Originally written March 21, 2014.
Hey! It’s springtime now, right? Right? Shit, the only sign of spring I’m seeing here is the potholes in the roads. Yes, kids, Michigan’s roads are every bit as bad as you’ve heard they are, but nationally, they’re not even in the bottom ten. I find that hard to believe – one of the roads I’m often on has a section that’s essentially impassible. Fucking right lane had more potholes than road surface, plus it was flooded, so you couldn’t see it until it was too late. Thank God I was in my Crown Vic – the cop tires, cop suspension, and cop shocks really saved my ass. After only a week, it’s in the running for best car I’ve ever owned. Speaking of bad roads, the state of Hawaii, believe it or not, is in the bottom five among the worst roads in the U.S. Still sounds like a pretty nice place to get away from this extended winter. Maybe I can’t go there right now, but I can take all of you there with a Top 10 flashback!
KPOI is one of the longest-lasting sets of call letters in Hawaii. Today they’re a classic rock station at 105.9 FM, but we’re going to look at original flavor KPOI, which was at AM 1380, and go back 48 years to this week in 1966 for the top ten songs in KPOI’s Action 20 Tunes. We’re also trying a new feature this week – along with the “oh, wow” song, which is a forgotten favorite from down the chart that deserves to be heard again, we’ll now have the “oh, no!” song – something so bad the recording engineer should have bulk-erased the master tape. You’ll love it!
So you think you’re gonna find yourself a little piece of paradise, but it ain’t happened yet, so girl, you better think twice! Survey dated March 22, 1966.
Bobby Goldsboro – It’s Too Late
Like most of Bobby Goldsboro’s songs, the cheese factor is very high. I’ll make a stunning admission here – I actually like “Honey” in all it’s melodramatic, tear-jerking goodness, but this one? Meh. It can stay buried in the graveyard of forgotten hits.
Vogues – Magic Town
All right, this one’s better. The Vogues had quite a few hits in the 60’s; their best was “Five O’Clock World,” but this one deserves a listen. Don’t wait to hear it on the radio – it won’t happen.
Righteous Brothers – Soul And Inspiration
Now this one you’ll probably know. We were discussing blue-eyed soul a couple weeks ago, and for some reason the Righteous Brothers didn’t enter into it. Hey, black folks liked them, too. Obviously a Phil Spector “Wall Of Sound” production. Spector may be a major asshole, and could be a murderer, but damn, could he produce a record. The dictionary definition of mad genius.
Herman’s Hermits – Listen People/Got A Feeling
Herman’s Hermits were, to me anyway, on the bottom rung of the British Invasion. They’ll never be discussed among rock fans like the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, the Kinks, etc., but that wasn’t really the goal, was it? “Listen People” did show a maturing of their sound, but their producer was pulling all the strings and they never got to go to that next level. Peter Noone is still active today, and there are two groups with the rights to use “Herman’s Hermits” in their name. Not exactly the Stones, but give ’em credit for keeping it up.
B.J. Thomas – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
One of many covers of the Hank Williams classic, this was B.J. Thomas’s first hit. Took me a few tries to find the original recording – there are a lot of cheap rerecordings out there.
Peter & Gordon – Woman
This song was written by a guy who called himself Bernard Webb. You know him better as Paul McCartney. Why the ruse?
All right, here we go with the new occasional feature – the “oh, no!” song of the week, a song that you don’t hear any more for good reason. For old folks like me, there will only be one Batman, and that’s Adam West. Yeah, the mayor of Quahog. Well, one day in 1966 somebody dragged him into a recording studio, stuck this, um, composition in front of him, and told him to do his best, proving that cashing in on a hot property is far from a new concept. Although the record is on the 20th Century Fox label, and he’s wearing the Batman mask on the cover, they must not have been allowed to actually be in character. Note the Burt Ward sound-alike as “Boy Genius.” If you dare, here’s Adam West desperately trying to hook up with “Miranda.”
Makes you long for the golden throat of William Shatner.
All right, back to the countdown!
Rolling Stones – 19th Nervous Breakdown
One of countless Stones classics. What am I supposed to say about it? Just enjoy it.
Paul Revere & The Raiders – Kicks
Paul Revere & The Raiders are criminally underrated. This anti-drug song is their best. Fun fact: Paul Revere & The Raiders were the first rock band signed to Columbia Records. Columbia was a little behind the curve, weren’t they? Produced by the late Terry Melcher, Doris Day’s son, who had lived in the house where Sharon Tate et al. were murdered, but moved out before the crime took place. Some say Melcher was Manson’s actual target because he promised a record deal and didn’t deliver. And we’re off on a tangent, aren’t we?
Cher – Bang Bang
I’ve never been sure if I like this song or not. They sure packed a lot into 2 1/2 minutes – if I do like the song, it’s because of the production. Written by Sonny Bono.
All right, you’ve heard the worst song of the week, now let’s uncover a forgotten gem with the “oh, wow” song of the week. I had never heard this before, and judging by the title, I assumed it was some sort of silly novelty song, which it kind of is. I prefer to think of it as whimsical. Despite the goofy title and lyrics, it’s a solid piece of folk-pop that deserves a listen. Just missing the top ten this week at #11, here’s Norma Tanega with “Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog.”
So, what song was top dog on the islands this week in 1966? Please listen, you don’t know what you’re missing:
This one’s totally John’s song.
So tomorrow I bust out the ol’ socket set and attend to a few things on the Crown Vic that were neglected by the mechanics at the police department it came from. Fucking thing has its original spark plugs at 132,000 miles, and I’m scared to death I’m going to strip the aluminum heads trying to remove them. Oil change, air filter, fuel filter, change the transmission fluid & filter and the oil in the rear end, clean the mass airflow sensor, and possibly replace the idle control valve. The car’s sound and in really good shape, but, well, it needs things. You won’t buy any car for $2200 that doesn’t.
So, let’s all discuss the underappreciated musical talent of Adam West!