Follow by Email

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


Friday, April 8, 2016

Time Machine week 67

Ladies and gentlemen.... Merle Haggard...

This song was at #6 on this week's Billboard Country chart (this week being that of April 8th, 1968), and would become the second of his 3 number ones of the year- and the fourth of 38 all time country #1s- in just two weeks.  We lost Merle, too this week... and music will never be the same.  Those who know country well know that the top of the country mountain has a plaque reading, "Haggard and Jones."  Now, that plaque truly is a gravestone.

And just to break up the solemnity a bit, I found it ironic that his co-writer on this song was his then-wife... BONNIE Owens.


As you may have noticed, we start off playing a little differently this week, and it will continue as the UK top ten and the six degrees are going to take a week off that we may present (without running so long you fall asleep) two very special specials.  Well, sorta special, anyway.  So let's get right to it.

And we have faith in the Panel this week, who are:  WABC New York; KUOI Moscow (no, Moscow Idaho); WRIT Milwaukee; WHBQ Memphis; WUBE Cincinnati; KMEN San Bernie; KQV Pittsburgh; CHUM Toronto; WFIL Philly; KISN Vancouver, WA; WARM Wilkes-Barre; and special guest star, from my home town, WLYV Fort Wayne!!!!!  In fact, we'll be touching a little more on that FTW chart in just a bit.  For now, this panel came up with a mere 20 songs- a low total for a '60s era week- including number one votes for Paul Mauriat's Love Is Blue (New York) and the Troggs' Love Is All Around (San Bernie).  Since we aren't doing a six degrees this week, I will mention now that the highest charter without a Panel vote was Petula Clark's Kiss Me Goodbye, which was #12 on Cashbox.  And the lowest charter is one of my all time favorites, but a slow climber.  So far, it had taken 4 weeks to get from 99 to this week's 93- and then it would scuffle along another 5 weeks before it got to #41.  Then it would leap into the top 20 in one bound, and peak in the top ten - the song?

Glenys Lynne and Four Jacks and a Jill with Master Jack!

And the Panel picks?  Envelope, pl... oh, right, just flip the notebook over.

With 18 points and the #1 of  Moscow, the Monkees and Valleri, the national top dog!

With 22 points and the top spots from W-B and Toronto, the Beatles with Lady Madonna, the national runner-up.

With 26 points and #1s from Philadelphia and Memphis, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap with Young Girl, the national #3.

And on top, with 5 #1s and 38 points, the national # 9 with a bullet... stay tuned.


I very rarely get a chance to see a Fort wayne chart from the past, so I did some digging on how the WLYV chart compared.  They had 45 songs and one "hit bound" (that really wasn't).  14 of the Panel's 20 were on the list (not on the FTW list were national #14 Simon Says by 1910 Fruitgum Co., #8 Dock Of The Bay by Otis Redding, #11 La La Means I Love You by the Stylistics, #15 Sly and the Family Stone's Dance To The Music, #5 Aretha Franklin's Since You Been Gone, and Master Jack which was an early aberration by Cincinnati.  Looks like FTW wasn't a big soul town- we listened to CKLW and got plenty of R&B.).

Interesting as well were what Ft Wayne had that the national chart didn't.  From the bottom up of those...

The "Hit Bound" tune was a group called Grapefruit with a bouncy little tune called Elevator.  This was a band led by on Alexander Young, the eldest at 30 of a musical family that included 23-y-o George who was with the Easybeats, and 15 y-o Malcolm and 13 y-o Angus who would one day form AC/DC.

The Beach Boys were at #45 with Friends, which would finally crack the CB charts in a couple of weeks.

At #40 was Edwin Starr, who had hit once already with Agent Double-0 Soul in '65, but would miss the charts with I Am The Man For You Baby.

At #35 was a band from Jersey calling themselves the Swampseeds, with a tune they hated called Can I Carry Your Balloon.  As drummer Tommy Brannick commented on YouTube, the band was another act forced to do a bubble-pop song for a single if they wanted the chance to record their own music.  Can I Carry would peak at 100 3 weeks later.

At #25 was the first national release for the band Spiral Starecase, who would hit big in a few years with More Today Than Yesterday.  This song, Baby What I Mean, didn't have such luck, never making the national lists.

The final two were surprising because they were FTWs #s 7 and 8!  8 is the bigger surprise.  The band was called Mouse and the Traps (by this point, anyway), and they hailed from Tyler Texas.  Wiki says they had a pair of regional hits, neither of them making it higher nationally than #121.  So how do we explain that a song that was NEITHER ONE of those regional hits- a song called L.O.V.E.- hit a chart in Fort Wayne?  I don't know, but they loved it on WLYV.

