1981 The Moody Blues – The Voice

1981 The Moody Blues – The Voice 

After years of recording and touring, The Moody Blues took a break in 1974. The band had no intention of splitting up. They simply wanted some time away from the band to work on individual projects.

In 1977, the band reformed and began work on a new album. During the hiatus, keyboard player Mike Pinder had gotten married and moved to the United States. While he contributed to the recording of their new album (Octave), he was not interested in touring with the group, and departed permanently before the completion of the album. 

Patrick Moraz took over as the band’s new keyboardist, and the band began a new World Tour in 1978. Neither of the singles from the album did well; one of them reached #39 on the Hot 100 and the other stalled at #59.

 

The band recorded their next album (Long Distance Voyager) and released it in 1981. Mike sued to stop them, as he assumed they only replaced him for the tour, but his lawsuit failed.

Justin Hayward and John Lodge wrote the first single from the album. Gemini Dream reached #12 on the Hot 100, #13 on the US Mainstream Rock chart, and actually briefly topped the Canadian chart.

Justin wrote The Voice, and that single spent four weeks at the top of the US Mainstream Rock chart. Several months later, it also peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 and #16 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Neither of those two singles charted in the UK.

John wrote their third single from the album, Talking Out of Turn, but it stalled at only #60 on the Hot 100.

It would be 1983 before the band released their next album and 1986 before the band returned a single into the top twenty on the Hot 100.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moody_Blues
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moody_Blues_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemini_Dream
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Voice_(The_Moody_Blues_song)

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1980 Joe Walsh – All Night Long

1980 Joe Walsh – All Night Long 

In 1966, several musicians in Cleveland, Ohio, formed The James Gang. After some lineup changes, the membership reduced to a power trio: Jim Fox on drums, Tom Kriss on bass, and Joe Walsh on guitars and vocals. After they released their first album, Tom left and Dale Peters took his place on the bass.

The band’s second album contained one notable song that got a lot of airplay, Funk 49. The single reached #59 on the Hot 100 in 1970.

One more album came out in 1971, after which Joe left and the band continued on without him.

Joe moved to Colorado and formed Barnstorm with various other musicians. The new band recorded two albums, but the band fell apart by 1974.

Joe briefly pursued a solo career and released his first solo album in December 1974. It cannot escape notice that a few of the musicians who played on his album included three of the Eagles: Glenn Frey, Don Henley, and Randy Meisner.

In 1975, Joe officially joined the Eagles, touring and recording with them until the band fell apart in 1980.

Joe would record solo records from time to time while the Eagles were not busy, and in 1980 he contributed a song to the soundtrack of Urban CowboyAll Night Long. The song became a single which reached #19 on the Hot 100.

Joe changed his style somewhat, and beginning with his next single, he began charting on the Mainstream Rock chart. His future success can be seen by looking at the reception the pop and rock charts gave A Life of Illusion:

Hot 100 – #34, US Mainstream Rock – #1

He never again reached the top forty on the Hot 100 with a solo release, but continued landing in the top ten on the rock chart through 1992.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Walsh
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Gang
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Walsh_discography#Singles

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1979 The Cars – Lets Go

1979 The Cars – Let’s Go 

In 1962, a group of studio musicians played on a record that has become very familiar thanks to chanting at sports events: Let’s Go (Pony) by the Routers. The single reached #19 on the Hot 100 in 1962.

Many of the musicians who played on the record became members of the Wrecking Crew. 

The New Wave band The Cars formed in the Boston area in 1976. The band’s lineup was Elliot Easton on lead guitar, Greg Hawkes on keyboards, Ric Ocasek on rhythm guitar, Benjamin Orr on bass guitar, and David Robinson on drums.

More details about their early formation can be found in my book Lost or Forgotten Oldies Volume 3.

Ric wrote many of their songs, and he and Benjamin took turns on lead vocals.

The first album from the Cars pushed out three singles that struggled on the charts: Just What I Needed (#27), My Best Friend’s Girl (#35), and Good Times Roll (#41). While those singles may not have succeeded individually, they helped make side one of the album a pure delight. Side 2 started out with You’re All I’ve Got Tonight and Bye Bye Love, so the album actually did better than the singles (and eventually went 6 times platinum in the US despite getting no higher than #18 on the album chart).

The second album from the band finally had a reasonable hitLet’s Go. The single peaked at #14 on the Hot 100 in 1979 but failed to reach the rock chart. 

There’s little doubt about the inspiration of Let’s Go: about 1:30 into the song we get the sound of some hand-clapping and chants of “Let’s go!” that should be very familiar if you ever listened to the Routers single. Songwriting credit on the song went to Ric.

It would remain their highest charting single until 1981, when MTV playing the video for Shake It Up helped put them in the top five on the pop chart. It also reached #2 on the rock chart, which is where they later had three number-one hits.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cars
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cars_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let%27s_Go_(The_Cars_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!

