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Any Major Laura Nyro Songbook

November 22nd, 2022 1 comment

October 18 marked the 75th birthday of the great singer-songwriter Laura Nyro. Half a year earlier, April 8 marked the 25th anniversary of Nyro’s death, at the age 49.

By the time  the ovarian cancer claimed Nyro in 1997, her music was making a comeback of sorts, with a tribute album of her songs being recorded by the likes of Rosanne Cash, Suzanne Vega, Jill Sobule, Holly Cole, Phoebe Snow and others. It was released a month after Nyro’s death, but I hope she got to hear it before she left us. Since then, Nyro has become something of a cult figure, a songwriter who isn’t very well known but whose name is traded in reverential tones.

Nyro — pronounced Nero — deserves these reverential tones alone for the influence her exercised on others when her star was at the highest, from her groundbreaking debut in 1966 until early ’70s. Elton John, himself a subject of an Any Major Songbook earlier this year, cited her as a pivotal influence, and the mark of Nyro permeates Elton’s first few albums especially. Nyro, he has said, inspired him to abandon the rigid verse-chorus-verse structure, and to experiment with tempo changes. I wonder whether Elton’s lyricist, Bernie Taupin, was also inspired by Nyro; it would not surprise me.

Others who have named Laura Nyro as an influence include songwriting giants like Joni Mitchell and Carole King, who followed in her pioneering slipstream as a woman singer-songwriter. King, a veteran hit songwriter already when Nyro emerged on the scene in 1966 as a 19-year-old, was encouraged by Nyro to take her seat behind the piano and make it as a solo star. (Carole King has inspired two Songbooks — Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, plus a Tapestry Recovered mix — whole a Joni Mitchell Songbook will drop at some point, but in the interim, there’s the Blue Recovered mix.)

Laura’s ex-boyfriend Jackson Browne rode into LA on her coat tails. The Steely Dan guys and Alice Cooper dug her, as did Todd Rundgren, who modelled his songwriting style on Nyro’s. You can hear Nyro in Elvis Costello, Rickie Lee Jones and Cyndi Lauper, and even in artists as diverse as Kate Bush, Patti Smith and Bette Midler. Stevie Wonder based his If You Really Love Me on Nyro’s music.

In her short heyday, Nyro, the daughter of a jazz trumpeter, wrote a number of songs that became hits for others: And When I Die for first Peter, Paul and Mary and then Blood, Sweat and Tears (a group she was invited to join by founder Al Kooper); Eli’s Coming for Three Dog Night; Stoney End for Barbra Streisand; and for The Fifth Dimension Wedding Bell Blues, the deliciously grooving Stone Cold Picnic, Blowing Away, and Sweet Blindness.

Nyro was a gifted songwriter who fused genres so widely as to make it almost impossible to reduce her to any one classification (much like her chief apostles, The Fifth Dimension). It is quite astonishing to think that the lyrics and melody of When I Die were written by a teenager, at a time when the precedents for philosophical lyrical depth were still quite scarce in pop music. Stoney End was also written and released before Laura reached the age of 20, as was the musically complex Wedding Bell Blues, written when she was 18. As a teenage prodigy songwriter, Nyro stands alongside Jimmy Webb (Webb has been the subject of three Songbooks: Vol. 1, Vol. 2 and Vol. 3) and the Bee Gees guys (Barry Gibb yielded two Songbooks: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2)

But the expressive, three-octave singer also loved to interpret the music of others. With LaBelle, she recorded a whole album of covers, and with the King/Goffin composition Up On The Roof she had her biggest chart hit — though its peak at #92 suggests that Nyro’s music was not the stuff of 7” singles stardom, or any kind of commercial success. Only one of her LPs entered the Billboard Album Top 40, New York Tendaberry (1969)

Apart from Laura’s distinctive voice, which not everybody loved, her own inability to market herself had something to do with that. Nyro was afflicted with debilitating stage-fright — no doubt exacerbated by being booed off stage at the 1967 Monterrey Festival — which impeded her ability to promote her records. Moreover, her personality was too intense and too idiosyncratic for the banality of the pop industry, even though her music demonstrably had popular appeal.

In 1971, at the age of 24, Nyro quit the industry, resurfacing only periodically. In 1993, she released her final album, Walk The Dog And Light The Light. It was well-received by the critics and widely ignored by the public.

Nyro was finally inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010, and two years later into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There were some people who thought her induction was elitist and controversial. Fuck those people. Ask Joni, ask Carole, ask Elton….

Annual expenses for hosting this corner of the web are coming up, so if you might throw a tip in my coffee jar above, I would be grateful.

As always, CD-R length, home-surried covers, the text above in illustrated PDF. PW in Comments.

1. Laura Nyro – Sweet Blindness (1968)
2. Three Dog Night – Eli’s Coming (1969)
3. Sammy Davis Jr. – And When I Die (1970)
4. The 5th Dimension – Black Patch (1972)
5. The Supremes – Time And Love (1971)
6. Bobbie Gentry – Wedding Bell Blues (1970)
7. Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys – Stoney End (1968)
8. Barbra Streisand – I Never Meant To Hurt You (1971)
9. Carmen McRae – Goodbye Joe (1970)
10. Karen Wyman – California Shoeshine Boys (1970)
11. Peggy Lipton – Hands Off The Man (Flim Flam Man) (1968)
12. Mama Cass – He’s A Runner (1969)
13. Claire Martin – Buy And Sell (1995)
14. Tuck & Patti – Captain For Dark Mornings (1998)
15. Swing Out Sister – Stoned Soul Picnic (1997)
16. Judy Kuhn – Luckie (2007)
17. Ronnie Dyson – Emmie (1970)
18. Melba Moore – Captain St Lucifer (1970)
19. Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity – Save The Country (1975)
20. Green Lyte Sunday – Woman’s Blues (1970)
21. Laura Nyro – When I Was A Freeport And You Were The Main Drag (1970)

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Previous Songbooks:
ABBA
Ashford & Simpson
Barry Gibb Vol. 1
Barry Gibb Vol. 2
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Brian Wilson
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Carole Bayer Sager
Carole King Vol. 1
Carole King Vol. 2
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter Vol. 1
Cole Porter Vol. 2
Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Holland-Dozier-Holland
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Lamont Dozier
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Rod Temperton
Steely Dan

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Categories: Covers Mixes, Mix CD-Rs, Songbooks Tags:

Any Major Teenage Tragedy

October 27th, 2022 7 comments

 

For Halloween, no spooky songs nor murder ballads, but a fun mix about death! But the songs in this lot aren’t spooky, nor — caveat emptor — are they generally of great (or any) artistic merit (though some are pretty good). This is a collection spanning the age of teenage tragedy songs; tracks that gave the young people of the 1950s and early ’60s something a bit macabre to cry about. Some of the lyrics are good for a good laugh, even if some of those may be guffaws at the preposterous lyrics.  Above all, this collection represents a time capsule of a particular time in popular music which even some of the biggest names in pop got involved.

