1974: The Hideaway 100 (Part I: 100-91)


Welcome to the 1974 Hideaway 100. We're featuring our 100 favorite songs from 1974 this time around but be sure to check out our previous countdowns HERE.
"Eres Tu" was Spain's entry into the Eurovision Song Contest of 1973 where it finished in second place just a couple of points behind the winner. The single, with a B-side featuring the Spanish group singing the song in English, debuted on Billboard's Hot 100 in January 1974, peaked at number 9 in March, then was off the chart after the first week of May. My favorite part of the song comes at about 1:40, where the lead singer does this little vocal squiggle that gets me every time. Watch the group's Eurovision 1973 performance. Read more about the single HERE.
A catchy track that I probably first heard on Captain Kangaroo, I shared a fascination with trains with my maternal grandfather. I had completely forgotten about this song until hearing it again in 2017 shortly after his passing. "I'm A Train" made it to number 31 on the Hot 100 and four consecutive appearances on American Top 40. Watch Hammond lipsync the song on an April 1974 episode of the West German show Disco.  
This was the first song my sister remembers hearing on the radio that featured her name. Always felt this was intended for Cher like "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" and it turns out my intuition was correct. It has always been my favorite Helen Reddy song yet only after nearly fifty years I recently truly registered the bizarre lyrics of the final verses and discovered that there was an animated music video for the song by John Wilson, who also did the animated opening title sequence for Grease. "Angie Baby" charted late in the year, peaking at Number One on the very last chart of 1974 before beginning its inevitable descent in 1975. Watch Reddy perform the song live on The Glen Campbell Show from 1975. Read more about the song HERE.
While I recall hearing "Wildwood Weed" first on a K-Tel compilation, I can find no proof to back up that remembrance; the song never appeared on a K-Tel album. It is one of a few songs here on the 1974 Hideaway 100 that came to my attention decades after 1974. "Wildwood Weed" first came into my library via a couple of collections on CD – Dr. Demento's Country Corn and Dr. Demento Collection: The Mid 70's circa 1995 or 1996. We had relocated to Illinois from Texas by the time this would have been played on the radio in 1974 but my newly-found favorite station of the time WLS apparently didn't play it or at least it never made their list of Forty-fives. "Wildwood Weed" peaked at number 7 on the Hot 100, spending eleven weeks in the Top 40. Watch Stafford perform the song on Hee Haw.
Collecting my favorite music by Rush has been frustrating. I came to them later in the Eighties though, regrettably, I missed each of the group's tours for one reason or another. It wasn't until the release of their fantastic compilation Chronicles in 1990 that I got back into the band's music, especially their earlier stuff from the Seventies. The Bob Ludwig remastered "Working Man" still roars out of the speakers all these years later - I read somewhere that more than a few folks consider Chronicles to be the best Rush album for any fan with a halfway decent car audio system and I definitely agree. There is a polish and sheen that only reveals further details for this listener. It's a great-sounding sampler of their Seventies and Eighties output if not the group's definitive sounding compilation. "Working Man" was never released as a single but you can listen to the song HERE on the band's official YouTube channel.
This funky dance-floor filler from Gino Vannelli earned him an appearance on Soul Train though it wouldn't register on my radar until the A&M Records 25th Anniversary Classics Volume 7 disc arrived in the mail from Columbia House in the early Nineties. Although "People Gotta Move" came to me a couple decades after its debut, I've enjoyed it ever since - we played it in regular rotation on the first radio station I worked at but over on the second station I was a part of, "People Gotta Move" was reserved for themed weekend specials or an appearance on American Top 40. The single spent five weeks in the Top 40, peaking at number 22 the week of Thanksgiving 1974 before falling twenty-seven spots the next week. Listen to DJ Disco Cat's great Disco Purrfection Version of the song HERE.
Bobby Womack's "Lookin' For A Love" has a cool history. He originally recorded the song as a 17-year-old with background vocals from his brothers in 1962 in a session produced by Sam Cooke. Then in 1973, Bobby was singing the song to warm up his voice for a recording session with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and they rolled tape. He recorded "Lookin' For A Love" once again backed by his four brothers. Released as a single in early 1974, the single would spend eleven weeks in the Top 40, peaking at number 10. Watch the Womack Brothers perform the song on The Midnight Special. Bonus cut: There's also a great cover of this song by Squeeze included as a bonus track on the 1997 reissue of East Side Story.
It's embarrassing to have a song from the legendary Al Green all the way down here at number 93 but you know what sunk this song for me while I was listening this week? It's that annoying cricket-sounding instrument (a guiro?) that comes in at 00:18. It's distractingly way up-front in the mix and no matter how much I've enjoyed the song in the past, it killed my enjoyment of it this week. Apologies, Rev. Green. "Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)" spent nineteen weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at number 7 just before Christmas 1974. Watch Al Green perform the song on Burt Sugarman's wonderful The Midnight Special YouTube channel where new performances are added every single day.
Though "I Won't Last A Day Without You" is on the 1972 album A Song for You, it was belatedly released as a single in the U.S. in March 1974. The song represents the Carpenters at their peak and spent a dozen weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at number 11 in May 1974. "I Won't Last A Day Without You" is a good song with a solid uplifting chorus, Karen's vocals are always great but it always makes me want to hear her sing "Superstar" immediately afterward. Listen to Karen and Richard Carpenter sing "I Won't Last A Day Without You".  
My parents tried their darndest to keep the music of KISS from my ears. To their credit, I didn't get my first KISS record until 1981 when I picked up the band's Dynasty album in New Orleans. But KISS had already managed to enter my life via their TV appearances, their songs on WLS, American Top 40, and my growing collection of K-Tel albums. "Strutter" is another one of those late-bloomers in my personal music history, with the song coming to me in 1989 when a co-worker gave me Smashes, Thrashes, and Hits. He was super excited that the compilation was coming out but said he practically threw his stereo out the window when he played it and heard that they had "savagely butchered" (his exact words) all of his favorite songs. I finally got around to playing the disc a couple weeks later and it sounded like classic KISS to me except the vocals on "Beth" were by a different singer. To my ears, the standout tracks on the disc were "I Love It Loud", "Shout It Out Loud" and "Strutter Loud". Years later, I would meet another hardcore KISS fan who explained in great detail all the differences between the original recordings and those included on Smashes, Thrashes, and Hits. This knowledge and insight failed to diminish my affection for that version of "Strutter". I finally got to see KISS in March 2000, on the second date of their Farewell Tour, the last tour to feature all four original members: Paul, Gene, Ace, and Peter. Disappointingly, "Strutter" was left off of their setlist. The original 1974 single, the band's first, never charted and on initial pressings, there is a typo on the B-side which makes it highly collectible. Listen to my preferred version of "Strutter". 

Part II coming soon with the next ten songs from the 1974 Hideaway 100.

No comments:

Post a Comment