It’s almost impossible to fathom now, but at one time in the United States, tiny “indie” labels could actually get their records played on the radio. This period was a narrow window of time, as predictably (and inevitably), the major labels would consolidate their hold on the marketplace by effectively shutting out indies from commercial radio playlists by the early-to-mid 1970s (and sometimes, as shown below, by purchasing the masters of songs that were proving “hot”).
Billboard‘s “Bubbling Under” chart, which began in 1959 during rock ‘n’ roll’s initial wave, I have discovered to be a fairly fertile vein of offbeat and undersung recordings that once tickled the ears of a relative few for but a brief period of time. A huge tip of the hat to Top40Weekly.com, who labored mightily to make this information readily available.
Zero to 180, as a public service, has scrutinized these less-remembered tracks to identify some of the more curious 45s worthy of rediscovery. This extended playlist includes a few major labels, as well as a handful of “name” artists, but otherwise is a “pop underground” of 45 tracks for whom classic oldies radio, alas, has no use. These specially-selected tracks from 1959-1976 serve as a tribute to the scrappy independent labels who had hoped to hit it big during a time in the early rock ‘n’ roll era when the radio airwaves were more of a meritocracy. This piece is also a(n) historical reminder of how regional radio once was before programming decisions essentially became the province of some guy in the “central office.”
“Bubbling Under” — sounds like a fun concept for a radio program(me), right?
* * *
AUDIO LINK for “Little Bitty Johnny” by Travis & Bob
peaked at #114 on July 13, 1959 [Sandy]
- “Little Bitty Johnny” is the follow-up to the duo’s ace debut 45 “Tell Her No” on Mobile-based label, Sandy (and a single that made it as far as New Zealand).
- #96 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week of July 4, 1959.
Written by Travis Pritchett
“Roulette” by Russ Conway
peaked at #106 on August 3, 1959 [Cub]
- The person who uploaded this jukebox audio clip on YouTube has this to say: “Composed by Russ, the single has more POKE than the album version. For my money, it’s Russ’ BEST up-tempo piece. But how DID he get a piano to SOUND like this? Many others tried, but none succeeded.”
- “Roulette” hit the top of the UK pop chart two weeks in a row, as reported in Billboard‘s June 29, 1959 edition.
- Cash Box‘s “London Lowdown and England’s Top 30 Records” chart notes that “Roulette” was still holding strong at the #4 position in the July 25, 1959 issue.
- Reporting from NYC, the October 3, 1959 issue of Cash Box informs us that “Mills Music has just acquired the publishing rights to Russ Conway’s third successive English hit, ‘China Tea.’ Mills also has the same rights to the previous Conway clicks, ‘Side Saddle‘ and ‘Roulette.’ Writer of all three is Trevor Stanford.”
EP Sweden — 1959
AUDIO LINK for “Baghdad Rock (Pt. 1)” by The Sheiks
peaked at #111 on December 14, 1959 [MGM/Trine]
- The Sheiks from Norfolk, VA — song also covered by Ray Ellis & His Orchestra.
- 45 originally issued on Trine — with “Baghdad Rock” as the label’s sole release.
- Billboard‘s picked “Baghdad Rock” as one of their “Spotlight Winners” for the week of October 26, 1959: “The group has two interesting sides that can easily catch on. The attractive, Oriental theme is given a colorful instrumental treatment with oboe spotlighted over rhythm accompaniment. Both sides move all the way. There’s already action in some Eastern marts.” [e.g., Philadelphia]
- “Baghdad Rock” — on the heels of Jerry Reed’s “Rockin’ in Baghdad” from two years earlier.
Written by Zane-Ramal-Tharon
AUDIO LINK for “Clap Your Hands (Pt. 1)” by The Wheels with
The Teddy Vann Chorus & Orchestra
peaked at #102 on January 4, 1960 [Folly]
- “Clap Your Hands” also reached #79 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles the week ending February 20, 1960.
- Teddy Vann discography courtesy of Spectropop Group.
- This 45 appears to be the entire catalog of Folly Records — ironic?
Written by Teddy Vann
AUDIO LINK for “The Scandanavian Shuffle” by The Swe-Danes
peaked at #101 on February 22, 1960 [Warner Bros.]
- According to Discogs — “The Swe-Danes were a vocalese trio that were active from 1958 until 1961, consisting of Swedish singer Alice Babs and two Danes, violinist Svend Asmussen and guitarist Ulrik Neumann.”
- Billboard‘s review in their January 25, 1960 edition: “Infectious ditty is intoned with spirit here by the duo, and it has the rollicking 1920’s sound. Good jock side.”
- #2 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (i.e., “a compilation, in order of strength, of up and coming records showing signs of breaking into the Cash Box Top 100″) — for the week ending March 12, 1960.
- Written by Svend Asmussen.
AUDIO LINK for “The Wind” by The Diablos Featuring Nolan Strong
peaked at #114 on June 27, 1960 [Fortune]
- #21 on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week of July 9, 1960.
- This 1954 recording (almost) back on the charts as a result of a cover version by The Jesters released that same year.
- Bob Leszczak’s Who Did It First? recounts the song’s history: “There were two very similar renditions of this song entitled ‘The Wind,’ and they were released six years apart. First came the version on Detroit’s Fortune Records label from 1954 by The Diablos, featuring Nolan Strong on lead. Strong was a cousin of future hit maker Barrett Strong of “Money” fame. ‘The Wind’ sold well, especially in the big urban areas of the United States, but did not make the charts. Strong’s voice was similar to that of Clyde McPhatter, and the group had a big impact on a young Bill ‘Smokey’ Robinson.”
- According to Discogs, most recordings for the Detroit-based Fortune label were recorded at the in-house Fortune Recording Studio.
Written by Strong, Eubanks, Hunter, Gutierrez & Edwards
AUDIO LINK for “If The World Don’t End Tomorrow (I’m Comin’ After You)”
by Doug Warren and the Rays
peaked at #107 on July 11, 1960 [Image]
- SecondHandSongs notes that “If The World Don’t End Tomorrow” is based on “Comin’ After You” by The Fairlanes, released four months earlier in Feb. 1960.
- Billboard‘s review in their July 4, 1960 edition: “Feelingful reading by Warren and group on effective r&r ditty with country flavor.”
- #1 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (week of August 6, 1960).
Written by Billy Sherrill
AUDIO LINK for “Itchin’” [B-side] by Jimmy Jones
peaked at #106 on October 3, 1960 [Cub]
- Jimmy Jones’ million-selling debut 45 “Handy Man” was also a #1 hit for James Taylor in 1977 (as well as #22 hit for Del Shannon in 1964).
- The whistling part by Jones was a last-minute substitution, as a result of the flautist failing to show for the recording session.
- “Itchin'” ended up being a B-side breakout hit.
- “Itchin'” was deemed a Music Vendor R&B “Sure Bet” for September 26, 1960.
- Billboard‘s September 12, 1960 edition reports that “Jimmy Jones is a newcomer on the singing scene who had the good fortune of scoring with two hits in a row. Twenty-three-year-old Jimmy made his disk debut with Handy Man, his own composition, a million-seller, and went on to hit with Good Timin’. He has two sock sides on his latest Cub single, Ee-Ii-Oh! b/w Itchin’ For Love. The tremendous success of his songs in England (something that does not happen quickly to American artists) has led to the scheduling of a British tour that begins Oct. 5.”
Written by Stipe-Wyant-Reddy
AUDIO LINK for “The Jazz in You” by Gloria Lynne
peaked at #109 on January 30, 1961 [Everest]
- #24 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 24, 1960.
- “The Jazz in You” was a “Top Market Breakout” hit in the Los Angeles market, according to Billboard‘s February 6, 1961 edition.
Written by Dixon-Towns
AUDIO LINK for “Banned in Boston” by Merv Griffin
peaked at #101 on February 27, 1961 [Carlton]
- Some suspect this song to be an attempt to cash in on the success of Brian Hyland’s “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini” from July 1960.
- Billboard‘s review in their January 30, 1961 edition: “Cute swinging novelty madly punches out the story of the chick who had so much on the ball she was banned in Boston—among other places. Assisting instrumental and vocal groups all add to this strong side.”
- #83 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week of March 18, 1961.
Written by Clint Ballard, Jr & Fred Tobias
AUDIO LINK for “Bounty Hunter” by The Nomads
peaked at #116 on March 23, 1961 [Rust]
- Billboard‘s review in their February 20, 1961 edition: “A marching rocker rhythm here. Rolling drums set the beat with the melody voiced by whistling and a guitar. Chorus and an organ move in later. Interesting arrangement.”
- Cash Box‘s February 25, 1961 review is even more enthusiastic: “We’ll bet our bottom dollar that the Laurie affiliate, Rust Records, has a smash in the Nomads’ instrumental, “Bounty Hunter.” It’s a galloping, western-flavored opus with an infectious whistling and sans-lyric chants backdrop. Perfect stuff for a TV theme.”
- #8 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead’ chart for April 1, 1961.
- #3 on Music Vendor‘s “Beat of the Week – Heading for the Top 100” chart for the week of March 20, 1961.
- This 45 – which saw release in Canada & Australia – also covered by Al Caiola.
Written by J. Krondes
“Sucu Sucu” by Ping Ping with Al Verlane’s Orchestra
peaked at #103 on May 1, 1961 [Kapp]
- “Sucu Sucu” — a ‘breakout hit’ in the New York market according to Billboard‘s May 1, 1961 edition — was also a Top 10 hit in Holland & Germany [Apr. 17, 1961], plus Sweden [Jun. 12, 1961], Austria [Jun. 19, 1961], and Japan [Oct. 16, 1961].
- Born Eddy Helder in 1923 in Suriname (or “Dutch Guyana” – its colonial name), Ping Ping enjoys renown for being “one of the first” to perform “Sucu Sucu,” written in 1959 by Bolivian musician/composer (and “creator of the Incaica Boliviana music“), Tarateño Rojas.
Netherlands 45 – 1961
AUDIO LINK for “Hey You, What Are You, Some Kind of Nut?” by Andy Cory
peaked at #121 on May 1, 1961 [Silver Bid]
- Andy Cory’s recorded output — two singles — would include a 45 for King Records the following year, about which Discogs provides this bit of background info: “Oddball hootenanny-style telling of historical vignettes, not in a comic vein. Andy Cory is best known for his earlier novelty, ‘Hey, What Are You, Some Kind Of Nut?’ Totally left-field release for King.”
Written by Roger Wilco
AUDIO LINK for “Abdul’s Party” by Larry Verne
peaked at #113 on May 8, 1961 [Era]
- A “Spotlight Winner of the Week” in the March 27, 1961 edition of Billboard who described the track as “an amusing novelty number with musical background by the lad who had a hit with ‘Mister Custer‘ a while back.”
- #37 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week of May 20, 1961.
Written by J. Van Winkle, F. Darian & A. DeLory
AUDIO LINK for “Bacardi” by Ralph Marterie
peaked at #115 on May 22, 1961 [United Artists]
- The fluke hit of “Tequila” inspired a host of alcohol-themed instrumentals in its wake, including the more generic “Cerveza” (‘Boots Brown’ a.k.a., Shorty Rogers) as well as the brand-specific “Bacardi” and “Seagrams” (from the previous year).
- As previously noted, 1960’s “Seagrams” by The Viceroys was issued on Bethlehem, a subsidiary label of King. Unfortunately, the Seagrams Corporation didn’t take kindly to the appropriation of its name and threatened to sue for trademark infringement, with some stations refusing to play a song named for a commercial product without being paid for advertising time. A sheepish notice in Billboard on March 23, 1960, said, “We Goofed!” [to be more specific, “When this instrumental came to us, it was titled ‘Seagram’s.’ We missed the possible legal conflict with the Seagram’s trademark and also the policy at many radio stations of not playing a record with a commericial product name in its title.”] and indicated that “Seagrams” was now changed to “Seagreen.”
- Oddly, not only did Ralph Marterie experience no blowback for trademark infringement, Billboard‘s May 8, 1961 edition awarded “Bacardi” three stars (i.e., moderate sales potential) and had only good things to say [“Latin-style instrumental, blues-derived. Very danceable and good listening, too. Worth strong exposure.”] in its review.
- “Bacardi” was written by one-time King recording artist, Johnny Pate.
Also released in Hong Kong
“The Presidential Peace Conference (Pts. 1&2)” by The Sickniks
peaked at #105 on June 26, 1961 [Amy]
streaming audio not yet available
- Cash Box gave this a B+ in their June 24, 1961 review: “Novelty already making some noise, has a voice imitating President Kennedy answering various queries (by famed personalities) at a press conference. Catchy combo beat between the questions. Could be programming difficulties due to the use of real names and matter of taste employed in some of the answers.”
- #22 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 17, 1961.
- Written by Baron, Stallman, Jacobson & Eugene.
45 sleeve in high resolution
AUDIO LINK for “Song of the Nairobi Trio” by The Fortune Tellers
peaked at #114 on September 25, 1961 [Music Makers]
- A “breakout hit” in the New York market, as reported in Billboard‘s July 31, 1961 edition.
- Cash Box reporting in the July 22, 1961 issue — “Bob Schwaid of Music Makers, all aglow with the response to his Fortune Tellers’ waxing of “Song Of The Nairobi Trio” noting sales coming in from the eastern seaboard.”
- 45Cat points out: “A-side used on Ernie Kovacs‘ television show, during the ‘Nairobi Trio’ skits” — song written by Robert Maxwell.
B-side when released in Japan
AUDIO LINK for “Berlin Top Ten” by Dickie Goodman
peaked at #116 on October 23, 1961 [Rori]
- Break-in record from Dickie Goodman, whose groundbreaking work with Bill Buchanan in this genre had begun in 1956 with “Flying Saucer (Pts. 1 & 2).”
- Avid Listener‘s celebration of Dickie Goodman’s Cold War-era political satire includes this 45 summary recap: “In 1961, Goodman made his next Cold War song, ‘Berlin Top Ten,’ again a commentary on government-policed radio. The song begins with disc jockey Happy Hans Kaput playing a snippet of the supposed number one song in East Berlin, ‘Don’t Fence Me In.’ This is undoubtedly a commentary on the Berlin Wall, which had just begun to “fence in” East Berlin when the song was released. (The Berlin Wall actually surrounded West Berlin.) Happy Hans is then machine-gunned by the “secret police” and replaced by Boris the Spinner, “the people’s disc jockey.” After a few more news announcements and song snippets, the sound of marching soldiers and machine guns are heard once again. This time it is Boris’s turn to face the secret police and he signs off with a snippet of ‘I’ll Never Smile Again’ by the Platters.”
- Written by Dickie Goodman and Robert Arkin.
AUDIO LINK for “The Roach” by Gene and Wendell with The Sweethearts
peaked at #117 on October 30, 1961 [Ray Star]
- #33 on Music Vendor‘s Top 40 Rhythm & Blues chart for December 4, 1961.
- #14 on Billboard‘s R&B chart for the week of January 6, 1962.
- #11 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 9, 1961.
- Written by Alonzo Willis and Steve Venet (brother of Nick Venet).
Dance steps below – be sure to “kill that roach”
AUDIO LINK for “She Put the Hurt on Me” by Prince La La
peaked at #119 on October 20, 1961 [AFO]
- Prince La La backed by the A.F.O. Studio Combo.
- #28 on Billboard‘s R&B chart for the week of October 16, 1961.
- #23 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for the week of October 14, 1961.
- December 18, 1961 edition of Billboard reports that “a number of disks have never as yet made the ‘Hot 100’ but have come close to it and have been selling quietly for a long period — good example is Prince La La’s ‘She Put the Hurt On Me’ on AFO.”
- Also released under the slight title variant “You Put the Hurt On Me.”
- In the mid 1960s, Foster MacKenzie III (a.k.a. Root Boy Slim) formed a band while attending Yale University that went by the name Prince La La, Percy Uptight and the Midnight Creepers.
Written by Lawrence Nelson
AUDIO LINK for “Colinda” by Rod Bernard
peaked at #102 on March 24, 1962 [Hall-way]
- Rod Bernard of Opelousas, Louisiana — as noted in an early Zero to 180 piece –would record his rumination about the “Cajun Interstate” (i.e., the Atchafalaya Expressway on Interstate 10) eight years later for Shelby Singleton’s SSS International label.
- “Colinda” was identified by Billboard as a “Regional Breakout” single in Baltimore, as reported in the May 19, 1962 edition.
- #8 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 24, 1962.
- #45 on Music Reporter‘s “Headed for the Big 50” chart (May 19, 1962).
Written by Rod Bernard
AUDIO LINK for “Na Ne No” by Troy Shondell
peaked at #107 on June 2, 1962 [Liberty]
- Produced, arranged, and conducted by Phil Spector — one 45Cat contributor asks, “Do we know officially who the background girl singers are? Darlene Love has to be in there somewhere.”
- Billboard‘s June 9, 1962 edition reports “Na Ne No” as a regional breakout hit in Chicago and Detroit.
- Billboard‘s review from the April 21, 1962 edition — “Catchy nonsense-type novelty-rocker is sung with good humor and infectious tempo by Shondell and fem chorus. Teen appeal side.”
- #4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for the week of June 2, 1962.
Written by Paul Dino
AUDIO LINK for “How’s My Ex Treating You” [B-side?] by Jerry Lee Lewis
peaked at #114 on September 22, 1962 [Sun]
- Recording is notable for the baritone “fuzz” guitar intro.
- Released here and abroad as a B-side (according to 45Cat), and yet Billboard‘s review from the July 21, 1962 edition clearly considers it the A-side — “This moving treatment by Jerry Lee Lewis of a country weeper, which features his exciting piano work, could turn into his best record in over a year. It spots a mighty good vocal performance by the singer on a strong lyric and the wild pianoing is there too. Flip is ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’.”
- #26 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 20, 1962.
- Written by Vic McAlpin.
B-side in Sweden – and everywhere else
AUDIO LINK for “Big Noise From Winnetka (Pt. 1)” by Cozy Cole
peaked at #121 on January 26, 1963 [Coral]
- Billboard‘s review from the November 10, 1962 edition — “The first side here is a great reading of the oldie in up-to-date terms. The side is reminiscent of a big one for Cole some time back, ‘Topsy [Pt. 2].’ There’s much drum beating and torrid whistling.”
- #5 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 29, 1962.
- The team of songwriters behind “Big Noise from Winnetka (Pts. 1 & 2)”:
Gil Rodin, Bob Crosby, Bob Haggart & Ray Bauduc.
1963 EP — France
AUDIO LINK for “Half Time” [B-side] by The Routers
peaked at #115 on February 16, 1963
- The Routers (of course) best known for “Let’s Go.”
- Written by Lanny & Robert Duncan — arranged by Rene Hall.
- Issued as B-side of “Make It Snappy.”
- One 45Cat contributor remembers, “I thought that “Half Time” was the A side of this record. That is the side that I remember was plugged on Radio Luxembourg in 1963.”
1963 EP – France
AUDIO LINK for “Tore Up (Over You)” by Harmonica Fats
peaked at #103 on March 23, 1963 [Skylark]
- Fact check: Harmonica Fats’ version of “Tore Up Over You” by The Midnighters (1956) attributes Hank Ballard as the composer when, in fact, Henry Glover wrote the song.
- Regional breakout hit in Buffalo, as reported in Billboard‘s March 30, 1963 edition.
- #13 on Cash Box‘s Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 2, 1963.
- Tagged by Music Reporter as “Hottest Under the Big 100” (March 2, 1963).
- Curious to find that the same two songs “Tore Up” b/w “I Get So Tired” were released by two tiny labels in 1962 (Skylark and Star-a-Fire) and then again the following year (Darcey) — 45Cat notes that “Lester Sill’s Darcey label picked it up for national distribution in very early 1963.”
- Cash Box‘s review of the 1963 Darcey release: “The new Hollywood based label can get off the ground in solid sales style with this dual-mart, pop-r&b deck that bows the enticing, gravely-voice style of Harmonica Fats. Pulsating, steady driving shuffle rhythm affair with a ‘one more time’ closer. Can bust thru.”
- In December 2018, an original copy of a UK demo 45 sold for £75.
- Biographical profile of Harmonica Fats, courtesy of UK’s Blues and Rhythm.
“Lois Music Publ.”
“From Me to You” by The Beatles
peaked at #116 on August 3, 1963 [Vee Jay]
- Vee Jay, prior to Motown, was the most successful black-owned record company – and the first American company to sign The Beatles.
- According to this NRP profile of Vee Jay Records, in one month alone in early 1964, the label sold 2.6 million Beatles singles.
- Link to Seymour Stein King Records history piece that contains (1) bonus Beatles trivia about earliest US 45s being issued on indie labels when Capitol (EMI’s American subsidiary label) passed on The Beatles’ first four singles, and (2) the strange-but-true story behind Stein’s seed money for launching Sire Records (pssst, it has something to do with The Beatles).
AUDIO LINK for “The Sound of Surf” by Percy Faith Orchestra
peaked at #111 on September 21, 1963 [Columbia]
- “The Sound of Surf” is a 45-only non-LP track that eventually appeared on CD.
