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


Friday, August 14, 2015

Time Machine week 36

Today we swing past the launch of a satellite known as ISEE-3, which was initially put in a "halo orbit" around earth to observe the sun- but four years later would be moved from that orbit, rechristened ICE (from International Sun-Earth Explorer to International Comet Explorer) and inserted into the vicinity of the comets  Giacobini-Zinner and Halley and be the first to confirm the "comet-as-a-dirty-snowball" theory.  As we draw nearer to earth, we see China and Japan sign a "treaty of peace and friendship" (rather ironic considering their present relationship), and watch West Aussie fisherman Arron Marshall finish his world record 336-hour shower.

"I see Earth, I see Venus, I see Neil Armstrong's... er... lunar rover..."
Here's hoping today's Time Machine isn't all wet!  1978 is our target year, and on board we have:  a modification to the Bottom's Up; the world's worst music;  an unknown song that I knew, but maybe you didn't; and a week-old shuffle ten!  If that doesn't say fun, then... well... hey, look, you can only dress 1978 up so much, okay?   Here we go!


Our jury of stations this week includes old friends WAVZ New Haven, WRKO Boston, KBEQ Kansas City, CHUM Toronto, KYSL Buffalo, KTKT Tuscon, KRLA Los Angeles, and WDRC Hartford, along with relative newbies KYYX Seattle, KFMB San Diego,  WXLO New York, and WEFM Chicago.  This group gave us 21 different songs including the #1 in Hartford, A Taste Of Honey's Boogie Oogie Oogie (disco had such a profound effect on imagination in lyrics, eh?).  Really though, in the later seventies there wasn't a wide variety of difference between the stations and the national chart- unlike the sixties- and thus three songs really dominated the voting.  And so, the top four this week:

With 16 points, no #1s, the #4 song nationally as well, Donna Summer's Last Dance.

With 25 points and the #1s of San Diego and Chicago, the Rolling Stones with the national #3, Miss You.

With 34 points and the #1s of five of the remaining nine stations- New Haven, Boston, Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles- Frankie Valli with the lead theme from Grease, which was also #2 nationally. (See, little variation.)

And with 45 points, the winnah- stay tuned.


The problem I encountered this week with the Bottom's Up was that there were enough songs at the bottom that were on the way down that four debuts got crowded out!  So, after some debate, I will stay true to the BU format of the first ten I know from the bottom, but let you know that the debuts it missed were:  Aerosmith's Come Together, Gerry Rafferty's Right Down The Line, Meat Loaf's Paradise By The Dashboard Light, and Bob Seger's Hollywood Nights!  And with that...

10- Another debut, from the soon to be crucial Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band soundtrack, Robin Gibb with Oh Darlin' debuting at 80.

9- A song many of you might not know but I fell for, Dan Hill- who is famous for Sometimes When We Touch- with his second attempt, All I Ever See Is Your Face. It debuts at 81.

8- A third debut, Paul Davis with Sweet Life, comes in at 85.

7- One of my all timers is at 86 in it's 5th week- City Boy with 5-7-0-5.

6- Michael Johnson lines up at 87 in his debut week with Almost Like Being In Love.

5- Cheap Trick captured the 5 slot by sitting at 88 in their 4th week with Surrender.

4- Here's the beginning of the big droppers- and when atheist Billy Joel stands before the judgement, I wonder if his record Only The Good Die Young will be playing.  It was at 90 after 13 weeks.

3- Bruce Springsteen and the boys are falling in their 8th week after peaking at 58 (!) with Prove It All Night.

2- The greybeard of the set, Robert Palmer's first big hit, Ev'ry Kinda People, is at 94 after a whopping 21 weeks.

And the top bottom?

Genesis, from And Then There Were Three, with Follow You Follow Me, at 95 after 17 weeks!


It is increasingly hard to find songs I didn't know the later in the seventies you travel.  But in digging through the lower ends of the panel charts, I noticed a tune I was very familiar with, but seeings as it only made hay (top ten, that is) in his home country of Canada, you might not.  Solo from the Guess Who, here's Burton Cummings:


So I was trying to build a six degrees from the song that charted the highest on Cashbox this week without getting any love from the panel- the biggest hit of summer, Andy Gibb's Shadow Dancing.  I learned that it was written between his brothers' takes during the Sgt Pepper movie in about ten minutes.  And that led me to a list published in Maxim magazine of the worst lps ever, of which SPLHCB was at the top.  It included some surprises (REM's Monster), some unfairly perhaps (Air Supply's Definitive Collection)  and some maybe not so much of a surprise (a ninth-place tie between Debbie Gibson's Electric Youth and Tiffany's Hold An Old Friend's Hand).

They sure didn't bust the budget on promo...

Wikipedia went on to give a list of other sources' picks for the worst lp of all time.  Among that list were some real toe curling concepts...

- Having Fun On Stage With Elvis Presley, 1974.  An entire lp of the King schmoozing with the audience.  At least it didn't give MUSIC a bad name.  However...

- Elvis' Greatest Shit, 1982.  This compilation was gathered with the express idea that even great stars can put out crappy music, and contained a lot of his movie background music as well as some just not-well-thought-out song choices.  It included such timeless classics as Ft Lauderdale Chamber Of Commerce and He's Your Uncle, Not Your Dad.

