One Chart Dig: August 19, 1972

Still more delay for this week’s installment of the Ultimate Jukebox, but I thought that since yesterday’s short post had come up with a record from 1979 suitable for mid-August – Night’s “Hot Summer Nights” – I’d fill today’s blank spot with another record on the same topic. So I turned to the Billboard Hot 100 for this date in 1972 and dropped to the lower levels of the chart. And there, at No. 94, in its second week on the chart, was “Summer Sun” by the Jamestown Massacre, a band from Downers Grove area of Illinois.

According to a page about the band on a website based in Japan (a link from there to the band’s official page is dead), the Jamestown Massacre recorded “Summer Sun” in Detroit and then released the single on the Detroit-based Luv label. When the band was signed by Warner Bros., the single was re-released and got at least some airplay. “Summer Sun” peaked at No. 90 in the Hot 100 in the September 9, 1972, edition of Billboard. A week earlier, the record had peaked at No. 78 in the Cashbox chart.

In the Chicago area, “Summer Sun” did much better, reaching No. 20 on the WCFL weekly chart (where it was bracketed during the last week of August 1972 by Sailcat’s “Motorcycle Mama” and Joe Simon’s “The Power of Love”). “Summer Sun” also found varied bits of local success – according to the data at the Airheads Radio Survey Archive – in New Haven, Connecticut; Honolulu, Hawaii; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Nashville, Tennessee; and Bismarck, North Dakota. After that, the webpage based in Japan tells us that one last bit of chart success lay ahead for the record: In December 1972, “Summer Sun” reached No. 18 in the TBS weekly pop chart in Tokyo, Japan.

A second single on Warner Bros., “Saturday Night,” followed in 1974 but evidently failed to chart. The band continued on into the mid-Seventies – with some personnel changes – and eventually changed its name to Mariah, releasing some singles and at least one album on Warner Bros. under that name. The website about the Jamestown Massacre/Mariah notes that one of the songs on the album by Mariah was written by Jim Peterik, a friend of the band and a member of the Ides of March (“Vehicle,” 1970), another Chicago-area band. After some time on the West Coast, the members of Mariah moved back to the Chicago area, and two members of the group – Dave Bickler, an original member of the Jamestown Massacre, and Frank Sullivan, who joined when the band was called Mariah – joined Peterik’s new band, Survivor (“Eye of the Tiger,” 1982).

So with all that as background, here’s a summer song for today: “Summer Sun” by the Jamestown Massacre [Luv 104/Warner Bros. 7603, 1972]. It’s a pretty decent tune, with some echoes of both Chicago and America; whether it deserved more success than it found in the crowded radio world of 1972 is, I suppose, open to debate.

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