1958 Jerry Wallace – How The Time Flies

1958 Jerry Wallace – How The Time Flies

Jerry Wallace was born in Missouri in 1928. He moved to California and served in the Navy. When he mustered out, he pursued a career as a singer beginning in the early fifties. He released at least ten singles that failed to chart before signing with Gene Autry’s Champion Records in 1957. His first three singles for the company did not fare any better, but his fourth single finally delivered success. How The Time Flies peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 in 1958.

Jerry recorded four albums while under contract with Challenge Records. His most successful single for the label came in 1959. Primrose Lane sold over a million copies and reached #8 on the Hot 100.

Jerry had what appeared to be his last pop hit in 1964 with In The Misty Moonlight. The single peaked at #19, which earned him an appearance on American Bandstand.

Beginning in 1965, Jerry’s music aimed more directly at the Country market. He spent a few years releasing records that bounced in or near the Country top forty before he scored a number one Country hit in 1972 with If You Leave Me Tonight I’ll Cry. The record even got some play on pop stations and briefly reached #38 on the Hot 100. They even used the song in an episode of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery television show.

By 1980, Jerry had reached the top forty on the Country charts over a dozen times. He appeared to sing in public a few times after that, but no longer pursued a music career full time.

Jerry died from congestive heart failure in 2008 at age 79.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/jerry-wallace-mn0000337717/biography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Wallace

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1957 Billy Ward and his Dominoes – Deep Purple

1957 Billy Ward and his Dominoes – Deep Purple 

Billy Ward grew up in Philadelphia, playing piano and composing music for it. After serving in the Coast Guard Artillery Choir, he studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. He began writing songs with talent agent Rose Marks. The pair created a business that owned their own group. The group was initially named the Ques and changed their name to the Dominoes when they signed with Federal Records. The group included lead singer Clyde McPhatter. Their recordings began charting on the R&B chart in 1951. The single Sixty Minute Man, which featured lead vocals by bass singer Bill Brown, topped the R&B chart and reached #17 on the pop chart. The group successfully toured on the strength of their recordings.

Unhappy with his poor salary from the group, Clyde McPhatter left to form the Drifters in 1953. Jackie Wilson took over the lead vocal chores, and he left the group to pursue a solo career in 1957. His replacement was Gene Mumford, a former lead singer for the Larks. The group then began recording for Liberty Records. They had a hit with a remake of the classic song Star Dust, which peaked at #12 on the Hot 100. The single became the only record by the group to sell over a million copies.

A few months later, the group released another doo-wop cover of a classic song. Peter DeRose wrote Deep Purple as a piece for the piano in 1933. Mitchell Parish wrote lyrics for the song and published them in 1938. Larry Clinton and His Orchestra released a single with vocals by Bea Wain the next year that remained at number one on the charts for nine weeks. Several other artists (including Bing Crosby) charted with the song that year as well.

The version by Billy Ward and his Dominoes peaked at #18 on the Hot 100 in 1957. While the group continued recording singles as late as 1965, they never again reached the top forty of the Hot 100.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Ward_and_his_Dominoes
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_Purple_(song)

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1980 Andy Gibb and Olivia Newton John – I Can’t Help It

1980 Andy Gibb and Olivia Newton John – I Can’t Help It 

Andy Gibb had three notable older brothers: Barry, Robin, and Maurice, the core of the Bee Gees. He grew up following his family between England and Australia and witnessed the success of the Bee Gees first hand.

Andy formed his own group in 1974. At Barry’s insistence that it would help his career, Andy moved to Australia for a few years. While there, he recorded a few songs and even reached the charts with a single. 

The strength of Andy’s demo tapes got him signed to a record contract with RSO Records in 1976. Andy moved to Miami to work on his first album with his brothers. Barry wrote I Just Want to Be Your Everything and Andy’s recording reached #1 on the Hot 100 in 1977. Two more chart-topping singles and three top ten records followed during the next two years. During that time, his brothers did their best to help him combat his growing dependancy on drugs and alcohol.

In 1980, Andy recorded a duet with Olivia Newton John. Barry wrote and co-produced I Can’t Help It, and the single reached #12 on the Hot 100 and #8 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Andy’s next single, Time Is Time, only got to #15 later in 1980, and the following single spent only a single week at #40 on the Hot 100.

Andy joined Marilyn McCoo as the co-host of the Solid Gold television show beginning in 1981. He also began appearing in musical plays on Broadway and in Los Angeles. 

Andy began dating Victoria Principal, and his last charting record was a duet they recorded. He came up with the idea of a releasing a duet after hearing Victoria singing in the shower. Their remake of the Everly Brothers hit All I Have To Do Is Dream peaked at only #51 in 1981.

