Today we escape the cold to go to December 16, 1962- an escape that was still pretty cold for one John Paul Scott. An inmate of Alcatraz, he became the first to escape and actually be confirmed making it to the mainland (three others had escaped and disappeared in the summer but were listed as "probably drowned"), having washed ashore near the Golden Gate and being discovered unconscious on the shore by 4 teenagers. The convicted bank robber from Kentucky was sent right back to Alcatraz after recovering from hypothermia and exhaustion.
Like to see him try that yesterday as I type, as my car sits immobile outside, it's old battery saying "nein" to the below zero temps here in the frozen tundra of Fort Wayne. Anyway, we have a VERY special TM today, with a feature on the Christmas songs of this week in '62- including the "unknown" feature; the first 10 out of the year-ending M50; George Harrison kicking off our 6D; and an M10 just as frozen as my car! Climb in, flick on the heated seats, and let's dive in!
As we have a frozen M10, let me get to that first. One through 7, as well as #9, stayed in place- with Strange Boy at the top, followed by I Follow You, Mary, Strange Feeling, This Strange Effect, Come And Go, and Fighting For Love. NRBQ's Over Your Head leapfrogs The Japanese House and Leon into #8, and debuting at ten is a young man with a very long name- Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster:
Hello, this is President Gibb, opening the song election process for this week. We had 35 stations give us a formidable 19 candidates to succeed my brothers and I. Mr. Martin, would you be so kind...
Certainly, Mr Gibb. The list is as follows:
The Four Seasons and Big Girls Don't Cry, Cashbox's #5 nationally;
The Excellents with Coney Island Baby, #84;
Dionne Warwick with Don't Make Me Over, #69;
Ned Miller's From A Jack To A King, #92;
Steve Lawrence's Go Away Little Girl, #13;
Helen Shapiro with I Don't Care, which was the b-side of the current UK #8, Little Miss Lonely;
Chubby Checker and Limbo Rock, the national runner up;
Frank Ifield's Lovesick Blues, #116;
Lou Monte's Pepino The Italian Mouse, #31;
Dick Dale and the Dell Tones with Peppermint Man, #122;
Elvis Presley and Return To Sender, the current #1;
Esther Phillips and Release Me, #8;
The Cascades' Rhythm Of The Rain, which wouldn't even chart nationally until next March, thanks to KXFM San Bernardino for jumping the gun;
The Beach Boys and Surfin' Safari, #64;
The Tornadoes and Telstar, #4;
The First Family lp, which was a comedy album by Vaughn Meade on the Kennedys, #1 on the album chart but charting on Seattle stations KOL and KJR;
The Night Has 1,000 Eyes by Bobby Vee, # 43;
Les Cooper's instrumental Wiggle Wobble, #22;
ANNNND Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans with Zip A Dee Doo Dah, #18. WHEW!
Just to help you out, there were only four with multiple votes, so you can disregard everybody but Elvis, Vaughn Moore, Bob B Soxx, and the Tornadoes in picking your choice. But if you're like me, I doubt you needed that help!
Christmas was big on the pop charts back then, and there were 8 Christmas songs on the Hot 100 that week! I thought it might be fun to check them out- especially considering the highest charter of the eight I didn't really know, so it gets to be our unknown feature as well! From the bottom, then;
There were TWO songs listed at #100 that week, and both are on our list. One of them was Brenda Lee's Rocking Around The Christmas Tree. Like most of these, it came out first in 1958, and hit its high-water mark at #14 in 1960. This time around, it would peak the week of January 5th (which all but our #1 did) at #89.
The other at #100 was David Seville and The Chipmunk Song. The fourth time charting for this tune, it hit high water at #1 in the initial 1958 release. This time it would peak at #84.
Bing Crosby's White Christmas was next at #97. I counted 13 times it charted since its release in 1942, including #1s in '42, '45, and '46. This time it would settle at #90.
Bobby Helms and Jingle Bell Rock was #96 this week. The high water for JBR was #11 in '58, and would pak this year at #59.
The Harry Simeone Chorale and The Little Drummer Boy was at #82 this week. One of four that made the top forty this year, it peaked this time at #38, after hitting a high of #10 back in '58.
Ray Stevens was a newbie this year with Santa Claus Is Watching You at #78 this week. It would climb to a high of #37.
