Follow by Email

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


Friday, December 13, 2013

Time Machine week 98

It's December 13th, 1971.Today, John Sinclair got out of jail.  Who's that, you ask?  Well, he's the prototype of today's Obama administration.  A poet, an activist, leader of the White Panthers (which was the Black Panthers' honkey auxiliary)... and someone who got stung giving two joints to an undercover cop in Michigan in 1968.  For this heinous crime (and likely more for the other aforementioned attributes), he was sentenced to TEN YEARS in prison.  Needless to say, even those who weren't, as Rush Limbaugh would say, maggot-infested, dope smoking, pinko hippies" had to take umbrage to five years a lid, so there were many protests, both legal and illegal, including this little stunt by Abbie Hoffman:

At Woodstock in 1969, Hoffman reportedly interrupted The Who's performance to attempt to speak against the jailing of John Sinclair of the White Panther Party. He grabbed a microphone and yelled, "I think this is a pile of shit while John Sinclair rots in prison ..." Pete Townshend was adjusting his amplifier between songs and turned to look at Hoffman over his right shoulder. Townshend reportedly ran at Hoffman with his guitar and hit Hoffman in the back, although Townshend later denied attacking Hoffman.  Townshend later said that while he actually agreed with Hoffman on Sinclair's imprisonment, he would have knocked him offstage regardless of the content of his message, given that Hoffman had violated the "sanctity of the stage," i.e., the right of the band to perform uninterrupted by distractions not relevant to the actual show.

By December 10th, enough legal wheels had turned that Sinclair was about to be released, unbeknownst to his loyal and addled supporters, who put together a concert at the U of M's Crisler Arena that might have been unnoteworthy... until fellow commie hippie Jerry Rubin talked John Lennon and Yoko Ono into performing.  Besides Lennon and about 8 hours worth of Rubin, Hoffman, et al, bloviating about how unfair it was and how Dick Nixon was the antichrist complete with horns and tail, others performing included Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, the Joy Of Cooking (remember Brownsville a few months back? ), Teegarden and Van Winkle (ditto for God Love And Rock'N'Roll), local boy Bob Seger, and the surprise appearance of Stevie Wonder, who couldn't pass up a chance to bash Nixon in public.  Three days later, the Marijuana Left could claim yet another victory they really had little to do with.

Welcome to the 98th week of Time Machine, and here's the line-up as we count down to volume II's 100th episode:  This week, a special list of songs from 1971 that I'll explain more about in a bit;  next week, per Bobby G.'s big idea, the songs from 1962-79 that spent the most weeks on the chart; and then on the anniversary post, the REAL top songs of 1971 (accept no substitute)!  Also this week, we'll connect Cher to Casey Kasem; and a really anemic birthday week.  Oh well, can't win 'em all...

First, the tops around the world.  Changes internationally this week start in the Netherlands, where prototype boys band Les Poppys hit with another en vogue Vietnam protest called Non, Non, Rien N'a Change. It's not bad for a protest done by a choir of pre-pubescent  boys singing in French.  Now I have to hand it to the writer, the lyrics in English were really good:

No no, nothing has changed

It’s the story of a truce
for which I had asked
It’s the story of a sun
for which I had hoped
It’s the story of a love
that I thought to be alive

 It’s the story of a beautiful day,
when I as a little child,
I wanted happiness
for the whole planet
I wanted, I hoped
that peace would reign
On this Christmas Eve
But everything went on
But everything went on
But everything went on

No, no, nothing has changed

 Everything, everything went on
Hey! Hey ! Hey! Hey !

And however many people
have sung with us
And however many people
have knelt
to pray, yes to pray

 But on television
I saw guns and canons
every day
even on Christmas Eve
I have cried, yes I've cried
I have cried, yes I've cried
Who's going to explain me that...

No, no, nothing has changed

 Everything, everything went on
Hey! Hey ! Hey! Hey !

I think about the child,
surrounded by soldiers
I think about the child
who's asking "Why?"
All the time, yes all the time
I think about all this
but I shouldn't
All these things
don't concern me
However, yes however
However, I'm singing, I'm singing...

No, no, nothing has changed

 Everything, everything went on
Hey! Hey ! Hey! Hey !

Also, Ireland changed this week to a version of I Don't Know How To Love Him- this one by a showband called Real McCoy fronted by a girl named Tina.  A pretty faithful version, she just has a slightly higher register.

Young miss Tina Robbins.
Also, Canada moved on to the Shaft Theme, Australia caught on to Maggie May, while the UK, as they always do in times of crisis, turn to Benny Hill, who hits the top with Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The World).

