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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Remembering 1970's songs

What do The Shocking Blue, C. W. McCall, Stories, MFSB featuring The Three Degrees, Carl Douglas, Van McCoy and The Soul City Symphony, Wild Cherry, Rick Dees (and his cast of idiots), Walter Murphy and The Big Apple Band, and Anita Ward have in common?

Need a clue? If you know your pop music, you will recognize the names as groups or individual music acts from the 1970s. But, do you know what they had in common? Zzzzzzzzz!! Sorry, there is the buzzer, you’re too slow although I think I know one person who probably knows the answer: Gloria. Are you out there Glo?

The answer is: All those acts had a number one hit song on Billboard’s charts during the 1970s, then disappeared back to their jobs at the car wash, Denny’s, Circle K, or wherever. They all captured lightning in a bottle for a few weeks between those great music years of 1970-79 before the dream of being stars disappeared like an Arizona dust devil. They joined a large group from before them and after them as one hit wonders.

You have to give them credit. They squeezed in ahead of top acts like The Doobie Brothers, Boston, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, and many other stars of the 70s for their moment of stardom. However, they only had enough gas in the tank for their one number one before it was time to board the bus home to Palookaville.

There was some good music here: The Shocking Blue did "Venus," C. W. McCall did "Convoy" to exploit the CB radio craze of the mid 70s, Stories had a good tune with "Brother Louie," MFSB did "TSOP" (The Sound of Philadelphia) and who can forget Carl Douglas with "Kung Fu Fighting" in 1974. Van McCoy did "The Hustle" in 1975 as disco started to rear its head, Wild Cherry had a biggie in ‘76 with "Play That Funky Music" (white boy), also in ‘76 was the regrettable "Disco Duck" by L.A. disc jockey Rick Dees. Walter Murphy did a semi disco "A Fifth of Beethoven" and in June of ‘79 Anita Ward hit number 1 for two weeks with "Ring My Bell."

It’s the nature of the pop music business to have one hit wonders. There are no more Bing Crosbys, Frank Sinatras, or Peggy Lees, artists who had staying power. But, the guys above were a lot of fun for their 15 minutes and bring back nice memories of the days we danced to their tunes with our girlfriends or boyfriends. Don’t mention them to your kids though. You may receive a quizzical look and a "Huh?"

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