(Above: Curt Flood of the St. Louis Cardinals)
January 17-24, 1970
This post combines two weeks into one to play catch-up. Among the history to cover is the final event of the AFL on the 17th. The final AFL All-Star Game takes place in Houston, and the West beats the East 26-3. The newly combined league will feature the Pro Bowl, which will be ignored by many for years. That same day hockey star Jeremy Roenick is born.
The day before – January 16 – is also pretty important in sports. Curt Flood filed a lawsuit in Federal court challenging the long-held reserve clause in baseball. Flood lost his case, which prompted the MLB Players’ Union to take up the fight. Eventually the clause is defeated and the result – the “free agent” – changes the baseball landscape forever.
During the following week, the maiden flight of the Boeing 747 jumbo jet takes place on January 22. After a seven-hour delay, the flight left New York’s JFK Airport to head for London’s Heathrow.
The 24th sees the death of James Sheppard. Shep, as he was known, was the leader of Shep and the Limelites, who had a hit with “Daddy’s Home.” He was murdered at the age of 34, and the case remains unsolved. The next day, the film M*A*S*H makes its premiere in New York City, opening to national release on March 18.
On the charts: it’s the third and fourth (and final) weeks at #1 for B. J. Thomas and “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.” Watch for a new #1 song next week.
There aren’t many new songs added to the charts in these two weeks, so I’ve combined the lists. There are some good ones among them, though, and many worthy of hearing again.
January 17 chart
“Honey Come Back” – Glen Campbell (debut at #78). The highest debut of the week is another Jimmy Webb composition. It’ll go on to be a #19 hit on the pop charts. It also sounds perfectly at home on Country or Adult Contemporary radio.
“Hello It’s Me” – Nazz (#83; re-entry). This is the same record that first appeared on the charts on 2/15/1969; it was re-released with a different label, which apparently was worth five places on the chart. This time it stops at #66; it’ll do much better in 1973 when Todd Rundgren re-records it.
“The Touch Of You” – Brenda & the Tabulations (#84). Here’s our first “oh wow” of the week. This is a fantastic soul shot that belies its #50 peak on the pop charts. It’s a #1 record at WWRL in New York City., and is top 5 in Pittsburgh and on WVON/Chicago.
“Give Me Just a Little More Time” – Chairmen Of the Board (#85). A staple of Oldies radio for years, this one now appears front and center on the “beach music” channel that satellite radio digs out every summer. It will make #3, the first of four Top 40 hits for the band.
“Psychedelic Shack” – The Temptations (#95). I’ll never not stop on this one when seeking through the radio dial. So low, you can’t get under it. It’ll go on to hit #7, and *still* not be the biggest hit for the band in 1970. That one’s coming.
“If Walls Could Talk” – Little Milton (#97). Here’s your next “oh wow.” There’s nothing to dislike about this tune. It’ll only make #71 nationally, but at home in Chicago it’s a #3 record on WVON.
“Country Preacher” – Cannonball Adderley (#98). This turns out to be the last charting single for Adderley, and – might I add – makes for fantastic background music in the office. It only spends three weeks on the chart, stalling at #86.
“The Ghetto – Part 1” – Donny Hathaway (#99). I’ve linked you to parts 1 and 2. I figure if you like the first part, you’ll want the whole thing. This is the debut record for Hathaway, which is a far cry from the duet with Roberta Flack (“Where Is The Love”) that he’s probably best known for. It’ll linger on the chart for two months and only move 12 places. It’s a #2 record in Los Angeles on KGFJ.
“Shades of Green” – The Flaming Ember (#100). In total the Flaming Ember put four records on the Hot 100 and three of them made the Top 40. This is the one that didn’t, stopping at #88. It’s not a bad record, but the next release (coming in May) will fare much better.
January 24 chart
“Evil Ways” – Santana (debut at #71). I don’t think I need to explain this record to you. In fact, it’s probably playing somewhere as you read this. It’s the first Top 10 record for the band and not even the biggest release of the year. Fun fact: it’s a remake of a 1967 release by Willie Bobo.
“If I Were a Carpenter” – Johnny Cash and June Carter (#80). Admittedly, not my favorite version of this standard, but it did make it to #36, which puts it as the third-biggest hit rendition.
“Oh What a Day” – The Dells (#82). Oh, wow, what a day. If you’re feeling a bit low, might I recommend this one? It doesn’t fare as well as 1969’s “Oh What A Night” (charted 8/16), and in fact misses the Top 40 by three places. On WSRF in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this is a #5 record.
“Ma Belle Amie” – The Tee Set (#83). Guilty pleasure warning: I like this record a lot. I think it’s because, in my head, it takes me back to the summer of 1990 working as a part-timer at WCFL-FM/Morris. It was on the Rhino Have a Nice Day series of CDs, which means it got played a lot and seemed to always come up on my show. The Tee Set are a part of the Dutch Invasion of 1970 (more on that in a few weeks). This will make it up to #5 and be the only Top 40 hit for the band.
“It’s Just a Matter of Time” – Sonny James (#94). This one sounds a bit out of place, especially after the last two. This will spend four weeks at #1 on the Country charts in 1970, but only gets to #87 on the Pop side.
“Then She’s a Lover” – Roy Clark (#95). This is another one that will fare better on the Country charts, but not as big as James’ record. Name checks to Dick Van Dyke and Jeopardy don’t move it past #94.
“Always Something There To Remind Me” – R.B. Greaves (#97). As a high school student in 1984 there was no escaping the Naked Eyes #8 hit version of this song on either MTV or the radio. I was almost relieved, years later, to discover that a better version existed. (Several, actually: the song goes back to Lou Johnson in 1964. Even the Four Seasons covered it.) This version only made #27, though, and has been passed over by Oldies radio.
“Got to See If I Can’t Get Mommy (To Come Back Home)” – Jerry Butler (#98). The Iceman sounds pretty cool on this track. It’ll only make it up to #62 nationally, but is a Top 20 hit in Philadelphia and Atlanta.
“You Got Me Hummin’” – Cold Blood (#99). Here’s another “oh wow.” Lydia Pense’s vocals stand out on this Isaac Hayes track. It’s the only single by the band to make the Hot 100, and it stops at #52. It’s a #2 record in Fort Lauderdale and a #5 smash on WTPS in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“I’ve Gotta Make You Love Me” – Steam (#100). From the LP with one of the most unfortunate covers ever, this is the follow-up release to last fall’s “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye),” which made it to #1. This one fails to make the Top 40, stopping at #46, and the band doesn’t chart another single after that.