93 Bottles of Beer on the Dance Floor

In this final installment of one-hit wonders to reach Number 93 in Billboard, we find a couple of familiar names, a novelty that defies all attempts to explain it, a splash of disco, and a rock record that deserved a far better fate.

“I Got a Thing About You Baby”/Billy Lee Riley (11/4/72, two weeks). If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Billy Lee Riley is a major figure of rockabilly and an alumnus of Sun Records. Neither of his two most famous recordings charted: “Flying Saucers Rock and Roll,” which featured Jerry Lee Lewis on piano, or “Red Hot,” which features one of the greatest openings in history: “My gal is red hot/Your gal idn’t doodley squat.” But “I Got a Thing About You Baby,” written by Tony Joe White, would be the one to make it.

“Do Ya”/The Move (11/25/72, five weeks). How, precisely, did a group as popular as the Move in their home country (six UK Top-10 hits between 1967 and 1970, including the Number-One song “Blackberry Way”) fail to move the needle in the States? Good question. “Do Ya” was from a farewell EP, recorded as the band was beginning to morph into the Electric Light Orchestra. ELO would perform a faithful cover of it on A New World Record, released in 1976.

“Georgia Porcupine”/George Fischoff (6/22/74, five weeks). You know some of George Fischoff’s work: he co-wrote “98.6” recorded by Keith and “Lazy Day” by Spanky and Our Gang. “Georgia Porcupine” was an audition of sorts—Fischoff’s record label contracted for a single to gauge whether his music could move a whole album. “Georgia Porcupine” was a Top-10 hit on the easy listening charts, partly because it was a bouncy ragtime number in the summer when The Sting was a box-office rage.

“One Fine Day”/Julie (1/24/76, four weeks). The song is the one by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, famously recorded by the Chiffons in 1963; the singer is Julie Budd, who was discovered by Merv Griffin in the late 1960s, did a fair amount of TV in the early 1970s, and continues to tour and record today. If you’re looking for a splashy disco version of “One Fine Day,” this is it. (Don’t say you’re not looking for one until you listen to it.)

“Six Packs a Day”/Billy Lemmons (3/26/77, one week). The protagonist in this song, a big fan of both smoking cigarettes and drinking beer, is apparently supposed to be Billy Carter, brother of Jimmy, then-newly inaugurated, but the lyric is sufficiently riddled with non-sequiturs to make me wonder whether the people who made it knew what they wanted it to be.

“Deeply”/Anson Williams (4/23/77, four weeks). We’ve already mentioned Williams’ Happy Days castmate Donny Most in this feature, back at Number 97 with “All Roads (Lead Back to You),” Now here’s Potsie Weber, charting himself about four months after Ralph Malph. Williams-as-Potsie performed “Deeply” on Happy Days in February 1977.

Not very many blogs work as hard as this one to bring you that kind of entertainment.

“Dance and Shake Your Tambourine”/Universal Robot Band (6/11/77, six weeks). During the first half of the 1980s, a funk group called Kleeer scored several chart and dance-floor hits. But the musicians in Kleeer had been part of the New York City disco scene practically from the beginning, first as the Jam Band, later as a rock group called Pipeline, and two years as the Universal Robot Band. “Dance and Shake Your Tambourine” is a loose, mid-tempo jam. It sounds like the band hit a groove and then couldn’t figure how to get out of it.

“The Joker”/Snail (9/23/78, two weeks). A California band formed as a power trio a la Cream (albeit with various members over the years), Snail worked more-or-less continuously from the late 60s to the early 80s, and reformed last year. They opened for Styx in 1980, and performed “The Joker” on American Bandstand on August 26, 1978. This joker has nothing to do with Steve Miller’s—unlike Miller’s, a draggy radio momentum-killer, Snail’s “The Joker” rocks like crazy.

“The Joker”/Snail (available on a twofer here, but beware—the sound quality of that release is apparently not so good; check Snail’s website here)

4 thoughts on “93 Bottles of Beer on the Dance Floor

  1. You know, I’ve been looking for a splashy disco version of “One Fine Day” for a long time, but I didn’t know it until I got here today. Another great segment in a series I enjoy immensely. Thanks!

  2. Yah Shure

    I bought the Riley and Fischoff records at the time, although I thought “Georgia Porcupine” would have been better off sans the slow intro. When Harvest reissued the “Do Ya” 45 in the UK in September of ’74, I did likewise at my college station, where it was a big hit for the second time. Not so for the ELO remake; the general consensus was that it sounded too slick and polished. But it was worth it to see such a deserving song become a mainstream hit in one form or another.

    Thanks for mentioning the Julie single. I remembered everything about it except for the recording itself. Tom Cat… now there’s a label that had roughly the lifespan of a mayfly. That was Neil Diamond producer Tom Catalano’s baby, wasn’t it?

    Good call on the Snail single, too. Now to get “Blackberry Way” out my head; not that I’d ever want to.

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