Thursday, December 31, 2020

December 31st, 1970

1970:  December 31st – Paul McCartney sues his former bandmates in order to dissolve The Beatles’ legal partnership.  (Happy New Year!)

While he formally announced the split in conjunction with the release of his first solo album ... (some would say as a publicity stunt to help draw attention to his first solo album) ... McCartney made it official today by filing legal papers to dissolve the partnership.
(and so is The Sunday Survey!) 

We'll kick things off on Saturday with what would have been the last Super Chart of 1970 (for the Week Ending January 2nd, 1971) ... 

And then come right back on Sunday with our brand new Fifty Year Flashback to the biggest hits each week of 1971.

In between, we'll continue to bring you special goodies along the way ...
Including our first Comments Page of 2021 TOMORROW for New Year's Day!!!

So HAPPY NEW YEAR to All ...

And see you in what can ONLY be a better 2021!

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

December 30th, 1970

1970:  December 30th – Elvis’ business in Washington, D.C. apparently wasn’t finished yet.  Today he tours FBI Headquarters, where he requests … and then is given … a permit to carry a gun in every state

Also on this date, former Heavyweight Champion Charles "Sonny" Liston dies at the age of 38.

Liston’s death was surrounded by controversy.  
An ex-con with known mob ties, there are several theories that Liston was murdered ... but he was also known to have a pretty substantial drug habit at the time ... and also appeared to have been drinking heavily.  (Drugs and alcohol were found at the death site.)  Still, the official coroner's report stated that Sonny Liston died of natural causes, brought on by lung congestion and heart failure.  (Many felt at the time that Liston overdosed on heroin ... which is also what Las Vegas police first believed when they arrived at the scene ... but others who were aware of Sonny's drug dependency say that he would never have shot up the drug ... and that if they found a needle mark in his arm showing otherwise, somebody ELSE had to be the one to inject that fatal dose ... thus the "murder controversy" ... and conspiracy theory ... that has existed ever since.)  

His dead body went undiscovered for about a week.  His wife had been out of town, visiting family ... and when she returned, the odor inside their home was unbearable.   Calling a friend to help her investigate, they discovered Sonny's badly decomposing body lying on the bed ... so much so that his date of death had to be estimated based on the condition of his body when police and the coroner were called to the scene.  

With a reach of 84 inches (and fists that measured 15 inches, both the largest of any heavyweight champion), Liston won the Heavyweight Title from Floyd Patterson when he knocked The Champ out in the first two minutes of the very first round in a fight held right here in Chicago at old Comiskey Park on September 25th, 1962.  (He would lose the title just a year and a half later to Muhammad Ali ... then Cassius Clay ... in what most sports journalists considered to be an upset outcome.  Clay announced his new name at a press conference the very next day.) 
Rumors abound to this day about Sonny Liston taking a dive in his second bout with Muhammad Ali a year later.  (On several occasions since, Liston reportedly boasted to confidants that, as part of his compensation for taking the dive, he was receiving a percentage of Ali's purses from that moment forward, at one point reportedly saying "So who REALLY lost that fight?")  If true, this would become an ENORMOUS financial factor in the first Ali / Frazier fight which, at the time, became the biggest boxing purse in the history of the sport.  (By the way, we'll be covering the 50th Anniversary of THAT fight in March of next year as part of our salute to 197!)

A Showtime documentary released in 2019 even speculates that the fix may have been in on the first Liston / Ali fight, when Liston refused to answer the bell after the sixth round, thus counting himself out and relinquishing the title of Heavyweight Champion Of The World to Muhammad Ali by TKO.  (Liston entered the fight with a record of 35-1, 21 of those victories coming by way of knock-out.  He was the clear cut favorite to win the Ali bout ... but mob gamblers reportedly bet heavily against their boy, at 7 to 1 odds, reaping the benefit of a HUGE pay day when Liston refused to answer the bell for the seventh round.)  Honestly, the idea of a fix in the first fight seems somewhat unfounded ... midway through the battle, Ali complained that something had come off of Liston's gloves and was burning his eyes ... not the first time such an allegation had been raised during a Sonny Liston fight.  Why would Liston to go to that length to disable his opponent if he was going to throw the fight a few minutes later?  

