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


Friday, February 19, 2016

Time Machine week 61

Well, you know I had a hard time finding anything interesting that happened on our target date when I open with, "There were NO plane crashes today..."  And today we are at February 19th, 1964, a day which sees the death of the inventor of the snowmobile... Gene Hackman's day old career as a stage actor in Any Wednesday... and the delivery of a half-ton of Beatles' wigs from the UK to the US of A.

JA Bombardier... and no, apparently he didn't die in a snowmobile accident.

And those mops should tell you what is in store for the panel here on Time machine, as we fly into the beginnings of Beatlemania... Although we do have OTHER things to talk about, including:  a record number of #1 votes on the panel picks (How can you have a record when you have 12 stations each naming one #1?  Wait and see); just like last time, a non-Beatle panel list as well; a non-6-degrees treatment of the unloved by panel song; and, the answer to the unasked (heretofore) question- what act in the Martin Era had the best batting average at getting hits into the top ten?  Plus, a somewhat less dynamic Martin Ten, and maybe some leftover cake from the M10's birthday party Wednesday.  So hop on and let's Ski-doo!


The panel faced with the onslaught of the fab Four included WGH Newport News VA; WRIT Milwaukee; WNIA Buffalo; KSO Des Moines; WPVA Petersburg, VA; WJIM Lansing; KRIZ Phoenix; WJBK Detroit; WPRO Providence; WSGN Birmingham; WCOL Columbus; and our chum CHUM, Toronto.  These lads racked up 27 songs, thanks mainly to the unusual situation at WPRO- and while the Beatles had all the #1 votes, they didn't ALL make the panel four- and here's why.

WPRO, in a classic cop-out move, had a six way tie for first between six Beatles songs!  In addition to the two that split all the other 31s- and were the ones actually CHARTING at the time- they also included in their sextet:

Twist And Shout, currently at #18;
Please Please Me, which was 2 weeks away from hitting the Cashbox chart at #64;
All My Loving, which was FIVE weeks away from debuting at #80;
and Love Me Do, which was SIX weeks away from debuting at #77!

Talk about jumping the line!  WPRO actually then listed OTHER people's songs from #2 on down, so I was left with little choice but to count it as a six way tie- and thus, this panel had 16 #1 songs out of twelve stations- and I fail to see a way to break THAT record!


Our lowest charting song, at least, was not by the Beatles.  It belonged to  Canadian Shirley Matthews, whose song Big Town Boy was at #124 this week, but had a #4 vote from CHUM. It would go on to be one of canada's biggest hits of the year, selling over a million. However, the Beatles do get a honorable mention here, as CHUM also had Roll Over Beethoven at #5- and it was 4 weeks out from hitting CB at #75.


So if it were't for the Beatles, who would have been in the panel picks?  Well, Al Hirt woulda got 4th with Java (which was #5 on CB);  Leslie Gore Woulda took #3 with You Don't Own Me (3); Diane Renay would have been second with Navy Blue (14); and the top one is the only one to crack the Beatles' monopoly- and the race at 1-2 was the only close part with one Fab Four disc taking 7 #1s and 56 points, and the other 6 top dogs and 51 points! In fact, only three stations didn't have them 1-2, and those three had them 1-3!

So now, the Panel Four...

With that #1 from WPRO and 8 points (WPVA had it at #3), The Beatles with Please Please Me.

With 0 number ones  and 14 points, The Four Seasons and Dawn (Go Away), the national #4.

With 6 and 51, the national runner up, the Beatles and She Loves You.

And at number one... stay tuned!


To break up the monotony, I'd like to introduce you to the latest young lady I have fallen in audio love with.  Her name is Eleanor Friedburger, and she was once in a band with her brother called the Fiery Furnaces.  Now doing the solo thing, her new record just came past my ears, and I think it will be joining the M10 for some time.  Debuting at #9 this week:


So I decided to do a little digging through the Martin Era a few weeks back, with the question in hand being:  What act has the best percentage of landing charting hits in the top ten?  Well, there are 851 acts (more or less) that made CB's top ten during the 917 weeks of the Martin Era.  I figured that to narrow things down, I should require those I checked to have a minimum of 3 top tens by CB.  That cut us down to a MERE 185 acts.  Now you can imagine that there are some acts that have a low percentage because of their many charting hits.  For example, the Beatles only managed 24 %, the beach Boys 31.1%,  and Elvis 11.8.  Faring even worse were acts that seemingly just threw stuff out to see what stuck, or had bigger success on the R&B or C&W Charts.  Thus you see James Brown at 8.8 %, Wilson Pickett at 4.7%, and Frank Sinatra at 6.8%.  So, who had the BEST percentages?  Here we go...

10-, With 11 out of 20 for a 55% score, Herman's Hermits.

9- With a 4 of 7 for 57.1%, Chic.

8- With an 8 for 14 for that same 57.1, Donna Summer.

