April 11, 1970
It’s the day after the Daily Mirror runs the headline PAUL QUITS THE BEATLES. McCartney basically confirms this later that day in a press release at the same time he sends forth his first solo LP, McCartney.
April 11 is the day that Apollo 13 heads to space. Astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert head for the moon, but – spoiler alert – they don’t make it. It’s two days later that an oxygen tank explodes on the craft, prompting Haise to say “OK, Houston,” and, after a pause, Lovell adds “I believe we’ve had a problem here.” (In other words, the Tom Hanks line from the movie you know isn’t technically correct. Next, I’ll tell you that Humphrey Bogart never said “Play it again, Sam.”)
On the 14th it’s “third try is the charm” for President Nixon to make an appointment to the United States Supreme Court, replacing Justice Abe Fortas. Justice Harry Blackmun is confirmed by the Senate unanimously four weeks later.
On the charts: the new #1 song, ironically, is “Let It Be” by The Beatles. It will stay in that spot for 2 weeks. (There will be more coming from them as well, so stay tuned.
Also making chart debuts this week:
“Love (On a Two-Way Street)” – The Moments (debut at #56). We’re off to a solid start here. This one goes on to be a #3 hit for the band. It’s also not their only one, lest you see them on one of those flawed one-hit wonder lists. “Sexy Mama” makes it to #17 in 1974.
“Love Land” – Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band (#64). This may be one of the finest singles ever recorded. Wright and his band were signed to Warner Brothers at the urging of Bill Cosby, who sold a ton of vinyl for the label in the form of comedy records (and the inexplicable #4 single “Little Old Man” in 1967). Because the charts aren’t always fair, this #16 hit wasn’t even the biggest the band had. “Do Your Thing” from February of last year was bigger at #11, and there’s a bigger one coming later this year. But if this record doesn’t put a smile on your face, I can’t help you.
“What is Truth” – Johnny Cash (#66). This is the last top 20 hit that Cash will have on the Pop charts. On the one hand, this is begging for a remake, given the fact that it’s still damned relevant. On the other hand, to remake it may approach blasphemy. This is a #1 record on WCOL in Columbus, Ohio.
“Cecelia” – Simon and Garfunkel (#68). The same week that “Bridge Over Troubled Water” falls from the top of the chart, the next single from the same album makes its debut. (It’s actually the third one, since “The Boxer” was the first one last April 12.) This makes it up to #4 and also survives a charting remake from Times Two in the summer of 1988 that turned up in the mail at the college radio station.
“So Excited” – B.B. King (#75). Does it really count to say “oh wow” to a B. B. King record? I mean, we expected it to be great, right? This only makes it to #54 but sounds fabulous.
“Hey Lawdy Mama” – Steppenwolf (#77). It’s easy to forget that Steppenwolf had seven top 40 singles, since Oldies radio was good for only two of them. This hits #35 and is the last one for a while (until “Staight Shootin’ Woman” in 1974). KADI in St. Louis slots this one at #2.
“He Made a Woman Out Of Me” – Bobbie Gentry (#79). The horn section can’t save this one, as it stalls at #71. It’s a bit derivative, since you’ll hear “Son of a Preacher Man” in your head the whole time. But it’s a pleasant enough record that gets to #6 on WSAI in Cincinnati.
“Come Saturday Morning” – Sandpipers (#88; re-entry). That’s right – technically, this is a re-entry as the song first charted on December 20 of last year. Its inclusion in the film The Sterile Cuckoo pushes it back up the charts, and it ends up at #17. Outside of music-of-your-life radio, I can’t recall the last time I have heard it.
“Viva Tirado – Part 1” – El Chicano (#89). This instrumental groove is the first single for the band, and their biggest hit, peaking at #28. It’s not their only one, though – I’ve always been partial to “Tell Her She’s Lovely” from 1973, which gets up to #40 exactly.
“Airport Love Theme (Gwen and Vern)” – Vincent Bell (#90). It’s back-to-back weeks of “watery guitar,” since we had Bell helping Ferrante and Teicher last week. This one makes it to the Top 40 as well, hitting #31 and therefore a bigger hit than the B. B. King record mentioned above.
“Oh Happy Day” – Glen Campbell (#95). In case you want to get your Gospel on, but the Edwin Hawkins Singers version makes you uncomfortable or something. It’s essentially the same arrangement minus all of the soul that makes the EHS version so great. Despite that, this hits #40.
“You Make Me Real/Roadhouse Blues” – The Doors (#97). The A-side of this #50 single fell largely into oblivion, save those who keep Morrison Hotel on the playlist at home. The B-side has been played so many times on Classic Rock stations that it’s now canon.
“I Can’t Leave Your Love Alone” – Clarence Carter (#99). You just can’t go wrong with Clarence. This one falls just short of the above-mentioned Vincent Bell record, stopping at #42. This is a #1 hit at WHBQ in Memphis, of course, but also hits #3 on KTKT in Tucson, Arizona.
“Angelica” – Oliver (#100). After a pair of Top 3 hits in 1969 and an additional top 40 record for good measure, this is the last time that William Oliver Swofford hits the charts. This sounds more like Richard Harris than those other ones, and stalls at #97.
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