Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Chart Digging: A Six-Pack From July 26, 1969

Monday, July 26th, 2010

With some time and energy available on a Monday morning, I thought I’d pull a Billboard chart from a long-ago July 26 and dig around in its depths, with the only requirement being that I’d stay away from 1970, as we’ve been spending a fair amount of time there in recent months. I needn’t have worried. The years during which a rendition of the Billboard Hot 100 has been released with a date of July 26 are 1969, 1975, 1980, 1986, 1997 and 2003. (I think I got them all; if not, oh well.)

After that, it was a relatively easy choice. The latter two don’t interest me much at all, and although I don’t dislike the tunes of the 1980s as much as I once thought I did, I’m still happier messing around in the music of times earlier than that. So I looked at 1969 to see what interesting artifacts lay around in the tunes in the lower portions of the Top 40 and further down the chart.

First, though, to get grounded, here’s the Top Ten from that week ending July 26, 1969, forty-one years ago today:

“In The Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)” by Zager & Evans
“Crystal Blue Persuasion” by Tommy James & the Shondells
“Spinning Wheel” by Blood, Sweat & Tears
“My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder
“What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” by Jr. Walker & the All Stars
“Good Morning Starshine” by Oliver
“One” by Three Dog Night
“The Ballad of John and Yoko” by the Beatles
“Baby, I Love You” by Andy Kim
“Love Theme from ‘Romeo & Juliet’” by Henry Mancini & His Orchestra

That’s either a great or only tolerable Top Ten, I imagine, depending on how one feels about the No. 1 song of the week. This was the third week at No. 1 for “In The Year 2525.” (It would stay there for three more weeks before being dislodged by the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women.”) And there are, I think, very few music fans who are noncommittal about the record. It’s either loved or detested. In these precincts, it’s loved.

So for me, this is a stellar Top Ten. July 1969 found me on the verge of becoming an active Top 40 listener – my work as a football manager that tipped the balance would begin in another three or so weeks – and I remember most of these as radio tunes rather than as something I learned about some time later. Go down the list, and there’s some R&B, some ballads, some psychedelic sounds, a Beatles tune and a sweet instrumental. What more do ya want?

Things were just as interesting a little further down. “I Turned You On,” a funky slice of R&B by the Isley Brothers, was at No. 30, having spent the past two weeks at its peak position of No. 23. It was the fourth of an eventual fifteen Top 40 hits (through 2001) for the group from Cincinnati, Ohio.


From there, we go to what I guess would be called a slice of Bazooka from a group from Baltimore, Maryland. The Peppermint Rainbow had scored a Top 40 hit earlier in 1969, when “Will You Be Staying After Sunday” went to No. 32. By the week of July 26, a follow-up, “Don’t Wake Me Up In The Morning, Michael,” was at its peak position of No. 54. It would stay there another week before first dropping two places and then falling off the chart entirely.

The Happenings – a quartet from Paterson, New Jersey – reached the Top 40 four times between July 1966 and July 1967, with the best known of their hits most likely being their first: “See You In September,” which went to No. 3. After “My Mammy” went to No. 13 during the summer of 1967, the group had four other singles enter the Hot 100 without reaching the Top 40, according to All-Music Guide. The last of them turned out to be a double-sided single pulled from the album Piece of Mind. The A-side, I assume, was “New Day Coming,” but the presumptive B-side got some airplay, too,  and was sitting at No. 77 as July 26 rolled around. That rather odd track, “Where Do I Go/Be-In (Hare Krishna),” peaked at No. 66 two weeks later.  (Based on information from reader Yah Shure, it’s clear that “Where Do I Go/Be-In (Hare Krishna)” was in fact the A-side and “New Day Coming,” was the B-side. Thanks, Yah Shure!)

Duke Baxter never had a Top 40 hit. He did, however, get at least one record into the Hot 100: “Everybody Knows Matilda,” which was at No. 92 during the week ending July 26, 1969. The record – released on the VMC label – peaked in mid-August, sitting at No. 52 for two weeks. I know very little else about Mr. Baxter. All-Music Guide barely notes his existence. I learned from a bulletin board discussion I found through Google that Baxter released at least one album, also titled Everybody Knows Matilda. Baxter also released several other singles on VMC, Festival and Mercury. How those other singles did, I have absolutely no idea, although YouTube has a couple of them here and here.

Jefferson was the recording name of one Geoff Turton, a native of Birmingham, England. His one hit was “Baby Take Me In Your Arms,” which went to No. 23 in early 1970. The previous year, however, he got into the Hot 100 with “The Colour of My Love,” which peaked at No. 68 in early November of 1969. During the week we’re looking at, “The Colour of My Love” was bubbling under the Hot 100, at No. 106. Four weeks later, the record would get to No. 84 and then drop back under the Hot 100 before rebounding on its way to No. 68.

Further down yet in the Bubbling Under section of the July 26, 1969, chart, we find at No. 120 a single by a group from Montreal, Canada, called Life. The single in question, “The Hands of the Clock,” seems to have bubbled under for two weeks before falling out of the chart entirely. The website Garagehangover offers pretty much everything one might need to know about Life, as well as downloadable mp3s of “The Hands of the Clock” and the B-side of one of the group’s Canadian singles.

That’s enough digging today. I’ll be around Wednesday with the next six selections from the Ultimate Jukebox.