Countdown Saturday – 1965

It’s Countdown Saturday and we set the way-back machine for February 18, 1965. It was a typical winter Thursday in Detroit, with temperatures in the 30s. President Johnson was seeking another $1.5 billion dollars for the “War on Poverty.” Former President Eisenhower visited the White House to advise Johnson on the conduct of the War in Vietnam. Young Republicans were encouraging Barry Goldwater to consider “a negro vice president.” Massachusetts Attorney General Edward Brooke was the name being floated. In Detroit, WKNR News was reporting the story of seaman Steve Sulentic, who was trying to prove he was alive after authorities in Erie County, PA identified an ice encased body retrieved from the Presque Isle bay as the River Rouge resident.

Hudson‘s was thinking Spring, advertising a storage shed for lawn implements for just $49.99. Shifrin-Willens was selling a portable Philco Television set that could pick up channel’s 50 and 56 (plus “regular” TV programs) for just $109.95.

The Ranger 8 spacecraft was “racing to the moon.” 1.25 million shares of stock in The Beatles publishing firm were over-subscribed on the London Stock Exchange at a strike price of $1.35 million dollars. House paint cost $4.77 a gallon at Sears. E J Korvette‘s was selling tubeless car tires for $13.88 a piece. And Camera Mart in the Tel-Huron Shopping Center was advertising an Ampex Stereo Tape Recorder for just $189.95.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, was in its last two weeks at the Summit Cinerama Theater. None But The Brave was premiering at the Palms. Johnny Ginger started our day on WXYZ-TV. Jonny Quest discovered a mysterious telescope at 7:30PM on ABC. And the boys staged their own luau when Steve’s Hawaiian vacation was canceled on My Three Sons.

On the Countdown Saturday WKNR Music Guide for the week ending February 18, Shirley Bassey‘s Goldfinger was on its way down the chart after peaking at number 2 the previous week. There was already talk about who the new bond girls might be in the next James Bond film, something called Thunderball.

Here are the Countdown Saturday Top 5:

5 – Jewel AkensThe Birds and the Bees: A tune credited to “Barry Stuart” that some said was written by the twelve-year-old son of Era Records owner Herb Newman. Reminiscent “Blueberry Hill” by Fats Domino and “Kansas City” by Wilbert Harrison, its popularity might have had something to do with the idiom’s connection with sex education. (Video)

4 – Cannibal and the HeadhuntersLand of 1000 Dances: One of the first Mexican-American groups to have a national hit, the song was first recorded by Chris Kenner in 1962, but became a smash when the East LA band added the now famous “na na na na na” hook. (Video)

3 – The ZombiesTell Her No: Led by Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone. The Zombies first scored in 1964 with Argent’s “She’s Not There“. The band followed up with—”Tell Her No” in 1965 and “Time of the Season” in 1968. Juice Newton charted a cover version  of Tell Her No in 1983. (Video)

2 – The BeatlesEight Days a Week / I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party: Eight Days was the A-Side, but by now, the “Four Lads from Liverpool” were getting almost equal airplay on both sides of their 45s. Paul is said to have had the idea for Eight Days, while John is credited as the driving force behind Party. Both were recorded in the fall of 1964. (Video)

1 – Bert Kaempfert / Vic DanaRed Roses for a Blue Lady: This revival of a tune originally released on 78 by Actor-singer John Laurenz in 1948 and outsold that same year by Vaughn Monroe and his orchestra, demonstrates how pop music was still evolving on the airwaves in 1965. Georgie Fame and Roger Miller shared the stage with the Four Tops, Roy Orbison and Martha and the Vandellas. It would be another year before rock and roll and rhythm and blues stratified radio playlists in the direction of younger audiences. (Video)

Also of note this Countdown Saturday is Keener’s charting of Susan Wayne’s “Think Summer”. Purely a promotional item hatched in the mind of WKNR Program Director, Frank Maruca, Think Summer was injected into the mix to help Detroiters survive the typical February Winter doldrums.

“IBM was using the word think in their advertising in the 60’s,” Maruca told us in Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit. “I took that and added the word summer to make Think Summer and put up 50 billboards all around the city in February. They said ‘Think Summer: A Community Service of WKNR.’ And we got editorials in the local papers about what a wonderful thing we had done and what a positive feeling the promotion created. The churches were even preaching sermons about Think Summer because it was so positive. Columbia Records heard about it and wrote a song for us called Think Summer, recorded by Susan Wayne. We got all this tremendous feedback from the newspapers, and I took it one step further. I gave every new car dealer in the 3-county area a Think Summer package that included big window banners: ‘Think Summer, Buy Your New Car Now.’ The dealers went crazy! One dealer called me one day and said he had just dumped 2 tons of sand in his showroom and wanted to know where he could get 3 palm trees.”

