1973 Elton John – Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting

1973 Elton John – Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting 

The second single from Elton John’s Madman Across The Water surprisingly didn’t even reach the top forty on the Hot 100 in 1972. While Tiny Dancer may have found acceptance years later (thanks in part to the song’s use in the film Almost Famous), it initially stalled at #41.

Things immediately got better with Elton’s release of the album Honky Château: all but one single he released until 1976 made it into the US top ten. It was the second single from Rock of the Westies that peaked at only #14 that cut his streak short. 

The one single in the three years that that stalled at #12 on the Hot 100? The 1973 release of Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting

Many radio stations banned the song for fear that it might encourage violence, a not unreasonable worry at the time. Bernie Taupin’s lyrics were not intended to incite violence, they merely reflected his memories of fistfights in a British pub he frequented as a teenager.

Elton’s band recorded the song in Jamaica, where they had intended to record an entire album. The equipment available to them turned out to be so poor that after finishing that song, the band relocated to France.

The next single Elton released was the title song from the same album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. That single peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, kept from the #1 spot by Top Of The World by the Carpenters and then The Most Beautiful Girl In The World by Charlie Rich.

Bennie and the Jets would return Elton to the top of the chart the next year.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elton_John
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elton_John_singles_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturday_Night%27s_Alright_for_Fighting

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1972 Austin Roberts – Something’s Wrong With Me

1972 Austin Roberts – Something’s Wrong With Me

The Scooby-Doo television show began in 1969 using a theme song written by David Mook and Ben Raleigh and performed by Larry Marks. The second season, the theme song was recorded by George Austin Robertson Jr., who had begun using the name Austin Roberts. He also sang many of the chase songs on the show which he co-wrote with producer Danny Janssen.

Austin then recorded a few solo singles for Phillips Records, but none of them reached the charts.

In 1970, Austin also began working as the lead singer for the band Arkade. The Morning Of Our Lives became the band’s most successful single. It reached #16 on the Adult Contemporary chart but stalled at #60 on the Hot 100 in 1971.

When Arkade proved unable to continue hitting the charts, Austin sang lead vocals for a pair of singles for Horizon. He then signed with Chelsea Records and continued working on a solo career. He recorded a song written by Bobby Hart and Danny, Something’s Wrong With Me. His single reached #12 on the Hot 100 and #16 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1972.

He followed that with another song from the same songwriters, Keep On Singing, but it only reached #50 on the Hot 100 in 1973. Helen Reddy eventually had a hit with the song in 1974.

After four more singles, Austin moved to Private Stock Records and recorded an album. The fifth single from the album, Rocky, was a song written by Ronald Johnson. The single reached #9 on the Hot 100 in 1975.

Dickey Lee, who had hits with Patches and I Saw Linda Yesterday, covered Rocky and reached the top of the Country chart.

While Austin never reached the charts again, he co-wrote Over You with Bobby  for the film Tender Mercies, and the song received a nomination for an Academy Award. He also continued writing successful Country songs, including two songs that reached #1 on the Country chart.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austin_Roberts_(singer)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Something%27s_Wrong_with_Me

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1971 Olivia Newton John – If Not For You

1971 Olivia Newton John – If Not For You 

Bob Dylan wrote a love song for his first wife, Sara Dylan. He recorded the song If Not For You several times in 1970, including one session in New York with George Harrison on guitar, Charlie Daniels on bass, and studio musician Russ Kunkel on drums.

Bob recorded the song a few more times before he was happy enough with one of the sessions to put it on his next album. He released the song as a single in Europe, and it became a top ten record in several countries.

After working on Bob’s recording, which was not released at that time, George went back to England and recorded his own version of the song featuring a prominent slide guitar. In 1970, he included the recording on his first post-Beatles album, All Things Must Pass.

Olivia recorded a single in 1971 that did an excellent job of following George’s arrangement of the song.

Olivia’s single reached #7 in the UK. It peaked at #25 on the US Hot 100 but also spent three weeks at the top of the US Adult Contemporary chart. Her success in the US was short-lived, however, and she would spend two years fighting to get back onto the Hot 100.

