Well, we’re gonna jump into the Billboard album charts this morning, digging into Joel Whitburn’s Top Ten Album Charts, 1963-1998. We’ll start with the chart for February 22, 1969, forty-five years ago today, and then we’ll come forward a year at a time, checking out the No. 10 albums for a potential Saturday Single. We’ll also note the No. 1 and No. 2 albums of the week. We’ll go four years, bringing us into 1972. We usually do six at a time, but four is enough for today.
Parked in the No. 10 spot forty-five years ago today was one of those combination albums into which Motown habitually dropped Diana Ross & The Supremes. If I’m reading the Supremes’ listing correctly in Whitburn’s Top Pop Albums, between late 1968 and early 1972, the Supremes charted with four albums with the Temptations and three more with the Four Tops. The first of them was the album we’re interested in today, Diana Ross & The Supremes Join The Temptations. It peaked at No. 2, and among its joys is the No. 2 single (No. 2 R&B as well) “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me.”
Sitting at No. 1 and No. 2 in that Billboard chart from February 22, 1969, were, respectively, The Beatles (forever known, of course, as the White Album) and Glenn Campbell’s Wichita Lineman.
On the last day of February 1970, the No. 10 spot in the Billboard 200 belonged to the soundtrack from the film Easy Rider. From Steppenwolf’s “The Pusher” and “Born To Be Wild” through the Fraternity of Man’s “Don’t Bogart Me” and Roger McGuinn’s “The Ballad of Easy Rider,” the soundtrack, which peaked at No. 6, not only illustrates Dennis Hopper’s film but today provides an aural reminder of an entire era of (take your pick) love, hate, exploration, social awareness, revolution, drug-induced hazes, protest, paranoia, contempt, fear, freedom, loss and/or great music.
The No. 1 and No. 2 albums on that last day of February 1970 were Led Zeppelin II and the Beatles’ Abbey Road.
A year later, as February 1971 came near its ending, the No. 10 album in the Billboard 200 was The Partridge Family Album, a collection of recordings featuring Shirley Jones and David Cassidy, two members of the cast of the hit TV show The Partridge Family, backed – says All Music Guide – by Hal Blaine on drums, Larry Carlton on guitar, Joe Osborne on bass and Larry Knechtel on keyboards. At the time, I didn’t know what to think: I liked the No. 1 single “I Think I Love You,” but a band from a TV show? Forty-three years later, I have no qualms: The album, which peaked at No. 4, holds some sublime pop music.
The top two albums on February 27, 1971, were, respectively, Pearl by Janis Joplin and Chicago III.
As we get to the end of February 1972, we run smack into progressive/classical rock: Sitting at its peak position of No. 10 in the Billboard 200 was Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s Pictures At An Exhibition. It’s an album I found overbearing when I heard it in friends’ apartments and dorm rooms back then, though I halfway liked ELP’s take on Modest Mussorgsky’s “The Great Gates of Kiev,” which I’d played with my high school orchestra. Notably, it’s the only album mentioned in this post that’s not on my LP, CD or digital shelves. I don’t think that’s going to change; I have the trio’s self-titled debut album (with “Lucky Man”) in a couple of formats, and I have “From The Beginning,” and that’s enough ELP for me.
Sitting at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the Billboard 200 from February 26, 1972, were Don McLean’s American Pie and Carole King’s Music.
That’s four albums from which to select a track for today. I expressed my surprise the other week when I realized I’d never mentioned the song “Witchi Tai To” in seven years of blogging. I’m even more startled this morning to learn while writing this post that in those same seven years of blogging I have never before mentioned the film Easy Rider.
As startling as that is, it makes this morning’s choice easier. Here’s Roger McGuinn’s “Ballad of Easy Rider,” and it’s today’s Saturday Single.