Today is September 23rd, 1977, and today's big event was the release of Steely Dan's lp Aja. Aja was a #3 smash, and spawned three singles- Peg (#11), Deacon Blues (#19), and Josie (#26). I was telling myself that there were more than that, but then I remembered- about the same time Deacon Blues was peaking, they hit with the title track from the movie FM (No Static At All), which made #22. All of which got a helluva lot more play here than those numbers would indicate. Not as surprising for FM- our local top 40 station refused to play it, being an AM station, until they switched to FM about halfway through its run. And thankfully that happened today, because the next biggest news was Cheryl Ladd replacing Farrah Fawcett on Charlie's Angels.
|Y'know, I think I gotta side with Lee Majors here...|
Anyway, welcome to the 91st edition of the fourth volume of Time Machine! (Does this mean Chris is planning a surprise for #100? Maybe....) This week, we have three new M10 debuts- and for the first time, they are all by acts who have hit the chart before! Also, another nice tight Panel race, a special on the Bubbling Under guys, and who are the Funky Kings- and how can they be connected to the Andy Griffith Show? So sit down, pour yourself a Black Cow (virgin, of course), and let's have at it!
First, as always, the Panel intro- KHJ Los Angeles; WHYI Ft Lauderdale; CKLG Vancouver; WHB Kansas City; KYNO Fresno; WRKO Boston; KTKT Tucson; WCVS Springfield IL; WDRC Hartford; KROY Sacramento; WPGC Washington DC; and WLBZ Bangor. They combined for 26 different songs, including the low national charter, Heart's Barracuda (Which I never liked because when it came out, so did my appendix), along with one song that hadn't made the US charts yet- Dan Hill's Sometimes When We Touch. They also included a handful of #1 votes that didn't make the P4: Leith Garrett's Surfin' USA (and thank you Ft Lauderdale- it was at 42 nationally), Ronnie McDowell's Elvis tribute, The King Is Gone (KC), the Commodores and Brick House (Fresno), and one of the biggest hits that NEVER played in Ft Wayne, the Floaters and Float On (Hartford).
Now this was an era where the popular songs weren't necessarily anywhere close to my radar, and if I was picking MY four favorites, I would have Panel also-rans from ELO (Telephone Line), the Brothers Johnson (Strawberry Letter 23), Heatwave (Boogie Nights), and KC and the Sunshine Band (Keep It Coming Love) which managed a grand total of 15 Panel points- not enough to crack the top four combined! Sigh. So who DID they pick?
At #4, without a #1 and 16 points, the national #14, Shawn Cassidy's That's Rock And Roll.
At #3, with 19 points and #1 votes from Boston and Bangor, Carly Simon's Bond theme Nobody Does It Better, the national # 7.
At #2, with 22 points and the #1s from LA, Vancouver, and Tucson, the national #2, Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop.
And at #1, here and nationally, with three #1s and 27 points- another movie theme, but you'll have to wait to find out which one. But if you combine "#1 movies" and "1977", I'll wager you can make a good guess...
Debut #1 is the fourth single from the lp of the Summer, the Monkees and Good Times! This song was supposed to be Davy Jones' follow up to I Wanna Be Free, but things didn't work out... then. See what you think now.
Love To Love debuts at #10.
So, I was looking at the little scrawny 10-song Bubbling Under list this week, and I wondered if our friends at Billboard had a bigger list. Turns out, Cashbox usually had the bigger list, with no more than 35 songs on BBs (with a two song exception) ever. And as I researched, I found some very fascinating (to me) facts. The most weeks at #101 without ever cracking the hot 100? That would be Prince's protege Vanity and her band Vanity 6, which was stuck at 101 for SEVEN weeks with Nasty Girl. Also, the record for most weeks in the BU without breaking through- even with this teeny little ten song list they had- was over a year- and the top two were not only by the same band, but from the same lp- a tape I wore out twice! Pearl Jam Ten had two singles that got stuck in the BU- Alive, which hung up for 61 weeks, and the very next cut, Even Flow, which hung for 55 weeks! How, I ask, is this possible? Guarantee you these songs had no such problem in Ft Wayne...
And I have an even more amazing story on the subject, that I'm going to save for a bit. But next...
Debut at #9 is Danish songbird Agnes Obel, who returns with a tune that took me a couple plays to really get into- and a video I may NEVER understand. This is not a clip I will ever want to watch intoxicated- particularly with the character at the 2:53 mark!
