Archive for the ‘Games With Numbers’ Category

Saturday Single No. 474

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

Well, I went to see the doctor yesterday about my back. Dr. Julie wasn’t available; I saw another doctor in her group or subset or pod or whatever they call it at the big complex just northwest of St. Cloud. He listened as I told him how it started and how it felt, then he poked my back at various places, pushed and pulled my legs in various directions, and thought for a moment.

Then he told me that it was basically a muscle strain gone wild, and he prescribed a series of pills – a descending quantity of a steroid for a week – and gave me some exercises to do.

I can take pills well, but I’m not all that good at staying with an exercise regimen. I’ll try, though. And it’s nice to pass on the good news that after twenty-four hours of pills and (a little of) the exercises, my back feels much better.

But given yesterday’s visit and other events, as well as the fact that the Texas Gal and I need to run some errands (one of which will no doubt include Chinese food), I have little to offer here. So I thought I’d grab four reference books and see which artist is the first mentioned on Page 474. And from there, we’ll find a single for today.

The New Rolling Stone Album Guide starts its “L” section on Page 474, and the first artist listed is k.d. lang. I have three albums by ms. lang on the digital shelves, so we have something to work with if we go that direction.

In Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles, we find the Isley Brothers in mid-section at the top of Page 474. There’s plenty of Isley stuff on the digital shelves, so we’ll see.

The single ranked at No. 474 in Dave Marsh’s The Heart Of Rock & Soul is the 1956 hit “I’m In Love Again” by Fats Domino. There’s lots of Fats here, too.

And the album listed on Page 474 of the tome 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die is Motorhead’s No Sleep ’Til Hammersmith. That one is, probably unsurprisingly, not on any shelves here, digital or otherwise.

Well, I’ve featured the Isleys a lot over the years, as I have Fats. I’ve not done much with k.d. lang. Still, I’m of the mind that one should listen to Fats Domino whenever one has the chance. So here’s “I’m In Love Again.” It went to No. 3 in 1956, says Whitburn (No. 9 on the R&B chart). And it’s today’s Saturday Single.

Saturday Single No. 456

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

My search feature told me this morning that among the Billboard Hot 100 charts that have been released over the years on July 25, one of them fell in 1970. I glanced at it, knowing as I did that every record near the top would likely be familiar, tunes I would have heard on KDWB (or on WJON or WLS after dark).

And I thought, “Why not just look at the KDWB survey instead?” So I stopped off at the Oldies Loon website and pulled up the station’s survey for July 27, 1970. (The survey is here.) And every record was more than familiar until I got right near the bottom of the survey, where Glen Campbell’s “Everything A Man Could Need” didn’t ring any bells. I checked it out on YouTube, was reminded that the full title was “Everything A Man Could Ever Need,” and then remembered hearing it and not being very impressed. Neither were the rest of KDWB’s listeners, as the record made it only as high as No. 28 on the station’s weekly surveys over a four-week run.*

So with a survey full of memories – as I’ve noted many times, the summer of 1970 was one of the best radio seasons of my life – what do I do this morning? I thought about playing some games with today’s date, and did a quick scan of the records that would be involved, those at Nos. 7, 15, 22, 25 and 32. And then I went back to No. 25, Bob Dylan’s “Wigwam.”

Back in the summer of 1970, I knew very little about Bob Dylan. I knew about “Lay Lady Lay” from the summer of 1969. I knew about “Blowin’ In The Wind.” I knew he was one of the big trees in the forest of folk and rock and pop music. I didn’t really know why.

But I loved the wordless “Wigwam,” which peaked at KDWB at No. 23 a couple of weeks later (and made it to No. 41 in the Hot 100). I know now, of course, that it came from Self Portrait, the ramshackle album that left most critics and fans baffled and annoyed at best. I know now a lot more about Bob Dylan. There are numerous albums of his that I admire more and enjoy more than I do Self Portrait. There are Dylan songs and Dylan recordings that I admire more than I do “Wigwam.”

But I still love the record, just like I did back in 1970. Because of that, and because it’s not ever been mentioned even once over the course of about 1,800 posts here, Bob Dylan’s “Wigwam” is today’s Saturday Single.

