Here's part II.
So anyway, in 1967, Aretha Franklin (“Respect”) and Stevie Wonder (“I Was Made to Love Her”) made it onto the top 100 list, as did Sam and Dave (“Soul Man”). As much as the 1965 hit list reflected the British invasion, by ’67 a more reasonable balance had returned – 1/3 British, 1/3 US pop of one flavor or another and 1/3 Black artists. (I haven’t actually counted but it feels about like that). The array within the Black artists, is indicative of the time. There are hits by the Supremes (4 hits in ‘67), Arthur Conley, Brenton Wood, Marvin Gaye, the Esquires, the Tremeloes, the Fifth Dimension, Jackie Wilson (“Higher and Higher”), the Temptations, the Bar-Kays, Booker T and the MG’s, Wilson Picket, Aaron Neville, James Brown, Ray Charles, and the Four Tops. But within that cohort, there are radical departures from the “Black” music that showed up just a couple of years previously on the Billboard lists. James Brown and Ray Charles has been successful for years in Black radio but not much penetration beyond that. Some of these bands were still doing precursors to Motown-style music (Wilson Pickett, Jackie Wilson – both amazingly talented). Others, like the Fifth Dimension and Marvin Gaye were pushing the envelope of what people were listened to, regardless of “color” – Fifth Dimension with style and harmonies that were jazz inspired and Marvin Gaye with great music but also much deeper lyrics than most songs of the day.
1967 was also the year the Strawberry Alarm Clock and The Grass Roots, two other band signed with Dunhill had hit records – “Incense and Peppermints”, and “Let’s Live for Today.” Both sound a lot like the InRhodes – especially in terms of the arrangement (similar vocals, whiny organ parts, etc.). Norm Ratner, our Producer, put lots of pressure on Wally (Holmes our manager and primary songwriter) to get us to sound more “like them.” But “we were MUSICIANS, damn it” and not “just a band.” (Hmm, maybe that pride had something to do with their success and not ours). Anyway, ’67 was also the year of “For What It’s Worth” the Buffalo Springfield’s big early hit. The end of ‘65, I remember auditioning a kid when we were first looking for a guitar player (before Howard). We auditioned one guy that looked (in my mind’s eye) what I remember Neil Young looking like. He was with a bass player (that we didn’t need). The audition was weird in that he/they took over and insisted that we just “Jam” for a while to “feel each other out.” After 10 minutes I still didn’t know what key, what tempo or anything else about what we were doing so I stopped playing. Think they left pretty soon after that. The timing (dates), “look” and “vibe” fit so MY story is that we auditioned Neil Young but he was too weird for the InRhodes!
Wally Holmes deserves his own chapter but since I’ve mentioned him a couple of times, a little more info might be useful. Wally was/is a professional trumpet player whose day job was band director at one of the two junior highs in Santa Monica. He also taught private music lessons as well as gigging around LA. Jim Odom took lessons from Wally and introduced us to him. Actually, Jim Bunnell and Jim Odom, before the InRhodes formed, had recorded a record with Wally called “Mighty Surfer” so two of the ‘Rhodes knew Wally before we started. With Mike Faulkner on bass (and alto sax/clarinet/flute), Forrest Peques on drums, me on organ (and baritone/tenor sax), Jim Bunnell as lead singer (and trombone), and Jim Odom on guitar/second lead singer (and trumpet), we started rehearsing every Tuesday night at Jim Bunnell’s dad’s print shop warehouse. It was in an industrial park – Bunnell senior (he was Jim too) had a silk screen shop that printed most art for motels (sailboats, sunsets, etc.) but also did posters and other stuff.
The shop was probably 100x150 so there was room for us to store our equipment there and there were no neighbors to bother – perfect! Mr. Bunnell (as we called him) later on designed and printed all the InRhodes posters (as well as for other bands) – you can see lots of examples on jimburdine.com under the “Summer at the Civic” section. Sorry I don’t have examples of the much more elaborate one’s he designed – a real artist!
