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


Friday, November 20, 2015

Time Machine week 50

Today the Tardis (police box blue with a bright orange "PLAGUE:  BEWARE sticker on it") lands to spread the love in November 20th, 1974.  As our usual, we arrive in time for a plane crash (a Lufthansa Boeing in Nairobi killing 55);  the filing of the lawsuit that led to Ma Bell being converted into Baby Bells-

"BabyBels?  I love..."
-no, not those BabyBels!; and Gerald Ford was becoming the first sitting President to visit scenic Japan (on his way to a Vladivostok hookup with sexy Leonid Brezhnev), while his veto of a strengthening of the Freedom Of Information Act was being overrode by Congress (one of a whopping 12 times that happened to him, tied with Harry Truman for second all time behind Andrew Johnson).  In the meantime (or if you will, in the cosmic everymoment), it is the fiftieth Time Machine volume four post (which means, given one week that got skipped, a week shy of a year)!  I have some special stuff lined up, and to go with it:  Not one but 2 lp reviews(!); a super tight panel race (the top 4 separated by 6 points!); pop stars on Country charts in the six degrees; and... the M10 order changeth- the Titanic Three shattered!  Is there a new Dynamic Duo on the way?  Let's get to it!


In 50 weeks with a total possibility of 200 entries, 151 acts have made their way to the panel four so far- quite an assortment!  Picking this week, our panel is made up of:

WKAP (Living here in) Allentown PA, WFIL Philly, KCPX Salt Lake City, KFRC San Francisco, CKLG Vancouver BC, WABC New York, WISM Madison WI, WDRQ Detroit, KCBQ San Diego, KIMN Denver, WCFL Chicago, and WPGC Washington DC.  They collected 25 different songs, including six #1 votes that missed the panel four-  Carl Douglas' Kung Fu Fighting (Salt Lake and SF), Carole King's Jazzman (New York and San Diego), Reunion's Life Is A Rock (Vancouver), and BT Express and Do It (Till You're Satisfied) (Washington).  With so many #1s spread around, the 6-point spread in the panel four is less than a shock.  The four, maestro:

With 18 points and the #1 of Philadelphia, the national #6, the Three Degrees and When Will I See You Again;

with 20 points and the #1 of Detroit, the national #2, Bobby Vinton and My Melody Of Love, also know by the Polish title of... oh, well, you can't pronounce it either so who cares?

With 23 points and the #1s of Madison and Denver, the world's best roller skating song, Billy Swan with I Can Help, the national #3.

And with 24 points, the national top dog as well... stay tuned.


I went looking to see which of the 50 posts (actually 48, since this one wasn't written and you had just begun to view last week's post) was the most popular with you gentle readers.  I was a bit surprised to see posts from 1976 taking the #s 1 and 4 spots.  It was almost in the center- week #26- which won the title.  It featured Bro Smith's Bigfoot novelty in the unknown song, Foghat's Fool For The City on the Bottom's Up, the amazing mixed up story of Tin Tin's Toast And Marmalade For Tea in the shuffle, and Climax Blues Band's Couldn't Get It Right at the Panel #1.  It garnered at that time 97 views, with week # 39 (1969) second with 88, week # 42 (1962) third with 86, week # 47 (the most recent 1976 post) fourth with 82, and week 19's 1975 post at 78 for fifth.

Of course, the best part of that #1 post was in the comments:

ARLEE BIRD:  "Actually I had a difficult time focusing on this post once you mentioned "A Fifth of Beethoven" as my mind started going back to the summer of 1976 when I worked a short stint on a carnival girlie show. One of the strippers--one of the finest looking women I ever laid eyes on--used that song for her dance. She was so hot, but had no interest in any kind of relationships as she said she had a boyfriend back home. Stripping on the carnival show was her summer job to put her through college where she majored in math. When she wasn't stripping in front of a bunch of drooling goons she was studying math.

My favorite math problem that she did was a matter of subtraction. When she took away everything, nothing was left other than sheer beauty.

