1979 The Knack – Good Girls Don’t

1979 The Knack – Good Girls Don’t 

Jimmy Miller produced music for the Rolling Stones, Traffic, and Blind Faith (he was the Mister Jimmy mentioned in the lyrics of You Can’t Always Get What You Want). He founded and produced the group Sky. Detroit native Doug Fieger played bass and sang for the group, which recorded two unsuccessful albums for RCA in 1970 and 1971. Sky broke up in 1973 and Doug moved to Los Angeles, where he met Berton Averre.

The two started their own group with Doug on lead vocals and rhythm guitar and Berton singing backup vocals and playing lead guitar and keyboards. They recruited drummer Bruce Gary and bass player Prescott Niles to complete the Knack. The band started performing live in 1978 and quickly built up a strong following in the clubs on the Sunset Strip.

Jamming with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and Ray Manzarek brought enough attention to the group that at least ten record companies got involved in a bidding war to sign the group to a recording contract. The band selected Capitol Records, earning them the largest signing bonus in the label’s history.

Their first single, My Sharona, topped the charts in the US and Canada and helped their first album become one of the highest selling albums of 1979.

They selected Good Girls Don’t as the second single from the album. It peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 later that year.

The group’s second album followed in 1980 and struggled in part because of poor reviews and the early “woke” reaction to the lyrics of some of the band’s songs. Their first single from the album, Baby Talks Dirty, stalled at #38, and their second single failed to reach the top forty.

After the group’s third album failed to produce any hit singles in 1981, the group disbanded for nearly a decade.

Run-DMC sampled My Sharona in their 1979 hit It’s Tricky, and a lawsuit over using the sample without permission eventually got settled out of court.

In 1991, the band reformed and recorded a fourth album. The single Rocket O’ Love didn’t reach the Hot 100, but it did reach the top ten on the US Mainstream Rock chart in 1991.

The band toured off and on and recorded two more albums in 1998 and 2001 without attracting much of a following.

In 2005, the band appeared on the US version of the television show Hit Me, Baby, One More Time and performed My Sharona and Are You Gonna Be My Girl. They lost out to Vanilla Ice in the voting for best performance of the night. Ouch!

The band essentially ended when Doug died in 2010 after battling brain and lung cancer for four years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Knack
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_(American_band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Fieger

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1978 David Gates – Goodbye Girl

1978 David Gates – Goodbye Girl

David Gates and Jimmy Griffin formed Bread with Robb Royer in 1969. Mike Botts became the group’s permanent drummer in 1970 and Larry Knechtel replaced Robb in 1971. The band had nine top ten singles on the Hot 100 between 1970 and 1973. Elektra Records selected the group’s singles, all of which were written by David and featured him on lead vocals. This did not sit well with Jimmy, and friction between David and Jimmy tore the group apart in 1973.

Jimmy released the solo album Breakin’ Up Is Easy in 1973 and followed that with a few singles, but none of his releases charted.

David had released over a dozen solo singles between 1957 and 1965, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that he released solo albums and singles when the group split up. He had a few records reach the top ten on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart before releasing the single Never Let Her Go in 1974. The recording peaked at #29 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the AC chart in early 1975.

Elektra Records released two greatest hits albums for Bread that sold well and the label convinced Bread to reform and record another album in 1976. The album yielded a top ten singleLost Without Your Love.

The group toured together into early 1977, but the band then continued touring without Jimmy and never recorded together again.

Later that year, David recorded the title track for the film Goodbye Girl. The  song became a solo single that peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the AC chart.

David toured with the single and even appeared on American Bandstand.

David recorded three more albums, but never achieved much success again.

In 1996, David and Jimmy patched up their differences and reformed Bread with Mike and Larry.  The band toured into 1997 as Bread.

Cancer claimed the lives of Jimmy and Mike in 2005 and Larry had a heart attack and died in 2009.