- Song picked by Billboard as a “Pop Spotlight” winner in the August 17, 1963 edition accompanied by these words of praise: “Here’s a mighty catchy Percy Faith instrumental, with surf and wind-swept chorus, big fiddle effects and insistent surf beat. Melodic side could catch much across-the-board play and sale.”
- #25 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for September 7, 1963.
AUDIO LINK for “Hootenanny Granny” by Jim Lowe
peaked at #103 on September 21, 1963 [20th Century Fox]
- Link to full-page promotional ad in the September 7, 1963 edition of Billboard in which Jim Lowe gives a shout out to “Music Operators: My mother thanks you … My father thanks you … And Granny thanks you.”
- #31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for September 28, 1963.
Written by Fred Hertz & Charles Grean
“Eefananny” by The Ardells
peaked at #109 on September 28, 1963 [Epic]
- A “Pick of the Week” by Cash Box in its September 7, 1963 edition — “The eefin sound – a wacky vocal rhythm accompaniment style, some 100 years old – has entered the teen-market. It’s a natural for novelty dates, as “Eefananny,” a joyful folkish cut, so engagingly demonstrates. If the merry sound catches on, and from where we sit it should, figure The Ardells to make the chart rounds with their version.”
- Likewise a Billboard “Pop Spotlight” winner in the September 7, 1963 edition — “Here’s a novelty item that might go with the kiddies. It’s a nutty side that might go with air play. There’s another version of the side, but this one, at a bit slower tempo, can get play.”
- “Eefananny” written by none other than Jerry Reed.
Eefin’ = a tutorial
Rear sleeve liner notes:
Between 75 and 100 years ago, an old Negro lived in a little shack on the backs of the Cumberland River near Nashville, Tennessee. He lived alone and to amuse himself and other folks he would sit around all day eefin’. He said he got a lot of pleasure out of doing this, and people would come and listen for hours and hours to hear him make this funny sound. Once he was asked how he made this sound and he said, “You pucker up your mouth, wiggle your tongue, snap your teeth, and out it comes!”
After he died, people in the hill country picked up this eefin’ and used it as a rhythm for their musical get-togethers. This record, EEFANANNY, was recorded with this revived sound known as eefin’.
AUDIO LINK for “Guitars, Guitars, Guitars” by Al Casey with the K-C-Ettes
peaked at #116 on October 12, 1963 [Stacy]
- A “Pop Spotlight” pick in Billboard‘s September 21, 1963 edition — “Strong blues with the surf sound from the Chicago guitarist. It has a solid chance with gal chorus and strong gut work.”
- Produced and written by Lee Hazlewood for Stacy Records.
US 7-inch release
German picture sleeve
AUDIO LINK for “Gorilla” [B-side] by The Ideals
peaked at #127 on October 12, 1963 [Cortland]
- Billboard‘s September 28, 1963 edition shows a guy in a gorilla suit cradling Chicago disk jockey Dick Kemp — 45 alleged to have “hot sales reaction” in the Midwestern markets of Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago.
- As noted on 45Cat, this B-side ended up being the (near) hit. But look at the number of times it’s been released on 7-inch vinyl, including twice in 1963 — clearly something more going on here. According to 45Cat’s rhythmdog, here’s the story: “Howard Pitman was a former member of The Five Crowns. Concord was his label. Both sides were sold to Cortland, along with the Ideals’ contract when ‘The Gorilla’ became a huge Chicago hit at least in part due to heavy promotion by DJ Herb Kent. This Concord release is the first release for both sides, which were later put out on Cortland paired with a variety of other sides, some of them not by the Ideals.”
- Cash Box‘s March 21, 1964 issue reports that “Cortland’s veepee Earl Glicken advised that The Ideals, who did so well with ‘The Gorilla,’ cut a follow-up item last week tagged ‘More Gorilla,’ which is being rushed out to dealers.”
- Written by Eddie Williams, Howard Pitman & Jerry Murray — instrumental backing by The Outlaws.
Original 45 release
2011 reissue on Norton Records
AUDIO LINK for “The Monkey Walk” by The Flares
peaked at #133 on November 9, 1963 [Press]
- Prepare to spend at least $20 when attempting to buy an original 45 — otherwise, you can pick up a copy of the Ace UK Flares anthology on compact disc.
- Cash Box‘s review in the September 28, 1963 issue: “The teen dance crowd will surely dig this hard-drivin’ hip-swinger geared strictly for dancing. A vigorous vocal and constant handclapping sets a spirited mood. The jocks should get on this one in short order.”
Written by A. Collins – Produced by Buck Ram
AUDIO LINK for “Sneaky Sue” by Patty Lace and the Pettycoats
peaked at #104 on December 28, 1963 [Kapp]
- #1 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 1, 1964.
- Awarded four stars in the November 23, 1963 edition of Billboard, designating “new single with sufficient commercial potential in [its] respective category to merit being stocked by dealers, one-stops and rack jobbers handling that category.”
- “A Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer Production” (i.e., The Strangeloves) — written by Robert Spencer.
US 7-inch release
1964 French EP
AUDIO LINK for “The Cow” by Bill Robinson and the Quails
peaked at #103 on January 18, 1964 [American]
- Cash Box‘s review in their December 7, 1963 issue: “There’s a new teen dance called the Cow, and it’s related to teen audiences with lots of bright blues-rock appeal by the songster and his support, tabbed the Quails. Atlantic Records is handling this hectic addition to the teen-step catalog.”
- #38 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 8, 1964.
- Not everyone is a fan of this 45 — as one 45Cat contributor punned, “Can’t take this seriously. The udder side is not a lot better.”
Written by Robinson, Wilson & Bowens
AUDIO LINK for “The La-Dee-Da Song” by The Village Stompers
peaked at #104 on February 1, 1964 [Epic]
- A “Pop Spotlight” winner in Billboard‘s January 25, 1964 edition — “The Stompers have everything going but the kitchen sink on this hit follow-up. There are bossa touches, banjos, plinkin’, Dixie brass and the listener can practically hear the ole Riverboat’s paddle and hoot.”
- #4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 22, 1964.
- Written by G. Weiss & J. Sherman.
Japan — 1964
AUDIO LINK for “Competition Coupe” by The Astronauts
peaked at #124 on February 15, 1964 [RCA]
- A “Pop Spotlight” pick in Billboard‘s February 8, 1964 edition: “The group here has been very successful with an album, and this single is already getting some strong play. Watch it.”
- The Astronauts’ Competition Coupe LP reached #105 on Music Vendor‘s album chart for the week of April 11, 1964.
- Written by Gary Usher and Roger Christian — and subject of a Zero to 180 piece from 2015.
45 — Japan
45 — Germany
AUDIO LINK for “I Am the Greatest” by Cassius Clay
peaked at #113 on March 21, 1964 [Columbia]
- Link to Zero to 180’s Muhammad Ali tribute, “The People’s Choice“
US promo 45 –
“Will the Real Sonny Liston Please Fall Down” = B-side
“Beatle Mania Blues” by The Roaches
peaked at #117 on April 11, 1964 [Crossway]
- Cash Box, which assigns letter grades in their 45s reviews (though no lower than a C), awarded “Beatle Mania Blues” a B (“good”) in their April 25, 1964 edition. Notes the trade journal at the top of its reviews section — “Only those records best suited for commercial use are reviewed by Cash Box.”
- Note: April 11, 1964 Music Vendor announces a complete overhaul of the weekly publication, including a new name, Record World.
- Link to other Zero to 180 stories related to Beatles Novelty Songs.
AUDIO LINK for “Yo Me Pregunto (I Ask Myself)” by The Valrays
peaked at #121 on May 9, 1964 [Parkway]
- “Latin doo wop” is how some might describe this tuneful “throw back” 45 — the second and final recording for The Valrays.
- Despite the Spanish language lyrics, The Valrays were actually a “white” group from New York City, as noted in the White Doo-Wop Collector music blog — WMCA’s Top Twenty-Five for the week of April 15, 1964 (NYC metro area) shows “Yo Me Pregunto” holding down the #25 spot.
- #2 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 9, 1964.
Written by Dennis Linde & Peter Antell
AUDIO LINK for “New York Town” by The Dixiebelles
peaked at #119 on May 16, 1964 [Sound Stage 7]
- A “female soul group” from Memphis, Tennessee, according to Discogs, “who changed their name [from The Tonettes] when Nashville’s Sound Stage 7 wanted a black female group to record and go out for live performances to promote a studio masterminded hit ‘(Down At) Papa Joe’s‘ that had been originally released by the white vocal group Anita Kerr Singers.”
- A “Smith-Justis Production” — i.e., produced by “Cornbread” (Bill Justis) and “Jerry” (Jerry Smith).
AUDIO LINK for “Bad News” by The Trashmen
peaked at #124 on May 16, 1964 [Garrett]
45 label — note the small print:
- 45Cat contributor “NaturalE” suspects something is not quite on the up and up: “Anyone know why this song was co-identified as ‘Church Key‘ (by The Revels) when it actually sounds closer to a version of Eddie Bertrand’s “Volcanic Action” (by The Belairs), a tune which was also covered as “Tidal Wave” (by The Challengers)?”
- Although “Bad News” was not included on The Trashmen’s 1964 debut album, 45Cat contributor “porcupine” points out that the group “did a song on their Surfin’ Bird LP called ‘Bird Bath‘ that is essentially ‘Church Key/Bad News.'”
“Arty” picture sleeve – Sweden
AUDIO LINK for “Beachcomber” by The Johnny Gibson Trio
peaked at #116 on June 13, 1964 [Laurie/Twirl]
- 45 originally issued on Detroit label, Twirl, then released on Laurie for broader distribution.
- “Beachcomber” made CKLW‘s Top 30 for two consecutive weeks in May 1964.
- #36 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 13, 1964 (seven slots behind “Jamaica Ska” by The Ska Kings).
- Funky 16 Corners‘ music blog – who once had an amusing “run in” with this 45 – informs us that this 45 was a Top 20 hit in Ohio and Detroit.
Composed by Bobby Darin
AUDIO LINK for “Love Me Do” [B-side?] by The Hollyridge Strings
peaked at #134 on July 18, 1964 [Capitol]
- Holy moly — is that a melodica on a vinyl disc from 1964? If so, then we have a new winner for earliest melodica recording. Hats off to Stu Phillips!
- Amusing to note the scandalous “McCartney-Lennon” songwriting credits, especially given that the names are reversed for “All My Loving” (what is purported by 45Cat to be the A-side).
- Record World‘s July 4, 1964 issue includes an item on page 35 entitled “Harmonica Happening” that begins thusly: “It looks as if 1964 will be the year of the harmonica. Pop, blues, country and folk musicians are all taking up the little instrument. In England its popularity with the phenomenal rock groups has the suppliers working overtime. The Beatles hit, ‘Love Me Do,’ opens with a powerful harmonica solo, and it has made spectacular headway on the charts. Mannfred Mann’s ‘5-4-3-2-1‘ relies on rhythmic harmonica work. Other English groups, such as the Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones, The Mersey Beats and The Batchelors use the harmonica as well. Sonny Terry plays his blues harmonica on his new release, ‘First Meetin’,’ on World Pacific.”
“McCartney-Lennon” songwriting credits on “Love Me Do”
AUDIO LINK for “Shrimp Boats (Jamaican Ska)” by Jerry Jackson
peaked at #134 on July 25, 1964 [Columbia]
- Newest addition to 2014 Zero to 180’s piece — “Ska in the 1960s US Market“
- “Ska beat with vocal” noted Cash Box in its May 30, 1964 issue.
- #47 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for August 1, 1964.
- Written by Paul Mason Howard & Paul Weston.
Columbia – leading up the ska charge
AUDIO LINK for “New Girl” by Accents
peaked at #128 on August 15, 1964 [m-pac!]
- Identified by Billboard as a “Breakout Single” in Atlanta, Chicago, and Detroit.
- “New Girl” was pegged by Cash Box as a “best bet” (i.e., “A”) in their record reviews from the June 20, 1964 edition — “The Accents could well jump into the national spotlight with this top-notch rhythmic multi-dance teen-angled bluesy affair about a new gal in town. Eye it closely.”
Written by Bernice Williams & Robert Hill
AUDIO LINK for “Ringo for President” by The Young World Singers
peaked at #132 on August 22, 1964 [Decca]
- Co-written by noted synthesist, Mort Garson, who was celebrated by Zero to 180 in 2018 for his mesmerizing opening/closing themes for TV’s “Untamed World.”
- Cash Box‘ informs us in their August 8, 1964 review of this “Newcomer Pick“: “‘Ringo for President,’ which started as a promo gimmick in Cleveland by a gang of Beatles fans, could stir up a national interest with exuberant and live-wire reading by The Young World Singers. A choice programming item for the coming campaign period.”
- Billboard pegged this 45 as a “Hot Pop Spotlight” in its August 8, 1964 edition with a dash of humor — “Said non-citizen Starr in reply to [the military] draft, ‘I don’t believe I will have the time.’ (And it doesn’t pay enough). Teenage version of ‘Wintergreen For President.'”
AUDIO LINK for “I Could Conquer the World” by The Shevelles
peaked at #104 on September 5, 1964 [World Artists]
- As Billboard enthused in its review of July 25, 1964: “Conquering sound from this British group. Great beat coupled with groovy lyrics.”
- This group from Wales once backed Bo Diddley and Sonny Boy Williamson, reports Record World in their September 26, 1964 issue.
- “If I Were to Conquer the World” was a “Breakout Hit” in Seattle, as reported by Billboard in its October 3, 1964 edition.
- #6 on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week of October 10, 1964.
Written by Paul Evans
AUDIO LINK for “I’m Too Poor to Die” by Louisiana Red
peaked at #117 on September 12, 1964 [Glover]
- 45 produced by Henry Glover on a label named for same.
- Kal Rudman, in his ‘Rhythm & Blues’ column for Billboard, identified “Too Poor to Die” approvingly as a “live down-home blues record” in the August 1, 1964 edition.
- #15 on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart for the week ending August 22, 1964.
- 45Cat’s mickey rat offers this 7-inch review: “Great blues with tremolo guitar, plenty of harmonica, and Red’s wry vocal. Flip is a really good R&B instro with squeaky Jimmy Reed style harp and spoken interjections. Underrated artist.”
Written by Charles Singleton, Sid Wyche, and Henry Glover
AUDIO LINK for (Say I Love You) Doo Bee Dum by The Four-Evers
peaked at #119 on September 12, 1964 [Smash]
- The Four-Evers’ best-known hit, according to Discogs, 1964’s “Be My Girl,” fooled some into believing the group was actually The Four Seasons recording under an alias.
- #25 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for September 26, 1964.
Written by Joe Di Benedetto & Steve Tudanger
AUDIO LINK for “The Dog” by Junior and the Classics
peaked at #134 on September 26, 1964 [Groove]
- This faithful cover of the Rufus Thomas hit found its way – thanks to RCA’s distribution heft – into Germany and Greece.
- “The Dog” was tagged by Billboard on October 10, 1964 as a “Breakout Single” in Milwaukee.
Q: Wasn’t this stock photo already used for The Astronauts?
AUDIO LINK for “The Invasion” by Buchanan and Greenfield
peaked at #120 on October 3, 1964 [Novel]
- This break-in record by Buchanan (and new partner) Greenfield proved to be a “Breakout Hit” in Chicago, according to Billboard in its October 3, 1964 edition.
- “The Invasion” allegedly was reissued in 1972.
AUDIO LINK for “Maybe the Last Time” [B-side] by James Brown & His Orchestra
peaked at #107 on October 10, 1964 [Smash]
- A “Spotlight Single of the Week” (in the ‘Rhythm & Blues’ category) as designated by Billboard in its July 25, 1964 edition.
- A “Breakout Single” in New York, according to Billboard‘s October 10, 1964 issue, plus “R&B National Breakout Single” as announced in Billboard‘s previous issue.
- Also identified as a “Breakout Single” by DJs in Norfolk, Nashville, and Baltimore.
American picture sleeve
vs. Germany‘s ill-fitting beat group image
AUDIO LINK for “Gale Winds” by Egyptian Combo
peaked at #103 on October 17, 1964 [Norman]
- Billboard‘s October 10, 1964 issue reports in the ‘News of the World – Cincinnati’ column that “Ray Hill, veteran record promoter now working out of Cincy, has just concluded a 1,200-mile jaunt that took him to Louisville, Nashville, St. Louis and environs. He reports success with ‘Gale Winds’ by Egyptian Combo [et al].”
- Billboard‘s October 31, 1964 edition announces “Gale Winds” as a “Breakout Single” in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
“Gale Winds” made Top 20 on Chicago’s WLS for week of Oct 23, 1964
Chart courtesy of Forgotten Hits 60s =
AUDIO LINK for “The Sloop Dance” [B-side] by The Vibrations
peaked at #109 on October 31, 1964 [Okeh]
- Says 45Cat contributor Ort. Carlton — “‘Sloop Dance’ may have been the intended B-side, but it whizzed to #4 on KQV, Pittsburgh.”
- Written by David Penn, Del Sharh & L. Goodweather.
Check out the purple promo
AUDIO LINK for “Find Another Love” by The Tams
peaked at #129 on November 7, 1964 [Arlen]
- As reported in Billboard, “Find Another Love” was a “Record to Watch,” according to WJLB’s Ernie Durham (Detroit); WMOZ’s Ruben Hughes (Mobile); WSID’s Paul ‘Fat Daddy’ Johnson (Baltimore) & WUST’s Al Bell (Washington, DC).
- “Find Another Love” was first issued on Philadelphia-based Arlen (1963) and then reissued by General American (1964) and King (1965).
- In 1980, Gusto – who owns the King catalog – reissued “Find Another Love” (albeit as a B-side) with the specious claim that the recording was “originally produced by King Records” while misspelling “Cincinnatti” to boot!
Can you spot the typo?
AUDIO LINK for “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Nina Simone
peaked at #131 on December 5, 1964 [Philips]
- As noted in Stereogum’s piece from 2015 — “21 Covers of ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,’ Rated” — this song was written by Bennie Benjamin [not the Motown drummer], Sol Marcus, and Gloria Caldwell for Nina Simone, who recorded the original version.
“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” —
Included on this 1967 EP from Iran
AUDIO LINK for “Popping Popcorn” by Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez
peaked at #132 on January 2, 1965 [Okeh]
- Says Billboard in their December 5, 1964 review — “Exciting driving beat combining rock and gospel. Should be able to pop real big commercially.”
- Cash Box‘s review in their December 5, 1964 review — “The ‘Happy Organ’ man Dave ‘Baby’ Cortez joins the Okeh roster with this new outing and chances are he’ll make an impressive initial showing. Side to watch is the exciting hand-clapping thumper, ‘Popping Popcorn,’ that sports some vocal comments along the way. Great teen hop item.”
- “Popcorn Popcorn” written by David Clowney and Teddy Vann.
“What a Shame” by The Rolling Stones
peaked at #124 on January 30, 1965 [London]
- 45Cat contributor On the Flip Side asks, “So what’s the story with the very rare [picture sleeve]? Obviously few of them printed. Only a segment of promos, or how the hell did they determine the number of sleeves run?”
- Sure enough, if you search Popsike, you will find that people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for an original picture sleeve, with one person forking over $810 in 2018 after a 52-bid volley.
- Also, what’s up with the Jagger-Richard (singular) songwriting credits on the 45 label?
AUDIO LINK for “Terry” by Twinkle
peaked at #110 on January 23, 1965 [Tollie]
- #6 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 30, 1965.
- Tollie (the VeeJay subsidiary label that issued The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” 45 in the US and credited the A & B sides as being written by “McCartney-Lennon“) apologizes for this release on the cover of the picture sleeve.
Written by Twinkle
AUDIO LINK for “Do-Do Do Bah-Ah” by Bert Keyes Orchestra & Chorus
peaked at #132 on January 30, 1965 [Clock]
- This song appears to be Bert Keyes’ fifth and final single release.
- “Do-Do Do Bah-Ah” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in the Baltimore & Washington DC markets, as reported in Billboard‘s January 16, 1965 edition.
- Cash Box‘s review in the January 16,1965 issue: “Both the Clock label and Bert Keyes can be back in the Top 100 spotlight as a result of this sensational instrumental that’s already grabbing action on the territorial level — especially in the Balt.-D.C. area. Tabbed ‘Do-Do Do Bah-Ah,’ it’s an organ-led, steady driving beat swinger that features a chorus brightly chanting the tag along the way.”
- #15 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for January 30, 1965.
Written by Maurice Shapiro
AUDIO LINK for “Don’t Answer the Door (Pts. 1 & 2)” by
The Jimmy Johnson Band with Hank Alexander
peaked at #128 on February 13,1965 [Magnum]
- “Don’t Answer the Door” – covered by B.B. King (1966) & Lonnie Brooks (1979) – was a #16 R&B hit for Jimmy Johnson, as well as a #2 R&B hit for B.B. King the following year.
- #42 on Record World‘s “Single Coming Up” chart for March 6, 1965.
- #13 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 30, 1965.
Written by Jimmy Johnson
AUDIO LINK for “Banana Juice” by The Mar-Keys
peaked at #121 on April 3, 1965 [Stax]
- In Billboard‘s April 3, 1965 edition, the word out of Memphis was that “The Mark-Kays [sic], whose new single ‘Banana Juice’ is climbing, has a European tour a-working, says Ray Brown of National Artists Attractions.” Cash Box reported the same news in their “Record Ramblings” section of the April 24, 1964 edition.
