CHART ATTACK!: 11/20/76

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So before we get started with today’s chart, I need to call your attention to those purty lil’ Amazon graphics below. They were created by the awesome Brian Ibbott, the man behind my favorite podcast (after the Popdose podcast, of course), Coverville. I figured Brian had taken them from the Amazon website, and since I couldn’t find them over at Amazon, I just took ‘em straight from Brian. I didn’t mean to be a thief, but turns out I am. So all credit for that nifty graphic that nobody clicks on goes to Brian — thanks, Brian! And if you’re not listening to Coverville, you’re missing out on one of the best, most compelling podcasts on the web. Check it out!

Okay, so now that I’ve stopped Brian’s team of blood-thirsty lawyers in their tracks (kidding!), we can take a look at this week’s chart. And I don’t mean to cast a cloud over this Top 10, but I’m not thrilled with most of these songs. Although three of them did hit #1 (one of them is actually the #1 hit of 1977), five of them didn’t make the Top 100 of either 1976 or 1977 at all. And as you’ll see, the songs that actually did hit #1 aren’t that great either. Things were better earlier in 1976 and later in 1977, but this specific week is, in my opinion, a low point. Do you agree? Let me know — and let’s attack November 20, 1976!

10. Do You Feel Like We Do — Peter Frampton null
9. Beth — Kiss null
8. Just to Be Close to You — Commodores null
7. Rock’n Me — Steve Miller null
6. The Rubberband Man — Spinners null
5. Disco Duck (Part 1) — Rick Dees null
4. Muskrat Love — Captain & Tennille null
3. Love So Right — Bee Gees null
2. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald — Gordon Lightfoot null
1. Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright) — Rod Stewart null

10. Do You Feel Like We Do — Peter Frampton

nullOne day, if I’m lucky enough to have kids as geeky as I am (seems kind of inevitable), I’ll sit them down and tell them about the improbability of this song’s success. Sure, I’ll have to explain terms like “double album,” “record label” and “radio,” but I think it’ll be worth it. I’ll explain to them how Peter Frampton managed to remain on a major record label, A&M, despite the fact that his first three albums (as well as his first eight singles) didn’t even crack the Hot 100 (“what’s the Hot 100, daddy?”) and his fourth album peaked at #32. And that despite these failures, A&M decided that his next release should be a live album — and when he turned in the live album, the head of the record label (Jerry Moss) complained that it was too short (!) and should be a double album (!!). And so Frampton — who had recorded most of the album at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, went to record more tracks live at SUNY Plattsburgh, better known as the least sexy of all the NY State-owned colleges. (I know. My dad went there.) “Do You Feel Like We Do” was one of the tracks recorded on the college campus. Unedited, it clocks in at 14:15. And children, guess what? “Radio stations,” as they were known back then, actually played the full, unedited version of the song! “Disc jockeys,” who were the people who actually had some control over what songs were played on the radio, used the song as an excuse to go to the bathroom or do other things that I’ll tell you about when you’re older. A&M understood that some stations might not want to play a 14-minute song, though, so they reasonably edited the song…to 7:19. 7:19 was considered reasonable, children!

At this point, my kids will probably be asleep from boredom, and that’ll be a shame, because I haven’t even explained to them why the unedited version of this song became so successful. Two words: TALKBOX SOLO. And here’s what I want to know, people: why do I have to wait SEVEN MINUTES AND 25 SECONDS for the talkbox solo? There should have been one in the beginning, in the middle, and then another one at the end. No, wait: the end one should be a false ending, and then there’d be another one after that one. There. That’s your perfect song. And I know the audience would have agreed, because you can hear how loud they cheer when he starts using the damn thing. You can’t deny the power of the talkbox. The talkbox is so powerful that the audience forgets the fact that anybody using one looks like a total douche.

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“durrrrrrrrrrr!”

Frampton does a talkbox solo for four full minutes, making “Do You Feel Like We Do” not only our CHART ATTACK! Song of the Week, but perhaps The Greatest Song of All Time, Excluding “What a Fool Believes.”

9. Beth — Kiss

I was looking through the comment section at Songfacts to see what people thought of this song. Here’s my favorite comment, by Frank from Brampton, Ontario.

This is a really sad song and I cry alot whenever I listen to it. Call me a wuss if you want but it is indeed a sad song despite it being a powerful ballad. Hey it’s ok to cry whenever you hear a sad song like this.

Word, Frank. Word.

And so here we have Kiss’s highest-charting single, peaking at #7. Of course, there was only one way Kiss could reach this peak on the charts, and that was by ensuring that all members of the band kept their damn hands off their instruments. Though written by Kiss drummer (and this song’s lead vocalist) Peter Criss, the piano and string arrangements were performed by other (real) musicians. Criss was the only member of the band in the studio when it was recorded, and in concert, he performed it to a backing track. The rest of the band didn’t learn the song until almost 20 years later, despite it being their biggest hit of their career. I think this proves how much Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley hated the song (they fought to keep it off the album), and not being a Kiss fan, this is the only thing about “Beth” that makes me happy. (Although I should say that I know Paul Stanley’s mother, and she’s a sweetheart.) Actually, “Beth” isn’t really a bad song at all; the piano and strings are quite pretty, and I like the last verse, where he says “Beth, I know you’re lonely / And I hope you’ll be all right / ‘Cause me and the boys will be playing all night.” I love that in this beautiful song, he just kind of gives her the middle finger at the end: I know you’re lonely, Beth…sucks to be you!

8. Just to Be Close to You — Commodores (download)

I find this song unintentionally funny for a number of reasons. If you’re not familiar with it, download and we can discuss it together. For starters, there’s this beautiful, gentle piano opening. The first time I heard it, I was expecting a song that was soft and subtle, like “Fee Tines a Mady” “Three Times a Lady.” The entrance of the vocals are, shall we say, a bit more abrupt — I nearly jumped out of my chair when they came in. Second, the song has some space-agey synths playing random notes for seemingly no reason — like it’s a love song on Jupiter or something. Then, after less than a minute, Lionel starts speaking. Oh, this is the best part. Listen to that first “Ahh!” at about :55. I don’t know who Lionel’s trying to be, but he’s doing a terrible job at it. At 1:23, I think he’s trying to be a preacher. I love the way he pronounces the word “value.” I snicker every time I hear it.

I think what’s most clear about this song is that Lionel Richie had simply not yet mastered his songwriting-fu; the damn thing is all over the place. Sure, the hook of the song is great, and maybe that’s all they needed: something to which people could get their groove on. Who cares about the rest, right? The only thing that really had any staying power was that first line at the beginning: “You know, I’ve been through so many changes in my life, girl.” Lionel recycled it seven years later for his solo hit “My Love,” except he changed “girl” to “woman.” (Y’know, because he was older.)

I looked all over to find you a clip of Lionel singing this song live in the ’70s; I’m disappointed that I came up short, because you know there’d be nothing more wonderful than Lionel in one of those silver glittery Commodore suits, speak-singing this song while his afro collided with the other members of the group. However, I did find this recent version, from a small concert Lionel did for industry people. He performs the song with just the right amount of tongue in cheek, proving once again that Lionel Richie is super, super awesome. Please do a concert in New York again, Lionel. I need to be there.

7. Rock’n Me — Steve Miller

I know I’ve complained about this before, but man, fewer artists get me angry the way Steve Miller gets me angry. (Maybe Andy Gibb.) His success actually gets me furious. Yes, yes, the man writes a killer hook, but his lyrics are some of the most moronic lyrics I’ve ever read. “Rock’n Me” is a great example; strong chorus, but dumb-as-shit lyrics, and actually, some awful singing, too. Arrgh, where do I even start?

Well I’ve been lookin’ real hard
And I’m tryin’ to find a job
But it just keeps gettin’ tougher every day
But I got to do my part cause I know in my heart
I got to please my sweet baby, yeah

Okay. Not an awful start. I mean, you can’t rhyme either “baby” or “yeah” with “day,” but whatever. So this song is about him trying to find work to make his woman happy. I’m with him so far.

Well, I ain’t superstitious
And I don’t get suspicious
But my woman is a friend of mine
And I know that it’s true that all the things that I do
Will come back to me in my sweet time

WHAT THE HELL DOES THIS MEAN.

I went from Phoenix, Arizona
All the way to Tacoma
Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A.
Northern California where the girls are warm
So I could be with my sweet baby, yeah

I DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS EITHER. Unless this is just Miller figuring he can guarantee either radio play or a concert audience in any of these locations. God, to think that this song might have inspired “The Heart of Rock & Roll” makes me shudder.

