1974: The Hideaway 100 (Part III: 80-71)

For those of you playing Hideaway Bingo, you should have quite a few spaces marked off after the past two posts. I've mentioned Dad, eight-track tapes, K-Tel, Casey Kasem, Time-Life compilations, Uncle Sam, American Top 40, and the Cow Talk Jukebox. Catch up with Part I and Part II or dive right into Part III below.
I'm guessing "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)" was just too much awesomeness for my eight-year-old brain to process. I was aware of the band's 1972 smash "Go All The Way" though I recall singing "Go-oooooo Away" until the correct lyrics dawned on me a few years later. I predict that in a future re-evaluation of my favorite songs from 1974, "Overnight Sensation" will be ranked much higher. Dave Marsh and Kevin Stein named the song the Number One Top 40 song of 1974 in their 1981 book, Book of Rock Lists. "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)" peaked at number 18 during the single's three-month stay on the Hot 100. Listen to the song HERE.
Blue Magic's "Sideshow" is circus-themed musically and continues a microgenre including "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite" from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and "Tears Of A Clown", a Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder co-write (with Wonder's frequent collaborator, Hank Cosby) that was recorded by Robinson's group, The Miracles. Both of these songs were released in 1967. "Sideshow" spent twenty-one weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 8 in August 1974.
Listen to "Sideshow".
As they had done in 1973, the four solo Beatles released charting singles in 1974. (All but Paul released albums in 1974.) Ringo's "Oh My My" was the third single from the massive 1973 album Ringo, one of my father's favorite albums. The album is unique in that it features all three of his former bandmates on different tracks but never all together on any one track. "Oh My My" peaked at number 5 the week of my eighth birthday and spent a total of eleven weeks on the Hot 100. I loved the song back then and it may have been my favorite song at one point but it has been losing favor ever since. Hear the Disco Purrfection mix on YouTube or listen to the album version of "Oh My My" HERE.
Two of this song's writers also wrote "Sideshow" up at number 79 and Blue Magic included their version of "Just Don't Want To Be Lonely" on the same album as "Sideshow". In the last five years or so, I've enjoyed listening to Main Ingredient's Euphrates River album, especially "Just Don't Want To Be Lonely" which sounds amazing on the 2016 SACD though I prefer the disc's stereo version to its vintage quadrophonic mix. (The quad mix is on Apple Music if that is your bag.) After peaking at number 10 in May 1974, during its fourteenth week on the Hot 100, "Just Don't Want To Be Lonely" spent just six more weeks on the chart before falling off the chart from number 36. Watch The Main Ingredient perform this song on The Midnight Special.
1974 has been called the worst year in music by more than a few critics. This sing-songy tale of parental guilt is often trotted out as evidence of exactly what was wrong with the year's songs despite being Number One. "Cat's In The Cradle" is often attacked for its over-orchestration, its maudlin lyrics from a poem by Harry's wife Sandy inspired by a forgotten country song she heard on the radio while trying to stay awake on a long drive, and Harry's dry-as-a-drought delivery. I agree on all points. But I still like it enough to put it here at number 76. "Cat's In The Cradle" spent nineteen weeks on the Hot 100, topping the chart for one week just before Christmas 1974. If you want to listen to the song, click HERE.
"Machine Gun" is track one, side one, from album one by The Commodores. A solid introduction to the band and their sound: a funky blend of synths, horns, and irresistible rhythmic grooves. Uncle Sam loved this song but I only ever recall hearing it on the radio, either in his room or in his car. Weird to me now that I've been thinking about it that he didn't own the album on eight-track tape as much as I recall him loving it. "Machine Gun" spent 13 weeks on the Hot 100 during the Summer of 1974, peaking at number 22 for two weeks in late July. Listen HERE.