1978 Dolly Parton – Two Doors Down

1978 Dolly Parton – Two Doors Down

By the time she was ten years old, Dolly Parton appeared regularly on radio shows in Knoxville. At thirteen, she recorded her first single and got to appear on the Grand Ole Opry. She moved to Nashville and began a successful career as a songwriter the day after she graduated from high school. In 1967, Dolly became a regular on the Porter Wagoner Show and the two recorded a long series of hit records.

Dolly had her first appearance on the Hot 100 in 1963 when her #1 Country single Jolene crossed over and reached #60 on the pop chart. It was also the first of four consecutive #1 Country singles.

Brenda Lee had her last top forty single on the Hot 100 in 1967 and her last top forty single on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart the next year. In 1975, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote the song Here You Come Again and presented a demo to Brenda to use as a comeback tune.

Brenda passed on the song but still found a pair of Country top forty singles that year. B. J. Thomas recorded the song on an album, and Dolly selected the song as the title single for an album in 1977. She insisted on including a steel guitar in the song to help prove that her version of the song was truly Country. It turned out to be an excellent choice since the single topped the Country chart. An extra benefit showed up: in spite of having a steel guitar in the mix, the single crossed over to the pop charts and reached #3 on the Hot 100. That became the first time Dolly reached the Hot 100 top forty.

In early 1978, while that single was still charting, Zella Lehr covered a song from Dolly’s album that Dolly wrote herself. Dolly had included a version of Two Doors Down on her album.

When Zella’s very country version of the song jumped up into the Country top ten, Dolly was reluctant to compete with that single. Instead, Dolly took stock of her recent success in the pop world and recorded a new, decidedly more pop version of the song. Her single version even had some disco touches.

The single only reached #19 on the Hot 100 but peaked at #12 on the AC chart (it did not appear on the Country chart). From that point on, all pressings of her album included the new version of her single, annoying Country fans and making the early copies of her album a collector’s item. The original version eventually showed up only on an Australian CD in 2000.

While Dolly continued to have hits on the Country chart, she rarely crossed over to the pop charts. Her only big solo hit on the Hot 100 was the chart-topping title song from the film 9 to 5. She also topped the chart with a song written by the Bee Gees and co-produced by Barry Gibb, her duet Islands In The Stream with Kenny Rogers.

After a lot of back-and-forth discussions, Dolly finally accepted an invitation to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2022.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_Parton
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_Parton_singles_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Here_You_Come_Again_(song)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Doors_Down

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1977 B. J. Thomas – Don’t Worry Baby

1977 B. J. Thomas – Don’t Worry Baby 

Phil Spector and his wall of sound pushed the Ronettes to #2 on the Hot 100 in 1963 when they recorded Be My Baby. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys worked with Roger Christian to write an answer song to that hit. The title and chorus came from an expression by Brian’s girlfriend, “Don’t worry, baby.”

Brian tried to get the Ronettes to record his song, but Phil always refused to let them record anything he hadn’t written himself. The Beach Boys recorded the song themselves and included it on the album Shut Down Volume 2 in March 1964.

Their record company released the song as a single two months later, but there was just one problem: it was the b-side to I Get Around. The a-side took only four weeks to reach #1 on the Hot 100, and the b-side coasted along for a bit and finally peaked at #24.

The Bay City Rollers covered the song in 1976, but their single only charted in Australia, where it stalled at #34.

B. J. Thomas began his string of hit records in 1966 and reached the top of the Hot 100 twice: Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head in 1969 and the very Country (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song in 1975.

His next three singles failed to reach the top forty, but then he released his cover version of Don’t Worry Baby in 1977.

 

His version of the song did even better than the Beach Boys’ version, reaching #17 on the Hot 100 and selling over 800,000 copies.

Sadly, that became his last visit to the top forty on the Hot 100. He recorded first Christian music and then Country songs, and topped both of those charts once or twice each between 1979 and 1984.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._J._Thomas
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B._J._Thomas_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_Worry_Baby

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.

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1976 Electric Light Orchestra – Strange Magic

1976 Electric Light Orchestra – Strange Magic 

Roy Wood wrote songs, played guitar, and sang in the British group The Move in the late sixties. He wanted to “pick up where the Beatles left off,” by adding a classical sound to rock music. He intended to add violins, cellos, string basses, horns, and woodwinds to the mix.

Roy discussed that idea with Jeff Lynne of the band Idle Race and invited him to join The Move. Jeff insisted he was too busy with his own group, but in 1970, he accepted a second invitation. 

The two continued working on music for The Move while they began creating new music as The Electric Light Orchestra. Roy left the project during the recording of a second ELO album, leaving Jeff in charge of the group. 

The band had two top ten singles in the UK from their first two albums, neither of which had reached the top forty in the US.

In 1975, the band’s fifth album (Face The Music) helped them finally break through commercially. The first single from the album, Evil Woman, reached #10 on the charts in both the UK and the US.

One of the songs on the album, Strange Magic, attracted some attention, and it became a single in 1976. The album version of the song ran nearly four and a half minutes, which was simply too long for most radio stations.

The UK version of the single simply cut out 23 seconds of an orchestral intro from the song, leaving it longer than four minutes.

Since it stalled at only #38 on the UK chart, they probably should have cut the song even more.

