Today, we journey to January 13th, 1975, and our location is Kugaaruk in Canada....
Anyway, we have a LOT of stuff coming up on this week's journey, so instead of giving you the standard teaser, I'm going to name five bands: the Zots; the Golden Boys All-Guitar Band; and the Upfronts. These bands all have two things in common- you never prolly heard of 'em, and they are the FIRST bands for three special gentlemen. One is our 6D victim; one is his inspiration; and one is the man who wrote the song that connected them! And I'll give you one more item... one of them is Elvis! Stay tuned for the solution to this poser on the 6D later. Right now, on with the show!
First off, we're going to hit part of our Presidential Panel, our unknown song, and an M10 debut in one shot! The song in question was #1 on an Australian chart that happened to be among our 27 panelists. Further, this song was released nowhere BUT Australia! It was off the 1974 second lp by a band you are all familiar with (if you're my age or like oldies)... Sweet! It's a cover of Joey Dee and the Starlighters' #1 from 1961, the Peppermint Twist. And I liked it so much, I debuted it this week at #8! Originally from the lp Sweet Fanny Adams...
So now you know one of the songs that got a vote (and you already know it only got the ONE vote, so don't make it your Presidential pick!), so let's give out the rest of this week's candidates:
George McCrae with I Can't Leave You Alone- a decent enough tune that only made it to #50 the year before here, but gets in because it was #1 in Lorenzo Marquez! (Yep, don't wanna vote for this one, either!)
Carl Douglas with Kung Fu Fighting, this week's Cashbox #10;
Neil Sedaka's Laughter In The Rain, the CB #5;
Elton John with Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, which was #3 this week;
Barry Manilow with Mandy, the national #2;
The aforementioned Peppermint Twist;
and the Carpenters with Please Mr Postman, the national #4!
One of the parts of the new set-up I keep forgetting is the "year in" song, and we're at #75 on the Cashbox chart in 1975. The song here was called Costafine Town, by a duo calling themselves Splinter, and they were the first act signed to George Harrison's Dark Horse label. Thus it was not surprising that they had some all-star help on the tune. George played bass, and two members of Spooky Tooth, the soon to be famous Gary Wright and drummer Mike Kellie, were also on the record. Now, I had a little problem here because while I knew Spooky Tooth was Wright's old band, I tried to confuse it with Stealer's Wheel, which was Gerry Rafferty's old band (Stuck In The Middle With You). I kinda redeem myself when I learned that guitarist Luke Grosvenor not only played in both Spooky Tooth and Stealer's Wheel, but also Mott The Hoople! Which of course is neither here nor there. Anyway, here's a peek at the tune, which struggled here but was top ten in South Africa and Australia:
Next, a few words from English symphonic composer Ralph Vaughan Williams on the afterlife and music:
But in the next world I shan't be doing music, with all the striving and disappointments. I shall be being it.
I like that! Our UK chart peek today shows us that Christmas music is still dominating the UK charts with no less than 5 holiday tunes in their top 40, including at #1- Mud, a band a lot like Sweet in style, with Lonely This Christmas. The highest US song over there was our #3, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds at their #17, while their highest on our charts was Gloria Gaynor's Never Can Say Goodbye, which was #6 there and #12 here. And before I slip out of UK mode, I HAVE to bring up another song I saw. It was, in fact, the last hit song for Rod Stewart and the Faces, and simply has to be my all-time winner for longest title of any actually good song. The Title? You Can Make Me Dance, Sing, Do Anything (Even Take The Dog For A Walk, Mend A Fuse, Fold Away The Ironing Board, Or Any Other Domestic Shortcoming). And it was at their #14.
