|My heroes- Joe Garagiola, Frank Blair, and McGee. Oh, and Barbara Walters was there too...|
Welcome to Time Machine for this week in 1971. This trip, more fun with Mamy Blue as it sweeps the universe; a six degrees linking Joan Baez to Bob Seger; a 45 at 45 with a cameo by former Detroit Tiger announcer Ernie Harwell; a messed up birthday list and a REALLY messed up stars of the fifty states; and the Sweet Sixteen of Autumn Madness! C'mon, sir, let's go! (little Marcie humor there...)
Let's kick thing off with the madness that is Mamy Blue. If it isn't number one in any of the non-English speaking countries we're following, it soon will be, by one artist or another. In the Netherlands, the Pop Tops peaked at #3 while a version by Joel Dayde stopped at 13. In Switzerland, it has just begun a ten-week reign at the top, also by the Pop Tops. And next week, it will take over the South African chart for ten weeks by a studio group called Charisma. But what happened in the English speaking universe?
Well, in Australia it was Dayde's version that climbed to #2- followed by covers by Roger Whitaker and James Darren which didn't crack the top 40. But that was pretty much it: Canada peaked the Pop Tops at 42, while another studio group, the Oak Island Treasury Department, made it to 68 and a French Language version by Roger Whitaker (him again?) made it high on Canada's French chart; In the US of A, the Pop Tops got to 57 on Billboard; In the UK, the Pop Tops crapped out at 35 and Whitaker at 31.
Anyway, this week Canada has Go Away Little Girl as it's new top dog, while South Africa has a song called Du (German for You) by Peter Maffay, a song that had topped the German charts in May of '70. Maffay is one of the most successful of German artists; Du was the breakthrough single in a career that saw him sell 35 million records. Around the US of A, CKLW in Detroit sees the Theme From Shaft rocket from 12 to 1, while competitor WKNR moved it from 17 to 4, with Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves moving into the penthouse suite. Maggie May is still top in Minneapolis, both Chicago stations, L.A. (where the other Shaft sighting has it moving from 20 to 10), while Pittsburgh, always the odd duck, has the Osmonds' Yo-Yo on top. Superstar moves to the top on the national AC chart, while Make It Funky and Easy Loving hold on to the top spots on the R&B and country charts, respectively.
|" Que'st-ce, "Yo-Yo?" "|
I had some major mess-ups on last week's birthday songs- I did this week's 35-year-olds last week! So, in fairness, here are the songs that celebrated 35th birthdays last week: Al Stewart's Time Passages; Firefall's Strange Way; Atlanta Rhythm Section's Champagne Jam (our theme song in high school personal typing 101); Lindesfarne's Run For Home; 10cc's Dreadlock Holiday; and this obscure gem I always liked (though I suspect my voter Mr. McCarthy might not)...
Our light birthday week continues with, turning 40 one of my favorite Led Zep songs (and one of their least favorites), D'yer Mak'r; turning 45, Steppenwolf's Magic Carpet Ride; and turning 55, Phil Spector and the Teddy Bears with To Know Him Is To Love Him (gee, do ya think he wrote that one for HIMSELF? Hmmmm....) Blow out the candles...
This week the 45 at 45 belongs to Jose Feliciano, on the way back down with Light My Fire. An interesting thing here was that it made him a hot property, including getting an invitation from baseball broadcaster Ernie Harwell to sing The Star Spangled Banner at game five of the 1968 World Series. His slowed down, Latinized version surprised everyone, and some stations refused to play him afterwards for the "sacrilege" (No American Idol back then, dontcha know), and according to the author at Wikipedia, "put his career into a slump that lasted three years." HOWever, let's look at the stats, shall we: First of all, his recorded Star Spangled Banner charted at #50. If you remove his two anomalously big hits, his average chart position for his career was 67. I'm not sure you can say that a lot of damage came his way, since his four singles up to and including the incident- and LMF- averaged 65.
|Ey, what about mental distress? PTSD?|
Big dropper this week is Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get, falling 28 to #53. The big climber we'll see in the top 40.
And now... the Sweet Sixteen!
Strange Magic vs Rag Doll (voters unanimous behind ELO): This is a tough one for me. As close to an even match as I have had yet. So, I'll give this one to the voters. ELO moves on.
Summer Breeze vs Nights Are Forever Without You ( 2-1 for Seals and Crofts): GRRRR... I'm punting to the voters again. Summer Breeze wafts along.