- Metal Machine Music, Lou Reed, 1975.  His clever idea was to do an album entirely of guitar feedback loops.  Nails, chalkboard.

-TwoThe Hard Way, Allman and Woman.  The woman in question being Cher, it was so bad that when she won the rights to the disc from one-night hubby Greg Allman she refused to let it see the light of day in any form ever again.

-Playing With Fire, Kevin Federline, 2006.  Marrying a star (Britney Spears didn't exactly launch his career- it go the lowest score ever on Metacritic magazine (15 out of 100), had it's first single cancelled because it was annoying, and to date has sold a whopping 16,000 copies, or just about five a day over the last 8 3/4 years.

Appearing soon at a Wal-Mart near you...

And now, the Shuffle Ten;  which I actually did a week ago when I forgot I had already done last week's S10!

The Eagles nail their third S10, filling the ten slot with their 1975 #2, Lyin' Eyes.

Howard Jones' lead off single, New Song, peaked at 27 back in 1983, and takes the nine hole here.

The Mamas and the Papas, like HoJo, get their first S10 this week- their top dog Monday Monday comes in at our 8 slot.

Don McLean's wonderful 1981 cover of the Skyliners' Since I Don't Have You peaked at 23, and gives Don the #7 position.

Again with Robert Palmer!  His cover of Todd Rundgren's Can We Still Be Friends made #52 in 1979, but comes in at #6 here.

I'll always remember one night Dave Letterman announced that Connie Chung and hubby Maury Povich were going for an IVF baby, as Maury couldn't get the job done.  Letterman quipped, "Gives new meaning to the phrase, 'everybody wang Chung tonight."  The purloined phrase was of course from Wang Chung's 1986 #2 Everybody Have Fun Tonight, which takes our number five slot.

REM gets some redemption here, as they claim their third S10 with Man On The Moon, which got #30 pop, #2 alternative, and #4 MSR in 1992.

Glen Campbell also lassoes his third S10 with his 1969 #4 pop, #1 country Galveston at our three hole.

One of my 60's all timers, a number 6 from 1965, is at our runner up spot- The Kinks and Tired Of Waiting.

And at #1?  Survey says...

...the Commodores with Three Times A Lady!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And at #1 on the shuffle, a song that just missed the top ten in 1997, but gets virtually no love anymore...  Here's Sister Hazel:

Next week... well, stay tuned because I haven't generated the next year list yet!


  1. Hi, Chris! (Too much information alert.) 1978 was the year I divorced Mrs. Shady #1 and began 17 years of drinking and debauchery as a "wild and crazy guy," a second time around bachelor. I partied hard and hung out in discos and other drinking/dancing establishments. As a result I missed most of the soft rock and easy listening tuneage in today's post. I'm sorry to say that I didn't recognize the titles of any of your Bottom's Up songs culled from the lower rungs of the 1978 charts. Maybe I'd know them if I heard them. Not surprisingly, the three titles that I did recognize were the #1s - "Last Dance," "Miss You" and "Grease." To be honest, the only one of those three I can tolerate for more than 5 seconds before going all Belushi and smashing the guy's guitar against the wall is the one by the Stones. I found more to like on your Shuffle Ten sampling from other years, namely "Lyin' Eyes," "Monday Monday," "Galveston " and "Tired of Waiting For You." I did NOT...repeat NOT like that Commodores ballad or any of their other ballads or any of Lionel Richie's ballads. (Again, picture John Belushi going ballistic on that balladeer in Animal House.)

    My favorite part of your post today was the list of crappy albums. I hope I never become such a fan, such a completist of any artist that I am compelled to collect every single thing they ever recorded, including their best sneezes and coughs.

    Thanks, Chris. I hope you and Scrappy have a great weekend!

    1. My similar era was around 1995 or so, so I know what you mean. I lost sports, rather than music, for that time. While not so adamant as you, I agree with your opinion on the top four, though I'd have to say in the Commodores' defense that Sail On is still pretty good.

      I'm glad the S10 makes it worthwhile. Next year up will be... 1966!

  2. Chris:
    --I always thought LAST DANCE was one of Donna's BEST songs. But that was then, and this is now, right?
    --SGT PEPPER was a pretty good movie for the time.
    Bee Gees & Frampton did a decent job.
    --FOLLOW YOU, FOLLOW ME - excellent earlier Genesis song!
    -- Always like Air Supply - saw them in concert (late 70s) with a girl I was dating. Very good duo, and some great songs.
    --MONDAY, MONDAY (very good) McLean's SINCE I DON'T HAVE YOU (not his best)
    --Wang Chung - not a bad song there.
    --The Commodores - excellent band (as good as Tavares or The Trammps - imho)
    --Sister Hazel (might have to pass) after MY time...heh.

    Very good ride this week (and we didn't hit anyone trying to get their cell phone back).

    Keep those hits comin' up there, brother.

    1. Bobby, believe me, you would like Sister Hazel. The alternative I like is that which mirrors the way music SHOULD have progressed, had not disco and then hip-hop retarded the progression. Certainly you should like it better than, say, Wang Chung...