All of this hullabaloo (along with all the growing outrage and continued opposition to Clay's name change to Muhammad Ali after winning the title, turning a number of fans against him for his Muslim beliefs), helped set the stage for the rematch ... and an even BIGGER pay day should you put all your money on Liston to lose.  This time, Sonny was knocked out just seconds into the first round.  (Many called it "the phantom punch" that nobody actually saw) ... even close-up video of the knock down makes a less than definitive case of Ali's ability to knock out the former champ with such ease.  (Legendary Sportscaster Howard Cosell, who was sitting ringside and calling the bout on closed circuit tv, later said "I saw the punch ... it wouldn't have split a grape.")

We likely will never know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth ... but Liston (who used to break legs for the mob before he started to make a name for himself on the heavyweight circuit) was considered, by all accounts, a very formidable opponent ... and one of the strongest men to ever step inside the ring.  Why throw all of that away and allow a brash, young, loud mouth like Clay (who referred to Sonny as "the ugly bear") to take the title?  I guess we'll never really learn the answer to that question.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

THE TOP 70 of 1970

Based on a compilation of Year End Charts from all three major trade publications (Billboard, Cash Box and Record World) plus the stats compiled by Joel Whitburn's Record Research 1970 Pop Annual and the book "Ranking the '70's" by Dann Isbell and Bill Carroll, here are ...  

THE TOP 70 RECORDS of 1970

1 Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel
2 Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head - BJ Thomas
3 American Woman - Guess Who
4 Let It Be - The Beatles
5 Close To You - The Carpenters
6 ABC -The Jackson Five
7 War - Edwin Starr
8 I'll Be There - The Jackson Five
9 Make It With You - Bread
10 Mama Told Me Not To Come - Three Dog Night
11 Spirit In The Sky - Norman Greenbaum
12 Band Of Gold - Freda Payne
13 The Love You Save - The Jackson Five
14 Thank You Fa Lettinme Be Mice Elf Agin - Sly and the Family Stone
15 Cracklin' Rosie - Neil Diamond
16 Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross
17 Venus - Shocking Blue
18 Get Ready - Rare Earth
19 Everything Is Beautiful - Ray Stevens
20 Ball Of Confusion - The Temptations
21 Spill The Wine - Eric Burdon and War
22 I Want You Back - The Jackson Five
23 Which Way You Goin' Billy - Poppy Family
24 Candida - Dawn
25 Instant Karma - John Lennon
26 Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours - Stevie Wonder
27 The Long And Winding Road - The Beatles
28 My Sweet Lord - George Harrison
29 Hey There Lonely Girl - Eddie Holman
30 Lay Down (Candles In The Rain) - Melanie with The Edwin Hawkins Singers
31 I Think I Love You - The Partridge Family
32 The Tears Of A Clown - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
33 Lookin'  Out My Back Door - Creedence Clearwater Revival
34 Patches - Clarence Carter
35 Hitchin' A Ride - Vanity Fare
36 All Right Now - Free
37 O-o-h Child - The Five Stairsteps
38 Love On A Two Way Street - Moments
39 One Less Bell To Answer - The Fifth Dimension
40 Ride Captain Ride - Blues Image
41 We've Only Just Begun - The Carpenters
42 Green-Eyed Lady - Sugarloaf
43 The Rapper - The Jaggerz
44 Something's Burning - Kenny Rogers and the First Edition
45 Rainy Night In Georgia - Brook Benton
46 Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) - Edison Lighthouse
47 Julie Do Ya Love Me - Bobby Sherman
48 In The Summertime - Mungo Jerry
49 Reflections Of My Life - Marmalade
50 Up Around The Bend - Creedence Clearwater Revival
51 Give Me Just A Little More Time - Charimen Of The Board
52 Turn Back The Hands Of Time - T yrone Davis
53 No Time - Guess Who
54 Fire And Rain - James Taylor
55 Vehicle - The Ides Of March
56 Gypsy Woman - Brian Hyland
57 Travelin' Band - Creedence Clearwater Revival
58 Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
59 Indiana Wants Me - R. Dean Taylor
60 Snowbird - Anne Murray
61 Tighter, Tighter - Alive And Kicking
62 Cecilia - Simon and Garfunkel
63 The Letter - Joe Cocker
64 Come And Get It - Badfinger
65 (I Know) I'm Losing You - Rare Earth
66 He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother - The Hollies
67 House Of The Rising Sun - Frijid Pink
68 Psychedelic Shack - The Temptations
69 Easy Come, Easy Go - Bobby Sherman
70 Holly Holy - Neil Diamond