Some songs of the teenage tragedy genre are well-known. The Leader Of The Pack is also the leader of the genre, the apex of the genre which would soon be killed off by the British Invasion. Song like the exquisitely manipulative Teen Angel, the appalling Tell Laura I Love Her, Johnny Preston’s pretty racist Running Bear (not running here because of racism) and Pat Boone’s inexcusable Moody River topped the US charts. Others in this mix were cash-ins on the genre, and some were just taking the piss.

The collection kicks off with a satire on the genre, I Want My Baby Back by Jimmy Cross (who says he couldn’t hardly see nuthin’), with the immortal description of a car crash scene: “Over there was my baby, over there was my baby, and way over there was my baby”.

It also ends with what I hope is intended to be a joke, Two Hour Honeymoon by Paul Hampton, a B-side co-written and produced by a pre-fame Burt Bacharach. When I featured the song before as a bonus track on the Lesser-Known Bacharach mix (still up!), I exclaimed: “It must be heard to be believed.” Almost a decade later, I stand by that observation.

The first Teenage Tragedy Song was The Cheers’ Black Denim Trousers And Motorcycle Boots, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and released in 1955, just before James Dean’s death. After that tragic September day which claimed Jimmy, the song became a hit. In France, Edith Piaf had a hit with her cover of it.

The genre would find representation in all genres of popular music, including country, rockabilly, doo wop and, especially, surf rock. But they all drew from the same pool of tropes: lovers in transport accidents, aquatic disasters, suicides because parents don’t approve of the assorted Johnnies and Jimmies…

I suppose especially the latter gave voice to rebellious teenagers. My own mother lived the lovers-torn-apart-by-disapproving-parents trope just as these songs reached the height of their popularity. If my grandparents hadn’t intervened, there’d be no Major Dude With Half A Heart as we know me (Mom’s 1961 loverboy turned out to be a bit of a crook; sometimes the parents were right).There is one bonus track. It’s not quite a teenage tragedy song, and it conveys the absolutely correct message that drink-driving is murderous. It’s also one of the worst records I have ever heard. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ferlin Husky’s The Drunken Driver from 1954!

I might be making light of death here, or rather of the songs that tell story of tragedies. Of course, many of us have known real people who have died in car crashes, or of suicide, or perhaps even in surfing accidents. To those of us who had such a real-life bereavement — I have had some myself —  I apologise if this mix is picking at old (or, God forbid, fresh) scars.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, includes home-wept covers, and the text above and below in a PDF. PW in comments.

  1. Jimmy Cross – I Want My Baby Back (1965)
    OMG! What Happened? Car crash after Beatles concert!
  2. The Cheers – Black Denim Trousers And Motorcycle Boots (1955)
    OMG! What Happened? Asshole dies in motorcycle accident!
  3. The Everly Brothers – Ebony Eyes (1961)
    OMG! What Happened? A plan crash!
  4. Mark Dinning – Teen Angel (1961)
    OMG! What Happened? A stalled car, a train, and a class ring!
  5. The Mystics – Star Crossed Lovers (1961)
    OMG! What Happened? Suicide pact!
  6. Del Shannon – The Prom (1961)
    OMG! What Happened? Accident on the way to the prom!
  7. The Breakers – Surfin’ Tragedy (1963)
    OMG! What Happened? Wiped out while surfin’!
  8. Jan & Dean – Dead Man’s Curve (1964)
    OMG! What Happened? Reckless driving!
  9. Susan Lynne – Don’t Drag No More (1964)
    OMG! What Happened? Nobody dies, but boyfriend wears women’s frocks!
  10. The Shangri-Las – Leader Of The Pack (1963)
    OMG! What Happened? Look out! Look out! Look out! A motorcycle tragedy!
  11. Twinkle – Terry (1964)
    OMG! What Happened? Another motorcycle tragedy!
  12. The Beach Boys – A Young Man Is Gone (1963)
    OMG! What Happened? Police shooting? But he’ll live forever more!
  13. Roy Orbison – Leah (1962)
    OMG! What Happened? A pearl-diving accident!
  14. J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers – Last Kiss (1964)
    OMG! What Happened? Car crash and his baby went to heaven!
  15. Dickey Lee – Patches (1962)
    OMG! What Happened? Heartbroken Patches found face-down in river!
  16. The Browns – The Three Bells (1959)
    OMG! What Happened? Death on a wedding day!
  17. Gene Summers – Chapel Bells Ringing (1962)
    OMG! What Happened? Angels weep on a wedding day!
  18. Jody Reynolds – Endless Sleep (1958)
    OMG! What Happened? The sea took his baby away!
  19. Ray Peterson – Tell Laura I Love Her (1959)
    OMG! What Happened? Bad driving and a last-breath declaration!
  20. Johnny Cymbal – The Water Was Red (1961)
    OMG! What Happened? Shark attack! And you should see the shark now!
  21. Pat Boone – Moody River (1961)
    OMG! What Happened? Muddy waters took his baby’s life!
  22. Cathy Carroll – Jimmy Love (1961)
    OMG! What Happened? Lightning struck!
  23. John Leyton – Johnny Remember Me (1961)
    OMG! What Happened? Johnny’s true love haunts him!
  24. Bernadette Carroll – The Hero (1964)
    OMG! What Happened? Johnny and teammates die in bus crash!
  25. Barry Mann – Johnny Surfboard (1963)
    OMG! What Happened? The waves claim surfin’ Johnny!
  26. Kip Tyler – Eternity (A Surfer’s Lament) (1963)
    OMG! What Happened? The sea is calling Kip!
  27. The Four Seasons – No Surfin’ Today (1964)
    OMG! What Happened? The angry sea took his love away!
  28. Paul Hampton – Two Hour Honeymoon (1963)
    OMG! What Happened? Wedding night car crash!

GET IT! or HERE!

