December 20, 1969
It’s a few days after a bit of television history takes place. On December 17 some 40 million people saw Herbert Khaury and Victoria Budinger get married. Of course they are Tiny Tim and Miss Vicky, and their wedding was shown on The Tonight Show. I’ve shown the clip in media history classes, and they come away with two things: a) the pace is really slow compared to today’s TV, and b) she’s really young. They are right on both counts, especially b, since Budinger was 17. They were married for eight years.
Turning 50 yesterday: Kristy Swanson, she of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who was born on 12/19/69 in California.
On the charts: The new #1 song this week is “Leaving On a Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul and Mary. I wrote a long story about it here that gets a bump; the incident that I talked about – leaving my first full-time job in the Quad Cities – has its 30th anniversary next month.
Also making debuts this week:
“Let a Man Come In and Do the Popcorn (Part 2)” – James Brown (debut at #72). This is the second half of the single that debuted on October 11, so I will direct you back there for the full-length version. That’s five references to popcorn this year for James if you are keeping score.
“Baby Take Me in Your Arms” – Jefferson (#73). The Sound of the Seventies is here and it’s big. This is a fun little record that will make it to #23 eventually, cementing the band’s place as a one hit wonder (there’s nothing after this one).
“I’m So Glad I Fell For You” – David Ruffin (#80). Here’s the first “oh wow,” and what a strong start to the week. Of course, I always pause when David Ruffin sings, so the “oh wow” shouldn’t be unexpected. This is worth it. It only makes it to #53 on the pop charts, but was a top ten record in Baltimore and Detroit, so all is not lost here.
“No Time” – The Guess Who (#81). I don’t know that I have to explain this one, as I am sure you have heard it many times. (Have you heard the full LP version though? That’s here.) This will go on to hit #5, and there’s more to come in the Seventies.
“Are You Getting Any Sunshine” – Lou Christie (#83). I live in West Michigan, so the answer is “no.” Truth: we’ve had the cloudiest year here since 1986 with less than 40% of possible sunshine this year. So, anything that cheers us up is welcome. This record’s silly enough to do the trick, even if its chorus is a ripoff of “Big Time” from three years earlier. This spends four weeks on the charts and hits #73.
“Come Saturday Morning” – The Sandpipers (#84). Movie music from the soundtrack of The Sterile Cuckoo, a film that starred Liza Minnelli. Those were the sort of bons mots you used to get on my radio show. Anyway, it goes on to be a #17 hit and the staple of soft rock FM everywhere. (Grammar problem: “just I and my friend” bothers me.)
“Together” – The Illusion (#87). I have to admit I didn’t remember this one, but I kind of like it. It only makes #80, leaving July 5‘s “Did You See Her Eyes?” as the band’s only hit. This one makes it to #5 on WDRC in Hartford, Connecticut.
“Groovin’ (Out On Life)” – The Newbeats (#88). This is a band that had more singles than I remember. I have them in my head at “one, maybe two.” It’s actually seven, and this is the last one of the bunch. It’ll move a few notches and stop at #82. It reminds me more than a little of the Mike Curb Congregation, which I referenced in the Jack Scott post last week.
“I’m Gonna Love You” – The Intrigues (#89). Oh wow, part 2. This one feels like it should have been a bigger hit, but stops at #86 after three weeks. It does better (as in ranking in the 20s) in Philadelphia and on WKNR/Detroit, but the band goes down as a one-hit wonder with August 2nd’s “In a Moment” as the only one.
“Voodoo Woman” – Simon Stokes & the Nighthawks (#91). This one passed me by. Are they going for Dylan here? This one is gone by 1970.
“Bold Soul Sister”- Ike & Tina Turner (#92). She is a bold soul sister, all right, and don’t get in her way. This one stops at #59, which is a little strange since it hit #1 in Los Angeles, #2 in New York, and #3 in Philadelphia. You’d think that would have moved enough copies to make some noise, but the charts are funny like that.
“Love Bones” – Johnny Taylor (#95). What’s that you say? You need some classic Stax soul in your day? Click this one. You’ll thank me. This just misses the Top 40, stopping at #43. Solid record.
“Been a Long Time” – Betty Everett (#96). It hadn’t been that long as she last charted on April 26. Perhaps I’m being too literal. If you listen with one ear you might think this is an Aretha Franklin record, as it’s sure produced like one. This is on the list for two weeks and gets no higher than this.
“Mr. Limousine Driver” – Grand Funk Railroad (#98). We first met this band on September 27. Here’s their second single, which spends two weeks on the charts and gets to #97. No, for these guys it’s “fourth time’s the charm,” when “Closer to Home (I’m Your Captain” makes it to #22 and becomes a favorite of DJs who need to use the restroom everywhere.
“Too Many Cooks (Spoil the Soup)” – 100 Proof Aged in Soul (#99). This the first single for this band; it doesn’t do much here, hits #94, and disappears. Later in 1970 their second single, “Somebody’s Been Sleeping,” makes it to #8 – and that’s why the name of this band sounded familiar to you.
“He Ain’t Heavy (He’s My Brother)” – The Hollies (#100). Yep, this one snuck out in 1969. It’ll hit its peak of #7 in the US and #2 in the UK in 1970. Check that: its peak in the UK came in 1988, when it was re-issued and hit #1. And you thought the US charts were weird with 25-year-old Christmas records hitting #1….
2 thoughts on “New this week in ’69: December 20”
Ah, “Mr. Limousine Driver,” in which a rock star tells his driver to pay attention to the road and never mind about what his passengers are getting up to in the back. I guess America’s singles buyers just couldn’t relate to that scenario somehow.
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