* “Everything A Man Could Ever Need,” from the movie Norwood, wasn’t a big hit nationally, either, making it only to No. 52 in the Hot 100. The record did get to No. 5 on the Billboard country chart and to No. 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Saturday Single No. 448

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

We’re going to play some games with numbers this morning, digging into some Billboard Hot 100s from a twenty-year span in search of a Saturday single. We’ll take today’s date – 5-23-15 – and add that up to 43, and then we’ll check out No. 43 in the Hot 100s for May 23 in the years 1987, 1981, 1976, 1972, 1969 and 1967.

Why, some may ask, are we beginning this in 1987, a year that rarely shows up here musically? (And many may not care.) Because May 23, 1987, was one of those dividing days, a day during which my life changed dramatically. First, and of lesser importance, it was the day that effectively ended my adjunct teaching time at St. Cloud State. I spent a good portion of the day sipping coffee in a St. Cloud restaurant, figuring out final grades for the students in my visual communications class. And then, that evening, I went to a friend’s party, where I met someone. By the time I drove home to Monticello in the early hours of May 24, my life had changed.

So off we go, starting with the Hot 100 released on May 23, 1987, where No. 43 was “Sweet Sixteen” by Billy Idol. More mellow and restrained than most of Idol’s charting work, the record was on its way up to No. 20. It’s catchy and sweet, but for some reason, the record unnerves me. I guess I’ve always had the sense that underneath the veneer of love, there’s an obsession for the young lady that might eventually find itself expressed in less-than-acceptable ways.

And in 1981, we fall directly on May 23 once more, and we find that the No. 43 record that week was “Say What,” by Jesse Winchester. The jaunty record was rising in the chart, heading for a peak of No. 32 (No. 12 on the Adult Contemporary chart), which would make it the only Top 40 hit in the long and mellow career of the late singer-songwriter. Running into “Say What,” which is a pretty good single, might be a sign, given my long-running affection for Winchester and his work, or it might just be a coincidence.

Things rock a little more when we go back to May 22, 1976, as we find “Crazy On You” by Heart sitting at No. 43. The first charting single for the Wilson sisters and their friends, “Crazy On You” was heading toward its peak at No. 35. (The Mushroom label reissued the single in 1977 after Heart had moved to the Portrait label on its eventual way to Epic; the reissued single went only to No. 52.) For some reason, I whiffed at the time on “Crazy On You” and its summertime follow-up, “Magic Man,” not catching on to Heart until “Dreamboat Annie” during the winter of 1976-77. I’ve since made up for that whiff.

And a decent bit of Stax soul greets us as we dig into the Hot 100 from May 20, 1972, when the No. 43 record was “I’ve Been Lonely For So Long” by Frederick Knight of Birmingham, Alabama. The record would peak at No. 27 (No. 8, R&B), giving Knight his only Top 40 hit. As I said, it’s a decent record, but the low bass parts contrast with the falsetto to make it sound – at some points, anyway – a little bit like a novelty.

And as we head back another three years, we go from an R&B singer with one Top 40 hit to a classic pop singer with twenty-seven Top 40 hits: “Seattle” by Perry Como was parked at No. 43 in the Hot 100 that was in play during this week in 1969. “Seattle” wouldn’t head too much higher; it would peak at No. 38 (No. 2, AC), but the song is etched deeply into my memory: One of Rick and Rob’s sisters was a big fan of the song and of the television series Here Come The Brides, which used the song as its theme, and I heard the record frequently when I was at their house. (According to Wikipedia, however, neither Como’s version nor the version recorded by Bobby Sherman – who starred in the show – was ever used on the show; when lyrics were added to the theme during the show’s first season, they were sung by “The New Establishment,” which one would guess was a group of studio singers.)

We finish our trek back today with a stop in the third week of May 1967, when the No. 43 record was “Melancholy Music Man” by the Righteous Brothers. I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard the record until this morning, and it sounds like – a little more than a year after “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration” went to No. 1 – Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield were throwing anything at the wall, as long as it had a Spectorish backing and some call-and-response vocals, to see what would stick. Well, “Melancholy Music Man” didn’t stick, as it moved no higher than No. 43. And I understand its failure: The record sounds like a mess.