Today in History:

John Glenn

1792: The U.S. Post Office Department was created when President George Washington signed the Postal Service Act. The Postal Reorganization Act signed in August 1970 replaced the cabinet-level Post Office Department with the independent Postal Service, which officially began operation on July 1, 1971.
1895: Social reformer/writer/statesman Frederick Douglass died following a heart attack at the age of 77.
1933: The U.S. House of Representatives completed congressional action on the 21st Amendment to the Constitution ending prohibition by repealing the 18th Amendment. It was ratified on December 5, 1933.
1949: Ricky Nelson, at the age of 8, joined the cast of his parents’ radio show, ‘The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet,’ replacing Henry Blair, the child actor who for four years had been portraying Ricky in the series.
1952: ‘The African Queen,’ starring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, opened in U.S. and Canadian movie theaters.
1958: In Orlando, Bill Haley and His Comets, Buddy Holly, the Crickets, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everly Brothers, and Jimmie Rodgers began a six-date, 12-show Big Gold Record Stars tour of Florida.
1960: Guitarist Jimi Hendrix made his stage debut in the basement of Seattle’s Temple De Hirsch synagogue. It was not a lengthy engagement however. He was fired between sets for ‘showing off.’
1962: American astronaut Col. John Glenn made space history by becoming the first American to orbit the Earth, orbiting three times in 4 hours, 55 minutes.
1962: Beatles manager Brian Epstein obtained the group’s release from their earlier contract with producer Bert Kaempfert.
1964: At Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, the Beach Boys began recording ‘Don’t Worry Baby.’ All five members of the group sang and/or played on the session. Brian Wilson said the song was his attempt to capture the essence of his all-time favorite record, ‘Be My Baby’ by the Ronettes. It was released three months later as the B-side of the single ‘I Get Around.’
1966: The Dave Clark Five performed ‘Over And Over’ and the Supremes sang ‘My World Is Empty Without You’ on CBS-TV’s ‘The Ed Sullivan Show.’ Allan Sherman and Stiller & Meara also appeared.
1969: ‘Goodbye Cream,’ the documentary film of Cream’s 1968 farewell concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall, opened in Baltimore.
1970: John Lennon released the single ‘Instant Karma!’ in North America.
1972: Newspaper gossip columnist/TV series narrator (The Untouchables) Walter Winchell died of cancer at 74.
1974: Cher filed for separation from Sonny Bono after they had been together for 10 years and legally married since 1969. The final divorce decree was issued in June 1975.
1985: Cartoon voice actor Clarence Nash, the voice of Donald Duck for more than 50 years, died of leukemia at age 80.
1987: David Hartman exited ABC-TV’s ‘Good Morning America’ after 11 years. He introduced Charles Gibson who, with Joan Lunden, co-hosted the program until 1998.
1992: On CNN’s ‘Larry King Show,’ Ross Perot announced he would be a candidate for president of the United States if his name was placed on the ballot in all 50 states.
1992: Actor (Bewitched, Going My Way, Inherit the Wind) Dick York died of emphysema at age 63.
1998: Singer (One Fine Morning) Bob McBride, lead vocalist of Lighthouse, died of complications from his long battle with substance abuse at the age of 51.
1999: Newspaper and TV movie critic (Chicago Tribune, Siskel & Ebert, Siskel & Ebert At the Movies, Sneak Previews) Gene Siskel died following brain surgery at age 53.
2004: Beach Boy Brian Wilson began an 11-date UK tour at London’s Royal Festival Hall, playing his reconstituted masterpiece ‘SMiLE’ live for the first time.
2005: Actress (Imitation Of Life, Gidget, The Dunwich Horror, Tammy Tell Me True, A Summer Place, Take Her She’s Mine) Sandra Dee died of kidney disease at 62.
2005: John Raitt, father of singer Bonnie Raitt, died of pneumonia at age 88.
2005: ‘Gonzo’ journalist Hunter H. Thompson committed suicide at the age of 67.
2006: Sportscaster Curt Gowdy, dies of leukemia at age 86.
2008: A 1976 Rolling Stones album, bought at a sale for a little more than $3, sold at auction for $6,300. The ‘Black and Blue’ album had been signed by John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Paul and Linda McCartney, George Harrison, and members of the Rolling Stones.
2017: Singer/actor David Cassidy announced that he was retiring from performing to deal with his health issues, specifically dementia.

Today’s Birthdays:

1898: Enzo Ferrari, the car guy (d. 1988)
1902: Ansel Adams, photog (d. 1984)
1925: Director Robert Altman (M*A*S*H – Nashville – Gosfard Park) (d. 2006)
1927: Sidney Poitier
1931: Amanda Blake (Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke) (d. 1989)
1934: Bobby Unser, auto racer
1937: Nancy Wilson (d. 2018)
1940: Barbara Ellis – vocalist for The Fleetwoods, (‘Come Softly To Me’)
1941: Buffy Sainte-Marie (‘Mister Can’t You See’)
1946: J. Geils – guitarist for The J. Geils Band (‘Freeze Frame’) (d. 2017)
1949: Jennifer O’Neill (Summer of ’42)
1950: Walter Becker – guitarist Steely Dan (‘Hey Nineteen’) (d. 2017)
1951: Randy California – guitar / vocals for Spirit (‘I Got A Line On You’) (s. 1997)
1954: Patty Hearst
1955: Jon Brant – bassist for Cheap Trick (‘I Want You To Want Me’)
1967: Kurt Cobain – Nirvana (‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’) (d. 1994)

Today’s music video was Keener’s Countdown Saturday “Key Song of the Week”. The Beach Boys, “Do You Wanna to Dance”. The tune was written and first recorded by  Bobby Freeman 1958. Cliff Richard and the Shadows‘ version of the song reached No. 2 in the United Kingdom in 1962, despite being a B-side. A 1972 cover by Bette Midler reached No. 17.

Thanks for listening!

Scott Westerman
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit