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


Friday, April 25, 2014

And now... Time Machine Volume III

It's April 25, 1972... and welcome to the world of instant pictures, as Edwin Land demonstrated the Polaroid SX-70 for the first time... remember what fun they were?

And welcome to the new era of Time Machine, the trimmed down, pumped up, instamatic version!  I'm still trying to figure out the "batting order" on the fly, so bear with me as we look at this week in 1972- the week that Isn't Life Strange by the Moody Blues, Tumbling Dice by the Rolling Stones, Diary by Bread, and Billy Preston's Outa-Space first hit the charts.

First off, let's see who makes the list on "You Peaked!"  A former #1 in Ireland, Wings' Give Ireland Back To The Irish had it's two weeks in the top 40 here, peaking at 38, and is on its way down.  Another international hit, future disco-god Giorgio Moroder's first hit single- Son Of My Father- stopped at 34 last week and discos on down; and I am heartbroken for the Guess Who's Heartbroken Bopper, which topped out at 26, though it alone of the three gets one more week in the top 40.

Yep, they look heartbroken to me...

Now, this week I promised to look at the original CBC 50 Tracks, a list arrived at over a ten-week period by a group of experts with some fan contributions, of the most essential songs in history.  This show, hosted by one Jian Ghomeshi, featured different celebrity guests every week (unlike the Canadian version) and apparently was a little more listener driven.  On looking over the list, I saw four categories develop.  The smallest of them were tracks never released as singles (but should have been).  The Beatles, not surprisingly, had two of these tracks- In My Life (which was #2 on their overall list) and A Day In The Life (which was #12).  Also, not surprisingly on this list was Led Zep's Stairway To Heaven (#7), along with the Clash's London Calling (#13).

Another, far larger category, was songs before the Martin Era.  They actually had their list divided into decades, going clear into the twenties.  Among the highlights here were Somewhere Over The Rainbow (#6), Glenn Miller's In The Mood (#9, which to my shame I know better by Ray Stevens' "Henhouse Five Plus Too"), This Land Is Your Land, Stardust (Satchmo's version), Hank Sr.'s Your Cheating Heart, and Bing Crosby's Brother Can You Spare A Dime.  Closer to our time frame, they had Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode (#10), Elvis' Heartbreak Hotel (#18), Bill Haley and the Comets' Rock Around The Clock (#29), and Ray Stevens' What'd I Say (#31).

Yet another, then, had to be those who fell in after the ME.  This included U2's With Or Without You (#4), Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit (#5), Guns 'n' Roses' Sweet Child Of Mine (#11), Michael Jackson's Billie Jean (#24), and, of course, Alanis Morrisette's You Oughta Know (#30).

Oh, big deal, you made both lists bashing me.  Nyah Nyah Nyah!

Okay, so if you've been keeping track, we've already hit 11 of the top twenty, and Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit from 1939 makes twelve, taking the 20th spot.  So how many Martin Era BB chart hits made the 50?  Good question, and the answer is... well, I'll tell you in a minute.

Right now, let's flip over to this week's top 40 debuts, and there we will find 5 of 'em.  At #40, the Fifth Dimension, featuring the insomniac Marilyn McCoo, with Last Night (I Didn't Get To Sleep At All), up seven places.  And at 39, also up seven, is our "I met this song through Time Machine" hit.  Written by rhythm guitarist Michael Bruce and released from the band's lp Killer, here's Alice Cooper:

Gladys Knight und der Pipsters come in at 38, up four with their take on Help Me Make It Through The Night; and the two big jumpers were- from 60 to 37, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen with Hot Rod Lincoln, and from 70 all the way to #34, the Chi-Lites with Oh Girl. 

Another thing to note would have been the 50th birthday songs of the week- but I didn't know any of them.  But of course, there is the Beatles' "Empire" to report on.  This week, the Fab Four had nine singles on the chart- three of them still climbing (All My Loving at 33, Love Me Do at 35, and Thank You, Girl, at 62); one of them holding in place (that place, no surprise, being #1 with Can't Buy My Love) and the rest on the way down (Twist And Shout at #4, She Loves You #21, I Want To Hold Your Hand 22, Please Please Me 24, and Roll Over Beethoven 52).   By contrast, the best American act of the day, the Four Seasons had three hits-  Ronnie rising at 11, and Dawn (Go Away, 36) and Stay (31) going down.

