This is part four of the 1977 Hideaway 100, one man's journey through his favorite singles that were released in 1977. I am that man though I was just a ten then an eleven-year-old boy in 1977. I attended Maplewood Elementary School in Rantoul, Illinois which was located directly off of Chanute Air Force Base where we lived and my father was stationed at the time. (Sadly, neither one exists anymore.) I listened to WLS Musicradio 89 AM out of Chicago most of the time but on weekends I usually listened to WLRW-FM out of Champaign for Casey Kasem's American Top 40. Today we're counting down numbers 70-61 in the 1977 Hideaway 100:
Though I've mentioned hearing songs being played on Cow Talk's jukebox, "Y'All Come Back Saloon" is one I used to play when given or finding a quarter. (My criminal career of stealing quarters from the waitresses tips off the table ended after just one caper. And one punishment. I've been a generous tipper myself ever since.) Someone played the single on the jukebox and I was hooked after just one listen. The different voices, the harmonies, and the vivid lyrics painted a nice picture in my little head, no doubt also influenced by all the saloon scenes in the "shoot-em-ups" my Grandpas loved to watch. Back up at number 75 on the countdown, I alluded to the fact that it was the Oak Ridge Boys who sang back-up on Paul Simon's "Slip Slidin' Away" which came about as both acts were on the Columbia label when the song was recorded in 1975 or 1976. "Y'All Come Back Saloon" was no doubt considered too country for mainstream Top 40 and did not chart on the Pop singles charts in Billboard, Cashbox or Record World; only on the Country singles charts.
What is this marvelous song doing way down here at number 69? I must have been having an off day when I compiled and ranked this list for the final time as "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher" is easily a Top 25 joint for me on any other day. Rita's sweet voice ringing out, the rockin' rhythm that comes in after her opening line, that little guitar riff and Booker T. Jones signature organ playing throughout (he also provided the arrangement, according to Casey Kasem) lift this song above many others, even Jackie Wilson's original take. It's great that Rita Coolidge becomes the first artist represented twice on the 1977 Hideaway 100 but if I were to do it all again, "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher" would be ranked in the Top 25. In Record World, it peaked at number 3, going one spot higher in Billboard and on WLS while topping the Cashbox chart at Number One.
Firefall is an excellent example of the soft rock sound: catchy melodies, a little bit of sax or flute, lush background vocals and just a peaceful easy feeling all-around. The band members' pedigrees give away their country rock roots which only makes me love them that much more. They burned brightly for three albums before flickering and fading out in the Eighties, leaving us with four soft rock classics including "Just Remember I Love You", a Number One Adult Contemporary hit. Though there has been evidence to the contrary in the countdown thus far, soft rock just wasn't my thing as an eleven-year-old but when it hit me, it hit me hard and "Just Remember I Love You" possesses a serene beauty I enjoy every single time I listen. The song peaked at number 4 on WLS, number 9 in Cashbox, number 11 in Billboard and number 15 in Record World.
I mentioned "Right Time Of The Night" back at number 89 on the 1977 Hideaway 100 as being the flip side to Peter McCann's "Do You Wanna Make Love" and he did include the song on his self-titled album as well. But it was Jennifer Warnes who made the song a hit though if you listen to both versions, you'll notice some lyrical differences in the second verse. John Travolta recorded the song intact, using his patented pre-Grease don't stand too close to the microphone method and it was appended to the Saturday Night Fever cash-in compilation Travolta Fever, that gathered Vinnie Barbarino's first two studio albums in addition to his recording of "Right Time Of The Night". Warnes' voice and the country music-lite backing makes "Right Time Of The Night" sound more romantic than the leering "Do You Wanna Make Love" sequel it is but that was all over my head as a youngster. I first bought the song home on a Ronco album titled Solid Gold, a great album chock full of songs found on this countdown. "Right Time Of The Night" made it to number 10 in Record World, 8 on WLS, 6 in Billboard and 5 in Cashbox.
My memory associated with "When I Need You" comes back every time I hear it: Leo, singing it while hugging a tree off the ground for dear life while a beaver, a raccoon, a woodpecker, a wolf and a bear with a chainsaw are trying to chop it down. Crazy Harry appears with his detonator, pushes the plunger, the tree falls with Leo still attached and all the woodland creatures sing along til the end of the song. Your associated memory may differ. "When I Need You" appears on songwriter Albert Hammond's 1976 album of the same name along with his original take on "To All The Girls I've Loved Before" but it was Leo Sayer who had the hit with the former though credit should also go to producer Richard Perry who was on a hot hit streak at the time as well. "When I Need You" topped the charts in Billboard, Cashbox, Record World and on WLS.
Being eleven years old meant mishearing lyrics as well as making up lyrics of your own and I know my friends and I had reworked the chorus to Kenny Rogers "Lucille" as told from the perspective of a tractor but all I can recall is the "you picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel" part. Sure, the lyrics are a downer, a country cliché, but they were easy to sing along with and that's just about all it takes to be a Top 40 hit, I reckon. Kenny's honey-roasted voice had been a favorite for as long as I can remember, ingrained in my membrane from the frequent playings of Dad's First Edition Greatest Hits eight-track but "Lucille" was a Cow Talk jukebox staple during the Summer of 1977 which coincided with the song's appearance on WLS's playlist where it peaked on their weekly survey just outside the Top 10 at number 11 in June 1977. "Lucille" climbed to number 7 in Record World, 6 in Cashbox and 5 in Billboard.
Mom got a job at Mendel's Wife The Tailor shortly after we moved to Tucson in 1981 and struck up a friendship with a co-worker and, in 1983, the two of them founded their own shop Cactus Needle Tailors. Her business partner, a transplanted New Yorker, happened to be the sister of a prominent disc jockey and one day after Mom told her how much I loved music, she brought in three albums, "hand-selected gifts" from her brother. Wings Over America was one of the albums and it was an awesome package. I had been a Wings fan since Band On The Run but I avoided the live album until Mom brought it home that day. It quickly became a favorite, five years after its release, but then I forgot about it until the 2013 Archive Remaster was released and listening to the high-resolution files was like hearing it again for the first time. I must have ignored "Maybe I'm Amazed" on WLS but I seem to recall hearing it in glorious stereo on WLRW during American Top 40. The song was number 10 in Billboard and Cashbox, number 11 on WLS and number 21 in Record World.
"Nobody Does It Better" easily ranks among my ten favorite Bond themes of all-time though I never bought the 45 because Dad beat me to it and I figured what was the point of having two copies of the same record in the house? "Nobody Does It Better" lives up to its title by almost instantaneously putting me in a relaxed state even before the piano intro ends. The track was a monster on Adult Contemporary radio, spending seven weeks at Number One after Carly deposed her husband James Taylor and his song "Handy Man" (number 95 on the 1977 Hideaway 100) from the top spot before ending up as the Number One Song Of The Year on the AC chart. Over on the Pop singles charts, someone, unfortunately, did do it better as "Nobody Does It Better" had to settle for the number 2 slot in Billboard, Cashbox and Record World. On WLS, its best position was number 3.
"Crackerbox Palace" just might be my favorite George Harrison song and I like quite a few songs of his. The Quiet One is in fine voice, playful and optimistic while retaining his profound spirituality even while quoting Lili von Shtupp - listen for it at 2:12, it's there. The band of seasoned studio session pros backing him rise to the occasion while Harrison's slide guitar riffs give the song a slight off-kilter sound. But if I love this song so much, and I truly do, why is it way down here at number 62? Great question. "Crackerbox Palace" ultimately rose to number 15 on WLS, number 17 in Cashbox, number 19 in Billboard and number 26 in Record World.
When others refer to Cooper's trio of ballads, they usually include "I Never Cry" but I've never cared for that song. We like what we like. When I refer to his trio of ballads, I'm specifically talking about "Only Women Bleed" (1975), "How You Gonna See Me Now" (1978) and "You And Me" from 1977. I missed out buying the 45 for the first song but I picked up those last two as soon as I saw them in the racks. The line in the lyric that gets me every single time and I apologize to
all the women all three of the girls I've shamelessly used it on as "What we are is what we are" pretty much says it all:
"Where do you see this relationship going?"
"What we are is what we are."
"Are we boyfriend and girlfriend?"
"What we are is what we are."
"Do you want pizza or burgers tonight?"
"What we are is..."
Alright, that last one didn't end too well but you get the point. "You And Me" peaked at number 8 in Cashbox, number 9 in Billboard, number 10 on WLS and number 12 in Record World.