Don’s Top 10 for this week in 1973
Back…back…back into time, as “The Time Machine” settles on the week before President Nixon's 2nd inauguration: Monday, January 15, 1973. You'll hear all the songs in order starting just after midnight tonight on New Jersey 101.5.
“Superfly” by Curtis Mayfield
(#8 last week) One of the great geniuses of soul music, first as leader of the Impressions, then as solo artist. We lost him way too young.
“It Never Rains In Southern California” by Albert Hammond
(#5 last week) You young'ins might recognize the name, because Albert Hammond Jr. is rhythm guitarist of the Strokes, but Albert Sr. has had a long career in the biz, mainly as a songwriter (“To All The Girls I've Loved Before”, “When I Need You”, “Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Don't Wanna Lose You”, “One Moment In Time”, “Don't Turn Around”) & here as an artist.
“Crocodile Rock” by Elton John
(#16 last week) Elton's tribute to the music of his youth in the 50s & early 60's, “Croc Rock” was the first single from “Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only The Piano Player”, recorded in France. It was the song that pushed Elton from star (he'd had three previous top 10 singles) to superstar, starting an incredible run of hits at top 40 radio through the end of 1976.
“I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy
(#4 last week) Sooo controversial then, so tame now. Times change. From a little-remembered movie called “Stand Up & Be Counted” starring Stella Stevens. Airplay was tough to come by. Reddy remembers making frequent TV appearances, & ladies then calling radio to request it. TV forced radio to play it. Sounds familiar from a 21st century standpoint.
“Rockin’ Pneumonia – Boogie Woogie Flu” by Johnny Rivers
(#11 last week) A fantastic comeback for one of the greatest & most underappreciated artists in rock history! Born in NYC, raised in Baton Rouge, coming to fame on the Sunset Strip in L.A., Johnny had all those regional influences represented in his timeless hits. It is a CRIME that he isn't enshrined in the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame.
“Funny Face” by Donna Fargo
(#9 last week) Talk about a lost hit, this one has been positively BURIED. I don't think it's even played on “Classic Country” formats, even though it sold over a million copies. From the days when country routinely “crossed over” to top 40 radio, even locally.
“Superstition” by Stevie Wonder
(#6 last week) This one's gonna make my 4th grader happy! It's his all-time favorite song. In my opinion, it's the absolute artistic peak from one of the top 20 artists of all time. “Superstition” was actually written for guitar God Jeff Beck, but it was Stevie's own version that prevailed as the classic.
“Clair” by Gilbert O’Sullivan
(#3 last week) We have more whistling than any other radio station! Let's prove it again with the followup to the #1 hit “Alone Again (Naturally)”. “Clair” was about Gilbert's manager's daughter. It was that manager who changed Ray O'Sullivan's first name to Gilbert, for some reason.
“Me And Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul
(#1 last week) After 4 big weeks at the top, this classic ode to infidelity slips a notch to #2. It's was the first #1 single for Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International Records. Billy Paul's real name, by the way, was Paul Williams, but there were already two famous Paul Williams (the Temptations member & the elfin blond songwriter/arranger). He got an early break in show business from fellow Philly native Bill Cosby.
“You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon
(#2 last week; 1st week at #1) My guess is the subject of this song is nobody famous. Carly knows that once the secret is out there, some of the “juice” of her career will be dissipated. So it's in her interest to keep this going. Maybe she'll let it out after her death. This song is so strong it's caused the rest of the album “No Secrets” to be somewhat overlooked. It shouldn't be; it's one of the best albums of the 70s.