Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Three pick.
I can’t recall the first time I heard Driver’s Seat but, the song entered Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart on July 21, 1979. I was twelve and I was immediately hooked. It was released in 1978 but, took a while to gain any traction. It managed to get to #15 for a couple of weeks, sandwiched between Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) by Robert Palmer and Born To Be Alive by Patrick Hernandez. It was the first track from Sniff ‘n’ The Tears debut album Fickle Heart and was the band’s only hit despite fifteen albums, spanning 1978 to 2020.
The history of this British rock band is a little sketchy. Colin Larkin, the British Editor-in-Chief of The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, stated in the 1997 edition that they “had been gigging in England as early as 1974” but, an Athens Calling interview in 2018 reflects 1972. A Jason Ankeny, writing for All Music, stated that lead singer/songwriter Paul Roberts dissolved the band after not being able to get a record deal. Drummer Luigi Salvoni talked Roberts into re-forming the band with Mick Dyche, Loz Netto, Chris Birkin and Alan Fealdman. Ankeny has the actual musician line-up all wrong in comparison to the official website. There is also no mention of Noel McCalla as backing vocals for the time period. The name of the band apparently came from their manager, as Roberts had hay fever and sniffed a lot.
The band is still active as of 2001 as a quartet, with Roberts & Salvoni still working together. ~Vic
Top of the Pops 1979 (Proper Line-Up)
On April 2, 1979, there was an unusual anthrax outbreak, which affected 94 people and killed at least 64 of them, in the Soviet city of Sverdlovsk, roughly 850 miles east of Moscow. The first victim died after four days. [T]he last one died six weeks later. The Soviet government claimed the deaths were caused by intestinal anthrax from tainted meat, a story some influential American scientists found believable. However, officials in the Carter Administration suspected the outbreak was caused by an accidental release of anthrax spores from a suspected Soviet biological weapons facility located in the city (Military Compound 19). The US believed that the Soviet Union was violating the Biological Weapons Convention signed in 1972 and made their suspicions public. But, the Soviets denied any activities relating to biological weapons and, at numerous international conferences, tried to prove their contaminated meat story. It wasn’t until thirteen years later, in 1992, that President Boris Yeltsin admitted, without going into details, that the anthrax outbreak was the result of military activity at the facility. [Russia] allowed a team of Western scientists to go to Sverdlovsk to investigate the outbreak. The team visited Sverdlovsk in June 1992 and August 1993 […].
Although the KGB had confiscated hospital and other records after the incident, the Western scientists were able to track where all the victims had been at the time of the anthrax release. Their results showed that on the day of the incident, all the victims were clustered along a straight line downwind from the military facility. Livestock in the same area also died of anthrax. After completing their investigation, the team concluded the outbreak was caused by a release of an aerosol of anthrax pathogen at the military facility. But, they were unable to determine what caused the release or what specific activities were conducted at the facility.
“Clogged filter, I removed it. Replace the filter”. [A] reminder on a piece of paper left [by a] factory worker […] to his mate when he went home on Friday evening…
Colonel Nicholas Cheryshev, shift supervisor at the plant, […] was in a hurry to go home and, for some unknown reason, was not aware of the lack of filter. In the end, the workers on the night shift, finding entries in the log window, quietly launched [the] equipment. [For] more than three hours, the plant was [throwing], into the air [of] the night sky of […] Sverdlovsk, portions [of] dried culture of anthrax. When the lack of bio-security was discovered, production was urgently stopped, […] the filter [replaced] and [they], quietly, continued working.
It was an accident at a clandestine biological weapons lab that allowed deadly anthrax spores to contaminate Sverdlovsk’s air, as evidence unearthed later would show. Over the years, as DNA sequencing technology has improved, scientists have been piecing together more and more information about the anthrax strain.
