Sunday, May 20, 2012
Ten Great Songs From One Great Week
The songs the radio played this week in history
May 20-May 26, 1979
White Night Riots (May 21th) - a series of violent events sparked by an announcement of the lenient sentencing of Dan White, for the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk. The events took place on the night of May 21, 1979 (the night before what would have been Milk's 49th birthday) in San Francisco. Earlier that day, White had been convicted of voluntary manslaughter, the lightest possible conviction for his actions.
The gay community of San Francisco had a longstanding conflict with the San Francisco Police Department. White's status as a former police officer intensified the community's anger at the SFPD. Initial demonstrations took place as a peaceful march through the Castro district of San Francisco. After the crowd arrived at the San Francisco City Hall, violence began. The events caused hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of property damage to City Hall and the surrounding area, as well as injuries to police officers and rioters.
Several hours after the riot had been broken up, police made a retaliatory raid on a gay bar in San Francisco's Castro District. Many patrons were beaten by police in riot gear. Two dozen arrests were made during the course of the raid, and several people later sued the SFPD.
In the following days, gay leaders refused to apologize for the events of that night. This led to increased political power in the gay community, which culminated in the election of Mayor Dianne Feinstein to a full term, the following November. In response to a campaign promise, Feinstein appointed a pro-gay Chief of Police, which increased recruitment of gays in the police force and eased tensions.
On October 14, 1979, over 100,000 people marched on Washington for gay rights. Many carried portraits of Milk, and placards honoring his legacy. The rally, something that Milk had intended to organize, was instead a tribute to his life.
Dan White was released from prison on January 14, 1984 after serving five years of a seven-year, eight-month sentence. On the evening following his release, 9,000 people marched down Castro street and burned his effigy. State authorities reportedly feared an assassination attempt, and in response Scott Smith (Milk's partner) urged people not to retaliate with violence. He stated, "Harvey was against the death penalty. He was a nonviolent person."
White committed suicide by self-inflicted carbon monoxide poisoning on October 21, 1985. He connected a rubber hose to his car's exhaust system and routed it to the interior of the vehicle, which he let fill with carbon monoxide. Mayor Feinstein said, "This latest tragedy should close a very sad chapter in this city's history." According to Orange County lawyer Jeff Walsworth, White had expressed remorse for the killings in February 1984. White reportedly stated that it would always cause him inner turmoil. Inspector Falzone said the contrary, however, commenting that at no time did White express remorse in any form at the deaths of Moscone and Milk
#1 Single -- "Reunited" by Peaches and Herb
#1 Album --"Breakfast in America" by Supertramp
1856 – Lawrence, Kansas is captured and burned by pro-slavery forces.
1881 – The American Red Cross is established by Clara Barton in Washington, D.C.
1927 – Charles Lindbergh touches down at Le Bourget Field in Paris, completing the world's first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
1932 – Bad weather forces Amelia Earhart to land in a pasture in Derry, Northern Ireland, and she thereby becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
1976 – The Yuba City bus disaster occurs in Martinez, California, 29 people are killed which makes it the deadliest road accident in U.S. history.
1998 – In Miami, Florida, five abortion clinics are hit by a butyric acid attacker.
Sad Eyes -- Robert John
John (real name: Robert Pedrick, Jr.) wrote this and entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #85 this week. 20 weeks later, it topped the charts, tying the record set by Nick Gilder's single "Hot Child In The City" for taking the longest time to reach the peak position. Robert John first appeared on Billboard Hot 100 on November 10, 1958, as Bobby Pedrick, Jr. and from that time on to his first #1, 20 years and 11 months elapsed, setting a longevity record which was eventually broken by Tina Turner in 1984 with "What's Love Got To Do With It."
When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman -- Dr. Hook
One of the most underrated bands of the '70s, Dr. Hook (originally called "Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show" but dropped the last part in 1975) made the top 40 ten times, including five times in the top 6. This song also reached #6 in the US, but became their third international hit #1 when it topped the British charts ("Sylvia's Mother" and "Walk Right In" topped the Australian charts). The origin of the band's name came When they were told by a club owner that they needed a name to put on a poster in the window of his establishment, original band member George Cummings (who along with Ray Sawyer and Billy Francis started the band) made a sign: "Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show: Tonic for the Soul". The "Hook" name was inspired by Sawyer's eye patch and a reference to "Captain Hook" of the Peter Pan fairy tale, though, humorously, because Captain Hook was neither a doctor or wore an eye patch. The "medicine show" and "doctor" (referring to the shows common in the 19th century) were intended as tongue-in-cheek warning against drug abuse. Ray Sawyer lost an eye in a near-fatal car crash in Oregon in 1967, and has worn an eye patch ever since
I Want You To Want Me -- Cheap Trick
This song has a long and intriguing history. It was written by Cheap Trick's guitarist Rick Nielsen and recorded for their 1977 self-titled debut album, but it didn't make the cut. The song was included on their second album In Color, which was released later in '77. This version had a medium tempo with a country feel and a honkey tonk piano throughout the song. By '78, the band had dropped it from their setlist, but restored it when they toured Japan that year, since Japanese audiences loved the song. They played it on April 28th and 30th at their famous concerts that took place at the Budokan temple in Tokyo, which was a big deal because many Japanese citizens felt the temple was sacred and not appropriate for rock concerts. The concerts were released as the Live At Budokan album, which captured Cheap Trick's live energy and turned their fortunes around in America, where the album was released in February 1979 and sold over 3 million copies. The extracted "I Want You To Want Me" became their first hit, charting at #7. The famous At Budokan version of this song was inspired by a French cover version ("J'attends Toutes les Nuits") by by a fairly obscure French synthpop artist named Niko Flynn, who sped up the tempo and put a beat to the song.
