Delving around in the murky depths of Bittorent for some Abba (no, they DON'T feature prominently in my record collection..) for the Waterloo post, I stumbled across Billboard's Top 100 for 1974.
#1 was Barbra Streisand with "The way we were".
The Love Unlimited Orchestra at #3
Ray Stevens at #8
But there's some truly dire stuff tucked away in there....
A lot direr than those three.
#18 - John Denver - Sunshine on my shoulder
I once worked with a contractor who listened to John Denver AND Nana Mouskouri. Exclusively. Sad case. I refused to drive anywhere with him.
#46 - Paper Lace - The night Chicago died
I have absolutely no idea who could possibly have bought this record.
#55 - Barry White - Never, ever gonna give you up
This is like a bad dream. I was in Hong Kong that year, looking for Bonnie Raitt's stuff. Very obscure at the time. I'd say "Bonnie Raitt", they'd understand "Barry White". It's horrible. It sounds like he's constipated.
#86 - Sister Janet Mead - The Lord's Prayer
This is beyond me.
#97 - Olivia Newton-John - I honestly love you
Big spit/technicolour yawn/talking into the big white telephone stuff. Worthless.
(When I was copying the files to the server, the "Move to trash" option was so close as to be so very tempting. Actually, Paul Anka's "You're having my baby" doesn't deserve to be heard ever again. Click.)
And some good - if not great - stuff.
Apart from Steely Dan with "Rikki don't lose that number", Joni Mitchell "Help me", Maria Muldaur "Midnight at the oasis", Tod Rundgren "Hello. it's me" and the ever-excellent Aretha Franklin with "Until you come back to me", there are such minor (and major) gems as
#20 - Blue Swede - Hooked on a feeling
Oogaoogaoogachugga. Oogaoogaoogachugga .......Irresistible
#31 - Ringo Starr - You're sixteen
Christmas 1974 at my Uncle John's (Group Captain, RAF retd, OBE) place, with him standing there, a goonish grin on his face, swaying to the music and repeatedly saying "This is great, John. Play it again. And have another gin and tonic" Yes it is and I don't mind if I do.
#64 - Golden Earring - Radar Love
These guys didn't speak English. Did the lyrics phonetically. Deserves higher than #64 just for effort.
#77 - Paul McCartney and Wings - Jet
I dislike McCartney intensely, but this makes it for NOT sounding like Macca. If only he could play the fucking bass halfway decently...
#79 - Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells
Ah, yes! The climax of ANY party at Shelley Crescent in Hounslow, with everyone playing a different instrument at 4 in the morning and Pete saying "And I'm playing the tubular bells"
And then there's....
#39 - The Carpenters - Top of the world.
I'm to this day ambivalent to the point of utter bipolarity about the Carpenters.
I know I should absolutely despise their saccharine-sweet, squeaky-clean image and THE TEETH and the general meaninglessness of their body of work - Close to you, Sing-a-song, There's a kind of hush et al - (and I do, I do...!) but there's something about the purity and strength and warmth in Karen Carpenter's voice and some of their choice of material that overrides that deep loathing.
I played "Goodbye to love" to my mate Paul Duke (RIP) once and he looked bewildered and stammered "You? The Carpenters?".
Yes. Me. The Carpenters
So if it's only for Tony Peluso's stunning fuzz guitar breaks that don't seem to want to end (and got the song banned from AOR radio, which is recommendation in itself) , give it a listen. Or for the hauntingly tragic and prophetic lyrics of "No-one ever cared if I should live or die"
It's one of the greats.
And anything's better than Leon Russell's original reading of "A song for you".
Even the Carpenters'