Apparently the call went along the lines of, "You need to play to give me cover to meet Le Duc Tho in Iceland without anyone noticing." Who woulda cared in Iceland?
Welcome to Time Machine for this week, the week that the Carpenters first charted with Goodbye To Love, The Stones with Happy, the Raspberries with Go All The Way, and the O'Jays with Back Stabbers. This week I have a lot of fun things planned, and they all seem to revolve around the Best Top Ten of 1963, including major cameos by Bobby Vinton, The Tokens, and the biggest foreign language hits of the Martin Era! Okay kids, let's have some fun!
I guess the best way to do this will be to piecemeal in the 1963 hits to get to the three related stories I have to tell. But first, since I mentioned stories, why not bring up the Stories, that band that became famous for their basically one-hit-wonder #1 Brother Louie? The Stories were led by keyboardist Michael Brown, who was the leader and main writer for the Left Banke (Walk Away Renee) and vocalist Ian Lloyd, whose later work in the realm of background vocals made him pretty much an uncredited member of Foreigner, having sung in back of their hits Feels Like the First Time, Cold as Ice, Waiting for a Girl Like You, Juke Box Hero, and Double Vision. This week, their first charting single goes from #55 to #40- and while it is indicative of what the band really was, it was nothing like Brother Louie:
Anyway, back to that Top Ten from 51 years ago THIS WEEK.
10- Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, Rolf Harris. A nifty little novelty tune from the man who just got 5 years and 9 months in prison for inappropriate touchy-feely while his wallaby wasn't looking.
9- Memphis, Lonnie Mack. We just featured this instrumental not too long ago here on TM. Thus, I actually knew it.
8- It's My Party, Leslie Gore. Make all the jokes you want, I love Leslie Gore.
7- One Fine Day, the Chiffons. A Goffin-King tune that outside of Carole's booming piano riffs they couldn't find a suitable arrangement for. So they gave the song to the Tokens (The Lion Sleeps Tonight), who were producing for a new girl act called the Chiffons (or, alternately, the Five Pennies). They kept Carole's piano, and did a radical re-arranging that led Goffin to say, "(They) really earned their production credit."
The Tokens were producers? Big time. After the Chiffons, for which they also did He's So Fine, they worked with the Happenings on their Goffin-King hit Go Away Little Girl, as well as See You In September and I Got Rhythm. And after that they produced the hits Candida, Tie A Yellow Ribbon, and Knock Three Times for Tony Orlando and Dawn! That's a heck of a resume!
|The Tokens- more than just a pretty song...|
The remaining top forty debuts for this week in 1972 have the Detroit Emeralds at 37, up five with Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms); the Osmonds up 13 to #31 with Hold Her Tight; moving up 18 spots, Gilbert O'Sullivan with Alone Again Naturally (which, oddly enough after last week's story, only made it to #2 in Ireland).
Back to the 1963 Top Top Ten:
6- Blue On Blue, Bobby Vinton. This was off the lp of the same name, which held nothing but blue-themed songs. In addition to Mr. Blue, Blue Hawaii, My Blue Heaven, and Blueberry Hill, the album contained a second single even bigger than the first- Blue Velvet.
|Ya think blue's his favorite color?|
We had a pretty thin list on You Peaked this week. Frederick Knight's I've Been Lonely For Too Long drops after stopping at 20, and Cher's Living In A House Divided is falling after a peak of 21. But A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done with Sonny went top ten. Go figure.
Back to 1963:
5- Hello Stranger, Barbara Lewis. One of my favorites, whether by Barbara or Yvonne Elliman.
4- Surf City, Jan and Dean. I got a '34 wagon and we call it a Woody...
|Surf City, here I come!|
3- So Much In Love, the Tymes. A great doo-wop hit at the far end of that era.
2- Easier Said Than Done, The Essex. Another of my son's adopted early sixties bands.
Annnnd at #1 this week in '63.....
1- Ue O Muite Aruko ( I Look Up When I Walk), Hisashi Oshima!!!!!
What, you don't know that one? Let me put it another way:
1- Sukiyaki, Kyu Sakamoto!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
See, Sukiyaki was just a nonsense title so that Americans could a) pronounce it, b) find it at the record store. And it worked, because it sold over 13 million worldwide. And Hisashi was the ninth child in the family, thus the nickname Kyu (Nine).
All of which made me wonder what the biggest foreign language hits in the US of A were? As I always limit things to the Martin Era (1962-79), we lose the #1s Volare by Domenico Modnugo, La Bamba by Los Lobos, 99 Balloons by Nena, Rock Me Amadeus by Falco (which I always just thought I couldn't make out what he was saying!), and, of course... The Macarena. But take a look at what we're left with:
Dominique, the Singing Nun, #1 for 4 weeks in 1963;
Sukiyaki, which held the top for 3 weeks;
Al De La, Emelio Pericoli, another past feature and tremendous song that hit #6 in 1962;
Eres Tu, Mocadades, which made #9 in 1974;
Pata Pata, Miriam Makeba, which I will have to listen to later, and hit #9 in 1967;
Guantanamera, The Sandpipers, a #9 in 1966;
Oye Como Va, Santana, probably the first song most of us think of in the category, #13 in 71;
and El Watusi, Ray Barretto, a well-travelled jazz conga player who took this to #17 in 1963.
And finally this week OUR top ten!
The Royal Scots dragoons Guards hold at 10 for a second week with Amazing Grace.
Ironically moving up a fast seven spots to #9, Wayne Newton and Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast.
America edges up a spot to #8 with I Need You.
Luther Ingram climbs 4 to #7 with (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Wanna Be Right.
Former top dog Nice To Be With You drops from 3 to #6 for Gallery.
The Cornelius Bros and Sister Rose say it's Too Late To Turn Back Now, so they go from 8 to #5.
Last week's #1, Neil Diamond and Song Sung Blue, tumbles out of the throne and down to #4.
Jimmy Castor and the bunch evolve up another 2 spots to #3 with Troglodyte (Caveman).
Bill Withers moves up a pair to #2 with Lean On Me.
ANNNNNNNNND the new numero uno ( a little foreign language for ya there).......
Billy Preston (Picture from the gatefold inside of the Stones' Goat's Head Soup, where it about scared me when I opened it) and Outa-Space!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's it for this time!