This week, the time travelling musical Tardis lands at a very magical place and time- June 26th, 1977 in Indianapolis, where we take in Elvis' last concert.
In front of 17,000 Hoosiers at the late lamented Market Square Arena, the show began with, of all things, Also Sprach Zarathustra, verging into See See Rider. The setlist included old favorites like Jailhouse Rock, Little Sister, a Don't Be Cruel/Teddy Bear medley, Hound Dog, Sherill Nielsen singing O Sole Mio leading into its melody-mate, It's Now Or Never, and closing with Can't Help Falling In Love With You. A local review, negative as vultures usually are, said:
Reviews of the show criticized the performance as a tacky circus sideshow at which the star was sloppy and lethargic.
Zach Dunkin of The News wrote "Elvis Presley led another crowd of screamers into bananaland last night at Market Square Arena, and the question is why?" he wrote. "... why does Presley still continue to tour? " (via the Indy Star)
However, a more sympathetic reviewer said:
The Star's Rita Rose wrote: "The big question was, of course, had he lost weight? His last concert here, nearly 2 years ago, found Elvis overweight, sick and prone to give a lethargic performance. As the lights in the Arena was turned down after intermission, you could feel a silent plea rippling through the audience: Please, Elvis, don't be fat.
And then he appeared, in a gold and white jumpsuit and white boots, bounding onstage with energy that was a relief to everyone. At 42, Elvis is still carrying around some excess baggage on his mid-section, but it didn't stop him from giving a performance in true Presley style."
So tell me, wouldn't it be worth it to see him one more time?
Welcome to this weeks' Time Machine, where we land in 1977, a year that lands but 2 songs into the summer 100- one of which is our panel's number one (but we can't tell you where it falls on the 100), and the other we've already noted- Andy Gibb's I Just Want To Be Your Everything at 24. Also this week, the ladies and the duos of the summer 100; Laurie and KC each pick a bonus song off the list; we have our 200th act on the shuffle ten- or do we?; and we connect an R&B classic lady to southern country rock in our six degrees! That's the wonder... the wonder of Time Machine!
|You went there... really?|
First, let's meet our panel for the week. You should already know CKLW Detroit, KENO Las Vegas, WHB Kansas City, WRKO Boston, KTKT Tuscon, WDRC Hartford, and CHUM, Toronto; and if you haven't let me introduce KFXM San Bernardino, KYNO Fresno, KTNQ Los Angeles, KQDI Great Falls MT, and WGBF Evansville! They combined for a mere 20 different songs, and a new record ZERO number ones that weren't in the top four! This after two weeks of a record 4 #1s that didn't make the four, go figure! And speaking of that panel four, here's Scrappy:
Oops, never mind, Scrappy is... indisposed. Anyway, the panel says:
At #4 with 14 points and the #1s from Boston and Detroit, the #9 nationally...ughh... Sean Cassidy with Da Doo Ron Ron.
At #3 with 15 points and the #1s from Los Angeles and Kansas City, the number 0ne on the national chart, Bill Conti's theme from Rocky, Gonna Fly Now.
At #2, with 32 points, and one of two songs that halfway through turned a five horse race into a two horse race, losing by just 2- with the #1s of Las Vegas, Hartford, Great Falls, and Toronto, the national number 8, Fleetwood Mac and Dreams.
And at #1, a song that is SOMEWHERE in the summer top ten... stay tuned.
Even among this limited group, as familiar as they all were- 15 of them made at least a week in the old top ten I kept back then, and 3 of them #1s, there is just two that I rarely heard back then, and only one that I really don't know now. Which is quite surprising, as in the last year, they had put up a #1 and a #5 nationally that played all over the area- Boogie Fever and Hot Line. But after Hot Line, they had a tune hit #17 nationally, that I never caught a whiff of here.
Since there was such a paucity of 1977 entrants to the summer 100, to get our dozen tunes for the week I had to be creative, and ask for help. So, I'll do one list and one bonus pick now, and another of each later. This time, let's look (figuratively) at the lovely ladies that hit the list. Those who already got mentions were Anita Ward's Ring My Bell and Aretha Franklin's Respect ( oddly enough, both of them on the "songs I don't particularly like" list from a couple weeks ago). The ones that I haven't mentioned yet:
Carole King, who landed It's Too Late at #13;
Jean Knight, who landed Mr. Big Stuff right behind her at #14;
Donna Summer, who landed 2 songs just to this side of the "don't really like" list, Hot Stuff at 52 and Bad Girls at -believe it or not- 15;
and Leslie Gore, who placed It's My Party at #59.
