(Above: Oscar should be orange.)
November 8, 1969
It’s just two days before a new television program airs on the National Education Television (NET) network: Sesame Street. Some critics have suggested that this just might be the most important show ever to air on television, given the combination of the effect that it has had on generations of young readers (this author included) and the impact on our popular culture. I think a separate post is in order, because from a musical standpoint it was pretty solid as well.
That same day actress Ellen Pompeo is born. You know her from Grey’s Anatomy, which is not nearly as significant a television show.
Singer Jim Morrison of the Doors spends November 10 in court and the 11th in jail; the first date is his appearance on charges of exposing himself during a concert in Miami (he pleads not guilty). The next day, on a flight to Phoenix, he is arrested for disorderly conduct and interfering with a flight crew. That charge will be dropped the following April.
On the charts: there’s a new song at the top – it’s “Wedding Bell Blues” by the Fifth Dimension. It will stay there for 3 weeks in total.
What else is new this week? It’s an interesting collection.
“Someday We’ll Be Together” – Diana Ross & the Supremes (debut at #50). There’s a certain irony in this title, as it’s the last single that comes out with Diana Ross on it. That won’t stop The Supremes, who will manage seven (!) more Top 40 hits, including two in the Top Ten. This one will be the last one to make it all the way to the top.
“Heaven Knows” – The Grass Roots (#57). Not a bad little record that will make it about mid-way up the Top 40, landing at #24. The Seventies will be kind to the Grass Roots as well, as they will launch a streak of hits at the end of 1970.
“A Brand New Me” – Dusty Springfield (#83). I’ll go ahead and defend this one. It’s the last Top 40 hit for Dusty by herself. (How quickly we forget: she’s credited on the Pet Shop Boys’ “What Have I Done To Deserve This?” which makes #2 in 1987.) I also just like it, and it’s one that you rarely hear.
“Girls It Ain’t Easy” – The Honey Cone (#85). The second of two records to chart for this band in 1969 (the other was on June 28). They’ll strike it much bigger with their next record, “Want Ads,” which hits the top in 1971. There’s nothing wrong with this record, though, and I recommend more than a little volume on it.
“Just a Little Love” – B.B. King (#88; re-entry). We just covered this one on October 18, so I will direct you back there.
“You Got to Pay the Price” – Gloria Taylor (#92). This is the only chart entry for Gloria, and this one’s a little interesting. In 1967 Al Kent released an instrumental by the same name, and that’s the backing track here. (It’s reminiscent of “Am I The Same Girl“, which I covered here.) This makes it up to #49, with more considerable airplay on local charts, including Saginaw, MI’s WWWS where it hit #5.
“The Ten Commandments of Love” – Little Anthony & the Imperials (#93). The nostalgia/remake bug strikes again. This only goes up to #82 and fades after four weeks.
“Kozmic Blues” – Janis Joplin (#94). Writing solely about the chart stats on Janis Joplin doesn’t take long. She had exactly two Top 40 hits: “Piece of My Heart” with Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1968, and “Me and Bobby McGee,” a posthumous #1 hit. There’s other decent records along the way, though. This one just missed being the third T40 entry, landing at #41.
“(I’m So) Afraid of Losing You Again” – Charley Pride (#95). A much bigger hit on the Country charts, where it went to #3, it’s an also-ran on the pop side only making it to #74. Technically Charley only puts one in the Top 40 – “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'” in 1972 – but his Country numbers are much bigger. It’s also a bit odd to hear a straight-up Country record on this chart, isn’t it?
“Eleanor Rigby” – Aretha Franklin (#96). Oh, wow, indeed. I love the original recording of this song, and yet this is a needed interpretation. (First-person? Why not?) It’s a hit as well, making it to #17.
“That’s the Way Heartaches are Made” – The Marvelettes (#97). The actual title of the song is “That’s How Heartaches are Made,” and it’s corrected in subsequent Billboard charts. It’s significant largely because it’s the last single by The Marvelettes to hit the charts, ending an eight-year run. This is the only week it charts.
“Volunteers” – Jefferson Airplane (#99). You more likely hear it in period-piece soundtracks than on radio. It was a #65 hit, spending ten weeks on the chart. The band takes time off, regroups as Jefferson Starship, and then there’s more hits coming, starting in 1975 with “Miracles.”
“See Ruby Fall” – Johnny Cash (#100). This one is technically a B-side; the A-side will chart on 11/22, so we’ll save that. It’ll move up to #75 and stay there. It’s also a song that I am sure you know without a whole lot of prompting.