Monday, June 1, 2015

May 30th, 2015 - JS - 1969

Rockin' Remnants

Rockin' Remnants is broadcast from WVBR-FM Ithaca. Check out our
webpage, like us on Facebook, and tune in to 93.5 or stream the show every Saturday night from 6-9pm! (Or download the WVBR+ app now available for iOS and Android!)

Date:  5/30/15
Host: John Simon
Feature:  Late May 1969

The Tribal Rock Musical Hair would land seven records on Billboard's Hot 100 music charts in 1969. Tonight we'll start with two of them ("Easy To Be Hard" wouldn't arrive for another few weeks), and we'll fold in some high-charting R&B hits, some low-charting treasures and a massive European hit that barely registered over here. We'll also bring you the 45 Corner and some great Remnants birthdays. It's the dawning of a new age, friends!


Birthday Calendar

May 24 – Bob Dylan – age 74
            – Patti LaBelle – age 71

May 25 – Mitch Margo (Tokens) – age 68
            – Clarence Burke, Jr. (Stairsteps) – born in 1949

May 26 – Levon Helm (The Band) – born in 1940
            – Stevie Nicks – age 67
May 27 – Ramsey Lewis – age 80
            – Bruce Cockburn – age 70

May 28 – Billy Vera – age 71
            – John Fogerty – age 70


[songs in bold are from the spotlight date of DATE; yellow song titles are YouTube links; songs with * were requests; all chart information comes from the Billboard Top 100 (for chart dates before/during July 1958) or Billboard Hot 100 (for chart dates during/after Aug 1958) unless otherwise noted]


OPENING THEME:  Good Old Rock ‘n’ Roll – Cat Mother & the All-Night Newsboys (1969, #29, produced by Jimi Hendrix)

Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In - 5th Dimension (#3, down from six weeks at #1 - this was named "Record of The Year" at that season's Grammy Awards. The Wrecking Crew provided the instrumental track, and Joe Osborne's bass line was deserving of its own award.)

Good Morning Starshine - Oliver (#57, headed to #3 - a competing version by the Strawberry Alarm Clock was released simultaneously, but would fizzle out at #87. Oliver was a Folksinger who had trouble with his sibilant "s" sound, which made phrases like "song, song, song, sing-sing, sing sing song song" particularly trying.)

Image result for good morning starshine oliver 45Image result for good morning starshine strawberry alarm clock

Hawaii Five-O - Ventures (#17, down from a peak of #2 - another song recorded by the studio players known as The Wrecking Crew, recorded while the "real" Ventures were on the road touring.)

Nothing But a Heartache - Flirtations (peaking in its second week at #34 - these ex-pats from Alabama landed in England and scored a surprise Girl Group hit for the Deram Records label.)

Image result for nothing but a heartache the flirtationsImage result for nothing but a heartache the flirtations

Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) - Peter Sarstedt (just off the chart after peaking at #70 two weeks earlier - this was a huge hit in Europe, where it spent four weeks at #1 in England, but it was perhaps a bit inaccessible to American listeners.)

I'll Be There - Damita Jo (7/61; #12 - this was her second "answer song" to a Ben E. King recording  -  "I'll Save The Last Dance For You" came two years earlier  -  and this one is unmistakably a response to "Stand By Me.")

Image result for i'll be there damita jo mercury 45Image result for i'll be there damita jo mercury 45

The Morning Side of the Mountain - Tommy Edwards (3/59; #27 - the b-side of his big hit Please, Mr. Sun would later be covered by Donny & Marie Osmond, reaching #8 in late 1974.)

Love (Can Make You Happy) - Mercy (#2 on this date - released on the tiny Sundi Records label, this one apparently struck a chord with record-buyers and spent two weeks near the top of the charts. Warner Brothers signed the band and released a re-recorded version, which we play for you tonight. A Rockin' Remnants exclusive!)

Image result for love can make you happy mercy warner brothersImage result for love can make you happy mercy warner brothers

* Grazing In the Grass - Friends of Distinction (at #10 this week, headed to #3 - the first charting single for this quartet  was a vocal version of Hugh Masekela's #1 instrumental hit from a year earlier. This group formed out of the ashes of the HiFi's, who had two other members split to form the 5th Dimension. Both groups have Top 10 records this week.)

More Today Than Yesterday - Spiral Starecase (at #19 this week, headed to #12 - Pat Upton was the lead singer for this Sacramento quintet. This was their biggest and most enduring hit.)

It's Growing - Temptations (4/65; #18 Pop, #3 R&B - the follow-up to My Girl starts with a rinky-dink "toy piano" sound, but builds to a nice rockin' hit for David Ruffin and the band.)

* Come Together - Beatles (11/69; #1 - coincidentally, the #1 record on our chart this week is also a Beatles tune: Get Back would spend four weeks at the top of the chart. Come Together was part of a two-sided smash for The Beatles, whose b-side Something would reach #3 on its own merits in late 1969.)

Image result for come together beatles apple 45Image result for come together beatles apple 45


* Lay Lady Lay - Bob Dylan (headed to #7 in the summer of '69 - this tune was recorded in Nashville and featured the new mature and resonant crooning style of the groundbreaking Bob Dylan.)

Wondering Where the Lions Are - Bruce Cockburn (3/80; #21 - this is the only Top 40 hit here in the States for this Canadian musical superstar. He continues to record and tour into his seventies and recently played to rave reviews at our local Hangar Theatre.)

Image result for wondering where the lions are 45Image result for wondering where the lions are 45

You'll Never Walk Alone - Patti LaBelle & The Bluebells (1/64; #34 - they were still in their teens when they recorded this stirring version of the classic show tune from Carousel. It was re-released on the Parkway Records label and was a foreshadowing of the raw power of young Patti's vocal stylings.)

Hear The Bells - Tokens (8/63; #94 - Billboard Magazine had this to say about the Tokens' newest release: "The Tokens are back on their 'Lion Sleeps Tonight' kick, and a most exciting kick it is. This is their best record in a year and it could take off quickly. Aimed at the teen set."  Unfortunately, it missed the target)

Image result for hear the bells tokensImage result for hear the bells tokens

Bo Diddley - Ronnie & The Hawks (5/63; #117 - before taking the name "The Band," Levon Helm and company honed their craft behind rockabilly star Ronnie Hawkins. This jumpin' number deserved to chart higher, but they'd soon move on to greater glory as Bob Dylan's sidemen.)

Who'll Stop The Rain - CCR (1/70; #2 - both sides of this single reached #2. Travelin' Band was a great song, but this one better fits the mood of the Ithaca Festival crowd. Both sides were penned by birthday boy John Fogerty.)

Image result for who'll stop the rain ccr fantasy 45Image result for who'll stop the rain ccr fantasy 45

Sun Goddess - Ramsey Lewis (3/75; #44 Pop, #20 R&B - when Eldee Young and "Red" Holt left to form their own group, Ramsey Lewis recruited drummer Maurice White to help fill the void. When White formed Earth Wind & Fire, he repaid the favor by teaming up with the Jazz pianist for this recording. Both acts appeared on the Columbia label.)

With Pen In Hand - Billy Vera (6/68; #43 - Bobby Goldsboro wrote this tear-jerker and would release it as a single a few years later. Vikki Carr took it to the Top 40, but Billy Vera recorded it first.)

Image result for with pen in hand billy vera 45Image result for with pen in hand billy vera 45

* Tighten Up (Pt. 1) - Archie Bell & The Drells (5/68; #1 Pop and R&B - this group "from Houston Texas" appeared out of left field with a new dance craze. The T.S.U. Tornadoes provided the instrumentation, but Archie Bell was the big winner.)

* Knock On Wood - Eddie Floyd (8/66; #28 Pop, #1 R&B - one of our listeners was inspired by the weather report and wanted to hear Eddie Floyd sing about "thunder and lightning." Good call, Betsy! Sorry, Ithaca Festival!)

* Hair - Cowsills (at #5 this week, down from #2 - great sing-along fun from the wholesome family group that was the model for television's Partridge Family show. Another top hit from the Tribal Rock Musical "Hair.")

45 Corner: Silver Springs - Fleetwood Mac (1/77; b-side of Go Your Own Way - this Stevie Nicks gem was not included on the multi-million selling Rumours LP. When it finally appeared on CD, it was a re-recording  -  or a "live" version. Tonight you hear a pristine copy of the original 45 version in honor of Ms. Nicks' birthday.)

