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


Friday, December 20, 2013

Time Machine week 99

On December 20, 1971, Larry King was arrested in Miami, Florida, and charged with grand larceny over his dealings with Louis Wolfson, a financier of questionable reputation. Although the details of the events are somewhat murky, apparently King was peddling his influence with the incoming US Attorney General, John Mitchell, suggesting to Wolfson that he could arrange an investigation that would clear Wolfson’s name. (Wolfson was in prison for selling unregistered stocks.) According to Wolfson, Wolfson gave King a total of $48,000, but King did not deliver Mitchell’s assistance. Wolfson pursued the larceny charge against King, but the statute of limitations had run out on the charges, so King was never tried; however, he did plead no contest to one count of passing bad checks in relation to the scandal.

King, born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in Brooklyn, NY, was a rising star on local Miami radio and television at the time. The scandal derailed King’s career for three years, during which time he wrote articles for Esquire magazine and worked as the public relations director for a race track. (From

Welcome to another episode of Time Machine.  This week, a look at what Cashbox had and Billboard didn't;  The long awaited (for nearly two weeks) countdown of the longest charting singles of the Martin Era;  a less than six degrees with yet another lovely Berry Gordy story; and one sad note...

Monday, we lost country legend Ray Price.  Best known for For The Good Times ("lay your head... upon my pillow..), Price first hit the pop charts (and for the only other time) in 1956 with Crazy Arms, and racked up 39 country top tens and 7 #1s, including the #2 Make The World Go Away (1963), #9 Danny Boy (1967), and #1 You're The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me (1973).  He was elected to the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1996.

Back to business.  Our look around the music world finds us in Ireland where an unusual- in story- Christmas hymn hits the top.  Tommy Drennan was 11 years old in 1953 when he recorded a demo of O Holy Night.  For nearly two decades this tape sat in a suitcase; in the meantime, Drennan came to head an Irish showband called the Monarchs.  Somehow, the original tape was found and Drennan re-recorded the song, the two versions were melded somehow, and the hybrid song reaches #1 this week.  Other international changes include Switzerland, where a young lady named Mirielle Mathieu hits the top with a tune already having hit #3 in Germany called Akropolis Adieu; Canada, where Family Affair slides into the top spot; and the Netherlands, where a song that will be a big hit in the US of A in about a year- Mouth and MacNeil's How Do You Do, hits the top.

Around the national charts, Let's Stay Together is #1 in Detroit; Both Minneapolis and LA have fallen to American Pie;  Brand New Key rules in Chicago; and Pittsburgh loves Got To Be There.

That brings us to the hot 100 debuts this week.  Legendary rockers T-Rex hit at 98 with Bang A Gong (Get It On).  Black Dog by Led Zep hits at 83 this week;  Elton John's Levon comes in at 73; and at 63, John Lennon's Happy XMas (War Is Over) arrives for the holidays.  The Harlem Community Choir- thirty children of the ages 4 to 12- was credited on this single, as well as the latest iteration of the Plastic Ono Band.

Birthday songs are a little low this week.  Nobody on the 30th birthday list;  at thirty-five, Rod Stewart's Do Ya Think I'm Sexy (answer:  not my type), Foreigner's Blue Morning, Blue Day, Chicago's No-Tell Lover, Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive, and Santana's version of the Classics IV tune Stormy.  Only two turn 40-  Greg Allman's Midnight Rider and Dolly Parton's classic Jolene- and none at 45.  Turning 50 this week, Dionne Warwick (if you can fathom that) with Anyone Who Had A Heart, the Ronettes with Baby I Love You, and the Beach Boys with Little Saint Nick.  Finally, we have Ritchie Valens hitting 55 with La Bamba.  Blow out the candles...

The 45 at 45 WOULD have fallen on yet another song by the 1910 Fruitgum Company (who were apparently pretty good at hitting #45).  Thus, I give you another of my many research projects.  The Cashbox charts were traditionally more volatile than Billboard; thus, out of 127 top tens on Cashbox in 1971 (which means, if you followed last week, that nearly two-thirds of songs that hit the CB top 20 also hit the top ten), several did NOT make the Billboard list.  Among them-

Watching Scotty Grow, Power To The People, Love Her Madly, She's Not Just Another Woman, Stick Up, and Tired Of Being Alone peaked at 11; Bring The Boys Home, Everybody's Everything, and Respect Yourself topped off at 12; Pay To The Piper, Oye Como Va, We Can Work It Out, Never Ending Song Of Love, and I Woke Up In Love This Morning topped off at 13; Murray Head's Superstar, Double Lovin', and So Far Away peaked at 14; Funky Nassau, Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling, Thin Line Between Love And Hate at 15; Immigrant Song, Remember Me, Cried Like A Baby, Nathan Jones, and Two Divided By Love at 16; Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You, Don't Knock My Love, I Don't Want To Do Wrong at 17; and The Isley's Love The One Your With at 18.  14 of those thirty were R&B chart hits, and three more were ethnic-flavored;  another four were from the teeny-bopper genre, which might tend to point to BB concentrating on a more adult, white demo while cashbox ranged wider.

