On September 27, 1969, America officially began its love affair with the Michigan band who became one of the biggest names in rock for years to come. Grand Funk Railroad made their US chart debut, when they entered the Billboard Hot 100 with “Time Machine.”
The Capitol single made its entrance two weeks ahead of the album it came from, On Time, which went on to be certified gold. That was before the group hit a run of five platinum albums in a row in the States, two of them double platinum. That first single, and the album were overseen by the band’s manager-producer, fellow Michigan native Terry Knight. “Time Machine” was written, like the whole of the On Time record, by the band’s frontman and lead guitarist of the day, the much-revered Mark Farner.
A Grand and bluesy shuffle
The song, with its tough guitar intro and bluesy shuffle feel, made its chart debut at No.91, in a week of 13 new entries (and one re-entry) to the Hot 100, led by the 5th Dimension’s “Wedding Bell Blues” at No. 67. The Archies were in their second week at No.1 that week with the bubblegum smash “Sugar Sugar.” The Grand Funk single climbed to No.83, then progressed 73-68-50-49 before reaching its No.48 peak in early November.
Two more minor Hot 100 entries followed for Grand Funk in “Mr. Limousine Driver” and “Heartbreaker” before the band had their first Top 40 single in the US with the title track of their third album Closer To Home. They didn’t score a Top 20 hit until “We’re An American Band” went all the way to No.1 in 1973. But in the meantime, they’d been building a massive fan bass with album sales and concerts that would help Grand Funk become a real legend of American rock.
Buy or stream “Time Machine” on the album On Time.