Don’s Top 10 for March 11, 1976
Back…back…back into time, as my “Time Machine” lands on Thursday, March 11, 1976. I remember this time well. I was a DJ & Program Director of my college radio station, WKCC, Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. Here's the local top 10 (I'll play them starting just after midnight on New Jersey 101.5).
“Love Hurts” by Nazareth
(#12 last week) This song has had an interesting history. It was written by Boudleaux Bryant, & first recorded & released by the Everly Brothers in December, 1960 as an album track but go no airplay. Roy Orbison then put it out as the B side to his hit single “Running Scared” in 1961. Former Traffic member Jim Capaldi hit #4 in the U.K. with it in 1975. And now this harder-rockin' version by Scottish band Nazareth. The group got their name from the 1968 song by The Band, “The Weight”, which starts, “I pulled into Nazareth…”, as in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
“Lonely Night (Angel Face)” by Captain & Tennille
(#11 last week) What do you do when you're the non-singing half of Captain & Tennille & you have to lip-synch on “Bandstand”? Not much if you're Daryl “The Captain” Dragon, except half-heartedly mime playing his instruments. He got his nickname from Mike Love of the Beach Boys, for whom he'd served as touring keyboardist for a number of years. Really obscure trivia: He got his start in the music business playing in the same group in 1962 as future “Express Yourself” hitmaker Charles Wright.
“Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright
(#8 last week) People have the impression that Gary Wright was British, but Wright was a Jersey boy, born & raised in Cresskill, & went to Tenafly high School. He was a child actor in the 1950s, co-starring on Broadway with Florence Henderson in “Fanny”. The term “Dream Weaver” was first brought to prominence by John Lennon in his 1970 song “God”, with the phrase referring to himself as the “dream weaver” of the 60s, now breaking away from all the baggage associated with his fame. Wright has had other Beatles connections. He played keyboards on George Harrison's masterpiece triple-album “All Things Must Pass”, & he's been on several of the Ringo Starr All-Starr Band tours.
“Take It To The Limit” by The Eagles
(#7 last week) Interestingly, there is no vintage video of the song on youtube or anywhere on the internet. I don't know whether that's on purpose. I think it's because the Eagles severely limited their television appearances at the height of their fame. This was much more common in the 70s. TV was considered uncool by many rock acts; plus, why give away any of your live show for free? That was the thinking.
“Sweet Thing” by Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan
(#15 last week) I forgot how sexy Chaka was in the 70s, as this vintage “Soul Train” appearance proves. And even slow jams were funkier then, you know? Mary J. Blige remade this in 1992.
“50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon
(#3 last week) How did I not know this? Backing vocals here are by three very well-known ladies: Patti Austin, Valerie Simpson & Phoebe Snow. Simon says (!) that “50 Ways….” “was just a fluke hit that I slipped into by accident”.
“Love Machine, Part 1″ by The Miracles
(#4 last week) Surprisingly, this did better on the pop chart than the R&B chart. It was remade twice, first by Thelma Houston in 1979 (a hit in Asia) & by Wham! in 1983. As a DJ, I admit, I always love talking up the intro……..
“All By Myself” by Eric Carmen
(#2 last week) A reworking of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto #2. I admit, this drastic style-change for the former leader of the Raspberries, a group I adored, left me kind of cold in 1976, but I appreciate it more now. Celene Dion's cover was a big hit in 1997.
“Theme from S.W.A.T.” by Rhythm Heritage
(#1 last week) If you watch this video, you will see how the kids on “Bandstand” attempted to dance to this not-really-a-dance-song. Rhythm Heritage was a studio band (among the musicians playing on this: Ray Parker Jr. & Toto's Jeff Porcaro) put together by producers Steve Barri & Michael Omartian. Barri had been spurred on by his six-year old son, who kept asking daddy if there was a record of the “S.W.A.T.” theme. BTW, the original theme was written by Barry DeVorzon, who ironically would hit big as an artist with another TV instrumental just months later, “Nadia's Theme (The Young & The Restless)”. And Barri had prior experience with TV themes: he co-wrote “Secret Agent Man” in 1966, a smash for Johnny Rivers.
“December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)” by The 4 Seasons
(#5 last week; 1st week at #1) This was the biggest selling single of the 4 Seasons career, pretty incredible for a band most people associate with the 60s. Oh, there were FIVE Seasons at this point. The lead vocals were handled by Gerry Polci, & former Critters leader Don Ciccone was on bass. It was a new group, except for Frankie Valli & Bob Gaudio, who co-wrote this with his soon-to-be-wife, Judy Parker. It was originally called “December, 1933″ & was about the end of Prohibition! When Valli was underwhelmed, Gaudio & Parker locked themselves in a room until they came up with a classic.