Posts Tagged ‘Santana’

Saturday Single No. 214

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

There are many reasons I’m glad that we left the Twin Cities and moved to St. Cloud eight years ago, but I was reminded of one of them yesterday: It began to snow about three o’clock in the afternoon, and by the time we got to what passes for rush hour here, the snow was fairly thick, the winds were swirling and the streets were a little slippery.

Weather like that slows things down of course, and when the Texas Gal got home – she was able to leave work a little early yesterday – traffic wasn’t moving very fast. And I thought to myself that having her deal with a snow crawl in St. Cloud with its sixty-thousand or so people is far more preferable to being in similar circumstances in the Twin Cities with its three million or so folks. I’m a stay-at-home now, of course, but during the 1990s, I spent enough snowy mornings and afternoons on the Twin Cities freeways to know that I never want to do so again. Nor do I want to worry about the Texas Gal being caught up in major traffic out there. So that’s one big plus in St. Cloud’s favor.

And then I thought about how I passed the time as the traffic crawled on those wintry days. I don’t think any of the vehicles I drove in those days even had a tape player, so I was dependent on the radio. And I began to wonder what would a Top 40 listener have heard during a snow crawl during the first week of December? So I thought I’d dig through the charts for the years this blog generally deals with and see what might have been coming out of the speakers at No. 12.

We’ll go with odd numbers here and start with 1963. The No. 12 song during the first week of that December, when I was ensconced in fifth grade at Lincoln Elementary, was Sam Cooke’s “Little Red Rooster,” a bluesy piece of R&B with a superb organ break. I don’t know the record well, and I’m going to have to listen to it again very soon. The record was on its way to No. 11.

The twelfth spot in the first chart of December 1965 brings us “Run, Baby Run (Back Into My Arms)” by the Newbeats. They’re better remembered today for “Bread and Butter,” which went to No. 2 in 1964. I don’t recall hearing “Run, Baby Run” during that December of seventh grade, but I happened to come across it the other day and thought it was a fascinating mix of 4 Seasons vocals and Motown backing that peaked right at No. 12.

In December of 1967, I was in ninth grade and was more aware than ever of the music my peers were listening to, even if I wasn’t exactly listening to it intently. Sitting at No. 12 during the first week of that month was Cher’s “You Better Sit Down Kids,” which Wikipedia says was “arguably the first [single] ever released that dealt with divorce, as divorce was a somewhat taboo subject in the 1960s.” The record was on its way to No. 9

By the time December of 1969 rolled around, I was listening to Top 40 along with the rest of the high school world. At No. 12 during that month’s first week was a song that still brings me a smile (and is one I probably should have installed in this year’s Ultimate Jukebox): “Smile A Little Smile For Me,” the only hit for the British studio group Flying Machine. The song was on its way down the chart after peaking at No. 5.

I was just about wrapping up my first – and disastrous – quarter of college when December of 1971 arrived. My listening would soon begin shifting toward album rock as I began to spend more and more of my time in the offices and studios of KVSC, the St. Cloud State student radio station. But I’m pretty sure I heard that week’s No. 12 record both in those studios and on my radio at home, though it rarely makes oldies playlists today: “Everybody’s Everything” by Santana, which actually peaked at No. 12.

During the first week of December 1973, I was hitch-hiking my way through Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands despite the fact that there was little traffic on the roads. (The oil-exporting nations had decided to send very little oil to Western Europe to punish the Europeans for their support of Israel in a brief October war.) Hitch-hiking during an oil embargo was perhaps not the brightest move, as I walked a lot and busted my budget taking trains. One thing I didn’t do was listen to U.S. Top 40 radio, which meant I didn’t hear Marie Osmond’s cover of “Paper Roses,” which was sitting at No. 12, having earlier peaked at No. 5.

I was living in the Twin Cities and sitting in the occasional snow crawl on my way to my internship at a television station during December 1975, and I imagine that I likely heard the record that was at No. 12 during that month’s first week: “Love Rollercoaster” by the Ohio Players. In a season of good funk and lots of disco, “Love Rollercoaster” was as good as anything else in the Top Fifteen and was on its way to spending a week at No. 1.

The first chart of December 1977 came out two days after I first saw my byline in the Monticello Times. I have no idea what I did that first Saturday of December that year, but I imagine that I listened to the radio for at least a part of it. And sitting at No. 12 that week was Dave Mason’s “We Just Disagree,” which I’ve always thought was a pretty good single. The record was at No. 12 for the second straight week and would go no higher.

And we come to December 1979, during the time when I missed a lot of popular music and don’t recall a lot of what I did hear. The No. 12 record during the first week of that month was Anne Murray’s “Broken Hearted Me,” which I did not recall until I listened to the first few bars this morning. I’m sure I heard the record on the FM station we regularly listened to at home at the time, but it obviously never impressed me much. The record spent one more week at No. 12 before moving back down the chart.

And our tenth record of the morning in this little experiment – No. 12 during the first week of December 1981 – is actually a pretty good one and one that I do recall hearing coming out of the radio in our living room just outside Monticello: “Leather and Lace” by Stevie Nicks with help from Don Henley. That was a time, of course, when it seemed like one could not turn on the radio without hearing something that had some connection with Fleetwood Mac: Production assistance, guest vocals, solo recordings or even records by the band itself, and to my ears, “Leather and Lace” is one of the better of those side projects. It was on its way to No. 6.

So, there we have ten tunes from the first weeks of Decembers long past, and – with the exception of the Marie Osmond single and perhaps the Anne Murray record – they make up a pretty good stretch of listening. But which one do I pull out for extra attention? Well, I was reminded as I dug this morning how good Santana’s “Everybody’s Everything” is, so it’s actually an easy choice for this week’s Saturday Single: