Vic & Some More Tommy

I’ve mentioned before the idea of the sweet spot, my friend Schultz’s term for the cluster of years in which one finds one’s most pertinent music. And as I’ve also mentioned before, mine falls in the years when the 1960s were ending and the 1970s began. Here’s a look at how the total number of posts here and at Echoes In The Wind Archives fall for those years and the years on either side (keeping in mind that I still have about a year’s worth of posts to put onto the archives site):

As have similar accountings over the past six years, this one underlines the fact that my favorite year for music was 1970. And still, even after more than forty-two years of digging into the tunes of that year, I can find something I’d never heard before.

I was rummaging around this morning at the Airheads Radio Survey Archive and playing around with today’s date of 3/19. I found seven surveys from around March 19, 1970 (I had planned to do only six, but saw that a survey from the Twin Cities’ KDWB was available from March 23 of that year), and was checking to see what records were No. 1, No. 3 and No. 19. The other six stations were in Fresno, California; Orlando, Florida; Kansas City, Missouri; Hartford, Connecticut; Birmingham, Alabama; and St. Thomas, Ontario.

The No. 1 records, though good, were unsurprising: The Beatles’ “Let It Be” three times, Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” twice, and single instances of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s double-sided “Who’ll Stop The Rain/Travelin’ Band” and John Ono Lennon’s “Instant Karma.”

The No. 3 songs, with one exception, were familiar as well: Two mentions of “The Rapper” by the Jaggerz and single listings of “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Grows)” by Edison Lighthouse, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” by the Hollies, “House of the Rising Sun” by Frijid Pink, and – at WSGN in Birmingham – “Instant Karma,” credited to John & Ono Lennon.

The surveys got more varied but were still mostly familiar at No. 19: “Don’t Worry Baby” (a cover of the Beach Boys’ hit) by the Tokens, “All I Have To Do Is Dream” by Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell, “Temma Harbour” by Mary Hopkin, “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” by the Delfonics, “Hey There Lonely Girl” by Eddie Holman and “Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool For You Baby)” by Lulu. That last record – one of my favorites, as readers likely already know – was on the KDWB survey, where it peaked at No. 6 (as opposed to No. 22 in the Billboard Hot 100), which explains why the record is so firmly in my 1970 data banks.

Sharp-eyed readers will note that I skipped over one of the No. 3 records and one of the No. 19 records. They turned out to be tracks I’d never heard before: At No. 3 at CHLO in St. Thomas, Ontario, sat “If I Never Knew Your Name” by Vic Dana, and at No. 19 at Birmingham’s WSGN was “Stir It Up and Serve It” by Tommy Roe.

Those are names that haven’t come up often in this space: I’ve mentioned Vic Dana four times over the course of writing about 1,200 posts, and I’ve mentioned Roe maybe ten times until this past week. Roe did show up here last week when I offered the title track from his 1967 album It’s Now Winters Day. And here he is again.

“Stir It Up and Serve It” falls more in line with Roe’s “Dizzy” and “Jam Up Jelly Tight” (though not as silly as that last) than it does with the reflective “Winters Day.” As I noted above, I’d never heard the record before, which isn’t surprising, as it only got to No. 50 in the Billboard charts. (Surveys at ARSA show it charting in the Top Twenty at stations in St. Louis, Milwaukee and Columbus, Ohio, as well as in Birmingham.)

And then there’s the Vic Dana single. A Neil Diamond composition (it was on Diamond’s 1969 album Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show, which was later retitled Sweet Caroline), the song gets a touch of Phil Spector from producer Ted Glasser. It’s a decent record that peaked at No. 47 in the Billboard Hot 100 and went to No. 14 on the AC chart.

The No. 3 ranking it got at CHLO is the highest in any of the surveys compiled at ARSA, but it also reached the Top Twenty at stations in Chicago, Columbus and Birmingham as well as in Waupun, Wisconsin; Provo, Utah; Springfield, Massachusetts; Hamilton, Ontario; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and New Haven, Connecticut. From what I can tell – combing through surveys at ARSA and Oldiesloon – “If I Never Knew Your Name” never showed up on KDWB’s survey.

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4 Responses to “Vic & Some More Tommy”

  1. Yah Shure says:

    Make that two for having never heard the Vic Dana record before, although I do recall hearing his version of Neil’s “Red Red Wine.” The Twin Cities’ Drake-Chenault “Hit Parade”-formatted station, KEEY, probably aired them both.

    Surprisngly, KS95 used to play “Temma Harbour” into the late 1980s. Philamore Lincoln’s original version is also worth a spin.

  2. porky says:

    great Vic Dana record, it got lots of airplay on what I was listening to, mainly WLS. It’s one (like Shannon’s “Abergavenny”) that came back to me instantly upon hearing it, fifteen years later.

    Man, I love Lulu. Her Parrot sides, re-released when “To Sir With Love” was hot, are incredible.

  3. Steve E. says:

    KHJ in Southern California played the Dana single. It peaked at No. 20 the week of Feb. 25. At the time, I didn’t know that Diamond had written it.

  4. […] I noted a couple of weeks ago, the upper portions of the Billboard charts from 1970 hold few surprises. Here’s the Top 10 from […]

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