7 at least was from an Ohio outfit called the Jamie Lyons Group.  Now Jamie was the lead singer of Music Explosion (Little Bit O' Soul), and this was a side solo project.  The song was instantly familiar to me, and may be to you as well.  It was called Good Time Tonight- and INXS with Jimmy Barnes would take it into the top ten of the MSR chart in 1987.

But how did the top of their chart do?  #4 was the top dog in W-B, Love Is All Around.  Their 2-3 were flipped from the Panel's, and they were one of the 5 votes at #1 for this week's winner.


Our other special this week was in response to a question from our audience.  Yeah, don't go back-posting now looking for it, it was Laurie.  Last week when Mony Mony got mentioned in the six degrees, she may have said something on the lines of , "How many people have recorded that?"

Well, I found 72 acts.  They ranged from the well known (Status Quo, McCartney and Wings, Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Beach Boys, Troy Shondell) to the absolutely ludicrous ( the Singing Machine Company, Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, International Yo-Yo Orchestra, In The Buff, Slow Slushy Boys, the Dizzy Man's Band).  However, just five acts actually charted somewhere in the English speaking world.  Besides Tommy James and the Shondells and Billy Idol (who actually had 3 appearances with the tune:  first on the dance chart in 1981, then twice in the UK in 1987, only getting to 91 the first time, but #7 the second), the list includes:

The Vinyl Virgins, who made the Dance charts at #50 in 1981;
Amazulu, who peaked at #38 in the UK in 1987;
and the ever-present Status Quo, who peaked at 48 on the UK charts in 2000.


Annnnd now, the M10!

Here's a newbie from Chi-town, Mr. Cullen Omori, debuting at #10...

And a debut also at #9...  and it's by someone I NEVER thought would ever make the M10, because I really don't care for the gentleman.  But this week Arlee Bird, participating in the twice monthly Battle Of The bands, had two versions of a Leonard Cohen song duking out.  The first version was Jennifer Warnes, who I dearly love... but the second blew me away, both for the power in the vocal, and for the fact it is the first time I ever liked a Joe Cocker song.  He covered it on the 1999 lp No Ordinary World...

As Arlee points out, the "Official video" notice is BS as the song was written well before 9/11, but the effect is still cool.

At number eight is a sad story, but when you release a cool song on the media so everyone can enjoy, and then the record company celebrates the release of the lp by pulling it from ALL media sources so you'll buy it, and PROMISES to "put it back out there later", that is a big FAIL in my eyes.  Were I the Joy Formidable, I might have told them to reconsider.  But as I am not, and "soon" has now been 2 1/2 weeks since its removal, I had no choice but to start dropping Liana... and this week, it pauses at 8 on the way out.  Too bad... I had the intent of slowly listening a track at a time with the thought of buying it.  But Homey don't play the bait-and-switch game, guys.

Eleanor Friedberger spends her 8th week in the M10 down 2 at #7 with Two Versions Of Tomorrow.

Lucius is in the countdown twice again this week.  Their cover of We Five's You Were On My Mind moves up 3 to #6.

Also moving up three, to #5, is Lukas Graham with Drunk In The Morning.

And slamming on the brakes after a 2 notch fall last week, spinning the tires and moving back UP those two notches, is Nada Surf with Believe You're Mine.

Lucius, part two:  Madness it is, but it slips a pair to #3.

Nada Surf, part two:  Cold To See Clear streaks up another two spots to #2.

And the #1s?

M10 says...

.... the Jayhawks with Quiet Corners And Empty Spaces, giving us 4 straight new #1s!!!!!!!!

And the Panel says...

...the OTHER Bobby G, Bobby Goldsboro and Honey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Next week, we move up 2 notches to 1970!


  1. Hi, Chris!

    Yessir, the death of Merle Haggard is another blow - another huge loss to music. Another important voice of generations has fallen silent. It has been decades since I listened to "Master Jack." I went to YouTube, played it and enjoyed it. Please enter Glenys Lynne in your next Beauty Contest.

    The music of spring 1968, the soundtrack of my freshman year at PSU (Paterno State University) was wall-to-wall great, with records like "Valleri," "Lady Madonna" and "Young Girl" as examples.

    The new directions in pop music during this period are exemplified by three songs I noticed in this post. "La La Means I Love You" by the Delfonics is an early example of TSOP, The Sound of Philadelphia - the cool, slickly produced, lushly orchestrated style of soul music that would explode in popularity in the 70s. Sly Stone's "Dance To the Music" is an example of the developing Funk movement that would compete against (or complement) TSOP recordings in the marketplace. "Simon Says" is an example of the emerging nursery rhyme pop category that kept the chart littered with sugar sweet teenybopper ditties in the late 60s. (Me no likey.)

    I like your list of songs on the Ft. Wayne chart. Edwin Starr's "I Am The Man For You Baby" was a biggie at the Shady Dell and is featured in my series "Shady Dell - the College Years." I never heard of "Baby What I Mean" but "More Today Than Yesterday" was one of Mrs. Shady #1's favorite songs.

