Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1977 Joe Tex – Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)

1977 Joe Tex – Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)

Joseph Arrington Jr. was born in Rogers, Texas, a town with a population that hovers around 1200. Besides singing in the church choir, Joe played saxophone in the school band. While still in high school, Joe won amateur night contests at the Apollo four times. His mother convinced him to wait until he finished high school before signing a contract with King Records. Joe began using the stage name Joe Tex. Two years of recording for King produced no measurable results.

In 1958, Joe signed with Ace Records and began perfecting a unique stage presence while performing as a warm-up act for Jackie Wilson, James Brown, Little Richard, and other artists. Several sources (including Little Richard) have verified that James Brown copied some of Joe’s dance moves and tricks with a microphone stand. An intense rivalry developed between Joe and James.

Joe had recorded over thirty records for other labels before signing with producer Buddy Killen and later moving to distribution from Atlantic Records in 1964.

Joe recorded Hold On To What You’ve Got at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and Atlantic released the record in late 1964. The single reached #5 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart in early 1965.

Joe’s next few records failed to reach the top forty on the Hot 100, but four of them did reach the top twenty on the R&B chart. He also had one more #1 R&B record in 1965 and 1966, but neither of them could get any higher than the mid-twenties on the Hot 100.

In 1967, Joe cut the single Skinny Legs and All, which reached the top ten on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart. The record sold over a million copies. I’m not sure why the record gets so little airplay now.

Joe’s biggest hit single was I Gotcha, which peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 in 1972. The record topped the R&B chart and sold over two million copies.

After that success, Joe’s career struggled. In 1976, Joe recorded the novelty song, Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman). It was his last visit to the top forty of any chart, reaching #12 on the Hot 100 and #7 on the R&B chart. It was his only single to reach the UK chart, where it peaked at #2. He even performed the song on Soul Train with a big fat woman who bumped him onto the ground. I’m pretty sure the record gathers dust now thanks to its title.

Joe had a heart attack and died in 1982.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Tex
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Tex_discography

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1975 Polly Brown – Puff Of Smoke

1975 Polly Brown – Puff Of Smoke

Polly Brown grew up in Birmingham, England, and joined the group Pickettywitch in 1969. She sang lead vocals for the group on a series of singles. In 1970, their recording of That Same Old Feeling reached #5 on the UK chart. I remember playing the record on the air in Nashville, but the single only reached #67 on the Hot 100.

The group had two more singles reach #16 and #27 in the UK later that year, but neither one touched the US Hot 100.

Sales for Pickettywitch continued to slide, and Polly left the group in 1973 to pursue a solo career. She covered So Much In Love, which was a #1 hit for The Tymes in 1963, but the single did not advance her career at all.

In 1974, Polly teamed up with producer Ron Roker and recorded a cover of an Abba album cut, Honey Honey. They released the single as a duo named Sweet Dreams. Their single hit the charts before Abba released their version as a single. While the Sweet Dreams version reached the top ten in the UK, the Abba version quickly overtook it in the US: Abba’s version reached #27 in the US while the Sweet Dreams version stalled at #68. Tony Jackson replaced Ron for live performances and future recordings. Five more singles failed to chart, and the pair stopped recording together.

Polly jumped on the disco train in 1975 and finally had a hit in the US. The single Up In A Puff Of Smoke reached #16 on the Hot 100, #29 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart, and #3 on the Disco chart.

A Song for Europe was the singing contest that the UK used to pick its competitor in the Eurovision singing contest in 1976 and Polly competed both as a solo singer and as part of Sweet Dreams. Brotherhood of Man won the UK competition with an impossibly cute performance and eventually won the Eurovision contest with their song,  Save Your Kisses For Me. That record sat at the top of the UK chart for six weeks and sold six million copies. While it only reached #27 in the US in 1976, it successfully reached the top of the AC chart.

In the eighties, Polly copied Dionne Warwick and added an “e” to her last name, becoming Polly Browne for at least one single. That didn’t work any better for her than it did for Dionne.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polly_Brown
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickettywitch
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Dreams_(1970s_band)

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1974 Grand Funk – Walk Like A Man

1974 Grand Funk – Walk Like A Man

Mark Farner on guitar and vocals, Don Brewer from Terry Knight and the Pack on drums and vocals, and Mel Schacher from ? and the Mysterians on bass formed a hard-rock group in 1969. Terry became the group’s manager and came up with the name for the band: Grand Funk Railroad.

