Take Me Home

Embed from Getty Images

(Pictured: Freda Payne sings on Top of the Pops in 1970.)

After recapping an AT40 show, we usually explore the next 60 positions on the chart in search of records that are notable, interesting, historic, or weird. For this edition of the feature, I’m tempted to simply reproduce the entire Bottom 60 from June 5, 1971, and say, “See?”

47. “Don’t Pull Your Love”/Hamilton Joe Frank and Reynolds
58. “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again”/Fortunes
62. “Take Me Home Country Roads”/John Denver and Fat City
64. “Mr. Big Stuff”/Jean Knight
77. “Sooner or Later”/Grass Roots
80. “You’ve Got a Friend”/James Taylor
88. “Signs”/Five Man Electrical Band
See? All of these would eventually make the Top 10, and they stand 50 years later as the distilled essence of that AM-radio summer.

48. “High Time We Went”-“Black Eyed Blues”/Joe Cocker. I have dug “High Time We Went” forever, but until this morning I had no idea what the precise lyrics are.

49. “13 Questions”/Seatrain. This California band of constantly shifting membership contained, at one point or another, veterans of the Blues Project, the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, and Earth Opera. “13 Questions” is on their second album, titled Seatrain after their debut had been called Sea Train, and was produced by George Martin.

59. “Melting Pot”/Booker T and the MGs. This is the last week on the Hot 100 for the last hit single by Booker T and the MGs.

60. “Tarkio Road”/Brewer and Shipley
76. “Get It On”/Chase
84. “Never Ending Song of Love”/Delaney and Bonnie
I did not list these under “See?” because they feel like they’re a cut below that level for most people, although to me they’re as indelibly stamped.

66. “Bring the Boys Home”/Freda Payne. Although white singers did plenty of famous antiwar songs, the ones by Black performers, especially by 1970 or so, carry extra weight, considering that Black and poor communities were most heavily affected by the Vietnam-era draft. “Bring the Boys Home” is one of the strongest antiwar sentiments ever to make it big on AM radio.

72. “Hot Love”/T. Rex. I bought nothing but 45s from 1971 until the end of 1973, but why I bought what I bought is a mystery to me now. “Hot Love,” for example: WLS charted it for only three weeks and it peaked at #24, but I heard it enough and dug it enough to lay down my 95 cents. Later, I’d buy “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” too.

78. “Done Too Soon”-“I Am I Said”/Neil Diamond. Radio stations that turned over “I Am I Said” in favor of “Done Too Soon” got a “We Didn’t Start the Fire”-style list of prominent names, concluding with a slow verse that’s kinda moving:

And each one there had one thing to share
They had sweated beneath the same sun
Looked up in wonder at the same moon
And wept when it was all done
For bein’ done too soon

87. “Walk Away”/James Gang. In its day, on the singles chart, “Walk Away” would peak at #51. A decade later, it would be in the classic-rock radio canon.

89. “If Not for You”/Olivia Newton-John. The first hit of her career, in its second week on the chart.

91. “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong”/Gladys Knight and the Pips. With several arrangers and producers getting credit on the If I Were Your Woman album, it’s not easy to tell who’s responsible for the great sound of “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong,” but master arranger David Van De Pitte and underrated producer Clay McMurray are among those credited, so they’re a safe bet.

92. “Love Means (You Never Have to Say You’re Sorry)”/Sounds of Sunshine. Inspired by Jenny’s famous line from the movie Love Story but not otherwise related to the film, “Love Means” went to #5 on Billboard‘s Easy Listening chart, spent a single week (July 31, 1971) on the Hot 100, and was two weeks on the WLS chart. The Sounds of Sunshine, three closely harmonizing California brothers, were frequently mistaken for the Lettermen, who recorded their own version of “Love Means” in 1972 because of course they did.

95. “I’ve Found Someone of My Own”/Free Movement. This record was the longest-charting Hot 100 hit of 1971, 26 weeks—five of which came in May and June before it dropped out for a couple of weeks. It came back in July and eventually made it to #5.

96. “Mandrill”/Mandrill. Homework assignment for the readership: other songs that have the same name as the band that recorded them.

Fifty years ago this month, the fifth grade was over and summer had come—a summer that would sound different to me than any one before.

16 thoughts on “Take Me Home

  1. SteveE

    First homework answers: “Yellow Balloon.” “Kool and the Gang” and “Bo Diddley.” OK, last one is not a band, but …

  2. mikehagerty

    It never even occurred to me to look up the lyrics to “High Time We Went”. I clicked on the link, JB, and I’m amazed.

    However, I’m just going to stick with the explanation I’ve carried for 30 or so years—appropriating Robin Williams’ line that “it sounds like Lorne Greene having a gigantic vowel movement.”

  3. I saw Seatrain live in 1971 when “13 Questions” was getting some minor airplay. What momentum they received came from their relationship to Al Kooper, Blood, Sweat & Tears & The Blues Project. I still have their LP. It’s good. Fiddle player Richard Greene was the unique, if not a star attraction. Good little band while they lasted.

