(Pictured: Judy Collins does a radio interview, 1975.)
As we do, let’s find a few records to talk about below the Top 40 from the week of June 28, 1975.
45. “I Wanna Dance Wit’ Choo”/Disco Tex and the Sex-o-Lettes. The people behind Disco Tex and the Sex-o-Lettes are not the sort of people you would expect: writer/producers Bob Crewe, Denny Randell, and Kenny Nolan, plus a few prominent Los Angeles studio musicians and erstwhile Sugarloaf guitarist and singer Jerry Corbetta. The group was fronted by Sir Monti Rock III, a showbiz character who (according to Wikipedia, so who the hell knows) first came to prominence as a TV talk-show guest in the 60s. You can’t really call what he does “singing”; he’s more the ringmaster. Neither “I Wanna Dance Wit’ Choo” nor the single that preceded it, “Get Dancin’,” (which made the pop Top 10 in February of 1975) was ever gonna make it onto your typical oldies station, but they were a hell of a lot of fun.
49. “Me and Mrs. Jones”/Ron Banks and the Dramatics. Some songs probably shouldn’t be covered because the original recordings are so definitive and/or just so damn good. Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones” is one of them, although the Dramatics’ version did go to #4 on the R&B chart.
58. “Mister Magic”/Grover Washington Jr. We prefer straight jazz to smooth jazz at this website, but nobody called smooth jazz “smooth jazz” in 1975, and Washington’s Mister Magic album was a smash everywhere it went: #1 on both the jazz and soul album charts and #10 on the Billboard 200. It has all of the smooth jazz ingredients, however, and a lot of the major players, including Bob James, Harvey Mason, Eric Gale, and Ralph McDonald. The single edit of the title song ran 3:19, but here’s the whole nine minutes from the album (which had only four tracks in all.)
62. “I Don’t Know Why”/Rolling Stones. This is a Stevie Wonder song the Stones cut in 1969, during the Let It Bleed sessions, supposedly on the day they learned of Brian Jones’ death, in July of that year. “I Don’t Know Why” wasn’t released until Allan Klein cleaned out the vaults in 1975 for the compilation Metamorphosis. [Previously bad link fixed. —Ed.] It doesn’t sound like hit single material at all, although it’s got some fabulously bent slide guitar. There’s some question, apparently, about whether the slide was played by Mick Taylor or Ry Cooder.
74. “Jackie Blue”/Ozark Mountain Daredevils. In its 21st week and final week on the Hot 100, the oldest record on the list.
75. “Send in the Clowns”/Judy Collins. “Send in the Clowns” was offered to radio stations as an optional extra when the 6/28/75 American Top 40 show was repeated around the country last month. It may be one of the last new entries into the Great American Songbook before that ceased to be a thing. There were many, many cover versions of it for several years thereafter. As a single, it would sneak into the Top 40 of the Hot 100 for three weeks in August 1975 but reach #8 on Easy Listening; two years later the very same recording was reissued and spent eight weeks in the Top 40, reaching #19. A program director of mine once told me that the Eagles’ “Desperado” is one of the most difficult records to schedule on the radio because it’s so slow and so sparse. I am guessing that if there’s a difficult-to-schedule list, “Send in the Clowns” is probably on it for the same reasons.
78. “Third Rate Romance”/Amazing Rhythm Aces
79. “Fallin’ in Love”/Hamilton Joe Frank and Reynolds
80. “Ballroom Blitz”/Sweet
I could listen to this kind of thing all day.
107. “Top of the World (Make My Reservation)”/Canyon. A late period Kasenetz/Katz production, released on their Magna Glide label. Magna Glide seems to have released only a handful of singles, including two by Canyon, one by soul singer J. J. Jackson (famed for “But It’s Alright”), and, most intriguing of all, one by Tony Conigliaro, the Boston Red Sox slugger. As it turns out, Tony C was a clubhouse doo-wop harmonizer with some of his Red Sox teammates and got his first chance to record in 1964. He released several singles between 1964 and 1967—the same year he took a fastball to the face, which short-circuited his baseball career. His final single, “Poetry,” was released on Magna Glide in 1975, the same year he made his last appearance in the majors.
I seem to have drifted from Canyon. They were from Ohio, they released two singles on Magna Glide, and “Top of the World” would eventually get to #98.