…and that’s pretty much it for lyrics. I am so freakin’ angry right now. This song makes no sense at all. It’s not as dumb as “Take the Money and Run,” but it’s up there. We made Steve Miller a star. Why did we do it? Why? I think I need to lie down. I hate you, Steve Miller. And you too, Andy Gibb.

6. The Rubberband Man — Spinners

Just when I thought this chart was hopeless, the Spinners come to rescue me. “The Rubberband Man” is a great soul song, and it would have won Song of the Week if it had only featured five minutes of talkbox. Instead, it features zero minutes of talkbox, so I award it no points and may God have mercy on its soul. Still, it deserves mention as one of the few good songs to rise out of the crud of this week.

Despite having formed in 1954 with a debut on the Hot 100 in 1961, the Spinners didn’t have their first Top 10 hit until 1970’s wonderful “Ill Be Around,” which hit #3. Another four of their songs reached the Top 10 before “The Rubberband Man” peaked at #2; it would be the group’s last Top 10 until their popular medleys of 1980.

There’s a great clip on YouTube of the Spinners performing “The Rubberband Man” on The Midnight Special, but I had to leave it off this week’s post in favor of Lynda Carter performing it on The Muppet Show. I’m sure you understand.

5. Disco Duck (Part 1) — Rick Dees

You know, given the fact that I’m somewhat known for my fondness of bad music (see Earmageddon or Mellowmas), I’ll admit to you that I’ve been able to fully avoid “Disco Duck” until this week. So while that’s a really awesome thing for me, it means that I can’t really reflect properly on how this song invaded popular culture enough to become a #1 hit. Rather than just blatantly curse out everybody in 1976 who bought this record, I figured I’d ask fellow Popdose staffer (and one of my favorite writers) Jon Cummings to weigh in on “Disco Duck” and its popularity. But be warned, everybody: this writing is not what we’re used to reading on CHART ATTACK!: it’s really, really good. Jon?

*******
Thanks, Jason. You’re right about one thing: No one can explain, much less justify, the popularity of “Disco Duck.” But let’s give it a shot anyway, shall we?

Like any good sociological phenomenon, disco didn’t emerge full-blown out of nowhere. By the summer of ’76, even as the music had begun to dominate pop radio, the flamboyant dance-club subculture behind disco hadn’t yet expanded beyond its base in the major urban centers and entered the mainstream. The sexuality — and the sometimes covert, sometimes overt homosexuality — intrinsic to the music was unfamiliar to, and no doubt uncomfortable for, many listeners during disco’s early stages. And when the less cutting-edge elements of society encounter a new and discomfiting cultural presence, it’s not unusual for them to dismiss or ridicule that presence — or, if they choose to embrace it, to make it more compatible with their conventional worldview via imitation (see Pat Boone), comment (see “Play That Funky Music,” a #1 hit two months before this chart was released), or parody. This may explain why a radio DJ from a Southern city was able to achieve nationwide success with a single that recontextualized disco’s throbbing rhythms and pulsating sexuality with help from a universally beloved cartoon voice.

Or maybe that’s all a bunch of crap, and what really happened was that a Memphis DJ/stand-up comic encountered a goofball at the gym who could do a good Donald Duck voice, and decided it would be funny to make a novelty record that capitalized on the disco craze. And the American people, whose taste in comedy should never be overestimated, sent “Disco Duck” to #1 in mid-October. My favorite part of the “Disco Duck” story is the fact that radio listeners in Memphis couldn’t hear it: Competing stations wouldn’t play it because they were loath to give Rick Dees any publicity, and his own station’s owners thought it would be a conflict of interest to give it any spins. Dees got fired just for mentioning the song on the air! He quickly got hired somewhere else, of course — and though he lost his most recent daily on-air gig this past spring, his “Weekly Top 40″ is still going in syndication. And “Disco Duck,” though we never hear it anymore, lives in infamy — and in the #3 slot on my list of the Worst #1 Songs of the ’70s.

Back to you, Jason.
*******

Thanks, Jon! You should know that every morning, I wake up and curse your writing skills. Here’s Rick Dees on The Midnight Special performing his beloved hit.

