1975 George Harrison – Dark Horse

1975 George Harrison – Dark Horse

George Harrison released two solo albums while the Beatles were still recording together. The songs on the albums were primarily instrumentals. Once the Beatles broke up and began releasing non-Beatles albums, George released a three-album set that included the biggest single of his career, My Sweet Lord. The number one single Give Me Love came from the following album.

In 1974, George released the album Dark Horse. He released the title song as the first single from the album in the US and as his second single from the album in the UK.

The single peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 in the US. When the single finally got released in the UK three months later, it became the first of George’s singles that completely missed reaching the UK chart. It would be 1981 before he released another top ten single in the US and 1987 before he did that well again in the UK.

The song is open to multiple interpretations. A dark horse is one that appears to be overlooked but later rises to success. The beginning of the song appears to refer to his deteriorating relationship with his wife (Patty Boyd) but the lyrics conclude with a verse that might well have addressed Paul and John.

Perhaps George had thought of himself as a dark horse for a long time; in the video for Penny Lane, while the other three Beatles rode white horses, George rode a dark horse.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Harrison_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Horse_(George_Harrison_song)

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1975 Doobie Brothers – Take Me In Your Arms

1975 Doobie Brothers – Take Me In Your Arms

The Motown team of Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote the song Take Me In Your Arms, and Eddie Holland recorded the song in 1964. His recording did not get released until 2005.

The next year, they produced Kim Weston’s recording of the song, and the Gordy label released it as a single. The record reached #4 on the R&B chart in 1965 but peaked at only #50 on the Hot 100.

Holland-Dozier-Holland produced the Isley Brothers recording of the song in 1967 for Tamla Records. That single peaked at only #22 on the R&B chart and failed to reach the Hot 100.

The Doobie Brothers had formed in 1970 and released five top forty singles before hitting number one with Black Water in 1974.

Lead singer Tom Johnson had always loved the song Take Me In Your Arms, but could not convince the band to record the song until they followed up their number one record with their 1975 album Stampede.

Ted Templeman of Harpers Bizarre produced their version of the song. It became their first single from the album. It reached #11 on the Hot 100.

The band struggled to find hit singles for a few years after that and failed to reach the top ten again until Michael McDonald joined the band in 1979. He co-wrote and sang lead vocals on a single that again took the band to the top of the Hot 100: What a Fool Believes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Doobie_Brothers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Doobie_Brothers_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Take_Me_in_Your_Arms_(Rock_Me_a_Little_While)

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1974 Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Let It Ride

1974 Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Let It Ride

Randy Bachman had difficulty dealing with the drug-laden lifestyle that overtook the Guess Who and left the band in 1970. He formed Brave Belt with his brother. He took Neil Young’s advice and hired Fred Turner to play as part of a touring band. Neither the first Brave Belt album or Brave Belt II did well.

A third album was recorded with a slightly different lineup, and the band signed with Mercury Records. Instead of releasing the album as Brave Belt 3, they chosed to create a new band name: Backman-Turner Overdrive.

The band’s first single in 1973 had two A-sides, neither of which reached the Hot 100 in the US. Our radio station played one side of the singleGimme Your Money Please, which stalled at #45 on the Canadian chart.

The band opened for the Doobie Brothers on a tour to support their first album. While driving on an interstate, the band’s bus got boxed in by a few trucks. They followed the truck drivers to a rest area and confronted them about the incident. One of the drivers told the band to take it easy and just let it ride. The phrase struck a chord with the band, and they proceeded to write a song based on it.

Randy had admitted in an interview that he was just a musician who would play what the public would pay for, even if it meant singing country love songs. Since they were opening for the Doobie Brothers, the song they composed started out with the kind of guitar chords they were hearing from the Doobies in concert. The result became the band’s first top forty singleLet It Ride.

The record peaked at #23 on the Hot 100 in the US and reached #3 in Canada.

The band’s next three singles all reached the top twenty on the Hot 100, and You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet topped the chart later in 1974. When Steven King heard the song on the radio, he modified the name slightly to Richard Bachman and used that name as a pseudonym for several of his non-horror books.

Randy left the band in 1977 when the rest of the band declined to follow his suggestions for adding strings and horns to their recordings. The band recruited a replacement and began appearing as B.T.O. The lack of further success led to the group disbanding in 1979.

Randy and Fred reformed the group from 1983 to 1986, after which Tim Bachman led a B.T.O. group for a few years. Randy and Fred reformed the group again in 1988 to 1991. They toured as Bachman & Turner beginning in 2009.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bachman%E2%80%93Turner_Overdrive
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_It_Ride_(Bachman%E2%80%93Turner_Overdrive_song)

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1974 Diana Ross – Last Time I Saw Him

1974 Diana Ross – Last Time I Saw Him

The final performance by the original lineup of the Supremes occurred on January 14, 1970. Diana Ross immediately began work on her first solo album, which released in May. The second single from the album was Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, a cover of a song that had previously been a hit for Marvin Gaye and Tami Terrell in 1967.