Wally was interested in a band that could be the vehicle for his songwriting (I’m putting words in his mouth/mind cause I’ve never really asked him why he was interested in us). Anyway, Wally and Jim Bunnell were the primary song writing team although each of us made small contributions to most of the songs (musically or lyrically). Wally is famous, of course, for the Hues Corporation’s recording of “Rock the Boat.” The Hues Corporation (went through a couple of name changes early on) started about the same time as Future (Bunnell, Odom and me) and I played piano for a few of their early rehearsals so Wally could concentrate on directing. Don’t think Rock the Boat was part of their repertoire yet, otherwise I’d take credit for that too!
We benefited in many ways from Wally’s friendship – and his wife Peach (and their kids, Mike, Cindy and Jimmy). One of those was the exposure to different perspectives that his network provided. Not only did we meet lots of musicians (e.g., Dudley Brooks, played piano for Elvis and co-write many tunes with him), but also a couple of professional football players and an amazing cross-section of folks who used to body surf together at Venice Beach.
1968 and ’69 were the real heydays of the InRhodes. Playing pretty much every week end and recording multiple singles. We played at most of the big clubs and sort of phased out of the frat party circuit. End of the summer of 1968 I got appendicitis and missed a couple of gigs – actually missed one entirely but showed up to “watch” at another. Ended up doing just the vocal on a wild version of “Knock on Wood” significantly influenced by the pain pills I was taking. Since I didn’t have my keyboard I “played” the solo vocally (I guess you could call it “rapping” – although at that time “rapping” is what somebody high on speed did). Have no idea what I said or what it sounded like but definitely got a positive reaction from the guys and the crowd. Tried to repeat it at a later gig but didn’t seem to work that time.
I can never remember what happened those two years – blends together. Was in school at Northridge, working at the Evening Outlook and doing the InRhodes. Lots of on and off’s with Dawn, trying to decide if I was going to continue on in school (medicine?) or “go with the band.” Jim Bunnell and I decided that we wanted to do grad school and Odom more reluctantly went along with it. Future recorded an album which we’d agree if it “hit” we’d drop out of school and “do music.” If It didn’t, we wouldn’t . . . and it didn’t.
The Blues Project was a band from NYC that spent a fair amount of time in LA in 1966-67 when the InRhodes was “hot.” We saw them several times and decided that we couldn’t compete technically and it kind of confirmed (in my mind, at least) that we weren’t going to be a “heavy” band (blues, rock) but rather more of a country/pop feel. I got to see Al Kooper play keyboards with the Blues Project. The Blues Project morphed into another band I really enjoyed, called Seatrain. They only recorded a couple of albums, I think, but there are a few songs that are amazing. Another band of that era I really enjoyed was called Heads Hands and Feet. Their tune “Country Boy” is amazing.
Al Kooper was initially famous for keyboards (Hammond B3) he played in a few sessions with Bob Dylan. The story goes that he was just hanging around the studio and Bob asked if he could play organ – he said “sure” with no idea of even how to turn the thing on. Ended up playing the enigmatic organ line in “Like a Rolling Stone.” (Okay, I just read the Wikipedia page on this and my version is close to accurate – read it for yourself if you want the internet-truth version).
Back to the music – 1968 – Top of the list is “Hey Jude” - #4 is “Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding, then “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream at #6 and at #7 “This Guys in Love with You” by Herb Alpert. The mix gets even weirder when you add “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel at #9, then “Tighten Up” by Archie Bell. I don’t think it’s possible to have a more diverse top ten than 1968.
We played at the Hullabaloo in Hollywood a few times – once with Gary Puckett and the Union Gap who had the #15 song, “Young Girl” and also #34, “Lady Willpower.” ’68 I was at Cal State Northridge (actually it was called San Fernando Valley State College at the time) and we were doing lots of late night recording. In one of my classes was one of the Cowsill boys. They had the #71 song, “Indian Lake” – I think their second hit. We had a kind of “hey we’re cool cause we’re both musicians, but we’re better than you” duality to our relationship. Saw him once or twice in later years. The previous year, at Santa Monica City College, I’d been in a class with Rick Henn, of the Sunrays – the band the Beach Boys’ dad, Murry Wilson, put together to compete with his sons’ band (what a wack job). Anyway, Rick and his band did “I Live for the Sun.” I think their only hit.
Vanilla Fudge (“You Keep Me Hangin On” #77) was a band enjoyed but I haven’t heard any of their stuff in probably 40 years. They were an organ-heavy band (sounded a lot like the Young Rascals or Steppenwolf).
So many other great tunes that year – have to mention “Think” by Aretha Franklin, and “Piece of My Heart” Big Brother Holding Company (with Janice Joplin’s lead vocals). Never played with Big Brother but heard them several times cause Peach (Holmes) worked at the box office of a club called the Cheetah on the pier in Santa Monica. By that time the InRhodes were folding and Future was just forming.
1969’s big songs included “Honkey Tonk Woman” by the Stones at #3, but that was beat out by “Sugar, Sugar” by a made-up band, The Archies for #1. Sly and the Family Stone (we also heard frequently at the Cheetah) was really making it big with “Everyday People” at #5 and “Hot Fun in the Summertime” at #7.
Blood, Sweat and Tears made a big splash with #27 “Spinning Wheel” which was cool because that was the first band of the “new era” to feature brass on stage (rather than as a backing element e.g., James Brown or the Motown bands). Another band we played with a few times was Paul Revere and the Raiders. They had a few hits – two in 1969 - #95 “Mr. Sun, Mr. Moon” and “Let Me”.
OK, 1970 – everything changes. I graduate from Valley State (which becomes California State University at Northridge), and start the master’s program in public health. Dawn and I got engaged on New Year’s Eve (1969) at a party at the DeFore’s, then got married that July (11th 1970). The #1 song, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” has nothing to do with the previous sentence. Edwin Starr’s song “War” was one of many songs protesting the war in Vietnam, but musically most prominent I’d say was the prevalence of the Jackson 5. They had 4 big hits that year. 1970 also included some other classics like “Momma Told Me (Not to Come” by Three Dog Night, who we used to get compared to although I have no sense of why cause musically we were nothing alike . . . maybe three guys (Future) and three dogs?? I don’t know.
Bread was one of Dawn’s and my favorite bands, and they had a couple of hits in 1970 – “Make It With You” was their big one at #13. Another “brass-heavy” band joined the scene in 1970 – Chicago had a hit with “25 or 6 to 4” – further reinforcing that Wally was right with the brass emphasis he had us take with the InRhodes was ahead of its time. James Taylor started to make his mark with “Fire and Rain.” A few years later we’d barely cross path’s when we arrived in Chapel Hill. He’d moved to California but was in town and we heard him play in a coffee shop. James’ dad was the dean of the medical school at UNC and James had sorta of been the black sheep of the family (doing music instead of medicine or something).
Two really hard rocking songs I like from 1970 are “Mississippi Queen” by Mountain and “The Letter” by Joe Cocker. Never saw Mountain live, but did see Joe with the Mad Dogs and Englishmen band (led by Leon Russell). Also saw them with Leon as the star – among the most amazing live bands I’ve ever heard. Jimmy Gordon was their drummer and he played on the Future album. BB King’s “The Thrill is Gone,” “Let It Be” by the Beatles, round out the top 100 from 1970.
1970 was also the year the Future album was recorded so I need to talk some about that but maybe in a different thread.