4. Muskrat Love — Captain & Tennille

Wonderful. So right after our song about the disco duck, we have a track that answers the age-old question, “What Casio synth pad accurately replicates the sounds of muskrats fucking?” I wonder how many music fans killed themselves over Thanksgiving in 1976.

Honestly, I thought I knew this song, but when I took a listen this week, I found that I had never actually heard it before (both this and “Disco Duck” — how did I get so lucky?). I keep trying to figure out what this song is really trying to say in its subtext — but no, I’m pretty sure it’s actually about two muskrats courting. I know I said this a few songs ago, but WHY? Why did we need a song about two muskrats on a date? And even more importantly, why were Captain & Tennille the third artists to record the song? Originally titled “Mukstrat Candlelight” — and let’s just pause a second to think about the meeting where the artistic merits of this title were debated — the song was written and recorded by Willis Alan Ramsey in 1972, then covered by America in 1973 and C&T in 1976. The America version peaked at #67, but C&T made it all the way here to #4. Why? It must have been those adorable little synthesizers! Thank you, Daryl Dragon! And I’m sure there are many record buyers who thank you for including those sounds in the run-off groove on the 45, so they’d repeat themselves until someone took the record off the turntable (and subsequently threw it — and themselves — out the window).

But I don’t know. Part of me is also perversely pleased that a song about the copulation of muskrats managed to become a popular hit. Also, I have to give Toni Tennille credit for the huge grin she plasters on her face whenever she sings this song. I imagine, after 33 years, one probably no longer has a burning desire to sing about muskrats doing the nasty.

I found a few video clips of “Muskrat Love,” but this one seems to be the most disturbing. Enjoy. Or don’t.

3. Love So Right — Bee Gees (download)

I’m almost positive a memo was issued in the fall of 1976. It went to all popular artists, and it said, “Just take it easy this season. Don’t work too hard. Only give us mediocre songs. We’ll call on you for the good stuff in 1977.” Because if you look at 1975, you’ll see awesome Bee Gees songs like “Jive Talkin'” and “Nights on Broadway,” and of course, 1977 gave us the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Summer of ’76 even gave us “You Should Be Dancing.” But fall of 1976? This dreck. I am aware some people really like this song. I am not one of them. According to Andy Brennan’s always-phenomenal Gibb Songs website (which I could read all day), it was right around this time that Barry began to really explore this new range of his voice:

Barry had developed his falsetto to an incredible degree. [Previously] it was still breathy and tentative. Now it was loud and clear, a very expressive instrument that he began to prefer to his natural voice…‘["Love So Right"] is a more traditional kind of Bee Gees song that could easily have been done the old way had Barry been inclined to do so. The falsetto makes it sound more new and different than it is. The question of how much falsetto is enough has caused much friendly argument among fans.

I’m so glad Andy brought this up: IT’S TOO MUCH FALSETTO. And I’m not going to be friendly about it, Andy! Christ! It’s ridiculous how much high-pitched caterwauling ensues during the final minute of the song! Tune in above at around 3:00. There are actually dueling Barry Gibbs, each going falsetto-batshit all over this thing. Look, most of the Bee Gees songs we know and love wouldn’t be as wonderful as they are without Barry’s high notes. But there’s actually a line, and he crosses it here. And sadly, I don’t think I can blame Andy for it.

2. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald — Gordon Lightfoot

It does seem a little odd that a song such as this would reach #2, considering that it’s depressing as all hell, it has no chorus and no bridge, and it’s surrounded by crap like “Disco Duck” and “Muskrat Love.” But clearly it struck a chord with the public, arriving on the charts close to a year after the S.S. Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior, killing the 29 crew members aboard. Lightfoot had read about the event in the November 24, 1975 issue of Newsweek, and was inspired to write a song recounting the event. He took some liberties with the subject matter, or at least that’s what I’m told — I know it makes me a horrible person, but I just can’t pay attention to more than two verses of this song. As always, I hear Gordon Lightfoot and all I want to do is nap. Lightfoot considers this song his most significant musical achievement (and credit should indeed be given for including the words “Gitche Gumee” in a pop song), and peaking here at #2, it’s his second-highest charter, behind 1974’s “Sundown.”

Lightfoot gave all rights and royalties of this song to the families of those lost in the wreck, which is a truly wonderful thing. The writers from The Simpsons wanted to use this song in a section of the “Radio Bart” episode where Bart sees an commercial for a microphone that transmits to any AM radio — but because of the complications in getting permission from the families, they went with C.W. McCall’s “Convoy” instead. True story!

1. Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright) — Rod Stewart

Here it is, folks: not only the #1 song of the week, but the #1 song of 1977. We gave it to this guy.

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He’s worse than this guy!

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“durrrrrrrrrrr!”

I’m perplexed. First, I’m perplexed that this song became the #1 hit of 1977, considering it didn’t actually chart at #1 during that year (I’m sure this will be explained by Cummings in the comments). But more than that, I’m perplexed that Rod Stewart became a sex symbol while wearing this outfit. He looks like an inbred clown doing dinner theatre. This is the third time I’m asking “why?” today. I’m tired of it. I’m so happy this week is over.

“Tonight’s the Night” is a song not exactly known for its subtlety; it was actually banned in Europe (and initially only played later in the evening in America) for its overt sexuality. This was mainly due to the line “spread your wings and let me come inside.” Is that really offensive? I only think it’s offensive if you think of “me” being “Rod Stewart.” Because I don’t see why anybody would want to sleep with him. Even if the song’s purpose is just to encourage others to get all sexy with each other, that doesn’t work for me either — because when the chorus starts, all I can think about is poor Rod’s vocal chords. Is it sexy to sound like you’re screaming up a lung? Of course, who cares what I think — this song became the biggest hit of Rod Stewart’s career. And if that doesn’t depress you enough, do you want to know what’s #2? “All for Love,” that stupid song he did with Bryan Adams and Sting. I think now is a very good time for me to stop writing.


By the way, I can’t believe this happened, but it did: a duet of “Tonight’s the Night” between Rod and Kim Carnes, presumably with a throat specialist waiting in the wings. I love that if I close my eyes and listen to this duet, I can’t tell them apart.

Whew! We’re done! I’m quite happy this week is over. Maybe it wasn’t as bad for you as it was for me, but personally, I’m giving thanks that we’ll be exploring a different week and year soon. You suck, November 1976. But I thank you for reading anyway! See you soon for another edition of CHART ATTACK!




  • mjheyliger

    My first exposure to “Muskrat Love” (the song, not the actual process of muskrats doing the nasty) was through this thing Scott Shannon used to do when he was the morning DJ on Z-100 in New York called “The Jukebox From Hell”. He played some pretty gnarly songs, but I always thought “Muskrat Love” was a little charming, albeit creepy. Then one day he played Michael Jackson's “Ben” and from then on I hated Scott Shannon and refused to listen to any of his dumb jukeboxes from hell.

    It took me YEARS to figure out that Lionel Richie was saying “value” in “Just to Be Close to You”. I used to love that song as a kid (still do now), but had no clue what “vayyah” was. Hey, he *is* from Alabama.

  • JT

    Im inspired this morning..so here goes…

    His name is Jason Hare
    Steve Miller he just doesnt care
    From Buffalo,Scranton,Rochester and Albany,
    the great white north, and Germany
    we hope he finds his Disco Duck , yeah..

  • http://robertcashill.blogspot.com BobCashill

    “Songwriting fu.” I like that.

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    The second verse of Rock N' Me is essentially Steve Miller's definition of karma:

    I need to get a job so I can buy things for my woman and once that happens, she'll put out again.

    The third verse explains how he was able to fuck her all over the country despite having no steady source of income (apparently her work takes her out of town a lot). So now they're back home, he tries to get a little something for himself and she says, “No pay, no play.”

    It's Steve Miller's version of that episode of Mad Men where Don and Betty had that romantic time in Rome, but now they're back in Ossining and she's not giving up the goods. What's so hard to understand?

  • rockymtranger

    “The Rubberband Man” is a great soul song, and it would have won Song of the Week if it had only featured five minutes of talkbox.

    I almost spit out my caramel brule latte. You never cease to entertain!

    A couple of other things…
    - I must have mentally blocked out the fact that Rod was on “All For Love”. I had to Google it to put my mind at ease.

    - Don't even get me started on Janet's version of “Tonight's the Night”, which I think is a pretty decent version in its own right.

    - Plattsburgh? Seriously? The North Country gets some props!

    - “Beth” is probably the second-least Kiss-sounding Kiss song, just behind “I Was Made For Lovin' You”.

    - The vocal arrangement on “Love So Right” might be a bit crazy, but it's a classic pop song.

    - As a kid, I felt like “Wreck” would never end when listening to it. Now I relish any time I get to hear it.

    - “Disco Duck” is probably the worst novelty song ever to hit #1.

  • http://www.jasonhare.com jasonhare

    You are full of shit.

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    No, you are.

  • http://jackfear.blogspot.com Jack Feerick

    Strike out “to hit #1″ in that last sentence, and I fully agree.

  • http://captivewildwoman.blogspot.com/ Miss Lisa

    Oh, it was bad all right. At least you didn't have to live through it. We were scarred for life. And my parents had “Frampton Comes Alive” on 8-track and we'd listen to it in the car, driving up to Tahoe (3 1/2 hours), and I'd be sitting in the back seat thinking, “Who is this Frampton? Where did he come from? Why does he have a double live album and why are people cheering for him so massively? This song is so simple. What does it all mean?” I didn't know enough about the world yet to realize: it just sucked. We did like the voice box though. There was a lot of Linda Rondstadt and John Denver that year too. I guess I'll be OK. Thanks for your concern, everyone.

  • JonCummings

    Dude, a Billboard “chart year” goes from Dec. 1 to Nov. 30, sorta like a “fiscal year” often starts in September or October. They traditionally did that because 1) the magazine needed time to compile its year-end chart for the Xmas issue, 2) the music biz always sees its biggest sales in the Xmas season, and 3) back when the Hot 100 relied on self-reported airplay charts from radio stations that froze their playlists over the holidays, the Christmas-season hits often remained on the chart well into the new year.

    Thus, since “Tonight's the Night” was #1 on all five charts through December '76, and since its graceful chart decline happened during '77, it was the #1 song on the year-end chart for '77. (However, in his Top Pop Singles book, Joel Whitburn now lists it as the #1 song for '76.) What I could never figure out was how “You Light Up My Life”–the biggest hit of the '70s chartwise, which was #1 for seven weeks during the '77 “chart year” and 10 weeks overall–didn't even make the year-end list that was topped by “Tonight's the Night,” and then was deemed only the third-biggest hit of '78. (Whitburn, of course, lists “Light Up” as the top single of '77.)

    BTW, the Grammys have always relied on a similar principle for nominations–its “year” ends on Oct. 31–so that a schlocky Xmas-season song that doesn't get released before that date is usually denied a nom. And then there are rare situations like 1999, when “My Heart Will Go On,” which was released with “Titanic” in Dec. '97, won a bunch of Grammys at a ceremony well over a year after its release. Of course, the Grammys are farkakte anyway…except when “What a Fool Believes” won, of course…

    Doesn't everybody know this stuff?

  • danavred

    Ah… Lightfoot. Saw him in concert last Valentine's Day and I thought he was about to hack up a lung on stage. Seriously, it was a bit frightening. As was the rest of the audience there.

    But I just love some of the poor excuses for rhymes that he uses in the Edmund Fitzgerald. Like rhyming “Wisconsin” with “well-seasoned” and “Cleveland” with “feeling.” I can't listen to half of them without snickering.

    I prefer his “Carefree Highway” to any of the rest of his chart-busters. Next time you need a good nap, try putting on Gord's Gold (Vol. I & II)!

  • JonCummings

    By the way, I'm uncomfortable with the idea that you wake up every morning thinking about me. Besides, you're way funnier than I — which I resent, but not usually until after breakfast.

    And one other thing I should mention–when “What a Fool Believes” won those Grammys, I was rooting for “I Will Survive.”

  • http://www.jasonhare.com jasonhare

    Oh yeah? Well when “What a Fool Believes” won those Grammys, I was a year old. So I win.

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    Go to #9 for Jason's greatest-ever reference to Gordon Lightfoot.

    http://popdose.com/chart-attack-101781/

  • http://jusiper.blogspot.com sini

    “All for Love” was #1 for just three weeks. Weren't “Maggie May” #1 for five and “Do Ya Think I'm Sexy” #1 for four?

    Also, dueling Barry Gibbs=fantastic.

  • JonCummings

    Actually, that only makes the McD fixation creepier.

  • jamesballenger

    I loved your Billy Madison reference in the Rubber Bandman song. And I read Jon's response as such, “Like any good SCATological phenomenon..” I had to re-read it several times to make sure that wasn't what he typed. And although I cringe at the Artists names on the list, I think I have most of these songs (No Muskrat love or Disco Duck, nor Tonights the night)

  • http://www.jasonhare.com jasonhare

    As usual, I am in awe of your chart knowledge.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    I hates me some Disco Duck, but if it's a death duel between the Duck and Grandma getting run over by reindeer, Granny is so screwed.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    “Beth” was a song that Kiss needed, no matter how much they hated it. They had spent so much time and energy telling the world they had power! And cock! And power-cock!! By the time Destroyer came around, I could imagine producer Bob Ezrin looking at the material and thinking, “They're saying the same damned thing in every song! And what on earth is power cock anyway?”

    “Beth” may be a wimpy tune, but it humanizes the band. It infers that they're writing songs and practicing and not doing very well at it. The power cock is sad and limp, and when it finally gets back home to Beth, she will not be amused at all by it. So, score one for Bob Ezrin for standing toe-to-toe against Gene, telling him that the song had to be there and, bam, being 100% right.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    I always thought the location shout-outs was just Miller ripping off the Beach Boys, really.

  • http://www.popdose.com DwDunphy

    Could be, but that doesn't necessarily count for sales. “Maggie May” could have been #1 in a very slow period, so it's at the top but not “shifting lotsa units.” Meanwhile, in those three lowly weeks, those Mensa members were buying copies of “All For Love” hand over fist.

    I would, in fact, love to see dueling Barry Gibbs. Not necessarily hear them, but watching them shooting poisonous quills of chest hair at each other would be totally Dali-esque.

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    Dw. has it. The only album All For Love was available on was the CD of the score, which nobody wanted. So it sold a ton as a single, thus keeping it on the charts.

  • http://www.jasonhare.com jasonhare

    I'm sure Jon can explain this one for us. All I know is my Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits book lists it at #2, with “Maggie May” at #3 and “Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?” at #4. Maybe it's because “All for Love” also hit #1 on the Mainstream Rock Ch…wait a minute, “All for Love” Hit #1 on the Mainstream Rock Charts? That's gotta be a Wikipedia typo. They must mean Adult Contemporary. Help, Jon!!! (Boy, I'm sure glad I don't write a column that deals with chart stats….oh.)

  • http://jusiper.blogspot.com sini

    I'd bet his biggest seller is “Do You Think I'm Sexy.”

  • JonCummings

    Actually, I've never understood how Fred Bronson compiled his lists for that Hottest Hot 100 Hits book, which I've perused in bookstores and on Google Books but have never bought. Whitburn's books list the pecking order as “Tonight's the Night,” “Maggie May,” “Do Ya…” and then “All for Love.” A quick look at Bronson's methodology (I'm looking at Google Books) makes it sound like he built a point system that rewards songs bonus points for the weeks they spend in the upper reaches of the chart, rather than doing a straight “#1 equals 100 points, #100 equals 1 point” system.

    So while “All for Love” only got three weeks at #1, it looks like it spent at least six or seven additional weeks in the Top 5–so maybe its longevity near the top put it over as far as Bronson was concerned. That's my best guess, anyway. I can't believe you made me spend 10 minutes thinking about a song as unbelievably shitty as “All for Love.” Don't you know how busy I am? (clearly not)

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/OSV7XF46OMYVSQMW57P47Y327A RichardB

    High praise indeed.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/OSV7XF46OMYVSQMW57P47Y327A RichardB

    Willis Alan Ramsey, whose original version of “Muskrat Love” I still find the most tolerable, used to come around to Fort Worth quite a bit during my college years, including a free concert he gave at our student center. Willis didn't seem to care much for the trappings of celebrity or the music industry (and never recorded a second album, in spite of the impressive lineup of songs on his debut), and was bemused by a review of a Presidential command performance which ragged on the Captain & Tenille for doing some song about rodents doin' the Django, while the tastelessness of emcee Bob Hope's making light of the recent abduction of the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil went unremarked.

  • Elaine

    Every time I hear “Rubberband Man” I think of the movie Stripes. It was the song playing in the mud-wrestling bar.

    A couple of summer ago, they (or what's left of them?) were the opening band for Hall & Oates. I took my kids (Hollywood Bowl). The Spinners scared my littlest one — their FOH sound was very harshly loud and trebbley and frantic, and the light show was too flashy at the same time. She just held her little ears and said, “can we go home now?” So I took her out until H&O started with their coool, knowing-glance riffs. Now she likes “Kiss on my List.”

