Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Four pick.
I nearly abandoned the rest of the 1970s for the 1980s until Quinn’s pick. Listening, again, to Tears for Fears reminded me of how much I love a saxophone in rock music. I think I might stay in 1978 for a little while. It was a good year, musically…for me, anyway. I can remember buying this 45 at a Woolworths in my hometown’s only mall. I also remember playing it on my little suitcase record player. I was eleven at the time. There’s not much that Gerry Rafferty put out that I didn’t like. ~Vic
A Scotsman (I am from Clan MacPherson), Rafferty’s first band was The Humblebums (founded in 1965), joining comic Billy Connolly and Tam Harvey in 1969. Harvey departed shortly afterwards and, in 1971, Rafferty recorded his first solo album when he and Connolly parted company. In 1972, he joined with Joe Egan to form Stealers Wheel, their biggest hit being Stuck In The Middle With You from their first, self-titled album. After disbanding in 1975, legal issues over Stealers Wheel prevented him from releasing new material for three years.
Baker Street, the second track from the album City To City, was released February 3, 1978 or, possibly, January 20, 1978, depending and entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of April 22, 1978. It made it to #2 the week of June 24, 1978 and stayed there, stuck behind Andy Gibb‘s Shadow Dancing, for six weeks (as a side note, my paternal aunt gave me the Shadow Dancing 8-track album for my twelfth birthday and it was shoved into a brand new stereo system from my parents):
“…Baker Street was a smash and it allegedly took some serious chart chicanery to keep it out of the #1 spot. [It] stalled out at #2 right as […] Gibb’s Shadow Dancing was in the midst of its seven-week run at #1. According to legend, the chart tabulators at Billboard had actually figured out that Baker Street had finally ascended to the #1 spot in one of those [seven] weeks and they’d called the new chart into the producers at Casey Kasem’s radio show, America’s Top 40 [sic]. But, because of a last-minute correction, Kasem had to re-record the end of that week’s show, putting Shadow Dancing back on top.
According to rumor, Bill Wardlow, Billboard chart director, made the call to keep Shadow Dancing at #1. Wardlow had supposedly gone to dinner with Andy Gibb’s managers and he’d mentioned that Baker Street had knocked Shadow Dancing out of the #1 spot. Gibb had been scheduled to perform at a Billboard-sponsored show in New York and his label threatened to pull him from the bill if Billboard didn’t keep Shadow Dancing on top…so that’s why Baker Street never got to #1. This is all pure speculation and hearsay but, it’s a good story. Record labels have been doing everything in their power to game the Billboard charts ever since those charts began and it certainly seems possible that Baker Street could’ve been a casualty of all that.
“While doing a bit of research the other day, I found myself poking around the edition of Billboard dated February 17, 1973 (PDF), as one does.
Here’s some of what’s inside:
Willis “Bill” Wardlow has been named associate publisher of Billboard. Over the next several years, Wardlow would be responsible for occasionally jiggering the Billboard charts to reward or punish record labels and to do favors for industry friends. As we learned a few years ago, his manipulations led to Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” spending only 12 hours at #1.”
40 Years Later: Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street ~ The Most Controversial No. 2 Song Ever? (DJ Rob Blog/04-17-2018)
Baker Street: The Mystery of Rock’s Greatest Sax Riff (The Atlantic/Adam Chandler/12-17-2015)
Scott Paton: Billboard Insider Comment (The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ Website/AT40 From The Inside/09-16-2013)
Smoking The Bible
A rare documentary by Scottish folk singer Donovan P. Leitch. Insights into his life with rare recordings from the beginning of his career as a folk singer. Portions of the film was [sic] filmed on St. Ives, Cornwall on Porthminster [B]each in 1966.
It shows Donovan’s life before becoming famous, when he was busking and living in Saint Ives with his friend Gypsy Dave. And, then, when the fame came in with Ready Steady Go! Donovan and his friends are seen smoking marihuana [sic], very shocking for its time. This warned the police to keep him under surveillance and ended up arresting him for drugs [sic] possession in mid-1966.
Born Donovan Philips Leitch in Glasgow, Scotland on May 10, 1946, Donovan was part of the British folk scene and the British music invasion in America. His style was distinctive and incredibly eclectic. As a child, Donovan was vaccinated with the polio vaccine and contracted polio. Though the vaccine was later made safer with the Sabin oral vaccine, the disease and treatment left Donovan with a limp. The public never knew this.
He established close relationships with leading musicians of the time including Joan Baez, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and, the Beatles. He taught John Lennon and Paul McCartney […] his finger-picking guitar technique. On his first trip to the USA, he performed in New York with Pete Seeger, […] appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, Hullabaloo, and Shindig! He gained critical acclaim and acceptance when he performed at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965.
[E]arly on, he was compared with Bob Dylan […]. By 1966, [he] had become one of the first British pop musicians to adopt the flower power image. His music contained many drug references during this time. His recordings were also the first pop music to contain the sound of the sitar, later copied by other famed music groups. [He] was the first high-profile British pop star to be arrested for possession of marijuana. Though Donovan’s drug use appeared to have been moderate, and his drug use was not on the scale of others such as Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones who later died from overdoses, his use of LSD is referred to in many of his lyrics. Public attention was drawn to his drug use by [the] TV documentary, A Boy Called Donovan, which was broadcast during that year and newspaper coverage of the drug scene in England.
