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


Friday, July 26, 2013

Time Machine week 78

It is July 26th, 1971.  Today, Apollo 15 takes off for the moon; it will land there on the 30th and spend not quite three days on the lunar surface.

Also, photographer Diane Arbus commits suicide.  Diane was the former wife of M*A*S*H guest shotter Allan Arbus (Psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman), which will become another of our ironic twists in just a bit.

Welcome to a blurry-eyed but better Time Machine, where this week, we'll forego the six degrees for the longest charting lps in our purview; wander our way to Life Is A Highway for a second time;  visit, briefly, the Cat in the Hat; just for laughs, throw in the next installment of the Great Fifties countdown; and see double in the top 40 debuts (after all, why should I be alone in visual impairment?).  All this and a NEW top dog, at last!  Just remember, no collecting "past rocks", there's a moratorium on that now, you know.  And let's go!

First off, let's look at the tops of the other charts this week.  Several cities have a split base this week:  in Detroit, WKNR has the Bee Gees' How Can You Mend A broken Heart on top, while CLKW has Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine; KWDB in Minneapolis has the Bee Gees as well, while down the street, WDGY has Indian Reservation; WCFL in Chicago also has the Brothers Gibb, while WLS has Tommy James' Draggin' The Line.  KHJ in L.A. Also has the Bee Gees, while KQV in Pittsburgh has Tom Clay's What The World Needs Now/Abraham, Martin, and John fall clear OUT of their top 30, with It's Too Late replacing it at the top.

In France, singer/actor Michel Delpech is on top with Pour Un Flirt ("For A Date"), a catchy little tune with one (translated) line going, "...for a little trip in the morning/between your sheets..."  A lot more than I expected on a date, but he IS French.  In Holland, Jacques Herb and his two-girl back up, the Riwis, are on top with a 50's-style torch called Manuela (with lyrics somewhat akin to Last Kiss).  Switzerland, Ireland, and Norway are still stuck on UK band Middle Of The Road's Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, but the UK itself has moved on to T-Rex's Bang A Gong.  The R&B chart has Mr. Big Stuff; the Adult Contemporary has one last week of It's Too Late; and the country chart has Sonny James doing Bright Lights, Big City.

Our hot hundred debut list is 12 deep, but only two mentions-  Rare Earth at 66 with I just Want To Celebrate, and Jethro Tull with a cut from Aqualung called Hymn 43 at 86.

And now, onto this week's birthday songs!  Turning thirty is one lonely entrant; Michael Jackson's Human Nature.  Turning thirty-five, we get a little busier.  Stevie Nicks and Kenny Loggins' Whenever I Call You Friend (a song which I heard in my mind an annoying amount of time for no good reason while working the pick line at Vera Bradley), the Captain and Tennille with You've Never Done It Like That (a song that annoys me under ANY circumstance), Foxy's disco hit Get Off, and just to give you an idea of the times we lived in back them- Kristy and Jimmy McNichol with He's So Fine.  Oh, and one you might not know; a Canadian act called Stonebolt hit with this:

Stonebolt was a local band from Vancouver until they got a contract and hit the charts with this one in 1978.  One member went on to somewhat greater notoriety- John Webster, who was another musician that followed Tom Cochrane from Red Rider into his solo career, playing piano on that once-before-featured hit Life Is A Highway.  If you recall, we did a RR/Tom Cochrane thing earlier when Rider's hit White Hot turned 30.

Turning 40 this week, Paul Simon's Loves Me Like A Rock; Elton John's Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting; the Isley Bros' Who's That Lady; and BW Stephenson's My Maria.  Turning 45, Al Wilson with a song I was just recently reminded of, The Snake ("Take me in, oh tender woman...").