    The interesting thing about the Gordon Lightfoot song is that kids (like me) who did school time in the upper midwest all were taught from an early age about the tragedy that was the Fitz. It's a story that one assumes every school kid still knows well to this day. Until…you go out in the world and meet people that were raised in, say, California. And then it comes up one day, and they say, “Ed who?” because they've never once heard the story. When you explain, they might say, “oh! yeah I've heard that song but never got it til now. how weird that it was a #2 pop song.”

    If you ever run across the America version of “Muskrat Love,” I for one want to hear it.

  • JonCummings

    Unfortunately, that stuff tends to crowd out the information I should be keeping in my head … like the names of my children…

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    Your children, big deal. How many chart hits have they had?

  • kingofgrief

    Look, if no one else is going to declare even a glimmer of affection for “Disco Duck”, I'LL do it. I could offer the explanation that I was 6 years old when it was a hit, but I gather some of you naysayers are in the same age bracket. It makes me smile, alright? What's wrong with smiling, ya Gloomy Guses? Plus it was the first record I ever bought on the RSO label. Don't knock the duck OR the cow.

    I have the Midnight Special compilation DVD with this clip, an' ya know who introduces Dees and company? George frickin' CARLIN, that's who! Okay, he was most likely coked off his gourd at the time, but there it is for posterity. George Carlin giving America the Cast of Idiots. In our bicentennial year, no less.

    Here, I'll give you some snarky-comment fodder: the first time I heard “Disco Duck” was…this is true…at a garbage dump. You're welcome.

  • kingofgrief

    Wasn't their group called The Short Cummings?

  • http://twitter.com/trrish trrish

    I believe the correct name of the song is…..”Da Ya Think I'm Sexy”. I can't explain.

    Also, “Love So Right' is just screaming for the Jimmy Fallon/Justin Timberlake treatment.

  • http://www.jasonhare.com jasonhare

    I thought that was it too, Trrish. All my Billboard books say “Do” for some reason, but the LP covers definitely say “Da.”

    Totally agreed on “Love So Right.”

  • kingofgrief

    All my Billboard books say “Do” for some reason, but the LP covers definitely say “Da.”

    Thus was Sting moved to write one of The Police's most enduring numbers (inspired also in part by “Let's Call the Whole Thing Off”).

  • Jonathan

    Dude, this is the funniest Popdose post I've ever read. All the people in this cafe think I'm insane now. Thanks.

  • Jonathan

    Dude, this is the funniest Popdose post I've ever read. All the people in this cafe think I'm insane now. Thanks.

  • http://jabartlett.wordpress.com jabartlett

    I am more forgiving of the shortcomings of 1970s music than anyone else in the world—to understand why some of this stuff was popular, you really had to be there, and I was—but “Disco Duck” is something even I can't explain, or justify. It's not remotely funny, or even especially clever—listening to it again recently, I was shocked at just how awful it is. It makes “Muskrat Love” sound like Mozart.

    Also: I'm convinced that part of the success of “Frampton Comes Alive” is the crowd noise—those people are going so apeshit that it made other people want to buy the record just to see what was so apeshit-worthy about it.

  • http://genxsingalong.wordpress.com/ gigi

    I would be willing to bet money that “Tonight's the Night” came in at #1 in another very important category in 1977 – Song Most High School Students Were Listening To While Losing Their Virginity. I can just see those boys with Vinnie Barbarino hair plunking down their money to buy the 45, then putting it on the turntable oh-so-nonchalantly while chilling in the den with their Farrah-wannabe girlfriends. (For the record, I firmly believe that Dave Matthews' “Crash Into Me” is the “Tonight's the Night” of the '90s.)

  • http://genxsingalong.wordpress.com/ gigi

    I would be willing to bet money that “Tonight's the Night” came in at #1 in another very important category in 1977 – Song Most High School Students Were Listening To While Losing Their Virginity. I can just see those boys with Vinnie Barbarino hair plunking down their money to buy the 45, then putting it on the turntable oh-so-nonchalantly while chilling in the den with their Farrah-wannabe girlfriends. (For the record, I firmly believe that Dave Matthews' “Crash Into Me” is the “Tonight's the Night” of the '90s.)

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