The original #49 was ironically the song that topped the 1982 list that was compiled for this past summer’s party.”1999” by Prince was released in September 82 and peaked at #44 on the Hot 100 but saw the bulk of its success in 1983 after “Little Red Corvette” became a top 5 hit in the spring.
Over the course of the parties the 49’s saw food (Edamame, candy and cherries), along with “Something In Your Mouth” and “Something Just Like This”. There were also songs about sunshine, lightning and the night.
In back-to-back years (2015-16) there was “Same Damn Life” and Déjà Vu”. In 20011 & 2012 “S&M” led to a “Good Feeling” (oh there are Pornographers in the mix too, well new ones). 2 remakes of 70’s tunes also made the grade in 2001 and 2003.
In 2017 Chris Cornell pondered “Our Time In The Universe” from the 2015 album “Higher Truth”, the same year he left our planet. In 2006 the title tune from the movie version of “Rent” showed up on the list. Its creator Jonathan Larson lost his life the day of the first Off-Broadway preview of the musical in 1996. The 2021 film “Tick Tick…Boom” was based on events in Larson’s life as a struggling composer and playwright. Andrew Garfield won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Larson.
By far my favorite song at #49 through the years is the Jellyfish tune “Joining A Fan Club” from the 1993 album “Spilt Milk”. This song was a favorite among our circle of friends at the time and is an important part of our personal soundtrack and probably in my top 100 songs of all time. It is an epic, satirical look at Fanclub-dom, from the traditional
(“Joining a fan club with my friends
Filling our bathtubs with T-shirts and 8 x 10’s.”)
to the holy
(“Mom’s writing checks to the minister in the corner singing “dig down deep”
Cause if you wanna go to heaven all you gotta do is pay to pray.”)
This is Power-Pop at its finest. The instrumental bridge from 2:08 to 3:08 is blistering yet melodic with many layers. The short-lived band (only 2 early ‘90s albums) certainly maintains a cult following and a few of the members are now the Lickerish Quartet. In the past 2 years they have released 3 EP’s (Threesome Vol.1, 2, and 3) and have reached my top 10 4 times with 2 #1’s.
Before the beyondradio.com website debuted in 1995 I had a newsletter called Musicscape. In it I compiled a chart based on friends doing their own weekly personal chart along with information on new releases. It was a small group of people and it started before I discovered hundreds of people on the internet who posted their own personal charts. During the life of the newsletter (mid-1993 to early spring 1994) “Joining A Fan Club” reached #11 and spent over half a year on the chart. I still have some of the newsletters I produced and looking back it seems so quaint. This was still a time when personal computers were a relatively new thing, and I was still putting the countdown for the party on cassette tapes. I still have most of those as well. Oh, the olden days.
Speaking of the olden days, this time of year has me reflecting on past decades and assessing how I feel about the music in current day. This year I look back at 1972, 82, etc. The new1972 list saw some major differences from the past. I did not do a personal chart in 1972. It was 1974 when I commenced my weekly list. Going back a little over 20 years ago I compiled my first top 25 of 72 but clearly, I did not give it a lot of thought.
The current top 25 is completely reflective of how I feel about these songs now. “Conquistador” has always been a potent entry for me but “American Pie” took a big dip, going from #1 to #21. The biggest drop was “Layla” which fell from #16 to #122. “Conquistador” transports me right back to my 11-year-old self and was an early indicator of my love for a rock/orchestra mix. The Electric Light Orchestra was a favorite band of the late ‘70s and show up for the first time here at #11 with “10538 Overture”.
The big winners in my top 250 of 1972 were the Partridge Family (23 entries-4 in the top 25) and Elton John (12 entries-2 in the top 25). It was an absolute pleasure to re-discover “Never Been To Spain” by Three Dog Night. I feel like I’ve listened to this song like it’s a new one this year, though I have vivid memories of this from childhood. A great build on this song, it’s my favorite by the band now. They were a solid band for me in the early ‘70s.
Unfortunately, The Honey Cone’s “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” is not available on Spotify. The Motown-esque girl group is best known for their #1 song “Want Ads” from 1971. This single reached #15 on the Hot 100. It was a bright spot in R&B at time as so much of that genre had a heaviness over it. Even many of the love songs had a gloom over them (i.e. Al Green, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”-one of the creepiest songs I know).
The Carpenters manage 3 songs in the top 25, one of those being the album cut “Road Ode” (#25), a great song showing the dynamic between quiet verses and lush and expansive chorus. A song I had completely forgotten about shows up at #13. Chi Coltrane’s “Thunder And Lightning”, a rollicking blues-pop jam. The song hit #17 on the Hot 100 and according to Wikipedia it was a #1 record in New York City. That makes sense since I grew up in North Jersey. I can see how this song would lead to my appreciation of Bonnie Raitt. Sadly Coltrane ended up as a one-hit-wonder.