New this week in ’69: November 15

'60s R&B Quintet "Jackson 5"

(Watch this band. They have potential.)

November 15, 1969

It’s the day after Apollo 12 launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida for the second manned flight to the Moon. Astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean will land the ship on the lunar surface the following Wednesday the 18th.

On the 15th, a fellow named Dave Thomas opens a hamburger restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. He names the place after his daughter Melinda, who is affectionately called “Wendy” by her family.

The following Monday, the United States and the Soviet Union begin the first Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) in Helsinki. These talks start and stop over the next decade or so.

On the charts: it’s the second week at the top for “Wedding Bell Blues” by the Fifth Dimension. Other songs making their chart debut this include a pretty wide variety of sounds.

Midnight” – Dennis Yost & the Classics IV (debut at #73). The biggest debut of the week ends up an also-ran, making it up to #58 and stalling out. It sounds so similar to the big hits of the band it’s hard to understand why it didn’t climb a little higher.

“Cupid” – Johnny Nash (#81 – re-entry). This one was covered two weeks ago, so I’ll defer to that post. It’ll squeak into the Top 40, ending up at #39.

Get It From the Bottom” – Steelers (#82). Let’s get the first “oh wow” out of the way early, shall we? The Steelers weren’t from Pittsburgh; instead, they hailed from Chicago. This was the only record that they put on the pop charts, and after six weeks it only made it to #56. What a neat little bit o’ soul.

Cold Turkey” – Plastic Ono Band (#86). I’d place a solid wager that you haven’t heard this one on your local Oldies station in, say, ever. It was a #30 record, though, but trying to place this in the middle of a music sweep would be a little tricky, so most programmers avoid it.

Jam Up and Jelly Tight” – Tommy Roe (#88). Here’s one that you’ve heard so many times, on the other hand, you probably read the title in time with the music. This one’s easy to surround with like-sounding songs, and as such it’s featured on even the most limited of playlists. It’s a #8 single by the time it’s done rising.

I Want You Back” – The Jackson Five (#90). There were a small handful of records that I played in my career that, every time I started them, I thought “Damn, do I have a fun job.” This is one of those. There’s nothing about this record that isn’t perfect, from the piano gliss to the rhythm guitar lead to the other-worldly lead vocal from an eleven-year-old kid that sounds like he’s been selling songs his whole life (because he had been). This one gets to the top of the charts by the end of January 1970.

Get Rhythm” – Johnny Cash (#94). I love the fact that the first record after the J5 is this one. There’s a lot of Cash on the charts: we had one last week, and there will be another debut next week. This one goes as high as #60 and stops there.

Swingin’ Tight” – Bill Deal & the Rhondels (#95). This one’s a neat little record that doesn’t do much chart-wise. It’ll spend five weeks on the list and only make it to #85. That’s not to say that some stations didn’t play it a bunch; WHLO in Akron, Ohio bumps it to #7 while it’s also Top Ten in Fort Lauderdale, FL on WSRF.

“She Belongs To Me” – Rick Nelson (#96 – re-entry). We originally talked about this one on October 11; this is the run where it make it into the Top 40, but that won’t happen until after the first of the new year.

Curly” – Jimmy Clanton (#97). I was not expecting to see Jimmy Clanton on this chart, or any from 1969 for that matter. His last Top 100 hit was in 1963, while his last big smash – “Venus in Blue Jeans” – hit #7 the year before that. This one sounds much more early Sixties and thus out of place here, which might be why it goes no higher than where you see it now.

Don’t Let Love Hang You Up” – Jerry Butler (#98). If this doesn’t put a tap in your toes, then I probably can’t help you. The Iceman just misses the Top 40 with this one, which ends up at #44. It’s got more than a little Gospel feel to it, doesn’t it? What a great record this is.

One Tin Soldier” – The Original Caste (#99). Surely you know this record, from 1971’s Legend of Billy Jack. The single, by Coven, made it to #26 that same year. (You’d think it was a bigger hit.) But that’s the remake. The original version of the song is this one, from the folks that wrote it – this band from Calgary. It almost makes it as high as the version that you know, landing at #34. This becomes a #1 hit on WSAI/Cincinnati, KNUZ/Houston, WKLO/Louisville and a slew of stations across Canada. It’s the only hit they had, despite “Mr. Monday” getting some play in Grand Rapids.

St. Louis” – The Easybeats (#100). One last rocker on the way out – it’ll only spend this one week on the charts, but turns up in some unusual places. It’s a #1 record on KSTT in the Quad Cities, which is a higher position than even any Australian chart had it. A few other towns that played it include Johnstown, PA, Stevens Point and Oshkosh, Wisconsin and Geneva, New York. That’s about it for stateside. It’s the second and final record to chart for the band; “Friday on My Mind” was the big hit in 1967, and – despite being awesome, “Good Times” failed to make it in 1968.

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