And now we fly all the way back to January 29th, 1966- And what we had last week out east in real time we are having here. A storm of massive proportions- five feet of snow in Oswego, NY- killed over 200 in a week's time, most of it east of lovely Indiana, which only got bitterly cold temperatures and high winds.
Well, at least we don't have THAT in store for you today on Time Machine- but I did hit a blizzard of things so interconnected that telling it my usual way will just give away all the fun! Fun which includes yet another new #1 on the M10; a Panel #1 which is also in the UK top ten; a UK #1 song that has four different versions on the US national chart this very week- but not the one the UK has at #1; a six degrees victim smack in the middle of the UK chart; and an event fifty years in the making- no lie! So, since I don't wanna give things away, I'm gonna wrap the whole story around the UK top ten this week- and watch to see where it all lands! Put that shovel down and let's go!
I guess the best way to start this is with that which the UK Ten doesn't mess up- the Panel list! This week the Panel consists of KFXD Boise, KAYC Beaumont TX, WRAW Reading, KOL Seattle, KRUX Phoenix, KLIV San Jose, KXOL Ft Worth, and old timers WABC New York, KDWB Minnesota, WHK Cleveland, WQAM Miami, and outta left field, WDUX in lovely Waupaca WI.
They collected 26 different songs, and it really spread the vote out. In fact, four songs reached double figure points without making the final four. The Raiders picked up 12 points and the top vote in Miami with their hit Just Like Me. The Beach Boys also claimed 12 points with Barbara Ann; Gary Lewis and the Playboys grabbed 11 with She's Just My Style; and the hardest to believe, Nancy Sinatra's These Boots Are Made For Walking claimed 10 points with the first two #1s I hit- Boise and Beaumont- and never got another mention! And one more song claimed a number one slot without even getting that far- the T-Bones' No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In) - a former Alka-Seltzer ad- in Reading.
The other notable in the panel picks was their lowest charting song of the week. Beaumont had BJ Thomas' I'm So Lonesome I Can Cry at #4- even though it wouldn't hit the national chart (at #120) until the next week! And with that, let's look at the Panel Four:
With 14 points, but no top dogs, the national NUMBER ONE- Simon and Garfunkel and The Sounds Of Silence.
With 16 points and the #1 of Phoenix, Petula Clark and the national #8, My Love.
Taking the number ones of Seattle, San Jose, and Cleveland and 20 points, the national # 15 with a bullet, Lou Christie and Lightning Strikes is the panel #2.
And now, our first delving into the English ten- because the Panel #1 is the same as the national #2 (and #10) and the UK #4! The Beatles were the first to issue an official double-a-side record, and it hit number one on both sides of the pond. The songs in question are We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper. Now, on Billboard We Can Work It Out hit #1 and Day Tripper # 5. On Cashbox they were 1 and 10 respectively. The majority of the Panel stations combined the two; Miami, Phoenix, and San Jose listed Day Tripper as the prime- and Fort Worth didn't have either song ANYWHERE in its top 40! In England, however, they were charted as ONE song, and that one song had just finished five weeks at #1.
|"You mean we could have had two hits at the same time, and they wouldn't let us? What a bloody break..."|
"Don't be a wanker, Paul. We got paid just the same."
Another hit on the UK chart, at #10 this week was You Were On My Mind. Not the fast paced version by the We Five that was a major US hit in 1965; no, this one was the cover by Crispian St. Peters, the man who had a hit here with The Pied Piper. His was a much slower version- in fact, knowing the We Five version first, it was almost a quaalude moment. It would eventually cross the pond, reaching #36 in the summer of 1967, which would NOT be the longest gap between recording studio and charting single we'll hit today.
The singer of the next song- actually a tender ballad- is by a man who held a Guinness record by telling 1,500 jokes in a 3 and a half hour span. Comic Ken Dodd had a handful of singles, and would peak at #3 with their number 9 hit this week- The River.
At number eight were the Kinks with a song that wasn't big here- it would peak at 50 in mid-May, but stopped at 8 in the UK this week- a tune called Till The End Of The Day.
The Walker Brothers were on the way down, having stopped at #3 and falling to 7 this week with My Ship Is Coming In. It was at 89 this week on Cashbox, en route to a peak of 69 here.
And at this point, we have to skip WAAAAY ahead, all the way to the English #1 this week. The group doing the song, a folk-rock outfit called the Overlanders, did not hit here in the US of A. However, there were no less than four OTHER versions of the same song on the American charts. (Only one of them making the Panel list, surprisingly enough). The highest was a version by famous songwriters Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook (You've Got Your Troubles, I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing, Long Cool Woman), who were going by the name of David and Jonathan. Their version of this mystery tune was at #45 this week, and made the Beaumont and Reading top fives. Billy Vaughn and his Orchestra had a version at #69; and it would be the last entry for the bandleader in the hot 100. Bud Shank, best known as the alto flute on the Mamas and the Papas' California Dreaming (which also got a Panel vote this week), had a take on it at 93... but it was best known by its unreleased version by the Beatles- Michelle.
