March 22, 1969
It’s not called “March Madness” yet, but the NCAA men’s basketball championship is decided. UCLA beats Purdue 92-72 to take the title for the third year in a row, led by Lew Alcindor’s 37 points. (You likely know him as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.) The word “three-peat” also will not surface until many years later.
The next day a “Rally for Decency” will take place at the Orange Bowl in Miami. About 30,000 teenagers gather to express displeasure over the Jim Morrison incident from a few years ago. Entertainment includes Jackie Gleason, Anita Bryant, and the Lettermen, which is about as far from controversial as you can get. That same afternoon Charles Manson turns up at a home formerly occupied by record producer Terry Melcher. Manson was trying to land a record deal. His “followers” will re-visit the same home later in the summer with knives.
The following Thursday (March 27) Dickie Smothers receives a telegram from CBS stating in no uncertain terms that he and Tommy need to clean up their act and stop trying to avoid the network’s policy of prior review of their material. The show will be cancelled eight days later.
On the charts this week: Tommy Roe’s “Dizzy” remains at #1 for the second straight week.
“Memories” – Elvis Presley (debuts at #67). That’s right – Elvis is the highest debuting star of the week. This is another single performed on his “comeback” special and will make it up to #35. It’s also one you don’t hear much anymore.
“Chokin’ Kind” – Joe Simon (71). A fantastic soul shot that will end up being his biggest hit of the 60s, landing at #13. Joe Simon put 31 (!) records on the Billboard pop chart, which is about 28 more than I would have guessed. He’s got quite the resume.
“Is It Something You Got” – Tyrone Davis (81). This one’s another great Chicago soul record that should get a ton more airplay than it does. It’ll just squeak into the Top 40, finally stopping at #34.
“First of May” – The Bee Gees (82). If you’re feeling at all melancholy, you might want to give this one a pass. 1969 is a year that sees more misses than hits from The Brothers Gibb, although this one will sneak up to #37. (Come 1971 they’ll go on an absolute tear.)
“It’s Only Love” – B.J. Thomas (84). A pleasant enough little ditty that fails to crack the Top 40, ending up at #45. Parents seem to like it more, though, as it becomes B.J.’s first single to crack the Adult Contemporary charts. We’ll hear more from him later in the year.
“In the Still Of the Night” – Paul Anka (85). The remakes of 50s hits from Anka continue. This one won’t do nearly as well as “Goodnight My Love,” crawling only to #64.
“Sweet Cherry Wine” – Tommy James & the Shondells (86). This is one that I always liked. When I got my first CD player in the 80s one of the first discs I took a chance on was the Roulette record issue of TJ&tS greatest hits. It was worth it for the 5-minute “Crimson and Clover,” but this is one I played a lot as well. Lots of people liked it as it made it to #7.
“Ice Cream Song” – The Dynamics (87). Here’s your “oh, wow” for the week. The Dynamics charted only two records: the first, “Misery,” from 1963, is a fantastic record that should have been much, much bigger than a #44 tune. (It was also likely stolen by a group called the High Numbers in 1964 for their song “Zoot Suit.” You know that group as The Who.) Likewise, this one will stop at #59, but what a great record this is.
“Foolish Fool” – Dee Dee Warwick (96). Dee Dee is Dionne’s younger sister, and a pretty decent singer in her own right. This one will only make it to #57, making it her second-biggest hit.
“Born Again” – Sam & Dave (97). I, for one, could listen to Sam and Dave all day on a loop. This one will be their last charted record, and will only scoot up five more places.
“Give It Away” – The Chi-Lites (99). This is the same song we covered on the March 1 chart – it fell off and re-entered.