Thursday, January 19, 2006

Random 10: Nothing to Hide

Since I'll be out of blogging range tomorrow, I'm serving up a Random 10 one day early. This week, the magic random number generator (which is powered--honestly--by a lava lamp somewhere in California) has summoned up the year 1972. So here are 10 random records from the Billboard Hot 100 chart from this week, that year.

11. "You Are Everything"/Stylistics. (peak)
The first Philly soul record I ever bought, on a 45 with the deep purple Avco Records label--and what a record it was, dreamy, ethereal, unlike most everything else the Stylistics ever recorded. It kicked off an amazing streak of hits: "Betcha By Golly Wow," "Rockin' Roll Baby," "Break Up to Make Up," and lots more.

30. "Levon"/Elton John. (rising)
I wouldn't discover this tune until several years later because WLS didn't play it at the time; nor did they play the followup, "Tiny Dancer." Nevertheless, Elton would do OK in 1972, which was the year of Honky Chateau and "Rocket Man."

35. "Stay With Me"/Faces. (rising)
The lower reaches of the top 40 were rockin' during this week. Zeppelin's "Black Dog" was sitting at Number 33, and the J. Geils Band's raucous "Lookin' for a Love" was at Number 38.

42. "(I Know) I'm Losing You"/Rod Stewart. (falling) And also this at Number 42.

43. "Precious and Few"/Climax (rising) Wimpy, sure, especially against the likes of Faces and Zeppelin. But also a romantic pop classic.

53. "Nothing to Hide"/Tommy James. (falling) If there'd been such a thing as contemporary Christian music in 1971, Tommy James would have owned the genre for a while. His album Christian of the World featured several songs that had overtly religious themes (and one massive hit that didn't, "Draggin' the Line"). "Nothing to Hide," from the album My Head, My Bed, and My Red Guitar, continued the revival.

70. "Tupelo Honey"/Van Morrison. (rising) Some songs are just a bit too good for mainstream pop radio, and this was probably one of them, peaking at Number 47. Whenever I played this song on the radio, I used to back-announce it by saying, "There's a song far too classy for any radio show hosted by the likes of me."

78. "Truckin'"/Grateful Dead. (falling)
Lots of people think the Dead never had a hit single until "Touch of Grey" in the 80s. They actually had five singles make the Hot 100 before that, and this was the biggest, peaking at Number 64. Others included "Uncle John's Band," the magnificent "Sugar Magnolia," and 1980's "Alabama Getaway."

91. "Jungle Fever"/Chakachas. (debut)
One of the weirder records of the 1970s, "Jungle Fever" is a rhythm track, mostly, over which somebody, unidentifiable as either male or female, wails the sounds of sexual pleasure in an indeterminate language. The rhythm track may sound familiar, because it's been widely sampled by hip-hop artists in recent years.

99. "Ajax Airlines"/Hudson and Landry. (debut) These guys were Los Angeles DJs who recorded several sketch comedy albums during the early 1970s. A recurring bit involved Landry as the guy behind the counter at Ajax Something--Airlines, Pet Store, Mortuary--and Hudson as an intoxicated patron, back in the days when stuff like that was funny. Their recording of "Ajax Liquor Store" was nominated for a Grammy. One of the most underrated comedy teams of the 1970s.


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