(Above: Brett Favre also acted a little.)
October 11, 1969
It’s the day that the Soviets, trying to remain in the space race, launch the Soyuz 6 spacecraft with two aboard. The very next day Soyuz 7 launches with three more cosmonauts. It’s on that day – October 12 – that Sonja Henie passes away at the young age of 57 on the way back home to Oslo to continue cancer treatment. On the 13th, the Soviets put Soyuz 8 into space. All the craft come down next week despite plans for a space station. It’s on the 13th that we can talk figure skating again: Nancy Kerrigan, the American silver medalist forever linked to Tonya Harding and a crowbar, is born in Massachusetts. (Nearby famous births worth a mention: Green Bay Packer quarterback Brett Favre turned fifty this week, too – he was born on October 10.)
On the charts: it’s the fourth and final week at #1 for “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies. Watch this space for something new next time. I’d like to say that you’ll hum along with the rest of the new adds this week, but this might be the most unfamiliar week of the year. Let’s see how many of these you remember:
“Groovy Grubworm” – Harlow Wilcox (debut at #77). Poor guy – they had his name as “Barlow” on the first chart before fixing it. Odds are that, if you recognize it, it’s not from the title. A groovy little instrumental that first came out in 1968, it makes it up to #30 later in the fall. No other Wilcox releases chart, making him a true one-hit wonder.
“Let a Man Come in and Do the Popcorn (Part 1)” – James Brown (#78). Even this isn’t likely the “popcorn” song that you remember. The two parts together clock in at almost eight minutes, which is about three times longer than the Hot Butter single I remember much more clearly from my youth. This single – Part 1 – makes it up to #21. Watch for Part 2 to chart independently later (and also make the Top 40.)
“The Sweeter He Is” – Soul Children (#82). This is another Part 1/Part 2 release that doesn’t quite fit on one side of the 45 (although they managed to do it with “Hey Jude”). This debut record for the band stalls at #52; they’ll later crack the Top 40 in 1974 with “I’ll Be the Other Woman.” Regionally, this is a chart-topper in Philadelphia, Miami, and Savanna, GA.
“Silver Threads and Golden Needles” – The Cowsills (#86). Yeesh. The Springfields version would push my limits; this surpasses them. It’ll spend seven weeks on the charts, stop at #74, and be the last song for the family to make it to the Hot 100. Even milk can’t help this one.
“Colour Of My Love” – Jefferson (#87). Now THIS one triggered something in my memory, but damned if I can think of why. It was a moderate hit in the UK, so maybe it turned up on some hits collection while I was in New Zealand, and I’m recalling it from there. It’s not a horrible record once-a-decade or so. It nudged up to #68, and that was it. It did make Top 10 in a few places ranging from San Bernadino, CA to Rochester, NY, with both Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK thrown in for good measure.
“Hold Me” – Baskerville Hounds (#88). I’ll attach an “oh wow” to this one. I immediately thought Raspberries when I dropped the digital needle on it. Turns out they’re from Cleveland, but the personnel are different. I’m gonna guess that that band heard this one. The “live” effect is cheesy as hell, and the song made #88, but I’d dig this one out for fun. (Interestingly, it only made #41 in Cleveland. It was #1 in Orlando, FL. Go figure.)
“Try a Little Kindness” – Glen Campbell (#89). For my money you can’t go wrong with a late 60s Glen Campbell record. I immediately recognized it from one of those “not sold in stores” TV ads for Glen’s greatest hits sometime in the late 70s. I don’t think I’ve heard it since then, and this was a #23 record, so that surprises me a bit. I think we’ve been missing out for the last few decades.
“Don’t Waste My Time” – John Mayall (#90). Admittedly, I’ve never been a big John Mayall fan, but I’m wondering if I need to do some research there, since this is perfectly enjoyable. It only charted for three weeks and made #81. I’m VERY glad it’s here, though, since it pointed me to “Room to Move.” If my memory is right, WCKG/Chicago played “Room to Move” at least once every other day when I was in college, and I never knew what it was. Now I do, and will sleep much better tonight.
“All God’s Children Got Soul” – Dorothy Morrison (#95). Whoa. Wasn’t expecting a performance this solid on this week’s chart. This is the only week it spends on the chart, but – wow. I suggest bumping up the volume on your device a bit before clicking this one. Morrison was the lead singer for the Edwin Hawkins Singers for a while. This makes #7 in Oakland, CA; even WMCA in New York City bumped it to #25.
“I Can’t Be All Bad” – Johnny Adams (#96). This is the follow-up to “Reconsider Me,” which charted on June 28. It’s a straight-up blues number, and as such probably missed some airplay and stalled at #89 after two weeks. It seems like the sort of number that desperately needs a cover version.
“Love In the City” – Turtles (#99). By this point in 1969 the Turtles were only mostly done. Recall that on the first chart of the year they had a monster hit in “You Showed Me.” That was about it. “You Don’t Have to Walk In the Rain,” despite being a delightful record, missed the Top 40 in June, and this one will only spend two weeks on the chart and fall off after hitting #91. Even as a fan of the band, I’d put this one near the back of the list.
“She Belongs To Me” – Rick Nelson (#100). I recognize this one on sight only due to being a Dylan fan. The original version, off of Bringing it All Back Home, has long been a favorite of mine (heck, the whole first side of that LP has always ranked highly for me). This cover? It’s… eh… OK. I mean, it’s similar enough to the original for me to see where it’s going, and it’s well-performed. Chartwise, it makes it to #33 as the first release with the Stone Canyon Band, peaking early in 1970. It becomes his first Top 40 in six years, and there’s a bigger one – about a poor concert review – coming in 1972.