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


Friday, August 30, 2013

Time Machine week 83

Today is August 30th, 1971, and today, the Beach Boys release the lp Surf's Up.  A critically acclaimed mish-mash of stuff glued together by one Jack Rieley, a former DJ who got the job as the band's producer by lying about a Peabody Award he received while at NBC.  While the Wiki article claims he "returned the band to acclaim", his two-lp tenure netted singles that charted at 89 (Long Promised Road), 79 (Sail On Sailor on the album Holland, though it did chart later and peak at #49), and 84 (California Saga) along with one that didn't chart at all (Surf's Up, a victim of not really being a pop single, though a beautiful song).  And Surf's Up was a rework from the Smile lp that wasn't finished until decades later, while Sail On Sailor was shoehorned into Holland because the record company didn't hear a single.  Now, I don't tell the tale with my usual snark to bash the Boys- just the company they chose to keep back then.

Now, the day before, well, the earth-shaking news of that day was Yemen Prime Minister Hassan al-Amri shooting dead a professional studio photographer whom he got pissed at.  The president, happy to take advantage of the last straw, demanded he be tried by Shiara Law, but he got out of the country before the police got him, and he spent the rest of his days wining and dining on Egypt's dime.

Sir?  Your first virgin is here...

Welcome to Time Machine, where you'll find only the classiest stories- including a six degrees featuring Tommy James, an obscure 18th-century composer, and one of the biggest porn stars of the seventies!  Also, more Autumn Madness, the return of "debuts worth note", two big international hits finally go down, and- The Cherry People(?)!  As the late, great Maria Muldaur might say, "send your camel to bed, and let's go!"

First, let's swing by the tops of the charts, shall we?  We quickly learn that what is hot locally isn't necessarily hot overall when we note where the local number ones are on the big chart!  In fact, the song that is #1 this week on Cashbox dropped off one of the local charts 2 weeks ago, off another last week, and averages a placement of 22.8 on the other five!  Anyway, Detroit's 2 stations agree with Go Away Little Girl (#15 on CB this week) at the top; Minneapolis has I Just Want To Celebrate (#18), L.A. has Liar (in the top ten), Chicago is split between Smiling Faces Sometimes (#12), and Uncle Albert (#28), and Pittsburgh has Ain't No Sunshine (#14).

Internationally, Michel Delpich's Pour Un Flirt has fallen out of the top spot after a 8-week run, replaced by blind pianist/vocalist Gilbert Montagne's The Fool.  According to his website, it hit the top in 12 nations- however, he didn't feel like listing which ones.  I can tell you at least four of them where it isn't- South Africa, Denmark, Switzerland, and Germany are all now ruled by Sweet with Co-Co, a song that will peak at #99 in the Us of A. In Germany, they have unseated Daniel Gerard's Butterfly after a 14-week run.  The only remaining changer on the international scene is Canada, who now agrees with the Cashbox chart and ...oops, almost got me!  Stay tuned for that song later.  Chicago's Beginnings now tops the AC chart, Tammy Wynette's on top with her 9th country #1, Good Lovin' (Makes It Right), and Spanish Harlem tops the R&B list.

And that brings us back to America, and out of 13 debuts on the hot 100 this week, we have three "of note" tunes.  Carole King is way up at 60 with my favorite, So Far Away.  One of our AM contestants this week, the Carpenters' Superstar, comes in at 68.  And the Free Movement, an LA band that sounded like maybe they shoulda done laxative ads, come in at 100 with Found Someone Of My Own (you can see them facing a sad jar of their old laxative as they sing the first line of the chorus, "I said, I found somebody else, to take your place...")  Shame on me, that's a good song.

Before we hit the birthday songs, let's move over to... AUTUMN MADNESS!  (Where the votes are a lot more important than the points on Who's Line Is It Anyway, but count about the same).

