1979 Poco – Crazy Love

1979 Poco – Crazy Love

When Buffalo Springfield fell apart, its members became founding members of two other groups: Poco and Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

Poco’s initial lineup in 1969 included former members of Buffalo Springfield Richie Furay and Jim Messina on guitar and Rusty Young on an assortment of instruments. They recruited George Grantham on drums and Randy Meisner on bass to round out the group. Randy left the group by the time the first album had been recorded, and Timothy B. Schmit took his place. The band released You Better Think Twice as their first single, but it stalled at only #72 on the Hot 100. The single must have been too Country for pop stations and too pop for Country stations.

Jim left in 1970, and Paul Cotton joined the group. Poco’s albums helped popularize Country-Rock, but sales were poor despite glowing reviews by critics. A few more lineup changes occurred, and Poco released nearly a dozen albums by 1977. None of their singles reached any higher than #50 on the Hot 100 and the band took a break from touring and recording.

The only members still in the group were Rusty and Paul. They recruited Steve Chapman on drums and Charlie Harrison on bass to complete a new quartet that they intended to call the Cotton-Young Band. The band recorded a new album that ABC Records would only release if they continued to call their band Poco.

In 1979, the label released the album Legend. The first single from the album, Crazy Love, became the band’s first hit record.

The single peaked at #17 on the Hot 100 and topped the Adult Contemporary chart for several weeks in 1979.

The band’s next single, Heart Of The Night, also reached the top twenty on the Hot 100.

It took the band another ten years to reach the top forty again!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poco
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poco_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crazy_Love_(Poco_song)

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1978 Gerry Rafferty – Right Down The Line

1978 Gerry Rafferty – Right Down The Line

Gerry Rafferty grew up in Scotland, where his mother taught him to sing traditional Irish and Scottish folksongs. After leaving school, he had several odd jobs. On the weekends, he and Joe Egan played and sang covers of popular songs as members of The Maverix.

The pair became members of The Fifth Column in 1966. The group released a single that failed to chart.

Gerry joined with Billy Connolly and Tam Harvey and formed The Humblebums in 1969, playing folk-pop music. He and Billy continued as a duo after Tam left. In 1971, the group ended and Billy pursued a career as a comedian. Gerry recorded his first solo album, which earned critical acclaim but failed to sell well.

Gerry and Joe rejoined and created the band Stealers Wheel in 1972. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller came to London and produced their first album in Apple Studios. Gerry left the group once they completed the album. Gerry and Joe co-wrote a single on the album that sold over a million copies and reached #6 on the Hot 100 in 1973: Stuck In The Middle With You. Joe convinced Gerry to rejoin the group after that success, but everybody else except Joe left.

After recording two more albums that failed to repeat their early success, the pair disbanded in 1975. The ensuing legal problems kept Gerry from recording new music until 1978. His second album contained the hit Baker Street. The single peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 in 1978 and the album sold over four million copies.

Right Down The Line was selected as the second single from the album. It peaked at #12 on the Hot 100 in 1978 and spent four weeks at the top of the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart.

Gerry did not enjoy touring or performing live, which was a barrier to continued success.

Two more hits came in 1979. The single Days Gone Down peaked at #17 on both the Hot 100 and the AC chart.

His last entry into the US top forty on the Hot 100 was Get It Right Next Time. It only reached #21 on the Hot 100 and #15 on the AC chart, but I remember it more clearly than Days Gone Down.

Gerry continued releasing albums every few years through the eighties. He eventually began recording albums in his own studio and selling them through his website.

Repeated bouts of alcoholism contributed to the liver failure that ended Gerry’s life in 2011.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stealers_Wheel
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerry_Rafferty
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerry_Rafferty_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_Down_the_Line

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1977 Alice Cooper – I Never Cry

1977 Alice Cooper – I Never Cry

After playing together since 1964, the band Alice Cooper had succeeded in inventing shock rock and performing theatrical shows all over the world. The band had called themselves The Nazz in the mid-sixties but were forced to change their name since Todd Rundgren had a band that was already using that name. The band became Alice Cooper, a wholesome sounding name that had little to do with any of the group’s members.

By 1974, the group had reached a dead end and stopped recording or performing in shows. Founding member and vocalist Vincent Furnier legally changed his name to Alice Cooper and began a solo career.

His first solo album, Welcome To My Nightmare, used Lou Reed’s backup band and included narration by Vincent Price. He began touring with a much more involved stage show.

