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


Friday, February 6, 2015

Time Machine week 11

And as the Tardis whirrs to a stop, we look at a newspaper, and found this:

On February 6, 1974, the House of Representatives by a vote of 410 to 4 "authorized and directed" the Committee on the Judiciary "to investigate fully and completely whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States of America."

Meanwhile, Nixon introduced HIS Comprehensive Health Care proposal to Congress.  He had been trying to work out a health care deal with- are you ready for this- Ted Kennedy to make a universal health plan, but their nearly complete plan got scuttled by- stop me if you heard this before...

...At first, Kennedy rejected Nixon's proposal as nothing more than a bonanza for the insurance industry that would create a two-class system of health care in America. But after Nixon won reelection, Kennedy began a series of secret negotiations with the White House that almost led to a public agreement. In the end, Nixon backed out after receiving pressure from small-business owners and the American Medical Association. And Kennedy himself decided to back off after receiving heavy pressure from labor leaders, who urged him to hold out for a single-payer system once Democrats recaptured the White House in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

Welcome to Time Machine, for the week that gave us our first listens to Blue Swede's Hooked On A Feeling, Main Ingredient's Just Don't Want To Be Lonely, and Billy Joel's Piano Man- though many of us never paid attention to that one until Just The Way You Are hit the charts and it began to play again.  This week, we have more of the Great Nineties Countdown, A six degrees starting with the Detroit Wheels, the amazing disappearing unknown act, and, in the shuffle ten, how a number one song peaked at 42 (?).  At the sound of the bell, shake hands and come out singing!

This week, our panel includes occasional visitors WWDJ Hackensack, KHJ Los Angeles, WIXY Cleveland, KTKT Tuscon, WPGC Washington DC, KXOX St. Louis, WCFL Chicago, and CHUM, Toronto, along with relative newbies WPTR Albany (talk about bad call letters.  Can you hear it?  "This is 1540 AM, the Big PeTeR!"), KSFX San Fran, WDRQ Detroit, and WGNG Pawtucket.  They had a much smaller song list in their top 5s, with 6 different #1s.  Those included Jim Stafford's Spiders And Snakes (Tucson and Pawtucket), and B-B-B-Bennie And The Jets by Elton John (Detroit).  This week's race for the top was tight almost the whole way, and was one of our tightest ever at the end, with the winner's margin a mere 39-33.   The top 4:

Seasons In The Sun, Terry Jacks, everyones favorite downer, came in fourth with 16 points and the #1 slots in Cleveland and DC.  It was Cashbox's #10 this week.

Third was Ringo Starr with You're Sixteen, with the number ones of Hackensack, Albany, and Toronto, and 23 points.  It was #4 on CB.

Albany, huh?  See whose got the big PTR!
Number two on the survey is the Love Unlimited Orchestra with Love's Theme.  It racked up but one #1 (St Louis) and 33 points- and sits at #3 on CB.

And number one- you know the drill.


This week's unknown song sat at #5 on the Cleveland charts- which surprises me that it wasn't San Francisco, since they were from Oakland.  They were called the Natural Four, and were led by an underrated singer named Chris James.  The R&B quartet caught the ear of Curtis Mayfield, who signed him to his label, Curtom.  After struggling to get a notice despite some really nice singles, it wasn't until James replaced the other three guys with three new guys, and Leroy Hutson (who was Mayfield's replacement in the Impressions) started producing, that they came up with this gem.

Trying to find out anything else about these guys was next to impossible.  According to his website, he did some side work with Mayfield and Earth Wind and Fire- but as far as CREDITED stuff goes, James disappears from 1976 (the last NatFour lp) till he's said to be producing John Lee Hooker's daughter in 1987- and nothing on tape again until 1995.  Damn shame for a guy whose voice was compared to the Spinners' Bobby Smith to settle for 11 years of uncredited side work.


And now, this week's installment of the Great Nineties Countdown!  We have for you this week numbers 35-31.

35- Nirvana, Smells Like Teen Spirit, 1991.  The leadoff single from Nevermind (which 3-y-o KC used to think said, "Mashed potatoes, MASHED POTATOES!") was another game changer musically for me.  It was #1 alternative, and #6 on the main chart.

34- Ben Folds Five (yeah, I know there's three of them- Ben said "Five sounded better than Three"), Brick, 1998.  Another heartbreaker about an abortion...

As weeks went by
It showed that she was not fine
They told me, "Son, it's time to tell the truth"
And she broke down, and I broke down
'Cause I was tired of lying

Driving back to her apartment
For the moment we're alone
But she's alone
And I'm alone
And now I know it...

Brick hit #6 alternative. (Bobby, you'll like this one!)

33- Live, Pain Lies By The Riverside, 1992.  My obscure hit for the day, this rocker came in at #24 on the alt charts.

32- Matchbox 20, 3 AM, 1997.  Rob Thomas before Santana made him a household word.  The chorus, "It's 3 AM, I must be lonely..." gets the poignant coda in the last verse:  "...and the clock on the wall has been stuck at 3 for days and days...".  And, oddly enough, it hit #3 on both pop and alt.

31- Nirvana, Come As You Are, 1992.  Twice in one episode!  This was one of my karaoke favorites.  Always pays to sing songs by Nirvana or Dylan when your voice ain't the best.  32 on pop, 3 on both alternative and MSR charts.


