Apparently the FBI wished to cover up their lack of intelligence in handling the case, but Down's wife Janie sued them for wrongful death. The Bureau (still Hoover's baby at the time) and Nixon AG John Mitchel used stonewalling and intimidation on the family, even filing a countersuit alleging Downs "failed to disarm his passengers before boarding", until decades later Downs' son Andy (18 months old when it happened) got some justice and has made a bit of peace with the bureau. For the full story, go to Andy's blog about the incident and his search for the truth.
|Brent and Janie Downs|
And now, time for Time Machine. This week, we set the sweet 16 of Autumn Madness, do a six degrees from the Undisputed Truth to the Divine Miss M, see if you can guess the biggest-charting act from Mississippi (hint: born in Tupelo), the mystery that was the Ohio Express, and another new #1. Does Rod Stewart push his way to the top? Only one way to be sure...
So let's start off with the tops of the national charts. The "consensus" formed on Stewart's Maggie May has weakened just a bit... WKNR Detroit now has Gypsies Tramps And Thieves at the top. Detroit's CKLW, along with LA, both Chicago stations, and Pittsburgh are now in the Maggie May camp, though; and Internationally, Canada joins them. Minneapolis is split between Superstar and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (which also spends one last week on top of the AC chart).
On the rest of the international scene, it's a busy week. Most of that business being caused by a song called Mammy Blue, recorded by a Spanish band calling themselves the Pop Tops. Their English recording (they also did it in Italian and Spanish) takes over on the French chart this week- but the next two weeks, a French-lyrics version by a young lady named Nicoletta Grisoni will take the next two weeks, after which the Pop Tops will go back on top for three. The story of a young man remembering the mother he lost when young also will soon be hitting the top in Germany (after Daniel Gerard's return to the top for a 15th week with Butterfly and two weeks of the former #1 in Holland, Peret's Borroquito). Holland will pick it up after a week of poet Rod McKuen's hit Soldiers Who Want To Be Heroes, and after Switzerland keeps Sweet's CoCo one more week, it will ride out the rest of the year on top there.
R&B is topped by James Brown's Make It Funky; and a new country #1 comes from an old name. Freddie Hart was a war hero who lied about his age to join the Marines, and was rewarded with a stint on Iwo Jima. After a stint teaching self-defense classes to the LAPD, he began to hit the country charts in 1953, never hitting very big. Until this week, when his Easy Loving hit #1- starting a string of 6 #1s in seven songs, and 14 top tens out of 18, that lasted until 1977. Easy Loving crosses over, too- it's at #44 on the Cashbox chart this week.
Speaking of which, here's the 4 mentions out of the 15 hot 100 debuts. Yvonne Elliman's second single from the JCS soundtrack, Everything's Allright, comes in at 99; The Staple Singers come in at 95 with Respect Yourself; Yes enters at #94 with Your Move; and Chicago's re-release of Questions 67 & 68 (the first, 5 minute long version from their first lp peaked at 71 in '68) makes the chart at 77.
We are so packed today, I'm going to cut in here with- TA-DUM!- Autumn Madness for this week! Once again I forgot to get Laurie before she went to work, but our other two judges are here (although one of them copped out at "picking the lesser of two evils" on half of the choices). So let's do this!
The Midwest Regional championships, the winners getting their sweet 16 date in the Motor City:
Tommy Tutone, 867-5309/Jenny, vs My Little Town, Simon and Garfunkel (2-0 for S&G): The first piano chord wins this. My Little Town moves on.
Percy Faith, Theme To A Summer Place vs Beach Boys, Surfer Girl (split vote): If I could ever take a mulligan, this would be the place. Before I change my mind... Percy and the orchestra.
Fleetwoods, Mr. Blue, vs Supremes, Love Child (Bob went blue): On a desert island, you need something smooth. The Fleetwoods go forth.
Culture Club, Time (Clock Of The Heart) vs Merilee Rush, Angel Of The Morning (Bob says Angel): This isn't really fair. Sorry, Boy George.
Next week, we'll be doing the ENTIRE sweet 16! Details to follow...
|"No hard feelings, okay Brian? If it's any consolation, I did a song called Sounds Of Surf... and it dudded out."|
Okay, back to- Birthday Songs! Thirty years ago this week the first chartings of these songs- Michael Jackson's PYT, Human League's Mirror Man, the Romantics' Talking In Your Sleep, and John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band with On The Dark Side. Turning 35: Paul Anka's This Is Love, Chaka Khan's I'm Every Woman, and two of the autumn's power hits- The Power Of Gold by Dan Fogelberg and Tim Weissberg and Toto's Hold The Line.
Our big movers this week? Well John Denver gets hit hard as Take Me Home Country Roads is the biggest dropper again this week, plunging another 29 spots to 54; while Dawn's What Are You Doing Sunday moves up a quick 23 notches to #58. And this would be a good time to wheel in the 45 at 45!
At 45 on the 1968 chart this week is a song called Down At Lulus by the Ohio Express. While many bubblegum groups are of questionable pedigree, none are more so than the OE. It seems the story starts with a band called the Rare Breed. They had released a song in 1966 called Beg Borrow And Steal. It flopped; but it reappeared and hit the charts- the exact same song- under the name the Ohio Express. The Rare Breed dove deeper into obscurity than most then... it wasn't until the 2000's that a positive ID was made of the members.
