(You probably think this one is about you.)
March 7, 1970
Today’s the 50th anniversary of a total eclipse of the sun that was viewable in a narrow path across North America, from Mexico, up the Atlantic Coast, and up to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Canada. If the last part sounds vaguely familiar to you, it should: it’s the eclipse that the subject of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” flew their Lear jet to go and see. The eclipse is a good one; experts say that we won’t see another one of this duration near North America until 2024, which skips over the one from a couple of years ago.
It’s also the birth date of Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz. The day before, actor William Hopper died at the age of 55. He’s best known for his portrayal of Perry Mason’s go-to detective Paul Drake on the CBS television show. (He was also the son of noted Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.)
Two days prior – on March 5 – the film Airport made its premiere in New York. Several more plane disaster films follow; I’m more partial to the parody of them all, Airplane!. (In Airplane! 2, we learn that the date of the fateful flight in the first film was March 5, 1980.) The soundtrack of Airport did win a Grammy award, so perhaps I should dig it out.
On the charts: it’s the second of six weeks at #1 for Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the top-ranked song of the year. What else debuts this week?
“Up the Ladder to the Roof” – The Supremes (debut at #57). The first record under the group’s name since the departure of Diana Ross from the group turns out to be a big hit. It’s a #10 record that you’d think you’d hear more often than you probably do. I used to like to throw it into my Oldies playlists to see who was paying attention.
“Come Together” – Ike & Tina Turner (#78). Let’s get an “oh wow” right off the bat, shall we? Yes, it’s that song, which you probably realized within about four seconds. While it only makes #57 on the Pop charts, it does better on a few stations: KYA/San Francisco and WVON/Chicago play it more than a few times. (Oh, and the flip side is “Honky Tonk Women,” and it’s pretty fabulous as well.)
“Easy To Be Free” – Rick Nelson (#80). A pleasant enough tune that peaked at #48. It fares better on Adult Contemporary stations, making it to #21 on that chart.
“Gonna Give Her All The Love I Got” – Marvin Gaye (#81). This is the flip side of “How Can I Forget,” which first charted on January 10. It’ll eventually make it up to #67 but it’s a Top 20 record in New Orleans on WTIX.
“Love or Let Me Be Lonely” – The Friends of Distinction (#82). This is one of those records that sounds fantastic coming right out of a jingle. It’ll go on to be a #6 hit and a staple on Oldies stations for years.
“Let’s Give Adam and Eve Another Chance” – Gary Puckett & the Union Gap (#83). No, really. This just missed making the Top 40, ending up at #41. It’s a top ten record in places like Moscow, Idaho and Columbus, Ohio. It’s the last record that ever makes the charts for the band, and we don’t see bands in natty uniforms for a very long time.
“Who’s Your Baby?” – The Archies (#86). They had four – count ’em! – four Top 40 hits, and this was the last of the bunch, landing exactly at #40. We’re not entirely done hearing from them, however, and there’s more coming later this year.
“Add Some Music To Your Day” – The Beach Boys (#89). I’ve always liked this one. It comes in the middle of a dry spell for the band: “I Can Hear Music” was their last Top 40 hit exactly one year ago, and they won’t have another one until the re-release of “Surfin’ U.S.A.” cracks the charts in 1974. This makes it to #64 and stops there, but is a Top 20 record in Santa Barbara, CA; Orlando, FL; and Lincoln, NE.
“Brighton Hill” – Jackie DeShannon (#93). This one sounds to me like something the parents would enjoy. It’ll spend four weeks on the Pop charts and stall at #82.
“Don’t Worry Baby” – The Tokens (#95). In case you didn’t get enough Beach Boys earlier, we have this remake sneaking in here. It’ll only spend two weeks on the list and not move any higher than this.
“Mighty Joe” – The Shocking Blue (#96). We correctly put The Shocking Blue on one-hit wonder lists, but they almost weren’t. This one came close, hitting #43 and leaving “Venus” from December 13 of 1969 as their only hit. I’ve linked to a super-cool-groovy primitive music video of this tune, and it’s worth the look – and not just for the late Mariska Veres. This was a #3 record on WYYY in Kalamazoo, MI and #5 on WRIG in Wausau, WI.
“Mississippi Mama” – Owen B. (#98). You may not know this one, but you may want to play it at an inappropriate volume. If you’re from Columbus, Ohio, you may know it, as it was a #1 record on WCOL. WILS in Lansing, MI charted it at #4 as well. It’s the only record to chart for this act, and it only spends two weeks on the list, making it to #97 an fading into the ether.
“Run Sally Run” – The Cuff Links (#100). Here’s this week’s bubblegum entry, and – I have to admit – it’s damned catchy. It’ll only make it to #76, and we’ll not see the band on the Pop charts again. KLEO in Wichita, Kansas plays this as a #4 record, and it’s even bigger in Australia.