1983 38 Special – If I’d Been The One

Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1983 38 Special – If I’d Been The One

 Ronnie Van Zant was one of the founding members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, so it didn’t surprise anybody when his younger brother Donnie followed in his footsteps. Donnie formed Sweet Rooster in 1968 with guitarist Jeff Carlisi and bassist Ken Lyons. Don Barnes replaced Jeff and shared lead vocals with Donnie and played keyboards and other instruments. Steve Brookins joined the band as their drummer. The band fell apart by 1974.

Later that year, Don, Donnie, Steve, and Ken formed a new band with a second drummer (Jack Grondin) and Jeff rejoined the band. They were practicing in a warehouse and somebody who heard them called the police to complain about the noise. When law enforcement couldn’t get into the warehouse because of a padlock on the door, one of the policemen announced, “That’s all right. We’ll let this .38 Special do the talking.” He shot off the padlock, and the band immediately had a new name: 38 Special.

The band recorded their first album in 1977, and Larry Junstrom replaced Ken when they returned to the road.

It took three more albums before the group released a single that reached the top forty in 1981.

The band released Caught Up In You as the lead single from their fifth album in 1982. The single not only reached the top ten on the Hot 100, it also topped the Mainstream Rock chart.

Two of their singles later that year reached the Mainstream Rock top ten, but the best they could manage on the Hot 100 was a single that stalled at #38.

If I’d Been The One was their last single in 1938. It first reached the charts in November and peaked at #19 on the Hot 100 in early 1984. The record became the band’s second single to top the Mainstream Rock Chart.

The group’s lineup changed dramatically in 1987, after which they managed one more top ten single on the Hot 100. Their ballad Second Chance also reached #2 on the Mainstream Rock chart and even made it to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1989.

Don continues to sing lead vocals with a touring band; he is the only remaining original member.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/38_Special_(band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/38_Special_discography

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1987 Michael Bolton – That’s What Love Is All About

1987 Michael Bolton – That’s What Love Is All About

Michael Bolotin recorded a pair of solo albums of hard rock music in 1975 and 1976. He decided to form an actual band, and Bruce Kulick agreed to join him. Michael was using Steve Weiss as his manager (Steve also managed Led Zeppelin) and Steve got Sandy Gennaro and Jimmy Haslip added to the group. The group called itself Blackjack.

The band signed with Polydor Records and recorded their first album in 1979. The album sold about 100,000 copies. Michael, Bruce, and Bruce’s brother (Bob) co-wrote all the songs on the album. The single Love Me Tonight peaked at #62 on the Hot 100 and was the only time they reached the chart.

A promotional video of the group performing the song gives us a glimpse of Michael as a rocker.

Blackjack recorded a second album in 1980, but low sales led to poor support from their label and the band broke up.

Michael changed his last name to Bolton, signed with Columbia Records, and recorded a new solo album in 1983. He released a single from the album, but it fell off the charts after reaching only #83 on the US Hot 100.

Laura Branigan recorded a song that Michael had written and her single, How Am I Supposed To Live Without You, made it up to #12 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart.

Michael recorded another album of hard rock songs in 1985, and sales were dismal once again.

Perhaps inspired by the success Laura had with one of his tunes, Michael’s 1987 album, The Hunger, abandoned his hard rock roots and included songs that were more adult-radio friendly. Musicians on the album included three members of Journey.

The first release from the album was That’s What Love Is All About. The single peaked at #19 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the AC chart.

Michael’s cover of (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay also reached the top twenty on both charts and the new direction of his career got underway.

Michael’s next album included his own version of How Am I Supposed To Live Without You, which topped both the Hot 100 and the AC chart. Six more chart-topping records on the AC chart followed in the next three years, and one of them also topped the Hot 100. Michael sold over 75 million records.

Michael recorded three Christmas albums and regularly sang in new Winter Honda ads each year.

He also sang a love song to the IRS on John Oliver’s HBO show.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bolton
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Bolton_discography

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1968 Jr. Walker and the All-Stars – Come See About Me

1968 Jr. Walker & the All-Stars –  Come See About Me

Beginning in 1964, the Supremes had five consecutive number one hits on the Hot 100, three of which also topped the R&B chart. They performed on the Ed Sullivan show for the first time on December 27, 1964, to perform the third single, Come See About Me.

