Posts Tagged ‘Marvelettes’

‘And Sitting At No. 87 . . .’

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

It’s another edition of “Games With Numbers,” this time turning today’s date, August 7 into No. 87 and seeing what records occupied that spot in the Billboard Hot 100 on this date during six years in the 1960s and 1970s.

We’ll head back to August 1960 and start there, landing on “You Mean Everything To Me” by Neil Sedaka. A mostly minor key outing, the tune would – I think – rapidly become wearisome. Enough listeners liked it, however, for the record to make it to No. 17 (while the flipside, “Run Samson Run,” got to No. 28). The two sides are sandwiched in the Sedaka listing in Top Pop Singles between two of Sedaka’s bigger hits: “Stairway to Heaven,” which went to No. 9, and “Calendar Girl,” which went to No. 4. The final tally shows Sedaka with thirty-seven records in or near the Hot 100 between 1958 and 1980.

Three years later, we find an early Tamla single sitting at No. 87, with the Marvelettes admitting in the tumbling “Daddy Knows Best” that all the advice a young girl gets from her father may make some sense. The record was the sixth by the girls from Inkster, Michigan, to hit the Hot 100, and it went to No. 67. The Marvelettes would continue to put records into and near the Hot 100 into 1969, but none of the other twenty-four records ever equaled the performance of their first hit, 1961’s “Please Mr. Postman,” which went to No. 1 (No 7 on the R&B chart).

Traditional pop shows its head as we look at early August 1966, with Al Martino’s “Just Yesterday” sitting at No. 87. I’ve never heard the record before, but as I listen this morning, I hear what are to me unmistakable echoes – melodically, harmonically and thematically – of Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers In The Night,” which had gone to No. 1 just a month earlier. Martino’s single peaked at No, 77, one of forty singles he placed in or near the Hot 100 between 1959 and 1977. The best-performing of those was 1963’s “I Love You Because,” which went to No. 3 on the pop chart and No. 2 on the adult contemporary chart (although I have a fondness for some reason for 1967’s “Mary In The Morning,” which went to No. 27).

Sitting in the No. 87 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 8, 1969 was a single that featured names that in a few years would be among the best-known in R&B. “One Night Affair” was the ninth single by the O’Jays to show up in or near the Hot 100. The previous eight had been on the Imperial and Bell labels; this one was on the Neptune label (a division of GRT Records), which called itself “The Sound of Philadelphia.” The label’s founders – who also wrote the song and produced the record – were Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, who in a few years would spread the Sound of Philadelphia all around the world on their Philadelphia International label. And the record’s arrangement came from Bobby Martin and Thom Bell; I don’t know what happened to Martin, but in the 1970s, Bell – who’d already struck gold working with the Delfonics – would arrange and produce numerous hits for the Spinners, the Stylistics and more. “One Night Affair” peaked at No. 68 (No. 15 R&B), but in three years, the O’Jays – by then recording for Philadelphia International – would see “Back Stabbers” go to No. 3, and six months later, in early 1973, “Love Train” would go to No. 1.  The O’Jays would end up with thirty-three records in or near the Hot 100 between 1963 and 1997.

In the early days August of 1972, the No. 87 single was one of the slightest hit singles Neil Diamond had to that point placed into the Hot 100. “Play Me” would eventually rise to No. 11, the thirty-first of an eventual fifty-six singles Diamond would place in or near the Hot 100. At the time, I thought “Play Me” was an insubstantial piece of fluff as it trailed in the wake of Diamond’s earlier work like “Sweet Caroline,” “Solitary Man,” “Kentucky Woman” and more (including the album track “Done Too Soon,” which remains my favorite Diamond track). But listening to “Play Me” this morning, and looking at the hits that came later – records like “Love On The Rocks,” “Heartlight” and “America” – I find myself liking “Play Me” a lot more than I did forty years ago. It’s still not a great record; but it’s better than I remembered.