Diana struggled to stay on the charts and failed to reach the top ten again until Touch Me In The Morning topped the charts in 1973. Motown had her record a duet album with Marvin Gaye. The pair toured to support the album, resulting in singles that peaked at #12, #19, and #46 on the Hot 100.

In between the touring stops, she also recorded a new solo album, but Motown did little to promote it. The first single from the album was Last Time I Saw Him.

Years later, a much longer version of the song showed up that ran close to four minutes (mostly a result of a longer fade at the end).

The recording was a strange mix of musical styles, even ending with a dixieland sound. Perhaps the best version, however, was the time she sang the song on The Muppet Show.

While the single failed to even reach the top ten on the Hot 100 (it peaked at #14 in 1974), it lasted three weeks on the top of the Adult Contemporary chart. It also performed better than the latter two singles from the duet album she and Marvin recorded on the Hot 100.

Diana’s next project was a film. She starred in the film Mahogany and again reached the top of the charts in 1975 with its theme song.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_Ross
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Time_I_Saw_Him_(song)

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1973 Loggins and Messina – Thinking Of You

1973 Loggins and Messina – Thinking Of You

Jim Messina had been a member of Buffalo Springfield and later Poco before stepping back from performing. He was working as a producer for Columbia Records in 1970 when he met Kenny Loggins, a young singer/songwriter. They recorded a few songs in Jim’s living room and then began recording for real in the studio. The album was meant to be a solo album for Kenny, but Jim became such a big part of the production that the album became Kenny Loggins With Jim Messina Sitting In.

The pair toured in college campuses and other small venues to promote the album before recording a second album in 1972. That album included the hit single Your Mama Don’t Dance, which peaked at #4 on the Hot 100. They co-wrote and co-produced that song.

The second single started out as a mellow album cut. Jim wrote and produced the song, Thinking Of You.

They created a completely new remix of the song that was much faster (and less folky or country).

The single reached #16 on the Hot 100 in 1973 and became a top ten record on the Adult Contemporary chart. CDs (and a lot of oldies stations) tend to use the original album cut rather than the single version of the song, so it’s likely you haven’t heard the single version very often.

Jim and Kenny worked together for about a half-dozen years before separating to pursue solo careers.

Jim released a few unsuccessful albums before rejoining Poco when it reformed in 1989. Kenny, of course, had a career that bloomed nicely in the eighties.

The duo rejoined in 2005 and again in 2009 and toured together both times.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loggins_and_Messina
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking_of_You_(Loggins_and_Messina_song)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Messina_(musician)

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1973 Carly Simon – The Right Thing To Do

1973 Carly Simon – The Right Thing To Do

Carly Simon was born in the Bronx in 1945. Her father was the co-founder of the Simon and Shuster publishing company.

Carly and her sister Lucy recorded two albums in the mid-sixties as the Simon Sisters. They reached #73 on the Hot 100 in 1964 with a single whose lyrics came from a nursery rhyme: Winkin’, Blinkin’, and Nod.

The Doobie Brothers would record a version of the poem and release it as a single in 1980 that reached #76 on the Hot 100 and #31 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart.

The Simon Sisters recorded one last album in the late sixties comprised of children’s songs. Carly began singing with Elephant’s Memory, but left the group before they started singing background music for John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band.

Carly signed with Elektra Records and released her first solo album in early 1971. She reached the top ten with her very first single, That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be.

She briefly dated Cat Stevens and wrote Anticipation while waiting for him to show up for a date. In 1972, Carly married James Taylor. She then hit the top of the Hot 100 with the song You’re So Vain. While Carly has not yet publicly revealed which three people the song was about, she has confided the name of the man who was the primary inspiration for the song to several people, including Taylor Swift. She has also confirmed that the second verse (and only the second verse) is about Warren Beatty.

A line from the film The Last Picture Show inspired her next single: “Loving you is the right thing to do.” She wrote the song to or about James when their marriage was only a few months old.

The single peaked at only #17 on the Hot 100 but also reached #4 on the AC chart.

She returned to the top ten with her next single, the duet Mockingbird that she sang with her husband. Their marriage endured for almost another decade.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carly_Simon
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carly_Simon_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27re_So_Vain
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Right_Thing_to_Do

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1972 B. J. Thomas – Rock and Roll Lullaby

1972 B. J. Thomas – Rock and Roll Lullaby

B. J. Thomas had nearly a dozen top forty singles between 1966 and 1971. Beginning in 1969, his singles had done even better on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart, yielding two number one records and three more that reached the top five.

He and producer Steve Tyrell wanted to create his next record using unique classic sounds from earlier days of pop music. They took a song written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and started it out with Barry playing electric piano and Duane Eddy playing his twangy guitar. Al Gorgoni also dubbed in acoustic and fuzztone guitar.