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Halloween Mixes
Murder Songs

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Any Major Albums of the Year: 1972

October 15th, 2022 3 comments

Once upon a time I thought, instinctively, that 1972 — 50 years ago! — represented an apex in the history of LPs. Last year, I was thoroughly disabused of that idea. The greatest year in LPs clearly was 1971. I was able to compile a Top 20 of 1971, and followed it up with another set of 20 albums which would qualify for inclusion in any other Top 20. And I saw fit to “recover” three albums from 1971 (Tapestry, What’s Going On and Blue). From 1972, I’ve revovered only one, Ziggy Stardust.

Still, 1972 was a great year for albums. I’ve arrived at a Top 20 with plenty “bubbling-under” albums which might even have justified a second volume. But what I’ll do is to tack on tracks from a couple of these “bubbling-under” albums which may be less well-known.

I ignored live albums and compilations; if I had, then Neil Diamond and Donny Hathaway might have been included. Hathaway features anyway, in duet with Roberta Flack. And, of course, such list are entirely subjective. The 20 featured albums are not the best of 1972 —but those I like the best.

The sequence of songs does not suggest a ranking, though the mix starts with a track from the year’s top album. I join the general consensus that Ziggy Stardust is the best album of 1972. My undisputed #2 would be Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together, an album that is a masterpiece of production, arrangement, instrumentation and vocal delivery. All that compensates for whatever deficiencies one may locate in some of the songwriting. At #3 I might place the Carpenters’ A Song For You, a set so full of superb pop songs that it almost looks like a Best Of collection.

One of the Top 20 albums is rather obscure. I discovered Tracks’ Even A Broken Clock Is Right Twice A Day album while researching the Any Major Roy Bittan mix. Tracks was the country-rock band which Bittan was a member of before the great keyboardist hooked up with Springsteen’s E Street Band. I ended up listening to the album on loop. It connected with me. Poco’s Jim Messina was the engineer on the album.

Also less known than is just are The Fabulous Rhinestones, whose co-frontman Kal David we lost in August. I wrote a bit about him in the In Memoriam for August 2022.

One album I battled with was the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St. Releasing it as a double LP was an act of self-indulgence. If I want a fix of 1972 blues-rock, I can eat a peach. Half of the set is pretty much gratuitous rubbish. And even when it’s great, there is the hazard of Jagger sounding like he really needs a laxative. The only side I’d play without skipping a track is Side 2; maybe Side 4, too, but without much conviction. Only one track here, Tumblin’ Dice, would make it into my Stones Top 20. But in this age of playlists we no longer are hostage to bad sequencing and artistic incontinence. So if I rejig Exile on Main St., I get a very good album out of it. So it squeezes into my Top 20. I won’t use Tumblin’ Dice on this mix, nor Torn And Frayed — both are among the album’s best tracks but they’re shortlisted for other Any Major Mixes I’m lining up. Instead, I’m using one of the other great songs where Mick is in soulfully constipated mode.

There are a number of albums that failed to make the cut, but might have made it on another day. Bill Withers’ Still Bill leads that pack. Lyn Collins’s Think (About It) and From A Whisper To A Scream by Esther Philips (one of two great albums she released that year) were other agonising omissions. And then there is Ghettos Of The Mind by Bama the Village Poet, an astonishing poetry set-to-beats album. His soulful voice gives the penetrating words extra power. Tracks from the latter two are included as bonus tracks.

Also contending were Kris Kristofferson (Border Lord), Neil Young (Harvest), Van Morrison (Saint Dominic’s Preview), Mike James Kirkland (Doin’ It Right), Barry Ryan (Sanctus), Barbara Jean English (So Many Ways To Die), The O’Jays (Backstabbers and Ship Ahoy), Denise LaSalle (Trapped By A Thing Called Love), Little Feat (Sailing Shoes), The Rance Allen Group (Truth Is Where It’s At), War (The World Is A Ghetto), Marlena Shaw (Marlena), John Denver (Rocky Mountain High) and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Bands (Will The Circle Be Unbroken). I might also have considered Mike Nesmith’s Tantamount To Treason.

One might expect Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book to feature somewhere. I appreciate its place in the history of soul music, I have no cause to disagree with the critics who value it highly, and it obviously includes some killer tracks, but I just can’t love that album.

Another omission worth noting is John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Some Time In New York. I loved it as a teenager, when the political messages met my level of youthful sophistication. It turned me on to the Irish Troubles and to Angela Davis. When I watched Dog Day Afternoon for the first time, and Pacino screams “Attica”, I knew what he was shouting about. And I loved the faux-newspaper album cover. I was happy to ignore the second LP in the double-set, with the self-indulgent jam sessions, and gave the first two sides another listen. Alas, it’s not a very good album, musically or lyrically or artistically.

Any other year or week, Van Morrison’s St Dominic’s Preview might have merited inclusion in my Top 20. For the purposes of this post I listened to it again. It has glistening moment, but I got bored listening to it, except for the lovely Redwood Tree, and the long, intense Listen To The Lion, the album’s centrepiece. A one point Van goes for a bizarre impression of a stoned lion doing an imitation of an inebriated buffoon’s tactless mimicking of a gibbering idiot. A bit like the man today when he pontificates on Covid and other things of the contemporary world he just fails to understand.

These two mixes serve as good companions to Any Major Hits from 1972 Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and Any Major Soul 1972 Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and Any Major Soul 1972/73.

I’ll be intrigued to inspect the releases for 1973 for next year’s 50th anniversary Top 20. I have a hunch that year didn’t reach the heights of 1971-72.As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, includes home-ziggied covers and the above text in an illustrated PDF. PW in comments, where you can tell me your favourite albums of 1972 — who knows, I might have forgotten an essential one, or might (re)discover a new favourite…

1. David Bowie – Sufragette City (The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars)
2. Big Star – The Ballad Of El Goodo (#1 Record)
3. Steely Dan – Only A Fool Would Say That (Can’t Buy A Thrill)
4. The Allman Brothers Band – Blue Sky (Eat A Peach)
5. The Fabulous Rhinestones – Living On My Own Time (The Fabulous Rhinestones)
6. Allen Toussaint – Soul Sister (Life, Love And Faith)
7. Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway – Be Real Black For Me (Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway)
8. Al Green – La-La For You (Let’s Stay Together)
9. Laura Lee – Women’s Love Rights (Women’s Love Rights)
10. Aretha Franklin – Rock Steady (Young, Gifted And Black)
11. Billy Paul – Am I Black Enough For You (360 Degrees Of Billy Paul)
12. Curtis Mayfield – Superfly (Superfly)
13. The Isley Brothers – Brother, Brother (Brother, Brother, Brother)
14. Carpenters – Hurting Each Other (A Song For You)
15. Elton John – Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters (Honky Château)
16. Nick Drake – Pink Moon (Pink Moon)
17. Lou Reed – Satellite Of Love (Transformer)
18. Tracks – Anyway Anyhow (Even A Broken Clock Is Right Twice A Day)
19. The Rolling Stones – Shine A Light (Exile On Main St.)
20. Staple Singers – We The People (Be Altitude: Respect Yourself)
Bonus Tracks:
21. Esther Phillips – Home Is Where The Hatred Is (From A Whisper To A Scream)
22. Bama The Village Poet – I Got Soul (Ghettos Of The Mind)

