1977 Rod Stewart – The Killing Of Georgie

1977 Rod Stewart – The Killing Of Georgie

This article appears in LOST OR FORGOTTEN OLDIES VOLUME 1: Hit Records From 1955 To 1989 That The Radio Seldom Plays, which is available on my author page on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Rembert-N-Parker/e/B071Z4GXNT/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

In the early 1970s, Rod Stewart was releasing solo albums that were increasingly successful. At the same time, he also was a part of a group called the Faces. One member of the group was Ian McLagan, a keyboard player. Ian had a gay friend who was killed after he moved to New York City, and that incident later inspired Rod to write and record The Killing Of Georgie (Parts 1 & 2).

The song tells the story of a young gay man who is not accepted by his family and moves to New York City. Once there, he finds acceptance and an exciting lifestyle. Sadly, a group of toughs who were probably out for a night of gay-bashing killed Georgie.

Rod recorded the song in 1976, but his record label initially refused to release the song as a single because of the subject matter. Eventually, they relented, and in the Summer of 1977, the record reached #30 on the US Hot 100. The record did much better in the UK, reaching as high as #2 on their charts. The song clocks in at nearly seven minutes, so the record company split the song into two parts, putting the second half on the flip side of the single.

The song echoes Lou Reed’s A Walk on the Wild Side, and some of the background vocals even appear to be sampling the earlier single.

Being gay was still a challenge in the seventies and the song reportedly helped many young gay men feel more confident about their sexuality. It’s been reported that Boy George’s mother left him a copy of the single when he was fifteen to let him know she was aware of his feelings, even though he had not yet come out.

The video that Rod shot for the song was surprising for its time (this was four years before MTV even existed). The video is simply Rod seemingly vogueing and posing long before either was mainstream.

A live performance in 2013 shows a more mature singer (who has to sit through most of the performance), but one who can still deliver both parts 1 and 2 of the song convincingly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Stewart
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Stewart_discography#1960s/70s
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Killing_of_Georgie_(Part_I_and_II)

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.

The introductory book is only 99 cents, and you can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

1976 Rhythm Heritage – Baretta’s Theme (“Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow”)

1976 Rhythm Heritage – Baretta’s Theme (“Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow”) 

Michael James Gubitosi was born in 1933 and began acting in 1939. He appeared in a single film and followed that with appearances in dozens of the Little Rascal shorts as Mickey. In the final 1942 episodes of the series he appeared as Bobby Blake, and by 1956 began using a new stage name, Robert Blake.

He appeared in countless films and television shows. In perhaps a poor decision, he turned down the chance to play the role of Little Joe on Bonanza.

Robert’s most acclaimed role came in the film In Cold Blood in 1967. His most famous role is probably that of the title character in the television show Baretta from 1975 to 1978. 

Morgan Ames and Dave Grusin wrote Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow, the theme song for the show. Sammy Davis Jr. sang the show’s version of the song.

While everybody might be familiar with the theme song, Sammy’s single failed to reach the Hot 100 and stalled at only #42 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Merry Clayton recorded a second version of the song. Her uptempo disco single reached #45 on the Hot 100 in 1975.

Producers Steve Barri and Michael Omartian formed the disco/funk group Rhythm Heritage in 1975. The band used a host of studio musicians, including Ray Parker Jr., and recorded a single version of the Theme From SWAT, which topped the Hot 100 in early 1976.

They also recorded a new near-instrumental version of Baretta’s Theme and the single reached #20 on the Hot 100 later in 1976.

The band only reached the Hot 100 one other time. Their disco cover of the Theme from Rocky (Gonna Fly Now) only reached #94 before falling off the chart.

Two more albums followed, after which they appear to have disbanded.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhythm_Heritage
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keep_Your_Eye_on_the_Sparrow

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks. I priced a special eBook at only 99 cents!

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

1975 Roger Whittaker – The Last Farewell

1975 Roger Whittaker – The Last Farewell 

Roger Whittaker was born in Nairobi, Kenya, to British parents. Members of his family were musicians, and Roger learned to play the guitar. He attended school in Kenya and then spent two years in military service.

After 18 months of studying to be a doctor, he decided to become a teacher. In 1959, he moved to Britain to study teaching biology. Roger also began singing in clubs. He signed with Fontana Records in 1962 and began recording as Rog Whittaker.

Roger signed with Columbia Records in 1966 and released records using the name Roger Whittaker. Roger finally released a hit record in 1969 when his recording of Durham Town reached #12 on the UK chart.

His next single, New World In The Morning, only reached #17 in the UK, but it also peaked at #12 on the US Adult Contemporary chart in 1970. That was the first song to showcase his whistling abilities.

Several more singles followed, but it took until 1975 for Roger to reach the Hot 100. In 1971, he was hosting a weekly radio show in the UK, where he would sing songs backed by a full orchestra. Roger invited his listeners to send him poems they had written, and each week for 26 weeks he performed one poem using an arrangement by Zach Lawrence. One of the last poems he chose was The Last Farewell, and he also recorded the song for his next album with the Roland Shaw orchestra. The single did not do well.