Image result for fleetwood mac silver springs 45Image result for fleetwood mac silver springs 45

I Can't See Myself Leaving You - Aretha Franklin (peaking at #28 Pop for a second week, #3 R&B - less hard-rocking than most of her previous Atlantic Records hits, this one helped to signal her maturing jazzier stylings.)



Too Busy Thinking 'Bout My Baby - Marvin Gaye (at #15 this week, headed to #4 Pop and #1 R&B for SIX weeks - a breezy summertime hit that critic Dave Marsh ranked at #662 in his list of the 1001 greatest singles of all time.)

* Gitarzan - Ray Stevens (at #8 this week  -  Ray Stevens was a writer, a producer, a topical singer and sometimes an irreverent satirist. This was one of his best comedy records. Sing it, bay-bay!)

Image result for gitarzan ray stevens 45Image result for gitarzan ray stevens 45

* Pinball Wizard - The Who (#20, down from #19 - the smash single from the Who's Rock Opera Tommy, requested by listener Chip who had just gotten through basic training and will never forget first hearing John Entwistle's octave bass line.)

* Dry Spell - The Meters (11/69; #39 R&B - follow-up to their current hit Cissy Strut. Upon hearing this, listener Mark  -  a drummer, himself  -  said "I never heard that one. Zigaboo's right foot was unbelievable on that tune.")

Hushabye - Jay & The Americans (debuting this week at #90, heading only to #62 - a slowed-down version of the Mystics' tune. Their next single, a cover of a Ronettes' tune, would be their final Top 40 single.)

Image result for hushabye jay and the americans 45Image result for jay and the americans images

Ma Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder (debuting this week at #70, headed to #4 - originally buried on the b-side of I Don't Know Why (I Love You) two months earlier, this one would go on to become one of Stevie's most-beloved songs, covered by many singers and instrumentalists.)

Never Comes The Day - Moody Blues (#111, headed only to #91 four weeks later - from the album Threshold of a Dream. The LP soared to #1 in the U.K., but the single didn't even chart over there.)

Image result for never comes the day moody blues 45Image result for never comes the day moody blues 45

A Simple Game - Four Tops (2/72; #90 Pop, #34 R&B - this was a cover of a Moody Blues song which had only been released as a non-charting b-side a few years earlier. At first it's hard to know who the group is, but Levi Stubbs takes over before the first chorus and it becomes abundantly clear.)

What Does It Take - Jr. Walker & The All-Stars (#59, headed to #4 Pop and #1 R&B for two weeks - one of the signature sounds of the Summer of 1969, and the transitional single that signaled the emergence of Junior Walker as a real singer  -  not just a shouter.)

* Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffet (4/77; #8 - the highest-charting single for this unique cult favorite with the huge following of devoted "Parrot heads.")

Ariel - Dean Friedman (4/77; #26 - an edited single was released on the Lifesong label. Left on the editing room floor was the line that said "She was a Jewish girl, I fell in love with her, she wrote her number on the back of my hand." Tonight we play the unedited LP version. Go, Dean Friedman!)

45 Corner: Back To The '60s - Tight Fit (10/81; #89 - tapping the success of the "Stars On 45" singles, this was a British studio group playing snippets of '60s hits: Dancing In The Street, Satisfaction, You Really Got Me, Do Wah Diddy, Black Is Black, Bend Me Shape Me, Mony Mony.)

Image result for back to the 60's tight fit 45Image result for back to the 60's tight fit 45

I Met Him On a Sunday/The Bells - Laura Nyro & LaBelle (4/71 - the opening two tracks of the Gonna Take a Miracle LP, produced in Philadelphia by Gamble & Huff and pairing the soulful sounds of New Yorker Laura Nyro and Patti's Philadelphia trio. Sublime!)

Goodbye - Mary Hopkin (peaking at #13 this week, #2 in the U.K. - the follow-up to her smash debut single Those Were The Days was written and produced by Paul McCartney, who also played guitar and bass and some percussion, and who appears with her in this official video.)

CLOSING THEME:  Sleepwalk – Santo & Johnny (1959, #1 for two weeks)

Congratulations to Arlene from Spencer, for being Caller #3 and entering the lottery for two passes to the Old Songs Festival!

Host Next Week (6/6/15):  JS with a spotlight on The Banjo (really!)

Thanks for tuning in! You can listen to Rockin' Remnants every Saturday night from 6-9pm on WVBR (93.5 FM in Ithaca, NY) or at

No comments:

Post a Comment