Friday, April 14, 2006

Top 5: Don't You Write Her Off

Before we begin, here's yet another housekeeping note: It's come to my attention that when this blog is viewed with Internet Explorer, the sidebar column drops to the bottom of the page. I have spent several hours over the last couple of days trying to find a fix that will accommodate all the stuff currently found in the sidebar--but I have decided that several hours is enough. This blog simply isn't going to look right on Internet Explorer. If you want it to look right, you'll need to use the Mozilla Firefox browser, which is what I use, or Netscape, on which the Firefox architecture is based. I don't know what things look like with the Apple Safari browser--but you can get a Mac version of Firefox if you want it. Firefox is better than Internet Explorer anyhow--more secure, more flexible, and you can import all of your IE bookmarks with one or two clicks. Get it here.

And now back to the blog, already in progress.
The spring of 1979 marked the high tide of disco on the pop charts. Although it depends on how you count, it's possible to say that upwards of half the songs on the Top 40 during this week in that year were disco records. If you liked disco, it was a golden age. If you didn't, it was hard times, because few of the nondisco records on the chart during that week were especially memorable. Practically none are remembered at all today, never mind being remembered as classics. However: Here are five records from that discoid springtime that you never hear anymore, but are worth seeking out.

"Precious Love"/Bob Welch. The man who, by Mick Fleetwood's own admission, saved Fleetwood Mac in the early 70s scored a handful of solo hits in the late 70s, the best of which were built on a wall of sound that would make Phil Spector proud: "Ebony Eyes," and this.

"Blow Away"/George Harrison. Harrison was becoming an intermittent presence on the charts by this time, and it would get worse--by the mid 80s, his records would be selling in the low thousands. "Blow Away" is fine, though, identifiable as Harrison from the first second, thanks to that trademark ringing guitar.

"Rhumba Girl"/Nicolette Larson. "Lotta Love" had been slick, but "Rhumba Girl" was more rootsy, and maybe more characteristic of the stuff Larson generally did.

"Get Used to It"/Roger Voudouris. One of the most obscure one-hit wonders of the 1970, Voudouris was a California singer-songwriter--but then again, wasn't everybody? Although he's a trivia answer here, he had more success in Japan and Australia. According to his Wikipedia entry, he became a star in Oz when "he wore a figure hugging white outfit while miming 'Get Used To It' into a wind machine, which led to his status as a sex symbol." Well, whatever it takes.

"Don't You Write Her Off"/McGuinn, Clark and Hillman.
One of the underreported casualties of the disco era was country rock, which had been staggeringly popular, especially where I grew up. In the wake of disco, however, country rock was clearly on its way out. McGuinn, Clark and Hillman had been pioneers of the form with the Byrds, but even they couldn't escape some disco-ish touches on the album from whence this tune came.

Recommended Reading: Earlier this week I wrote about the continuing cannibalization of the Queen catalog. The Plagiarist has more.


At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it weren't for Steve Sesterhenn would we have ever heard of "Get Used To It" by Roger Voudouris?

I might have replaced the radio in my car with another glove compartment if it weren't for these songs in the spring of 1979:
"The Logical Song" - Supertramp
"Rock and Roll Fantasy" -Bad Company
"Cruel to be Kind" -Nick Lowe
"What a Fool Believes" -Doobie Brothers
"Big Shot" -Billy Joel

At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Jeff up north said...

Regarding Queen reissues: I have less than zero interest in picking up any of them (considering I have the originals). That said, the Queen+Paul Rodgers show in Milwaukee a couple of weeks ago was quite entertaining and satisfying.

At 7:15 PM, Blogger skin2skin said...

I love Precious Love and always thought that Get used to it was a nice little song!


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