Today’s playlist celebrates the September 1 birthdays of Archie Bell, Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb, Conway Twitty, Alton Ellis, Gloria Estefan, Lily Tomlin, The Noisettes, and Steven Grossman; and the September 2 birthdays of Billy Preston, Joe Simon, Bobby Purify, Chris Knox, Eleanor Friedberger, Zedd, King Missile’s John S. Hall, K-Ci, and Victor Lundberg.
Back when I handled the licensing for the Bee Gees, they turned down requests to be included on disco compilations. They rejected the disco label, as it limited them. Fair enough. As performers the trio placed 42 entries on the Billboard Hot 100. Do you know how many entries they placed on Billboard’s Disco chart? Three. “You Should Be Dancing” went to number one on that chart, “Tragedy” peaked at number 22, and the three new uptempo songs they recorded for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack – “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever” and “More Than a Woman” – constituted one entry, which peaked at number three. It’s the association with Saturday Night Fever,a movie where much of the action takes place at a disco, that saddled them with the disco label. That said, those five disco songs are nothing to be ashamed of. All are great. Today’s playlist spotlights their work in and outside of the disco genre, and it includes extracurricular production and songwriting activities one or more of the guys did for other acts.
Today’s Throwback Thursday playlist revisits the music of 1975. Each of the 30 songs below made the pop top 40. I miss the days before radio became so segmented and one could hear Eagles rubbing up against Minnie Riperton next to Bob Dylan followed by Labelle with Bruce Springsteen’s first hit playing with The Captain & Tennille’s first hit on deck. It satisfies the musical omnivore that I am.
I recently read a book about the music of 1971. It was pretty bad. I should have been clued off seeing that the book derived its title from the name of a Rod Stewart album that came out in…1972. The author and I agree that 1971 was a great year for music, though he focused mainly on white acts. Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, recently named the number one album of all-time in Rolling Stone, was dismissed as being overrated due to white guilt, something the author clearly doesn’t feel. I humbly suggest that the playlist below shows more of the greatness (and diversity) of 1971’s music than this book.
Nineteen seventy-nine was a very good year in music. In compiling today’s Throwback Thursday playlist focusing on 1979 I had so many very good songs from which to choose. 208 songs, to be exact. That’s how many 1979 cuts bring me much joy. There are another 181 1979 tracks I also like. Somehow I was able to whittle it down to the 30 cuts below. Some years it’s a struggle to come up with 30!
Disco was at its commercial peak in 1979. So many of the disco songs that charted then remain popular today – “I Will Survive,” “We Are Family,” “Y.M.C.A.,” “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” “Hot Stuff,” “Good Times,” “Heart of Glass,” “Ring My Bell,” “Knock on Wood,” “Got To Be Real.” While the genre seemed omnipresent, there was more to 1979 music than clams on the half shell and roller skates roller skates. Hear what was going on below.
This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist focuses on 1976. It’s easy to remember some of the cheesier songs to make the pop chart (I’ve included examples of those), though there were a lot of great hits as well. Disco was still growing in popularity and having an influence on r&b and pop music. Punk rock was now on major labels, though it wouldn’t influence the pop chart for a while. Pick out the gems of 1976’s output and you’ll have a nice selection of tunes, as evidenced below.
Inspired by the season and the December 25 birthdays of Eurythmics’ Annie Lennox, The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan, Dido, Air’s Nicolas Godin, Chris Kenner, Cab Calloway, Jimmy Buffett, Merry Clayton and The Silhouettes’ Bill Horton.