1981 Jim Photoglo – Fool In Love With You

1981 Jim Photoglo – Fool In Love With You 

Jim Photoglo grew up in California and began chasing a career in music in his early twenties. He signed with 20th Century Fox Records in 1979 and began recording his first album.

Jim released his first album in 1980 simply using the name Photoglow. The first single from the album, We Were Meant To Be Lovers, stalled at #31 on the Hot 100.

In 1981, Jim did slightly better with a single from his second album. He released Fool In Love With You as Jim Photoglo and the single reached #25 on the Hot 100.

Both of Jim’s records did better on the Adult Contemporary chart, where they peaked at #14 and #11. He had two other singles reach that chart but never reached the Hot 100 again.

After spending two years singing backup vocals for Andy Gibb and concentrating more on songwriting, Jim moved to Nashville and began writing songs for Country artists. Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Patty Loveless, The Oak Ridge Boys, and many others recorded his songs.

Two songs he wrote went to the top of the Country chart for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Alabama and two others reached the top ten. 

Jim recorded a few more albums beginning in the nineties. He joined with Russell Smith of The Amazing Rhythm Aces, Bernie Leadon of the Eagles, and songwriter Vince Melamed to form Run C&W, performing bluegrass versions of songs from the sixties and seventies.

He later played bass and sang in touring bands for Dan Fogelberg, Carole King, and others. He currently tours with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, playing bass and guitar and supplying backup vocals.

http://jimphotoglo.com/bio
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Photoglo
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Were_Meant_to_Be_Lovers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fool_in_Love_with_You

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1980 The Korgis – Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime

1980 The Korgis – Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime

Singers James Warren on guitar and keyboards and Andy Cresswell-Davis on bass had been founding members of the British rock band Stackridge in 1970. The group became popular in their home country but found little success elsewhere. By 1977, the band had completely fallen apart.

Shortly after that, James and Andy recruited keyboard player Phil Harrison and violinist Stuart Gordon and formed The Korgis. The new band’s second singleIf I Had You, reached the top twenty in the UK in 1979.

A reissue of the band’s first single still didn’t chart, so the band quickly completed another album.

They released a new song from their second album in 1980, Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime. The single became an international hit. The song featured an unusual instrument, the guzheng (an 18-string Chinese zither).

The record reached #13 on the US Hot 100, #5 in the UK, and even topped the charts in France and Spain.

Unfortunately, the commercial success led to a splintering of the band. Andy left the band first, and two more members left before the completion of a third album. 

By 1982, the group ceased to exist. James reformed a new version of the band in 1985 and Andy rejoined as well beginning in 1990.

The two founding members also reformed Stackridge a few times and reformed The Korgis in 2005, but neither group found much additional success.

James still continues to lead an active version of The Korgis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Korgis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everybody%27s_Got_to_Learn_Sometime

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1979 Nick Lowe – Cruel To Be Kind / Ian Gomm – Hold On

1979 Nick Lowe – Cruel To Be Kind / Ian Gomm – Hold On

Nick Lowe and Brinsley Schwarz were schoolmates in Suffolk, England, in the early sixties. They formed the band Sounds 4+1 with other students and toured RAF bases in Germany.

After leaving school, Brinsley formed the band Three’s A Crowd in 1967. After a few failed singles, Nick joined the band, which eventually changed its name to Brinsley Schwarz. The band’s first album in 1970 became doomed after disastrous reviews of a live performance in the US.

Their second album did not do well, either. After that, Ian Gomm joined the band playing lead guitar. The band’s brand of country rock soon earned the label Pub Rock. By 1973, they popular enough to open for Paul McCartney’s band Wings.

The band recorded their final album in 1974, but their label did not even release the album until 1988. Nick and Ian wrote Cruel To Be Kind, one song on the album.

The band broke up in 1975.

Nick began playing bass for Rockpile, a group that also included Dave Edmunds. He also became a producer for Stiff Records and wrote several songs that other artists took into the top forty in the UK.

Nick also began dating singer Carlene Carter, the daughter of June Carter Cash and step-daughter of Johnny Cash.

