Posts Tagged ‘Eydie Gorme’

And At No. 95 . . .

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

So what do we know about September 5?

Well, two things I know right off the top of my head: Baseball Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie was born on September 5, 1874, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. And I was born on September 5, 1953, here in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Yep, I’m sixty years old today. That’s a lot of candles.

Or maybe not. When I was a kid, our family made a mathematical game out of candles on birthday cakes. Let’s say it was Dad’s birthday, and he was fifty-seven. Mom might put four big candles and one small candle on Dad’s cake and then let me figure it out: The big candles counted for thirteen years each, and the little one was five years.

So my cake today might have three big candles, or five big candles and one small one, or maybe four big candles and four small ones. Or maybe just one honking big candle. The one thing I’m pretty sure of is that, with apologies to the Crests, it probably wouldn’t be sixteen candles, at least not sixteen identical candles, because we never went in for fractions or percentages. (Sixteen identical candles would come out to 3.75 years per candle, but on the other hand, sixteen candles would work if you went with six big candles at five years each and ten small candles at three years each. There are many ways to skin a birthday candle equation.)

Candles and Nap Lajoie aside, there are a few other notable events that have happened on September 5, according to Wikipedia: In 1666, the Great Fire of London ended, after destroying 10,000 buildings including St. Paul’s Cathedral but killing only six people. In 1774, the first Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia. In 1836, Sam Houston was elected the first president of the Republic of Texas. In 1906, Brabury Robinson of St. Louis University threw the first legal forward pass in college football to Jack Schneider as the Billikens-to-be (the university adopted the lovable and unique mascot sometime around 1911) defeated Carroll College of Wisconsin 22-0. Wikipedia lists many more September 5 events, but I’ll stop there.

But what about – as is our focus here – music? Maybe the Billboard charts and some records found at No. 95? (For 9/5, of course.) Odd and Pop – my imaginary tunehead companions – urge caution. “If you dig that deep in the charts for today’s music, you might get something weird,” says Pop.

“Well, that would be good,” says Odd. “After all, who wants to hear something that was so popular that we can sing it in our sleep?”

Tossing their cautions into the September breeze, I head to the files to check out the Billboard Hot 100s between 1954 and, oh, 1990 that were released on September 5. There were six of them.

The first of those September 5 charts came out in 1956, when Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel” was sitting at No. 1. We could choose from among four records, as there was a four-way tie at No. 93, listed alphabetically by title. We’ll go with the third of those four, which leaves us with “Lola’s Theme” by Steve Allen. Unfortunately, I can find no trace of the recording online (though some 45s and 78s of it are for sale). The record – a version of a theme from the movie Trapeze starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis – went to No. 75. It was one of six records Allen put into or near the Hot 100 between 1955 and 1964, according to Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Hits. Allen’s recording of “Lola’s Theme” was one of two to reach the chart; Muir Mathieson’s version of the tune went to No. 67, also in 1956. I did manage to find a non-charting version of the tune at YouTube, so here’s “Lola’s Theme” as released that same year by Ralph Marterie & His Orchestra.

We jump ahead to 1960 and find a record that my little pal Odd is going to love. Sitting at No. 95 on the day I turned seven years old was “Rocking Goose” by Johnny & The Hurricanes, a group better known for “Red River Rock,” their No. 5 hit from 1959. “Rocking Goose” went to No. 60 and was one of ten Hot 100 hits or near-hits for the group. It’s just silly enough that the seven-year-old whiteray might have liked it if he’d ever heard it. It’s doubtful that he did, though. And he likely wasn’t aware, either, that Elvis had another No. 1 hit that week, “It’s Now Or Never.”

Oddly enough, the No. 95 record from the Hot 100 released on September 5, 1964, was from an artist whose passing last month was noted by major media and numerous blogs: Eydie Gormé. “Can’t Get Over (The Bossa Nova)” was on a very short climb to No. 87 and was a follow-up to Gormé’s No. 7 hit from 1963, “Blame It On The Bossa Nova.” The follow-up is a decent record but, as with most sequels, tends to pale in comparison to the original. I imagine I might have heard it on a television variety show or maybe even on the radio at home: “Can’t Get Over (The Bossa Nova)” went to No. 20 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Sitting at No. 1 on the day I turned eleven was a record I vaguely remember hearing as my sister listened to KDWB: “House Of The Rising Sun” by the Animals.

Our next stop is right in the middle of what I call my “sweet spot,” the years when music and Top 40 radio mattered the most to me back then. The No. 95 record on September 5, 1970, just a few days before I started my senior year of high school, was “Empty Pages” by Traffic. I don’t know that I heard the song then; the title doesn’t show up in any of the KDWB surveys collected at the Oldiesloon website, and the record peaked in the Hot 100 at only No. 74. (The single might have been shorter or otherwise different from the album version in the linked video; I don’t know.) I was, however, familiar with the No. 1 record that week, Edwin Starr’s “War,” which was in the second of three weeks on top of the chart.

