When we left off, Vietnam Vets were holding the Statue of Liberty hostage, Bing Crosby had the biggest Christmas hit of all time, and Pittsburgh had a song we never heard of at #1. Today we resolve these plot lines, as well as; get to this week's big movers; look at why it was that Elvis didn't make our longest-charting singles list; and have a six degrees connect Sly Stone with- Deliverance??!! Yep, so let's get back to it!
First off, let's take the case of Think and their song Once You Understand. Think was a studio group put together by a writer of children's songs named Bobby Susser. A childhood friend of Paul Simon, he had helped Simon on his first records as leader of Tico and the Triumphs, who hit #99 with a song called Motorcycle in 1961. But, as you will hear, this is anything but a children's song:
Because of the ending , it was banned at many radio stations- and in looking at the oldies records I use for "number ones across the country", it would seem that KHJ in LA, Both Chicago stations, and CKLW in Detroit were among those who banned it. Of all the stations I look at, only KDWB Minneapolis also had a record of it, peaking at #3 in January. It was the biggest mover on Cashbox this week, up a quick 30 to #58. Ironically, another mostly-spoken word tune, Les Crane's Desiderata, is the big dropper, tumbling 31 to #49.
Next up, the next chunk of the top 50 of 1971!
20- Want Ads, Honey Cone. 140 points, same as:
19- Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted, Partridge Family- the song David Cassidy didn't want to do.
18- Knock Three Times, Dawn. 141 of its total of 179 in 1971.
17- Superstar, Carpenters. 142 points. One of three songs titled Superstar to chart. Murray Head's JCS theme came in at 65; the Temptations paen to David Ruffin, subtitled Remember How You Got Where You Are, missed the top 125.
16- Draggin' The Line, Tommy James. 144 points, along with:
15- Go Away Little Girl, Donny Osmond.
14- Just My Imagination, Temptations. 145.
13- Rose Garden, Lynn Anderson. At 146, the highest country crossover.
12- Take Me Home, Country Roads, John Denver. Yeah, technically a country crossover, but it only hit #50 on the country charts. 147 points.
11- It's Too Late/I Feel The Earth Move, Carole King. 150.
We have 5 debuts on the top forty this week. First out of the blocks is Carly Simon's Anticipation, climbing 11 to land at #40. Next, Bob Dylan with his tribute song, George Jackson, for the Black Panther leader killed in San Quentin Prison, a six notch move to #38. Next comes a song called White Lies, Blue Eyes, by a "band" called Bullet. Actually, this song was recorded by a studio group before a band was ever formed, and the band that was formed included singer Roget Pontbriand. Roget would go on to spend two weeks with KC and the Sunshine Band (replacing a trombone player who had to be taught a lesson and subsequently returned), and 2 1/2 years with Wild Cherry as a trumpet player who, while touring with them, saw all his recording contributions end up on the cutting room floor. ("Wild Cherry recorded a huge amount of material. Unfortunately, none of my parts ever made an album.") Bullet's one top 40 hit comes in at 37, up 4. Charley Pride climbs 11 to #34 with the #1 country song this week, Kiss An Angel Good Morning. And moving up 9 spots to #33, Badfinger with Day After Day.
If you read the comments on TM, you'll see that our friend Bobby G., in expressing his surprise at Monster Mash being the longest charting song of the Martin Era (1962-79), mumbled something about that Elvis hadn't shown up on the list. So, I decided to look into this. And here's what I learned.
The King had his golden age in the mid-to-late fifties. At this point, Cashbox was only releasing a top 50, so it's kind of apples to oranges. But in that timespan, he racked up 20+ weeks on the top 50 five times. One of them, Don't Be Cruel, logged 23 weeks; the other four (Heartbreak Hotel; I Want You, I Need You, I Love You; Hound Dog; and Love Me Tender) all hit 21 weeks.
Shortly thereafter, the chart went to top 60, and he had Jailhouse Rock last for 20 weeks there. But never again on the top 60, the subsequent top 75, or the hot 100, did he hit the 20-week mark. And now you know.
And now, the finale of 1971's top 50!
10- Gypsies, Tramps, And Thieves, Cher. One of seven big hits (Peace Train, #51; Spanish Harlem, 48; Got To Be There, 44; Baby I'm-A Want You, 41; Imagine, 36; and one more, coming up) that did not hit either of Cashbox's 1970, 1971, or 1972 year end top 100 charts because of the way they divide the year. 151 points.
9- Theme From Shaft, Isaac Hayes. This is the other one. 153 points.
8- How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, Bee Gees. Also with 153.
7- Never Can Say Goodbye, Michael Jackson. Boy, was that prophetic! 154 points.
6- One Bad Apple, Osmonds. 155.
5- Mr. Big Stuff, Jean Knight. 159.
4- Indian Reservation, Raiders. 160.
3- She's A Lady, Tom Jones. 162.
Then come the undisputed masters of the year:
2- Maggie May, Rod Stewart. 178 points. And the clear #1...
1- Joy To The World, Three Dog Night. With a grand total of eight weeks at the top and 198 points.
Two songs enter the top ten, two fall out. Dropping are Rock Steady (7 to 21) and the aforementioned Theme From Shaft ( 5 to 13).
The Staple Singers climb from 14 to 10 with a song many of us (sadly, myself included) know better from the Bruce Willis cover- Respect Yourself.
Holding up its descent at #9, the Chi-Lites and Have You Seen Her.
Moving up a pair to #8, the Dennis Coffey instrumental Scorpio.
Up a notch to #7, on the same week that their variety show went from summer replacement to 4-year fixture on CBS, Sonny and Cher with the #1 AC song this week, All I Ever Need Is You.
Moving into the top ten from 11 to #6, Don McLean's American Pie.
Up a notch to 5, David Cassidy and Cherish.
Three Dog Night hold at #4 with An Old Fashioned Love Song.
And at #3, our former top dog, our #1 R&B song this week, and our six degrees victim.
Family Affair (down 2 to #3), two years separated from their last hit, wasn't really "the Family." Only Rose sang on it with Sly; Bobby Womack was guitarist, and Billy Preston was on the keyboards. Of course, Billy was on a ton of things, from the Beatles to the Stones, to- believe it or not- the lp Barbara Joan Streisand. He played on three cuts of that lp, including the hit cover of Carole King's Where You Lead (which hit #40 at the end of August). Another cut off that album which might catch the eye is I Mean To Shine, written by Steely Dan's Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, with Becker playing organ on the track. Also on that track playing guitar is Eric Weissberg- and Weissberg is most famous for his role on the Theme from Deliverance. Squeal like a pig!!!
The Jackson Five move into the runner up spot with Got To Be There. But they ain't there yet, because our new #1 is...
...Melanie with Brand New Key!!!!!
Next week it's back to normal for Time machine and the Statue of Liberty. See you in 2014 on Time Machine!