B. J. sang lead vocals on the single. Darlene Love and two other members of the Blossoms provided some of the background vocals. Towards the end of the record, the former lead singer of the Diamonds (Dave Somerville) and the Ron Hicklin Singers provided a spot-on imitation of the sound of the Beach Boys.

The song clocked in a little over four minutes, although AM radio had a tendency to cut it off sooner. The record peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 in 1972 and gave B. J. his third chart-topping single on the AC chart.

After two more singles on Scepter Records failed to reach the top forty, B. J. moved to Paramount Records in 1973. The highest any of his recordings for Paramount reached was #41. It would be two more years before he moved to MCA Records and finally reached the top forty again.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._J._Thomas
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._J._Thomas_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_and_Roll_Lullaby_(song)

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1972 Think – Once You Understand

1972 Think – Once You Understand

Lou Stallman wrote the song Round and Round with Joe Shapiro and Perry Como took the song to the top of the Hot 100 in 1957.

Lou also co-wrote Yogi, a strange novelty record that the Ivy Three took to the top ten on the Hot 100 in 1961. He wrote more songs that were recorded by the Supremes and other groups that were not as successful.

Bobby Susser grew up in New York City and worked hard at writing songs. He produced four singles for the group Tico and the Triumphs in 1961 and 1962, a group that included his friend Paul Simon. Their recording of Motorcycle spent an entire week at #99 on the Hot 100 in 1962.

He worked in the Brill Building and continued writing and producing songs through the rest of the sixties.

In 1971, Lou and Bobby joined together and created the band Think. Their first single was Once You Understand. The song is a collection of gender gap argumentative conversations between a son and his father, and ends with a death resulting from drug use.

Many radio stations banned the record because of its drug-related content (even though it was clearly an anti-drug song). They sold over 1.4 million copies of the record. Rap artists including Biz Markie, Acen, De La Soul, and 4 Hero later sampled or covered the song.

Laurie Records released another single and an album by Think, but not much happened as a result. The band called it quits and split up.

Bobby made appearances and promoted the band’s single to promote an anti-drug message. He started recording music for younger children and spent much of his time recording songs for them. He sold over five million albums.

Lou created his own line of educational albums.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Susser
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_(band)

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1971 John Lennon – Power To The People

1971 John Lennon – Power To The People

John and Yoko released a pair of experimental albums in 1968 and 1969. The four Beatles had their last join recording session for the song The End in August 1969. In September, John announced his intention to leave the Beatles without indicating if the separation was permanent. He and Yoko released The Wedding Album two months later.

Within the next year, all four of the Beatles completed and released solo albums. John’s first music album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, came out in December 1970 and included Give Peace a Chance and Instant Karma, as well as a pair of songs that did not do well on the charts.

In February 1971, John recorded songs in sessions that produced much of his Imagine album. He also recorded a single that was released before the album. John wrote Power To The People after an interview with two socialists that got published in Red Mole, a magazine put out by The International Marxist Group. John reported that the interviewers had some interesting ideas, and he wrote the song as a reaction to the article.

The record peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 in 1971. John later claimed that the song was “rather embarrassing” and quoted Hunter S. Thompson as saying that he wrote the song ten years too late.

Perhaps John was more of a prophet than he thought: the song became the theme song for the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns for Bernie Sanders!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lennon#Initial_solo_success_and_activism:_1970%E2%80%931972
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_to_the_People_(song)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lennon_discography#Singles

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John-lennon-plastic-ono-band-power-to-the-people-apple-2-s.jpg

1970 The Flaming Ember – The Westbound Number 9

1970 The Flaming Ember – The Westbound Number 9 

Six musicians formed a group in Detroit in 1964. They called themselves The Flaming Embers based on the name of a local restaurant. The band focused on playing blue-eyed soul. They recorded for a few small labels in the mid-sixties without gaining much notice.

In 1969, the group moved to the Hot Wax label. Ron Dunbar is listed as co-writer and producer for their single Mind, Body, and Soul. The record peaked at #26 on the Hot 100 in 1970 and also reached the top twenty on the R&B chart.

The band’s next single barely got to #88, but their third single returned them to radio playlists. Westbound Number 9 reached #24 on the Hot 100 and #15 on the R&B chart in 1970. Their label once again listed Ron as a co-writer on that single.

The band managed to reach the top forty one last time later that year with a single that peaked at only 34. When they were unable to return to the Hot 100, the band settled down and played in clubs in the Detroit area. Changing their name to Mind, Body, and Soul might have helped keep their identity tied to their first hit record, but by the end of the seventies, the group disbanded.

The band reunited briefly in 2004 to appear in a show and also recorded a new CD.

Ron? It turns out that he was an employee of Holland-Dozier-Holland, who used his name as a co-writer on several songs when they could not use their own names due to contracts with Jobete. Ron insists he supplied lyrics for several of the songs he is listed on and also went on to co-write Patches for Clarence Carter.

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

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