Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Randoms, Jul 10, 2018.
The old days of The Drifters making great soul hits were over. At that time, they relied basically on Cook-Greenaway and were churning hit after hit. I have one of the Bell albums and they were merely a pop group with soft, cheerful music. They had a good "second spell" on the charts.
Rock Your Baby is the debut single by George McCrae. Written and produced by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch of KC and the Sunshine Band, Rock Your Baby was one of the landmark recordings of early Disco music. A massive international hit, the song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the United States, spending two weeks at the top in July 1974, number one on the R&B singles chart, and repeating the feat on the UK Singles Chart, spending three weeks at the top of the chart in July 1974. Having sold 11 million copies, it is one of the fewer than 40 all-time singles to have sold 10 million (or more) physical copies worldwide.
The backing track for the record was recorded in 45 minutes as a demo and featured guitarist Jerome Smith of KC and the Sunshine Band, with Casey on keyboards and Finch on bass and drums. It was also one of the first records to use a drum machine, an early Roland rhythm machine. The track was not originally intended for McCrae, but he happened to be in the studio, added a vocal and the resulting combination of infectious rhythm and falsetto vocals made it a hit.
The chord progression of John Lennon's number one single, Whatever Gets You Thru The Night released a few months later, bears a great resemblance to the one found in Rock Your Baby. Lennon later admitted to using the song as an inspiration. ABBA's Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus have also cited the song as an inspiration for the backing track of their 1976 smash hit Dancing Queen.
More of the same!
The exciting French sleeve.
Bettered by the Spanish one.
And the Dutch sleeve.
At the time I wasn't a Disco fan, but some songs are so good the genre is totally irrelevant. I liked Rock Your Baby back in 1974, and love it now.
It may be no coincidence, but one of those record clubs that I was a member of, sent me a copy of KC And The Sunshine Band, Greatest Hits as the record of the month. It isn't a record that I would probably gone out and bought, but I kept it and very much enjoyed it.
There is no Record Mirror scan for the weeks George was number one, so could @Yam Graham do the honours, please?
Rock Your Baby is OK. I’m not a big fan of soul though and there seemed to be a lot of that around at this time. I have RYB on a comp and wouldn’t skip it if it came on, but wouldn’t seek it out either.
The U.S. issue was on T.K. Records and was their first chart-topper, as well as being Mr. McCrae's only on the pop charts in the States. Though other plants such as Shelley Products, Monarch and PRC pressed copies, the original run came from a Miami pressing plant that handled the label for years:
There was a very short lived U.S. version of the Jay Boy label in 1968-69, distributed by London Records. For brevity, I am showing only the A side of one such release:
8. Slade - The Bangin'Man
9. Sweet - The Six Teens
13. 10cc - Wall Street Shuffle
24. Suzi Quatro - Too Big
26. Mud - Rocket
Woof! That is a fantastic soul song, and it has some hints of disco, previewing what we will see in the coming years. I think it is one of the best songs in this year. McCrae had further hits in the following two years, some of them with the long falsetto at the end.
As for the timing, British viewers could finally see some action (and the video of this song, taken from Dutch's TOPPOP) on Top Of The Pops, who came back in August 8th. It was an edition with a lot of glam: Mud (the story of Abigail RocketBlast), The Glitter Band, The Rubettes, Paul Da Vinci and the Bay City Rollers. Also included were Sweet Dreams (with a cover of ABBA's Honey Honey), The Hues Corporation pleading us to rock the boat, Bobby Goldsboro paean to the summertime, The Rolling Stones' craziest video (as sailors in It's Only Rock And Roll), Jim Stafford's tongue-in-cheek novelty song and Pans People dancing to The Three Degrees, which we will look a little later.
BTW, there were other great singles in the charts at that time: Eric Clapton's I Shot The Sheriff, Jim Capaldi's It's All Up To You, Sparks' Amateur Hour (without the strike, it would have been massive!), and... boy, did I have to mention that Stephanie de Sykes was number 2? Yes, famous by her role at Crossroads, this is one of those times where TV jumps into the charts. Oh, and Stylistics going slowly to number 2 (after flipping their previous flop single), and re-issues by Jimmy Ruffin and soul by The Intruders.
