Spiders and Snakes – Jim Stafford – 1973

October 10, 2015

Jim Stafford - Spiders and Snakes CoverNow, here’s a song that may have slipped from your memory bank!  From the man who gave us, Under the Scotsman’s Kilt and Your Bulldog Drinks Champagne, comes Spiders and Snakes – a big hit for Jim Stafford back in 1973/4.

Jim Staffordjim stafford fax

  • Jim Stafford is an American comedian, musician, and singer-songwriter best known for his light-hearted 1970s recordings many of which became hits.
  • Jim released two albums in the early 70s and a third in 1993. He has since released a couple of classical guitar albums.
  • The 70s albums produced the hits, Spiders and Snakes, I Got Stoned and I Missed It, My Girl Bill and Wildwood Weed.
  • During college years, Jim played in a band with Gram Parsons and Kent LaVoie (better known to 70s music fans as Lobo).
  • Jim’s biggest hit was Spiders & Snakes in 1973.
  • Jim wrote tunes for a number of movies including Clint Eastwood’s Any Which Way You Can  which he also appeared in.
  • In 1975 Jim had his own variety show on television – it lasted for six weeks and was quite popular.
  • Jim was married briefly to Bobbie Gentry with whom he has a son.
  • In 1990, Jim opened his own theatre in Branson, Missouri where he continues to play most nights…

Jim Stafford 2spiders and snakes fax

  • Released in November 1973, Spiders & Snakes is a hit song recorded by Jim Stafford.
  • Spiders and Snakes was written by Jim and David Bellamy.
  • Spiders and Snakes hit the US singles charts in 1974 and peaked at #3.
  • Selling over a million copies, it sat on the US charts for almost six months.
  • Conway Twitty covered Spiders and Snakes substuting the name Loretta Lynn for the name of the girl (Mary Lou).
  • Jim and Dolly Parton sometimes performed Spiders and Snakes together (video below).
  • Spiders and Snakes lyrics.

spiders and snakes – jim stafford – 1973 – video

spiders and snakes – jim stafford and dolly parton

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Let Your Love Flow – Bellamy Brothers – 1976

September 9, 2015

 Bellamy Brothers Let Your Love Flow CoverA country music crossover act, The Bellamy Brothers had a huge hit in 1976 with a Neil Diamond reject, Let Your Love Flow.

Bellamy Brothers 1the bellamy brothers fax

  • The Bellamy Brothers are really brothers!  A duet featuring David and Howard (real first name = Homer) Bellamy.
  • The boys hail from Florida.
  • Known predominantly as country singers, David and Howard have racked up over 20 #1 singles on the US country charts and featured on them over 50 times.
  • Still performing today, they have released over 50 albums.
  • The brothers were first noticed in the late 1960’s by a friend of recording artist Jim Stafford.  He and David wrote Spiders and Snakes which became a Top 5 hit for Jim.  Howard became Jim’s road manager but singing was in the blood and, in 1975 The Bellamy Brothers were signed by Curb Records.
  • Their first serious single, Let Your Love Flow, hit #1 on the US charts.  Then, in 1979, they hit #1 on the country charts with If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me.

lBellamy Brothers 2et your love flow fax

  • Let Your Love Flow was written by Larry E. Williams, a roadie for Neil Diamond.  Neil was offered the song but turned it down.
  • Let Your Love Flow was recorded by The Bellamy Brothers in 1976 and reached #1 on the US charts.
  • Let Your Love Flow was back in the UK singles chart in 2008 after it was used in a Barclaycard advertisement.  It peaked at #21.
  • In 1979, Joan Baez released a cover of Let Your Love Flow.
  • Let Your Love Flow lyrics.

let your love flow – the bellamy brothers – 1976 – video

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Spooky – Atlanta Rhythm Section – 1979

July 29, 2015

ARS SpookyNot often a band two incarnations of the same band has a hit with the same song… but it happened with Spooky; a hit for both The Classics IV and Atlanta Rhythm Section.

ARS1atlanta rhythm section fax

  • Atlanta Rhythm Section, or ARS as they were sometimes called, formed in 1971.
  • Originally a session band, they worked at Studio One, a recording studio on Georgia. Studio One gained some kudos from recording such artists as Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Joe South.
  • The original ARS line-up was vocalist Rodney Justo, guitarist Barry Bailey, bassist Paul Goddard, keyboardist Dean Daughtry, and drummer Robert Nix. The line-up has changed consistently right up to the present day but Dean and Rodney remain front and centre.
  • ARS 1While not achieving the commercial success of some of the other Studio One acts, ARS had a number of hits including, So Into You, Imaginary Lover, and Spooky.
  • The band produced nine albums in the 70s, 13 albums in all; the last album was released in 1999.

spooky fax

  • Spooky was originally an instrumental song performed by saxophonist Mike Sharpe (Shapiro), who, with Harry Middlebrooks, Jr. wrote the tune.
  • In 1967, The Classics IV hit #3 on the US charts and #46 on the UK charts with a version featuring lyrics written by James Cobb and Buddy Buie. The core of The Classics IV later became Atlanta Rhythm Section.
  • ARS 2In 1979, Atlanta Rhythm Section re-recorded Spooky, peaking at #17 on the US charts and #48 on the UK charts.
  • Spooky has been covered by a number of artists including: Dusty Springfield, Percy Sledge, Andy Williams, Martha and the Vandellas, and R.E.M.
  • Spooky lyrics.

spooky – atlanta rhythm section – 1979 – video

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Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In – The 5th Dimension – 1969

July 9, 2015

The 5th Dimension Aquarius Single 1969Originally known as The Versatiles, The 5th Dimension scored six Grammy awards but only two #1 hits, both in 1969.  This was their first: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In.

The 5th dimension 1the fifth dimension fax

  • The 5th Dimension formed in 1965 and were originally known as The Versatiles.
  • Within a couple of years they were churning out the hits including: Up, Up and Away, Stoned Soul Picnic, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, Wedding Bell Blues (their second #1), and (Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep at All.
  • Original members were Billy Davis, Jr., Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo, LaMonte McLemore, and Ron Townson.  While the band still performs but the original line-up lasted only until 1975.
  • The 5th dimension 2A number of songwriters owe their success, in part, to The 5th Dimension.  Some of these went on to forge careers of their own.  Notably, Ashford & Simpson and the late Laura Nyro.  They also recorded songs by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and Jimmy Webb
  • The 5th Dimension won six Grammy awards five of them for their first hit, Jimmy Webb’s, Up, Up and Away.

aquarius/let the sunshine in fax

  • This song’s full title is, Medley: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures).
  • The song is a medley of two songs taken from the 1967 musical Hair.
  • A platinum single, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In was released in September 1969 and sat at the top of the US singles chart for six weeks.  It peaked at #11 on the UK singles chart.
  • The song is listed at #66 on Billboard’s list of the Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • The 5th Dimension’s recording of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In won the Grammy Award for both Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Group in the 1970 Grammy Awards.
  • The 5th dimension 3Aquarius/ Let the Sunshine In has been covered by an number of 60s and 70s artists that include: Cilla Black, Engelbert Humperdinck, Andy Williams, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Osmonds, and Spencer Davis Group.
  • Donna Summer sang it when she starred in the German version of the Hair stage show – that was before she became the disco diva.
  • The Let the Sunshine In portion of the song has been adopted by soccer fans in Argentina to support their team.
  • Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In lyrics.

aquarius/let the sunshine in – the 5th dimension – 1969 – 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.

Johnny Nash 1johnny nash fax

  • 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.

i can see clearly now fax

  • 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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Boogie Oogie Oogie – A Taste of Honey – 1978

October 4, 2012

In a list of the top songs of 1978, Boogie Oogie Oogie by A Taste of Honey comes in at #5.

it was the best of tunes and it was the worst of tunes

Boogie Oogie Oogie has been called everything from disco at its worst to one of the best R ‘n’ B singles of the 70s. What Boogie Oogie Oogie is, is a representative of the time when disco swept the world and most of us couldn’t figure out  why.

a taste of honey

Before their 1978 hit, A Taste of Honey had been around for quite some time. They formed in California in 1971 and, six years later, signed a FIVE album contract with Capitol Records.

Boogie Oogie Oogie was the first single from their first album. It was a hit, selling two million copies. The group was awarded a platinum records for both the single and album and won the Best New Artist Grammy in 1979.

And that was it really. A second single, Sukiyaki from their third album, went to #3 on the charts before the band faded to become distant memories of a bygone time.

those gal guitarists

The band was rather interesting in that, it was started by the keyboard player and drummer: Perry Kibble and Donald Ray Johnson. They looked for singers, a bassist and lead guitarist; and found them all in two young women; Janice-Marie Johnson (vocals, co-writer, bass), Carlita Dorhan (vocals, guitar).

