No theme has really leapt out at me this week, but I still have a huge library of tunes from the Sixties and Seventies to share, so I thought I’d give you some more of those. This week I’m going back to the Seventies again, for some more great singles that were around in my late teens/early twenties.
A few weeks ago, I featured a band unknown to any of you – Eclection – in Tuesday Tunes 54. In that piece, I mentioned that their leader, Georg Hultgreen, subsequently changed his name and adopted his mother’s surname, becoming Georg Kajanus in the process. I’d have stuck with the original, to be honest, but I guess he had his reasons. I also said that he later led a band called Sailor, who had a few hits here during the Seventies. They were very much a pop band – the folk-prog style of Eclection had been lost – but they were fun. This is one of their hits, and gets us off to a lively start:
No pretensions to musical depth, just four guys having a lot of fun. That video still brings a smile to my face now – their happiness is so infectious. This was their biggest hit (of three), reaching #2 here in 1975, and it was also a hit in many other countries across Europe, including Ireland, where it got to #1. It did absolutely nothing in the States, though, so I’m guessing this will be a new one for American readers. If you watch this on YouTube you’ll see a comment from someone saying that the drummer was his chemistry teacher. I checked him out on Wikipedia: his name is Grant Serpell, and he really was a chemistry teacher. I don’t imagine many bands can say that of their drummer!
You might think I’m cheating with this next one, as Tom Petty was around right up until his passing in 2017. But his first three albums were released in the Seventies, so he qualifies. His debut album Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers was released in November 1976. This is its closing track, which was released as a single in February 1977:
Don’t be fooled by the ‘1978’ on the clip: that refers to the date of broadcast. This is from the UK tv show Old Grey Whistle Test, one of the presenters of which was the legendary Bob Harris, aka ‘Whispering Bob,’ who has probably introduced me to most of the bands I’ve loved and listened to over the years. He has exceptional musical taste! The album only reached #55 in the US but was a more respectable #24 here. As a single, this didn’t chart at all in the US but made #40 here. The song became a staple of the band’s live shows and was their trademark show closer, as the last of their encores. He played this as part of the encore on 25 September 2017 at the Hollywood Bowl, just eight days before he died. It is, therefore, the last song he ever played in public – his final encore.
Back to a UK band for my next one. This guy simply exuded cool, even if he looks a little overheated in this performance:
I was going to share a clip of this from 1975, when it was originally released, but the official video cuts the song off before the end, for some reason I can’t fathom. Then I found this live version from 2001, and it just had to go in: it’s an incredible performance – and I don’t just mean the dancers! I like the way the backing singers multitask on percussion, too. The song was a track on Roxy Music’s Siren album (UK #4, US #50), released in October 1975. This was the lead single, which came out a month earlier. It reached #2 in the UK and #30 in their US – still their best US singles chart placing to date.
I’m crossing the pond again for my next tune this week. This was released in 1976, and to my mind has one of the best and most memorable guitar riffs ever:
That was from Blue Öyster Cult’s fourth album, Agents Of Fortune, from May 1976. The album reached #29 in the US and #26 here in the UK. The song was trimmed a little for release as a single, and peaked at #12 in the US and #16 here – their best singles placing in both countries. I’ve always loved the guitar on this, and am not alone in that: the song made #405 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the best 500 songs of all time!
Time to come back over here again for the next one. This is, for British listeners, an iconic track:
This one was released as a single in November 1978, and reached #1 in the UK in January 1979. It was also a top three hit in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, as well as making the top twenty in several other European countries. In the US? Zilch, Nada. Not even when a disco remix version was issued later in 1979 – the mind boggles! Never mind: it has sold over 1.3m copies here, making up for the US’s oversight. Ian Dury was an interesting character: he contracted polio at the age of seven, which left him with a withered left arm and leg, and as well as his musical career he was also an actor – you may recall him from such movies as The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover, which features a memorable performance by Helen Mirren (both clothed and unclothed). He died of colorectal cancer in March 2000: his obituary in The Guardian lauded him as ‘one of few true originals of the English music scene,’ which seems about right to me.
Having gone back and forth across the Atlantic this week, collecting a huge virtual carbon footprint in the process, I thought I’d land smack in the middle for my final tune, with a band comprised of both Brits and Americans. This is another from the later part of the decade:
Tusk sneaked into the Seventies by a few months, having been released in October 1979. Being the follow up to the mega-selling monster that was Rumours it suffered a bit in comparison, which I’ve always thought was unfair: it has some great tracks on it. It still reached #1 on the UK albums chart, though, and #4 in the US. I particularly like the title track, and love this video, which shows the band having fun and playing around. As a single, this was #6 in the UK and #8 in the US.
That’s all for this week: I hope you’ve enjoyed the music, and that the tunes have brought back some memories for you. I’ll be back again with more next Tuesday and who knows, I may even have thought of a new theme by then (I do actually have one in mind, but I’m not sure that it will work!). Until then, stay safe and well, and I look forward to ‘seeing’ you again soon. 😊