Posts Tagged ‘Edwin Starr’

No. 53, Fifty-Three Years Ago

Thursday, March 21st, 2019

With my time self-limited this morning – I have two or three errands that I want to complete before watching the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team take on Louisville in the NCAA tournament – I’m jumping into another game of Symmetry this morning, this time taking a look at the Billboard Hot 100 from fifty-three years ago.

During the third week of March 1966 – as represented by the Hot 100 released on March 19 – the top three records in the Hot 100 were “The Ballad Of The Green Berets” by S/Sgt. Barry Sadler, “19th Nervous Breakdown” by the Rolling Stones, and “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” by Nancy Sinatra.

I heard all three regularly, somewhere. (Most likely, as I think about it, in Mrs. Villalta’s art classroom, where she allowed us to play the radio at low volume while we drew or inked or clayed.) And I was pretty much okay with all of them, as I am with two of them these days: Both the Stones’ record and “Boots” are among the 3,900-some tracks in the iPod.

About Sadler’s record: As awful as the war in Vietnam was, thoughtfulness about it had not yet percolated to the level of seventh grade; that – along with opposition to the war – would take a couple more years, so Sadler’s record, which was No. 1 for five weeks, did not bother me or my peers. We thought the Green Berets were heroes. But when it popped up on one of the Sixties radio channels maybe a month or so ago, I winced.

And now, we’ll drop a few slots past the mid-point of the Hot 100 and check out No. 53 from fifty-three years ago this week. There we find one of Edwin Starr’s first hits: Stop Her On Sight (S.O.S.),” which would peak at No. 48 a week later (and would go to No. 9 on the Billboard R&B chart).

The record was on the Ric-Tic label, but in his 1989 book The Heart Of Rock & Soul, Dave Marsh notes that Starr’s first hits “may have been released on this minor-league Motor City label, but their every inflection established that Motown was embedded in the grooves of his destiny,” adding that the record was “one of the greatest non-Motown Motown discs ever cut, with the same booting backbeat, the same thunderous baritone sax riffs and a vocal as tough and assured as any of the early Marvin Gaye’s.” (Marsh ranks the single at No. 210.)

Saturday Single No. 191

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

I’ve thought about a few things to write about this morning, but they’re topics more suitable for another day: The most interesting would be to dig about in the lower levels of the Billboard Hot 100 for this week in 1971, and I’m likely to do that next week.

But the minute hand on the clock on the wall keeps moving, and I have several items on my list of things to do before the U.S. and Ghana face off in the World Cup early this afternoon. So I’m going to go to the RealPlayer, sort for the word “world” and do a six-song random search. Unless there’s something entirely wrong with it, the sixth song we get will be today’s offering.

So here we go:

First up is “There’s A Place In The World For A Gambler,” the closing tune to Dan Fogelberg’s 1971 album Souvenirs. The album, which in my view is the one that made Fogelberg a star, went to No. 17; the song is a pretty valedictory that just escapes being preachy. As much as I’ve liked his music over the years, I have to say that Fogelberg didn’t always escape that trap.

Then there’s “I’d Love To Change The World,” Ten Years After’s 1971 single from A Space In Time. These days, the couplet “Tax the rich, feed the poor, until there are no rich no more” comes off more as naïve or ironic than revolutionary. I’m sure that at the time, though, the group’s members realized they were asking for their own (most likely sizable) assets to be diminished. The single went to No. 40, providing the group with its only Top 40 hit, one that I still like plenty. The album went to No. 17.

Next up is a spooky, echo-laden version of the Motown tune “My World Is Empty Without You” by Marsha Hunt. It comes from Hunt’s 1971 album Woman Child. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hunt was a fixture in 1960s London and was linked musically with names like John Mayall, Elton John and Marc Bolan and romantically with Mick Jagger. The timbre of her voice somehow wearies me, and I rarely listen to her one album.

Fourth this morning is ‘Until the End of the World” from Achtung Baby, the 1991 album that highlighted a transformational period for U2. The new sound of U2 didn’t settle in for me right away, but I was in a minority, it seems: The record went to No. 1 and eight of its twelve tracks showed up on one chart or another. “Until the End of the World” went to No. 5 on the Mainstream Rock chart and to No. 4 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.

“Jeremiah was a bullfrog!” Of course he was, at least in Hoyt Axton’s universe, and by extention, the universe of Three Dog Night, which had a mega-hit with Axton’s “Joy to the World.” The single went to No. 1 for six weeks in the spring of 1971 and it’s the fifth song to pop up here today.

Well, if I don’t love you, baby,
Grits ain’t groceries, eggs ain’t poultry
And Mona Lisa was a man.

So sings Edwin Starr on “All Around The World,” a long-lived soul/R&B song recorded over the years by folks as diverse as Little Willie John, Champion Jack Dupree, Lou Rawls, James Booker and more. Starr’s version shows up on War & Peace, his 1970 effort that included “War,” the song most firmly – and rightly – identified with him. Starr’s take on “All Around The World” is a little over-done, but it’s worth a listen, and it’s today’s Saturday Single: