Fantasy Number Ones:

Part 2: The 1970s

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During the 1970s, Billboard’s biggest competitor, Cash Box, had very stark differences in what songs topped its chart.

How much?

Well…

For the decade, nearly 100 songs that topped Cash Box’s singles list failed to do the same on Billboard’s Hot 100. 

That’s a big challenge in this second installment of The Fantasy Number Ones.

I’ll provide the Cash Box-only Number Ones yearly, and pick up to three of them to swap out with Billboard Number Ones of that same year.

See what you think of these. All peaked at Number 2 on the Hot 100 unless otherwise noted.

1970

Norman Greenbaum:
Spirit In The Sky (peaked at number3)

Simon & Garfunkel:
Cecilia (peaked at 4)

The Temptations
Ball Of Confusion (peaked at 3)

Stevie Wonder
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours (peaked at 3)

Eric Burdon & War
Spill The Wine (peaked at 3)

Clarence Carter
Patches (peaked at 4)

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Lookin’ Out My Back Door

Dawn
Candida (peaked at 3)

The Carpenters
We’ve Only Just Begun

R. Dean Taylor
Indiana Wants Me (peaked at 5)

Patches, Candida, Indiana Wants Me … blah. Spill the Wine is interesting, but not better than most other hits by War or Eric Burdon when he was with the Animals. I’d love to give Creedence Clearwater Revival a Number One spot… but not for Lookin’ Out My Back Door. 

And Cecelia and We’ve Only Just Begun, while great, fall short of the artists’ songs that hit number one on the Hot 100 that year (Bridge Over Troubled Water and Close to You, respectively).

That leaves gospel rocker Spirit in the Sky and Motown masterpieces Ball of Confusion and Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours. They take over the spots held by Everything is Beautiful by Ray Stevens, Make It With You by Bread and I Think I Love You by the Partridge Family.

1971

The Bee Gees
Lonely Days (peaked at 3)

Lynn Anderson
Rose Garden (peaked at 3)

The Jackson Five
Mama’s Pearl 

Tom Jones
She’s A Lady 

The Partridge Family
Doesn’t Somebody Want To Be Wanted (peaked at 6)

Marvin Gaye
What’s Going On

The Jackson Five
Never Can Say Goodbye

Ringo Starr
It Don’t Come Easy (peaked at 4)

Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
Don’t Pull Your Love (peaked at 4)

John Denver
Take Me Home, Country Roads

Aretha Franklin
Spanish Harlem

The Undisputed Truth
Smiling Faces Sometimes (peaked at 3)

What’s Going On is a slam dunk. The rest are pretty strong except for The Partridge Family. I’ll go with what I think are the most enduring ones here in association with their performers, Never Can Say Goodbye and Take Me Home, Country Roads.

To accommodate them, let’s remove from atop the Hot 100 Knock Three Times by Dawn, One Bad Apple by the Osmonds and Go Away Little Girl by Donny Osmond.

1972

Michael Jackson
Got To Be There (peaked at 4)

Climax
Precious And Few (peaked at 3)

Michael Jackson
Rockin’ Robin

Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
Sylvia’s Mother (peak 5)

Gallery
Nice To Be With You (peak 4)

Billy Preston
Outa-Space 

Cornelius Bros. & Sister Rose
Too Late To Turn Back Now

Wayne Newton
Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast (peak 4)

Al Green
I’m Still In Love With You (peak 3)

The Hollies
Long Cool Woman 

The O’Jays
Back Stabbers (peaked at 3)

The Main Ingredient
Everybody Plays The Fool (peaked at 3)

The Moody Blues
Nights In White Satin

Elvis Presley
Burning Love 

The Spinners
I’ll Be Around (peaked at 3)

Lobo
I’d Love You To Want Me

Cutting out mostly dross: Got to Be There, Too Late To Turn Back Now, Long Cool Woman, Back Stabbers, Nights in White Satin, Burning Love and I’ll Be Around are my faves. My final answers are Too Late To Turn Back Now, Back Stabbers and Nights in White Satin (he says nervously).