There was one more version of Michelle on the Cashbox charts this week, and its story is lodged in the middle of our six degrees- a six degrees that starts with Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Not so much about what they've done, but how they got their start. They were discovered by Al Kooper. Kooper was a 28 y-o producer in search of an act when he first heard the band in 1972; but at 21, he was a rookie session man who got invited by a friend to the recording of Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone. He managed to work his way to the keyboard, and despite virtually everyone in attendance thinking he didn't know what he was doing, managed in one take to play the keyboard melody that Dylan heard, loved, and made it the one thing the song needed.
This song was recorded with two other Dylan songs on the first Turtles album; it was named It Ain't Me, Babe, after one of those Dylan comps that became their big hit. Also on this lp was the FIRST recorded version of the tune Eve Of Destruction. But Barry McGuire hit first, and so they waited to release it- until 1970, when they finally released it and it went top 40, making it the longest from recording to radio on this week's chart.
Two things to know about the classic protest song. One is that a band called the Spokesmen did an ultra-conservative response to the song (which was bad and made worse by the lead singer's trying too hard to sound like McGuire) called Dawn Of Correction. It was this group that recorded that fourth version of Michelle on the chart this week- all the way down at #124.
The other thing was that it was written by PF Sloan, who had a lot of writing credits in the 60s. Another of those was the song that charted highest nationally- #11- without a panel vote, AND the song that sat at #6 on the UK chart this week- Herman's Hermits and A Must To Avoid. BTW, it was on the way down in the US of A after also peaking at #6. Jeez!
Now since somewhere in that last bit I mentioned the Turtles, this would be an appropriate time to intro one of the M10 debuts this week- a Spotify suggestion from 1976 from the main men of the Turtles, Flo and Eddie! From their lp Moving Targets, coming to you at #8 on the M10- Flo and Eddie!
The song at #5 in the UK this week had actually hit #1 on Cashbox in September of the previous year- The Four Seasons and Let's Hang On! Frankie Valli and the boys were climbing the US charts this week with Working My Way Back To You.
Having already hit the UK #4, we skip to #3 which is another song of no mean fame in the US- Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass with Spanish Flea, the song best known as the theme to The Dating Game. While there was a version of Spanish Harlem (by King Curtis at #134) and a version of Spanish Eyes (by Al Martino, who had panel votes from Cleveland and Waupaca, as well as being #18 nationally), there was no Spanish Flea on the American charts until spring, when Herb and the band peaked in late April at #27.
And the song we have left on the UK list was a future #1 by the Spencer Davis Group, who were at #2 with a tune called Keep On Running. It would find its way over here as well, peaking in March at #75.
And the one thing that sits in its proper spot- this week's M10!
The former #1 for Boz Scaggs, Small Town Talk, slides another 5 down to #10.
And at #9, a young lady named Brooke Annibale, from her latest lp from late last fall...
By now you've listened to #8... last week you listened to #7. Quiet Hollers move up a pair to that spot with the apocalyptic Mount Blanc.
Diane Coffee also climbs two spots, landing at six with Not That Easy.
Beach House gives ground grudgingly, slipping a spot to #5 with Beyond Love.
Last week's top dog, Ducktails and Headbanging In The Mirror, slides down to #4 this time around.
Alvvays finally puts it in gear, flowing to #3 with Next Of Kin.
Surprisingly to me, Nothing But Thieves remained parked at #2 with Trip Switch.
And now a word from Jack Wood (via a post board), about the M10 #1 that was 50 years in the making:
"In 1966 I sat in and sang with a three piece band playing weekends in a low-down bar in a
sleazy section of Grand Rapids, Michigan. They liked my voice and asked me to join them.
Since the bar owner wouldn’t pay any more, they all took a cut in pay so I could get ten
dollars a night!! This was my very first gig. There was a friend of the guitar player who came
in quite frequently who was an outstanding guitar player himself and he had a band called
“The I Can’t Say.” He really liked my voice and said I should make a record. I liked the idea
and had written a few songs, although I didn’t write “Born To Wander” until several weeks (later).
I distinctly remember writing “Born To Wander” at my kitchen table on a Sunday afternoon
while living in a microscopic, two-room apartment in a rundown part of the city. It took me
maybe twenty minutes at the most. I immediately saw the potential in the song and a few
days later rehearsed it for a couple hours with “The I Can’t Say.” I found two black girls for
backup vocals and, again, spent no more than a couple hours rehearsing with them. I then
booked a three hour session for a Sunday afternoon in a recording studio (analog, of course)
set up in an abandoned movie theater in the tiny village of Sparta, about ten miles from
Grand Rapids. I knew an excellent saxophone player who played in various bands around
town and he agreed to play baritone sax on the session. I thought tympani drums would
add drama to the record so the Friday before the session I called the band teacher at the
Sparta High School and asked if he had a tympani player. He said he did and agreed to send
him to the recording studio Sunday. We recorded “Born To Wander” in a couple hours and,
just to make it a record, also recorded “So Sad”, a song my 14-year-old brother had written,
for the “B” side. I paid the band and the backup singers twenty five dollars each and ten
dollars to the tympani player. The entire session, including studio time and 50 records, cost
me two hundred and fifty dollars which I borrowed from a friend. It took me several years (to pay it back).
The record got a couple weeks of air time on a local AM radio station and I handed out a
few copies to customers in the different bars I was playing in and to several girlfriends. And
that was it! Nothing further happened to it for almost fifty years.
Fast forward now to the spring of 2015. I got a call one day from a local record collector
who had bought a copy of “Born To Wander” at a garage sale and wanted to know if I would
autograph it. I was blown away because I didn’t think anybody knew about it and I had
pretty much forgotten about it myself. I met with him and autographed the record then
went home that night and told my girlfriend about the amazing thing that had just
happened. She had her laptop connected to the internet, googled the song and it came up
on YouTube! Someone had uploaded it back in 2009 and it had received over seventeen
hundred views. I couldn’t believe it. I found out later that the record and been circulating
among collectors for a long time and the few copies that were available were often selling
for $1,500 to $2,000 dollars!
Since I owned all the rights to the song, I thought I might be able to sell a few and so I had
a new pressing done of five hundred copies. Just to be safe, I also reinstated the copyright
and registered it with BMI. After I set up a website, I got a few orders right away from
collectors, mostly in Europe and the UK. One of the people who ordered the record was Ben
Blackwell, an avid record collector who I found out later is the head man at Jack White’s
Third Man Records in Nashville, Tennessee. Of course, I didn’t have a clue who he was at
that time and sent him his autographed copy which I’m sure amused him to no end. Less
than a month later I received a call from BBDO in New York City, one of the world’s largest
advertising agencies. They said they were working on a new Bacardi commercial and
wondered if I would be interested in licensing “Born To Wander” for the music. Of course I
said “Yes” and a couple days later I received and signed the contracts. I had no idea how big
and extensive the Bacardi commercial was going to be. It turned out they were planning to
spend millions on a massive new advertising campaign to appeal to a younger audience and
my song was about to be broadcast hundreds and hundreds of times on late nite TV, ESPN,
Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brian, Spike, UFC, Comedy Central, etc., etc. Once again I was in
BBDO sent me a rough draft of the commercial right away and, remembering that he had a
connection with some record company (I didn’t even know about Third Man Records at that
time), I sent it to Ben Blackwell and asked what he thought of it. He immediately got back
to me and wanted to know if I would consider placing the song with Third Man Records.
Another shock! At this point I finally figured out who he was and who Third Man Records
were. They are a great and respected company specializing in vinyl and offering a wide
variety of music that mainstream Nashville won’t touch. Definitely my kind of people. We
agreed that they would handle the digital downloads and release Born To Wander as a new
vinyl 45 on the Third Man label. About a month later I found myself at Third Man Records
talking with Jack White himself and getting the royal treatment from Ben Blackwell. Jack
actually said he was “honored” that I had chosen Third Man to handle my song!! Of course, I
told him the honor was all mine. He is a very sincere, non-phoney, unaffected man whom
you would never guess is a multimillionaire, world famous rock star if you didn’t know that
The Bacardi commercial began broadcasting October 20, 2015. Four weeks later there
were nearly 15,000 views of “Born To Wander” on YouTube and it was being seen by
millions of people all over the United States on all the major TV outlets. It became one of
the most downloaded songs on iTunes and people from all over the world were ordering
their own vinyl copy from the website jackwoodborntowander.com.
It’s been a wild and highly gratifying journey for me. “Born To Wander” is a record that
just refused to die and it waited nearly 50 years for the world to discover it. It has been the
impetus for a much-welcomed revival in my music career. The tremendous response it has
received has made the music business take notice that there is a vast audience for music
that defies the bland, cookie cutter drivel that is being spoon-fed to audiences around the
world by an often cynical and jaded industry.
Long live “real” music and long live “Born To Wander."
Grand Rapids, Michigan
November 7, 2015
Thank you to the Jack White collectors forum at whiteswirl.com for that. Born To Wander is the new M10 #1- the first #1 from the sixties, but maybe not the last! And appropriately enough, in a week we featured the year it came from! Tune in next time when we take what I hope will be a less convoluted trip- to 1976! (Flo and Eddie, are YOU next?)