate success in the early to mid sixties, starting with See The Funny Little Clown hitting #9 in 1964.  But Honey swept #1 in the US and Canada, country and pop.  Written by Bobby Russell, Goldsboro was introduced to it when Larry Henley (the lead on the Newbeats' Bread And Butter) took him to Russell's place.  Bobby wasn't impressed, but liked it better when he heard it again at Russell's place, in the company of producer Bob Montgomery, played by Russell on a different guitar.  Unfortunately for Bobby, his career thereafter returned to normal.  He hit the top 20 just twice more- the highest being a recent visitor to our countdown, Watching Scotty Grow.

Russell, BTW, also wrote Little Green Apples by O.C. Smith and The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia for future wife Vicki Lawrence.  In addition to its chart performance here, Honey hit #2 in the UK in 1968- and again in 1975!

Round two of the countdown:

95- Only You, The Platters, #5, 1955.  One of many hits on this chart featured on American Graffiti, written by manager Buck Ram- who got them their contract in a two-for-one deal for the Penguins.  After Earth Angel, the Pens were through- but the Platters will visit our countdown twice more.

94- Heartbreak Hotel, Elvis Presley, #1, 1956.  What can I say about this song that I didn't tell you in the six degrees with Hoyt Axton's Mom a few weeks back?  How about it's Elvis' first #1 song?  And he'll be back 4 more times?

93- Sweet Little 16, Chuck Berry, #2, 1958.  Chuck's biggest hit until My Ding-A-Ling, and the subject of a lawsuit with the Beach Boys over Surfin' USA.  He'll be back three more times.

92- Peggy Sue, Buddy Holly, #3, 1958.  Credited just to Holly- despite two Crickets playing on it, and being named after drummer Jerry Allison's girlfriend.

Peggy Sue Gerron- the real Peggy Sue.

91- Great Balls Of Fire, Jerry Lee Lewis, #2, 1957.  One of two for the Killer; written by Otis Blackwell, who gave Elvis Don't Be Cruel, All Shook Up, and Return To Sender.

And that brings us to the top 40, where we have 5 new entries.  Sneaking up 3 spots, recent Where Are They Now featurees Chee Chee and Peppy with I Know I'm In Love (BTW, we listened to this, and you can easily tell they are 12 and 14 years old).  Up 4 to 38, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with an also recently mentioned song, The House At Pooh Corner.  Up 8 to #37, Tommy James with his first solo, Draggin' The Line.  Freda Payne's follow up to Band Of Gold, Bring The Boys Home, moves up 11 to 36.  And one of my favorites moves 16 to #25- The Fortunes with Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again.

Three songs enter the top ten, three drop out.  One of them is our big dropper- Donny Osmond's Sweet And Innocent, falling 11 to #18.  It was a bad week for the Osmonds- the whole band drops from 9 to 13 with Double Lovin'.  And falling from 6 to 15, the Stones' Brown Sugar.

And the last five this week:

90- Kaw-Liga, Hank Williams, #19 Cashbox (combined with Deloris Gray's version*), #1 country, 1953.  Hank's posthumous hit was the flip side of Your Cheating Heart, although it chalked up 14 weeks at #1 on the C&W charts next to 6 weeks for the a-side.

89- Come Softly To Me, Fleetwoods, #1, 1959.  The name was changed from "Come Softly" because some record exec thought that might be taken the wrong way.  The demo was a cappella except for Gary Troxel shaking his car keys.  They'll be back later.

Jingle them keys, Gary!

88- Be-Bop Baby, Ricky Nelson, #3, 1957.  This was the b-side of Have I Told You Lately That I Love You; the a-side made it to 29, this one  got to #3.

87- Maybe Baby, Crickets, #17, 1958.  One of ten songs that charted higher in the UK than here; in fact only That'll Be The Day (#1 in both nations) and Peggy Sue (#3 here, #6 there) charted as good or better in the US of A.  Go Figure.

86- Keep A-Knockin', Little Richard, #8, 1957.  A song written in  the late 20s, never charted until this, despite the fact that an answer-song to it was recorded in 1954 and hit the charts twice before Little Richard started knocking.  That song is familiar to youse who pay attention- Dave Edmunds took his version of I Hear You Knocking into the top ten a couple months ago.

(*- Cashbox back then combined ALL versions of a song currently on the charts.)

 And with that, this week's top ten.

Up a notch to #10, The Supremes vol. 2 with Nathan Jones.

Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds leap 6 to #9 with Don't Pull Your Love.

Wilson Pickett's Don't Knock My Love climbs a pair to #8.

The Raiders jump 6 to #7 with Indian Reservation (The Lament Of The Cherokee People).  Hopefully this is going to play over and over in Andrew Jackson's cell in eternity.

Okay, I know that Trail of Tears thing was wrong of me... but all eternity?

The Partridge Family slip to #6, a 4-spot fall for I'll Meet You Halfway.

The Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose move three to #5 with Treat Her Like A Lady.

The Honey Cone, after falling from #1 last week, climb one notch back to 4 with Want Ads.

Dropping 2 from the top spot, Ringo Starr's It Don't Come Easy.

The Carpenters build their way to #2, up two with Rainy Days And Mondays.

And, the new top dog....

...Carole King with It's Too Late!!!!!

Tune in next week for the usual stuff, plus 15 more members of the great Fifties Countdown!


  1. Ok first up I want to say I didn't know about Cassius Clay ok I know who he was but what you wrote I didn't know and now I do..........the rest of the post was bloody great.........

    1. Even with the songs that were older than both of us? Thanks!

  2. VWM:
    Wow, WOW, and freaking "wow"...that's some REAL music you got goin' on here!

    I recall the Cassius Clay/Army deal, but didn't know the DOJ backstory...nice find.

    I'm with Jo-Anne here...bloody GREAT songs.
    (and , showing my age, I DO remember a LOT of them, especially "HONEY" by Goldsboro.
    THAT was a song that made my MOM cry..especially after Dad passed away.
    (the song was years old by them and no longer charted)

    Secret Love takes me back to lot more of those "innocent" days...for ALL of us, too.
    Live and Let Die - great title track, so-so movie (even for James bond)!

    Imdian Reservation - excellent song.
    Draggin' the line - a "guilty-pleasure" fav of mine. Always liked Tommy James - Shondells or NO Shondells.

    And although I was never a REAL Buddy Holly fan, I have to admit that the REAL Peggy Sue was a cutie (viewed from eyes of a 60s teenager...)

    You done REAL good w/ this format...kudos.

    Keep those hits comin' up there.

    1. Thank you, sir. I told Laurie there are three songs I really like and are really hard for me to listen to. Seasons In The Sun, Honey, and... well, we'll get to that in the 50s top ten...