- #6 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 27, 1965.
- #32 on Record World‘s “Single Coming Up” chart for March 27, 1965.
Written by “Ed Lee” – a.k.a. Isaac Hayes
AUDIO LINK for “Tiger-A-Go-Go” by Buzz and Bucky
peaked at #107 on May 1, 1965 [Amy]
- Jan & Dean-style surf track with the unexpected lyric, “We met a California hippy who said come along with me now.”
- 45Cat contributors note other pre-1967 uses of the word “hippy” in popular song meaning simply a “hip” person (e.g., 1963’s “South Street” by The Orlons or even Benny Golson in his spoken-word intro to 1959’s “Killer Joe” by The Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet).
- “Bill Justis Productions” — 45 label.
Written by Cason & Wilkin
AUDIO LINK for “The Girl From Greenwich Village” by The Trade Winds
peaked at #129 on May 1, 1965 [Red Bird]
- Billboard had high hopes for this 45 in their Singles Reviews Spotlights, “Hot follow up to their ‘New York’s a Lonely Town‘ success is a fast-paced rocker with hit written all over it.”
- #31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 29, 1965.
- Written by Pete Andreoli and Vini Poncia.
Picture sleeve – Netherlands
AUDIO LINK for “Last Exit to Brooklyn by The Scott Bedford Four
peaked at #129 on May 8, 1965 [Joy]
- Cash Box likewise had high hopes for this 45 in their “Newcomer Picks” review — “The Scott Bedford Four can rapidly make national names for themselves with this ultra-commercial Joy item called ‘Last Exit To Brooklyn.’ The tune is a rollicking hand-clapper all about a subway-riding Lothario with an infectious repeating rhythmic riff.”
- Record World allotted “Last Exit” three stars thusly in its March 27, 1965 issue: “Song takes title from best seller, but has nothing to do with same. Rhythmic session whacked across by talented lad group.”
- B-side raises the heavy question — “Now I’m At The Top (How Do I Stay Here)”
Written by M. Deborah & G. Goehring
“It Hurts Me Too” by Elmore James
peaked at #106 on May 22, 1965 [Enjoy]
- Wiki: “When released in 1965, two years after James’ death, “It Hurts Me Too” spent eight weeks in the R&B chart, where it reached No. 25. The song also appeared in the Billboard Pop chart at No. 106, which was James’ only single to do so.”
- Notes 45Cat’s mickey rat: “This is Elmore’s second version of ‘It Hurts Me Too’ — recorded in Feb 1963 (three months before his death) for Bobby Robinson in New York.”
Written by Elmore James
AUDIO LINK for “Nau Ninny Nau” by Cannibal and the Headhunters
peaked at #133 on June 26, 1965 [Rampart]
- Billboard‘s June 12, 1965 review: “‘The Land of 1000 Dances‘ group is back with a stronger piece of catchy dance material. Well produced and performed novelty.”
- Record World‘s June 12 1965 review: “Nonsense title will mean no nonsense at the counters when teens hear this Cannibal and friends follow up. Thick dancing fun.”
- #38 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 26, 1965.
Written by Max Uballez, Garcia & Davis
AUDIO LINK for “Happy Feet Time” by The Monclairs
peaked at #108 on July 10, 1965 [Sunburst]
- First released April 1965 on Cleveland label, Sunburst, (where it was a “Regional Breakout Hit“) then issued on Atlantic subsidiary, Atco, for national/international distribution.
- Pegged by Billboard on July 10, 1965 as a “New Action R&B Single,” i.e., “registering solid sales in certain markets and appearing to be a week away from meriting a listing on the national Top 40 R&B Singles chart.”
- #96 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for July 17, 1965.
- #30 on Record World‘s Top 40 R&B chart for the week of July 24, 1965.
- Written by Don Gregory Jones.
1966 single – France
AUDIO LINK for “Un-Wind the Twine” by Alvin Cash & the Crawlers
peaked at #134 on July 24, 1965 [Mar-V-Lus]
- Alvin Cash (of “Twine Time” fame) and the Crawlers breathe new life into the Twine thing.
- Cash Box‘s review in the June 26, 1965 issue: “Alvin Cash and the Crawlers are a cinch to continue their best-selling ways (they had “Barracuda” last time out) with this first-rate new entry labeled “Un-Wind The Twine.” The tune’s a medium-paced pop-r&b funky slow-rocker with a terpsichorean-oriented infectious beat.
- KGFJ’s Al Scott in Los Angeles (one of the “Top R&B Jockeys”) pegged this song as a Pick-of-the-Week in Billboard‘s July 24, 1965 edition.
Written by Harold Burrage, James L. Jones & Otha Hayes
AUDIO LINK for “Whittier Boulevard” by Thee Midnighters
peaked at #127 on September 4, 1965 [Chattahoochee]
- Is it possible that this 45 was released locally by Whittier and then picked up by Chattahoochie for broader distribution?
- Mandalit del Barco, in her report for Oregon Public Broadcasting, “The Story of Whittier Blvd.’ – A Song and Place Where Latino Youth Found Each Other“: “‘Whittier Blvd.’ by the group Thee Midnighters, became a cultural signpost for young Mexican-Americans — in the 1960s and the years that followed, in Los Angeles and beyond.” [6-minute radio piece]
Written by Thee Midnighters
“Sea Cruise” by The Hondells
peaked at #131 on October 16, 1965 [Mercury]
- Both sides of this 45 produced by Mike Curb.
- “Sea Cruise” was a Top Ten hit in Singapore throughout November 1965.
AUDIO LINK for “The Last Thing On My Mind” by The Vejtables
peaked at #117 on November 27, 1965 [Autumn]
- Written by Tom Paxton and produced by Marty Cooper (of “Hamburger Patti” fame).
- Says Cash Box in their review published in the November 13, 1965 edition — “The folk-rock field has been greatly enhanced by this fine group, which had a recent noise-maker, ‘I Still Love You.’ Top end here, ‘The Last Thing On My Mind,’ should put the team into deeper chart territory. It’s infectious with a catch-on-quickly manner.”
- “Last Thing on My Mind” was a “Breakout Single” in San Francisco, according to Billboard in their November 27, 1965 edition.
- #28 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for December 18, 1965.
1965 French EP sold for £184 ($207) in 2016
AUDIO LINK for “Party People” by Ray Stevens
peaked at #130 on December 18, 1965 [Monument]
- “Party People” is a 45-only track (that would later be issued on compact disc) on Stevens’ first single for Monument after leaving Mercury.
- Says Billboard , who predicted the A-side to reach the Top 60, “Well-written lyric material from the pen of Joe South serves as a pop, driving production number that should spiral Stevens rapidly up the chart.”
- Kal Rudman, in his “Money Music” column for Record World, noted in the December 18, 1965 issue — “‘Party People,’ Ray Stevens, Monument, is a fine record that is getting lost.”
- #30 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 1, 1966.
AUDIO for “(You Got) The Gamma Goochee” by The Kingsmen
peaked at #122 on December 25, 1965 [Wand]
- Billboard‘s review believes “Gamma Goochie” to be the the flip side — and yet (near) universal consensus this song was intended as the A-side.
- #96 on Record World‘s “100 Top Pops” chart for December 18, 1965.
- #6 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 1, 1966.
AUDIO LINK for “A Beginning From An End” by Jan and Dean
peaked at #109 on January 1, 1966 [Liberty]
- Includes a spoken-word middle section “rap” that sounds straight out of the (loopy and unreleased) Filet of Soul sessions.
- #94 on Record World‘s “100 Top Pops” chart for January 29, 1966.
Written by Jan Berry, Roger Christian, Cleve Hermann & George Tipton
AUDIO LINK for “Where Did She Go” by Steff
peaked at #124 on January 22, 1966 [Epic]
- According to Discogs, Steff is a “German singer, born on December 27, 1943 in China. Later he worked and lived in France, Germany and since the 60’s in Switzerland. He also runs his own studio and worked as an engineer and producer in between his singing career” — link to his website.
- 45Cat’s Ort. Carlton says this track was a “HUGE hit in Atlanta” where “WQXI played it for weeks.”
- Written by Stephen “Steff” Sulke — produced by Buddy Killen.
AUDIO LINK for “You Bring Me Down” by The Royalettes
peaked at #116 on February 5, 1966 [MGM]
- Written by Bobby Weinstein with Teddy Randazzo, who also arranged, conducted, and produced.
- Billboard‘s review in their January 29, 1966 edition — “This big production rhythm ballad soulfully performed has more potential than their initial single, ‘It’s Gonna Take a Miracle.’ Well produced and performed.”
- #11 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for February 12, 1966 (“‘You Bring Me Down,’ Royalettes, MGM, has been picked up by almost everyone and is the pick at KATZ, is Top Pick at CKLW, Detroit, plus other big stations.”)
- #29 on Record World‘s Top 40 R&B chart for February 12, 1966.
Picture sleeve for the US market
AUDIO LINK for “Ever See A Diver Kiss His Wife While The Bubbles
Bounce About Above the Water” by Shirley Ellis
peaked at #135 on February 5, 1966 [Congress]
- Clearly, among the longest song titles in pop music — although 45Cat’s RecordDragon points to this Jimmy Boyd A-side as a contender for the longest bracketed title: “(I’ve Got Those ‘Wake Up, Seven-Thirty – Wash Your Ears, They’re Dirty – Eat Your Eggs And Oatmeal – Rush To School’) Blues.”
- Could this unseat the reigning champion for “Most Ungainly Song Title Award“?
Written by Lincoln Chase & Shirley Elliston
AUDIO LINK for “That’s Part of the Game” by The Daytrippers
peaked at #129 on February 26, 1966 [Karate/American Music Makers]
- Cash Box‘s review in their February 12, 1966 edition is optimistic — “The A-side is a hard-driving rhythmic teen-angled ode which advises a Live-and-Let-Live attitude in romantic situations.”
- Originally released on scrappy Pittsburgh indie label, American Music Makers, before being picked up by NYC-based Karate for broader distribution.
- #47 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for March 5, 1966 — plus, this review from the same edition: “Contemporary rock number with all the right touches to make a hit. Good beat, good bet.”
Written by Eddie Rossi
AUDIO LINK for “Don’t Push Me” by Hedgehoppers Anonymous
peaked at #110 on March 19, 1966 [Parrot]
- UK beat group who, according to Discogs, “formed in November 1963 as The Trendsetters, and became The Hedgehoppers the following year. Jonathan King took over their record production in 1965, and added “Anonymous” to their name when they said they were popular in Peterborough, and did not want to change their name completely.”
- According to 45Cat’s kimbozw, “chart peaks for this included #15 in South Africa, #17 in Sweden, and #110 in the USA.”
- #9 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for April 2, 1966.
- #24 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 26, 1966.
- Written and produced by Jonathan King.
Rhodesia — 1966
AUDIO LINK for “Daddy’s Baby” by Ted Taylor
peaked at #129 on March 26, 1966 [Okeh]
- “Daddy’s Baby” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in Baltimore, as reported in Billboard‘s October 22, 1966 edition.
- Cash Box‘s review in their February 26, 1966 edition — “R&B histmaker Ted Taylor has a strong hard rocking shouter here. Groovy working backing the wild chant makes this a strong entry.”
- #46 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for March 5, 1966.
Written by Ted Taylor – Produced by Billy Sherrill
AUDIO LINK for “I’m a Good Guy” by The C.O.D.’s
peaked at #128 on April 2, 1966 [Kellmac]
- The C.O.D.’s with Paul Bascomb and Orchestra.
- #32 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for April 30, 1966.
- Distributed by One-Derful Records.
Written by Larry Brownlee & The COD’s
AUDIO LINK for “I Lie Awake” by The New Colony Six
peaked at #111 on April 16, 1966 [Centaur]
- #9 position on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (May 14, 1966).
- #9 position on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart (May 28, 1966).
- “I Lie Awake” was a regional hit in Chicago in April/May 1966, as reported in Billboard.
- Video clip of New Colony Six on Chicago “kiddie” TV show singing “I Lie Awake” in 1966.
- According to 45Cat’s NC6freak: “‘I Lie Awake’ was originally the intended ‘B’ side of ‘At The River’s Edge,’ but a Chicago-area radio station held a listener contest to determine which side of this New Colony Six 45 should be the ‘A’ side, and strangely enough, ‘I Lie Awake’ won out. So radio jocks started playing this side as the hit side. Also, the 45 of ‘I Lie Awake’/’At The River’s Edge’ was originally issued on the ‘Centaur’ spelling label, but the spelling of the label name was soon changed to ‘Sentaur,’ due to a dispute concerning ownership of the label name with another record label in New York that was also claiming to own the Centaur name.”
Written by Jerry Kollenburg & Ray Graffia
AUDIO LINK for “It Ain’t Necessary” by Mamie Galore
peaked at #132 on April 23, 1966 [St. Lawrence]
- #30 position on “Singles Coming Up” in Record World‘s May 7, 1966 edition.
- According to Robert Pruter in Chicago Soul: “The singer was born Mamie Davis in Erwin, Mississippi, on September 24, 1940. She began singing in church and school, graduating from O’Bannon High in Greenville, Mississippi, in 1958. She joined a local band, Herman Scott and the Swinging Kings, and worked with them until 1961. Then for a year Davis worked with Ike and Tina Turner Review. From 1962 until 1965 she toured with the Little Milton Band and ended up in Chicago where Little Milton was making his home and recording.”
Written by Jerry Butler, Council Gay & Sylvester Potts
AUDIO LINK for “I’ve Got a Secret” by The Sharpees
peaked at #133 on May 7, 1966 [One-derful!]
- Record World‘s review in their April 30, 1966 edition: “Ballad is in R&B groove, but a strong, strong bet for plenty of pop play. Very sharp.”
- Cash Box‘s review in their April 30, 1966 edition: “The Sharpees let loose with a generous portion of R&B wailing on this lid. Spicing the side with a contagious jerk-tempo rhythm, the group could do well among teen buyers.”
Written by Eddie Silvers
AUDIO LINK for “Wigglin’ and Gigglin’” by Roy Head
peaked at #110 on May 21, 1966 [Back Beat]
- “Wigglin’ and Gigglin'” made the Top 40 on Houston’s KYOK AM during the week of May 12, 1966.
- This Billboard ad for Don Robey’s Duke and Backbeat Records playfully emphasizes the “freshness” of this latest Roy Head recording: “First fresh cut record since ‘Treat Her Right.’ All later releases on Roy Head were old ‘off the shelf.’ This is fresh from the studio. Acclaimed by many to become a ‘Top 10’ picked before it was released …”
- Record World‘s review in the May 7, 1966 issue: “Roy Head looks like he’s back in the big money with this bouncy rock number, ‘Wigglin’ and Gigglin’. Has top beat and message to teen girls and boys.”
- #26 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 28, 1966.
- #15 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 2, 1966.
- Cash Box‘s June 11, 1966 issue reports that “Roy Head whose latest for Backbeat is ‘Wigglin’ and Gigglin’’ is off on a personal appearance and TV promo tour of the Southwest and will then head East.”
Written by Bobby Stevenson & June Cordae – Arranged & conducted by Gene Kurtz
“A Street That Rhymes at Six A.M.” by Norma Tanega
peaked at #129 on May 21, 1966 [New Voice]
- Norma Tanega perhaps better known for “Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog” also from 1966.
- “Street That Rhymes at Six A.M.” — arranged, produced & conducted by Herb Bernstein for Bob Crewe Productions — was released in the US, Canada, and South Africa.
- Predicted to reach the Top 60, Billboard writes in its review — “Off-beat lyric ballad penned by Miss Tanega that swings in the same vein as ‘Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog.'”
- #20 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 28, 1966.
- #26 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for June 18, 1966.
- Virgo issued “Walkin’ My Cat” b/w “Street That Rhymes” in 1972 (and rightly so).
Written by the two Normas: Tanega & Kutzer
AUDIO LINK for “What’s A Nice Kid Like You Doing In A Place Like This?”
by Scatman Crothers
peaked at #129 on May 21, 1966 [HBR]
- Released on Hanna Barbera’s own record label, primary reason being that the recording comes from the Hanna-Barbera TV special “(The New) Alice in Wonderland, or, What’s a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?”
- 45Cat notes that “the special originally aired Wednesday, March 30, 1966 at 7:00 pm Eastern time on ABC-TV and was sponsored by Rexall Pharmacies and the Coca-Cola Company.”
- #31 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 14, 1966.
Written by Lee Adams & Charles Strouse
AUDIO LINK for “I Feel Good” by The Sheep
peaked at #130 on May 28, 1966 [Boom]
- The Sheep are a songwriting and production team — Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer (i.e, soon to be Seymour Stein’s Sire partner) — who had previously musically incarnated as The Strangeloves (pretending to be Australian brothers), best known for “I Want Candy.”
- Billboard, who predicted this song to reach the Top 60, offered this critique — “Pulsating dance beat rocker aimed at the teen market should equal their initial disk click [i.e., debut 45 ‘Hide and Seek‘].”
- #36 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 28, 1966.
Written by L. Lee
“It’s You Alone” by The Wailers
peaked at #118 on June 11, 1966 [United Artists/Etiquette]
- YouTube clip above includes historic images of the legendary “Galloping Gertie,” the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that met a watery doom in the fall of 1940.
- The “It’s You Alone” 45 appears to have initially released on Etiquette and then picked up by United Artists for national distribution.
- A-side hits Top 5 in Seattle, as reported by Billboard in its May 7, 1966 edition — also a “Regional Breakout” hit in the San Francisco area.
- Record World‘s review in the May 7, 1966 issue: “United Artists picked ‘It’s You Alone’ up in Seattle where it was making a lot of noise. Has a haunting folk quality geared to hypnotize teenagers.”
Written by Ron Davies
AUDIO for “Sock It To ’em J.B. (Pt. 1)” by Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers
peaked at #110 on June 25, 1966 [Like]
- Song title and concept works on two levels, in that “J.B.” = James Brown and James Bond.
- Billboard was initially optimistic about this 45’s prospects in its review — “Unique, blues-tinged rocker with excellent sax backing could prove a big one. Disk [label] is distributed by Atlantic.”
- “Regional Breakout Single” in Pittsburgh and Atlanta, according to Billboard.
- #30 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for July 9, 1966.
- #17 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for August 13, 1966.
- Written by Rex Garvin, Clayton Dunn & Pete Holman
Distributed internationally by Atlantic – including Nigeria
Note: Rex Garvin is misspelled as “Rex Carvin
AUDIO LINK for “Look at Me Girl” by The Playboys of Edinburg
peaked at #108 on July 16, 1966 [Columbia/Pharaoh]
- Single appears to have been released on McAllen, Texas-based label, Pharaoh, then picked up by Columbia for wider distribution.
- “Regional Breakout Single” in Houston, so says Billboard, whose review in the July 2, 1966 edition enthuses — “Exciting debut for the American group with the British sound. High-pitched, well-blended vocal and teen dance combined for a chart-busting number.”
- #67 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for August 6, 1966.
- #11 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for August 6, 1966.
Written by James Lewis Williams
“El Pito” by Joe Cuba Sextet
peaked at #115 on August 6, 1966 [Tico]
- “‘El Pito’ Makes the Chart — Thanks to R&B Stations,” reports Billboard in its August 13, 1966 edition: “The Latin American-flavored r&b record by Joe Cuba has received heavy airplay in New York on r&b and jazz radio stations. ‘We’ve sold 70,000 in New York alone, said Red Schwartz, national promotion chief of Roulette Records and its Tico subsidiary. George Wilson, program director of WHAT, in Philadelphia, heard it being played on a visit here. He telephoned me from Philadephia saying he’d make it a pick of the week if I’d send him some copies to play. I sent him a couple of copies and band, the record spread like wildfire.”
- Tomas Fundora in his “El Mundo Del Disco” column for the May 14, 1966 issue of Record World writes — “‘El Pito’ por Joe Cuba y su Septeto está ‘acabando’ en el mercado.”
- #4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for August 20, 1966.
- #33 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for July 30, 1966.
- “El Pito” — written by Jaime Sabater — is taken from the LP Estamos Haciendo Algo Bien! (We Must Be Doing Something Right)
Cash Box ad from July 1966
AUDIO LINK for “She Ain’t Lovin’ You” by The Distant Cousins
peaked at #102 on August 27, 1966 [Date]
- Arranged & conducted by Herb Bernstein for Bob Crewe, the song’s co-composer, with The Distant Cousins — Larry Brown (from Milledgeville, Georgia) and Raymond Bloodworth (from Newark, NJ) — who met while serving with the US Army Signal Corps at training school where, Billboard informs us, they were assigned alphabetically.
- Cash Box mini-bio courtesy of 45Cat:
“The Distant Cousins are Raymond LaFayette Bloodworth and Lawrence Russell Brown. They met while both were stationed with the US Army in Paris, won a talent contest, and went on a tour of Army installations throughout Europe. After the Army hitch, they came to New York to launch a career of singing and song writing. The Distant Cousins’ current Date release of ‘She Ain’t Loving You’ is number 92 on this week’s Top 100.
