I am well ready to leave 2015 today. So far in trying to do my usual excellent job on Time Machine, I had a keyboard quit working early on, and a random button bumped deleted half the post just now. I don't know what button it was, but if I figure it out I will delete it from every keyboard I have ever owned and will ever own through infinity. So, let me try to calm down and start all over.
Our Tardis lands us in 1967, where we find Joan Baez... well, in jail. Seems she and a group of her "friends" were protesting the Vietnam War by sitting in front of an Oakland draft induction center. While those outside were forcing the law abiding lottery winners to climb over them to get in, others inside were passing out leaflets encouraging them to come outside and get walked over by others. Now, this is not me saying one way or the other on the protests; however, I would point out that the leaflets might have gotten a better response had they been given with out having embarrassed the poor victims beforehand.
I also find it interesting that many of Joan's "friends" weren't so friendly to her three years later. You see, she toured the war zone in 1970 and came back decrying atrocities on both sides- and many of her leftist friends didn't care for that. Blaming Americans for killing babies is one thing, but when you go bad-mouthing our communist friends...
|Sometimes the truth isn't popular...|
And welcome to this week's Time Machine (assuming I live to finish the damn thing) ! This week is going to be kinda different for two reasons. One, I am in the midst of figuring out the Martin Ten as we speak; and two, we have three top ten national hits that got no love from the panel- and so we're going to have a sorta three way six degrees. One will be a regular six degrees, one is going to be a very difficult guessing game; and one will look at those who survived the Day the Music Died! Don't just sit there, people are climbing over you to get in!
Leading off our look at my kiddiegarden year is the station I was likely listening to- CKLW Detroit. Along with them, we have WJET Erie PA, WIFE Indianapolis (spelled right, Hillary), KGB San Diego (Which I suspect was a front for spying), WCFL Chicago, WKLO Louisville, WRKO Boston, KXOA Sacramento, WSGN Birmingham, WHB Kansas City, WKYC Cleveland, and WABC New York. They totalled a whopping 28 different songs- a feat that makes three top tens without a vote even more amazing- but the race itself was no contest. In fact, the winner fell 4 points short of having as many as 2,3,and 4 combined! Before we get to them (something I failed to manage on the first attempt typing this), here are the tunes that collected #1 votes but not enough points to make the final four:
Sam and Dave's Soul Man, #20 nationally, had the #1 vote of Louisville;
Bobby Vinton's Please Love Me Forever, just entering the top 40 at 39 this week, was #1 in Boston;
and the upcoming unknown song was number one in (and if you've followed Time Machine long enough, you might could guess this) Birmingham. WSGN always is a bit off the beaten path.
And the panel four?
Without a number one but with 14 points, the nation's #1 song, the Association's Never My Love.
With the top dogs of Boston, New York, and Kansas City and 15 points, the nation's #2 song, the Box Tops' The Letter.
With the number one of just San Diego and 16 points, the Young Rascals with the national #4, How Can I Be Sure.
And at the top slot, with 5 numero unos and 41 points, the national #3... stay tuned.
Before we get to the usual tomfoolery, here's your quiz on one of our unloved top tens.
In Paul Williams 100 best singles;
in critic Dave Marsh's 386 best of all time;
in BMI's 100 songs of the century;
VH1's #49 greatest rock song;
RIAA's #139 on their songs of the century;
#110 on Rolling Stone's 500 all time best;
and Acclaimed Music's #97 of all time.
"It's not one of my best. I mean, I've got about 300 songs I think are better."
Who's the artist? What's the song? Will this publish this time? Stay tuned.
As I mentioned, the act on the unknown song had the #1 hit on WSGN this week- #76 nationally. It was by a band that was hard to track down, as other acts from Jersey, Canada, Australia, England, and yes, even Ohio had the same name. This particular act were 4 NY/NJ boys calling themselves The Last Words. They had a surprise hit with this one, but according to one of the sites, the rest of the rushed-together debut lp was a bit lacking. "The highlight being a dirge-tempoed cover of the Beatles' No Reply." But this version's pretty good!
You'll notice producer Steve Alaimo. He was mentioned in a previous TM for having nine songs debut in the Martin Era Cashbox hot 100 without ever cracking the top forty.
