Bubbling Under the Hot 100

Good Morning, Vietnam

Joan Armatrading
Joan Armatrading
One of the many music reference books – yes, I said BOOKS – that I own is Bubbling Under the Billboard Hot 100, 1959-2004. These are songs that didn’t quite make it to the promised land on the primary US singles chart.

There are several reasons. Some were regional hits. Some were B-sides of bigger hits but managed to nearly chart anyway. A few are re-releases that had charted higher in the past.

Since the book is nearly 300 pages long, I’m limiting myself to songs I actually own in physical form, either on compact disc or vinyl. You’ll recognize quite a few, I promise. This will take a while.

New York New York – Ryan Adams, #112 in 2002, filmed 9/7/2001. I put this on a mixed CD in my early blogger days.
Baby Please Don’t Go – Amboy Dukes – #106 in 1968
Show Some Emotion– Joan Armatrading – #110 in 1978; I LOVED her albums of that era
What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong with the Tommy Goodman Orchestra – #116 in 1968; #32 in 1988, due to its inclusion in the movie Good Morning, Vietnam
The Shape I’m In – The Band, #121 in 1973; B-side of Time To Kill (#77 pop)

The Beach Boys

I gave a friend their box set, and when she knew she was dying, she wanted me to take it back
Why Do Fools Fall in Love, 101 in 1964; B-side of Fun, Fun, Fun (#5 pop)
She Knows Me Too Well – 101 in 1964; B-side of hen I Grow Up (To Be A Man) (#9 pop)
Cottonfields – #103 in 1970
Marcella – #110 in 1972
Barbara Ann – #101 in 1975 rerelease; #2 in 1966
Wouldn’t It Be Nice – #103 in 1975 rerelease; #8 in 1966

The Beatles

I have some interest in this group.
From Me To You, #116 in 1963; #41 in 1964
I’m Down, #101 in 1965; B-side of Help! (#1 pop) The only B-side of The Beatles first 21 regular Capitol/Apple releases not to make the Top 100
Boys, #102 in 1965; one of a series of singles released on Capitol’s green label “The Star Line”

I Can’t See Nobody – Bee Gees, #128 in 1967; B-side of New York Mining Disaster 1941 (#14 pop)

David Bowie

I have a fair amount of his output on LPs
Space Oddity, #124 in 1969 on Mercury Records; it hit #15 in 1973 on RCA Victor
Let’s Spend the Night Together, #109 in 1973
D.J., #106 in 1979
Ashes to Ashes, #101 in 1980

It Don’t Matter to the Sun – Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines, a fictional character for a proposed movie, The Lamb, starring Brooks; B-side of Lost in You (#5 pop)
Please, Please, Please -James Brown – #105 in 1960, though #5 on the R&B charts in 1956, and a live version went to #95 pop in 1964

Next time, I’ll get much further into the alphabet.

David Bowie Space Oddity: birth, death

Some of it belonged in ’67 and some of it in ’72,

Space Oddity.David BowieHere’s a space oddity: David Bowie was only 69 years and two days old when he left us on January 10, 2016. That is not old at all, especially if you are a sexagenarian.

Hmm: Bing Crosby was but 74 when HE died shortly after they recorded The Little Drummer Boy (Peace On Earth) back in 1977. Apparently, Bowie only agreed to do the show because his mum was a big fan of Bing, who had passed away by the time the program aired. I find myself missing these folks who go too early.

It occurs to me that I don’t know much about Bowie’s 1960s output. His first eponymous album, released the same day as Sgt. Pepper in 1967, was the work of a young man “with mountains of charisma and ambition, and no idea what to do with his obvious gifts.”

His second album, also called David Bowie in the UK, and as Man of Words/Man of Music in the US, was released on 14 November 1969. “It was reissued in 1972 by RCA Records as Space Oddity (the title of the opening track, which had reached No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart)… but it reverted to the original, eponymous title for 2009 and 2015 reissues.”