To remove three in 1972, I’ll go with Brand New Key by Melanie, My Ding-a-Ling by Chuck Berry and Song Sung Blue by Neil Diamond.

1973

Hurricane Smith
Oh Babe, What Would You Say? (peaked at 3)

The Spinners
Could It Be I’m Falling In Love (peaked at 4)

Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandell
Dueling Banjos 

Gladys Knight & Pips
Neither One Of Us 

The Four Tops
Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got) (peaked at 4)

Three Dog Night
Shambala (peaked at 3)

The Carpenters
Yesterday Once More 

Paul McCartney & Wings
Live And Let Die

Paul Simon
Loves Me Like A Rock

Stevie Wonder
Higher Ground (peaked at 4)

The Allman Brothers Band
Ramblin’ Man

The DeFranco Family
Heartbeat, It’s A Love Beat (peaked at 3)

Elton John
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Chicago
Just You ‘N’ Me (peaked at 4)

Some close calls here. Ramblin’ Man is a given. All the rest except Hurricane Smith and The DeFranco Family would be fine with me to a lesser extent. I’ll add Could It Be I’m Falling In Love and Shambala for now.

To make room, let’s say ‘bye on the Hot 100 to: The Morning After by Maureen McGovern, Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree by Tony Orlando and Dawn, and The Most Beautiful Girl by Charlie Rich.

1974

Helen Reddy
Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress) (peak 3)

Byron MacGregor
The Americans (peaked at 4)

Eddie Kendricks
Boogie Down 

David Essex
Rock On (peaked at 5)

Three Dog Night
The Show Must Go On (peaked at 4)

The Jackson Five
Dancing Machine 

Marvin Hamlisch
The Entertainer (peaked at 3)

The Stylistics
You Make Me Feel Brand New 

Elton John
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me 

Rufus
Tell Me Something Good (peaked at 3)

Bad Company
Can’t Get Enough (peaked at 5)

Carole King
Jazzman 

The Three Degrees
When Will I See You Again

The easiest way for me on this one is to eliminate artists that had at least one Hot 100 Number One. Most of which were better than their songs here. That includes the Three Degrees, as they were credited on TSOP by MFSB.  

The exception is Elton John. But Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me went to number one later in a duet he did with George Michael… so he’s out. 

Byron MacGregor and Marvin Hamlisch were novelties, so that leaves David Essex, the Stylistics, Rufus and Bad Company. I go with Rock On, You Make Me Feel Brand New and Tell Me Something Good over Can’t Get Enough. 

Getting the boot on the Hot 100 for those are The Streak by Ray Stevens, (You’re) Having My Baby by Paul Anka with Odia Coates and The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace.

1975

Barry White
You’re The First, The Last, My Everything

Stevie Wonder
Boogie On Reggae Woman (peaked at 3)

Ringo Starr
No No Song (peaked at 3)

Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Jackie Blue (peaked at 3)

Ace
How Long (peaked at 3)

Linda Ronstadt
When Will I Be Loved

Olivia Newton-John
Please Mr. Please (peaked at 3)

Elton John
Someone Saved My Life Tonight (peaked at 4)

Janis Ian
At Seventeen (peaked at 3)

David Geddes
Run, Joey, Run (peaked at 4)

Dickie Goodman
Mr. Jaws (peaked at 4)

Since these run the gamut, I’ll do the same and pick a rocker: Jackie Blue, a soulful number, You’re The First, The Last, My Everything, and a ballad: Someone Saved My Life Tonight. 

Although… if you catch me another day, I might pick How Long, Boogie On Reggae Woman and At Seventeen in those categories instead.

Switched out for these on the Hot 100 will be Mandy by Barry Manilow, He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You) by Tony Orlando and Dawn and Before the Next Teardrop Falls by Freddy Fender.

1976

Eric Carmen
All By Myself

Gary Wright
Dream Weaver

Captain & Tennille
Lonely Night (Angel Face) (peaked at 3)

Maxine Nightingale
Right Back Where We Started From 

Silver Convention
Get Up And Boogie 

Wings
Let ‘Em In (peaked at 3)

Boz Scaggs
Lowdown (peaked at 3)

Gordon Lightfoot
The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

To me, the only real contenders are: Dream Weaver, Right Back Where We Started From, Lowdown and The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald. The latter three sound like the best combo. Sorry, Gary Wright, you’ll have to dream on.

What gets dropped from the Hot 100 for this trio? I’d say Disco Duck by Rick Dees, I Write the Songs by Barry Manilow and Welcome Back by John Sebastian.

1977

Peter Frampton
I’m In You 

Rita Coolidge
Higher And Higher 

Fleetwood Mac
Don’t Stop (peaked at 3)

Crystal Gayle
Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue

I’d love to give Frampton, Coolidge and Gayle a number one hit. But their efforts here can’t compare to the majestic Don’t Stop. Let it take over Looks Like We Made It by Barry Manilow, which tries to be just as inspiring but is insipid instead.

1978

Randy Newman
Short People 

Samantha Sang
Emotion (peaked at 3)

Gerry Rafferty
Baker Street 

Emotion is a delight, but 1978 has enough Bee Gees-related chart toppers as is. And Randy Newman has more talent than shown in Short People.

That leaves Baker Street to finally get the top spot it deserves. Take that, Bill Wardlow! (Wardlow was Billboard’s chart guru who many believe prevented Baker Street from hitting number One. Read the story here.)

It’s tempting to replace Baker Street with what kept it from number one, Shadow Dancing by Andy Gibb. But I like that better than the choice I’ll switch out, You Needed Me by Anne Murray.

1979

The Commodores
Sail On (peaked at 4)

Only one choice? Well, I like Sail On much more than the Commodores song that topped the Hot 100 that year, Still, so I’ll have it replace that one.

Now it’s your turn to say what you think about all this. Comment below…

And get ready for the 1980s… coming next week!

Let the author know that you liked their article with a “Green Thumb” Upvote! 

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LinkCrawford
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July 3, 2023 10:53 am

Oh man…here it goes.

1970…No changes!

1971…I’m going with the same 3 additions as Ozmoe
-“Never Can Say Goodbye” by the Jackson 5 replaces “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin
-“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye replaces “Want Ads” by Honey Cone
-“Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver replaces “Family Affair” by Sly and the Family Stone

1972…“Too Late to Turn Back Now” by Cornelius Bros. and Sister Rose replaces “Without You” by Harry Nilsson
-“Long Cool Woman” by The Hollies replaces “Black and White” by Three Dog Night
-AND OBVIOUSLY “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley replaces “My Ding-a-Ling” by Chuck Berry

1973…”Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” by The Spinners replaces “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John
-“Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney replaces “Brother Louie” by Stories
-“Just You ‘n’ Me” by Chicago replaces “We’re an American Band” by Grand Funk

1974…”The Entertainer” by Marvin Hamlisch replaces “The Way We Were” by Barbara Streisand
-“Jazzman” by Carole King replaces “I Shot the Sheriff” by Eric Clapton
-“When Will I See You Again” by The Three Degrees replaces “Whatever Gets You Through the Night” by John Lennon

1975…”Boogie On Reggae Woman” by Stevie Wonder replaces “I’m Sorry” by John Denver
-“No No Song” by Ringo Starr replaces “Island Girl” by Elton John
-“When Will I Be Loved” by Linda Ronstadt replaces “Let’s Do It Again” by the Staple Singers

1976…”Lonely Nights (Angel Face)” by Captain and Tennille replaces “Disco Lady” by Johnnie Taylor
-“Lowdown” by Boz Scaggs replaces “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees
-“Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot replaces “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” by Rod Stewart

1977…”Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac replaces “Da Doo Ron Ron” by Sean Cassidy

1978…”Emotion” by Samantha Sang replaces “Too Much Too Little Too Late” by Johnny Mathis and Stephanie Mills
-“Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty replaces anything, but I’ll choose “Miss You” by The Rolling Stones

1979…”Sail On” by The Commodores replaces “Still” by The Commodores.