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Categories: Albums of the Year, Mix CD-Rs Tags:

Paul McCartney Songbook Vol. 2

October 11th, 2022 4 comments

On October 11 it is 60 years ago that The Beatles’ first single, Love Me Do, entered the UK charts, the week after its release. It debuted in the Top 50 at #49, the fourth-highest new entry that week, after Swiss Maid by Del Shannon, Bobby’s Girl by Susan Maughan, and He Got What He Wanted by Little Richard. Shannon and Maughan went on to hit the Top 3; The Beatles stalled at #11 (and Little Richard flopped at #38).

The #1 hit that week was Telstar by the Tornados, followed in the Top 5 by Little Eva’s The Loco-motion, Tommy Roe’s Sheila, Carole King’s It Might As Well Rain Until September (a good week for King, with two Top 5 hits), and, down from #2, She’s Not You by Elvis (a song I don’t even know).

It’s strange to think that there was a brief time when The Beatles were selling records but Beatlemania didn’t yet exist. Nobody in October 1962 could have predicted what madness would ensue the following year. Nobody would have had a clue that just over three years later, this group would record something as pioneering as Tomorrow Never Knows, or that this group would become the biggest band in the world for six years.

For all the record-buyers of October 1962 knew, Love Me Do might have been the only thing ever worth buying by these lads from Liverpool — in as far as many people thought even this was worth owning, as the chart position of #11 suggests. Soon they’d know better.

After Please Please Me reached #2 in early 1963, The Beatles notched up 21 more UK Top 5 hits until they split in 1970. Only one of them was not in the Top 2 — Something in 1969 — and 17 topped the charts (including 11 consecutive #1s). In the US, The Beatles broke similar records.

Paul McCartney went solo only after The Beatles group broke up. By then Harrison and Lennon had already released solo stuff. Paul issued is debut solo album, McCartney, exactly a week after he announced the Beatles’ break-up on 10 April 1970. Five tracks from that album feature by way of covers on this second Paul McCartney Songbook. This mix follows the Paul McCartney Songbook Vol. 1, which covered his compositions for The Beatles.

So here we have McCartney’s solo career — actually solo or with the Wings — in covers. It’s surprising that for some well-known hits there are no decent covers, at least none I can think of. These include Hi Hi Hi, which is a pity, and Mull Of Kintyre, which is just as well.

I’m pleased that another recent Songbook subject features here, in Brian Wilson. As mentioned before, Wilson was born only two days after Paul McCartney, which I find extraordinary. Alas, the Brian Wilson Songbook featured no cover by McCartney. And ex-Wings man Denny Laine turns up to do one of the more underrated McCartney numbers.

Many of the songs here featured on my Beatles Reunited series, which put together solo tracks by the respective Beatles alumni to create notional Beatles albums: Everest (1971), Smile Away (1972), Live (1972), Photographs (1974), Reunited 77 (1977), and Let It See (1980).

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, includes home-rolled covers, and the above text in an illustrated PDF. PW in comments.

1. Maynard Ferguson – Jet (1974)
2. Billy Paul – Let ‘Em In (1976)
3. Sunday’s Child – Maybe I’m Amazed (1970)
4. Richie Havens – Band On The Run (1974)
5. The 5th Dimension – Every Night (1971)
6. Guns N’ Roses – Live And Let Die (1991)
7. Def Leppard – Helen Wheels (2014)
8. Big Sugar – Let Me Roll It (1998)
9. Denny Laine – Listen To What The Man Said (1996)
10. Michael Carpenter – Junior’s Farm (2011)
11. Brian Wilson – Wanderlust (2014)
12. Corinne Bailey Rae – Bluebird (2014)
13. John Pizzarelli feat. Michael McDonald – Coming Up (2015)
14. Ardijah – Silly Love Songs (1999)
15. Nancy Wilson – My Love (1974)
16. Peggy Lee – Let’s Love (1974)
17. John Denver – Junk (1971)
18. Grateful Dead – That Would Be Something (1991)
19. Death Cab For Cutie – Dear Boy (2009)
20. Robert Smith – C Moon (2014)
21. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Monkberry Moon Delight (1979)
Bonus Tracks:
22. Freddie Hubbard – Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (1971)
23. Cass Elliot – My Love (1973)

GET IT! or HERE!

Previous Songbooks:
ABBA
Ashford & Simpson
Barry Gibb Vol. 1
Barry Gibb Vol. 2
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Brian Wilson
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Carole Bayer Sager
Carole King Vol. 1
Carole King Vol. 2
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter Vol. 1
Cole Porter Vol. 2
Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Holland-Dozier-Holland
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Lamont Dozier
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Rod Temperton
Steely Dan

Categories: Covers Mixes, Mix CD-Rs, Songbooks Tags:

Any Major Lamont Dozier Songbook

September 27th, 2022 3 comments

 

A few weeks ago we marked the death on August 8 of Lamont Dozier with a mix of songs he wrote at Motown with the brothers Brian and Eddie Holland. This is a sequel to the Any Major Holland-Dozier-Holland Songbook, covering almost exclusively the post-Motown era, during which Dozier still worked with the Hollands, but also with others and on his own.

Holland-Dozier-Holland split from Motown acrimoniously. Having founded the Invictus label, which created some of the greatest early-‘70s soul music, the trio were precluded by a lawsuit from crediting themselves for the songs they wrote. That’s how the fictional Edith Wayne, a pseudonym for HDH, came to co-write soul classics such as Band Of Gold, Give Me Just A Little More Time, Dangling On A String, Everything’s Tuesday, Westbound No. 9, Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup), and others.

