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


Friday, March 31, 2017

Time Machine co-ordinates VXIV42233184

With a very unpleasing sneezing and wheezing, the Musical Tardis slams and bangs and like a calliope crashed to the ground, we land in 1984.  And it's March 31st, 1984- which means that we are one sad day away from the death of HOFer Marvin Gaye- shot by his father after stepping in between mom and pop during a fight.  Later it will be learned that Marvin Gay Sr was suffering from a brain tumor that may have contributed to the violence.

Even at 45, gone too soon.

This week, we are still stuck beyond the Martin Era, and in the Orwellian year of 1984 we'll hit the new oldest number one, the new widest margin in our POTM election, and a clash of the movies on the 6D!  So climb in and find out What's Going On, you might see How Sweet It Is, because It Takes Two to enjoy Time Machine, and Ain't That Peculiar?


So our Panel this week was a 54-strong list who nominated a surprisingly low 10 songs for the top.  And to discuss them, I give you this week's President, Gentleman Jim Reeves.

Dankie! Ons eerste liedje vandag... 

Whoa, wait!  Is that Afrikaans you're speaking?

Why yes.  I was very popular in South Africa, and did several records in their language.

In fact, I just read that.  In fact, I read where you were one of only three artists in the Republic to record on their rare 16 2/3 RPM records!

That's right.  It was myself, Elvis, and Slim Whitman...

And that sounds like the set up for a punch line.  So before we get too far afield, maybe you could do the list... in English?

Of, course.  We start our group with Phil Collins and Against All Odds, which was at #10 this week on Billboard.

The Pointer Sisters were at #8 with Automatic, the low lead vocal by Ruth Pointer.

Someone calling himself "Weird Al " Yankovic is at #9 with Eat It.  I understand it's a comedy recording.

The top song on Cashbox is Kenny Loggins with Footloose.  Is this that, "Footloose and Fancy Free" song?

Um, no...

Oh well, I guess you get out of touch with music recorded 20 years after your death...

...and so you'd better pick up the pace before someone finds out I sprung you for the afternoon...

You're quite right.  A sweet young child named Cyndi Lauper is at #3 with Girls Just ... er, Wanna Have Fun.

Lionel Richie is falling at #18 with Hello.

Van Halen steps out from their usual with a song called Jump at #4.

Wait, how do YOU know about Van Halen in.. you know..

What, you don't think we get musical acts up here?  Anyway, at #8 was the German language hit by Nena, 99 Luftballons.

A young man calling himself Rockwell is at #2 with Somebody's Watching Me.  Sounds like a gospel song.

And Willie Nelson- he's still around? - and Julio Iglesias are at #39 with To All The Girls I Loved Before.

Thanks.  Now as I have already let the cat out of the bag that somebody won BIG this week, it may seem a bit useless to give out clues, but there are actually 4 songs that stayed fairly close, until a LOOOOONG winning streak at the end of my survey put it way outta reach.  And those four were:

Van Halen
Kenny Loggins
Cyndi Lauper
and... Rockwell...


Our only debut this week comes from somebody already in the M10- the OLDEST somebody in the M10.  Because when I was looking about and found the Four Seasons' cover of Walk On By, I also found this gem off the 1964 lp Rag Doll, and it comes in at #10 this week.

And this brings up an interesting (at least to me) item- Marcie is the 198th song to hit the M10.  We might see #200 as soon as next week...


1984 was a year when the weeks a song stayed on the chart were growing longer and longer.  In fact, this week's chart had 8 songs that had passed the 20-week mark- some you might remember, others maybe not:  Shannon with Let The Music Play was at week 20, Kool and the Gang with Joanna and Deborah Allen's Baby I Lied at 21, Yes and Owner Of A Lonely Heart at 22, Madonna's Holiday at 23, Elton John at 25 weeks with I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues, the Romantics with Talking In Your Sleep at 26, and Matthew Wilder's Break My Stride at a whopping 29 weeks.


So like I said, I had to dig into our past episodes to see what kind of margins our POTMs were winning by, because this one was so big.  Of course, we have had 2 elections go into a run off, with the Jackson Five winning the closer of those.  On the other side, we have had 3 winners claim 50+% of the vote:  Elton John had a 51.8% margin;  The Monkees collected 52%;  and Rod Stewart marked up 52.3   This week's winner made those elections look close- he/she/they collected a 59-11 margin!