His second solo album, Alice Cooper Goes to Hell, included his first million-selling single. Alice co-wrote I Never Cry with Dick Wagner. He has explained that the song’s lyrics are about his increasing problems with alcoholism.

He also released a video of a live performance to promote the single.

The single peaked at #12 on the Hot 100 in 1977. His problems with alcohol got worse, and later that year Alice successfully checked himself into a sanitarium for treatment.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Cooper
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Cooper_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Never_Cry

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2021 Jackson Browne – My Cleveland Heart

2021 Jackson Browne – My Cleveland Heart 

It isn’t quite lost or forgotten (yet), but Jackson Browne released a new single this week.

Of course, it’s pretty difficult for any artist to get airplay anymore, so it’s likely you haven’t seen the video yet.

Jackson hasn’t been on the Hot 100 since 1986 and last reached the Adult Contemporary chart in 2002. He released non-charting singles in each of the last two years; we’ll see if his new single does better than those did.

1977 The Sylvers – High School Dance

1977 The Sylvers – High School Dance 

Nine members of the Sylvers family were born between 1951 and 1962 and were members of the family’s band at one time or another. They had a younger brother who was born in 1966 that never sang with the group.

Their father taught all of them music and had them practice singing harmony. The four oldest kids performed as The Little Angels and recorded a few records and appeared on several television shows. They even appeared as an opening act for Johnny Mathis and Ray Charles.

Two more kids joined the group in the early seventies and the act signed with MGM Records and became The Sylvers. While the group did not initially reach the Hot 100 with their early singles, by 1972 they already had a top ten hit on the R&B chart.

In 1975, three more younger siblings joined the group, and they signed with Capitol Records. Capitol assigned producer Freddie Perren to work with the group. He had previously produced records for the Jackson 5 and co-wrote and produced the Sylvers’ biggest single, Boogie Fever. The record topped both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart in 1976 and sold over two million copies. 

They followed up that success with a single that missed the top forty. The group then had another million-selling single (Hot Line). Three more younger family members joined the Sylvers, bringing the total of members to nine.

The group wrote their next single themselves, and Freddie again produced their recording, High School Dance

The single reached #17 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B chart. It was the last top forty single the group scored on the Hot 100.

The group began writing and producing their own records without Freddie’s help and had less successful results. Leon left the group and became a producer and songwriter for Solar Records.

After two more two forty singles on the R&B chart in 1978, the group never again reached the top forty on any chart. They completely disbanded in 1985.

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

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1979 ABBA – Does Your Mother Know

1979 ABBA – Does Your Mother Know

Björn Ulvaeus played guitar and Benny Andersson played keyboards and they both sang and had relatively successful singing and songwriting careers in Sweden beginning in the late sixties. They began working together as a duo and recorded and released records starting in 1970.

Agnetha Fältskog sang in a local dance band and released covers of popular foreign language songs and composed some of her own songs. She and Björn married in 1971.

Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida) sang in competitions and began recording in the late sixties, including a song written by Benny & Björn. She had a number one record in 1971 that Benny produced. Benny and Frida were engaged for nine years and married for about two years.

The four began working together on each other’s projects, and eventually formed a quartet. A single credited to Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid came out in 1972 but did not do well. Their manager convinced them to let the girls sing lead vocals and the next year they released Ring, Ring. He also convinced them to call themselves ABBA, an abbreviation made up of the first letters of their names.

ABBA competed in Melodifestivalen, but the song failed to take them to the Eurovision Song Contest. Neil Sedaka helped them translate the lyrics into English, but the single failed to reach the Hot 100.

In 1974, the group wrote and recorded Waterloo as their entry into the Eurovision Song Contest. New rules allowed the group to sing the song in English rather than their native tongue, and the song won the contest. The single topped the charts in a half-dozen countries and even reached the top ten in the US.

A seemingly endless string of hits followed through 1978. Four singles came from their sixth album in 1979, but only Does Your Mother Know reached the top twenty in the US (and two failed to even reach the top forty). For the first time in years, Björn sang lead on a single, with Agnetha and Frida singing backup vocals. Does Your Mother Know peaked at #19 on the Hot 100 in 1979.

While the group continued to sell well in Europe, they only had two more top forty singles in the US by 1981 and never reached the Hot 100 again after 1982.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABBA
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABBA_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Does_Your_Mother_Know

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1978 Village People – Macho Man

1978 Village People – Macho Man

Jacques Morali, a musical composer and producer from France, worked with his business partner Henri Belolo to produce a series of dance hits in France in the mid-seventies. They moved to New York City in 1977 and began working with singer Victor Willis. Jacque recruited Horace Ott to lead a studio band they named Gypsy Lane and recorded an album of disco songs Jacques wrote with Phil Hurtt and Peter Whitehead.

