Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ten Great Songs From One Great Week
The songs the radio played this week in history

September 30-October 6, 1973

Yom Kippur War - The war began when the coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, which happened to occur that year during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Egyptian and Syrian forces crossed ceasefire lines to enter the Israeli-held Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights respectively, which had been captured and occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War. Both the United States and the Soviet Union initiated massive resupply efforts to their respective allies during the war, and this led to a near-confrontation between the two nuclear superpowers.

The war began with a massive and successful Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal during the first three days, after which they dug in, settling into a stalemate. The Syrians coordinated their attack on the Golan Heights to coincide with the Egyptian offensive and initially made threatening gains against the greatly outnumbered Israelis. Within a week, Israel recovered and launched a four-day counter-offensive, driving deep into Syria. As Sadat believed that capturing two strategic passes located deeper in the Sinai would make his position stronger during the negotiations, he ordered the Egyptians to go back on the offensive, but they were decisively defeated; the Israelis then counterattacked at the seam between the two Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal, and advanced southward and westward in over a week of heavy fighting while suffering severe casualties especially during the battle of the Chinese Farm.

On October 22 a United Nations-brokered ceasefire quickly unraveled, with each side blaming the other for the breach. By October 24, the Israelis had improved their positions considerably and completed their encirclement of Egypt's Third Army and the city of Suez. This development led to tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a result, a second ceasefire was imposed cooperatively on October 25 to end the war. At the conclusion of hostilities, Israeli forces were 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Damascus and 101 kilometres (63 mi) from Cairo.

The war had far-reaching implications. The Arab World, which had been humiliated by the lopsided rout of the Egyptian–Syrian–Jordanian alliance in the Six-Day War, felt psychologically vindicated by early successes in the conflict. In Israel, despite impressive operational and tactical achievements on the battlefield, the war effectively ended its sense of invincibility and complacency. The war also challenged many American assumptions; the United States initiated new efforts at mediation and peacemaking. These changes paved the way for the subsequent peace process. The Camp David Accords that followed led to the return of the Sinai to Egypt and normalized relations—the first peaceful recognition of Israel by an Arab country. Egypt continued its drift away from the Soviet Union and left the Soviet sphere of influence entirely.
Music Charts:

#1 Single -- "Half-Breed" by Cher
#1 Album -- "Brothers and Sisters" by The Allman Brothers Band

Other Events:

1889 – American inventor Thomas Edison shows his first motion picture.
1927 – Opening of The Jazz Singer, the first prominent talking movie.
1939 – Germany's invasion of Poland ends with the surrender of Polesia army after the Battle of Kock. 1945 – Billy Sianis and his pet billy goat are ejected from Wrigley Field during Game 4 of the 1945 World Series.
1976 – Massacre of students gathering at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand to protest the return of ex-dictator Thanom.
1979 – Pope John Paul II becomes the first pontiff to visit the White House.
1981 – Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat is assassinated.

Show And Tell -- Al Wilson

Johnny Mathis originally recorded this in 1973 but his version flopped. Later that year, Wilson recorded it with a stronger bass line and more powerful vocals, and it became a hit. Wilson is a Soul singer and drummer who was a member of The Rollers in the early '60s before going solo. His first solo hit was "The Snake" in 1968. His other hits were "La La Peace Song" and "I've Got a Feeling (We'll Be Seeing Each Other Again)." Sadly, Wilson died on April 21, 2008 of kidney failure, in Fontana, California, at the age of 68.

Hello It’s Me -- Todd Rundgren

This was originally recorded by Todd Rundgren's late-1960s band The Nazz, who included it on their 1968 debut album. This dirge-like version received little attention, and made just #66 in the US. The Nazz broke up in 1969, and were fondly remembered after the fact. "It turns out now that the Nazz was everybody's favorite undiscovered group," Rundgren said in 1972, the year he released his third solo album Something/Anything?, which contained a new version of this song that eventually caught on and established Rundgren as a solo artist.

I Got A Name -- Jim Croce

"I Got A Name" was the theme song for the 1973 movie The Last American Hero starring Jeff Bridges as a stock car driver. The film is based on the true story of stock car driver Junior Johnson and is a rare song that Croce recorded but did not write. Ingrid Croce, who was married to Jim from 1966 until his death in 1973, told us: "It was written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox. And they were wonderful guys, really nice people. Jim had been selected to sing this song for this particular movie. He really enjoyed this opportunity, because he went into the recording studio and it was a little awkward for him not to hold his guitar - his guitar is kind of like a bar for the bartender, having that prop between him and the audience was just a real security, it made him feel very comfortable. So putting down the guitar to sing, just to sing the song in the studio, was a very unusual thing for Jim, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a brand new start for him in some ways, to use his vocals in a different way. I think it's one of the most powerful songs he does on that album for sure. I loved it."

We May Never Pass This Way Again -- Seals and Crofts

This song calls on people to show courage and continue to stand with one another, partly because they may never see each other again. Written by the duo, it's an example of their strong convictions to Abdul Baha and the Baha'i faith. They made a pilgrimage to Haifa, Israel, where they studied the teachings of the faith, and often based their lyrics on themes of compassion and devotion. While mostly overlooked today, Seals and Crofts were a popular group in the '70s - scoring 8 top 40 hits between 1971-1979.

