Friday, October 14, 2005

Top 5: Listening to You, I Get the Music

Thirty-five years ago this week, a titanic event rocked the universe of 10-year-olds. "I Think I Love You" by the Partridge Family made its debut on the Hot 100. (The family's eponymous TV series had premiered only a couple of weeks earlier.) It wasn't the highest-debuting single of the week--"Cry Me a River" by Joe Cocker entered the chart at Number 62--and it took a while to catch fire. It went from 75 to 60 to 41 before blasting to Number 17, then to 7, 4, and finally, Number One, on November 21, 1970.

While it's true that there was plenty of other bubblegum on the radio at the same time (Tony Orlando and Dawn's "Candida," a record about which I am totally irrational, peaked at Number Three the same week "I Think I Love You" debuted; Bobby Sherman's "Julie, Do Ya Love Me" was at Number Six; R. Dean Taylor's "Indiana Wants Me" was on the charts as well), the Sixties weren't long over, and Top 40 radio could still rock. Here are five records you'd also have heard during this week of 1970, which still do.

"Green Eyed Lady"/Sugarloaf. (Chart position: #8)
The organ is my favorite jazz and rock instrument, and I think I probably acquired the taste, at least a little bit, from this record. You really need the long version, which clocks in at about seven minutes, to get the full effect, but even on the 45, this was about as cool as Top 40 radio ever got.

"25 or 6 to 4"/Chicago. (Chart position: #26) I've been trying to think of a record on which the horn section rocked harder than Chicago's did here, and the best I can do is Benny Goodman's 1937 big-band masterpiece "Sing Sing Sing," which a friend of mine insists is the first heavy-metal record.

"Closer to Home"/Grand Funk Railroad. (Chart position: #27)
"Closer to Home" was retitled for 45 release. It was known as "I'm Your Captain" to album buyers, who also knew it as running twice as long, at just under 10 minutes. However, the single version provides what's necessary on a song like nothing else this band ever recorded.

"See Me, Feel Me"/The Who (Chart position: #51) As a radio-crazed 10-year-old, I knew about the rock opera Tommy, although for several years, this would be the only song from it that I knew. What I also didn't know then was how much of a radio momentum-killer it could have been--but that's why they had those uptempo-to-downtempo jingles.

"Funk #49"/James Gang. (Chart position: #73) This classic-rock essential would have sounded mighty weird next to the Partridge Family or Bobby Sherman, but that's the beautiful thing about 70s Top 40.

(If you have enjoyed this crappy post, be sure to visit the Daily Aneurysm for today's Friday Random 10: Just Can't Stop It.)


At 7:51 PM, Blogger Willie said...

"25 or 6 to 4" without a doubt had great horns. One of my favs is "Pick Up The Pieces" by the Average White Band. The horns were SMOKIN' on that one!

At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whenever I hear "25 or 6 to 4" by Chicago, I always think of the summer of 1970 because WLS and WCFL were playing that song all the time back then. I just love the 4:48 version of it. You also listed "Make Me Smile" by Chicago on your Friday Random Top Ten. That's another great Chicago song. Back in 1984, I heard WLS play a long version of it and I knew that version didn't exist on any Chicago album. I called WLS and talked to Steve Perun who was the Music Director. He told me they pieced it together and what "posts" to listen for to edit it together. I did what he told me and I NAILED IT! I still have a reel-to-reel copy of it which I also recorded into our hard drive at WPVL. This special album version is 4:27 long. ----Shark


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