In 1979, Nick recorded his own solo version of Cruel To Be Kind. He also married Carlene, and they used recordings from their wedding for the song’s video.

The single reached #12 on the Hot 100 in 1979; it was Nick’s only top forty single in the US (although he had several more in the UK).

Ian built his own recording studio and toured with Dire Straights in 1977. He released his first solo album in 1978 and later added a few more songs and changed the title of the album.

The single Hold On from the album reached #18 on the US Hot 100 in 1979, a few months after Nick’s hit record.

Ian released a few more albums in the eighties and built an even nicer studio. He also never returned to the US top forty.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brinsley_Schwarz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Lowe
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruel_to_Be_Kind
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Gomm

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1978 Bill Withers – Lovely Day

1978 Bill Withers – Lovely Day 

Bill Withers was born the song of a coal miner in 1938. When he turned 13, his father died, and when he reached 17, he enlisted in the navy.

Bill became interested in singing and songwriting while in the navy. He left the military in 1965 and moved to LA two years later to pursue a career in music after leaving the navy.

He sang in clubs and learned to play the guitar. After recording a series of demos, he finally got a contract with Sussex Records in 1970 and began recording his first album. He was fortunate enough to have Stephen Stills playing lead guitar on the album.

The first single from the album failed to find an audience, but his second song, Ain’t No Sunshine, reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B chart. The record easily earned a gold record and sold over three million copies. Bill won a Grammy Award for the song as well.

His next single stalled just short of the top forty. His second album in 1972 spawned two more million-selling singles, Lean on Me and Use Me. The singles reached #1 and #2 respectively on both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart.

While a half-dozen of his follow-up singles from his third album and other recordings did fairly well on the R&B chart, he mostly fell off the Hot 100 chart until 1978. Conflict with his record label prevented him from releasing any more albums until he signed with Columbia Records in 1975.

He finally returned to the charts with the single Lovely Day in 1978. The song caught a lot of attention because of a note near the end of the song that Bill held for 18 seconds, which may still be a record for charted songs in the US.

The single only reached #30 on the Hot 100 but also reached #25 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #6 on the R&B chart. 

Bill’s last major hit on the charts came in 1981. He recorded Just the Two of Us with Grover Washington Jr. and again reached #2 on the Hot 100. The song also earned him his second Grammy Award.

By 1985, the difficulty of dealing with record companies finally drove Bill from the music industry. He stopped recording and touring. He later won a third Grammy Award, and they inducted him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

Bill suffered heart complications and died at age 81 in 2020.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Withers 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Withers_discography#Singles 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovely_Day 

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1977 Rod Stewart – The Killing Of Georgie

1977 Rod Stewart – The Killing Of Georgie

This article appears in LOST OR FORGOTTEN OLDIES VOLUME 1: Hit Records From 1955 To 1989 That The Radio Seldom Plays, which is available on my author page on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Rembert-N-Parker/e/B071Z4GXNT/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

In the early 1970s, Rod Stewart was releasing solo albums that were increasingly successful. At the same time, he also was a part of a group called the Faces. One member of the group was Ian McLagan, a keyboard player. Ian had a gay friend who was killed after he moved to New York City, and that incident later inspired Rod to write and record The Killing Of Georgie (Parts 1 & 2).

The song tells the story of a young gay man who is not accepted by his family and moves to New York City. Once there, he finds acceptance and an exciting lifestyle. Sadly, a group of toughs who were probably out for a night of gay-bashing killed Georgie.

Rod recorded the song in 1976, but his record label initially refused to release the song as a single because of the subject matter. Eventually, they relented, and in the Summer of 1977, the record reached #30 on the US Hot 100. The record did much better in the UK, reaching as high as #2 on their charts. The song clocks in at nearly seven minutes, so the record company split the song into two parts, putting the second half on the flip side of the single.

The song echoes Lou Reed’s A Walk on the Wild Side, and some of the background vocals even appear to be sampling the earlier single.