The album was released as The Village People. When sales and airplay began to pick up, they ran an ad to recruit additional members for a touring group:

“Macho types wanted: must dance and have a moustache.”

A second album got released with a cover that had a picture of their new recruits. The second single was the title song, Macho Man.

The single peaked at #25 on the Hot 100 and #14 on the US Disco chart in 1977. Of course, it was the group’s live performances that attracted all the attention.

Their next two albums contained the hits Y.M.C.A. and In The Navy. Those two songs were huge disco hits, and work then began on a feature film entitled Discoland: Where the Music Never Ends that was a fictionalized version of the band’s beginnings.

Unfortunately, the film did not get released until August 1980, almost a month after the Disco Demolition in Chicago marked the end of the disco era in the US. They changed the film’s name to Can’t Stop The Music, but that change wasn’t enough to save the film. The film bombed and won the first ever Razzie Awards for Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay.

The Village People’s charting days appeared to be over, but forty years later the group reached #25 on the Adult Contemporary chart with their single If You Believe.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Village_People
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macho_Man_(song)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Can%27t_Stop_the_Music

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1976 Carpenters – I Need To Be In Love

1976 Carpenters – I Need To Be In Love

The Carpenters had #1 or #2 singles on the Hot 100 every year from 1970 to 1975. The best they could manage in 1976 was the title song of their newest album. There’s A Kind Of Hush was a cover of the Herman’s Hermits single that peaked at only #12 on the Hot 100.

Richard often co-wrote songs with John Bettis and in 1976 they co-wrote a song with Albert Hammond. Richard produced I Need To Be In Love, which became the second single from the album.

The single peaked at only #25 on the Hot 100. It was the duo’s sixth consecutive #1 record on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart. That made it their fourteenth chart-topping single on the AC chart, a record number that only the Carpenters have exceeded ( a few years later they had one more).

Karen has named the song as her favorite Carpenters’ tune.

The Carpenters no longer had hit singles on the Hot 100 after 1976. They only had one more single that reached the top thirty on the Hot 100. Touch Me When We’re Dancing reached #16 on the Hot 100 in 1981. It was their last #1 record on the AC chart and would be their last top forty single on the Hot 100. They continued to chart hits on the AC chart until Karen’s death in 1983.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Carpenters
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Carpenters_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Need_to_Be_in_Love

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1976 The Salsoul Orchestra – Tangerine

1976 The Salsoul Orchestra – Tangerine

Victor Schertzinger composed the music and Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics for the song Tangerine in 1941.

The 1942 film The Fleet’s In contained a version of the song performed by the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra with Helen O’Connell and Bob Eberly singing the vocals. The single that was released from the film spent six weeks at the top of the charts.

Numerous musicians created jazz arrangements for the song over the next few decades.

Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff founded the Philadelphia International Records label in 1971. They hired a group of studio musicians as a house band that played backup music for the recordings the studio did. They called the group MFSB, and they even had success on their own with their recording of the Soul Train theme song. Vincent Montana played vibes in that group. Over time, many of the musicians became dissatisfied with the financial arrangements they had with the company.

Brothers Joseph Cayre, Kenneth Cayre, and Stanley Cayre founded Salsoul Records in 1974. Their name came from their intention to merge salsa music soul music in new recordings. Vincent Montana took a group of former MFSB members and added more strings musicians and created the house band for Salsoul Records. The band was named The Salsoul Orchestra.

The new group’s first charting single became The Salsoul Hustle, which reached #76 on the Hot 100 and #44 on the R&B chart.

The label was fortunate enough to catch the disco wave that was sweeping the nation, and the group recorded an instrumental disco version of Tangerine as their follow-up single.

The record peaked at #18 on the Hot 100 and #36 on the R&B chart in 1976. More importantly, it reached #4 on the US Dance chart.

The band had two more top three singles on the dance chart in the next year and continued reaching that chart with additional singles through 1983.

Their last song to chart was (Ooh, I Love It) Love Break. That single was notable because Madonna’s single Vogue sampled the horns and strings from the recording! A lawsuit was filed as a result of the sampling, but the judge found in Madonna’s favor. He ruled the samples were an “insignificant” portion of the song that no reasonable audience could identify.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salsoul_Records
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salsoul_Orchestra
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangerine_(1941_song)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogue_(Madonna_song)

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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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