GOOD OLD ROCK ‘N ROLL – Rich Paschall

One Hit Wonders of 1969, by Rich Paschall

While some songs often come Home To You and say I Wanna Be Your Dog, the artists behind them may have faded into Echo Park.  That’s why we are going to have a Birthday party and welcome them back for Apricot Brandy and Bubble Gum Music.

record player
Lift-off of the Saturn V rocket, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr.

Now if Cinnamon will just let us in, we are ready to blast off into the past. We will bring along Bella Linda, Big Bruce and the California Girl.  What is The Worst That Could Happen? I suppose there will be the Games People Play, but we will Kick Out The Jams.  Pay no attention to that Hot Smoke and Sasafrass, it just means the party is starting to heat up and There’s Something In The Air.

Don’t worry, I Gotta Line On You, babe, and see that you are ready to Get Together.  We will play More Today Than Yesterday because Tracy, when I’m with you, we have all the 45’s we need. Everyone will join in for our Simple Song of Freedom, as well as my top ten one hit wonders of a most memorable year. I see you have waited patiently for some Good Old Rock ‘N Roll, and we will Get It From The Bottom:

10. In The Year 2525, Zagar and Evans. I really liked this song in ’69 and bought the 45. Now I find it a bit obnoxious and repetitious.

9. Take A Letter Maria, R.B. Greaves. This was recorded in August, released in September and sold a million copies by November.

8. Sugar on Sunday, Clique. The song is a cover of an earlier Tommy James and the Shondells’ song.

7. Poke Salad Annie, Tony Joe White. The artist wrote and performed the hit. He found little success recording, but wrote other hits including “Rainy Night in Georgia.”

6. Baby It’s You, Smith. No, it’s not The Smiths. That  was a later group.  This short lived band is fronted by Gayle McCormick.

5. Love (Can Make You Happy), Mercy. The song was recorded at Sundi and released, and later recorded again at Warner Brothers where the band actually signed. Sundi was sued and their album was no longer allowed distribution.  Which version do you hear? You have to check the label, they sound alike.

4. More Today Than Yesterday, Spiral Staircase. The hit was written by lead singer Pat Upton. The group did not last much longer after this million seller.

3. Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, Steam. We may not have known the song or the fictitious band in ’69, but everyone in Chicago came to know it in 1977 and following years. The White Sox started using the tune to play off opposing pitchers who were being replaced. That was a hit. The group on the album cover and in the old video is a road group that had nothing to do with the recording and is, in fact, lip syncing.

2. Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’, Crazy Elephant. This was another short-lived band that was mainly a studio creation. The song failed to chart when first released, but was re-released a couple of months later and climbed the charts to number 12 in the US.

1. Morning Girl, The Neon Philharmonic. This group was around a few years, then sold off the name. It achieved the big sound by using members of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. There are bigger hits on this list, as this one only climbed to number 17, but it is one of the ones I remember best.

The lack of good performance videos is due to the fact that many of these groups were not around for very long. Click on any song title to go to a video. Click here for the entire playlist of one hit wonders.

See also, THIS MAGIC MOMENT, The Golden Age of Rock Turns 50, 1969, Serendipity.

Sources include: 1969 One Hit Wonders & Artists Known For One Song, https://hotpopsongs.com/

GIMME GIMME GOOD LOVIN’ – Rich Paschall

Another One Hit Wonder, by Rich Paschall

From Atlanta, Georgia, to the Gulf Stream water
up to California end I’m gonna spend my life both night and day

Good Lovin’?

Crazy Elephant – 1969

To the girls in Frisco, to the girls in New York
To the girls in Texican, you gotta understand
That baby I’m your man

Leif Garrett – 1980

Helix – 1984

This is another 1969 one hit wonder. The original did better than any of the many cover versions that followed. Crazy Elephant was another of those studio creations with a fake band biography. It was probably easier to create these fake stories for teen magazines then, than it would be now. Nope, they were not Welsh coal miners.

The song was released in January with little success. It was re-released in March and climbed the charts to Number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Former Cadillacs member Robert Spencer was the lead vocalist for most songs of the short-lived band.

Teen idol Leif Garrett had a go at it in 1984. He signed his 5 album record deal in 1976, so by this point he was on the down side of his heart-throb days. After all, he was twenty-two.

Canadian “big hair band” Helix (you know, big hair like Motely Crue, Poison, Whitesnake) gave it a harder edge when they put out their version in 1986. It had limited success but they are still doing it. You can see a 2018 performance here. Yes, it is more painful now than it was then.