So, with six candidates, where do we go? Well, long-time readers will know that as soon as Jesse Winchester showed up, anything that came after would have to be better than good to alter the outcome of today’s contest. And although I like “Seattle,” it’s just not good enough. That means that “Say What” by Jesse Winchester, is today’s Saturday Single.

(The video above uses the version of the tune from the album Talk Memphis. Whether it’s the same as the single, I don’t know.)

Saturday Single No. 446

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

With the morning melting away – I slept in a little bit and then the Texas Gal and I headed north a couple miles to Sauk Rapids for breakfast – I thought I’d just dip into the collection of Billboard charts and see what those released on May 9 might bring us for a Saturday morning tune.

During the span of years that interests us here, there were four such charts, falling in the years 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1970. We’ll be looking at the records that were at No. 59 (for 5/9), and just for fun, we’ll see what the No. 1 record was for each of those weeks.

We start with 1956, when Billboard was calling its major chart the “Top 100.” Sitting at No. 59 was “Without You” by Eddie Fisher, a romantic and somewhat overproduced (to even my pop-friendly ears) ballad that was making its way back down the chart after peaking at No. 41. Even without having looked yet, I’m pretty sure we’ll find something later in the time line that suits my ears and sensibilities better. The No. 1 record on that day fifty-nine years ago was “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley, in the third of eight weeks it would spend in the top spot.

Moving ahead to 1960, we find a little bit of New Orleans in the No. 59 spot of the Hot 100 with Fats Domino’s “Tell Me That You Love Me,” which had jumped thirty-seven spots from its previous slot at No. 96. It would peak at No. 51. This one – a decent N’Awlins loper – is a good candidate, as I do love me some Fats. The No. 1 record on May 9, 1960, was another Elvis single, “Stuck On You,” which spent four weeks at No. 1.

And so we move on to 1964, when the No. 59 record on May 9 was “Three Window Coupe” by the Rip Chords, a Beach Boys sound-alike that was the Chords’ follow-up to their No. 4 hit, “Hey Little Cobra.” The coupe didn’t do nearly as well: The “toughest machine in town” peaked at No. 28. Parked at No. 1 fifty-one years ago today was Louis Armstrong’s “Hello, Dolly.” (Armstrong played a concert at St. Cloud State in 1966, which means that “Hello, Dolly” was certainly the first No. 1 hit I ever heard live. How many others have there been? I don’t know, but it seems as if that might be a good topic for a post here.)

As I’ve noted frequently, the year of 1970 ranks pretty highly in my list for life and music both. When May 9 rolled around, the No. 59 record was the two-sided single “California Soul/The Onion Song” by the duo of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. I’d not heard “The Onion Song” until this morning. It’s got a nice groove and a decent message, but it nevertheless stands on what has to be one of the more odd metaphors in the songbook of Valerie Simpson and Nickolas Ashford. As to “California Soul,” it reminds me of a genial difference of opinion I had with the late Paco Malo: The Gaye/Terrell version was his preference, while I leaned toward Marlena Shaw’s cover of the tune. In Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles, the two-sided single is listed with “The Onion Song” first, with a peak of No. 50, while “California Soul” is shown as peaking at No. 56. (Whitburn notes that both tracks were among those on which Simpson sang the female lead because of Terrell’s declining health.) As to the No. 1 slot during that week in 1970, it was occupied for the first of an eventual three weeks by another double-side single: “American Woman/No Sugar Tonight” by the Guess Who.

Well, I was tempted by the Fats Domino single, and even the Rip Chords record has some attractions, but as soon as I saw the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell single pop up, I knew where I was going. It’s been not quite a year since Paco Malo – the proprietor of the blog Goldcoast Bluenote – left us, and I miss him. So in his memory, here are Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (actually Valerie Simpson) with Paco’s preferred version of “California Soul,” and it’s today’s Saturday Single:

Saturday Single No. 430

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

We’re gonna play some games with numbers and then dig around in my sweet spot again today, looking for a tune good for a Saturday morning. We’ll look at the Billboard Hot 100 that was in effect on January 24 during the years from 1969 through 1973, checking out which records were at No. 24. And from those five records, we’ll select one for today’s feature. (We’ll also – as we tend to do – check out which record was at No. 1, just for fun.)