The legal strife with Berry Gordy Jr was nasty business, but according to Dozier it was exactly that: just business. So by the mid-1970s, the Hollands worked with Motown again, in a delightful twist producing The Supremes, the band which in the 1960s they had produced to superstardom (and listen to Freda Payne’s Deeper And Deeper to hear some of that residual Supremes-like magic). On The Supremes’ 1976’s hit album High Energy, only Mary Wilson was left of the classic line-up. Sharing the lead by then was Scherrie Payne, Freda’s younger sister. But on the featured track, the Dozier co-written Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You, Wilson takes the lead.

Before Scherrie joined The Supremes in 1973, she was in the Invictus band The Glass House, featured here with the gospel-funk track Heaven Is There To Guide Us, for which she received a co-writer’s credit, as she did for Crumbs Off The Table, a Glass House track covered here by Dusty Springfield.

There are two other songs with a faith-based theme here, both glorious grooves. The Sylvers’ Touch Me Jesus and Harrison Kennedy’s Sunday Morning People (which attacks the hypocrisy of people in the pews). In their original versions, by The Glass House (actually recorded by Darlene Love’s The Blossoms) and The Honey Cone respectively, both songs featured on the excellent Saved! The Soul Edition mix.

Perhaps the second-most surprising cover artist here, after Motörhead, is Donny Osmond. He covers the Chairmen of the Board’s glorious Dangling On A String. One might fear the worst, since Donald’s artistic reputation did not hinge on his powress as a traditional soul man. In the event, it is an agreeable interpretation — and not surprisingly, since co-writer Brian Holland produced the 1977 album this comes from.

Motörhead’s contribution from 1977, Leaving Here, is the only song here that belongs firmly in the Holland-Dozier-Holland Motown era. It was one of the trio’s earliest compositions, having been first released as a single in 1963 by Eddie Holland. It made no commercial impression, but in 1977, Lemmy and his pals Phil and Eddie recorded the song as their debut single. It’s not like Motörhead were deep-tracking obscure Motown material; their inspiration was a 1965 recording by the group The Birds, which counted among its members a fresh-faced Ronnie Woods.

The mix kicks off with Odyssey’s magnificent version of Going Back To My Roots, a song Dozier wrote on his own and recorded in 1977. Hugh Masekela helped Dozier infuse the song with its Afro-pop sensibility, which the Odyssey cover retained (including the Yoruba chant). It had already been covered by Richie Haven, but Odyssey had a huge hit with it in Europe in 1981. It topped the charts in South Africa, the home which Masekela could not return to… Dozier’s original featured on Any Major Originals: Soul Vol. 1).

Most tracks here were co-written by Dozier with others; the writing credits can be found in the ID3 tags of the song files. On 12 of the 30 tracks here, Ron Dunbar got a co-writing credit, mostly alongside that of Edith Wayne. Dunbar left us in April 2018. Dozier later claimed that Dunbar, an A&R man for Invictus, served as a composing front for Brian Holland, again because of the legal troubles with Motown. Dozier and Dunbar can sort that out in pop heaven.

This mix features 30 tracks. If you want to cut it in a standard CD-R, take tracks 1-22. The mix includes home-produced covers, and the above in an illustrated PDF. PW in comments.

1. Odyssey – Going Back To My Roots (1981)
2. Angela Clemmons – Give Me Just A Little More Time (1982)
3. Donny Osmond – Dangling On A String (1977)
4. Lamont Dozier – Why Can’t We Be Lovers (1974)
5. Flaming Ember – Westbound No. 9 (1971)
6. The Honey Cone – While You’re Out Looking For Sugar (1969)
7. Ronnie Dyson – Band Of Gold (1970)
8. Chairmen Of The Board – Everything’s Tuesday (1970)
9. 100 Proof Aged In Soul – Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup) (1971)
10. McKinley Jackson & Politicians – Love Machine (1971)
11. Dusty Springfield – Crumbs Off The Table (1972)
12. Harrison Kennedy – Sunday Morning People (1972)
13. Freda Payne – Deeper And Deeper (1970)
14. The Glass House – Heaven Is There To Guide Us (1971)
15. The Sylvers – Touch Me Jesus (1972)
16. The Blossoms – Cherish What Is Dear To You (1972)
17. The Jones Girls – Come Back (1972)
18. James Gilstrap – Put Out The Fire (1975)
19. Millie Jackson – You Created A Monster (1977)
20. Ben E. King – Let Me Live In Your Life (1978)
21. The Supremes – Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You (1976)
22. Holland-Dozier – New Breed Kinda Woman (1973)
Bonus Tracks:
23. Syreeta – Mind, Body And Soul (c.1969)
24. Dionne Warwick – Don’t Burn The Bridge (That You Took Across) (1973)
25. The Originals – Sweet Rhapsody (1975)
26. Margie Joseph – All Cried Out (1976)
27. Alison Moyet – Invisible (1984)
28. Boy George – To Be Reborn (1987)
29. The Style Council – Hanging On To A Memory (live) (1984)
30. Motörhead – Leaving Here (1978)

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Previous Songbooks:
ABBA
Ashford & Simpson
Barry Gibb Vol. 1
Barry Gibb Vol. 2
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Brian Wilson
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Carole Bayer Sager
Carole King Vol. 1
Carole King Vol. 2
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter Vol. 1
Cole Porter Vol. 2
Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Holland-Dozier-Holland
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Rod Temperton
Steely Dan

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Any Major Charlies

September 15th, 2022 2 comments

Here’s a mix that riffs on a current event, in as far as that event inspired the theme: songs by people called Charles or derivations of that name. It’s basically an excuse to put together a collection of good songs that span various genres. You’ll know some of the Charlies featured, and you may discover a few you might not have known.

As for the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha chap (Windsor is really a made-up stage name), well, good luck to him. After 70 year of his mummy on the throne, the poor sap can’t really succeed. Not that I care much for the robber baron institutions that drain public purses, whether in Britain, Thailand or Eswatini. All systems of inherited privilege are objectionable. I’d not want to take part in the servility that props up aristocracies, with the bowing and scraping and bootlicking and letting miscreants of various levels of sweatiness get away with rape and murder. In the words of a Chuck not featured on this mix: Fight the Power!

But you don’t come here for my outbursts of civic sagacity, but for the music. So here’s the mix of people called Charles, Charley, Charlie, Chuck, Chas, Chaz, Charlotte or Carla, including a track featuring Inez Foxx (with brother Charlie), who died last month. And, fittingly, the Chuck Jackson track was produced by Carole King.

