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


Friday, November 28, 2014

And Now.... Time Machine Volume 4, the pilot episode

It's November 28th... and this week, the Rubber Tardis has bounced us to 1965.  An era where Lyndon Johnson is asking allies to put "more flags into Vietnam".  And still just over a month before his first inauguration as President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos has taken up the call.  They would peak at just under 200 officers and 2,000 troops in civil support roles.  And Imelda would find some nice shoes in Saigon shoppes.

Ferdinand Marcos, father of his country... a country desperately in need of a stepdad.
And welcome back my friends, to the latest evolution of Time Machine!  This opening salvo, we will be doing some hands on explaining of what is going to be going on henceforth- and just so I don't confuse you, the twin specials you've been waiting on- the Top Top Ten, and the One Hit Wonder's top hit, I am pushing back till next week.

Oh, calm down, give it a chance, willya?

First thing- we are going to be a nomadic Time Machine henceforth.  I have a randomly generated list of the years of the Martin Era, and we will visit each in turn- then I'll generate another random list, and we'll do it all again!  That is why we landed in 1965 Manilla rather than where we left off two weeks ago.  If it makes you feel better, now Burning Love will be #1 forever!

Having settled on the year, I am going to use my non-dependant-on-Cashbox-paying-its-bills sources to look into just what is hot that week.  Am I abandoning CB altogether?  Naw, we're still gonna stop off and tell you what songs made their big splash this week, that year.  For example, this week in target year:1965, the songs just making the national spotlight included:

The Kinks with A Well Respected Man
The Hollies with Look Through Any Window
and The Righteous Brothers and Ebb Tide!

First, the tide... rushes in...
But the focus is going to be in part on the collection of old radio station top 40s I can glean each time.  The farther back you go, it would seem, the more charts you find.  And in this week in 1965, I had a council of ten: 3 L.A. stations (KHJ, KRLA, and KFWB); KQV from the Steel City; KGB from San Diego; KDWB from Minneapolis; WLS in Chicago; an outlier from Ocean City, NJ, WIBG; WMCA out of the Big Apple; and WKNR from the Motor City!  Now, you get this many stations, you get a lot of different opinions on what's hot and not, and ten stations gave us seven different number ones, including Herb Alpert's A Taste Of Honey (#6 nationally), James Brown's I Got You (#11), and the Rolling Stones' Get Off My Cloud (#7- and ironically, the Stones are #1 this week in Belgium with Satisfaction).  Four songs- that we will get to in a sec- stand out from the crowd this week, though; and they not surprisingly make up 4 of the top five on CB this week.  Let's have a little fun, though, with the one that didn't make it.

Jim Croce died in September of 1973.  What's that got to do with 1965?  Shhhh, it's a six degrees thing!  When the record company bowed to demands two months later to release the ironically appropriate Time In A Bottle, it swiftly became part of a very small club- rock-era songs to hit #1 with no percussion.  Two years later, Minne Ripperton would duplicate the feat with another song that the record company had to be pushed into releasing, this time by the artist herself.  Three songs picked by Mr. A&R Man had not charted at all;  but she asked them to try one more track- and Lovin' You hit #1.

And still you ask what this has to do with 1965?  Okay, okay.  It has to do with Minnie back in '65 sang backup vocals on the song in question, the #3 on Cashbox this week in 1965- Fontella Bass' Rescue Me.

Man, ya'll so pushy...

While Rescue Me was big nationally, it got but one top 5 by our ten stations- that being WMCA at #3.   But our experts pretty much agreed on these four songs:

Turn! Turn! Turn! by the Byrds, with two of the #1 votes, and the #5 spot on CB, was 4th.

1-2-3 by Len Berry, with one of the #1s and the top spot on CB, was 3rd.

Let's Hang On!  by the Four Seasons, with two #1s and the #4 spot on CB, was #2.

And tops by the panel this week.... Tell ya in a bit.

Because at this point there are two other things you need to know about the revamped Time Machine.  One is, I was not only collecting top fives from the panel, but also the highest song on each one that I didn't know.  And the highest one this week was the #5 song on the WIBG chart.  It was a remake of a non-charting single from 1959, and it wouldn't chart this time either, as the act never left its local roots.  The Jersey Boys in question were Anthony and the Sophomores, led by one Tony Maresco.  In 1959, he led the Dynamics, who recorded a version of Gee (But I Would Give The World) that would later get a little more notoriety in a version by Johnny Maestro and the Crests.  When he put together the Sophomores, they released their take on it in 1965:

But the story didn't have a particularly happy ending for Tony.  From a obit:

But all were modest sellers. In a business where they play the short game, it meant the group was going nowhere big. Maresco eventually found himself working a day job in the automobile business and nights with various bar bands. He had a resurgence in the late 1970s and early 1980s when he was appearing regionally, including the Valley Forge Hilton.

In 1974, former Daily News Columnist Larry McMullen heard Maresco sing in a South Philly living room and wrote a column on the man whose voice could make a heart skip beats, raise goose bumps and bring down tears.

McMullen wrote of the guy who ``had a nervous breakdown. His weight went up to 300 pounds. He quit singing. He was doing cement work when a live electric wire fell close by and almost electrocuted him . . . Three years ago he started listening to the noise that now passes for music,'' and Maresco decided to sing again.

But within a decade, diabetes began to take a toll, and he died in December of 1998.