The song made my top ten of 1969 one hit wonders. What are the others? You will have to check that out this Sunday on SERENDIPITY, because I know you are eagerly waiting for another Top Ten list

So who do you think sang this one better? Comment below.

Also see and hear this other 1969 hit: Morning Girl by clicking the title.

THIS MAGIC MOMENT- Rich Paschall

The Golden Age of Rock Turns 50, 1969 by Rich Paschall

It’s the golden anniversary of some of the best rock and roll of all time and you are invited to join the party. We’ve got the turntable ready, the records are already stacked up, and we have set the machine to 45 revolutions per minute. If you have a “Way back” machine, you can join Sherman and Mr.Peabody at your school’s 1969 sock hop. If not, we will spin some hits for you. You have waited eagerly for my top 20 and I know you will enjoy them.

The top song of 1969 was the “bubblegum” hit, “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies. They did not come any sweeter. Also in the top 10 was “Dizzy” by Tommy Roe.  These songs were in heavy rotation on the pop music stations. In other words, they were playing all the time. People became dizzy from hearing “Sugar, Sugar” a dozen times a day.

The Beatles were nearing the end of their Long and Winding Road but they still were topping the charts: “Get Back,” “Something,” “Come Together.” The Rolling Stones, Elvis, Marvin Gaye, The Fifth Dimension, The Temptations, Sly and the Family Stone were all having Hot Fun in the Summertime.

Chicago the band released its first album, Chicago Transit Authority, a double album that went “platinum.” The group was nominated for a Grammy as best new artists.

Chicago in Chicago

It was a good year to cover songs from the musical, “Hair.” “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” “Hair,” “Easy to be Hard,” “Good Morning, Starshine,” all became hits for different bands.

If you are quite ready to Shimmy, Shake and Twist, we can put the needle down on my top twenty. You can add in the comments any of your favorites from 1969 that I missed.

20. Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In. The Fifth Dimension scored the number 2 hit of the year on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles of 1969.

19. I Heard It Through The Grapevine.  Forget those dancing raisins.  Enjoy the original from Marvin Gaye.

18. Easy To Be Hard. One of the many songs from the Broadway musical, Hair, to present a social message. This cover is by Three Dog Night.

17. Hurt So Bad. The Lettermen covered the 1965 hit by Little Anthony and the Imperials to great success of their own.

16. Traces. The Classics IV hit was released in January and reached number 2.  It could not knock “Dizzy” out of the top spot.

15. Hooked On A Feeling. The song was released in late 1968. The B.J. Thomas hit reached number 5 in early 1969.

14. Everybody’s Talkin‘.  The Harry Nilsson single was released in July 1968 to minor success. In 1969 it was used as the theme to Midnight Cowboy and re-released. It made our ’68 and ’69 lists.

13. This Magic Moment. Jay and the Americans had a hit with a cover of The Drifters’ song.

12. Touch Me.  The Doors’ hit was released in December 1968 and climbed the charts in early 1969.

11. Spinning Wheel. The era of rock with horns was underway and Blood, Sweat and Tears scored with this one.

10. Crimson and Clover. I never really knew what it meant, but then neither did Tommy James and the Shondells.  It was just something that sounded cool together to James.  The song was released late in 1968 and reached number 1 by February 1969. It represented a shift to a more psychedelic sound.

9. Build Me Up, Buttercup.  The British pop and soul band, The Foundations, had a big hit with this late 1968 release.  By early 1969 it had climbed the charts to number 3 in the US, 2 in the UK and number 1 in Australia. It was pop fluff, but I liked it.

8. What Does It Take (To Win You Love). Motown initially rejected this Junior Walker and the All-Stars song for single release. Its popularity on radio brought a 1969 release, and it became one of their most popular songs.

7. One.  This song was written and recorded by Harry Nilsson and released in 1968, but it was the 1969 recording by Three Dog Night that became a hit. It was their first gold record.

6. Hot Fun in the Summertime. This summertime favorite by Sly and the Family Stone made it to number two on the charts.  The Temptations “I Can’t Get Next To You” was holding down number 1.

5. Get Together. The Youngbloods recorded the song in 1966 and it was released in 1967 without much success. After use in a radio public service announcement, the song was re-released in June 1969 and became a hit.

4. Proud Mary. John Fogerty wrote the song for his band Creedence Clearwater Revival. It made it to number 2 in March of 1969.  Two years later Ike and Tina Turner had a huge hit with a different arrangement of the song.

3. Get Back. The Beatles song featured Billy Preston on piano. The single was released in stereo, unusual for a single then.  The song hit number 1 in many countries.  “Don’t Let Me Down” was on the B side.