As we start our little trip in a Hot 100 from 1969, we get some advice for the ladies from Tammy Wynette: “Stand By Your Man” sits at No. 24, heading up to No. 19 in the Hot 100, as well as to No. 11 on what is now called the Adult Contemporary chart and to a three-week stay at No. 1 on the country chart. I’ve referred to Wynette’s record only once before in eight years of blogging, when I told the tale of inadvertently stopping for a brew in what my friends and I quickly realized was a Viennese bordello where “Stand By Your Man” and Ricky Nelson’s “Hello Mary Lou” were the only records in English on the jukebox. That experience doesn’t mean I won’t choose the record as today’s feature, but it doesn’t earn it any bonus points, either. Sitting at No. 1 at the time was “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye.

Heading to 1970, we find a Hot 100 released on January 24, forty-five years ago today, and sitting in spot No. 24 was “Ain’t It Funky Now (Part 1)” by James Brown. I doubt if I’ve ever heard the instrumental jam until this morning: The record never made it to KDWB’s “6+30 Survey” back in 1970, from what I can see at Oldiesloon this morning; it’s not in the digital files here; and it’s not one of the thirty tracks included on the James Brown anthology in the vinyl stacks. One can argue, I guess, that I have not paid James Brown enough attention, and that’s possible. In any case, “Ain’t It Funky Now (Part 1)” went no higher in the Hot 100 while peaking at No. 3 on the R&B chart. Sitting at No. 1 forty-five years ago today was “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” by B.J. Thomas.

As the final weeks of my last January in high school rolled by in 1971, the No. 24 record on the Hot 100 was the double-sided “I Really Don’t Want To Know/There Goes My Everything” by Elvis Presley. I don’t remember hearing either of the sides on the radio back then although I know the B-side now, and I know I’ve heard the A-side at least once before this morning. Both tracks are from the 1971 album Elvis Country (I’m 10,000 Years Old), which made its way to the vinyl stacks here in 1998 and has been pretty much ignored since. The single went to No. 21 on the Hot 100, to No. 2 on the AC chart and to No. 22 on the country chart. (Elvis was the fifth performer to chart with “I Really Don’t Want To Know.” The others were Tommy Edwards in 1960, Solomon Burke in 1962, Esther Phillips in 1963 and Ronnie Dove in 1966.) Sitting at No. 1 during the fourth week of January 1971 was Dawn’s “Knock Three Times.”

And we move from records that don’t matter much to one that makes me cringe. Parked at No. 24 during the fourth week of January 1972 was David Cassidy’s remake of the Association’s “Cherish.” Never mind the emotional importance of the original record in my life: On musical merits alone – performance and production – Cassidy’s version of the tune was weak, a judgment I reaffirm whenever the record pops up on the Seventies Channel of our cable TV system. But that didn’t matter to the listening and/or record buying public back in 1972: Cassidy’s “Cherish” went to No. 9 on the Hot 100 and to No. 1 on the AC chart. Sitting atop the chart that week for the second of an eventual four weeks was Don McLean’s “American Pie.”

Nor does the fourth week in January 1973 bring us much joy, as the No. 24 record that week was Albert Hammond’s “It Never Rains In Southern California,” which I’ve targeted here before for what I’ve always heard as an awkward second line: “Didn’t think before decided what to do.” Then again, I have to admit that I’ve not paid any attention to the record while hearing it on a decent set of speakers. The single is in the vinyl stacks on a K-Tel compilation to which I likely gave short shrift when I played it after buying it in the autumn of 1988, and giving it a closer listening this morning, I’m willing to think that Hammond is actually singing “before decidin’ what to do.” And with that little bit of disdain out of the way, I’m willing to say that Hammond’s record, which went to No. 5 (No. 2, AC), is a decent record. The No. 1 record during that week in 1973 was Carly Simon’s “He’s So Vain.”

