Saturday Single No. 203

We haven’t played “Jump” here for a while, looking at a Top 40 chart and seeing which records moved the most since the previous week’s chart. So I thought I’d tap into a chart from right around the time my first year college began: Fall quarter began – according to the notes from Dad’s photo files – on September 20, 1971. That late start felt odd after eighteen years of starting school right just after Labor Day.

So by the time the following Saturday came around and the new Billboard Top 40 came out, I’d experienced a number of first: Having signed up for a one-credit media experience course, I walked into the studios at KVSC for the first time; I met for the first time the young woman who would provide my first college romance; I entered for the first time classrooms – for physics and African history – where sliding along without much effort would not be enough, and I would fail both classes. But along with those firsts – and there were likely others, if I were to think for a while longer – there were things that remained constant. One of them was the radio.

Here’s the Top Ten from the Billboard chart of September 25, 1971, thirty-nine years ago today:

“Go Away Little Girl” by Donny Osmond
“Maggie May/Reason to Believe” by Rod Stewart
“Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers
“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” by Joan Baez
“Spanish Harlem” by Aretha Franklin
“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” by Paul and Linda McCartney
“Smiling Faces Sometimes” by the Undisputed Truth
“Superstar/Bless the Beasts and Children” by the Carpenters
“Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get” by the Dramatics
“I Just Want To Celebrate” by Rare Earth

From this distance, that’s a pretty good Top Ten. I have quibbles with only three. The Donny Osmond record was just too saccharine, and it just didn’t ring true to me. And Donny was only thirteen; calling the object of the song a little girl made the record either ludicrous or unseemly. (I know Steve Lawrence had a No. 1 hit with the song in 1963, but I never liked that one, either, and for the same three reasons.)

The other two records from that Top Ten that give me pause are Joan Baez’ take on “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and the Paul and Linda McCartney tune. I’ve written about the butchered lyrics in the Baez single before, and all I really want to say about the McCartney tune is that I don’t think it’s aged well.

Other than those three, that’s a pretty good Top Ten, and it was a stable one, as well. Only one record was new to the Top Ten – the Carpenters’ double-sided single – and none of the records had moved more than four places from the week before.

Elsewhere in the Top 40, there was some movement: Eleven songs had shifted six or more places from the previous week’s chart, starting with “If You Really Loved Me” by Stevie Wonder, which had moved exactly six places, rising from No. 20 to No. 14.

One record moved seven places: Denise LaSalle’s “Trapped By A Thing Called Love” went from No. 42 to No. 35.

Shifts of eight places were common that week. They included Tommy Roe’s “Stagger Lee” (a record I’m not sure I’ve ever heard), which went from No. 45 to No. 37. Others with eight-place shifts were George Harrison’s “Bangla Desh/DeepBlue” (from No. 23 down to No. 31), the Persuaders’ “Thin Line Between Love And Hate” (from No. 35 up to No. 27), and the Bee Gees’ “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” (from No. 9 down to No. 17).

The Free Movement’s “I Found Someone Of My Own” moved up nine spots, from No. 39 to No. 30, as did Freddie Hart’s country tune, “Easy Loving,” which jumped from No. 49 to No. 40.

Three Dog Night saw “Liar” drop twelve spots, going from No. 17 to No. 29, and John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” fell thirteen spots, dropping from No. 13 to No. 26.

And the winner of the week was a record that moved up twenty-one places, from No. 40 to No. 19. It’s a record I wasn’t particularly fond of at the time, although when I listened to it this morning, it was much better than I remembered. Perspective is a good thing, and from the distance of thirty-nine years, the Osmond’s “Yo-Yo” is a pretty well-crafted piece of pop, and it’s today’s Saturday Single:

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2 Responses to “Saturday Single No. 203”

  1. WZJN says:

    I agree about perspective. The song isn’t bad at all and brings back memories of when the Osmonds were regularly on the airwaves. Would that happen today? I doubt it, and we’re worse for the lack of diversity.

  2. Jeff says:

    We haven’t played “Jump” here for a while …

    I’ll say. We never hear Van Halen here anymore.

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