Okay, so who were the magic "most essential" Martin Era chart hits according to our friends in the Great White North? 

11- Stop In The Name Of Love, Supremes (44)
10- Walk On The Wild Side, Lou Reed (38)
9-Temptations, My Girl (33)
8- Stayin' Alive, Bee Gees (26)
7- Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen (19)
6- Good Vibrations, The Beach Boys (17)
5-Mr. Tambourine Man, Byrds (16)
4- Born To Be Wild, Steppenwolf (15)
3-(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, Rolling Stones (8)
2- Like A Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan (3)
And the one you KNOW I'll complain about at #1-

Imagine, John Lennon (1).

Before I make my comments, let me mention that my pedestrian tastes knew 29 of the fifty.  I'm willing to bet cats like Arlee Bird and Stephen T. McCarthy know a bunch of 'em that I don't, so if anyone is interested (Or just wants to see the list so they can bust me over, "You left Fight The Power by Public Enemy out", here is the link to the Wiki article. 

That said:

Walk On The Wild Side is one of the most overrated songs of all time IMHO, and this proves it to me.

Imagine?  Grrrrrr.  That's all.

Stayin' Alive?  Essential?  And Brother Can You Spare A Dime was #32.  Hmmm.

On the bright side, Hey Jude was nowhere to be seen.

And now, to the top ten.  With one new entry, one falls out- and that one be Puppy Love (7 to 24, arf arf!)

Yes gains the top ten with the shortened version of Roundabout, still one of my favorite summer songs.

Heart Of Gold and Neil Young give ground stubbornly, slipping from 6 to 9.

Sonny and Cher edge up a notch with A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done at #8.

Up 3 notches to #7, Aretha Franklin and one of those rare songs of hers I can actually stand, Day Dreaming.

The Stylistics at 6, up a pair, with Betcha By Golly Wow.

America slips from 3 to 5 with A Horse With No Name.

The Dramatics continue to move up, one more notch to #3 with In The Rain. 

Bobby Day took Rockin' Robin to #2 in 1958, kept from the top by Tommy Edwards' six-week hold on the chart with It's All In The Game (CB crapped it out at #4).  Young Michael Jackson took it to #1- for just one week.  He falls back to #2 this week.

Which means the first #1 for TM Vol. III is......

...Roberta Flack with The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face!!!!

So what do you think of the new line up?  Suggestions?  Ideas?  Let me know, so that I can ignore them properly!  Until next time...


  1. I can't believe that the Polaroid is older than me...

    Maybe I should shake myself and see what develops.

  2. I'll be honest, I didn't recognize what that Polaroid camera was when I first saw it. I've got Alice cranking right now. Hubby was surprised it was him…so was I...

    1. I thought I might have known that for a few seconds...but no, it was a new one on me.

  3. I like the shorter version... and it is less work for you. Win. Win.

  4. Of the 50 songs listed, I know that I know 40 of them. I may know one or two more than that (e.g., the U2 song?), but without listening to them, I can't be certain - so I only counted what I was sure of.

    Arlee Bird probably has me beat.

    There are some pleasant surprises on that list, but overall it's pretty sad.

    I agree that 'Walk On The Wild Side' is vastly overrated. (The ONLY thing I like about it is that James Dean gets mentioned.)

    And John LENIN's 'Imagine'? Well... need I say more?

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. Y'know, after the first paragraph, the was exactly my sentiments. I'm glad to see the Byrds and Dylan on the list. KC makes a point that if the list was "most influential" rather than essential, Stayin' Alive would be right there. As it is, well...

  5. Chris:
    Gonna have to check out that LIST and see how much more "pedestrian" am am compared to
    Agreed that Lou Reed's "Walk..." was way overrated.

    Still like Age of Aquarius as my fave 5th Dimension song (love the harmonies).
    Hey Jude's not a bad song if you play it only 5 times per
    (and lose the too long ending fade out)
    Beatles had THAT many turning 50?
    (cripes, I'm aging faster than Ic are to admit)
    I was only 12 when they hatred...LOL.
    (glad I'm not that age in today's world.

    I give this new version of the T-M TWO hearty thumbs up, Bub.

    You done done REAL good.
    Great ride for the price.

    Stay safe and keep rockin' up there.

    1. I've never had anyone capture my exact feelings on Hey Jude so well.

      Let me know what you find on the list.