Try to Remember

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(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.

10 thoughts on “Try to Remember

  1. TN

    The Melissa Manchester song is great, but so are “I’m Not Lisa,” “Wildfire,” and “Only Women,” which I believe Casey himself was responsible for re-christening since he refused to say “Only Women Bleed.” Or maybe I just made that up. Truly, this was the Golden Age of Soft Rock.

    1. At the time, most everybody went all-in on not acknowledging the subject matter of “Only Women.” (When Casey counted down the Top 100 of 1975, he introduced the song by calling it “a touching tribute to women,” which is just, wow, I can’t even.) One wonders how such a song might be received if it were released today. I honestly can’t guess whether it would be hailed as an important bit of truth-telling or criticized for its graphic description of spousal abuse. What Alice’s label was thinking in 1975 I can’t guess either.

  2. Wesley

    I wouldn’t say I have a better work ethic, but I do know that 45 years ago during the weeks of July 10 and 17, 1976, Paul McCartney was in the top 10 twice, one as a solo artist with “Silly Love Songs” and the other as a Beatle singing lead on “Got to Get You Into My Life.” And if you want to argue that “Silly Love Songs” officially was under the group Wings and/or “Got to Get You Into My Life” was a release by a defunct and therefore either or both reasons negates this claim, I can already guess how fun you are at parties.

    On another AT40 apology note related to a song on this show, Casey one time had to correct when the show claimed “Jive Talkin'” was one of several tunes that included stuttering as part of its lyrics. (Again, if this sort of thing fascinates you, I’m avoiding you at a party.) Anyway, the researchers learned that what they thought was The Bee Gees saying “Juh juh juh jive talkin’ …” at the start of the song was actually “It’s just your jive talkin’ …” Glad I got all this out of my system before the weekend begins.

  3. I rifled the AT40: The Shows site, convinced I could find a week with both Genesis and Phil Collins in the Top 10 (or maybe Mike & the Mechanics), but I never did.

    I found a show from 1986 with both “Invisible Touch” and “Sledgehammer” in the Top 10. But of course, Peter Gabriel hadn’t been a member of Genesis for 10 years at that point, so that doesn’t really count.

  4. My mileage does not vary.

    If Casey had met Alice (and later on, maybe he did), he’d have relaxed considerably. One of the world’s nicest guys. Met him by accident when he and I were both flying from Phoenix to L.A. and bent down to grab the same copy of the L.A. Times at the terminal newsstand.

    Alice: “I’m sorry—-Hey, aren’t you on TV?”

    Me: “Yes, thank you. But screw that, you’re ALICE COOPER!”

    1. Alice Cooper always struck me as a guy who didn’t take himself too seriously, and someone who was always in on the joke. In other words, he struck me as someone a lot different than many rock stars oozing self-importance.

      1. mikehagerty

        Guy: That’s exactly who he is. He and I crossed paths many times after that (our daughters were in the same preschool class) and he’s among the most genuine, least pretentious people (celebrity or not) that I’ve ever met.

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