1974: The Hideaway 100 (Part II: 90-81)


As 1974 dawned, I was a seven-year-old third grader and our family was living in Texas. By the end of the year, I was an eight-year-old fourth grader we had moved to Illinois. It was there, in the Land of Lincoln, that I bought my first 45 ("The Streak") and stumbled upon a cool radio station (Chicago's WLS) while beginning to collect Topps football cards (also Wacky Packs stickers and Evel Knievel cards) and Marvel comics (The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man) with my weekly allowance.
This is the second part of our exclusive Hideaway 100 countdown of my favorite songs from 1974. If you somehow missed Part I, you can get caught up HERE.The Exorcist Theme
Yeah, yeah it's the Theme from The Exorcist. But beyond that brilliant repurposing "Tubular Bells" is a sonic delight. Don't recall ever hearing it on the radio or seeing it in a jukebox but have spent many hours listening to the Tubular Bells album through the years including a solid week listening to the multiple mixes of the album on the 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray Audio disc when it was released in 2023. Even after all this time, the music continues to reveal elements I have never noticed before. The concisely edited US single "Tubular Bells" single spent ten weeks in the Top 40, peaking at number 7. Listening to it makes me want to listen to the whole album. Sometimes. 
The lush orchestration, heartfelt lyrics, and soulful vocal delivery by the two lead voices on "You Make Me Feel Brand New" are always a welcome treat to these ears. Even though it is one of the most beautiful songs ever written and recorded, the concept of romantic love did not register on this kid's radar until his teen years. Now I whisper it in my wife's ear as we slow dance around the house. "You Make Me Feel Brand New" spent nearly half a year in the Hot 100, peaking at number 2. See The Stylistics testify on Soul Train.
Known for its upbeat optimistic vibe, catchy melody, and infectious groove, "Keep On Smilin'" is a sunny dose of feel-good in this life of neverending hardship and misfortune. (Too dramatic?) The song first became a part of my collection in 1977 when one of my friends gifted me the awesome Star Trackin' (my first Ronco album!) at my 11th birthday party. Often associated with positivity, resilience, and the spirit of overcoming obstacles with a smile, "Keep On Smilin'" spent nineteen weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at number 10 in August. Listen HERE.
Charlie Rich was huge on the Cow Talk jukebox circa 1973 and 1974. He had at least three (maybe four) singles in it at the same time which is more than I recall any other artist ever having. I heard a LOT of Charlie Rich's music on that jukebox and on the radio but then it seemed to vanish. His music only came back into my life through the mail, arriving in the form of Time-Life country music compilations in 1992. First one, then another, and another. That third disc - Contemporary Country: The Mid-'70s Pure Gold - contained "A Very Special Love Song" which immediately captured my attention all over again. Back in 1974, the song was a crossover smash, going to Number One on both the country and easy-listening charts while peaking at number 11 on the Hot 100 in a fourteen-week run. Listen to "A Very Special Love Song" HERE.
Joey Levine
Like a lot of you, novelty songs were the gateway to music appreciation and collecting for me. "Life Is A Rock" is a prime example of the genre and a showcase for vocalist Joey Levine. The kids who could recite the most lyrics on the playground were held in high regard. You know how it went in our house: Dad bought the 45 and I snuck it onto his turntable every chance I got. In 1978, either Dad or I purchased a novelty song-filled album titled Funny Bone Favorites and I taped it so I could rewind and listen to my favorite songs over and over. One of those favorite songs was "Life Is A Rock". The song spent ten weeks in the Top 40, peaking at number 8. Listen HERE. Or read more about the song HERE 
Beatles cover Lennon/McCartney
Here at The Hideaway, we love the music of The Beatles. And we like a handful of Anne Murray songs. One of that handful is Murray's cover of McCartney's "You Won't See Me" from Rubber Soul. With no disrespect to the originators, Murray absolutely kills it with her smooth and soulful delivery. But what the heck is up with that lonnnnnnng fade-in? It was cool the first time but now that I know what's coming it is almost painful. (Obviously, I have a low threshold for and misguided definition of pain. And absolutely no patience.) Axe that intro and the song jumps 30-40 or more spots up this Hideaway 100. On the Hot 100, the song slowly climbed up to number 8 in a twenty-week run during spring/summer 1974 though it did hit Number One for two weeks on the easy listening chart. Listen to that incredibly long intro and the rest of the song HERE.
Bob Marlley cover
This song was most likely my introduction to reggae music though it would take more than a decade and a half before I would begin to truly appreciate Bob Marley's deep catalog. Dad was never a Clapton fan but Uncle Sam had a few of his tapes, including this one and he was always singing the song's title as if it was a mantra. While "I Shot The Sheriff" managed to cross over to the middle of the soul chart, it sailed up to the tippy-top of the Hot 100 in a relatively brief fourteen-week span. It is the only time Eric Clapton reached Number One on the Hot 100 in his decades-spanning career. Listen to Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff" HERE and Clapton's popular cover HERE.  
A Lambert/Potter Porduction Alan O'Day
This was one of the first songs the duo worked on when they got back together. "Rock And Roll Heaven" had previously been recorded by Climax (of "Precious and Few" fame) but the successful production team Potter/Lambert updated the lyrics to reflect the recent passings of Bobby Darin (Dec. 1973) and Jim Croce (Sep. 1973) for The Righteous Brothers recording. The song came into my life the usual way (radio or TV) and I remember liking it the first time I heard it though I quickly forgot about it as new songs were coming out every week of course. "Rock And Roll Heaven" came back into my life after hearing it on a Time-Life compilation in 1993 (Sounds of the Seventies - AM Pop Classics II) and it's been around ever since. The single spent ten weeks in the Top 40, peaking at number 3 for two weeks. Listen to the Brothers sing about "Rock And Roll Heaven" HERE. Read more about the song HERE.
disco Jackson 5
By my count, this is the fourth cover version in a row here on the list and this time around we have Gloria Gaynor covering "Never Can Say Goodbye", a 1971 track from the Jackson 5 who originally took it up to number 2. Gaynor's track was produced by the somewhat ominous-sounding Disco Corporation of America complete with strings & horns and is generally regarded as one of the earliest and most popular disco records. "Never Can Say Goodbye" is the answer to the question "What was the first number-one song on Billboard's Disco Action chart?" The 6:19 Tom Moulton Mix is definitely Disco with a capital D while the edited single is a blast of high energy that is always welcome when it comes on. The single crossed over to both the soul and easy-listening charts while peaking at number 9 on the Hot 100 in January 1975. I really enjoy DJ DiscoCat's Disco Purrfection version of "Never Can Say Goodbye" but you can listen to Gloria's single version HERE.   
While I tended to ignore love songs and ballads as a youngster, I learned to appreciate them as I entered my lovelorn teen years. (That's what my Mom calls them.) It wasn't until the late seventies and early eighties that "I Honestly Love You" started to strike a chord with me. Olivia Newton-John was in peak form with Grease, Totally Hot, Xanadu, and Physical. I picked up the album Olivia's Greatest Hits Vol. 2 at the store (TG&Y) closest to my house and loved it for a couple of weeks before seeking out its predecessor, Olivia Newton-John's Greatest Hits for the older tunes. Next thing you know, I'm swooning over those early country/easy listening/pop crossovers "Let Me Be There", "Have You Never Been Mellow", "Please Mr. Please" and "I Honestly Love You". The latter song spent fifteen weeks on the Hot 100 peaking at Number One for two weeks as well as spending two weeks at number 100 in 1974. After being featured on her television special Only Olivia, "I Honestly Love You" was re-released and re-entered the chart almost exactly three years later in 1977 for nine weeks, making it up to 48 before sliding off. Watch Olivia plead her case on a 1974 TV show HERE.

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