Looking Over My Shoulder

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Aimee Mann of Til Tuesday, in the mid-80s.) 

I have fallen out of the former habit of looking at the Bottom 60 of every American Top 40 show I write about, so let’s try and get back into that. First up, a few songs from the week of September 12, 1970.

43. “That’s Where I Went Wrong”/Poppy Family. A very autumnal record that has been a favorite of this website since always.

45. “Indiana Wants Me”/R. Dean Taylor. Up from #86 in its second week on. Taylor had a gift for weirdly intense melodrama, which “Indiana Wants Me” surely is. See also “Candy Apple Red,” in which jilted lover R. Dean commits suicide in a church.

58. “Sunday Morning Coming Down”/Johnny Cash
82. “For the Good Times”/Ray Price
Both of these Kris Kristofferson songs reward repeated listening. Cash carries (yeah I said it) “Sunday Morning Coming Down” with the authority in his voice; “For the Good Times” has a beautiful arrangement by Nashville veteran Cam Mullins.

83. “Fire and Rain”/James Taylor
84. “We’ve Only Just Begun”/Carpenters
Both of these debut on the Hot 100 in this week, signaling that the soft-rock 70s had begun.

88. “Montego Bay”/Bobby Bloom
105. “God, Love, and Rock and Roll”/Teegarden and Van Winkle
Two of the first 45s I ever owned; if I’m recalling correctly, Santa Claus brought ’em in December.

91. “Monster Mash”/Bobby (Boris) Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers. Here’s the first return of the 1962 #1 hit; it would be back and bigger in 1973, when it made the Billboard Top 10—in the middle of the summer.

96. “Border Song”/Elton John. This was Elton’s first American chart single, a couple of weeks after his debut at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. It charted briefly at WMCA in New York and became a Top-10 hit in Memphis, but would peak at #92 on the Hot 100. “Your Song” was not far behind.

100. “Loving You’s a Natural Thing”/Ronnie Milsap. While he was coming up, Milsap made several records in an R&B style. “Loving You’s a Natural Thing” moves him toward the country sound that would make him a superstar before long.

102. “Holy Man”/Diane Kolby. Behold this Christian rock song of praise in which Kolby sings to Jesus like one would to a lover, aroused by the idea that “you’re the one who knows when I will die, die, die.”

And now, the Bottom 60 from another week I’ve discussed here recently: August 31, 1985, with links to music videos from the time:

41. “Do You Want Crying”/Katrina and the Waves
43. “Spanish Eddie”/Laura Branigan
Both of the videos for “Do You Want Crying” and “Spanish Eddie” are very very 80s (and both songs sounded great on the radio back then), but what’s striking as I watch them is how both Katrina Leskanich and Laura Branigan look like the kind of woman you’d run into at the grocery store, and I mean that in a positive way. Nikki Minaj they ain’t.

52. “Four in the Morning”/Night Ranger
63. “Sentimental Street”/Night Ranger
“Four in the Morning” and “Sentimental Street” are bombastic, overblown hogwash that also sounded great on the radio. Like Night Ranger’s stuff generally.

61. “You Look Marvelous”/Billy Crystal. The 1984-85 season of Saturday Night Live featured a great cast, including Crystal, Christopher Guest, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jim Belushi, Rich Hall, and Martin Short. Although few involved remember the season very fondly today, it featured some great characters, including Crystal’s Latin lover Fernando. I am mildly surprised to have found a copy of Crystal’s album Mahvelous! on a shelf in my office.

66. “Looking Over My Shoulder”/Til Tuesday
73. “Voices Carry”/Til Tuesday
Like Katrina and the Waves, Til Tuesday deserved better than to be a one-hit wonder, although “Looking Over My Shoulder” isn’t as memorable as “Do You Want Crying.”

Another Thing Entirely: on my early-morning Internet rounds today I found a fabulous story about Chicago DJ Dex Card and the rock clubs and concerts he promoted in the Chicago area and southeastern Wisconsin during the late 60s and early 70s. It’s actually the third post in a series. Another tells the story of the Majestic Hills Music Theater near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, an outdoor venue that attracted top artists of 50 years ago, before the more famous Alpine Valley Music Theater was built. Still another charts the frequent appearances of the Buffalo Springfield in the area during their 1967 heyday. The posts are on Kenosha [Wisconsin] Potpourri, which is maintained by local historian Steve Marovich, and is the kind of site every community ought to have. If you’re in Wisconsin, you’ll dig it, and maybe even if you’re not.

/jingle out/

5 thoughts on “Looking Over My Shoulder

  1. Wesley

    I doubt that if anyone looking at the September 12, 1970 Hot 100 listings would believe one of the artists would still be making that chart more than 50 years later and getting a medal from the president around that time. As for the 1985 chart, You Look Marvelous was one of the last novelty records made by a comedian to make the Hot 100 as best as I can recall offhand (sorry, too lazy to research that in depth right now).

    1. Looks like Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song” made it to #80. Comedians making the Hot 100 definitely does seem like a rarity after the ’70s.

      Unless we’re counting Weird Al. “White & Nerdy” went to #9 in 2006.

  2. I have always preferred “That’s Where I Went Wrong” to “Which Way You Goin’ Billy”. Also Marmalade’s “Rainbow” to “Reflections of My Life”, and I always think of both “That’s Where” and “Rainbow” together.

    As for 1985, I’m very close (but not there quite yet) to embracing a theory that a number 15 song from that year was not as big as a #25 song from 1970. If Norma Desmond were a disc jockey, perhaps she’d say it was the records that got smaller.

  3. Guy K

    “Do You Want Crying” is absolutely awesome, and should have been a huge hit. Katrina & The Waves deserved much more American success than what they had (“That’s The Way” is another full-on banger of theirs), although, to be fair, “Walking on Sunshine” was always perfect, and it’s hard for first-time hitmakers to improve on perfect.

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