Monday, November 4, 2013

The Best Of The Rest - Your Comments

>>>The Top 40 Leftovers of the '60s -- I vote for cold pizza. (Ron Smith)  
Oh, this is like listening to my radio in the 60's!!  I can't listen and fully read till I get home, but what a time I will have.  I see my friend Lou Christie there as I quickly peruse. By the way Ron Smith, I ate hot pizza while I listened to 100-81.
Shelley J Sweet-Tufano   

I'm surprised that A Little Bit O'Soul placed that low of Dann's countdown.  Way back when we did a list of the top Chicagoland songs of 1967, using Randy Price's method of calculation, and the Music Explosion actually placed ahead of The Association tune.  I'm going to have to reread Dann's book again.   
"Little Bit O'Soul" hit #1 here in Chicago so when you compiled The Top Songs of Summer, 1967, it ranked pretty high (#2, in fact!  That's one position ahead of "Windy" ... which doesn't hit OUR countdown until #26, but behind Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You"which placed 14 positions higher than the Music Explosion Hit on our recap.)  When Randy Price put together a national version (based on our Super Charts Project) it showed the combined rankings of each record's performance in all three national trades (Billboard, Cash Box and Record World) ... yet those same three records all finished in the top three spots, albeit in a different order.  (The national charts had "Windy" at #1, "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" at #2 and "Little Bit O'Soul" at #3 ... which, when factored in with all of the other big hits of the decade is still the "ranked" placing on Dann's chart as well.  Dann Isbell's book ranks each record's performance EXCLUSIVELY on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart ... so there will be variations between the three lists. Meanwhile, interested folks can check out the complete Summer Countdowns on the other Forgotten Hits Web Page ... here's a link to the '67 Summer Of Love Chart we're referring to ... but the menu on the main page will also show you where to find summer countdown pages for EVERY year, 1955 - 1980.   
Click here: Forgotten Hits - The Summer Of Love Countdown    

Three notes on the "Best of the Rest" Countdown: 
*Just what was it that Billie Joe McAllister threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge? According to the later TV movie which Bobbie Gentry worked on, it was a rag doll named Benjamin. 
**The late '60s not only marked the dawn of "The Age of Aquarius" but also the start of its demise.   The same thing was true about Woodstock.  Rather than sparking the birth of an era, it was the crowning conclusion of one.  '60s-styled hippies quickly found themselves passe once the '70s got rolling and we drifted into disco.
***Regarding the status of "Honey" as "one of the most hated songs of all time," the fact is that not everyone likes every song and every song has its detractors.  We all have our own tastes -- but for a track to become the 11th biggest hit of the '60s, it's pretty obvious that a LOT of people then and now like "Honey" very much.   And you have to admit that it IS a masterwork of understated song construction and performance.   It WORKS -- as the guys who took part in the recording session realized after hearing the playback.  "Honey" does precisely what music is supposed to do: paint portraits of human emotion using sound which stir and speak for the hearts of listeners.  Aside from its stature above all but ten other singles on your list, "Honey" marks the finest career achievement of both songwriter Bobby Russell ("Little Green Apples," "The Joker Went Wild," "The Nights The Lights Went Out in Georgia," etc.) and sensitive singer-songwriter Bobby Goldsboro ("Little Things," With Pen In Hand," "Summer [The First Time]," etc.).  
I certainly agree with you that 1967 was the best year for music in the '60s, although the years which surrounded it all offered intense competition. 
Gary Theroux  
Comments on your comments ... 
I'll never forget listening to Jim Stagg's afternoon radio program on WCFL back in 1967 ... at the absolutely height of Billy Joe McAllister-mania ... when he had Mark Lindsay on as his guest.  EVERYBODY ... and I mean EVERYBODY ... was buzzing about what was thrown off that bridge when this record came out ... so much so that Stagg asked Mark Lindsay what HE thought it was as part of this otherwise totally different topic interview!!!  I'll never forget Mark's answer ... he said that he "heard it was flowers" ... and the rest of the week whenever 'CFL played the song, they referred to Lindsay's answer as being the solution to what was at the time considered to be the greatest mystery of all time!  (lol) 
Of course Mark didn't have any inside information ... this was just his guess ... and years later when they made a film inspired by the song, it very well may have been "a rag doll named Benjamin" ... but this countdown was a reflection of the music of the time AT THE TIME ... and it may be hard to believe in hindsight that this was such a HUGE topic of discussion ... but then again six years later the musical world was thrown into a tizzy trying to figure out WHO was so vain ... and what the symbolism was for every word uttered in Don McLean's "American Pie"!!! 
(Today's music questions seem to be more centered on the artists than the songs themselves ... perhaps because the lyrical content isn't anywhere near as compelling.  Did Mick Jagger REALLY hit on an 18-year-old Katy Perry?  And how many times did Chris Brown beat up Rihanna?  Has Britney Spears shaved her head again?  And will The Jonas Brothers stay together long enough to perform at Chicago's B-Bash later this winter?  You know, important stuff like that!)
As for your second point, I have often observed that during the '60's OUR generation believed they could change the world ... and in many instances, they did ... just not necessarily always for the better.  We may have had the very best of intentions ... as I believe EVERY generation probably does ... things were just so MAGNIFIED in the '60's that every action seemed larger than life.  Ultimately, we were proven right about The War in Viet Nam ... but how many other wars have there been since that one where we as a nation have felt compelled to get involved?  On the other hand, I think we can all unanimously agree that naked mud slides are probably NOT the greatest idea we've ever come up with ... I doubt that the concept ever really  benefited anyone (except, perhaps, James Taylor, who got a hit album with an LP titled "Mud Slide Slim"! lol) 
Finally, I would argue your point about "Honey".  Yes, it was, without question, the biggest record on the planet AT THE TIME ... which is why it ranks so high on this list.  But time has not been kind to "Honey" (or Bobby Goldsboro either for that matter!) in the 45 years since ... and Goldsboro made a number of other EXCELLENT recordings during his career that radio also chooses to ignore.  Instead, he seems to have been permanently "blacklisted" for this one. 
Truth is, you really haven't heard "Honey" much at all on the radio during most of that time ... so I'd have to disagree with your comment that "a lot of people then and now" favor the song.  Short of Scott Shannon's "Cheezy Easy Listening Song of the Day" (where it HAD to be the hands-down winner as cheeziest song EVER!), you really don't hear this one at all anymore ... nor do I ever hear it being requested on any of radio's numerous "All Request" radio programs, which begs to differ just how much people really miss it all.
Now that doesn't mean it isn't a great song ... and I agree with ALL of your commentary in this regard ... it just hasn't weathered well.  (Then again, I could also argue that the song was designed for the sole purpose of manipulating the listener to fall victim to the saccharinly sweet heart-tugs, the very root of which today is what makes it so incredibly nauseating!!!  And, of course, to make a TON of money ... which it also did.  In that respect, then yes, the songwriter and artist both achieved their original goals!)  
In fact, I would much rather watch, listen to and enjoy The Smothers Brothers' EXCELLENT "Honey House" spoof than listen to the actual record ... which is EXACTLY what we would have done today had this video not been permanently removed from every source I previously had available to me ... most likely a licensing thing.  (It doesn't appear on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour DVD's either!)  We ran links to it previously in Forgotten Hits and I'm sure it'll pop up again somewhere down the line.  While I was able to find an audio-only track, half the fun is WATCHING this thing ... so we'll run it again when we can. Meanwhile, here's a website devoted to "Honey" as the "worst song of all time"!!!  (kk)  
Click here: World’s Worst Songs: Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey” | Popdose    

Kent ...
Harper Valley P.T.A.???  'scuse me while I kiss the sky and then drop dead from shock. Bobby Goldsboro's listlessly smarmy "Honey" at 10?  Jeez, were we all that square? Meanwhile, Tommy James' "Ball of Fire" remains number one on my all underrated 60's hit list. Now, let me pose this question. What was the greater song, the more dynamic song: "Like  a Rolling Stone" or "Hey Jude?" I'll hang up and listen to your answer. keep up the great work, my man.
Chet Coppock

I'll bet you could split the jury on this one ... and for any variety of reasons.  Let's see what comes back!  (kk)  

>>>And before Ron Smith can ask "Does EVERY countdown have to end with The Beatles at #1?", the answer quite simply is ... YES!!!  "Hey Jude" was #1 for nine consecutive week on The Billboard Chart ... what else COULD it be???  (C'mon ... this IS the '60's we're talking about here!!!  Was there ANYTHING bigger than The Beatles?!?!)  kk  
YES, YES, YES, Ron Smith, YES!  Rock 'n Roll is innately American, but if the British had not invaded with their upbeat twists to our foundation, the rest of the sixties could have been mediocre.  As it was, they opened up the musical floodgates to allow ALL of the genres to have their say ... and keep on talkin'.  So let's give credit to the first to hit our beaches ... The Beatles.  (Does that make them the Marines of 60's music?) 
Shelley J. Sweet-Tufano   

Speaking of "Hey Jude" ... have you ever seen the full-length version of the David Frost clip ... with the guys clowning around BEFORE going into the song?  First time for me ... and it's awesome!  Check it out here:

Hi Kent, 
Great job on the hits of the 60's. Did I miss Satisfaction by the Stones? It had to be on any list of 60's  songs Thanks for all effort you put in on Forgotten Hits I visit it every day.
Joe Fuller
See below ...  