BTW, that BU list this week:
98- Helen Reddy, You're My World
104- LeBlanc and Carr, Falling
106- High Inergy, You Can't Turn Me Off
107- One of my favorites from the "one hit wonders' next hit" feature I did a while back, David Soul's Silver Lady
And the bottom bubbler- 110- Burton Cummings, My Own Way To Rock.
Moving back to that story, it seems back in June of 1979, there was a three week BU called Ready N Steady, credited to "D.A.". When chart guru Joel Whitburn was researching the BU, though, he could find nothing on this one song- no notes, no song, no records, nothing. Only a record label, which he found the physical address and it was an abandoned warehouse in Detroit- and a girl group from the area called the DAs who said they never heard of it. That was in '93, and so up until this very year, Whitburn had given this up as some trick played on BB, a non-existent song that somehow made the charts for 3 weeks.
But was it? In 1986, two men copyrighted the song. And one day, a copyrighter with a musical interest found this and tracked back one of the men. His name was Jim Franks, who wrote the song with Dennis A. (D.A.) Lucchesi, who passed in 2005. Jim told the copyrighter that Dennis, a mortgage broker, used to play in a local band called DA and the Dukes (I think), and that a record promoter heard them and liked it. The song was recorded on tape- never pressed to vinyl- and somehow this promoter managed to finagle it a spot on the chart. Then, this year- an actual tape finally surfaced.
So the amazing journey of the song that didn't exist- but really did- ends after 37 years.
As I heard today that Ringo Starr has a new song coming out, I thought it might be nice to let him have today's quote. Take it away, Mr Starkey:
America: It's like Britain, only with buttons.
All right then! Shall we...
10- Deniece Williams had a hit in the UK with That's What Friends Are For (no, not that same song), which peaked at a BU 103 here.
9- Eddie and the Hot Rods, going by the slimmed-down name of The Rods, were here with Do Anything You Wanna Do. Not a US charter.
8- The Emotions were at #21 this week in the States with their former #1 Best Of My Love.
7- Our Panel's #3, Nobody Does It Better.
6- The cringe worthy novelty song by Meri Wilson, Telephone Man. Another tune you'd never see on MY chart, it was 30 CB/18 BB in late August. Thankfully my only real exposure to it was the Ronco novelty lp that was advertised incessantly that summer.
5- Donna Summer makes a habit of making our British list with songs she never released here. This time it is from the movie The Deep, called Down Deep Inside.
4- We had two songs on the UK chart this week that were pioneering electronic instrumentals. The first is by a dude named Jean-Michel Jarre, and his tune from the lp Oxygene is Oxygene Part IV.
3- My aforementioned fave Silver Lady by David Soul which as I said was 107 this week.
2- The other electro-instrumental, which was listed under the genre of "Space-Disco", belongs to a band called Space, and their record was called Magic Fly.
And tops of the pops- as well as #26 on the US charts?
... the King with Way Down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Got time for one more debut? The Explorers Club is back...
And they come in at #7....
If you recall, a time or two before we've mentioned that the Darling Family on the Andy Griffith Show were actually the famous bluegrass act the Dillards. After his days with the family band, banjoist Doug Dillard joined Byrds' founder Gene Clark on a couple of lps as Dillard and Clark. Their most popular song was called Train Leaves Here This Morning, which was also recorded on the Eagles' first lp. It was one of three songs written by non-members on the self-titled lp; and everyone by now knows Jackson Browne's Take It Easy was another. But the third non-Eagle credit on that lp belonged to one Jack Tempchin, on Peaceful Easy Feeling. Jack belonged to a band called the Funky Kings, who took a song called Slow Dancing into the top 20 Easy Listening. But with a slight title change, it became our 6D victim this week at #10 for Johnny Rivers- Swayin' To The Music.
And the rest of the M10:
The Explorer's Club debuted up at 7 and not at 8 because their previous #1, California's Callin' Ya, moved back up a notch to 8 in week # 9.
Which brings us to #6 which is Dinosaur Jr skating down a pair to # 6 with Tiny.
Shakes cuts the sandwich at least in half (remember last week?), moving from 10 to 5 with Tranquilize.
Judy becomes Castlecomer's biggest hit on the M10, moving into the #4 slot.
Keane slips a spot to #3 with Somewhere Only We Know.
Dent May also improves his best chart position, as he moves into the runner up slot with Face Down In The Gutter Of Your Love.
And the #1s?
M10 says... as it has for three weeks now...
Shakes with Strange Tides!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And the top of the Panel...
....Meco with Star Wars/Cantina Band!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
FWIW, John Williams' orchestral version of the theme was #3 in Bangor... That sounds like the beginning of a good running joke, lol!
Next week, 1969! Be there!