(Pictured: Melissa Manchester in the 70s.)
In the previous post, we started on the American Top 40 show from July 12, 1975. Here’s some stuff about the rest of it.
23. “Only Women”/Alice Cooper
20. “Rhinestone Cowboy”/Glen Campbell
There are two acts Casey talks about where his personal feelings are nearly always audible: the Captain and Tennille, whom he obviously admires a great deal, and Alice Cooper, whose weirdness he can barely fathom. Introducing “Only Women,” he tells a long, chuckle-dusted story about Alice’s recent Bicentennial party, which climaxed with Cooper jumping out of a cake. The grand tone with which he introduces “Rhinestone Cowboy” makes me think it was his favorite record of the moment.
22. “Jive Talkin'”/Bee Gees. Casey says that disco must be a big thing if the Bee Gees are doing it. (“Listen to ’em swing,” he says.) My man, you have no idea.
18. “I’m Not Lisa”/Jessi Colter. Which Casey introduces with a story about how young Jessi, growing up in Arizona, once accidentally swallowed a baby hummingbird.
15. “Midnight Blue”/Melissa Manchester. Your mileage may vary, but to me, “Midnight Blue” is the best thing on the show by quite a lot.
13. “The Way We Were”/Gladys Knight and the Pips. Full title is “Try to Remember/The Way We Were,” incorporating what would have been an extremely familiar song in 1975, from the musical The Fantasticks. Gladys’ monologue that opens the song, about the way we revere the past, is a little cringey now, but contains one undeniable line: “As bad as we think they are, these will become the good old days for our children.” True dat.
Casey says that a couple of weeks ago, he told us that the only instance of a band and a member of that same band having hits in the Top 10 at the same time was when the Beatles’ “Let It Be” and John Lennon’s “Instant Karma” were on the chart together in 1970. But the AT40 staff missed a second one, he says. In 1967, the Four Seasons’ “C’mon Marianne” was in the Top 10 in the same week as Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” That’s some good trivia, but surely it’s happened since. Would somebody with a better work ethic like to research that?
6. “Please Mr. Please”/Olivia Newton-John. In Sean Ross’ Lost Factor series, he calculates the year-end chart performance of certain songs versus the amount of airplay they get now. He recently named Olivia Newton-John as his favorite Lost Factor artist. She’s not played very much despite nearly 15 years of strong singles on Top 40 radio, falling mainly in two white-hot stretches, pre- and post-Grease. Between 1973 and 1977, she had two #1s on the Hot 100, but eight out of ten charting singles made #1 on Billboard‘s AC chart. In the same period, she hit the Billboard country chart 11 times, with seven Top 10s.
4. “Wildfire”/Michael Murphey. We have noted a couple of times how Casey would refer to adult female artists as “girls.” On this show, a male artist finally gets treated the same way. Casey cals Michael Murphey, who had just turned 30, a “Dallas boy.”
2. “The Hustle”/Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony. I wonder why “The Hustle” is never mentioned among the great summer hits of all time. Not that it has anything do with summer specifically, but its light-n-bright sound is all sunny days and good times and happy people hanging out together.
1. “Love Will Keep Us Together”/Captain and Tennille. As this record spends its fourth week at the top, Casey mentions that it has been over two years since any hit lasted four weeks at #1, not since Paul McCartney’s “My Love” in the summer of 1973. (It would be April 1976 before Johnnie Taylor did it again, with “Disco Lady.”) Although several #1s in 1974 and 1975 ran for three weeks at the top, each of those years saw 35 different songs hit #1 on the Hot 100. For one song to last four weeks in that volatile environment means it was a monster. If it lacks the raw numbers to make it one of the top hits of the decade, its impact at the time is certainly enough to rank it with them.
As July 1975 rolled on and the summer deepened, the next big thing on my agenda was the county fair. It would be the last time I participated in 4H at the fair and the year I got to stay overnight in the cattle barn. I talked about it in the podcast episode I linked to in my previous post. If you’d prefer to read about my 4H and fair experience instead, click here.