  Billboard also had 19 #1s to Cashbox's 29; of the 11 songs that hit on CB but not BB, five more were R&Bs (Mama's Pearl, What's Going On, Never Can Say Goodbye, Spanish Harlem, and Smiling Faces Sometimes) and one was country (Rose Garden).  Was there a BB bias against black artists?  I doubt it;  I believe that their collecting categories may have diverted more R&B power to the R&B chart which CB didn't have.  One side note is the two BB #1s that didn't top the CB chart:  The Stones' Brown Sugar and Janis Joplin's Me And My Bobby McGee.

The big climber this week is among the whopping ten top 40 debuts;  the big droppers fell 36 spots to land right beside each other again:  Everybody's Everything to 57, and One Tin Soldier to 58.  Almost making the big dropper are a pair of songs to give the almost-but-not-quite shoutout to;  Van Morrison's Wild Night peaked at 25 and falls to 53;  Yes' Your Move peaked at 29 and falls to 54.

Two weeks ago, I asked if anyone had a suggestion for something special for next week's 100th episode;  Bobby G.  asked for the longest charting singles.  So today, I give you the songs that sat on the hot 100 the longest.  A few things of note before we get going.  First, long chart runs were not the norm in the sixties and early seventies;  it was after about 1974 that chart runs began to increase.  Of course, the so-called "modern era" has the franchise on this- 35 songs have more than a year on the hot 100, and the only one that came before 1996 was the second half of the run of December 1963 (Oh What A Night), which was remixed in 1993 and doubled its chart run.

Now that doesn't mean some of them weren't good songs (like Jewel's You Were Meant For Me, Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know, Santana's Smooth, Duncan Sheik's Barely Breathing, and 3 Doors Down's Kryptonite), but over a year on the charts?  Really?

Another thing to note is that, like December 1963, many of these were on multiple chart runs, which was okay with me as long as it stayed within the Martin Era (1962-79).  As such, Chubby Checker's The Twist and Bill Haley's Rock Around The Clock get booted because of runs that started before the Martin era.  And finally, a song called Harlem Nocturne by the Viscounts loses it's spot because the first five weeks of it's run fall in 1961.  With that, here are the top 20 longest charting songs of the Martin Era:

T-16th:  Chuck Mangione, Feels So Good; Exile, Kiss You All Over; Village People, YMCA; David Naughton, Makin' It; Samantha Sang, Emotion; Andy Gibb, (Love Is) Thicker Than Water; Bee Gees, How Deep Is Your Love; and David Dundas, Jeans On- 28 weeks.

T-14th:  Andy Gibb, I Just Want To Be Your Everything; Maxine Nightingale, Lead Me On, 29 weeks.

T-9th:  Robert John, Sad Eyes (which took forever to hit the top 40); Hot, Angel In Your Arms; Walter Murphy, A Fifth Of Beethoven; The Surfaris, Wipeout; and Murray Head's Superstar (in three runs), 30 weeks.

T-7th:  Nick Gilder, Hot Child In The City; Kris Kristofferson's Why Me ( best known for "Lord, help me Jesus, I've wasted it so"), 31 weeks.

T-5th:  Morris Albert, Feelings (another one that took forever hitting the top 40); Aerosmith, Dream On (in two runs), 32 weeks.

4- Hall And Oates, She's Gone (in two runs), 34 weeks.

3- Gloria Gaynor, I Love The Nightlife, 35 weeks.

2- Paul Davis, I Go Crazy (another slow climber, just as slow down), 36 weeks.

Annnnnd the longest song on the charts- with three separate runs totaling 38 weeks-

Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers with The Monster Mash!!!!!