Now I'm really distracted. I think I need to go do some grocery shopping."

ME:  "Jeez, how come I never saw THAT carnival? The Shriners sure don't do that!"

SHADY:  "Gosh, the only strippers I ever saw in my neck of the woods looked like Granny Clampett!"

ME:  "You and your Granny! I want a stripper with SOME meat on her bones.... preferably not withered, either!"

ARLEE:  "Actually I guess these gals were not so much strippers in the tradition of burlesque, but sexy dancers who took off their clothes while dancing around on stage.

One was a young black lady who called herself "Sunshine". Her routine consisted of her dancing with a chair and a hand puppet named "Hungry". When the emcee introduced her act he told the audience that they were going to see how "hungry" that puppet was. Yeah, that puppet seemed pretty hungry most of the time."


This week I mentioned that there may be a new Dynamic Duo in the making.  I also mentioned an lp review, and we are going to kill two birds with one stone here with the first of this week's music videoes.  Jeff Lynne's ELO finally released the awaited album Alone In The Universe last week.  You've already had the chance to hear the lead single, When I Was A Boy, here.  Now we find out that there was a good reason Jeff called it "Jeff Lynne's ELO"- other than a few background vocals by his daughter Laura on two songs, he was alone on the album as well.  After listening to the whole thing, I can say:  while I enjoyed it, it wasn't to my taste as good as Zoom, much less any of the classic lps.  The second single (which will be showing up here in the coming weeks) was pretty good (better than the first single), and a track called Ain't It A Drag stands out as something that would have fit well on Face The Music.  But for me the best song- which will come crashing into the Martin Ten here in a bit- is this one.

And yes, this is one of the two that you can hear Laura on.


So out of 50 number ones on the Panel Four, did anyone catch multiple times?  Just three acts.  The Supremes hit the top twice.  Elton John did it three times- three-and-a-half if you give him points for the chorus on Neil Sedaka's Bad Blood.  And who else but the Beatles, nailing the #1 spot four times.  So 44 different acts hit #1 on the P4 so far.


BOTTOM'S UP- a tradition since week # 18!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our 32nd Bottom's Up looks like this:

Speaking of Neil Sedaka, he has Laughter In The Rain at the 10 spot, sitting at 47 after six weeks.

Ninth is Jethro Tull's Bungle In The Jungle, #52 after 5 weeks.

Eighth is the first of five songs in their debut week- The Carpenters' Please Mr. Postman at #70.

Seventh, and second debut, is Donnie and Marie with Morning Side Of The Mountain, at #71.

Sixth is Barry Manilow's first hit, Mandy, at 72 in its second week.

Fifth goes to Frankie Valli (and the uncredited Four Seasons) with My Eyes Adored You, 75 after three weeks.

Fourth is one I just had to throw in, at 79 after six weeks- Frank Zappa's Don't Eat The Yellow Snow.

Third is the kings of BU, the Guess Who, with Dancin' Fool debuting at 81.

Get out yer lighters!  Lynyrd Skynyrd debuts with Free Bird at 85.

And the top Bottom?

...AWB with Pick Up The Pieces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Once upon a time, there was a bit of controversy about pop acts crossing onto the country chart.  Linda Ronstadt never seemed to catch any of that flack, though.  She's made the country top ten ten times- 6 solo and four with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris as The Trio.  One of those solos was the Everly Brothers cover When Will I Be Loved, which she took to the top.  Tanya Tucker also did this one, with a little help from Phil Everly, on her self titled 1974-5 lp.  The big hit there was Lizzie And The Rainman, her only top 40 pop hit.  Co writer on that one was one Kenny O'Dell, whose career spanned everything from playing in Duane Eddy's band to writing Mama He's Crazy for the Judds.  He also wrote Behind Closed Doors for Charlie Rich.  Now Charlie had 7 pop crossovers of his own, so it strikes me funny that, in apparent drunken protest of a "pop singer" winning the CMA song of the year in 1975, he lit the envelope on fire before announcing the winner.  And that winner, which sat at #4 nationally but got no panel love, was John Denver's Back Home Again.

