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Popular music: 1974

New recording artists: The Ramones; The Doobie Brothers; Blondie; Japan; Talking Heads; Van Helen

Top 20 Singles of 1974

1. My Coo Ca Choo - Alvin Stardust (right)
Londoner Alvin Stardust (real name Bernard Jewry) first saw chart action in the UK in 1961 as Shane Fenton. Although Jewry was the vocalist of Shane Fenton And The Fentones, he was in fact the second singer to bear that name, the first having died suddenly before the group's success. After their final and biggest hit "Cindy's Birthday" in 1962, Jewry went into management, but returned in 1973 as leather clad Alvin Stardust. This was his first hit under his new name and it became his most well known recording. Producer Peter Shelley wrote this song long before he decided who would perform it; all he knew was he wanted someone "Who could sing Rock n' Roll, but who looked pretty mean." After he heard Alvin Stardust's demo, he knew he'd found his man.

2. Billy, Don't Be A Hero - Paper Lace
"Billy Don't Be A Hero" topped the UK charts, but they had to view as Bo Donaldson And The Heywood's cover version reach No.1 in the US. Paper Lace hailed from Nottingham, England. The core of the band originally formed in 1967 as Music Box, but changed their name to Paper Lace when Phil Wright joined as drummer and lead singer. They won Opportunity Knocks, a British TV talent contest, performing "Billy Don't Be A Hero". 

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3. Evie (Part 1) - Stevie Wright
'Evie' was written by Harry Vanda and George Young to help launch the solo career of their former Easybeats singer Stevie Wright. Vanda and Young wrote many hits in the 1970s for Australian performers; they recorded a few hits of their own, most often under the name Flash And The Pan. Lyrically, the song revisited the perennial "gonna have a good time tonight" theme of "Friday On My Mind" and "Good Times" and musically it is perhaps the ultimate distillation of the full-frontal hard rock Vanda & Young would soon hone to perfection with AC/DC. Suzi Quatro later covered "Evie", a song that is now widely considered to be one of the best Australian singles of the rock era.

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4. The Night Chicago Died - Paper Lace
This song tells the semi-fictional story of notorious gangster Al Capone and his men having a shootout out with the police. There is a neighbourhood that is actually registered as the "east side" of Chicago that is located on the southeast corner of Chicago, right on the border of Indiana. It is and always was a steel mill area, heavily polluted and very rough. The East Side was historically populated by eastern European ethnics (Serbs, Croations, and Poles), but is these days heavily Hispanic and rundown.

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5. Seasons In The Sun - Terry Jacks (right)
Originally called "Le Moribond" ("The Dying Man"), this song was written and first performed in French by Belgian poet-composer Jacques Brel in 1961. Canadian singer Terry Jacks once worked on sessions with the Beach Boys, where he suggested this song. The Beach Boys recorded it but decided not to release it. Their rejection - coupled with the death of a close personal friend of Terry's, which made the song very meaningful to him - sent Terry back into the studio. He received permission, but not composer credit, for changing part of the song; he rewrote the last verse and rearranged the words and chords in the chorus in order to "lighten it up". The master with Jacks' version of the song sat on a shelf in his home for a year, until a delivery boy heard it and asked Jacks if he could play it for a few friends. Their enthusiastic reaction convinced him to release it as a solo single, his first. His family and group, the Poppy Family, had broken up a few months earlier, so Terry released the song on his own label, Goldfish Records, and was amazed when it became the largest-selling single in Canadian history - more than 285,000 copies were sold in a matter of weeks.

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6. Farewell Aunty Jack - Grahame Bond
The Aunty Jack Show was one of Australia's best loved classic comedy TV series. Starring a motor-cycling tranvestite boxer, it ran from 1972 to 1973 on ABC television. Under threat of having their "bloody arms ripped off" if they didn't, Australians of that time had little option but to tune in each week to their favourite Aunt. The Aunty Jack Show starred Grahame Bond as Aunty Jack, Rory O'Donoghue as Thin Arthur, John Derum as Narrator Neville, Garry McDonald as Kid Eager and Sandy Macgregor as Flange Desire. The album, Aunty Jack Sings Wollongong, was released in 1974. The theme song from the series, "Farewell Aunty Jack", was released as a single, reaching No.1 and staying in the Australian music charts for 22 weeks.

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7. Can't Stop Myself From Loving You - William Shakespeare (right)
Glam rocker William Shakespeare (born John Cave) originally sang with a Sydney band called The Amazons and in the late 60s/early 70s he was a regular performer on the Sydney pub and club circuit as Johnny Cabe. In early 1974, Harry Vanda and George Young (formerly of the Easybeats) had recorded a backing track of “Can’t Stop Myself From Loving You” which they offered to Cabe as he was able to reach the high notes to compliment the tune. Cabe adopted the stage name William Shakespeare and under the guidance of Vanda and Young became Australia’s answer to Gary Glitter, sporting puffed sleeves, glittery attire and a bouffant hairdo. Shakespeare followed this song with another Vanda and Young composition, “My Little Angel”, which also was a hit. After two more singles and an album, he was in trouble with the law, charged with carnal knowledge, and received two years probation. He returned to the club circuit performing as Billy Shake for a few years.
By 2001, Shakespeare was homeless and living in a ticket booth at an oval next to St George's Leagues Club in Kogarah, Sydney, where he was found and assisted by Lindy Morrison (ex-The Go-Betweens drummer) of Support Act Limited, a company concerned with assisting artists in hard times. In 2009, he was living in government housing in the southern Sydney suburb of Riverwood. Shakespeare died on 5th October 2010.

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8. Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress) - Helen Reddy (right)
This was one of three international No.1 hits in the 1970s for Melbourne born Helen Reddy. She was born into a well-known Australian show business family - her parents, well-known performers on the Australian vaudeville circuit, were actress and singer Stella Lamond and writer-actor-comedian Max Reddy; her older sister is actress-singer Toni Lamond; and her nephew is actor-singer Tony Sheldon. Reddy had considerable success in the US and European markets in the 1970s which this single was released.

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9. Ballroom Blitz - The Sweet (right)
Written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman who wrote many glam rock hits, including Sweet's "Blockbuster," Suzi Quatro's "Devil Gate Drive" and Tony Basil's "Mickey". No explanation as to what the song means has ever been given. It has been suggested that a ballroom blitz is something like an early version of a mosh pit. The Sweet were one of the major British glam-rock bands of the 1970s.

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10. I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John (right)
Olivia Newton-John reached a turning point in her career after the release of "Let Me Be There". While holidaying in 1974 in the South of France, she met Lee Kramer, who had a successful business import/export business. A romance developed, and Lee was Olivia's boyfriend and manager for much of the rest of the decade. Lee's influence resulted in Olivia's career lifting a notch or two. Released during the months of preparation for the 1984 Eurovision Competition (representing England, she sang "Long Live Love" and came fourth), "I Love You, I Honestry Love You", a Peter Allen composition, shot to No.1 in Australia and the UK. Backed with "Don't Cry For Me Argentina", it was lifted from her then-current album Making a Good Thing Better. Like most of Olivia's hits, this was produced by her fellow Australian John Farrar. Farrar was a former member of The Shadows who took up songwriting and arranging for Olivia. He had known her from the early days and he later married Pat Carroll, who for a time sang in a duet with Olivia and later became her business partner. Olivia gave songwriter Peter a house in Lecudia, California, in appreciation for writing such a big hit. He spent his last days here there.

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11. The Lord's Prayer - Sister Janet Mead (right)
Sister Janet Mead's claims to fame include putting out the highest internationally selling Australian song by either a male or female performer, the first Australian-made record to sell more than 1 million copies in the USA. It made her the biggest selling Australian Gospel recording artist, who had the widest known international Top 40 hit song by any Australian artist. She was probably the most truthful of any artist who has claimed to have 'given it all away to charity'. Janet had studied piano at the Adelaide Conservatorium; when she joined the Sisters of Mercy order she became a music teacher at two local Catholic schools. She began to explore the "rock mass" concept in the early 1970s, wishing to make the Catholic Mass more interesting and accessible for students at the schools where she taught. This in turn led to a successful series of "rock masses" that she conducted at Adelaide Cathedral. She read the mood of the time perfectly, as these were very popular with packed houses that on numerous occasions required an outside PA system to cater for the overflow crowd. In 1973 she began making professional recordings of her music for churches and schools. As an afterthought, she recorded this rocked-up arrangement of The Lord's Prayer, which had been put to music by one of her parishioners and musical collaborators, Arnold Strals. On its first play, a local Sydney radio station had their telephone lines jammed with requests to buy the recording even though it wasn't yet in the shops.

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12. The Entertainer (from "The Sting" - instrumental) - Marvin Hamlisch (right)
Best known as a composer, Marvin Hamlisch has written many major works for film, stage, recordings and the concert hall. He is the composer of more than 40 motion picture scores including his Oscar-winning score and song for The Way We Were and his adaptation of Scott Joplin's music for The Sting, for which he received his third Oscar. This 1902 piano rag written by Scott Joplin was an unlikely hit thanks to it being selected as the theme music for The Sting. Ironically, Scott Joplin's ragtime music was no longer popular during the 1930s, which is the time period in which the film is set. "The Entertainer" is sub-titled "A rag time two step", which was a form of dance popular until about 1911, and a style which was common among rags written at the time. It is written primarily in the key of C, although from bar 55 there is a section in F. It structurally follows the form A-B-A-C-D, with the melody indicated to be played an octave higher in the repeats.