So we all remember the recently deceased Chuck Berry; how about his "cousin" Marvin?  Well, you know about Marvin and the Starlighters if you watched Back To The Future (which, amazingly to normal humans, I have not), because Marty McFly sang with them!  This soundtrack also featured Huey Lewis and the News on a couple of tracks, which was why he declined the simultaneous invite to do the Ghostbusters theme.  Another act allegedly asked to do this movie was Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham, but he declined because he already had one movie theme to his credit (National Lampoon's Vacation's Holiday Road) and didn't want to be typecast.  So it went to Ray Parker Jr, who came up with the familiar "Who ya gonna call"- perhaps so familiar because it had ripped off the beat from our 6D victim, Huey's I Want A New Drug (which was at #5 with no votes this week).  So Huey sued Ray- and they settled.  17 years later, after the statute of limitations on speaking ran out, Huey had a little to say about the whole thing:

"The offensive part was not so much that Ray Parker Jr. had ripped this song off, it was kind of symbolic of an industry that wants something — they wanted our wave, and they wanted to buy it. ... [I]t's not for sale. ... In the end, I suppose they were right. I suppose it was for sale, because, basically, they bought it."

And that was enough to get Ray to sue Huey.  I don't know how that one turned out ( I did find an interesting speculative article on the whole ordeal, but since Norton is giving me the gray "We don't know about this site" icon, I won't link it) but Ray ended up suing the movie company later on for not getting what he was due from the movie, either.  So either he is a sue-a-holic, or doesn't watch his back very well.

Interesting side note:  the author of that article speculates that M's Pop Musik had that bass line first, "but you don't see him going around suing everybody".  Nothing new under the sun, I guess.


Before the M10, our last bits of business:  The #84 for '84 was a tune I first heard on the old Friday Night Videos show (hands up who remembers that fondly?), the debut week of the Scorpions and Rock You Like A Hurricane.  In the UK, the top dog was Hello; and the highest song here that charted there was Somebody's Watching Me, 2 here and 26 there.


And now, the M10.

POWERS slips back to #9 with Heavy.

Work Drugs moves up 2 to #8 with Giving Up The Feeling.

Next, a pair of one-notch climbers:  Real Estate with Serve The Song at 7, and Barry Manilow with his medley at #6.

In the other direction, the Pretenders' former #1 Let's Get Lost falls one to #5.

And so does Tom Jones with I Know at #4.

Chicano Batman leaps 3 to #3 with Passed You By.

Melody's Echo Chamber ends their 2-week hold on the top spot with Crystallized.

And that brings us to the #1s.  First, the new oldest song to hit #1 on the M10-

  ...the Four Seasons, "Featuring the sound of Frankie Valli", and Walk On By!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They beat by a year the former oldest, Jack Wood's Born To Wander.

And the new biggest winner on the Panel vote...

...Kenny Loggins with Footloose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next week's destination, in honor of our possibly having the 200th M10 debut, we will be in the year of the 200th ME song in the Cashbox top ten- whatever that is!  Excuse me, I have a bit of research to do....


  1. I remember the 80's pretty well and I was right into my music then, so this week more of these songs I have heard of and liked

  2. Chris:
    Yeah, Marvin was gone from us WAY too soon.
    1984 (good Bowie song, written in 1973 and performed the following year).
    ---Jim Reeve4s popular in S. Africa? Never knew that.
    ---The songs from the panel...knew every one of them...finally!
    ---The 4 can we forget them?
    ---You mention how songs stayed on chart for longer. Be interesting to find out HOW FAR and FAST they plummeted AFTER reaching their high points.
    ---And yes, I do recall ALL those "long-timers" on the charts too. They were good songs for that era.
    ---You have NEVER seen BTTF???
    Shame on you - nothing like it on the (former) BIG screen experience at theaters.
    ---I did listen to all the songs involved in that "dust-up", and you "could" say plagiarism.
    (more like sour grapes, imho)
    Parker's song is definitely more simplistic, if you listen to the solos and rhythm (similar back beats). But Lewis didn't get the movie gig.
    BTW, Holiday Road is a GREAT song (and video).
    The movie Nat'l Lampoon's Vacation wasn't that bad either.
    ---BTW, I remember that video show. I even used to record the songs I liked (on beta)
    And believe it not, I DO have a few vinyl LPs of the Scorpions (they were a fave in the day for me). I just don't have THAT LP (earlier stuff before they went mainstream)
    ---Nice to see Valli and the boys reach the pinnacle of the M10!
    ---Had a feeling about Kenny, too.
    (that WAS a popular song on the radio - never got into the flick, but I have seen it)
    I much rather like "I'm All Right" from
    A very comfortable ride this week.

    Keep those hits comin' up there, brother.