I can’t figure out Isbell’s list as I Want To Hold Your Hand is not in the top 20. 
Using statistical chart info from Quirin and Cohen’s rock 100, the top 10 hits of 1964-1969 are 
1  Hey Jude 
2  I Want To Hold Your Hand 
3  I’m A Believer 
4  I Heard It Through The Grapevine [Gaye] 
5  Aquarius 
6  Sugar Sugar 
7  Love Is Blue 
8  Hello Dolly 
9  To Sir With Love 
10  Honey  
Mark the Shark  
That's because "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was part of our British Invasion Countdown of 1964 and 1965 ... and this countdown represents "The Best Of The Rest".  ("Satisfaction" by The Stones placed at #2 on that same list.)  And Marvin Gaye's version of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" topped our list of Top 100 Motown Singles of the '60's.  So you're absolutely right ... all three of these songs were MONSTER-SIZED Hits in the '60's ... they were just featured on other lists.  (Scroll back on the website and you'll find BOTH of these countdowns which ran earlier as part of our 60 Day Salute to the '60's.)  Dann's list uses the Billboard Chart rankings exclusively ... and really they're not THAT far off from your list (although "Hello Dolly" in The Top Ten doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.)  Other than that, you'll find "Hey Jude", "I'm A Believer", "Aquarius", "Sugar, Sugar", "Love Is Blue" and "To Sir, With Love" on BOTH Top 10 lists ... albeit in a somewhat different order ... and "Honey" just missed, coming in at #11 on Dann's list.  (There are a few other discrepancies ... Dann's list includes "Honky Tonk Women", "People Got To Be Free", "Everyday People" and "Dock Of The Bay", ALL of which I feel were bigger hits than "Hello Dolly".)  I would have figured "The Letter" to come in a bit higher ... but that's because it was #1 here in Chicago for something like SEVEN weeks while only topping Billboard's chart for four.  I think it's a pretty representative list overall, reflective of how these records did AT THAT TIME ... regardless of what 40 years of hindsight (and repetitive programming!) may tell you!  (kk)  

Of course the BEST way to appreciate these listings ... (and the only CORRECT way to determine how these songs REALLY finished ... and ranked for the decade) is to view the COMPLETE list as published in Dann Isbell's book "Ranking The '60's" ... available here:
I really loved your overview of the music of the 60's ... that decade never lacked talent or variety ... and it was a crash course in music appreciation.  Look at the USA Today Mediabase charts today and you have three charts alone for Adult Contemporary -- so you have Adult Contemporary, Hot Adult Contemporary, and Urban Adult Contemporary -- maybe next year we'll have Rural Adult Contemporary and Kinda Adult Contemporary.  Do you ever feel like they are having focus groups for focus groups and consultants for consultants?  We definitely live in a different time ... as I sometimes say to my friends, "I think I'll be getting out of this world just in time!"  Ha!  As with so much media today, there is a exponential evolution going on -- for better or for worse, the giant record company powers and their studios are now being slowly swallowed up by individuals and their personally recorded music with grassroots buzz being generated by the internet but maybe that's a good thing, we can only hope.  The giant record companies are still big, but I don't think they have the same clout they once had.  I watch the late night talk shows and their music artist offerings, and I don't see a lot that is earth-shaking as of late -- the Beatles, Stones, Elvis, Sinatra, or Rod Stewart they ain't.  I keep hoping these late-night talent coordinators are going to go the bank and make a talent withdrawal with someone like Burton Cummings, Bob Seger, Steve Miller, or Heart but instead what I see lately is devalued currency in the talent department on their shows.  There is still a lot of talent touring out there but nine times out of ten, I am not seeing them on Letterman, Leno, Kimmel, or Fallon -- I know it's early but we'll see what Arsenio does.  But as you know, it's all about the money demos.  The Voice and the X-Factor have turned into Camouflage Karaoke with the judges doing their best to compete with the "talent."  As with the Viet Nam era and other times of strife and stress we reaped rewards of music and artists such as Crosby, Still, Nash, and Young or Credence Clearwater Revival, but not this time around, if it wasn't for pitch correction and auto-tune today we'd have to settle for a Miley Cyrus shock-strip!  I'm sorry my "sour grapes have already fermented into whine" tonight.  Where is Bob Dylan and the Left Banke when we need them!  Hey Kent, you don't think Miley is going to do a cover of "Dominique" do you?
Tim Kiley