Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1971 Cat Stevens – Wild World

1971 Cat Stevens – Wild World

Steven Demetre Georgiou was born in London in the late forties and attended a Catholic primary school. He played around with his family piano, but after the Beatles became popular, he talked his father into buying him a guitar. He began work on an art degree, but changed his mind and began performing music using the stage name Steve Adams.

A girlfriend told him he had eyes like a cat, so he began using the name Cat Stevens for solo performances in pubs and clubs in the UK.

He signed a publishing deal and began creating demos for songs he wrote himself, including The First Cut Is The Deepest. While he did not have a hit with the song himself, Rod Stewart turned it into a #1 single in the UK and Sheryl Crow later reached the top twenty with her single on the US Hot 100.

Cat reached #2 in the UK with his second singleMatthew And Son. The song bubbled under the Hot 100 in the US, but peaked at #115. The record must have done better in the New York area since I remember hearing the record on the radio in 1967.

In the late sixties, Cat survived a bout with Tuberculosis. He spent months in hospitals and nearly a year recovering. He concentrated on yoga and meditation, became a vegetarian, and began studying other religions. His musical career stalled for a few years during that period. While he was recuperating, he wrote dozens of songs he later recorded.

Cat began dating Patti D’Arbanville, an American actress and model. He recorded his first new album in three years in 1970. The first single from the album was the song Lady D’Arbanville, which was written about Patti. The single reached the top ten in the UK without getting anywhere near the US charts.

Six months later he completed another album, Tea For The Tillerman, which earned gold records in both the UK and the US and became his breakthrough album. The songs marked a return to his early folk roots, with lyrics focused on everyday life. His breakup with Patti resulted in the song Wild World. That single reached #11 on the Hot 100, even though it did not chart in the UK.

Cat dated Carly Simon for about seven months in 1971 to 1972. Carly was inspired to write the song Anticipation about their relationship.

His first single from his next album was Moonshadow, which only reached #30 on the Hot 100. That poor showing was offset by reaching the top ten on the Adult Contemporary chart in the US and #22 in the UK. He followed that up with the top ten single Peace Train. He has used much of the money he has made from royalties from that and other songs to fund schools and promote child welfare.

After a near-drowning off the coast of California in 1976, Cat began a more serious search for religion. He converted to Islam and adopted the name Yusef Islam. His new religion led him into trouble in 1989 when he publicly called for the death of Salman Rushdie multiple times because many of his new faith considered Salman’s writings to be blasphemous. Cat later walked-back his calls for violence against the writer and either denied making the statements or claimed that his comments were misunderstood or taken out of context.

When Cat attempted to visit the US in 2004, he was sent back to London because his name allegedly appeared on the No Fly List. Cat insisted that the US officials had him confused with somebody with a similar name. He easily gained entry into the US in 2006, lending credence to Cat’s claims that he was denied entry to the US as a result of mistaken identity. In 2009 Cat wrote and recorded the song Boots And Sand about the incident and also created a video for the song. He had some help with the single: Paul McCartney and Dolly Parton contributed backup vocals to his recording.

Cat was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2014. He continues to record music and sing in public and has scheduled the release of a new album, Tea for the Tillerman 2, on the 50th anniversary of his prior Tillerman album in September 2020.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_Stevens
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_Stevens_discography

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1970 Bobbi Martin – For The Love Of Him

1970 Bobbi Martin – For The Love Of Him

Barbara Ann Martin grew up in Minnesota. When she was old enough, she moved to Baltimore, began singing in local nightclubs, and began using the name Bobbi Martin.

Bobbie began recording singles in 1960 and within a year had recorded for three different labels. Her primary label became Coral Records through the mid-sixties. Her first charting record came in 1965. I didn’t recognize the title of the single, but recognized it as soon as it began playing on YouTube. Don’t Forget I Still Love You sounded a lot like something Brenda Lee might have recorded and perhaps that helped it reach #19 on the Hot 100. The single nearly topped the Adult Contemporary (AC) Chart, where it peaked at #2.

She had four more top forty singles on the AC chart that year, but none of them came close to the top forty on the Hot 100. After that streak, Bobbi went five years without charting anywhere, except for one single that peaked at #64 on the Country chart.

