June 28, 1969
The Stonewall riots continue in New York City, having begun the night before. Police harassment of patrons of a well-known gay bar boils over into violence. The event is commemorated a year later, and that march has gone on to become the annual Pride celebrations that take place across the country.
It’s also the same day that Western Union introduces the Mailgram. It’s like a telegram, but more expensive in that it’s printed and delivered like a letter. Believe it or not, you could still send these things up until 2006, when Western Union discontinued all telegram-type service. E-mail’s cheaper, after all.
Tuesday, July 1 sees the formal investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales. He’s still in that job, as he’s second in line to the British throne and Mum’s not giving it up.
On the charts: there’s a new #1 song this week: “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet” by Henry Mancini. It will stay at the top this week and next, and then we get a change.
Making debuts on the charts this week:
“Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)” –Neil Diamond (debut at #59). The top new song of the week is one that you are more than likely familiar with, especially if you’ve even been to a Boston Red Sox home game. It’s a little creepier knowing that Diamond explained that the Caroline in question is Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the late President, who was eleven years old in the summer of ’69. This will make it all the way to #4.
“Good Old Rock and Roll” – Cat Mother and the All-Night Newsboys (#61). Here’s one we don’t hear nearly enough. Produced by Jimi Hendrix, this is a mid-charter, ending up at #21. It also ties in with the nostalgia theme we keep seeing on these charts as it’s essentially a medley of 50s hits.
“Reconsider Me” – Johnny Adams (#72). This goes on to be the only Top 40 hit for Adams, stopping at #28.
“Choice of Colors” – The Impressions (#77). I think you could release this record today and it would spark discussion, which tells you just how far we haven’t come in fifty years. It’ll top the Rhythm and Blues chart, which is probably why we don’t hear it on a traditional Oldies station anymore: it’s too, you know, “urban.” It’s a great record is what it is.
“I’m Still a Strugglin’ Man” – Edwin Starr (#80). Here’s an oh-wow: fantastic soul sound with a message in it. This is as far as this one will go on the charts, spending four weeks on the list before dropping off.
“Put a Little Love In Your Heart” – Jackie DeShannon (#85). This one becomes a huge hit, going all the way to #4. I much prefer it to the 1988 remake by Annie Lennox and Al Green from the Scrooged soundtrack, which seemed to come up in rotation on my show at WJTW every seven minutes that Christmas.
“Forever” – Mercy (87). This is the follow-up to “Love (Can Make You Happy),” and it’s a remake of the Little Dippers original from 1960, which I think I prefer. It’ll end up at #79, and the band won’t chart another record after this one.
“On Campus” – Dickie Goodman (#88). I keep coming back to the idea of an academic-style paper on Dickie Goodman, and I think it’s on my list for things to write in 2020. This one just misses the next chart, stalling at #45. Shout-out to “Mr. Happiness, Mayor Daley of Chicago” as a part of it.
“Abraham, Martin, and John” – Moms Mabley (#89). I had briefly forgotten that this was a thing. Mabley was known for comedy albums, but her heartfelt rendering of this made it all the way up to #35.
“While You’re Out Looking For Sugar” – The Honey Cone (#90). We have plenty of “oh wow” this week. This is the debut record for these ladies, who we’ll hear a lot more from in the 70s. This only makes it to #62, which is criminal based on the title alone.
“Never Comes the Day” – The Moody Blues (#92). This is a pretty record that will only manage to move up one more slot on the chart. I suspect it got a lot more attention on progressive and free-form FM stations.
“Get Together” – The Youngbloods (#93). Timing is everything. This was released in 1967 and stalled out at #62. Re-released two years later, in a more tumultuous political climate, the same record is a #5 hit.
“Along Came Jones” – Ray Stevens (#94). I like a lot of Ray Stevens’ stuff, but I stick with the Coasters original from 1959 here. That doesn’t stop this from making it all the way up to #27.
“Don’t Tell Your Mama Where You’ve Been” – Eddie Floyd (#95). This is more like it. Great stuff from Floyd, but it only gets to #73. I’d rather this and “Along Came Jones” trade places.
“Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (From Now On)” – Lee Dorsey (#96). Now here’s something to aspire to. This is a fantastic little jam that ends up being Dorsey’s last charted record. It’ll only move up one place to #95. It also sounds an awful, awful lot like “Workin’ In a Coal Mine” to me.
“Muddy River” – Johnny Rivers (#97). If we trust Oldies radio, Johnny Rivers did nothing between “Summer Rain” and “Rockin’ Pneumonia” five years later. That omits some decent music, like this one, which just misses at #41.
“(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of the Bay” – Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 (#98). Admittedly I’ve crapped all over the remakes on the chart this week. I won’t do that here, as a) I have a soft spot for Sergio Mendes’ work, and b) this is genuinely not horrid. I can see myself driving around with this playing loudly had I had a copy as a teenager. The single only makes #66, but a lot of moms and dads bought the LP.
“Theme From ‘A Summer Place’” – The Ventures (#100). I genuinely can’t make up my mind on this one. I mean, it’s good and all, but it doesn’t conjure up images of Pinto facing a major decision in Animal House quite like the original. This makes it to #82 and will be the last record that The Ventures put on the charts.