Being gay was still a challenge in the seventies and the song reportedly helped many young gay men feel more confident about their sexuality. It’s been reported that Boy George’s mother left him a copy of the single when he was fifteen to let him know she was aware of his feelings, even though he had not yet come out.

The video that Rod shot for the song was surprising for its time (this was four years before MTV even existed). The video is simply Rod seemingly vogueing and posing long before either was mainstream.

A live performance in 2013 shows a more mature singer (who has to sit through most of the performance), but one who can still deliver both parts 1 and 2 of the song convincingly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Stewart
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Stewart_discography#1960s/70s
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Killing_of_Georgie_(Part_I_and_II)

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1976 Rhythm Heritage – Baretta’s Theme (“Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow”)

1976 Rhythm Heritage – Baretta’s Theme (“Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow”) 

Michael James Gubitosi was born in 1933 and began acting in 1939. He appeared in a single film and followed that with appearances in dozens of the Little Rascal shorts as Mickey. In the final 1942 episodes of the series he appeared as Bobby Blake, and by 1956 began using a new stage name, Robert Blake.

He appeared in countless films and television shows. In perhaps a poor decision, he turned down the chance to play the role of Little Joe on Bonanza.

Robert’s most acclaimed role came in the film In Cold Blood in 1967. His most famous role is probably that of the title character in the television show Baretta from 1975 to 1978. 

Morgan Ames and Dave Grusin wrote Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow, the theme song for the show. Sammy Davis Jr. sang the show’s version of the song.

While everybody might be familiar with the theme song, Sammy’s single failed to reach the Hot 100 and stalled at only #42 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Merry Clayton recorded a second version of the song. Her uptempo disco single reached #45 on the Hot 100 in 1975.

Producers Steve Barri and Michael Omartian formed the disco/funk group Rhythm Heritage in 1975. The band used a host of studio musicians, including Ray Parker Jr., and recorded a single version of the Theme From SWAT, which topped the Hot 100 in early 1976.

They also recorded a new near-instrumental version of Baretta’s Theme and the single reached #20 on the Hot 100 later in 1976.

The band only reached the Hot 100 one other time. Their disco cover of the Theme from Rocky (Gonna Fly Now) only reached #94 before falling off the chart.

Two more albums followed, after which they appear to have disbanded.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhythm_Heritage
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keep_Your_Eye_on_the_Sparrow

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1975 Roger Whittaker – The Last Farewell

1975 Roger Whittaker – The Last Farewell 

Roger Whittaker was born in Nairobi, Kenya, to British parents. Members of his family were musicians, and Roger learned to play the guitar. He attended school in Kenya and then spent two years in military service.

After 18 months of studying to be a doctor, he decided to become a teacher. In 1959, he moved to Britain to study teaching biology. Roger also began singing in clubs. He signed with Fontana Records in 1962 and began recording as Rog Whittaker.

Roger signed with Columbia Records in 1966 and released records using the name Roger Whittaker. Roger finally released a hit record in 1969 when his recording of Durham Town reached #12 on the UK chart.

His next single, New World In The Morning, only reached #17 in the UK, but it also peaked at #12 on the US Adult Contemporary chart in 1970. That was the first song to showcase his whistling abilities.

Several more singles followed, but it took until 1975 for Roger to reach the Hot 100. In 1971, he was hosting a weekly radio show in the UK, where he would sing songs backed by a full orchestra. Roger invited his listeners to send him poems they had written, and each week for 26 weeks he performed one poem using an arrangement by Zach Lawrence. One of the last poems he chose was The Last Farewell, and he also recorded the song for his next album with the Roland Shaw orchestra. The single did not do well.

In 1975, the wife of a radio station program director in Atlanta, Georgia, heard his recording while traveling in Canada. She insisted her husband play the song on his station when she returned home, and the audience response led to the re-release of the single.

The Last Farewell peaked at #19 on the Hot 100. It also topped the US AC chart. This led to a resurgence of airplay and sales worldwide, and the single soon reached #2 in the UK. The record eventually reached #1 in 11 countries and sold over 11 million copies, making it one of fewer than fifty records to sell over ten million physical copies.

