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Any Major Hits from 1972 – Vol. 1

January 25th, 2022 4 comments

 

1972 was the year I started school. More importantly, it was the year I bought my very first record, at the age of 6. Officially, I’ll claim that “it probably was something like Spoon by Can or Soul Makossa by Manu Dibangu, bought the same day I got Miles Davis’ On The Corner LP”. In reality it was this minor masterpiece of genre-shattering innovation and revolutionary fervour.

I was already keen on music, and at 5-6 years old, my interest was becoming keener. It helped that my mother and older siblings were buying records. My mother bought Poppa Joe by The Sweet, my older sister Elton John’s Crocodile Rock, another sister Beautiful Sunday by the English singer Daniel Boone and Chicago’s Saturday In The Park — though the latter wasn’t a hit in Germany, and Chicago wasn’t generally her style. I suspect a boyfriend bought it for her. And my older brother had a way of turning current hit songs into comedy by changing their lyrics into doggerel which I found amusing, in the way 5-6 year-olds find that kind of thing entertaining. One of them was Dr Hook’s Sylvia’s Mother, which itself was supposed to be comedic in its deliberate overwroughtness.

I can’t say I remember all, or even most, of the songs on the two Any Major Hits from 1972 mixes that are running this year (Volume 2 will drop later this year). But it was a good year for hit singles, as evidenced by the fact of two mixes for 1972.

This first mix concentrates on records that were at least Top 20 hits in the US; the second will cover the UK/Europe. But there was some of cross-pollination, in both directions. Alice Cooper’s School’s Out, The Osmonds’ Crazy Horses and the Carpenters’ I Won’t Last A Day Without You were actually bigger hits in the UK than they were in the US. UK acts on this mix are the above-mentioned Daniel Boone, The Hollies and Badfinger (who were also the originators of the Nilsson hit Without You, as covered in Any Major Originals – 1970s)

Talking of Crazy Horses”: It was a rather unusual song for the otherwise rather tame Osmonds. For one thing, teen idols singing about the environment — the titular equines refer to cars, with their polluting properties. So long before Greta, there was Donny! For another thing, it was young Donny who came up with that crazy whinnying sound on his keyboard. He was not just a pretty face with big teeth.

In compiling these things — we’ve already covered 1970 and 1971 as well as 1961 and 1944 — the idea isn’t really to pick the best hits of the year, or a representative cross-section — though some songs here may be among the year’s best and the mix may reflect the sound of the era — but a selection that captures the vibe of the year in focus, with some songs now classics and others rather forgotten by time.

If you dig the feel of 1972, take a look at the collection of posters from West-Germany’s Bravo magazine in 1972 (other years are available, too).

The mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-singalonged covers. The text above is included in an illustrated PDF booklet. PW in comments.

1. Alice Cooper – School’s Out (US #7 / UK #1 / GE #5)
2. The Osmonds – Crazy Horses (US #14 / UK #2 / GE #2)
3. Raspberries – Go All The Way (US #5)
4. Chi Coltrane – Thunder And Lightning (US #17)
5. Chicago – Saturday In The Park (US #3)
6. Malo – Suavecito (US #18)
7. Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose – Too Late To Turn Back (US #2)
8. The Staple Singers – I’ll Take You There (US #1 / UK #30)
9. Looking Glass – Brandy (US #1)
10. Eagles – Witchy Woman (US #9)
11. Three Dog Night – Never Been To Spain (US #5)
12. The Gallery – Nice To Be With You (US #4 / GE# 28)
13. Mac Davis – Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me (US #1 / UK #29)
14. Seals & Croft – Summer Breeze (US #6)
15. Harry Nilsson – Without You (US #1 / UK #1 / GE #12)
16. Carpenters – I Won’t Last A Day Without You (US #11 / UK #9)
17. Joe Simon – Power Of Love (US #11)
18. Michael Jackson – I Wanna Be Where You Are (US #16)
19. Jackson Browne – Doctor My Eyes (US #8)
20. Badfinger – Day After Day (US #4 / UK #10)
21. Todd Rundgren – I Saw The Light (US #16)
22. The Hollies – Long Cool Woman (US #2 / UK #32 / GE #15)
23. Daniel Boone – Beautiful Sunday (US #15 / UK #21 / GE #1)