That was fun to do!

JJ Live At Leeds
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July 3, 2023 2:37 pm
Reply to  LinkCrawford

We missed out on Shaun Cassidy over here. I had to Google him and feared the worst, expecting a hideous rendering of an all time classic. Somehow I found myself thinking it wasn’t quite as awful as I anticipated and stopped me from replacing him.

stobgopper
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July 3, 2023 3:09 pm

He also does a fine job with Eric Carmen’s ‘Hey Deanie,’ although the original does it better.

cappiethedog
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July 3, 2023 4:44 pm

Hallie Jackson, a broadcast journalist, had to google Tony Orlando for a story she was reporting on. Her colleague was also at the site and told the show’s host that Jackson didn’t know who she was watching. And Jackson lives here.

JJ Live At Leeds
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July 3, 2023 11:57 am

Tough choices once again. Probably more so than the 60s. 1975 is a real mess, there were 13 in contention for replacement and the new options were largely underwhelming. Largely underwhelming is still an improvement though. There’s quite a few where I’m in alignment with you Ozmoe.

1970
Out
Ray Stevens – Everything Is Beautiful (not quite everything Ray. Give it a few years and try saying that about The Streak)
Neil Diamond – Cracklin’ Rosie
Bread – Make It With You

In
Temptations – Ball Of Confusion
Stevie Wonder – Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Simon & Garfunkel – Cecelia

1971
Out
Donny Osmond – Go Away Little Girl
Dawn – Knock Three Times
Osmonds – One Bad Apple (make that three bad apples)

In
Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
The Undisputed Truth – Smiling Faces Sometimes
Aretha Franklin – Spanish Harlem

1972
Out
Sammy Davis Jr – The Candy Man
Chuck Berry – My Ding-A-Ling
Michael Jackson – Ben
1975 may have an overwhelming volume of dross but this is the most gruesome threesome possible

In
O’Jays – Backstabbers
The Hollies – Long Cool Woman
Al Green – I’m Still In Love With You

1973
Out
Dawn & Tony Orlando – Tie A Yellow Ribbon
Maureen McGovern – The Morning After
Cher – Half Breed

In
Paul McCartney – Live and Let Die
Stevie Wonder – Higher Ground
Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

1974
Out
Ringo Starr – You’re Sixteen
Terry Jacks – Seasons In The Sun
Ray Stevens – The Streak
Paul Anka – You’re Having My Baby
Turns out i may have been wrong about 1972s rejects. I know that’s 4 but they’re all so horrendously offensive to my ears I can’t pick between them. I’m still replacing them with just three and there can be a spare week for the time the music died.

In
David Essex – Rock On
Jackson Five – Dancing Machine
Bad Company – Can’t Get Enough

1975
Out
Elton John – Island Girl
John Denver – Thank God I’m A Country Boy
BJ Thomas – Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song (this song has done me wrong)
I can’t believe things were so bad this year I didn’t discard Tony Orlando!

In
Ace – How Long
Elton John – Someone Saved My Life
Stevie Wonder – Boogie On Reggae Woman

1976
Out
John Sebastian – Welcome Back (you should have let us know you were coming though, I’d have changed the locks)
Rick Dees – Disco Duck
Chicago – If You Leave Me Now

In
Silver Convention – Get Up and Boogie
Boz Scaggs – Lowdown
Gordon Lightfoot – Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald.

1977
Out
Debby Boone – You Light Up My Life (whereas this darkens my day)
Meco – Star Wars Theme

In
Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop
Rita Coolidge – Higher and Higher

1978
Out
Exile – Kiss Me All Over (thanks but if its all the same, I won’t)

In
Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street

1979
Out
Commodores – Still

In
Commodores – Sail On
Just can’t disagree with you on this one.