|Geez, he couldn't just say, "I'm Your Handyman"? Say, there's an idea...|
Our other M10 debut carries a story with it that's like the one I did a few years back on all the musical acts that connected to Buffalo Springfield, only shorter. I mentioned Leon Michels of the El Michels Affair before, how he was a wheel with Big Crown Records, and the EMA were a mainly instrumental act. What I didn't know before was he was a founder on two other bands- one of them the 2016 deceased Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and the other is Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys' side project the Arcs. The Arcs had charted on the M10 back at the end of September 2015 with Flower In Your Pocket- and like the rest of their debut lp (most of it, anyway) , Yours Dreamily, Leon Michels co-wrote it with Auerbach. Another co-writer on that song in particular was one Richard Swift, the Arc's drummer as well as touring with the Black Keys and producing several acts that got stuck in the waiting list of the M10 recently- including Damian Jurado who had a Moody Blues sounding tune that just missed fighting its way into the count, and the Shins, who are there even now. He is also the producer for a more famous new band, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, whose SOB hit #3 on both rock and alternative last year.
All of which distracted me from the point, which was that I checked out some songs off of EMA's two 2016 lps, and one of them debuts at #9.
And now, our co-Presidents this week, Elvis Presley and Paul Anka.
P: Elvis, Chris really had to do some digging to get to this story, and he found what he was looking for on a blog page by Hank Zevallos, who did a lot more digging than that!
E: Yeah? An' what did they find?
P: Well, among other things, they found the name of your first band...
E: Aw, why'd they wanna go and do that?
P: It got started when the found out the name of Mac Davis' first band. They were called the Zots. And Chris thought it would be a neat tie in on his Six degrees story.
E: So wait. Mac an' me got the 6D song?
P: No, but the song that he wrote and you sang- In The Ghetto- was also recorded by a guy calling himself Gene West. And his first band- under his real name- was the Upfronts.
E: Can't say I know Gene West- or the Upfronts.
P: Not surprising, Elvis. But "Gene" knew you. You know the type- lots of talent, liked to get into trouble- ended up in jail. Then he heard one of your songs, and decided he'd be better served dedicating himself to music. He became an A&R man at first, sometimes doing recordings as a background singer, like he did with the Upfronts. But eventually he stepped out from the shadows himself, and this week he does what nobody else has ever done-
E: He kicked the crap outta Johnny Burnette? 'Cause I know I'd have liked to...
P: No, he has the first 6D victim that was a #1 song the week it got no Panel love! You see, Gene West is really...
...Barry White, and a song that was originally a country song, You're My First, My Last, My Everything, is both #1 on CB this week AND the 6D victim! And now, there's just one more thing to mention-
E: Aw, man, don' do it...
P: I've got to. That first band of yours, when you were kids with the Burnettes in the Lauderdale Courts complex in Memphis- the Golden Boys All-Guitar Band.
E: That's burnt, Paul. Just burnt.
Thanks guys! And before we hit the rest of the M10- which has an new record of its own to brag about- here's your clue to the contenders for next weeks Presidency. If you picked George McCrae, Sweet (even though I told you not to!) Manilow, Sedaka, or the Carpenters, you are not in the top two.
And now, the remaining M10:
Ducktails and Surreal Exposure slip back down from 7 to 10.
Ruby by Charly Bliss swaps places, going from 10 to 7.
Melody's Echo Chamber relinquishes the top spot after a three-week stay, falling to 6 with I Follow You.
Puddle of Mudd's Gimme Shelter and Black Joe Lewis' PTP remain stuck at 5 and 4, respectively.
The Hidden Cameras jolt up into the #3 slot, a 3-notch climb for Day I Left Home.
Radiation City moves up a notch to #2 with Zombies.
And that means that the #1 song does what one other song ever did- returns to #1; does what no one has ever done, returning to #1 after a 3-week absence; does what only 3 other songs have done in claiming a fourth week at the top, and moves into a tie for 4th on the all time points list! and that song:
...the Shacks and Strange Boy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And next week's President, with a victory margin of a whopping 51.8% to 18.5% over Carl Douglas...
...Elton John with Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wow, this was a workout! Tune in next time when we head for peaceful 1969!