One Chart Dig: January 1971

There’s a nasty flu/cold bug going around these parts, and at various times over the past few weeks, the Texas Gal and I have felt its effects. This week, it’s my turn, which is why things have been sparse this week (not only in this space but anywhere that I have responsibilities).

But I took a look this morning at the Billboard Hot 100 from this week in 1971, forty-five years ago. As my senior year of high school turned the corner toward graduation (and a summer of lawn-mowing and floor-scrubbing), buried deep in the chart – bubbling under at No. 105 – was a record I would have liked very much if I ever had heard it.

I doubt, though, that I ever heard the Assembled Multitude’s “Medley from ‘Superstar’ (A Rock Opera)” coming out of my radio speakers. I might have already heard Murray Head’s take on “Superstar,” essentially the title track of the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. At the end of January 1971, that release was at No. 78 in a slow climb to No. 14 during its second stint in the Hot 100. (It had been released in early 1970 and stalled at No. 74.) Whenever it might have been that I heard Head’s single, I liked it enough to pick up the album during the coming summer.

And though I didn’t really know who the Assembled Multitude was – a group of studio musicians from Philadelphia, as it happened – I’d liked “Overture From Tommy” when it went to No. 16 during the summer of 1970. A second single release from 1970, a cover of “Woodstock,” went to No. 79 but escaped my attention at the time.

So, too, in its brief time in the chart, did the Multitude’s “Medley from ‘Superstar’ (A Rock Opera).” It bubbled under the chart for a few weeks, crawled up to No. 95, and then faded away.

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