7- with a six-of-ten for 60% (remember, just the ME- 1962-79), Michael Jackson.

6- With 9-of-15 for a slightly better 60%, Credence Clearwater Revival.

5- With the most by number on both hits and charts (16/25) and a 64% score, Elton John.

4- With a 6 of 9 for 66.7 %, Gerry and the Pacemakers.

2- A flat footed tie at 5-7 for 71.4 %, The Buckinghams and Paul Revere and the Raiders.

And at #1- well guess WHICH Beatle took this one!  Results later.

  And now, a word from the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell...

No one rises so high as he who knows not whither he is going.

And if you saw me typing this, you'd know how appropriate it is, since I thought I was done, but then realized I had forgotten to...

  And so, a quick look at how the beatles WEREN'T dominating over there (because they had already done it and were finished...)

10- Cilla Black appears again, this time with her version of Anyone Who Had a Heart, which Dionne Warwick currently was at #18 back home with.

9-  The Merseybeats were at this spot with a non-charter here called I Think Of You.

8- Don't blame Frank Ifield that his hit, Don't Blame Me, never charted here.

7- Brenda Lee had peaked in the US of A in January with her hit As Usual.  (For the record, Brenda only batted 8.8%.)

6- The Dave Clark Five would hit #5 in the States in April with Glad All Over.

5- Manfred Mann's 5-4-3-2-1 was next.  Another non-charter here.

4- The Swingin' Blue Jeans were here with Hippy Hippy Shake, a tune the Beatles would later do as well.  The SBJ would make top 25 in the US of A in April as well.

3- The Bachelors were next with a song that wouldn't hit its American peak until mid-June- Diane.

2- Those rascals, Gerry and the Pacemakers, were at #2 with one of their songs that didn't make our top ten- in fact, didn't even make the top 80- called I'm The One.

And at the top in the UK this week?

... The Searchers with Needles And Pins, which wouldn't debut over here for a couple of weeks yet!


So this week, the highest charting song that got no panel love was the Rip Chords at #7 with Hey Little Cobra.  And this one was a story unto itself.

You see, the Rips started out as a duo made up of Ernie Bringas and Phil Stewart.  They originally called themselves The Opposites, for a very good reason- Stewart was a private dick, and Bringas was a few weeks from going to seminary in Dayton Ohio, as soon as he graduated from Cal State Long Beach.  They were discovered and introduced to the folks at Arwin Records- which were Doris Day and her hubby at the time Marty Melcher.  Their son Terry (of Beach Boy and Charles manson fame) was a producer there, and he got the duo to work with.  They were just vocalists, so the first thing that melcher did (after changing their name) was get them instrumental backing in the form of the legendary Wrecking Crew, including Hal Blaine and Glen Campbell.  Their first hit was  a tune called Here I Stand, which peaked at #51.  Thinking they were missing something, on their second single Melcher brought in buddy Bruce Johnston (of later Beach Boy and I Write The Songs fame).  Bruce helped with the layering vocals effect Melcher wanted, but the  single, Gone, only got to #88.

At that point, Bringas had to leave to start seminary- and the bishop of his church at the time ruled against him continuing his Rock'n'Roll career.  Rather than sit in limbo, Melcher himself joined in the next single, taking Bringas' lead spot- and wouldn't you know, that next song was Hey Little Cobra.

The hit status brought up a couple of interesting problems.  One, the Bishop at Bringas' denomination was replaced by one that said it was all right to record for Ernie, but a sin to tour.  So now, with Melcher and Johnston officially part of the group, the Rips were four voices- and Bringas says that was when they sounded the best.  But with a hit, you have to tour, and Melcher, Johnston, and Bringas were too busy- or forbidden- to do so.  Enter Rich Rotkin and Arnie Marcus.  These two would tour with Stewart, do the promo stuff, work the interview circuit, even play on American Bandstand- but they would NOT record.

Then the Hey Little Cobra lp had to be put together, and Bringas and Melcher pretty much evenly divided the lead vocals on this and the next lp.  Three Window Coupe, with Melcher on lead, made the top 30, but Bringas' One Piece Topless Bathing Suit (and I'd like to know how he snuck THAT one past the Bishop) barely grazed the hot 100.  Melcher and Johnston began recording on their own, with indifferent success, and the Rips broke up.  Years and years later, Rotkin and Marcus put a band together and hit the oldies circuit as the Rips- and apparently there were some things said at that point about who sang and recorded what.  Ernie came out and told the true story; and while not disparaging the guys for going out as the Rips, made sure everyone knew that the records didn't have the two on them.  I looked for these supposed pages glorifying Rotkin and Marcus unduly, but all I found was sites that named Melcher and Johnston as the Rips and giving Bringas and Stewart supporting roles, when in fact it was the other way around.  As far as I could glean, Stewart is still an investigator somewhere in LA, while Bringas is teaching Divinity at Glendale Community College, and formerly at Arizona State.

