(Above: It was a busy week in Washington.)
January 18, 1969
The number 1 song in the country remains “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye. Born on that day: Wrestler/MMA fighter Dave Bautista. The next day, football star Junior Seau would be born. The following Monday, the 20th, Richard M. Nixon will take the oath of office as the 37th President of the United States of America.
What’s new on the charts? A lot. Last week gave us relatively few new adds, but this week, we have a slew of them to look at.
“Take Care Of Your Homework” – Johnnie Taylor (debuting at #67). The highest-debuting song of the week will end up climbing to #20 on the Billboard charts. Seriously, though, when’s the last time you heard it? This seems like one of those omissions from Oldies playlists that should have been addressed at some point in the last fifty years or so. Instead, we know Taylor only for “Disco Lady” and – if a station goes deep – “Who’s Making Love.”
“But You Know I Love You” – First Edition (71). This one will go on to reach #19, but it’s another one that you just don’t hear that often on the radio.
“I Got a Line On You” – Spirit (74). This one you do hear. Every classic rock station spun this record ad nauseum for years. Did they give any attention to “Nature’s Way?” Of course not, giving people the idea that Randy California’s band had one hit. They actually charted four records, but “Nature’s Way” wasn’t one of them, which is a shame.
“There’ll Come a Time” – Betty Everett (76). If you can’t think of the last time you heard the Johnnie Taylor record, you’re just as likely to have missed this one. Again, this is a song that did reasonably well (it peaked at #26), but hasn’t seen airplay in a long, long time.
“Home Cookin’” – Junior Walker and the All-Stars (77). This one falls into the “great misses” category, stalling out at #42. That’s too bad, since this is a remarkably funky groove that should be on your playlist.
“He Called Me Baby” – Ella Washington (78). This one will only manage one more slot, peaking at #77 next week. But that’s not the whole story: the recording netted Washington a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B performance. The song is essentially “She Called Me Baby,” recorded by Charlie Rich, Patsy Cline, etc.
“Almost Persuaded” – Etta James (80). Have I yet mentioned what a great week this was for R&B debuts? Here we have another cover of a country classic that takes on a whole new feel. It’ll also only move up one notch and quickly fall by the wayside.
“Getting the Corners” – T.S.U. Toronadoes (82). I’ll mark this as one of the “oh, wows” on this week’s list. The TSU in question is Texas Southern University, where the band members attended school. (So, what did you do in college?) They served as a house band for their record label, and provided backing for singers who came to Houston, including Barbara Acklin and – you guessed it – Etta James. I can’t not hear Archie Bell & the Drells (also of Houston) when I hear this. It’ll top out at #75.
“Bubble Gum Music” – Rock and Roll Dubble Bubble Trading Card Company Of Philadelphia 19141 (87). Here we have the longest name of any band to hit the chart, well before the modern phenomenon of every song “featuring” eighteen other people. Unfortunately, if you start the record, and start saying the name of the band, you lose interest in the song before you get to the end of the label. The novelty will wear off by the time hits #74.
“Poor Side of Town” – Al Wilson (88). It’s pretty true to the Johnny Rivers original, which might account for its stalling at #75. Al’s coming off of “The Snake” from a year before, which will have to get its own post sometime.
“May I” – Bill Deal & the Rhondels (89). A few of these songs at this part of the chart were covered in my post on the WGRD chart from fifty years ago, as a few of these debuted there before debuting here. This one will make it into the top 40, and it’s a hell of a good record.
“The Grooviest Girl In the World” – The Fun and Games (90). This is another of the songs that WGRD in Grand Rapids played much heavier than the national charts saw them, because it stalled at #78. This is the only entry for the band on the Hot 100.
“Kum Ba Yah” – Tommy Leonetti (93). Yep, it’s what you thought it was. What you probably didn’t remember was that, on the Adult Contemporary charts, this was a huge hit. I mean #4 huge. It doesn’t do nearly as well on this one, failing to make it into the Top 40. But, at campfires, it still does pretty well.
“I’m Gonna Hold On as Long As I Can” – Marvelettes (94). The band wasn’t done by 1969. Their best songs were behind them, sure, but this one’s actually pretty decent. It will stall at #76, though, and there will only be one more hit (coming later this year).
“Will You Be Staying After Sunday” – The Peppermint Rainbow (96). I’ve always included this one on Sixties misses, snuck it into radio playlists, and pulled out the 45 every now and again when spinning in the house. It’s a fantastic record that, to me, explains what the era sounded like in terms of pop. Here we do have a true one-hit wonder, since this one made it to #32.
“This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You)” – Tammi Terrell (97). I like the Isley Brothers original. I love this cover. It should have been a bigger hit, as it only made it to #67. Then again, that’s not nearly as fair as life was to Tammi Terrell, who will be dead in a year at the age of 24.
“Fox On the Run” – Manfred Mann (98). This is not to be confused with the Sweet record, as they are not the same. This one’s still pretty decent, though, and if you are a fan of bluegrass, you probably recognize it.
“Mendocino” – Sir Douglas Quintet (99). Also covered in the WGRD post; however, I’m digging out the clip from Playboy After Dark once again, since it’s pretty cool. This will go on to be the band’s second-biggest hit.
“That’s Your Baby” – Joe Tex (100). Our nineteenth (!) and final new record this week barely squeaks onto the charts, holding down the final position. It sounds a bit like the radio has slipped off the station at the beginning, which probably confused more than a few people. Once it gets going, though, it’s not bad. It’ll only notch up a few places and fade away, but we’ll see more from Joe Tex into the 1970s.
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