Larry Graham was the bass player for Sly & The Family Stone until 1972. A year later, says All Music Guide, he joined an Ohio R&B/funk band he’d been producing and renamed it from Hot Chocolate to Graham Central Station. In early August of 1975, a single from the group’s third album was sitting at No. 87, on its way to No. 38 on the pop chart and No. 1 on the R&B chart. “Your Love” is a sleek and only occasionally funky piece of work that turned out to be the best-charting of the four singles Graham Central Station got into the pop chart; as a solo artist, Graham placed five records in or near the Hot 100 and had a No. 9 hit (No. 1 R&B) in 1980 with “One In A Million You.”

A Six & Two Twelves Equals Thirty

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Being in a mood to play games with numbers this morning, I headed out to the Airheads Radio Survey Archive this morning. I took today’s date of 6-12-12 and added that up to thirty, and then I headed to ARSA to find out what records were at No. 30 on various radio stations during this time of June during six different years.

I also decided to do some geographic sorting along the way, looking for charts from various regions, starting in the Northeastern U.S. and ending up on the West Coast.

We’ll start in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1965, where WHYN released one of its weekly surveys on June 12, forty-seven years ago today. The No. 1 record in Springfield was “I Can’t Help Myself” by the Four Tops, and at No. 30 we find “I’ll Keep Holding On” by the Tops’ labelmates, the Marvelettes. The Marvelettes record would reach No. 34 in the Billboard Hot 100 (No. 11 on the R&B chart), one of twenty-five singles the Marvelettes would place in or near the Hot 100 between 1961 and 1969.

Down in Orlando, Florida, in the middle of June 1967, the No. 1 record on WLOF was “Airplane Song” by the Royal Guardsmen, the same group that had hit No. 2 nationally with “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” the previous winter. At No. 30 in WLOF’s June 17, 1967, survey was a cover of the Who’s “Boris the Spider” by Joey Covington, better known as a drummer for Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane. Covington’s single didn’t make either the Billboard or Cash Box charts.

As the middle of June 1969 approached, the No. 1 record at Kansas City’s WHB was the Beatles’ double-sided “Get Back/Don’t Let Me Down.” Sitting at No. 30 on the station’s survey of June 13, 1969 was “Welcome Me Love” by the Brooklyn Bridge, one side of a two-sided single with “Blessed is the Rain.” “Welcome Me Love” went to No. 48 on the Billboard Hot 100, while “Blessed is the Rain” went to No. 45. The Brooklyn Bridge is best-known, of course, for “The Worst That Could Happen,” which had gone to No. 3 in February 1969.

Here in Minnesota as June of 1971 played out, the No. 1 record in the June 13 survey from KDWB was “Indian Reservation” by the Raiders. Down at the No. 30 slot, we find “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” by the Bee Gees. (I was really hoping for something that I liked more, but that’s how games with numbers sometimes go.) “How Can You . . .” turned out to be the first of the Bee Gees’ nine No. 1 hits on the Billboard chart.

Out in the Arizona desert, the No. 1 hit on Tempe’s KUPD as June of 1973 rolled by was Clint Holmes’ “Playground in My Mind.” Things got quite a bit tougher lower down, as the No. 30 record on the station’s June 16, 1973, survey was “No More Mr. Nice Guy” by Alice Cooper. The record would go to No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. (I just checked, and this is the first time – after something like 1,200 posts – that a record by Alice Cooper has ever been featured here at Echoes In The Wind. I don’t really dislike Cooper’s work, but it just never meant much to me, either.)

And we arrive, finally, at the West Coast, where in mid-June of 1975, San Bernardino’s KFXM showed the Captain & Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together” as its No. 1 record. At No. 30 in the survey released June 13, 1975, we find “I Dreamed Last Night” by Justin Hayward and John Lodge, members of the Moody Blues. The single came from Blue Jays, an album that Hayward and Lodge released while the Moodies were on a six-year hiatus. Unsurprisingly, Blue Jays sounded a lot like the Moodies. “I Dreamed Last Night” went to No. 47.