Song of the Day: The Temptations, “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”

“Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” was originally done by The Undisputed Truth (“Smiling Faces Sometimes”) in 1972, reaching #63 n the Hot 100 and #24 on the Soul chart. The same year, The Temptations did a verwion that reached #1 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the Soul chart. The single edit was almost seven minutes long, while the full version came in at just over 12 minutes. Most of the aditional five minutes is instrumental added by composer Norman Whitfield.

Five For Friday: Hall & Oates (Yacht Rock)

Welcome to the first installment of Five For Friday! One of the reasons I decided to move Two For Tuesday to Friday was that I sometimes had a difficult time holding myself to just two songs. In fact, I have six songs in today’s playlist, since these guys had six #1 singles over the years.

Daryl Hall and John Oates have been around since the early ’70’s, and their ascent to stardom coincided with the years that most of the music we call “yacht rock” was being made. Their music is a blend of pop, rock, dance, and R&B. They had sixteen hit singles during the period, six of which were certified Gold by RIAA, as were four of their studio albums. In addition, four of their albums were certified Platinum, and two reached Double Platinum status.

I debated whether to present each song individually, as I had with Two For Tuesday, or whether to present them as a playlst, sine five is generally getting into playlist territory. I chose the latter, but if you prefer the former, let me know. Anyway, here are H&O’s #1 hits.

  1. “Rich Girl”: Their first #1 was from their 1976 album Bigger Than Both Of Us and was released in 1977. It also reached #6 in Australia, #5 in Canada, and #15 in The Netherlands, and was certified Gold.
  2. “Kiss On My List”: It was four years until Hall and Oates had their second #1 hit. From their 1980 album Voices, It topped the Hot 100 in 1981, and also came in at #16 on the Adult Contemporary chart, #13 in Australia and #6 in Canada. It was certified gold in the US and Canada.
  3. “Private Eyes”: Title track from their 1981 album, the song also reached #6 in Canada and the Top 20 in Australia and New Zealand, picking up Gold records in the US and Canada.
  4. “Maneater”: From 1982’s H2O, this also reached #4 in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, #5 in Sweden, and #6 in the UK. It was certified Gold in the US and Canada and Silver in the UK.
  5. “Out Of Touch”: From 1984’s Big Bam Boom, this also reached #1 on the Dance chart and #4 in Canada, where it was certified Gold.
  6. “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”: Also from Private Eyes, this also reached #1 on the R&B and Dance charts, #2 in Canada, #5 in New Zealand, and #8 in the UK, certified Gold in the US and Canada and Silver in the UK.

And that’s Five For Friday for July 10, 2020.

Song of the Day: Rare Earth, “Get Ready”

In the late ’60’s, Berry Gordy decided to branch off from his successful Motown and Tamla Records and start a label specifically for white rock acts. The fitrst band he found was Rare Earth, and named the new label after them. Their first album was 1970’s Get Ready, and the entire Side 2 of the LP was an extended jam on The Temptations’ hit from several years before, “Get Ready.” They wanted to issue a radio edit of the song as their first single, but Gordy chose another song from the album, “Generation, Light Up The Sky,” which failed to chart. Gordy then issued a three-minute edit of “Get Ready,” and it readched #4 on the Hot 100, #2 on the Cash Box singles chart, #1 in Canada, and #20 on the R&B chart, meaning it did better than the original. The album side was popular on Album-Oriented Radio stations, because the DJ could put the song on, run to the bathroom, go down to the sandwich shop for a sandwich, a can of pop, and a pack of cigarettes, and be back in time to queue up the next record. Listen to this when you have about 22 minutes…

Writer’s Workshop: Flash vs. Streak

Somehow the word “final” reminded me of the days as a paperboy. I worked an afternoon route, which meant delivering the Chicago Daily News. There were two editions of the afternoon paper: the Red Flash, which had a single red stripe down the side of the front page, that was the “late markets,” and the Red Streak, which had two red stripes down the side of the front page, that was the “final markets.” (There was a third edition, the Blue Streak, that came out in the morning, but we had nothing to do with that.) I remember asking Chuck what it meant by “late markets.” He took a couple of puffs on his green cigar, took the cigar out of his mouth and pointed at me with the masticated end, and said, “stock market, you idiot.”

