(Pictured: soul singer Margie Joseph in 1973.)
Instead of following up an American Top 40 post by looking at the Billboard Bottom 60, let’s look instead at the Cash Box Looking Ahead chart for the week of July 17, 1971, which is like Billboard‘s Bubbling Under chart.
1. “Crazy Love”/Helen Reddy. “Crazy Love,” Reddy’s followup to “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” is Van Morrison’s song.
2. “And When She Smiles”/The Wildweeds. The Carpenters sang this song as early as 1971 as “And When He Smiles,” but the version by the Wildweeds, a band from Connecticut, is the original.
8. “Make It With You”/Ralfi Pagan. Pagan’s falsetto version of “Make It With You,” which had been a #1 hit by Bread a year before, maybe ain’t for everybody, but it got Pagan onto Soul Train and boosted his career as one of the top Latin artists of the early 70s. In 1978, he was murdered under mysterious circumstances while touring in Colombia. The crime was never solved.
9. “That Other Woman Got My Man and Gone”/Margie Joseph. If “That Other Woman Got My Man and Gone” puts you in mind of Johnnie Taylor’s “Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone,” that was probably the idea.
16. “Leave My Man (Woman) Alone”/Raelettes. In which Ray Charles’ backup singers gender-switch one of his songs. “Leave My Man (Woman) Alone” is advice you’d be wise to take.
17. “Breezin'”/Gabor Szabo and Bobby Womack. Although “Breezin'” was more famously recorded in 1976 by George Benson, this “Breezin'” is the OG.
20. “Good Enough to Be Your Wife”/Jeannie C. Riley. If Carly Simon’s contemporaneous “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be” is about the ambivalence many young women felt about being expected to fit into society’s expectations about marriage and domesticity circa 1971, “Good Enough to Be Your Wife” expresses a dissenting view. Jeannie C’s man says marriage doesn’t fit his way of life, but she says (paraphrasing), you want the milk, honey, you best buy the cow.
21. “Near You”/Boz Scaggs. Boz was already on his way to stardom in the San Francisco Bay area by 1971. “Near You” would fit right in with his stuff from the late 70s and early 80s, a period that Boz now refers to as “the Hollywood years.”
22. “Candy Apple Red”/R. Dean Taylor. After throwing shots with the police in a doomed attempt to escape a murder charge in “Indiana Wants Me,” R. Dean Taylor commits suicide over a lost love in “Candy Apple Red.” In a church. His last words are, “Someone please pray for me on Sunday,” and the record goes to the fade with a bit of the Lord’s Prayer. What the hell, R. Dean?
23. “Hymn 43″/Jethro Tull. “Hymm 43” seems like such a weird choice for a single. It’s hard to imagine on it AM radio alongside the likes of “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” and “Draggin’ the Line.”
25. “I Want to Take You Higher”/Kool and the Gang. As long as the original exists, you don’t really need this version of “I Want to Take You Higher,” but it’s fine.
26. “Where Evil Grows”/Poppy Family
28. “Do You Know What I Mean”/Lee Michaels
30. “Where You Lead”/Barbra Streisand
A handful of singles on this week’s Looking Ahead charts would scrape onto various Top 40s and bigtime radio stations. “Do You Know What I Mean” would end up the biggest. “Where Evil Grows” deserved to be bigger. I have for many years fanboy’d over “Where You Lead.” And “K-Jee” is straight-up disco, years before the word came into widespread use.
29. “Call Me Up in Dreamland”/Van Morrison. After the success of “Domino” and “Blue Money” from His Band and the Street Choir, “Call Me Up in Dreamland” was a stiff. It’s got a great chorus, but the verses are lacking and Morrison’s tenor sax is kind of old-timey.
Sometimes I worry A) that I should do better at keeping up with current music trends strictly because playing that music on the radio is my job now and B) that I am missing out on new stuff that’s good and worthwhile. But I remember that there are hundreds and hundreds of good, worthwhile, and/or interesting records from the preceding 130 years or so that I haven’t heard yet. Then I stop worrying and listen to them instead.
Programming Note: A while back, a reader asked a question I am happy to answer. But my answer is going to be a Sidepiece post, for reasons I will enumerate there. It will go out over the weekend. If you’re not a subscriber yet, the Sidepiece is free and worth the price. Find out about it and sign up here.