Posts Tagged ‘Peter Frampton’

Some No. 10s From November 20

November 20, 2012

“Hmm,” I thought this morning as I scanned the Billboard Top Ten from November 20, 1965, and my eye fell on the listing for “You’re the One” by the Vogues. “I’m not sure I know that one.”

And I wandered off to YouTube, where I learned that I did, of course, know “You’re the One,” which went to No. 4. I had just never connected it with the Vogues. And that got me to wondering for a moment about how many records from the years, say, 1960 to 1980 that I know but that I’m not aware I know. It’s a thought that has no answer, unless I want to go line-by-line through the Hot 100 charts and run to YouTube every time a title seems unfamiliar to me.

That might be interesting for a while, but I imagine the task would eventually lapse into drudgery, and I have better ways to spend my time. This morning, for example, I’m going to invest a little bit of time in looking at the Billboard Hot 100 charts issued over the years on November 20. And given that I noticed “You’re the One” sitting at No. 10 in that 1965 chart, I thought I’d look at the records that were at No. 10 as well as noting which two records topped the separate charts.

My collection of Billboard charts starts in December 1954 and ends during the summer of 2004, a nearly fifty-year span. During that time, there were seven charts released on November 20; we’ll look at five of them and leave the charts from the 1990s to themselves.

The first chart released on November 20 came in 1961, when Jimmy Dean’s “Big Bad John” was No. 1 and Dion’s ‘Runaround Sue” was sitting at No. 2 (after peaking at No. 1). The No. 10 single that week was “The Fly” by Chubby Checker. Another dance record in the spirit of Checker’s earlier singles, “The Twist,” “The Hucklebuck” and “Pony Time,” “The Fly” had peaked a week earlier at No. 7. I’ve known the top two records for years, of course, but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard “The Fly” until this morning.

Four years later, in the Hot 100 for November 20, 1965, the top two singles are again familiar records: Sitting at No. 1 was “I Hear A Symphony” by the Supremes while Len Barry’s “1-2-3” was at its peak position of No. 2. This was, as I noted above, the chart in which I came across “You’re the One.” The video I found at YouTube is notable for the inclusion every few seconds of young ladies’ graduation pictures from the mid-1960s. I didn’t know those girls, but I knew girls with clothing and hair styles just like theirs.

Unsurprisingly, as I look at the Hot 100 from November 20, 1971, I see a lot of familiar titles. Topping the chart during that week was Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft” and sitting just behind it was Cher’s “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” which had been No. 1 the week before. I knew both of those, loving Hayes’ single and not totally disliking Cher’s. I was, however, pretty dismissive of the single sitting at No. 10 that week: “Yo-Yo” by the Osmonds. My scorn was likely a product of my slow shift away from Top 40 toward album rock, which accelerated that autumn. Now, listening forty years later without that purity/snobbery filter in place, “Yo-Yo” – which had already peaked at No. 3 by November 20 – is a pretty good single.

Another five years went by before a Hot 100 came out on November 20, and the top two records on that date in 1976 were “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” by Rod Stewart at No. 1 and “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot at No. 2. The Stewart single has made me cringe since the first time I heard it, and the Lightfoot single, which went no higher, still has my admiration. At No. 10 that week was “Do You Feel Like We Do,” the third hit – if I read my Joel Whitburn books accurately – from the massively popular Frampton Comes Alive album that spent ten weeks at No. 1. The label for the 45 of “Do You Feel Like We Do” says the record clocks in at 7:19 (which may or may not be accurate). The link here is to the full track, which runs more than fourteen minutes.

By the time we hit our fifth and last November 20 chart, we’re into 1982 and into a time when I wasn’t hearing everything that hit the charts. I knew the top two records of the week: “Up Where We Belong,” the duet between Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, was at No. 1, and Lionel Richie’s “Truly,” which would go to No. 1, was sitting at No. 2. Those two were inescapable that late autumn, but I’m not sure I’ve ever before heard the record that was at its peak position of No. 10: “Muscles” by Diana Ross. Listening this morning, I don’t know that I really missed anything.

A Baker’s Dozen from 1976, Vol. 2

May 25, 2011

Originally posted December 12, 2007

I’m gonna talk football a little bit today. A while back, I assessed the on-going season of the Minnesota Vikings – a team I’ve rooted for since its inception in 1961 – as pretty dismal. The boys in purple had been thrashed 34-0 by the Green Bay Packers the day before I wrote, an outcome that left many Minnesotans resigned to another season of mediocrity.

Something unforeseen has happened since then. The Vikings have won four games in a row and now have a 7-6 record. Tavaris Jackson, the young quarterback whom I dismissed as being too raw and maybe not being good enough for the pro game is beginning to look like a decent quarterback. I’m even beginning to think that the second-year coach, Brad Childress, might have had an idea of what he was doing all along.

