Friday, September 12, 2014

50 Years Ago This Weekend

9/11, 9/12, 9/13, 9/14 - 

THE ANIMALS hold on to the #1 Spot with THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN while THE DAVE CLARK FIVE slide up a notch to #3 with BECAUSE.  A HARD DAY'S NIGHT holds steady at #8 but that's it for British Acts in The Top Ten this week on The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart. 

Other British Hits in The Top 40 include AND I LOVE HER by THE BEATLES (#12), HOW DO YOU DO IT by GERRY AND THE PACEMAKERS (down from #9 to #18), IT'S ALL OVER NOW by THE ROLLING STONES (#27), WISHIN' AND HOPIN' by DUSTY SPRINGFIELD (#30), DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY by MANFRED MANN (making a HUGE leap from #58 to #31 … and on its way to #1), back-to-back hits by THE BEATLES (I'LL CRY INSTEAD, #36 and AIN'T SWEET, #37) and SOME DAY WE'RE GONNA LOVE AGAIN by THE SEARCHERS (#38). That keeps The Brits at right around 30% of The Top 40 Chart. 

Other records of note:  MATCHBOX by THE BEATLES (up nearly 40 places from #81 to #42), A SUMMER SONG by CHAD AND JEREMY (#44), FROM A WINDOW by BILLY J. KRAMER AND THE DAKOTAS (#51), RINGO'S THEME by GEORGE MARTIN (#53), IF I FELL by THE BEATLES (#59), SLOW DOWN by THE BEATLES (up over 30 places from #99 to #67), GONNA SEND YOU BACK TO WALKER (new for THE ANIMALS at #72), THE BACHELORS at #88 with I WOULDN'T TRADE YOU FOR THE WORLD, TOBACCO ROAD, brand new at #90 for THE NASHVILLE TEENS and SOMEONE SOMEONE by BRIAN POOLE (of THE TREMELOES … the group Decca Records signed instead of THE BEATLES), premiering at #99. 

Back up to a full strength, 40 position chart this week, The WLS Silver Dollar Survey shows THE ANIMALS at #1 with THE HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN.  Also in The Top Ten this week are BECAUSE by THE DAVE CLARK FIVE (#5), DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY by MANFRED MANN (#7) and A SUMMER SONG by CHAD AND JEREMY (#10).  

Rounding out the rest of the chart, we find A HARD DAY'S NIGHT by THE BEATLES at #14, IT'S ALL OVER NOW by THE ROLLING STONES at #16, SOME DAY WE'RE GONNA LOVE AGAIN by THE SEARCHERS at #31, FROM A WINDOW by BILLY J. KRAMER AND THE DAKOTAS at #34 and a brand new two-sided hit by THE BEATLES, MATCHBOX / SLOW DOWN, premiering at #35.  

Another record of note … one of those novelty "break in" records that DICKIE GOODMAN was so good at doing.  Only this time, the record is by his former partner BILL BUCHANAN and HOWIE GREENFIELD (one of NEIL SEDAKA's best known song-writing partners.)  They called the record THE INVASION and it talked about The Four Mop Tops invading our country.  It premiers at #22 this week on The WLS Silver Dollar Survey, despite never charting at all on any of the national charts.  (It did "bubble under" in Billboard at #120.)

A couple of weeks ago we told you about the 50th Anniversary of Roy Orbison's monster hit record "Oh, Pretty Woman".

This week FH Reader Bob Merlis sent us this piece celebrating Roy's rise to the #1 Spot on The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart ... a tad premature to my mind (but issue dates, chart dates and mail dates were never accurately consistent back then so we'll cut him some slack on this one since it's such a cool piece ... and such a cool anniversary!)

Officially, Orbison topped the chart on the chart dated "Week Ending September 26th" (which would make it the chart for the week OF September 20th, still eight days away.)  But the inevitable was coming regardless as one of our "very own" knocked The Animals out of the top spot to claim the crown with a song that EVERYBODY knew at the time was going to be a #1 Record.

Here's Bob's full report:

The record went to #1 in the Billboard issue dated Sept. 26, 1964 which was actually on stands and in the mail one week prior so we figured we’d share this now.  Scroll down for a recent piece about “Oh, Pretty Woman” from the Telegraph in the UK where the record also went to #1 50 years ago. Click on the video towards the end of the article to see the Black & White Night performance of the song with  Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, kd lang, T Bone Burnett, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Jackson Browne on stage with “The Big O.”

Roy Orbison: 50 years of Oh, Pretty Woman

On the 50th anniversary of Roy Orbison's rock and roll classic, we take a look at the song's origin and legacy


Roy Orbison's classic single Oh, Pretty Woman is 50 years old this month Photo: Alamy
A driving beat. A twanging guitar. A jarring 3/4 time signature. Roy Orbison’s iconic breakthrough hit secures its classic status in the space of 10 seconds, before he’s even begun singing.
Orbison co-wrote Oh, Pretty Woman with Bill Dees in 1964 in tribute to Orbison’s first wife, Claudette, after the two had separated, divorced and then reunited.
Speaking about the song’s genesis on NPR in 2008, Dees said: “[Claudette] came bopping down the stairs and said, ‘Give me some money’. ‘What do you need money for?’ [Roy] said. She said ‘Well, I’ve got to go to the store’, and as she walked away they were whispering and kissing bye bye, away from me. I stood up at the table, and he came back to the table, and I said ‘Does this sound funny? [singing] Pretty woman, don’t need no money’. He laughed, and he said ‘There’s nothing funny about pretty woman’. He right away started, [singing] ‘Pretty woman, walking down the street’. By the time she got back, we had it written.”
The song marked somewhat of a departure from Orbison’s typical subject matter of heartbreak. As Bruce Springsteen said in his keynote speech at SXSW 2012: “He was the true master of the romantic apocalypse you dreaded and knew was coming after the first night you whispered ‘I love you’ to your new girlfriend.” Rather, Oh, Pretty Woman sees the man actually get the girl after a fleeting encounter on the street – a moment, a look, a plea, a disappointment... and suddenly: “but wait, what do I see? Is she walking back to me?”
Though Orbison is most associated with the Gibson ES-335 guitar, he wrote Oh, Pretty Woman on an Epiphone Bard 12-string acoustic, which was reproduced by Epiphone in 2009 and released as Orbison’s signature guitar.    
The recorded single was released on Monument Records, based in Nashville, Tennessee, and featured Billy Sanford on guitar, who went on to play in session with Elvis, Willie Nelson and Kenny Rogers. It proved to be Orbison’s biggest hit – Oh, Pretty Woman topped the US Billboard chart for three weeks, and was at #1 in 22 countries simultaneously. The single sold 680 thousand copies in the UK, and over a million copies in the US.     
The song was given a further boost when it inspired the title and featured on the soundtrack for Garry Marshall’s 1990 film Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. 

Orbison received a posthumous Grammy in 1991 for the live version of Oh, Pretty Woman from his 1987 Black & White Night concert, which was aired as an HBO television special in January 1988. Featuring an star-powered backing band including Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, kd lang, T Bone Burnett and Bruce Springsteen, it’s a mark of Orbison’s presence and status on stage that the focus always remains on him.
Fifty years on from release, Orbison’s best-known song and defining classic still sounds fresh. Mercy, indeed.   
-- Bob Merlis/M.F.H.
Los Angeles, CA 90004