Turning 50, Trini Lopez's If I Had A Hammer (our favorite "play the single at 78 rpm" song of childhood), the Angels' classic My Boyfriend's Back, and Martha and the Vandellas' Heat  Wave.  Oh, and Allan Sherman's comedy classic Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!  In looking into Sherman, I found out that not only was he the voice of The Cat In The Hat, but I also found a M*A*S*H anachronism.  The aforementioned Allan Arbus' Dr. Freedman character was known for the line, "Ladies and Gentleman, take my advice; pull down your pants, and slide on the ice."  Apparently, this line came from an Allan Sherman song, Turn Back The Clock, which came out in 1967...

Turn back the clock
And recall what you did
Back on the block where
You lived as a kid.
And if you think every kid nowadays
Is a nut or a kook or a fool,
Just turn back the clock
And recall what you said
When you were a kid in school.
Ah, your mother wears army shoes!
Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.
Teacher, teacher, I declare,
I see your purple underwear.
Margarite, go wash your feet,
The board of health's across the street.
Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice,
Pull down your pants and slide on the ice.
Inka binka, bottle of ink,
The cork fell out and you stink.
Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.
Mary had a little lamb,
The doctor was surprised!
Mary had a little lamb,
She also had a bear.
I've often seen her little lamb,
But I've never seen her bare.
Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.
Roses are red, violets are blue,
I copied your paper and I flunked too.
Roses are red, violets are blue,
Whenever it rains, I think of you - drip, drip, drip!
Roses are red, violets are blue,
I still say your mother wears army shoes!
Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.
Your mother is a burglar,
Your father is a spy,
And you're the dirty little rat
Who told the F.B.I.
Dirty Lil, Dirty Lil,
Lives on top of Garbage Hill,
Never took a bath and never will,
Yuck, pooey, Dirty Lil.
Oh what a face, oh what a figure,
Two more legs and you'd look like Trigger!
A B C D goldfish?
L M N O goldfish.
S A R 2 goldfish, C M?
Turn back the clock
And recall what you did
Back on the block where
You lived as a kid.
And if you think every kid nowadays
Is a nut or a kook or a fool,
Just turn back the clock
And recall what you said
When you were a kid in school.
There goes your father wearing your mother's army shoes!

Lyrics from

Ahem!  And finally, turning 55, we have a couple of GFC songs!  One of them I'll tell you because it comes up later on in the countdown- Domenico Modugno's Volare.  The other is in this week's bunch!  In fact, in the first bunch we look at!  And so, without further doo-doo:

40- Rock Around The Clock, Bill Haley and his Comets, #1, 1954.  Though it COULD have been the group's first hit under the name, it wasn't-  Essex Records' boss Dave Miller hated songwriter James Myers, and every time Bill tried to record it, Miller tore up the sheet music.  Eventually Bill and the boys moved to Decca, where it became the B-side to the tune Thirteen Women (And Only One Man In Town).  By the time it hit the charts due to being in the movie Blackboard Jungle (remember THAT from last week?) Bill and crew had already charted with Crazy, Man, Crazy (#12), Shake Rattle And Roll (#7), and Dim, Dim The Lights (#11).  One of the RS 500 greatest hits.

39- Get A Job, Silhouettes, #1, 1957.  This enduring staple was also a B-side, for the non-hit I Am Lonely.  A&R men, whattaya gonna do?

38- The Wayward Wind, Gogi Grant, #1, 1955.  Originally Myrtle Audrey Arinsberg, she was renamed by A&R man (!) for RCA, Dave Kapp, after his favorite restaurant, Gogi's LaRue.

37- Mr. Sandman, Chordettes, #1, 1954.  Cadence Records' boss Archie Bleyer was the voice of the Sandman saying, "Yes..."

36- Rockin' Robin, Bobby Day, #2, 1958.  Our birthday song, turning 55 this week.  Co-written by Leon Rene, who also gave us another song we've mentioned in the GFC- Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, the failed A-side of Patti Page's Tennessee Waltz.

