Today is April 3rd, 1966, and we just missed a IFO (Identified Flying Object) on the way in!
The Luna 10 Soviet orbiter, which today became the first artificial satellite of the Moon. Interestingly, one of it's jobs was to oscillate out The Internationale live to the opening of the 23rd Soviet Communist Party Conference. All went well in rehearsal the night before... but the next day, "it missed a note", and thus the night before's broadcast was replayed for the event "with no one the wiser..." I'm not sure if the joke is about finding a wise man in a communist party meeting, or if it involved the number of people thinking , "Boishe Moi, now they're playing that damn thing in space!"?
Welcome to this week's Time Machine, the last week of the first trip through the random years of the Martin Era! Next week, we'll be working from a new list, but this week, we feature the charts that brought us our first tastes of the Beach Boys and Sloop John B, the Byrds and Eight Miles High, the Mindbenders and Groovy Kind Of Love, and Dionne Warwick and Message To Michael! Among our many stories this week: Yet another screwy "rogue" station and it's top five ranging from current hits to future hits to never became hits; Batman and his Grandmother; one of the truly stupid personal stories I'll ever tell here; and a possible new feature I'm tentatively calling bottoms up (and has nothing to do with Kim Kardashian). So hop in and we'll Dos Vadanya out of here!
The fun group of panelists this week include return offenders WIXY, Cleveland; KJR Seattle; WCOL Columbus OH; KQV Pittsburgh (which amazingly isn't the "rogue station"); WAKY Louisville; and to my memory newcomers KFWB, Los Angeles; KLOL Lincoln NE (I bet they'd regret those call letters now); WOKY Milwaukee; WKYC, also Cleveland; WPOP Hartford; KSJB, Jamestown ND; and our oddball for the week whom we'll look close at in a little bit, WHOO Orlando. This group posted 25 different songs (including five of our six unknown song candidates), including the #1 vote getters Baby Scratch My Back by Slim Harpo (Louisville, and we'll talk more about that one in a bit), These Boots Are Made For Walking by Nancy Sinatra (Lincoln), and Good Lovin' by the Young Rascals (one of only 2 votes they got, from WKYC). And they totalled us up, in a tight race 36-29-27, the following top 4:
At fourth, the national #2 song, the Beatles' Nowhere Man. They got the #1 on WIXY and 12 points to trail the pack.
At #3 is the national #8, Cher's Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down). She got #1 votes from Orlando and Jamestown.
At #2 is the national #4- the Loving Spoonful with Daydream. John Sebastian's boys claimed #1s in Milwaukee and Hartford.
And at #1.... stay tuned!
My choice for unknown song this week was complicated by many contestants, including the aforementioned Baby Scratch My Back. Slim Harpo was a blues man who did this popped-up almost-instrumental, which he termed "An attempt at rock and roll for me."
Another came from Lincoln, who actually had the flip side to Nowhere Man at #3. This tune was called What Goes On, and was the only song by the Fab Four credited to Lennon-McCartney-Starr. Ringo, though, said his contribution was "about 5 words" in the chorus. He was the singer on the song, which peaked on the nationals at #81.
Another one that somehow squeezed into someone's top five was the Harden Trio with Tippy Toeing, a particularly inane song about keeping quiet while the baby was sleeping. I wouldn't do that to you guys. This song was #2 in North Dakota, where apparently they spend a little too much time on the range.
Another song that didn't make the cut was a backbencher on the WIXY chart called Juanita Banana by a studio novelty group called the Peels. Apparently modified from a Mexican folk song about a girl that wants to become an opera singer, the chorus opener from the song is a screech high note stolen from Verdi's Rigoletto. That line in turn became a piece in the patchwork guru Dickie Goodman's (Mister Jaws) #70 hit Batman and His Grandmother, a spoof on the TV show revolving around his grandmother being kidnapped by arch-villain the Green Beret. Among the songs "sampled" by Goodman in the record were, of course, The Ballad Of The Green Berets (which just missed the top 4), Baby Scratch My Back, Nowhere Man, Bang Bang, and our #1 panel song- which of course, you'll have to wait on. Just so you know, Batman gets shot, Robin wrecks the Batmobile, and Grandma ends up kissing the Green Beret.
So who do I pick for unknown song? Actually, two of them. One of them sat at #5 on the LA. It was a band called the Elgins. Formerly the Downbeats, Berry Gordy changed it to the Elgins because it was one of the former names of the Temptations. They hit with the original Heaven Must Have Sent You (a #11 hit for Bonnie Pointer in '79), but this time their song was called Darling Baby:
Our other tune was a band I mentioned before- Chicago's New Colony Six with their first hit- and the #3 in Orlando of all places- called I Confess.
Now some of the cat's out of the bag about the Orlando chart. Bang Bang was the big hit at #1. Their #2 was a song which Rufus Thomas had taken into the top ten- Walking The Dog. But this version was by a dude named Jerry Palmer, a Canadian who MAY have been one of the voices involved in the Hollywood Argyles and their novelty hit Alley-Oop. The New Colony Six were at #3, and at #4 was Johnny Rivers with the still climbing Secret Agent Man, which was sitting at 12 nationally. And the curious cherry on the top (or bottom, as it were) was the song at #5- Tommy Roe's Sweet Pea, a big hit- that was still EIGHT WEEKS from it's national debut! Not sure which was oddest- the song that never became a hit, the song that was supposedly only a hit in Chicago, or the song that was two months from hitting nationally?
