Saturday, July 13, 2013

American Top 40: July 14, 1973

Haven't done one of these in a while.  We are listening to Casey Kasem's countdown for July 14, 1973.  Hearing these shows is one of the very best things about subscribing to Sirius/XM Radio.

We tune at number 23, with the Spinners doing "One of a Kind" -- a very solid song.  Further information in the comments as events warrant.

38 comments:

  1. Number 22: Fred Wesley and the JB's, "Doing It to Death"

    In almost every countdown prior to 1974, there will be a song from James Brown or, as in this case, someone associated with James Brown. It's not really my type of music, but I suppose there are other people who don't like to hear the Elvis songs.

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  2. Number 21: Diana Ross, "Touch Me in the Morning"

    Casey tells us that this is the biggest-moving record of the week, and that Diana Ross almost won an Oscar this year. Is that true? Yes! In 1972, Diana Ross played Billie Holliday in "Lady Sings the Blues." She was nominated for Best Actress, but lost out to Liza Minelli, who won for "Caberet."

    "Touch Me in the Morning," by the way, is a spectacular song. It eventually went all the way to number one.

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    1. If my car radio on scan and that song comes on, I pretty much almost always cause a wreck lunging to turn off the scan.

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  3. Number 20: Bobby "Boris" Pickett, "The Monster Mash"

    This had been a big hit back in 1962, but it was re-released in 1973 and charted again.

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  4. Number 19: Tower of Power, "So Very Hard to Go"

    I remember seeing a lot of Tower of Power records in used-record stores back in the 1980's, but I never bought any of them, and I don't think I've ever heard this song.

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    1. Same here. I always thought Tower of Power was some one-record collection of session musicians.

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  5. Number 18: Sylvia, "Pillow Talk"

    This is not a very good song.

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  6. Number 17: Pink Floyd, "Money"

    This is one of the very few Pink Floyd songs I actually like. After hearing this song on "classic rock" stations for years, it's odd to hear it in the middle of a pop countdown.

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  7. Number 16: Charlie Rich, "Behind Closed Doors"

    Now the countdown is starting to roll. This would be on my list of the 10 greatest country songs of all time -- and it gets a nice shout-out in John Cusack's movie of "High Fidelity."

    Casey introduced this song with a funny anecdote about how years ago, the folks at Sun Records told Charlie Rich his piano playing was too good -- he needed to sound more like Jerry Lee Lewis.

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    1. "Kiss An Angel Good Morning" is also great. A Charlie Rich greatest hits collection would be a pretty good wedding gift from a best man to a groom-to-be.

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  8. Number 15: Barry White, "Gonna Love You Just a Little Bit More"

    You know, I'm pretty sure this song also makes a cameo appearance in "High Fidelity."

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    1. John Cusack probably listened to this episode of AT40 when it aired live. We all probably did.

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  9. Number 14: Bette Midler, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy"

    This was one of the hit singles off of Bette Midler's debut album, which was released in November 1972 and which made her nationally famous.

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    1. Bette Midler's career defies convention.

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  10. Number 13: Seals and Crofts,"Diamond Girl"

    This is a great song that I don't hear often enough. It's too much of a pop song to get a lot of love from the classic rock stations.

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  11. Number 12: Bloodstone, "Natural High"

    I'm not sure I've ever heard this song, which sounds like a bunch of other slow soft songs from this era.

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  12. Number 11: Doobie Brothers, "Long Train Running"

    Casey tells us that the Doobie Brothers are from San Jose. This was the first Doobie Brothers song to make the top 10 -- it peaked at number 8.

    The Doobies later had two songs that went to number one. They were "Black Water" (1974) and "What a Fool Believes" (1977). I love, love, love "Black Water," along with almost everyone else my age who grew up in western Kentucky.

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    1. Casey is wrong, however. I'm pretty certain that the Doobie Brothers are from Reidland.

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    2. In fact, the more I think about it, I'm certain of it: The Doobie Brothers Are From Reidland™.

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  13. Number 10: Dr. John, "Right Place, Wrong Time"

    This countdown keeps going back and forth between soul songs and pop/country-type songs. So it's not surprising that we would go from the Doobies to Dr. John. This is a great song.

