Don’s Top 10 From January 20, 1974
Back into time once again with me piloting “The Time Machine”! It's Sunday, January 20, 1974. Here are your local top 10 singles.
“Love’s Theme” by The Love Unlimited Orchestra
( #13 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.
“The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand
(#15 last week) I'm not ashamed to admit I cried like a baby several times while watching this movie, one of the ultimate tearjerkers. BTW, the original single version of the song is VERY hard to find. The album take is a different take.
“Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)” by Helen Reddy
(#4 last week) I remember Dan Ingram making fun of the extreme repetition of the words “Leave Me Alone”. He wasn't the only one. The song was the subject of a nationwide contest in America in which listeners would submit to their local radio station their estimation of how many times Reddy sang the phrase in the song; submissions of the correct answer–according to Helen, 43 times– were eligible for a trip for two to see Reddy in concert.
“I’ve Got To Use My Imagination” by Gladys Knight & The Pips
(#8 last week) Lyrics for this smash were by Gerry Goffin, who with ex-wife Carole King penned the words for literally dozens of hit songs. Here he writes with Barry Goldberg.
“Smokin’ In The Boys Room” by Brownsville Station
(#6 last week) Brownsville Station's a one-hit wonder, but I remember another killer single from them that barely charted, “Let Your Yeah Be Yeah”. Should have been a hit. With their name “Brownsville”, you'd think they were Texans. No, they're from Michigan.
“Show & Tell” by Al Wilson
(#9 last week) Music geeks love Wilson's 1968 “oh wow” song “The Snake”, but this was, by far, the soul man's biggest hit. It was first sung, surprisingly, by Johnny Mathis in 1972.
“You’re Sixteen” by Ringo Starr
(#5 last week) You've probably heard that it's Paul McCartney on the kazoo here. Well, guess what? That's not a kazoo. According to producer Richard Perry (2013: Perry's dating Jane Fonda), that's Sir Paul's VOICE! Harry Nilsson also sings backup on this remake of Johnny Burnette's 1960 hit.
“The Most Beautiful Girl” by Charlie Rich
(#2 last week) A multi-chart topper, on the pop, country & adult contemporary surveys, this was covered, surprisingly, by Abba's Frida, on her 1976 solo album. Rich first hit the chart way back in 1960, but was finally seeing mega-success 14 years later.
“The Joker” by The Steve Miller Band
(#3 last week) Steve was guitar virtuoso Les Paul's godson, which explains his mastery as an axe man. The song went to #1 in England 16 years later, in 1990, which makes this the song with the longest gap between topping the chart in the two countries (it was featured in a TV ad in the U.K.).
“Time In A Bottle” by Jim Croce
(#1 last week; 2nd week at #1) Sadly, no performance video exists of Jim singing this, because, of course, he passed away on September 20, 1973 in a plane crash. However, there is a remarkable amount of Jim preserved on video, doing songs from his first two albums. He was only a star for a little over a year before his death. I still love him. One of the best musical storytellers ever.