Lawrence was born on June 29, 1945 in Newark, NJ and Ray was born May 18, 1944 in Milledgeville, GA. Both boys list Hank Williams among their favorite composers and Chet Atkins among their favorite instrumentalists. Lawrence and Ray are both staff writers for the Saturday Music company. The Distant Cousins consider Bob Crewe to have been the greatest influence on their career.”
- Billboard reported on August 27, 1966 that The Distant Cousins are “on promotional tour in Pittsburgh and Cleveland where the disc is way out front!”
- #90 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for September 17, 1966.
- #37 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for September 10, 1966.
Written by Bob Crewe, Lawrence R. Brown & Raymond L. Bloodworth
AUDIO LINK for “Love’s Gone Bad” by Chris Clark
peaked at #105 on October 1, 1966 [V.I.P.]
- “Regional Breakout Single” in St. Louis, according to Billboard, from Chris Clark, one of Motown’s lesser-known “blue-eyed” recording artists (November 12, 1966).
- “Love’s Gone Bad,” notes Cash Box, is “making inroads in several important Canadian centres and is shaping up through exposure on CKLG, Vancouver.”
- According to Discogs, “Clark became famous in England as the ‘white Negress’ (a nickname meant as a compliment), since she toured with fellow Motown artists.”
- Written by Holland-Dozier-Holland. (who would later receive the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame).
- #33 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 8, 1966.
- #49 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart for October 8, 1966.
AUDIO LINK for “The Willy” by The Willies
peaked at #113 on October 8, 1966 [Co & Ce]
- This 45 appears to have been released by Hollywood indie Blue River (where it was the B-side) before getting a 2nd release in September on Pittsburgh-based Co & Ce (where it was the A-side) for East Coast distribution.
- “Breakout Single” in Pittsburgh, as reported in Billboard‘s October 8, 1966 edition.
- Reached the #95 position on Cash Box‘s Top 100 chart for November 19, 1966.
- Record World‘s review in the September 24, 1966 issue: “Teens will be getting the willies in the best way possible when they hear this gay rock cut.”
- Classic 45s declares, “Terrific bubblegum silliness on the A side.”
- Written by Sid Robin.
Definitely not one of the British Invasion groups
AUDIO LINK for “Love Is a Bird” by The Knickerbockers
peaked at #133 on October 22, 1966 [Challenge]
- Beautiful effect on the guitar during the bridge that gives a sitar-like sound.
- “You’re gonna get hurt if you try to cage it, you’ll just enrage it” (love is a bird, you know).
- Billboard notes in its October 8, 1966 review — “Back in the groove of ‘Lies,’ the group should have no trouble shooting up the chart with this swinger.”
- Cash Box‘s November 12, 1966 issue reported from Toronto that “Al Mair is in high glee over CKFH action on his Challenge single, “Love Is A Bird” by the Knickerbockers.”
- Engineered by Bruce Botnick (famed for his work with The Doors) — flip side “Gossip, Rumors, Words Untrue” penned by the producer, Jerry Fuller.
Written by Jimmy Seals (of Seals & Croft fame)
“She Digs My Love” by The Sir Douglas Quintet
peaked at #132 on October 29, 1966 [Tribe]
- “She Digs My Love” — recorded at Pasadena Sounds in Pasadena, Texas — is a 45-only track that is now available on CD.
- “Chart Spotlight” for the week of October 22, 1966 — predicted by Billboard to reach the Hot 100.
- Five By Five covered “She Digs My Love” in 1968.
Written by Doug Sahm
“Hymn #5” by The Mighty Hannibal
peaked at #115 on November 19, 1966 [Josie]
- Originally released on Atlanta’s Shurfine (soul label founded by Wendell Parker) — single then got picked up by Josie (subsidiary of Jubilee) for national distribution.
- Cash Box‘s October 15, 1966 review declared that “Mighty Hannibal should get a warm reception with this snail-paced, blues-oriented, shuffling, gospelesque, chant-like, wailer about a soldier in Vietnam.”
- Light in the Attic points out that “this commentary on the effects of the Vietnam War on servicemen” was The Mighty Hannibal’s biggest hit, despite the fact that it was “banned on radio.”
- #84 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for November 5, 1966.
- #26 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for November 26, 1966.
- #87 on Record World‘s 100 Top Pops chart for November 26, 1966.
- #24 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart for November 26, 1966.
- #21 on Billboard‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for December 3, 1966.
- Written by James T. Shaw — produced by Wendell Parker.
Italy — 1966
AUDIO LINK for “Bears” by The Fastest Group Alive
peaked at #133 on November 26, 1966
- According to Psychedelicized.com, “There isn’t very much known about the Fastest Group Alive. The band had a regional hit in the Northwest USA with ‘Bears’ in 1966. The Fastest Group Alive consisted of Jeff Thomas, Daniel Moore, Matthew Moore, and James Flemming Rasmussen. The band recorded two singles for the Valiant label.”
- Original 45 released on Seattle-based Teem label, before the masters were purchased by Valiant, as reported in Billboard. Curious to note that the “Bears” 45 appears to be Teem’s entire recorded output.
- Record World deemed this 45 four stars in its November 5, 1966 issue thusly: “Side is kind of nutty, but that’s just what’s taking teen fancies these days.”
- #23 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 10, 1966.
AUDIO LINK for “I’m Your Bread Maker, Baby” by Slim Harpo
peaked at #116 on December 1, 1966 [Excello]
- “Regional Breakout Single” in Milwaukee, as reported by Billboard., who predicted the song to go Top 10 R&B in their review — “This wild, wailing number is a topper for ‘Baby, Scratch My Back‘ and should meet with a fast sales impact. Much pop potential as well.”
- #43 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart for December 10, 1966.
- #34 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for December 24, 1966.
- Part of a three-way tie for last place (#100) on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for December 17, 1966.
AUDIO LINK for “Smashed! Blocked!” by John’s Children
peaked at #102 on December 1, 1966 [While Whale]
- Written by John Hewlett and Simon Napier-Bell.
- “Regional Breakout Single” in Los Angeles, as reported by Billboard.
- Record World‘s review in the November 26, 1966 issue: “About a fellow going crazy and instruments do the same. Wild thing will wow. Strange changes.”
- News item in the November 12, 1966 issue of Cash Box:
“LOS ANGELES — The Yardbirds’ producer and personal manager, Simon Napier-Bell, has signed his major discovery recording group, John’s Children, with White Whale Records, Inc. John’s Children’s first release in the U.S. will be ‘Smashed! Blocked! (The Love I Thought I’d Found).’ The startling single, just released in England and France, is meeting with tremendous acclaim, according to Ted Feigen and Lee Lassoff, heads of White Whale Records, Inc.
John’s Children have recently completed a SRO tour of England and France. Because of the response to the new group, Premier Talent Associates in New York has booked a major tour for them in the States with the Yardbirds in Dec.
‘John’s Children express best the new generation in England. ‘Their startling sound and their social significance should have the same impact on the States as in England and the continent,’ comments Simon Napier-Bell.”
Chart courtesy of So Many Records, So Little Time
AUDIO LINK for “Plain Jane” by B.J. Thomas
peaked at #129 on December 17, 1966 [Scepter]
- Subject of Zero to 180’s piece from 2014 — “Plain Jane”: Mean People Suck.
- Worth noting that Pacemaker, B.J. Thomas’s label prior to Scepter, also released “Plain Jane” that same year — different recordings, I wonder? Same producer listed on both 45 releases, so I doubt it.
- #30 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for January 7, 1967.
Written by Marc Charron
AUDIO LINK for “Grits ‘n’ Corn Bread” by The Soul Runners
peaked at #103 on January 14, 1967 [MoSoul]
- “Grits ‘n’ Corn Bread” — featured in Zero to 180’s musical salute to grits.
- The Soul Runners changed their name to The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band in 1967.
- #23 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for February 18, 1967.
- #22 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for January 28, 1967.
- #100 on Record World‘s 100 Top Pops chart for February 4, 1967.
- Written by Fred Smith and Nathaniel Nathan.
Sole non-US release?
AUDIO LINK for “Life Is Groovy” by The United States Double Quartet =
The Tokens + Kirby Stone Four
peaked at #110 on January 28, 1967 [B.T. Puppy]
- Two quartets — The Tokens and The Kirby Stone Four — for the price of one.
- This song ranked 23rd in Billboard‘s Top 40 of the “best selling middle-of-the-road singles” for the week of February 11, 1967.
- #37 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 18, 1967.
- Album review in the July 26, 1969 issue of Record World: “This is a successful pairing of The Tokens and The Kirby Stone Four, who together make up the United States Double Quartet. Beautiful vocal treatments are their forte, and they make the most of ‘Yellow Submarine,’ ‘Up Up and Away,’ ‘Mrs. Robinson,’ ‘Those Were the Days,’ and more tasties.”
- Written by S. Finz and R. Affoumado — produced by The Tokens.
French EP — 1967
AUDIO LINK for “Ballad of Walter Wart” by The Thorndike Pickledish Choir
peaked at #131 on February 4, 1967 [MTA]
- “Thorndike Pickledish” is the alter ego of Seattle disk jockey, Robert O. Smith, who says “the record was responsible for me coming to the attention of the KJR (Seattle) management and was, in part, responsible for my moving from KMBY in Monterey.”
- “Ballad of Walter Wart” was a “Breakout Regional Single” in Seattle, as well as the Twin Cities area.
- News item in the December 24, 1966 issue of Record World: “MTA Records has released ‘The Ballad of Walter Wart’ by the Thorndike Pickledish Choir with an exclusive leasing arrangement with Golden State Recorders in San Francisco. Plans are in the works for merchandising of Walter Wart sweat shirts and tee shirts and also for a feature cartoon serial of the ‘Adventures of Walter Wart.'”
- Written and produced by Robert O. Smith.
Can you spot the typo?
AUDIO LINK for “Rain Rain Go Away” by Lee Dorsey
peaked at #105 on February 4, 1967 [Amy]
- 45-only track penned by Allan Toussaint that would be included later on Sundazed’s CD reissue of 1966’s Working in the Coalmine — Holy Cow album.
- “Regional Breakout Single” in Baltimore, as reported by Billboard, who predicted this song to reach the Top 60 in its review — “Right in the groove of his “Holy Cow” and “Coal Mine” hits is this pulsating rhythm rocker, which should bring Dorsey back onto the Hot 100 in a hurry.”
- #28 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for February 11, 1967.
1967 EP – France
AUDIO LINK for “What’s That Got to Do With Me” by Jim and Jean
peaked at #123 on March 18, 1967 [Verve Folkways]
According to Vancouver Signature Sounds” —
- Jim & Jean were a folk duo composed of Jim Glover, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, born in 1942, and New Yorker, Jean Ray, who was born in 1941.
- Glover, while attending Ohio State University, met Phil Ochs, who would write the liner notes for the duo’s debut album.
- After their second album, Jim & Jean released what, at the time, was a non-album single titled “What’s That Got To Do With Me.”
- “What’s That Got To Do With Me” peaked in the Top 30 in San Jose, San Francisco, San Bernardino and Seattle, while making the Top 20 in Santa Rosa (#16), San Diego (#15) and Vancouver (#11). Its best chart run was in Madison, Wisconsin, where the song reached #7.
Written by Jim Glover
AUDIO for “Go Go Radio Moscow” by Nikita the K & the Friends of Ed Labunski
peaked at #105 on March 25, 1967 [Warner Bros.]
- This break-in record purports to be a broadcast of Radio Moscow, featuring Soviet Premier (and zany disk jockey) Nikita the K.
- 45 features parodies of “Tell It To The Rain” by The Four Seasons, “Georgy Girl” by The Seekers, and “We Ain’t Got Nothin’ Yet” by The Blues Magoos.
- Cash Box‘s review in their March 11, 1967 issue — “Top 40 radio gets the ‘comrade-ly’ treatment in this winning spoof. A highly commercial item, the lid should definitely be in for heavy airplay and top-notch sales.”
Written by Ed Labunski & Hal Deeben
AUDIO LINK for “California On My Mind” by The Coastliners
peaked at #115 on April 8, 1967 [D.E.A.R.]
- Note the far-out phasing used for effect in the chorus.
- Says Cash Box in its February 18, 1967 review — “Spirited, rhythmic melody-rocker could do good things for the Coastliners. Chart material.”
- Notes Record World in its February 18, 1967 review — “California has been a meaningful chart name and this new cut could rock onto charts with the trend.”
Written, arranged & produced by Fred Carroll
AUDIO LINK for “Double Yellow Line” by The Music Machine
peaked at #111 on May 13, 1967 [Original Sound]
- Writes Billboard in its April 22, 1967 review: “Smooth rocker with groovy organ work and wailing vocal workout will have no trouble spiraling the ‘Talk Talk‘ group back up the charts.”
- Record World‘s April 22, 1967 review: “Nitty gritty side from the coast groove groovers. Will stir action.”
- #32 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 6, 1967.
- Last place (#100) on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for May 20, 1967.
Written by Sean Bonniwell – produced by Brian Ross
AUDIO for “Four Walls (Three Windows & Two Doors)” by J.J. Jackson
peaked at #123 on July 15, 1967 [Calla]
- “Four Walls” peaked at #17 on Billboard‘s R&B chart.
- #82 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending July 29, 1967.
- #14 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles for the week ending July 29, 1967.
- Released two years later by Warner Brothers as the B-side to “That Ain’t Right.”
- “Four Walls” produced by Lew Futterman & Windsor King — arranged and conducted by J.J. Jackson.
Written by King & Jackson
AUDIO LINK for “Sally Sayin’ Somethin’” by Billy Harner
peaked at #118 on August 19, 1967 [Kama Sutra]
- Delaware Liberal awarded this track “Song of the Day” last September and provided some historical background: “If you didn’t live in the Philadelphia area, you might not know this Northern Soul classic, but it was all over WIBG in the summer of ’67. It also charted in New York and LA, but failed to break out nationally. It probably didn’t help that Harner was such a big draw at the Jersey Shore that he didn’t have to tour outside the region (he was the last headliner at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier).”
- Needless to say, a “Regional Breakout Single” in Philadelphia, as reported in Billboard‘s July 22, 1967 edition.
- #5 on Record World‘s “Singles Comes Up” chart for August 19, 1967.
- Written by Poltergeist and Sunshine.
AUDIO LINK for “Heavy Music (Pt. 1)” by Bob Seger & the Last Heard
peaked at #103 on September 9, 1967 [Cameo]
- #73 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending October 7, 1967.
- Written by Bob Seger.
German 45 — 1967
“As Long As You’re Here” by Zalman Yanovsky
peaked at #101 on October 7, 1967 [Buddah]
- Concluding images of this bizarro video for “As Long As You’re Here” (by the lead guitarist for The Lovin’ Spoonful) include historic footage of the legendary “Galloping Gertie,” the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge that met a watery doom in the fall of 1940.
September 23, 1967
- Bet you won’t flinch when I inform you that the B-side is merely the A-side played backwards (a 7-inch phenomenon that has been addressed in prior posts).
September 30, 1967
- News item – “Buddah Signs Zal” – in Record World‘s September 23, 1967 issue:
NEW YORK — Charles Koppelman and Don Rubin, exclusive producers for Zal Yanovsky, former lead guitarist for the Lovin’ Spoonful, revealed that they have signed a long term, exclusive recording contract for Yanovsky with Kama Sutra Productions through Koppelman-Rubin Associates. Joint announcement was made with Kama Sutra toppers Artie Ripp, Hy Mizrahi and Phil Steinberg, together with Charles Koppelman and Don Rubin.
Neil Bogart, Kama Sutra and Buddah General Manager, announced that the first single under the new agreement, ‘As Long As You’re Here,’ is due for immediate release. Bogart said an initial pressing of 100,000 copies is ready for shipment.
Artie Ripp said that Yanovsky will receive an all-out publicity and promotion campaign to kick off the first release. ‘Zally is a great talent,’ he said, ‘and we’re with him all the way. He’s going to be established as a major record artist.”
Both sides of the single were written by the hot team of Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, who wrote three huge hits for The Turtles, and the current chart singles by Petula Clark (‘Cat in the Window‘) and Gary Lewis & the Playboys (‘Jill‘).
In charge of production of all Yanovsky releases will be Koppelman-Rubin executive producer Jack Nitzsche. Nitzsche revealed that a Yanovsky album is now in the process of being recorded and will feature several songs written by the guitarist-singer.
November 9, 1967
- “As Long As You’re Here,” produced and arranged by Jack Nitzsche, is a 45-only release not found on Yanovsky’s lone solo album, Alive and Well in Argentina — except on the Japanese and UK reissues.
45 — France
AUDIO LINK for “Hunk of Funk” by Gene Dozier and the Brotherhood
peaked at #121 on October 7, 1967 [Minit]
- “Regional Breakout Single” in the Washington, DC area, as reported by Billboard (October 14, 1967).
- #46 on Billboard‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for October 28, 1967.
- #44 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for September 16, 1967.
- #32 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for September 30, 1967.
- #41 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for November 11, 1967.
- Written by Billy Jackson.
A-side when released in Germany –
and yet no mention on the cover!
AUDIO LINK for “Sand” [B-side] by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood
peaked at #107 on October 28, 1967 [Reprise]
- Written & produced by Lee Hazlewood and arranged by Billy Strange,
- “Sand” — the B-side for “Lady Bird” — includes a backwards guitar break.
- News item – “Criterion Rep in Hazlewood Catalog Push” – published in Billboard‘s October 21, 1967 edition:
PARIS — Back from a seven-week trip to Hollywood, Jack Robinson, Criterion’s representative in France, is making plans to achieve comprehensive exploitation of the Lee Hazlewood catalog in the French-speaking territories.
While in Hollywood, Robinson signed with Hazlewood’s new ASCAP publishing firm to represent the catalog in France. Hazlewood’s company is working on adaptations of French songs, which Robinson took with him to Hollywood.
Robinson also signed a contract with Michael H. Goldsen to act as managing agent in Europe for Criterion.
Meanwhile, Polydor has released a Lee Hazlewood single “Sand” b/w “My Baby Cried All Night Long,” and Robinson reports that he has lined up eight or nine French recordings of Hazlewood songs. Marcel Amont has recorded ‘The Girls in Paris‘ for Polydor and Joe Dassin has recorded ‘Comma La Lune‘ (Four Kinds of Lonely) for CBS.
Robinson also reported that Nancy Sinatra would be recording her Hazlewood hits in French.
- Top 10 hit in Thailand, as reported by Billboard in their December 2, 1967 edition.
Art nouveau picture sleeve – Netherlands
AUDIO LINK for “I Want Some More” by Jon and Robin and the In Crowd
peaked at #108 on November 4, 1967 [Abnak]
- “Regional Breakout Single” in Nashville and Houston, as reported in Billboard.
- #61 on Record World‘s Top 100 Pops chart for December 2, 1967.
- #15 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for November 25, 1967.
- Both Sides Now Publications has the back story — “Dallas, Texas-based Abnak Records was part of Abnak Music Enterprises, Inc., founded by successful Fort Worth insurance man John H. Abdnor, Sr. His son, John Howard Abdnor, Jr., otherwise known as Jon Abnor, was a part of the duo Jon & Robin. The elder Abdnor apparently started the label as a vehicle for his son’s musical interests, but quickly also became involved on the business end when he signed the Five Americans and he became their personal manager.”
- Written by Wayne Thompson.
“I Want Some More” – final track of 2nd album
AUDIO LINK for “This Thing Called Love” by The Webs
peaked at #102 on December 2, 1967 [Pop-Side]
- #96 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending December 23, 1967.
- #94 on Record World‘s Top 100 Pops chart for December 2, 1967.
- Zero to 180 looks at the chart scores above (i.e., 102 vs. 96 vs. 94) and wonders if we can meet in the middle at 99 to allow for honorary Hot 100 membership?
- Written by Marshall Boxley and Willie Cooper.
French 45 — 1968
AUDIO LINK for “Kites Are Fun” by The Free Design
peaked at #114 on December 23, 1967 [Project 3]
- “Kites Are Fun” — a “Regional Breakout Single” in Buffalo — reached the #34 position on Billboard‘s “Easy Listening” Top 40 chart, as reported in the December 30, 1967 edition.
- #22 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 2, 1967,
- #19 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for December 16, 1967.
- Written by Chris Dedrick — also, uncredited as producer on “Kites Are Fun” is Enoch Light, founder and president of Project 3 Records.
- This past February, 45Cat contributor Ort. Carlton posted this related anecdote — “One night as I was waist deep in my radio show, a stock copy of this going around on the turntable, the phone rang. A woman was crying. “You MUST tell me who this is! This record has enchanted me since I first heard it when I was 9 years old on WPTR in Albany, New York!” So I told her, and informed her of the group’s website. She messaged them, and heard back; they were deeply touched. And so was she. And so am I. This record will always be very special to me because I got two widget cans of Guinness as a finder’s fee from the fine lady in question.”
- Zero to 180 piece from 2016 — “The Free Design Have Found Love“
EP Portugal — 1968
AUDIO LINK for “It’s a Gas” by The Hombres
peaked at #113 on January 13, 1968 [Verve Forecast]
- Text of news item [“Singleton Issues Hombres Videotapes“] published in Billboard‘s December 30, 1967 edition: “Shelby Singleton Productions last week made available for bandstand TV shows two color videotapes of The Hombres performing ‘It’s a Gas’ and ‘Am I High’ — the two tunes on their latest Verve Forecast single. Both records were produced by Huey Meaux for Shelby Singleton Productions.”
