Friday, August 26, 2016

What the World (Still) Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love [Warning - Explicit]




Last week's Top Forty countdown on Sirius XM's 70s channel was from the year 1971. It was a year when good music ruled the chart, for the most part...

Billboard Top 20 for the Week of August 14, 1971
01. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart - Bee Gees
02. Mr. Big Stuff - Jean Knight
03. Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
04. Draggin' The Line - Tommy James
05. You've Got A Friend - James Taylor
06. Indian Reservation (The Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian) - The Raiders
07. Beginnings/Colour My World - Chicago
08. What The World Needs Now Is Love - Abraham, Martin and John - Tom Clay
09. Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology) - Marvin Gaye
10. Signs - Five Man Electrical Band
11. It's Too Late/I Feel The Earth Move - Carole King
12. Bring The Boys Home - Freda Payne
13. Never Ending Song Of Love - Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
14. Liar - Three Dog Night
15. Sweet Hitch-Hiker - Creedence Clearwater Revival
16. Hot Pants (She Got To Use What She Got To Get What She Wants) (Pt. 1) - James Brown
17. Rings - Cymarron
18. Love The One You're With - The Isley Brothers
19. Spanish Harlem - Aretha Franklin
20. Riders On The Storm - The Doors



I was going to post this song the next morning, but didn't; I wrestled with the idea for a few days. I knew the record and knew it got lots of airplay back then, but Sunday night I was surprised and appalled to realize that the record had gone top ten on the Billboard chart; that it came in at #8 for the week of August 14th. I have long objected to maudlin and manipulative records like this.

But the reason that I felt like posting it was that, as I listened to it now in 2016, I could not escape the thought that you could easily substitute sound clips from the news of the past few years. Which leads me to think that the problems facing our country have not changed that much. In many ways they've gotten worse.

In the Tom Clay production, the issues are the war in Vietnam and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. If you were to reproduce that record today, you would be dealing with mass shootings by psychos, mass shootings by terrorists, and the racial divide that boils over every time a police officer kills a young African American male.

Add to that gun violence in America, the NRA, congressional gridlock, the religious right, the Tea Party, Wall Street, Main Street, the 1% of the 1%, economic inequality, gender inequality, income inequality, the failure of the ERA, the Zika virus, wildfires, heatwaves, tornadoes, climate change, climate change deniers, LGBT inequality, "voting rights" legislation that denies minorities voting rights, obscene pharmaceutical profits, EpiPens, brain eating amoeba, affordable healthcare, drug violence, drug overdoses, did I mention gun violence in America?, the murder rate, Chicago, Flint, MI water, pollution, fracking, clean renewable energy, electric cars, Pok√©mon GO, religious intolerance, the alt-right, the KKK, hate speech, fear mongering, the Confederate flag, human trafficking, Supreme Court stalemate, underfunded education, WikiLeaks, the Sony hack, espionage hacking, private email servers, on the job sexual harassment, sexual abuse of children, rape, "for profit" prisons, just to name a few.

If you thought about any of the above, then you might be excused for thinking that the human race is flawed, and we are all f*cked.

All this stream of consciousness stemmed from hearing that Tom Clay record on the radio.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some but for everyone

Lord, we don't need another mountain
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross
Enough to last 'till the end of time

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some but for everyone

Lord, we don't need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh, listen, lord, if you want to know

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some, oh, but just for ever, every, everyone

What the world needs now is love, sweet love (oh, is love)
What the world needs now is love, sweet love (oh, is love)
What the world needs now is love, sweet love (oh, is love)
P.S. For the record, "What the World Needs Now is Love/Abraham, Martin and John" was produced by disc jockey Tom Clay using the world's wimpiest, most MOR version of the song. Number 8 was its peak chart position on the way to selling over a million copies.

I can't wrap this up without offering a listen to the original hit version from 1965 of "What the World Needs Now is Love" by Jackie DeShannon.