I Can Help – Billy Swan – 1974

September 15, 2017

Billy Swan, I can Help 1974Remember this one? A simple rockabilly number that topped the Billboard Hot 100 as well as the US and Canadian country charts in 1974 – Billy Swan’s, I Can Help.

billy swan fax

  • Born in Missouri, USA, Billy Swan is one of those musicians whose life has been music.
  • Billy has played drums, piano and guitar, since he was a child and has been writing songs since back then too.
  • Clyde McPhatter gave Billy his first big break by recording one of Billy’s songs – Lover Please. It made it to #7 on the US charts.
  • That was back in 1962. Billy moved to Memphis to work on his music; he even worked on Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate for a while.  All the time he was improving his song writing skills and had his tunes recorded by artists like Conway Twitty, and Waylon Jennings.
  • By 1969, he was also producing records – he produced Tony Joe White’s Top Ten hit Polk Salad Annie.
  • A stint as Kris Kristofferson’s bass player followed before signing his own recording deal with Monument Records.
  • Billy’s first album included the title song I Can Help. It was a big hit, destined to become (like has happened to so many stars) his only top ten song.  Five albums and 18 singles followed, but none saw anything like the success of I Can Help.
  • Throughout the 70s and early 80s, Billy supplemented his solo career by continuing to tour as a member of Kristofferson’s band. He also recorded with Randy Meisner of The Eagles.
  • Today, Billy still makes a living as a backing singer and session musician.

i can help fax

  • I Can Help was written by Billy Swan and first appeared as the title track of his first album, released in July 1974.
  • The song hit #1 in around 15 countries across the globe including #1 in US and Canada, and #6 in the UK.
  • I Can Help was Billy’s only major hit single, although he had success as a songwriter for other artists and as a session musician.
  • I Can Help was recorded in just two takes (without overdubs) using an RMI organ that Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge had bought for Billy as a wedding gift.
  • Artists to cover this song included, Elvis Presley (on his 1975 album, Today), and Shakin’ Stevens (1994). Ringo Starr recorded I Can Help, but it was never released.
  • I Can Help appears in the moviesThor and Zootopia.
  • While the single version of the song is under three minutes long, the album version extends to just over 4 minutes, thanks to an organ solo ending.
  • I Can Help lyrics.

i can help – billy swan – 1974

follow seventiesmusic on facebook.

Find seventiesmusic on Facbook.You’ll find out when the latest blog is posted (usually about once a week).” Click the Facebook logo to go to the seventiesmusic Facebook page and click “Like.”

Advertisements

Harper Valley PTA – Jennie C. Riley – 1968

August 20, 2017

Harper Valley PTA - Jennie C. RileyOkay, not quite the seventies, but I heard this catchy little song the other day and couldn’t resist… Jennie C. Riley’s 1968 #1 hit, Harper Valley PTA.

jennie c. riley fax

  • Still performing today, as a 71 year old, Jennie C. Riley (born Jeanne Carolyn Stephenson), had her biggest hit with her debut single, Harper Valley PTA.
  • Since the late 70s, she has focused on gospel music.
  • Initially struggling to make any impact on the country music scene, a demo tape of Jennie C. found its way to the desk of record producer Shelby Singleton. He was endeavouring to establish his own own label, Plantation Records, and loved her sound.  Introducing Jennie C. to a Tom T. Hall demo-song (Harper Valley PTA), he produced one of the best-known country music songs of all time.
  • Jennie C. is credited with starting something of a revolution in the world of country music. She quickly became known as much for her sex appeal and beauty as for her music.  While most her contemporaries were keeping a wholesome image by wearing gingham dresses, Jennie C. adopted the typical fashion on the late-1960s by wearing a miniskirt and go-go boots on stage.  Jennie C. later announced that she felt uncomfortable with this sexy persona and reverted to more modest attire.

harper valley pta fax

  • Written by Tom T. Hall, Harper Valley PTA was a 1968 #1 US and Canadian hit for US country singer Jeannie C. Riley.
  • Harper Valley PTA sold a staggering six million copies as a single.
  • Harper Valley PTA saw Jennie C. become the first woman to top both the Billboard Hot 100 and the US Hot Country Singles charts with the same song, a feat that would go unrepeated until Dolly Parton‘s 1981 hit, 9 to 5.
  • It is said of Harper Valley PTA:

The country singer Margie Singleton asked Tom T. Hall to write her a song similar to Bobby Gentry’s Grammy-winning hit “Ode To Billie Joe”, which she had covered the previous year, and which Gentry wrote and recorded in 1967. The melody is essentially the same as that of the Gentry song, but Gentry seemingly was never informed or given any credit by Hall. After driving past a school called Harpeth Valley Elementary School in Bellevue, Tennessee, Hall noted the name and wrote “Harper Valley P.T.A.” about a fictional confrontation between a young widow Stella Johnson and a local PTA group who objected to her manner of dress, social drinking, and friendliness with town’s men folk. Jeannie C. Riley, who was working as a secretary in Nashville for Jerry Chesnut, got to hear the song and recorded it herself and it became a massive hit for her.

  • The song was later the inspiration for a 1978 motion picture and a short-lived 1981 television series, both starring Barbara Eden, playing the heroine of the song, Mrs. Johnson—who now had a first name, Stella.
  • Several other songs in the Harper Valley PTA album also told stories of some of the other characters from the song, including Mayor Harper, Widow Jones, and Shirley Thompson.
  • The classic Harper Valley PTA album cover shows a mini-dress-clad Riley—portraying Mrs. Johnson with PTA note in hand—standing beside a girl, who is portraying the teenage daughter of Mrs. Johnson.
  • Jeannie C.’s recording of Harper Valley PTA won a Grammy for the Best Country Vocal Performance, Female. It was also nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in the pop field.
  • Harper Valley PTA lyrics.

harper valley pta – jennie c. riley – 1968 -video

harper valley pta – jennie c. riley – 1968 – video from movie

follow seventiesmusic on facebook.

Find seventiesmusic on Facbook.You’ll find out when the latest blog is posted (usually about once a week).” Click the Facebook logo to go to the seventiesmusic Facebook page and click “Like.”


Coalminer’s Daughter – Loretta Lynn – 1970

July 21, 2017

Coal miner's daugherThe signature tune from one of the all-time country music greats; Loretta Lynn’s 1970 hit, Coalminer’s Daughter.

loretta lynn fax

  • Born in 1932, Loretta Lynn began her music career in 1960 and is still going – though not quite as strong as she once was.
  • Loretta was the second of eight children born to a Melvin Webb, a coal miner and subsistence farmer and his wife, Clara. Loretta’s father died of Coalworker’s pneumoconiosis, also called black lung disease, at the age of 52 – a pertinent fact relating to the song Coalminer’s Daughter.
  • Loretta’s youngest sister is country singer, Crystal “Don’t it Make my Brown Eyes Blue” Gayle.
  • Loretta married Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn – whom she called “Doo” – when she was just 15 years old. Their life together inspired the music she wrote.
  • In 1953, Doo bought her a $17 Harmony guitar which she taught herself to play. She started her own band, Loretta and the Trailblazers, with her brother Jay Lee playing lead guitar.
  • By the 1960s, Loretta as an integral part of the Nashville country music scene and, in 1967, she had the first of 16 number-one hits (in all she had a phenomenal 70 charted songs as a solo artist and a duet partner). She has released 41 albums.
  • With her song writing, Loretta focused on blue-collar women’s issues with themes about philandering husbands and persistent mistresses, inspired by issues she faced in her marriage. Apparently, Loretta and Doo fought frequently, but she said;

He never hit me one time that I didn’t hit him back twice.

  • Loretta recalled in one of her autobiographies;

I married Doo when I wasn’t but a child, and he was my life from that day on. But as important as my youth and upbringing was, there’s something else that made me stick to Doo. He thought I was something special, more special than anyone else in the world, and never let me forget it. That belief would be hard to shove out the door. Doo was my security, my safety net. And just remember, I’m explainin’, not excusin’… Doo was a good man and a hard worker. But he was an alcoholic, and it affected our marriage all the way through.

  • Loretta has received numerous awards and other accolades for her ground-breaking role in country music. She has awards from both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music as a duet partner and an individual artist. She is the most awarded female country recording artist and the only female ACM Artist of the Decade (1970s).
  • On May 4, 2017, Lynn suffered a stroke at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. She was taken to a Nashville hospital, and according to her website she is expected to make a full recovery.

coal miner’s daughter fax

  • Coal Miner’s Daughter is an autobiographical country music song written and performed by Loretta Lynn.
  • Recorded in October 1969, and released in 1970, Coalminer’s Daughter became Loretta’s signature song. It provided the basis for both her autobiography and a movie on her life.
  • Coal Miner’s Daughter peaked at #83 on the US singles chart but reached #1 on the country music chart.
  • An album of the same name was also released in 1970, and despite the fact that the title track was the lone single, Coal Miner’s Daughter became quite successful.
  • Few singers have released cover versions of Lynn’s hit, as it is a biographical song about Loretta’s life. However, Sissy Spacek recorded a version for the soundtrack of the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter.  Loretta re-recorded the song with guest vocals from Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow in 2010 for Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn; and Stella Parton, younger sister of Loretta’s good friend Dolly Parton, also recorded the song on her 2010 album, “American Coal.”
  • Coal Miner’s Daughter lyrics.

coal miner’s daughter – loretta lynn – 1970 – video

follow seventiesmusic on facebook.

Find seventiesmusic on Facbook.You’ll find out when the latest blog is posted (usually about once a week).” Click the Facebook logo to go to the seventiesmusic Facebook page and click “Like.”


Blue Skies – Willie Nelson – 1978

July 9, 2017

Blue Skies Willie Nelson 1978Born in 1933, Willie Nelson released his first single in 1957. He became a regular on the US and Canadian country charts but barely featured on the singles charts, until his 1978 album Stardust – two #1’s and a #3 changed everything for Willie.

willie nelson fax

  • Willie is hailed as “one of the most recognised artists in country music,” and that is probably true; in fact, he may be THE most recognised artist in country music!
  • Willie was born in Texas, with music flowing through his veins – he wrote his first song at age seven and joined his first band at ten. During high school, he toured locally with the Bohemian Polka as their lead singer and guitar player.
  • After school, he endured a brief stay in the US Air Force before being discharged due to back problems.
  • He worked as a DJ in Texas radio stations and a singer in honky-tonk bars around the state.
  • In 1958, he signed a contract with D Records and wrote a number of songs that would become country standards, including Funny How Time Slips Away, Hello Walls, Pretty Paper, and Crazy.
  • In 1960 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, signed a publishing contract with Pamper Music and, by 1962, had recorded his first album, …And Then I Wrote.
  • That success enabled Willed to sign with RCA Victor and join the Grand Ole Opry.
  • Believe it or not, Willie retired in 1972. He moved to Austin, Texas and tried to settle down but the music kept flowing.
  • He signed to Atlantic Records, then Columbia Records. It was here that he produced those great albums from the mid-late 70s, including Stardust.
  • During the mid-1980s, while creating hit albums like Honeysuckle Rose and recording hit songs like On the Road Again, and To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before, Willie joined the country band, The Highwaymen, alongside fellow singers Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson.
  • Willie continues to perform today. He has won twelve Grammy awards, including a lifetime achievement award; seven American Music Awards, nine CMA awards, five Academy of Country Music awards – in fact, it would appear, Willie has won every major award he’s ever been nominated for!

blue skies fax

  • Blue Skies was written by Irving Berlin in 1926. It was a last-minute addition to the Rodgers and Hart musical Betsy.
  • The show, Betsy, ran for a mere 39 performances, but Blue Skies was an instant hit. On the opening night of the musical, the audience demanded 24 encores of the song.
  • In 1927, Ben Selvin had a hit with the song.
  • The same year, Blue Skies became one of the first songs to be featured in a talkie movie – Al Jolson sang it in The Jazz Singer.
  • Other artistes to sing or perform Blue Skies include: Benny Goodman and his Orchestra (1935), Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, and Count Basie, and Benny Goodman all recording it in 1946. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye performed the song in 1954’s White Christmas.  Jim Reeves sang it in 1962.
  • Best known in recent times is Willie Nelson’s 1978 recording from his album Stardust. This version was a #1 hit on the US country charts.
  • Blue Skies lyrics.

blue skies – willie nelson – 1978 – video

follow seventiesmusic on facebook.

Find seventiesmusic on Facbook.You’ll find out when the latest blog is posted (usually about once a week).” Click the Facebook logo to go to the seventiesmusic Facebook page and click “Like.”