Anthony Maresco was different from a lot of others from that era who went out with the tide by the 1970s. He wasn't bitter or depressed about it. Not bad for a guy who made $25 on the record ``Oh Gee,'' which sold 50,000 locally and still makes the rounds.

You listen to that record.  Twenty-five fricking bucks.  What a damn shame.


Now it's time for our top ten, and this is gonna be REAL different.  Because I've set my Spotify playlist on shuffle, and our top ten is the first ten songs to play.  This week's top ten:

10- Teach Your Children, Crosby Stills Nash and Young.  This song depending on the story you accept, was inspired by/reminded of a picture Graham Nash saw in a gallery by the late Diane Arbus, called Child With Toy Grenade In Central Park.

Thanks to Diane!  Graham allegedly looked at the expression- and the weaponry, and decided that we need to teach our children NOT to hate, to make war.  Teach Your Children was #16 in 1970.

9- Do You Miss Me Darlin'? , the Guess Who.  This song, one of my favorites from Best of the Guess Who, Volume one, was the flip side of the single Hang On To Your Life, which shouted its way to #43 in 1971.

8- Is She Really Going Out With Him?, Joe Jackson.  Joe missed the charts altogether when he released it ahead of his debut lp Look Sharp, but it did better on its subsequent re-release, hitting #21 in 1979.  "Pretty women out walking with gorillas down my street..."  ain't that always the way it goes...

7- Yellow River, Middle Of The Road.  Sally Carr's band has a BIG presence on my playlist, and this one, with one of the guys singing lead, is a pretty good take on the hit by Christie.  It was a track on their Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep lp.

6- I'd Love To Change The World, Ten Years After.  Another child of 1971, it deserved better than the peak at #40 it got.

5- Hanno The Navigator, Al Stewart.  If you are one of those folks who only know Al from Year Of The Cat in '76 to Midnight Rocks in '80, you owe it to yourself to here more of this dude.  And if you are a history buff like me, you'll love tracks like this, from the 2008 lp Sparks Of Ancient Light.

4- Bittersweet Me, REM.  From their lp New Adventures In Hi-Fi in 1996, the cd single had a great flip side (now on my Spotify list)- a live cover of Wichita Lineman.  It got to #46 on the hot 100 but #7 on the Modern Rock Chart.

3- Fly Like An Eagle, Steve Miller Band.  One of those tunes you can just about remember where you were the first moment you heard the synthesizer chords and Tick Tock, Doo Doo Do Do Doo Doo.  #2 in 1977.

2- One Step Closer, The Doobie Brothers.  The funny thing about this, the last DB lp before the first break-up, was the odd list of co-writers on the record- Paul Anka on Dedicate This Heart, Chris Thompson (former vocal on Manfred Mann's Earth Band) on No Stoppin' Us Now, and Carlene Carter (June's daughter and country star) on this title cut.  #24 in 1980.

And this week's #1.....

1- Do You Know The Way To San Jose, Dionne Warwick.  She topped out at #10 with this classic in 1968.

So what was the consensus pick this week (by one lousy point)?  Well, that would be...

I Hear A Symphony by the Supremes, which was #2 on CB for the week.

Okay, so whaddya think?  Tune in next week for the Top Top Ten and the biggest One Hit Wonder's Next Hit!   Unless you decide you don;t like the new style and Ferguson me... (too soon?  Probably so...)


  1. Replies
    1. Ladies, I'm not sure why this has turned into true confessions...

      Jo-Anne knows I am a child of 62 as well, and my first memories are from '65. My song tastes began with whatever was playing from about '64 on, as well as all of Mom's records. The Martin Era covers '62-'79, but the shuffle top ten will reach a long way in either direction.

  2. I am a child of '74... so I'm waiting on the one hit wonders...

    1. The One Hit Wonder's next hit #1, coming this week, is from 1970. The Top Top Ten #1 comes from 1976. And '74 is when my favorite music started. And the random stop at 1974 is just three stops away...

  3. Chris:
    First off...nice job with the revamp.
    Then again, when it comes to songs from the past, (aside from the late Casey Kasem), I think you've got it nailed down very well.

    Love the Guess Who...period.

    American Woman as one of the FIRST "rock" albums I got (still have it too). The BEST of is a MUST HAVE (got the cassette AND the CD).

    That call on WIBG radio takes me WAY back to when the "top" stations (pre FM) in Philly were WFIL (560 AM & "Wibbage" (990 AM).
    AH, the days of Joe Niagra and Hy Lit.

    Good to see the (old) call letters are back, and Ocean City is a good a place as any to keep it going (that NJ seaside town used to be a "dry" town to boot...great for a quiet getaway or a religious retreat).
    (sure dating myself

    That Central Park pic of the boy and that toy (he'd be arrested along with his parents for "terrorist activities THESE days...whatever happened to our "youth" ?
    ( we had those same toys...along with a veritable ARSENAL of cap guns of all sizes and shapes...not ONE arrest)

    Doesn't surprise me about the #1 song...that's one of my favorite Supremes tunes.

    I enjoy Fly like an Eagle, but SWINGTOWN and ROCKIN' ME BABY really get the feet tapping.

    Very good ride this week, brother!
    ('ya didn't miss a beat)

    Keep on rockin' up there.

    1. I found a site that has buttloads of charts of the past, that I'll be using each week. More than I really care to check at one time, really. So now I have plenty of backup!