So there we have five candidates, none of which utterly thrill me. But given my likely mishearing of the Albert Hammond lyric for more than forty years, I really have no choice but to make Hammond’s “It Never Rains In Southern California” this week’s Saturday Single.*

*The single label of the Hammond record as shown at Discogs has a running time of 3:12, but we all know how that can go. “It Never Rains” was also the title track for Hammond’s 1973 album, where it clocked 3:55, so the above video is likely the album track (with the correct lyric, I should note with a red face).

Saturday Single No. 426

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

We’re going to play some games with numbers and dig into some fifty-year old surveys this morning in search of a Saturday tune. The Airheads Radio Survey Archive offers seven surveys released on January 3, 1965, so we’re going to take a look at four of them. We’ll take today’s date – 1/3/15 – and turn that into No. 13 and No. 15, and see what we find.

We’ll also, as we customarily do, check out the No. 1 record on each survey simply for context.

We’ll start in the Midwest with the “Silver Dollar Music Survey” from Milwaukee’s WRIT. Sitting at No. 13 fifty years ago today was “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by the Righteous Brothers, an epic record that would top the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks a month later. And parked at No. 15 in Milwaukee was “Let’s Lock The Door (And Throw Away The Key)” by Jay & The Americans, a single that, as far as I know, I’ve not heard until this morning. It did go to No. 11 in Billboard, but that only goes to show that making the Top 20 is no guarantee of oldies radio immortality.

The No. 1 record at WRIT fifty years ago was the Beatles’ two-sided “I Feel Fine/She’s A Woman.”

From Wisconsin, we’ll head east and make a stop in Columbus, Ohio, where we’ll check out the hot tunes on WCOL’s “Hit Line Survey” from the first week in January 1965. The No. 13 record there was “Give Him A Great Big Kiss” by the Shangri-Las, a lively bit of girl group joy with a bit of teenage theater between verses. It went to No. 18 nationally, which was kind of a bring-down after “Leader Of The Pack” went to No. 1 in late 1964. Sitting at No. 15 in Columbus was Gerry & The Pacemakers’ “I’ll Be There,” another record that I’ve never heard before this morning. A sweet pledge of loyalty to a departing lover, the record went to No. 14 in Billboard.

Sitting atop the “Hit Line Survey” at WCOL fifty years ago today was “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.”

From Ohio we head to Newport News, Virginia, where WGH releases its “Original Official Top Thirty,” which includes at No. 13 Del Shannon’s “Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow The Sun).” Blessed with a great organ break and Shannon’s unearthly wails at the end, the record would go to No. 9 in the Hot 100. Sitting at No. 15 in Newport News that week fifty years ago was the Animals’ “Boom Boom,” in which Eric Burdon and his pals take on John Lee Hooker and, almost inevitably, come up wanting. The record stalled at No. 43 in Billboard.

Perched at No. 1 in WGH’s “Original Official Top Thirty” fifty years ago was “Mr. Lonely” by Bobby Vinton.

From the East Coast we jump to the West Coast and the “Top Sixty Tune-Dex” offered by Los Angeles’ KRLA. At No. 13, we find “Willow Weep For Me” by Chad & Jeremy, a soft rock duo from England. Squishy by even Chad & Jeremy standards, “Willow” would peak at No. 15 in Billboard. And at No. 15, we find British MOR singers Matt Monro with “Walk Away,” a song telling a lover to move on for her own good. It went to No. 23 in Billboard.

The No. 1 record on the “Top Sixty Tune-Dex” fifty years ago today was, as it was in Columbus, the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.”

Well, with the No. 13s and the No. 15s, we have a wide range of records to consider for our Saturday morning listening. Most of them are relatively unfamiliar to me, which only serves to show that there is a limit to how much back-filling can take place. As 1965 began, I was eleven, and I was still four to five years away from digging deeply into the Top 40 and a good twenty years away from beginning any serious effort to know and understand what came before 1969.

In any case, we have some intriguing choices for our Saturday morning listening, and I think we’ll go with a cool organ break followed by unearthly wails and make Del Shannon’s “Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow The Sun)” today’s Saturday Single.

Saturday Single No. 422

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Well, here’s an experiment that came out with an oddly satisfying result. Strapped for an idea this morning and not feeling much like scraping my brain until it hurt, I took today’s date – 12/6 – and wandered off to Page 126 in Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles. I then turned 12/6 into 18 and counted down the page to the eighteenth listed single.