Our six degrees begins with a trio of famous rockers- and many of you might know where they go together.  Rick Derringer (founder of the McCoys before becoming a rock legend), Ronnie Montrose (another hard driving virtuoso), and Johnny Badanjek (drummer from the Detroit Wheels), were all members of the Edgar Winters Group, back when they blasted into the top ten with Free Ride.  The singer on Free Ride, which- dummy that I am, surprised me- was Dan Hartman (Instant Replay, I Can Dream About You).  Hartman was also a prolific songwriter, and one of his credits was James Brown's Living In America, from Rocky IV.  The song's co-writer was Charlie Midnight (actual Charles Kaufman).  Charlie was also a co-writer on the Doobie Brothers' comeback hit The Doctor.  The reunion didn't include Michael McDonald, but did include original singer Tom Johnston, as well as conga player Bobby LaKind.  LaKind was a former roadie who became a band member after band members heard him "fooling around" with a set of congas.  Another roadie who made good (and yes, this was a stretch, but was the best I could find) was one Don Boyce, who contributed the spoken vocal on the breakthrough hit Jungle Boogie by Kool and the Gang- which, at #8 on CB, is the highest national hit that didn't make the panel's top fives.


And now, the shuffle top ten:

The #10 song is one I've brought up before (and will be bringing up shortly on the great Nineties Countdown), the Passengers (which was U2, Brian Eno, and Luciano Pavarotti) with Miss Sarajevo.  It was top ten in 10 European countries in 1995, but was not released in the US of A despite airplay on many AOR stations.

Tracy Lawrence had his 7th country #1 in 1996 with our number nine tune this week- a song I have not-so-famously described as "the perfect country song"- Time Marches On.

Number eight this week is the return to our countdown of Seals and Crofts.  Their song Hummingbird was a #20 hit in 1972.

Supertramp's signature song, Bloody Well Right, is #7 on our list.  It was actually the b-side of the studio version of their 1974 hit Dreamer, which hit #35- and hit #15 as a live cut in 1980.

The Beach Boys also make their second appearance in the shuffle ten with this week's # 6- When I Grow Up To Be A Man.  This hit #9 here in 1964, and was #1 in Canada.

Also making a second appearance this week is John Denver, who takes Rocky Mountain High- his 1973 #9- to our 5th slot.

And Barry Manilow concludes the run of second timers, with a tune from his 2007 Greatest Hits Of The 70s lp (from which he released no singles)- this time covering Albert Hammonds' It Never Rains In Southern California.

At number three is a song that finally became a monster hit after the band broke up- the Zombies and Time Of The Season, hitting #3 in 1969.

In the runner-up slot, M'lady Judith Durham and the Seekers with I'll Never Find Another You, a #4 peaker in 1965.

And at number one?

Survey says.....

Barbara Streisand with The Way We Were!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, shuffle says...

Natalie Imbruglia with Torn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

While hitting number one on all kinds of airplay charts, and top ten in a score of other countries, and being on the short list of most popular songs of the 90's, Billboard's screwy rules kept it off their main charts until they made a rule change- after all but three of her 30+ weeks on most other charts had passed, giving it a "peak position" of #42.  By this point, Cashbox was publishing infrequently when at all, and no way of knowing what it did there.

Annnnnnnnd... that's a wrap!  See you next time!


  1. I wasn't keeping up with the political scene much back in the 70's so I don't remember the Nixon health insurance proposal. Oh, irony of ironies--how things come full circle.

    When Rick Derringer was with the McCoys he was Rick Zehringer. Maybe going solo he wanted to sound more like a big shot. If that were the case he should have chosen a different name than Derringer. Maybe Rick Cannon? He would have beat Nick to the name.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  2. What a trip this was, I like time travel, ok never actually tried it because you know it doesn't exist but still trips like this are bloody marvelous

  3. What Jo-Anne said describes exactly what I was thinking. All of these songs bring back great memories. Ray and I always say we are so lucky to have grown up in this music era. Great post Chris.

    1. Totally agree. Music is nothing now like it was then.

  4. Chris:
    I will say w'eve come a LONG way from the days of Nixon and those 18 "lost" minutes of tape..
    )now, we're being lied to face to face darn near every day by this president...but let's not dwell.)

    Good historical find w/ that Nixon/Teddy K healthcare gig that flopped.

    Seasons In The Sun was a good song...untill (as usual) they played it to death.

    Heh...I thought you knew Dan Hartman was vocalist for EWG.
    (saw both Winters (Johnny and Edgar) as well as Derringer when he went solo...THOSE were some great concerts.)

    "Jungle Boogie"...not EVEN gonna touch THAT
    (not where we live)
    Time Of The Season...always a toe-tapper.
    (didn't know it hit AFTER they parted ways)

    (and even though I;m not a fan these days of Streisand, The Way We Were was a great flick and an equally great song).

    IMBRUGLIA? Sounds like a leafy vegetable...oh, wait...that's arugula.
    (either way).

    Good ride this week.

    Keep on rockin' up there, brother.

    1. She don't LOOK like a leafy veggie, Robert. Give her a try...

  5. Democrats working with Republicans.
    I miss that America.