Posts Tagged ‘Springwell’

Saturday Single 516

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

I wrote here last Saturday about the cabaret performance that two friends and I have been rehearsing and polishing since late July. Today’s our dress rehearsal, and I have butterflies to a degree I’ve not felt in years.

I imagine I’ll be fine, that once the suite of tunes we’ve selected as our seating music ends and I begin our opening monologue, the butterflies will have taken a seat along with those who have come to see our rehearsal, and the show will go on and will go relatively smoothly. I don’t expect perfection, but I think all three of us will do well.

That said, I was nosing around today in the goodies at oldiesloon, which offers many of the surveys that the Twin Cities’ KDWB put out from the years 1959 through 1972. (I’m sure the surveys lasted much longer than that; the site focuses on those years.) And since one of the tales I’m telling in Cabaret De Lune looks at the contrast between late autumn 1971 and late autumn 1972, I thought I’d look today at KDWB’s “6+30” for this week in 1971, a survey dated November 8.

And we’ll take care of November 1972 in some fashion next week.

The top ten on KDWB forty-five years ago this week holds a few surprises:

“One Tin Soldier” by Coven
“Imagine” by John Lennon
“It’s A Cryin’ Shame” by Gayle McCormick
“Peace Train” by Cat Stevens
“Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves” by Cher
“Theme from ‘Shaft’” by Isaac Hayes
“Long Ago and Far Away” by James Taylor
“Two Divided By Love” by the Grass Roots
“Everybody’s Everything” by Santana

Maybe the most surprising entry there is the single by McCormick, previously the lead singer for Smith. The highest “It’s A Cryin’ Shame” reached in the Billboard Hot 100 was No. 44. I also noticed that the James Taylor single did better in the Twin Cities than it did nationally; it went to No. 31 in the Hot 100. But I do recall hearing those tracks and the rest of KDWB’s top ten from that week, though the Santana track is a little less sharply defined in my memory.

As I’ve noted in this space before, my listening habits began to evolve during my freshman year of college. My Top 40 listening was limited pretty much to the daytime or when I was visiting friends in the dorms. During evenings at home, I was generally listening to the album rock offered by St. Cloud State’s KVSC-FM or to my own LPs, which was still pretty Beatles-heavy (though Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Déjà Vu was in heavy rotation, as were Stephen Stills’ first solo release and Janis Joplin’s Pearl, and I added a Doors hits album and Jethro Tull’s Aqualung to the playlist in early November of 1971).

So it doesn’t startle me that I don’t recognize all the records listed on that week’s 6+30, but I think a few of them still qualify as surprises.

Maybe the biggest is sitting at No. 29: “He Will Come” from the album Truth of Truths, a rock opera offering tales from the Bible. I recall seeing the album in the stores and always thought it was a blatant attempt to piggyback on the success of Jesus Christ Superstar. It didn’t work; Jesus Christ Superstar spent three weeks at No. 1 in the Billboard 200 and stayed in the chart for 101 weeks; Truth of Truths was in the album chart for seven weeks and peaked at No. 185. And listening to “He Will Come” this morning – and I don’t at all recall hearing it forty-five years ago – I thought for the first ten seconds or so I was hearing a mistakenly labeled cover of the Beatles’ “Let It Be.”

(A side note about Truth of Truths here: Having never heard the entire album, I was unaware until this morning that – according to Wikipedia – the voice of God was provided by Jim Backus, perhaps best known for playing the role of Thurston Howell III on Gilligan’s Island and for providing the voice of the cartoon character Mr. Magoo.)

Getting back to KDWB’s 6+30 from November 8, 1971, I noticed a couple of other unfamiliar records that went higher in the Twin Cities than they did nationally: “Long Ago Tomorrow” by B.J. Thomas was at No. 33 on KDWB but peaked at No. 61 in Billboard. Mason Proffit’s “Hope” was sitting at No. 27 on KDWB in November 1971 but only bubbled under the Hot 100 at No. 108. Bob Seger’s “Lookin’ Back” was at No. 35 on KDWB but peaked in Billboard at No. 96. And Martha & The Vandellas’ “Bless You” was at No. 34 on KDWB but peaked nationally at No. 53.

There are likely a few others in the 6+30 from forty-five years ago this week that did better in the Twin Cities than in the national chart, but those are the ones that jumped out at me. Well, that’s not quite true. The first record I noticed as an anomaly in KDWB’s 6+30 from that long ago week was a Beatles cover that I don’t recall: “It’s For You” by a Detroit band called Springwell was at No. 25 on the KDWB survey for November 8, 1971.

That far outpaced its overall performance, as it peaked in the Hot 100 at No. 60. More interestingly, it was Springwell’s only charting single ever. And more interestingly yet, the record – recorded in Toronto, for what that’s worth – offers a harmony vocal stacked on top of a backing track that sounds to me like something that Rare Earth might have put together.

All of that is enough to make “It’s For You” by Springwell today’s Saturday Single.