(Above: One of these two is on the charts this week.)
May 30, 1970
The Indianapolis 500 is run; Al Unser (senior, of course) wins the checkered flag. The next day New York Rangers goalie Terry Sawchuk will succumb to injuries he suffered in a fight with teammate Ron Stewart a month earlier. He was 40.
That same day a massive earthquake measuring almost an 8 on the Richter scale devastates Peru. It’s believed that some 75,000 people were killed in the quake while an additional 25,000 were never found.
On the charts: there’s a new #1 song this week, and it’s from Ray Stevens. “Everything is Beautiful” will spend this week and next at the top of the list. (You want to hear a different take on it? How about the University of Michigan Marching Band from the 1972 Rose Bowl?)
“The Love You Save”/”I Found That Girl” – The Jackson 5 (debut at #45). We almost went two weeks in a row with songs debuting in the Top 40. No worry: this will make it to the top pretty darned fast and spend two weeks there.
“O-o-h Child”/”Dear Prudence” – Five Stairsteps (#71; re-entry). The first appearance of this one on the charts on May 2nd didn’t take, so here we are again. I had more to say about the song on that post.
“Are You Ready?” – Pacific Gas & Electric (#73). Soapbox time: every station that I worked for that played 70s pop – and there were a lot of them – seemed to play this record a lot. Never once did anyone ever ask me to play it. In my head it’s on the “China Grove” list of Oldies – always there, and maybe it shouldn’t be so much. Your mileage may vary, of course. This will make it up to #14, so clearly a lot of people liked it.
“You, Me and Mexico” – Edward Bear (#75). Here’s an “oh wow” in that I know that I have heard this tune, but can’t think of how many decades it has been since. This is the debut record for the band; their big hit, “Last Song,” will come two years later. This gets up to #68, but at WRIG in Wausau, Wisconsin it’s a #1 record. And – if you are keeping score at home, this group’s 45s should be filed under “E,” not “B.”
“Don’t It Make You Want to Go Home” – Brook Benton (#88). There’s not a thing to dislike about this record. As I write this it’s a beautiful Sunday night in Michigan, the sun is just starting to disappear behind the trees, the birds are singing, and this is playing. I’ve had worse days. This will only make it to #45, which seems wrong. We need a good Easy Listening station, since this song will hit that chart next week and go up to #4.
“Friends” – Feather (#90). This is a fun bit of obscurity. This group from Los Angeles hit the charts just once, got to #79 after five weeks, and left. It’s not a bad little record, but damned if I recall ever hearing this one.
“More Than I Can Stand” – Bobby Womack (#91; re-entry). This one was covered on April 25. It seems like we have more than our share of comebacks this week.
“Some Beautiful” – Jack Wild (#92). OK, prepare to go down the rabbit hole with me. Jack Wild is best known for playing Jimmy on H.R. Pufnstuf. (For younger readers of this blog who aren’t familiar, or haven’t had me for a media history class yet, H.R. Pufnstuf is – weird. Not Lidsville weird, but still way, way out there with an equally unnecessarily long theme song. If you need some Witchiepoo in your life, there’s plenty of it to be found online. Oranges poranges.) This will inexplicably spend a month on the charts, park right here at #92, and then disappear. And no, it wasn’t his only release – but the only one to make the Hot 100.
“Lay a Little Lovin’ On Me” – Robin McNamara (#93). Damn – after that last diversion, this one will seem sophisticated. McNamara was one of the original cast members of Hair who went on to have a hit record. This is his first – and only – Top 40 hit, which got to #11. We’ll hear from him again later this year but not as often on the AM dial.
“Heighdy-Ho Princess” – Neon Philharmonic (#94). Guilty pleasure alert: there’s something about this record I like. It’s the second and final record by this Nashville group to hit the charts: the first, of course, was “Morning Girl,” which charted April 5 of last year and was the band’s only Top 40 hit.
“You Keep Me Hangin’ On/Hurt So Bad” – Jackie DeShannon (#96). This one is an “oh, wow.” Jackie is another one of those performers who I could listen to sing the phone book and probably nod in approval. Her interpretation of both of these songs is darned impressive. And yet this is the only week this will spend on the chart. It didn’t even make the Easy Listening chart; I can totally hear this one fading out with several seconds of dead air before “Soul Coaxing” comes on. (Maybe that’s the internet radio station we need.)
“Feelings” – Barry Mann (#97). This one’s hard to find, so much so that the link I have is missing part of the record and there’s no other link. It’s the same Barry Mann who wrote all those songs with Cynthia Weil – they wrote this one as well – and it will only move up a few places to #93 and fade away. It’s a mid-charter in St. Louis on KADI and on WOSH in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
“I Think I Love You Again” – Brenda Lee (#98). “Did Brenda Lee chart any records in the 70s?” Yes, two of them, and this is the first. It’ll only be here for two weeks and move to #97 while making #37 on the Easy Listening chart. Brenda will hit again to modest success in early 1973; by that time, she’ll be all of 28 years old with 16 years of chart history. This one is also notoriously hard to find.
“Primrose Lane” – O.C. Smith (#99). It’s the Jerry Wallace cover that we never knew we needed. Or not, since #86 is as far as this one is going to go.
“I Can’t Tell the Bottom From the Top” – The Hollies (#100). Two guilty pleasures for me in one week? Sure. Post-Nash Hollies are often hit or miss, but this is a neat record that will only get to #82 nationally. It’s a much bigger hit in Europe, but the folks at WHAR in Clarksburg, West Virginia thought it was worth bumping to #17.