In 1975, the wife of a radio station program director in Atlanta, Georgia, heard his recording while traveling in Canada. She insisted her husband play the song on his station when she returned home, and the audience response led to the re-release of the single.

The Last Farewell peaked at #19 on the Hot 100. It also topped the US AC chart. This led to a resurgence of airplay and sales worldwide, and the single soon reached #2 in the UK. The record eventually reached #1 in 11 countries and sold over 11 million copies, making it one of fewer than fifty records to sell over ten million physical copies.

Roger never reached the Hot 100 again but had a string of hits on the US AC chart and charts in Canada, the UK, and Germany. I even recall seeing infomercials for collections of his songs on late-night television.

Roger recorded at least forty albums, including some foreign language albums. His record labels also released a lot of compilation albums. He has his own website at https://www.rogerwhittaker.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Whittaker
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Whittaker_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Farewell

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited

1973 Joni Mitchell – You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio

1973 Joni Mitchell – You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio 

Joni Mitchell’s album Blue came out in 1971. Despite winning critical praise and later becoming one of the most beloved albums of the seventies, no hit singles came from the album.

Her record label insisted she record something “radio-friendly” for her next album (For the Roses) and she responded by writing the song You Turn Me On, I’m A Radio. Several friends helped with the recording session, including Graham Nash, David Crosby, and Neil Young. The only musical contribution from the three that survived the session was Graham’s harmonica backup.

Joni meant the song as a sarcastic slap at her label, but as you might expect, the song turned into a hit record. They released the single in November 1972, and it peaked at #25 on the Hot 100 and reached #13 on the Adult Contemporary chart in early 1973. It was the first time Joni landed in the top forty in the US.

Joni wrote her next single from the album about James Taylor and his heroin addiction. By the time Joni recorded the song, James had ended their relationship and taken up with Carly Simon, whom he eventually married.

That single did not chart at all. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joni_Mitchell
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joni_Mitchell_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Turn_Me_On,_I%27m_a_Radio

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited

1972 War – Slippin’ Into Darkness

1972 War – Slippin’ Into Darkness 

Between 1962 and 1968, an ever-expanding group of musicians in California played together as the Creators. The band became the backup musicians for football player Deacon Jones when he began singing professionally.

In 1969, record producer Jerry Goldstein saw Deacon and the band performing at the Rag Doll club in North Hollywood. Jerry and Eric Burdon (formerly lead singer for the British band The Animals) recruited the band to play and sing as part of Eric Burdon and War.

Eric and the band toured briefly in the Southern California area before recording their first album with MGM Records. Eric Burdon Declares “War” included the single Spill The Wine, which reached #3 on the Hot 100. 

Late that year, the band released a second album, The Black-Man’s Burdon. The double album did not generate a hit record, and Eric left the group during a tour of Europe.

The band moved to United Artists and changed their name to War. Their first album for the label did not do well, but the second one contained two top forty singles. 

The first single from the album was the title song, All Day Music. The single stalled at #35 on the Hot 100 but made it to #18 on the R&B chart.

The album also contained Slippin’ Into Darkness, a song written by the band. The album cut ran nearly seven minutes, which was clearly too long for a single release. 

They edited out some of the slow beginning of the song and the second verse to shorten the song to slightly less than four minutes, and they issued the shorter recording in 1972. The single reached #16 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the R&B chart.

The band’s next three singles all reached the top ten on both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_(American_band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippin%27_into_Darkness

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited

1971 The Isley Brothers – Love The One You’re With

1971 The Isley Brothers – Love The One You’re With 

Beginning in the fifties, an endless line of white artists had covered early songs by the Isley Brothers, especially Shout and Twist and Shout.

The band decided to turn the tables with their ninth album in 1971. Givin’ It Back included covers of songs by Neil Young, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Eric Burdon, and Stephen Stills. For the first time, the album included musical contributions from two younger Isleys (Ernie and Marvin) as well as their brother-in-law Chris Jasper.

Stephen Stills wrote, recorded, and released Love The One You’re With in November 1970. His single peaked at #14 on the Hot 100 in February 1971.

The first single from the Isley Brothers album was a cover of the song. Their cover came out a few months after Stephen’s record fell off the charts and it peaked at #18 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart in August 1971.

The Isley’s versions of Spill The Wine and Lay, Lady, Lay were their other two singles from that album. Both records reached the Hot 100 but stalled before they got into the top forty. The two singles peaked at #14 and #29 on the R&B chart.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Isley_Brothers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Isley_Brothers_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_the_One_You%27re_With

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks. I priced a special eBook at only 99 cents!

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

1970 Joe Cocker – Cry Me A River (Live)

1970 Joe Cocker – Cry Me A River (Live) 

After touring with his Grease Band in the late sixties, Joe Cocker became exhausted enough to drop his backup band and take a break.

Unfortunately, his management had already scheduled another round of appearances for 1970. Joe had to recruit a band and get ready to tour again. Things worked out very well after he tapped Leon Russell as the bandleader.

Nearly two dozen musicians were involved in the tour, including three drummers. Producer Denny Cordell had worked with Joe during the Grease Band era, and he declared that the new tour was made up of Mad Dogs & Englishmen (the title of a song by Noël Coward). The name stuck and became the name of the tour.

Joe released a live album from the tour that spawned two hit records. His first single was a cover of The Letter by the Box Tops. It reached the top ten on the Hot 100 in early 1970.

His second hit was also a cover, but of a completely different style of music from the mid-fifties.

Arthur Hamilton wrote the song Cry Me A River in 1953. He had gone to high school with Julie London, who was married to Jack Webb of Dragnet fame. Jack was directing the film Pete Kelly’s Blues and had his wife contact Arthur about finding a song for Ella Fitzgerald to sing in the 1955 film. The song later got dropped from the film, and Julie then recorded the song herself. It got used as a dream sequence by Tom Ewell in the film The Girl Can’t Help It in 1956.

 

Joe’s live version of the song ran nearly four minutes and updated the song a great deal.

After they had concluded the tour dates, Joe finally had time to move back to England and take things easier for almost two years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Cocker
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Cocker_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cry_Me_a_River_(Arthur_Hamilton_song)

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.

The introductory book is only 99 cents, and you can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

1969 Rhinoceros – Apricot Brandy

1969 Rhinoceros – Apricot Brandy 

The Monkees were a group formed by a record label after a series of auditions, and perhaps it was inevitable that another label would try out the idea. Granted, the Monkees were recruited as actors, but trying out the same idea with musicians seemed like it should work.

Paul Allen Rothchild produced the first five albums by the Doors and Frazier Mohawk had helped Stephen Stills recruit the musicians that became Buffalo Springfield. The two decided to work together to assemble a new rock band for Elektra.

In 1967, the pair held an audition with a dozen musicians. They kept Doug Hastings on guitar and Alan Gerber on keyboards and vocals. The second audition turned up singer John Finley and guitarist Danny Weis. Danny had played on Iron Butterfly’s first album with Jerry Penrod and suggested adding him as the group’s bass player. 

Keyboard player Michael Fonfara joined the group after finishing some work with The Electric Flag. Finally, former Mothers of Invention drummer Billy Mundi took over percussion in 1968, and the group recorded their first album. 

The first single from the group included I Will Serenade You, a song written by John.

The record came out in 1968 but did not chart. Three Dog Night re-titled the song Let Me Serenade You and reached #17 on the Hot 100 with their cover version in 1973.

The group’s second single was an instrumental, Apricot Brandy. The song got airplay almost as soon as the album came out, but it would be 1969 before the record almost made it into the top forty on the Hot 100.

Two more albums and a few singles followed, but after sales were minimal, the group disbanded in 1971.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinoceros_%28band%29

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.

The introductory book is only 99 cents, and you can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

1968 Gene Pitney – She’s A Heartbreaker

1968 Gene Pitney – She’s A Heartbreaker 

After reaching the top forty on the Hot 100 four times in 1965, Gene Pitney seemed to have reignited his career in the US. Sadly, the next two years were not as successful: he had one single that reached #25 in 1966 and a second that got to the top twenty in 1968 in the US then never returned to the top forty on the Hot 100 again.

His 1968 hit single was She’s A Heartbreaker. The record reached #16 in the Hot 100 in the US (it didn’t chart at all in the UK; they may not have released it there).

Gene had a few more singles released only in Europe and Australia after 1967, most of which charted in the mid-twenties to the high thirties.

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

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!

1967 P. J. Proby – Niki Hoeky

1967 P. J. Proby – Niki Hoeky 

Western outlaw John Wesley Hardin has a descendent who had a series of hit records in the UK: his great-grandson James Marcus Smith. James was born in Houston, Texas, and moved to California after finishing high school, intending to become an actor and music star. He started finding minor roles and also recorded at least two singles by 1960.

A songwriter convinced James to change his name to P. J. Proby, the name of one of her former boyfriends. He moved to London and began working with producer Jack Good. Several top ten hits in the UK resulted from recording sessions in London.

Two of his singles reached the Hot 100 in 1964 and 1965, but they stalled at #70 and #91 and were his only chart appearances in the US until 1967.

P. J.’s pants split at the knees during a 1966 show in Croydon, London. As a result, he became banned from nearly every theater in the UK and was also kept off the television networks in the country. After that unfortunate event, he only had a few more minor hits before leaving the UK charts for over thirty years.

He briefly fared better in the US when he released Niki Hoeky in December. The single reached #25 on the Hot 100 in 1967 in the United States, but that was his last appearance on the chart.

P. J. had a difficult life after tax problems forced him into bankruptcy in 1968.

He continued to record music and appeared in oldies shows through the years. He currently lives in Twyford, Worcestershire.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._J._Proby

I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.

Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.

You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!