This facility has not been closed. It just went underground…literally. ~Vic
Sources & Additional Reading
Sverdlovsk Anthrax Leak (Adam Smith Institute)
1979 Anthrax Leak (PBS: Frontline)
How DNA Evidence Confirmed A Soviet Cover-Up (The Atlantic)
The Tragedy of Sverdlosk-19 (Weapon News)
Biohazard Book (Wikipedia)
Sverdlovsk Anthrax Leak (Wikipedia)
Forty years ago, today, Part I of the mini-series Beggarman, Thief aired on NBC. Based on the novel of the same name by Irwin Shaw, it was the sequel to the novel and mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man that aired from February through March 1976 on ABC. An additional sequel, Rich Man, Poor Man Book II aired from September 1976 to March 1977, also on ABC but, was not based on the actual sequel novel.
This sequel to “Rich Man, Poor Man” is set in the ’60s and focuses on wannabe Hollywood filmmaker Gretchen, black-sheep Army officer Billy and, Billy’s cousin Wesley, who’s tracking his father’s killer in France.
The two-part, four-hour sequel to Irwin Shaw’s “Rich Man, Poor Man” and the vastly successful mini-series made from it (and the subsequent, less-successful short-lived series, “Rich Man, Poor Man Book II,” during the 1976-77 season). Moviemaker Gretchen Jordache, the sister not seen in either of the predecessors, strives to pull the family together after the murder of brother Tom (in the mini-series) and the disappearance of brother Rudy (in the later series), by first re-establishing contact with her soldier son and, then, patching things up with her sister-in-law, Kate, Tom’s widow.
Casey Kasem’s Network Promo Advertisement
Casey Kasem’s Intro to Part II
[..] disco didn’t quite die a natural death by collapsing under its own weight. Instead, it was killed by a public backlash that reached its peak on this day in 1979 […]. That incident, which led to at least nine injuries, 39 arrests and, the cancellation and forfeit of a Major League Baseball game, is widely credited […] or, blamed for […] dealing disco its death blow.
The event was the brainchild of Steve Dahl and Garry Meier, popular disk jockeys on Chicago’s WLUP “The Loop” FM. […] many […] rock DJs were displaced by disco [but], only Dahl was inspired to launch a semi-comic vendetta aimed at “the eradication and elimination of the dreaded musical disease.”
On May 2, the rainout of a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers led to the scheduling of a doubleheader on July 12. Dahl and Meier approached the White Sox with a rather unorthodox idea for an attendance-boosting promotion […]. […] allow Dahl to blow up a dumpster full of disco records between games of the doubleheader. White Sox executive Mike Veeck embraced the idea […].
[…] organizers […] grossly [underestimated] the appeal of the 98-cent discount tickets offered to anyone who brought a disco record to the park to add to the explosive-rigged dumpster. WLUP and the White Sox expected perhaps 5,000 more fans than the average draw of 15,000 or so […]. What they got, instead, was a raucous sellout crowd of 40,000+ and an even more raucous overflow crowd of as many as 40,000 more outside on Shields Avenue.
What followed was utter chaos, as fans by the thousands stormed the field, […] began to wreak havoc, shimmying up the foul poles, tearing up the grass and lighting vinyl bonfires on the diamond while the stadium scoreboard implored them to return to their seats. Conditions were judged too dangerous for the scheduled game to begin and the Detroit Tigers were awarded a win by forfeit.
In the weeks before the event, Dahl invited his listeners to bring records they wanted to see destroyed to Comiskey Park. Owner Bill Veeck was concerned the promotion might become a disaster […]. His fears were substantiated when he saw the people walking towards the ballpark that afternoon. […] many carried signs that described disco in profane terms.
Some leapt turnstiles, climbed fences and entered through open windows. Attendees were supposed to deposit their records into a large box [but], once the box was overflowing, many people brought their discs to their seats. Many of the records were not collected by staff and were thrown like flying discs from the stands. Tigers designated hitter Rusty Staub remembered that the records would slice through the air and land sticking out of the ground. He urged teammates to wear batting helmets when playing their positions. “It wasn’t just one, it was many. Oh, God almighty, I’ve never seen anything so dangerous in my life.” Attendees also threw firecrackers, empty liquor bottles and lighters onto the field. The game was stopped several times because of the rain of foreign objects.
