(Above: Jim Morrison has a little trouble in Miami. Photo credit: Miami Herald.)
Once again, new sounds abound – and turn fifty.
March 1, 1969
A Doors concert in Miami goes a little worse than planned. Lead singer Jim Morrison is arrested and charged with lewd conduct (Did he take it out or didn’t he?), profanity, and drunkenness. He’s convicted and sentenced to serve six months in jail, and dies before doing so. (He was later pardoned – in 2010.) Also on this date, Academy Award winner Javier Bardem is born.
On Monday the 3rd, Apollo 9 will launch in a mission that gets the U.S. closer to a moon visit. That same day accused assassin Sirhan Sirhan will take the stand in defense of the charge that he killed Senator Robert Kennedy the previous June. Tuesday the 4th is the birthday of Chaz Bono to Sonny and Cher.
On the pop charts: “Everyday People” by Sly and the Family Stone remains at #1 for the third week. What’s new?
“Rock Me” – Steppenwolf (debuts at #63). The top debut of the week is a simple song but a fun one. You used to hear this on classic rock stations all the time. This video is from the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour from two months earlier, proving that all the cool kids watched that show.
“Who’s Making Love” – Young/Holt Unlimited (64). Taking us up to news time, here’s a cool instrumental version of the Johnnie Taylor hit.
“When He Touches Me (Nothing Else Matters)” – Peaches and Herb (65). If all you know from Peaches and Herb is “Reunited,” you’re missing out. This one, though, sounds dated: Sure, he’s abusive, and so is she, but the cuddles are nice. It’ll make it to #49.
“Only the Strong Survive” – Jerry Butler (70). I’ll never not play this record at excessive volume. “The Iceman” sure can sing.
“A Lover’s Question” – Otis Redding (71). This posthumous release is a fantastic cover of Clyde McPhatter’s original. It’ll just miss the Top 40, landing at #48.
“Galveston” – Glen Campbell (87). I covered this one when Glen Campbell passed. It’s still a song that brings chills, from the subject matter of the song itself to the fantastic Al DeLory bass line.
“Don’t Forget About Me” – Dusty Springfield (88). This one’s off of From Dusty in Memphis, and it’s a neat little record that should probably have been a bigger hit. It stalls at #64.
“Snatching It Back” – Clarence Carter (90). There are some great soul shots on this week’s list, and this is one of them. It makes it all the way to #31, and I would rather hear this over “Patches” any day of the week.
“Gimme Gimme Good Lovin” – Crazy Elephant (94). Bubblegum fare that is/was a standard of every Oldies playlist ever. I think I’ve heard it plenty of times, but your mileage may vary. It’ll end up at #12, because of course it will. (And yes, Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, who produced all the other huge bubblegum hits, produced it – which is why it sounds like “Yummy Yummy Yummy.” That’s by design.)
“You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” – Blood Sweat & Tears (95). Classic. I prefer the longer LP version, which is what I have linked to.
“Sweeter Than Sugar” – Ohio Express (96). Kids – never let your parents or grandparents tell you that your music is stupid. Fortunately, this one doesn’t go any higher than this.
“Day After Day (It’s Slippin’ Away)” – Shango (97). Here’s your “oh wow” selection. When I was at WGVU newsman David Moore sent me on a chase for this recording, and it took a little bit of digging. It’s as much fun as you can have singing about an impending earthquake knocking California off the coast. It’ll only make it to #57.
“Give It Away” – The Chi-Lites (99). More great Chicago soul. This is their debut single, which will only make it to #88. They’ll be much bigger in the 70s with the songs you know, but the groundwork for that success is laid here.
“The Way It Used To Be” – Engelbert Humperdinck (100). Here’s one for the parents to buy. We think of 1969 as soul or psych or bubblegum, but forget the Easy Listening component. This just misses the Top 40 (at #42), but will make it all the way to #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart.