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Encore Performances: July 19, 1975: I’m on fire.

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From the old blog, August 2009.

I barely remember listening to this one, but I wrote some stuff down so I’ll blog it anyway.
The 40 hottest hits in America for the week ending July 19, 1975, with my favourites in bold:

No. 40: Barry Manilow, “Could It Be Magic.” Not a great way to start, my friend. Not a great way a-tall.

No. 39: Joe Simon, “Get Down, Get Down.” Not three years after recording the stone classic “Drowning In The Sea of Love,” Senor Simon is reduced to copying Carl Douglas (yes, Carl Douglas) with a mention of “kung fu funk.”
Apparently this hit big; I hope Simon at least got a new set of whitewalls for his Lincoln Continental out of it.

No. 38, debut: Freddy Fender, “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights.” I know Fender’s backstory, and it’s great that he had a couple of hits, but I just can’t get to his voice.
There’s a great Doug Sahm version of this song (recorded before Fender’s big comeback) that kinda stomps this; too bad Sahm couldn’t score big with it.

No. 37, debut: Ambrosia, “Holdin’ On To Yesterday.” Casey said the band chose their name because the gods ate ambrosia, and the band wanted to create “a sound that is immortal.”
Yeah, that worked out.

No. 36: Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion.” Poor rabbit. Apparently this was as high as the song ever got.

No. 35, debut: “Saturday Night Special,” Lynyrd Skynyrd. OK, I know Skynyrd could be all ham-handed with the Stars’n’Bars and the long twin-guitar solos and all that “Free Bird” cliche nonsense.
But this is a good, biting, angry rock’n’roll song with a big chorus.

No. 34: “The latest hit for young Michael Jackson” — “Just A Little Bit of You.”
Is this kind of a forgotten song? I couldn’t remember having heard it, or even heard of it, even during the recent MJ frenzy.
It’s a perfectly solid, if not remarkable, piece of mid-’70s pop-soul, upholstered like a Cordoba with a thick carpet of strings.

No. 33: “Fallin’ in Love,” Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds. I was just raving a week or two ago about these guys’ remarkable track record — two hits, two quintessentially ’70s blockbusters.
This one would hit Number One the week of Aug. 23.

No. 32: “At Seventeen,” Janis Ian. This one’s kinda funny because a few weeks before, Casey had done a show about “disappearing acts” — performers who had one big hit and then disappeared from the charts.
Apparently Janis Ian had been part of that countdown.
And just a couple weeks later, she popped up again.
Pop music is a funny business.

No. 31: Ringo Starr, “Goodnight Vienna.” I enjoyed the sort of halfhearted croak with which Ringo ends the nonsensical line, “It’s all down to Goodnight Vienna.”
(Is that supposed to mean something? Anybody? Bueller?)

Casey makes an interesting admission that the record just hadn’t taken off like he thought it had — apparently it had been mired in the 30s for a week or two.
I’ve heard Casey handicap records’ chances before, but I’d never heard him admit he was wrong.

No. 30: “Fight the Power,” Isley Brothers. The week’s No. 1 soul song.
Sorry — as I’ve said, those of us who came of age circa 1988-89 associate this with Public Enemy.
And there’s no shame in that.
Y’know, I haven’t heard any PE in too long. I oughta look those guys up on YouTube and see what I find.
But not before I finish this countdown…

No. 29: Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “Hey You.”
Casey reads an interview snippet in which the band admits that this song is a composite of their prior hits.
Nice of them to come out and say it.

No. 28: “Disco Queen,” Hot Chocolate. I don’t remember anything about this one except that I wondered whether it was the first Top 40 hit with the word “Disco” in the title.
Probably not.

No. 27: Jessi Colter, “I’m Not Lisa.” Me either.

No. 26: Major Harris, “Love Won’t Let Me Wait.”

No. 25: Commodores, “Slippery When Wet.” Casey muses on the phenomenon of funk acts hitting first with an instrumental, then coming back with a vocal number.
This one’s kind of a blueprint for “Play That Funky Music (White Boy),” as I recall.

No. 24: “Morning Beautiful,” Tony Orlando and Dawn, whom — Casey tells us — were breaking all kinds of attendance records in Vegas.
Wonder how many they’d draw if you booked them into the same room next week.
(They’d probably do better than I’d like to think.)

No. 23: A former No. 2 hit, Linda Ronstadt with “When Will I Be Loved?”
I used to like this song, back when I’d only heard it a few times … now I find it kinda wooden and square, like most everything La Ronstadt ever did.
Y’know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the Everlys’ original. I oughta go get all rootsy on YouTube and look that up.
But not before I finish this countdown.

No. 22: Charlie Rich, “Every Time You Touch Me I Get High.” Not the Silver Fox’s crowning moment, I don’t think.

Casey makes the week’s obligatory Beatles reference, teasing an upcoming record by an artist who didn’t succeed until after he left the Beatles’ camp.

No. 21: Michael Murphey, “Wildfire.” Someday I could do a blog entry about songs whose choruses consisted entirely of their titles.
I’m sure this isn’t the best one.
I hope so, anyway.

No. 20, the highest-charting debut of the week: James Taylor, “How Sweet It Is.” Somehow managed to stall at No. 5 despite one heck of a debut.

No. 19: Glen Campbell, “Rhinestone Cowboy,” a future No. 1 on both pop and country charts. I used to sing this around the house as a little boy. I don’t much like it now, but not b/c of that.

No. 18: Dwight Twilley Band, “I’m On Fire.” One-hit boogie-rock that reminded me, unaccountably, of what the Georgia Satellites did about a decade later.

No. 17: Mike Post, “Rockford Files Theme.” Been way too long since I bolded anything. This is up there with “Welcome Back” among my favorite TV themes.
In a breach of his usual DJ etiquette, Casey talks over the beginning of this one — the whining synthesizer is well into its routine by the time he shuts up.
C’mon, Case. Get it together out there.

No. 16: War, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” I love a bunch of other War songs, but I don’t much care for this one, I think because of its goofiness. It sounds like it could be a ska song, which is the kiss of pure death in my book.

No. 15: Elton John, “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.” You know, I like a lot of Elton John singles but I’ve never bought an Elton John album, not even his greatest hits.
Wonder why that is.

No. 14: Ray Stevens, “Misty.”

No. 13: Bazuka, “Dynomite.” I had forgotten how annoying the J.J. Evans character was on “Good Times.”
Interesting to read the Wiki page for “Good Times” and read about the disgust the older actors had for the character, whom they saw as a caricature and a cliche who could be trotted out in lieu of actual thoughtful writing.

No. 12: Gladys Knight and the Pips, “The Way We Were.” Usually I encounter the Pips down at No. 32 someplace. Nice to see them getting a little better action.

No. 11: Melissa Manchester, “Midnight Blue.” Not the same dreadful song later trotted out by my upstate homeslice Lou Gramm.

No. 10: Gwen McCrae, “Rockin’ Chair.” Stylish, sexy and soulful. I’ve been listening to this, again and again, since about No. 32.

No. 9: Bee Gees, “Jive Talkin’.” You know it. You know how good it is.

No. 8: “Love Will Keep Us Together,” Captain and Tennille. Their first and only Top 40 hit as of this countdown, and a former No. 1. Also an OK song, by and large.

No. 7: Frankie Valli with the passably funky “Swearin’ to God,” which is presumably a big deal when you’re a Cat’lic kid from New Jersey. Makes me think of crosses on necklaces and Saint Christopher medals and sweat and earnestness.

No. 6: Pilot, “Magic.” I’ve expressed my love for this one before.
I’m imagining these Scots riding in a limo through L.A., marveling at the eternal sunshine and their sudden success.

No. 5: Olivia Newton-John, “Please Mister Please.” Yuck.

No. 4: Eagles, “One Of These Nights.” I will admit that the very beginning of this is all atmospheric and eerie. Goes downhill fast, though.
I assume they liked this one at WPCR in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

No. 3: 10cc, “I’m Not In Love.” Whaddya know — I’ve finally learned the proper pronunciation of Lol Creme’s first name.
(It sounds like “Lowell.”)

No. 2: “The Hustle,” Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony. There should actually be an orchestra called the Soul City Symphony. Just think of all the session calls they’d get.

No. 1: From the Number One album in the country (“Venus and Mars”), “Listen to What The Man Said” by Wings.

Boy, that one didn’t seem like it was worth the effort, did it?

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