Anyway, my first route was delivering the Red Flash around the neighborhood. Chuck would get the newspapers at 2:00 in the afternoon, and by the time we got there at 3:30 he had counted out all the papers and distributed the “starts,” “stops,” and “complaints.” Starts were for a new or returning customer, and if you got them to sign the start notice and brought it back to Chuck, you got a dime. Stops were a customer who no longer wanted the paper, or who was going on vacation, and complaints usually came with a chewing out by Chuck. “Why dinya deliver this lady’s paper?” or “why’dya bust their winda?” Complaints were like strikes: three and you were out, i.e. terminated, canned, fired, however you want to put it.

I had the pleasure of delivering a copy of Der Abendpost to someone on my route. Never met the person(s) who took it, but I did learn the days of the week in German (Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch, Donnerstag, Freitag, Samstag, und Sonntag) from reading the date on the front page.

Mom didn’t like me delivering the papers, because it involved walking through alleys, pushing a cart, when it was dark and snowy. Dad, on the other hand, was proud of me and wanted me to stick with it, so I did. He went into the hospital (and never came out) after Thanksgiving, and Mom told me to quit, because neither she nor Grandma Holton wanted me out when it was dark and cold (which it was in November). I told Chuck, who was his usual grouchy self about it, but he paid me and said “see ya,” which might have been the nicest thing he said to me.

A couple of years later I needed money and went back to Chuck and asked him if he had any routes. It so happened that someone had just quit and he needed someone to work that route, delivering the Red Streak to the “four plus ones” on Sheridan Road. (“Four plus ones” were four-story high rises with a ground floor vestibule.) I and a friend of mine, also named John, would wait in front of Mertz Hall at Loyola for the Daily News truck. The driver would dump a bale of papers, John and I would split them up, then he’d go south and I’d go north. The great thing about that was we only had to deal with Chuck on Saturday when everyone delivered the Weekend Edition. That is, unless he needed to see you, in which case he’d come and meet you in his sky-blue Cadillac. Usually the only time he needed to see you was to chew you out about something. Like the time the elevator in a building malfunctioned and I ended up ringing the alarm, and the building’s manager called the Daily News downtown and complained. Chuck and I ended up going to see the guy together. At least he would stick up for you. Still, I got tired of that in a few months, and left again, never to return.

Funny story: When I was working for Chuck, there was this redheaded girl a couple of years younger than I who delivered papers. I only saw her on Saturdays, but I remember she was a pain in the ass. Anyway, I forgot all about her when I quit. Fast forward about twenty-five years: I’m in the San Francisco Bay area, and I’m going to dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house with my brother and his wife. I turned in my rental car and my sister-in-law comes and picks me up. I had never really had a chance to talk to her before then: they had lived in California for several years. Anyway, we’re driving in typical Frday night traffic, and we’re talking, and somehow we got around to talking about things we did when we were kids, and she said she used to deliver newspapers for Chuck. And all of a sudden, it dawned on me: she was the girl. I turned and said “that was you? You were a pain in the ass!” We had a good laugh about that…

Song of the Day: Sugarloaf, “Green-Eyed Lady”

From 1970 and their eponymous first album, “Green-Eyed Lady” was a #3 hit in the US for the Denver, Colorado-based band Sugarloaf. It was written by keyboardist and lead vocalist Jerry Corbetta along with J. C. Phillips and David Riordan. It also reached #1 in Canada for two weeks. The single version played on most radio stations is about half the length of the album’s: the single starts with the third repeat of the opening theme, eliminates about half of the organ solo and most of the guitar solo, and fades out shortly after the end of the vocals. Ther full version is six minutes and 53 seconds long, which was simply too long and took up time that could have been used for commercials…