Jr. Walker and the All Stars signed with Motown in 1961 and successfully reached the charts beginning in 1965. After reaching the top five on the Hot 100 with a song Jr. Walker wrote himself, the group continued doing well on the R&B chart while struggling to do well on the pop charts.

In 1966, they finally reached #18 on the Hot 100 with a cover of Marvin’s Gaye’s 1964 hit How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You). They tried to repeat that success by covering the Supremes version of Come See About Me. The song was the lead single from their 1967 album Home Cookin’.

The group’s single peaked at #24 on the Hot 100 and #8 on the R&B chart.

Two more singles from the album did poorly, but the fourth single from the album, What Does It Take (To Win Your Love), reached #4 on the Hot 100 and also topped the R&B chart.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junior_Walker
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Come_See_About_Me

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1967 Simon & Garfunkel – Fakin’ It

1967 Simon & Garfunkel – Fakin’ It 

The album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme came out in October 1966 and was the third album from the duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. While they recorded the song A Hazy Shade of Winter during the sessions for that album, they decided to exclude it from the track list. Instead, they issued the song as a single a month after the album came out and slated it for their fourth album.

The song did not do well as well as their earlier singles, peaking at #13 on the Hot 100 late that year. 

The duo recorded At the Zoo for the soundtrack of the film The Graduate, but when the producer declined to use that song, they released it as a single in early 1967 that peaked at #16 on the Hot 100.

Paul and Art helped plan the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and performed at the show. Once that work was behind them, they recorded their next single. 

Fakin’ It was unusual for a single: it sounded more like a mini-story that even included a spoken word section where singer Beverley Martyn said, “Good morning, Mr. Leitch. Have you had a busy day?” Beverley was friends with Donovan Leitch, which may account for the name. Paul tried to imagine himself working for a living without being a performer and chose tailor as an occupation. He mentioned that in song’s lyrics as well and later found out that his grandfather had, in fact, been a tailor.

It was still commonplace at the time to issue singles only with mono mixes. AM radio stations preferred songs that were less than three minutes. In an effort to head off problems with getting airplay for a longer record, Columbia Records issued the single with a label that read 2:74 for a length instead of 3 minutes and 14 seconds.

The trick did not appear to work too well – the single stalled at #23 on the Hot 100 in the Summer of 1967. Fortunately, The Graduate used Mrs. Robinson on its soundtrack, and that single topped the charts in 1968.

The pair’s next album finally came out in 1968. Bookends included a completely new side one and collected the singles that had not yet appeared on an album  on side two. The album featured a new stereo mix for Fakin’ It that Paul was reportedly pleased with because the stereo separation helped bring out the sound of the instruments and vocals.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_%26_Garfunkel
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_%26_Garfunkel_discography

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1965 Petula Clark – You’d Better Come Home

1965 Petula Clark – You’d Better Come Home

Petula Clark first reached the top ten on the charts in the UK in 1954 and had her first number on record there in 1961. US music fans were mostly unaware of Petula until the Beatles launched the British Invasion in 1964.

Downtown only reached #2 in the UK, but topped the charts in the US and Canada. Her next single, I Know A Place, reached #3 on the Hot 100 in early 1965, but stalled at only #17 in the UK.

Tony Hatch wrote and produced both songs, as well as Petula’s next three singles. Neither of the next two singles reached the top forty in the UK, and they both peaked in the twenties on the Hot 100 in the US.

You’d Better Come Home first reached the US charts in July 1965 and the single peaked at #22 on the Hot 100 in August.

Petula sang her next single, Round Every Corner, live on The Ed Sullivan Show in October. The record got as high as #21 on the Hot 100 the next month.

The last week of the year marked the release of her next single (My Love) and it became her second chart-topping single in the US in February 1966.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petula_Clark
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petula_Clark_discography

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1961 The Olympics – Dance By The Light Of The Moon

1961 The Olympics – Dance By The Light Of The Moon

The song Buffalo Gals had been around for so long that most people could hum or sing along with with it. Jimmy Eaton, Terry Shand, and Mickey Leader came up with a new set of lyrics and a new arrangement for the song in the early forties. The updated version of the song became Dance With A Dolly (With A Hole In Her Stocking).