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Any Major Hits from 1944
Any Major Hits from 1961
Any Major Hits from 1970
Any Major Hits from 1971

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Any Major Hits from 1961

November 25th, 2021 1 comment

 

One last anniversary mix before we leave the Year 2021, a date which must have seemed like the calendar of science fiction 60 years ago, when all the songs on this collection were hits. Where are those flying cars we were promised?

Unlike the Any Major Hits from 1971 mix, which drew from both US and UK (and European) charts, the 1961 selection is very US-centric, though some of these songs charted in Britain, too. It was a strange time for pop music, it seems — an interregnum after the frenzy of Rock & Roll and the advent of the British Invasion, the innovation of bands like The Beach Boys, the rise of soul music and Motown, the anarchic power of garage rock. Within five years, there’d be The Beatles’ Revolver album and Brian Wilson’s Good Vibrations (five years ago, in our money, is 2016). Within six years, there’d be Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townsend doing violence to guitars on stage at Monterey. In 1961, you didn’t see Dick Dale smashing his Fender or Duanne Eddy setting his Gretsch on fire!

But let the record also show that the music of 1961 was the context in which Lennon & McCartney and their cohorts were consumers. In don’t dare to guess how many of these featured songs they knew, but they certainly listened to early Motown, represented here by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, and other R&B records. And Ricky Nelson’s featured Everlovin’, a cover of a record by the Australian band The Crescents, has all the hallmarks of the early Beatles sound. Did George Harrison know the song? Well, it did reach #23 in the UK. And even 35 years later, Van Morrison based his song Days Like This on The Shirelles’ 1961 hit Mama Said.

Of course, at the risk of stating the blatantly obvious, the 1960s were a time of rapid epochal change in the West. But 1961 doesn’t seem part of the 1960s. And some of the music here illustrates this. The musical Grease is generally accepted to be set in 1959, the movie in 1958 (both set at the fictional Rydell High School, named after Bobby Rydell, one of the artists on this mix). Almost any of the tracks here could have featured among the covers on the soundtrack of Grease, the movie.

And one track here was virtually copied for the closing number of Grease, We Go Together, with its doo wop-inspired nonsense lyrics. Barry Mann’s Who Put The Bomp set a template for the Grease song, with its “Boogity boogity boogity” and “Bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop”.

Both songs include the line “Rama lama ding dong” (slightly adapted in the Grease number). That was, of course, the title of the hit for doo wop band The Edsels. I don’t know whether Mann borrowed from the Edsels or they from Mann (who’d become one of the great Brill Building songwriters with his wife, Cynthia Weil). Either way, it sounds more 1950s than 1960s.

Doo wop was still big in 1961, and now black artists actually had hits with their songs, rather than white artists cashing in on their talent. By 1961, the US charts were far more integrate than they had been in the 1950s. On this mix, about half the acts are black. Among them are The Pips, featuring the young Gladys Knight on lead vocals.

I’ll leave you with an observation about vocal styles on two tracks on this mix:  When the UK singer Helen Shapiro recorded her international mega-hit Walkin’ Back to Happiness, she was 14 but sounded twice her age. But when the recently late Sue Thompson had a hit with Sad Movies, she was 36 but sounded like she was 14.

In other words, Thompson was old enough to be Helen’s mother — and in 1961, pop music has something of a mother obsession. On this collection, we have Mama issuing sound counsel to Smokey Robinson and The Shirelles, is lied to by Sue Thompson, provides Kenny Dino (in the bonus tracks) with guilt-inflicting information, and Ernie K-Doe has trouble with his mother-in-law. Still, the CD-R length mix ends with daddy coming home.