I'd love to mention our big movers, but... the one going up I'll mention in the top 40 debuts, and the big dropper I'll mention in the "falling from the top ten" section.... ooooooohh!

So I guess this is where I better stick in the six-degrees-that-wasn't".  You see, I was going to give the treatment to our descending top dog, Carole King's It's Too Late.  Any discussion of this song starts with the tremendous success of it's lp, Tapestry.  It was the best selling lp for a female soloist until Adele passed it with 21 in 2012.  It still has the most weeks on the chart by a female solo, second-most by ANY soloist, and fifth most overall.  Which led me to a list of the best-by-weeks-on-chart of all time, provided by Dave's Music Database.  I decided to see what we'd have if we cut it down to the Time Machine era (60s and 70s).  Then, I tossed out the musical soundtracks (Highlights of the Phantom of the Opera, Camelot, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, and West Side Story), Comedy lps (Rusty Warren's Knockers Up!), and any greatest hits compilations (Patsy Cline, 1973; Rolling Stones' Hot Rocks, 1971; John Denver, 1973; and Beatles 1967-70, 1973), and share with you the top ten we have left:

10:  Van Halen 1, 1978 (169 weeks)
9:  Off The Wall, Michael Jackson, 1979 (170)
8: Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority (their first lp), 1969 (171)
7: Andy Williams, Moon River and Other Great Movie Themes, 1962 (176)
6: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Beatles, 1967 (184)
5: Peter, Paul, and Mary, 1962 (185)
4: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, 1965 (185)
3: Led Zeppelin IV, 1971 (259)
2: Carole King, Tapestry, 1971 (309)
 And not surprisingly at #1:

1: Dark Side Of The Moon, Pink Floyd, 1973 (823 weeks).

And back to the GFC:

35- Bye Bye Love, Everly Brothers, #2, 1957.  A song rejected by over thirty acts, including Elvis. (T500)

34- Jailhouse Rock, Elvis Presley, #1, 1957.  Lieber and Stoller were contracted to write the soundtrack during pre-production for the movie.  Months later, they were summoned to NYC by movie execs upset that they hadn't even got started.  They still weren't moved, spending their time touring the city- until publishing exec Jean Aberbach blocked their hotel room door with a sofa, refusing to let them out until they got to work.  Four hours later, the entire 6-song songtrack, including the title song, were completed.  Elvis liked them so much, Lieber was asked to be the pianist (uncredited) in the movie. (T500)

33- Gotta Travel On, Billy Grammer, #4, 1959.  I can't tell you how many times I heard this tune during square dances at childhood wedding receptions.  Probably as many times as I heard Proud Mary.

32- The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late), David Seville, #1, 1958.  When first played on American Bandstand's rate-a-record, it got 35s (the lowest score allowed) across the board.  A couple months later, it had sold four-and-a-half MILLION records.

How they look NOW...

And how they looked then... a little more rat-like.

31- There Goes My Baby, The Drifters, #2, 1959.  Co-written and produced by Lieber and Stoller, it was the first use of a string orchestra in a pop record- and the inspiration for a young producer named Phil Spector.  (T500)

That brings us to this week's top 40 debuts.  We have a whopping 5 of 'em.  Remember last week when Ashton, Gardiner, and Dyke's Resurrection Shuffle made the countdown?  This week it moves up to 37, while Tom Jones' version moves up 2 to enter the 40 in the leadoff spot.  And it's not the only song with two versions in this week's 40-  Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway go from 48 to 39 with their take on Carol King's You've Got A Friend, while James Taylor's cover is at... well, we'll get to that.  Three Dog Night climbs 7 to #35 with Liar; the aforementioned Tom Clay medley leaps 38 spots (the week's big mover) to 28; while CCR bumps up 28 spots to 27 with Sweet Hitchhiker- their last trip into the top ten. 