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

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1977 Leo Sayer – How Much Love

1977 Leo Sayer – How Much Love

Leo co-wrote songs with David Courtney, one of which was recorded by Roger Daltry of the Who. Adam Faith was a singer and actor who had a series of pop singles in the top ten in the UK in the late fifties and early sixties. David and Adam managed Leo’s early career and produced some of his recordings.

Leo’s first single, Why Is Everybody Going Home, didn’t sell very well. He appeared in videos and live shows in a mime costume to promote his second single, and The Show Must Go On reached #2 on the UK chart in 1973.

The single didn’t chart in the US because Three Dog Night covered the song and took it to #4 on the Hot 100 in 1974.

Leo finally reached the US charts later in 1974 with Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance). That single peaked at #9 on the Hot 100 and reached #4 on the UK chart.

More hits followed, including two back-to-back singles that topped the Hot 100 in the US in 1976 and 1977.

Barry Mann co-wrote How Much Love with Leo in 1977 and the single peaked at #17 on the US Hot 100 and reached the top ten in the UK.

During the lockdowns in 2020, Leo created a  video for a new recording of a Beatles’ classic Eleanor Rigby that he dedicated to “all the lonely people.” He also recorded a few new songs. He began touring again in 2021 once it became workable to do so.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Sayer
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Sayer_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Much_Love_(Leo_Sayer_song)

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1976 Parliament – Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up The Funk)

1976 Parliament – Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up The Funk)

George Clinton and four friends began singing in a doo-wop group called the Parliaments in the late fifties. The group reached #20 on the Hot 100 in 1967 with their single (I Wanna) Testify, a song written by George and Deron Taylor.

The single was middle-of-the-road soul music, with no hint of the funk music that was waiting in the wings, but is still a song that I remember.

The group’s follow-up single stalled at #80. A touring group added five more musicians playing instruments behind the singers.

The group fought with their record label (Revilot Records) and lost the right to record as the Parliaments. George simply took his assembled musicians and signed them to Westbound Records as Funkadelic in 1969. The new group included ten members creating funk-rock music.

Eventually, the five singers reformed and returned to performing as Parliament, but they also were recording music on Casablanca Records that was noticeably funk.

In 1976, the group released Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up The Funk) as the second single from their Mothership Connection album.

The single peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the R&B chart in 1976.

After that, two chart-topping funk tunes reached the top of the R&B chart amid a series of top forty R&B singles. The group only reached the top forty on the Hot 100 one more time. I’m the first to admit I don’t recall the single Flash Light at all, but it reached #16 on the Hot 100 in 1978.

In the late eighties, several of the long-term members of the groups began leaving. By 1980, Parliament and Funkadelic were no more. George kept touring and sometimes recording with many of his past associates as George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars.

George reformed Parliament in 2018 and the group recorded a new album. The single from the album, I’m Gon Make U Sick O’Me, failed to chart.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament_(band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament-Funkadelic
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament_discography

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1975 Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue

1975 Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue

Bob Dylan recorded almost exclusively for Columbia Records for most of his career. His recording contract with Columbia Records expired in 1973, and Bob signed with Asylum Records. He recorded one live album and one studio album for the new label, and toured in 1974 to promote the albums.

After the tour, he and his wife separated, and he returned to Columbia Records. During the second half of 1974 he recorded and re-recorded a new album Blood On The Tracks, which contained several songs that reflected the beginning, middle, and end of romantic relationships.

He released Tangled Up In Blue as a single from the album. The record reached #31 on the Hot 100, making it his most successful single for the period from mod-1973 to mid-1979.

Figuring out what a Dylan song is often a challenge. Bill Flanagan interviewed Bob in 1985 and asked him about the song and the album it was on. Bob reiterated that the song was not autobiographical, but was meant to reflect the past and present of a story at the same time:

“See, what I was trying to do had nothing to do with the characters or what was going on. I was trying to do something that I don’t know if I was prepared to do. I wanted to defy time, so that the story took place in the present and past at the same time. When you look at a painting, you can see any part of it or see all of it together. I wanted that song to be like a painting.”