We went past Johnny Bristol and the British Lions, past the British Walkers and Britny Fox, past Tina Britt and a group called Broadway, and past Chad Brock and then B–Rock & The Bizz, and we found ourselves checking out the entry for David Bromberg.

I don’t know Bromberg’s work well although I probably should. His style, his era and the people he recorded with – from what I know of all of those – should make him fall right into the center of the music I love. And I have no idea why I’ve never paid much attention at all to the man, whom Whitburn describes as a “folk-rock singer/songwriter/guitarist.”

There are a few Bromberg tunes on the digital shelves: I’ve heard his covers of Robert Johnson’s “Come On In My Kitchen” and “Sweet Home Chicago” from his 1976 album How Late’ll Ya Play ‘Til? And I’ve heard and seen his performance of “Don’t Do It” (with Joan Osborne) from the Love for Levon concert that I mentioned here a while back. Beyond that, however, I’ve not heard much of the man’s work, and this morning’s little excursion reminds me that I need to do so.

So what did we find? Well, Bromberg has had just one record come close to the Hot 100, and it’s a pretty odd one at that. In February and March of 1973, “Sharon” spent three weeks bubbling under, and it peaked at No. 117. It’s strange, it’s fun, and it’s today’s Saturday Single.*

*I wondered as I wrote and listened if there had been a shorter edit for the single. As it happens, reader Yah Shure left a comment and has the answer: Yes, there was a DJ edit.

Saturday Single No. 405

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014

I’m feeling old and battered this morning. I had a visit with Dr. Julie yesterday, and today, two new bottles of pills sit on the counter here in the EITW studios: an antibiotic for whatever it is that has annoyed my sinuses and lymph nodes, and a heartburn remedy for the gastric inflammation that’s arisen in the last two weeks.

It seems to be a given in our culture, with its miracle medicines and its resulting reliance on pills (not always a good thing, that last), that the older we get, the more bottles of pills gather on our counters and in our medicine chests. And they’re beginning to accumulate here, which makes me aware – as do a few other things – that in just more than a month, I’ll turn 61.

Still, I have to think myself lucky for at least two reasons: First, my collection of active prescriptions still numbers less than ten, far less than my mother’s current total and far less as well than my father’s total in the months before he passed on eleven years ago. Second, we have decent health insurance, at least as far as prescriptions go; other aspects of our current coverage have not yet, happily, been tested.

As to the “battered” portion of the lead sentence above, well, about two-thirds of the way down the stairs this morning, I stepped on a cat toy and thumped the rest of the way down the stairs on my posterior. That did no favors for any portions of my aging body. And the cats were distinctly unsympathetic. Two of them looked at me as I sat at the bottom of the stairs, shaking my head, and then they headed toward the kitchen and their breakfast.

Ah, well. I broke no bones and pulled no muscles. And if yesterday’s new prescriptions do their work, I should be feeling better in ten days or so. So I’m okay. And having decided that, I made my way through the Billboard files this morning to see if I could find out anything interesting about August 2, and I found a Hot 100 released that day in 1975.

The top five are familiar:

“One Of These Nights” by the Eagles
“I’m Not In Love” by 10 c.c.
“Jive Talkin’” by the Bee Gees
“Please Mister Please” by Olivia Newton-John
“The Hustle” by Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony

Familiar, inoffensive and not at all inspiring. So, I thought, what about albums? Here are the top five albums from this week in 1975:

One Of These Nights by the Eagles
Love Will Keep Us Together by the Captain & Tenille
The Heat Is On by the Isley Brothers
Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy by Elton John
Venus & Mars by Wings

All well-known albums, three of them – those by the Eagles, the Isleys and Wings – very good, but again, nothing that inspires this morning (although I suppose I should give another listen to the Elton John album as I’ve read that it’s a great album, which is a judgment I’ve never reached).

So I went back to the August 2, 1975, Billboard Hot 100, turned August 2 in No. 82 and scrolled down the list. And there I came upon a bouncy single titled “Rock & Roll Runaway” by Ace, the British group that in the spring of 1975 had a No. 3 hit with “How Long.” “Runaway” didn’t do nearly as well, peaking at No. 71.

