This is the last “freebie” day for 2017, and I’m going to use it to continue my trip through the one-hit wonders of the 1970’s that didn’t reach #1 (Cathy did those). Today’s focus is on 1973. There are a dozen tunes in this list, and I’m sure that, for some of you, there is at least one of them that’s an EBS Special. Hey, that’s life. I won’t feel bad if you skip over those.
- Timmy Thomas, “Why Can’t We Live Together” Title track from Timmy’s 1972 album, this was released late that year and peaked in January 1973 at #3 on the Pop chart and #1 on the R&B chart. Shows what you can do with a Hammond organ and a drum machine. I understand the whole album was like this. He’s had better luck on the R&B chart over the years.
- Hurricane Smith, “Oh Babe, What Would You Say” Noman “Hurricane” Smith was a record engineer and producer who worked with The Beatles and Pink Floyd. He had some success in his native UK earlier, but this was his first song to reach the US, where it reached #1 on the Cash Box survey and #3 on the Hot 100.
- King Harvest, “Dancing In The Moonlight” King Harvest were four American expatriates who joined forces in Paris. This was the title track from their 1973 album, and it reached #13 on the Hot 100. I had a friend in college who sang this pretty much all the time.
- The Blue Ridge Rangers, “Jambalaya” I first heard this and thought, “Hey, that sounds like John Fogerty from CCR!” Turns out, it was John Fogerty, whon sang and played all the instruments on the eponymous 1972 album. This is the old Hank Williams tune, of course. This peaked at #16 on the Hot 100.
- Edward Bear, “Last Song” Edward Bear were a Canadian trio from the Toronto area who took their name from Winnie-The-Pooh, whose real name was Edward. (I had a bear named Egbert when I was a kid.) This song reached #3 on the Hot 100 and the Cash Box survey, #1 on the dult Contemporary and Canadian RPM charts.
- Deodato, “Also Sprach Zarathustra” Here’s one for Mark, who wanted to learn it when he first heard it. Eumir Deodato de Almeida is a Brazilian pianist, composer, and producer, primarily in jazz but adds in elements of pop, rock, bossa nova, disco, and classical. His arrangement of Richard Strauss’s music reached #2 in the US and wo him a Grammy in 1974.
- Loudon Wainwright III, “Dead Skunk” Here’s one for Kip, who liked it so much. (At least, I think he did.) Wainwright has released almost thirty studio albums over his almost 50-year career, but just has the one single, this one. He lists as his influences Tom Lehrer and Stan Freberg. It was released in November 1972 and it peaked at #16 on the Hot 100 and #12 on the Cash Box survey in late March.
- Skylark, “Wildflower” Skylark is a band from Vancouver, BC that was active from 1971 to 1973. This song was on their eponymous 1972 release and peaked at #9 on the Hot 100, after which they broke up. Keyboardist David Foster went on to write the Love Theme for the 1985 movie St. Elmo’s Fire.
- Focus, “Hocus Pocus” Focus is a Dutch progressive rock band that has been around since 1969 in one form or another. This was from their second album, 1971’s Moving Waves, and featured keyboards and vocals by Thijs van Leer and guitarist Jan Akkerman. It reached #9 in the US and #20 in the UK.
- Manu Dibango, “Soul Makossa” Dibango is a Cameroonian jazz saxophonist. This was the title track from his 1972 album, and it made it all the way to #7.
- B. W. Stevenson, “My Maria” Louis Charles “B. W.” Stevenson (he said the B. W. stood for “Buck Wheat”) was a country pop artist from Dallas, Texas. He was supposed to be the first artist on the PBS series Austin City Limits, but the recording was bad and Willie Nelson was the pilot artist instead. “My Maria” reached #10 on the Hot 100 in September, and was his only pop hit. Sadly, B. W. died in 1988 while undergoing heart surgery to replace a valve. Brooks & Dunn had a hit with this in 1996.
- Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell, “Dueling Banjos” From the 1973 movie Deliverance, which I had to read in English. A friend of mine and I went to see the movie when it came out, and when I heard this song, I knew it was going to be all over the radio. This reached #2 in March 1973, so I was right. It also inspired a parody by Martin Mull, “Dueling Tubas”, which also found some chart success in 1973 and was itself a one-hit wonder.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for November 27, 2017.