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Volume 8: The Penultimate Episode Of Chuck Small’s “Who Sings It ?“

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As I think about the songs in this set, it helps me to remember why I was creating these CDs.

I wanted to transfer the songs I already owned on vinyl or tape to digital media:

Such as my iPod…

Or my car’s CD player.

In some cases, I didn’t think the song would be available digitally; in other cases, I simply didn’t want to purchase it again.

Bonnie Pointer’s lesser-known version of “Heaven Must Have Sent You” is an example of the former.

Not the disco dynamite that hit the Top 20 in the fall of 1989, but the 45’s flip side, in which Bonnie covered the Elgins’ original in that Motown doo-wop style, scatting and everything.

Sure enough, that rendition is not on Spotify. But it is available on YouTube, where you can enjoy how effortlessly Bonnie sounds like a girl group – all by herself:

Other tracks I didn’t think would cross the digital divide – but surprisingly did:

The disco hit but AT40 miss “Keep on Dancin’” by Gary’s Gang

And the silly and superfluous but still endearing remake of “He’s So Fine” by Kristy and Jimmy McNichol. (Why the brother is credited on this single remains a mystery to this day.)

In the latter department – songs I wouldn’t purchase again – is the biggest Billboard hit of the ’70s and the most reviled among a large swath of listeners:

Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life.”

I have a love-hate relationship with this song.

I like AC songs and big ballads, yet with every week I heard Casey Kasem announce it at the top, I found myself wearying of it. So, yes, I won’t turn it off if it comes up. But I don’t find myself seeking it out, either.

(It didn’t make my “Dirty Dozen” last year only because radio turned its back on the song as soon as it left the Top 40, so it doesn’t have the same level of overkill as, say, “Every Breath You Take.”)

Side note: I like the record’s B-side, “Hasta Mañana.” I didn’t know at the time that it was an ABBA composition, but now it seems obvious.

For whatever reason, the version of David Naughton’s “Makin’ It” on Spotify is a re-recording I find grating, so I’m not including it in the playlist.

Here’s a YouTube link to the original version:

Similarly, Deodato’s take on “Also Sprach Zarathustra” is not available in a single version on Spotify (who wants to listen to eight-plus-minutes of it?)

Here it is on YouTube (and even this version is five minutes plus!)

Of all the songs in this set, Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do for Love…”

…and Lauren Wood’s “Please Don’t Leave…”

…tie for songs whose artists I thought would become much bigger.

In our final installment next week, we’ll find a couple of artists who seemed destined in the ’70s to share the same fate, only to break out in major ways in the following decade.

Here’s the Spotify link for this set:

What ones do you love? What ones do you hate?

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Chuck Small

Journalist-turned-high school counselor. Happily ensconced in Raleigh, N.C., with hubby of 31 years (9 legal).

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rollerboogie
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January 30, 2024 7:30 am

Similarly, Deodato’s take on “Also Sprach Zarathustra” is not available in a single version on Spotify (who wants to listen to eight-plus-minutes of it?)

That would be me. I have it on one of my playlists and it’s actually 9 minutes and 1 second. Much of the extended time is taken up by a keyboard solo and I can always get behind that.

I knew 12 of the songs, and I could name 7 and 1/2 of the artists. (I couldn’t remember the male vocalist that sang with Suzi Quatro. That was her only top 40 appearance in the US, her home country, whereas she had 11 of those in the UK. Most of us here that grew up in the 70s would be more likely to remember her in her brief stint as Leather Tuscadero on Happy Days. Women who rocked out became much more of a thing here later and she was a big influence on so many of them.

Last edited 20 days ago by rollerboogie
JJ Live At Leeds
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January 30, 2024 8:52 am

Other than a few well known cuts like M, Michael Zager and Suzi Quattro I’m largely lost with this week’s selection.

What ones do you love has a simple response; Pop Muzik by M.

What ones do you hate is maybe on the extreme side for a bunch of songs that are mostly new to me as of today but since you asked, Gary’s Gang and Kristy and Jimmy McNichol were pretty gruesome – the version of He’s So Fine is certainly no My Sweet Lord.

I have no idea who Kristy and Jimmy are whereas Gary’s Gang does seem familiar from somewhere. Sure enough Keep On Dancin’ was a #8 here.

Of the rest, Ace Frehley was surprisingly tolerable which probably isn’t the snappy review they’re looking to headline an ad campaign.

rollerboogie
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January 30, 2024 12:07 pm

Kristy McNichol was a child tv and movie star, probably best known for playing one of the leads in the controversial 1980 film “Little Darlings”. I remember all the horrified talk from conservatives about it more than I do the actual film. Jimmy I remember a lot less.

ISurvivedPop
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January 30, 2024 12:58 pm
Reply to  rollerboogie

This video will warm your heart:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WspTlFLhgw8

rollerboogie
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January 30, 2024 1:04 pm
Reply to  ISurvivedPop

It did!

cappiethedog
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February 1, 2024 4:26 pm
Reply to  rollerboogie

Did you see Jordan Peele’s “Nope”? It has an astonishing film reference: Samuel Fuller’s White Dog, which was shelved because, wow, you have to check out the plot synopsis. It stars Kristy McNichol. (And Burl Ives.) White Dog came out the same year as The Pirate Movie. I saw the latter in a theater. I don’t want to ruin my memory of it as being a cinematic masterpiece.

lovethisconcept
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January 30, 2024 12:37 pm

I knew the Ace Frehley song. It came from a time when each member of Kiss recorded a solo album which were released simultaneously. Ace was the only one to have a hit. Just the one, but a hit. I saw him live a few years ago, and he played this one, as well as every Kiss song that he had a writing credit on. Given the bad feelings between the band members, I think that he probably enjoys the fact that he is the only one with a solo hit.