In the US, the single version had to be cut down to less than three and a half minutes to get airplay, but it did better: the single peaked at #14 on the Hot 100.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_Light_Orchestra
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_Light_Orchestra_discography#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Magic_(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

1965 Righteous Brothers – Just Once In My Life

Here’s another brief entry for my blog readers while we let Gordon Lightfoot finish up the weekend. ELO will be here on Monday.

1965 Righteous Brothers – Just Once In My Life

Not even reaching the top ten on the Hot 100 is enough to get airplay anymore.

Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, which topped the Hot 100 in early 1965. They wrote (You’re My) Soul And Inspiration as a potential follow-up to the hit, but producer Phil Spector felt it was too much like their recent hit. He asked Carole King to write a song for the duo, and she and Gerry Goffin came up with Just Once In My Life. Jack Nitzsche arranged the record and Phil produced it and also got listed as a co-writer.

The single peaked at #9 on the Hot 100 in 1965, but I never heard the song until I bought their greatest hits album a few years later. I loved the song and remain baffled by how little airplay it gets.

As for Soul And Inspiration, when the Righteous Brothers split from Phil’s record company, Bill Medley produced the song himself as their first recording without Phil. Bill created his own personal Wall Of Sound, giving the record a familiar feel. The single gave the group their second number one hit in 1966.

They never reached the top of the charts again, although they got close in 1974 when Rock And Roll Heaven reached #3 on the Hot 100.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Righteous_Brothers#Singles
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_Once_in_My_Life
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/(You%27re_My)_Soul_and_Inspiration

A quick filler

I’ll continue another day without an entry on Facebook, but for those of you who read my blog, here’s an old entry that links to an even older one!

1969 The Arbors – The Letter

In the mid-to-late sixties, artists began to experiment with studio tricks to produce unusual-sounding records. Many psychedelic records made use of such tricks, but perhaps the most obvious example comes from a group that initially recorded typical Adult Contemporary songs.

The Arbors were two sets of brothers who began singing together at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 1964. The group moved to New York and began recording for Date Records (a subsidiary of Columbia Records). Their 1966 single Symphony For Susan only reached #51 on the Hot 100, but it peaked at #18 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart. You can read more about that release in an older entry in my blog.

They had similar results with their next two singles before recording a cover of The Letter in 1969. The song had topped the Hot 100 for The Box Tops in 1967, and the Arbors recorded a version that extensively used phasing. The record got up to #20 on the Hot 100  and #26 on the AC chart.

The group followed that success by recording an entire album of covers of recent rock hits. The group’s last recording for the album was a mashup of I Can’t Quit Her by Blood, Sweat & Tears and two lines from Simon and Garfunkel’s For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her. They released the song as a single and it reached #67 on the Hot 100 in 1969.

After that, the members of the group stopped recording records and spent over three decades making a living by creating music for jingles and commercials for radio and television.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-arbors-mn0000028256/biography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Arbors

Staying put for a day

Our post on Gordon Lightfoot has blown up, so we’re letting it run for another day to see if that helps (often, adding a new song cuts causes Facebook to stop showing a popular post that has started).

There may be another way to test posts, but I can’t think of one.

We’ll be back tomorrow (or maybe Sunday?) with an early song (or two) from Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). See if you can guess which one (they had over a dozen singles in the US that failed to reach the top 100 for the year).

Meanwhile, if you haven’t read Thursday’s post, take a look:

1975 Gordon Lightfoot – Rainy Day People

1975 Gordon Lightfoot – Rainy Day People

1975 Gordon Lightfoot – Rainy Day People  

Gordon Lightfoot grew up in Ontario, Canada, and began singing in front of audiences while still in grade school. A choir master at a local church helped coach his singing, and after learning to play the piano, he taught himself to play drums. He earned college scholarships at colleges with music programs for both his musical ability and athletic accomplishments in track sports and football.

In 1958, Gordon moved to California and studied jazz composition and orchestration at a school favored by many Canadian musicians. While studying, he also recorded demos and wrote and recorded jingles.

He returned to Toronto in 1960 and joined The Singin’ Swingin’ Eight, performing on CBC TV’s Country Hoedown. Chet Atkins produced a few singles for Gordon and he began getting airplay and chart action in Canada.

 Peter, Paul and Mary recorded two songs Gordon wrote, Early Mornin’ Rain and For Lovin’ Me and numerous prominent musicians recorded songs written by Gordon. His career took off in 1970 with the release of his first chart-topping single, If You Could Read My Mind (it reached #1 in Canada, #5 on the Hot 100, and #1 on the US Adult Contemporary chart, and remains my favorite of all his songs).

Beginning in 1974 with the release of Sundown, three of Gordon’s four next singles peaked at the top of the Adult Contemporary chart and reached the top ten on the Hot 100. Rainy Day People only reached #26 on the Hot 100 in 1975, but it was one of the three singles that topped the Adult Contemporary chart.

Gordon seldom reached the US charts after 1977, but continued scoring top ten hits in Canada through 1986.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Lightfoot
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Lightfoot_discography#1970s_2
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainy_Day_People

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