Shortly after the single was released, Victoria gave Andy a choice: stop using drugs or lose her permanently. We can only dream of what might have happened if he had made a different choice.

Andy’s repeated abuses of cocaine and alcohol resulted in an absentee rate that led Solid Gold to drop him from the show. He also lost his chance to continue in the plays. He fought his addictions and went through rehab multiple times during his career.

After another rehab stay, he successfully began doing some short-term engagements in Las Vegas from 1984 to 1986. A stay at the Betty Ford clinic seemed to help him finally get clean by 1987. He was about to record a new album in 1988, but in March he began having chest pains. They admitted him to a hospital in England. His heart had been so weakened by years of cocaine usage that it simply gave out within days, and Andy died.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Gibb

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1979 Eddie Rabbitt – Suspicions

1979 Eddie Rabbitt – Suspicions 

Eddie Rabbitt grew up in Orange County, New Jersey, an unusual place to start out as a Country singer and songwriter. His father worked at an oil refinery but played fiddle and accordion in local clubs. Eddie learned to play guitar and dropped out of school and began singing in clubs when he was only 16 years old.

Eddie began working as a mental hospital attendant while performing part-time until he won a talent contest. He won the chance to do a one hour radio show, and that led to a recording contract with 20th Century Records. The company released two singles in 1964. When they were not successful, Eddie moved to Nashville and began working part time as a songwriter. Everything changed when Elvis recorded one of Eddie’s compositions, Kentucky Rain. Elvis recorded two more song Eddie had written, and as a result, Elektra Records signed Eddie to a recording contract in 1974.

Two of Eddie’s singles nearly reached the Country top ten in 1975. Eddie’s next single topped the Country chart, and a seemingly endless string of hit Country singles followed.

In 1979, Eddie recorded the theme song for the Clint Eastwood film Every Which Way But Loose. They released the song as a single that became his third consecutive chart-topping record on the Country chart. It also reached #30 on the Hot 100 and #26 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart.

Eddie’s next single again reached all three charts. Eddie wrote Suspicions with the help of three other co-writers, and the record became his fourth consecutive #1 on the Country chart. It also reached #13 on the Hot 100 and entered the top ten on the AC chart. 

Suspicions was the beginning of a series of crossover records. I Love A Rainy Night topped the  Country chart, the Hot 100, and the AC chart in 1980. Over the next three years, Eddie released seven more chart-topping Country singles. Those releases resulted in two more top five records and three more top forty singles on the Hot 100. He was also successful on the AC chart, where three of the singles peaked at #2 or #3 and two more reached the top ten.

After 1983, Eddie found success almost exclusively on the Country music chart. In his career, Eddie had a total of 17 number one Country singles and 17 more top ten singles. Like many more traditional Country singers, Eddie’s charting days ended in 1990.

Eddie fought with lung cancer beginning in 1997 and died a year later. He was only 56 years old.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Rabbitt
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Rabbitt_discography

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1978 Love & Kisses – Thank God It’s Friday

1978 Love & Kisses – Thank God It’s Friday

Alec R. Costandinos was a French songwriter and producer who co-wrote the disco hit Love in C Minor with artist Cerrone in 1976. The success of that song led to a contract with Barclay Records. He assembled a collection of studio musicians and recorded his first album in 1977. The album was called Love and Kisses, which became the name of his group. The album consisted of two side-length songs. The single I Found Love (Now That I Found You) topped the US Disco chart in 1977, but failed to cross over to the pop charts.

After his second album spawned two more singles that reached the top five on the Disco chart, they hired Alex to create the title song for the film Thank God It’s Friday. The single of that song again put him at the top of the Disco chart, but this time he also reached the pop charts. The single peaked at #22 on the Hot 100 and #23 on the R&B chart in 1978 .

By the time the group’s third album got released in 1979, Disco was not as popular, and no additional albums followed until 1982. When that album failed to find an audience, Alec retreated from the music industry, although he appears to have helped write songs using the pseudonym R. Rupen on works in France. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_%26_Kisses
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thank_God_It%27s_Friday_(Love_%26_Kisses_song)

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1977 Judy Collins – Send In The Clowns

1977 Judy Collins – Send In The Clowns

Judy Collins was born in Seattle and her family moved to Denver when she was about ten years old. Her father was a blind singer and piano player, and Judy learned to play the piano and sing at a young age. By her teens, she had added guitar to her repertoire.

After graduating from high school, Judy began performing folk music at small clubs in the Denver area. She later moved to Connecticut and then to Greenwich Village in New York City. Her first album came out in 1961 and she followed that with a new album almost every year. While she also released singles, none of them produced hits until she covered Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides, Now in 1968. The single reached #8 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It also won the Grammy Award for the Best Folk Performance.