In a 2004 memoir, he also admitted that he based the songs in Blood On The Tracks on some of Chekhov’s short stories. The album also contained another song that got a lot of airplay on non-top forty stations: Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack Of Hearts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangled_Up_in_Blue
https://www.interferenza.net/bcs/interw/85-mar.htm#:~:text=Bill%20Flanagan%20interviewed%20Bob%20Dylan%20in%20New%20York,a%20fantasy%20song.%20There%27s%20substance%20to%20the%20dream.%22
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Dylan

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1974 Gino Vannelli – People Gotta Move

1974 Gino Vannelli – People Gotta Move

Gino Vannelli was born in Quebec and played drums in a high school band. He signed with RCA Records and released a single using the name Vann Elli in 1970, but it failed to reach the US charts.

He and his brother moved to LA in 1972. They eluded security guards and hand-delivered a demo tape to Herb Alpert. After listening to the tape, Herb signed Gino to A&M Records.

Gino’s second album for A&M contained his first charting record, People Gotta Move. The single reached #22 on the Hot 100 and #17 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart.

His hit helped him become one of the earliest Caucasian artists to appear on Soul Train.

In spite of that appearance, Gino didn’t reach the US R&B chart until I Just Want To Stop peaked at #21 on the chart in 1978. That single also topped the charts in Canada and reached #4 on the US Hot 100 and AC charts.

His last visit to the US top forty came in 1981 when Living Inside Myself got to #6 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the AC chart.

Gino now lives in Oregon and works as a music teacher. He continues to tour and record new music. He has released over twenty albums; his latest album came out in 2019.

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

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1973 Gladys Knight and the Pips – Daddy Could Swear I Declare

1973 Gladys Knight and the Pips – Daddy Could Swear I Declare

Gladys Knight and the Pips began recording music in 1961 and had a handful of hit records on three other labels before signing with Motown Records in 1966.

The group had some success on the Hot 100 while at Motown and did even better on the R&B chart. Unfortunately, they were made to feel like a second-rate group thanks to the attention paid to Diana Ross and the Supremes.

The last single the group released before leaving Motown was the ironically titled Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye).

In early 1973, the group signed with Buddah Records and left Motown.

Motown had a large number of recordings by the group that had not been released before the group left the label. Motown repackaged some of those recordings into “new” albums. The label also continued releasing singles by Gladys Knight and the Pips.

The first single Motown released after the group left became The Look of Love. The single failed to reach any of the charts.

The next Motown single, Daddy Could Swear, I Declare, did much better. It reached #19 on the Hot 100 and stopped just shy of the top of the R&B chart in 1973.

Only two more Motown singles by Gladys Knight and the Pips reached the Hot 100, but they peaked at only #61 in 1973 and #51 in 1974.

The group’s first single on Buddah was Where Peaceful Waters Flow. The single peaked at only #28 on the Hot 100 but got as high as #6 on the R&B chart in 1973.

That song was quickly forgotten after the release of their second Buddah single: Midnight Train to Georgia. Woo-woo!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladys_Knight
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladys_Knight_%26_the_Pips_discography

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1972 Derek and the Dominos – Layla

1972 Derek and the Dominos – Layla

Delaney & Bonnie and Friends toured the US in 1969. Among the musicians playing on their tour were Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, and Bobby Whitlock. George Harrison and his wife Patti Boyd also participated in the tour. Patti played piano. She was pretty annoyed about George’s many affairs, and she and Eric became close friends during the tour.

Eric had fallen hard for Patti, and began writing songs about her. The most famous of those songs used Patti’s nickname: Layla.

Because of problems relating to money, many of the musicians left the tour late in the year. Eric, Jim, Carl, and Bobby began playing together in small venues in England where Eric’s name was carefully left off all publicity. Dave Mason joined the group briefly, after which they continued as a quartet.

The group began using the name Derek and the Dominos. They relocated to Miami in August and began recording their first album with producer Tom Dowd.