And here's an almost but not quite-  The Stones peak at 18 this week with Wild Horses.  It sounds better, when you know the back story, when you believe that Mick wrote it for Marianne Faithful whilst in her drug-induced coma.  But Mick and Keith both say it isn't the case.

Wild horses couldn't drag him away... but Marsha Hunt could...

So if I've not forgotten anything else (which I've been doing a lot of tonight), it's time for this week's GFC wrap-up:

30- Little Darlin', The Diamonds, #2, 1957.  Written by Maurice Williams of Zodiacs fame, he recorded it with his first band, the Gladiolas (?). 

29- Donna, Ritchie Valens, #2, 1958.  The A-side to the more-famous-later La Bamba, it was written for high-school sweetheart Donna Ludwig.

28- Tutti Frutti, Little Richard, #17, 1956.  The original (which he wrote at a car wash he worked at) started with "Tutti Frutti, good booty..." and continued in a downward path from there.  Needless to say, they had to hire someone to clean the lyrics up. (T500)

27- Lonesome Town, Ricky Nelson, #7, 1958.  My flat out most depression-causing record of all time, it was penned by Baker Knight, who also brought us The Wonder Of You.

26- 16 Tons, Tennessee Ernie Ford, #1, 1955.  Yet another B-side, if you can believe it.  The A-side was a song called You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry,  which the Caravelles took to #3 in 1963.

Three songs enter the top ten, three fall out.  In fact, one falls clear out of the top 40!  When You're Hot, You're Hot is the week's big dropper, going from 10 to 47.  Also dropping:  She's Not Just Another Woman (8 to 20) and That's The way I've Always Heard It Should Be (9 to 13).

The end of the beginning starts with The Beginning Of The End and Funky Nassau, up a spot to #10.

Gladys Knight and the Pips climb 3 to #9 with I Don't Want To Do Wrong.

The Cornelius family slip to 8, down a pair with Treat Her Like A Lady.

From 16 to #7 this week, the toast of Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, and L.A. (or at least half of each), the Bee Gees' How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.

Up a notch to #6, Tommy James sans Shondells with Draggin' The Line.

Last week's top dog (and the week before, and the week before...), Carole King's two sided It's Too Late/I Feel The Earth Move moves down to #5,

The other half of the You've Got A Friend tandem moves from 5 to 4 for James Taylor.

Jean Knight also moves up a notch to 3 with Mr. Big Stuff.

And Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds re-assume the runner-up slot with Don't Pull Your Love.

Which means the new #1 song is....

... The Raiders and Indian Reservation!!!!!!

Be back next week for the penultimate ( that's fancy talk for second-to-last) episode of the Great Fifties Countdown, and other fun stuff!


  1. I remember all the frenzied excitement when we first landed on the moon. Sadly, it soon became as mundane as a trip to the Jersey Shore. Probably safer, though.
    I really doubt we could pull it off again, sadly.

    1. We might could... but we'd never figure out an Apollo 13 again. If the Shuttles are an example, we wouldn't even try.

  2. CWM:
    I was also surprised about the LACK of commemoration about the moon landings...
    (that's whty I didn't psot about them...figured everyone ELSE would...don;t like to be wrong this way)
    The GFC is fantastic.
    And I recall watching Paul Revere & the Raiders (have their first LP still) on that ABC summer show WHERE THE ACTION IS.
    Now THAT goes back a
    SO many great (and lasting) songs.
    Somehow, I can;t imagine Lady Gaga ever earning the right to become a regular on an OLDIES station.

    And, speaking of LASTING...that list of weeks on the charts is AMAZING.
    Never going to see any more contemporary songs/artists on THAT list any time soon...are we?

    Keep those hits coming from up there in Scrappy Hollow.

    1. "Somehow, I can;t imagine Lady Gaga ever earning the right to become a regular on an OLDIES station."

      Have you heard what WLDE plays lately? They used to make fun of the guys who only played "Billy Joel! Elton John! Madonna!" Now they're victims of the Pogo rule.