Another band I never really got into was the Bee Gees. Their 1971 hit was #5, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” is a classic for their falsettos and vocal “frills.” Don’t know why I never appreciated them until disco a few years later. 1971 was also big for the Rolling Stones (“Brown Sugar”) as the Beatles had broken up and the Stones largely filled the “English” gap for most folks. ’71 was also John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” year, same year we released Future’s album “Down that Country Road.” Google the latter and you’ll get a bunch of John Denver stuff mixed in.
In case you haven’t noticed, the links to many songs aren’t to the original recordings but live performances (where they exist). I also tried to avoid newer versions (e.g., remakes) but tried for that sweet spot of a live version a year or so after the record came out. I think they’re more genuine.
An interesting act/song of that year was Lee Michael’s “Do You Know What I Mean.” Lee was/is (I guess) an organ/piano player in a duo with a drummer named “Frosty” (Bartholomew Eugene Smith-Frost). That’s right, just a B3, a grand piano and a drummer. Michael’s played the bass parts on the foot pedals and everything else on the B3 (plus sang). They added the piano parts in the studio. Saw them at the Hollywood Bowl once. Not as impressive in person cause the sound wasn’t great (mic-ing a Leslie cabinet is a real art – especially for live performance – that night wasn’t great). But if you listen to any of their recorded stuff you’ll be impressed.
Another song from ’71 that I like is Bill Withers “Ain’t No Sunshine Since She’s Gone.” The Carpenter’s had two big hits in ’71 – “For All We Know” and “Rainy Days and Mondays.” If you’ve read jimburdine.com you may recall that the Carpenter’s were among the bands we competed against (and won) in the LA County Battle of the Bands in the Hollywood Bowl. Only time we shared the stage.
Oh, ’71 was the year Ike and Tina Turner had their first big hit, “Proud Mary.” We used to see them regularly in the San Fernando Valley – can’t remember the club but it was near San Fernando Valley State/Cal State Northridge. Like a lot of music venues back then you go pay a cover and go into a bar but stay in the “no drinking” side (usually a velvet rope) and listen to the music. Usually a “two drink minimum” which meant you had to buy two cokes for the equivalent of $5 each plus $5 to get it. An expensive evening as $2.50 an hour (about twice what I was making at the time at the newspaper I worked at). But, seeing them from 10 feet away from the stage was amazing. Band was fantastic although I can’t remember any specific players, but clearly the show was Tina and her dancers. Probably saw them half a dozen times before they “made it” and you’d have to go to Vegas to see them.
The Doors had a couple more big hits in ’71 – “Love Her Madly” and “Riders on the Storm”.
Okay, 1972 – Future was dead. I graduated with my Master’s from Cal State Northridge and that summer we moved to San Jose (first job, with the American Lung Association). Roberta Flack had a haunting #1 song of the year, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” A couple of real American music icons – “American Pie” by Don McLean and Bill Wither’s “Lean on Me” were 1972 hits #3 and 7.
I’ve always enjoyed Al Green’s music – his first hit was “Let’s Stay Together” in 1972. Also, Neil Young (on his own) had #17’ Heart of Gold.” #32 that year was the Moody Blues “Nights in White Satin.” The Moody Blues are also a favorite band. Lots of evenings listening to their music – sort of the unofficial band of the DeFore lake house adventures. They were among the first to not only use a full orchestra (effectively, not just “backing strings”) but their concept albums were complex stories – foreshadowing the Who’s “Tommy” Rock Opera style.
Elton John makes the list this year with “Rocket Man” at #40. Also Cat Stevens has “Morning has Broken” – which I think < 1% of the world knows is a Christian hymn from the 1930’s. Cat Steven’s albums were really well produced. So much so that frequently stereo stores (places that just sold stereo equipment (yes, there was such a thing), almost always used his albums to sell their best speakers.
