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
“Oh, it’s Friday night. Let’s run tonight, ’til the morning light…”
Returning to my Samsung playlist, this Saturday’s submission is Keep On Runnin’ by American rock band Journey, formed in San Francisco in 1973 out of former members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch. The fourth track from the album Escape (released in July 1981), it was co-written by Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry and Neal Schon and, was never released as a single, though the album, itself, reached #1 on the Billboard 200 on September 12, 1981. The song does show up in the Journey video game from Bally Midway, that came out in March of 1983, with this tagline (one of three):
“The hottest band in the country is about to take over the planet!”
I got to see the band in concert, twice, in Texas and was lucky enough to get to meet them. This is the tour where Journey dropped Steve Augeri and picked up Jeff Scott Soto for a year. Neither could match Perry but, Augeri was close.
I’m on the far left next to Jonathan Cain. My buddy Monica is in between Cain & Neal Schon. My buddy Amy is in between Deen Castronovo & Ross Valory.
It’s a shame the members are embroiled in a lawsuit. ~Vic
Nine years ago, today, an EF5, multi-vortex tornado slammed into Joplin, Missouri. It formed at 5:34 pm CDT and dissipated at 6:12pm CDT. I remember this one, vividly. I had just moved back to North Carolina from Texas and was, literally, still unpacking. I was shocked at the devastation. ~Vic
[This] was part of a larger, late May tornado outbreak and reached a maximum width of nearly one mile […] during its path through the southern part of the city. This particular tornado was unusual in that it intensified in strength and grew larger in size at a very fast rate. The tornado tracked eastward across the city and, then, continued eastward across Interstate 44 into rural portions of Jasper County and Newton County. It was the third tornado to strike Joplin since May 1971.
[The] tornado killed 158 people (with an additional eight indirect deaths), injured some 1,150 others and caused damages amounting to a total of $2.8 billion. It was the deadliest tornado to strike the United States since the 1947 Glazier–Higgins–Woodward tornadoes, and the seventh-deadliest overall. Along with the Tri-State Tornado and the 1896 St. Louis–East St. Louis tornado, it ranks as one of Missouri’s and America’s deadliest tornadoes […]. It was the first F5/EF5 tornado in Missouri since May 20, 1957 [and] was only the second F5/EF5 tornado in Missouri history dating back to 1950.
It also ranks as the costliest single tornado in U.S. history.
Additional Reading & Sources:
May Tornadoes Struck Joplin Twice in the 1970s (Joplin Globe)
Joplin Tornado (National Weather Service)
F5 & EF5 Tornadoes of the US (NOAA)
Tornado Damaged Joplin From Above (The Atlantic)
Joplin Tornado (Tornado Facts Site)
2011 Joplin Tornado (Wikipedia)
Mike Bettes Has A Hard Time
Forty-five years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart was Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me by Gladys Knight & The Pips. Written by Jim Weatherly, a former quarterback for the University of Mississippi, is the same songwriter that penned what became known as Midnight Train to Georgia, a previous hit for Gladys & her Pips. The song was originally recorded in 1973 by country music artist Ray Price.
Weatherly told Tom Roland in The Billboard Book of Number One Country Hits that he wrote the song in 1971 and let his father-in-law first record it as a Christmas present for the latter’s wife. “I thought it was really strange that nobody’d written a song with that title — possibly somebody had but, I’d never heard it — so, I just sat down and let this stream of consciousness happen. I basically wrote it in a very short period of time, probably 30 minutes or an hour.”
The song made it to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
I’ve posted for Veterans Day on November 11 and POW/MIA Recognition Day, the third Friday in September. Today is the national acknowledgement of the final pull-out of US troops in South Vietnam, ending our direct involvement.