Her third UK album spawned the single Let Me Be There. They released the record in September 1973, but pop stations initially ignored it. Somebody with enough sense to understand why suggested they release the single as a Country record. That was enough to get the record some airplay, and it rapidly climbed the Country charts and spread to both pop and easy listening stations. By the end of 1973, it reached #7 on the Country chart, #6 on the Hot 100, and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Controversy arose after Olivia won the 1973 Grammy award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female for her single. Many traditional Country artists resented her win, but the next year her single I Honestly Love You won Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance, Female. Olivia went on to have a half-dozen more top ten hits on the Country chart before her music took on a less Country feel.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivia_Newton-John
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivia_Newton-John_singles_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_Not_for_You

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1970 Vanity Fare – Early In The Morning

1970 Vanity Fare – Early In The Morning 

Four school friends in Kent formed a band in 1966 using the name The Avengers. The group recorded a few demos but did not release any singles.

After changing their name to The Sages, the band released a single on RCA Victor that failed to chart.

One last name change to Vanity Fare and a move to Page One Records resulted in the group’s first hit record in the UK. The Sunrays reached #20 in the UK and #51 in the US in 1965 with their recording of I Live For The Sun. Vanity Fare covered the song, and their 1968 single also reached #20 in the UK. It did not chart in the US.

The group released (I Remember) Summer Morning and Highway Of Dreams, but neither single did well.

The British songwriter, arranger, and producer Mike Leander had been working with British groups beginning in 1963. Peter and Gordon recorded one song he co-wrote in 1966, Lady Godiva.

Mike began working with Eddie Seago, and the first song the pair wrote together was Early In The Morning. Vanity Fare recorded the song in 1969 and it became their first million-selling single. The record peaked at #8 in the UK, #12 on the US Hot 100, and #4 on the US Adult Contemporary chart in early 1970.

The group added a keyboard player on their next single, and the result was a top ten single in the US, Hitchin’ A Ride.

Two more singles failed to reach the charts in the US, after which their record company finally issued (I Remember)Summer Morning in the states. The single did not do well on the Hot 100, peaking at only #98, but peaked at #22 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Occasional singles and countless lineup changes followed, but the group never again had a chart hit in the US or the UK.

A current band still appears as the Vanity Fare, even though none of the original members are involved.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanity_Fare
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_in_the_Morning_(Vanity_Fare_song)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitchin%27_a_Ride_(Vanity_Fare_song)

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1969 Sammy Davis, Jr. – I’ve Gotta Be Me

1969 Sammy Davis, Jr. – I’ve Gotta Be Me 

The Will Mastin Trio was a dance act that featured Will Mastin and his son Sammy Davis Sr. Sammy Davis Jr. became a part of the act when he was just a child. After serving in the army in World War II, Junior rejoined the act. He also began singing as well, performing in clubs in the Portland, Oregon area. He recorded singles for Columbia Records starting in 1949.

Sammy didn’t reach the charts until he moved to Decca Records. He recorded a version of the song Hey There from the play Pajama Game. His single reached #16 on the Hot 100 in 1954 (Rosemary Clooney’s version of the song hit #1 on the Hot 100).

Several more hits followed in 1954 and 1955, after which the charts ignored him for nearly a decade. He joined the Rat Pack in the late fifties and made a career out of appearing in films and plays.

Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme starred in the Broadway play Golden Rainbow in 1968 and 1969. Steve’s big number in the play was I’ve Got To Be Me. He released a single that failed to reach the Hot 100 but still reached #6 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1967.

Before the play closed on Broadway, Sammy recorded his own version after changing the lyrics ever so slightly: I’ve Gotta Be Me. The single came out in late 1968 and reached #11 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart in early 1969.

Four years later, Sammy had the biggest hit of his career with his cover of a song from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate FactoryThe Candy Man topped both the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary charts in 1972. He didn’t reach the Hot 100 again for four years, and then only reached #92. He never reached the Hot 100 again, although he had no trouble finding work headlining in Las Vegas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sammy_Davis_Jr.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sammy_Davis_Jr._discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27ve_Gotta_Be_Me

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1968 Tiny Tim – Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips

1968 Tiny Tim – Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips 

Herbert Butros Khaury grew up in New York City and used the New York Public Library to study music history and records from the early 1900s. He also learned to play the guitar, the violin, and the mandolin. His focus became the ukulele, an instrument he became associated with for his entire professional career as a musician.

In the early fifties, he discovered he could sing with a high-pitched falsetto, and he began singing in clubs using myriad different names. When his singing routinely followed a midget act, his manager had him using the ironic nickname “Tiny Tim,” a name that stuck.