    "Mony Mony" is my least favorite Tommy James number and I didn't like the version by Billy Idol much more. I just don't like the song, period.

    I enjoyed the Cullen Omori recording! It sounded like something... (am I allowed to say his name?) ...something John Lennon might have recorded solo during the 70s. (From now on I will substitute the words "Corned Beef & Cabbage" whenever I need to mention Lennon.) I don't like this uptempo Joe Cocker recording nearly as much as his typically raw, raspy, earthy, shouting numbers, and I especially didn't like the visuals married to the song by that YouTuber.

    The syrupy tear-jerker "Honey" is arguably the worst record of 1968. I do not like songs that pander to the masses with maudlin sentimentality. (See also "Tell Laura I Love Her" and "Laurie (Strange Things Happen in This World.") Does your Laurie know that one? My favorite record by Bobby G came three years earlier in the form of the danceable, "Pretty Woman"-inspired "Little Things."

    Thanks, Chris, and have a Scrappy weekend!

    1. Glenys has her spot... that's why I went to the trouble of finding her name. That was one of a handful of my sister's 45's that really hit me when I was little. Some of the others were the Vogues' Magic Town and Max Frost and the Troopers, of course.

      If you had trouble with Simon Says and their ilk, DO NOT search the Swampseeds Can I Carry Your Balloon. It, following your analogy, would be like putting your finger in powdered sugar, lifting it to your mouth, and finding out it was flour.

      Speaking of crappy, our local station does a "reconstituted oldies" segment where they play a big hit and then an obscure cover. Today they did Tears For Fears' Head Over Heels by Katy Perry- this was the most hideous cover I ever heard on the radio. The word that came to mind was "ghastly" and I never use that word in normal conversation.

      However, you can always sign me up for TSOP, right down to the stretch of Hall and Oates' Abandoned Luncheonette.

      Yeah, was never a Mony Mony or a Hanky Panky guy, Give me Crystal Blue Persuasion and Mirage, Getting Together, or Crimson and Clover!

      Y'know, I hadn't noticed, but Two Kinds DOES sound a bit like Number Nine Dream! Never really minded ol' CB&C, music, outside of a couple well-known tunes, just his attitude on life.

      On Cocker: You then like the very songs I despise. I guess a trip with Delaney and Bonnie and friends isn't in our future...

      We had a deal with Laurie (STH), but it was a long time ago. I THINK it involved seeing if there were any hits using her name, and discovering that.

      Looking at the Cashbox list of the top songs of '68, I saw two that I would rather hear Honey than: the totally annoying Judy In Disguise, and Human Beinz Nobody But Me. Of course there are a couple of Aretha tunes in there that I don't exactly know, so there is the potential for more...

      Anyway, next is 1970 so I know you're gonna be hoping I find SOME hope out there. I do have a new M10 song I really like coming up, so there is that...

  2. Never was a huge Merle Haggard fan.
    But, this was a pretty good clip.
    If nothing else, he'd beat the snot out of Kanye.

    1. And prolly wouldn't accept money for doing it!

  3. What can I say other then I was here and not a fan

  4. Thanks for highlighting Merle. So sad. I didn't even know that he lived in Redding - not far from me.

    Have a nice weekend, friend.

    1. Even if most of Merle's stuff never hit my ears, you know a legend.

  5. Chris:
    Yes, another great bites the dust and rides off into the sunset.
    Always like Merle...good solid artist.
    Mom would put on her "hillbilly music" (as Dad called it), but if you snuck a glance at him while he was reading, his toe was tapping, too.
    Good tribute. Great memes!
    ---Nice find w/ that AC/DC connection, too.
    (never head of "Grapefruit", but like the juice a lot)
    ---SEVENTY TWO acts of MONY MONY???
    (that's a lot of acts)
    ---Why does Cullen Omori remind of a sixties band? Not half bad.
    ---I think you found the ONLY Joe Cocker song I like, too.
    ---Shame about that song taken off-media...not awesome.
    ---The "other" Bobby G....ROFL!
    (great song, even if we never did look alike)

    Very good ride this week.

    Keep on rockin' up there, brother.

    1. The Omori thing was a more surprising catch of the Lennon sound-alike. I tend to have a lot of songs "in the bullpen" that favor late sixties psych.

      Nice to see I'm not alone on Joe, too.

      Waddya mean don't look like him? I thought you were a teen idol, too!

  6. LOL - neither that nor the type of idol that Indiana Jones would ever look for.
    Yeah, that's me.

  7. Those memes are EPIC!! I was HUGE fan of Merle and so happy I found my concert tshirt yesterday. I hate that he's gone but I have to believe he and my Dad are having some serious jam sessions.

    1. Wait'll Willie gets up there with 'em...