This week, we have the second set of regionals from Atlantic City in the East:

Close To You- Carpenters, vs Rag Doll, the Four Seasons (our experts vote 2-1 for the Carpenters):  My deepest memories are in play here.  I remember that when I was little, I didn't mind going to the Dr's office, because Dr. Dahling always had easy listening WPTH on his muzak, and I knew that either this one or We've Only Just Begun would play.  The vividness of the song in my mind is incredible.  But Rag Doll is yet another one of those songs I like a little more every time I hear it.  I don't know if I would have went with this tourney idea had I known just how hard it would be!  ARRRRGH!  Rag Doll by a nose.

Georgie Girl, the Seekers, vs Fall On Me, REM(2-1 for Georgie Girl):  Michael Stipe or Judith Durham.  No contest here, the Seekers move on.

In the Midwest, at Chicago:

Take Me Home Tonight, Eddie Money, vs Theme From A Summer Place, Percy Faith ((2-1 for Eddie):This isn't even fair.  Eddie's song is one of the most brilliant ideas, perfectly executed, in music history.  But the FIRST song I remember is A Summer Place.  It's what I imagine hearing as my soul rises to heaven.  Percy moves on.

Surfer Girl, the Beach Boys, vs To Know Him Is To Love Him, the Teddy Bears (2-1 Beach Boys):  For three reasons- a)an all time favorite, b) beach music and the whole "desert island" concept, and c) I owe them after trashing them in the teaser.  Beach Boys.

Out west, in L.A.:

Shannon, Henry Gross, vs Mandy, Barry Manilow (2-1 for Barry):  Really?  This is like the third no-win scenario for me.  Either one eliminates a song very precious to me.  I really thought, the beach, the desert island connection, would swing it to Shannon, but I can't escape

...Shadows of a man,
a face through a window,
crying in the night,
as night goes in to morning, just another day...

Mandy, the first record I actually bought.  But not by much.

We've Only Just Begun, the Carpenters, vs Money For Nothing, Dire Straits (2-1 Carpenters):  Money For Nothing is a tremendous song.  I drank a lot of beer to that tune that summer.  Carpenters, easy.

And finally, the Southeast region in Memphis:

Her Town Too, James Taylor and JD Souther, vs, All I Have To Do Is Dream, Everly Brothers (3-0 for the brothers):  Long ages ago when I was going to night classes at IPFW, I remember about a hundred times (maybe half-a-dozen, but bear with) I would make that last turn onto old 30, the church looming less than a mile ahead, a bright moon over the road as I faced east, and Her Town Too would come on the radio.  I always sang Souther's parts.  James and JD for me.

Wishing You Were Here, Chicago, vs Hello It's Me, Todd Rundgren (3-0 for Todd):  The last verse, Think of me, You-oo-oo... rips through me every time.  But in my mind, we're kids, on the speedboat at Snow Lake, coasting through the channel into Lake James, and Peter Cetera and the Beach Boys are on the 8-track singing, ooo-ooh wishing you were, wishing you were here...  Just no contest.  Chicago wins and I go against BOTH unanimous voter picks.  Sorry, guys!  I'll tell you this, though, this has been the single hardest round yet... and we're not out of the first round yet!

Birthday song time!  Turning 30 this week, we have the Police with King Of Pain; Dolly and Kenny with Islands In The Stream; ZZ Top's Sharp Dressed Man (yikes! watch out for the Duck Dynasty fans!) and something I neglected last week- that 1983 big four.  The fourth, the Fixx's One Thing Leads To Another, comes in this week at 80, while the others await above- True sits at 27, Making Love Out Of Nothing At All sits at 31, and Total Eclipse Of The Heart at 32- in other words, in reverse order of where the finished on my chart and Billboard.

With no one turning 35, we move to our new 40-year-olds.  One of them is a bit obscure, but still my favorite all-time John Denver song- Farewell, Andromeda (Welcome To My Morning).  Also hitting 40 this week, Bob Dylan's Knocking On Heaven's Door and Gladys Knight and the Pips' Midnight Train To Georgia.  Turning 45, another of my obscure favorites- Max Frost and the Troopers with Shape Of Things To Come.  And the song from which Eddie Money's genius sprang- the Ronettes' Be My Baby- turns 50 this week.  Blow out the candles...

