Hold Her Tight

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(Pictured: The Osmonds, whose 1972 single “Hold Her Tight” is a rager based on a Led Zeppelin riff, and an unlikely acquaintance.)

Here’s a whole bunch of music trivia, culled from the Billboard Hot 100 dated July 8, 1972:

In this week, there are seven songs new to the Top 40, which is kind of a lot: “Hold Your Head Up” by Argent, “Hold Her Tight” by the Osmonds (zooming to #39 from #76 the week before), “Mary Had a Little Lamb” by Wings, “Sealed With a Kiss” by Bobby Vinton, Donna Fargo’s “Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.,” Nilsson’s “Coconut,” and “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” by the Hollies, which debuts up at #30.

In an idle moment the other day, I decided to see which songs had fallen out of the 40, and I found something quite interesting. Of the seven drop-outs, six of them fell out entirely out of the Hot 100.

“Morning Has Broken”/Cat Stevens (from #24)
“Walking in the Rain With the One I Love”/Love Unlimited (from #31)
“Tumbling Dice”/Rolling Stones (from #33)
“It’s Going to Take Some Time”/Carpenters (from #35)
“First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”/Roberta Flack (from #36)
“Immigration Man”/Graham Nash and David Crosby (from #40)

Only Todd Rundgren’s “I Saw the Light” exited the 40 and remained on the Hot 100, down to #54 from #37.

Somebody with a more searchable and sortable database (as opposed to my half-assed eyeball technique) could probably determine how unusual this is. Not so much that a song should fall from the 40 into oblivion, but that so many should do it in the same week.

Several other hits that will indelibly stamp the late summer and early fall of 1972 sit just outside the Top 40 during the week of July 8, 1972. The most famous are Jim Croce’s debut single, “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim,” at #50 in its second week on, and at #57 in its first week on, “I’m Still in Love With You” by Al Green. Others less well-remembered but just as vivid (at least to me) include Joey Heatherton’s “Gone,” “Motorcycle Mama” by Sailcat, and the Detroit Emeralds’ “Baby Let Me Take You.”

“In a Broken Dream” by Python Lee Jackson is at #60 in its seventh week on. In 1968, the Australian band had recorded a version they didn’t particularly like, believing it needed a stronger lead vocal. So they hired a session singer from England named Rod Stewart to give it a try. Although it stiffed on its original release in 1970—before Stewart got famous—it did better in 1972, reaching #56 in the States.

A couple of future monsters lurk further below: “Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me” by Mac Davis, which will spend the entire month of September at #1, is at #73 in its second week on; “I Am Woman,” Helen Reddy’s feminist anthem, is at #97 in its third week on. “I Am Woman” is a slow starter: it will fall out of the Hot 100 the next week, but will re-enter in September, break the Top 40 in October, and hit #1 on December 9, 1972.

Two very different examples of glorious 70s radio music sit side-by-side: the singalong soul of “Starting All Over Again” by Mel and Tim is at #83 in its first week on; “Go All the Way” by the Raspberries, burning with teenage lust, is at #84 in its second week on. Also found down toward the bottom: Bob Seger’s version of “If I Were a Carpenter” at #87 and David Bowie’s “Starman” at #96, both in their second week on. “If I Were a Carpenter,” yet another example of the accomplished artistry everybody but Seger himself hears in his early work, would reach #76; “Starman” would get to #65.

Sitting at #99 in its first week on is “When You Say Love” by Sonny and Cher. Based on the Budweiser jingle, “when you say Budweiser, you’ve said it all, “When You Say Love” was a smash country hit for Bob Luman before Sonny and Cher covered it. Their version eventually crept into the Hot 100 at #32. “The Bud Song,” as it is known here in Wisconsin, is a staple of University of Wisconsin sporting events: “when you say Wisconsin, you’ve said it all.”

5 thoughts on “Hold Her Tight

  1. spinetingler

    “Baby Let Me Take You” is one of the better tracks on a K-tels comp that I had as a kid. Few people remember it (well, few that I know).

    Crazy Horses and Hold Her Tight are remarkably tight rockers from the O brothers. Part of a great pop trilogy with Yo-Yo, which mines bubblegum soul gold.

  2. mackdaddyg

    I find it pretty astounding that so many top 40 songs fell out of the charts entirely. Dropping from 24 to nothing is pretty extreme. Does this mean that these songs were universally dropped from playlists? If so, why? I always assumed a hit was gradually phased out.

  3. Songs not only falling out of the 40, but right off the Hot 100, was very prevalent in the 70s right through about 1974. The chart you mentioned was how it nearly always was back then – with only one or two songs falling out of the 40 staying on the Hot 100. The explanation was that even though radio was still playing the songs, they stopped reporting them, and therefore, the big falls.

  4. porky

    odd juxtaposition of Helen Reddy and Mac Davis, one a feminist anthem the other….pretty damned chauvinistic. I stumbled upon the chord progression on my guitar recently, started singing it and couldn’t keep going for cracking up over the ridiculousness of the lyrics.

    On that chart but not mentioned was “Francene” ZZ Top’s chart debut. I recently scored the 45 in a thrift shop, a cool record with the song in Spanish on the flip side.

  5. CalRadioPD

    Billboard didn’t really regularly and consistently use airplay as a factor in the Hot 100 until 1981-ish. That’s actually a good thing. Airplay in a sales chart is like letting GM count every time AVIS sticks you with a base-level Chevy Malibu you’d never buy as a sale.

    As for chart drop-offs, the thing to remember is that back in the 1970s, Billboard was counting wholesale, not retail, sales. Inevitably, as demand slacked off on the retail level, stores stopped ordering more copies. They almost always bought big near the peak, but that was guesswork on their part. Remember—no computers, long distance cost money, no FedEx. If you owned a record store in a city outside the Top 10, you looked at Billboard, guessed what was likely to be hot in two weeks, filled out your order form and it took three to five business days to get to the wholesaler, another two to three to get processed and another three to five to ship to you.

    That meant, if they thought they could sell 25 copies, they’d order 30, just in case (orders were in minimums of five copies). And they almost always ended up with a few unsold.

    So while retail sales would taper off in a fairly linear fashion, once stores had more than they’d need for the end of a record’s useful life, they’d stop ordering. And the record would go off the cliff in the Hot 100.

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