(Above: The top debut of the week.)
February 15, 1969
Yesterday Pope Paul VI issued a document called Mysterii Paschalis. One of the things that it did was remove names from the Roman calendar of saints. Among them was Valentine, even though we still celebrate the saint today. Five days from now President Nixon will propose that Congress draw up an amendment to abolish the Electoral College, favoring a system that either splits states in line with popular vote or simply declares a popular vote winner President as long as they pull 40% overall.
There’s a new #1 song this week – it’s “Everyday People” by Sly & the Family Stone. It will end up topping the chart for the next month.
What else makes its debut this week?
“My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)” – David Ruffin (debuting at #50). The highest debut on the chart may be the best one of the bunch. This is a fantastic record, and I don’t hear it nearly often enough anymore – especially considering it made #2 on the R&B chart.
“Runaway Child, Running Wild” – Temptations (70). Last week’s debuts seemed, frankly, a little white to me. This week looks like the R&B tunes will get their due, and I’m curious to see if this pattern will continue throughout 1969. This one will go on to top the R&B charts and land at #6 on the pop chart.
“I Don’t Know Why” – Stevie Wonder (77). This is a release from Stevie’s 1968 LP For Once In My Life. It will just slide into the Top 40 at #39, but it’s still a great tune.
“Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon” – Paul Revere & the Raiders (82). There’s really nothing to not like about this one, as I can think of about fifty songs that this sounds like. It’ll make it into the top 20, but, again – most Oldies stations seem to have forgotten this record.
“Lovin’ Things” – Grass Roots (83). It’ll end up being a miss, stalling at #49. Their other releases to come later in the year will do better, so I will wait for them to appear here before commenting. I can’t, however, quite explain how this one misses and the others succeed.
“Hot Smoke and Sassafrass” – The Bubble Puppy (84). OK, true confession time: a lot of the legendary psychedelic stuff, like this one? I can do without ’em. There are these songs that get trotted out when we talk about psychedelia, and, well, maybe I’m just not under the right influence to be entertained. Others dug it, though, as it went to #14. Follow-up efforts failed to chart.
“Maybe Tomorrow” – The Iveys (86). Here’s your trivia for the week: what was the original name of Badfinger? Yep, this is them. This didn’t make the charts in the UK and only managed #67 here, but Apple Records stuck with them. That decision – and the name change – would pay off later.
“Hello It’s Me” – Nazz (87). This got covered on the WGRD chart from back in January, which gives you an idea of how early that station was on playing them. It only makes it to #66 on Billboard, but Todd Rundgren will do better on his own.
“No Not Much” – The Smoke Ring (89). The phenomenon of cover songs of the Fifties continues, but this one is pretty cool. It won’t move any more than a couple of notches, resting at #85, but I’d say it’s a cooler version than the original by The Four Lads.
“Anything You Choose” – Spanky & Our Gang (95). As fate will have it, 1968’s “Like To Get To Know You” – which should get its own treatment – will be the end of the line for Top 40 hits for the band. “Give a Damn” comes close at #43, but everything after that, including this one, are also-rans.
“Switch It On” – Cliff Nobles & Co. (97). Here’s the “oh, wow” for the week. It sounds maybe a bit like “The Horse,” but we can excuse that. Why I don’t hear it more often than never is a mystery. I must admit, though, at one point I wondered if the record had gotten stuck.
“I Like What You’re Doing (To Me)” – Carla Thomas (98). This one makes the R&B top 10 but doesn’t cross over to a Top 40 hit.
“I Don’t Want To Cry” – Ruby Winters (99). This is another “oh, wow” for the week. Sure, you know the Chuck Jackson version, but this feels a LOT different, and I’d like to hear it a lot more often. it never moves any higher than #97, but does go on to hit #15 on the R&B charts – one of six records Ruby will put in the R&B top 40.
“Twenty Five Miles” – Edwin Starr (100). I don’t need to explain this one to you. I’ll just say that its inclusion in Adventures in Babysitting is one of my favorite parts of that movie. This will, of course, rise a little higher than a hundred.