Top 5: Straight Shootin’

Back in the late 80s, when I worked for the elevator-music station in Davenport, Iowa, its parent company was based in Peoria, Illinois. The company’s flagship station down there was WIRL, which is how I decided to feature their record chart dated October 26, 1974. (Enjoy my creative process, everybody.) You can check the chart to see what the week’s top songs were; the more interesting ones are farther down.

6. “Straight Shootin’ Woman”/Steppenwolf (up from 8) Four years removed from their most recent Top-40 hit, Steppenwolf took one last ride up the charts with this, which was a lot bigger in Peoria than in the rest of the country.

14. “You Little Trustmaker”/The Tymes (down from 4) This Philly-based doo-wop group had recorded the delicate and beautiful “So Much in Love” back in 1963. In the early 70s, after a dry spell, they tried latching on with Philly soul wizards Gamble and Huff, but didn’t get a contract. It didn’t matter. A couple of years later, anyone who heard “You Little Trustmaker” believed it was a Gamble-and-Huff production anyhow.

26. “After the Gold Rush”/Prelude (up from 28) Prelude was an English folk-rock trio who started fooling around with this (the title song from a 1971 Neil Young album) one day while waiting for a bus. Few records so haunting have ever made their way onto the Top 40.

29. “Cold Highway”/Elton John (up from 31) According to the useful and interesting blog Solar Prestige a Gammon, this was the flipside of “The Bitch Is Back,” not available on an album until it appeared on the Rare Masters box and the expanded edition of Caribou. I am guessing—and I don’t know for sure—that the people at WIRL wanted to play the new Elton but were scared off by the title, so they simply turned the record over. (I used to work with a music director who did that a lot; if he didn’t like the A-side, we’d play the B-side instead. We played a lot of crap as a result.)

35. “Falling in Love”/Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. (down from 26) By any definition, this was a supergroup, put together at the suggestion of record mogul David Geffen: J. D. Souther was a prominent songwriter, a former bandmate of Glenn Frey’s, and later an Eagles collaborator; Richie Furay had been an original member of both the Buffalo Springfield and Poco, and Chris Hillman had been in the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Manassas. With all that talent, “Falling in Love” should have been a lot more distinctive than it was—it’s nice enough, but not especially memorable. (When I heard it again for the first time a few years ago, it was like I never heard it before.) That may help explain why the group lasted but two albums before splitting.

Also worth a listen from this chart: 16, 20, and 25. Praise be to the boys and girls of YouTube.

“Falling in Love”/Souther-Hillman-Furay Band (buy it here)

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