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

1. Carla Thomas – Stop Thief (1967)
2. Inez & Charlie Foxx – Hurt By Love (1964)
3. Chuck Jackson – I Don’t Want To Cry (1961)
4. Chuck Berry – No Particular Place To Go (1964)
5. Charlie Rich – Rebound (1959)
6. Charles Brown – Trouble Blues (1947)
7. Charles Trenet – La Mer (1946)
8. Charlie Watts Quintet feat. Bernard Fowler – My Ship (1993)
9. Ray Charles with Willie Nelson – Seven Spanish Angels (1984)
10. Bobby Charles – I Must Be In A Good Place Now (1972)
11. Chuck Pyle – Colorado (2007)
12. Charlotte Kendrick – Feels Right (2007)
13. Charlie Dore – Pilot Of The Airwaves (1980)
14. Charles & Eddie – Would I Lie To You (Acoustic Version) (1992)
15. Charlie Singleton – Sorry Charlie (1989)
16. Chas & Dave – Ain’t No Pleasing You (1982)
17. Charley Pride – Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger (1967)
18. Charlie Daniels Band – Long Haired Country Boy (1974)
19. Sonny Charles & The Checkmates – Black Pearl (1969)
20. Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band – Road Without An End (1970)
21. Carla Whitney – Wisdom Song (1975)
22. Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers – Come On And Boogie (Part 1) (1980)
23. Tina Charles – I Love To Love (1976)
24. Chaz Jankel – Without You (1983)

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Any Major Laurel Canyon

August 25th, 2022 5 comments

Rarely, if ever, has so much musical talent been concentrated in one suburb as it was in the decade between the mid-1960s and mid-70s in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles.

A popular residential area for film stars during the Golden Age of Hollywood, by the late 1960s Laurel Canyon had become a bohemian refuge, a place where hippies did lots of drugs and wore few clothes.

The pioneer denizen was Frank Zappa, but the sounds that came out of Laurel Canyon were mostly folk and rock and folk-rock. Zappa, The Doors and Alice Coopers were musical outliers amid the likes of Joni Mitchell, Cass Elliott or James Taylor, or even popsters like The Monkees’ Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz.

Queen Bee of Laurel Canyon

The queen bee was Cass Elliott of The Mamas and the Papas — whose producer, the legendary Lou Adler, also lived there. Her parties were the place to be, according to virtually every alumnus. At one of these parties, Cass suggested that David Crosby of The Byrds should team up with Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash of The Hollies, believing that their voices would go well together. The idea, as it turned out, was inspired.

Nash would later write a song about life on Laurel Canyon. Our House, on CSN&Y’s Déjà Vu album, was written about his domestic bliss with girlfriend Joni Mitchell. The two even home-recorded a demo of the song. But by the time Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded it, Mitchell had dumped Nash. In fact, during the recording of Déjà Vu, all four members were nursing broken hearts (in Crosby’s case due to a tragic bereavement).

If Cass Elliott was the social locus of Laurel Canyon, with Dolenz’s home running a close second, then Joni Mitchell might have been the artistic leader. She’d even make an album about Laurel Canyon, sensibly called Ladies Of The Canyon.

As word spread about this musical refuge, more musicians moved in. In the 1970s, this was also accompanied by a different kind of drug culture, with cocaine supplanting weed and acid as the favoured form of substance use. The extended Summer of Love was ending in Laurel Canyon as well, with external events like the Manson Murders darkening the good vibes.

Tragic Singer

Not every member of the Canyon set became big stars like Joni Mitchell or James Taylor. Sadly, gifted artists like Judee Sill or Linda Perhacs never broke through and today are widely forgotten, unjustly so. Perhacs debut album in 1970 remained her only one for 44 years.

The extravangantly gifted Judee Sill, perhaps best-known for her song Jesus Was a Cross Maker, might be Laurel Canyon’s most tragic singer. In her young days, she was engaged in criminal activities, including robberies. She mended her ways in reform school, where she picked up an interest in Christianity which would find expression in her songs. Moving to LA, she soon experimented with drugs, picking up a heroin addiction (which led her to a stint in jail in the 1960s).

As a person Sill was troubled, as a musician, however, she excelled. Nash and Crosby appointed her as their opening act on tour, through which she landed a recording contract. She recorded two fine albums, but to no commercial success. Injuries from car accidents, health problems and drug abuse followed her until a drug overdose killed Sill in 1979.

Laurel Canyon on LP Covers

A couple of famous album covers were shot in Laurel Canyon. The cover photo Carole King’s Tapestry was taken in the living room of her house at 8815 Appian Way (the story of that cover is told in the Tapestry Recovered post).

The cover of Crosby, Still & Nash’s eponymous album, the one with the beaten-up sofa on a porch, was taken at a random house Graham Nash had discovered in Palm Avenue (between Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevards). The shoot, by Henry Diltz, was great, but there was a snag: the trio had yet to decide on the order of their names in the supergroup. When they decided on the Crosby-Stills-Nash order, their positions on the couch photo were in the incorrect order. So a couple of days later, they piled into the car to reshoot the image, in which the members would sit in the correct order — but when the group got there, the house had been torn down. In the end, they just went with that perfect shot, sitting order notwithstanding.

Diltz was a major contributor to the excellent 2020 two-part documentary Laurel Canyon, which features rare photo and video material. A great companion piece is the 2019 documentary Echo In The Canyon, which was a project of Jakob Dylan, which connects the Laurel Canyon scene with contemporary musicians.The mix is sequenced to fit on a standard CD-R, if you take tracks 1-25, but there are seven more songs to enjoy. It includes home-smoked covers and the above as an illustrated linernotes PDF. PW in comments.

1. Jackie DeShannon – Laurel Canyon (1969)
2. The Mamas & The Papas – Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) (1968)
3. The Byrds – Eight Miles High (1966)
4. Love – Orange Skies (1966)
5. Buffalo Springfield – Sit Down I Think I Love You (1966)
6. Joni Mitchell – Ladies Of The Canyon (1970)
7. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Our House (1970)
8. Judee Sill – Crayon Angels (1971)
9. Jackson Browne – Jamaica Say You Will (1970)
10. Carole King – Sweet Seasons (1970)
11. Dave Mason – Just A Song (1970)
12. Little Feat – Fool Yourself (1973)
13. Bonnie Raitt – Too Long At The Fair (1971)
14. Carly Simon – The Right Thing To Do (1972)
15. James Taylor – Blossom (1970)
16. Linda Perhacs – Sandy Toes (1972)
17. Poco – Just For Me And You (1971))
18. Eagles – Peaceful Easy Feeling (1972)
19. America – Lonely People (1974)
20. Ned Deheny – On And On (1973)
21. The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band – Border Town (1974)
22. Mama Cass – Make You Own Kind Of Music (1969)
23. Flying Burrito Brothers – Sin City (1969)
24. Judy Henske & Jerry Yester – Charity (1969)
25. The Monkees – For Pete’s Sake (1969)
Bonus Tracks:
26. The Turtles – So Happy Together (1966)
27. Three Dog Night – Never Been To Spain (1971)
28. Linda Ronstadt – Long Long Time (1970)
29. Fleetwood Mac – Landslide (1975)
30. John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers – Laurel Canyon Home (1968)
31. The Doors – Love Street (1968)
32. Alice Cooper – Living (1969)