While she did not reach the Top Forty on the Hot 100 very often, she had ten more singles reach the top forty on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Her last hit on the Hot 100 was Send In The Clowns. The song was from the play, A Little Night Music, and Judy’s cover version was released in 1975 and just managed to reach #36 on the Hot 100. The record did better on the Adult Contemporary chart, where it peaked at #8. While Judy did not win a Grammy award for Send In The Clowns, her performance no doubt helped the song win the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1976.

The play was turned into a movie in 1977. Even though the film starred Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Rigg, critics and audiences were not too impressed. Elizabeth Taylor did her best to sing Send In The Clowns in the film, but Judy’s version was re-released and did better the second time around. The single peaked at #19 in 1977 and was popular enough that Judy was invited to perform the song on the Muppet Show. Rather than sing to the muppets, she was backed up while singing by dancing (voguing?) clowns who looked a lot like miming muppets.

Judy has released 8 live albums and 28 studio albums during her career, including her most recent album in 2019. She has also released eight live albums, the most recent of which came out in 2020.

She received a Grammy Nomination as recently as 2017 for her album Silver Skies Blue.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Collins
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Collins_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Send_In_the_Clowns
https://www.grammy.com/grammys/artists/judy-collins

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1976 Elton John – I Feel Like A Bullet (In The Gun Of Robert Ford)

1976 Elton John – I Feel Like A Bullet (In The Gun Of Robert Ford)

Elton John’s career began a long string of hit singles beginning with Your Song in 1970. Every single he released from Rocket Man to Island Girl reached the top forty on the UK chart, but after that, releases became less dependable.

Both sides of Elton’s first single in 1976 got some airplay. The Hot 100 combined the two sides for charts rather than tracking them individually. The a-side of Elton’s first single in 1976 was a remix of an album cut, Grow Some Funk Of You Own.

The b-side of the single was the ballad I Feel Like A Bullet (In The Gun Of Robert Ford). Robert Ford was a member of the Jesse James gang. He betrayed Jesse and shot him in the back and killed him, hoping to get a pardon and some reward money. Bernie’s lyrics in the song referenced that killing and reflected on the end of his marriage to  Maxine Feibelman (the woman he had written about in the song Tiny Dancer).

The b-side of the record reached #21 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The a-side was too upbeat to reach that chart, so it’s likely that the record’s progress on the Hot 100 was primarily a result of airplay for the b-side. The two sides combined peaked at only #14 on the Hot 100, but the record failed to chart at all in the UK. It was the first single Elton had released in over five years that failed to chart in the UK.

The recording of the album the two songs came from may have had a positive impact on at least one artist’s career: Kiki Dee. She sang background vocals on some of Elton’s recordings beginning on the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album and sang on seven of the songs on the Rock of the Westies album. A few months later, Dusty Springfield became ill and was unable to sing on a new song Elton and Bernie had written, and Kiki filled in for her. She shared the vocals and billing with Elton on Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, and the single topped the UK chart and the US Hot 100 in late 1976.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elton_John
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Feel_Like_a_Bullet_(In_the_Gun_of_Robert_Ford)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grow_Some_Funk_of_Your_Own

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1975 Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes – Get Dancin’

1975 Disco-Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes – Get Dancin’ 

Joseph Montanez, Jr. was born in the Bronx in 1942. He created the persona of Monti Rock, a fabulously gay hairdresser, and beginning in the mid-sixties he appeared regularly on celebrity talk shows. His flamboyant style and over the top antics on the shows (such as throwing bananas into the audience) helped his career along, but nothing prepared us for what came later.

Disco.

In 1975, Monti teamed up with arranger/producer/songwriter Bob Crewe, Jerry Corbetta of Sugarloaf, Kenny Nolan, Freddy Cannon, and singer Cindy “Cid” Bullens and created a very early disco album. Disco Tex & The Sex-O-Lettes Review featured Monti as Disco Tex and some of the others as members of the Sex-O-Lettes on an album that also included songs by Jerry Corbetta and the Jam Band, Freddie Cannon, and other acts. The songs all used an identical drum beat, giving the album a seamless pair of sides devoted to disco music.

The first single from the album became Get Dancin’. Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan wrote the song, although Monti was probably responsible for his own spoken lines over the music. The song was infectious and easy to dance to and shot up into the top ten on the Hot 100 in 1975. The record did even better on the US Dance Chart (#3) and even topped the Disco Chart. 

There were three songs on the album credited to Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes, so it surprised nobody when it spawned a second single. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t recall the song at all, but I Wanna Dance Wit Cho (Do Dat Dance) reached #23 on the Hot 100, #7 on the US Dance chart, and #3 on the Disco Chart.

