1970 5th Dimension – Puppet Man
Neil Sedaka had a brilliant career in the late fifties and early sixties, but hit a rough patch when the British Invasion arrived in 1964: he did not reach the US top forty again for an entire decade. Some of his records did better in the UK, and he eventually ended up moving there and reigniting his career in the early seventies.
Neil released the single Ebony Angel in 1969 in the UK but not in the US. The b-side of the single was the song Puppet Man.
The 5th Dimension group left Soul City Records after a long string of hit records and began releasing new music on Bell Records in 1970, starting with the album Portrait. Soul City continued releasing older recordings during that year, making for some confusion at radio stations that had to choose which songs to play.
The group performed two songs from Portrait in an episode of It Takes A Thief that aired on February 23, 1970. They sang a cover version of Puppet Man in the episode.
Bell released the song as the group’s second single from their label, and it jumped onto the Hot 100 in April, eventually peaking at #24 on the Hot 100.
Save The Country was the next single from Portrait, but that stalled at #27. The band also recorded and released On The Beach (In The Summertime), but that failed to even reach the top forty.
Fortunately for the group, somebody finally paid attention to the other song from Portrait that appeared on It Takes A Thief. Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote the song One Less Bell To Answer for Keely Smith in 1967 and her single had not accomplished much.
The show used the 5th Dimension’s cover version from Portrait as a plot device on the episode (the ending of the song was set to cause an explosion). Near the end of 1970, Bell released the song as a single, and it ran up to #2 on the Hot 100 and topped the Adult Contemporary chart. The 5th Dimension never again had a record that successful.
Tom Jones also recorded a cover version of Puppet Man in 1970, but his version was not released in the US until 1971. That single peaked at #26 on the Hot 100 but reached #4 in Canada.
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