So, yes, there are two playlists: the CD-R length one and another with the 18 bonus tracks. I won’t list them, but I’ll point out one: The Impressions’ Gypsy Women, which in its original version already captures the sound of ’60s soul, and so is very much ahead of its time. Other acts among the bonus tracks include Farts Domino, The Shadows, Roy Orbison (with a song that sounds like Only The Lonely recycled), Elvis, Bobby Darin, and a young Tony Orlando.

The mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-ramalamadingdonged covers. The text above is included in an illustrated PDF booklet. PW in comments.

1. Chubby Checker – Let’s Twist Again
2. Bobby Lewis – Tossin’ And Turnin’
3. Chris Kenner – I Like It Like That (Part 1)
4. The Drifters – I Count The Tears
5. Eddie Cochran – Weekend
6. Ray Peterson – Corinna Corinna
7. The Everly Brothers – Walk Right Back
8. Don Gibson – Sea Of Heartbreak
9. Patsy Cline – I Fall To Pieces
10. Sue Thompson – Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)
11. Brenda Lee – Emotions
12. Connie Francis – Where The Boys Are
13. Helen Shapiro – Walking Back To Happiness
14. The Jive Five – My True Story
15. The Shirelles – Mama Said
16. Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry – (I Don’t Know Why) But I Do
17. LaVern Baker – Saved
18. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – Shop Around
19. Sam Cooke – That’s It-I Quit-I’m Moving On
20. Bobby Rydell – Good Time Baby
21. Del Shannon – Runaway
22. The Edsels – Rama Lama Ding Dong
23. The Chimes – I’m In The Mood For Love
24. Ricky Nelson – Everlovin’
25. Barry Mann – Who Put The Bomp (In The Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)
26. The Dovells – Bristol Stomp
27. Bobby Vee – Run To Him
28. Curtis Lee – Pretty Little Angel Eyes
29. The Pips – Every Beat Of My Heart
30. Ernie K-Doe – Mother-In-Law
31. The Belmonts – Tell Me Why
32. Shep and The Limelites – Daddy’s Home

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Previously in Any Major Hits:
Any Major Hits From 1944
Any Major Hits From 1970
Any Major Hits From 1971
Life In Vinyl 1981

Life in Vinyl Series

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Any Major Hits from 1971

May 11th, 2021 1 comment

 

To me the sound of 1971 is fun and sunshine, mostly because when you are 4-5 years old, most memories are fun and sunshine (and snow, when snow is fun). I had elder siblings, so I’m sure I’ll have heard many of the songs featured here back 50 years ago, though of those, my only clear memory is of Danyel Gerard’s Butterfly, Never Ending Song Of Love (but in The New Seekers’ facile cover of the Bonnie & Delaney original), and Sweet’s Co-Co. And still, this mix evokes, to me, the feel of 1971. Which of course is the effect I’m trying to achieve here, rather than compiling a “Best of 1971” compilations — that would turn out as bit differently, though some tracks might feature on such a list, too.

There are many other songs not on this mix which I remember very well from back then: Middle of the Road’s Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, Soulful Dynamics’ Saah-Saah-Kumba-Kumba, Springwater’s mournful instrumental I Will Return (and its vocal version in German by Michael Holm), Dawn’s Knock Three Times, Clodagh Rodgers’ Jack In The Box, Middle of the Road’s Soley Soley, several versions of Mamy Blue, a number of schlager hits… and Peret’s Europe-wide novelty hit Borriquito, which is so impossibly catchy, I’ll add it as a bonus track.