Evelyn Knight recorded the song and entered the pop charts in August 1944. The single peaked at #6.

Additional versions of the song by Ross Morgan and Tony Pastor reached #3 and #9 later that year.

The song became popular enough that The Andrew Sisters sang it in the film Her Lucky Night in 1945.

Bill haley and the Saddlemen also recorded a much more Country version of the song in 1952.

Cliff Goldsmith and Fred Smith wrote a new song based on the lyrics and melody of Dance With A Dolly. They produced a doo-wop version of the new song by the Olympics that was released in 1960. Dance By The Light Of The Moon stalled at #47 on the Hot 100 in early 1961. Perhaps it was just an adaptation too far.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Olympics_(band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Gals

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1959 Bobby Darin – Plain Jane

1959 Bobby Darin – Plain Jane

John Hodges wrote and published the song Lubly Fan in 1844. He performed a minstrel act in blackface as Cool White. The song became popular with minstrels performing it replacing the words “Lubly Fan” with a local reference such as “Boston gals” or “New York gals.” The most popular version became Buffalo Gals, which is the version Jimmy Steward and Donna Reed sang in the film It’s A Wonderful Life.

A reworking of Buffalo Gals by the songwriting team of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman became Plain Jane. Since any copyright protection had long since run out, they were the only writers credited for the song.

Bobby Darin recorded Plain Jane and ATCO Records released it as his first single in 1959.

Bobby even performed the song on American Bandstand, but even that didn’t help his record reach any higher than #38 on the Hot 100.

While that might have been disappointing, Bobby’s next two singles in 1959 did much, much better: Dream Lover went to #2 and Mack the Knife topped the Hot 100 for nine weeks.

Doc and Mort continued churning out hit records through the early sixties including nine top ten records, two of which reached #1 (Save The Last Dance For Me by the Drifters and Surrender by Elvis).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Gals
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Darin
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_written_by_Doc_Pomus_and_Mort_Shuman

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1960 Ray Smith – Rockin’ Little Angel

1960 Ray Smith – Rockin’ Little Angel

Ray Smith was born in Kentucky. His mother taught him to play the piano. Ray left school when he turned 12 and did odd jobs for several years before joining the Air Force in 1952. He played in clubs on the weekends while stationed in California. When he got out of the armed forces four years later, he formed his own band, Ray Smith and the Rock & Roll Boys. They set up in Kentucky and began playing in clubs and even had their own half-hour television show.

Sam Phillips signed Ray to a recording contract with Sun Records in 1957.

Ray recorded several songs written by Charlie Rich for Sun Records in 1958. One single, Right Behind You Baby, featured Charlie Rich on the piano and a guitar solo by 18-year-old Charlie Walker.

Ray and his group appeared on American Bandstand and performed So Young, the other side of the single. None of the releases on Sun Records did well, so Sam Phillips passed Ray along to his brother Judd’s record label.

The melody from the Country/Western tune Buffalo Gals became the basis for Ray’s next single. Jimmie Rodgers created some new lyrics, and the song became Rockin’ Little Angel. Judd Records released Ray’s rockabilly version of the song as a single in 1960. It sold over a million copies and reached #20 on the Hot 100.

The label then had Ray cover Put Your Arms Around Me Honey, a song that was a number one hit in 1911. Times had changed, and Ray’s single peaked at only #91. He never reached the Hot 100 chart again.

Ray recorded singles for at least seven more labels before he moved his family to Ontario, Canada, in 1967. He played and clubs in the area and continued recording and had one single reach #70 on the Country chart in 1973.

Ray died from a self-inflicted gunshot in 1979.

The Rockabilly Hall Of Fame has a page devoted to Ray at http://www.rockabillyhall.com/RaySmith.html

http://www.rockabilly.nl/references/messages/ray_smith.htm
https://www.allmusic.com/artist/ray-smith-mn0000872570/biography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Smith_(rockabilly_singer)

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1977 Odyssey – Native New Yorker

1977 Odyssey – Native New Yorker

Three sisters, Carmen, Lillian, and Louise Lopez, began singing together in 1968. Carmen left the group and singer/bass player Tony Reynolds joined the other sisters in a group that became billed as Odyssey.