A single from the album credited to Jerry Corbetta and the Jam Band came out next. Jam Band peaked at #80 on the Hot 100 and missed all the other charts.

The next release from the album was the last song credited to Disco Tex. Boogie Flap didn’t chart at all.

The group released two more albums in 1976 and 1977. The act may have gotten too old because nobody seemed to notice. 

Monti still puts on a show in Las Vegas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disco-Tex_and_the_Sex-O-Lettes

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1974 Fancy – Wild Thing

1974 Fancy – Wild Thing

Mike Hurst began singing and playing guitar in the mid-fifties. His talent impressed Eddie Cochran, who encouraged him to pursue a career in music. After failing to find a record label that would sign him, Mike abandoned music and worked in the insurance industry instead.

Mike’s mother encouraged him to go on an audition for a pop/folk group in 1962. He nailed the audition and joined Dusty Springfield and her brother Tom as the third member of the Springfields. The group’s 1962 single Silver Threads and Golden Needles became the first British single to reach the US Top twenty (just a few months before Telstar became the first British single to reach the top of the Hot 100).

After a few years of working with a few future British superstars, Mike discovered Cat Stevens. He signed Cat to a recording contract and produced his first five singles, including Cat’s breakthrough record, Matthew And Son. Mike also produced music for The Move, Manfred Mann, and The Spencer Davis Group.

Mike formed his own production company in 1973 and recruited several studio musicians and formed the band Fancy. The studio musicians included Ray Fenwick from The Spencer Davis Group, Mo Foster, Henry Spinetti on drums, and Alan Hawkshaw on keyboards. Mike recruited Penthouse Pet Helen Caunt to sing (and breathe) on Wild Thing, a cover of the song originally done by The Troggs. The single failed in the UK, but peaked at #14 on the US Hot 100 chart in 1974.

Ray and Mo were the only members of the group interested in continuing to record music as Fancy, and the other members all left. Australian Annie Cavanagh became the group’s new lead singer, and drummer Les Binks filled out the new lineup.

The group’s second singleTouch Me, again did little in the UK, but reached #19 on the Hot 100 later in 1974.

A third single from the album failed to reach the charts, but Feel Good has been sampled by over 100 different rap songs. You can listen to 3-Minute Rule by the BeastieBoys to hear the sampling, but the lyrics are a tad too explicit to link in here.

The group’s second album and resulting singles made little impact, and the group disbanded.

Mike continued producing and writing music. He appeared to have learned something from the success of Fancy: he became the head of Lamborghini Records, which made a star out of singer/model Samantha Fox beginning in 1983 with a few singles produced by Ray.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/fancy-mn0001336090
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fancy_(band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Hurst_(producer)

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1973 Edgar Winter Group – Free Ride

1973 Edgar Winter Group – Free Ride 

Edgar Winter and his older brother Johnny were born in Texas and both exhibited albinism. They both became accomplished guitarists.

Edgar released his first solo album in 1970. He followed that with two albums recorded with various musicians from Texas and Louisiana that got listed on the albums as The White Trash.

Edgar formed a completely new band in late 1972 with Ronnie Montrose on lead guitar, Dan Hartman on bass, and Chuck Ruff on drums. Rick Derringer (from the McCoys) produced the new group’s first album, They Only Come Out at Night. The album reached the top five on the Billboard album chart and earned a gold record. Edgar wrote Frankenstein, an instrumental that became the first single from the album. The record topped the Hot 100 in 1973.

The album also included a song written by Dan Hartman, Free Ride. He sang on the song, making it markedly different from their first single. While FM radio stations began playing the album cut, the single they released had a completely different mix that included a fuzz bass over the bridge, additional harmonics, and a brighter mix for the guitar.

You can tell the difference between the two versions of the song right from the start if you listen to it in stereo: the single begins with a guitar strictly on the left side, while the album cut has guitar sounds from both speakers.

Perhaps the difference in the two versions led consumers to prefer one version over the other, resulting in a lesser showing on the charts. The single peaked at only #14 on the Hot 100.

Rick took over lead guitar duties for the group’s next album, but their future singles were not as successful, and only one reached the top forty. The group became The Edgar Winter Group Featuring Rick Derringer for their third album.

Edgar continued with a solo career after the Edgar Winter Group stopped recording and released at least a dozen albums, including live albums recorded with Rick. He also released records that reached the R&B and Hip Hop charts.

Dan began a solo career in 1976 and continued writing and producing other acts as well. He reached #6 on the Hot 100 with his single I Can Dream About You in 1984.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Winter
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Ride_(song)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Hartman

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