Often viewed as his farewell to glam-rock and his prediction of what punk rock might sound like, Bowie credited himself with the down and dirty Stonesy riff in "Rebel Rebel" but session guitarist Alan Parker claims it is him on the record. There are two distinct single versions of "Rebel Rebel": 1) the UK  version which runs 4:20 and 2) the edited down spruced up US version which runs a tight 2:58. I was a fan of the UK version because its the one I heard first though probably not until the end of the Seventies. It would be another decade before I beheld the glory of the US mix after hearing it on the first of many Bowie boxes, 1989's Sound + Vision. I prefer the UK mix when listening via speakers and the US edit on headphones. The single spent a brief eight weeks on the Hot 100, never rising above number 64. Watch Bowie in a video made for Top Pop. Listen to the UK single or the US edit.
This devastatingly sad, sad song is another Cow Talk jukebox favorite. One of the hallmarks of country music is the sad, sad song and George Jones was a master of the idiom. In Rolling Stone's 2019 rundown of the 40 Saddest Country Songs Of All Time, this song's entry at number 38 begins with this sentence:
Deciding which of Jones’ sad songs is sadder than the next is like trying to decide whether coal is blacker than the bottom of the ocean or midnight on a moonless night.
While the magazine is lousy with its lists, they also named "The Grand Tour" as the 44th Greatest Country Song of All Time in 2014. (Jones also nabbed the number 4 spot on both lists with  1980's "He Stopped Loving Her Today".) As the years pass, the song's shadow of sorrow only grows deeper and blacker. I spent years trying to recreate the way the song sounded on that ol' jukebox before realizing it was an impossible task. "The Grand Tour" topped the country charts in August 1974 during a seventeen-week run. Grab a box of tissues and listen to "The Grand Tour".
Somewhat more of an aggressive and explicit love song than your Al Greens and Carpenters were putting out which no doubt kept it off easy listening stations. I think the secret sauce on this lover man song is the double-tracked vocals of Barry White Johnny Bristol. I like the sound of his voice and enjoy the lush production though I grow increasingly weary of the lyrics after each listen but then again, I've never been the intended audience. After a slow and steady thirteen-week climb up the Hot 100 and a peak at number 8, this song failed to hang on in there (baby) and was on the chart within another three weeks. Watch Johnny Bristol lipsynch "Hang On In There Baby" on Top Pop or listen to the song.
"Bungle In The Jungle" came to my ears in the mid-eighties via a compilation of the band's Original Masters. I remember a couple people had mentioned I would like the group's music after I confessed to being unfamiliar with their stuff. One day I was scrubbing through my monthly Columbia House mailer and noticed Original Masters in the clearance sale section at the back of the catalog so I ordered it. Played it once or twice and forgot about it until a lengthy conversation with my Aunt Linda (my Mom's baby sister) about all of her favorite concerts sometime in the early 2000s. If a band came through Kansas City during the Seventies, she probably saw them. She named a few bands and then reminisced wide-eyed about their shows until she just blurted out "JETHRO TULL!" and proceeded to describe the show on their Songs From The Wood Tour as simply the best she'd ever seen. "What's your favorite Tull song?" she asked me after she'd finished reliving the show in her head and using phrases like "far out" and "freakin' awesome" repeatedly. I confessed I had no favorite Tull song and wasn't really familiar with the band. She suggested I start with Songs From The Wood and "see where it took me". When I got back home about a week later, I pulled Original Masters off the shelf and put it on the turntable. Four of the tracks on side one made an impression this time around: "Living In The Past", "Aqualung", "Locomotive Breath" and "Bungle In The Jungle". I have no memory of any of those tracks before that listen though surely I must have heard them all on the radio through the years. The single debuted on the Hot 100 in November 1974 and peaked in January 1975 at number 12, spending a total of sixteen weeks on the chart. I did eventually listen to Songs From The Wood and it did nothing for me. Sorry, Aunt Linda. Listen to Jethro Tull's "Bungle In The Jungle" or hear DJDiscoCat's Classic Rock Purrfection Version HERE.

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