2. Honky Tonk Women. Recorded by The Rolling Stones in June 1969 and released as a single the following month, this became one of the band’s biggest hits and a concert favorite. The song starts out with cowbell!

1. Crystal Blue Persuasion. While “Crimson and Clover” was a bigger hit for the group that same year, I like this one better. Tommy James stated in a 1985 interview, “it’s my favorite of all my songs.” At the time, many thought it was a song about drugs. Actually, James had brought together ideas he had read in several Bible verses, leading to the idea that some day (Book of Revelations) “They’ll be peace and good brotherhood.”

Click on any song title for the music video, or listen to the entire playlist by clicking here.

Many of the informational tidbits came from Wikipedia or from interviews with the artist as shown on You Tube.

See also: “Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1969,” From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

BREAKING UP

It’s Hard To Do, Rich Paschall

Do do do
Down dooby doo down down
Comma, comma, down dooby doo down down
Comma, comma, down dooby doo down down
Breaking up is hard to do

You tell me that you’re leavin’
I can’t believe it’s true
Girl there’s just no livin’ without you

Neil Sedaka scored twice with a song about breaking up, using different opening lyrics each time out. The first song was released in June of 1962 while the “Doo Wop” era of music was still alive. The background vocals are by a little known female group, The Cookies.  The song was co-written by Sedaka and Howard Greenfield.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do is Sedaka’s biggest hit among his many hit songs.  It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and was, in fact, a hit all over the world. The text was translated to many languages and Sedaka recorded an Italian version.

Neil Sedaka

Lenny Welch, known best for his 1963 hit “Since I Fell For You,” originally released the slower version which reach number 34 on the charts in 1970.  Sedaka scored big with his 1975 slow version which hit the top 10 in February 1976.  It was reported to be only the second time an artist hit the Top Ten with two versions of the same song.

YOU’LL WONDER WHERE THE YELLOW WENT …

Do YOU wonder where the yellow went? Or who wrote the book of love?


Sometimes, advertising really sticks with you. This one sure has. Pepsodent. Is that toothpaste still around? What was irium? I.M.P.?

And where did the yellow go? I wonder, wonder who wrote the book of love? Did he steal all the yellow?

CHICAGO “NOW”

In April of this year fans of Chicago the band got to see what they had been waiting for.  Some thought the honor was deserved years ago, even decades.  Now the classic rock and roll band has entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Along with a notable string of hits, the band has garnered a loyal following based on their annual tours.  If you live in Chicago, you get the chance to see your favorites every year.
Of course the band has changed since its
Beginnings.  Terry Kath is gone.  Peter Cetera left for a solo career.  Danny Seraphine was asked to leave.  Original woodwind player Walt Parazaider, the oldest of the group, does not appear regularly.  In May longtime member and the replacement to Cetera, Jason Scheff, took a leave of absence for family health reasons.  Scheff insisted he was not leaving the band.  Last month, Chicago announced that Jeff Coffey, who had been filling in for Scheff, had officially joined the band. Characteristically, the band has little else to say on the topic.  Next year will mark their 50th anniversary.

Chicago XXXVI, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog


In 2014 Chicago, the band, did something most older bands are reluctant to do.  They put out a new studio album of original music entitled “Chicago NOW.” Legendary bands with staying power such as Chicago make their living off their faithful fans at live performances and sales of older albums.  They know that only a select handful of older bands can actually sell new singles and albums.  The buying public for new music is mainly in the 13 to 34 age bracket and many of them tend to stream music rather than actually buy it.  The main buyers of CDs are in the 45 and over crowd but they are buying “catalog” music, or that is to say, classics from their favorite artists of the past.

Studio time can be expensive, both in terms of the studio cost and the lost concert performance time.  A touring band like Chicago, who spends most of the year on the road, does not like the idea of stopping for an extended length of time.  But Chicago is not ready to stop composing and recording, so how do they tour and record?  The answer came with a new recording system they call “The Rig.”  They have pushed the technology forward with a portable system so good, they record as they travel.  Much of Chicago NOW was done in hotel rooms across the country and around the world.

Founding member and trumpet player, Lee Loughnane, took charge of the project to put out a new album without stopping the show, so to speak.  Each composer of a song got to act as producer for his entry to the album and various band members helped with arrangements as well as select musicians from outside the group.  The group not only recorded on the move, they did not all have to be there at once.  Members would record their parts at different times.  Hank Linderman, a long time studio engineer, was the coordinating producer.  A “collaboration portal” was set up and tracks were sent at all times from Chicago and contributing musicians.  The result is a stunning contribution to the Chicago catalog and worthy of their best early efforts.