  4. Rodney

    Never Ending Song of Love is pure and simple “feel good music”.
    I discovered “Done Too Soon” about 20 years ago and have loved it ever since. You’re right about those lyrics. We don’t know how much time we’re gonna get, but we might wanna make the best of each day.

  5. Yah Shure

    The music director who preceded me at our college station is in town and Mike brought along some station surveys I’d been missing. One of those I scanned yesterday was the last chart from the 1970-71 academic year, for the two-week period ending May 22nd. It was fun to see what we were playing a half-century earlier, often ahead of the competition. It was also disheartening to see which songs now drew total blanks (in fairness, I was still two months away from joining the station, although I had listened to it that spring in the dorm.)

    The top five singles were all familiar songs: “It Don’t Come Easy”, “Lowdown” (Chicago), “Love Her Madly”, “Brown Sugar” and, at #5, “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Then things got more interesting.

    6. “Tongue In Cheek”/Sugarloaf, On its way down from #1 a month earlier.
    7. “13 Questions”/Seatrain. Up from – what else? – 13.
    8. “Be Nice To Me”/Runt. Previously 10.
    9. “Layla/Derek & The Dominoes, dropping from 8.
    10. “If”/Bread. ‘Twas 4. Duked it out with “Colour My World” for most-requested song honors for the entire ’71 fall quarter to come.

    12. “It’s Too Late”/Carole King. New. “We beat KQRS on it by nine days!” says Mike.
    15. “Downtown”/Crazy Horse, down from #7. Can’t say I’ve heard this one before.
    17. “Sunlight”/Youngbloods, down from 15. Re-release of the ’69 single, produced by Charlie Daniels. Wouldn’t bubble under on Billboard for nearly another month.

    20. “Blind Eye”/Wishbone Ash. Debut.
    21. “She Comes In Colors”/Fever Tree, up from 25. More muscular than the Love original.
    23. “When You Dance”/”Sugar Mountain”/Neil Young. Was 18. So much for a sugar high.
    24. “Black-Eyed Blues”/Joe Cocker. Debut. No sign of “High Time” yet.
    25. “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”/Johnny Winter. Debut. ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!!
    26. “Long Tall Sally”/Cactus. Headed down from 22. Have never heard it.
    27. “Never Can Say Goodbye”/Jackson 5, down from 17 and Cactus’ new next-door neighbor.
    28. “Broken”/Guess Who. Marked down from #20. Albert Flasher’s original boss.
    30. “Keep The Circle Turning”/Lee Michaels. Debut. Another one to look up on YT.
    32. “Ride, Ride My Lady”/New York Rock Ensemble. New. Their “Runnin’ Down The Highway” had previously been big on the station.

    33. “Crazy Love”/Rita Coolidge. Same as last (bi-)week. Van Morrison cover.
    34. “Music Is Love”/David Crosby. Was 28. Not about his hair, apparently.
    35. “We Were Always Sweethearts”/Boz Scaggs. Debut. Was an actual hit on WJON.
    36. “Children’s Fantasy”/Glass Harp. Debut. A “B” side reminiscent of local group Gypsy.
    37. “Can’t Find The Time”/Rose Colored Glass. Debut. Turned into a big Twin Cities hit.
    38. “Where You Lead”/Arkade. New. “If it’s on Dunhill, believe it!”, said the sleeve. Few did.
    40. “Love’s Made A Fool Of You”/Cochise. Debut. Now *this* is rock and roll.

    Top 5 albums: Aqualung/Summer Side Of Life/Sticky Fingers/Four Way Street/Tapestry.
    Among the new album releases: Climax Blues Band (s/t), Fair Weather (Beginning From An End), Leo Kottke (Mudlark) and Status Quo (Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon).

    New release 45s: 10 in all. Long Promised Road/Tarkio Road/Strange Kind Of Woman (Deep Purple)/Done Too Soon/Never Can Say Goodbye (Isaac Hayes)/Cool Aid/Everybody’s Got To Clap (Lulu)/The City (Mark-Almond)/Ooh Poo Pah Doo (Ike & Tina Turner) and the already-charting Rose Colored Glass.

  6. “We Were Always Sweethearts” was a massive hit in San Francisco, where Boz put down roots. Growing up in the nighttime reach of KFRC, I thought it had to have been a top five record. Hard to reconcile with seeing it peak at #61 in Billboard.

  7. mikehagerty

    I also had forgotten that the Isaac Hayes cover of “Never Can Say Goodbye” was so close to the release of the Jackson 5 version.

  8. Something about …“I’ve Found Someone of My Own”/Free Movement…just knocks me out with its twist! He’s gonna be all right, thank you very much.

  9. 60. “Tarkio Road”/Brewer and Shipley
    76. “Get It On”/Chase
    84. “Never Ending Song of Love”/Delaney and Bonnie

    Indelibly stamped here, too. As is “Done Too Soon.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.