- Cash Box‘s review in the December 30, 1967 issue: “Keeping in the off-beat vein that gave them their top ten ‘Let It All Hang Out,’ the Hombres step up the action again with this touch of sarcastic sensibility punctuated by a cute break with “It’s A Gas.” Chalk up another biting side from the team, one that should top their first effort on the pop scene.”
Written by BB Cunningham, Gary McEwen, Jerry Masters & John Hunter
AUDIO LINK for “Captain of Your Ship” by Reparata and the Delrons
peaked at #127 on February 3, 1968 [Mala]
- “Captain of Your Ship” was a much bigger success in Europe (#13 in the UK Singles chart), where the group toured and performed on German TV’s “Beat Club.”
- International distribution of this single included Rhodesia and India.
- Record World‘s review in the January 27, 1968 issue: “‘Captain of Your Ship’ is a cute novelty that Raparata and the Delrons should parlay into a big hit.”
- News item in the August 9, 1969 issue of Record World points out that Steve and Bill Jerome, newly-appointed A&R executives for Avco Embassy, “are credited with having launched Bell Records in England with Raparata and the Delrons’ record of ‘Captain of Your Ship’.”
45 – Sweden
AUDIO LINK for “I Cannot Stop You” by The Cherry Slush
peaked at #119 on February 24, 1968 [U.S.A.]
- Written, produced, and arranged by Dick Wagner, who later gained fame for his collaborations with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed & Kiss.
- Billboard‘s January 6, 1968 edition included this 45 in a “Special Merit Highlight” (“new singles deserving special attention of programmers and dealers”) with this concise assessment — “The label that started the Buckinghams on the road to fame has another group with a hot rock item that could easily establish them in the same way.”
- Program director/disk jockey Bobby Holland of Hazlehurst GA’s WVOH singled out “I Cannot Stop You” as the “Biggest Leftfield Happening” — as reported to Billboard in its March 30, 1968 edition.
- #43 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart in their Feb. 17, 1968 issue.
- Gary Johnson’s biographical profile of this Michigan Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame band notes that “Saginaw’s Cherry Slush was one of mid-Michigan’s most popular bands during the 60’s” who were “also one of the few garage bands from that era to place a single on the charts of the three major trade papers in the 60’s, Billboard, Record World, and Cash Box.”
AUDIO LINK for “Bear Mash” by Ramsey Lewis
peaked at #123 on February 24, 1968
- Ramsey Lewis Trio: Ramsey Lewis (piano), Cleveland Eaton (bass) and future Earth, Wind & Fire bandleader, Maurice White (drums).
- Billboard‘s February 3, 1968 edition included this 45 in a “Special Merit Highlight” with these words of praise — “Discotheque and jukebox must in this infectious number played for all it’s worth by the piano wizard.”
AUDIO LINK for “Do Drop Inn” by The Fifth Estate
peaked at #122 on March 16, 1968 [Jubilee]
- Cash Box‘s review in the March 2, 1968 issue: “[BMI-Gordon & Bonner] Intriguing hard-beat bounce behind a smoothly polished vocal showing from the Fifth Estate could project the team back up the best seller path.”
- #22 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 30, 1968.
45 – Germany
AUDIO LINK for “African Boo-Ga-Loo” by Jackie Lee
peaked at #121 on March 23, 1968 [Keymen]
- When’s the last time you heard harmonica on a driving soul tune?
- Record World‘s February 24, 1968 review: “Here’s a variation on the popular dance. The rug-cutters will cut it.”
- #35 on Record World‘s R&B Top 50 chart for April 6, 1968.
- #49 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 50 chart for March 16, 1968.
- “African Boo-Ga-Loo” would be issued in the UK four years later in 1972 — though it turns out that Britain had been enjoying the ‘import’ version “for years” (see UK single review below).
- Review in the 19 Jan 1973 edition of UK’s Blues and Soul: “Everybody calls this the natural follow-up to ‘Harlem Shuffle’ and that is a fair comment on the record. Though I hate to have to say it, it will sell in vast quantities in the north and almost nothing in the south. The beat never lets up and it will make ideal meat for discos — many have been playing the import version for years, of course.”
Written by Earl Nelson
AUDIO LINK for “If You Didn’t Hear Me the First Time (I’ll Say It Again)”
by The Sandpebbles
peaked at #122 on April 6, 1968 [Calla]
- The descending chords of the main riff – combined with the chiming church bell – sounds suspiciously close to what Elton John used six years later for his arrangement of “Lucy in the Sky” that hit the radio airwaves in 1974.
- #46 on Billboard‘s R&B chart on April 20, 1968.
- #42 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for April 27, 1968.
Written & produced by Teddy Vann
AUDIO LINK for “Look at What I Almost Missed” by The Parliaments
peaked at #104 on April 13, 1968 [Revilot]
- “Look At What I Almost Missed” reached no. 5 on CKLW, Windsor, according to 45Cat .
- Cash Box‘s review in the March 6, 1968 edition — “Terrific pace of the newest outing from the Parliaments should set the team back on the winning road to pop action while maintaining solid blues area action. Lively mid-speed outing that is tailored for dancing from the ‘Testify‘ group. Should be well received.”
- Record World‘s review in the March 9, 1969 issue: “A rocking and rolling beat here. The fans will like what they hear.”
AUDIO LINK for “What a Day” by The Contrasts Featuring Bob Morrison
peaked at #120 on April 13, 1968 [Monument]
- According to Plankton, “What a Day” reached no. 20 on CHUM, Toronto.
- Record World‘s March 9, 1968 review: “Irresistible ditty featuring Bob Morrison. Deserves to get big.”
- Johnnie Charles, program director/disk jockey at Bluefield WV’s WKOY, declared “What a Day” to be “Best Pick,” of the week (April 13, 1968), while Dean Tyler at Philadelphia’s WIBG chose the same song as the week’s “Best Leftfield Pick” (April 5, 1968).
- Global distribution network for the “What a Day” single included Turkey.
Written by Bob Morrison – Produced & arranged by Bill Justis
AUDIO LINK for “Billy Sunshine” by Evie Sands
peaked at #133 on April 27, 1968 [Cameo]
- Billboard‘s March 2, 1968 review reveals that even the best-laid plans do not necessarily guarantee commercial success — “The writing team of Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni has a hot sales item in this pulsating rocker with strong vocal workout that should bring Miss Sands back to the Hot 100 rapidly.”
- Record World‘s February 10, 1968 review: “Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni have produced this moving, grooving song that Evie does right by.”
- Program director/disk jockey Rick Scarry of Ventura, CA’s KUDU pegged “Billy Sunshine” as the week’s “Biggest Leftfield Happening,” as reported in Billboard‘s April 13, 1968 edition.
B-side in France — Art nouveau picture sleeve
AUDIO LINK for “Alone Again Or” by Love
peaked at #123 on May 4, 1968 [Elektra]
- In a news item entitled, “Elektra to Pitch Product to UK’s College Cities,” Billboard‘s February 3, 1968 edition reports that “The new LP [Forever Changes] is getting the biggest ever Elektra UK promotion. Publicity includes advertisements on buses in key cities, including London, Manchester, and Birmingham. A single featuring two tracks from the LP “Alone Again Or” and “Bummer in the Summer” has just been issued. If the record enters the charts, the group has agreed to visit England for personal appearances, says [Elektra’s Clive] Selwood.”
- Selected by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of March 9, 1968 — “This pulsating folk-rocker should fast break the strong LP sellers onto the Hot 100 chart once again. Good material, strong performance with driving dance beat in support featuring a mariachi flavored arrangement.”
- “Best Leftfield Pick” for the week of March 30, 1968 according to an unnamed program director/disk jockey at Flint, MI’s WTAC, as reported in Billboard.
- This 45 helped usher in improved sound, as reported in Cash Box — “Almost all of Elektra Records’ singles will be released in compatible stereo, beginning with the new Love single, ‘Alone Again Or, it was announced last week by Jac Holzman, president of Elektra. Singles will be released in the compatible stereo format. Holzman said that this move was in keeping with the change-over in the U.S. to an all-stereo record industry. He maintains that the continued release of mono singles was inconsistent with the superior sound of today’s stereo LP’s and might be one reason for the rapid drop in singles sales in the past year.”
- In the 23 August 1969 edition of Record Mirror, pioneering BBC Radio One & Capital Radio disk jockey, Dave Symonds, was asked to select a dozen tracks that represent the best of the old and new for the trade’s “DJ 12” weekly feature. Symonds leads off with this Love track: “I’ve picked [‘Alone Again Or’] because I think it’s a very pretty number,” he said. “Possibly it was a bit ahead of its time and I think there is going to be a return to pretty melodic records — I forecast this. I think the very hairy, freaky, feedback, fuzz-box sort of thing is going to go and acoustic guitars and woodwinds will come back.”
- “Alone Again Or” is also the lone Love track (!) on this 4-song Doors EP issued in Iran — does Jac Holzman know about this?
- Written by Brian MacLean.
45 – France
45 – Netherlands
AUDIO LINK for “Backwards and Forwards” by December’s Children
peaked at #123 on May 18, 1968 [World Pacific]
- Time for everyone to sing along, even if you think you don’t want to –
- Note: In teeny-tiny print at the end of the lyric sheet above, it reads “I wrote this song. I can’t figure it out, maybe you can … Ray Whitley” (i.e., the other person, besides Jimi Hendrix, who wrote a song in 1968 entitled “1983“!)
- #12 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for May 11, 1968 — same issue says the song is getting good radio action in Miami, according to Kal Rudman’s “Money Music” column.
May 25, 1968
- #16 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 22, 1968.
45 — Germany
“Days of Pearly Spencer” by David McWilliams
peaked at #134 on June 1, 1968
- “Days of Pearly Spencer” failed to make the Billboard Hot 100 in 1968, and yet the promotional video clip above has been viewed, incredibly, nearly 4 million times.
- A Top Ten hit in France, Belgium, & Switzerland.
AUDIO LINK for “When Do We Go” by Billy Vera & Judy Clay
peaked at #107 on June 8, 1968 [Atlantic]
- “When Do We Go” was selected by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of May 25, 1968: “The strong duo hit it big with ‘Storybook Children‘ and [“Country Girl-City Man‘] and this blues ballad, well performed, will put them even higher on the charts with stronger sales. Soulful and meaningful material.”
- Record World‘s review in the May 25, 1968 edition: “Billy Vera and Judy Clay have another love duet here tagged ‘When Do We Go’ that will go to chart top.”
- Cash Box‘s review in the May 25, 1969 issue: “The ‘Storybook Children’ team softens its style, retaining the emotional power and dropping the tempo of “City Boy-Country Girl” [sic] for an exciting effort here that should bring home some solid sales showings on the pop and blues fronts. Look for a building excitement to follow this side as a result of its re-play appeal. Could become a monster.
- Billy Vera’s recording career includes a #1 pop hit — “At This Moment” (by Billy Vera and the Beaters) that initially charted at #79 when released in 1981 before going all the way to the top when reissued in 1987 — as well as two other songs that “bubbled under” the Hot 100: “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (which peaked at #121 on September 28, 1968 and “The Bible Salesman” (which peaked at #112 on May 17, 1969). Judy Clay would also enjoy a Hot 100 hit in 1968 with William Bell on “Private Number” [which hit #75 Pop, #17 R&B, and #8 on the UK Singles chart], as well as two other recordings that “bubbled under”: “My Baby Specializes” (with William Bell – #104 on Dec. 28, 1968) and “Greatest Love” (#122 on April 18, 1970).
- Written by Ted Daryll and Chip Taylor.
45 — Italy
AUDIO LINK for “Soul Clappin’” by The Buena Vistas
peaked at #126 on September 7, 1968
- 45Cat contributor Mr. Lobbers notes — “Although the labels state that the two sides are from the LP Here Comes Da Judge, the album does not appear to have been released.”
- Picked by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of August 10, 1968 — “Their version of ‘Here Come Da Judge‘ took them into the Hot 100 and now this funky beat blues rocker has all the sales potential to take them high on both pop and r&b charts. Powerful dance item.”
- #49 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for August 24, 1968 — same issue reports good radio response in Detroit.
- #16 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for August 31, 1968.
- Somehow the single made its way over to France.
- Written by Tom Shannon, Carl Cisco & Nickolas Ameno.
45 – France
AUDIO for “Mission Impossible Theme/Norwegian Wood” by Alan Copeland
peaked at #120 on September 21, 1968 [ABC]
- Assuming Alan Copeland is also behind the previous year’s “A Bubble Called You” — attributed to The Alan Copeland Conspiracy.
- I agree with the person who uploaded this audio clip that this recording must be one of the first “mash-ups” in popular music history.
- Cash Box‘s August 3, 1968 review: “Knockout coupling of the television theme and Beatles Rubber Soul cut comes on with the immediate punch of a belting instrumental and a more subtle impact with the expert adaptation of the lyric over Lalo Schifrin’s ‘Grammy’ rhythmic. Sensational track that has all the makings of a pop blockbuster and much middle-of-the-road potential.”
- Alan Copeland would repeat the formula for his next single — an amalgamation of “Classical Gas” and “Scarborough Fair” released December 1968.
- Similar concept tried with 1970’s “Strawberry Fields/Something” by Pozo Seco, a 45 that likewise “bubbled under” (peaked at #115 on October 28, 1970).
Japan — 1970
AUDIO LINK for “I Couldn’t Spell !!*@!” by Sam the Sham
peaked at #120 on October 5, 1968 [MGM]
- “Regional Breakout Single” in Dallas-Fort Worth, as reported in Billboard.
- #15 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart in their Nov. 2, 1968 edition.
- #11 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart in the Sept. 28, 1968 issue.
Written by Wayne Thompson
AUDIO LINK for “Paul’s Midnight Ride” [B-side] by The Delights Orchestra
peaked at #128 on October 26, 1968 [Atco]
- Title and groove appear to be a reference to 1968’s “Horse” by Cliff Nobles & Co.
- 45Cat’s davie gordon has the story behind the 45 — “An independent production from Philadelphia bought up by Atlantic. The instrumental B-side started picking up airplay in St. Louis in September making the local top 20 on station KATZ. This was enough for Billboard to register it on their bubbling under chart in late October peaking after two weeks at no. 128. The Sweet Delights never recorded again but the Delights Orchestra did have a follow-up single.
- 45Cat’s Felonious also chimes in — “I’m sure some of The Delights Orchestra became members of MFSB. According to Funky 16 Corners and Classic Urban Harmony, The Sweet Delights were Geri Edgehill, Betty Allen, Valerie Brown, Grace Montgomery Allison, and Albert Byrd.
Written by Albert Byrd & Eddie Edgehill
AUDIO LINK for “Fifty Two Per Cent” by Max Frost and the Troopers
peaked at #123 on December 14, 1968 [Tower]
- Max Frost & the Troopers, as it turns out, is a fictional band created for the (Mike Curb-produced) exploitation flick Wild in the Streets.
- 52% of the population in 1968 was under 25, you know.
- Predicted (November 30, 1968) to reach the top 60 of Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart: “His ‘Shape of Things to Come‘ proved a big chart item and this raucous rock follow-up with lyric line along similar lines has much of that sales potency as well.”
- #13 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 28, 1968.
- Written by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil.
45 — France
AUDIO for “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” by Buck Owens & the Buckaroos
peaked at #106 on February 8, 1969 [Capitol]
- “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass” was also a #1 hit on the Billboard Country chart.
- 45 would also top Record World‘s C&W Singles chart on Mar. 29, 1969 [pg. 38] (click link for October 18, 1969 issue and scroll to page 83 for a full-page ad of Buck Owens and the Buckaroos).
- #5 on Cash Box‘s Country Top 60 chart for April 5, 1969.
- Written by Buck Owens and covered by Sue Thompson that same year.
45 — Norway
AUDIO LINK for “Lovey Dovey” by Johnny Nash
peaked at #130 on February 15, 1969 [JAD]
- From the same artist whose previous year’s “Hold Me Tight” got major radio play [#1 Canada and #5 in US & UK Singles chart], another rare moment of Jamaican rocksteady on US radio — backing band almost certainly Lyn Taitt & the Jets.
- Cash Box‘s November 9, 1968 album review of Nash’s Hold Me Tight LP: “Currently riding the biggest hit of his career, vet songster Johnny Nash follows with a well-thought-out album which should easily solidify and enlarge his following. Leaning heavily on the West Indian sound which is strongly responsible for his current resurgence, Nash turns in a tasty collection of oldies and newies. Known songs include ‘Don’t Look Back,’ ‘Groovin’,’ Cupid,’ and ‘Lovey Dovey.’ Good new sides are ‘Love’ and ‘You Got to Change Your Ways.’ Should do very well.”
- Billboard‘s November 9, 1968 album review, meanwhile, amusingly misidentifies the “new” Jamaican sound to which the Texas singer has now attached himself: “Johnny Nash’s Hold Me Tight, a calypso-tinged soul gem, caught fire and burned up both the r&b and pop charts, and the LP, a potent package of sweet, swingin’ soul sounds, should stir up the album charts. ‘You Got Soul,’ the Rascals’ ‘Groovin’,’ Sam Cooke’s ‘Cupid’ and ‘Lovey Dovey’ make this LP a sleeper with smash potential.”
- Written by Ahmet Ertegun and Eddie Curtis.
- Johnny Nash on Zero to 180 — including his 41-second Christmas song.
45 — Belgium
AUDIO LINK for “Is There Anything Better Than Making Love”
by The Fantastic Johnny C
peaked at #130 on March 22, 1969 [Phil-L.A. of Soul]
- Record World designated this a “Sleeper Hit of the Week” in their Feb. 22, 1969 edition with this ringing endorsement: “The Fantastic Johnny C wonders ‘Is There Anything Better Than Making Love?’ and the answer is listening to this cut.”
- #29 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 8, 1969.
Written by Jesse James
AUDIO LINK for “Me and Mr. Hohner” by Bobby Darin
peaked at #123 on May 10, 1969 [Direction]
- Spoiler alert: Reference to “Hohner” in the song title is exactly what you think it is.
- Billboard‘s review in the April 19, 1969 edition— “Following up ‘Long Line Rider,’ Darin comes up with another stronger message lyric set to an infectious beat. Top arrangement and vocal workout offers much for play and sales.”
- #22 on Record Worlds “Singles Coming Up” chart for June 7, 1969.
- #28 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 24, 1969.
AUDIO LINK for “If I Had a Reason” by Bubble Puppy
peaked at #128 on May 31, 1969 [International Artists]
- Selected by Billboard as a Top 60 Pop Spotlight for the week of May 24, 1969
- — “A different sound from the ‘Hot Smoke and Sassafrass‘ group, this pulsating rocker should bring them back to the charts with impact, and prove an important follow-up to their initial hit.”
- Record World‘s review in the May 24, 1969 issue — “The Bubble Puppy have a brilliant change-up from their ‘Hot Smoke’ click, and it’s a country-flavored ‘If I Had a Reason’ ballad.”
- #24 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 19, 1969.
Written by Gene Corbin & Roy Cox
AUDIO LINK for “Stomp” by NRBQ
peaked at #122 on June 28, 1969 [Columbia]
- “Stomp” is one of the earlier recordings that contain a Hohner Clavinet — previously celebrated on Zero to 180.
- Album review in the June 7, 1969 issue of Cash Box — ” NRBQ, the subject of a massive publicity campaign, has the sound to capitalize on the exposure they’re getting and should do quite well with their debut album. The group mixes styles, playing straight rock (midwest originated). blues (midwest also) and hillbilly rock. ‘C’Mon Everybody‘ and ‘Hey Baby‘ fall into the first category, ‘C’Mon If You’re Comin’‘ into the second and ‘Kentucky Slop Song‘ into third. ‘Rocket Number 9,’ a Sun Ra tune, is unclassifiable. Their current single ‘Stomp’ is also included.”
- #31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 19, 1969.
- Both sides of the 45 written by Steve Ferguson.
Netherlands — 1969
AUDIO LINK for “South Carolina” by The Flirtations
peaked at #111 on July 26, 1969 [Deram]
- “South Carolina” — follow-up 45 to the classic “Nothing But a Heartache“
- Check out this full-page ad in the August 2, 1969 issue of Billboard.
- Record World‘s August 2, 1969 edition reports “good reaction to new Flirtations ‘South Carolina’ in the Carolinas.”
- #4 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for July 19, 1969.
- Written by Tony Waddington and Wayne Bickerton.
Japan — 1969
AUDIO LINK for “Harlan County” by Jim Ford
peaked at #106 on September 13, 1969 [Sundown]
- Vancouver Signature Sounds‘ Ray McGinnis wrote a short essay about Jim Ford in which “Harlan County” served as the focus — “While the song got enough traction in Vancouver to climb to #10 on the charts, it missed the Billboard Hot 100. DJ’s in Vancouver may have decided to play list the song, as it was rising to #15 on KHJ in Los Angeles, the week before it became Hitbound on CKLG. However, LA was one of just a couple of radio markets that gave the song a try. “Harlan County” also happened to climb into the Top 20 across the Georgia Strait in Victoria.”
