Rarities, oddities, and other fun stuff

Out Of The Vault - One Hit Wonders: the 70’s, January 11, 2014

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Shocking Blue – VENUS – (van Leeuwen) – # 1, February, 1970.  When covered in 1986 by girl group Bananarama, the song returned to number one.

Norman Greenbaum – SPIRIT IN THE SKY – (Greenbaum/Jacobsen) - # 3, April 1970.  Covered by Doctor and the Medics, 1983.

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Janis Joplin – ME & BOBBY MCGEE – (Kristofferson) - # 1, March 1970.  Originally recorded by Roger Miller in 1969.

Brewer & Shipley – ONE TOKE OVER THE LINE – (Brewer/Shipley) - # 10, April, 1971.  The song was performed (by Gail Farrell and Dick Dale) on The Lawrence Welk Show, which billed it a "modern spiritual”.

Coven – ONE TIN SOLDIER - (Lambert/Potter) - # 26, November 1971. Canadian pop group The Original Caste first recorded the song in 1969. From the film "Billy Jack".

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Sailcat – MOTORCYCLE MAMA – (Wyker) – # 12, August,1972.  Band member John Townsend, later of the Sanford-Townsend Band (Smoke From a Distant Fire)  -- another one hit wonder:  # 9, September 1977.

Mott The Hoople – ALL THE YOUNG DUDES – (Bowie) - # 37, September, 1972.  When Mott rejected his first offer of a composition, "Suffragette City" (from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars), Bowie wrote "All the Young Dudes" in short order especially for them.

Gregg Allman – MIDNIGHT RIDER - (Allman) -  # 19, January 1974.  Originally recorded by The Allman Brothers Band for their 1970 album entitled Idlewild South.  In Fall 1973, Gregg Allman released a re-imagined version of the song on his first solo album, Laid Back, that featured the addition of horns and a solo rather than harmony vocal line

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Warren Zevon – WEREWOLVES OF LONDON – (Zevon /Marinell/ Wachtel) - # 21, May, 1978.  Features accompaniment by drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie of Fleetwood Mac.

The Patti Smith Group – BECAUSE THE NIGHT  - (Smith/Springsteen) - # 13, June 1978.  The song was originally recorded by Bruce Springsteen during sessions for his Darkness on the Edge of Town album. He was not satisfied with it; the Patti Smith Group was working on Easter in the studio next door, with engineer/producer Jimmy Iovine working on both albums. Iovine gave Smith a tape of the song, she recast it, and it was included on Easter, becoming the first single released from that album.

Ace Frehley – NEW YORK GROOVE --  (Ballard) - # 13, February, 1979.  First recorded by Hello in 1975.

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Nick Lowe – CRUEL TO BE KIND – (Gomm/Lowe) - # 12, September, 1979.  Original “slow” version”.  Lowe & Gomm were bandmates in Brinsley Schwartz.  One of the first music videos aired on MTV.

The Buggles – VIDEO KILLED THE RADIO STAR - (Horn/Downes/Wooley) - # 40, December, 1979.  It was first recorded by Bruce Woolley and The Camera Club (with Thomas Dolby on keyboards)).  The first music video aired on MTV.

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Elvis Costello – DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD– (Benjamin/Cladwell/Marcus) - (Santa Esmerelda - # 15, February, 1978).  Written for Nina Simone, who first recorded it in 1964.  Taken from his CD “King of America”, 1995.

Chart positions shown are from the Billboard Top 40 Chart on the date indicated.  Information provided by "The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders", by Wayne Jancik -- and Wikipedia.