Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1976 Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town

1976 Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town

Bass guitarist and vocalist Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey met in school in Dublin in the early sixties. The two were in a series of bands, sometimes together and sometimes not. In 1969, they joined up with Eric Bell on guitar and Eric Wrixon on keyboards, and Thin Lizzy was born. The name came from a character in a children’s comic strip. The band was unusual because it included members from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Phil wrote most of the group’s songs when they recorded their first album and also sang lead vocals. Their first single did not chart. Despite disappointing sales, Decca paid to have the group record a second album. Not much came from that album, either.

The band began a tour with Slade and Suzi Quatro in late 1972, and their record label released a single to support the tour. The band had recorded a popular, traditional Irish song, Whiskey in the Jar, but had not put it on either of their albums. Decca chose to release that recording as their single even though the band was not on board with the decision. It turned out to be an excellent move since the record topped the Irish charts, reached the top ten in Germany, and reached #5 in the UK.

Two more singles reached the charts in Ireland but failed to chart anywhere else.

The group released a string of unsuccessful records and went through several lineup changes over the next four years. In 1976 the group recorded the single The Boys Are Back In Town and finally had a record that reached the US chart. The record topped the Irish chart, reached #8 in the UK and Canada, and peaked at #12 on the US Hot 100. That success allowed the band to tour the US with Aerosmith, Rush, and REO Speedwagon, and they sounded even better live than they did on the recording. They had planned another tour of the US, but it had to be canceled when Phil developed hepatitis.

The band had ten more top forty singles in the UK over the next five years, but seldom reached the US Hot 100 and never reached the US top forty again.

Thin Lizzy disbanded in 1983. Phil pursued a successful solo career but died in 1986 at age 36 as a result of the side effects of his drug dependencies.

The group reformed in 1996 and has continued to tour with a constantly changing roster but has never again recorded any new material.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1975 David Geddes – Blind Man In The Bleachers

1975 David Geddes – Blind Man In The Bleachers

David Idema grew up in Michigan and joined the Grand Rapids band The Fredric in the late sixties as their drummer and vocalist. The band released an album on Forte Records in 1968 but could not generate any interest outside of Michigan. The group signed to Capitol Records and changed their name to The Rock Garden in 1970. The group seems to have disbanded without recording any additional music.

David attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and did some work on a solo career. He released the single House on Holly Road on Buddah Records in 1972, but once again found no traction outside of his home state. Discouraged, David abandoned his musical career and began work on a law degree at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Paul Vance was a songwriter and producer who co-wrote over 300 songs Lee Pockriss during his career. Some of the hits they wrote included Catch A Falling Star, Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, and What Will Mary Say. Paul had heard David’s singing and thought he would be perfect for a song he and Lee had written.

Paul produced David’s recording of the teenage tragedy song Run, Joey, Run for Big Tree Records. Perhaps hoping for better luck, David changed his name to David Geddes for the record, using the name of a street in Ann Arbor. The single was a surprise hit, reaching #5 on the Hot 100 in 1975. The usual suspects also performed the song on the television show Glee on May 4, 2010, and poked fun at that performance several times in later episodes.

David’s next single came out a few months later from an album that was also produced by Paul. Blind Man In The Bleachers is another song about a tragedy, but it was about the death of a father rather than a teenager. In its own way, it had a happy ending. Well, arguably happy. The single peaked at #18 on the Hot 100 in late 1975.

Country artist Kenny Starr had the biggest hit of his career when he covered Blind Man In The Bleachers and reached #2 on the US Country chart in early 1976. His version even crossed over to the pop chart, although it peaked at only #58.

Paul produced at least three more singles for David, but none of them charted and David faded into obscurity.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1974 Bobby Womack – Lookin’ For A Love

1974 Bobby Womack – Lookin’ For A Love

Bobby Womack and his four brothers grew up in the slums of Cleveland. Their mother played the organ in church and their father was a part-time minister who also played the guitar. It’s no surprise that the five boys grew up to sing together in the church choir. They toured in the Midwest as a gospel group, The Womack Brothers, with Mom and Dad playing instrumental support. The family even recorded a single in 1954, Buffalo Bill by Curtis Womack and the Womack Brothers.

Sam Cooke was the lead singer of The Soul Stirrers, and he helped the brothers get serious about touring; they eventually toured nationally with The Staple Singers. Sam formed SAR Records and signed the brothers in 1961. They released a few unsuccessful gospel songs, after which Sam got them to change their name to the Valentinos and had them record secular music.

The brothers had recorded the gospel song Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray. Sam arranged and produced their first non-gospel single, Lookin’ For  A Love, which was clearly based on the gospel song they had previously recorded. The single stalled at #72 on the Hot 100 in 1962, but reached #8 on the R&B chart and sold over two million copies. The record made it possible for the brothers to open for James Brown on a national tour. In early 1972, the song became the first charting single for the J. Geils Band.

Bobby co-wrote the group’s 1964 singleIt’s All Over Now. Their record had just started to reach the charts when a British group recorded the song: The Rolling Stones. Bobby was upset at first that his record had been covered, but the significant royalty checks that started coming in from the Stones were a welcome source of income.

Sam was shot and killed in a hotel in December 1964, resulting in the closing of his record label and the dissolution of the Valentinos. In March 1965, one day after his 21st birthday, Bobby married Sam’s widow. This created a scandal that made it nearly impossible for Bobby to pursue a solo career for a few years, so he worked as a session musician and played guitar as part of Ray Charles’ touring band.

Bobby returned to recording in 1968 (with his brothers provided back-up vocals) and had a hit with a cover of California Dreaming. His single reached #20 on the R&B chart and just missed the top forty on the Hot 100. He recorded a series of records that just reached the bottom of the R&B top forty chart. He finally returned to the Hot 100 when he co-wrote and recorded That’s The Way I Feel About Cha in 1972. The single reached #27 on the Hot 100 and peaked at #2 on the R&B chart.

Woman’s Gotta Have It became his first #1 record on the R&B chart later that year, and two more records barely got into the Hot 100 top forty and the R&B top ten in 1972 and 1973.

Bobby re-recorded I’m Lookin’ For A Love as a solo record in 1974, and that became his most successful single. The record not only topped the R&B chart, but it also reached #10 on the Hot 100.

While Bobby never did well again on the pop charts, over the next eleven years, he had a half-dozen top ten hits on the R&B chart and nearly a dozen minor hits.

They inducted Bobby into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2009. He died at age 70 in 2014.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1973 Loudon Wainwright III – Dead Skunk

1973 Loudon Wainwright III – Dead Skunk

Loudon Wainwright III was born in North Carolina and grew up in Westchester County, just north of New York City. His father played piano and exposed Loudon and his siblings to unusual recordings, such as comedian Stan Freberg. His father was also a fan of Tom Lehrer, who was responsible for some very satiric songs on the US television show That Was The Week That Was.

Loudon learned to play guitar while in school, but when he moved to San Francisco, he sold his guitar to pay for yoga lessons. After moving back to the East Coast in the late sixties, he bought a guitar and began writing his own songs. He began playing in clubs in Boston and New York City and signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records. His first album came out in 1970 and featured the kind of comedic and/or satiric lyrics that would spring up during most of his career.

His one and only hit record came in 1972 when he recorded Dead Skunk. The single took its own sweet time climbing up the charts and peaked at #16 on the Hot 100 in the Spring of 1973.

Loudon began a second career In 1974. He appeared in three episodes of the M*A*S*H television show as Captain Calvin Spalding, the singing surgeon. He has since appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, often acting as a singer of some sort.

Probably sometime in the early eighties, Loudon served as David Letterman’s first musical sidekick. There are few details on how long that relationship lasted, or even on which incarnation of David’s show was involved. David and Loudon also both showed up on the same show as guests of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show on July 13, 1984.

Loudon’s first wife was Kate McGarrigle, a folk singer/songwriter. They had two kids who also became singer/songwriters, and Loudon has another daughter who is also a singer.

Loudon has recorded at least twenty albums and four live albums. He recorded his most recent album in 2017 and is hard at work on finishing another one.

His most recent commentary on modern times is the aptly named song, Toilet Roll Blues.

He maintains a website at http://www.lw3.com/


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1973 Joe Walsh – Rocky Mountain Way

1973 Joe Walsh – Rocky Mountain Way

Joe and three other Kent State students formed The Measles in 1965. The group recorded some songs for Super K Productions when Kamenetz and Katz were working for Buddah. The label put their recording of When I Think Of You and one other song on the first Ohio Express album without crediting the band. A third song they recorded was an instrumental that was renamed and put on the B-side of the single Beg, Borrow, and Steal. The band never got credit for the recordings and went through several personnel changes by the end of 1967.

By mid-1968, the group had become a trio and began performing as the James Gang. Their first album, Yer Blues, was released in 1969. The highlight of the album was a cover of Buffalo Springfield’s Bluebird. For some reason, Joe sold his Les Paul Guitar to Jimmy Page that year. Their 1970 album included the single Funk #49, which took the group up to #59 on the Hot 100.

Joe left The James Gang at the end of 1971 and moved to Colorado and formed the band Barnstorm with Joe Vitale on drums and keyboards and Kenny Passarelli on bass. Several studio musicians helped complete the group’s sound for their first album. Not much came from the album, and the record label released the group’s second album as a solo album for Joe.   The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get came out in 1973 and contained Joe’s first top forty single: Rocky Mountain Way featured Joe’s lead vocals and peaked at #23 on the Hot 100. The band disbanded in 1974.

Joe joined the Eagles in 1975. Rumor has it the band had a few hits.

Joe continued to put out solo albums irregularly. He had his biggest solo hit when Life’s Been Good peaked at #12 on the Hot 100 in 1978.

His solo records began charting on the US Mainstream Rock chart in 1981, although his solo records never reached the top forty on the Hot 100 again. He topped the US Mainstream Rock chart once, had four more top ten records, and also had over a half-dozen top forty singles on the chart.

The Eagles took a long vacation beginning in 1980 and reunited and began touring again in 1994. Joe continues to participate as a member of the group and has also played on a lot of records by a lot of artists.

Joe appeared as a cast member on a strange attempt by Drew Carey to create an original kind of improvisation show, but the idea didn’t go over well and the television show quickly vanished.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1972 Honey Cone – One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show

1972 Honey Cone – One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show

Edna Wright’s father was a pastor in Los Angeles. Edna and her sister Darlene sang in the choir at the church. Darlene became the lead singer of the Blossoms in 1958 and began using the stage name, Darlene Love. That group’s members sang on an endless string of records as lead singers and/or backup singers.

From 1962 to 1964, Edna and Carolyn Willis also joined the Blossoms, working with Phil Spector. In 1964, Edna sang lead on the single Yes Sir, That’s My Baby, which was credited to Hale & the Hushabyes. The backup vocalists on her record included The Blossoms, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher, and Jackie DeShannon, but somehow the record wasn’t a hit.

Edna and Carolyn left the Blossoms and sang background vocals on several more hit singles before joining up with Shelley Clark on a broadcast of the Andy Williams Show in 1969. Eddie Holland, Brian Holland, and Lamont Dozier had just left Motown and formed HDH Records. Eddie saw the performance and offered to sign Edna to a recording contract, but she insisted she wanted to sing in a group. As a result, the label ended up signing the three young women as a trio. Eddie named the trio Honey Cone after an ice cream flavor.

The Honey Cone had several top thirty hits on the R&B chart their first two years but did not break into the Hot 100 in a big way until their release of Want Ads in 1971. The single topped both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart and sold over a million copies.

Their next single did nearly as well. Stick Up again sold a million copies and topped the R&B chart but peaked at #11 on the Hot 100. The single One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show only reached #15 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the R&B chart in early 1972, after which their records slowly became less and less successful. The group finally disbanded in 1973. Their record label put together a new Honey Cone and released a single in 1976, but it failed to chart.

Edna married Greg Perry, who had produced and co-written many of the group’s hits. She has recently toured with two new backup singers as Edna Wright and The Honey Cone.

Carolyn has made a living recording jingles. She also sang on the single Get Closer with Seals and Croft and has sung on records and toured singing background vocals for Neil Diamond, Boz Scaggs, and Carly Simon.

In 1985, Shelley married bass-player Verdine White, a member of Earth, Wind, And Fire. She represents celebrities through the W&W Management Company that she formed.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1971 Cymarron – Rings

1971 Cymarron – Rings

The early seventies had a profusion of different kinds of music getting airplay. One genre that had a resurgence was soft rock. A perfect example of that was the song Rings by Cymarron.

Rick Yancey got a job as a studio musician at American Recording Studios in Memphis. Sherrill Parks also worked there, and the two decided to start working together. Sherrill brought Richard Mainegra into the group. They chose the name Cymarron for the group, using a strange spelling that they derived from the 1967 television show Cimarron Strip.

Alex Harvey wrote the song Reuben James, which had been a hit for Kenny Rogers and the First Edition in 1969. Eddie Reeves had written several songs that Ray Charles recorded beginning in 1970. In 1971, Alex and Eddie worked together and wrote the song Rings. Cymarron recorded and released the single, which reached #17 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) chart in 1971.

The song was recorded by several other artists. In 1974, Lobo’s version of the song peaked at #43 on the Hot 100 but managed to reach the top ten on the AC chart. The most unusual release of the song came from Twiggy in 1977. I had no idea the former model could even sing, but between 1971 and 2011, she released nine albums and had at least one top twenty single in the UK. While she never graced the US charts, her version of Rings reached #35 in the UK.

Cymmaron released a second single that only reached #96 in 1971, after which the group an album and a few more singles without much success.

Jimmy Griffin had been a founding member of Bread and written soft rock songs other artists recorded. In 1988, Rick and Richard joined up with Jimmy and the trio formed the Country group, The Remingtons. The group had a top ten Country hit with A Long Time Ago in 1991. They followed that with a few less successful singles. That group fell apart and  Jimmy and Rick joined with Ronnie Guilbeau to form the band GYG in 2001.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1971 Cat Stevens – Wild World

1971 Cat Stevens – Wild World

Steven Demetre Georgiou was born in London in the late forties and attended a Catholic primary school. He played around with his family piano, but after the Beatles became popular, he talked his father into buying him a guitar. He began work on an art degree, but changed his mind and began performing music using the stage name Steve Adams.

A girlfriend told him he had eyes like a cat, so he began using the name Cat Stevens for solo performances in pubs and clubs in the UK.

He signed a publishing deal and began creating demos for songs he wrote himself, including The First Cut Is The Deepest. While he did not have a hit with the song himself, Rod Stewart turned it into a #1 single in the UK and Sheryl Crow later reached the top twenty with her single on the US Hot 100.

Cat reached #2 in the UK with his second singleMatthew And Son. The song bubbled under the Hot 100 in the US, but peaked at #115. The record must have done better in the New York area since I remember hearing the record on the radio in 1967.

In the late sixties, Cat survived a bout with Tuberculosis. He spent months in hospitals and nearly a year recovering. He concentrated on yoga and meditation, became a vegetarian, and began studying other religions. His musical career stalled for a few years during that period. While he was recuperating, he wrote dozens of songs he later recorded.

Cat began dating Patti D’Arbanville, an American actress and model. He recorded his first new album in three years in 1970. The first single from the album was the song Lady D’Arbanville, which was written about Patti. The single reached the top ten in the UK without getting anywhere near the US charts.

Six months later he completed another album, Tea For The Tillerman, which earned gold records in both the UK and the US and became his breakthrough album. The songs marked a return to his early folk roots, with lyrics focused on everyday life. His breakup with Patti resulted in the song Wild World. That single reached #11 on the Hot 100, even though it did not chart in the UK.

Cat dated Carly Simon for about seven months in 1971 to 1972. Carly was inspired to write the song Anticipation about their relationship.

His first single from his next album was Moonshadow, which only reached #30 on the Hot 100. That poor showing was offset by reaching the top ten on the Adult Contemporary chart in the US and #22 in the UK. He followed that up with the top ten single Peace Train. He has used much of the money he has made from royalties from that and other songs to fund schools and promote child welfare.

After a near-drowning off the coast of California in 1976, Cat began a more serious search for religion. He converted to Islam and adopted the name Yusef Islam. His new religion led him into trouble in 1989 when he publicly called for the death of Salman Rushdie multiple times because many of his new faith considered Salman’s writings to be blasphemous. Cat later walked-back his calls for violence against the writer and either denied making the statements or claimed that his comments were misunderstood or taken out of context.

When Cat attempted to visit the US in 2004, he was sent back to London because his name allegedly appeared on the No Fly List. Cat insisted that the US officials had him confused with somebody with a similar name. He easily gained entry into the US in 2006, lending credence to Cat’s claims that he was denied entry to the US as a result of mistaken identity. In 2009 Cat wrote and recorded the song Boots And Sand about the incident and also created a video for the song. He had some help with the single: Paul McCartney and Dolly Parton contributed backup vocals to his recording.

Cat was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2014. He continues to record music and sing in public and has scheduled the release of a new album, Tea for the Tillerman 2, on the 50th anniversary of his prior Tillerman album in September 2020.


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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1970 Bobbi Martin – For The Love Of Him

1970 Bobbi Martin – For The Love Of Him

Barbara Ann Martin grew up in Minnesota. When she was old enough, she moved to Baltimore, began singing in local nightclubs, and began using the name Bobbi Martin.

Bobbie began recording singles in 1960 and within a year had recorded for three different labels. Her primary label became Coral Records through the mid-sixties. Her first charting record came in 1965. I didn’t recognize the title of the single, but recognized it as soon as it began playing on YouTube. Don’t Forget I Still Love You sounded a lot like something Brenda Lee might have recorded and perhaps that helped it reach #19 on the Hot 100. The single nearly topped the Adult Contemporary (AC) Chart, where it peaked at #2.

She had four more top forty singles on the AC chart that year, but none of them came close to the top forty on the Hot 100. After that streak, Bobbi went five years without charting anywhere, except for one single that peaked at #64 on the Country chart.

Bobbi signed up with United Artists Records in 1968. Her first album on the label was a collection of covers of hit country records. Her first single from the album was her version of Harper Valley PTA, a song written by Tom T. Hall. Jeannie C. Riley released the hit version of the song, and Bobbi’s single only bubbled under the Hot 100.

Bobbi recorded another album of country tunes the next year, although she and her producer (Henry Jerome) wrote the title track for the album, For The Love Of Him. The first single from the album, Your Cheating Heart, again failed to chart. The second single from the album was her cover version of Patsy Cline’s I Fall To Pieces. Perhaps as a way to push some money to the singer and her producer, they put For The Love Of Him on the B-side of the record. Instead of the A-side reaching the Country chart, it must have been a surprise to everybody involved when the top forty stations and AC stations turned the record over and played the B-side. Her single reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the AC chart in 1970!

Bobbi had three more singles reach the top forty on the AC chart, but she never got onto the Hot 100 again. And that #64 record from 1966 became the only time she charted on the Country chart.

Several more singles followed on Buddah Records and MGM Records, and her last release came in 1975 on Green Menu Records.

Cancer took Bobbi from us in 2000.


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