(Rut ro. Somebody’s rifty.)
September 13, 1969
It’s the date that a new cartoon premieres – “Scooby Doo, Where Are You?” If you’re of a certain age, there’s no denying the impact that this cartoon had on pop culture. I’ve caught myself more than once saying “I’d have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids.” OK, maybe I haven’t, but you know the line. (Actually, I first thought of Eddie Murphy’s stand-up routine about no one cleaning up after the dog: “This ain’t no m–f–ing Scooby Doo.”) It’s the same day that comedian Tyler Perry is born.
The next night, more TV history is made: Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color re-brands to The Wonderful World of Disney. Color is less of a selling point than it was years earlier, but the networks still like to point it out; after all, it won’t be until next year that ABC’s full schedule airs in color.
On Monday, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Steve Carlton sets a then-record by striking out 19 batters – and loses. The Mets, who are still on a roll, win the game 4-3. Tug McGraw gets the win in relief, improving to 8-3.
On the charts: It’s the fourth week at the top for the Rolling Stones and “Honky Tonk Women.” Be warned that change is coming next week. Among the titles making their debuts this week:
“The Weight” – Diana Ross & the Supremes (debut at #69). The original listing in Billboard doesn’t mention The Temptations on the record, and it should, since they save it. Here’s a case where I’ll defer to the original despite the star power involved. Even with the names on the label, it stops at #46.
“World (Part 1)” – James Brown (#70). Now, this is more like it. This will just squeak into the Top 40, landing at #37, but does better on Soul stations.
“And That Reminds Me” – Four Seasons (#72). On the one hand, the Four Seasons trying to be hip in 1969 shouldn’t work. On the other, Frankie Valli could sell the hell out of song, and he does here. This just misses, landing at #45.
“Suspicious Minds” – Elvis Presley (#77). I don’t think I need to explain this record. It’s damned perfect, even if the false fade tripped up a disc jockey more than once. Look for this at the top of the charts later – of course he doesn’t know it at the time, but it will be the last chart topper he ever has.
“Jealous Kind of Fellow” – Garland Green (#78). Here’s an oh-wow for the week. I haven’t heard this one in so long that I had forgotten about it. This one makes it all the way to #20, which makes it all the more surprising that I haven’t heard it. What a fantastic soul shot.
“Chains of Love” – Bobby Bland (#88). This is another pretty record. Bland didn’t have a lot of crossover success; after hitting the top 20 in 1964 with “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do,” his next 25 singles failed to crack the 40. This one only gets to #60, and adds a pronounced blues feel to our list this week.
“Tracy” – The Cuff Links (#89). Woe be to anyone named Tracy in late 1969, as they likely had this sung to them at some point. The band is really the over-dubbed voice of Ron Dante; not having a band doesn’t stop this from hitting #9.
“My Balloon’s Going Up” – Archie Bell & the Drells (#96). Another oh wow – I’ll never pass on an Archie Bell record. This is a fun little number that will only crawl up a few places to #87. The cynic in me wonders why one of the erectile dysfunction manufacturers hasn’t licensed it for ads.
“Love’s Been Good To Me” – Frank Sinatra (#98). There’s something haunting about late-60s Frank records that appeals to me. I played “Cycles” a bunch on my shows on our public radio Oldies outlet (including my last show there), and this one feels like it to me. Rod McKuen wrote it. It’ll only make it to #75 but fare better on “adult” stations.
“Kool and the Gang” – Kool and the Gang (#100). Quick now – name a band with a song that’s also the name of the band. Sure, most people will get “Big Country” (it’s the vests), or even “Bad Company,” but this one takes a little more musical chops. I wish that this was the K&TG of my high school years, and not the one that did stuff like “Cherish.” This will stop at #59; the band won’t see stardom until “Jungle Boogie” looms large five years later.