The Queen Elizabeth, largest passenger liner for 55 years, came to the end of her ignoble retirement the day before. Having been bought by Taiwanese tycoon C.Y. Tung in 1970, he was converting her into something he named "Seawise University" (C.Y.- Sea Wise, get it?), but she was beset with several fires and gutted. Whether it was due to the ardent Nationalist having work done by Communist unions, or the fact that he had her insured for over twice as much as he paid for her, was never established.
Welcome to this week's Time Machine, and ...er, on-deck for today, we have: What you never knew, or didn't care, about the late Phil Everly; The tribal schematics of the "only Native-American rock band", Redbone; a six degrees that takes in Michael Jackson, Elton John, the Delfonics, and... Love Story?? All that and a new #1! Let us weigh anchor and be on with it!
We kick things off with our usual perusual (hee hee, little pun there) of the tops of everybody else's charts. Internationally, we have a few changes, including Middle Of The Road raising their flag over South Africa and Switzerland with Soley Soley. In Germany, Englishman Tony Christie tops the chart with (Is This The Way To) Amarillo, a song written by Neil Sedaka (and a #44 hit for him in 1977). Christie never really got a foothold here, and his big UK hit was the previous year's I Did What I Did For Maria, co-written by Mitch Murray, also known for such comps as Gerry and the Pacemakers' How Do You It, Freddie and the Dreamers' I'm Telling You Now, and the more recent Hitchin' A Ride by Vanity Faire. And in both the UK and Ireland, the New Seekers' version of I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing is at the top.
Domestically almost all our stations either have American Pie at the top (both Detroits, both Chicagos, and the one Minneapolis reporting this week), or just dropped it in favor of Brand New Key (L.A. and a brand new stop, San Diego; which is oddly the opposite of the national trend). Pittsburgh stubbornly insists on Once You Understand. The AC chart gives over to David Cassidy's Cherish; R&B is on the first of NINE weeks for Let's Stay Together; and the country chart has a double-sided hit by the Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis. The country side is Would You Take Another Chance On Me; the pop side is a cover of Me And Bobby McGee. McGee hit 40 on BB, making it JLL's last top 40; the country side was far from his last. In fact, he hit the Country top 20 another 17 times, including the follow-up- a #1 cover of Chantilly Lace.
Which brings us to one of our smallest hot 100 debut crops- only three, and mentioning only the one- the Supremes 2.0 with Floy Joy. The Ross-less Supremes had one more top 40 left in them after this one, written by Smokey Robinson. The funny thing to me is the way they were almost as successful without Ross as with- in the UK. Whereas the original group had 19 top 12s to the Ross-less group's 2 in the US of A, they had 8 to the new group's 7 in the UK.
And off we go to a much more substantial birthday song list than last week. Turning 30, we have The Police's Wrapped Around Your Finger; Van Halen's sell-out hit, Jump; Duran Duran's New Moon On Monday; and of course, Quiet Riot's Bang Your Head (Metal Health). Turning 35, Donna Summer and Brooklyn Dreams with Heaven Knows; the Little River Band with Lady- one of two songs I debuted at #1 on the mighty Martin chart of 1977-83; and Poco's first foray into the top 40, Crazy Love. Turning 40, we have one of my favorite all-time Stones songs, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker), along with Cher's Dark Lady and the classic heartbreaker, Terry Jacks' Seasons In The Sun. Nothing of note at 45; but turning fifty, the first shot across the bow of the music world...
That's right, last year we got all those Beach Boys 50th anniversaries; this year, it'll be the Beatles. Stay tuned for more.
Our big mover is Van Morrison with Tupelo Honey, climbing 20 to land at #69 this week. The big dropper is the appropriate Get Down by Curtis Mayfield. Curtis peaked at 52 with this a few weeks back, and now falls 29 spots to #85.
And that means it's time to light up a big ol' boofer and kick back with our 45 at 45 this week- Steppenwolf's Magic Carpet Ride, stopping on it's way down from a peak of 2 on Cashbox (3 on BB). It was co-written by John Kay and Rushton Moreve, the latter of which would be leaving the band after refusing to return to California. Why? Well, I'll start the story way back in the 1800's with naturalist Thomas Huxley, known as Darwin's Bulldog for his support of evolutionary theory, and also the man who coined the term "agnostic". Thomas was part of a famous family; and he had a grandson Aldous Huxley. He was known as the author of 1939's Brave New World and for becoming another of the late 50s- early 60s intellectual "drug gurus". He in turn had a granddaughter named, believe it or not, Animal, and Animal was Moreve's girlfriend at the time, and convinced him that California would soon slide into the sea. See where evolution gets you?
