Archive for the ‘Jump’ Category

Saturday Single No. 81

July 20, 2011

Originally posted July 19, 2008

While I told the tale of my friend Mike and his copy of the Pipkins’ “Gimme Dat Ding” last Saturday, I dipped into the Billboard Hot 100 for July 18, 1970. That chart showed the Pipkins’ record at its peak spot of No. 9, having moved up from No. 11 a week earlier. Having verified that, I glanced quickly at the rest of the chart and closed the file, telling myself I’d have to get back and take a closer look sometime soon.

I did so last evening, and decided to use the chart – released thirty-eight years ago yesterday – and the movement of singles from the previous week’s chart – as I have done here at least once before – as a basis for song selection. After making some notes, I decided that I should limit my examination to the Top 40, as records ranked lower than that can make astounding leaps from week to week. And, as vast as my collection of mp3s is, there is a good chance that one of those leaping singles might be something I don’t have, like “The Sly, the Slick and the Wicked,” by the Lost Generation, which moved from No. 56 to No. 45, or “Stealing in the Name of the Lord” by Paul Kelly, which moved from No. 89 to No. 76.

As it was, I would have had one of the two singles that made the greatest leaps upward in the Hot 100, Edwin Starr’s “War,” which moved up twenty-eight spots from No. 72 to No. 44, a move equaled only by James Brown’s “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine (Parts 1 and 2),” which entered the chart that week at No. 72. The largest tumble among songs below the Top 40 came from “She Cried” by the Lettermen, which fell fifteen spots from No. 74 to No. 88.

Digging around in the lower depths of the Hot 100 can be fascinating. There’s “Humphrey the Camel” by Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan at No. 85, “The Lights of Tucson” by Jim Campbell at No. 97, “Canned Ham” by Norman Greenbaum at No. 60, “That Same Old Feeling” by the wonderfully named Pickettywitch at No. 67, and so much more. But it’s best we get to the Top 40.

Riding at the top of the Top 40 during this week in July 1970 were the same two songs as had been there the week before: “Mama Told Me (Not To Come)” by Three Dog Night at No. 1 and “The Love You Save/I Found That Girl” by the Jackson 5 at No. 2, but there was a fair amount of movement below those two.

Two records moved five spots from the previous week: “Johnnie Taylor’s “Steal Away” moved into the Top 40, going from No. 43 to No. 38, and “Tighter, Tighter” by Alive and Kicking moved up from No. 17 to No. 12. One song moved six spots: “I Just Can’t Help Believing” by B.J. Thomas rose from No. 36 to No. 30.

“Question” by the Moody Blues fell seven spots, from No. 27 to No. 34, as did “United We Stand” by the Brotherhood of Man, which went from No. 14 to No. 21. Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” moved up eight spots from No. 26 to No. 18.

Three songs moved ten places that week: Mark Lindsay’s “Silver Bird” rose from No. 39 to No. 29, Bread’s “Make It With You” jumped from No. 20 to No. 10, and “Which Way You Going Billy?” by the Poppy Family dropped from No. 23 to No. 33.

(As I wandered through the list, I realized that there were two records that tumbled remarkably from the previous week’s Top 40. “Spirit in the Dark” by Aretha Franklin had been at No. 35 on July 11, and Ray Stevens’ “Everything Is Beautiful” had been at No. 29. Unless I’m utterly blind, neither record was in the Hot 100 a week later.)

There were just a few shifts of more than ten places between July 11 and July 18, 1970. “Lay A Little Lovin’ On Me” by Robin McNamara moved up eleven places, from No. 48 to No. 37. Moving down twelve places, from No. 8 to No. 20, was the Beatles’ “Long and Winding Road/For You Blue.” And two records move fourteen places: “Sugar Sugar” by Wilson Pickett fell from No. 25 to No. 39, and “Spill the Wine” by Eric Burdon and War move up from No. 38 to No. 24.

And as upward movement trumps downward motion, that makes “Spill the Wine” – a little bit funky, a little bit hippie-ish – this week’s Saturday Single.

Eric Burdon & War – “Spill The Wine” [MGM 11418, 1970]

Saturday Single No. 42

May 22, 2011

Originally posted November 17, 2007

Sometimes, figuring out what to post as a Saturday Single is easy, as it was last week with the anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Other times – and this happens more often than I like – there’s nothing that seems substantial enough to link a song to. And being a rational person, that’s when I sit here at my desk, waiting for omens to find me.

As I was casting about last evening for a song to post this morning, the RealPlayer was chugging along quite nicely but not hitting on anything truly memorable for about twenty minutes. Then there came a wash of understated organ followed by a subtle guitar riff played twice. And then came Brook Benton’s vocal: “Hovering by my suitcase, tryin’ to find a warm place to spend the night . . .”

Oh, yes. “A Rainy Night In Georgia,” by Brook Benton, one of the great records from early 1970, right during the first six months that I spent much time listening to the Top 40. Benton’s song went to No. 4 on the Billboard chart during the first three months of the year. But how did it do in the Upper Midwest?

