Make It Rain

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(Pictured: Tanya Tucker onstage in 1975.)

Radio and Records is a now-defunct industry trade paper. It was founded in 1973 (according to Wikipedia, one of its founders was Robert Kardashian—yeah, that guy) and ceased publication in 2009. In its heyday, its music charts were highly influential. Chances are, the radio station you listened to in the 80s and 90s either reported to R&R or took its airplay cues from the magazine. Radio Rewinder recently posted the Radio and Records Pop 40 chart from June 12, 1975. It’s an adult-contemporary chart, although it lists many of the big Top 40 hits of the moment. Melissa Manchester’s lovely “Midnight Blue” is at #1, one week before it would get to the same spot on Billboard‘s Easy Listening chart. The R&R chart gains bonus points for the oddball records appearing on the list. Including:

11.  “Lizzie and the Rainman”/Tanya Tucker. Tucker was a country superstar in 1975, and “Lizzie and the Rainman” was her fourth #1 in the last two years, although she’d first hit with “Delta Dawn” in the summer of 1972, when she was only 13 years old. All of her country #1s in this period crossed to the pop charts, but “Lizzie and the Rainman” was the only one to make the Billboard Top 40, hitting #37 in the same week R&R published this chart. It peaked at #7 on the Easy Listening chart, and it’s got some monster hooks: “I betcha I can make it rain” and “Step back non-believers, or the rain will never come.”

Digression: 1975 was a big year for crossover country. Ten of the year’s #1 country singles were major pop hits, and six of those made #1 on the Hot 100: “Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” by B. J. Thomas, “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” by Freddy Fender, John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and “I’m Sorry,” Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy,” and “Convoy” by C. W. McCall, which hit #1 country in December and topped the Hot 100 in January 1976.

16.  “I Dreamed Last Night”/Justin Hayward and John Lodge. As the Moody Blues got ready to make the followup to Seventh Sojourn, Michael Pinder, Ray Thomas, and Graeme Edge opted out. Because the group owed its record label something, Hayward, Lodge, and producer Tony Clarke made Blue Jays—an album I remember seeing in many, many cutout bins in the late 70s. “I Dreamed Last Night” made #47 on the Hot 100 and #29 Easy Listening.

20.  “Ding-a-Dong”/Teach-In. I’d never heard of this record until the moment I saw this chart, but it turns out that “Ding-a-Dong” was the Netherlands entry and eventual winner of the 1975 Eurovision Song Contest. It’s catchy, but it disappears like cotton candy, and its resemblance to an ABBA record is almost certainly intentional. It didn’t make the Hot 100 but went to #22 Easy Listening.

21.  “Please Tell Him I Said Hello”/Debbie Campbell. In June 1975, Billboard described Debbie Campbell as “a young and cute rock refugee.” She had played in an all-girl band called the Kandy Kanes in the 60s, and in the early 70s with a country-rock band called Buckwheat. “Please Tell Him I Said Hello” didn’t make either the Hot 100 or Billboard‘s country Top 40, although it did have a 13-week run up to #12 on the Easy Listening chart. BTW, Glen Campbell had a daughter named Debbie who was a singer, but this isn’t her; this Debbie Campbell was a favorite around Tulsa, Oklahoma, and died young.

34.  “Susanna’s Song”/Jerry Cole and Trinity. Jerry Cole was in the Champs for a while, and he played on lots of records in the 60s as a session guitarist, including work with Them, the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and Phil Spector. He also made several albums of space-age/bachelor-pad pop in the middle of the 60s. He has a spectcularly detailed Wikipedia entry with an exhaustive list of credits, but that list doesn’t include anything with a group called Trinity. Still, he seems to have recorded three singles under that name. “Susanna’s Song,” which is not available at YouTube, went to #20 on Billboard‘s Easy Listening chart but didn’t make the Hot 100.

Writing about a song so obscure that it isn’t even on YouTube: geek achievement unlocked.

4 responses

  1. I uploaded “Susanna’s Song” from one of my promo 45s to Napster back in the day (posting obscure 45s was my specialty), then began to notice a pattern: every time someone would begin downloading it, they’d abort after awhile. They were listening to the beginning of the record, then bailing after realizing that it wasn’t the song they were looking for. What was drawing them to the record in the first place was it’s parenthetical title: (In The California Morning).

    The next time the pattern repeated, I shot out an instant message to the downloading party and steered them to another 45 I’d previously dubbed and added to my shared songs folder. Bingo! That prompted me to add “On A California Morning” to the file title of that other record: “November Snow” by Rejoice! That was the one they were all searching for, and because the actual title was only mentioned at the very beginning and very end of the song, everyone assumed that it’s title had to do with a California morning.

    Alas, no one ever seemed to be interested in the Jerry Cole & Trinity song, which did earn a few weeks’ spins locally on WCCO-FM.

    1. I am, of course, interested in both records with (In The California Morning) in their titles. And congrats to jb for unlocking the geek achievement. I did so with a cover tune from one of those soundalike album, so that doesn’t really count, but to do it with a released and charting 45 probably gives you four extra lives and a thousand battle points or something like that.

  2. “I Dreamed Last Night” got an interesting facelift,exclusively for the promo 45. Both it and the flipside, “Remember Me, My Friend” were edited, unlike both sides of the stereo commercial single. Each side was also given a dedicated mono mix, in order to avoid what would have otherwise been the effect of Justin’s split-channel, double-tracked vocals: making them sound 3db lower in volume than the backing track when heard in mono on AM radio. That Threshold Records or Tony Clarke would have gone to the trouble of doing the same for “Remember Me” on the flip, instead of simply making a mono/stereo “Dreamed Last Night” promo was pretty unusual for that late stage of the game.

  3. FYI…Susanna’s Song was written by singer/songwriter Michael Franks

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