- McGinnis also notes — “His friends included Sly Stone of Sly and the Family Stone who referred to Jim Ford on a 1971 Dick Cavett Show as his ‘honky-tonk man.’”
- Deemed an “Album Pick of the Week” by Record World in their August 16, 1969 issue: “Jim Ford is known as the writer of ‘Niki Hoeky‘ and Harlan County is his most worthy debut LP.”
- #15 on Record World‘s “Singles Coming Up” chart for September 6, 1969 — same edition reports strong radio reaction in Louisville.
- #86 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for September 20, 1969 — the previous week, “Harlan County” was #1 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart.
Written by James Ford
AUDIO LINK for “Mommy and Daddy” [B-side] by The Monkees
peaked at #109 on September 20, 1969 [Colgems]
- “Cleaned-up” version of Micky Dolenz’s “social protest” song — original version with the heavyweight lyrics for comparison.
- According to 45Cat contributors, “Mommy and Daddy” was a Top Ten hit in Albany, NY as well as Kansas City.
- Adds 45Cat’s porcupine — “[lyrical reference] ‘the “Kings of EMI’ was a two-fer for Mickey who also used [this phrase] in ‘Randy Scouse Git,’ a document of the Monkees’ visit to England. The ‘four Kings of EMI (are) sitting stately on the floor’ referred to The Beatles, whom they met at a party.”
- Selected by Record World as a “Single Pick of the Week” for September 6, 1969: “The Monkees best record is now on the market. It’s called ‘Mommy and Daddy’ and Monkee Dolenz wrote it.”
- Billboard predicted this single would reach the top 60 of the Hot 100 chart: “Monkees turn in one of their bounciest performances in some time with this item, penned and produced by Micky Dolenz. Should bring them back to a high spot on the charts in short order.” [September 6, 1969]
- #9 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 25, 1969.
1969 EP — Mexico (includes “Mamita Y Papito”)
AUDIO LINK for “Never in Public” by Candi Staton
peaked at #124 on September 20, 1969 [Fame]
- Record World designated this a “Sleeper Pick of the Week” in their Aug. 30, 1969 edition — “Candi Staton souls out ‘Never in Public’ and it’s another winner from funky Muscle Shoals.” Following issue’s “R&B Beat” column: “Strong new Candi Staton is ‘Never in Public.’ Rick Hall is wild.”
- Billboard reported in its September 13, 1969 edition that WDIA’s Bill Thomas (Memphis) singled out “Never in Public” as that week’s “Biggest Happening” in Rhythm & Blues.
- Written by Aaron McKinny and George Jackson.
45 Netherlands — 1969
AUDIO LINK for “Comment (If All Men Are Truly Brothers)” [B-side]
by Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
peaked at #109 on October 11, 1969 [Warner Bros.]
- #17 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for Oct. 11, 1969.
- Written by Charles Wright and Yusuf Rahman.
- B-side when released in the US, but an A-side when issued in France.
AUDIO LINK for “We Got Latin Soul” by Mongo Santamaria
peaked at #132 on October 18, 1969 [Columbia]
- “We Got Latin Soul” was written by bassist/songwriter, R. Lester [Arlester] Christian who, as “Dyke,” was a member of The O’Jays backing band until he formed Dyke & the Blazers in 1965, according to Discogs. Nod of gratitude to WayBackAttack for pointing out that “Latin Soul” is “a guaracha variation on the Dyke & the Blazers hit “We Got More Soul.”
- “Latin Soul” – which also peaked at #40 on Billboard‘s Soul chart – was Mongo’s final 45 for Columbia. Billboard‘s November 22, 1969 edition reported that “Atlantic’s signing of Mongo Santamaria is one of the most important of the year.”
- “Latin Soul” also reached #33 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart, as well as #31 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B “tear-out guide.”
AUDIO for “Baby You Come Rollin’ Cross My Mind” by John Beland
peaked at #110 on November 8, 1969 [Ranwood]
- This song by Jesse Lee Kincaid — also covered by The Peppermint Trolley — was the subject of a Zero to 180 piece from 2014.
- Cash Box‘s review in the August 16, 1969 issue: “A medium-sized hit for the Peppermint Trolley about a year back, ‘Baby You Come Rollin’ comes on once more as a slightly slower, somewhat more lyrical/less rock side in this new performance. Side adds further MOR impact to the teen flavor of the track giving it a broadened hit momentum.”
- Kal Rudman, in his “Money Music” column for Record World, deemed this 45 a “Super Pick” for the week of September 27, 1969.
AUDIO LINK for “Ballad of Paul” by The Mystery Tour
peaked at #104 on November 29, 1969
- Concise and helpful tutorial on the “Paul is dead” conspiracy rumor/hoax that mirrored (and helped fuel) public paranoia at that time.
- “The Mystery Tour” is a pseudonym for Bob Brady & the Con Chords, who first bubbled under two years before (at #104) with “More, More, More of Your Love.”
- Notes 45Cat: “The Ballad of Paul describes the accident to Paul and some of the clues supporting the ‘Paul is dead’ rumour. This was amongst the most successful of the Paul McCartney death rumour singles.”
- Cash Box filed this related report in the November 8, 1969 issue:
NEW YORK — Paul McCartney is not dead, yet very much alive is label interest in the aftermath of the rumors that the Beatles member was gone.
MGM Records has purchased a master, “The Ballad of Paul” by the Mystery Tour, for which Lenny Sheer, director of sales and distribution, is directing an “all-out” campaign to include the packaging of the disk in a special sleeve, full page ads in the trades, saturation distribution of 5000 disks to radio stations and a direct mailing campaign of sample disks and title strips to one-stops and juke box operators. Also, reviewers on national mags, newspapers and wire services are being covered.
In another release. Silver Fox Records, thru Shelby Singleton’s organization, is offering “Brother Paul” by Billy Shears & All Americans. The name “Billy Shears” appears in the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper’s “Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Furthermore, Capitol Records has marketed a re-release, “St. Paul” an eight-month old tribute to McCartney written, produced and performed by Terry Knight. The lyrics take on added meaning in light of recent talk, but Knight has refused to comment on the disk.
Capitol has officially re-released the deck, following activity in Philadelphia, but Knight has refused to participate in promotional plans.
- “Ballad of Paul” was also pegged by Cash Box in its November 8, 1969 edition as one of the “newcomer picks“: “With the Paul McCartney rumors at their peak, and sales of Beatle product resurgent to track detectives, the singles product joins the furor. Two new mysterious rumor sides are the “Brother Paul” lid by Billy Shears (named for the look-alike figure who supposedly had replaced McCartney) and the All Americans (Silver Fox). Side is gaining radio exposure through the south and could score ahead of ‘The Ballad of Paul’ from the Mystery Tour (MGM). Also in the competition is Capitol’s reissue of the several month old noise-maker ‘Saint Paul’ by Terry Knight. All are long-shot sides, based as much on fad lyrics as musical value.” Elsewhere in that November 8, 1969 Cash Box issue is a promotional ad from MGM about The Mystery Tour’s “provocative” new single.
- Record World‘s November 15, 1969 review: “This one lives up to the name of the group as it evokes mystery and uncertainty about guess who.”
- “Ballad of Paul” is also included on I Buried Paul: The Paul McCartney Death Rumour Singles.
Written by Evans & Brady
AUDIO LINK for “Cow Pie” by The Masked Marauders
peaked at #123 on November 29, 1969
- The Masked Marauders were not an actual band but an elaborate hoax orchestrated by Rolling Stone to fool folks into thinking a “super session” with leading rock artists (Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon) had taken place in great secrecy but then “leaked” to the public.
- “Cow Pie” — fabricated to sound like a “Bob Dylan” song — was the A-side of a single that also saw release in Germany and France.
- Cash Box selected “Cow Pie” as one of the week’s “newcomer picks” for its November 8, 1969 issue: “Surrounded by rumors of personnel including virtually all the heavyweight teen stars of the day, a group called the Masked Marauders has become wishfully legendary in underground circles. Following the publicity lead, this single has already become a request item. The instrumental side has thus been picked up for national distribution through Reprise. Flip: ‘I Can’t Get No Nookie’.”
- Stan Cornyn, the legendary promo man for Warner Brothers Records, later documented his role in bringing the Masked Marauders to life in Exploding, Cornyn’s indispensable history of the label, which The Christian Science Monitor reviewed for their March 28, 2002 edition: “Cornyn forged the image of Warner Brothers Records as the hip place to work and the hip label to buy. As head of WBR Creative Services, he crafted indelible copy, even conspiring in an elaborate hoax: The Masked Marauders, a 1969 album released on the one-off label, Deity. Its creation followed a bogus review in Rolling Stone by then-staffer Greil Marcus under the name T.M. Christian. The album allegedly featured several Beatles, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, and ‘a drummer as yet unnamed.’ It sold 40,000 copies and is now available from Rhino Handmade, a limited-edition, Internet-only arm of Rhino Records, a subsidiary of Warner Music Group. Which proves that rock ‘n’ roll even fake rock ‘n’ roll never dies.”
Harmonica work possibly by Bob Dylan
AUDIO LINK for “Hello Sunshine” by Rev. Maceo Woods &
The Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir
peaked at #121 on December 20, 1969 [Volt]
- “Oh Happy Day” by The Edwin Hawkins Singers was a #4 Pop hit that same year.
- 45Cat’s davie gordon notes — “The song [co-written by King Curtis & Ron Miller] had been recorded the previous year by Aretha Franklin on her Aretha Now album and a few months later by Wilson Pickett for his I’m In Love album.”
- Irene W. Johnson, in her “Gospel Time” column for Record World, began her report for the March 7, 1970 issue thusly: “Bro. Esmond Patterson of WAOK in Atlanta, Georgia celebrated his 14th Radio Anniversary at the Municipal Auditorium there Sunday, February 8. It was a highly spiritual program in its entirety. Rev. Maceo Woods and five members of the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir of Chicago, The Pilgrim Jubilees of Chicago and Bill Moss and the Celestials of Detroit, Michigan were headlining the program.” Elsewhere in her column, Johnson reports that (as expected) is a “top tune” in Chicago.
- #13 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for December 20, 1969.
Netherlands 45 — 1970
“Freight Train” by Duane Eddy
peaked at #110 on January 3, 1970 [Congress]
- “Freight Train” — one of a handful of train songs featured on Zero to 180.
- #10 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 27, 1969.
- #95 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for January 17, 1970.
- It’s common knowledge that Elizabeth Cotten wrote “Freight Train” — so why do the songwriting credits say otherwise?
Italian 45 — 1970
Is that Duane Eddy on accordion? Seriously, where’s Duane Eddy?
AUDIO LINK for “Demonstration” by Otis Redding
peaked at #105 on April 4, 1970 [Atco]
- “Demonstration” is the lead-off track on Tell the Truth, Redding’s fourth posthumous studio album.
- Record World‘s review in the March 28, 1970 issue: “Out of the wonderful vault comes another fantastic memory of the late great Otis Redding. Always a fine performance. Forever!”
- #36 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B Singles chart for April 4, 1970.
- #96 on Record World‘s 100 Top Pops chart for April 11, 1970.
- #48 on Record World‘s Top 50 R&B chart for April 11, 1970.
- Written by Don Covay and Otis Redding.
Sweden — 1970
“Boogie Woogie Country Girl” by Southwind
peaked at #105 on May 2, 1970 [Blue Thumb]
- Part of the roots-rock revival (like NRBQ) percolating upward in popular culture?
- Record World’s April 11, 1970 review: “As the title indicates, this is a country rocker in the early Jerry Lee Lewis/Elvis mode. It sure sounds good to hear this kind of music again. Thanks.”
- Blue Thumb’s full-page ad in the May 2, 1970 edition of Billboard consisted of the headline “Call your local DJ today and give him the word,” followed by Greil Marcus’s review of the 45 for Rolling Stone: “This snazzy performance sounds like the B-side of an old Jerry Lee Lewis single, which it might have been—who knows. Rumble rumble—Southwind has that boogie woogie riffing right down in their pockets, and you can almost hear the band getting ready to charge as the lyrics fade and their chance to play hard and fast comes up. There aren’t any stars in Southwind; it’s a solid, unassuming rock and roll band, like the Crickets, or the Blue Caps, but totally contemporary, and not at all interested in smothering the listener with nostalgia. This number, which certainly ought to be the hit the band has missed up until now, has the same excitement and drive as, say, ‘I Don’t Want to Discuss It’ from the new Delaney and Bonnie LP. ‘Boogie Woogie Country Girl’ was co-authored by Doc Pomus, a middle-aged man who wrote ‘This Magic Moment’ and ‘I Count the Tears,’ among others. He was one of those men who had a perfect sense of teenage, despite his years, but he’s been on the shorts, pretty much out of work, since the Beatles retrieved the idea that musicians could and should write their own material. Southwind, though, obviously know good stuff when they hear it (as with their fine version of Johnny Cash’s ‘Rock and Roll Ruby‘ on their Ready to Ride album). Well, let it ride. Call your local DJ today and give him the word.”
- #7 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 23, 1970.
45 — France
AUDIO LINK for “Feeling Bad” by Mel and Tim
peaked at #106 on May 9, 1970 [Bamboo]
- “Feeling Bad” — produced by Gene (“Duke of Earl“) Chandler.
- Recorded at Universal Sound Studios in Chicago.
- #29 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 23, 1970.
AUDIO LINK for “What Do You Say to a Naked Lady” by Errol Sober
peaked at #106 on May 30, 1970 [Abnak]
- Surprisingly ‘wholesome’ for a song whose title includes the phrase “naked lady.”
- Record World‘s review from the April 25, 1970 issue: “The song is from Alan Funt’s experiment in voyeurism. Errol does pose an interesting question here.”
- The Holy Modal Rounders, incredibly, came within inches of Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart (#103) on February 2, 1974 with their unapologetic paean “Boobs a Lot.”
- Music in Advertising Alert: Cash Box item in the February 28, 1970 edition, “Karman Growing in TV Commercial Field” — “As the television medium grows, so does the value of commercials, and so do the successes of various composer-lyricists working in the field. One of the most popular has been Steve Karmen who, over the past three years, wrote music and lyrics for the commercials: “You Can Take Salem Out Of The Country . . . ,” “Breakaway With Pontiac,” “Call The Man From Nationwide” (insurance). In addition, he is currently writing all the music and lyrics for Halo Shampoo, Budweiser Beer, Beneficial Finance and Chrysler. And, working with film music, he wrote the score for the United Artists [Allen Funt] film, What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? which opened last week in New York.”
- #31 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 30, 1970.
AUDIO LINK for “Maybe Baby-Daddy’s Maybe” by Swamp Dogg
peaked at #113 on May 30, 1970 [Canyon]
- You might be surprised to learn that the lyrics include the phrase “PTA meeting.”
- Billboard‘s review of Swamp Dogg’s Total Destruction to Your Mind: “Swamp Dogg is a hip soul man who not only can bring ‘Total Destruction to Your Mind’ with some potent funk, but some creative social commentary as well in the ballads of a new breed blues artist. His no-jive soul makes a star out of producer-arranger-songwriter Jerry Williams Jr., who through Swamp Dogg, comunicates a new cool in soul music. ‘Synthetic World,’ ‘Mama’s Baby-Daddy’s Maybe’ set the pace.”
- Record World’s review of Swamp Dogg’s Total Destruction to Your Mind: “Swamp Dogg has his own idea of what the blues are and should be on total Destruction to Your Mind. All self-penned tunes.”
- #12 on Cash Box‘s Top 50 R&B chart for May 16, 1970.
Written by Jerry Williams, Jr. & Gary Bonds
AUDIO LINK for “Birds of All Nations” by George McCannon III
peaked at #111 on June 3, 1970 [Amos]
- Produced by Jimmy Bowen and includes the Jimmy Bowen Orchestra & Chorus.
- Record World‘s review in the May 16, 1970 issue: “Country-flavored message tune with a ‘you never had it so good’ theme.”
- #37 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 2, 1970.
- #99 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for May 9, 1970.
Written by Ray Buzzeo
AUDIO LINK for “Handsome Johnny” by Richie Havens
peaked at #115 on June 20, 1970 [MGM]
- Co-written by Richie Havens and actor Lou Gossett, Jr.
- Record World‘s June 13, 1970 review: “This is an old Havens cut which was recently featured in the Woodstock movie. Good as ever.”
AUDIO LINK for “Wash Mama Wash” by Dr. John The Night Tripper
peaked at #108 on June 20, 1970 [Atco]
- 45-only track when initially released — included on 1972 “non-US” compilation LP The Age of Atlantic and later Dr. John anthologies.
- “Wash Mama Wash” awarded a “Special Merit Spotlight” by Billboard with these words of praise — “Strong vocal workout on funky beat blues material that could easily come from left field and prove an out and out smash – pop and soul.”
- Identified by Record World as a “Sleeper Pick of the Week” in the May 30, 1970 issue: “Dr. John the Night Tripper will have his first single hit with ‘Wash Mama Wash.’ Far out.”
- One of the week’s “top record releases for coin phonographs,” as reported in the June 6, 1970 issue of Cash Box.
France — 1970
AUDIO LINK for “Passport to the Future” by Jean Jacques Perrey
peaked at #106 on June 27, 1970 [Vanguard]
- “Passport to the Future” reached the #29 position on Billboard‘s “Easy Listening” Top 40 chart, as reported in the June 29, 1970 edition.
- Record World‘s June 13, 1970 edition reports — “Top tip of the week ‘Passport To The Future,’ Jean Jacque Perrey, Vanguard. It is over 10,000 in Chicago.”
- #2 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for June 13, 1970.
- #94 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for June 27, 1970.
Written by Jean Jacques Perrey & Andy Badale
AUDIO LINK for “Eleanor Rigby” by El Chicano
peaked at #115 on June 15, 1970 [Kapp]
- Earned a “Special Merit Spotlight” from Billboard, who informed the world — “Following up his ‘Viva Tirado’ hit, El Chicano comes up with a Latin rhythm treatment of the Beatles winner that should keep him active on the charts.”
- Record World‘s June 27, 1970 review: “The ‘El Chicano’ gang gives this Lennon & McCartney standard quite a Latinized workout. Will be the second of two in a row.”
45 – Italy
AUDIO LINK for “Simple Song of Freedom” by Spirit of Us
peaked at #106 on August 15, 1970 [Viva]
- Written by “Bob” Darin, arranged by Tommy Oliver & produced by Snuff Garrett.
- Recorded at TTG Studios in Hollywood.
- Record World‘s “Singles Review” in their July 11, 1970 edition: “The Bob Darin-Tim Hardin song lives again with a Salvation Army/folk/Dixieland sound.”
- Two weeks later (!) Record World would deem this 45 worthy of a 2nd review: “Unique treatment of the Bob Darin/Tim Hardin song features a huge chorus and a Dixie background.”
- Cash Box news items from the year before in the September 20, 1969 issue: “The Robert Fitzpatrick Corp. has signed Gary LeMel to produce and Tommy Oliver to arrange an album for Spirit of US. Spirit is a 19-member vocal-dancing group formed last summer by the Theodore Hamm Brewing Co. for their admission-free, patriotic musical road show, ‘America Sings.’”
AUDIO LINK for “Had Any Lately” by Sylvia Robinson
peaked at #102 on August 22, 1970 [Stang]
- Deceptively powerful peace lyric embedded in a seductive pop soul groove — says Billboard in its August 1, 1970 edition: “A lyric message about today’s world situation is set to an infectious rhythm setting and blockbuster vocal workout by Sylvia … formerly of Micky and Sylvia. Watch this one, it could prove a left-field smash.”
- Record World‘s August 1, 1970 review: “Very effective anti-war song is directed right to the seat of power. Sylvia wrote and produced.”
- “Had Any Lately” — originally released as an A-side — became a B-side when reissued in 1973 and then again in 1974.
1970 original single release
AUDIO LINK for “Two Little Rooms” by Trella Hart
peaked at #120 on September 5, 1970 [Capitol]
- 45Cat’s borninthe50s provides the history — “This was the only single released by Trella Hart, who was known as ” The Queen Of The Jingles.” She forged a very successful career in the music business by working prolifically as a “jingle” singer, recording advertising and promotion “jingles” for, in particular, P.A.M.S. (Production Advertising Merchandising Service), one of the most famous “jingle” production companies in American broadcasting, based in Dallas, Texas. When “Two Little Rooms” was released in 1970, it was played on many radio stations, and in the event it reached the Top 30 in several regions including Dallas and Chicago.”
- Record World‘s review in the August 8, 1970 issue: “Starting to click for Janet Lawson, Trella has a short with her version. Country-pop click.”
Written by J. Woods
AUDIO LINK for “We All Sung Together” by Grin
peaked at #108 on October 10, 1970 [Thunder]
- Grin’s debut LP – produced by David Briggs – was dedicated to Roy Buchanan.