I Googled “WDGY 1970,” looking for the call letters of one of the Top 40 stations in the Twin Cities at the time. (I listened more often to KDWB, and I’m not sure why I looked at ’DGY first.) With that search, I found The Oldies Loon, a website I use frequently, one that catalogs Top 40 charts over the years from around the U.S. At the page for the Twin Cities, I clicked on WDGY and scanned the 1970 charts available. Since we’re in November, I clicked on Nov. 18 first, and then Nov. 11, seeing what the local charts looked like in the weeks that bracketed today’s date.

And then I retreated and clicked on KDWB’s list, and saw that the station released its charts two days earlier each week than did WDGY, which meant that KDWB’s chart came out on November 16. Hey! My Saturday Single for today, November 17, could come from a chart that had just been released thirty-seven years ago. I stopped the RealPlayer so I could focus, copied the chart into MS Word and cleaned up some formatting and then printed it.

As I started to look at the chart, I realized that if I used the 1969 chart, it would have been released on November 17, and I’d be writing on that chart’s thirty-ninth anniversary. So I went back to The Oldies Loon and checked out 1969. Before I did, however, I started the RealPlayer again, moving the cursor to a new spot and letting it roll randomly. I was copying and printing the 1969 chart when, once more, Brook Benton started singing about that rainy night in Georgia. Twice in one night, one song out of nearly 20,000 plays twice! I’d been in search of omens, so I threw away the copy of the 1969 chart I’d printed and went back to 1970.

So what did the KDWB’s chart from November 16, 1970, tell me? First of all, it’s got thirty-six songs on it. KDWB’s frequency was 630, so the station’s weekly handout was its “Six Plus Thirty.”

Top song that week was “I Think I Love You” by the Partridge Family, also No. 1 a week earlier. New songs on the list included “One Less Bell To Answer” by the Fifth Dimension, “We Gotta Get You A Woman” by Runt and “Be My Baby” by Andy Kim.

There were three songs on the list that I could not remember ever hearing. Lowest of those was “King of Rock and Roll” by the Twin Cities band Crow.* At No. 12 was “Heed the Call” by Kenny Rogers & the First Edition. And at No. 6 was “As The Years Go By” from a group called Mashmakhan. At least I’d heard of Crow (“Evil Woman”) and KR & the First Edition (“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town” et al.). Mashmakhan? I spent a few minutes casting my nets out into the ’Net and came up with an mp3 of the song. It was mildly interesting, I guess, but I certainly don’t remember hearing it back in 1970. (The group, I learned, was from Canada, and the song is in the collection now, so it may show up sometime in a Baker’s Dozen.)

I looked for a trend in the list, something to hang a single on. And I thought I’d see which songs moved the most – for good or for ill – in the week preceding the chart.

Two songs moved seven places: “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” by Elvis Presley, a record that never grabbed me much, fell seven spots to No. 23, and “Gypsy Woman” by Bryan Hyland, a pleasant if slightly hollow remake of the Impressions’ 1961 hit, moved up to No. 7.

Moving eight places on the chart in the week before November 16, 1970, were three songs: “Lola,” the Kinks’ salute to kink, dropped eight spots to No. 29, Teegarden & Van Winkle’s “God, Love and Rock & Roll,” – one of the great one-hit wonders of all time – fell eight places to No. 17, and Bobby Bloom’s sprightly “Montego Bay” jumped from No. 10 to No. 2.

Two songs shifted nine places: “Candida” by Dawn, the group’s first Top 40 hit, dropped from No. 18 to No. 27, and Neil Diamond’s “Cracklin’ Rosie,” a good song but, to me, one of his lesser efforts, fell from No. 7 to No. 16.

And there were three songs that shifted ten places that week:

“Green Eyed Lady,” Sugarloaf’s jazzy and memorable single (I’m still not sure if I prefer the 3:40 concision of the single to the 6:50 running time of the album track or not) was in descent, falling from No. 15 to No. 25.

“Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles moved ten spots as well, jumping from No. 28 to No. 18. Not only was Smokey a great singer and producer, the man could write a lyric! Just the chorus alone – “Now, there’re some sad things known to man, but ain’t too much sadder than the tears of a clown when there’s no one around.” – is one of the most eloquent choruses in pop-rock history. And it sings well, too.

But the largest jump on the KDWB chart, based on landing higher during that week, came from a single by another Canadian band. The Guess Who’s “Share the Land,” with Burton Cummings and the boys calling for economic redistribution and communal living, moved from No. 19 on KDWB’s chart up to the No. 9 spot. And that jump on the chart dated November 16, 1970, makes “Share the Land” this week’s Saturday Single.

Guess Who – “Share the Land” [RCA 0388, 1970]

*As I learned some time later. the full title of Crow’s record was “(Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The) King Of Rock & Roll,” which I knew, but only via the 1971 version by Long John Baldry. Note added May 22, 2011.