From National Day Calendar:
[…] Veterans of this time period are gaining the respect that was not so freely given upon their return. Involving five U.S. presidents, crossing nearly two decades and 500,000 U.S.military personnel, it left an indelible mark on the American psyche. Returning Veterans did not always receive respectful welcomes upon their arrive on American soil. There were 58,000 killed, never to return. National Vietnam War Veterans Day recognizes the military service of these men and women who answered the call to service their country when she needed them. They didn’t make the decisions to go to war.
U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., introduced legislation in 2017 to honor Vietnam Veterans with a day on the anniversary of the withdrawal of military units from South Vietnam. President Donald Trump signed the Vietnam War Veterans Day Act on March 28, 2017, calling for U.S. flags to be flown on March 29 for those who served.
From The History Channel:
[…] in January 1973, representatives of the United States, North and South Vietnam and, the Vietcong signed a peace agreement in Paris, ending the direct U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. Its key provisions included a cease-fire throughout Vietnam, the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the release of prisoners of war and, the reunification of North and South Vietnam through peaceful means. The South Vietnamese government was to remain in place until new elections were held and North Vietnamese forces in the South were not to advance further nor be reinforced.
Two months after the signing of the Vietnam peace agreement, the last U.S. combat troops [left] South Vietnam as Hanoi [freed] the remaining American prisoners of war held in North Vietnam. In Saigon, some 7,000 U.S. Department of Defense civilian employees remained behind to aid South Vietnam in conducting what looked to be a fierce and ongoing war with communist North Vietnam. […] before the last American troops departed on March 29, the communists violated the cease-fire and, by early 1974, full-scale war had resumed. At the end of 1974, South Vietnamese authorities reported that 80,000 of their soldiers and civilians had been killed in fighting during the year […].
On April 30, 1975, the last few Americans still in South Vietnam were airlifted out of the country as Saigon fell to communist forces.
I live with a Vietnam Seabee Veteran. He was in-country at Camp Haskins, Red Beach, Da Nang harbor during Khe Sanh, Tet and the Battle of Hue. Thankfully, he was not directly affected but, he was nearly blown out of a guard tower when the USMC Da Nang Air Base was attacked in January 1968. He keeps a wad of shrapnel and an empty grenade in the office as a reminder of what nearly got him. He’s told me stories of returning home and being flipped off by civilians. He was never spit on, like some stories I’ve heard but, he certainly wasn’t welcomed back. ~Vic
Fifty years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart was You Gave Me A Mountain by Frankie Laine. Written by singer-songwriter and NASCAR driver Marty Robbins, Laine’s version charted the highest of any performer, including Robbins.
The lyrics to the song detail a series of challenges that the singer has endured in his life, including the death of his mother while giving birth to him, [being] deprived of the love of his father [described as] like time spent in prison “for something that I never done” and, the singer’s wife taking their child and leaving. He describes these setbacks as hills that he has scaled in the past but, then states that “this time, Lord, you gave me a mountain” […]
The original third line of Robbins’ song mentioned that he was “despised and disliked from my father” but, Laine requested that this line be changed to “deprived of the love of my father” when he recorded his version, since Laine’s father had died shortly before the recording took place.
Many other artists recorded the song including Johnny Bush, Don McLean, Eddy Arnold, Ray Price, Jim Nabors and Dean Martin. Elvis Presley included this song in the set for his Aloha From Hawaii concert in 1973.
This was the final Top 40 hit of Laine’s career.
Born in the heat of the desert
My mother died givin’ me life
Deprived of the love of a father
Blamed for the loss of his wife
You know, Lord, I’ve been in a prison
For something that I’ve never done
It’s been one hill after another
But I’ve climbed them all, one by one
But this time, Lord, you gave me a mountain
A mountain I may never climb
And is isn’t a hill any longer
You gave me a mountain this time
My woman tired of the hardships
Tired of the grief and the strife
So tired of workin’ for nothin’
Tired of bein’ my wife
She took my one ray of sunshine
She took my pride and my joy
She took my reason for livin’
She took my small baby boy
So this time, Lord, you gave me a mountain
A mountain I may never climb
And is isn’t a hill any longer
You gave me a mountain this time
A song to drive to…
This is definitely a song to drive to. Back when I had my 5-speed manual, 1985 Toyota Celica Coupe and, then, my 5-speed manual, 1991 Eagle Talon with the racing stripe and dual, overhead cam (both cars coveted for street racing and drifting these days), this song always made me drive fast(er).