- If I’m not mistaken, the October 24, 1970 issue of Cash Box begins with this ad for Grin: “You’ve been listening to Nils Lofgren longer than you know. Up until now, you’ve been listening to his music. Not his name. Possibly you know that Nils Lofgren is the founder of the new group, Grin. And that their new single, “We All Sung Together,” is getting airplay around the country. But this isn’t the first song he’s composed and arranged. In fact, among musicians he’s become a recognized talent. Even Neil Young used him. On his new Gold Rush album, Nils played and sang. Of course, you might have missed that fact. But now, with his new group and new single, his name will be hard to forget. Grin. All Sung Together.”
- According to Billboard‘s August 15, 1970 edition, Columbia recently wrapped up two new labels deals, one of them being Thunder, formed by David Briggs and Art Linson. “Thunder’s initial product will be an album and single from the much sought-after band, Grin, discovered in Maryland by Neil Young and Steve Stills. Grin features composer Nils Lofgren and is the first group to be signed by the label. Their first single, ‘We All Sung Together,’ was presented at the recent Columbia Convention and will be released shortly. Grin’s debut album, with a guest appearance from Neil Young and Crazy Horse, will be released in early fall.”
- #14 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for November 14, 1970.
- #139 on Record Mirror‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for November 21, 1970.
- Written by Nils Lofgren.
Bob Gordon, Nils Lofgren, Bob Berberich
AUDIO LINK for “Poquito Soul” by One G Plus Three
peaked at #122 on October 24, 1970 [Gordo]
- Funky 16 Corners suggests that “If you give ‘Poquito Soul’ a couple of listens, another languid groover might start to come to mind, that being El Chicano’s version of Gerald Wilson’s ‘Viva Tirado’, which was a substantial hit in the Spring of 1970, all over the country, but especially in SoCal.” One G Plus Three — Randy Thomas (the ‘Gringo’) on organ, Rudy Salas on guitar, Max Garduno on percussion and Manny Mosqueda on drums — “recorded only this one 45, released first on Eddie Davis’s Gordo label, then picked up for national distribution by Paramount.”
- Check out Paramount’s full-page ad for this 45 in the October 31, 1970 edition of Billboard.
- “Poquito Soul” reached the #39 position on Billboard‘s “Easy Listening” Top 40 chart, as reported in the November 7, 1970 edition.
- #53 on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B chart for October 17, 1970.
- Adaptation of George Gershwin’s classic composition.
AUDIO LINK for “Back to the River” by The Damnation of Adam Blessing
peaked at #102 on November 21, 1970 [United Artists]
- Cleveland’s Damnation of Adam Blessing played at the Cincinnati Pop Festival in 1970.
- Would you be surprised to learn that “Back to the River” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in Cleveland?
- Record World‘s review notes that the group — Bill Schwark, Bob Kalamasz, Jim Quinn & Ray Benich — are, “as folks already know, into very hard rock.” Further, the new album “should turn into a potent item to stir up underground trade.”
- #25 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 5, 1970.
- #89 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for December 26, 1970.
That’s right, the same event where Iggy threw the peanut butter
AUDIO LINK for “Down to the Wire” by Yellow Hand
peaked at #120 on December 5, 1970 [Capitol]
- Uptempo “pop” arrangement of “lost” Neil Young-penned Buffalo Springfield track (included on the box set) that was also released on Neil Young’s 3-LP Decade.
- Billboard, who predicted this 45 to reach the Top 60, wrote in its review — “The driving rock ballad penned by Neil Young is a strong singles debut for the group, culled from their current LP. Should prove a big Hot 100 item.”
- Cash Box offered up this review — “Fine pick of material from the Neil Young songbook makes the most of Yellow Hand’s premiere single. Could blossom.”
- 45Cat’s Gary E informs — “This band includes Jerry Tawney on lead voc, formerly with The Portraits (Sidewalk), early solo 45 on Liberty & later solo on Bell.”
“Never Marry a Railroad Man” by The Shocking Blue
peaked at #102 on December 26, 1970 [Colossus]
- 45Cat’s Problem Child theorizes — “I think after the mighty ‘Venus’, this may have been a very good album track, but the early longer than usual instrumental break and the lack of more engaging lyrics may have worked against it being a commercial success, just sayin’? Shame.”
- And yet, a Top Ten hit for this Netherlands group in Holland, West Germany & Norway plus Switzerland and France (Spain, too).
- #93 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for February 6, 1971.
- #107 on Record World‘s “Singles 101-150” chart for January 30, 1971.
- Written by Robbie van Leeuwen.
Picture sleeve –
AUDIO LINK for “Love Vibrations” by David T. Walker
peaked at #117 on January 9, 1971 [Zea]
- Billboard‘s Ed Ochs designated “Love Vibrations” as a “Soul Sauce” ‘pick and play‘ for the week of December 12, 1970.
- News item in Record World‘s January 16, 1971 issue – “Action at Roulette” – reports that “David T. Walker’s ‘Love Vibrations’ single on the Zea label, distributed by Roulette, is expanding to the pop market and serving to focus attention on Walker’s album.”
- #35 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for December 19, 1970.
- #36 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for January 16, 1971.
- #39 on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B for January 23, 1971.
- From the Plum Happy album — distributed by Roulette Records.
Written by Curtis Colbert & William “Mickey” Stevenson
AUDIO LINK for “Too Many Lovers” by Shack
peaked at #118 on February 13, 1971 [Volt]
- “Crying baby” intro sounds like something out of Lee ‘Scratch‘ Perry‘s audio lab.
- A Record World‘s “Pick of the Week” for December 19, 1970: “Ingenious intro features a baby’s cry followed by the main theme: “Too many lovers and not enough men.” A very real problem provides a dynamic topic for this contender. Frank stuff.”
- #23 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for February 20, 1971.
- #25 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for March 13, 1971.
- #40 on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B Singles chart for February 27, 1971.
- #81 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for March 13, 1971.
- “Too Many Lovers” reissued on Volt in 1977.
Written and produced by Homer Banks & Raymond Jackson
AUDIO LINK for “Nothing Rhymed” by Gilbert O’Sullivan
peaked at #114 on March 6, 1971 [MAM]
- A Top 10 hit in the UK., as reported in Billboard‘s January 16, 1971 edition.
- Top of the chart in Holland/Belgium, as reported in the March 6, 1971 issue of Record World.
- #9 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 6, 1971.
- Last place (#150) on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for the week ending March 6, 1971.
- Jack Kegg, columnist for Western Maryland’s Cumberland Times-News, remembers well the song’s personal impact in a 2007 Sunday paper piece entitled “Remember Gilbert O’Sullivan“:
“In early 1971, the late WTBO radio personality Chad Riley gave my father some promotional 45s to give to me. Chad would do this once in a while, and there always seemed to be gems among the vinyl.
Dad mumbled, ‘That’s all he needs; more damn records,’ and said, ‘These are from Chad. Now be sure to thank him.’ Of course, I always showed my gratitude.
One of those records was called ‘Nothing Rhymed‘ on the Mam label by an artist called Gilbert O’Sullivan. I was impressed by the plaintive lyrics and the production by Gordon Mills, who also handled Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck, and Johnnie Spence’s musical arrangement.
I don’t think any of the local stations played ‘Nothing Rhymed,’ but I loved the record. It eventually “bubbled under” Billboard’s Hot 100.
I became an ardent fan of Gilbert O’Sullivan, collecting all of his 45s, the million sellers and the ‘duds.’ His real name is Raymond O’Sullivan, and he was born in Waterford, Southern Ireland on Dec. 1, 1946. The family moved to Swindon, England, in 1960, and Raymond enrolled at a local art college.
The young boy showed an interest in music, so his mother bought him a piano, but his thumping style resulted in Gilbert and the piano being relegated to the garden shed.
But he developed a unique style, and while at college, played in semi-professional bands the Doodles and the Perfects. He began to write songs, citing his influences as diverse as Rodgers and Hart, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles.
He sent out tapes of his songs, and CBS in Britain was interested, although ‘I Wish I Could Cry‘ (1967) failed to hit; and ‘Mr. Moody’s Garden‘ on the Major Minor label met with cold response.
One of Gilbert’s tapes, however, made its way to Gordon Mills, who was fascinated by the catchy tunes and style. Gordon contacted Gilbert, and the two began a strong partnership as Gordon became Gilbert’s ‘father’ after his dad died.
In 1970, ‘Nothing Rhymed’ was recorded, and became a huge European hit. But to the shock of everyone, including Gordon Mills, Gilbert chose a strange dress code of flat cap, flannel suit way too small, and short cropped hair. People laughed, but they listened. He had three more hits in Britain: ‘Underneath The Blanket Go,’ ‘We Will,’ and ‘No Matter How I Try.’ None of those made an impact in the U.S., although the latter was played on WUOK and WKLP, locally; and WTBO played ‘We Will.’”
45 — Yugoslavia
“California Blues” by Redwing
peaked at #108 on April 17, 1971 [Fantasy]
- Billboard had high hopes for this release, as indicated by its selection as a “Top 20 Pop Spotlight” in the April 3, 1971 edition — “The legendary Jimmie Rodgers classic is updated and serves as dynamite material for this powerful new group, their debut for the label. Will hit hard and fast.”
- A “Pick of the Week” in Record World‘s April 3, 1971 edition: “Newcomers should do Creedence-type action for the label with this update of the original Jimmie Rodgers. Very tight rock and roll.”
- University of Houson’s KUHF gave this 45 strong radio play, as reported in Billboard‘s May 29, 1971 edition.
- #88 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for April 24, 1971.
- #118 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for April 24, 1971.
Picture sleeve — Portugal
AUDIO LINK for “Singing in Viet Nam Talking Blues” by Johnny Cash
peaked at #124 on June 19, 1971 [Columbia]
- Selected by Billboard for its “Top 60 Pop Spotlight” the week of June 5, 1971 — “Cash entertained in Vietnam and wrote about it. This moving story and performance will prove a strong entry … pop and country” [such “cross-over” disks would provoke a “title strip display debate” for jukebox programmers, as discussed in the September 4, 1971 edition of Billboard].
- In a July 17, 1971 Billboard news item entitled “Release Jam Hurts Artists ” — “Perhaps a more dramatic example is Johnny Cash’s ‘Singing in Vietnam Talking Blues.’ [Acme One Stop’s Larry] Rugemer said: “I believe Cash is an example of an artist in danger of being burned out by too many releases. The jukebox programmers are just passing this one up.”
- #18 on Billboard‘s Country Singles chart for July 31, 1971.
- #20 on Cash Box‘s Country Top 65 chart for July 10, 1971.
Promo 45 — Germany
Tip of the hat to DC’s Karl Eiholzer for translation services:
A new Johnny Cash song is always an event because his songs always make a strong statement [or possibly: always have a special message]. Johnny Cash’s newest song – by the way written and produced by himself – deals with one of our time’s focal points: Vietnam. Rhythmically and musically an impressive [or perhaps smashing, if you’re reading this in the UK] production.
AUDIO LINK for “Ten and Two (Take This Woman Off the Corner)”
by Gene and Jerry
peaked at #126 on July 3, 1971 [Mercury]
- Selected by Billboard‘s Ed Ochs as a “Soul Sauce” ‘pick and play‘ for the week of March 6, 1970.
- Designated by Billboard as one of the Special Merit singles “deserving special attention of programmers and dealers” in the May 8, 1971 edition: “Gene Chandler and Jerry Butler team up once again with a powerful rock item that should carry them straight to both the Hot 100 and Soul charts. First rate performances.”
- #126 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for June 12, 1971.
- #32 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for week of July 3, 1971.
- #44 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for the week of June 26, 1971.
- #42 on Cash Box‘s Top 60 R&B chart for the week ending July 3, 1971.
Written by James Spencer
AUDIO for “Funky L.A.” by Paul Humphrey & His Cool-Aid Chemists
peaked at #109 on August 14, 1971 [Lizard]
- A Billboard “Top 60 Pop Spotlight” designee for the week of June 26, 1971: “Humphrey’s ‘Cool Aid‘ took him high on the Hot 100 and into the teens on the soul chart. This driving discotheque winner offers that same sales potency.”
- Peaked at the #45 spot on Billboard‘s Soul chart on August 28, 1971.
- #7 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Up” chart for July 10, 1971.
- #97 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles for the week ending July 31, 1971.
- #136 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for August 28, 1971.
Written by Nolan Porter
AUDIO LINK for “1-2-3-4” by Lucky Peterson Blues Band
peaked at #102 on August 21, 1971 [Today]
- According to 45Cat’s jukebox george — “HitBound on the chart of WOL Washington DC — July 21 1971.”
- #40 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for September 4, 1971.
- #46 on Cash Box‘s R&B Singles chart for August 14, 1971.
- Single appears to have first been issued on Yambo before being picked up Today for broader distribution.
- Written by Willie Dixon and Lucky Peterson.
AUDIO LINK for “Gotta Get Over the Hump” by Simtec & Wylie
peaked at #101 on September 11, 1971 [Mister Chand]
- Walter “Simtec” Simmons + Wylie Dixon from Chicago.
- Says one 45Cat contributor, “According to the data we have, this was the most popular release from Gene Chandler’s Mister Chand label. It did not do particularly well. The A-side went to #4 in Jackson, MS.; #5 in Dayton, OH.; and #10 in Chicago (WGRT) and XEPRS [AM] in Rosario, Baja California, Mexico. It hung out a lot on [NYC’s] WWRL’s charts, but ultimately only rose to #14.”
- “Gotta Get Over That Hump” also peaked at #29 on Billboard‘s Soul chart for the week ending August 28, 1971.
- #36 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 60 for the week of August 14, 1971.
- #20 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart for the week of September 4, 1971.
Written by Bobby Pointer, Ronald Simmons, Walter ‘Simtec’ Simmons & Wylie Dixon
AUDIO for “Hey Ruby (Shut Your Mouth)” by Ruby and the Party Gang
peaked at #105 on December 25, 1971 [Law-Ton]
- Record World‘s November 13, 1971 edition informs us that “Clarence Lawton, President of Law-Ton Records, dropped by Record World last week to discuss his label’s two latest hits, ‘Let One Hurt Do‘ by L.J. Reynolds & Chocolate Syrup and ‘Hey Ruby (Shut Your Mouth)’ by Ruby & the Party Gang. Lawton, who started his Avco-distributed company in August, is also working closely with the label’s Stylistics, whose current hit is ‘You Are Everything.'”
- #24 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for December 25, 1971.
Written by Bessie Martin, Bobby Martin & John Mobley
AUDIO LINK for “That’s Alright (I Don’t Mind It)” by Alzo
peaked at #116 on February 12, 1972 [Ampex]
- Supporting musicians include Bob Dorough (keyboards) & Eric Weissberg (banjo).
- Part of Billboard‘s “Top 60 Pop Spotlight” for the week ending December 11, 1971 — “A cut from his debut LP, this folk rock newcomer has it to hit with impact first time out via top 40.”
- Album review in the December 25, 1971 issue of Cash Box: “Title [Looking for You] tells of a search which should come to a happy end once the sounds therein get out into the open to freshen the air for all of us. Bob Dorough who is a cult in the jazz world of piano-vocalists has produced the artist in a bright and varied manner, so that each cut can take the now ragged picture of a contemporary singer/songwriter and restore it to its original brilliance. Single of ‘That’s Alright (I Don’t Mind It)’ is the best introduction we can suggest. Afterwards, the audience should be on a first-name only basis with him for some time to come.”
- #118 on Record World‘s “Singles 101-150” chart for March 18, 1972.
- Album initially released on Ampex, then reissued the following year on Bell.
Written by Alzo Fronte
AUDIO LINK for “Love the Life You Live (Pt. 1)” by Kool and the Gang
peaked at #107 on February 26, 1972 [De-Lite]
- Review from the December 17, 1971 issue of UK’s Blues and Soul: “Acknowledged as one of the leading exponents of psychesoul, this often brilliant jazz-tinged band come up with something different here. The basic funk is certainly in evidence but the horns seem more mellow than on their most recent outings. The whole thing is totally devoid of any definite pattern and that’s half the beauty of it all. The subtle use of the wah-wahs is good, and the occasional vocal chorus tucked in behind the music is appealing.”
- #40 on Billboard‘s Soul Singles chart for the week of February 26, 1972.
- #60 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 60 chart for the week of March 11, 1972.
- #126 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for March 18, 1972.
- #124 position on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart (March 25, 1972).
Written by Gene Redd, Jr. and Kool & the Gang
AUDIO LINK for “Free Your Mind” by The Politicians
peaked at #110 on April 29, 1972 [Hot Wax]
- “Free Your Mind” written by Hot Wax label owners Holland-Dozier-Holland.
- Funk My Soul provides the history lesson in his album review for The Polticians Featuring McKinley Jackson: “Jackson was a long standing member of Motown’s sessions band, playing trombone on dozens (if not hundreds) of Holland-Dozier-Holland recording sessions for the label. That would certainly explain how Jackson and company ended up releasing one of the first album’s on the trio’s post-Motown Hot Wax imprint. Musically the album featured a collection of ten largely-original instrumentals ranging from hardcore funk (‘Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic‘ and ‘Funky Toes‘) to a radio friendly ballad (‘A Song for You’). Technically these guys were pretty amazing, easily measuring up top Motown’s Funk brothers, Hi Records’ Hodges Brothers, or The Memphis Horns … The best track (and the sole hit for the group), ‘Free Your Mind’ stands out for its indescribably catchy guitar leit motif, a wah-wah’d lick that may well be the funkiest ever waxed. Labelmates 8th Day used the backing track for their B-side ‘Freedom Is Instrumental.’”
- #115 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for May 13, 1972.
AUDIO LINK for “It’s Too Late” by Bill Deal and the Rhondels
peaked at #108 on August 19, 1972 [Buddah]
- Portsmouth, Virginia’s Bill Deal and the Rhondels helped fuse blue-eyed soul and “beach music” on such classic tracks as (the somewhat ska-like) “May I.”
- Single “recommended” by Billboard in the August 5, 1972 edition.
- #81 on Record World‘s Top Singles chart for August 26, 1972.
- Last place (#100) on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart for August 19, 1972, while the previous week, the single had just been beyond the reach (#102).
- “Regional Breakout” single in New Orleans, as reported in the August 19, 1972 issue of Billboard.
- “Too Late” made the Top 15 in Brazil, as reported in the December 9, 1972 issue of Billboard.
- Written by Carole King and Toni Stern.
“It’s Too Late“
Final track on this 1973 EP from Thailand
AUDIO LINK for “I Ain’t Never Seen a White Man” by Wolfman Jack
peaked at #106 on September 23, 1972 [Wooden Nickel]
- 45Cat’s greekgrove tells us — “Dick Monda who wrote ‘I Ain’t Never Seen A White Man’, wanted to release this as a ‘Daddy Dewdrop’ single, but head honcho of MGM/Sunflower (Mike Curb) was against it, so the song was passed to Wolfman Jack. Meanwhile Dick Monda did finally release his original version of the song in 1973 as ‘Monda’ for Buddah Records where the song was re-titled ‘Everyman‘.”
- 45Cat’s davie gordon adds — “Written and produced by the guy[s] behind Daddy Dewdrop’s ‘Chick A Boom‘.”
- Record World‘s review of Wolfman Jack’s Wooden Nickel album (liner notes by Isaac Hayes, Leon Russell & Todd Rundgren): “Legendary L.A. dj has been increasingly in the public eye lately, helped along by a recorded kudo from Todd Rundgren. Now he’s done an album, from which ‘I Ain’t Never Seen a White Man’ already shapes up as a hit single. Many other distinctive cuts from that distinctive voice.”
- #102 position on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for the week of October 14, 1972.
- #106 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart for October 7, 1972.
C’mon, it’s good for you
“Supersonic Rocket Ship” by The Kinks
peaked at #111 on October 14, 1972 [RCA Victor]
- 45-only track (featuring steelpan drums) when originally released.
- Record World review of The Kinks’ Everybody’s in Show-Biz long-player in the September 9, 1972 issue: “Two-record gift from Ray Davies & company consists of a live album and a studio set. Many of the new cuts are outstanding Kinks material, with ‘Supersonic Rocket Ship’ sounding especially hitbound. ‘Celluloid Heroes‘ is an instant classic.”
- Kinks first “bubbled under” in 1965 with “See My Friends” (which reached #111).
- Written by Raymond Douglas Davies.
Picture sleeve — Netherlands
AUDIO LINK for “Bang!” by Washrag
peaked at #112 on October 21, 1972 [TMI]
- Musical trio featuring [Booker T & the MGs guitarist] Steve Cropper, along with David Mayo and Ron Capone, who released one album in 1973 that was recorded at Trans Maximus Sound Studios in Memphis.
- Kal Rudman, in his “Money Music” column for Record World, writes excitedly in the September 2, 1972 issue: “Hot advance tip from Memphis: ‘Bang’ Washrag on TMI. This instrumental is a piece of pure funk. It has solid top sales in Memphis and is rapidly spreading to r&b stations and secondary pop stations. The sound is so strong and so commercial that we can predict it will be a top 10 record nationally. There is no way to keep still while this record is playing. It is truly a magic record.”
- Cash Box enjoyed a playful poke in their August 5, 1972 review: “Group is out to ‘clean up’ with this chuggin’ little instrumental with a rockabilly flair.”
- Written by Steve Cropper, David Mayo, and Ron Capone.
“Bang!” — Album‘s title track
AUDIO LINK for “Africa” by Thundermug
peaked at #110 on December 16, 1972 [Big Tree]
- Recorded at Toronto Sound Studios.
