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
In September of 2017, I paid a visit to a place I had not seen since I was about six years old…the Land of Oz. I remember bits and pieces of the trip. My parents took me in 1972 and two of my strongest memories are of riding on the balloon ride (a converted ski-lift) in a blinding mountain rainstorm and the wet ride in a bus, with no windows, down the mountain, leaving. For years, I wondered what had become of that park.
Originally opening on June 15, 1970, it was a grand place to visit and managed to stay open for a decade, even after a fire in 1975, before falling into disrepair and abandonment. Many things were stolen, vandalized or left to nature.
Appalachian State University had a cultural museum, at one time, that showcased saved pieces from the park including the yellow bricks, some munchkin houses, costumes, parts of the witch’s castle and other assorted props. All artifacts were eventually returned to the park.
In 1991, the park was included in a celebration for Independence Day for Beech Mountain. Watauga High School students dressed in costume. Emerald Mountain, Inc., purchased the property in 1994 and a slow restoration began. An “Autumn at Oz” was started as a reunion for former employees and became a yearly event. By 2010, the park drew 8,000 people.
Land of Oz (Official Website)
On April 2, 1979, there was an unusual anthrax outbreak, which affected 94 people and killed at least 64 of them, in the Soviet city of Sverdlovsk, roughly 850 miles east of Moscow. The first victim died after four days. [T]he last one died six weeks later. The Soviet government claimed the deaths were caused by intestinal anthrax from tainted meat, a story some influential American scientists found believable. However, officials in the Carter Administration suspected the outbreak was caused by an accidental release of anthrax spores from a suspected Soviet biological weapons facility located in the city (Military Compound 19). The US believed that the Soviet Union was violating the Biological Weapons Convention signed in 1972 and made their suspicions public. But, the Soviets denied any activities relating to biological weapons and, at numerous international conferences, tried to prove their contaminated meat story. It wasn’t until thirteen years later, in 1992, that President Boris Yeltsin admitted, without going into details, that the anthrax outbreak was the result of military activity at the facility. [Russia] allowed a team of Western scientists to go to Sverdlovsk to investigate the outbreak. The team visited Sverdlovsk in June 1992 and August 1993 […].
Although the KGB had confiscated hospital and other records after the incident, the Western scientists were able to track where all the victims had been at the time of the anthrax release. Their results showed that on the day of the incident, all the victims were clustered along a straight line downwind from the military facility. Livestock in the same area also died of anthrax. After completing their investigation, the team concluded the outbreak was caused by a release of an aerosol of anthrax pathogen at the military facility. But, they were unable to determine what caused the release or what specific activities were conducted at the facility.
“Clogged filter, I removed it. Replace the filter”. [A] reminder on a piece of paper left [by a] factory worker […] to his mate when he went home on Friday evening…
Colonel Nicholas Cheryshev, shift supervisor at the plant, […] was in a hurry to go home and, for some unknown reason, was not aware of the lack of filter. In the end, the workers on the night shift, finding entries in the log window, quietly launched [the] equipment. [For] more than three hours, the plant was [throwing], into the air [of] the night sky of […] Sverdlovsk, portions [of] dried culture of anthrax. When the lack of bio-security was discovered, production was urgently stopped, […] the filter [replaced] and [they], quietly, continued working.
It was an accident at a clandestine biological weapons lab that allowed deadly anthrax spores to contaminate Sverdlovsk’s air, as evidence unearthed later would show. Over the years, as DNA sequencing technology has improved, scientists have been piecing together more and more information about the anthrax strain.
This facility has not been closed. It just went underground…literally. ~Vic
Sources & Additional Reading
Sverdlovsk Anthrax Leak (Adam Smith Institute)
1979 Anthrax Leak (PBS: Frontline)
How DNA Evidence Confirmed A Soviet Cover-Up (The Atlantic)
The Tragedy of Sverdlosk-19 (Weapon News)
Biohazard Book (Wikipedia)
Sverdlovsk Anthrax Leak (Wikipedia)
Forty-seven years ago, today, the second version of The Price Is Right debuted (the first one ran from 1956 to 1965 and was hosted by Bill Cullen). Created by Bob Stewart, Mark Goodson and Bill Todman and, orignally produced by Goodson-Todman Productions (1972-1984), it was hosted by Bob Barker until June 6, 2007. Drew Carey took over October 15, 2007.
The show revolves around contestants competing by identifying accurate pricing of merchandise to win cash and prizes. Contestants are selected from the studio audience when the announcer states the show’s famous catchphrase, “Come on down!” (Contestants’ Row) [F]our contestants are called […] to take a spot in the front row behind bidding podiums […]. [They] compete in a bidding round to determine which contestant will play the next pricing game (known as One Bid). After winning the One Bid, the contestant joins the host onstage for the opportunity to win additional prizes or cash by playing a pricing game. [The Showcase Showdown (spinning The Big Wheel) follows with a final winner selected at the end of the episode (The Showcase)]
Barker was accompanied by a series of announcers, beginning with Johnny Olson, followed by Rod Roddy and, then, Rich Fields. In April 2011, George Gray became the announcer. The show has used several models, most notably Anitra Ford, Janice Pennington, Dian Parkinson, Holly Hallstrom and Kathleen Bradley.
The Price Is Right has aired over 8,000 episodes since its debut and is one of the longest-running network series in United States television history. The show’s [48th] season [will] premiere on September [23, 2019.]
A song that makes you want to fall in love…
So many love songs. So little time.
“You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs…
I look around me and I see it isn’t so…
Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs…
And what’s wrong with that…
It isn’t silly, love isn’t silly, love isn’t silly at all…”
Gives me chills…every time. For a song that was created to be the theme to a prison film, it has to be one of the greatest love songs ever written.
Originally released in 1967, this was re-released in 1972 and it made it to #2 on the Billboard 100. I am posting the full orchestral version with the ‘late lament’ in tact (including gong) considering we are officially in winter. This is a masterpiece. More chills…
I was very fortunate to get to see these two, live, with my mom at Carowinds in 1976. I was ten when the song came out and I remember it playing on the radio, vividly. Even at that young of an age, the words of love and longing struck a chord with me (pun intended) that remains to this day.
Oh, Pat Benatar…her music is a large part of my teen years. Her first album was released three days before my 13th birthday. What a way to grow up. She and her hubby, Neil, have rocked us all.
A song you like from the 70s…
I’m pretty much covering the 70s with this and two other posts. So much good music…so hard to choose. I have covered 1973, 1976, 1977 & 1978. For this post, and naturally I can’t choose just one, I give you 1972, 1974, 1975 & 1979.
I would provide you with the link to Song Facts but, they have this incorrectly listed in 1971. This made it to #2 in September of 1972…and is one of the most mis-heard songs. My dad loved this song and I can remember it playing on the radio in his 1972 Dodge Charger…a black one.
Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress
I remember playing this 45 on my little, portable record player.
I remember lying on the floor and listening to this on my parent’s stereo cabinet. Remember those big, wooden things with Queen Anne feet and brass fixtures? It had a great sound and you could stack a lot of albums in it.
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
I would provide you with a link to all the songs released in 1979 but, for some reason, this song, the album it came from and the artist are nowhere to be found on Song Facts. It peaked at #28 on October 27. I remember getting this 45. And, yes, that is Stevie Nicks in the background.