1971 Helen Reddy – I Don’t Know How To Love Him
Perhaps the most successful play of the seventies began life as just an album because Jesus Christ Superstar could not raise enough money to produce a play. Instead, the producers created an album recording. The success of the recording led to a Broadway production of the play that earned over 200 million dollars.
The production company picked Murray Head’s title song, Superstar, as the first single from their album. The single stalled at #74 on the Hot 100 in 1970. About a year later, the song re-entered the chart and fell off again after reaching #60. The single made one more run on the chart a few weeks later and finally peaked at #14. Murray also sang the song in the film.
One song in the play used the melody from the 1967 song Kansas Morning. The new lyrics changed the song to I Don’t Know How To Love Him. Singer Yvonne Elliman sang the song on the album and later on Broadway.
An executive at Capitol Records thought the song had the potential to be a hit, and asked Linda Ronstadt to record it, but Linda hated the song. Eventually, Helen Reddy (who also disliked the song) recorded it for Capitol, and the single got released in 1971.
When the single entered the charts, Polydor Records quickly released Yvonne’s soundtrack version of the song. Perhaps the two records reaching the charts prevented either of them from being a bigger hit: Helen’s version peaked at #13 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the Adult Contemporary chart while Yvonne’s version reached #28 and #15, respectively.
The song provided each singer with their first charting solo record in the US, and they each went on to record multiple more hits.
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