Friday, July 28, 2017

The Friday 5×2: One Top 10 Song That Went To #1 (High School Days)

I know you’ve been following my latest series on Two For Tuesday, “High School Days.”

Thirty-nine of the songs that reached the Top 10 between June 1970 and September 1974 were the only song to reach the Top 10 and went to #1. Here are ten of them.

  1. Paul Revere & The Raiders, “Indian Reservation” This song, by John D. Loudermilk, reached #1 for The Raiders in July 1971. Subtitled “The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian,” it’s a song about the current lives of the Cherokee, who were forcibly relocated from the Southeast US to Oklahoma in the 1830’s along with the Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole. If you ever get to Georgia, visit New Echota, the capital city of the Cherokee. It’s an amazing place, and one that makes you think.
  2. Rod Stewart, “Maggie May” This was a two-sided single with “Reason To Believe” that reached #1 in October 1971. “Reason To Believe” was actually the A side of the single, but radio stations discovered people liked this song better. From Rod’s 1971 album Every Picture Tells A Story.
  3. Looking Glass, “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)” The story goes that Robert Mandel, promotions manager for Epic Records, got a test pressing of this record and delivered a copy to all the Top 40 radion stations in the Washington/Baltimore area. Harv Moore, program director at WPGC in Washington, put the song in heavy rotation for a couple of days and said the switchboard lit up like a Christmas tree. It went to #1 in Washington before it was even released. Nationally, it topped the Hot 100 and Cash Box surveys and was the #12 record for 1972. It’s not hard to see why.
  4. Mac Davis, “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me” Singer-songwriter Mac Davis, who had written songs for just about everyone up to now, reached #1 for three weeks on both the Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts in September 1972.
  5. Billy Paul, “Me and Mrs. Jones” Written by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Cary Gilbert and released on the Philadelphia International label, it became Billy Paul’s only #1 single on the Hot 100 in December 1972. Okay, it’s about two people having an affair, but Billy makes it almost romantic.
  6. The Edgar Winter Group, “Frankenstein” From 1973’s They Only Come Out At Night, which featured a really bizarre cover, this was largely a vehicle for Edgar Winter to display his virtuosity on multiple instruments (keyboard, saxophone, and drums) in concert. It was a hit in both the US and Canada in May 1973.
  7. Charlie Rich, “The Most Beautiful Girl” Some fine country from The Silver Fox. This spent three weeks at #1 on the Country and Easy Listening charts and two weeks at #1 on the Hot 100. It also reached #1 in Canada on the Top Singles chart, the Country Tracks chart, and the Adult Contemporary chart. Billboard listed it at #23 for 1973.
  8. Eric Clapton, “I Shot The Sheriff” Slowhand’s cover of Bob Marley’s 1973 single, it was included on his 1974 461 Ocean Blvd. LP and topped the chart later that year. EC’s version is both reggae and soft rock.
  9. Ray Stevens, “The Streak” This song was released in March 1974, around the same time students at Northwestern University started running around naked. By that time it had been a fad at other campuses for a while. I had a student teacher who was a student there, and she was shell-shocked by the whole affair. Naturally, all we wanted to talk about was streaking… anyway, Ray had a #1 hit with this one in May 1974, his first hit since “Everything Is Beautiful.”
  10. George McCrae, “Rock Your Baby” Disco was just beginning to rear its ugly head in July 1974 when this reached #1. Worldwide, it sold 11 million copies, making it one of the less than 40 singles to have sold more than 10 million worldwide.

And that’s this week’s Friday 5×2. I might see if I can get the rest of them in…

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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