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  14. Number 9: Paul McCartney and Wings, "My Love"

    Casey tells us that this is by far the biggest hit for Paul McCartney and Wings -- it was number one for FOUR WEEKS. I had no idea this song was that popular -- it always struck me as a fairly generic effort, given McCartney's enormous talents.

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  15. Number 8: Deep Purple, "Smoke on the Water"

    YEAHHHH!!!!!

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  16. Number 7: Clint Holmes, "Playground in my Mind"

    Casey tells us that Clint Holmes lives in Silver Springs, Maryland, which is only a few miles from where I'm sitting.

    So I check this out. It turns out that Holmes spent the late 1960's singing with the U.S. Army Chorus, and then remained in the D.C. area after his service ended.

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  17. Number 6: The Carpenters, "Yesterday Once More"

    Oh, man, I love this song. Casey tells us that this is the 11th consecutive hit for the Carpenters, but the first one written by Richard Carpenter.

    A few months ago, SmartMom read an article about the Carpenters written at the height of their fame -- somewhere in 1973 or 1974 -- and the author made a big point of painting Richard Carpenter as a mean-spirited bully. Which he may have been. On the other hand, the whole brother/sister relationship is something that I don't personally understand. Based on what I've seen with my own kids, I will say that I'm glad Smart Girl isn't planning to form a band with her brothers.

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  18. Number 5: George Harrison, "Give Me Love"

    It is striking that the former Beatles have two hits in the top 10. And while these are fine songs, they aren't even close to being in the top 50 songs written by the four men who were in the Beatles.

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  19. Number 4: Three Dog Night, "Shambala"

    There is a melancholy quality about this countdown, as it features so many artists who were still big stars in 1973, but who had passed their peak. For example, this is the next-to-last big hit for Three Dog Night. Even the Carpenters only had three more top-5 hits after "Yesterday Once More." And, of course, the former Beatles had already done their best work by 1973 -- as had Diana Ross.

    Together, they were a remarkable generation -- and they've never been replaced.

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    Replies
    1. I knew that Carpenters song was going throw you into an emotional tailspin.

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  20. Number 3: Jim Croce, "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown"

    This was my favorite song in the summer of 1973, and it is still great. Jim Croce's career was really taking off -- this was his fourth hit in the last two years, and it was the biggest of the four. Unfortunately, as of July 1973, Jim Croce had only two months to live -- he died September 20, 1973.

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    1. It's just getting sadder and sadder.

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  21. Number 2: Paul Simon, "Kodachrome"

    Here's another giant from the 1960's who was still huge in 1973 -- even though he had already done his best work. I really like this song, which reminds me of all the folks in the 1970's and 1980's who were really into photography. Remember all those stores that sold special film and paper? And the special lenses and bags? And how each high school yearbook had its own dark room? And TV shows like that episode of "The Brady Bunch" where Greg was the photographer for the football team? And the big arguments about Nikon cameras versus Canon cameras?

    People today, of course, take more pictures than ever. But I don't think they have as much fun doing so.

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  22. Number 1: Billy Preston, "Will It Go Round in Circles?"

    Casey Kasem is very excited about this. He explains that the last three number-one songs have been: (1) Paul McCartney, "My Love,"; (2) George Harrison, "Give Me Love," and (3) Billy Preston, "Will It Go Round in Circles?" But only a few years before, the Beatles and Billy Preston collaborated on "Get Back," and that song also went to number one. So there have been three consecutive number one singles by artists who had previously collaborated on another number-one single. Casey thinks this is amazing -- which, of course it is.

    And with that we leave 1973, which was probably the last truly great year for pop music. As we've noted at several points, the shadows were lengthening for a lot of these artists, and the whole pop scene was about to be disrupted by the rise of disco.

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  23. Great review!! The American music of the 60's and early 70's lives so vividly in my mind today; I can only say my days would so much less were it's sounds not there for the listening. What "JOY" music stirs; to our heart's delight.

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    1. Hear, hear! Well put, Anonymous, and thanks for reading the HP!

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