The Four Seasons hit the top of the Hot 100 in 1962 with Sherry and had countless hits over the next 14 years. Frankie Valli, their lead singer, began releasing solo singles as early as 1965 while continuing to sing with the group.

While the group had a few hit records thanks to the disco craze in the seventies, by 1977, the hits had run out. Frankie released his own solo album that year, but the three singles Private Stock Records released from the album failed to find the top forty.

Songwriters Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell had already written several hits for the Four Seasons, including Let’s Hang On! and Working My Way Back to You. They also wrote one of the songs on Frankie’s 1977 album that was not issued on a single, Native New Yorker.

When the song did not become a single, Odyssey covered the song with their own version. Their single reached #21 on the Hot 100 in 1977.

The group did not find their way back on to the US top forty again. Lillian’s son Steven Collazo joined the group on keyboards and vocal and became their music director. After a few more albums, the group reached the top of the UK chart in 1980 with the single Use It Up and Wear It Out.

The group had three more top ten singles in the UK, after which they left RCA Records. The new lineup of the group included Steve, Lillian, and Al Jackson. In 2000, Lillian and Al got married and retired from show business. Steve recruited additional musicians into the group and continues to lead a touring band.

Frankie left the Four Seasons at the end of their 1977 tour. In 1978, he was lucky enough to record the theme song for the film Grease and he reached the top of the charts one last time. The Four Seasons have continued to tour (with and without Frankie) but their only appearance on the charts after 1977 came in 1994 when a remix of their 1975 hit December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) reached #14 on the Hot 100.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/odyssey-mn0000399437/biography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odyssey_(band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_New_Yorker_(song)

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1965 to 1971 Various Artists – Hurting Each Other

1965 to 1971 Various Artists – Hurting Each Other

The Carpenters had a huge hit with the song Hurting Each Other, but at least two other artists released the song first.

Gary Geld and Peter Udell were songwriters who formed their own publishing company, Geld-Udell Music Corporation, in 1959. In 1960, they co-wrote the song Sealed With A Kiss. The Four Voices released the song as a single in 1960, but had little success. Brian Hyland covered the song and his single peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 in 1962. Brian also recorded another song written by Gary and Peter in 1963, but his version of Save Your Heart For Me never charted. Gary Lewis and the Playboys covered the song and reached #2 on the Hot 100 in 1965.

Jimmy Clanton had three top ten singles on the Hot 100, ending with Venus In Blue Jeans in 1962. He released a series of less successful singles through the rest of the sixties, but the British Invasion drowned him out. Gary and Peter wrote Hurting Each Other and Jimmy released a single on Mala Records that failed to chart. It became his only release on that label.

Jimmy performed the song on Hollywood A Go Go, but even that didn’t help turn the song into a hit.

Johnny Kidd and the Pirates topped the UK charts with their single Shakin’ All Over in 1960. The Canadian group Chad Allan and the Expressions released a cover version of the song that topped the Canadian charts. Randy Bachman was a member of the group at that time.

When the single was released in the US, the record label simply listed “Guess Who ?” on the label in hopes of fooling Americans into thinking they were a British group and part of the British Invasion. The ploy may have worked since the single reached #22 on the US Hot 100 in 1965.

Thanks to that success, the group became stuck with the name The Guess Who.

Hurting Each Other became one of the group’s follow-up singles in 1966. The record dropped the question mark from their name and credited The Guess Who, Featuring Chad Allan. That single peaked at #19 in Canada but failed to chart in the US.

Chad developed problems with his singing voice and quit the group. Burton Cummings joined the group and became the new lead vocalist. The group continued releasing top forty singles in Canada, but it would be 1969 before the group began their triumphant string of hit records in the US with the song These Eyes.

The Carpenters released five consecutive top three singles in 1970 and 1971. Their first single in 1972 was a cover version of Hurting Each Other. The record topped the Adult Contemporary chart and reached #2 on the Hot 100.

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

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