All right, time for bottom's up!
I had happened to notice that a lot of new hits were at the bottom of the charts on their way up. So I decided to see what kind of a top ten I would get if I took the songs I liked from the bottom of the charts up. And here is what I got for this week in 1966:
10- Bob Kuban and the In-Men, The Cheater. It had peaked at 15 a few weeks back, and was on the way down at #41.
9- Shadows of Knight, Gloria. G-L-O-R-I-A was in it's 3rd week on the charts at #44.
8- Yardbirds, Shapes Of Things. After 4 weeks, this song was at #46.
7- and 6- a double-dipper for Lou Christie, with Rhapsody In The Rain at 49 and climbing, and Lightning Strikes at 52 and dropping.
5 and 4- another double dipper for the Beach Boys, with Sloop John B at its debut at 56, and the Brian Wilson solo Caroline No in it's second week at #62.
3- The Byrds' Eight Miles High in it's debut week at #77.
2- The Mindbenders' Groovy Kind Of Love debuting at 80.
and at #1- Dionne Warwick's Message To Michael at #92.
So whaddya think? Could this be the jazzed up replacement for telling you the week's debuts? Let me know what you think... or I will get you....
Our six degrees starts with a BIIIIIIG stretch to one of the dumbest things I ever came up with. Back in 1981, Rick Springfield was just sliding down the charts with Jesse's Girl (#24), while folk singer and draft dodger Jesse Winchester was coming up (#37) with a song called Say What? on Memorial weekend. And I always thought it would be funny to see the two next to each other on the chart- Rick Springfield singing about hitting on Jesse's Girl, and Jesse Winchester saying, Say What?
Anyway, Mr. Winchester was one of the acts signed to old Royal Studios. Another act there was a bluesman named Willie (Papa Willie) Mitchell. Willie is best known to me as the writer for Bob Seger's Night Moves cut Come To Papa (makes sense, I guess). It was one of several cuts (including Main Street and Sunspot Baby) in which the Silver Bullet Band was subbed out for the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. With the MSRS, drummer Roger Hawkins appeared on songs like the #1s I'll Take You There ('72), Respect ('67), and When A Man Loves A Woman ('66). He was also drummer on Wilson Picket's big hit Land Of 1,000 Dances, which hit #6 later in 1966. That song was the follow up to the six degrees victim this week, a song the Wicked One eventually took to #13 on BB, and sat at #9 on Cashbox this week- 634-5789 (Soulsville USA).
And that brings us to the shuffle ten!
Coming in for the first time at #10 is Eric Burdon and the Animals with one of their later hits, the 1967 #15 Monterey.
Barry Manilow makes his third trip to the ten with his 1975 #1, I Write The Songs.
Also on their third time is the Bee Gees at #8, with my second favorite of theirs (which of course means it's off the beaten path). The song is called Edge Of the Universe, and it was the flip side of my favorite, Nights On Broadway... and then was released from the Here At Last... Live lp in 1977, peaking at #26.
Just my dog and I
at the edge of the universe.
Well, I didn't wanna bring her
and I know it'll make her worse.
Now I look out on forever
and it must be nice down there.
And they call me Shenandora in the air.
I was amazed to see this is the Eagles' first flight into the shuffle ten, with another #1 from 1975, One Of These Nights.
The last Jeff Lynne ELO lp was 2001's Zoom. The singles didn't get a lot of play or promo, but they rank as some of the best the band ever did. One of those tunes is Alright, and it comes in at #6 for their third trip into the ten.
Number five is the second song with this same name (both different), and the second song on the ten by Neil Young. From the 1974 lp On The Beach, the song is Walk On, which peaked at #69.
that's hard to change
I can't tell them
how to feel.
Some get stoned,
some get strange,
But sooner or later
it all gets real.
Walk on, walk on...
Blondie gets their second trip in with the first rap song to hit the top of the charts, 1981's Rapture, at #4.
And finally into the ten is my babe Yvonne Elliman with her cover of Hello Stranger, a #15 in 1977.
About this time, I mentioned to Laurie it was about time for the obscure songs to show up. And up popped at #2 one of my favorites of that category. The band was called Fire Town, who were one female lead away from evolving into alternative band Garbage. The song was the title track to their lp The Good Life, and it hit #18 alternative in 1989.
Well, Christmas time came early this year
Down on Granddad's farm
He opened up all the presents himself
With an antique Charter Arms
Then he tucked the whole family into bed
Out in a corner of the yard
When the TV man asked him what went wrong
He said "I just got tired of being ignored"...
And that brings us to our #1s!
The Righteous Brothers with Soul And Inspiration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When Batman was shot in the Dickie Goodman record, Robin asked what to do and Batman "answered" with the spoken word, "Baby, I can't make it without you..."
And shuffle says...
Jethro Tull and Wond'ring Aloud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The first time in the ten for Tull is a cut from Aqualung, the great lp from 1971.
And that's a wrap! Don't forget to let me know about Bottoms Up!