SIDEBAR: in the 1970’s everybody was all about having the best sound equipment you could afford. TV was not a big thing for most young people it was all about getting stoned and tripping to the latest album (at least for some people). There was a store in Santa Monica that was setting a prototype speak made by GTE (General Telephone and Electric – one of the few remaining competitors to Bell Telephone – which became AT&T). Anyway, trying to break into the music market, GTE put together these absolutely amazing speakers and were test marketing them through this store in West LA. Dave, I’m pretty sure, was the first to hear these and he brought me down to check them out. We both ended up buys a pair, then Ron and several other friends. I had them until after we moved to PA (1970-90 ish) and they were amazing. Bass was clear as a bell and as loud as you could stand – had separate mid-range and hi-range adjustments on the speakers (not just on your receiver), so you could really “tune” the sound. One of the cool things was that they had a “lifetime guarantee” on the speakers, which meant if you blew them out, they’d replace them at no cost. I only did it once, Dave I think got 2 or 3 sets of replacements. They were never commercially successful so after 3-4 years they weren’t being sold anymore and so the warranty was void. But for those few years they were the best you could buy unless you spent seriously like $500 per speaker – in 1970 dollars. Anyway, Cat Steven’s often used an acoustic string bass rather than electric, and you could shake the windows in the store with “Wild World” turned up – try it!
A few other great songs that year – “Mother and Child Reunion” by Paul Simon was #57 – what an amazing musician. And “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos. Jimmy Gordon again on drums with Eric Clapton, Bobbie Whitlock and Carl Radle.
Wow, reading the hot 100 for 1973 is disturbing. A lot of weird songs and all over the map stylistically! Take the top 5 – “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” by Tony Orlando could have been a 1940’s big band gimmick song – “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” is just a strange story (couldn’t get air time today!) – “Killing Me Softly with His Song” by Roberta Flack is a beautiful jazzy melody/story and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” is probably his biggest hit. But then you have “My Love” by Paul McCartney (meh) and “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John (#7).
But, Stevie Wonder is really coming into his own from child prodigy to serious musician with “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “Superstition” while Cher offers us “Halfbreed” (um-a-cha-kah). Geez. Ok, it does get better with the Doobie Brother’s “Long Train Runnin” - another band I could listen to for hours – and Steely Dan enters with “Reelin In the Years.” Also, Tower of Power has “So Very Hard to Go” and Chicago gives us “Feelin Stronger Every Day” – the brass is back!
Oh yeah, Justin is born and my electric waterpipe business flourishes.
In September of 74 we move back to Santa Monica from San Jose. I spend fall 74 and spring of 75 teaching at Cal State Northridge. Lots of Elton John (Bennie and the Jets - #9) on 8 track tapes. We bought a VW van in 73 so we were riding in style. John Denver was really big with “Sunshine on my Shoulders” at #18 and “Annie’s Song” at #25. Also, Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle” – similar feel to Denver, was #24. In fact, if you add Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown” at #27, you could start calling this the year of mellow folky dudes. But then you’ve got “Rock the Boat” by the Hues Corporation (obviously) making ‘74 really special. Finally, “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin has always been a meaningful song for me.
We only spend 10-11 months in Albuquerque. In case you don’t remember, quick background. Allan Steckler was my advisor at Northridge – I was his first master’s student. I had finished my bachelor’s in June of 70 and then straight into grad school. Twenty-four months later, summer of 72, we moved to San Jose – took my first job – the Program Director for the American Lung Association of Santa Clara County.