Rich burned some bridges too... he'd never again make the pop chart.


So what are your favorite years to see on TM?  Well, the numbers by average page view say you like 1976 the most, followed by 1975, 1962, 1963, and 1970.  Your least favorites?  1974, 1979, and 1964, and that last one means you'll prolly not like how our last special feature turns out.  The question I put up:  Who is the king of the panel four?  Who put the most songs in the p4?  The envelope please (Charlie, geddouddahere):

Three acts put up 4 songs each- The Supremes, Donna Summer, and Elton John.

Two more acts put up 5- the Rolling Stones and Three Dog Night.

But the most- 11 songs making the Panel Four- goes to the Beatles.  Like you hadda ask?


And now, the M10!

I have two debuts from acts from Sydney, Australia, this week.  The first is so new that the only thing I found about the group itself is on its Facebook page:

Entwining sun-kissed days on the beach with the endless rolling hills of a relaxed country adventure, Islandis brings James Chave-Dubois (East Sydney) and Ben McInerney (Country NSW) together to form something that blends land and sea.

Formed in the depths of winter, Islandis is a brief moment of reflection across the years of escaped summers the two best mates have shared, whilst reveling in the excitement of the approaching warmth of a new season. Its nostalgia and anticipation rolled into a single emotion. 

For me, the band Islandis- whose song Home comes in at #10- is a lot like what America might sound like if it was still recording.

The other act actually came out a couple years ago, and this tune, debuting at #9 on the M10 this week, was the #8 song of the year in Oz back in 2013.  The band is called the Preatures (spelled that way so they could still be the "Preachers" without being sued for name infringement), and the song is called Is This How You Feel.

World Party is a victim of the ongoing squeeze- Is It Like Today slips 3 spots to #8.

And the first of the Titanic Three to fall is Jana Kramer's Boomerang, dropping from 3 to 7.  Fear not, though- her latest hit on the country chart just missed the M10 this week, and may well get its day in the Time Machine next week.

Debut number three was #8 alternative last week, and comes into the M10 at #6.  Part one of a potential Dynamic Duo, I give you the Silversun Pickups:

And the other half of the new power couple you already heard - ELO's One Step At A Time coming in at #5.

WILSN finally released a 5-song ep last week, including the M10 hits Walking For Days and Unmeet You.  Four out of five are really good, refreshing, old-style pop magic.  The other one was so-so.  Unmeet You drops to #4 from their runner up spot of last week.

The Apache Relay move up a quick 6 from 9 to 3 with Katie Queen Of Tennessee.

In a surprise for me (and I'm the one putting this together!) Cage The Elephant moves into the 2 slot after being jammed at 4 the last two weeks with Cigarette Daydreams.

And, our number ones... on the M10, Beach House breaks the anomaly by spending its fourth week at #1 with Traveller.

And on the Panel #1....

...B-B-B-Bachman Turner Overdrive with You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next week, more Beatles fun from 1964!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  You've been warned!


  1. While I liked it, I still very much prefer Classic ELO.
    By the way, I think it was Brezhnev's eyebrows. So dreamy.

    1. That's it exactly! You could clean a sewer with those brows!

  2. Hi, Chris! Hi Scrappy! Well, whatdya know? The time machine landed on my 25th birthday (and squashed it)!

    WFIL Philly is a familiar radio station because I used to buy those various artists albums issued on the budget reissue label Lost Nite that featured the WFIL air personalities hosting different volumes of the series. There were typically 20, 30 or even 40 song tracks per album but some were edited versions. The quality of the wax was poor and you heard quite a lot of snap, crackle and pop when you played the platters.