We have a pair of big droppers this week- The Temptations (who just peaked at 40 last week) with It's Summer, and former top ten Freda Payne's Bring The Boys Home both fall 37 spots- the first to 77, the second to 80.  Climbing the fastest is Rod Stewart with Maggie May, up 18 spots to #66.

Our 45 at 45 this week gives us a relatively unknown at #45 back in '68, a song called And Suddenly by a combo calling themselves The Cherry People.  But it really wasn't them, per se... you seel they were a psychedelic group from the DC area  who had been  the Intruders and then the English Setters before becoming the CPs.  A local outfit of some renown, they opened local concerts by national acts like the Beau Brummells, Neil Diamond, and the Young Rascals.  But it was opening for the Jimi Hendrix Experience in New York that they attracted the attention of a producer from MGM records, who signed them to their Heritage label.  But in the end, they were yet another victim of the bubblegum craze; this producer picked out the songs they would sing (with only two of their own songs making it onto their album, a song called I'm The One Who Loves You being the better known), picking their single (And Suddenly was a tune written and first recorded by The Left Banke as the flip side of their #119 hit Ivy Ivy), even basically replacing the band members with studio musicians as they felt like it.  And Suddenly peaked at 44, and The Cherry People more or less returned to the bar scene within a couple of years.

That brings us to this week's top 40 debuts, and a couple of almost but not quite shout outs.  First, the newbies:  For a second week, #41 moves up a notch to 40, this time it's Barbra Streisand covering Carole King's Where You Lead.  The Guess Who rocket up 14 spots to 33 with Rain Dance; and Joan Baez climbs a like amount to 30 with The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.  As for the ABNQs, the previously-mentioned Beginnings by Chicago peaks at 11; while somewhat lower, Bread tops out at 45 this week with Mother Freedom.

And now, next week's contestants:

In the East, from beautiful Greenwich Village:

ELO's Telephone Line vs Paul Young's Every Time You Go Away and the Wings' Coming Up (live from Glasgow) vs England Dan and John Ford Coley with Nights Are Forever Without You.

In the Midwest, from St. Louie, MO:

Bobby Darin's Mack The Knife vs Culture Club's Time (Clock Of The Heart) and Merilee Rush and the Turnabouts' version of Angel Of The Morning vs the Bee Gees with Nights On Broadway.

Out West in Honolulu:

Wings yet again with Listen To What The Man Said vs Asia's Heat Of The Moment, and the Skyliners' Since I Don't Have You vs Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse Of The Heart.

And in the Southeast, from Muscle Shoals, Alabama:

J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers' Last Kiss vs Jackson Browne's In The Shape Of A Heart, and Strawberry Alarm Clock's Incense And Peppermints vs Bobby Vinton's Blue On Blue. 

Three songs join the top ten, three fall out.  Dropping are Never Ending Song Of Love (9 to 17), You've Got A Friend (8 to 19), and the Isley take on Love The One You're With (10 to 31).

LATE BREAKING UPDATE:  While pausing to consume processed cow flesh, I tumbled on to an addendum to the Cherry People story.  Apparently, the Left Banke recording of And Suddenly was about as much Left Banke as the Cherry People version was Cherry People.  Keyboardist and writer Michael Brown basically recorded it and the a-side as a solo adding session people to create the "Left Banke"  Among these were guitarist, actor, comedian, and future Spinal Tapper Michael McKean.  The remainder of the band was cheesed, organized the fan club against the single, and finally, DJs and record execs alike pulled the 45 off the market.  But the band would kiss and make up, record a second lp, and on three of those songs appeared a young back-up singer named Steven Tyler- yes, THAT Steven Tyler.

Moving up 3 notches to #10, Three Dog Night comes in with Liar.

Up 5 to #9 is Aretha Franklin's Spanish Harlem.

Canada's Five Man Electrical Band hit the top ten, moving 4 to # 8 with Signs.

