I’m No Schoolboy But I Know What I Like

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(Pictured: in early 1971, Joni Mitchell and Carole King were making Blue and Tapestry in the same Hollywood studio complex, and James Taylor was making Mud Slide Slim down the street.)

Here’s more about the American Top 40 show from June 26, 1971:

EXTRA: “Too Young”/Nat King Cole
21. “Bridge Over Troubled Water”/Aretha Franklin
As Casey liked to do in AT40‘s earliest days, he featured the #1 song “from exactly 20 years ago.” Sometimes these features get snipped from the modern-day repeats, for good and obvious reasons. But “Too Young” was left in when this show was repeated a couple of weeks ago. A commercial break that originally appeared following “Too Young” was edited out, however, which put “Bridge Over Troubled Water” right next to it, and that sounded just fine, actually.

16. “Nathan Jones”/Supremes. Diana who? The Jean Terrell edition of the Supremes continued to score hits in 1971, just like old times. “Nathan Jones” is one of the more unusual Motown hits, thanks to its use of phasing, a bit of trickery I don’t recall hearing (at least not to this extent) on anything else from Hitsville.

15. “Double Lovin'”/Osmonds
10. “Sweet and Innocent”/Donny Osmond
 “Double Lovin'” is not a song I hear very often, and it was disorienting for a moment when it came on this show because it sounds exactly like “One Bad Apple.” We will not discuss the potentially skeevy interpretation of the lyrics of either song: “Double Lovin'” sounds like an invitation to a threesome, and in “Sweet and Innocent,” 13-year-old Donny ogles the backside of an even younger girl.

14. “You’ve Got a Friend”/James Taylor. In just its fourth week on the Hot 100, “You’ve Got a Friend’ had gone 80-44-24 before leaping to #14 in this week. It would take four more weeks to get to #1.

12. “Joy to the World”/Three Dog Night. Casey runs down the statistics: “Joy to the World” spent six weeks at #1, is in its 16th week on American Top 40 during the week of June 26, and is the largest-selling single so far in 1971. It would spend one more week on the show, falling to #31 for the week of July 3 and then entirely out of the Hot 100 the week after that. It would end up Billboard‘s #1 song of 1971.

8. “Don’t Pull Your Love”/Hamilton Joe Frank and Reynolds. There was an awkward edit in the recent national repeat of this show before “Don’t Pull Your Love,” removing a commercial break from the original 1971 broadcast. According to the original rundown sheet for the show, the spot was for a compilation album called American Top 40’s  Double Dozen, a two-disc, 24-track set made up of oldies from the 60s with liner notes written by Casey. It was promoted on the show throughout the summer of 1971, and the 6/26/71 show contained five spots for it.

7. “It Don’t Come Easy”/Ringo Starr
6. “Brown Sugar”/Rolling Stones
5. “Treat Her Like a Lady”/Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose
4. “Indian Reservation”/Raiders
3. “Want Ads”/Honey Cone
This is some solid AM radio pleasure right here. “Brown Sugar”—which is even sleazier than “Sweet and Innocent”—and “Want Ads” have already been #1; “Indian Reservation” will be.

2. “Rainy Days and Mondays”/Carpenters. “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down,” Karen sings, but there’s a solution to her troubles: “run and find the one who loves me.” Her sadness is neither existential nor unremitting—it’s the kind people feel in real life, and the solution real people often choose. Maybe that had something to do with why the song was so big. That, and the fact that it sounds great on the radio. “Rainy Days and Mondays” had been the hottest record in the country for a time, debuting on the Hot 100 at #46 in May, then going 20-11-5-3-2, and was in its second week at #2 during the week of June 26. (Someday I’m going to do the research, but if I’m recalling correctly, several Carpenters hits exploded up the charts that way, only to drop off just as quickly, as “Rainy Days and Mondays” eventually did.)

1.”It’s Too Late”/Carole King. In its second of six weeks at #1, and a great radio song from the first second, as piano, guitar, and congas deliver us to that memorable first line: “Stayed in bed all morning just to pass the time.” And the instrumental break in the middle, where Curtis Amy’s saxophone and Ralph Schuckett’s electric piano dance sensuously around one another, is just cool. Tapestry was also in its second week at #1, just beginning its run as one of the most enduring albums ever made. After it hit the Billboard 200 in April 1971, it would stay on that chart until January 1977.

Coming Monday: the bottom 60 from June 26, 1971.

6 responses

  1. I wonder if Keith Richards knew at the time that his guitar riff on the beginning of “Brown Sugar” would be one of the greatest song intros of all time.

  2. It was taken for granted back then that there would be at least 10 great records out of every 25. Nowadays it’s hard to find 1 out of 40. Music in 1971 still had the vibrancy of the 60’s in both the composition and production values. I mean, “Brown Sugar” and “Rainy Days & Mondays”, “Tapestry”, Aretha! We were on another planet !!!!!

  3. That photo you used has got to be the cutest photo of Carole King that I’ve ever seen!

  4. “We will not discuss the potentially skeevy interpretation of the lyrics of either song…”
    Seems to me you just did. ;-)

    I should probably listen to my folks’ copy of Tapestry sometime. Somehow I never connected with that one; I’ve never even heard it all the way through.
    (Which is always an interesting blog or discussion topic: What are the really famous, popular, touchstone records we’ve managed to take a complete pass on? Other examples of albums everyone’s listened to but me would include Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin’ On and Supertramp’s Breakfast in America.)

  5. John Gallagher | Reply

    One of my favorite years for music as my music awareness was in its infancy. I was 12 in 1971 and began collecting 45s with “It Don’t Come Easy” being my first. Many of these songs have stood the test of time and many haven’t.

  6. John Gallagher | Reply

    Several of the songs highlighted here have dedicated mono mixes/versions. Seek out the mono 45 version of “Joy To The World” as it blows the stereo LP version away.

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