Don’s Top 10 From January 13, 1975
“The Time Machine” lands right in the middle of the “Me” decade, with the local hit singles from Monday, January 13, 1975. Here are the top 10:
“Get Dancin'” by Disco Tex & The Sex-O-Lettes
(#13 last week) One of the more unlikely people to ever have a hit record, celebrity hairdresser Sir Monti Rock III was somehow recruited to be “Disco Tex” (get it?) in the rollicking novelty hit, which also helped kickstart the then-gathering-steam disco era. “My chiffon is wet, darling, my wig is wet!”
“Only You” by Ringo Starr
(#9 last week) First a hit for The Platters way back in 1955, Ringo Starr covered this song for his album “Goodnight Vienna” at the suggestion of John Lennon, & it became a #6 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 & reached #1 on the easy listening chart (!) in early 1975. Lennon plays acoustic guitar on the track, & recorded a guide vocal which was kept by producer Richard Perry. Harry Nilsson sings harmony vocals &appears with Starr in the video filmed on top of the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles
“When Will I See You Again” by The Three Degrees
(#4 last week) The song was written and produced by the famous duo Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff. It was one of the most successful recordings of the “Philly Soul” era. The Three Degrees had been together since the late 60s & had charted on the pop side with a remake of the 50s hit “Maybe” in the summer of 1970, but this was their biggest hit. Just months earlier, the ladies contributed to the #1 hit “TSOP” with their singing “it's time to get down!” over & over at the end of the song.
“Doctor’s Orders” by Carol Douglas
(#12 last week) Co-written by the man behind the 1966 #1 hit “Winchester Cathedral”, Geoff Stephens. Carol Douglas's cover version was produced, uncredited, by Meco, who hit big with “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” in 1977.
“Cat’s In The Cradle” by Harry Chapin
(#5 last week) “Cat's In The Cradle” was based upon a poem written by Harry's wife Sandy; the poem itself was inspired by the uncomfortable relationship between her first husband, James Cashmore, & his father, a New York City polititical figure. She was also inspired by a country music song she had heard on the radio.Harry has also said that the song was about his father-son relationship with his son, Josh, saying that “Frankly, this song scares me to death”. Fathers & sons everywhere were touched enough to make this song a classic.
“Laughter In The Rain” by Neil Sedaka
(#7 last week) Big comeback for late 50s-early 60s artist Sedaka, in a year of comeback. Tandler connection: my mom was in the same high school with Neil (two years old), & told me Sedaka was “quiet & serious about his music”.Neil was part of a group with his buddies who later became The Tokens (“The Lion Sleeps Tonight”).
“You’re The First, The Last, My Everything” by Barry White
(#2 last week) Hard to imagine, but song co-writer Peter Radcliffe originally wrote “You're the First, The Last, My Everything” as a country song with the title “You're My First, You're My Last, My In-Between”, & went unrecorded for over 20 years. Barry White recorded it as a disco song, keeping most of the structure and 2/3 of the title, but he rewrote the lyrics.
“Mandy” by Barry Manilow
(#16 last week) Under the title “Brandy”, the song's original title, this charted in 1971 for Scott English, the co-writer, peaking at #12 on the UK Singles Charts. It was also released in the United States, but bombed here.The suggestion that Scott English wrote the song about a favorite dog is not true. English has said that a reporter called him early one morning asking who “Brandy” was, and an irritated English made up the “dog” story to get the reporter off his back. The title was changed to “Mandy” by Manilow & Clive Davis to avoid confusion with the hit by The Looking Glass.
“Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas
(#1 last week) Perfectly timed to hit the then-budding disco craze & the then-peaking martial arts craze, the song was originally meant to be a B-side to “I Want to Give You My Everything”.The producer Biddu originally hiredCarl Douglas to sing “I Want to Give You My Everything” but needed something to record for the B-side,& asked Douglas if he had any lyrics they could use. Douglas showed several, out of which Biddu chose the one that would later be called “Kung Fu Fighting” and worked out a melody for it without taking it too seriously. After having spent over two hours recording the A-side and then taking a break, “Kung Fu Fighting” was recorded quickly in the last ten minutes of studio time, in only two takes, due to a three-hour time constraint for the entire session. According to Biddu, “Kung Fu Fighting was the B-side so I went over the top on the 'huhs' & the 'hahs' and the chopping sounds. It was a B-side: who was going to listen?” After hearing both songs, Pye Records insisted that “Kung Fu Fighting” should be the A-side instead. Good ears!
“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by Elton John
(#3 last week; 1st week at #1) The only Beatles cover song to reach #1 on the Billboard Chart, Elton almost never plays this live in concert. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is a song that I never do in a set at a concert simply because it reminds me too much of John Lennon. This is the same with Empty Garden”. Recorded at the Caribou Ranch in Colorado, it featured backing vocals and guitar by Lennon under the pseudonym Dr. Winston O'Boogie (Winston being Lennon's middle name).