Originally written March 28, 2014.
So, how the hell are you? Not bad here. Got the Crown Vic running great now, so I can drive it around while I tend to a few things the Jeep needs. Then there’s still the matter of my mostly-finished kitchen. What the hell’s wrong with me? If biting off more than you can chew isn’t your style, you can just nibble on a Top 10 flashback!
This week we’re in a city I’ve wanted to cover for some time, and I’ve finally found an appropriate survey. We’ll land in Portland, Oregon and tune to 620 KGW, a station that goes back to the early days of broadcasting. One of their early stars was some guy named Mel Blanc, who found his talent for character voices while working there in the late 1920’s-early 1930’s. I consider it a sin to trash a three-letter call sign, but that’s exactly what KGW did in 1993. They went through many call letter and format changes afterward until finally settling on KPOJ, today owned by Clear Channel (who else?) and airing Fox Sports and Portland Trail Blazers games. We will visit them at the end of March 1971 and groove to their top ten tunes.
There is a podcast this week! Download it here and enjoy the biggest hits from 43 years ago this week:
So c’mon, get happy! Survey dated March 28, 1971.
Bobby Sherman – Cried Like A Baby
I don’t reflexively dislike this song just because it’s by Bobby Sherman. I reflexively dislike it because it sucks monkey balls. His previous hit was “Julie, Do Ya Love Me,” and he probably should have stopped there. The girls were all paying attention to David Cassidy anyway.
Partridge Family – Doesn’t Somebody Want To Be Wanted
See? David Cassidy & company got the next highest spot this week. That’s absolute proof that he was more popular than Bobby Sherman! And I stand by my statement from last fall – the Partridges were way cooler than the Bradys. I mean, did the Bradys have a psychedelic bus? I rest my case.
Cat Stevens – Wild World
Cat Stevens didn’t tour in a psychedelic bus (or did he?). He didn’t have a hit sitcom, and girls didn’t plaster his posters from Tiger Beat all over their bedroom walls. But which song is still heard in 2014? Exactly.
Paul McCartney – Another Day
Beatle Paul still made an occasional appearance in the teenybopper mags, so we can tie this one in with this ridiculous theme. The Beatles and the Partridges were both in Saturday morning cartoons, so they’ve got that in common.
Hey, lookie here!
They actually put this on TV. For kids.
(UPDATE: I’ve learned that this video was made recently by a talented editor, and was not one of the original cartoons.)
George Harrison – What Is Life
I wonder if there ever was a time when all four Beatles had simultaneous hit singles. We’re halfway there this week. This great song figures prominently in the famous “Sunday, May 11, 1980” sequence toward the end of “GoodFellas.” Fuckin’ helicopter’s been following me all morning!
Tom Jones – She’s A Lady
Anyone who doesn’t like this song is evil. Pure evil. He’ll probably kill you. Remember this.
Jesus Christ, I’m running off the rails here. I’ll try to rein myself in with the “oh, no” song of the week, a song that would have made the world a better place if it had never been written. I almost hate to bag on this one because I did like it as a 9-year-old kid, even had the 45, but it’s pretty painful to listen to now, Written by Bobby Russell, here’s Bobby Goldsboro at #27 this week with “Watching Scotty Grow.”
You might hear this at a wedding if the groom’s name is Scott, probably when he dances with his mother. Then we do the Electric Slide!
On with the countdown!
Carpenters – For All We Know
When you watch shows like “The Voice,” notice that every single contestant, especially the female singers, oversings the song they’re doing. No subtlety – they whack you over the head with what they believe is their impressive vocal range. Everybody’s trying to be Mariah fucking Carey. These girls all need to listen to Karen Carpenter – she didn’t do any of that shit, and she’s a legend. Less is more.
Temptations – Just My Imagination
Now this, kids, is how it’s done. A dreamy, sublime ballad we can all relate to. Produced by the great Norman Whitfield.
Janis Joplin – Me & Bobby McGee
Written, and originally sung, by Kris Kristofferson, it’s impossible to imagine anyone but Janis singing it. Here’s the original:
All right, let’s bust out this week’s “oh, wow” song. Quite a few of us have some love for Marilyn McCoo of the Fifth Dimension, and why not? She’s beautiful and classy. This song, which was at #28 this week, is not well-remembered today, but is musically and lyrically interesting. Play it and see if you agree. Here’s the Fifth Dimension with “Love’s Lines, Angles And Rhymes.”
Lots of words there.
So, what was the most popular song in the City Of Roses this week in 1971? Someone told me long ago:
Creedence always works. Always.
Download the podcast. Now!
All right, we’ve got songs to discuss! So discuss them!