2015 brings the new "Music Doctor", and my nomadic Tardis lands in 1975 this week. Specifically, January 2nd... the day after Haldeman, Ehrlicman, and Mitchell are convicted for their part in the Watergate cover up... and more important (and worse for me), Catfish Hunter, who has spent the last four years in Oakland putting up an 88-35 record, goes from a forced, 2-year, $200,000 contract with Charlie Finley's A's to a 5 year, 3.2 million dollar deal - with a million dollar bonus- with the Yankees. Not that I blame him... but I wish they'd have sent Finley to NY instead.
|Seeya, Charlie, wouldn't wanna be ya...|
And thus, we start this week's journey, the first of the new year (whichever year it is). This week, our six degrees puts Willie Nelson down on the farm; A couple of "unknown song" videos from 2 Canadian bands with 2 very different names; a special New Years' Hangover feature- the top songs to debut new years week; and believe it or not, Cashbox and the panel have a second straight week agreeing on #1! Welcome to the week that saw our first listens to Carole King's Nightingale, John Lennon's #9 Dream... and a song called Sweet Surrender by John Denver. I wondered if this was a cover of the hit by Bread, but when I looked up the lyrics, the first two lines became prophetic:
Lost and alone on some forgotten highway
Travelled by many remembered by few...
...and I was not one of those few.
The panel this week includes: KOIL, Omaha; KAFY, Bakersfield; WYSL, Buffalo; KTRN, Wichita Falls; WHYN, Springfield MA; WIRL, Peoria; KTKT, Tuscon; WDRC, Hartford; old favorite CKLW, Detroit; CHUM, Toronto; and, again from Tuscon, KIKX. They teamed for 4 #1s, including all of this week's top four, to wit:
A tie for fourth, with the Carpenters' Please Mr. Postman (who had the top spots in Bakersfield and one Tuscon station), and Barry White's You're My First, My Last, My Everything;
At third, with the #1 vote from Buffalo, Barry Manilow with Mandy;
At #2, with four #1s (Omaha, Wichita Falls, Hartford, and Detroit), Carl Douglas' Kung Fu Fighting;
And at #1, with the other four #1s... well, wait and see.
I have two unknown videos this week, two neat songs by two Canadian bands that never made a dent here. The first of those had the interesting name of A Foot In Cold Water (which the chart from CLKW had as "Coldwater", thus making me think maybe they were from Coldwater, MI. Most sources have the term as one word, but a bio site has it as two.). They had some success with a handful of singles, including the one I'm going to play, with the self-named first lp and a second called A Second Foot In Cold Water. The song in question peaked "in the top twenty-five" on the Canadian charts, and was re-released a couple years later and this time made the Canadian top ten. It was at 22 on CKLW's chart this week, and it's called (Make Me Do) Anything You Want.
So for a special this week, I thought I would peruse the re-activated Cashbox charts and find out what song that debuted the first week of the years of the Martin Era (1962-79) went on to the most success. It turned out to be a pretty interesting list:
10 (tie)- Apollo 100's Joy, and Dr. Hook's Only Sixteen, both peaking at #6.
7 (tie)- 10cc's The Things We Do For Love, Redbone's Come And Get Your Love, and Cream's Sunshine Of Your Love, all peaking at 5. (Have to have Love in the title was only a requirement at this level, apparently.)
4 (tie)- Brook Benton's Rainy Night In Georgia, The Temptations' I Wish It Would Rain, and California Dreamin' by The Mamas And The Papas, all stopping at #4.
3- Dueling Banjos, Deliverance. Stopped at #2.
2- Paul and Paula's Hey Paula, which was #1 for a week in 1963.
And the top hit debuted on New Years Week?
That other unknown comes to us from the CHUM chart, where we find at #13 a song called Good Feeling (To Know) by Octavian. They came out of Ottawa, and like AFIC, they struggled to make a bit of a name in the Quebec/Ontario area. They were at first calling themselves Octavius, but when a promo poster got it wrong, they found they liked the mistake better. Also like AFIC, they eventually found themselves without a contract, and drifted apart. One member, John Pulkkinen, dropped out of music to be a teacher; but he returned to the business, changed his name to John Alexander, got a job with MCA, and ended up signing them Alanis Morissette. Here is their single.