And I wondered how many stations popped the single on their playlists. Probably not many, based on the station surveys available at ARSA. Three stations’ surveys gathered there list the record: WNCI in Columbus, Ohio; KLWN in Lawrence, Kansas; and KLIK in Jefferson City, Missouri, where the record was listed in the “Extras” section.

And that’s all I know. But this morning, it’s enough. So here’s Ace’s “Rock & Roll Runaway,” today’s Saturday Single.

Saturday Single No. 396

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

It’s time to dig into some surveys this morning. Odd, Pop and I are going to rummage through the files at the Airheads Radio Survey Archive, checking out surveys from June 7. What year? Well, instead of looking at several surveys from around the U.S. from the same year, we’re going to look at five surveys from different stations from June 7 on five consecutive years. Confusing? Well, it was Odd’s idea, so it’s kind of baffling to me, too.

Anyway, we’re going to play with the numbers as we often do here, taking today’s day – 6/7 – and turning that into 13. Then we’ll add that to 14 (as in 2014) for 27. And that leads us to check out the No. 13 and No. 27 records on the surveys, and, as we generally do, we’ll see what record was No. 1 in our various surveys along the way.

We’ll start in 1971 on familiar turf, taking a look at the “Big 6+30” from KDWB in the Twin Cities here in Minnesota. Sitting at No. 13 that week was Lobo’s “Me And You And A Dog Named Boo,” and parked at No. 27 was “I Love You For All Seasons” by the Fuzz. I remember the Lobo single, but not all that fondly, and I do not remember the Fuzz single from that time at all, though I’ve heard it several times during the years that I’ve been writing this blog. Topping the “Big 6+30” during the first week of June 1971 was the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar.”

We’ll jump ahead a year and check in on the “Superhit Survey” from June 7 at Nashville’s WMAK. The No. 13 record that week in 1972 was “Layla” by Derek & The Dominos, during its second release on Atco, and the No. 27 record was the quirky one-hit wonder “How Do You Do?” by the Dutch duo of Mouth & MacNeal. Back in my newspapering days, I wrote a column detailing my favorite records, and “Layla” topped that list. It’s not quite that high these days, but it hasn’t fallen far. As to “How Do You Do,” well, no. Sitting atop the “Superhit Survey” at WMAK that week was Gallery’s “Nice To Be With You.”

We’ll look at the first week of June 1973 from the vantage point of the “Hit 30” at KFIV in Modesto, California. Taking up the No. 13 slot was Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round In Circles,” and sitting at No. 27 is the Carpenter’s “Yesterday Once More.” The Preston record might be the only song I’ve heard live by its original artist three times: When Preston played St. Cloud State in the spring of 1973, when he played a brief opening set for the Rolling Stones in Århus, Denmark, in October 1973, and when he was a member of Ringo’s original All-Starr Band during the summer of 1989. As to the Carpenters, I find myself admiring more and more as the years pass the late Karen Carpenter’s voice and Richard Carpenter’s production work, and if “Yesterday Once More” isn’t one of their best records, it’s still pretty good (and sitting here playing it in my head, I can hear every “shing-a-ling”). Getting back to KFIV, the No. 1 record during the first week of June 1973 was Elton John’s “Daniel.”

A year later on the other side of the country, we take a look at the “Big D Sound Survey” from WDRC in Hartford, Connecticut. The No. 13 record in Hartford during the first week of June 1974 was Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ’Bout A Thing,” and sitting at No. 27 was “I’m The Leader Of The Gang” by Brownsville Station. I tend to forget about “Don’t You Worry . . .” although I groove on it whenever it pops up in random. I don’t forget the Brownsville Station single because I don’t remember it at all. From what I see at ARSA and in Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles, it didn’t have a huge footprint, so I’m not alarmed that it doesn’t have a place in my memory. The top spot on the June 7, 1974, “Big D Sound Survey” was occupied by Ray Stevens’ “The Streak.”

