In Cambodia, more than 100 civilians are killed and 280 wounded as communist artillery and rockets strike Phnom Penh and outlying areas in the heaviest attack since the beginning of the war in 1970. Following the shelling, a communist force of 500 troops attacked and entered Takh Mau, six miles southeast of Phnom Penh, killing at least 25 civilians.
Courtesy the History Channel (who don't know how to spell Phnom, but I fixed it). So Communists can kill civilians and Jane Fonda just loves 'em. But US soldiers protecting said civilians are baby killers. And the same generation who called soldiers baby killers, they're the ones in charge at 1600 Pennsylvania right now. I think from now on I will deflect any political challenges with those immortal words...
And on that note, I welcome you into the Time Machine for another week, where we'll find:
-what connects Harry Nilsson with Lou Christie and David Cassidy;
-who that is singing How Do You Do- in German;
-where is the song that should have been at #7 last week- and I FORGOT- and none of you caught?
-which two songs tied for biggest dropper;
-whether we'll have a new top dog this week;
-and finally, who is this asshat, and why is he a "soulless bastard":
We take off with our look at the top of the charts out there in the world, and South Africa has a one-week stay by Barbara Streisand with a two-sided hit Mother/The Summer Knows. The a-side, a cover of John Lennon's single, peaked at 79 here. I just tested it out, despite not being a big Babs fan... and I'm still wondering why I bothered. In France, Middle Of The Road strikes again, this time with a song called Samson And Delilah. Why these guys never charted here, I'll never understand, I like everything of theirs I hear! Germany had just seen Mouth and McNeil's English version of How Do You Do peak out at #5, and a German jack of all trades named Peter Petrel and a lady named Jeanette McKinley got together under the name Die Windows to do a German-language version which this week hits #1 there. (Peter has bopped around the music industry since, and in 2004 he recruited a lady named Tina Wulf for a new Die Windows.) Ironically, the Mouth and McNeil version just hit #1 in Switzerland.
In New Zealand, a Canadian folk group made popular by a high-power station in Great Falls Montana called the Mom and Dads hit the top. Their song was called The Ranger's Waltz. After testing it out, I'd have to say that the Kiwi charts must be heavily sponsored by the Shady Nook Rest Home and Deli.
|They look like a lively bunch!|
In the US of A, we have another mini-consensus growing, as LA, Both Chicago stations, and KDWB in Minneapolis have Heart Of Gold at the pinnacle, while the rest of Minney and Pittsburgh have The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, and Detroit- including the last chart from WKNR (in just one month they would become an Easy Listening station)- have Betcha By Golly Wow. On the minor charts, the only change is Joe Tex's I Gotcha moving past James Brown to the top of the R&B chart.
That brings us to the new members of the hot 100- 15 in all, but we'll look at 5. Sammy Davis Jr.'s hit Candy Man comes in at 97; Dr. Hook with their tear jerker Sylvia's Mother enters at 95; April Wine with their rocker You Could've Been A Lady arrives at 88; Badfinger- a band we'll be going into more depth on later- enters at 75 with Baby Blue (AKA the song that's been playing in my head all day); and Don McLean dives in at 60 with Vincent.
Our birthday songs this week are next, and not near so many as last week. Turning thirty- an age that I'm seeing more and more "do I really want to mention THAT one here" songs coming up- we have Billy Joel's The Longest Time, Irene Cara's Breakdance (see what I mean?) and English band Talk Talk with It's My Life. Turning 35, Orleans' Love Takes Time, Boston with Feelin' Satisfied (off Don't look Back), and the Cars with Good Times Roll. Turning 40, Chicago's I've Been Searching So Long; turning 45, Booker T and the MGs with Time Is Tight, Tommy James and the Shondells with Sweet Cherry Wine, The Cowsills with Hair, and... believe it or not, Frank Sinatra and My Way. Finally, the Beatles' take on Roll Over Beethoven hits 50 this week. (Sorry, I'll stick to ELO.) Blow Out The Candles...
|...tell Tchaikovsky the newsssss... WHEEEEE!|
So that brings us to another 45 at 45 that shows how far apart Billboard and Cashbox can diverge. Earlier, in mentioning Streisand's song Mother, we had left out the fact that Lennon's original peaked at 19 on CB and FORTY-THREE on BB. This time we have a song that stopped at 73 on BB, but checked in at 45 this week en route to peaking at 43 the next week. It is the Fireballs, first known for the 1963 #1 Sugar Shack, and a tune called Long Green. Now this New Mexico band had been around for a while, mostly doing folky instrumentals based on the guitar playing of George Tomsco, until Jimmy Gilmore joined as singer/piano player right before Sugar Shack became a big hit. They would rattle off six top 40 hits before running out of steam for about 4 years. Then they made a comeback with late 1967's #9 Bottle Of Wine. But the momentum died off, and out of three subsequent singles, this one was the highest charter on BB. I'm testing out right now, and this is a pretty cool tune- sure beats Sugar Shack IMHO.
