Landing date: December 12, 1969. Landing place, Milan, Italy. A bomb goes off in the Piazza Fontana, killing 16.
The blame was originally placed on Anarchists and leftists, with one "suspect" taking a nosedive out a window of a police interrogation room. Around 4,000 people ended up arrested for one reason or another in the investigation, and the blast inaugurated what was known as the "years of lead" (as in bullets). After about a million trials, no one was found guilty and not turned loose on appeal- and the suspicion was that a right wing group called Ordine Nuovo did it with the intent of blaming the leftists. The Red Brigade was a growing concern at the time, and the story goes that ON was trying to either pin it on them or to at least set Italy on the path to a more authoritarian government in order to deal with them. One author suggests the CIA was butt-deep in the "muddying of the waters" in the investigation, and may have supplied ON.
On a lighter note, welcome to our nomadic Tardis as Time Machine lands this week in 1969- a week that saw the first nationally heard notes of Joe Cocker's cover of She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (not bad if you like singers that sound like they have a throatful of Grape-Nuts), Tommy James and the Shondells' last big hit, She- and the song that is either my first, second, or third favorite song of all time (depending on what I heard last), the Guess Who and No Time.
|No time for a gentle rain... no time for my watch and chain...|
...but not THOSE Steelers! C'mon along, it'll be a blast!
Let me start out by introducing our cast of stations who contribute this week. WKNR Detroit, is a return panelist, as is KQV, Pittsburgh; but we also throw in CKLG, Vancouver (our first panelist from the Great White North); KTKT, Tuscon; WLOF, Orlando; KLIF, Dallas; WNAP, Indianapolis; WAVZ, New Haven CT; WOSH, Oshkosh WI; WSGN, Birmingham, AL; and two of the heavy hitters, WABC New York and WFIL Philadelphia! Together, they managed to round up 7 different #1s this week, including one that was #1 on no less than four of our stations! There were four #1s that were unique to their stations, though. CKLG had the Billy Jack theme, One Tin Soldier by Original Caste at #1- a song that wouldn't debut on the national charts for another week here. KQV was Beatles crazy at the time; they had Come Together at #1 and the flip side, Something, at #2 (they were #4 and #14 on CB, respectively.). WLOF Had RB Greaves and Take A Letter Maria (#5 on the CB chart); and WOSH had Tommy Roe's Jam Up Jelly Tight at the top (#18).
CKLG also gives us our unknown for the week. It was by a duo from Sheffield (whose hockey team is the Steelers, but that's not the cameo, either), UK, named John and Anne Ryder. Their song is called, I Still Believe In Tomorrow...
A young married couple at the time, they would retire briefly in just a couple of months to raise their newborn daughter- and a couple more kids to come! But by the summer of '72 they were performing again- albeit close to home so they could spend the time with their kids. I went chart looking for them in other places, and found they were at #47 on Oshkosh, their follow up, a song called A Sign For Love, was climbing in New Haven, and in the Netherlands, they had a hit with a decent cover of Simon and Garfunkel's Cecilia. This particular song was written by one Marty Wilde- father of Kim (Kids In America, You Keep Me Hanging On) Wilde. John and Anne retired for good in 1987, and (I bet you're thinking, here comes their separation/divorce, right? WRONG!) celebrated their 50th anniversary in June of 2012. Nice to know some beliefs in tomorrow can come true...
Just missing the status of my unknown was a group called the Steelers, which had a hit on (where else?) Pittsburgh (#7 on their chart) called Get It From The Bottom (of your heart, you perverts!) . I got some info on them from a site called RarePhillyStax which tells me they were not from Philly or Pittsburgh, but from the west side of Chi-town, and were mainly a brother act- founder Alonzo Wells, lead singer Wes, and little bro George. It would peak at 55 on CB after a 7-week run for their only big national score. An article in a 2012 issue of the Post-Tribune says Wes and Alonzo are still alive and kicking, albeit Wes does his kicking at an assisted care facility. George passed in 2006.
What the heck, this is a cool tune! Have a listen!
On the more popular side of the story, our panel's top four for this week:
Fourth was Someday We'll Be Together by the Supremes;
third, with #1s in NY and Philly, Steam with Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye;
second, with another couple of #1s (Tuscon and Dallas), BJ Thomas and Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head;
and the top one... well, wait a little bit. Now the Supremes sat at #8 on CB, Steam at #3, and Raindrops only at #12. The number one on cashbox that week? Well, that story starts out with Toto...
|You mean... this Toto?|
And on that lp they did a cover of You Made Me So Very Happy, recently recorded by one Brenda Holloway.
|Boy, this story just keeps getting better!|
And now, this week's top ten!
We start out by gettin' down the fiddle and gettin' down the bow, with Mel McDaniel's Louisiana Saturday Night at #10 from 1981.
Spacehog was a band which got its start in an unusual way- founder Anthony Langdon met future drummer Jonny Crass when he stopped by a cafe where Jonny had a job "killing rats". Spacehog hit #32 on the hot 100 and the top of the alternative charts with their debut tune, In The Meantime.
Well that sounds fine so I'll see you sometime
Give my love to the future of the humankind
Okay, okay, it's not okay.
While it's on my mind there's a girl that fits the crime
For a future love dream that I'm still to find
But in the meantime....
Number eight was the flip side to ELO's hit Mr. Blue Sky. A haunting, ethereal tune with backup vocals by none other than last week's star, Ellie Greenwich- from the lp Face The Music, One Summer Dream.
At number seven, a cut from the first album I ever bought without knowing more than one cut. The lp was Jefferson Starship's 1979 record Freedom At Point Zero, a concept lp about a future gone wrong and the rebellious young people fighting to save themselves... and the cut is called Just The Same, one of Mickey Thomas' best vocals on his first record with the band.
At #6, Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits- a band I'll admit to not knowing much about until after the fact- and their #1 from '65, Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter.
Sly and the Family Stone's first big hit- Dance To The Music, a top ten in '68- is our #5 tune.
A surprise at #4 is a song from the Moody Blues The Present lp from 1983- the #27 hit Sitting At The Wheel. It was released just one week after the slower, melancholy Justin Heyward comp Blue World, which missed the top 40.
At #3, one of the classic rockers of all time- Cream, with their lesser known (but my favorite) hit, Badge. It peaked at #60 in '69, and had at rhythm guitar a dude dubbed "L'Angelo Misterioso"- better known as George Harrison.
In 1987 Eddie Money scored big with his lp Can't Hold Back, and it's big #1 Take Me Home Tonight. He also hit the top forty two more times off that record, but the second best tune on the lp only made it to #90 on Billboard- but here, it's at #2- We Should Be Sleeping.
And this week's number one songs?
...Peter, Paul, and Mary with Leaving On A Jet Plane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And shuffle says...
...the Byrds with Eight Miles High!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Repeating a tendency to pick '60s hits as #1s, the shuffle brings us this top 15 hit from '66, banned on several stations due to alleged drug references (it didn't take much back then...). It is believed in some quarters to be the FIRST psychedelic song.
And that is a wrap!