Don’s Top 10 From February 16, 1974
Another trip in the time machine, this time to the local survey from Saturday, February 16, 1974. Let the countdown begin!amazon.com
“Show & Tell” by Al Wilson
(#6 last week) First recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1972. Al Wilson’s biggest hit, but many musicheads adore his 1968 “oh wow” song “The Snake”.
“The Joker” by The Steve Miller Band
(#3 last week) When Miller was awarded a gold single for “The Joker”, what did he do with it? Hung it over his washing machine. He said he’d contemplate the “star” who wrote it as he did his underwear & socks. A humble guy! Legendary record executive Ahmet Ertegun is credited as co-writer here. I wonder what part he wrote.
“Seasons In The Sun” by Terry Jacks
(#15 last week) Jacks had been a member of The Poppy Family, who hit big in 1970 with “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” (Terry’s then-wife Susan sang lead). “Seasons In The Sun” has a fascinating history. It was written in 1961 by French composer Jacques Brel as “Le Moribond” (“The Dying Man”). Rod McKuen, the famed poet, wrote English lyrics that the Kingston Trio recorded in 1964. After both the Poppy Family & the Jacks’ marriage broke up, Terry was hired by the Beach Boys for session work. He remembered the Kingston Trio recording & suggested the Beach Boys cut it. They did, but decided not to release it, & mourning a pal who had unexpectedly died, Jacks recorded it. But the finished tape then sat on his shelf for over a year. When a newspaper delivery boy heard Terry playing the tape one day & told him how much he loved it, Terry decided to release the single himself on his own label. It became a Canadian smash, & Bell Records bought the master for the U.S. It was a #1 hit here, too, & probably the most polarizing song of 1974, a year filled with such songs.
“Smokin’ In The Boys Room” by Brownsville Station
(#5 last week) An anthem for frustrated youth who felt marginalized at school, “Smokin…” was not going to be released as a single until radio play & listener demand forced the record company’s hand. Contrary to popular belief, Brownsville Station were not from Brownsville, Texas, actually coming from Ann Arbor, Michigan.
“Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)” by Aretha Franklin
(#9 last week) First recorded by Stevie Wonder in 1967 (he co-wrote it, too), but his version was not released until 1978. This turned out to be the last in Lady Soul’s long string (seven years) of pop hits AND million-sellers.
“Boogie Down” by Eddie Kendricks
(#11 last week) It surprises me when I can’t find stuff on youtube. I can’t find either the single version of this, or a Kendricks TV appearance doing it in 1974 (this is from 1977). Talk about a killer followup to the #1 smash “Keep On Truckin”! “Boogie Down” was almost as exciting, with an unusual-for-the-time long second half that was really distinctive musically.
“Jungle Boogie” by Kool & The Gang
(#10 last week) Influential hit by the boys from Jersey City. Signaled a turn away from smooth, & toward funky. Their first big hit, but Kool & The Gang first made the local top 20 with the #19 hit “Kool & The Gang” (yes, they named the song after themselves) in the fall of 1969.
“Love’s Theme” by The Love Unlimited Orchestra
(#4 last week) A Barry White tune in all but vocal. This recording, with a large string orchestra & wah-wah guitar, is considered to be an influence to the disco sound. Did you know it’s also been recorded with lyrics (by Aaron Schroeder) & sung by such artists as Love Unlimited (as opposed to the ORCHESTRA), Julio Iglesias, & Andy Williams.
“You’re Sixteen” by Ringo Starr
(#1 last week) The “kazoo” on this song? Not a kazoo. That is the VOICE of Paul McCartney, having some fun! The “Ringo” album was a Beatles reunion: all four of the “fab four” participated, just not all together on one song.
“The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand
(#2 last week; 1st week at #1) Title tune from the ultimate “chick flick”. Confession: I loved the movie, & cried like a baby at the bittersweet ending. Song Of The Year at the Grammys; Best Song at the Oscars.