It must be noted that 1971 was a better year for albums than it was for singles — and what a year for LPs it was! But the charts were great fun in their diversity and, certainly in the UK, some incongruity. In schlager-centric West-Germany, crooner Roy Black and hard rockers Black Sabbath peacefully coexisted in the charts. In the UK, American crooners Perry Como and Andy Williams (with his Home Lovin’ Man providing relief from the sexual liberation of the era) had huge hits amid a bit of a reggae craze and the incipient glam phase. The UK charts saw some good stuff at #1  — T. Rex, Slade, Diana Ross, The Tams. But the year began with a terrible rocking-chair novelty hit called Grandad by Clive Dunne at #1, and ended with a preposterous novelty song by Benny Hill at the top. I suppose fans of the TV series Dad’s Army and skirt-chasing comedy loved it. Suffice it to say, Benny Hill is not my bag of humour.

In Germany, Danyel Gerard’s Butterfly (not the English recording on this mix but the superior original arrangement, with German lyrics) spent 14 consecutive weeks at #1. That was knocked off the top by The Sweet with Co-Co, who reigned for six weeks before they got knocked off the charts by a rehatched Butterfly. The Sweet regained #1 for a week, but were then dumped by Peret and his Borriquito song for two weeks. Then Mamy Blue was at the top for ten weeks. When the Germans liked something, they clearly couldn’t let go of it. Butterfly was a huge hit throughout Europe. In the UK it stalled at #11; in the US at #76. I blame the inferior English arrangement. To see Gerard without beard and hat in the 1960s, check out this video with cool Paris street scene footage.

The US charts were much saner, but they became a bit bizarre for a bit when Vice-President Spyro Agnew — that unimpeachable beacon of probity — demonstrated how hip he was to the happening hit parades and condemned one song here for representing the acute dangers of the counterculture. I suppose country rockers Brewer & Shipley were quite happy for the publicity their song One Toke Over The Line received from the other wing of the White House.

 

French singer Danyel Gerard, whose Butterfly spent 14 consecutive weeks at #1 in West-Germany

 

For some the bands here, 1971 was a time of swansongs, or close to it. The Move, here with their UK #11 hit Tonight, would fold in 1972, when Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne (who shared the lead vocals on Tonight) and Bev Bevan went on to found the Electric Lights Orchestra.

For Ashton, Gardner & Dyke the chart action was over after their transatlantic hit (which was covered by, of course, Tom Jones), the only single of theirs to chart. They’d split in 1972.

Badfinger had one more hit in the UK — but none with their most famous song Without You, which would become a huge hit for Harry Nilsson in 1972. The sad story of that song, which led to at least one suicide, is told in brief in The Originals – 1970s Vol. 1.

John Kongos had two UK #4 hits in 1971, and nothing else. 1971 was a good year for him: apart from his own hits, two of his songs, Won’t You Join Me und Will You Follow Me were huge hits in German for Israeli singer Daliah Lavi as Oh, wann kommst du und Willst du mit mir geh’n.

The Five Man Electrical Band followed their US #3 hit Signs with another Top 30 song, but they never reached even that height anymore until they split in 1975. They did have a bunch of hits in their native Canada.

The soul band Free Movement only ever released one album and four singles. One might say that a Us Top 5 hit is not a bad strike rate.

Other acts would go on to huge things, such as T.Rex, Sweet and Slade. For The Sweet, Co-Co was the breakthrough; after two disappointing chart-placings they’d rack up seven consecutive UK Top 10 singles. Slade also broke through with their second hit. Chart-topper Coz I Luv You was followed by 11 consecutive Top 5 singles (five of them #1s). T.Rex would have nine more consecutive Top 10 hits, to add to the track here and on the 1970 mix.

Finally, if you feel the tracks by US soul bands The Fantastics, Johnny Johnson & The Bandwagon and English pop group The Fortunes have a similar sound, you may be right. All three tracks were written by the songwriting team of Tony Macaulay, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway (as was Home Lovin’ Man, the Andy Williams hit mentioned earlier).

If you dig the feel of 1971, take a look at the collection of posters from West-Germany’s Bravo magazine in 1971 (other years are available, too). And two previous mixes of hits from as particular year are available: 1970 and 1944.

