Cat’s in the Cradle – Harry Chapin – 1974

June 28, 2015

Harry Chapin Cat's in the Cradle - 1974The late Harry Chapin is one of the great 70’s poets/songwriters.  Cat’s in the Cradle (1974) was his only #1 hit.

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  • Harry Chapin was born into music – his father was a big band drummer playing with acts such as Woody Herman.
  • As a teenager Harry performed with his brothers as a trumpeter, however, hanging out with the folk singers of Greenwich Village caused Harry to turn his attention to the guitar and pretty soon he and a few mates were playing local nightclubs around New York.
  • Harry’s first album – with his brothers Tom and Steve, was a flop.
  • For his second album, Heads and Tales, Harry went it alone.  It contained his first single, Taxi, which peaked at #24 on the US charts.
  • Harry Chapin 2On the strength of this first solo album, Harry signed with Elektra Records.
  • It was his fourth album, Verities & Balderdash, that contained Harry’s only #1 single, Cat’s in the Cradle (Harry’s only UK hit was W*O*L*D.  It peaked at #34 in 1974).
  • Harry was somewhat renowned for his philanthropic work.  He served on the boards of a number of local arts societies and organisations.
  • In the mid-70s, Harry began his crusade to raise money to combat hunger in the United States. It’s said that he donated a third of his paid concerts to charitable causes and often performed alone with his guitar to reduce costs.
  • Harry was killed in an automobile accident on Thursday, July 16, 1981 on the way to perform at a free concert at Eisenhower Park, New York.
  • On December 7, 1987, on what would have been his 45th birthday, Harry was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his campaigning on social issues, particularly his highlighting of hunger around the world and in the United States.
  • The Lakeside Theatre at Eisenhower Park in New York, was renamed Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre and a number of other Long Island landmarks bear his name.

cat’s in the cradle fax

  • Harry Chapin 3Cat’s in the Cradle was written by Harry Chapin and released on October 1, 1974 on his album, Verities & Balderdash.
  • In December 1974, Cat’s in the Cradle became Harry’s only #1 US single.
  • Cat’s in the Cradle began as a poem written by Harry’s wife, Sandy Gaston and was inspired by the awkward relationship between her first husband, James Cashmore, and his father.  Harry later said the song was also about his relationship with his own son, Josh.
  • In 2001, Cat’s in the Cradle was ranked number 186 of 365 on the RIAA list of Songs of the Century.
  • Cat’s in the Cradle has been used a number of times in modern movie and television culture, including the following television series: The Simpsons (three episodes), King of the Hill, Scrubs, Modern Family, The Office (US version), How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Californication, Cougartown and Two and a Half Men.  Also the movie, Shrek the Third.
  • US hard rock band Ugly Kid Joe included a cover of Cat’s in the Cradle on their 1991 debut album America’s Least Wanted – in 1993 it peaked at #6 on the US singles chart.
  • Other cover versions include: Judy Collins and Johnny Cash.
  • Cat’s in the Cradle lyrics – Harry Chapin – 1974.

cat’s in the cradle – harry chapin – 1974 – video

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Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You – Sugarloaf – 1974

June 18, 2015

Sugarloaf - Don't Call Us, We'll Call YouHow many of you remember this one?  Sugarloaf’s 1974 hit, Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You?

Sugarloaf 1sugarloaf fax

  • US band Sugarloaf originated in Denver, Colorado.
  • Chronologically, Sugarloaf had three incarnations; 1970–1978; 1985; 1989-1991.  It was in the 70s that they produced their two top ten hits, Green-Eyed Lady and Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You.
  • The core of Sugarloaf were lead vocalist and keyboardist Jerry Corbetta, and guitarist Bob Webber who had been in a band named Moonrakers – who released four unsuccessful singles in the late 60s.
  • In late 1968, Jerry and Bob pulled in drummer Myron Pollock and bassist Bob Raymond to form the band Chocolate Hair.  As they were readying to release their first album it was pointed out to the band that their name may have racial overtones – hence, a new name; Sugarloaf, named after a mountain in Boulder, Colorado.
  • Sugarloaf 2Their first single, Green Eyed Lady, peaked at #3 on the US charts.

don’t call us, we’ll call you fax

  • Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You is the title track of Sugarloaf’s fourth and final album.
  • The song peaked at #9 in the US single charts.

don’t call us, we’ll call you – album review

For most intents and purposes, Sugarloaf was finished after their 1973 album I Got a Song failed to generate any attention, but the band continued to push ahead, channeling their frustrations into the bubblegum sarcasm of “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You.” The song became a fluke hit in 1975, prompting a re-release of I Got a Song under a new title borrowed from the hit, which also was prominently featured on the new release. Of course, the fizzy pop of “Don’t Call Us” sounded very little like the rest of the earlier record, which itself wasn’t all that reminiscent of their percolating 1970 hit “Green Eyed Lady,” either. It was a curious mix of pompous neo-prog — best heard on the charging instrumental “Myra, Myra” — light hippie funk, and coolly trippy soft rock, all sounds redolent of the early ‘70s, but certainly not the epitome of it. Which isn’t to say that lead singer/songwriter Jerry Corbetta couldn’t write — in addition to the hits, he knocked off Billy Joel/Elton John’s Western fantasia quite well on “Colorado Jones” — but this album tends to drift in and out of focus, making it a period piece but not much more. [Fuel 2000’s 2010 reissue added a host of worthwhile bonus tracks, including a live version of “Green Eyed Lady.”] Full review here.

don’t call us, we’ll call you – sugarloaf – 1974 – video

green eyed lady – sugarloaf – 1970 – video

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I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash – 1972

June 3, 2015

Johnny Nash I Can See Clearly Now 1976 single cover74 years old and still performing – Johnny Nash’s biggest hit was back in 1972 – I Can See Clearly Now.

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  • Johnny Nash was only 18 years old when his first album – self-titled – was released.  Stardom came quickly; over the next six years he released four albums and 16 singles and had something of an acting career.
  • In 1965, Johnny joined with Danny Sims to form their own label – JODA Records. One of their first signings was The Cowsills – four brothers from Rhode Island.
  • In early 1968, Johnny travelled to Jamaica and met a struggling local band, Bob Marley & The Wailing Wailers.  Johnny produced a number of songs for them but none were successful.
  • Johnny Nash 2Throughout the 70s Johnny released a string of reggae styled singles, many of them recorded in Kingston, Jamaica.
  • Johnny’s first top ten US hit was Hold Me Tight, which peaked at #5 in 1968.  In 1972 he made it to #12 with the Bob Marley song, Stir It Up (later to become a hit for Bob).  Then came his biggest US hit; 1972’s I Can See Clearly Now which made it to #1.
  • Johnny’s biggest UK hit was Tears On My Pillow which made it all the way to #1 in 1975.
  • Johnny is in his 70s now but still performs.  His last hit was Rock Me Baby in 1986.

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  • I Can See Clearly Now was written and recorded by Johnny Nash.
  • The title track of Johnny’s eleventh album, it was released in July 1972 and rose to #1 in the US and #5 in the UK.
  • Johnny Nash 3I Can See Clearly Now is one of the most covered tracks in music.  Artists to have recorded it include: Anne Murray, Bobby Goldsboro, Dobie Gray, Donny Osmond, Dusty Springfield, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Hothouse Flowers, James Last, Liza Minnelli, Neil Finn, Petula Clark, Procol Harum (in concert), Ray Charles, Richie Havens, Sonny and Cher, The Mamas & the Papas, Toots & the Maytals, and Willie Nelson.
  • It was also covered by Jimmy Cliff whose version was included in the movie, Cool Runnings, and reached #18 on the US singles chart.
  • I Can See Clearly Now has featured in a number of movies, including: The song also appears in various other films, such as Grosse Pointe Blank, The Break-up, Thelma & Louise, Antz, Hitch, Shrek 2, and Up in Smoke.
  • I Can See Clearly Now lyrics.

i can see clearly now – johnny nash – 1972 – video

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