Edith G
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July 3, 2023 7:57 pm

I liked your options, if I’d made a list would be something similar.

stobgopper
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July 3, 2023 12:44 pm

Jeebs! That’s a lot of divergence. Let’s dig in and expand on Ozmoe’s excellent picks. Herewith, 1970:

‘The Long and Winding Road’ –> ‘Spill the Wine’
In a country where ‘Nowhere Man’ and ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Sie Liebt Dich’ don’t get to the top, this did? I’ll take heavily buzzed Burdon and War here.

‘Candida’ –> ‘Cracklin’ Rosie’
For purely sentimental reasons. And the only things that should be cracklin’ are campfires, pork rinds, and Rice Krispies. Rosie should properly be a whole lotta.

‘Cecilia’ –> ‘Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head’
S&G were never more ribald, and the percussion stomps. ‘Raindrops…,’ while tuneful, wasn’t in the same league.

LinkCrawford
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July 3, 2023 10:15 pm
Reply to  stobgopper

“Long and Winding Road” is easily The Beatles worst #1. And I love “Raindrops…” too much to get rid of it.

thegue
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July 4, 2023 9:32 am
Reply to  LinkCrawford

BJ Thomas seemed like a nice guy.

Napoleon of Birds
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July 4, 2023 6:51 pm
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He got along famously, if you will, with Tom.

cstolliver
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July 3, 2023 1:08 pm

Wow! So much to consider here! Let’s see …

1970: Signed, Sealed, Delivered and Patches take out Everything Is Beautiful and Make It With You.

1971: Goodbye to Brand New Key, Brown Sugar, Indian Reservation and Go Away Little Girl; hello to What’s Going On, Rose Garden, She’s a Lady and Don’t Pull Your Love.

1972: Song Sung Blue, My Ding-a-Ling, Ben, and Alone Again Naturally can make way for Long Cool Woman, Too Late to Turn Back Now, I’ll Be Around, and Everybody Plays the Fool. (What a great year! There are at least three other songs I could have picked…)

1973: Bye-bye, Time in a Bottle, hello, Heartbeat, It’s a Lovebeat.

1974: You’re Having My Baby and Annie’s Song can go and make room for When Will I See You Again and either Tell Me Something Good or Dancing Machine, depending on the day. (We’ll go with Rufus today.)

1975: Let’s usher out Island Girl, Have You Never Been Mellow, Thank God I’m a Country Boy and Fallin’ in Love to make room for Jackie Blue, How Long, Please Mr. Please, and You’re the First, the Last, My Everything.

1976: Disco Duck, Theme from Mahogany, I Write the Songs and Tonight’s the Night can all go, making way for Dream Weaver, Lowdown, Right Back Where We Started From, and the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

1977: You Light Up My Life and Torn Between Two Lovers can go while Higher and Higher and Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue come in.

1978: Baker Street replaces Hot Child in the City.

1979: Say goodbye to Ring My Bell and hello to Sail On.

What a fun ride!

Napoleon of Birds
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July 3, 2023 2:51 pm
Reply to  cstolliver

I’ve been following the rule that you can only replace three per year, which is a real problem in 1975.

cstolliver
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July 3, 2023 3:31 pm

Sorry — I read right past the 3-song limit. But that would have been almost impossible in those 30+ No. 1 years, anyhow.

JJ Live At Leeds
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July 3, 2023 4:50 pm

Yeah, 1975 was interesting. I didn’t discover Tom’s column til he was in 1981 and although I did go back and read from the start I wasn’t as invested in those years before I started commenting. Seeing the wild variations in quality and the number of songs I’d replace from 1975 I feel like I need to go back and revisit what he made if it.