We’ll close our survey scanning this morning with a look at the imaginatively named “South Florida Weekly Music Survey” from Miami’s WQAM. Parked at No. 13 during the first week of June 1975 was “Long Tall Glasses” by Leo Sayer, and sitting at No. 27 was Paul Anka’s “I Don’t Like To Sleep Alone.” Sadly, I remember both of those. The No. 1 record on the “South Florida Weekly Music Survey” thirty-nine years ago today was Gwen McCrae’s “Rockin’ Chair.”

The best thing here is “Layla,” but given the record’s omnipresence, what’s the point? I’m tempted by the Stevie Wonder record and the Carpenter’s record, but there’s something else going on here this morning. When I do these survey posts, I list the No. 1 records as a sidelight, not as records under consideration as the post’s feature. But today, I’m going to break that informal rule. In something like 1,500 posts, I’ve mentioned Gwen McCrae and her No. 9 hit just once, and I’ve never featured the record, which I loved back in 1975. So here’s Gwen McCrae’s “Rockin’ Chair,” today’s Saturday Single.

Saturday Single No. 391

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

What with the brain moving in slow motion this morning and the Texas Gal having secured my promise that I will help bag raked leaves before noon, it’s time to lean on a favorite crutch and play Games With Numbers. Today’s date, 5/3, becomes No. 53, and we’re off to find out what records were at No. 53 on May 3 from, oh, let’s do 1970 through 1973 and get four records from which to choose a Saturday Single. (As we tend to do here, we’ll note the No. 1 records from those weeks as we fly by.)

Landing in 1970, we find ourselves listening to a slice of Philly soul from Eddie Holman, who’s sitting at No. 53 with the double-sided single, “Don’t Stop Now/Since I Don’t Have You.” The A-side is a decent piece of Philly soul on ABC – an older version had been released four years earlier on Parkway and bubbled under at No. 104 – backed with a good cover of the Skyliners’ 1959 hit. The two-sided record, which looks in Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles as if it were Holman’s follow-up to “Hey There Lonely Girl,’ (a No. 2 hit in early 1970) was on its way to No. 48. The No. 1 record that week was “ABC” by the Jackson 5.”

Perched at No. 53 a year later was the final charting single from Booker T & The MG’s: “Melting Pot.” A funky and slinky workout with plenty of room for all four musicians to shine, the single was an edit or an excerpt from a longer piece that was the title track and opener to the group’s 1971 album, Melting Pot. The single was on its way to No. 48, the eighteenth and – as I noted – last single the group would place in or near the Billboard Hot 100. (The best-performing of those singles had been the first, the iconic “Green Onions,” which went to No. 3 in 1962.) Sitting at No. 1 during the first week of May in 1971was Three Dog Night’s “Joy To The World.”

A year later, we find the No. 53 slot occupied by the sweet and atmospheric “Walk In The Night” by Jr. Walker& The All Star. The record, which was on its way to No. 46 that week, is one that I featured a couple of years ago, and as I listen to it again this morning, it still doesn’t sound anything like 1972 to me. “Walk In The Night” was the next-to-last of twenty-three records that Walker placed in or near the Hot 100 between 1965 and 1973. Sitting in the top spot of the Hot 100 during the first week in May 1972 was Roberta Flack’s massive hit “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”

And we close this little exercise with a look at the first chart of May in 1973, where we find at No. 53 a brilliant bit of Philly soul: The Stylistics’ “Break Up To Make Up.” The plaint about the “game for fools” had peaked four weeks earlier at No. 5, the fourth of five eventual Top Ten hits for the group, who would in the end put seventeen records in or near the Hot 100 in a five-year period (1971-76). Their best-performing single would be “You Make Me Feel Brand New” in early 1974. And sitting at No. 1 during the first week of May 1973 was “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando & Dawn.

So we have four sweet pieces of soul/R&B to choose from this morning. I’m tempted by the Jr. Walker track, but we just listened to it here two years ago, and even though blog years seem to run on a different track than real-time years, that’s just too recent. So I popped over to Amazon to find an mp3 of “Melting Pot,” as the single edits available at YouTube were in pretty sad shape. And success there – and I can do no more than hope that the single version offered there is the same as the U.S. single version from 1971 and that the 45 jacket used in the video is the one that was used in the U.S. – means that “Melting Pot” by Booker T & The MG’s is today’s Saturday Single.