The runner up was the Four Seasons' Santa Claus Is Coming To Town at #77. Another first timer, it would stop at #28.
And the top Christmas song of this year was at #55 this week, would climb up to #29, and was the only one to last a fourth week before dropping out. And it belongs to Bobby Boris Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers:
The UK gets an abbreviated treatment, as the #1 song in the UK is the #1 song in the USA- The King and Return To Sender. HOWEVER, I have a question for Al Penwasser, if he's paying attention- is the Ken Lynch you know so intimately any relation to the Kenny Lynch who sits at UK #8 with a cover of Up On The Roof?
And now, we come to the M50. Yes, the M50 has been picked for 2016- and "not necessarily going by the points" means that only the top THREE are safe in their spots! I'm going to put the first ten, 50-41 in here, put 40-31 in next week, and share the top thirty in posts throughout the last week of the year. So here you go with 50-41:
50- The Noise, Castlecomer: Earworms of mine are getting featured billing, and the first Video by the boys from Australia definitely qualified. With 14 points, they would have came in back at #65 on a straight points chart, but I couldn't think of a more appropriate lead into MY charts... You can listen here.
49- Tiny, Dinosaur Jr: Come on, how could you resist a skateboarding english bulldog? This actually comes close to the point list, at 47th. Listen here.
48- Feeling OK, Best Coast: I almost had a shot at seeing Bethany and co. in town this year- but a huge price for a list of acts that I only really knew one of, no thanks. Definitely an earworm pick, but would have been just outside in points at #51. Watch Bethany here.
47- Surrender The Throne, Krewella: A big summer earworm, and besides, Jahan Yousaf is in the Beauty Contest finals! It would have pointed out to #61. One of 4 songs that wouldn't have pointed into the top 50- including the song way up at #7! Yep, right here.
46- Next Of Kin, Alvvays: The two biggest new bands of 2015 for me were Alvvays and Beach House- and both of them make the 2016 list! Points put this gem at #43. Check out Molly and friends here.
45- Trip Switch, Nothing But Thieves: One of a handful of my truly memorable videos, where were you when the lights go down? This song was getting overplay on the local excuse for an alternative station, which really damaged what might have been a #1 run. Points had it one back at #46. Go here if you dare...
44- Mont Blanc, Quiet Holler: This apocalyptic thriller was actually one spot different in the point race as well at #45. Always gave me shivers when he talked about buying his family time to run if it came down to it. This way to the end of days...
43- Pulling Teeth, Lucius: I was not very nice to these ladies on the chart. Despite hitting #1, and pointing into the #27 spot, they end up here. Bet I won't be on their Christmas Card list.... But you can still listen to them, they're not mad at you...
42- Nobody Wins, Brian Fallon: On the other hand, this tune I tried and tried to jam in higher. And since it pointed at #31, I prolly shoulda succeeded. All I can say is, I did four revisions of this list- two of them last night. It was not easy, but I am happy. This was the first time I got an actual video to this- it'll break your heart...
41- First Date, Plume Of Feathers: I have to list this one in the "wish there had been something just as good on the rest of the lp" category. A lot of it was talking about their theme- the vanishing neighborhood pub. It pointed out at #38. Listen here.
In between the big hits for George Harrison, Got My Mind Set On You (1987) and All Those Years Ago (1981), there was only an lp, Gone Troppo. No top 40s on this, basically a "fill out the contract so I can retire" effort from George. On this lp, there was a singer/mandolin player named Joe Brown. Joe was a friend of George's- George was best man at his second marriage- and a much bigger name in the UK, where he had several hits. He also was lead in a 1963 movie called What A Crazy World. It featured other singers, notably Freddie and the Dreamers, and his co-star, one Susan Maughan. You don't know Susan likely, but her biggest hit, which peaked at #3 this week and spent 19 weeks on the UK, was the SAME song that spent 19 weeks on the chart and peaked at #3 this week- for Marcie Blaine- the tune Bobby's Girl, which is the highest charter without Panel love this week.
|Marcie was 18 at the time- ol' lady Susan was 24.|
...the Tornadoes and Telstar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Next week, I'm not making any promises about whether I'm following the schedule, but we MIGHT be going Route '66.....