Posts Tagged ‘Helen Reddy’

The Starship Sampler

Friday, February 17th, 2017

In one of those things that occasionally bedevil all of us in this digital world, I found myself for about two weeks unable to access my Yahoo! email account, the one that’s used for this blog and for offers to meet incredibly scrumptious women. When whatever gunked up the Intertubes cleared up – and I imagine it was a combination of digital Yahooligans and my own errors – I found a gift from regular reader and friend Yah Shure:

He sent along scans of the WJON/WJJO Starship Sampler from February 9, 1976, detailing thirty-eight top singles on each of the two St. Cloud stations – WJON was Top 40 (or near enough) and WWJO was (and still is) country – along with a list of 30 featured pop/rock albums on the back cover of the sampler. (Yah Shure had intended me to have the sampler in time to write about it on February 9, but whatever went wrong with my email put a dent in that idea, so we’re a little more than a week late, which seems like no big deal after forty-one years.)

The two stations, of course, were right around the corner and across the railroad tracks from my folks’ place on Kilian Boulevard (and they’re still there in a newer building, just down Lincoln Avenue from our current place). For many years, WJON was one of the stations that gave me my evening Top 40 fix. Oddly enough, at the time of this particular sampler, that wasn’t the case: I was living in the Twin Cities, finishing an internship in television sports and getting my Top 40 from KDWB.

Still, it’s fun to know what the folks I left behind me in the Cloud were listening to, even though not much of it is surprising. Here is WJON’s Top Ten from that long-ago week:

“Convoy” by C.W. McCall
“I Write The Songs” by Barry Manilow
“Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers
“50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon
“Evil Woman” by the Electric Light Orchestra
“Squeeze Box” by the Who
“All By Myself” by Eric Carmen
“Fox On The Run” by Sweet
“Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” by Neil Sedaka
“Winners & Losers” by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds

(I’m going to leave the country side of the sampler alone today except to note that “Convoy” was also No. 1 there.)

The only one of the pop Top Ten I did not recall was “Winners & Losers,” and a trip to YouTube did not impress me. The record, which went to No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100, was HJF&R’s follow-up to the group’s No. 1 hit, “Fallin’ In Love,” which I also thought was a little flabby. (I’m not alone there. Yah Shure noted in a later email that both “Fallin’” and “Winners” were releases on the Playboy label, the group’s new home, and he noted that “their Playboy output was like listening to their Dunhill singles, minus any air in the tires.”)

The only surprise that Yah Shure pointed out on the Top 40 side of the sampler was the presence of Michael Murphey’s “Renegade” at No. 34, a decent enough record but one that I don’t recall at all. We both expressed amused bafflement that “The White Knight” by Cledus Maggard & The Citizens Band – a sort of rough-edged “Convoy” wannabee – sat at No. 26 on WJON. And he noted – half kidding, I think – that he was surprised that station owner Andy Hilger hadn’t “put the kibosh” on the station’s airing the Who’s naughty joke, “Squeezebox.”

Beyond that, the sampler was pretty much what you’d expect from early February 1976. There were a good number of records I recall fondly, some I love, some I don’t care about, and some I dislike. Beyond “Renegade,” there was only one I did not recall: David Ruffin’s “Walk Away From Love,” which sat at No. 19. A trip to YouTube refreshed my memory, and it fell into the “don’t care” category.

The interior pages from the February 9, 1976, Starship Sampler are here.

We’ll take a look at the list of “St. Cloud’s Top Albums” from February 9, 1976, early next week. And we’ll close today with a record that sat at No. 31 in the Starship Sampler that long-ago week, one that I like a great deal, and one that’s not been mentioned here since April 2007, Helen Reddy’s “Somewhere In The Night.”

Saturday Single No. 177

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

(Altered significantly since original post.)

Not very enthusiastically, I was scanning the Billboard Hot 100 for March 22, 1975, looking for something from thirty years ago this week that would inspire me for today’s post. I was thinking about a game of “Jump,” offering up the Top 40 single that had moved the greatest number of places from the previous week’s list. For the list from March 22, 1975, that would have been Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom,” which had moved up twenty-four spots to No. 11. I shrugged; that’s never been one of my favorite Elton John tunes.

I’d already looked at the Hot 100 for this week in 1970, and a game of “Jump” there would have pointed out an amazing leap: As of March 21, 1970, the Beatles’ “Let It Be” stood at No. 6 after not having been listed in the Hot 100 or among the records in the “Bubbling Under” section the week before. That means that “Let It Be” went in one week from no higher than No. 121 to No. 6, an astounding leap of one hundred and fifteen spots. But “Let It Be,” as much as I loved it then and still like it today, isn’t all that interesting. (Well, there are the differences between the single produced by George Martin and the album track produced by Phil Spector, but I’ve alluded to those before, I think, and anyway, the thought of writing about the record this morning didn’t grab me.)

So I went back to the 1975 chart, looking for something. And at No. 22, I saw “Emotion” by Helen Reddy, in its seventh week in the Hot 100. I’d heard the song last evening. Not by Reddy, though. “Emotion” is the opening track of the new Patti Dahlstrom CD, which arrived in the mail yesterday.

The song has an interesting back-story, one that starts with a French singer-songwriter named Véronique Sanson. In 1972, she had a French-language hit record with a song titled “Amoureuse.” According to Wikipedia, Sanson’s single was released in an English version in the United States in 1973 by Elektra Records. and thus came to the attention of Artie Wayne, a producer and songwriter (and these days, an active blogger), who at the time was an executive with Elektra’s parent company, Warner Music Group, is also a long-time friend of Patti Dahlstrom.

In the liner notes to her CD, Emotion – The Music of Patti Dahlstrom – Patti says that Artie sent Sanson’s French album to her “for my consideration to write English lyrics. I was mesmerized by the music to ‘Amoreuse,’ but I don’t speak French and had no idea what the lyrics meant. I carried the melody in my head for weeks and then one day the first line – ‘Lonely women are the desperate kind’ – just fell out as my key turned in the lock, and the lyric to ‘Emotion’ wrote itself very quickly.”

“Emotion” was included on Patti’s second album, 1973’s The Way I Am, and was released as a single. A year later, Helen Reddy recorded “Emotion” for her Free and Easy album, and an edit of the track was released as a single in January 1975. The single peaked at No. 22, which was where I saw it when I looked at the Hot 100 from March 22, 1975. (Reddy’s version of “Emotion” did, however, spend a week at No. 1 on the Adult Contmporary chart.)

So here is “Amoureuse” by Véronique Sanson from 1972. (I should note that “Amoureuse” – with lyrics translated from Sanson’s French original by singer-songwriter Gary Osborne – was a No. 13 U.K. hit in 1973 for British singer Kiki Dee. Dee’s recording thus has the same melody as “Emotion.”)

And then,  here’s “Emotion” by Helen Reddy from 1975, your Saturday Single.


(My thanks to reader Yah Shure for clarification of points I’d managed to muddy.)