My job had two parts – running a support group for folks (99% men) who had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. They were all 50 years old+, lots of truck drivers for some reason, and all were slowly dying. In the two years I was there three died. It was really hard getting to know them and then just have them not show up one week and hear they were dead. The other part largely shaped the rest of my career. Well both parts did their shaping, the former in terms of “I don’t want to do that kind of work again!” and the second in terms of learning about political processes and community change. My assignment was to work with the cities in the South SF Bay Area (San Jose, Mountain View, Palo Alto, etc.) and get them to pass ordinances restricting smoking. That seems like no big deal today but then it was really a big deal. To be specific, our proposed ordinance (now this was a statewide campaign of all the Lung Association offices so we were just one of probably 15 in the state so lawyers in Sacramento wrote the draft ordinance) – anyway is was asking each City Council to prohibit smoking IN the city council chambers DURING city council meetings. So, if they met for 90 minutes every two weeks, we’re talking 45 minutes a week when you couldn’t smoke in that specific room (outside in the hall way or anybody’s office was still ok, just IN the room DURING the meetings.) You’d think we were asking them to donate eyeballs or something. Not a very pleasant experience but got to see some professional lobbyists at work and begin to understand community organizing from the union guys (remember my truck-driver friends?) who know how to “make things happen.” Maybe they were gonna die soon but they were committed to preventing others. I don’t recall the final tally (program went on long after I left) but I’d say we got about half of the cities to pass something. From that experience I figured out that working at the community level rather than at the “patient” level was where I thought I could be most effective. Doors in that direction kept opening up.
Spring of 76, Allan called to tell me he was taking a sabbatical from Cal State Northridge (a year off) to go to University of Albuquerque and help start a doctoral program. He told me his job would be open at Northridge if I was interested. We’d pretty much had enough of Nor Cal by that time, so we moved back to Santa Monica and as I said earlier, I taught fall and spring that year. Near the end of the spring semester, the dept head called me in to tell me Allan had decided to stay in Albuquerque and that they’d be advertising for his position – without a doctorate I couldn’t complete so I should start looking around for another gig. Next day Allan called to fill me in and offer me a graduate assistantship as his first doctoral student. So that summer we moved to Albuquerque. Half way through the year (December), Allan calls me in his office to tell me he’s accepted a position with his old advisor Dr. Guy Steuart, at University of North Carolina. “Well, great so you gonna abandon us in Albuquerque?” was my thought. Reading my mind he explained that as part of his deal he’d negotiated a grad assistant position and admission to their doctoral program (at UNC). We had to wait until that August (‘76) to move cause that’s when the GA position started. That last six months in big A was really pretty crappy. You know as I look at the hits for that year, there really weren’t many that “spoke to me” it was pretty crappy from that point of view as well! A few exceptions – Captain and Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together” was cool cause it was Daryl Dragon and his wife – Daryl was the son of Carmen Dragon, a big-time conductor (Hollywood Bowl classical). He had three sons – Daryl, Dennis and Doug. Dennis was a drummer at Santa Monica High School (same grade as me). He played with his brother’s band and they used to host parties in Malibu to have an audience to perform for (went to many). They were amazing musicians but didn’t connect with audiences (at least that I ever saw).
Big songs of 1975 (in my mind), besides Captain and Tennille, were “Fame” (#8) by David Bowie, “One of These Nights” (#10) and “Best of My Live” (#13) by the Eagles and “Cats In the Cradle” by Harry Chapin (#39). But I can’t ignore “When Will I Be Loved” by Linda Ronstadt (#47) which was on the “Heart Like a Wheel” album. Lots of great tunes on that one including “You’re No Good” (#51). Andrew Gold established himself as an arranger and lead guitar player through that work. Disco, of course was establishing itself – KC and the Sunshine band wasn’t a favorite but have to be mentioned “Get Down Tonight” (#65). Also listened to LOTS of Electric Light Orchestra (“Can’t Get It Out of My Head” (#81).
OK, so August of 76 we move to Chapel Hill (that move has its own chapter somewhere) but we arrived in time to celebrate my 29th birthday. “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry was #5 and the Four Seasons “Oh What a Night” #4 were two songs that “spoke to me.” Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” was #18 but I didn’t get into them for a few more years. Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thing” was one of Ron’s (DeFore) favorites, so heard that often. Also, the Eagles entered the music scene with “Take It To the Limit.” I always liked Vicki Sue Robinson’s “Turn the Beat Around” cause if it’s musical hook (turning the beat around). Not sure most folks understood that.
