These days, all the world's indeed an Accord.
We pick up in 1970, where the last blog rudely left off.
24) Make It With You -- Bread (1970): The dog days of August were really feeling the heat and the laziness. David Gates is another top-notch songwriter and just about any Bread hit is a lesson in tasteful musicianship. The fetal position warmth of this song is extremely soothing. Surely written for the cats resting in the windowsill enjoying the sunshine crowd. Purr….
22) Brown Sugar -- The Rolling Stones (1971): Memorial Day Weekend 1971 in full effect and the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" brings in the summer. The idea that this song was ever new to people's ears seems impossible. Though the chunky guitar chords make you think of Keith, the song is primarily Mick's, written and recorded back in 1969. If one could clearly understand the words, it likely would never have made it to #1. Unless 'Gold Coast Slave Ships Bound for Cotton Fields" were really 'in' that season.
20) It's Too Late / I Feel The Earth Move -- Carole King (1971): Carole King's Tapestry wasn't just a wildly successful album. It was so packed with great songs that even the singles released from the record were overloaded with hits. In this case, both sides of the single were considered the #1 hit. Both songs went on to be covered by many people and to win many awards.
18) You've Got A Friend -- James Taylor (1971): 1971 was the year of Carole the King and nothing made that more obvious than when another fine, successful songwriter, James Taylor, had to grab one of King's current songs for a single for his own new album. But don't think it was only Sweet Baby James poaching her new tracks, Barbra Streisand released it on her 1971 album and Dusty Springfield would've done the same had record company politics not messed that one up. Looks to me like Carole's song should be heard more like a warning. You've got a friend!
16) Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey -- Paul and Linda McCartney (1971): Just because the Beatles were no more, someone in that organization had to try to keep the summer tradition alive! It wasn't going to be John who was now screaming for peace, but rather Paul, always the band's over-friendly concierge, took care of business with this likable track. It likely also helped that Paul and his wife kept their clothes on for all their album covers.
14) The Candy Man -- Sammy Davis, Jr. (1972): You might see this as a bit of corn. But it's Candy Corn! I loved the song when I was four and the song was deemed wholesome enough for me to own it as an MGM single. Sammy Davis, Jr. may have been a member of the Rat Pack but it's this latter-day hit that he's best known for by kids all across the world. Nowadays, a song like this would automatically be about drugs. Is it?
12) Lean On Me -- Bill Withers (1972): It's still one iconic song after another here, even if sometimes we're mellower than we once were. The B-side "Better Off Dead" was a great socio-political tune with a dramatic/ perfect ending and the A-side was a hand-holding-until-you're-clapping feel-good piece of community outreach by a guy with a great voice. Remember when people wanted to help one another?
10) Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) -- Looking Glass (1972): Though it only snuck into the #1 position for one week, in between the reign of "Alone Again (Naturally)" that preceded and succeeded it at #1, "Brandy" remains one of the single greatest singles of all-time, if only because it was inspired by the real life story of Mary Ellis, whose grave resides in New Brunswick, NJ. Mary Ellis' family home became the site of the legendary Route 1 Flea Market. Her grave can now be found in the parking lot of the Loews Cineplex. Make your travel plans accordingly!
8) My Love -- Paul McCartney and Wings (1973): Paul McCartney liked being #1. He was used to being there. But he liked being in a band, so Wings were born and began cranking out hits. The intense mellowness of this track was what you always worried McCartney might churn out without neighborhood scruff John Lennon there to temper him. Notice now how badly people wanted there to be a real Beatles still there to rely on.
6) Will It Go Round In Circles -- Billy Preston (1973): Technically, Billy Preston is the only dude to get an actual credit on a Beatles single that was equal to the Beatles, so clearly they felt he was an important ingredient to the group. The Rolling Stones saw fit to hire him as an important part of their sound on a few key cuts and Billy's own solo career took itself to #1. This track is more famous than you think, too.
4) The Morning After -- Maureen McGovern (1973): Being also known as "The Song from 'The Poseidon Adventure'" helped this track become more popular than it might have otherwise. It'd been performed by another singer in the film, but when the film became a hit it was suggested that Maureen McGovern, who'd sent in a demo tape to the label and was working as a secretary, should sing the song. Just imagine the leverage an unknown singer had in negotiating this deal!
2) Brother Louie -- Stories (1973): This powerful track about an interracial love affair was written By Errol Brown and Tony Wilson of the band Hot Chocolate, who had a Top 10 hit in the UK with the tune. Perhaps not aware of how to get the song to America, the song was covered by the American band Stories, featuring singer Ian Lloyd, nearly six months later. The version heard at the opening of the FX series Louie is produced by Reggie Watts and begins imitating the Hot Chocolate version at the intro and then features Ian Lloyd performing the vocal. So, now there are even more versions of the song.
- Arts & Entertainment
- the Rolling Stones
- Carole King
- Paul Revere
- The Beatles