Tim appeared in the independent film You Are What You Eat, singing Cher’s part in a duet of I Got You Babe. On the strength of that appearance, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In cast him in their first ongoing episode in 1968. The combination of Tim’s singing and Dick Martin’s reactions made Tim an instant favorite with viewers.

Tim later sang his distinctive updating of the 1929 song, Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips. The novelty hit reached #17 on the Hot 100 and allowed Tim to spend the rest of his life performing his music.

Tim appeared on Laugh-In multiple times and that led to appearances on The Tonight Show. The wedding of Tim and 17 year-old Miss Vicki took place on the show in December 1969. The approximately 45 million viewers made up the highest rated talk show audience in history; over 85% of the people watching television during that time slot tuned in to the show.

Tim recorded an astonishing number of albums, but only reached the Hot 100 twice more with two singles that stalled at #95 and #85 in late 1968 and early 1969.

Many have praised Tim for his knowledge of music and his kindness and gentleness towards others. He married twice more, but always lived apart from his wives.

Tim died from a heart attack at age 64 in 1996.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiny_Tim_%28musician%29
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiptoe_Through_the_Tulips
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0864097/bio

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1967 Tommy James and the Shondells – Getting Together

1967 Tommy James and the Shondells – Getting Together 

Tommy Jackson was born in Ohio and grew up in Michigan. He joined his first band, the Echoes, in 1959. The band became Tom and the Tornadoes, and they issued their first single in 1962. Long Pony Tail failed to chart.

The group changed their name to the Shondells in 1964. Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich wrote Hanky Panky and released it as the b-side of one of the singles by their group (the Raindrops). The Shondells recorded the song and released it on Snap Records. While the song did well in the Midwest, the record company did not have national distribution, and the band soon fell apart.

Unbeknownst to Tommy, a dance promoter in Pittsburgh began using his forgotten record at dance parties and local radio stations picked it up as well. Bootleggers sold over 80,000 illegal copies of the single in the Pittsburgh area.

Tommy joined the Koachmen and toured the Midwest, but the group disbanded in early 1966. “Mad Mike” Metro, a disk jockey from Pittsburgh, called Tommy and invited him to come to perform his song live.

Tommy tried to recruit the rest of the Shondells, but none of them were available. He recruited four members of the Raconteurs at the Thunderbird Lounge to be the new Shondells and began performing at dances and on television.

He went to New York City and sold the master tapes of Hanky Panky to Roulette Records. With their help, the record was soon #1 on the Hot 100. He also changed his name to Tommy James.

Two more records by the group entered the top forty by the end of the year. The group’s first two releases in 1967, I Think We’re Alone Now and Mirage, reached the top ten on the Hot 100.

Ritchie Cordell had written and produced I Think We’re Alone Now, and he wrote and co-produced their fourth single in 1966 as well.

The record reached #18 on the Hot 100. The group’s next two singles failed to reach the top forty but bigger success was waiting for the group in 1968 and 1969.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_James_and_the_Shondells
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_James
https://www.tommyjames.com/tommy-james-biography.php
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettin%27_Together_(song)

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1966 Rolling Stones/Chris Farlowe – Out Of Time

1966 Chris Farlowe – Out Of Time 

The Rolling Stones released their fourth studio album in the UK in 1966. Albums in the US tended to have only five songs on each side while UK albums had 6 or 7, and as a result, it was their sixth album released in the US.

Out Of Time was one of the songs on the UK version that was left off the US version of Aftermath. What they recorded the song in March 1966, it ran five minutes and fifteen seconds. The long run time may partially explain why they omitted the song from their US album. 

Chris Farlowe was born in London and played in a skiffle group and then a blues quartet in the late fifties. He became the frontman for The Thunderbirds and went solo in 1962. After a single co-written by Lee Hazlewood failed to chart in 1965, Chris began working with Mick Jagger. His cover version of a Stones’ song from Aftermath (Think) reached #37 in the UK, after which Mick chose to help Chris cover Out Of Time.  

In April 1966, Mick recorded a demo of the song with new musical backing (including himself on backup vocals, Jimmy Page on guitar, and past-Beatles fill-in drummer Andy White). That 1966 recording did not get released by the Stones until much later.

Chris recorded his single by simply replacing Mick’s lead vocals with his own, and the result was a number one record in the UK. Sadly, it did not reach the US Hot 100 at all. It did, however, reach #30 on WMCA in New York City the first week of September.

In 1967, the Rolling Stones released Flowers, a second compilation album in the US that included songs from the UK albums Aftermath and Between The Buttons that had not released in the US. The album included a remixed version of Out Of Touch from Aftermath that they also cut down to only three minutes and forty-one seconds. 

The version of Out Of Time that Mick recorded as a demo eventually got released in 1975 on the album Metamorphosis. That recording became a single that peaked at only #45 in the UK and #81 in the US. Perhaps that release is the reason the Chris Farlowe version sounds so familiar! 

A reissue of Chris’ hit version followed in 1975 and did slightly better in the UK than the Stone’s version (#44) but again failed to chart in the US.

Chris did not have any additional big hits after topping the UK chart. He has continued recording as a solo act, as a brief member of Atomic Rooster, and as a member of several other groups. The Stones, however, don’t appear to be in any hurry to stop recording or performing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Farlowe
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_of_Time_(Rolling_Stones_song)

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1966 David Houston – Almost Persuaded

1966 David Houston – Almost Persuaded 

David Houston grew up in Louisiana and was a direct descendent of both Sam Houston and Robert E. Lee. He began recording for RCA Victor in 1956. A year later, he moved over to a record company based in Atlanta: National Recording Corporation.

When no hits were forthcoming, he eventually moved to Epic Records. Once there, he finally reached the charts with Mountain Of Love, which reached #2 on the Country chart in 1963. 

Several singles that peaked in the teens followed. In 1966, he released a single written by Billy Sherrill and Glenn Sutton, Almost Persuaded. The record did more than give David his first number one hit on the Country chart: it also reached #24 on the Hot 100.

The single spent nine weeks at #1 on the Country chart, a record that no other artist matched for over 46 years. Taylor Swift’s single We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together finally joined Almost Persuaded in the record books in 2012.

David had five more chart-topping singles, eleven top ten singles, and quite a few top forty singles on the US Country chart by the end of the seventies. He only reached the Hot 100 twice more, but those records stalled at #75 and #98 despite topping the Country chart. 

A brain aneurysm caused David’s death in 1993. He was almost 58 years old.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Houston_(singer)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almost_Persuaded_(song)

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1965 Various Artists – Cast Your Fate To The Wind

1965 Sounds Orchestral – Cast Your Fate To The Wind

While you may not recognize the name Vince Guaraldi, you probably are familiar with his music. Vince was a jazz piano player who began recording music with various groups in 1951.

He began a solo career in 1959 and recorded the song Samba de Orpheus with his Vince Guaraldi Trio in 1962. The record did not do well until disk jockeys in the US turned the record over and played the instrumental on the b-side, Cast Your Fate To The Wind.

The single peaked at #22 on the Hot 100 and #9 on the Adult Contemporary chart in early 1963. The recording won the 1963 Grammy award for Best Original Jazz Composition. Unfortunately, that didn’t lead to any more charting singles.

While that may have qualified the single as a one-hit wonder, the story actually had a happier ending. Producer Lee Mendelson was working on the television show A Boy Named Charlie Brown and the music impressed him enough to hire Vince to do the music for the show. That began a long association with the Peanuts shows.

John Schroeder was a British songwriter who worked as a composer, arranger, and producer. Johnny Pearson was a piano player and composer who led the Top of the Pops orchestra for a dozen years. John produced Johnny’s first solo album on Oriole Records, after which the pair moved to Pye Records and recruited a collection of musicians and formed The Sounds Orchestral. They began recording pop and easy listening music in 1964.

A cover version of Cast Your Fate To The Wind became the first hit for Sounds Orchestral in 1965. Their single peaked at #10 on the Hot 100, #5 on the UK chart, and reached the top of the US Adult Contemporary chart in 1965.

Sounds Orchestral released Canadian Sunset as their next single, but it stalled at #76 in the US and #43 in the UK. The group continued releasing successful albums through 1975 but never reached the Hot 100 again.

All of that may qualify Cast Your Fate To The Wind as a one-hit wonder for two different artists in two different years!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vince_Guaraldi
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sounds_Orchestral
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cast_Your_Fate_to_the_Wind

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