Worse was to follow...
Definitely all goodies, and a worthy number one was surely amongst them, but sadly it was not to be.
The Six Teens is an excellent Chinnichap number, which shows not only their development as songwriters, but also what outstanding musicians Sweet were.
The late, great Mick Tucker shows some of his tasty playing on this outstanding song, which was to stall at nine in the charts, just as Love Is Like Oxygen, 14 years later.
4 years later ace....typo no doubt.
Chinn and Chapman were writing by this time, in the direction Sweet wanted...even tho the parting of the ways was imminent.
Brilliant single, best 74 number 1 by a country mile.
Oops, yes, finger trouble.
Chinn and Chapman had time for their heaviest and least successful single yet.
Great single, loved it as a kid, seems somewhat forgotten today but definitely a harbinger of things to come.
Rock Your Baby is a bit above average for a pop song - it's not a particular favorite of mine. There were better soul/R&B songs in 1974.
Of this batch of 45's, I'd have #1, 2, 5 - 7, 10, 14, 16, 18, 21 and 27.
But I love Turn It Down.
Honorary mention should be made of "Laughter In The Rain" by Neil Sedaka, which was on the charts here in this period. Later in the year (and topping the charts early the next), it became his big U.S. comeback hit on Elton John's Rocket Record label. Mr. Sedaka had recorded "Laughter" on Nov. 6, 1973 in L.A. during a very short-lived stint with MGM Records (mx. #73 L 5887, according to Michel Ruppli's The MGM Labels: A Discography - Volume 2: 1961-1982). Because PolyGram owned MGM by that point, this meant his recordings in Britain came out on Polydor. When U.S. Rocket issued it, the (P) was assigned to Polydor Int. Here's the U.S. label (and its B side):
(MGM's matrix number for this B side, according to the same Ruppli discography, was 73 L 5979, recorded in L.A. on Dec. 7, 1973; the UK B side was somewhat different from my understanding.)
I really liked this song as a little kid. Honestly I don't remember the verse anymore off the top of my head, but it's got a great chorus.
My two favorite Sedaka songs from this period are coming up...
When Will I See You Again is a song released in 1974 by American soul group The Three Degrees, from their third album The Three Degrees. The song was written and produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. Sheila Ferguson sang the lead, accompanied by Fayette Pinkney and Valerie Holiday.
It was one of the most successful recordings of the Philly Soul era. In the U.S., the song reached #1 on the adult contemporary chart, #2 on the pop singles chart, and #4 on the R & B chart in the autumn of 1974. In the UK, it fared even better, spending two weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart in August 1974. The Three Degrees performed the song at Prince Charles 30th birthday party at Buckingham Palace in 1978.
Sheila Ferguson recalled that "the song was played to me by Kenny Gamble at the piano in 1973 and I threw a tantrum. I screamed and yelled and said I would never sing it. I thought it was ridiculously insulting to be given such a simple song and that it took no talent to sing it. We did do it and several million copies later, I realised that he knew more than me." She would later have a #60 hit with a solo remake of the track in 1994. The song is unique in that every sentence is a question, heightening the overall effect and emotion. In the film Kill Bill: Volume 2, Bill cites this song as his "favourite soul song of the 70s".
Billboard named the song #67 on their list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.
The Dutch sleeve.
The fabulous Japanese sleeve.
And in the UK, we had a solid centre to go with the push out version!
I'm afraid there aren't any Record Mirror scans for the weeks The Three Degrees were number one, so please could @Yam Graham do the honours?
@Bobby Morrow will be delighted that there are two scans for the next number one, once Prince Charles' favourite band had been dethroned.
I may not have been really into When Will I See You Again at the time, though not disliking it, though just like Prince Charles, I may well have enjoyed the TOTPs performance a couple of years later.....
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