The mix is timed to be in CD-R (or double LP) length and includes home-stomped covers. The text above is included in an illustrated PDF booklet (including the charts from June 1971). PW in comments.

1. Ashton, Gardner & Dyke – Resurrection Shuffl
2. John Kongos – He’s Gonna Step On You Again
3. Slade – Coz I Luv You
4. Badfinger – No Matter What
5. Five Man Electrical Band – Signs
6. Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose – Treat Her Like A Lady
7. The Jackson 5 – Mama’s Pearl
8. The Fantastics – Something Old Something New
9. Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds – Don’t Pull Your Love
10. Delaney & Bonnie & Friends – Never Ending Song Of Love
11. Lobo – Me And You And A Dog Named Boo
12. Brewer & Shipley – One Toke Over The Line
13. The Move – Tonight
14. Free – My Brother Jake
15. T. Rex – Hot Love
16. The Sweet – Co-Co
17. Mungo Jerry – Lady Rose
18. Johnny Johnson & His Bandwagon – (Blame It) On The Pony Express
19. The Fortunes – Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again
20. The Free Movement – I’ve Found Someone Of My Own
21. Cher – Gypsys, Tramps And Thieves
22. Georgie Fame & Alan Price – Rosetta
23. Tony Christie – I Did What I Did For Maria
24. Danyel Gerard – Butterfly (English Version)
Bonus Tracks:
Danyel Gerard – Butterfly (French Original)
Peret – Borriquito

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Any Major Hits from 1970

July 9th, 2020 8 comments

 

1970 is — gulp — 50 years ago. The 1960s hadn’t quite ended; and the 1970s were already getting underway: Creedence Clearwater Revival and T. Rex both were relevant.

The scary thing is, 1970 today is as 1920 was to 1970 then. Arguably, the world, and music, had changed much more between 1920 and 1970 than it has changed in the past 50 years. Look, there’s even still a crook in the White House (whereas, the history buff will counter in his killjoy ways, in 1920 a crook was about to be elected unto the White House).

Last year I did a mix of hits from 1944 to mark the 75th anniversary of that year. In many ways, 1970 looks more like today than it did look like 1944, only 26 years earlier.

For many people who’ll hear this mix, I hope the songs will evoke a bit of nostalgia, with any luck of happy memories. I was just a little too young to build many memories of that year, other than two holidays, one in the snow and the other on the beach. I do recall a few of the songs specifically from that time, especially the final one, since I loved music even as a four-year-old. But to me, this mix of big smashes and rather forgotten hits sounds like 1970, which is the effect I tried to go for. Those with more mature memories will be the judges of whether I’ve succeeded in my task.

Some of these songs are, of course, from 1969, but they were hits in the UK, US and/or West-Germany in 1970.

As ever, the mix is timed to be in CD-R (or double LP) length. home-grooved covers. PW in comments.

1. Mungo Jerry – In The Summertime
2. Edison Lighthouse – Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)
3. Christie – San Bernadino
4. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Up Around The Bend
5. The Chairmen Of The Board – Give Me Just A Little More Time
6. Freda Payne – Band Of Gold
7. The Tremeloes – Me And My Life
8. Badfinger – Come And Get It
9. McGuinness Flint – When I’m Dead And Gone
10. Kenny Rogers and The First Edition – Something’s Burning
11. Chicago – 25 Or 6 To 4
12. The Ides Of March – Vehicle
13. Blues Image – Ride Captain Ride
14. T. Rex – Ride A White Swan
15. Mr. Bloe – Groovin’ With Mr. Bloe
16. Tyrone Davis – Turn Back The Hands Of Time
17. Jimmy Ruffin – It’s Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)
18. Arrival – Friends
19. White Plains – My Baby Loves Lovin’
20. Stevie Wonder – Never Had A Dream Come True
21. B.J. Thomas – Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
22. Joe Dassin – Les Champs-Elysées
23. Elvis Presley – Kentucky Rain
24. The Beach Boys – Cotton Fields
25. Pickettywitch – That Same Old Feeling
26. Rotation – Ra-Ta-Ta
Bonus: Sugarloaf – Green-Eyed Lady

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Any Major Hits From 1944

August 8th, 2019 2 comments

 

This month it will be 30 years since I saw When Harry Met Sally in the cinema. I love almost everything about the film, including the wonderful soundtrack of standards (the soundtrack album by Harry Connick Jr was superb, too).

