K-Tel: Wow! That's What I Call Music! XII

Do you ever get a song stuck between your ears and find yourself humming it for no reason?

The song above has been stuck in HERC's noggin for more than 4 days now.  And he likes it!  It's a blast of power pop with great riffs, hella-hooks  and just a generally sunny outlook.  HERC decided to dig deeper into the song...

It was the group's first single.  Two of the members of this four piece band (don't know why there are only three in the video) were in an early incarnation of the Bay City Rollers back in Scotland before signing with EMI and having their debut album produced by Alan Parsons.  Later, after the producer formed his self-monikered Project, three members of Pilot contributed to his recordings.  After "Magic" went to Number Five, Pilot managed to chart two other top 100 singles here in America while scoring an additional chart hit in the UK.  There third single over there actually topped the charts there while "Magic" had stalled just outside the Top 10.

The band member who barely appears in the video (that's him on the piano) and who did not contribute to the Alan Parson Project is one of the former Rollers and his name is Billy Lyall.  (The other former Roller is lead singer David Paton.)  He co-wrote "Magic" with Paton but left the group and released a solo album (Solo Casting) in 1976 before passing in 1989.  So there is a little darkness behind the song's sunshine.

"Magic" appears on at least one K-tel album in HERC's Audio Archives - Right On! from 1976.


This was one of HERC's better purchases as it contained many of his favorite songs at the time - out of the 20 tracks, only four were less than appealing to young HERC's ears and music sensibilities: "Did You Boogie With Your Baby?" by Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids which tried too hard to ride the 50s/60s nostalgia wave; "You Are My Starship" by Norman Connors which just wasn't a favorite then but is now; Paul Anka and Odia Coates singing "One Man Woman/One Woman Man" was just north of a cliched country song about a cheatin' man and ABBA was also weakly sounding nostalgic with their "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do".  Now that you know what he doesn't like, let's bring on HERC's Picks.

Although some claim it sounds Springsteenian, HERC think it flat out rocks and is a proud owner of the original 45.  The album it came from, Jailbreak, is a hard rock classic with a sweet comic book inspired cover and featuring the title track and "The Cowboy Song".  And if Phil Lynott didn't look like the perfect rock god, HERC doesn't know who does.

This video is odd because the singer is "playing" drums and the drummer is M.I.A.  HERC got their self-titled, North American only album through the RCA Music Club and went on to buy three more Rollers records before updating his collection with shiny digital discs.  No, he will not tell you how many Bay City Rollers CDs he has but it's probably more than you have.

This song is a slow burning sensual number that builds and builds.  Marilyn McCoo and The Fifth Dimension released a simultaneous version back in 1976 but their version turned out to be their last charting hit, barely making it to #80 while Ms. Ross rode her version all the way to the top of the charts.  HERC had the pleasure to meet Diana Ross when she walked into his place of business a few years back.  She was gorgeous and very down to earth.

WAR was on fire in the mid-70s, scoring more than a dozen Top 100 hits including "The Cisco Kid", their highest charting song.  HERC used to watch "The Cisco Kid" TV show when he was younger - it was shown back to back with "The Lone Ranger" - and he loved the line Cisco always shared with his sidekick, Pancho, near the end of every episode: "Oh Cisco!" Pancho would say.  To which Cisco would reply "Oh Pancho!".  FULL DISCLOSURE: It was the Seventies when HERC watched the show not during it's original run in the Fifties.

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