So now the record company had a single but no band to tour for it. So they hired an outfit called Sir Timothy and the Royals and christened them "touring OE". They also did an album, mixing their performances with those of in-house studio musicians and old Rare Breed tracks. Finally, their production company moved the OE to Buddah records and went in search of new material. One such tune was their big hit Yummy Yummy Yummy which was actually recorded by the studio group headed by Joey Levine. The idea was to have the touring group lay vocals over the music after the fact, but the execs liked Levine so much that they released it as is. So "touring OE" was pictured on all the lps and singles jackets, but never played a note on the records. It actually got to a point where the studio end of things released Chewy Chewy but never informed touring OE- as a result, fans asked to hear their "new hit", and the band didn't even know they had one! Almost the only honest thing about the OE is that "touring OE" was from Ohio.
And on that geographical note...
Time for the biggest chart acts of the fifty States! And this week's five states are-
Massachusetts- The late, great Donna Summer, who hit the hot 100 33 times, 14 of them making top ten.
Michigan- Think Motown here. The Supremes had 45 hot 100s and 18 top tens.
Minnesota- Bob Dylan, with 23 hot 100s and 3 top tens.
Mississippi- C'mon, you know this is Elvis country- over 100 hot 100s and 33 #1s!
Missouri- Chuck Berry, with 27 hot 100s and 7 top tens.
Top 40 debut time! Three graduates of our "guess who made the top 40" games from a few weeks back make the big time this week. Engelbert Humperdink's Another Time, Another Place creeps up 2 to #40, while Kris Kristofferson's Loving Her Was Easier does the same to #39; and Laura Lee's Women's Love Rights jumps 15 to enter at #35. The Free Movement has a free movement of 11 notches to #38 with I've Found Someone Of My Own. Up 8 to #36 is Canada's Lighthouse with One Fine Morning; and a 21-spot leap for Cher to put Gypsies Tramps And Thieves at 33.
Before we get much farther along, a couple of notes. First, the "big four" from 1983 has Total Eclipse of the Heart at #1 at last; Making Love Out Of Nothing At All is at #5, True at #8, and One Thing Leads To Another at #15. Will they go 1,2,3,4 like they did on my chart, or 1,2,3,5 like they did on Billboard? Stay tuned. Also, an almost but not quite shoutout to the Moody Blues, who begin their descent after peaking at 14 with The Story In Your Eyes.
And Now... the Sweet 16 Pairings!
In Philly, we have:
ELO's Strange Magic vs the Four Seasons' Rag Doll;
and Seals and Crofts' Summer Breeze vs England Dan and JF Coley's Nights Are Forever Without You!
In Los Angeles, we have:
Paul Mariat's Love Is Blue vs the Carpenters' We've Only Just Begun, and
The Guess Who's No Time vs Wings' Listen To What The Man Said!
In Nashville, we have:
Debbie Reynolds' Tammy vs Chicago's Wishing You Were Here;
and Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman vs Strawberry Alarm Clock's Incense and Peppermints!
And in Detroit, it'll be:
S&G's My Little Town vs Percy Faith's A Summer Place;
and The Fleetwoods' Mr. Blue vs Merilee Rush's Angel Of The Morning!
|"I'm really flattered... but how on earth did I get here?"|
Two songs enter the top ten, two fall out. Dropping are Spanish Harlem (9 to 22) and I Just Want To Celebrate (7 to 24).
Carole King melts my heart at #10, up three with So Far Away.
I woke up in the #9 spot, say the Partridges and I Woke Up In Love This Morning.
And the return of the six degrees at #8. Also, the fall of Smiling Faces Sometimes, down two notches.
This song was originally recorded by the quickly-fracturing Temptations and put on the lp Sky's The Limit. They gave the tune a "haunted house feel" to make it more eerie... and just before they were to release it, lead singer Eddie Kendricks left the group, so producer Norman Whitfield gave it to the up-and-coming Undisputed Truth instead. The lp also had their big hit Just My Imagination... which the Rolling Stones covered on Some Girls. That was the big hit lp with Miss You and Beast Of Burden, both of which were top tens. Beast was covered in 1983 by none other that the star of Hawaii, Bette Midler, though she only got to #71 with it. To overcome the part where Mick sings "you're a pretty pretty girl", Bette actually added a couple new verses:
My little sister is a pretty pretty girl.
My little sister is a pretty pretty girl.
She loves to ride. She loves to crawl.
They love to take her out behind the garden wall.
And when they're done they just throw her away.
And she don't have an awful lot to say.
It hurts her so bad to come to the end.
I re, I remember all the times she spent sayin', "Please!"
Uh-HUH. Moving on...
Jumping from 11 to #7, the Honey Cone with Stick Up.
The Carpenters climb a pair to # 6 with Superstar.
Uncle Albert and Admiral Halsey set course back down, dropping from top dog to #5 this time.
Up a notch to 4, Bill Withers and Ain't No Sunshine.
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down moves up one to #3 this time.
Maggie May climbs into the runner-up seat for Rod Stewart this week. Which means our new #1 belongs to....
...Donny Osmond with Go Away Little Girl!!!!
We now return you to your regularly scheduled future.