(Above: This is relevant this week, but only from a historical perspective.)
February 21, 1970
It’s the day after the Georgia legislature unanimously approved the Nineteenth Amendment. If you’re confused, you’re not alone: the 19th was ratified in 1920 and gave women the right to vote. The measure was largely symbolic, as women had been voting in Georgia without the Legislature’s blessing. More odd: Louisiana and North Carolina get around to it by mid-1971, and it won’t be until 1984 when it’s ratified in Mississippi.
On the 22nd, film producer Edward Selzer passes away at the age of 77. You know his work: he’s the producer that oversaw the creation of the Looney Tunes shorts for Warner Brothers in the 1940s and 50s and collected five Academy Awards in the process.
On the charts: it’s the second and final week at #1 for Sly and the Family Stone and “Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf).” Watch for a new champ next week.
Other songs that are making their debuts this week:
“Gotta Hold On To this Feeling” – Jr. Walker & the All Stars (debut at #64). OK, we’re off to a pretty good start this week. This one feels like I should hear it a lot more than I do, given its rise to #21 on the pop charts. It’s been ages since I’ve heard this one.
“Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Grows)” – Edison Lighthouse (#68). This one feels like I played it about every three hours for twenty years. It’ll be a #5 hit on the charts in 1970 and a standard A-list rotator on Oldies stations for decades. Guilty pleasure alert: yeah, I’ll still listen to it all the way through. It ends up being the only Top 40 hit for this group: Tony Burrows, the lead singer, also sang for White Plains and First Class, among others.
“Gotta Get Back To You” – Tommy James & the Shondells (#79). Mark this one as a “just missed,” as it stopped at #45. It part I think it’s because it lacks the fun pop sound of their other hits, but your mileage may vary.
“A Change is Gonna Come and People Got To Be Free/The Declaration” – The 5th Dimension (#80). Oh, wow. This is tricky because the Sam Cooke original is so perfect, and yet this cover also sounds terrific. I’m not sure exactly what happens about halfway through when we suddenly get a mostly true cover of the Rascals’ hit. The B-side, though, is where things get really interesting. It’s the Declaration of Independence set to music. And you thought Schoolhouse Rock was the only way to learn civics in the 70s. Neither are big hits; the A-side makes #60 while the government document side gets to #64. “The Document” charts at #8 on KOVO in Provo, Utah.
“Until It’s Time For You To Go” – Neil Diamond (#87). Here’s a fairly rare thing: a Diamond single from the 70s that doesn’t make it into the Top 40. The four before and the six after it do. This one stalls out at #53, though manages airplay on adult-formatted stations.
“Take a Look Around” – Smith (#88). This is now at a high volume in my office. What a great little find in the middle of the stack here. This one falls just short of the Top 40, stopping at #43. It’s a top-ten single in Rochester, New York and St. Louis, Missouri.
“Shades of Green” – The Flaming Ember (#89 – re-entry). We already covered this one on January 17, so I’ll direct you there. It’s back for another try.
“The Cat Walk” – The Village Soul Choir (#91). Another bit of “oh wow” here. This is the only record this group put into the Hot 100, and it stopped at #55. It goes all the way to #3 on WSRF in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“California Girl” – Eddie Floyd (#93). A nice piece of R&B that will turn out to be the last entry on the pop charts for Floyd. It’ll spend three months on the charts and work up to #45 before fading away. I expected plenty of California airplay, but the highest chart placement there is #27 in Los Angeles. It does better in Connecticut.
“Just Seventeen” – The Raiders (#94). This is the first single after the “Paul Revere And The” is dropped from the group name. It doesn’t help, as this lingers for three weeks and drops off after hitting #72. You’ll next see the band at the top of the charts, but not until 1971. The middle of the song reminds me of “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” by the Rolling Stones, which won’t be out for four more years.
“Baby Make It Soon” – The Flying Machine (#95). Of course, you know their first hit, which charted on October 4, 1969 and went on to be huge. This is their only other one to chart Stateside, and it didn’t. It only spends two weeks on the charts, hits #87, and disappears.
“Temma Harbour” – Mary Hopkin (#97). If you had Hopkin on your one-hit wonder list, you should fix that. This is her third single and third to make the Forty, just squeaking in at #39. She’ll hit the charts three more times, but none will rise as high as this record.
“Comin’ Home” – Delaney and Bonnie and Friends/Eric Clapton (#100). One thing that this research has been showing me is that there are some groups I have been missing out on by not hearing, and that should be fixed. Delaney and Bonnie may be one of those, since this is a great record. Of course, having Clapton help out doesn’t hurt. This only spends three weeks on the pop charts, hits #84, and then migrates to FM.