As I mentioned, we have a list of ten tunes that debut in the top 40 this week!  Lee Michaels' follow-up to Do You Know What I Mean, called Can I Get A Witness, moves up 9 to #40; The first of two versions of I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing  to debut this week, belongs to the New Seekers, climbing 23 to #38; the Partridge Family comes in at 37, up 28, with It's One Of Those Nights (Yes, Love);  moving up 8 to #35 are Rare Earth with Hey, Big Brother; California band Sweathog (a term I wouldn't know for another 4 years) hits with their one-hit-wonder Hallelujah, climbing 7 to #34; The other version of I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing, by the Hillside Singers, rises 11 to #33; and then we get 4 straight songs debuting within the top thirty.

The first is Betty Wright's Clean-Up Woman, climbing 21 to #26.  Then comes Joe Simon's Drowning In A Sea Of Love, climbing 22 to land at #24.  Next, we have Al Green's Let's Stay Together, up 29 spots to 22; and finally, climbing a whopping 40 spots to #20, the Jackson Five with Sugar Daddy- a song I didn't remember, and kinda fell flat for Laurie and I when we played it.  Sometimes you have to do more than just plug in the formula.  And sometimes, it's the name on the label more than the product in the box.

Two songs enter the top forty, two fall out.  Dropping are Gypsies Tramps And Thieves (10 to 21) and Baby I'm-A Want You (3 to 12).  And what happened to the ten that fell from the top forty? Nine of the ten landed between 43 and 60; and one, Yo-Yo, fell all the way off the chart.

Dennis Coffey and the Detroit Guitar Band get all Zodiacial with Scorpio at 10, up 4.

The Chi-Lites drop 3 to #9 with Have You Seen Her.

Coming in at #8, the best example yet why Sonny Bono was a better politician than a singer, Sonny and Cher with All I Ever Need Is You.  See the comment on Sugar Daddy.

Aretha Franklin holds at 7 with Rock Steady. Hmmm...

David Cassidy climbs two to #6 with Cherish.

Isaac Hayes' Theme From Shaft drops 3 to #5.  Shut Yo' Mouth! It wins the six degrees win!

One of the background singers was one-time Dawn girl and future actress Telma Hopkins.  Another was a lady named Pat Lewis.  Pat got her big break in 1968 when she filled in for a sick singer on the recording of Stevie Wonder's Uptight lp.  It was written by the duo of Henry Cosby and Sylvia Moy.  They came into Stevie's live at a low point... his songs weren't charting well, and puberty was changing his voice.  Berry Gordy was on the verge of dropping him, but Sylvia said, why don't we try coming up with songs that fit his now-deeper voice?  Berry gave the okay, and they took a riff Stevie had come up with and turned it into Uptight-Everything's Alright.  It was Stevie's first co-writing credit, and Henry and Sylvia would help him with more late sixties scores such as My Cherie Amour (which was originally about an old girlfriend, and was almost "Oh. My Marsha").

Three Dog Night barks up 5 spots to #4 with An Old Fashioned Love Song.

The theme at the top this week is, "up two".  As in, "Up two to #3, Michael Jackson's Got To Be There".

And, "Up two to #2, Melanie with Brand New Key."

And that means that-yet again- the #1 song is:

No, No, NOT Sly Stallone...'s Sly and the Family Stone, with Family Affair!!!!!!!

It's not too late to throw in a suggestion for the 100th episode!  Make a suggestion and be a part of history!


  1. Chris:
    Larry King busted?
    Never knew that one.

    And that was a great job on the top 100 list songs...I would have NEVER in all of creation have guesed the TOP DOG would be THE MONSTER MASH...!
    (talk about a wow factor - figured it would be ELVIS...I know - different era)
    Good to see A 5th of Beethoven and Wipeout in the mix...used to drive teachers crazy drumming that on the desktops...LOL.

    Always enjoyed Telma Hopkins - first heard her when she was with I know more about this really good singer.

    Now, all we need is the ranking for the TOP 20 ALL TIME CHristmas songs of ANY and ALL genres.

    Great ride this week.

    Stay safe (and song-filled) up there.

    1. OMG- you have NO IDEA how big a mess that Christmas list is! Tell you all about it... Next week! In the meantime, off to see what Elvis's longest charting single was...

  2. There were a few surprises in here this week but as I was reading this Bruce is watching Tv. All of a sudden I hear Ritchie Valley, Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper. The day the music died! Great songs in here. Nick Gilder and Hot Child In The City came out when I left home and went wild living in Boise ID. It felt like he wrote it about me. Lol

    1. I didn't know wild living in Boise was possible. Learn something new every day.