Dozens of hand-painted banners with such slogans as “Disco Sucks” were hung from the ballpark’s seating decks. Dahl set off the explosives, destroying the records and tearing a large hole in the outfield grass. […] the first of 5,000 to 7,000 attendees rushed onto the field […]. The batting cage was destroyed and, the bases were pulled up and stolen. Among those taking to the field was 21-year-old aspiring actor Michael Clarke Duncan […]. Duncan slid into third base, had a silver belt buckle stolen and went home with a bat from the dugout. Some attendees danced in circles around the burning vinyl shards.
Chicago police in full riot gear arrived (9:08pm) to the applause of the baseball fans remaining in the stands. Those on the field hastily dispersed upon seeing the police. Tigers manager Sparky Anderson refused to allow his players to take the field […] due to safety concerns. Anderson […] demanded that the game be forfeited to the Tigers. He argued that, under baseball’s rules, a game can only be postponed due to an Act of God, and that, as the home team, the White Sox were responsible for field conditions.
Forty years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Hot Country chart was If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me by The Bellamy Brothers from Pasco County Florida. Written by David Bellamy, the song’s title is a reference to the Groucho Marx line from You Bet Your Life. Bellamy was fond of the show and Marx’s comment stuck with him.
Released in March, it was the second single from the album The Two and Only and their first #1 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart, with Let Your Love Flow reaching #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in May of 1976. The title […] shown on the original single was “If I Said You Have a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me” but, on the album and subsequent releases, the title is shown as “… Had …”.
Forty years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Hot R&B chart (and the Hot 100 chart, simultaneously, plus Cash Box) was Reunited by Peaches & Herb (Herb Fame & Linda “Peaches #3” Greene). The song was co-written by Dino Fekaris and Freddie Perren, whom also co-wrote Shake Your Groove Thing, a previous Peaches & Herb song and, I Will Survive, the Gloria Gaynor hit. This was a sequel piece to the duo’s (Herb Fame & Francine “Peaches” Hurd Barker) previous song (We’ll Be) United released in 1968, a cover of The Intruders hit from 1966.
The song sold over two million copies, was the Billboard #5 song for 1979 and the RPM (Canadian) #9 song for 1979 (Wayback Machine). Artists Louise Mandrell (with husband R. C. Bannon), Faith No More and Lulu (with Cliff Richard) have done cover versions. [This link reflects David Hasselhoff and Raven-Symone as cover artists but, I can’t verify. ~Vic]
Forty years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart was Love Is The Answer by England Dan & John Ford Coley. Released on March 4, the song was written by Todd Rundgren for his band Utopia. It is the last track on the 1977 album Oops! Wrong Planet. Rundgren’s version didn’t chart but, this cover version reached #10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
From John Ford Coley:
Of all the songs we released as singles, that was my favorite. The song, first of all, had a classical base and the middle had a gospel section, which I loved.
From Todd Rundgren (on what the song meant to him):
We were doing an album at the time and, usually, we try and be collaborative when we write the songs because, we had made an agreement that we would share the publishing on all of our songs so that specific writers don’t get the credit. But, that was a song that I came up with. We put it on a bummer album like Oops! Wrong Planet thinking, maybe, we need to put something a little hopeful on it.
The song still has meaning to me. I perform it every night with Ringo. Ringo has his “three hit rule” and I’m taking advantage of a technicality in that Love Is The Answer was a hit but, it wasn’t a hit for me or Utopia. It was a hit for England Dan & John Ford Coley.
Originally, Ringo wanted me to do Hello It’s Me and I just felt that the song, in the context of what the rest of the band was playing, didn’t represent the message I wanted to convey because, “Hello It’s Me” is a kind of a selfish song. It’s me, me, me…it’s all about me. I’m in charge and, all this other stuff. I thought a better song, especially for Mr. Peace & Love, Ringo himself, would be “Love Is The Answer” and, people would know the song because it was a hit. […] they, maybe even, would just gloss over the fact that it wasn’t a hit for me and think, ‘Oh Yeah! Now, I remember him singing this song.’ So, for me, it’s a high point of the evening and, hopefully, the audience is getting the message.
Glen Campbell recorded the song in 2004 on his Love Is The Answer: 24 Songs of Faith, Hope and Love album. It remains a favorite of Christian artists.
Forty years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart was Heart of Glass by Blondie. Written by Harry and Stein in 1974-75, its working title was Once I Had A Love. The inspiration for its writing came from The Hues Corporation‘s song Rock the Boat.