“I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hand’s wet on the wheel…
It’s half past four and I’m shifting gears…”
Ok, folks. I am shifting things a bit. What used to be Flick Friday is now Movie Monday! *applause*applause* All blogs change and evolve…and, we’re off…
Forty-five years ago, today, the #1 movie at the box office was The Way We Were, a film described as a romantic drama. It’s drama alright. Directed by Sydney Pollack, it is a period piece based upon a novel by Arthur Laurents. He wrote about his college days at Cornell University and his experience with HCUA, which ultimately led to Hollywood Blacklisting. I’m not going to comment any further on the details as it is a little too close to the political nonsense of today.
As Hurricane Michael, a Cat 4 monster, slams the Florida Panhandle (making history, today), the Great Hurricane of 1780 is still the deadliest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, with a death toll between 22,000 and 27,000+. Also referred to as the Great Hurricane of the Antilles, the 1780 Disaster and the Huracan San Calixto, it was one of four major hurricanes in the 1780 Atlantic hurricane season, the worst hurricane season in recorded history.
On October 10, the San Calixto Hurricane (official name) struck the island of Barbados with, possibly, 200+ mph wind gusts, making it an extreme Cat 5. The winds were so violent and so deafening that, reportedly, “people could not hear their own voices”. It felled most every tree, stripped the bark off the few left standing and nearly destroyed every house on the island. The specifics of the hurricane’s track and exact strength are unknown as the Atlantic hurricane database starts in 1851 but, historical records from Puerto Rico, Jose’ Carlos Milas (Cuban Meteorologist), NOAA and hurricane research from The University of Rhode Island indicate that the storm moved on to St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica and struck Guadeloupe. It turned towards Puerto Rico, hitting Isla de Mona and, later, the eastern portion of the Dominican Republic. The beast finally reached the Atlantic Ocean on October 15 after passing the Grand Turk Island. It passed Bermuda on October 18 and was last seen two days later off the coast of Cape Race in Newfoundland.
From Hurricane Science at The University of Rhode Island:
Coming in the midst of the American Revolutionary War, the 1780 hurricanes caused heavy losses to European fleets fighting for control of the New World’s Atlantic coast. A fleet of 40 French ships capsized off Martinique during the Great Hurricane, drowning approximately 4,000 soldiers. On St. Lucia, rough waves and a strong storm surge destroyed the British fleet of Admiral Rodney at Port Castries. Much of the British fleet was decimated by the three storms, and the English presence in the western North Atlantic was greatly reduced thereafter.
Other interesting October 10 history:
1845…..The Naval School (U.S. Naval Academy) opens.
1967…..The Outer Space Treaty goes into effect (yes, this is a thing).
Busy, busy day… ~Victoria
Forty-five years ago, today, James Joseph ‘Jim’ Croce, American folk rock singer-songwriter was killed when the Beechcraft E18S, that he and five others were aboard, crashed into a tree during take-off from the Natchitoches Regional Airport in Natchitoches, Louisiana. The accident also claimed the lives of musician Maurice T. ‘Maury’ Muehleisen, comedian George Stevens, manager & booking agent Kenneth Cortese, road manager Dennis Rast and pilot Robert N. Elliott. Croce’s final concert was at Prather Coliseum.
He is buried at Haym Salomon Memorial Park in Frazer, Pennsylvania. His singer-songwriter wife, Ingrid Jacobson Croce maintains an historical site of their work. Their son, Adrian James ‘A. J.’ Croce is a singer-songwriter in his own right.
His two number one singles…
Behind The Music