By 1981, I was rarely listening to hit radio, as the Other Half and I tended to tune into one of the Twin Cities AC stations on the clock radio and on those frequent evenings when we sat reading with the radio on in the background. So it’s a pleasant surprise to find that I know well the record that was sitting at No. 95 on my twenty-eighth birthday: “All Those Years Ago,” George Harrison’s tribute to the murdered John Lennon. “All Those Years Ago” had been No. 2 for two weeks and had gone to No. 1 on the AC chart, one of eighteen records that Harrison placed in the Hot 100 between 1970 and 1988. The No. 1 record that week was the abysmal Diana Ross/Lionel Richie duet, “Endless Love,” in the fourth week of a nine-week stint on top of the Hot 100.

Our last stop of the day is 1987, when I celebrated my birthday in Minot, N.D., having moved there just a few weeks earlier. The No. 95 record on September 5, 1987, is one that I know I’ve  heard many times, but today marks the first time I’ve ever sought it out: “Girls, Girls, Girls” by the bearers of unnecessary umlauts, Mötley Crüe. The record went to No. 12, one of fourteen hits and near-hits Whitburn lists for the group through 2008. I doubt that I’ve ever sought out the No. 1 record for that week, either, though I’ve heard it many times: “La Bamba” by Los Lobos, in the first of three weeks atop the chart.

Getting Used To Being 57

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

I’ve been fifty-seven for a little more than a week now, which is long enough to get used to it. Just like it used to take a week or so to remember to write the correct year on a check every January, it now takes about a week for me to internalize my new age every September. (It never used to; back when age and birthdays were of huge importance, my age was always at the forefront of my mind.) Of course, the simile tends to underline the fact that – year by year – I’m out-growing many of the little things that used to be day-to-day realities: paper checks are now an item almost ready to be relegated to the same place where one finds dial phones, home-delivered milk and so much more.

But that’s okay. It’s better to be fifty-seven and know the world has changed immensely than it would have been to not get to fifty-seven at all. And in the absence of anything more compelling today, I thought I’d take a look at a few of the records that have been at No. 57 at mid-September, the time when these days I begin remember to include the additional year when someone asks my age.

We’ll start with 1956 – as the Billboard data I have seems to indicate that as the first year there was a No. 57 slot for a record – and then hit every six years from there.

On this date in 1956, the No. 57 record was “Mama, Teach Me To Dance” by Eydie Gorme. The record was Gorme’s second Top 40 hit, having peaked at No. 34 earlier in the month. She’d have five more Top 40 hits, the last two with husband Steve Lawrence. The duo, it seems to me, were regulars on many talk shows throughout the 1960s.

In 1962, one of the great Fifties rockers had a single at No. 57: Bo Diddley’s “You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover” was heading up the chart toward its peak of No. 48 (No. 21 on the R&B chart). The video I’ve linked to is from a television performance (evidently in New York, according to other versions I’ve seen of the clip), and it kicks, Bo Diddley beat and all.

On this date in 1968, the Vogues’ “My Special Angel” was sitting at No. 57. A week later, the record would enter the Top 40 en route to No. 7. The record – which would spend two weeks atop the Adult Contemporary chart – would be the sixth of the group’s eight eventual Top 40 hits.

In 1974, one of Edgar Winter’s three Top 40 hits was perched at No. 57 on its way down the chart, having spent two weeks at No. 33 in mid-August. “River’s Risin’” was Winter’s last Top 40 hit and – to these ears – wasn’t quite as good as the two 1973 hits credited to the Edgar Winter Group: “Frankenstein” (No. 1) and “Free Ride” (No. 14).

Edgar Winter – “River’s Risin’” [1974]

I pretty much missed the Split Enz, although I listened to a fair amount of Crowded House, the group the Finn brothers formed after the Split Enz broke up. Around this time in 1980, the Enz’ record “I Got You” was at No. 57. It would climb just four more spots before peaking at No. 53. And although I never sought the record out, I recognize – like almost anyone else, I imagine – the song’s hooky chorus.

When mid-September 1986 rolled around, the No. 57 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 was occupied by “Emotion in Motion,” a single from Rick Ocasek of the Cars. The record would enter the Top 40 a month later and peak at No. 15, taking the top spot on the Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock charts. Even twenty-four years later, the video is, if a bit much, still fun to watch:

Our wanderings have brought us to 1992, and we’ll run through the remaining years quickly, as they’re years we don’t often deal with. The No. 57 record in mid-September that year was “Jump!” by the Movement, which went only to No. 53 in the Hot 100 but went to No. 2 on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales and to No. 1 on the Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart. I missed it entirely.

The Wilkinsons, a country trio, occupied spot No. 57 during the third week in September 1998. Three weeks earlier, “26 Cents” had peaked at No. 55 on the Hot 100, but the record it to No. 3 on the Country Singles chart, the first of seven records the group got into the country chart, though none of the others did as well as “26 Cents.” I missed this one, too, but I may have to go back and check into the Wilkinsons. I likely won’t do the same with the Movement.

The data I have in my files ends with July 2004, so I don’t know what was at No. 57 that September, but to bring things up to the current time, I glanced at the Billboard Hot 100 available online for this week. The record currently at No. 57 is “Fancy” by Drake featuring T.I. and Swizz Beatz. I listened to about a minute of it. Wasn’t quite my thing.

I’ll be back tomorrow, I hope, with a new installment of the Ultimate Jukebox.

(One title corrected since first posted; thanks, Yah Shure.)