From The Guardian:
Heart of Glass was one of the first songs Blondie wrote but, it was years before we recorded it properly. We’d tried it as a ballad, as reggae but, it never quite worked. At that point, it had no title. We just called it “the disco song”. Back then, it was very unusual for a guitar band to be using computerised sound. People got nervous and angry about us bringing different influences into rock. Although we’d covered Lady Marmalade and I Feel Love at gigs, lots of people were mad at us for “going disco” with Heart of Glass. There was the Disco Sucks! movement, and there had even been a riot in Chicago, with people burning disco records. Clem Burke, our drummer, refused to play the song live at first. When it became a hit, he said: “I guess I’ll have to.” The lyrics weren’t about anyone. They were just a plaintive moan about lost love. At first, the song kept saying: “Once I had a love, it was a gas. Soon turned out, it was a pain in the ass.” We couldn’t keep saying that, so we came up with: “Soon turned out, had a heart of glass.” We kept one “pain in the ass” in – and the BBC bleeped it out for radio. ~Debbie Harry
As far as I was concerned, disco was part of R&B, which I’d always liked. The Ramones went on about us “going disco” but, it was tongue-in-cheek. They were our friends. In the video, there’s a shot of the legendary Studio 54, so everyone thought we shot the video there but, it was actually in a short-lived club called the Copa or something. I came up with the phrase “heart of glass” without knowing anything about Werner Herzog or his movie of the same name, which is a great, weird film. It’s nice people now use the song to identify the period in films and documentaries. I never had an inkling it would be such a big hit, or become the song we’d be most remembered for. It’s very gratifying. ~Chris Stein
In season one, DJ Johnny Fever not only plays Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” on his broadcast but, home audiences actually hear him announce the band’s, and the song’s, names. It was fantastic promotion for the up-and-coming Blondie, whose huge breakthrough album, Parallel Lines (with other seminal singles like Hanging on the Telephone and One Way or Another), came out the same month WKRP in Cincinnati debuted. The band reportedly gave the show a Gold record plaque celebrating the album’s major sales numbers as a “Thank You” card. It can be seen in the background as set design on several episodes in later seasons.
Unlike many DJs from that era, Fever played punk as well as rock and soul. The range of music on the show gave this fictional radio station a better playlist than most of the era’s real ones. […] although the show helped break Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” big, the exception, in Fever’s case, was disco. “I asked him to play one disco record and he threatened to throw himself in front of Donna Summer‘s tour bus,” Travis complains in “Baby, If You’ve Ever Wondered,” from season two.
As of April 20, 2011, Heart of Glass is #259 of Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Ninety years ago, today, the #1 song playing was Makin’ Whoopee, a jazzy-blues piece performed by Eddie Cantor from the Broadway musical comedy Whoopee! The musical was written by William Anthony McGuire, composed by Walter Donaldson (Carolina In The Morning & My Mammy), with lyrics by Gus Kahn (It Had To Be You & Dream A Little Dream Of Me). It was based on the 1923 play The Nervous Wreck by Owen Davis.
“…a comedian of deftness and appealing humor. He is sad. He is preoccupied. He is apprehensive or insinuating with those floating eyes… In the past he has been funny, clever and ludicrous. But, he has never been so enjoyable.”
Of the music, he states:
“Walter Donaldson has composed an appropriate score worthy of better singing than it falls heir to.”
Apparently, Mr. Atkinson disliked Cantor’s singing ability.
Synopsis From Wikipedia:
In California, Sheriff Bob Wells and the daughter of a rancher, Sally Morgan, are getting married. She is in love with Wanenis, whose part-Indian heritage presents social difficulties for their romance. Sally abandons Sheriff Bob and their wedding, catching a ride with Henry Williams. As a hypochondriac, Henry has problems of his own but, Sally adds to his problems when she leaves a note saying they have eloped. A chase ensues with the jilted Bob, Mary, Henry’s nurse (who is in love with him) and a cast of others. Along the way, they arrive at the Indian Reservation where Wanenis lives. The movie star Leslie Daw enters the proceedings and sings the torchy, sentimental “Love Me, or Leave Me.”