Rhinestone Cowboy – Glen Campbell – 1975

May 21, 2017

Rhinestone Cowboy Glen Campbell 1975It’s difficult to believe Glen Campbell is now 81 years old! And there is also his well-publiscised battle with Alzheimers.  I hope, in some way, he appreciates how much those who love 70s music value the contribution he made to our musical lives throughout the 60s, 70s and beyond.

glen campbell fax

  • Born in Arkansas in 1936, Glen was the seventh son of 12 children.
  • Glen started playing guitar in his teens, taught by his uncle whose band he joined in 1954.
  • By 1958, Glen had formed his own band, the Western Wranglers before moving to Los Angeles in 1960 to become a session musician, songwriter and recorder of demos. He was a part of a group of musicians known as The Wrecking Crew.  The Wrecking Crew would back him on a number of recordings throughout his career.
  • As a backing musician, Glen played on recordings by Campbell played on recordings by many of the eras great artists, including, Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, The Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan and Dean, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Phil Spector.
  • In 1961, Glen was signed to Crest Records he signed to Capitol Records a year later) and began his solo career.
  • Throughout the 60s and 70s, Glen had a string of hit songs and, for three years, hosted his own music and comedy variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.
  • During his 50 years in show business, Glen released over 70 albums and sold over 45 million records. 12 of those albums achieved gold record status, with four becoming platinum albums and one double-platinum album.
  • He has had over 80 singles hit the charts, 29 top 10’s and nine #1s, including, Gentle on My Mind; By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, Galveston, Rhinestone Cowboy and Southern Nights.
  • In 1967, Glen won four Grammys total in the country and pop categories – two for Gentle on My Mind in the country and western category and two for By the Time I Get to Phoenix in the pop category.
  • In 2012, Glen was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
  • Glen has appeared in 11 movies, including playing alongside John Wayne in the classic, True Grit.
  • In June 2011, Glen announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six months earlier. He embarked on a “Goodbye Tour,” with three of his children joining him in his backup band.  His final show was on November 30, 2012, in Napa, California and he performed Rhinestone Cowboy as a goodbye at the 2012 Grammy Awards ceremony held on February 12, 2012, his final televised on-stage performance.  Since April 2014, he has been a patient at an Alzheimer’s long-term care and treatment facility where, he is reported to be unable to communicate with people and understand what people say.  His family have stated, Glen is receiving good care and is “happy” and “cheerful.”

glen campbell trivia

  • From December 1964 to early March 1965, Glen was a touring member of The Beach Boys, filling in for Brian Wilson. He also played guitar on the band’s Pet Sounds (1966) album, among other Beach Boys recordings. On tour, he played bass guitar and sang falsetto harmonies.

rhinestone cowboy fax

  • Rhinestone Cowboy was written by Larry Weiss and recorded on his 1974 album Black and White.
  • In late 1974, Campbell heard Rhinestone Cowboy on the radio. He was touring Australia and decided to learn the song. On returning to the US, he was talking to a record company exec. who told him about a great song he should record… the song was Rhinestone Cowboy.
  • Glen recorded the song in March 1975 with The Wrecking Crew. It was released on May 26, 1975.
  • Rhinestone Cowboy hit #1 on the US singles chart and #4 on the UK singles chart. Interestingly, it was one of six songs released in 1975 that topped both the US singles chart and the US Country singles chart. The others being: Before the Next Teardrop Falls by Freddy Fender, (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song by BJ Thomas Thank God I’m a Country Boy and I’m Sorry/Calypso, both by John Denver, and Convoy by C. W. McCall.
  • In 2013, Glen recorded a new version of Rhinestone Cowboy for his final studio album, See You There.
  • Rhinestone Cowboy served as the basis for the 1984 movie Rhinestone, starring Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Parton.
  • Amongst artists to cover Rhinestone Cowboy are, Slim Whitman, Guns N’ Roses and Tony Clifton (aka Andy Kaufman).
  • Rhinestone Cowboy lyrics.

rhinestone cowboy – glen campbell – 1975 – video

follow seventiesmusic on facebook.

Find seventiesmusic on Facbook.You’ll find out when the latest blog is posted (usually about once a week).” Click the Facebook logo to go to the seventiesmusic Facebook page and click “Like.”


