Don’s Top 10 From October 20, 1973
Another trip back in time, this time to Saturday, October 20, 1973. Lots going on in the news: President Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” (his firing of aides & cabinet members investigating him in the Watergate scandal), war between Israel & Egypt, the Mets upsetting the heavily favored Reds to win the NL pennant. How about the hit music? Here’s the local top 10:amazon.com
“Midnight Train To Georgia” by Gladys Knight & The Pips
(#13 last week) Jim Weatherly wrote & first recorded this song as “Midnight Plane To Houston”. Cissy Houston (Whitney’s mom) was the first to record it with the title we now know it by. Did you know Gladys was the Kelly Clarkson/Carrie Underwood of her day? She won “The Ted Mack Amateur Hour” at age seven.
“We’re An American Band” by Grand Funk
(#8 last week) Grand Funk dropped the Railroad from their name, hired Todd Rundgreen to produce them, & gave Don Brewer lead vocals on the uptempo stomper, rather than the usual Mark Farner. All did wonders: the band scored their biggest album & single to date. AND that single is a collector’s item: The original single was released on gold transparent vinyl.
“Loves Me Like A Rock” by Paul Simon
(#7 last week) Even though that’s the Jesse Dixon singers on this TV appearance with Paul, it’s the gospel group the Dixie Hummingbirds singing with Paul on the record (BTW, when Paul appeared on “The Muppet Show”, THEY sang backup). Second single from the smash “There Goes Rhythm Simon” album.
“Keep On Truckin'” by Eddie Kendricks
(#10 last week) Former Temptation Kendricks boasted of this smash, “I knew it was a hit because of the title. The old people used to ‘truck’ when they were dancing. And I knew the trucking industry would embrace the record”.
“That Lady, Part 1″ by The Isley Brothers
(#5 last week) The now-expanded Isleys re-recorded this, a different sounding version of their 1964 single, “Who’s That Lady”. As always, the intro is tremendously exciting, almost the highlight of the record. Rolling Stone magazine included this on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time (#357).
“Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye
(#6 last week) It was back to romantic for Gaye after his legendary 1981 “What’s going IOn” album. Gaye had taken a lot of time off to work through his many personal problems, including the 1970 death of his frequent recording partner Tammi Terrell. He came back with this masterpeice of sexual desire.
“Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder
(#2 last week) Wow, was Stevie on a hot streak in 1973, following up the massive success of “Superstition” & “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” with this propulsive jam. Not only did Stevie write & record this in only three hours, he played all of the instruments, too!
“Ramblin’ Man” by The Allman Brothers Band
(#4 last week) This was based on a 1951 song with the same name by Hank Williams Sr., but it was not a remake. Written by Dickey Betts, who also sang lead. Strangely, the band almost never played it live afterward, & never since Betts left the group. They felt it doesn’t lend itself to improvisation, which is what they feel is their calling card. Maybe the greatest hit in all of Southern Rock.
“Half-Breed” by Cher
(#1 last week) If Cher had her way, this wouldn’t have been her only #1 hit during 1973. Apparently, Sonny Bono, her hubby, turned down first crack at “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia”. I can hear Cher singing that one! Oh well.
“Angie” by The Rolling Stones
(#3 last week; 1st week at #1) The first single from the Stones LP “Goat’s Head Soup”, the band recorded it in Jamaica. According to then Stones guitarist Mick Taylor, the title referred to a Jamaican delicacy of run-down goat scooped up off the road & cooked on the stove. Oooo-k.