♦ Eddie Cantor invented the name The March of Dimes for the donation campaigns of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (polio), a play on the “March of Time” newsreels. He began the first campaign on his own radio show in January 1938, asking people to mail a dime to the nation’s most famous polio victim, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Other entertainers joined in the appeal via their own shows and the White House mail room was deluged with 2,680,000 dimes.
♦ At one time, when the rights to The Wizard of Oz (1939) were owned by Samuel Goldwyn, Cantor was considered for the role of the Scarecrow. Goldwyn eventually sold the rights to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
♦ Quote: “Marriage is an attempt to solve problems together which you didn’t have when you were on your own.”
A song that makes you want to fall in love…
So many love songs. So little time.
“You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs…
I look around me and I see it isn’t so…
Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs…
And what’s wrong with that…
It isn’t silly, love isn’t silly, love isn’t silly at all…”
Gives me chills…every time. For a song that was created to be the theme to a prison film, it has to be one of the greatest love songs ever written.
Originally released in 1967, this was re-released in 1972 and it made it to #2 on the Billboard 100. I am posting the full orchestral version with the ‘late lament’ in tact (including gong) considering we are officially in winter. This is a masterpiece. More chills…
I was very fortunate to get to see these two, live, with my mom at Carowinds in 1976. I was ten when the song came out and I remember it playing on the radio, vividly. Even at that young of an age, the words of love and longing struck a chord with me (pun intended) that remains to this day.
Oh, Pat Benatar…her music is a large part of my teen years. Her first album was released three days before my 13th birthday. What a way to grow up. She and her hubby, Neil, have rocked us all.
A song you like by an artist no longer living…
I’ve already posted some Prince videos and I will have to work hard to keep this post trimmed down.
Can’t do a post like this without The King of Rock and Roll…Elvis. I grew up with this music.
Next up, The Queen of Disco…Donna. Her music covered my life from 10 years old to 18.
The Beatles were never played in my house. Their music was just not part of my childhood. I discovered who they were after they split up and I liked a lot of solo stuff that came out. My favorite was George. I liked his scratchy, squeaky voice. Paul came in second.
This one covers two that have left us…Freddie and Bowie. This song spoke to me at 15 and still does to this day (and I was extraordinarily annoyed when Vanilla Ice ripped it off).
This came out after I started college. Teena was the Ivory Queen of Soul.
Ok. I’m stopping at seven (I could be here all night). I grew up with this music, as well and still remember all the words. I previously posted my favorite of his songs related to the Gold Rush of 1896. So, I will post my second favorite. I give you Johnny Horton.
A song you like from the 70s…
I’m pretty much covering the 70s with this and two other posts. So much good music…so hard to choose. I have covered 1973, 1976, 1977 & 1978. For this post, and naturally I can’t choose just one, I give you 1972, 1974, 1975 & 1979.
I would provide you with the link to Song Facts but, they have this incorrectly listed in 1971. This made it to #2 in September of 1972…and is one of the most mis-heard songs. My dad loved this song and I can remember it playing on the radio in his 1972 Dodge Charger…a black one.
Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress
I remember playing this 45 on my little, portable record player.
I remember lying on the floor and listening to this on my parent’s stereo cabinet. Remember those big, wooden things with Queen Anne feet and brass fixtures? It had a great sound and you could stack a lot of albums in it.
Someone Saved My Life Tonight
I would provide you with a link to all the songs released in 1979 but, for some reason, this song, the album it came from and the artist are nowhere to be found on Song Facts. It peaked at #28 on October 27. I remember getting this 45. And, yes, that is Stevie Nicks in the background.
In 1857, caught in a Category 2 Hurricane, the SS Central America sank 160 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, drowning 420+, including Captain of the Ship Commander William Lewis Herndon. Nicknamed The Ship of Gold, 30,000 pounds of gold from the California Gold Rush went down with her, exacerbating The Panic of 1857.
In other September 12 trivia bits, as we wait for Hurricane Florence 2018 to show up, this appears to be a rather bad day for hurricanes. Did you know that there have been six Atlantic Hurricanes named Florence? She gets around. ~Vic