Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

A Canadian Defends America

I own fifty or more K-Tel (and Ronco) hits LPs that were issued from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.   I almost passed on Music Power recently, since the cover looked so similar to K-Tel’s other offerings from the early 70s, but upon closer examination, I had to admit there were a few tracks i did not recognize — most conspicuously, “The Americans (A Canadian’s Opinion)” by Gordon Sinclair:

“The Americans (A Canadian’s Opinion)”

Gordon Sinclair (1973)

Sinclair, who describes Americans as “the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people in all the world,” points out that the U.S. has used its resources and expertise to implement flood control measures on the Yellow, Yangtze, Nile, Amazon, Ganges, and the Niger Rivers — yet “no foreign land has sent a dollar to help” the U.S. during the Mississippi Flood of 1973.   Sinclair, unsurprisingly, nurses other grievances, and he’s not afraid to voice them.

Gordon Sinclair

unlikely pop star

Gordon Sinclair

Wikipedia (sorry) picks up the story from here:

On June 5, 1973, following news that the American Red Cross had run out of money as a result of aid efforts for recent natural disasters, Sinclair recorded what would become his most famous radio editorial, “The Americans.”   While paying tribute to American success, ingenuity, and generosity to people in need abroad, Sinclair decried that when America faced crisis itself, it often seemed to face that crisis alone.

At the time, Sinclair considered the piece to be nothing more than one of his usual items.  But when U.S. News & World Report published a full transcript, the magazine was flooded with requests for copies.[18]  Radio station WWDC-AM in Washington, D.C. started playing a recording of Sinclair’s commentary with “Bridge Over Troubled Water” playing in the background.  Sinclair told The Star in November 1973 that he had received 8,000 letters about his commentary.

With the strong response generated by the editorial, a recording of Sinclair’s commentary was sold as a single with all profits going to the American Red Cross.   ‘The Americans (A Canadian’s Opinion)’ went to #24 on the Billboard Hot 100, making the 73-year-old Sinclair the 2nd-oldest living person ever to have a Billboard U.S. Top 40 hit (75-year-old Moms Mabley had a Top 40 hit in 1969 with ‘Abraham, Martin & John‘).

Does K-Tel’s Music Power include all four minutes and fifty-five seconds of “The Americans,” side one’s closing track and only one of twenty-two selections?   Just by looking at the length of each track on the record itself, I can see that K-Tel has edited this long-winded diatribe easily by half.  Nevertheless, it’s hard to imagine many other instances where K-Tel would include spoken-word narration with incidental musical backing.  Are there other such examples, Zero to 180 is legally obligated to ponder.

Original K-Tel ad for ‘Music Power’ LP –

Why no excerpt from the Gordon Sinclair Hit?

LISTEN to “The Americansunedited here

Originally written and delivered via radio broadcast 5 June 1973 on station CFRB, Toronto

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