Don’s Top 10 for March 4, 1973
Back…back…back into time, with me piloting “The Time Machine” to a landing on Sunday, March 4, 1973. I'll play all the songs on New Jersey 101.5 starting just after midnight late Saturday night.
"Dancing In The Moonlight" by King Harvest
(#9 last week) One of the great one-hit wonders of all time, King Harvest could never follow up because their members were divided on what their sound should be, pop or more hard-rockin'. Several members went on to work with Mike Love in his side project Celebration (1978's "Almost Summer"), & the keyboardist's brother was a member of Orleans.
"Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver
(#7 last week) After he hit big with "Take Me Home, Country Roads" in the summer of 1971, it took Denver 18 months to get his second big hit, this joyful ode to nature. But his really big period of hits (1974-1975) wouldn't start for another 12 months after this.
"Oh, Babe, What Would You Say?" by Hurricane Smith
(#5 last week) Talk about right place, right time. Norman "Hurricane" Smith happened to be EMI's engineer on duty the day the Beatles auditioned for George Martin. He was their board man through "Revolver", then worked on the early Pink Floyd LPs, which makes this "Winchester Cathedral"-style throwback even more surprising. But knowing Smith's age at the time helps explain things: he was 49. This song is a loving homage to the popular music of his childhood, from singers like Rudy Vallee.
"Last Song" by Edward Bear
(#10 last week) Another classic one-hit wonder--at least here in the states. One of those groups named like they're a solo artist, Edward Bear were a band from Canada that had more than one hit in their native country. Ironically, "Last Song" WAS their last song with the original lineup. Maybe they jinxed themselves.
"You're So Vain" by Carly Simon
(#6 last week) Here, Carly talks about how she wrote the song. I hope she never reveals who the song is about. Guessing is so much fun! :-) From the album "No Secrets", which, cut for cut, is just about my favorite album of the 70s.
"Love Train" by The O'Jays
(#8 last week) The O'Jays had been together a long time & had worked before with Gamble & Huff & when the super writers/producers started Philadelphia International Records, the group signed with them, turning down offers that included Motown & Invictus, the label started by former Motown legends Holland-Dozier-Holland. Smart move: for 7 years, the O'Jays were solid hitmakers, coming up with soul classic after soul classic.
"Dueling Banjos" by Deliverance
(#3 last week) Could be the unlikeliest movie soundtrack hit single of all time! The artist on the vinyl 45 simply says the name of the movie, but the real musicians were Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandel. The song was composed as "Feudin' Banjos" in 1955 by Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith & was used in the movie "Deliverance" without his permission. He sued, & won, big-time. Interestingly, the scene in the movie with the local person playing? Those aren't his hands pickin'. Carefully chosen camera angles, using real musicians, reaching around his body.
"Could It Be I'm Falling In Love" by The Spinners
(#4 last week) The Spinners may have been from Detroit (they were called "The Detroit Spinners" in the U.K. due to another group with the name Spinners), but they recorded this great soul classic in Philadelphia, with wonderful backup singers like the late great Linda Creed. The song was writtren by two songwriter brothers working for Atlantic, Melvin & Mervin Steals, who were better known as "Mystro & Lyric". Produced, as always, by the great Thom Bell.
"Crocodile Rock" by Elton John
(#1 last week) After 4 weeks as your favorite 45, Elton John is dethroned. This was his salute to the late 50s/early 60s songs of his youth, like "Little Darlin", "Oh Carol", "Summertime Blues" etc. Fun trivia: That's a then-unknown Elton on the piano on the 1970 classic from the Hollies, "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother".
"Killing Me Softly With His Song" by Roberta Flack
(#2 last week; 1st week at #1) You couldn't get any hotter than Roberta in 1973, who won the Grammy for Record Of The Year for the 2nd year in a row with this song written by Lori Lieberman, Norman Gimbel & Charles Fox about Don McLean, when she saw him singing "American Pie" live at the Troubador in L.A. It was first called "Killing Me Softly With His Blues". Roberta heard Lori's version on a cross-country flight & knew she had to do it herself. Took three months in the studio.