After he caught a live show by the Allman Brothers, Eric invited Duane Allman to join the group. Duane played on most of the recordings on the album, but declined joining the group since that might disrupt his commitments with his current band.

The group’s album got released in late 1970 to a surprising reception: nobody cared.

The album sold poorly. Their record company released Layla as a single, but they cut it down to only two minutes and forty-three seconds. The single peaked at only #51 on the Hot 100.

The group toured and even sang live on the Johnny Cash, but that was their only television appearance.

The band started to record a second album, but they disbanded without finishing the album.

Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident in October 1971 and Eric descended into a fugue of depression and drugs.

In 1972, Eric’s record company came up with a brilliant idea: they released The History of Eric Clapton. The album contained songs Eric performed on with the Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek and the Dominos. The complete version of Layla on that album immediately began to get airplay on rock stations, and the label re-released the complete seven minute version of the song as a single. That push was enough to put the record back on the charts. The expanded single reached #10 on the US Hot 100 and #7 on the UK chart in 1972.

In 1982, the seven minute version of the song was re-released in the UK and reached #4 on the UK chart.

Patti divorced George in 1977 and married Eric in 1979. Their marriage lasted about a decade.

The last version of Layla to reach the charts came in 1992. Eric Clapton appeared on MTV Unplugged and performed an acoustic version of the song. The reception led to a release of that performance as a single which reached #12 on the Hot 100 and the top ten on at least three other Billboard charts. It also topped the charts in Japan and Canada and reached the top ten in at least eight other countries.

While Classic Rock stations continue to play music from Derek and the Dominos, the songs rarely show up on oldies stations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_and_the_Dominos
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Layla

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1971 Denise LaSalle – Trapped By A Thing Called Love

1971 Denise LaSalle – Trapped By A Thing Called Love

Denise LaSalle grew up in Mississippi and moved to Chicago to live with her brother when she turned 13. She sang with blues musicians and also became influenced by Country music. Over time, she began writing songs as well.

She signed with Chess Records for a year, but they never even recorded any of her music. She married Bill Jones, and they formed the Crajon production company. She wrote and recorded Trapped By a Thing Called Love. Westbound Records released the song as a single in 1971.

The blues record peaked at #13 on the Hot 100 and topped the R&B chart. Over a million copies of the single were sold. Denise even appeared on Soul Train with her hit.

The next year, Westbound released two more singles that peaked at #48 and #55 on the Hot 100 but reached #3 and #4 on the R&B chart.

Denise had two more top forty R&B hits and one more single that reached the top ten in 1978. She released over thirty albums during her career, with her last new album coming out in 2010.

In 2011, they inducted Denise into the Blues Hall Of Fame.

Denise struggled with heart problems as she got older and died in 2018 at the age of 83.

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

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1970 Christie – Yellow River

1970 Christie – Yellow River

Jeff Christie sang, played bass, and wrote songs for several rock groups in the late sixties. He offered one of the songs he had written to The Tremeloes. That band had two 1967 hits in the US (Here Comes My Baby and Silence Is Golden) but they had two chart-topping records and eight more top ten hits in the UK.

The Tremeloes recorded Yellow River, intending to release it as a single.

The group decided they wanted to take their career towards more progressive music and chose not to release Yellow River as a single.

Alan Blakely was a member of the Tremeloes who had written several of their songs. His younger brother Mike was in a band called the Epics with guitarist Vic Elmes. Alan got the backing track available to them, and Jeff, Mike, and Vic recorded a version new of Yellow River.

Their single credited their new group as Christie. It topped the charts in the UK and at least four other countries and peaked at #23 on the US Hot 100 in 1970.

The group had a second single spend a single week at #100 on the Hot 100, and never reached the US chart again. Seven more musicians rotated in and out of the group, which disbanded in 1976.

Jeff reformed the group with new members in 1990.

The Tremeloes managed to reach #4 on the UK chart in 1971 and had one more single reach the UK top forty in 1971. Many unsuccessful singles followed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christie_(band)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_River_(song)

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