R.S.Wonham
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January 30, 2024 12:42 pm

I have been listening to Bobby Caldwell’s What You Won’t Do For Love as it was played when nephew’s bride walked down the aisle a couple of weekends back. I asked her about the song and learned that her familiarity with the song was via a remake – Snoh Aalegra, who shortened the title and capitalized DO FOR LOVE. I prefer the original, but the lyrics are poignant and happy she found the song AND nephew!

I am on an ongoing quest to score a digital or a CD copy of the Addrisi Brothers’ Slow Dancin’ You know it’s a Top 20 from ’77 and fairly cringeworthy – the lyrics could have featured in on Three’s Company. That said, I have memories of this from AT40 and am a completist with the music library.

Thankfully those Super HIts of the 70s CDs facilitated digitalizing many leftfield hits from the 70s. Vol. 11 includes a 5 min. version of Deodato’s ASZ. I don’t have them all, but they have covered some ground, as has the 80’s equivalent Radio Daze.

R.S.Wonham
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January 30, 2024 12:45 pm
Reply to  R.S.Wonham

Clarification – the version of Addrisi Bros.’ Slow Dancin’ on iTunes is an icky rerecording. Leads on CD comp. copies of the original welcome.

ISurvivedPop
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January 30, 2024 12:59 pm
Reply to  R.S.Wonham

As a Millennial, I’m also largely aware of the Caldwell song through remakes – technically samples: 2Pac’s “Do for Love” and an Aaliyah song with a disturbing title I’m not going to post.

rollerboogie
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January 30, 2024 1:17 pm
Reply to  R.S.Wonham

What You Won’t Do For Love is one my all-time jams. I forgot to mention that. For me, and this is just me, any remake is like remaking Casablanca. Not interested.

Last edited 20 days ago by rollerboogie
ISurvivedPop
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January 30, 2024 1:01 pm

Debby Boone’s daughter, Tessa Ferrer, played a bi woman on Grey’s Anatomy.

Have to wonder what Debby – and especially Pat – thought of that.

rollerboogie
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January 30, 2024 1:15 pm
Reply to  ISurvivedPop

Here’s a quote from Debby from a 2019 interview in something called Closer Weekly that may indicate she was okay with it. “People think I’m a kind of prim- and-proper goody-two-shoes, just because I inherited my dad’s sort of squeaky-clean image. The worst thing that I think people might think about me is that I’m super judgmental and self-righteous. That is just not the case. I think people are constantly surprised that I am fun, that I’m not stuck up, that I have a good sense of humor and that I’m very inclusive.”

blu_cheez
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January 30, 2024 2:24 pm

I recognized eight of these again… feeling pretty, pretty good about myself right now.

Phylum of Alexandria
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January 30, 2024 3:31 pm

3 songs I knew (though I also know “He’s So Fine” as done by the Chiffons). For none of these did I know the artist.

However, while I never heard “Chase” before, if someone had played it for me and asked me to guess the artist, I would have guessed Giorgio Moroder, because it has one of his signature driving hi-NRG synth arpeggios. So, counterfactual gives me an imaginary point?

Another great groovin playlist.

rollerboogie
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January 30, 2024 7:28 pm

Was doing some further listening of the playlist in the car. I don’t think I’ve ever heard “Joy” before, the instrumental based on Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”. That’s good stuff, and very nice use of the harpsichord, if I might piggy back off of my article from Friday.

“Let’s All Chant” by the Michael Zager Band is outstanding. A disco song featuring a klezmer-esque clarinet solo interplaying with a piccolo trumpet solo with a baroque style accompaniment (it sounds like a harpsichord is involved but probably a synth)? SIGN ME THE HECK UP!

Aaron3000
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January 30, 2024 9:27 pm

“Pop Musik” and “Got To Be Real” are my faves, but “Chase” shows up on my Top 100 “WOW” list (Ozmoe has mentioned his a few times). Comes from the soundtrack to “Midnight Express”, which I know I saw a few times on TV as a kid but barely remember the movie…

Ozmoe
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February 1, 2024 9:19 am
Reply to  Aaron3000

Speaking of me (ahem!), my WOW list has included Got to Be Real for a long time. Amazing to me how that song was so popular yet never cracked the top 10 on the Hot 100. Also, I know all but 3 of these, which I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad.

sieglinde
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January 30, 2024 10:35 pm

Three things:

  1. You’re the first person I know who admits to not only liking the Debbie Tune, but actually buying it. You’re a brave person, Chuck.
  2. In German class we’re just starting to do what the French call le passé simple, and what we Anglos have no word for. “sprach” is the third-person singular passé simple for “sprechen”, to speak (as in “ich nein spreche der Deutsch” (bad grammar)). If I’ve learned anything from German class, it’s that we all know more German than we realize, grammar not withstanding.
  3. Someone else here will recognize the name “Lauren Wood” as being the “Chunky” of “Chunk, Novi, and Ernie”. They released two albums around 1972-74 and then disappeared. Readily available on youtube these days. Interesting song-oriented stuff. On her own, Lauren is probably best known as the highest-ranking obscure artist on the (defunct?) yachtornyacht.com site.
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