For never having been in the studio, I sure found enough pictures of Ernie and Phil with Rich and Arnie...


And now, this week's M10...

Alvvays holds at 10 with the latest, Party Police.

You heard Eleanor Friedburger at #9 with Two Versions Of Tomorrow, the week's only debut.

Santana moves up one to #8 with Anywhere You Want To Go.

Built To Spill is the second of 5 songs holding their spot this week, with Living Zoo.

Jana Kramer moves up a pair with Circles at #6.

Quiet Hollers slip back a pair to #5 with Mont Blanc.

Refusing to fall any farther, Jack Wood holds at 4 with Born To Wander.

Moving up a pair to #3 is Brian Fallon with Nobody Wins.

Holding at #2- Brooke Annibale with Remind Me.

And the number ones this week?

Survey says...

...Duh, the Beatles and I Want To Hold Your Hand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

M10 says....

...Duh again, Flo and Eddie with Keep It Warm!!!!!!!!!!

 And, who was that guy who knocked out the best average at getting songs in the top ten for the Martin Era?  Why it was none other than...

...Ringo Starr with 8 out of 12 for 75%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's it for this week, kids!  Tune in next time for the somewhat less Beatle crazy year of 1967!  Birth of my Dad's '67 Impala, start of my scholastic career, and all around good egg!


  1. Hi, Chris!

    I was there - front row seat! At 14 I was the perfect age to experience the excitement of Beatlemania and I remember the Liverpool Lads clogging the upper reaches of local and national charts with their many megahit singles.

    Just about every song in the post is a "greatest hit" on the soundtrack of my youth so I will focus on your stories and new music. Eleanor F was okay, but I doubt I'd pay for her music. (Maybe someday I will get into her Fiery Furnace.) I know it's Furnaces, plural but - too late - you already laughed and reminded Laurie that you created a monster. Scrappy just peed on the rug to express his disapproval.

    I appreciated your paragraph listing acts that frequently finished in the top 10. To me, the findings prove Shady's Law which states that chart position has absolutely nothing to do with a song's greatness or coolness. If a recording is too commercial and panders to the masses, I usually don't buy it.

    I admire the sound Melcher and Johnston created as producers and recording artists. I remember Jan & Dean's version of "One-Piece Topless Bathing Suit" and have it in my collection. Here are The Legendary Masked Surfers lip syncing their latest schlock-surf rock single on Where The Action Is:

    I look forward to time traveling to 1967 next time, good buddy! Have a Scrappy weekend!

    1. Sorry it took so long to get back to anyone. If I had a dollar for every time I told myself while in the middle of something else to "git 'er done", I could pay off the dollars I owe for each time I said, "What was it I needed to do?"

      Shady's Law might be a bit restrictive, but it certainly has a good foundation. Precious few of the M10 songs have made the hot 100, that's for sure.

      One Piece Topless Bathing Suit cracked me up. Laurie has in her collection the Ames Brothers doing The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane (friend of yours?) and I mentioned that this song let us know what kind of girl she grew up into!

  2. Al, first time I've seen that name in decades.

    1. First time I ever hurt it was in an old Avengers comic book in a wisecrack by Hawkeye.

  3. Ok now don't faint or get or weird but I was never a fan of the fab 4 aka The Beatles yeah some people are shocked when I say that. I did like some of their songs but wasn't that interested in them. Tim was always a fan of the Monkees and listen to them all the time made me like them too.

    1. I had an anti-Beatles time myself. When songs get played (or overplayed) that much, they can drive an even bigger wedge between those who like something and those that just don't care for it that much. Laurie is a huge Monkees fan, and we grew up to a couple of their albums as well.

  4. Confession: I used to listen to Donna Summer when I was a little girl. I vaguely remember my parents drinking fancy fruity drinks, like pina coladas and putting on Last Dance, then dancing around the living room with them. Good times!

    1. That's what music is about- capturing the memories.

  5. Chris:
    1964 - well that takes me back to my pre-high school days...LOL.
    --I DO recall the whole Beatlemania stations LOVED to play their tunes - they were short enough so they could do multiple songs between commercials and call-signs...heh.
    --And, my Dad was a big Al Hirt fan, so I heard JAVA whenever it came
    --Eleanor Friedberger - yeah, a keeper.
    --That list of percentages...bravo (really cool, too).
    --Jolly Olde England has some interesting "tastes" in (our) music...must be that WARM lager.
    --Very cool backstory to the Rip Chords, too. Didn't know about the seminary gig. Good to see he stuck at it, too.
    --RINGO STARR...would have NEVER guess he'd have the highest percentage..well done.

    Very good trip this week.

    Keep those hits comin' up there, brother.

    1. When I got done and saw Ringo at the top, I laughed out loud. Scrappy thought I was nuts.