Top 5: It’s Now Winter’s Day

(Quick edit added.)

Since we spent some time in 1967 yesterday, let’s stay there, and take a look at the WLS survey dated February 10, 1967. The number of then-current hits that would never get off the radio in 45 years is staggering, and they include some of the most famous records ever made: “I’m a Believer,” “Gimme Some Lovin’,” “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “The Beat Goes On,” “There’s a Kind of Hush,” “Baby I Need Your Lovin’,” “For What It’s Worth,” “So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star,” “Happy Together.” As is our custom here, however, we’re more interested in the songs that live on as footnotes—and the ones that don’t live on at all.

5. “I Love You So Much”/New Colony Six. WLS was the best friend this Chicago-area band had. The station charted 13 hits by the New Colony Six between 1966 and 1970—and four more by bandleader Ronnie Rice as a solo act in 1962 and 1963. Three of them hit #2, and one, “I Will Always Think About You,” was #1. “I Love You So Much” stalled about halfway up Billboard‘s Hot 100, but that might have been a promotion problem—the band’s label was in the process of going tits-up early in 1967. (Editor’s note: Or not: Cameo-Parkway’s best days were behind it by 1967, but it wasn’t dead yet. See below.)

15. “It’s Now Winter’s Day”/Tommy Roe. This is not the sort of thing people expected from Roe in 1967, not after “Hooray for Hazel” and the other bubblegummy things he’d been doing. “It’s Now Winter’s Day” is a lovely, trippy production, but it was mostly a detour. After all, “Dizzy” was yet to come.

23. “The Mechanical Man”/Bent Bolt and the Nuts. “The Mechanical Man” was apparently the brainchild of Teddy Randazzo, who wrote “Goin’ Out of My Head,” “Hurt So Bad,” and others. Just listening to Randazzo (or whoever it is, precisely) singing makes my throat hurt. And my ears.

33. “Hey Leroy”/Jimmy Castor. Fans of Castor’s 70s singles (“Troglodyte” and “The Bertha Butt Boogie”) may remember the callbacks to Leroy they contain. “Hey Leroy” is a Latin-flavored instrumental, apart from Castor yelling to Leroy, whose mama is looking for him. Castor died last month at age 71.

37. “Darling Be Home Soon”/Lovin’ Spoonful.  I have a little bit of musical training, but I can’t quite identify the thing in “Darling Be Home Soon” that I love the most about it. It’s in the refrain, on the line “my darling be home soon”—some kind of modulation from a major key to a minor key, but whatever it is, it sounds insanely great. And I have always loved the line, “And now, a quarter of my life is almost past.” If you go by the biblical span of three-score-and-10, the singer is 17 years old. Yup, it’s clearly time to marshal the vast wisdom you’ve acquired in your lifetime, kid.

For what it’s worth: WLS would chart Ed Ames’ “My Cup Runneth Over,” which we wrote about yesterday, but not until the week of February 17. It would peak on the WLS survey during the week of March 25, just as it peaked in Billboard that same week, but at #11 instead of #8. At the end of 1967, Ames would return to the WLS survey and make the top 10 with the powerful “Who Will Answer,” which would reach #16 in Billboard.

I believe that last paragraph means this blog is now the premiere Internet source for Ed Ames information.

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5 responses

  1. I, too, love “Dariling Be Home Soon.” (Though I prefer Joe Cocker’s version from “Joe Cocker!”) As to that little thing you hear, what John Sebastian does on the first words of the chorus is drop a suspended chord on us. That’s when the third of a chord is omitted or replaced by the fourth. As I hear it, the chorus begins with a C suspended: the notes C, F and G. The suspended chord then resolves to a C chord (CEG) at the word “soon,” as the F drops down to its normal E, and then the suspended chord kicks in again at “I couldn’t bear to . . .” and then back to the standard C chord on “wait an extra” ” before going to G for “minute if you dawdled.” (I listened to the record as I wrote this, and the resolution from the F to the E in the chord is pretty light both times; our ears continue to hear the F. It’s a pretty subtle piece of craftsmanship there.)

  2. I just about fell off my chair the first time I heard “Love You So Much” on the Big 89. It would be my first encounter with the phenomenon known as “why isn’t this great record being played on my local stations?” All the more puzzling, since KDWB probably gave more airtime to the Ides’ end-of-’66er, “You Need Love” than either ‘LS or ‘CFL. Promotion problems? Sure, although it had nothing to do with the financial state of Sentar’s distributor, Cameo-Parkway (not sure what “early ’67 bankruptcy” the YouTube uploader is referring to; C-P didn’t stop releasing new records until early ’68, after Allen Klein had become the majority shareholder.) Maybe it was the unfamiliar Sentar name. Coming on the heels of ? & The Mysterians’ “96 Tears” and “I Need Somebody,” the NC6 record might have fared better had it been issued on the better-known Cameo label itself.

    Can’t say that I was at all crazy about “It’s Now Winters Day” (there’s no apostrophe in “Winters” on the 45 label) at the time, but grew to enjoy it over the years, in spite of its ridiculous “minus ten below” meteorological double negative. Curt Boettcher should have known better.

    Will be eagerly awaiting further updates from Ed Ames central.

  3. The whole Sentar thing is confusing. The group’s first LP was on Sentar, a label started by one of the band member’s parents. The singles from that album (“I Confess” and “I Lie Awake”) were on both Centaur and Sentar, same label design. When they went to Cameo-Parkway it became just Sentar and a different label design.

    In the early 80’s the automated MOR station I worked for did week-end oldies and my boss spliced “Love You So Much” onto a reel claiming it was a big regional hit in the day. And apparently it was.

  4. @Porky: Per Jerry Schollenberger’s liner notes from Rhino’s long-out-of-print ‘Colonized! Best Of The New Colony Six’ CD:

    ‘Sadly, “I Lie Awake” was hampered commercially by a legal dispute over ownership of the name “Centaur.” Thus Centaur became Sentaur (and finally Sentar) Records.’

    Centaur Record Corporation was formed by the band’s parents in order to bankroll the first NC6 record. Distribution was initially through Chicago’s U.S.A. Records, then Cameo-Parkway prior to the band inking with Mercury.

    As for Cameo-Parkway, whatever Allen Klein’s personal reasons were for first essentially mothballing its flagship labels and then steadfastly refusing to issue the C-P catalog on CD probably went with him. That it took Alzheimer’s to finally pave the way for his kids to unlock the C-P vaults proved that Klein was an even bigger ba$tard than he’d always prided himself on being.

  5. There were a lot of C-P acts that could have used the scoots from CD sales (Tommy James couldn’t believe the size of the checks he received when Rhino put his stuff out on CD and eh, Morris Levy was out of the way, so to speak).

    As for Klein, Beatles aide Alistair Taylor said, “He had all the charm of a broken lavatory seat.”

    Well, that’s one way to put it.

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