Our big mover of the week is at the top of our top 40 entries, so hold on; the big dropper is a tie this week at a 26 notch drop. The Nickel Song falls to 55, and Let's Stay Together tumbles to 57.
Our top 40 debuts are next, and there are five of them. Isaac Hayes comes in for a cup of coffee at 40, up two spots with Do Your Thing. The Polish Prince, Bobby Vinton, comes in at #38, up six, with Everyday Of My Life. The Temptations come in at 37, up nine with Take A Look Around. Yes breaks in at 34, up 7, with one of my favorite summery songs, Roundabout. And the #1 song in Detroit, the Stylistics' Betcha By Golly Wow, takes the big mover prize with a 16-spot leap to #31.
Hmmm... five mentioned out of the hot 100 debuts... 5 top 40 debuts... and now, five in the Almost But Not Quite cart. A bad week for Melanie, as Ring The Living Bell, having peaked at 21, dives to 36. The English Congregation peaked at 28 with Softly Whispering I Love You, and now begin their descent. The Bee Gees made it to #15 with My World; Beverley Bremers to 16 (two weeks ago) with Don't Say You Don't Remember; and the Supremes vol. 2 to 16 last week with Floy Joy.
One- only one- song enters the top ten, and one falls out- and that's the one I LEFT OUT last time. For shame, not nailing me on that! Oh, um, the song was Precious And Few, and it slides from that missing 7-spot down to #13.
Climbing 4 notches to earn the tenth spot- Cher with The Way Of Love.
Slipping 3 to #9, Bread with Everything I Own.
Taking a big tumble from 2 to 8, the Carpenters with Hurting Each Other.
Yes, Virginia, there is a #7- and this week, it's Donny Osmond's Puppy Love, climbing 3.
Paul Simon moves up a pair with Mother And Child Reunion at #6.
And now the six degrees.
Nilsson slides out of the top spot to #5 with Without You. Now, Arlee Bird clued me in that there was a version of this song by Badfinger. I tried it out last week, and am listening now again, but I have to go with Nilsson's more emotional version. But what I didn't know was that BF's was the original. And not surprisingly for a band often called "Beatles Light", it came to them in two parts.
Part the first: Pete Ham was just about to go out for a night on the town with his wife when Tom Evans stopped him with a song idea. He said he couldn't go to the studio, but his wife talked him into it, despite the fact she couldn't hide her disappointment. Thus the lines, "I can't forget this evening or your face as you were leaving" and "When I had you there and then I let you go" came into being. But the song, tentatively titled "If It's Love", was without a chorus that Ham liked.
Part the second: Evans had been dating a girl in Cologne around this time, and one day she picked up and moved to London. He tracked her down after telling her BFF that he couldn't live without her... and the chorus was born.
The band wasn't real enthused with the result, and used it to close side A of there second lp. Much later, it would be released in the UK on an EP. And the ironic thing is, these were the two members of the band who would commit suicide.
Which is where the asshat comes in. Meet manager Stan Polley, a low-life with undeniable connections to organized crime, who escaped being in jail at this point only because the judge he was supposed to have bribed for his "friends" 15 years before happened to retire before he was convicted, and the whole thing was dropped. How it was the boys managed to let this mongrel be their manager is beyond me... though Pete Ham's suicide note mentioned his own grief over not being able to trust anyone ever again. Polley formed an escrow account into which the profits of the band were to be poured- "for re-investment"- while he paid the band a straight salary. Months go by, and the record company finds out there is NOTHING in the escrow account, and Polley slithers away before anyone can do anything about it. The band is broke, and Pete Ham commits suicide- just before his baby is born. His wife found him hanging, and called Evans. The sight never left his mind, and would later result in his own suicide by hanging.
Polley died in 2009. and the nicest thing I saw about him was, "Now he can sit outside the gates of heaven, shining Pete and Tom's shoes." Can't say I disagree- except that as far as I'm concerned, they can ship the shoes down to him.
Polley also was Lou Christie's manager for a time, and moved him late in his career over to Buddah Records (you remember? the one that turned everyone into bubble-gummers?). There Lou hooked up with Tony Romeo, who wrote Lou's last big hit, I'm Gonna Make You Mine (#10 in '69). Romeo was quite the successful songwriter as I've mentioned previously- having also written Indian Lake for the Cowsills and I Think I Love You for the Partridge Family.
America zooms up from 9 to 4 with A Horse With No Name.
The Osmonds' Lazy River is downright stagnant, holding yet again at #3.
Robert John moves up a pair to the runner-up slot with The Lion Sleeps Tonight at #2.
And the NEW #1 song this week....
...Neil Young and Heart Of Gold!!!!!
Next week, we'll be light and airy again, I promise! What, you don't believe me? Shut up, Hippie!