My Little Town vs Theme To A Summer Place (2-1 for Simon and Garfunkel): I got this one. Summer Place moves on.
Mr. Blue vs Angel Of The Morning (Merilee Rush's version- 2-1 for the gal with the gorgeous eyes): Merilee and the Turnabouts move on.
Love Is Blue vs We've Only Just Begun (2-1 Carpenters): My gut reaction was Love Is Blue. Thought makes it much harder. In the end, I guess having Karen around on a desert island is a good thing. She and brother move on.
No Time vs Listen What The Man Said (2-1 for the Guess Who): Making this conditional puts a whole new spin on things, to wit: my three favorite songs of all time are No Time, Strange Magic, and Sherry. One is out; one has survived by the grace of the voters... and I'm putting out the third. Wings move on.
Tammy vs Wishing You Were Here(3-0 Chicago): I was really surprised (as you might have gathered) that Debbie Reynolds made it this far. But like all good mid majors, there's a time to be Cinderella and a time to bow out. Chicago moves on.
Wichita Lineman vs Incense and Peppermints (2-1 for Glenn); I guess a song that mentions snow would have a hard time here on Gilligan's Island. The Alarm Clock rings on.
Final eight play off next week! Stay tuned for the pairings, if you don't already have it dialed in.
|Skipper? I hear music...|
Moving up 7 to land at #38 is Tommy James with I'm Coming Home. That Delaney and Bonnie cover of Only You Know And I Know moves 12 to #35, and the week's big mover- climbing 22 spots to #33- James Taylor with Long Ago And Far Away.
Montana- the best I could do here is Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament. Don't they even sing to their sheep?
Nebraska- our winner here is Zager and Evans- the immortal duo who gave us In The Year 2525. Unfortunately, the only other thing they gave us peaked at #106.
Nevada- The best I could get here were a pair of more recent groups: the Killers (who I don't really know) and Panic At The Disco! (which my son turned me onto and are really good).
New Hampshire- Once again we had to bend the requirements with Ronnie James Dio. The Wiki story lists him as born in Portsmouth, NH- but in the blurb box beside it, it claims he was born in Elmira, NY. His website, though, confirms New Hampshire as the site of the deed.
New Mexico- Our only legit winner this week, John Denver, with 32 hot 100s and 8 top tens.
|Too bad this wasn't a contest! Whatta buncha losers!|
Okay, the pairings for next week's Final Eight games are as follows:
Strange Magic vs Summer Breeze
We've Only Just Begun vs Listen What The Man Said
Wishing You Were Here vs Incense And Peppermints
and A Summer Place vs Angel Of The Morning.
And in two weeks, we wrap it all up!
Two songs join the top ten, two fall out. The droppers are So Far Away (WHAAAAAAT???), 10 to 14; and Smiling Faces Sometimes, from 8 to 17.
In one, up one, down one; the Partridges drop back to ten with I Woke Up In Love.
Down 4 to #9, Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.
Unfortunately for the Honey Cone, Stick Up didn't stick up; it slips a notch to #8.
Much to Peter Maffay's displeasure, the Osmonds move Yo-Yo from 12 to #7.
Lee Michaels charges into the top ten, going 11 to 6 with Do You Know What I Mean. WHOA!
And dropping a pair to #5, our six degrees victim.
Joan Baez' cover of the Band's The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down was far from the only one. Johnny Cash did a version on his 1975 lp John R. Cash; which is ironic, because on Baez' lp Blessed Are.., from which Dixie came, she also covered a folk standard called Deportee (Plane Crash at Los Gatos). Woody Guthrie wrote this about a true story of a plane full of migrant worker being shipped home in 1948 that crashed, killing 27 men and 1 woman, some who were never identified afterwards. Pete Seeger made it famous; but the ironic part is that it was also covered much later by supergroup the Highwaymen (Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings). The vocal was shared by the only other vocalist whop got an appearance on their first lp- Johnny Rodriguez, who was a country superstar in his own right.
Oh, the Seger connection? Among the many covers on the Highwayman album was Bob's Against The Wind. Ta-da!!
Bill Withers hangs in there at 4 again with Ain't No Sunshine.
Donny Osmond, no doubt distracted by his appearance below, falls from the top to #3 with Go Away Little Girl.
The Carpenters jump 4 spots into the runner-up slot with Superstar.
And the new top Dog, moving up one, is....
That loveable tramp Rod Stewart with Maggie May!!!!
Good show, everyone! Meet back here next week for a brand new shooooe...