The title track, released as a download prior to the album début, has now worked its way into the current tour performances.  Written by Greg Barnhill and Chicago band member Jason Scheff, the number was produced and arranged by Scheff.  It is an energetic start to the album.  Scheff also contributed “Love Lives On” and is co-composer to founding member Robert Lamm’s  song, “Crazy Happy.”



While the horns section technically remains in tact with founding members Lee Loughnane on trumpet and James Pankow on trombone, founding member and woodwind player Walt Parazaider appears in the videos but in fact only played on three of the recordings.  Now at age 71, a variety of health issues in recent years has limited Parazaider’s time on the road.  Long time fill-in Ray Herrmann is also credited on three of the songs, though he is not listed as a band member.  While Herrmannn is now a frequent performer, the audience does not always realize it.  From a distance he somewhat resembles Walt.  Other sax players contributed to the album as well.

Guitar player Keith Howland sings the song he composed with Scheff and drummer Tris Imboden, “Nice Girl.”  He also contributes, along with Imboden to Lamm’s “Free at Last.”  As expected, Lamm leads the way on this album, being credited with lead vocals on six of the songs and background vocals on others.

Previously, I wrote about “America” released the autumn before Chicago 36. It appears on the album as well.  Lou Pardini drives home the song and the social commentary on lead vocal and keyboards.  Also on percussion for the band is Walfredo Reyes, Jr., a more recent addition to the Chicago lineup, a talented nine guys.

Chicago

Chicago in Chicago, August 2014

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

Let The Sunshine In, Rich Paschall

Now that Spring has officially arrived, we are thinking more of enjoying the sun.  You may have told someone that “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” or that you wanted to share the “Sunshine Of Your Love,” but you may be looking at this differently than we are.  Of course, “There Ain’t No Sunshine When You’re Gone,” but “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying.”

If it remains cloudy were you are, don’t believe “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore.” Just keep telling yourself, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” and you will soon have your “Seasons In The Sun.”  Just be sure to stay away from the “House Of The Rising Sun” and you will be fine.

So let me be your “Sunshine Superman” and offer my top 10 Sunshine Songs to brighten up the beginning of Spring:

10. You Are My Sunshine, The Pine Ridge Boys.  This 1939 “standard” has been covered by so many artists it is hard to say where I heard it first.  Originally performed as a country song, it has received a lot of musical treatments.
9.  California Sun, The Rivieras.  The 1961 song by Joe Jones became a big hit when The Rivieras covered it in 1964.  The 1977 Ramones version also became a hit and showed up on various albums.
8.  Walking On Sunshine, Katrina and the Waves.  The 1985 hit was a consistent seller for the record company and pure gold for the artists who retained the publishing rights and songwriter royalties.
7.  Soak Up The Sun, Sheryl Crow. It’s her only number one hit and you can probably sing along with the chorus.  The 2002 release was written by Crow and Jeff Trott.
6.  I’ll Follow The Sun, The Beatles.  The Paul McCartney, John Lennon composition was written as early as 1960 but the Beatles hit was released in 1964 with lead vocals by McCartney.

5.  We’ll Sing In The Sunshine, Gale Garnett.  This happy pop tune was released in 1964 and won the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Recording in 1965.  Yes, it was the era for Folk Rock.

4.  Good Day Sunshine, The Beatles  There was no plan to add multiple Beatles songs.  I made up a list and then gave them a ranking.  This 1966 Lennon, McCartney composition also has McCartney on lead vocals.  Paul played piano on the track and later overdubbed his bass part.  I could not find a Beatles performance, but Sir Paul can still bring it.

3.  Let The Sun Shine In, The 5th Dimension.  The recording by the 60’s pop group is actually a medley of two songs from the musical, Hair.  It was at the top of the charts for 6 weeks in 1969.  Opening with “Aquarius,” the sound was sometimes called “Psychedelic Pop.”

2.  Sunshine On My Shoulders, John Denver.  Co-written and recorded by Denver for his 1971 album Poems, Prayers & Promises, it was released as a single in 1973.  By early 1974 it reached number 1.  When the album came out, I recall singing this song over and over with a friend.  I think our performance may have been fueled by adult beverages.  It will always hold great memories from a youth well spent.

1. Here Comes The Sun, The Beatles  This time it is a George Harrison composition that brings The Beatles back to the list.  Recorded in 1969 for the Abbey Road album, it was never released as a single.  Nevertheless, the track received critical acclaim and has been played and downloaded often.

Click on any title to go to the You Tune video, or let all of these songs shine down on you from playlist here.