Napoleon of Birds
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July 3, 2023 7:17 pm
Reply to  cstolliver

Oh, and by the way… I loved too many other songs more, but shout out to you for picking Patches. That song nearly made me tear up at parts (not coincidentally, I’m an eldest son).

stobgopper
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July 3, 2023 1:10 pm

1971:

It Don’t Come Easy –> Indian Reservation
Good thoughts from the Raiders, but poor execution. On the other hand, ‘…Easy’ with the great horns and Ringo never sounded better here.

Spanish Harlem –> Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves
I like Cher’s story songs all right. But Aretha in a Latinish mode with killer organ hooks? I’m in.

Smiling Faces Sometimes –> Want Ads
The dark and stifling soul of the Undisputed Truth ought to hit no. 1. No offense, Honey Cone, but your search for a date can’t top this.

Napoleon of Birds
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July 3, 2023 1:54 pm

My eyes popped at 1970 and 1971 alone, so I did the first half of the decade in advance. This decision aged well.

1970:
Cecilia replaces Everything Is Beautiful
Ball Of Confusion replaces Make It With You
Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours replaces Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head

1971:
What’s Going On replaces Knock Three Times
Smiling Faces Sometimes replaces Go Away Little Girl (actually, it does all of the time, and that’s the undisputed truth)
Take Me Home, Country Roads replaces How Can You Mend A Broken Heart even though it’s only the second-best Number Two behind that song

1972:
Back Stabbers replaces My Ding-a-Ling
Nights In White Satin replaces The Candy Man
I’ll Be Around replaces Baby, Don’t Get Hooked On Me
(The Spinners need a #1 of their own and sadly it will not be Rubberband Man)

1973:
Higher Ground replaces Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree
Shambala replaces Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
Could It Be I’m Falling In Love replaces The Morning After

1974:
Dancing Machine over The Streak
When Will I See You Again over You’re Sixteen
Rock On over You’re Having My Baby (Rock On’s #1 history will be corrected a week down the line)
DQ: Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, since it’s already in there once.

1975:
Jackie Blue over Please Mr. Postman
Boogie On Reggae Woman over Have You Never Been Mellow
Someone Saved My Life Tonight over He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You)

1976:
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald over Disco Duck
Dream Weaver over Welcome Back
Right Back Where We Started From over I Write The Songs

1977:
Don’t Stop over Torn Between Two Lovers
Higher and Higher over Da Doo Ron Ron
I’m In You over You Make Me Feel Like Dancing (marginal improvements are improvements)

1978:
Baker Street over You Don’t Bring Me Flowers
Emotion over Grease
Short People over With A Little Luck

1979:
Sail On over Still

stobgopper
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July 3, 2023 2:20 pm

‘Shambala’ over ‘…Leroy Brown?’ That’s a bold choice. Not that I disagree, but… Okay, I disagree. Respectfully, of course.

Napoleon of Birds
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July 3, 2023 2:48 pm
Reply to  stobgopper

I specifically chose that pairing because Shambala was #3 behind it. And yes, Shambala glows. Those harmonies are fantastic, too.

Bad, Bad Leroy Brown sounds to my ears like a white man trying to clumsily rip off Stagger Lee. I would take any Jim Croce song over it, and Time in a Bottle is walking that 9-10 line for me.

stobgopper
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July 3, 2023 3:08 pm

👍

mt58
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July 3, 2023 3:20 pm

OK, I gotta chime in here:

Operator > Time > Mess Around With Jim > Leroy

cstolliver
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July 3, 2023 3:27 pm
Reply to  mt58

But I Got a Name reigns over all.

mt58
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July 3, 2023 3:48 pm
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A good one, but in Croce ranking, I generally go with songs that he wrote.

LinkCrawford
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July 3, 2023 10:14 pm
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I have no tattoos, but if I should ever get them, I’d have a tattoo on my arm that says “Baby”, and another one that just says “Hey”

Napoleon of Birds
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July 3, 2023 3:28 pm
Reply to  mt58

Not familiar with Operator (changing that) but other than that I agree 100%. I Got A Name fits in between Time and Mess Around.
EDIT: Okay, it’s between Time and I Got a Name.