Boogie Wonderland -- Earth Wind and Fire with The Emotions
This is one of the more complex and misinterpreted songs of the Disco era. Written by Jon Lind and Allee Willis, it was inspired by the movie Looking For Mr. Goodbar, which stars Diane Keaton as a very lost woman who goes to clubs every night to dance and forget how miserable she was. Says Willis: "When I saw Mr. Goodbar, I got kind of fascinated with people who did go to clubs every night, whose life was kind of falling apart, but they lived for the night life, though it didn't seem to be advancing them as humans in the end. The Emotions, who provided the female vocals on this song, were a female vocal trio from Chicago: the sisters Wanda, Sheila and Jeanette Hutchinson. Maurice White had previously worked with them and produced their 1977 #1 single "Best Of My Love."
Honesty -- Billy Joel
Like a number of songs, this bemoans the fact that so many people are dishonest and deceitful to their spouses and lovers. It was the third top 40 single released from 52nd Street. According to Ken Bielen in his book The Words and Music of Billy Joel, Liberty DeVitto's drums and cymbal crashes, remind listeners that "the track is a predecessor of the power ballads of the 1980s and 1990s". It talks about the inherent lack of same even in the closest of relationships." There were mixed reviews upon the song's release. Many thought the song was too light and cheesy, contrasting it with the LP's first single, "Big Shot",proving that these people had never heard any pre-Stranger Billy Joel tracks. However, Bielen described the song as "a plea for truth, not only in romantic relationships but also from the politicians who affect our lives."
The Logical Song -- Supertramp
The lyrics are about how the innocence and wonder of childhood can quickly give way to worry and cynicism as children are taught to be responsible adults. It makes the point that logic can restrict creativity and passion. To accentuate the "d-d-digital" line in the lyrics, the band borrowed a Mattel handheld electronic football game from an engineer named Richard Digby-Smith, who was working next door. This device, which predated Nintendo, provided an unusual sounding, layered bleep. The specific byte occurs near the end of the song just after Hodgson sings the word "digital." The sound itself indicated a player had lost control of the football.
Love Is The Answer -- England Dan and John Ford Coley
This idealistic song was written by Todd Rundgren for his band Utopia, who released it on their 1977 album Oops! Wrong Planet. England Dan and John Ford Coley recorded this slicker version and scored their last of 6 Top-40 hits when it reached #10 and spent two weeks atop the Billboard AC chart. John Ford Coley was quoted as saying: "Of all the songs we released as singles, that was my favorite. The song first of all had a classical base, and the middle had a gospel section which I loved." In recent years, the song has been thought to be a Christian song, though it was never intended to be that way, although it has been covered three times for the Contemporary Christian music market.
Love You Inside Out -- The Bee Gees
This was The Bee Gees sixth consecutive US #1, which at the time equaled The Beatles record. It was also the ninth American chart topper for the trio, at the time tying them with Paul McCartney for fourth place on the list of artists with the most number ones. The top 3 at the time were: Beatles (20), Elvis Presley (17) and Diana Ross and The Supremes (12). It was also the third consecutive #1 pulled from the Spirits Having Flown album. As their previous album Saturday Night Fever also had three consecutive #1 singles, The Bee Gees became the first act to pull 3 consecutive #1 singles from each of 2 successive albums. This was also their fifth single to sell over 2 million copies. However, it is also their last #1 US single. As the disco phenomenon was ending, so did the band's chart fortunes. But not for their songwriting prowess. Within the next 3 years, songs they wrote for Barbara Streisand, Dionne Warwick and Kenny Rogers all hit the top #10.
Reunited -- Peaches and Herb
The original Peaches and Herb were Herbert "Herb" Feemster and Francine "Peaches" Barker (nicknamed thus as a child because of her prim demeanor). They had a Top 10 single in 1967 with "Close Your Eyes." When Barker got married in 1970, Feemster left the music business and joined the police department. He returned in 1975 with Linda Greene, who was recommended to him by the record producer Van McCoy. They retained the name Peaches and Herb and successfully recorded a disco-oriented million seller "Shake Your Groove Thing." The follow up was the ballad "Reunited," the words about lovers getting back together again so touched Greene that she cried when she first heard the song. It became their biggest hit in both the UK and US.
Goodnight Tonight -- Wings
"Goodnight Tonight" began as an instrumental backing track Paul McCartney had recorded in 1978. Needing a single for Wings to accompany the Back to the Egg album, McCartney took out the track and brought it into the studio, where the full Wings line-up completed it. Since the track was over seven minutes long, an edited version was used as the single, with the full version available as a 12-inch single. A music video was made for the song, showing Wings performing in 1930s costumes; stills from the video were used on the single's sleeve. In the US, the single was the first released under McCartney's new deal with Columbia Records. In the UK, it was McCartney's first post-Beatle release on Parlophone. The song was an international hit, reaching #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the UK Singles Chart.
I Need Your Help Barry Manilow - Ray Stevens
Stevens (born Harry Ray Ragsdale) was best known as a comedy writer and Country music singer. He made it to the Hot 100 chart for the first time in 1961 and returned there 26 times over the next 18 years. He managed to top the charts with both a comedy song ("The Streak" in 1973) and a mainstream Pop/Country tune ("Everything Is Beautiful" in 1970). This tune was his last one to make the Hot 100 and was written as a tribute to Manilow's lyrical style and music. In the song, Steven's creates a conversation by using Manilow's song titles as dialogue.