Bobbi signed up with United Artists Records in 1968. Her first album on the label was a collection of covers of hit country records. Her first single from the album was her version of Harper Valley PTA, a song written by Tom T. Hall. Jeannie C. Riley released the hit version of the song, and Bobbi’s single only bubbled under the Hot 100.

Bobbi recorded another album of country tunes the next year, although she and her producer (Henry Jerome) wrote the title track for the album, For The Love Of Him. The first single from the album, Your Cheating Heart, again failed to chart. The second single from the album was her cover version of Patsy Cline’s I Fall To Pieces. Perhaps as a way to push some money to the singer and her producer, they put For The Love Of Him on the B-side of the record. Instead of the A-side reaching the Country chart, it must have been a surprise to everybody involved when the top forty stations and AC stations turned the record over and played the B-side. Her single reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the AC chart in 1970!

Bobbi had three more singles reach the top forty on the AC chart, but she never got onto the Hot 100 again. And that #64 record from 1966 became the only time she charted on the Country chart.

Several more singles followed on Buddah Records and MGM Records, and her last release came in 1975 on Green Menu Records.

Cancer took Bobbi from us in 2000.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobbi_Martin
https://www.discogs.com/Bobbi-Martin-For-The-Love-Of-Him/master/816440

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1969 Spiral Starecase – More Today Than Yesterday

1969 Spiral Starecase – More Today Than Yesterday

The four-piece band The Fydallions formed in Sacramento in 1964. The group initially was only performing instrumental songs, but guitarist and vocalist Pat Upton began writing songs and also singing lead vocals. Harvey Kaye played keyboards for the group. The band played a series of appearances in the Las Vegas and California areas.

Gary Usher, an A&R representative for Columbia Records, heard the group and signed them to a contract with Columbia. When Gary insisted the band change their name, they chose a name based on a 1946 film, The Spiral Staircase. The group came up with a strange spelling for their name: The Spiral Starecase.

Gary produced the group’s first two singles in 1968, neither of which reached the Hot 100. Columbia brought in Sonny Knight was to produce the band’s first album in 1969. Pat had written the song More Today Than Yesterday during the band’s days in Las Vegas, and that became their second single from their album. The single jumped up in the national charts and peaked at #12 on the Hot 100. They released two more singles later that year, but neither of them even reached the top forty.

When the group finally disbanded in 1971, Pat moved to Los Angeles and worked as a studio musician. He became a member of Rick Nelson’s backup band. Pat was invited to accompany Rick on the fateful flight to Dallas that killed Rick, but Pat stayed behind to handle some business concerns.

Harvey’s daughter, Brenda K. Starr, had a top ten dance hit in 1985 with her single Picking Up Pieces. Her 1988 singleI Still Believe, reached #13 on the Hot 100. Between 1997 and 2005, Brenda had two number one singles and six more top-twenty singles on the US Tropical Airplay chart (which focuses on Spanish language hits).

Brenda’s daughter, Gianna Isabella, placed in the top ten on American Idol in 2016 when she was only 15 years old. She finally began releasing singles in 2020.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_Starecase
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brenda_K._Starr
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Idol_(season_15)#Gianna

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1968 Amboy Dukes – Journey To The Center Of Your Mind

1968 Amboy Dukes – Journey To The Center Of Your Mind

Author Irving Shulman published a novel entitled Amboy Dukes in the UK in 1961, and at least two music groups decided to use that name for their band.

One was a British group formed in 1965 in Reading, Berks in 1965, by Dave Kislingberry. They focused on performing American blues and soul music. The group recorded six singles on Polydor Records between 1966 and 1968, including covers of Judy In Disguise and Simon Says.

The other group was formed in Chicago in 1964 and featured Ted Nugent on lead guitar. The other members of the group changed rapidly over the next eleven years, after which the members of the group became Ted’s uncredited backup band.

It was the 1968 band that finally recorded a hit recordJourney To The Center Of Your Mind was the title song from their album that year. Ted Nugent and singer/guitarist Steve Farmer wrote the psychedelic single, which peaked at #16 on the Hot 100 and also had early undertones of Heavy Metal music.

The group continued to tour and release successful albums through the rest of the decade, although they never again reached the Hot 100.

In 1973, Ted signed a contract with Frank Zappa’s DiscReet Records label and began recording albums as Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes. He disbanded the Amboy Dukes in 1975, signed with Epic Records, and began a solo career. Bass player Rob Grange remained in his new backup band, which also included singer and guitar player Derek St. Holmes and drummer Clifford Davis. Numerous studio musicians were used to fill out the sound of the band on recordings and on tours.

Ted’s biggest solo hit was Cat Scratch Fever, which reached #30 on the Hot 100 in 1977. While all the band’s music lists only Ted as the writer, Derek later claimed that the entire band helped write the music while Ted listed only himself to avoid paying them royalties.

In 1989, Ted joined Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, and drummer Michael Cartellone (who later joined Lynyrd Skynyrd) to form the supergroup Damn Yankees. That group had a string of hits on the Mainstream Rock chart from 1990 to 1993. Their biggest single was the 1990 power ballad High Enough, which also reached #3 on the Hot 100.

Ted returned to recording solo albums in 1995, became active in politics, and has created and starred in several reality-based television shows.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amboy_Dukes#Later_happenings
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Nugent

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1968 Ohio Express – Chewy Chewy

1968 Ohio Express – Chewy Chewy

Songwriter Artie Resnick co-wrote a series of successful singles beginning with Gene McDaniels’ top ten hit Chip Chip in 1961. Under the Boardwalk by the Drifters followed in 1964, and 1965 brought him two hits by Ronnie Dove (One Kiss for Old Times Sake and A Little Bit of Heaven). It took recordings by three different groups, but by 1966 he had co-written the chart-topping Good Lovin’ for the Rascals.

Artie, his wife Kris, and singer/songwriter Joey Levine formed the band The Third Rail and recorded an album. They released the single Run, Run, Run, which reached #53 on the Hot 100 in 1967.

Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffry Katz (K&K) were hired by Neil Bogart of Buddah Records in 1966 to produce music for the label. They invented Bubblegum Music and began producing it using studio musicians. They also hired The Third Rail members to write and produce music for them.

In 1966, five musicians from Brooklyn and the Bronx formed a group called The Rare Breed. They recorded the song Beg, Borrow, And Steal. The song was nearly a clone of Louie, Louie. They released the single on K&K’s Attack Records label, but it failed to chart. They also recorded the single Come And Take a Ride in My Boat, which also failed to chart but was later recorded by Every Mother’s Son and turned into a hit. The Rare Breed got into a dispute with their label and disbanded and left the music industry.

Buddah re-released Beg, Borrow, And Steal using the name The Ohio Express in late 1967 and the record promptly shot up to #29 on the Hot 100. It was not the first (or last) time that the label renamed a group and released or re-released a record. Drummer Tim Corwin and four other musicians from Mansfield, Ohio had a band named Sir Timothy & the Royals. They were hired to tour as the Ohio Express and promote the single. It appears that the touring group never actually recorded any of the music that was released using the Ohio Express name.

While that group toured, the members of the Third Rail co-wrote a series of singles and recorded them with Joey singing lead and studio musicians playing instruments. In April 1968 they released the single Yummy Yummy Yummy, which reached #4 on the Hot 100 and helped solidify the concept of Bubblegum Music.

Down At Lulu’s followed in August and peaked at #33 (I’m a sucker for harmony, so I actually liked that record enough to buy the single).

Their third single in 1968 was Chewy Chewy, which reached #15. I did not buy that single. The touring band even managed to lip-sync to the single on television.

Joey grew unhappy with the amount of money that he was earning creating hit records for K&K and left in 1969.

K&K hired Graham Gouldman and the four future members of the group 10CC to take over creating music as the Ohio Express. The musicians recorded Sausalito (Is the Place to Go), a song written and sung by Graham. The single only reached #86 in late 1969. The next three singles issued as the Ohio Express failed to even reach the charts, and the next year, Buddah Records stopped using that name at all.

Tim successfully filed a service mark for the name The Ohio Express and has continually led various groups using the name at oldies shows since the eighties. There was even a brief reunion of the original touring group in 1988.

Joey has made a comfortable living writing and producing jingles for commercials. He also was a member of the studio group Reunion and sang lead on their top ten novelty record Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me) in 1974.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohio_Express
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joey_Levine
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Rail_(band)

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1966 Deon Jackson – Love Makes The World Go Round

1966 Deon Jackson – Love Makes The World Go Round

Ollie McLaughlin was born in Mississippi but spent most of his life living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He worked at radio station WHRV beginning in the late forties. He ran concerts and started his own record labels in the fifties. He also discovered Del Shannon, enabled the production of the hit Runaway, and even produced several of Del’s singles (including Hats Off To Larry).  He also discovered Barbara Lewis and helped with the production of her early hits.

Deon Jackson grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and sang in several vocal groups while in high school. Ollie signed Deon and produced a single Deon had written, You Said You Loved Me. While the single was a regional hit in 1963, it did not reach the national charts. Deon released at least one more single that had only regional impact in the next two years and spent most of that time appearing in clubs.

In 1965, Ollie produced Love Makes The World Go Round, another song that Deon wrote himself. The single was released on Ollie’s Carla Records label. The single reached the Hot 100 in early 1966 and peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart in March. An album was issued by ATCO Records soon after the single’s success.

The follow-up singles did not do well.

In 1967, Deon’s last charting record came out. Deon did not write Ooh Baby, but the single still managed to reach #28 on the R&B chart. Sadly, the single peaked at only #65 on the Hot 100. Several more singles followed on Carla Records and a few other record labels, but there were no more hits.

Deon continued appearing at local clubs into the seventies. Deon became a teacher and counselor in the school district of Wheaton, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago).

Deon did become a success in the UK in the late sixties and early seventies thanks to the Northern Soul movement. Ooh Baby, in particular, became a Northern Soul classic.

Deon died after a brain hemorrhage in 2014.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deon_Jackson
https://www.allmusic.com/artist/deon-jackson-mn0000259524/biography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ollie_McLaughlin

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1965 The Seekers – A World Of Our Own

1965 The Seekers – A World Of Our Own

Three students who had attended Melbourne Boys High School in Victoria, Australia in the fifties. After graduating, Keith Potger became the leader of the rock & roll group the Trinamics and Athol Guy led a group called the Ramblers. The two joined up with Bruce Woodley and singer Ken Ray to form The Escorts. The group changed its name to the Seekers in 1962. Ken got married and left the group, and jazz singer Judith Durham took his place as the lead singer. The new group based itself in Melbourne and quickly built up a following with their brand of folk-pop music.

A gig as entertainment on a cruise ship took the group to England, and once there they found work and began appearing regularly on the Call in on Carroll television show. In 1964 they recorded a single they wrote themselves.

The group filled in as one of the warm-up acts at a Dusty Springfield show. Dusty had just left the Springfields group to start her solo career the year before, but her brother Tom was also present at the concert. Tom wrote and produced successful folk-pop music for the Springfields, and the Seekers met him at the concert. Soon after that, Tom began writing and producing music for the Seekers. The first single from the team-up was I Know I’ll Never Find Another You. The single reached the top of the UK chart and #4 on the US Hot 100 in early 1965.

Tom also wrote and produced their next hit, A World Of Our Own. The single reached number 2 on both the UK chart and the US Adult Contemporary (AC) chart but peaked at only #19 on the US Hot 100.

The group again topped the UK chart with The Carnival Is Over near the end of 1965. The single did not perform well in the US, where it only reached #27 on the AC chart and failed to chart at all on the Hot 100. Special events in Australia continue to end by playing the song.

Several more records charted in the UK the next year, but none of them charted in the US until the group recorded the theme song for the film Georgie Girl. The single again took the Seekers to the top of the UK chart and they came close in the US, where the single peaked at #2 on the Hot 100.

The single Morningtown Ride had reached the UK top ten in 1966 without charting in the US. Their record company reissued the single in the US after the success of Georgia Girl and promoted the song with a video of the group on a train ride with children from a local orphanage, but the record still peaked at only #44 on the US Hot 100. It was the last time the group charted on the Hot 100. The song has become a popular children’s song.

Judith announced her decision to leave the Seekers and pursue a solo career in 1968, resulting in the group disbanding. Judith recorded a Christmas album and four other albums during the next six years.

Bruce had co-written a few songs with Paul Simon in the mid-sixties and wrote songs for several other groups after the break-up. He also recorded a few songs himself.

Beginning in 1975, the three men began performing as the Seekers with a series of replacements for Judith. The group even reached the UK top ten with a song written by Bruce. Bruce left the group in 1977 and Athol left in 1978. Replacements kept the group alive although the hits had run out.

