(Above: If you take a walk on the University of Pittsburgh campus, you might find yourself in a former outfield.)
June 27, 1970
It’s the day after actors Sean Hayes, Nick Offerman and Chris O’Donnell are born, all in the Chicagoland area. Clearly there was something in the water.
Two days later, on June 28, the final baseball game was played at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. The Pirates took two from the Chicago Cubs, the fans swarmed the field for souvenirs, and that was that. The Pirates moved over to Three Rivers Stadium to finish the 1970 season. Most of Forbes is gone, save portions of the outfield wall on the University of Pittsburgh campus which abutted the park.
The following Monday – June 29 – US ground troops will withdraw from Cambodia after two months there assisting in war efforts. 339 American servicemen lost their lives during the incursion, or about five a day.
On the charts: there’s a new #1 record, and it got there quickly. “The Love You Save/I Found That Girl” by The Jackson Five debuted just four weeks ago narrowly missing the Top 40.
Other records making their debuts this week:
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” – Stevie Wonder (debut at #49). This is one that I likely don’t have to explain to you: if you have spent any time listening to Oldies radio in the past 35 years you’ve already started humming it before the end of this sentence. This will spend two weeks at #3 before heading back to recurrent playlists everywhere.
“Ohio” – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (#58). On the heels of the Kent State shootings less than two months prior, this record makes it pop debut this week. It’ll park itself at #14 and then remain a fixture on Classic Rock playlists for decades.
“Overture from Tommy” – The Assembled Multitude (#82). This always struck me as “if you’re afraid of The Who, here’s a safe version for you to enjoy and be hip.” This group from Pennsylvania managed only one Top 40 hit, and it’s this one, getting all the way up to #16. Oh, they’ll chart again later this year, and I don’t want to spoil that magic.
“One Day Of Your Life” – Andy Williams (#83). If I were in radio in the summer of ’70 I’d try and cue this up to the vocal, because it would probably sound decent out of a jingle. Never mind the audience not caring about that sort of thing – I’d be OK with it. That would be unlikely since this record is only here for four weeks and peaks at #77. Sure, it spends two weeks at #2 on the Easy Listening chart, but those stations typically didn’t have good jingles.
“My Marie” – Engelbert Humperdinck (#90). Maybe I have ended up back in “beautiful music” radio based on this chunk of chart. This is another one that spends time at #2 on the Easy Listening charts but fared better on the pop side, inching to #43. On WSGN in Birmingham, Alabama and WBCK in Battle Creek, Michigan, this makes it up to #8.
“The Witch” – The Rattles (#91). “Oh wow” on this one just for the video. Who says that music videos were an 80s invention? Granted, it looks a little first-year-film-studenty, but I think that’s where the charm lies. This group from Germany hit the charts only once in America, and this song will spend five weeks on the list, peaking at #79. But this one’s got regional appeal: this makes it to #3 on KQWB in Fargo, ND; #4 on WCVS/Springfield, IL and #6 on WRIG in Wausau, WI.
“Big Yellow Taxi” – The Neighborhood (#92). Aaaand – now your head can’t shake “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Sure, it’s Joni Mitchell’s record, but her version won’t hit until July. This one is the charting hit anyway, peaking at #29.
“Your Own Back Yard” – Dion (#94). This isn’t a bad little record, actually. (No, seriously. Remember that two records ago he did “Purple Haze.”) It spends three weeks on the charts and stops at #75. North of the border it hits #3 on CKVN in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“I’ll Be Right Here” – Tyrone Davis (#95). Now THIS is quality soul. The follow up to “Turn Back the Hands of Time” from March 21 didn’t have nearly the crossover appeal, stopping at #53 on the Pop chart. But it’s a darned fine record that could use a little volume. WKXY in Sarasota, Florida plays this one at #2.
“You’ve Been My Inspiration” – The Main Ingredient (#97). This is the debut record for this group out of Harlem; we’ll hear big things from them by 1972. This one? Not so much. It’ll peak at #64 and fade out after nine weeks on the Pop list. From the instrumental opening I’d have bet everything in my wallet that it was The Stylistics, but the vocal proved me wrong.
“Let’s Make Each Other Happy” – The Illusion (#98). This is the last record for this band to hit the charts: it’ll spend this week and next on the list and then disappear, peaking right here. I honestly don’t think I’d ever heard it before dropping the internet-needle on it, and… I kinda like it. I’d have snuck this one on my show when I thought the program director wasn’t listening.
“Humphrey the Camel” – Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan (#99). Oh, what fresh hell is this? The “Tennessee Bird Walk” (charted February 28) was cute upon a hearing or two. I don’t recall anyone asking for what’s essentially a ripoff of that record except this time about a camel. The charts agree with me: this one only hits #78. Then again, in Tucson, Arizona, on KCUB, this is a #2 record.
“Eve of Destruction” – The Turtles (#100). Generally speaking, I love The Turtles; Howard Kaylan gave me one of the best interviews I’ve ever done. I’m beige on “Eve of Destruction” in its original form, and more so on a re-release. This spends this week and next on the bottom line of the chart, and then that’s it. It represents the last time that The Turtles hit the Hot 100. Of course, Kaylan and Mark Volman (as Flo and Eddie) will appear on bunches of other records singing backup – like this one.