K-Tel: Wow! That's What I Call Music! The One After Nine

Welcome to July!  HERC is proud to present one two three four K-Tel albums from the year 1978.  This is a long read with more than the usual amount of videos, so settle in, get comfortable and enjoy the ride.

The only one of the four titles with a commercial preserved on the interwebtubes is Star Power, which features 18 tracks.  Three of HERC's favorites on this record are the disco-ish "You Made Me Believe In Magic" by Bay City Rollers; the pleading rocker "Isn't It Time" by The Babys and the ultra-contagious "Boogie Fever" by The Sylvers, 24 13 9 8 brothers and sisters originally from Memphis, Tennessee, who had a decent run in the mid Seventies.
That's Marc Bolan of T. Rex doing the intro.  This is a more than decent pop disco song but HERC finds it's over before it's really begun, it's all too brief, but thanks to the wonders of the world wide whatever you can download an extended version HERE.  Glenn Rivera has "re-structured" (his term) hundreds of disco songs and many are available for download on his multiple websites.

The Babys have been favorites of HERC's since he first heard this song back in 1977.  Lead singer John Waite went on to a solo career and was singer of late Eighties somewhat supergroup, Bad English, with his former Babys bandmates, Ricky Phillips and Jonathan Cain.  Cain went on to join Journey after The Babys disbanded and when Journey ended for the first time in the mid Eighties, he brought that band's guitarist, Neal Schon, to Bad English.  That group lasted two albums before breaking up at which point, Cain, Schon and the Bad English drummer, Dean Castronovo, reformed Journey without vocalist Steve Perry, and continue to tour and record to this day.  And John Waite has been a solo artist ever since, releasing his latest album in 2011.  HERC is pretty sure that "Isn't It Time" is the 45 single he was playing over and over when his father burst into his room and demanded "Isn't it time you play another song?  There's too much music in this world to play the same songs over and over" or something like that.

This was their first single after signing to Capitol and teaming up with Freddie Perren.  It topped the Pop and R&B charts and was followed by two more Top 20 songs: "Hot Line" and "High School Dance", both of which are also among HERC's favorites.

Sadly, the two songs below are not yet available on Spotify in their original versions so HERC is giving you videos in his 
favorite video style - watching the record play:

This song is harder to find than a Top 10 song from 1977 should be. Paul enjoyed a brief pop spotlight before returning to his acting career.  He later became a millionaire as a producer of musicals.  This song was covered almost simultaneously by the Canadian artist Mighty Pope in a more soulful vein.  Listen HERE.

Alan O'Day's "Undercover Angel" was a seemingly innocent story of a lonely dude getting it on with a ghost.  Of course, young HERC bought it.  (HERC can neither confirm nor deny rumors that the K-Tel version substituted the word "Tennessee" for "fantasy".)  Hooky as can be, the song rose to the top of the charts for exactly one week.  Mr. O'Day had previously written "Rock And Roll Heaven" for the Righteous Brothers and "Angie Baby" for Helen Reddy.  He then went on to write hundreds of songs for The Muppet Babies cartoons.

above two images from discogs.com

The next album featured today is Disco Fire, a 2 record set of "CONTINUOUS DISCO MUSIC" featuring "ALL ORIGINAL HITS & STARS" for a total of 24 tracks.  One of those tracks was also included on Star Power: Meco's "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band".  HERC would argue that some of the songs are more funk than disco but they all groove.

In the gatefold of the double album cover, there is a disco lesson for those of you unfamiliar with how to do the "Hot Chocolate" - HERC has it down.  As was K-Tel's habit, the double album was also issued as two single albums, labeled Volumes 1 and 2, with a dozen tracks each.  HERC's favorite tracks are below, in order of their appearance on the album:

"I Feel Love" has been influential on all subsequent dance music.  This live performance from The Midnight Special makes the electronic generated sounds seem somewhat more organic.

The very definition of p-funk or even funk itself, "Flash Light" by Parliament cannot be played enough here at HERC's Hideaway.  Presented here in it's rare 12" mix with a false ending for your enjoyment, this version is over twice as long as the original single edit.  If you listen closely you can hear those fat bass synths so prevalent in today's dance music.  And remember no matter how dark it seems "Everybody's got a little light under the sun."

Eruption covered this Ann Peebles song with a disco-funk dance groove - John Lennon had called the original "the best song ever".  The singer's name is "Precious" and it was hard to tell if the boys in the band were from the Mothership or just the same Funkiverse as George Clinton and Company.

"Burn baby burn!"  The Trammps "Disco Inferno" is an intense almost eleven minute workout on the album of the same name released in 1976.  Inspired by the blazing discotheque in the 1974 film The Towering Inferno, the song topped the Dance and Club Play charts early on but did not find mainstream appeal until it was included on the monster-selling soundtrack album to Saturday Night Fever a year later.

image from Amazon user Nicholas I. Trahd
The third album in our dusty pile today is Music Magic, an 18 cut album of "the hit sounds of today".  Meco makes yet another appearance but with a different sci-fi movie theme this time out - it's "Theme from Close Encounters".   Both Donna Summer and Chic repeat their songs from Disco Fire.

The only original version Spotify lacks is El Coco's "Cocomotion" which also happens to be the name of the magical hot coca dispenser HERC uses during those barely chilly winters here at the Hideaway.  Well, that's not wholly true - the original version part not the cocoa maker - Spotify (and the playlist at the end of this entry) has the more than 10 minute version of Santa Esmerelda's flamen-disco epic from the soundtrack of Kill Bill.  Here's how the song was utilized in the film:

But that's only one of HERC's favorite tracks from Music Magic.  The other honorees are below:
Eric Carmen led the Raspberries ("Go All The Way") before going solo and racking up hits for himself and others throughout the Seventies and Eighties.  When "She Did It" was on the charts in 1977, Carmen found himself competing with himself as two of his songs had been covered by teen dream Shaun Cassidy.  As a songwriter, Eric won.  As a performer, Carmen's "She Did It" made the Top 25 while Cassidy took both "That's Rock 'N' Roll" and "Hey Deanie" into the Top 10.
It was a Number One pop song and a Top 10 Soul song in 1977 but for longer than HERC is capable of remembering cares to remember, this song has held a strange allure for him.  In particular, the lyric "Wearing the mask of false bravado".  He can't won't say why but this song remains a calming, mellowing out song for HERC.  And it gives him the urge to wanna mop the floors here at the Hideaway.

The final album in the four-pack from 1978 is The Hot Ones, yet another 2 record set, this time featuring "18 TOP HITS" by "ORIGINAL STARS".  Six of these songs have appeared on other albums already mentioned in this post and 3 others are M.I.A. on Spotify.

HERC's four go-to songs on The Hot Ones include a couple already mentioned above ("Flash Light" and "Disco Inferno") and these two:

Yvonne Elliman was going to record the Bee Gees composition "How Deep Is Your Love" for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.  The Bee Gees had recorded a song called "If I Can't Have You" and it was going to be on the album as well.  The album's executive producer, Robert Stigwood, decided he wanted the Bee Gees to record "How Deep Is Your Love" and gave "If I Can't Have You" to Yvonne.  The result?  The Bee Gees went to #1 with "How Deep Is Your Love" and their next two singles, "Staying Alive" (which featured their take of "If I Can't Have You" on the b-side) and "Night Fever", from the soundtrack as well.  Yvonne followed that with an astonishing fourth Number One from the same album.

Did HERC just feature a video of a lip-syncing sock puppet?  YES and you're welcome.  He totally digs the song, too. Totally.  It's kind of the unofficial theme song here at The Hideaway along with Todd Rundgren's "Bang The Drum All Day".

The eagerly anticipated Spotify playlist is below.  For your (in)convenience, HERC left the four playlists in their original album running order when he fused them into one all inclusive playlist - there are duplicate songs.  HERC out.

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