‘Wow’

And here, my friends, is a small portion of the tale of Andre Gagnon.

Who?

Well, I decided this morning to take a look at a Billboard chart from a March 6 in the past and share whatever record sat at No 100. I chose 1976, and sitting at No. 100 thirty-eight years ago today was a record titled “Wow” by The Disco Sound of Andre Gagnon.

Gagnon, says Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles, is a dance pianist and composer born in 1942 in Saint-Pacôme-de-Kamouraska, Quebec. (Whitburn unaccountably omitted the “Saint,” a rare error in his work.) According to Wikipedia, Gagnon has had a prolific career in Canada, releasing forty albums and winning a couple of Juno awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy).

As is true for most Canadian artists, though, things haven’t been as good on the southern side of the border. “Wow” was Gagnon’s only charting single in the U.S., peaking at No. 95 during a three-week stay in the Hot 100.

But there’s a bit of a mystery here. Wikipedia says, “In 1975, the album Neiges stayed on the American Billboard’s Top 10 for twenty-four weeks and sold 700,000 copies worldwide.”

I’m not sure what to make of that sentence from Wikipedia. Just in case I had a bad case of selective amnesia, I went through the Billboard Top Ten album charts for all of 1975 and saw no trace of Gagnon, either under his name or as The Disco Sound of Andre Gagnon. Nor does All Music Guide note any chart presence for Neiges in 1975. The album, Wikipedia notes, was released in New York in 1976 under the title Driven Snow, but there’s no sign of it getting any album chart action under that title, either. So I dunno what to think. Maybe “American Billboard” is something else. Anyone out there know anything?

I did notice at AMG that in 1976, “Wow” went to No. 5 on the Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart and to No. 4 on the Disco Singles chart, so one can surmise that the single had a rebirth on the dance floor after that 1976 U.S. release of Driven Snow.

And that dance chart action is presumably the reason there are several videos of “Wow” available at YouTube. It’s nothing special to listen to, but I can hear how it would have been popular on the dance floor. (Maybe I should test it out in the kitchen.)

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2 Responses to “‘Wow’”

  1. Yah Shure says:

    The Wikipedia entry’s failure to cite anything more specific than “the American Billboard’s Top 10” forces the reader to assume it means Billboard’s Top LPs & Tapes chart, as it was known in 1975. But there’s no Andre Gagnon album anywhere to be found on it, either above or below number 200.

    Even if it showed up on a disco-centric Billboard album chart, I’m inclined to chalk it up as an intentionally-vague citation.

  2. david young says:

    Don’t know about English Canada or the U.S., but Andre Gagnon was a huge superstar in Québec. Personally I found his music very middle of the road and boring, much like Hagood Hardy, another Canadian instrumental composer.

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