And 22 minutes later, I'm back where I was when I hit the mysterious button from Hell. So here's another of our six degrees-a-thon stories, and it came when I tried to do a 6D on Bobby Vee's Come Back When You Grow Up, one of those songs we used to play the grooves off as kids. Bobby Vee and a few of his high school friends answered the call when the infamous plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens left a void in the "Winter Party" show. Vee was 15 and the hastily gathered group that would launch Vee's career was called the Shadows. But my story isn't about them.
Rather, the Day the Music Died has a lot of interesting backstory to it. For example, Holly had just left the Crickets, and his band- who were to back up all three acts plus Dion on the tour- were Waylon Jennings, Tommy Alsup, and drummer Carl Bunch. The original plan was for those three and Buddy to fly that night. So, what happened?
Well, the original tour bus was a piece of crap with no heater in the middle of a frozen midwest winter. Bunch got frostbite in Ironwood, Michigan and had to be hospitalized. The big four minus the Bopper took turns drumming for each other the rest of the way, and in Appleton, Wisconsin the bus breathed its last the next bus was only marginally better, and that night Buddy had had enough. He contacted a charter service at Clear Lake to fly him and the band to North Dakota.
But The Bopper was sick, and tired of squeezing into the tiny bus seats. Waylon gave up his seat to him, prompting Holly to say, "I hope your ol' bus freezes," while Waylon prophetically replied, "And I hope your ol' plane crashes." Valens heard about the flight next and tried to talk a reluctant Alsup out of his chair. A promoter suggested they flip a coin... Alsup took tails. He would later open a club called Tommy's Head's Up Saloon to commemorate the result.
And Dion was offered a spot- but he said that the $36 fee was more than his parents paid a month at his childhood apartment home, and declined.
And the pilot? He was the only one at the charter company when they arrived- a 21 year old who wasn't fully licenced, had just flunked his instruments-only exam, flying a plane not equipped for instrument-only flight, in a snowstorm. And he volunteered to fly them.
Giving us now the real six degrees...
This is the symbol for Finnish hockey club Jokerit, now playing in the KHL. What does this have to do with music? Well, in 1959 a Finnish musical group named for them had a minor hit with a song called Chanson d'Amor- a song that the Manhattan Transfer would take up the R&B charts in 1959. In 1958 it would be originally recorded by Art and Dotty Todd, hitting #6. And a fragment of it was sampled, as they say nowadays, by the Beatles in All You Need Is Love. McCartney and Lennon would do backing vocals for the Rolling Stones on their answer to the song, a tune called We Love You. This was released as an a-side, but in the US of A it was quickly supplanted by its flip- the highest charting song at #6 that got no panel love- Dandelion.
Bottom's up gets a week off. Enjoy, baby!
|This is your idea of a week off? Thanks a bunch!|
And now, a seconds-old Martin Ten!
Beach House charts a second hit this week- their next from the lp Depression Cherry. It's called Sparks, and we'll hear it in the weeks to come. It debuts at #10.
A lady from Melbourne (hey, are the Aussies trying to uproot Canada as the makers of the best music?) whose name is Shannon Busch but records as WILSN comes in with what is her second single, called Walking For Days. I'll also be getting to her refreshing sounds later. Debuting here at #9.
The Pousette-Dart Band slips a notch to 8 with What Can I Say.
The Knocks move up a pair to #7 with I Wish (My Taylor Swift).
Another debut this week is the hectic country of actress/singer Jana Kramer, coming in with a tune from her spanking new lp called Boomerang.
ELO holds at 5 with When I Was A Boy.
Family Of The Year falls short in its bid for the top, slipping from 2 to 4 with Make You Mine.
I just can't get Space Song outta my head. It climbs back up one spot to #3 for Beach House this week.
Duran Duran moves up to #2 with Pressure Off.
And the number ones?
On the M10 for a second week- Phoenix with Lisztomania!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And the panel's pick?
Lulu with To Sir With Love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh, and that guessing game? Who and what was the song so acclaimed and dissed by the singer?
Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That, assuming I can avoid the button from hell a moment more, is a wrap! Hope you don't mind the typos, but I ain't proofreading this thing! Next week, 1965!