So back to the panel. Their picks included CB's #10 (Kung Fu Fighting), #3 (Mandy), #2 (that long-titled tune by Mr. White), and #5 ( the former #1 by the Carpenters.) Which means #1 (coming up) is still out there, as well as #4. And the Road to #4 runs through- Willie Nelson.
Always On My Mind- perhaps my favorite by Willie- was written by country songwriter Wayne Carson Thompson. Wayne might be best known for writing a pair of "blue-eyed soul" hits for the Box Tops- Soul Deep and The Letter. But his songs were often covered by country acts- such as Sammi Smith, who hit #27 on the C&W charts in '79 with her take on The Letter. Sammi's big crossover hit, of course was Help Me Make It Through The Night, written by Kris Kristofferson. It was this melody that George Jones kept trying to sing his future hit He Stopped Loving Her Today to during recording, because he didn't like the song (finishing the recording with, "No one will buy that morbid son-of-a-bitch"). The morbid SOB was co-written by one "Curly" Putnam, Jr., and it was on Jr.'s farm that Paul McCartney and Wings wrote and recorded this week's #4 song- Junior's Farm.
And now, the shuffle top ten!
One of six songs to top both the C&W and Pop charts in 1975 was this live recording from John Denver- Thank God I'm A Country Boy. Two of the others were the 2-sided hit of John's- I'm Sorry/Calypso.
Bobby Vee had his first top ten (and second top 40) since 1962's The Night Has 1,000 Eyes with this week's #9- Come Back When You Grow Up, Girl. It hit #3 in 1967, my Kindergarten year, which goes a long way to the "alternative lyrics" we made up as kids:
Peeing ain't easy
Pooping's twice as tough
Come back baby
When you throw up...
Another of Johnny Rivers' Whiskey A-Go-Go "sorta live" hits- Seventh Son- comes in at #8 this week. It peaked at -what else- #7 in 1965.
Chicago's first top ten, Make Me Smile- part of a seven song medley called "Ballet For A Girl In Buchanan"- takes our #7 slot. It was a #9 hit in '70.
Marvin Gaye makes the shuffle list at #6 with his chart topper from '68, I Heard It Through The Grapevine- a song Berry Gordy gave to Smoky and the Miracles first. He rejected their version as "not strong enough."
After breaking up for 16 months, the Brothers Gibb got back together to write our #5- Lonely Days- and announced they were reuniting the next day. It seems that the lawyerly untangling of their assets and contracts got on their nerves, and they got up from a meeting and said, screw it, we'll stay together.
Middle Of The Road has arisen from the "every five weeks " rule to immediately make the charts again with another soft, pretty lp cut from their debut lp, a song called Love Sweet Love. This was the 4th cut on the 1970 lp Acceleration, and makes our #4.
Arlee Bird turned me on to our #3 song- the first cut of the first Seals And Crofts lp- It's called See My Life, and if you YouTube it, you'll likely get a remix that is nowhere near as good as the cut from this album- which, thankfully, is on Spotify. If you can find the original, well worth it.
At #2 is a song you'll know is one of my favorites from the '80s- Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse Of The Heart. A massive #1 in '83, she got the song because (according to Meat Loaf), he was given the song, along with Making Love Out Of Nothing At All, by his longtime writer Jim Steinman, before they started feuding. When the feud erupted, the label refused to pay Steinman for the song and they went to Tyler and Air Supply instead. Bonnie, for her part, says, Loaf's just chewing sour grapes that she made such a hit out of it.
And that leaves us with our #1 songs! Survey Says....
...Elton John, with some help from John Lennon, with Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds!!!!!!!!!!!
And shuffle says....
... War with The Cisco Kid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This hit #2 back in '73!
Stay tuned next week for the fourth annual Time Machine Beauty Contest! And in two weeks, the GREAT 90'S COUNTDOWN begins!