(It went to #2, because CCR never got to #1.)
On this day in 1969, heavy rains in Southern California trigger mudslides that killed nine people. The winter storm system will take 95 lives in total and cause almost a billion dollars in damage in today’s money. Albert Hammond was wrong. The following day Elvis Presley will head to Memphis to begin a series of recording sessions that will yield songs like “Suspicious Minds,” “In the Ghetto,” and “Kentucky Rain,” proving that he still had it after all.
What’s new on the charts?
January 25, 1969
“I Heard I Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye is at #1 for the final week. A new chart-topper rises next time.
“I’m Livin’ In Shame” – Diana Ross & the Supremes (debuts at #47). This song always struck me as “Love Child, Part 2.” They sound alike, the theme isn’t totally removed from the first record, but the popularity isn’t quite the same. Still, this will go on to be a Top Ten record.
“Proud Mary” – Creedence Clearwater Revival (62). This starts a string of #2 hits for CCR. Each of them get blocked from the top by something else along the way. Odds are high that you’ve heard a bar band play this at some point in your life.
“Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose” – James Brown (63). When’s the last time you heard this one – not as a sample somewhere else, but by itself? (I’m looking at you, Rico Suave.) It’s probably been a while. It’ll go on to top the Soul chart, back when that was still a thing.
“River Deep – Mountain High” – Deep Purple (72). No, really. It’s from their LP The Book of Taliesyn. It runs ten minutes on the album, but is cut to 2:35 for the single, which should tell you we’re gonna have problems.
“Purple Haze” – Dion (78). What the hell? Have you ever imagined Jimi Hendrix’ signature song as a lilting, folksy ballad? Here, let me help you with that. It actually climbs up to #63.
“The Greatest Love” – Dorsey Burnette (82). Joe South wrote this one that brought Dorsey Burnette back to the charts after an 8-year absence. It’ll hit #67, and three years later he’ll begin a string of minor Country hits that span seven years. It’s not a bad little record.
“Indian Giver” – 1910 Fruitgum Co. (85). I don’t think this gets made today, given its title. (The LP cover wasn’t exactly a thing to be proud of, either.) Of course, as did most things bubblegum, it went on to become a huge hit, peaking at #5.
“Let It Be Me” – Glen Campbell (90). The initial chart only lists Glen, but the video from his TV show feature Bobbi Gentry, so we should recognize her too.
“The Carroll County Accident” – Porter Wagoner (93). Ah, for a good old Country crossover. It’s got the feel of “Okie From Muskogee,” but isn’t anywhere suggesting that the kids still love the college dean. It’s more traditional. It will stall at #92 on this chart, but on the Country charts it makes it to #2.
“Please Don’t Desert Me Baby” – Gloria Walker & the Chevelles (98). Here’s your “oh, wow” for the week. What a fantastic record that should have been a much bigger hit.
“Crossroads” – Cream (99). All the way down here, we have this, which you have no doubt heard on a classic rock station near you. It’ll make it up to #28; interestingly, it’s a much bigger hit in Canada, where it just misses the Top 10.
“Hey! Baby” – Jose Feliciano (100). If you missed this one the first time around, you’re not alone. It’s not exactly “Light My Fire,” but it’s certainly pleasant enough. It’ll hit #71 but not travel any higher.