The group quickly began playing in arenas and their first two albums each went gold. Their first top forty single came in 1970 with the release of Closer To Home (I’m Your Captain). The single was cut down from a ten-minute album version and peaked at #22.

The group added Craig Frost on keyboards for their sixth album and began working with producer Todd Rundgren for their seventh album. Don wrote the title song from that album, We’re An American Band, and it became the band’s first #1 single.

The second single from the album, Walk Like A Man, only reached #19 on the Hot 100 in January 1974. It was not a remake of the Four Seasons hit with that name, but a new song written by Mark and Don. Perhaps that slowed down the success of the record.

Ironically, the lead single from their next album was a remake of a song that Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote for their babysitter, Little Eva. The Loco-Motion gave the group their second #1 hit. In the next year, the group covered two more singles and had hits that reached #3 and #4 while another single that Mark and Don wrote (Shinin’ On) only reached #11.

Their next album came out in 1976 and featured songs the group wrote themselves. They never reached the top forty again.

The original group disbanded in 1976 when Mark left to focus on a solo career. Mark and Don reformed the group without Mel from 1981 to 1983, after which the group disbanded again.

The original trio (plus a keyboard player) reformed in 1996, but after three years, Mark left again. The band went on hiatus until 2000, when Max Carl replaced Mark and the group returned to touring as a five-man band.

Mark formed a group he named Mark Farner’s American Band that performs songs from both Grand Funk’s catalog and other albums Mark has recorded.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Funk_Railroad
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Funk_Railroad_discography

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1973 John & Ernest – Superfly Meets Shaft

1973 John & Ernest – Superfly Meets Shaft

Before sampling began enhancing new recordings, Dickie Goodman invented a technique known as “break-ins.” He and Bill Buchanan scripted the single The Flying Saucer Parts 1 & 2. Their record comprised fake news reports with short pieces of current records that acted as comments or responses to the reporters. The single became a sensation and peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 in 1956, eventually selling over a million copies. Disgruntled owners of recordings he sampled filed a lawsuit that claimed his records violated their copyrights. The court declared the record to be a parody and opened the door to more break-ins.

Dickie made a career out of break-ins. In addition to a sequel to the Flying Saucers, additional records included Santa And The Satellite in 1957, The Touchables in 1961, and Batman and His Grandmother in 1966.

The same year, he produced a single by Jéan Free and Ernest Smith. The single, Superfly Meets Shaft by John & Ernest, only used R&B singers and songs. The record peaked at #31 on the Hot 100.

Perhaps inspired by their success, later that year Dickie returned to the recording studio and created his own single called Watergrate that parodied the Watergate scandal. The single did not quite reach the top forty, topping out at #42 on the Hot 100.

John & Ernest created three more singles, but none of them charted.

Dickie had two more top forty singles after that. His bestselling single was Mr. Jaws, a 1975 record inspired by the film Jaws that got as high as #4.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dickie_Goodman
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_%26_Ernest

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1971 Donnie Elbert – Where Did Our Love Go?

1971 Donnie Elbert – Where Did Our Love Go?

Donnie Elbert was born in New Orleans in the mid-thirties. His family moved to Buffalo, New York when he was only three years old. He grew up playing the piano and guitar and formed the doo-wop group The Vibraharps in 1955. Besides playing guitar and singing backup vocals in the group, he also wrote and arranged some of their songs.

Donnie began a solo career in 1957 when he signed with King Records. His first solo hit featured his falsetto. What Can I Do? reached #12 on the R&B chart but peaked at only #61 on the Hot 100.

Donnie recorded several other singles that failed to chart. His career was interrupted for a few years by a stretch in the military. More singles followed, and he moved to the UK in 1966. He got married, signed with a new label, and then found the charts again in 1970. He wrote and co-produced Can’t Get Over Losing You, and the single made it to #26 on the R&B chart and touched #98 on the Hot 100.

In 1971 he recorded a cover version of the Supremes hit, Where Did Our Love Go. The single was a top ten record in the UK and reached #15 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B chart.

He followed that success with another single that did not do well. The single after that covered the Four Tops song I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch). His cover reached #11 in the UK, #22 on the Hot 100, and #11 on the R&B chart in 1972.

