Friday, October 13, 2006

October 1973: We May Never Pass This Way Again

I recall hearing somewhere--although I can't find anything online to substantiate it--that something about the hormones that rage through us during adolescence interferes with our memory. I'd buy that, based on the evidence of my own life. Whether it's hormones or some other reasons I've completely forgotten, October 1973, unlike other Octobers when I was a kid, is largely a black hole in my memory.

It was an eventful time in history, though, and I do remember watching a lot of that unfold. On October 20, the Saturday Night Massacre occurred when President Nixon ordered the attorney general to fire the Watergate prosecutor. The attorney general quit; his deputy refused to fire the prosecutor and got fired himself before Nixon found somebody in the Justice Department who would follow his order. It happened while the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East had the United States and the Soviet Union on edge, and days after Vice President Agnew resigned in a corruption scandal. (Some observers at the time feared that Nixon might be on the verge of instituting one-man rule.) As a news junkie, I would have followed all these events. I can remember watching the evening news and hearing of the Massacre, and of hearing stories about the Middle Eastern war on the radio. And after the news was over, it was back to music--even though I don't remember it much. Here are five records that were playing on WLS during the week of October 13, 1973:

"Jimmy Loves Mary Anne"/Looking Glass. This record is closer to the way the Looking Glass intended themselves to sound than their legendary Number One, "Brandy," which had that classic 70s pop sound--and that was after they'd already rejected one producer's version of it as too bubblegummy. "Jimmy Loves Mary Anne," on the other hand, is elegant, adult, and extremely cool, which probably explains why it was a relative stiff compared to "Brandy"--although in Chicago, it went all the way to Number Two.

"Keep on Truckin'"/Eddie Kendricks. The famous R. Crumb cartoon came first, but Eddie Kendricks turned the title into a catch-phrase, at least amongst the junior high crowd.

"Free Ride"/Edgar Winter Group. In the 1970s, there were sometimes huge differences between 45 mixes and album versions, and this is perhaps the greatest example. The album version, from They Only Come Out at Night, sounds muffled and clunky. The 45 version has more guitar bite, louder drums, and tweaks the bass for maximum thunder through those little radio speakers.

"We're an American Band"/Grand Funk.
I went out and bought this sledgehammer 45 almost immediately upon hearing for the first time. Gold vinyl, picture sleeve. Still own it. Produced by Todd Rundgren.

"We May Never Pass This Way Again"/Seals and Crofts.
I was quite taken with this song back in the day. Not enough to buy the single, but enough to buy the sheet music. It was the only piece of sheet music I ever bought. If you have never heard this song played by a single tenor saxophone . . . count yourself lucky.

(Buy the Looking Glass here.)

Recommended Reading: The amazing Locust St. is undertaking another ambitiously themed project to celebrate its second anniversary--by jumping from 1906 to the present in 10 steps. The first two steps are up now. I love the whole concept for two big reasons: First, The Hits Just Keep On Comin' may be the only other music blog on the whole freakin' Internet that's written about pioneer recording stars Billy Murray and Bert Williams. Second, we've actually heard of pioneer recording star Vess Ossman.

Also recommended: Did you ever try editing music by using the "pause" button on your cassette deck? If so, Beware of the Blog's "A Moment of Pause" is for you. And me.


At 9:56 PM, Blogger C. said...

hey there--thanks so much for the mention. and glad to hear poor Bert Williams has another fan out there.


At 11:50 AM, Blogger Layla (aka Barbara) said...

I love reading here and having memories of all the good old songs.

And yes - I used the pause button to edit all the time!!!

At 9:50 PM, Blogger wzjn said...

I have the Grand Funk album on yellow vinyl - very cool at the time. Funny you mention them, I almost put up a Grand Funk post this week until I remembered about Lennon.

The Looking Glass song, to me, is a classic. I'd like to hear 'Jimmy Loves Maryanne' instead of Brandy on the so-called 'oldies' stations. Why do they insist on playing only one song by an artist - no matter how big they are? Maybe that's a post you can tackle another time.

At 9:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Locust St. Were you in Philadelphia in 1973?

I love that song by Seals & Crofts. I heard it in Sears this morning and just hung back listening to it,

At 6:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't understand why Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne by The Looking Glass wasn't a bigger hit than it was. It is definitely a better song than Brandy, as it is more Jazzy and Elegant and it has a great hook. Maybe I like it because it hasn't been over murderized like Brandy and It's counterparts on the oldies & A/C ststions over the years.

At 12:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jimmy Loves MaryAnne by Looking Glass is a wonderful tune.

Outstanding musicianship with above-par lyrics and excellent singing.

Yeah, it's a subjective opinion but I rate the song as among the top pop songs of the era.

Oh how that instrumentation is "tight." True professionals at work.


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