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Any Major Party

August 9th, 2022 3 comments

 

Summertime is party time. I was thinking of that when I mused about the best-ever movie about a party. Superbad might the funniest (and one of the best about real friendship), and some people might swear by Belushi comedies or John Hughes films or 1960s beach flicks involving Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. After due consideration, I regard Dazed And Confused as the greatest film about partying. In fact, I think it’s really a documentary.

But you’re not here to read about my preferences in the domain of films, but for the music. So here is a mix of songs about parties. They must be, or at least pretend to be, about get-togethers. And I limited an endless list by allowing only songs that have the word “party” in the title, and even avoided the one most people will have thought of first, because at my parties, no tears! Not much more to it, so everybody, it’s time to party down.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-boogiedowned covers, and this whole post in PDF. PW in comment.

Marvin Gaye – It’s Party Time (1962)
The Party Vibe: Boogie down with endurance. “We can shake it, we can take it, woo!”

The Show Stoppers – Ain’t Nothing But A Houseparty (1968)
The Party Vibe: Architecturally instructive. “They’re dancing on the ceiling, they’re dancing on the floor.”

Curtis Mayfield – Party Night (1976)
The Party Vibe: Food, dance, possibility of sex. “Having cheese and wine, dancing all the time.”

Dee Dee Sharp Gamble – Let’s Get This Party Started (1980)
The Party Vibe: Expectant. “Don’t you want to get funky?”

Raydio – It’s Time To Party Now (1980)
The Party Vibe: Talking, fronting, man-chasing. “But whatever you’re here for, you’ve got to get on down.

Gloria Gaynor – Anybody Wanna Party? (1978)
The Party Vibe: Prelude to hot lurve. “I could dig some slow dance, I could dig some girl-meets-boy.”

Luther Vandross – Bad Boy/Having A Party (1982)
The Party Vibe: Joyfully destructive. “The chandelier downstairs has fallen.”

Rhinestones – Party Music (1975)
The Party Vibe: Eclectic. “Moving with the masters, Motown to Ravel.”

Jona Lewie – You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties (1980)
The Party Vibe: Dull. “At last I met a pretty girl, she laughed and talked with me. We both walked out of the kitchen and danced in a new way.”

Dar Williams – Party Generation (1997)
The Party Vibe: Nerdy. “And he said, ‘Don’t you know the game Kazaam? It’s a better game’.”

Rick Nelson – Garden Party (1972)
The Party Vibe: Celeb-filled. “Everyone was there, Yoko brought her walrus.”

Don Gibson – Give Myself A Party (1958)
The Party Vibe: Masturbatory. “I’m gonna give myself a party and serve old memories.”

Elvis Presley – Party (1957)
The Party Vibe: Zoological. I’ve never kissed a bear, I’ve never kissed a goon, but I can shake a chicken in the middle of the room.”

Claudine Clark – Party Lights (1962)
The Party Vibe: Lonesome. “Oh, everybody in the crowd is there. Ooh, but you [Mama] won’t let me make the scene.”

The Pixies Three – Birthday Party (1964)
The Party Vibe: Platter-spinning. “I got the latest records we all know and we can dance to the radio.”

Stevie Wonder – The Party At The Beach House (1964)
The Party Vibe: Grammatically incorrect. “You’re gonna see all of your friends you haven’t seen since school begins.”

Tami Lynn – At The Party (1966)
The Party Vibe: Is this a party? “If I show you how to shimmy will you show me how to shout… shake it up and shake it down.”

Jay W. McGee – When We Party (Uptown, Downtown) (1982)
The Party Vibe:
Peaceful. “And there’s never any trouble ’cause we know what we come for.”

Harari – Party (1981)
The Party Vibe: Groovin’. “Everybody was dancing and rocking. My feet got the message too.”

Prince – Partyup (1980)
The Party Vibe: Anti-war. “I don’t want to die, I just want to have a bloody good time.”

The Holmes Brothers – Stayed At The Party (2013)
The Party Vibe: Regretful. “If it was dry, I’d smoke, if it was wet, I’d drink it.”

Alexander O’Neal – When The Party Is Over (1987)
The Party Vibe: Hopeful. “There’s no need to leave when the party’s over.”

Allen Toussaint – When The Party’s Over (1973)
The Party Vibe: Winding down romantically. “When the party’s over and everybody’s gone, we can trip out to a space where we can be alone.”

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Best of Any Major Summer

July 20th, 2022 3 comments

For us in the southern hemisphere, it’s winter. Though where I am, it’s a beautiful day today; the sun is shining, the windows are open, and it’s 23 degrees Celsius. Still, brrrr…

On the other side of the planet, where most of you, the readers, reside, it’s summer. Some of you might be suffering heatwaves; some might even enjoy those, as a relief from summer rains.

So to keep you in the sunshiney mood, here’s a Best of Any Major Summer collection, drawn from the five Any Major Summer and three Any Major Beach mixes. All these mixes are still up, as well as all five summer mixes in two convenient parcels.