In the US of A, Brand New Key holds the top in Detroit, Minneapolis, and WCFL in Chicago; LA lifts up Respect Yourself; WLS in Chicago still had Have You Seen Her at the top; and Pittsburgh, always rebellious, has You Are Everything at #1.  The AC chart has All I ever Really Need at the top, the R&B chart has Family Affair, and the Country chart was topped for the third time this year by Charlie Pride with Kiss An Angel Good Morning.

That brings us to our debuts, and out of a crop of 15, I'll give you two... well three, sort of.  You see, Beverly Bremers dropped off the Chart after five weeks of piddling around with Don't Say You Don't Remember; but now it gets a second wind and re-enters at 99.  Nilsson comes in with his big hit Without You at 87; and a song we'll get familiar with in the coming weeks- the Jacksons with Sugar Daddy comes in at 60.

And now it's birthday song time, and it's not the big list we've been used to.  Turning 30, we have John Mellencamp's Pink Houses, Christopher Cross' tribute to General Hospital, Think Of Laura, and Nena's 99 Luftballons.  (God, THAT'S 30?)  Turning 35 are Barry Manilow's cover of Somewhere In The Night, The Stones with Shattered, and Dolly Parton's adventure into disco, called Baby I'm Burnin'. 

On the same album as the excellent song Heartbreaker, you get this...

No one of note turned 40, so we slide to 45 with the Bee Gees I Started A Joke, Tommy and the Shondells' Crimson And Clover, and Jay and the Americans with This Magic Moment.  Blow Out The Candles...See?  Short list!

Speaking of lists, I had decided to figure up the top songs of 1971 for the end of the year.  You say, but Chris, doesn't Cashbox HAVE a year-end list?  Why, yes they do; and just like Billboard, deadlines force them to have a cutoff date of roughly the end of October.  I don't know about you, but my calendar ends at the end of December.  So I dutifully decided to go to the top 20 for each week, give points on a 20-19-18.. basis, adding single points for weeks not in the top 20, and came up with a list.  Then I compared it to the CB list and learned something disturbing.

Because of the cutoff, songs like the Theme From Shaft, Gypsies Tramps And Thieves, and Family Affair did not make the 1971 list... OR the 1972 list!  By their way of doing things, these songs didn't exist!  WTF?  So, I had to find a way to remedy this.  MY list wasn't going to short anybody!  But how to do it fairly?  I debated this at length with my son, and we had some really good ideas I decided NOT to do.  In the end, the only fair thing to do is to do TWO countdowns.

This week, I'll present the top songs that charted in the top 20 in 1971 with their total points.  Some of them were mostly in 1971, some were barely in 1971.  I'll give percentages of points racked up in 1971.  Then, in two weeks, I'll do the top points in 1971 alone.  This way, you'll see both how they charted overall, and in the set time frame.  So without further doo-doo, the top twenty that charted on the top 20 in 1971 in FULL points:

20. Tears Of A Clown, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, 148, 13.5%.
19. It's Too Late, Carole King, 150, 100% (which I will henceforth not put up a pct. for).
18. Gypsies, Tramps, And Thieves, Cher, 151 points.
17. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, Bee Gees, 153.
16.  Never Can Say Goodbye, Michael Jackson, 154.

14T. One Less Bell To Answer, 5th Dimension, 155, 56.1%.
14T. One Bad Apple, Osmonds, 155.
13.  Theme From Shaft, Isaac Hayes, 156, 98.1%.
12. Mr. Big Stuff, Jean Knight, 159.
11. Indian Reservation, Raiders, 160.

10. She's A Lady, Tom Jones, 162.
9.  Family Affair, Sly and the Family Stone, 168, 69.2%.
8.  Brand New Key, Melanie, 170, 40%.
6T.  I Think I Love You, Partridge Family, 171, 20.5%
6T. My Sweet Lord, George Harrison, 171, 59.6%

5.  Maggie May, Rod Stewart, 178.
4.  Knock 3 Times, Dawn, 179, 28.8%.
3.  Let's Stay Together, Al Green, 181, 5.5%.
2.  Joy To The World, Three Dog Night, 198.
1.  American Pie, Don McLean, 206, 13.6%.

So as you can see, you get a pretty big tip off to what the countdown in two weeks will be like... but some like American Pie and Let's Stay Together  I'd probably have to count out the entire 196 top 20 hits of 1971 to get to, and others like My Sweet Lord wouldn't have gotten their full credit.  Tune in in two weeks to see how your favorite did in JUST 1971.

Yeah... I'm guessing I won't be there...