Fleetwood Mac has a couple of hits in ’76 – especially liked “Rhiannon.” Oh, and I can’t forget the Who’s “Squeeze Box” – double entendre you know.
1977 was our second year in Chapel Hill. Besides taking classes, I started working as a consultant for Ken McLeroy at the Research Triangle Institute (RTI). Ken has extremely eclectic taste in music – and a huge vinyl album collection – seriously, hundreds of LPs (that “long playing” for the unedumacated). Lots of classical, Celtic, folk, jazz – not much rock. But made for part of the richness of our friendship.
Jimmy Buffet’s hit “Margaritaville” was #14 that year, “Hotel California” by the Eagles was #19. And Steve Miller had “Fly Like an Eagle” at #28. I continued to enjoy James Taylor (“Handy Man” at #46) but I also started playing music with some of the other students. There was a piano in a “social hall” above the office/laundromat in Married Student’s Housing at UNC. Ed Meehan, who was a new MPH student from Manhattan, played guitar and I played piano. Had a few other guys that joined us, usually on guitar, but mostly just singing. Lots of fun and was exposed to all kinds of music I didn’t know. David Bromberg, for example – ended up seeing him live in Raleigh with Ed. Also bought a Yamaha guitar in ’77 or ‘78.
So, 1977 was also the year of Star Wars and Rocky Horror Picture Show. These were not big in terms of Billboard hits, but certainly big parts of the culture at the time. We did the costume-thing at Rocky Horror at least once at the theater in downtown Chapel Hill. Saw Star Wars at the same place.
1978 was the height of disco and especially Bee Gees (“Night Fever” #2, “Stayin Alive” #4, and “How Deep Is Your Love” #6), Plus Andy Gibb had 2-3 hits as a solo artist. John Travolta and Olivia Newton John had “You’re the One That I Want” at #13, in case anybody wants to argue about the dominance of disco!
Eric Clapton has “Lay Down Sally” at #15, but I’d been listening to him in lots of other bands previously. Going back a few years, John Mayall’s Blues Breakers featured Clapton, heard them in West LA. Amazing band, led to Cream, when Clapton left, and Fleetwood Mac when Peter Green and John McVie left. Mick Taylor also cycled through on his way to the Rolling Stones. Crazy, huh?!
Can’t ignore “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions” by Queen if you’re talking about 1978! And Kansas’ “Dust In The Wind”!! Back to disco for a moment – “Disco Inferno” by The Trammps was #54 and Ron was Captain Disco at the big club in downtown LA. If you read his book, you’ll much more about him “flying” across the ceiling and into the DJ booth at Dillon’s in downtown LA. Pretty amazing. Finally, “It’s So Easy” by Linda Ronstadt and “Deacon Blues” by Steely Dan are two more favorites from ‘78.
James was born in 1978 at University Hospital (UNC-Chapel Hill). An amazing no-anesthesia procedure. More details in another “book.”
1979, well maybe my description of disco being in full swing previously was premature – if you look at the top 12 songs, 10 were disco favorites (#2 “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer, #3 “Le Freak” by Chic, #4 “Do You Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart, #5 “Reunited” by Peaches and Herb (ok maybe not strictly disco but close enough!), “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor (no debate there!), “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer, “YMCA” by the Village People, “Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward, “MacArthur Park” by Donna Summer, and there are more as you go down the list.
“What A Fool Believes” by the Doobie Brothers was #19 - featured Michael McDonald, a “temporary replacement” for their lead singer who was ill. Seemed to have worked out ok for him. Charlie Daniel’s Band’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” was #50 and fit nicely with the way my musical tastes were shifting after a few years living in the south.
Similarly, Ed Meehan’s eclectic taste in music exposed me to some stuff I might otherwise have ignored. Robert Palmer, for example. His “Bad Case of Loving You” was a tune we worked out in the “Laundry” at Married Student’s Housing.