It generally doesn’t take an awful lot for those of us who follow the Vikings to poke our heads out of our burrows with a sense of optimism. I’m being cautious, though, which only makes sense when one is a Vikings fan. After all, the Vikings share the record for the most Super Bowls lost, four, with the Denver Broncos, but the Broncos also have two Super Bowl victories to their credit. And we fans remember the two times we had great teams that didn’t make it to the Super Bowl: in 1975 through a blown call and in 1998 through what I still think was poor coaching. Then add 2000, when a fairly good Vikings team lost what appeared to be a winnable playoff game through what looked to fans like simple disinterest.*

So I’m being careful, at least a little bit, this time. During the successes of the past month, I’ve spend a fair amount of time trying to decide whether the improvement I see in the Vikings is real or whether it’s a confluence of luck and schedule, making the seeming resurgence one of the cosmic jokes that the football gods sometimes play.

I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know one thing that makes me nervous: People around the National Football League are starting to take the Vikings seriously. Peter King at Sports Illustrated put the Vikings into the seventh slot in his top fifteen this week. I heard someone say on television this week that the Vikings are the kind of team that no other team would want to play in the playoffs right now. And NBC has decided that the game between the Vikings and the Washington Redskins is significant enough to be the Sunday evening game on Dec. 23.

I’d rather no one noticed that the Vikings seem to be turning into a pretty good team. I’d prefer that the Vikes continue to sneak up on people. But visibility and relevance are nice worries to have, as it seemed just a month ago that the last weeks of the season would mean nothing at all here in the Northland. And, given the pleasant anxiety I and the rest of the Purple Faithful are beginning to feel, it seemed only right to share a Baker’s Dozen from 1976, which marked the last time the Vikings went to the Super Bowl.

A Baker’s Dozen from 1976, Vol. 2
“You Take My Heart Away” by DeEtta Little & Nelson Pigford from the soundtrack to Rocky

“Jeans On” by David Dundas, Chrysalis single 2094

“Lord Grenville” by Al Stewart from Year of the Cat

“Long May You Run” by the Stills-Young Band from Long May You Run

“Ride Me High” by J. J. Cale from Troubadour

“Show Me The Way” by Peter Frampton from Frampton Comes Alive

“Life Is What You Make It” by Side Effect from What You Need

“Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash” by Ian Thomas from Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash

“Cherchez La Femme/Se Si Bon” by Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, RCA single 10827

“Rocky Mountain Music” by Eddie Rabbitt, Elektra single 45315

“Dance the Body Music” by Osibisa from Ojah Awake

“Sheldon Church Yard” by Larry Jon Wilson from Let Me Sing My Song to You

“Tuscumbian Lover” by Pete Carr from Not A Word On It

A few notes on some of the songs and artists:

“You Take My Heart Away” was used as source music in Rocky. During a love scene between Adrian and Rocky in his apartment, this is the song that’s playing on the radio. It was released as a single (United Artists 941) but didn’t make the Top 40. I think it’s a nice track, but then, I’ve long thought that Bill Conti’s soundtrack to Rocky was one of the better soundtracks ever written.

“Jeans On” is a nice little bit of fluff that provided David Dundas with his only hit. The record reached No. 17 after moving into the Top 40 in late November 1976. I recall hearing it that winter, my first winter on my own, as I lived in an old house without central heat on the north side of St. Cloud. For that reason and no other, the sound of Dundas’ voice gives me chills.

Finding both Peter Frampton’s “Show Me The Way” and Dr. Buzzard’s “Cherchez La Femme/Se Si Bon” in this random list is entirely appropriate. The first of the two went to No. 6 in the spring and was the first of three Top 40 hits for Frampton in 1976. The Dr. Buzzard track hit the Top 40 in December and reached No. 27 in early 1977. A juxtaposition of the two gives one a pretty good idea of the range of sounds on radio that year, as disco was beginning to dance its way into the mainstream.

The title of the Ian Thomas track might need some explanation, though some of this can be inferred from the lyric. The title comes from a phrase used by Jimmy Durante (1893-1980), a singer, comedian and actor whose career began in vaudeville and continued through numerous radio and television shows and movies. Durante invariably closed his radio and television performances with the phrase, “Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.” He never explained who Mrs. Calabash was, and – having seen Durante on some television shows as a young child – I always thought that was kind of neat and maybe even poignant.

Several of the artists in today’s random selection are pretty obscure. Side Effect was an L.A.-based group that has a lot in common with Earth, Wind & Fire; Osibisa was a group from Ghana that mixed African and Caribbean influences into a fun sound; Larry Jon Wilson was a gritty southern singer-songwriter; and Pete Carr was, among other things, a member of the Hour Glass, Duane and Gregg Allman’s early band, and a well-known session guitarist.

*To that sad litany, Vikings fans can now add the fate of the 2009 team, when an ill-timed penalty for having twelve players in the huddle followed by the interception of an ill-advised pass by quarterback Brett Favre denied the Vikings a chance at a field goal that would have almost certainly put them in the Super Bowl. Note added May 25, 2011.