The four members who recorded all the hit records finally reformed in 1992 and performed publicly as a group until Judith retired in 2019. Michael Cristiano joined the group as the new lead vocalist.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seekers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Seekers_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Durham
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Woodley

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1965 The Fortunes – Here It Comes Again

1965 The Fortunes – Here It Comes Again

Robin Hood and his Merrie Men were a group in England in the early sixties made up of lead singer Mike West and three vocalists: Rod Allen, Glen Dale, and Barry Pritchard. Mike left and in 1961 the Merrie Men added three men on instruments and they became the Fortunes. The group worked with an instrumental group called the Clifftones and together they recorded the single Summertime, Summertime in 1963.

The three vocalists subsequently learned to play guitars themselves and split from all the other musicians. They added two new players (Andy Brown on drums, and Dave Carr on keyboards) and recorded the song Caroline in 1964. The single did not fare too well, but it became a theme song for the pirate radio station, Caroline.

Another pair of singles also failed to chart, but they found a hit with their next recording. The team of Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook wrote the song You’ve Got Your Troubles, I’ve Got Mine. The single reached #2 in the UK and #7 on the US Hot 100 in 1965.

The group’s next release was Here It Comes Again, a song written by the British team of Barry Mason and Les Reed (Les also wrote songs with both Greenaway and Cook). The single again reached the top five in the UK, but peaked at only #27 on the Hot 100.

The group struggled after that when three of their next four singles failed to even reach the UK chart. In a moment of irony, Reginald Calvert, the group’s manager, was killed in a dispute over the pirate radio station Caroline in 1966.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fortunes
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fortunes_discography

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1964 Searchers – Don’t Throw Your Love Away

1964 Searchers – Don’t Throw Your Love Away

John McNally formed a skiffle group with two friends in England in 1957. They named their group the Searchers, a name they took from a recent Western movie. The friends left the group in 1959, and John recruited replacements: guitar-player Mike Prendergast and bass player and singer Tony Jackson. Several drummers came and went.

The group signed with Pye Records, who assigned Tony Hatch to produce their records (he later teamed up with Petula Clark to write and produce many of her hits). The group scored a chart-topping single in the UK in 1963 with their release of Sweets For My Sweets and reached #2 with their follow-upSugar And Spice.

The Searchers didn’t have any success at all in the US in 1963. Mercury Records released Sweets For My Sweets and Liberty Records released Sugar And Spice, but neither single reached the charts. After those two failures, the group signed a contract with Kapp Records for future single releases in the US.

Everything changed for British groups in January 1964, when the Beatles first reached the Hot 100 in the US. The British Invasion got underway and radio stations actively sought potential hit records from overseas.

The first two groups from Liverpool to reach the US Hot 100 after the Beatles both arrived on the chart on March 7, 1964. The Swinging Blue Jeans single Hippy Hippy Shake spent a few weeks working its way up to #24 and became their only entry into the top forty.

The Searchers were the other group to reach the chart that week. Mike took over lead vocals, and their newest cover was a song written by Sonny Bono and Jack Nitzsche, Needles And Pins. Jackie DeShannon’s original version of the song only reached #84 the year before, so most people thought it was a new song. The new recording by the Searchers reached #13 on the Hot 100 in April and gave the group another #1 record in the UK.

The Orlons had five top twenty singles between 1962 and 1963. Their string of hits ended with the release of Bon-Do-Wah, which only reached #55. The B-side of that record was Don’t Throw Your Love Away. Somebody convinced the Searchers to record the flip-side of the record, and by July their single had reached #16 on the US Hot 100. The record again took the group back to the top of the UK chart.

Seeing their sudden success in the US, Liberty Records re-released Sugar And Spice in the US, but the record stalled at #44.

The group had five more top forty singles in the US, with their biggest hit being their #3 remake of the 1959 Clovers hit, Love Potion No. 9. The group continued recording new music through the early seventies.

Mike left the group in 1985 and formed Mike Pender’s Searchers, performing the group’s oldies in concerts.

John continued to lead the Searchers until he suffered a stroke in 2017, and in 2018 the group announced their retirement. So far, no sign of another reunion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Searchers_(band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Searchers_discography

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