Where it gets us is the top 40 debuts, of which we have 5 this week. The first of these is The Witch Queen Of New Orleans, the first hit for American Indian band Redbone. Redbone itself is a Cajun term ("Rehbon") for a half-breed, so I got curious about the NA heritage of the band. Turns out it was founded by brothers Pat and "Lolly" Vegas (original surname Vasquez), who were a mix of Yaqui Indian and Mexican (who adopted the last name Vegas to downplay that aspect). They were joined by Peter DePoe AKA Last Walking Bear, who was a cocktail of Northern Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Chippewa, Siletz, Rogue River Tutuni, and Iroquois; along with Tony Bellamy, real name Robert Anthony Avilla, a Yaqui/Chicano. Legend has it that it was Jimi Hendrix, himself 1/8th Cherokee, who talked them into playing up the NA aspect. DePoe left before the big hit Come And Get Your Love; his spot was taken by Butch Rillera, Bellamy/Avilla's cousin, who was a Filipino/Mex-Am.
Moving on, Nilsson comes in at 39, up 8 notches, with Without You; Up 6 spots to 36 we have Gladys Knight Und Der Pipsters with Make Me The Woman You Come Home To; Elton John moves up 10 to 33 with Levon; and Think's Once You Understand, aided greatly by the Pittsburgh area, finally enter the 40 at #32, up 13 spots.
That brings us to our newest feature, which I haven't really gave a name but is basically Almost But Not Quite on steroids. The tunes that begin their descent without tasting the top 10 this week are four in number. Tommy James' Nothing To Hide peaked at 25 last week and falls a pair; Rod Stewart and the Faces drop after peaking at 22 with (I Know I'm) Losing You; John Denver's Friends With You slides after a peak of 27; and The Who have the big man on campus this week, with their classic Behind Blue Eyes starting its descent after peaking at 24.
Last Friday we lost Phil Everly. In honor of one-half of the greatest duo in music history, here's some tidbits you may or may not have known:
- Phil was the younger brother, 2 years younger than Don.
- James Best was their cousin.
|Ghig, ghig, ghig, that's right, Flash!|
- Phil was one of Buddy Holly's Pall Bearers. Don was too broke up to make it.
- Phil formed a one-shot band with Glen Campbell and Carole King called the Keestone Family Singers. Their one record, a novelty called Cornbread And Chitlins with a Goffin/King flip side, Melodrama, did not chart.
- Their breakup- lasting many years- came at was to be a final performance anyway. It was on July 14th, 1973, at Knott's Berry Farm- appropriate, as they got drunk beforehand, butchered the set list, argued- and finally Phil slammed down his guitar, shouted, "I don't want to be an Everly Brother anymore," and walked off. Don then told the crowd, "The Everly Brothers have been dead for ten years." They would sadly wait until their dad's death to make up.
Two songs enter the top ten, two fall out. the droppers are All I Ever Need Is You (6 to 11) and An Old Fashioned Love Song (10 to 15).
The Jackson Five climb a pair to #10 with Sugar Daddy.
Donnie Osmond holds at #9 with Hey Girl.
Coming in after a three notch move to #8, Jonathon Edwards with Sunshine.
Dennis Coffey holds at 7 with Scorpio.
Al Green moves up a pair to 6 with Let's Stay Together.
Sly Stone "and the Family" hold at 5 with former top dog Family Affair.
Which brings us to this week's six degrees.
The Michael Jackson solo Got To Be There (falling from #1 to 4 this week) Was featured on the lp Flying High Together by the Miracles later in the year. An anti-prophetic title, it was the last Miracles record with the departing Mr. and Mrs. Smokey Robinson. It had two new songs released as singles, which paeked at #45 and#46; but it was mainly an album of covers. They not only covered Got To Be There, but also the Chi-Lites' Oh, Girl, the Love Story Theme, and the Stylistics' Betcha By Golly Wow. That song was written by their manager- and former leader of the Delfonics- Thom Bell. In 1977, Elton John's music relationship with Bernie Taupin was breaking up, and he had Thom Bell produce a record of "Philly style" tunes. Friction between this pair would lead to only an EP being released, and that 2 years later. But that EP contained the #9 hit Mama Can't Buy You Love, which broke a slump Elton had been in the US of A since Don't Go Breaking My Heart (9 single releases, 4 charting). Mama was written by Bell's nephew Leroy, with Casey James, who as Bell and James would hit #15 in '79 with Living It Up (Friday Nights).
|Bell and James, Livin' it up.|
David Cassidy moves into the #3 slot, a climb of one, with Cherish.
Melanie, having dropped from 1 to 3 last week, climbs back to #2 with Brand New Key.
And that means our new # 1 is...
American Pie by Don McLean!!!!
Next week MAY be the long awaited Beauty Contest episode so tune in!