The Center Of My Universe

One of the least-used reference books on my shelf these days is Billboard Top 10 Album Charts, which covers the years 1963 to 1998. There are times when having the Top 10 week-by-week from those years can be handy, but what would be even more handy would be to have the entire album chart from every week. At one forum or another some years ago, I lucked into finding the weekly pop singles charts from 1954 into 2004, and it’s a find that’s been a great tool for use here and a great toy for my leisure time.

But, as limited as the book is, it has its uses, and this morning, I glanced at the Top 10 albums from this week in 1965, fifty years ago:

Mary Poppins soundtrack (Sherman & Sherman)
My Name Is Barbra by Barbra Streisand
The Sound Of Music soundtrack (Rodgers & Hammerstein)
The Beach Boys Today!
Dear Heart by Andy Williams
Introducing Herman’s Hermits
Goldfinger soundtrack (John Barry)
Girl Happy soundtrack by Elvis Presley
Bringing It All Back Home by Bob Dylan
My Fair Lady soundtrack (Lerner & Lowe)

Two of those albums were at home at Kilian Boulevard during that summer week fifty years ago: The Mary Poppins and Goldfinger soundtracks. In the fifty years since, only two of the other eight have found a home in my collection: The Texas Gal brought along the soundtrack to The Sound Of Music when we merged households in 2001, and I got Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home as a gift during June of 1987.

Beyond that, I have about half of the tracks from the Beach Boys’ album on some vinyl compilations and a few of them on the digital shelves, and I have a couple of tracks from the Herman’s Hermits album on the digital shelves and one of them on a fifty-year old 45. I do have four versions of “Dear Heart,” the title tune from the Andy Williams album, but not Williams’ version (and that absence surprises me as Williams’ version was a favorite of a college ladyfriend).

So, and this is not surprising to me at all, the popular records of the summer of 1965 have drawn only a little attention from me over the years. Let’s move ahead five years and see what happened. Here are the Top 10 albums from June 20, 1970:

Let It Be by the Beatles
McCartney by Paul McCartney
Woodstock soundtrack
Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Greatest Hits by the 5th Dimension
Live At Leeds by the Who
Chicago II by Chicago
Band Of Gypsys by Jimi Hendrix
Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel
American Woman by the Guess Who

At the time, three of those LPs were in the house on Kilian: Let It Be, Chicago II, and Bridge Over Troubled Water (though that latter album was my sister’s, and I would take some years to replace it after she took it with her into her adult life). Déjà Vu would show up in a couple of months. Four of the other six would eventually reach my shelves as well: McCartney, Woodstock, Live At Leeds, and Band Of Gypsys. I found a different 5th Dimension anthology and never bothered with the Guess Who album (though I have a digital copy of it now).

Let’s do one more jump and look ahead to the beginning of summer of 1975 and the Top 10 albums in Billboard:

Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy by Elton John
Venus & Mars by Wings
That’s The Way Of The World by Earth, Wind & Fire
Tommy soundtrack
Welcome To My Nightmare by Alice Cooper
Stampede by the Doobie Brothers
Four Wheel Drive by Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Chicago VIII by Chicago
Spirit of America by the Beach Boys
Hearts by America

I owned none of those at the time, and only five of them ever made it to the vinyl stacks: the albums by Elton John, Wings, America and Earth, Wind & Fire and the Beach Boys’ anthology. The Texas Gal brought along the Doobie Brothers’ album on CD when she came to Minnesota. The only one of those albums that I’d consider essential listening, however, would be That’s The Way Of The World (I anticipate and welcome differing opinions from readers), and it and Stampede are the only two albums from those ten that show up in toto on the digital shelves.

So we’ve found another way to document my sweet spot, as if I needed another reminder that my musical universe is centered in 1970. I’m not sure that all this says anything else, except that I went from being eleven to sixteen to twenty-one during those ten years. It might also say that I had good taste pretty much all along the way (though I am sure there are those who will debate that).

Anyway, here’s one of my favorite tracks from an album that I’ve not written much about but that resides pretty close to the center of my musical universe. Here’s David Crosby’s rumination on reincarnation: the title track from Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.


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