The Hurdy Gurdy Man of the Psychedelic Sixties: Donovan Leitch
This is my last countdown post. I’ve saved my favorite gingerbread house for last. I’ve been inside this place and you can feel its history. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures when I was there. Before the world went insane, Ayr Mount would host Scottish Festivals. ~Vic
If you’d like to vote:
Homes for the Holidays 2020
Fifty-five years ago, today, the short, animated film Just Plane Beep was released. Produced by David DePatie & Friz Freleng and, directed by Rudy Larriva, Paul Julian was the uncredited voice of the Road Runner.
Synopsis from the Looney Tunes Fan Site (possible future broken link as Fandom is in the middle of a migration):
Wile E. Coyote chases Road Runner on foot but, Road Runner produces dust and runs off the side, smacking the coyote against a wall. While lying down on the ground, a paper for Acme War Surplus is blown towards the coyote and he sends a coupon in the mail. He receives a World War I bi-plane kit and plans to catch the Road Runner using it.
Needless to say, things don’t go well. ~Vic
Additional Reading & Sources:
Big Cartoon Database
IMDb Movie Connections List
Internet Animation Database
Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies Filmography 1965 (Wikipedia)
Wile E. Coyote & the Road Runner (Wikipedia)
Another one of Hillsborough’s oldest homes. ~Vic
Twin Chimneys, so named for the paired chimneys in each gable end, is sited on a hill on West King Street, directly across from the Colonial Inn and the Parks-Richmond House […]. An iron gate from Stewart Iron Works in Cincinnati, Ohio, separates the house from the pedestrian traffic of the sidewalk. [It] is reputedly a pre-Revolutionary house, however, the exact date of construction is not known. It is important to note that a house is sited at the exact location on the 1768 Sauthier Map of Hillsborough but, it cannot be assumed that the houses are the same.
This is a most delightful old house, with four huge chimneys and a second-floor balcony, from which a view of the busy thoroughfare, King Street, may have been enjoyed down through the years. The lot on which it stands was once owned by Edmund Fanning.
It is interesting to know that this house was the setting for the old romantic novel, “Joscelyn Cheshire.” According to the story, the heroine concealed her lover in the attic to protect him from Cornwallis’ army. The house served at one time as Hillsborough’s Post Office.
Archibald DeBow Murphey was a North Carolina politician known as the “Father of Education” in his state for his proposals that benefited public works and public education. [Murphey] died at Twin Chimneys in Hillsborough on February 1, 1832. He is buried at the Presbyterian Church […]. The town of Murphy, North Carolina (despite its spelling) was named after him.
Additional Information & Sources:
Twin Chimneys Photos (Library of Congress)
National Register of Historic Places Inventory (PDF) (North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources)
Twin Chiimneys (Open Orange NC)
Joscelyn Cheshire Full Text (Project Gutenberg)
Up until this point, the only TV shows I have been posting were American. I will be branching out a bit. Naturally, the first non-American show I choose doesn’t have a lot of information written about it…or a video. ~Vic
Fifty-five years ago, today, the British comedy mini-series It’s Not Me, It’s Them! debuted on BBC2. Produced by Graeme Muir and written by Donald Churchill (The Hound of the Baskervilles), it starred Churchill, Norman Bird (Fawlty Towers), Jack Bligh (Doctor Who), George Betton (Coronation Street) and Anthony Dawes (Fawlty Towers).
[This was] an early series from the pen of actor/writer Donald Churchill, focused on Albert Curfew, […] a young man unable to hold down a job for any length of time. The title came from a regular saying of Curfew’s every time he lost his job. Churchill (who also starred as well as wrote the scripts) claimed he based the series on a close friend of his. Guest stars in the single season show included Liz Fraser, Bill Kerr and Kate O’Mara.
Fifty-four years ago, today, the First March of the Selma to Montgomery marches took place. The planned marches were a response to the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson by Alabama State Trooper James Fowler. Fowler shot Jackson on February 18, 1965, during a clash between, approximately, 500 protestors walking to Perry County Jail for James Orange and, Marion police officers, sheriff’s deputies and the state troopers. Jackson died from his injuries on February 26. Other casualties that night were two UPI photographers and NBC News correspondent Richard Valereani.
The death of Jackson motivated James Bevel “to initiate and organize the first Selma to Montgomery march to present a way for the citizens of Marion and Selma to direct the anger over Jackson’s death into a positive outcome.” Amelia Boynton assisted with the planning.
As the demonstrators crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, state, and county police, stopped the march and beat the protesters. Boynton was knocked unconscious and the photograph of her wounded body got the entire world’s attention.
The third march to Montgomery spanned March 21 through March 24. By Thursday, March 25, the movement had reached the State Capitol Building. The murder of Viola Liuzzo was the final end to the violence and the 18 day struggle. Her murder, however, uncovered an FBI Informant, exposing J. Edgar Hoover‘s illegal activities.