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*Indicates highest Billboard chart position
1. Hooked on a Feeling - Blue Swede
Music and lyrics by Mark James
Screen Gems-EMI Music Inc. BMI. EMI 3627 (1974).
(P) 1974 EMI Records. Courtesy of EMI Records Group/EMI Records, under license from CEMA Special Markets. No. 1*
2. Hitchin' a Ride - Vanity Fare
Music and lyrics by Peter Callander and Mitch Murray
Songs of PolyGram International. Inc. BMI. Page One 21029 (1970). From Roger Easterby Management. No. 5*
3. The Night Chicago Died - Paper Lace
Music and lyrics by Peter Callander and Lionel Stitcher
Intune Inc. BMI./Murroy Callander Music Inc. ASCAP. Mercury 73492 (1974).
(P) 1974 PolyGram Special Products. a Division of PolyGram Records. Inc. Courtesy of PolyGram Special Markets, a Division of PolyGram Group Distribution, Inc. No. 7*
4. How Do You Do? - Mouth and MacNeal
Music and lyrics by Hans Christian W. van Hemert and Henricus M. von Hoof
English lyrics by Ronnie Ball
WB Music Corp. ASCAP. Philips 40715 (1972).
(P) 1972 Phillips. Courtesy of PolyGram Special Markets, a Division of PolyGram Group Distribution, Inc. No. 8*
5. Chevy Van - Sammy Johns
Music and lyrics by Sammy Johns
Grapevine Music Co, ASCAP. GRC 2046 (1975).
(P) 1975 GRC Records. Courtesy of Curb Records. No. 5*
6. Dancing in the Moonlight - King Harvest
Music and lyrics by Sherman Kelly
EMI U Catalog Inc./St. Nathanson Music Ltd. ASCAP. Perception 515 (1973). (P) 1973 Celebrity Licensing. Inc. Courtesy of Celebrity Licensing, Inc. No. 13*
7. Rock Me Gently - Andy Kim
Music and lyrics by Andy Kim
Joachim Music Inc. BMI. Capital 3895 (1974). (P) 1974 Capital Records. Courtesy of Capital Records, Inc., under license from CEMA Special Markets. No. 1*
8. Jungle Fever - The Chakachas
Music and lyrics by Bill Ador
RKM Music Inc. ASCAP. Polydor 15030 (1972).
(P) 1972 Polydor Records. Courtesy of PolyGram Special Markets, a Division of PolyGram Group Distribution, Inc. No. 8*
9. I'm Doin' Fine Now - New York City
Music and lyrics by Sherman Marshall and Thom Bell
Warner-Tamerlane Publ. Corp. BMI. Chelsea 0113 (1973). (P) 1973 Mighty Three Music. Courtesy of Celebrity Licensing, Inc. No. 17*
10. Moonlight Feels Right - Starbuck
Music and lyrics by Michael Bruce Blackman
Brother Bills Music. ASCAP. Private Stock 45039 (1976). (P) 1976 Private Stock Records Courtesy of Celebrity Licensing, Inc. No. 3*
11. Afternoon Delight - Starland Vocal Band
Music and lyrics by Bill Danoff
Cherry Lane Music Publishing Co., Inc. ASCAP. Windsong 10588 (1976). (P) 1976 Windsong Records, Inc. Courtesy of Windsong Records, Inc. No.1*
12. Beach Baby - First Class
Music and lyrics by Gil Shakespeare and John Carter
Galahad Music Inc. BMI. UK 49022 (1974).
(P) 1974 Sunny Records Ltd.
Produced by John Carter for Sunny Records Ltd. No. 4*
13. Sky High - Jigsaw
Music and lyrics by Des Dyer and Clive Scoff.
Duchess Music Corp. BMI. Chelsea 3022 (1975). (P) 1975 Chelsea Records Corp. Courtesy of Celebrity Licensing, Inc. No. 3*
14. Seasons in the Sun - Terry Jacks
Music by Jacques Brel. English lyrics by Rod McKuen
Edward B. Marks Music Co. BMI. Bell 45432 (1974). (P) 1974 Bell Records. Courtesy of Arista Records, Inc. No. 1*
15. Billy, Don't Be a Hero - Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods
Music and lyrics by Peter Callander and Mitch Murray
PolyGram International Publishing. ASCAP. ABC 11435 (1974). (P) 1974 ABC Records. Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc. No. 1*
16. Tighter, Tighter - Alive and Kicking
Music and lyrics by Tommy James and Bob King
Longitude Music Co. BMI. Roulette 7078 (1970).
Courtesy of Rhino Records Inc. No. 7*
17. Beautiful Sunday - Daniel Boone
Music and lyrics by David Balfe and Peter Green
Colgems EMI Music Inc. ASCAP. Mercury 73281 (1972).