Last edited 11 months ago by Napoleon of Birds
mt58
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July 3, 2023 3:50 pm

Onion cutting time for these two kids on their first listen:

https://youtu.be/rtb5Wfgc7Xw?t=75

lovethisconcept
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July 3, 2023 5:26 pm
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I have spent way too much time watching these reaction videos.

stobgopper
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July 3, 2023 2:11 pm

1972:

‘Back Stabbers’ –> ‘The Candy Man’
Thirteen-year-old me believes ‘The Candy Man’ has to be the no. 1 song of the year. XX-year-old me slaps the kid on the side of the head and says “‘Backstabbers,’ you child! Here, read this comment section from 40 or so years in the future! See?'”

‘Burning Love’ –> ‘Ben’
One of those late career hits that hints at why Elvis was Elvis vs. an early and maudlin hit that really didn’t presage what was to come (other than the vocals).

‘Live and Let Die’ –> ‘Black and White’
If I could, I’d swap out ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey’ with this one, because who the heck cares about butter pies? Anyway, tough and cinematic Macca is preferable to well-intentioned 3DN.

‘Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast’ –> ‘Lean on Me’
Newton’s gut-wrenching magnum opus far outshines the trite let’s-all-depend-on-each-other socialist vibes Withers over-enunciates throughout his forgettable foray into ‘message’ music.*

*😉

‘Everybody Plays the Fool’ –> ‘Alone Again (Naturally)’
This is simply a personal preference, a thumbs up for the positive side of looking at things. I got nothing against Gilbert O’Sullivan, even if his stage name is unpleasant. Was Lerner O’Lowe already taken?

Napoleon of Birds
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July 3, 2023 2:53 pm
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You had me for a moment! Are you swapping out more than three there?

stobgopper
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July 3, 2023 3:07 pm

There was a lot in ’72 to deal with, as you well know. I applaud your discipline in only swapping three a year during the early- and mid-decade.

LinkCrawford
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July 3, 2023 10:17 pm
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Ha!

cappiethedog
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July 3, 2023 2:13 pm

1970: Candida over Everything is Beautiful
1971: Take Me Home Country Roads over Me and Bobby McGee
1972: Long Cool Woman over Ben
1973 Dueling Banjos over Frankenstein
1974: When Will I See You Again over I Shot the Sheriff
1975: At Seventeen over Please Mr. Postman
1976: Right Back Where We Started From over “Theme from S.W.A.T.
1977: Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue over Da Doo Ron Ron
1978: Short People over MacArthur Park
1979: Sail On over Knock on Wood

I’m not a fan of chart-topping cover songs.

1976 was hard. Maxine Nightingale gets the slight edge over Gordon Lightfoot. I would have picked “If I Could Read Your Mind”, though.

Can’t wait for the eighties, Ozmoe.

Napoleon of Birds
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July 3, 2023 3:27 pm

I seem to be the only person who really likes Ben.
Anyway, here’s this decade’s Swap Around, where I insert other Number Twos in place of the exact song they peaked behind, which may free up a replacement spot!

Never Can Say Goodbye –> Joy To The World
Mr. Big Stuff –> How Can You Mend A Broken Heart (would take out Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves instead)
Spanish Harlem –> Go Away Little Girl (would take out Want Ads instead, I guess?)
Long Cool Woman –> Alone Again (Naturally)
Use Me –> Baby, Don’t Get Hooked On Me (Brandy goes out instead)
Boogie Down –> Seasons In The Sun
Dancing Machine –> The Streak (The Entertainer comes in, The Night Chicago Died goes out)
You Make Me Feel Brand New –> Billy Don’t Be A Hero
You’re The First, The Last, My Everything –> Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
When Will I Be Loved –> Love Will Keep Us Together (Thank God I’m A Country Boy goes out instead)
I’m Not In Love –> The Hustle
Rubberband Man –> Tonight’s The Night
Fly Like An Eagle –> Evergreen
Boogie Nights –> You Light Up My Life
Dim All The Lights –> Heartache Tonight

thegue
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July 4, 2023 9:34 am

Oz!