By 1979 the band was a duo comprising Janice-Marie and Carlita.

boogie oogie oogie fax

  • Boogie Oogie Oogie was A Taste of Honey’s first single. It came from their self-titled debut album and spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978. It peaked at #3 in the UK.
  • Boogie Oogie Oogie sold two million copies and earned the band a platinum record. The album also went platinum.
  • Boogie Oogie Oogie won the Grammy for Best New Artist at the 1979 Grammy Awards
  • Janice-Marie Johnson co-wrote the single with Perry Kibble. She calls it her “lifeline.” She gives credit to record executive Larkin Arnold who ensured the band owned their own publishing, meaning she made a heap of money from the song.
  • In the late 1990s, Boogie Oogie Oogie was used in an advertising campaign that ran throughout the US for Burger King. It was also to advertise pretzels.
  • Janice Marie Johnson recorded another version of the song in 2001 but it didn’t come near to touching the charts.
  • Wounded Buffalo remix of Jamiroquai‘s Little L, on the single with the same name, samples a portion of Johnson’s Boogie Oogie Oogie bassline.
  • Boogie Oogie Oogie lyrics.

boogie oogie oogie – a taste of honey – 1978 – video

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The Streak – Ray Stevens – 1974

August 16, 2012

The novelty song to beat all novelty songs, back in 1974 Ray Stevens’ The Streak hit #1 on the US, Canadian, UK and New Zealand singles charts.

an album or two

Ray Stevens has had an amazing career beginning in 1958 and, believe it or not, continuing through to this very day.  Yep, he’s still performing.

In that time he’s released an amazing 112 albums! Yep, 112 albums!! The first was 1,837 Seconds of Humour in 1962, the latest Encyclopaedia of Recorded Comedy Music in 2012. But wait, an astounding 33 of those were greatest hits compilations.

whichever way you look at it…

Ray has certainly been prolific. Born in 1939, the American singer signed his first recording contract when he was 16 years old and has had hits across several genres of music in the years since.

awards galore!

Ray’s been nominated for 11 Grammy awards and has won twice. The second was in 1975, for the arrangement of his country and western version of the jazz standard Misty.

The first was rather interesting because the song won two awards, one each for different artists.  It was 1971 and Everything Is Beautiful won the award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for Ray and the award for Best Inspirational Performance for Jake Hess.

Ray in an inductee of the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

And, check out some of his other awards…

  • 1969: Gold Single — “Gitarzan”
  • 1970: Gold Single — “Everything Is Beautiful”
  • 1970: Grammy — “Everything Is Beautiful” (Best Male Pop Vocal Performance)
  • 1974: Gold Single — “The Streak”
  • 1975: Grammy — “Misty” (Best Arrangement of the Year)
  • 1980: Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
  • 1980: Georgia Music Hall of Fame
  • 1984: Gold Album — “He Thinks He’s Ray Stevens”
  • 1985: Gold Album — “I Have Returned”
  • 1986: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1986: #1 Country Album Plaque from Billboard — “I Have Returned” (week ending March 15, 1986)
  • 1987: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1987: Platinum Album — “Greatest Hits”
  • 1987: Gold Album — “Greatest Hits, Volume Two”
  • 1988: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1989: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1990: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1990: Gold Album — “All-Time Greatest Comic Hits”
  • 1991: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1992: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1992: #1 Home Video Plaque from Billboard — “Comedy Video Classics”
  • 1992: Ten Times-Platinum Home Video — “Comedy Video Classics”
  • 1993: Billboard Home Video of the Year
  • 1993: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1993: Platinum Home Video — “Ray Stevens Live!”
  • 1994: Music City News Comedian of the Year
  • 1995: Platinum Home Video — “Get Serious!”
  • 1995: Country Weekly Golden Pick Award “Best Comedian”
  • 2001: Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame
  • 2002: Gold Single — “Osama Yo’ Mama”
  • 2009: Christian Music Hall of Fame

don’t look ethel!

The Streak was one of Ray’s greatest hits. For those who have forgotten, the song is a series of three newsflashes in which an action-news-reporter reports on streaking events at the supermarket, the gas station, and the basketball court.

The reporter interviews a man who gives his views of what happened. The man warns his wife, Ethel, not to look but is always too late. After the third interview the man sees the streaker again and, horrors, Ethel is running with him!!

the streak fax

  • The Streak, written by Ray Stevens was released in March 1974, the first single from his 16th album Boogity Boogity.
  • The Streak was Ray’s second #1 US hit (after Everything is Beautiful). It spent three weeks at the top of the charts and a week at #1 on the UK singles chart. It also hit #1 in Canada and New Zealand and was a hit in a number of other countries.
  • The Streak sold over 5,000,000 copies.
  • Five days after the release of The Streak, one of the most high-profile of all streaks took place. It was at the Academy Awards when advertising executive Robert Opel streaked past David Niven on live TV.
  • The Streak was Ray’s fourth novelty hit. The first was Ahab the Arab in 1962. Then came Along Came Jones and Gitarzan in 1969.
  • The Streak lyrics.

the streak – ray stevens – 1974 – video

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