    "Kung Fu Fighting' was a guilty pleasure, a song I hated to love. I couldn't resist the martial arts combat sound FX hook. I owned that Carl Douglas single along with Carole King's "Jazzman" which was one of Mrs. S #1's favorite songs. Excuse me a second, Chris, Scrappy.


    I have already blogged about Reunion's "Life Is A Rock" and I have it coming up again in a future post. The rapid-fire ditty was climbing the chart in mid September that year as Mrs. S #1 and I vacationed in Myrtle Beach, SC. The song became linked to our happy memories of those two weeks of extended summer in the sun and surf. Excuse me.


    (Yes, I miss her sometimes, haven't seen her or spoken to her since 1980 and don't even know if she's dead or alive.)

    I remember that post about the champion mathlete who was moonlighting as a carnival stripper. It marked the beginning of a long string of Granny Clampett jokes that continues to this day. Right, Scrappy?

    Me likey Jeff Lynne's ELO, especially when it gets rolling and the harmony and instruments kick in. Me likey Neil Sedaka's "Bad Blood" and "Laughter in the Rain. I bought mostly singles during my vinyl collecting years and I owned both of those. Me likey AWB "Pick of the Pieces" and owned that entire album.

    I have posted about Kenny O'Dell in the past and have him in the pipeline for a return engagement.

    Me really likey Silversun Pickups. The song, the video and the editing all suit my taste just fine. In fact, it reminded me of a music video that I produced and directed in 1986. I interviewed some 300 models, chose the one I wanted to star in the vid, and ran her through a series of edgy shots similar to the ones I saw, here, including applying lipstick, slithering reptilian style across the floor toward the camera, etc. It was almost as good a job as the one Arlee Bird had working in a carnival hoochie coochie show.

    I was never as big a fan of Randy Bachman's BTO band as I woulda, shoulda and coulda been but I don't have a problem listening to their stuff either.

    Thanks, Chris! Thanks, Scrappy!

    1. Yeah, I got your note earlier- Happy Birthday! Hope you got that Granny blow-up doll you been wanting...

      Amazing how music can strip right to the emotion of a memory. Pilot's Magic brings back a picture of my niece with blueberry bird poop on her shoulder (long story, great memory). And to me, the best music always makes you cry.

      Alone in the Universe isnt bad the more you listen to it- but when your heart is set on Eldorado and A New World record, Secret Messages don't cut it. As a Jeff Lynne solo, it's better than Armchair Theatre.

      Glad you liked Silversun Pickups. Early betting line is it'll be the next #1 on the M10.

      You know I'm a Guess Who freak, and that extends to all of Randy's bands, BTO, Iron Horse, and Brave Belt. Now then, Thanks for stopping in, go have a birthday drink for me (I think my drinking is still restricted to NyQuil....)

  3. << Hope you got that Granny blow-up doll you been wanting... >>

    Yep, when I mail ordered I spent the extra bucks and got the anatomically correct model!

    << go have a birthday drink for me >>

    I haven't had a drop of alcohol since 1992 and that's gift to myself that keeps on giving. Club soda with a wedge of lime and unsweetened iced tea with wedge of lemon are my drinks of choice these days.

    Thanks, Chris!

  4. Chris:
    Did not know that about Truman and Ford...amazing.
    (wish Congress would do that to...oh, never mind)
    WFIL again...yeah!

    (wow, times HAVE changed...heh)
    --I only remember ONE "exotic dancer" after so many uears. Gorgeous heavenly-bodied, white-blonde, long-legged beauty who reminded me of TAARNA from the HEAVY METAL movie.
    (some things ARE worth some storage space between the ears)
    --ELO song...not as "thematic" as I would like, but good anyway

    --Wow, a fantastic BU - knew ALL of them for

    --KInda figured the Beatles would nail that one...what DIDN'T they make (list-wise)? Good call.
    --Silversun Pickups - not a bad group for a "newbie".
    --BTO as the Panel #1 - WTG, guys!
    1964 - good year for network TV
    (but not as good as '65 and '66).

    Keep those hits comin' up there,. brother