(P) 1972 Mercury Records. Courtesy of PolyGram Special Markets, a Division of PolyGram Group Distribution, Inc. No. 15*
18. My Baby Loves Lovin' - White Plains
Music and lyrics by Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook
PolyGram International Publishing. ASCAP. Deram 85058 (1970)
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Markets, a Division of PolyGram Group Distribution, Inc. No. 13*
19. Run Joey Run - David Geddes
Music and lyrics by Jack Perricone and Paul Vance
Music Sales Corp. ASCAP. Big Tree 16044 (1975).
(P) 1975 Atlantic Recording Corp. Produced under license from Atlantic Recording Corp. No. 4*
20. One Tin Soldier, The Legend of Billy Jack - Coven
Music and lyrics by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter
Duchess Music Corp. BMI. Warner Bros. 7509 (1971)
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Markets, a Division of PolyGram Group Distribution, Inc. No. 26*
21. Rings - Cymarron
Music and lyrics by Alex Harvey and Eddie Reeves
EMI Unart Catalog Inc. BMI. Entrance 7500 (1971).
Under license from Sony Music Special Products, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. No. 7*
22. Shannon - Henry Gross
Music and lyrics by Henry Gross
Blendingwell Music. ASCAP. Lifesong 45002 (1976). (P) 1976 PKM Productions. Courtesy of PKM Productions. No. 6*
TIME LIFE MUSIC®
President: Steven L. Janas
Vice Presidents: Fernando Pargas, Donna Pickett, Martin Shampaine
Executive Producer: Charles McCardell
Associate Producer: Brian Miller
Creative Director: Robin Bray
Art Director: Alice Sexton
New Product Development: Robert Hull
Recording Producers: Joe Sasfy, Steve Carr
Chief Financial Officer: Pamela Chin
Associate Director of Production: Karen Hill
Special Contributor: John Bonfield
AM Top Twenty was produced by Time-Life Music in cooperation with
Warner Special Products. Digitally remastered at Hit and Run Studios,
The Author: John Morthland has been an associate editor for Rolling
Stone and Creem. He has freelanced for virtually every rock magazine
published during the last 20 years Time-Life wishes to thank William L.
Schurk of the Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives, Bowling
Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, for providing valuable
TIME-LIFE MUSIC is a division of Time Life Inc.
© 1993 Time Life Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in U.S.A TIME-L1FE is a trademark of Time Warner Inc. U.S.A
Cover art by Enzo Messi and Urs Schmidt
© 1993 Time Life Inc.
Picture credit: Back panel photo of Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods courtesy Michael Ochs Archives, Venice, CA
Manufactured for Time-Life Music by Warner Special Products, a Time Warner Company. (P) 1993 Warner Special Products.
WARNER SPECIAL PRODUCTS
AM Top Twenty
Harmony groups, harmony groups – what hath Crosby, Stills and Nash wrought? Ironically, at the same time that an emerging generation of rockers was going louder and heavier in the '70s, an equally large group (many of them music-business veterans), inspired by the success of the aforementioned LA supergroup, wasgoing in a softer, folkier direction. While the hard rockers, who favored extended jams, were making headway on the FM radio band, the harmony groups, which were more oriented toward carefully crafted songs, were creating a presence on AM, They didn't rock all that much, but they went down sweet and easy, And though many of these harmony groups turned out to be one-hit wonders, they helped define the decade, Starland Vocal Band was a prime example, even if the group's antecedents were as much John Denver as CSN, Indeed, group leader Bill Danoff was a friend and co-writer of His Rocky Mountain Highness, Danoff and his wife, Taffy, had cut two inconsequential albums together for RCA before they took on new members Jon Carroll (who had helped out on one of those LPs) and Margot Chapman (who had worked with Bill previously in a rock group called Fat City).
Their squeaky-clean harmonies made them the first act signed to Denver's new label, Windsong. Bill wrote Afternoon Delight – Starland's debut single, No, 1 hit and only Top 40 record – after lunching at a Washington, D,C., restaurant that offered an "Afternoon Delight" menu of exotic dishes like hot brie with walnuts, When he returned home, he told his wife what his idea of an "afternoon delight" was, and then set about writing a song that suggested what he had in mind without coming right out and saying it.
Blue Swede hailed from Sweden, and their Hooked on a Feeling had been a 1969 hit for Texas balladeer B.J. Thomas. But in 1972 British pop eccentric Jonathan King revived it with a novel intro, and that was the version that Bjorn Skifs and his group Blabus (Swedish for "blue denim") covered: when it hit big in Europe, EMI International agreed to an American release, but only if the group would change its name to Blue Swede.
Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods came from Cincinnati, and Paper Lace from Nottingham (England's "lace city"), but they were connected by a song. British writer-producers Mitch Murray and Peter Callander were American-history buffs fond of the story-song form, and they combined their two loves to create the Civil War tale Billy, Don't Be a Hero. They saw Paper Lace on the British television show Opportunity Knocks and thought the group and song were perfect for each other. But after getting a hit in England, they were slow consummating an American deal. Meanwhile, ABC head producer Steve Barri cut the song with Donaldson and the Heywoods, who had come to his attention via regular appearances on Dick Clark's Action '73 TV show.
The Donaldson version went all the way to the top, but Paper Lace tapped out at No. 96 in the U.S. Vowing not to get aced again, Callander and Paper Lace came back with another Americana story-song, The Night Chicago Died, which was about a fictional shoot-out between Al Capone and Windy City police, and this time they got their own No.1.
Two English studio-concoction groups, White Plains and First Class, had the same lead singer, hired gun Tony Burrows. The team of Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway wrote and produced My Baby Loves Lovin' for White Plains. Four years later, John Carter did the same with Beach Baby, a Beach Boys-like production released under the name First Class. Carter had once played with the young Jimmy Page in a group called the Southerners, after which he worked with Tony Burrows in the Ivy League and the Flowerpot Men. In addition to White Plains and First Class, Burrows sang lead in such similar "groups" as Edison Lighthouse, the Brotherhood of Man and the Pipkins.
The Poppy Family, which was really just Canadian Terry Jacks and his wife, Susan Pesklevits, went kaput in 1973 when their marriage ended. Jacks then went to work on a Beach Boys' recording session. He suggested they cut Jacques Brel's 1961 Le Moribond (The Dying Man), which he knew from Rod McKuen's arrangement for the Kingston Trio.
The Southern Californians took his advice, but then left the track in the can for a year, Jacks got permission to rewrite the final verse to make it lighter, and then recorded the song himself under the new title Seasons in the Sun. His version became the biggest seller in Canadian history before being picked up for distribution by Bell Records in the United States, where it soon rested in the No.1 position.
Henry Gross's Shannon owed a lot to the Beach Boys sound, though many listeners were surprised to learn that the former Sha Na Na guitarist was singing about a dog and not a woman. Canadian Andy Kim – a bubblegum mainstay who sang anonymous leads on almost as many records as Tony Burrows – enjoyed his chart heyday from 1968 to
1970; he is best known as the co-writer of the definitive bubblegum ditty Sugar, Sugar. Kim had been dry for three years, and was without a label when he financed the sessions for Rock Me Gently. He played the tape for a promo man from one of his old labels who was now working elsewhere, and the friend got him a new deal, which led to a No.1 comeback.
North Carolinian Sammy Johns's Chevy Van, a longing song about a chance highway encounter, inspired a quickie exploitation movie starring Danny DeVito. Coven's One Tin Soldier saluted the hero of the action movie Billy Jack, which glorified a Native American who wages a bloody fight to save a freedom school. Daniel Boone (real name Peter Stirling) was a British writer and sessions player who first achieved success when his demo of Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast got released in the U.K. and became a surprise hit. Wayne Newton's cover version prevented Boone from duplicating the trick over here, so the Englishman came back with Beautiful Sunday in 1972. This time he did get an American hit; the song racked up further sales when it was re-released in 1974, and again in 1976 when it became the theme for a Japanese television show.
The Dutch boy-girl duo of Mouth and MacNeal was created after both singers had failed in their solo careers, They managed one U.S. top 10 in How Do You Do?, then returned to obscurity here while continuing to do well in their homeland. Jungle Fever was recorded by six middle-aged Belgian studio musicians under the name the Chakachas; when it hit in America, Polydor hired a New York salsa band named Barrio to go on the road as Chakachas to promote it. New York City was fronted by John Brown, who had once sung with the R&B groups the Five Classics and the Cadillacs, Philly-sound auteur Thom Bell produced I'm Doin' Fine Now for New York City, which then began touring backed by the Big Apple Band (including future Chic braintrust Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards). Tommy James co-wrote Tighter, Tighter just before he burned out and decided to take some time off, so he didn't record it himself. Instead, he produced it for Alive and Kicking, which considered itself a "heavy" band and was embarrassed enough by this song to avoid cutting similar material in the future; still, it proved their only Top 40 single.
King Harvest and Cymarron were two more period harmony groups. The former revived Dancing in the Moonlight, an old album cut by Boffalongo, keyboard man Davy "Doc" Robinson's first band. Cymarron was named after a television western, and Rings was largely the work of lead singer Rick Yancey and producer Chip Young. King Harvest was from New York and Cymarron from Memphis, but that just went to show that all around this country, the Crosby, Stills and Nash, sound was taking over.
– John Morthland