Tom Clay's medley holds at #7 this week.

Jean Knight tumbles a pair to #6 with Mr. Big Stuff.

CCR hitchhikes their way up a spot to #5, with Sweet Hitchhiker.

Marvin Gaye moves up one to #4 with Mercy Mercy Me.

And that brings us to that long-awaited six degrees, with Draggin' The Line dropping one to #3 for Tommy James.

As we all know, Tommy and the Shondells recorded for Roulette, which was basically a mob money-laundering operation.  Roulette somehow managed to sign some top talent from the mid-fifties onward, from Count Basie to Duane Eddy, from Bill Haley and his Comets to the Three Degrees.  But the act that raised my eyebrows you know best from her starring roles in such movies as The Devil In Miss Jones...

... you old-timers remember Marilyn Chambers, right?  Well, it seems that Marilyn saw the success fellow porn star Andrea True had when she hit the top ten with More More More, and wanted to try it too.  She got together with disco producer Michael Zager and released a single Benihana in 1976.  While it didn't go very far, Zager did better with Spinners vol. 2 and their late hits Working My Way Back To You/Forgive Me Girl and Cupid/I've Loved You For A Long Time.  The Four Seasons cover was written by the team of Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell.  In addition to several other FS hits, the team also turned the Minuet In G Major into the Toys' A Lovers' Concerto.  For years thought to be the composition of the world famous JS Bach, in the seventies a different story emerged.  It seems that it was found in a book from Bach to his second wife titled, Notebook For Anna Magdalena Bach.  Within it were songs and tunes done by Bach himself... but in the empty back pages sat the Minuet and other compositions- compositions NOT of Bach- which the family liked to play at home and added over the years.  Two of those were written by the much less famous but respected composer Christian Petzold (1677-1733)- one of them, the Minuet In G Major.

The runner up spot this week belongs to John Denver with Take Me Home, Country Roads moving up a notch to #2.

Which means the winnah, and still champeen, is...

...the Bee Gees with How Do You Mend A Broken Heart!!!!

Next week, the end of round one.. and the regional championships!  Tune in, or ... well, just tune in, okay?  I get so lonely without you!


  1. Chris:
    YOu can't this boat any more full this week, can you? many great songs making me feel older and older, and yet, they come across as never being THAT old.
    SO far, my "picks" have me batting around .30 (really, but I pick what I like.
    --THat MAX FROST song...excellent call.
    That's a DIRECT homage to the 1968 film "WIld In The Streets"...
    Wish someone would AIR that movie...they's d see a LOT of what our society might be heading towards...but that's another post for another day, right?
    --Kockin' on Heaven's Door is the ONE song of Dylan's that I really LIKE...seriously. Never a huge fan of his singing.
    --A really GREAT compilation of Beach Boy songs can be found on (or=f all things) a UK release from the late 70s - 20 Golden Greats - runs longer than a hour, so we could never get ALL of it on a 60 minute
    -- This week's picks ('cause I like 'em)

    EAST - Everytime You Go Away/Nights Are Forever

    MIDWEST - Mack the Knife/Nights on Broadway

    WEST - Heat of the Moment/Total Eclipse of the Heart

    SOUTHEAST - Last KIss/BLue on Blue

    --Remember Marilyn Chambers?
    ...Mom used to buy the SOAP she "hawked"...LOL!
    That was one CRAZY six-degrees...never knew any of that w/ the mob stuff.
    Ahh, the Minuet in G Major...hadda watch the first few seconds of the Lover's Concerto to recall what that was...knew it immediately.
    Nice call there.
    (BTW, that the SAME "Zager" from the year 2525?)

    Go Bee Gees!
    Fantasmagorical ride this week, my friend.

    Stay safe up there.

    1. Not the same (2525 was Denny).

    2. Don't worry about the batting average, BTW...We had the Max Frost single, once upon a time...And Tommy James told the Roulette story in his autobio, so says wiki.

  2. Now that's a detailed compendium of music history. Cherry People! There's a group I hadn't thought about in a while.

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