Our 45 at 45 this week belongs to the Mamas and the Papas, and it was pretty much the last single they hit with while still together.  They were covering the Beach Boys, who were covering Bobby Freeman, with the song Do You Wanna Dance.  The song was actually off their first album, If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears, which had the big hits Monday Monday and California Dreaming (which the Beach Boys would themselves cover many moons later).  But the group had been bombing with their later releases (with their last hit of note being the Mama Cass solo Dream A Little Dream Of Me), so the record company got the bright idea of re-issuing album cuts of their big lps.  For The Love Of Ivy had already went down (81 Billboard, 59 CB) in flames, and now DYWD would follow suit (76 BB, 43 CB).  Can't blame the song- Freeman had took it to #8 in 1958, the Boys hit #12 in 1965, and Bette Midler would hit #17 in 1972.  It's not a bad arrangement, but the slow tempo and a couple really bad register changes probably did it in.

What, no "maggot-infested hippie" jokes, crumb?

Big movers- going up is in the top 40; going down is Inner City Blues, falling 27 to #53.

Speaking of the top 40, here's the new entries this week.  Jefferson Airplane's Pretty As You Feel moves up 4 to 39; Tommy James moves up 8 to 38 with Nothing To Hide; Peter Nero's Summer Of '42 theme comes in at 36, up 6; and the big mover- American Pie, up 28 notches to #23.

An almost but not quite shout out goes to Coven's One Tin Soldier, slipping this week from it's peak of #18.  I remember Sister Ann teaching us this song in music class.  And seeings as we're almost ready for the top ten, I'll tell you that our two droppers this week are Imagine (7 to 15) and Two Divided By Love (10 to 18).

And guess what, we lead off the top ten with the six degrees victim.

Gypsies Tramps And Thieves (falling from 4 to 10), Cher's signature song (at least until her geriatric years and Believe)  was written by producer Bob Stone, who originally called it Gypsies Tramps, and White Trash (I kid you not).  Bob got arranger credits on the Sandpipers' hit Come Saturday Morning which had lyrics by Dorie Previn (who's been a guest on 6D before).  She and her husband, Andre, composed several songs featured in the movie Valley Of The Dolls.  I cannot find out for sure whether one of them was the haunting Come Live With Me, sung by Tony Scotti, who also led the band Heaven Bound.  Tony would go on to bigger and better things, eventually including a stint as executive producer on the America's Top Ten TV show featuring Casey Kasem.

Three Dog Night (and boy, ain't it one tonight!) crack the top ten with An Old Fashioned Love Song, moving up a pair to #9.

David Cassidy edges up by association (nyuk nyuk) a notch to #8 with Cherish.

Aretha Franklin also climbs but one with Rock Steady.  (Frankly, I like Bad Company's Rock Steady better. Heck, I like the Whispers' Rock Steady better, too.)

The Chi-Lites hold again at 6 with Have You Seen Her.

So do the Jacksons at 5 with Got To Be There.  I guess they had to be there.

Melanie unlocks a door with her Brand New Key that takes her from 15 all the way to #4.

Ready for a recurring theme?  Holding at #3 Bread with Baby I'm-A Want You.

Holding at #2, Isaac Hayes' Theme from Shaft.

And holding at #1 this week...

Okay, that's SHARON Stone. But it saves me from redoing my stupid warning sign again!

...Sly and the Family Stone with Family Affair!!!!

Next week- Bob asked for it, you got it- the longest charting songs in the Martin Era!  Whatever you think they might be... they aren't!


  1. Chris:
    I asked for it...?
    Wow, you DID manage to figure out what I was TRYING to say...God Bless 'Ya, brother!

    1971 - a very good year to remember. I was OUT of high school, and unlike teens of TODAY, I was working hard at my FIRST full-time job..
    As a Sears catalog stock puller.
    We yanked merchandise from warehouse shelves and got them together for shipments to OTHER Sears stores across the a whopping $2.45 an HOUR.

    THAT is why they called it MINIMUM WAGE, or more precisely, STARTING "SALARY".
    It was a stepping stone...into a larger workforce universe.
    But all those tunes take me right back THERE.
    Oh, and John Sinclair should have been tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail.
    But, there werte some GOOD performers at the concert.

    Manilow's Somewhere ion the Night...35?
    Love that song...always have and always will.
    Cool thing is, got to see him sing it LIVE (outside) at the old Robin Hood Dell theater outside of Philly.
    Great concert.

    And a great ride this week. Looking forward to what I asked

    Keep those hits coming from way up there in the beautiful micro-nation of Sambonia.

    Stay warm and safe.

    1. Yeah, just don't look for what you might expect...

  2. I think I keep writing the same comment. Great songs from a great time in music history!! You've listed some really good ones. I Started A Joke was one of my favorites when it came out. Not sure why, I just liked it. Still do.

    1. It has a vibe of being profound beyond the words of the song... though I've never quite nailed down that meaning.