“Regarding its mix of folk, balladry and prog rock, NME editors Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray have said, “Some of it belonged in ’67 and some of it in ’72, but in 1969 it all seemed vastly incongruous. Basically, [it] can be viewed in retrospect as all that Bowie had been and a little of what he would become, all jumbled up and fighting for control.”

I’m oddly pleased by these “missteps”, because he persevered and became, well, Bowie.

Here’s an interview from 1983 taking MTV to task for failing to play music videos by black artists. It was back when MTV played music videos.

Someone recently posted a photo on Facebook and described it as serious moonlight. This prompted me to find a video of Let’s Dance from the Serious Moonlight Tour, which made me smile.

Listen to:
The Bowie channel
Under Pressure – Bowie and Queen, because I still miss Freddie, too

Read what I wrote about Bowie in:
2017
2016

November 1971: the record producer

Ken Scott went from tea boy to engineer with the Beatles, Jeff Beck, Pink Floyd and Elton John.

Long before reading Never A Dull Moment: 1971, the Year Rock Exploded by David Hepworth, I knew the role of the producer of popular music was changing during the late 1960s. Famously, “George Martin left EMI’s studios in Abbey Road to start his own studios… in order to command” a more lucrative salary.

Before being the collaborator, Martin had been the “company man,” trying to get the artist to record the type of music the label had sold most recently. At his insistence, the Beatles reluctantly recorded “How Do You Do It,” but it was shelved in favor of Lennon-McCartney music. (The song shows up on The Beatles Anthology 1.)

When record labels were not involved in the creation of albums, sometimes this allowed for great creativity. But it could also lead to expensive experimentation, such as on Pink Floyd’s Meddle, when the musicians often couldn’t hear each other, “capturing the sounds made by household items.”

Brooklyn-born Richard Perry produced albums for people as varied as Tiny Tim, Harry Nilsson and Barbra Streisand. “He knew you had to capture the performance before the artist thought it was perfect, at which point it was actually stale. (See Hank Green’s vlog post, The Secret to my Productivity; it’s related.)

Ken Scott went from tea boy to engineer with the Beatles, Jeff Beck, Pink Floyd and Elton John, among others. While His session with David Bowie was very quick, with the vocals usually done on the first take, and no drugs or alcohol required by the artist.

“The producer that the bands asked for by name in 1971 was Glyn Johns.” He nearly passed on one group, who thought they were rockers, but when he heard their harmonies, he produced the first two albums by the Eagles.

Although Johns is listed only as ‘associate producer,’ he was the one we have to thank for what may be the best albums of 1971.” He honed downed Pete Townsend’s Lifehouse project, was eager to figure out what would work – a Lowery organ fed through a synthesizer – and created the distinctive sound of Baba O’Riley, the opening cut of Who’s Next.

Listen to the full album:

Meddle – Pink Floyd

Nilsson Schmilsson – Harry Nilsson (Japanese import)

Hunky Dory – David Bowie

Who’s Next – The Who

David Bowie would have been 70

David Bowie did not “go with the flow of the times.”

Right after David Bowie died, almost year ago, I went to buy his then-new album Blackstar on Amazon. But it was SOLD OUT. Bowie’s first #1 album in the United States, which I purchased a couple weeks later, is a fitting ending to an eclectic career.

About a month following his death, I was doing some research on how to market oneself as an artist. I came across this article about David Bowie. Well, more his response to comments about his previous article about David Bowie.

A commenter wrote that Bowie Continue reading “David Bowie would have been 70”

February rambling #1: the earth is not flat

Bob and Ray’s Slow Talkers.

EqualityEquity_300ppi.IISC

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s response to rapper B.o.B’s rant insisting that the Earth is flat and we’ve all been lied to.

How 37 Banks Became 4 In Just 2 Decades.

Rebecca Solnit: Men Explain LOLITA To Me. And Amy Biancolli on what women want.

White America’s ‘Broken Heart’.

Weekly Sift: Back to Ferguson.

Say — you want a revolution? Continue reading “February rambling #1: the earth is not flat”