Get Down to Your Rockin’ Soul

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(Pictured: Hues Corporation, on TV in 1974.)

Having listened to the American Top 40 show from October 19, 1974, let’s put on some of the other songs below the Top 40, which were on some of the other radio stations around the country as October turned to November in 1974.

42. “Love Don’t Love Nobody (Part 1)”/Spinners. This is just a magnificent thing. “Love Don’t Love Nobody” would get to #15, but the radio stations I listened to in 1974 didn’t play it. Their loss—and mine, since I didn’t hear it until years later, partly because Atlantic chose to leave it off the 1978 compilation The Best of the Spinners, which I owned and played endlessly. That album did include “How Could I Let You Get Away,” a #77 single, and “Ghetto Child,” which got to #28 (although both were substantial R&B hits, which “Love Don’t Love Nobody” was too.)

50. “Rockin’ Soul”/Hues Corporation. If you enjoyed “Rock the Boat,” here it is again. “Rockin’ Soul” is every bit as virulently catchy as its predecessor: “‘Cause we gotta have a chance to do our dance / And we’ll never go wrong when we’re singin’ our song.”

52. “I Can Help”/Billy Swan
54. “Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)”/Three Dog Night

55. “Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)”/Al Green
56. “Wishing You Were Here”/Chicago
60. “Angie Baby”/Helen Reddy
62. “Cat’s in the Cradle”/Harry Chapin
79. “You Got the Love”/Rufus
80. “Kung Fu Fighting”/Carl Douglas
95. “Laughter in the Rain”/Neil Sedaka
Here’s your favorite AM station’s hot rotation from November to February, more or less. (Well, maybe not “Play Something Sweet,” but it’s in my hot rotation.) Five of them—Swan, Reddy, Chapin, Douglas, and Sedaka—would get to #1.

53. “I Love My Friend”/Charlie Rich
57. “She Called Me Baby”/Charlie Rich
Rich was straight money for a year-and-a-half: between the summer of 1973 and the end of 1974, he hit #1 on the country chart seven times, partly because people loved his stuff and partly because it was coming out on two labels. Epic was his main label at the time, while RCA reissued songs he’d cut for them in the mid 60s. (Mercury even got into the act with one single in the middle of the rush.) All seven of his #1s, regardless of label, crossed over to the Hot 100.

65. “After the Gold Rush”/Prelude. Prelude was an English trio, and there has never been anything else that sounds like their version of “After the Gold Rush,” not even the original by Neil Young. It would come on the radio and stop you in your tracks for the two minutes it takes to play.

73. “Fairytale”/Pointer Sisters. I remain an evangelist for “Fairytale” after all these years, a straight country joint that’s weird until you stop thinking about who’s singing it, then it’s just a great record.

74. “The Black-Eyed Boys”/Paper Lace. This bit of gourmet cheese, about the least-threatening motorcycle gang in the world, would eventually peak at #41, so “The Night Chicago Died” remains the band’s only Top 40 hit.

76. “Touch Me”/Fancy. After riding a big riff up the chart in the summer with “Wild Thing,” the group of studio musicians known as Fancy returned with “Touch Me,” another primal beat, and the story of a woman who is surprised in bed by her lover only to discover A) that it’s not her lover but a stranger and B) she’s OK with that.

78. “Pretzel Logic”/Steely Dan. This single has 12 listings at ARSA. It’s shown in the Top 10 at WVUD in Dayton, Ohio, part of an album-rock-leaning playlist that includes Traffic’s “Walking in the Wind,” “Bulbs” by Van Morrison, and “Country Side of Life” by Wet Willie alongside records by Barry White and Gladys Knight.

86. “James Dean”/Eagles. This single from On the Border stalled at #77. It’s the last time they would stiff. Nine of their next 11 singles would make the Top 10 (and the other two would make #11 and #18), and five would be #1.

83. “In the Bottle”/Brother to Brother
85. “Sugar Pie Guy”/The Joneses
88. “I Wash My Hands of the Whole Damn Deal (Part 1)”/New Birth

89. “Loose Booty”/Sly and the Family Stone
90. “Heavy Fallin’ Out”/Stylistics
93. “Up for the Down Stroke”/Parliament
Stuff down here be burnin’, y’all.

97. “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow”/Frank Zappa. I love that this made the Hot 100, even if it got only to #86.

This chart proves yet again that in any random week of the 1970s, the crazed variety of music on the Hot 100 will leave you almost woozy with delight. Or maybe that’s just me.

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6 thoughts on “Get Down to Your Rockin’ Soul

  1. mikehagerty

    “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” was actually in power rotation at KCBQ in San Diego when I moved down there in January of 1975 for my brief attempt at higher education. Of course, this was the station that played 45s at 48 RPM and put “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron”, “Wipeout” and “Monster Mash” back in their top 10 a year and a half before, but still.

    And Amen on “Fairytale”.

  2. Wesley

    “After the Gold Rush” would be the last a cappella entry onto the top 40 until the Nylons took “Kiss Him Goodbye” to #12 in 1987 with no musical accompaniment.

  3. “After the Gold Rush” would be the last a cappella entry onto the top 40 until the Nylons took “Kiss Him Goodbye” to #12 in 1987 with no musical accompaniment.

    What about Seven Bridges Road by The Eagles (1981)? Wasn’t that completely a cappella?

  4. T.

    This was a time when you had hundreds of great R&B groups who could ALL SING, had good stage moves, and looked sharp. Why is there none of that today? How did all of that just disappear?

  5. John Gallagher

    Frank Zappa was the first concert I ever saw in 1974, about the time that Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow was out. I was 15, and probably the only person in attendance no smoking or smelling of pot. I felt really out of place but I won the tickets.

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