Rose Garden – Lynn Anderson – 1970

January 24, 2017

lynn-anderson-rose-garden-single-cover-1970Now, here’s a blast from the past. I was planting a rose garden at home the other day and, try as I did, could not escape this ear-worm; Rose Garden, Lynn Anderson’s 1970 country hit.

lynn anderson fax

  • Born in Canada, very close to the US border, Lynn Anderson parents registered her birth in Grand Forks, USA, so that she would have US citizenship.
  • Lynn’s mother introduced her to music. Lynn was working as a secretary at a Sacramento radio station when one of her mother’s songs, All My Friends Are Gonna Be Strangers, was recorded by Merle Haggard.  Lynn’s mother signed with RCA Victor and toured with many of the country stars of the 60s.  One night, at an informal sing-a-long, a record producer heard Lynn sing.  He invited her to join his label and… a star was born.
  • In all, Lynn had twelve #1 and over 50 Top 40 hits on the US country music charts. She was nominated for a Grammy Award seven times and won a Grammy in 1971 for the Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
  • Lynn’s first hit was Ride, Ride, Ride, back in 1966 when she was just 19.
  • Outside of music, Lynn was an accomplished equestrian sportswoman, winning 16 national and eight world championships.
  • Lynn died of a heart attack on July 30, 2015.

rose garden fax

  • Rose Garden, also known as (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden, was written by is a song written by Joe South – a song writer and guitarist who played on some great albums including; Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence and Aretha Franklin’s Chain of Fools.
  • Rose Garden was first released by Billy Joe Royal in 1967 but the best-known version was Lynn Anderson’s cover, released in October 1970.
  • Lynn’s version sat at #1 on the US country chart for five weeks and made the top 3 singles charts in both the US and UK (and hit #1 in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, and Norway).
  • The song won Lynn a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1971, and earned Joe South two Grammy nominations, Best Country Song and Song of the Year in the pop category.
  • Lynn once said of the song,

“I believe that ‘Rose Garden’ was released at just the right time. People were trying to recover from the Vietnam years. The message in the song—that if you just take hold of life and go ahead, you can make something out of nothing—people just took to that.”

  • k.d. lang and her band The Reclines covered Rose Garden on their 1987 album Angel with a Lariat. While failing to chart, it was k.d.’s first release in the US. Then, in 2005, Martina McBride included the song on her album of covers, Timeless – featuring classic country songs from the past.  Rose Garden was released as a single, peaking at #18 on the country singles charts.
  • Canadian band Kon Kan sampled parts of Rose Garden in their 1989 single I Beg Your Pardon – their song peaked at #15 in the US and #5 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • Rose Garden lyrics.

rose garden – lynn anderson – 1970 – video

follow seventiesmusic on facebook.

Find seventiesmusic on Facbook.You’ll find out when the latest blog is posted (usually about once a week).” Click the Facebook logo to go to the seventiesmusic Facebook page and click “Like.”


Wildfire – Michael Murphey – 1975

January 16, 2017

wildfire-michael-murpheyKnown to sometimes appear in those lists of “Worst Song Lyrics of All Time,” Michael Murphey’s 1975 hit Wildfire has been described by David Letterman as, “haunting and disturbingly mysterious, but always lovely.”

michael murphey fax

  • American Michael Murphey is a true cowboy – a lover of the outdoors, a native of Texas, a ranch owner and a writer and singer of western music.
  • With six gold albums to his name, Michael’s had 12 singles reach the American Country top ten.
  • Originally singing as Michael Murphey, since 1982 (yes, he is still performing) he has added his middle name and performed as Michael Martin Murphey.
  • Michael has been married four times. His first wife was Diana Vero, former secretary to Brian Epstein.  Diana was with The Beatles when they travelled through the US in 1964.  Their son, Ryan, has also made a name in the American country music scene.

wildfire fax

  • Wildfire was written by Michael Murphey and Larry Cansler, and was originally recorded by Michael.
  • It is the lead single from his 1975 gold album Blue Sky – Night Thunder, and is Michael’s highest charting US single, peaking at #2 on the US singles charts.
  • In all, Wildfire has sold over two million copies.
  • It is listed by the members of the Western Writers of America as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.
  • In 2007, David Letterman, seemed to become infatuated with Wildfire. Over a course of several weeks and a number of episodes of The Late Show, he discussed the song and its lyrics.  Eventually, Michael was invited on the show to sing.
  • Wildfire appears in an episode of The Simpsons named Lisa’s Pony. Lisa plays Wildfire to her pony with her saxophone.
  • It hasn’t all been good for Michael’s tune – it has occasionally appeared in worst song lyric lists.
  • Wildfire lyrics.

wildfire – michael murphy – 1975 – video

follow seventiesmusic on facebook.

Find seventiesmusic on Facbook.You’ll find out when the latest blog is posted (usually about once a week).” Click the Facebook logo to go to the seventiesmusic Facebook page and click “Like.”