Great entry this week. Not going to delve into my personal choices, but I will say the following:

  1. Any time Manilow gets knocked down a couple notches is okay in my book. Manilow was one of my stepmother’s favorites; she did not make the list of my favorite mothers.
  2. “Baker Street” earns its rightful place.
stobgopper
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July 5, 2023 6:44 pm

All right, Ozmoe, three and three replacements alone:

Boogie Down –> You’re Sixteen
Because smooth and proto-disco soul from an ex-Temptation beats out lazy ex-Beatle. C’mon, Starr, I vouched for you on ‘It Don’t Come Easy’ and now you put out this icky drivel?

‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’ –> ‘Billy Don’t Be a Hero’
The original ‘DLTSGDOM’ has Beach Boys Carl Wilson and Bruce Johnston (okay, he’s a part-time BB) and Toni Tennille on background vocals, which equals one George Michael on (mostly) lead. Both versions are wonderful, and both deserve no. 1 status. Which can’t be said for ‘Billy…’.

When Will I See You Again –> Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe
I’m Immune to the charms of Mr. White. It must be a defective string in my DNA. Not so the charms of the Three Degrees. If I was the one being asked the titular question, I’d answer, ‘Right away.’

Ps. It hurts to see you demote ‘The Night Chicago Died,’ but if it wasn’t shot into your nervous system as a young teenager, it makes sense.

stobgopper
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July 5, 2023 7:23 pm

I hope to finish this series by the Tricentennial. 1975:

Jackie Blue –> Please Mr. Postman
I’ve always enjoyed the lyrics for ‘Jackie Blue,’ with its paired opposites that suggest inchoate mysteries. As for ‘PMP,’ I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again: it’s a rote remake. Listen instead to the ’75 single ‘Solitaire’ for a late-career Carpenters’ highlight.

How Long –> Fallin’ in Love
Come on. Was the L-vocalization really necessary? I can’t help it: I hear ‘Fawin’ in Love’ every time, and wonder why it wasn’t ‘Fawin’ in Wuv.’ And ‘How Long’ initiated years of Paul Carrack fronting various bands with his instantly recognizable and comforting Carrackian vocals.

Someone Saved My Life Tonight –> I’m Sorry
I was going to insert Elton by removing Elton, as ‘Island Girl’ contains multitudes of questionability. But ballad John Denver had, in the aggregate, a low threshold for listenability to these ears. And near the very pit of the well was this one, especially for his conflating the troubles in China with personal heartbreak.

stobgopper
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July 13, 2023 7:39 pm

Bicentennial:

In which Ozmoe picked some of my favorites, so it’s defend the semi-indefensible time!

All By Myself –> Convoy
Without a doubt, ‘ABM’ is one of the great self-indulgent weepers of all time, and that’s gotta count for something, right? Particularly when compared to the faintly right-leaning (or, okay, hard libertarianism), stick-it-to-the-man for implementing weigh stations (have you seen the number of potholes out there?) and outlawing semis crowding together on interstates like some kind of intimidating truck pack ode to a dead communications technology. And it’s a shame about that suicide jockey.

Dream Weaver –> Silly Love Songs
I am, and have been, a Macca low-effort hater. When you’ve got the chops he has, it seems a crime to waste it on trite, saccharine-infused blather, even if it becomes the no. 1 song of the year. Better Gary Wright’s swirling, hypnotizing paean to the unconscious night world. This one will probably be the least of my crimes.

Lonely Nights (Angel Face) –> If You Leave Me Now
And this is the worst. That said, I’m a big fan of Tennille’s big voice and this is a catchy tune and it’s not ‘Muskrat Love.’ Whatever. It’s better than wan, Cetera-drenched Chicago; even group members who heard ‘IYLMN’ on the radio for the first time thought it was a McCartney song, and not ‘Live and Let Die’ McCartney either.

I think I’ve run out of mulligans.

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