Donnie never reached the Hot 100 again. A re-issue of his 1965 recording, A Little Piece Of Leather, caught on as part of the Northern Soul movement in the UK and reached #27 in the UK in 1972.

Donnie stopped performing in the mid-eighties and went to work for Polygram as the director of A&R for their Canadian division.

Donnie wrote over a hundred songs during his career. He was only 52 years old when he had a massive stroke and died in 1989.

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

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1969 René & René – Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero (The More I Love You)

1969 René & René – Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero

René Ornelas was born in Laredo, Texas, and played trumpet and sang in his father’s band, the Mike Ornelas Orchestra. He teamed up with René Herrera and two other musicians to form a group called The Quarter Notes. When that group fell apart, the pair formed René y René.

In 1964 they recorded Angelito (little angel). The single was bi-lingual, and with lyrics that started in Spanish, it was no doubt a tough sell in some parts of the US. The single still managed to reach #43 on the Hot 100. That led to a performance of the song on American Bandstand and an interview with Dick Clark. The record was an international hit and sold over a million copies.

In 1968 they signed with White Whale Records (the same label the Turtles were on) and released Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero. Again, the song was sung in both Spanish and English. This time they found it easier to get airplay in the US, and the single peaked at #14 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart in early 1969. The single also sold over a million copies.

While the pair never had another record chart in the US, I found at least one claim that they recorded the first version of a song that later became a hit. Doug Sahm was the leader of the Sir Douglas Quintet, a Tex-Mex group based in San Antonio. He wrote the song Mendocino. Rene y Rene recorded the song for a small record company in San Antonio and put it on the b-side of a release where it went unnoticed.

The Sir Douglas Quintet broke up after being busted in Texas when they brought an insignificant amount of marijuana back from England. Doug moved to San Francisco. He eventually reformed the group, and they then recorded their own version of Mendocino. Their single only reached #27 on the Hot 100 in early 1969 but was more successful in Europe, where it sold over three million copies. The bust and subsequent break-up explain Doug’s comments on the single about the group being back.

René Ornelas eventually became a solo act and toured as René René.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_y_Ren%C3%A9
http://www.sahmigo.com/details/r/rene_rene.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Douglas_Quintet
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Sahm

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1968 People! – I Love You

1968 People! – I Love You

The Zombies formed in 1961 and had the good fortune to release a few really good singles in 1964. She’s Not There and Tell Her No qualified them to tour the US as part of the British Invasion. After that initial success, the group struggled to find hit records. In August 1965 they released Whenever You’re Ready, which stopped ten slots shy of reaching the Hot 100. Hiding on the b-side of the single was I Love You, a song written by their bass player, Chris White.  It wasn’t even put on one of their albums until a compilation album came out in 1969.

The Zombies recorded the album Odessey and Oracle in 1967, but a pair of failed singles were enough to discourage the group. They disbanded and the band Argent arose from the ashes. In 1968, their record company finally released Time Of The Season, which was a hit pretty quickly in the UK but took until 1969 to reach the charts in the US.

Geoff and Robert Levin formed the band People! in 1966. They recruited drummer Dennis Fridkin and keyboardist Albert Ribisi as well as singers Gene Mason and Larry Norman. Geoff and Dennis wrote Somebody Tell Me My Name, which became the band’s second single in 1968. Was it just a coincidence that I Love You once again became a b-side? Fortunately, this time disk jockeys turned the record over and played their version of the song, and this time the song reached #14 on the Hot 100.

The band began touring on the strength of the single. They appeared on American Bandstand three times. On one visit they showed a video they had filmed to promote I Love You.

The Zombies’ record label woke up and re-issued the Zombie’s version of I Love You as an a-Side of its own single, but it was too late.

The People! fell apart almost as soon as they got their first hit. Four of the members had joined Scientology and told the other two they had to join Scientology or quit the group. Their two singers left and the People! never charted again.

After leaving the band, Larry became one of the most important figures in the new Christian music field and has recorded over a hundred albums.

In 2007 the band was inducted into the San Jose Hall of Fame and all six members performed together for the first time in decades. A new version of the group made up mostly of original members formed in 2018.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Zombies
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Love_You_(The_Zombies_song)

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