- Billboard‘s July 29, 1972 edition includes a news item “From the Music Capitals of the World – Toronto“: “Thundermug now breaking nationally with both ‘Thundermug’ and ‘Africa’ from the Thundermug Strikes album. Group is on London-distributed Axe label.”
- Billboard‘s December 9, 1972 edition, in its “From the Music Capitals of the World – Toronto” column, reports that “CKLW Windsor/Detroit has charted two new Canadian singles, ‘Daytime, Night-time’ by Keith Hampshire and Thundermug’s ‘Africa,’ both of which are now available in the US on A&M and Bell, respectively. Both singles have done exceedingly well on Canadian charts and look set for wide action in the US market.”
- “Africa” was a “Regional Breakout Single” in Detroit, according to Billboard.
- Written by Bill Durst and Joe DeAngelis.
Picture sleeve – Germany
AUDIO LINK for “Trying to Live My Life Without You” by Otis Clay
peaked at #102 on January 6, 1973 [Hi]
- Produced by Willie Mitchell — recorded in Memphis at Royal Studios (“one of the oldest perpetually operated recording studios in the world”).
- Record World‘s review from their October 7, 1972 edition: “A powerful and sensitive singer in the Otis Redding manner, Clay is a natural for Willie Mitchell’s Memphis magic. One of the better r&b records in a good year for r&b records, it will pop top forty.”
- #24 on Billboard‘s Soul chart (December 9, 1972).
- #39 on Record World‘s R&B Singles chart (November 11, 1972)
- Link to tribute produced by NPR’s “Fresh Air” program: “Remembering Otis Clay – A Blues Hall of Fame Musician“
Written by Eugene Williams
AUDIO LINK for “Gimme That Beat (Pt. 1)” by Jr. Walker & the All Stars
peaked at #101 on February 24, 1973 [Soul]
- Billboard‘s January 27, 1973 edition includes this recommendation — “A funky, strictly-for-dancing shouter with infectious drive. Powerful new entry from long-time soul titan.”
- #110 position on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart (March 10, 1973).
- #109 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (February 27, 1973).
- Produced and arranged by Junior Walker — written by Arnold Langley, Autry DeWalt, and Ronald Harville.
Picture sleeve – France
AUDIO LINK for “Loose Booty” by Funkadelic
peaked at #118 on March 17, 1973 [Westbound]
- “Loose Booty” (from the double album America Eats Its Young — which reached #22 on R&B and #122 on the Pop charts — also reached #49 on Billboard‘s Soul singles chart.
- #51 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 65 (March 17, 1973), as well as #102 on Cash Box‘s “Looking Ahead” chart (October 5, 1974).
- #111 position on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart (November 2, 1974).
- Sly and the Family Stone’s 1974 album Small Talk, coincidentally or not, includes a song called “Loose Booty.”
Written by George Clinton & Harold Beane
AUDIO LINK for “We’ll Make Love” by Al Anderson
peaked at #101 on March 24, 1973 [Vanguard]
- “Well Make Love,” which came extremely close to making the Hot 100 chart, is from Al Anderson’s debut album (on which Al is joined by Tom Staley and Terry and Donn Adams, among others) — released prior to Anderson joining NRBQ.
- Review from Record World‘s February 3, 1973 issue: “New singer writer debuts with this selection from his first LP. Cut shuffles right along in the same vein as Van Morrison, complete with horns. Potent entry for starters.”
- #116 on Cash Box‘s “Singles — Looking Ahead” chart (February 24, 1973).
- #112 position on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart (March 10, 1973).
- Recorded between June and September 1972 at Vanguard’s 23rd Street Studios.
- Written by Al Anderson.
New Zealand — 1973
AUDIO LINK for “Part of the Union” by The Strawbs
peaked at #111 on April 21, 1973 [A&M]
- “Part of the Union” — previously celebrated by Zero to 180.
- #57 on RPM’s Top Singles chart for June 9, 1973.
- #106 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for April 6, 1973.
- According to Billboard, “Part of the Union” reached the Top 5 on Australia’s pop chart, made the Top Ten in Singapore, and nearly hit the top of the charts in Bangkok.
- Written by John Ford and Richard Hudson.
Picture sleeve — France
AUDIO LINK for “Satellite of Love” by Lou Reed
peaked at #119 on June 9, 1973
- Composed by Lou Reed, produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, and arranged by the three of the them.
- Record World selected “Satellite of Love” as one of its “Hits of the Week” in the May 26, 1973 edition: “Former Velvet Undergrounder shocked the world by having a Top 15 single with ‘Walk on the Wild Side‘ [with Herbie Flowers on bass]. From Transformer comes this more cosmic composition. David Bowie’s genius is there in the production. Should soar to the top.”
- Billboard did not designate “Satellite of Love” as one of its “Top Single Picks” for the week of May 26, 1973 — but they did tag the song as “also recommended.”
- #118 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart two consecutive weeks for June 23 & 30, 1973.
- “Satellite of Love” was the B-side when released “overseas” in the UK, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal & New Zealand (but not Australia, apparently).
45 — Netherlands
AUDIO LINK for “Bra” by Cymande
peaked at #102 on June 30, 1973 [Janus]
- Cymande paid tribute by Zero to 180 in 2013.
- As with “Satellite of Love,” this song was not picked by Billboard as a Top Single, but rather as one of the “also recommended” for the week ending April 7, 1973.
- “Bra” went from #113 (May 26, 1973) to #93 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart (June 9, 1973).
- Record World‘s review of Cymande’s second album Second Time Around in the June 9, 1973 edition begins with this observation — “Rarely can a group appear on jazz, r&b, and pop charts at the same time, but these dynamic musicians made all three with their very first album.”
- Somewhat related news item (“Schwaid Signs Independents”) in the July 7, 1973 edition of Cash Box: “Bob Schwaid today announced that he has just signed one of the hottest new groups, the Independents, to his Thruppence Ltd. management firm. Schwaid, who has managed such top artists as Van Morrison and Miriam Makeba, is presently personal manager for superstar vocalist Al Green, Cymande, a West Indian rock band, and comic Lonnie Shorr. The Independents are Chuck Johnson, Maurice Jackson, Eric Thomas and Helen Curry.”
- “Bra” written by Patrick Patterson and Steve Scipio.
- That same issue of Cash Box includes this ad from Chess/Janus:
Nyah-Rock, is the music of Cymande
A wicked blend of calypso, Afro rock and love
Through it they speak their ideals, heritage and themselves.
Their first album was such a success
it’s only natural they follow it with a Second Time Round
Picture sleeve – Netherlands
AUDIO LINK for “Old Betsy Goes Boing, Boing, Boing” by The Hummers
peaked at #104 on August 25, 1973 [Capitol]
- One of Record World‘s “Single Picks” for the week of June 23, 1970 — “The ditty that’s used for the rotary engine Mazda commercials gets new lyrics for top 40 radio and should see lotsa spins everywhere. Cutesy production will rev up plenty of action.”
- Love Marie Ratliff’s enthusiasm in her “County Hot Line” column in Record World‘s July 14, 1973 edition — “‘Open Up Your Heart‘ is an open-and-shut case for Roger Miller! The verdict is — it’s a hit. So says KBUY, WCMS, WIRE, WXCL (they picked it); as well as WMC, KCKN, and WEET! Ditto for The Hummers’ first happening, ‘Old Betsy Goes Boing, Boing, Boing.’ Popular opinion sentencing it to a long chart run!”
- Tip of the hat to 45Cat’s RichardSibello, who informs us that “the stereo version has a spoken ending that the mono version doesn’t.”
- Written by Dan Dalton and L. Rood.
Listen in stereo – if you dare
AUDIO for “Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean by The Creep
peaked at #116 on September 1, 1973 [Mr. G]
- Released in the US and Canada — same recording on both sides of the 45.
- Tagged by Record World not as “Single Picks” but rather “Spins and Sales” in the August 11, 1973 edition.
- Written by Bob Warren.
Remember those 70s Dymo label makers?
“Back in the Hills” by The Blue Ridge Rangers
peaked at #107 on October 13, 1973 [Fantasy]
- The Blue Ridge Rangers turns out to be Creedence Clearwater’s John Fogerty playing all instruments on a handful of 45s and one full-length album released between 1972 and 1973 — “Back in the Hills” is a non-LP B-side that easily sells for two figures at auction.
- According to the Forgotten Hits music blog:
- Album includes Fogerty’s rockabilly take on “Hearts of Stone,” the big 1954 hit for The Charms, who recorded for King Records.
45 — Japan
AUDIO LINK for “Take Life a Little Easier” by Rodney Allen Rippy
peaked at #112 on October 20, 1973 [Bell]
- Included in Billboard‘s “First Time Around Picks” (new artists deserving airplay and sales consideration) in their October 6, 1973 edition: “Everyone by now has heard this charming child singing the Jack-in-the-Box commercial. Here’s the commercial music version of the melody by this five-year old on the way to commercial exploitation.”
- Burbank’s Kendum Recorders cut the masters for this Rodney Allen Rippy recording that somehow involved Thomas “Snuff” Garrett (though not as producer) — check out this cheeky ad from the December 15, 1973 edition of Billboard. (“Who Is Snuff Garrett And Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About…”)
- “Take Life a Little Easier” went from #103 (week ending October 6, 1973) to #76 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 Singles chart (week ending October 27, 1973).
- Written by Sid Woloshin and John Annarino — Arranged and produced by (the recently-departed) Al Capps.
AUDIO LINK for “Your Funny Moods” by Skip McHoney and the Casuals
peaked at #113 on March 13, 1974 [DC International]
- Recorded at Silver Spring‘s DB Sound Studios — celebrated in detail here.
- Cash Box‘s November 24, 1973 edition – in its “R&B Additions” section – reported that “Your Funny Moods” was added to the playlist of Cleveland’s WABQ.
- #56 on Cash Box‘s R&B Top 70 chart for the week of March 16, 1974.
- Your Funny Moods LP reached #196 on Record World‘s “151 to 200” Album Chart for the week ending February 8, 1975.
- According to the bio posted on Discogs:
“Skip Mahoney, together with fellow Francis Cardozo hall-dwellers George Norris, James Morse, Franklin Radcliff, and Morris Moore, the Casuals, Washington D.C, were formed in 1965. Upon graduation in 1968, Skip had a draft scare, but received a reprieve when, after a few agonizing months in basic, he was deemed flatfooted and sent back to the capital. In 1969, the group solidified around its best-known lineup: Roger Chapman, Billy Jones, and original member George Norris. Most importantly, the quartet joined forces with schoolmate James Purdie, a partially blind multi-instrumentalist who had made a name for himself at Cardozo. Purdie could play, arrange, and write songs, and proved essential to the group’s unique and professional sound; equally important, he would be the driving factor in connecting the Casuals with Robert José Williams.
The Casuals played frequently at The Room and the Mark IV in Northwest D.C. and The Carousel in Baltimore, with guitarist Otis Brown and bassist Ira Watson joining James Purdie, who handled drums and keyboards as needed. Over the course of two years, the group cut seven tunes with Williams at DB Sound: “Your Funny Moods,” “(Seems Like) The Love We Had Is Dead And Gone,” “We Share Love,” “I Need Your Love,” “Town Called Nowhere,” “I’m Looking Away From My Past,” and “Strugglin’ Man.” When their first single for DC International Records, Inc. came back from the pressing plant, the group was dismayed to find itself billed as Skip Mahoaney & the Casuals, after being a vocal group for nearly a decade. Chapman, Jones, and Norris quit in disgust, but their complete R.G.B. recordings were collected on 1974’s Your Funny Moods LP. Unfazed, Skip rallied Tracy Reid, Jerome Rodgers, and Allen Morgan to join him in support of the album, taking the group to realms outside of DC International Records, Inc.’s limited regional scope.
Released in 1976 on Nashboro’s Abet imprint, Land Of Love took full advantage of the increased recording budget a national label could provide. Now upgraded to producer, Purdie arrived at Track Recorders [Silver Spring] with a handful of guitarists, backing vocalists, a harpist, two trombonists, two trumpeters, two bassists, an oboe player, a trio of saxophonists, and a full string quartet arranged by Eddie Drennon. The album’s first single, “Running Away From Love,” got widespread radio play on R&B stations, but couldn’t get over the hump and onto the pop charts. After a management deal went south with mob-connected Joe Fontana in New York City and discos sprung up in place of live venues, the group finally petered out in 1978.
Harrison Hoaney died March 2020.”
Written by Skip Mahoney and James Purdie
AUDIO LINK for “The Credit Card Song” by Dick Feller
peaked at #105 on October 23, 1974 [United Artists]
- Top Ten hit on Billboard‘s County chart, peaking at #10 on November 23, 1974.
- #30 on Cash Box‘s Country Top 75 chart for October 26, 1974.
- #116 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart on October 26, 1974.
- Dick Feller — also known for “Biff The Friendly Purple Bear“
Written by Dick Feller
AUDIO LINK for “Pick Up the Pieces One by One” by A.A.B.B.
peaked at #108 on April 12, 1975 [I Dentify]
- A.A.B.B. is actually, Fred Wesley and the JB’s (with James Brown on Clavinet) in response to Average White Band [AWB]’s big hit.
- Dave Thompson explains in his Funk essential listening companion: “Atlantic opted not to pull a second single from [1974’s Average White Band album], insisting instead that the band cut something else in the spirit of the hit. They emerged with another James Brown-type jam, “Cut the Cake,” which effortlessly returned AWB to the Top Ten in April 1975. Utterly unflattered by such tributes, Brown himself responded by remixing and overdubbing a 1971 JB’s rhythm track, “Hot Pants Road,” and releasing it (on the specially formed Identify label as “Pick Up the Pieces One by One,” under the name AABB (the Above Average Black Band).”
- Thanks to 45Cat’s jukebox george who reports that “BMI.com credits Track A to James Brown, St. Clair Tony Pinckney Jr., and Fred A Wesley Jr. Track B to James Brown & Leon Austin.”
A.A.B.B. = Above Average Black Band
“Right From The Shark’s Jaws (The Jaws Interview)”
by Byron McNaughton & His All News Orchestra
peaked at #106 on September 13, 1975 [Jamie]
- “Jaws”-themed break-in record with “Jaws Jam” on the flip side — also released in the UK.
- Nice stereo imaging effect during the fade-out amidst all the newsroom sounds.
- #116 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart for September 13, 1975.
- One 45Cat contributor informs — “Got extensive play in the Philadelphia area [made the Top 10 on WFIL] which caused it to Bubble Under. As Byron McNaughton was a known personality in the area, his record was more popular than Dickie Goodman’s.”
- Another 45Cat contributor points out the 45 label (below), which indicates the duration of the recording to be “2:61“!
Fun Fact –
Sharks have outlived the dinosaurs
AUDIO LINK for “Southern Lady” by Timi Yuro
peaked at #108 on October 18, 1975 [Playboy]
- In a brief news item with accompanying photo — “Playboy Adds Timi Yuro” — the September 6, 1975 edition of Record World [pg. 11] reported that “Timi Yuro has been signed to an exclusive recording contract with Playboy Records, announced Tom Takayoshi, executive VP for the label. Playboy plans to release the first single resulting from the agreement on or around September 12.”
- “Southern Lady” was a “Pick of the Week,” as reported in the October 11, 1975 edition of Cash Box: “This country ballad shows strong evidence of crossing over to MOR [i.e., “Middle-of-the-Road”] stations. Fine arrangement, influenced with strings, horns, and great backup vocal tracks. Timi really performs on this down-home tune produced by Andi Di Martino. Go with it, MOR’s!”
- Discogs tells us that Playboy Records was “originally distributed independently, [though] near the end of its existence it used CBS Records Distribution.”
Written by Michael Hazlewood
AUDIO for “Born to Get Down (Born to Mess Around)” by Muscle Shoals Horns
peaked at #105 on March 20, 1976 [Bang]
- “Born to Get Down” spent a total of 16 weeks on Billboard‘s R&B chart, peaking at the #8 position.
- #19 on Cash Box‘s Top 100 R&B singles for the week ending June 12, 1976.
- #98 on Record World‘s Top 100 Singles chart for the week May 29, 1976.
- The original Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section was inducted into Nashville’s Musicians Hall of Fame in 2019.
Written by Clarence Jones & David Huff
AUDIO LINK for “Theme From One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”
by The Jack Nitzsche Orchestra
peaked at #109 on May 15, 1976 [Fantasy]
- Album review from Cash Box‘s January 3, 1976 edition: “With a movie such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest it takes a highly creative soundtrack to fully capture the compendium of emotions involved. This Jack Nitzsche does as his music seems to fit into every furrow and wrinkle of the movie’s theme. Top listens include ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,’ ‘Aloha Los Pescadores,’ ‘Bus Ride To Paradise’ and ‘Play The Game.’ One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is movie music that can stand on its own.”
- In 1976, the soundtrack album was nominated for “Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a TV Special” (though Car Wash would win).
- Denny Bruce — John Fahey’s one-time producer who later formed Takoma Productions with Fahey — offered Spectrop this amusing and offbeat tribute:
Roosevelt “Rosey” Grier was a giant of a man, big, heavy, and fast who played defense and was feared for his power. Jack said he had the worst sense of timing for a singer he had ever worked with. They were doing “I Who Have Nothing” which, of course, was a hit for Ben E King. Everyone knew the song. Maybe in the showers after a game he would sing and his teammates would say, “Hey man, you’re a hell of a singer.” Jack did the track, and Rosey shows up with four of his teammates, who all wanted a show-biz career, whatever would be, would be. Standing in the studio wearing headphones (probably for the first time in his life) the track would play and Rosey was maybe hypnotized by hearing the music but didn’t sing.
Jack said, “Rosey, you know when to come in, don’t you?” In listening to the Ben E King song, the arrangement is not just a standard arrangement, and the first word “I” followed by “who have nothing” sold the song. Well, they tried to just record “I” and once they got that Jack thought the battle was over. Wrong!! He then brought Rosey into the control room, and let him listen to the playback over the studio speakers. Jack said, “Once you hear the intro if you count to yourself, (I forget the number) 1,2,3,4,5 it’s time to sing “I”. Well, that did not work. So Jack stood up, and would lift his fingers: 1,2,3,4,5 and ‘cue’ Rosey. This only rattled him more. Jack would try and capture the rhythm of the track, with body language, and try his damnedest to make him feel where “I” came in. The guy had no sense of rhythm, and one and a two and now I point and you sing “I” backfired. Rosey’s eyes were like a deer trapped in the headlights – he focused on Jack, but when he brought down his arm to point at Rosey, he would just blurt out “I.”
This is the bull[dung] not a lot of people know about how tough it is to make records with celebs. Soupy Sales was equally bad, but hilarious to work with, because he’s a comedian.
Rosey went on to national fame, as he was with Bobby Kennedy the night Sirhan Sirhan shot him at the Ambassador Hotel, LA in 1968. Rosey actually grabbed him, and threw him to the ground [LA Times notes that Grier “reportedly sat on the gunman until police arrived”]. Jack and I were roommates at the time, and saw it live on TV.
AUDIO LINK for “Town Cryer” by Scott Key
peaked at #110 on July 4, 1976 [Pyramid]
- Bicentennial-themed break-in record.
- Boston’s WBZ (unsurprisingly, perhaps) gave this 45 some radio play, as reported in Billboard.
- #103 on Cash Box‘s “Singles – Looking Ahead” chart (May 29, 1976).
- #115 on Record World‘s “Singles 101 to 150” chart (June 26, 1976).
Pyramid – subsidiary of Roulette Records
AUDIO LINK for “Psychoticbumpschool” by Bootsy’s Rubber Band
peaked at #104 on December 25, 1976 [Warner Bros.]
- “Psychoticbumpschool” (from Bootsy’s debut album for Warner Brothers) was written by Bootsy Collins, Phelps Collins, Bernie Worrell, and George Clinton.
- Recommended by Billboard in its December 4, 1976 edition.
- “Psychoticbumpschool” was one of Record World‘s “Single Picks” in their December 4, 1976 edition: “The Parliamentfunkadelicrubberband strikes again with their left field approach to funk. ‘Casper‘ and company offer a complete education in three minutes.”
- When this 45 was released in the UK, according to 45Cat’s My Friend Jack — “Five weeks on the Breakers list from 30 Jul 1977, peaking in 1st place.” By way of clarification, UK publication Record Mirror began publishing their own “Bubbling Under” list in 1966 to augment their Top 50 chart that soon became known as “The Breakers” (i.e., 10 to 15 records for the singles chart which had not made the Top 50 that week, but were poised to reach the big chart the next week ranked in sales order i.e., as if they occupied positions 51 to 64).
1977 UK B-side as part of 3-song single
“Bubbling Under” Trivia
According to Joel Whitburn —
- American soul singer Ray Charles holds the record for having the most “bubblers” ever under a consistent artist credit, charting fourteen of them from 1963 to 1993. [source]
- One quirky bit of chart synchronicity (below): same song, consecutive listings
02/19/1966 | 134 | Ray Charles Singers –•– One Of Those Songs (Command 4079)
02/19/1966 | 135 | Jimmy Durante –•– One Of Those Songs (Warner 5686)