Are these 23 tracks really the “best” of the 170+ songs on those eight seasonal collections? Well, it’s subjective; some are obvious and inevitable summer song choices, others may be a bit more unexpected. On another day, I might have chosen some other songs — and I add seven of those that didn’t make the cut as bonus tracks — but this compilation certainly captures the summer vibe. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

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

1. Meat Loaf – You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (1977)
2. Jay Ferguson – Thunder Island (1977)
3. Billy Idol – Hot In The City (1982)
4. The Style Council – Long Hot Summer (1983)
5. Chris Rea – On The Beach (Summer ‘88) (1988)
6. The Blackbyrds – Hot Day Today (1974)
7. Osibisa – Sunshine Day (1975)
8. Sly and the Family Stone – Hot Fun In The Summertime (1969)
9. War – All Day Music (1971)
10. Seals & Croft – Summer Breeze (1972)
11. Lovin’ Spoonful – Summer In The City (1966)
12. Young Rascals – Groovin’ (1967)
13. The Beach Boys – All Summer Long (1964)
14. Martha and the Vandellas – Dancing In The Streets (1964)
15. Ann Cole – Summer Nights (1958)
16. Sam Cooke – Summertime (1959)
17. Pat Boone – Love Letters In The Sand (1957)
18. The Drifters – Under The Boardwalk (1964)
19. Mungo Jerry – In The Summertime (1970)
20. First Class – Beach Baby (1974)
21. Corinne Bailey Rae – Put Your Records On (2006)
22. Sheryl Crow – Soak Up The Sun (2002)
23. Jens Lekman – A Sweet Summer’s Night On Hammer Hill (2005)

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Previously in Any Major Summer & Beaches
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Any Major Hits from 1972 – Vol. 2

July 12th, 2022 2 comments

Here’s the second mix of Hits from 1972, Volume 1 having dropped in January. While the first mix was mostly US-centric, this one reflects the UK and/or European experience, even as some of these songs were also hits in the US. And by hits, I also mean Top 30 numbers, for these too received airplay. As always, the songs are collated not for their high musical merit, though none are included because I think they’re rubbish — I like them all. The idea is to capture the vibe of the year, and perhaps to place pop standards by the likes of Bowie or T. Rex in their charting context.

The opening track was a novelty hit for funk band The Jimmy Castor Bunch, the title of which describes certain sections of the US political establishment quite perfectly. Advisory warning: the lyrics do not enlightened gender politics. It was a Top 30 hit in the US and in West-Germany, but did not chart in the UK.

One track here charted in neither US nor UK, but was a hit in Europe. Proudfoot was a South African band quickly put together after their big hit was recorded! Their hit Delta Queen was recorded by a group of session musicians which included the legendary producer and songwriter Mutt Lange on bass and future Yes member and film score composer Trevor Rabin on guitar. When the song caught on, new personnel was quickly assembled to become a band that continued to have some success. Delta Queen was a big hit in the Low Countries, and a Top 30 hit in West-Germany, where French singer Ricky Shane recorded a German cover, which became a bigger hit than the original.

No relations to the South African at are Blackfoot Sue, not to be confused with Southern Rock band Blackfoot. A British foursome, Blackfoot Sue had one UK #4 hit, the featured Standing In The Road, and another track later that year which scraped into the Top 40. And that was it for Blackfoot Sue as far as hits were concerned. They had minor success in the US and UK in 1977 with an Arif Mardin-produced album on which Cissy Houston did backing vocals.

Dutch band The Cats on a poster in the German ‘Bravo’ magazine in September 1972.

 

Before they became teen idols, the Bay City Rollers aimed to be a serious pop band. In 1972 they released their single Mañana, written by Alan Blaikley (who died last week) and Jen Howard. The line-up included Nobby Clark on vocals, and from the incarnation that made girls faint, only the two Longmuir brothers — the two guys least likely to make little girls’ hearts race faster — were present. Mañana was later re-recorded with Leslie McKeown on vocals, but it was the Clark-led version that was a hit in West-Germany.

One of the biggest stars on the German music scene was Vicky Leandros, the Greek-born and Hamburg-based singer who won the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest for Luxembourg with the superb Apres Toi. The song became a hit in various languages; in the UK it was titled Come What May (in Germany it was called Dann Kammst Du). Leandros became internationally know in 1967 when she came fourth in the Eurovision with the excellent L’amour Est Bleu, which became a worldwide hit in Paul Mauriat’s easy listening version. Both Leandros songs feature on Any Major Eurovision.

Two songs in particular remind me of my very first days of schooling. One is the plaintive One Way Wind (which is not about flatulence) by Dutch band The Cats (named after a creature that can be flatulent). Between 1968 and 1983, The Cats were perhaps the biggest act in the Netherlands, with 18 Top Ten hits there, including five #1s, and twenty-nine Top 20 hits. But their international breakthrough was One Way Wind in 1972. In West-Germany, the world’s third-biggest singles market, it reached #4. Follow-up Let’s Dance did even one rung better.

The other song that reminds me of my first school-day is the synth instrumental Popcorn by Hot Butter, a much-covered song originally by Gershon Kingsley (see Any Major Originals – The 1970s Vol. 2). In Hot Butter’s version, it was a Top 10 hit all over the world, also in the US and UK. In West-Germany it topped the charts for here weeks. Hot Butter was really Stan Free, an American jazz musician, composer, conductor and arranger, plus a bunch of session musicians.

1972 was the year when the Moog synthesizer settled in the music charts. British band Chicory Tip claim to have been the first to use it on a UK chart hit. The stomping Son Of My Father may well have been, but Chicory Tip were hardly the innovators they claimed to be. Their version is a faithful cover of the original by Giorgio Moroder, who wrote it in Germany with singer Michael Holm, who first released the song in German.  The story is also told in Any Major Originals – The 1970s Vol. 2.

Finally, there was Marc Bolan of T. Rex. In his Children Of The Revolution, he sings: “I drive a Rolls Royce ’cause it’s good for my voice”. Being a passenger in a Mini was less so…

So, what were the hits that soundtracked your 1972?

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).

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, includes home-popcorned covers, and the above text in an illustrated PDF. PW in Comments.

1. The Jimmy Castor Bunch – Troglodyte (Cave Man)
2. Deep Purple – Never Before
3. Jo Jo Gunne – Run Run Run
4. Blackfoot Sue – Standing In The Road
5. Slade – Mama Weer All Crazee Now
6. T. Rex – Children Of The Revolution
7. David Bowie – Starman
8. Lindisfarne – Meet Me On The Corner
9. Bee Gees – Run To Me
10. Don McLean – Vincent
11. Python Lee Jackson feat. Rod Stewart – In A Broken Dream
12. The Fortunes – Storm In A Teacup
13. The O’Jays – Back Stabbers
14. Chi-Lites – Oh Girl
15. The Stylistics – I’m Stone In Love With You
16. Vicky Leandros – Come What May
17. The Cats – One Way Wind
18. Proudfoot – Delta Queen
19. Elton John – Crocodile Rock
20. John Kincade – Dreams Are Ten A Penny
21. Bay City Rollers – Mañana
22. Middle Of The Road – Bottom’s Up
23. Chicory Tip – Son Of My Father
24. Hot Butter – Popcorn

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Any Major Hits from 1944
Any Major Hits from 1961
Any Major Hits from 1970
Any Major Hits from 1971
Any Major Hits from 1972 Vol. 1

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