Roger never reached the Hot 100 again but had a string of hits on the US AC chart and charts in Canada, the UK, and Germany. I even recall seeing infomercials for collections of his songs on late-night television.

Roger recorded at least forty albums, including some foreign language albums. His record labels also released a lot of compilation albums. He has his own website at https://www.rogerwhittaker.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Whittaker
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Whittaker_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Farewell

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1973 Joni Mitchell – You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio

1973 Joni Mitchell – You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio 

Joni Mitchell’s album Blue came out in 1971. Despite winning critical praise and later becoming one of the most beloved albums of the seventies, no hit singles came from the album.

Her record label insisted she record something “radio-friendly” for her next album (For the Roses) and she responded by writing the song You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio. Several friends helped with the recording session, including Graham Nash, David Crosby, and Neil Young. The only musical contribution from the three that survived the session was Graham’s harmonica backup.

Joni meant the song as a sarcastic slap at her label, but as you might expect, the song turned into a hit record. They released the single in November 1972, and it peaked at #25 on the Hot 100 and reached #13 on the Adult Contemporary chart in early 1973. It was the first time Joni landed in the top forty in the US.

Joni wrote her next single from the album about James Taylor and his heroin addiction. By the time Joni recorded the song, James had ended their relationship and taken up with Carly Simon, whom he eventually married.

That single did not chart at all. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joni_Mitchell
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joni_Mitchell_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Turn_Me_On,_I%27m_a_Radio

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1972 War – Slippin’ Into Darkness

1972 War – Slippin’ Into Darkness 

Between 1962 and 1968, an ever-expanding group of musicians in California played together as the Creators. The band became the backup musicians for football player Deacon Jones when he began singing professionally.

In 1969, record producer Jerry Goldstein saw Deacon and the band performing at the Rag Doll club in North Hollywood. Jerry and Eric Burdon (formerly lead singer for the British band The Animals) recruited the band to play and sing as part of Eric Burdon and War.

Eric and the band toured briefly in the Southern California area before recording their first album with MGM Records. Eric Burdon Declares “War” included the single Spill The Wine, which reached #3 on the Hot 100. 

Late that year, the band released a second album, The Black-Man’s Burdon. The double album did not generate a hit record, and Eric left the group during a tour of Europe.

The band moved to United Artists and changed their name to War. Their first album for the label did not do well, but the second one contained two top forty singles. 

The first single from the album was the title song, All Day Music. The single stalled at #35 on the Hot 100 but made it to #18 on the R&B chart.

The album also contained Slippin’ Into Darkness, a song written by the band. The album cut ran nearly seven minutes, which was clearly too long for a single release. 

They edited out some of the slow beginning of the song and the second verse to shorten the song to slightly less than four minutes, and they issued the shorter recording in 1972. The single reached #16 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the R&B chart.

The band’s next three singles all reached the top ten on both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_(American_band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippin%27_into_Darkness

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1971 The Isley Brothers – Love The One You’re With

1971 The Isley Brothers – Love The One You’re With 

Beginning in the fifties, an endless line of white artists had covered early songs by the Isley Brothers, especially Shout and Twist and Shout.

The band decided to turn the tables with their ninth album in 1971. Givin’ It Back included covers of songs by Neil Young, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Eric Burdon, and Stephen Stills. For the first time, the album included musical contributions from two younger Isleys (Ernie and Marvin) as well as their brother-in-law Chris Jasper.

Stephen Stills wrote, recorded, and released Love The One You’re With in November 1970. His single peaked at #14 on the Hot 100 in February 1971.

The first single from the Isley Brothers album was a cover of the song. Their cover came out a few months after Stephen’s record fell off the charts and it peaked at #18 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart in August 1971.

The Isley’s versions of Spill The Wine and Lay, Lady, Lay were their other two singles from that album. Both records reached the Hot 100 but stalled before they got into the top forty. The two singles peaked at #14 and #29 on the R&B chart.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Isley_Brothers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Isley_Brothers_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_the_One_You%27re_With

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