Throwback Thursday: 1974

In 1974 Grandpa Abe gave ten-year-old me a radio. Very quickly that radio became shy me’s best friend. I hadn’t paid much attention to music previously, only hearing what played in the family care when we went out to eat or to Sunday school or the orthodontist. With my best friend Radio by my side I was exposed to so much more. Mostly I listened to the top 40 station WABC. By the autumn of 1974 I was making weekly treks on my bicycle to Melody Manor to buy whatever single entered the top 40 that week, unless it was something truly heinous like “Cat’s in the Cradle.” It’s a habit I kept up until the mid to late eighties, when “Lady in Red,” “The Final Countdown,” “Hip To Be Square” and Milli Vanilli convinced me to eschew that habit and only buy records that were tolerable. Today’s playlist celebrates the music of the year I started collecting records.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (11-5-20)

Inspired by the November 5 birthdays of Art Garfunkel, Ryan Adams, Ike Turner, Herman’s Hermits’ Peter Noone, Fishbone’s Angelo Moore, Gram Parsons, Bryan Adams, Inner City’s Paris Grey, Loleatta Holloway, A Flock of Seagulls’ Mike Score and Dominatrix’s Dominique Davalos; and the November 4 birthdays of Squeeze’s Chris Difford, Diddy/Puff Daddy, Fat Boys’ Kool Rock-Ski, and Frances Faye.

Throwback Thursday – 1974

In 1974, my Grandpa Abe gave me a radio, thus changing my life. That radio became my best friend and music my main interest. I started buying all the 45 rpm records that made the top ten. Soon I was reading the trade magazines, as well as Rolling Stone, Circus, Creem, Song Hits, Hit Parader, Musician, and then some. Who knows what career path I would have chosen had I not latched onto popular music in my pre-teen years?

Tunes du Jour’s Throwback Thursday playlist this week focuses on the music of 1974. It includes the music I heard on the radio back then (eighteen top 40 hits) plus two I discovered later on.

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EWF + Ringo

It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. This week’s dance playlist kicks off with a song that, per its writer, is “about someone on the brink of self destruction who goes to these [dance] clubs to try and find more, but is at least aware of the fact that if there’s something like true love, that is something that could kind of drag them out of the abyss.” Allee Willis, who wrote the song with Jon Lind, told that the song was inspired by the film Looking for Mr. Goodbar. “I got kind of fascinated with people who did go to clubs every night, whose life was kind of falling apart, but they lived for the night life, though it didn’t seem to be advancing them as humans in the end.”

The song’s first verse is “Midnight creeps so slowly into hearts of men who need more than they get. Daylight deals a bad hand to a woman who has laid too many bets. The mirror stares you in the face and says, ‘Baby, uh-uh, it don’t work.’ You say your prayers though you don’t care; you dance and shake the hurt.”

The chorus expresses the hope that “All the love in the world can’t be gone, all the need to be loved can’t be wrong, all the records are playing and my heart keeps saying ‘Boogie Wonderland.’” Per Willis, Boogie Wonderland “was this state of mind that you entered when you were around music and when you danced, but hopefully it was an aware enough state of mind that you would want to feel as good during the day as you did at night.”

EWF + Ringo

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Ringo + Barry White 2014-09-11 13.53

It’s Barry White’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Sometime in the 1950s, a man named Peter Sterling Radcliffe wrote a country song he called “You’re My First, You’re My Last, My In-Between.” For years he tried to get someone to record it but nobody was interested. Years later, Radcliffe was introduced to Barry White by arranger Gene Page. In the 1960s White was a session musician and producer who worked on records with The Bobby Fuller Four, Bob & Earl, Jesse Belvin and Viola Wills.

One Christmas when White was unable to buy Christmas gifts for his children, Radcliffe stepped in and bought toys for the kids. Relaying this story during an interview, White told the journalist “I was so grateful for that and said I would pay him back one day.”

In 1972, Barry White wrote, produced and arranged “Walking in the Rain with the One I Love” for a female trio named Love Unlimited. The record hit #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. The following year White released his first solo album, I’ve Got So Much to Give, which produced the #3 gold single “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby.” The top ten single “Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up” followed in 1974.

Now a successful recording artist, White listened to his friend Radcliffe’s twenty-year old country song. Barry heard potential in the tune. “I changed some words, part of the melody and some of the title, but kept the chord structure.”

Ringo + Barry White 2014-09-11 13.53
“You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” appeared on White’s Can’t Get Enough album. The album’s first single, “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe,” hit #1. The follow-up single, “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything,” went to #2, kept out of the top spot by Elton John’s version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

Pay it forward, people. You may be rewarded in more ways than the satisfaction of knowing you helped someone in their time of need.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s Barry White’s birthday and I need to dance!

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