Now the first bonus pick belongs to KC, whose random choice of #84 brings us the 1967 hit by Music Explosion, Little Bit Of Soul. They qualify as one hit wonders, as their other charting singles only made 63, 103, 119, and 120 in 1967-8.
And this week's six degrees starts us off with an R&B HOFer, the tragic Miss Etta James.
Etta had 13 R&B top tens from 1955-67, including the #1 The Wallflower; her best on the main chart was 1967's Tell Mama at #23. Late in her career, she was part of an all-star band picked by Keith Richards of the Stones for a docu-special celebration of Chuck Berry's 60th year in music back in 1987. One of the songs on the soundtrack was Chuck and Etta sharing vocals on Rock And Roll Music, with Keith sharing guitar chores with Robert Cray and Eric Clapton. Also in the band was one Chuck Leavell. At the time, he was a keyboardist the Stones used, later becoming their main keyboardist from the lp Undercover on, and now also their musical director. But back in the day, he was among the first members of the Allman Brothers Band. He and band mate Jaimoe, along with Charlie Daniels, were guest artists on an lp called Carolina Dreams by the Marshall Tucker Band, which included their biggest hit- a song that sat at #10 this week but got no love from the panel, Heard It In A Love Song.
|Guess which one's Marshall Tucker, win a prize. Shady, you keep off this one, I know YOU know!|
Next round of tunes from the summer 100 are the duos who made the list. We have already featured three of them- Simon and Garfunkel's Mrs Robinson, Paul Anka and Odia Coates with Having My Baby, and Elton John and Kiki Dee with Don't Go Breaking My Heart. The rest include:
Peter and Gordon's 1964 hit A World Without Love at 54;
Jan and Dean, with 1963's Surf City at #60;
Sonny and Cher, with 1965's I Got You Babe at #79;
and the Captain and Tenille, with Love Will Keep Us Together from 1975 at #98!
There is ONE more duo... but they are in the top ten, so not yet for them. Big clue: One-hit wonders.
And to round things out, Laurie gave us a pick, #42- 1971's You've Got A Friend by James Taylor. IDK about you, but Sweet Baby James always makes me think Autumn, not summer.
And here we are at the shuffle ten!
The Eurythmics make their debut on the shuffle ten at ten this week, with their 1983 top dog, Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This).
Another #1 taking it's place on the S10 is the 1969 hit for the Archies, Sugar Sugar, at #9.
A b-side takes the number 8 spot. It belongs to REM, who post their 3rd S10 with their cover of The Lion Sleeps Tonight from 1993. This was the b-side to my favorite from them, the #24 Alternative The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite.
At number seven we have a country top dog from 1988. The Desert Rose Band, with Chris Hillman from the Byrds, from their second lp, Running:
Sly and the Family Stone take the #6 slot with their classic b-side from 1969, (I Want To Take You) Higher for their third S10.
The Eagles land their second song on the ten with their 1977 #11, Life In The Fast Lane, coming in here at #5.
Lighthouse had a track on their 1971 One Fine Morning lp that told the story of Peter trying to walk on the Sea of Galilee. That tune, Step Out On The Sea, comes in this week at #4 for their third S10.
Another lp cut gives ELO their fifth S10. From the 1974 lp Eldorado (which I still think is their best), the song is Laredo Tornado at #3.
Summer days, where did you go?
You've let me down so bad
Clouds fill the sky
Gone is the dream
My happy hunting ground
Wild buffalo played and I never saw a rainy day
But it looks like summer days ain't coming back....
And at number two, the 200th act on the shuffle ten- or is it? While the Four seasons were stuck in a contract with Motown in 1975, they recorded a beautiful ballad that they all knew would be a big hit- but the A&R department at Motown didn't and refused to release it. Frankie Valli bought the record himself, and shopped it to another record company- who would only release it if only HIS name was on it. And thus, My Eyes Adored You- in actuality a Four Seasons record (which wouldn't make the 200th act) but on the label a Frankie Valli solo (which WOULD make it act #200)- hit #1.
And now, the number ones!!!!!!!!!!!!
.... Alan O'Day with Undercover Angel- lurking somewhere in the summer top ten!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And, shuffle says....
Bobby Vee (NOT Bobby G.) with Take Good Care Of My Baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bobby takes his first S10 with his top dog from 1961.
And that is a wrap! Next week- 1979!