The Allman Brothers recorded their second album, Idlewild South, in 1970. This was almost a year before Duane’s tragic death in a motorcycle accident the next year. Gregg was the primary author of the second single from the album, Midnight Rider.
While the Allman Brothers found most of their success after Duane’s death, the band eventually began to fall apart. During the period that the band recorded Brothers and Sisters and had their biggest hit single when Rambling Man reached #2 on the Hot 100, Gregg was also recording Laid Back, his first solo album.
The lead single from Gregg’s album was a cover of Midnight Rider. Gregg’s single peaked at #19 on the Hot 100 in 1974.
Greg’s next two albums (recorded while he was with Cher) did not do as well.
Greg and his band eventually had another surprise hit in 1987. Michael Caplan, an A&R man for Epic Records, found an old demo tape of four songs that Greg had cut. Tony Colton and Phil Palmer had written the song I’m No Angel, which Bill Medley had recorded on a 1982 album. Greg’s take on the song impressed Michael, so he used that recording to help get Gregg’s band signed by Epic Records.
A new recording of the song by The Gregg Allman Band became the band’s first single from their first album on Epic Records. The recording reached the top of the US Mainstream Rock chart in 1987.
Several more successful singles followed in the next two years.
Before sampling began enhancing new recordings, Dickie Goodman invented a technique known as “break-ins.” He and Bill Buchanan scripted the singleThe Flying Saucer Parts 1 & 2.
Their record comprised fake news reports with short pieces of current records that acted as comments or responses to the reporters. The single became a sensation and peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 in 1956, eventually selling over a million copies. Disgruntled owners of recordings he sampled filed a lawsuit that claimed his records violated their copyrights. The court declared the record to be a parody and opened the door to more break-ins.
Dickie made a career out of break-ins. Besides a sequel to The Flying Saucers, additional records included Santa And The Satellite in 1957, The Touchables in 1961, and Batman and His Grandmother in 1966.
In 1973, he produced a single by Jéan Free and Ernest Smith. The single, Superfly Meets Shaft by John & Ernest, only used R&B singers and songs. The record peaked at #31 on the Hot 100.
Perhaps inspired by their success, later that year Dickie returned to the recording studio and created his own single called Watergrate that parodied the Watergate scandal. The single did not quite reach the top forty, topping out at #42 on the Hot 100.
John & Ernest created three more singles, but none of them charted.
Dickie had two more top forty singles after that. His bestselling single was Mr. Jaws, a 1975 record inspired by the film Jaws that got as high as #4.
1972 Donna Fargo – The Happiest Girl In The Whole U.S.A.
Yvonne Vaughn grew up in North Carolina before moving to the West coast to attend University of Southern California. She became a high school English teacher after graduation. She worked her way up and became the head of the English department. After establishing her career, she began writing songs and singing part-time in clubs as Donna Fargo.
Donna wrote and recorded five singles for small labels between 1967 and 1969, none of which charted. Despite her lack of success, the Academy of Country Music Awards rewarded her with the title of The Top New Female Vocalist in 1969.
In 1972, Donna signed with Dot Records on the strength of a new song she had written, The Happiest Girl In The Whole U.S.A. The song was intended to be The Happiest Girl In The Whole World, but Donna found it too difficult to match the rhythm that title required, and changed the lyrics. The song reflected her feelings about becoming married. The single topped the Country chart and reached #11 on the Hot 100.
Her second single became an even bigger hit. Funny Face again topped the Country chart, but it also reached #5 on the Hot 100.
While Donna never reached the Hot 100 top forty again, another half-dozen of her singles did enter the chart. Her career in the Country Music field took off and she had two more consecutive #1 records on that chart.
Donna even hosted her own syndicated television show in 1978.
By 1979, Donna scored two more chart-topping singles on the Country chart, nine additional top ten hits, and a half-dozen other singles that reached the top forty.
Donna contracted multiple sclerosis, which slowed her down and made it more difficult for her to promote her records. She had two more top forty country hits in 1986 and 1987, after which her career tapered off. She recorded for a series of record labels and even released some gospel recordings. Her last new release came out in 2008.
Donna currently concentrates on writing and has written greeting cards, a few books, and several books of poetry.
Melanie Anne Safka-Schekeryk grew up in the Queens area of New York City until her family moved to New Jersey. The relocation was not to her liking, so she ran away from home and briefly settled in California. She eventually returned to New Jersey and finished high school.
She studied acting in college while performing at the Bitter End and other folk clubs. She signed with Columbia Records and although she did not initially have any hits in the US, her recording of Bobo’s Party reached the top of the charts in France in 1969.
Melanie moved to Buddah Records and released several more singles that year.
An invitation from Woodstock led to Melanie becoming one of three solo female performers at the show. During one of her songs, people in the audience began holding up matches (and maybe a few candles), and that inspired Melanie to write the song Lay Down (Candles In The Wind). She recorded the song with the Edwin Hawkins Singers and the single peaked at #6 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Buddah Records kept insisting that Melanie deliver more albums to them, but she refused to be hurried. She even wrote and cut a song in 1971 named Nickel Song bashing the record company for asking too much from her. Not much came from the song…initially.
Melanie ran away from Buddah Records and created her own label for distribution in the US (although Budday still released her catalog in the UK).
Once out from under that pressure, Melanie came up with the biggest hit of her career after eating dinner at McDonald’s: Brand New Key. The single reached the top of the Hot 100 in the US and #4 in the UK.
Her next single on her own label (Ring the Living Bell) quickly jumped into the top forty as well. Buddah Records got in on the act and released Nickel Song as a single. When the third single reached the top forty as well, Melanie apparently became the first female artist to have three singles on the top forty of the Hot 100 at the same time!
Melanie continued releasing albums and singles through 2010 without reaching the Hot 100 again after 1973. I recall hearing her version of I’d Rather Leave While I’m In Love on the radio a few times in 1978, but it soon faded.
One year later, a cover version by Rita Coolidge reached #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #31 on the Hot 100.
Michael Nesmith was born in Houston and grew up in Dallas. After he served a stint in the airforce, he began working on a musical career while attending classes at San Antonio College. He moved to Los Angeles and began performing at folk music clubs. He began writing and publishing songs and recorded a few singles beginning in 1963.
Mike and Davy had each recorded singles for Colpix Records before they auditioned for the Monkees, but never met before their auditions. Screen Gems bought Mike’s from Colpix songs so the Monkees could use them. Filming and recording for the group began in 1965 and kept Michael busy for a few years. He still had time to write some songs on each Monkees’ album and Different Drum, which was a hit for The Stone Poneys Featuring Linda Ronstadt in 1967.
By 1969, NBC had canceled their television show and the disaster that was their feature film Head was behind them. Mike began forming a new group he named The First National Band.
Mike left the Monkees in 1970 after recording some contractually required ads for Kool-Aid and Nerf balls and began recording with his new band for RCA Victor. His band recorded and released three albums in 1970 and 1971. Michael had written and recorded music for the Monkees, but the new solo music he recorded was much closer to Country Rock. Little Red Rider was the first single to be released. The Monkees had recorded a version of the song in 1969 that went unreleased until 1996.
The new version credited to Michael Nesmith and the First National Band was recorded and released in 1970 but failed to chart.
The second single from their first album did better, although not nearly as well as the Monkees’ singles had done. Michael had written Joanne, and the single reached #21 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Their second album contained the singleSilver Moon. The record peaked at #42 on the Hot 100 and #7 on the AC chart in 1971. The next single barely made it to #70 on the Hot 100 and missed the AC chart completely. No singles reached the Hot 100 after that. Juggling the group’s members and renaming the group The Second National Band did not improve the results of his recordings.
Mike found new success after that when he created the cable show PopClips in 1979. The Nickelodeon show featured a veejay and played videos for pop singles and its popularity eventually led to the creation of MTV. He also won the first Grammy for Video of the Year in 1982 for his production of the one-hour show Elephant Parts.
In 1985, Michael hosted the NBC show Michael Nesmith in Television Parts. The weekly show combined videos and comedy sketches.
Various combinations of the four Monkees toured from time to time, and when it was convenient, Mike sometimes briefly re-joined the group in concerts.
1969 Bill Deal and the Rhondels – What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am
Bill Deal played keyboard instruments, and Ammon Tharp played drums. The two met when they were each hired to play for a local Virginia group called the Blazers. The two began working together as a duo, playing and singing mostly R&B standards. They only worked up a few songs, so an evening of playing in a club forced them to repeat songs. Somebody suggested they call themselves the Rhondels based on the poetry term “rondel” which refers to poems that repeat the opening lines in the middle of the poem. The name stuck.
In 1961, they recruited five more musicians and became Bill Deal & the Rhondels. The band played in clubs in Virginia, eventually becoming an important group in the Beach Music genre. That genre existed primarily as part of the Shag dance phenomenon in the Carolinas.
The members of the group changed almost constantly. They focused on covers of soul records done in a blue-eyed soul style, with the lead vocals coming from Ammon. In 1968, the group released the album Sock It To You 12 Times on Beach Records. The album contained a collection of covers of Beach Music records and a few Beatles songs. Sales were not brisk.
Maurice Williams was a singer/songwriter who led the group The Zodiacs in the late fifties and early sixties. He wrote their 1960 chart-topping single, Stay. The group struggled to follow up on that success. One of the unsuccessful singles that Maurice wrote was May I, which failed to chart in 1965.
Bill’s group played the song in their shows for years and had finally stopped including it in their set lists. In 1968, a fan requested the song, and as a joke, they played the song to a polka beat. The result sounded much better than it ever had before. The group went back into the studio and quickly recorded the song. Jerry Ross owned the small Heritage record label in Philadelphia, and a local promoter took the song to the label and they released it. The single reached #39 on the Hot 100 in early 1969.
One of the early success stories in Beach Music was The Tams, a group that had taken their name from the Tam-o’-shanter hats they wore on stage. Ray Whitley wrote many of the songs they recorded, although not all of them were hits. In 1965 they released the single, I’ve Been Hurt.
Bill Deal & The Rhondels released I’ve Been Hurt as their second single. It did even better than their first single, reaching #35 a few months later.
The biggest hit the Tams had came in 1964 with their release of another Ray Whitley song, What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am. Their single reached #9 on the Hot 100.
The cover version by Bill Deal & The Rhondels was a hit in the Summer of 1969 and reached #23.
The group had two more singles that reached the Hot 100 but never got near the top forty again. The band disbanded in the early eighties, but Bill reformed the group in 1986. They continued playing shows until Bill’s death in 2003.
Records by the Tams and Bill Deal & The Rhondels became even bigger hits in the UK as part of the Northern Soul revival in the seventies. The Tams 1964 single, Hey Girl, Don’t Bother Me, only reached #41 on the US Hot 100 in 1964, but its re-release was a #1 hit in the UK in 1971.
1968 Don Fardon – (The Lament Of The Cherokee) Indian Reservation
John D. Loudermilk began writing songs as a teenager. He entered a poem he wrote in a contest and George Hamilton IV turned it into a hit record named A Rose And A Baby Ruth in 1956.
Other hits followed in the next three decades.
In 1959, Marvin Rainwater recorded another song John wrote, The Pale Faced Indian. The single failed to chart.
British singer Don Fardon joined a local band called The Sorrows in 1963. The band played freakbeat music, which was high-intensity R&B music. The band reached the UK charts with a minor hit, after which Don and Phil Packham left the group.
Don pursued a solo career which peaked in 1968. He recorded a cover version of Marvin’s single after changing the name to Indian Reservation.
His single reached #3 in the UK and #20 on the Hot 100 in the US.
Mark Lindsay had been the lead singer for Paul Revere and the Raiders since they formed the band in 1961. In addition to touring and recording with the band, Mark started recording solo records in 1970.
After scoring a few solo hits, in 1971, Mark was searching for additional songs to record. Jack Gold, the A&R head of Columbia Records, offered to let Mark record a cover version of Indian Reservation. Mark produced the song using the Wrecking Crew, and Paul Revere was the only other member of the Raiders that appeared on the record.
Columbia decided to release the record by the band instead of releasing it as a solo record by Mark. They simply listed the band as The Raiders. They added a subtitle to the title of the song, making it Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian). The 1971 release became the band’s most successful single and their only record to reach #1 on the Hot 100.
After one more single reached #23 on the Hot 100, the Raiders never reached the top forty again.
Mark Lindsay never reached the top forty again, either.
Don and Phil recruited other new members and reformed The Sorrows in 2011. The band still continues to perform live.
1967 Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich – Zabadak!
Five friends in Wiltshire (a county in England) formed a band in 1961. The band’s initial name became Dave Dee and the Bostons.
The members quickly quit their jobs to pursue full-time careers as musicians. An initial attempt to record songs did not go well. They renamed their band using their nicknames: Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich.
After the band signed with Fontana Records, lyricist Ken Howard and composer Alan Blaikley began working with the group in 1964. They wrote several of the band’s hits.
The band became part of the British Invasion in 1965 but had difficulty charting with any hits in the US. Their sole single on the Hot 100 came in 1967 with the release of Zabadak. The record reached #2 on the UK chart and the top ten in over a dozen other countries. In spite of charting well in the Northeastern US, the single stalled at only #52 in the US.
Ken and Alan also wrote the single that became the band’s biggest hit. The Legend Of Xanadu topped the charts in the UK and a few other countries in 1968. They sold over a million copies of the song.
The band had eight top ten singles and several other top forty releases. At least one source claims that between 1965 and 1969, they spent more weeks on the UK singles chart than the Beatles!
The band’s 1966 song Hold Tight was used in the Quentin Tarantino film Death Proof. Director Edgar Wright created the film The Red Area for release in 2021 and discussed the film with Quentin. That led to his discovery of the band’s song Last Night In Soho, which became the new film’s title at release. Edgar also included the 1968 single as part of the film’s soundtrack.
Dave Dee attempted a solo career beginning in 1969 with little success. The rest of the band stayed together for four more years, but their career also floundered. Thanks to various reformed lineups of the band, they have often appeared on the oldies circuit since then.