So I got it into my mind that a doing a compilation of hits from 1944 — 75 years ago — would be great fun. I wasn’t wrong. Putting together this mix of songs that were US hits in the penultimate year of World War II was hugely enjoyable; and I hope listening to it will be agreeable as well.

Maybe you know somebody who was around then. They might well love hearing some favourites and some long forgotten tunes. I’m thinking here of reader Johnny Diego (whom I haven’t heard from for a long while, alas) who played his 90-something year old German-raised mother the mixes of German hits between 1930 and 1945 I posted a few years ago (1930-37 and 1938-45). He reported that she was deeply touched by revisiting her youth.

As for the music, some of it is timeless, and some is much of its time. The joy to be derived from the firmer is self-evident; the joy in the latter resides in its anthropological values.

Two songs here are about the war: Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters are imagining the fun ass-kicking the Nazis will receive when the GIs march into Berlin (in the event, the Soviets got there first, and their version of ass-kicking was fun for nobody).

Where Bing and the Sisters are waxing patriotically with a light heart, Red Foley’s Smoke On The Water is pretty nasty in its jingoism. And it is fairly prescient when Foley predicts of Japan’s fate: “There’ll be nothing left but vultures to inhabit all that land, when our modern ships and bombers
make a graveyard of Japan…” Well, of two cities in Japan. File that song’s inclusion under anthropological value.

Talking of 1944 hits with the titles of future rock classics: Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)… what were the chances?

This mix is presented as a collection of hits of 1944. The concept of “hit” is a little stretched in the case of Stan Kenton’s Artistry In Rhythm, which was first recorded in 1943 and released on Capitol in February the following year. It was later re-recorded and issued to more successful effect, but in 1944 the single was a bit of a flop. Still, the track, which fuses jazz and (modern) classical music, shows musical innovation amid all the mainstream stuff.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-manufactured covers. PW in covers.

1. Woody Herman And His Orchestra – Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me
2. King Cole Trio – Straighten Up And Fly Right
3. Guy Lombardo feat. Skip Nelson – It’s Love-Love-Love
4. Louis Prima And His Orchestra – Angelina
5. Ella Mae Morse – Milkman Keep Those Bottles Quiet
6. Ink Spots & Ella Fitzgerald – Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall
7. Mills Brothers – Till Then
8. Louis Jordan – Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby
9. Cozy Cole Allstars – Jump Street
10. Dick Haymes & Helen Forrest – It Had To Be You
11. Frank Sinatra – Night And Day
12. Les Brown And His Orchestra – Twilight Time
13. Judy Garland – The Trolley Song
14. Jo Stafford – It Could Happen To You
15. Al Dexter & His Troopers – Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
16. Red Foley – Smoke On The Water
17. The Merry Macs – Mairzy Doats
18. Evelyn Knight – Dance With A Dolly (With A Hole In Her Stocking)
19. Dinah Shore – I’ll Walk Alone
20. Andy Russell – What A Difference A Day Made
21. Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra feat. Kitty Kallen & Bob Jimmy – Besame Mucho
22. Glen Gray And Casa Loma Orchestra – My Heart Tells Me
23. Stan Kenton And His Orchestra – Artistry In Rhythm
24. Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters – (There’ll Be) A Hot Time In The Town Of Berlin
25. Benny Carter And His Orchestra feat. Dick Gray – I’m Lost
26. Russ Morgan – Goodnight Wherever You Are

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