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door Again -- Bob Dylan

This song is written from the perspective of a dying sheriff: "Mama, take this badge off of me/I can't use it anymore/It's gettin' dark, too dark for me to see/I feel like I'm knockin' on heaven's door." Dylan wrote it for the 1973 western film, Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid. It plays while Sheriff Colin Baker is dying from his gunshot wounds. Dylan cameos in the movie as the character, Alias. In 1996, Dylan allowed Scottish musician, Ted Christopher, to record a new verse for for the song, which Christopher had written in memory of the schoolchildren and teacher killed in the Dunblane massacre. This is one of the rare times Dylan has officially permitted someone to add to or change the lyrics to one of his songs. Christopher's version reached #1 in the UK.

Midnight Train To Georgia -- Gladys Knight and the Pips

This was written and originally recorded by Jim Weatherly, who had a solo hit in 1974 with "The Need To Be." Weatherly explained the origin of this song: "the song actually came about after a phone call I had with Farrah Fawcett. Lee Majors was a friend of mine. We'd played in the Flag Football League together in L.A. He had just started dating Farrah. One day I called Lee and Farrah answered the phone. We were just talking and she said she was packing. She was gonna take the midnight plane to Houston to visit her folks. So, it just stayed with me. After I got off the phone, I sat down and wrote the song probably in about 30 to 45 minutes. Something like that. Didn't take me long at all, 'cause I actually used Farrah and Lee as kind of like characters I guess. I played it for them and they loved it. I cut it on my first album as 'Midnight Plane To Houston.' And then later on, maybe a year or six months later, a guy in Atlanta wanted to cut the song on Cissy Houston, Whitney's mother. They called and said they would like a more R/B sounding title and asked if we would mind if they changed the title to 'Midnight Train To Georgia.' We said 'change anything but the writer and publisher.'" "Midnight Train To Georgia" was not only a #1 hit on both the Hot 100 and R/B, but also a #10 on the UK chart. It garnered the group the 1974 Grammy Award for "Best R&/B Vocal Performance" and was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. It is considered Gladys Knight's signature song.

Angie -- Rolling Stones

The big rumor about this song is that it was written about David Bowie's wife, Angela, who wrote in her autobiography that she once walked in on Bowie and Mick Jagger in bed together - a story Jagger denies. According to the rumor, Jagger wrote this song to appease her, but it was Jagger's bandmate Keith Richards who wrote most of the song. Jagger had this to say about it: "People began to say that song was written about David Bowie's wife but the truth is that Keith wrote the title. He said, 'Angie,' and I think it was to do with his daughter. She's called Angela. And then I just wrote the rest of it." Richards hasn't revealed the identity of Angie, but it may have been inspired by his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg. It might also just be a word that fit the melody.

My Maria -- B.W. Stevenson

As recorded by Stevenson, "My Maria" became a hit, reaching No. 9 on Billboard's Hot 100 for the week ending September 29, 1973. The tune was covered much later by the country duo Brooks and Dunn, for whom it was a three-week No. 1 country hit in mid-1996. Stevenson had several other successful chart singles, including "A Little Bit of Understanding" and the original version of Daniel Moore's "Shambala", which in a cover version by Three Dog Night reached No. 3. When Three Dog Night's version of "Shambala" became a huge hit, Stevenson was stung by it and decided to write "My Maria," which is an almost carbon copy of the song. Stevenson never again regained the success he had with the release of "My Maria" and recorded one Contemporary Christian album, Lifeline produced by Chris Christian that had success on Christian radio with the hit "Headed Home". Texas-native Stevenson died undergoing heart valve surgery at the age of 38 in 1988. Since his death, Poor David's Pub in Dallas has held an annual songwriting competition in his memory.

Loves Me Like A Rock -- Paul Simon

One of Simon's more spiritual songs, it's about a mother's love. Background vocals were provided by a popular Gospel group called The Dixie Hummingbirds. However, it was later performed in concert by the Jesse Dixon Singers, who toured with Simon for many years. Here Comes Rhymin' Simon was recorded in Muscle Shoals Alabama with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. The line about the president and "the minute the Congress calls my name" seemed, however intentionally, to resonate with the big news story of the day - the Watergate investigation that brought down president Richard Nixon.

Ramblin’ Man -- Allman Brothers Band

This is based on a 1951 Hank Williams song of the same title. It's about a guy whose travels take him to many places, and he takes life as it comes. Allmans guitarist Dickey Betts wrote this in the house the band shared in Macon, Georgia. Betts sang lead on this track. This was The Allman Brother's first top 10 hit and it came out after the death of guitarist and driving force Duane Allman. Although the band lost a major part of their sound, they showed they could still be successful without Duane.


Muskrat Love -- America

America recorded "Muskrat Love" for their 1973 album Hat Trick, marking the second time the band had recorded a song not written by a member of America. In putting together ten songs to comprise the eventual Hat Trick album, America's members Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell, and Dan Peek had agreed to each contribute three compositions with a mutually agreeable cover song being recorded as the tenth track. David Dickey who played bass for America brought Willis Alan Ramsey's "Muskrat Candlelight" to the group's attention: according to Beckley—"to us it sounded like a very bluesy, quirky tune. We just felt it was quirky and commercial, and we worked it up." Issued as the album's advance single in July 1973, "Muskrat Love" marked a downturn in America's popularity with a low peak on the Hot 100 in Billboard at #67. However, the band then enlisted the genius of famed producer  George Martin (Beatles) to producer their next LP, Holiday, which was a huge comeback for them. While America's version was a chart disappointment, a year later the Captain and Tennille released the song and it climbed at high as #4 - becoming the duo's fifth straight Top 5 hit.

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