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13. Devil Gate Drive - Suzi Quatro (right)
Susie Quatro is an American singer who had a series of hits in the 1970s. She played Leather Tuscaderro on the TV show Happy Days in part to help her career along and in part to help the show along. Her sister was a member of the all female band, Fanny. This song was written and produced by the team of Chin and Chapman, who also wrote for and produced Sweet. Tommy James covered this on his mid-1970s album, In Touch. "Devil Gate Drive" was performed in a Happy Days episode where Joanie wanted to go on tour with a singing group called Leather and the Suedes. "Devil's Gate Drive" is said to represent any place where teenagers went to hang out and do things they weren't supposed to.

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14. I Am Pegasus - Ross Ryan (right)
Although Ross Ryan is best known for his self-penned signature song "I Am Pegasus" which was a huge hit in 1974, he has been successful in many areas of music over the past 30 years. His first album "A Poem You Can Keep" contained the hit "I Don't Want to Know About It" which won Record of the Year in 1973 as well as the Best New Talent award. A consummate live performer, Ryan has toured with acts like Van Morrison, Dr Hook, Roy Orbison and Roberta Flack and as a songwriter has written material for artists ranging from John Farnham to Slim Dusty.

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15. (You're) Having My Baby - Paul Anka with Odia Coates
Paul Anka (right) had a string of hits in the late 1950s/early 1960s, but like so many singers of romantic ballads of that era, his career suffered from the Liverpool invasion headed by The Beatles. After more than ten years without a hit record, in 1974 he teamed up with Odia Coates to record the No. 1 hit, "Having My Baby." They would record two more duets that both made into the top ten. In 1975, Anka wrote a jingle for Kodak called "The Times of Your Life". The jingle became so popular, he recorded it as a full song, and it became a hit a year later.

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16. Sorrow - David Bowie (right)
David Bowie first caught the eye and ear of the public in the autumn of 1969, when his space-age mini-melodrama "Space Oddity" reached the top five of the world's singles charts. After a three-year period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam-rock era under the guise of the flamboyant alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona came to an end after the release of this single, a serious ballad about a broken relationship.

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17. The Streak - Ray Stevens (right)
An American country singer and songwriter, Ray Stevens' biggest hit was his gospel-inflected single "Everything Is Beautiful" (1970). A plea for love and tolerance during turbulent times, it was the first of a number of hits, many of which were novelty songs. "The Streak", one of Stevens' most popular novelty songs, poked fun at the early-1970s "streaking" fad of running nude in public.

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18. She (Didn't remember My Name) - Osmosis
A rare No.1 hit by a South African group named Osmosis that hasn't been heard of in Australia since. The song was based on 'Vado Via' by Italian group Drupi. The song was based on 'Vado Via' by Italian group Drupi & was also covered by British singer, Tony Christie, but (with different lyrics). It was called: "Words Are Impossible".

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19. I Love You Love Me Love - Gary Glitter (right)
Gary Glitter got a big boost when he was asked to perform this song on the British TV show, Top Of The Pops. For the show, Glitter had to put together a band, but since the performances on the show were lip-synched, they didn't need anyone to actually play. Glitter and Leander found a bunch of people to hold instruments and pretended to play during the show that were called The Glitter Band. In the 1980s, Glitter went through bankruptcy and was arrested for drunk driving, but he hit rock bottom in 1997 when he took his computer in for repair and the technician found kiddie porn on its hard drive. Glitter was arrested and sent to prison, where he served two months starting in November, 1999. After his release, he lived in Cuba and Cambodia.

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20. Rock Your Baby - George McCrae (right)
This song was written by Harry Casey and Richard Finch of KC & The Sunshine Band. It took them just 45 minutes to write; they originally intended it to be an instrumental disco track. The pair took it to TK Records founder Henry Stone, who agreed that they had something but felt it needed lyrics. Harry and Richard came up with some lyrics, but the song was too high for Casey's voice and when McCrae wandered into the studio he sang it in a soft falsetto that suited the song perfectly. It became one of the first hits of the Disco era and sold over 11 million copies worldwide. George McCrae, a session singer, sang back-up on the Supremes 1969 hit "Someday We'll Be Together".

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Top 10 Australian Hits of 1974

1. Evie (Part 1) - Stevie Wright
See above.

2. Farewell Aunty Jack - Grahame Bond
see above.

3. Can't Stop Myself From Loving You - William Shakespeare
See above.

4. Leave Me Alone (Ruby red Dress) - Helen Reddy
See above.

5. I Love You, I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John
See above.

6. The Lord's Prayer - Sister Janet Mead
See above.

7. I Am Pegasus - Ross Ryan
See above.

8. He's A Rebel - Debbie Byrne (right)
Legend has it that, back in 1962, The Crystals were not able to travel from New York to Los Angeles fast enough to suit the LA-based Spector, who wanted to quickly record and release "He's a Rebel" (written by Gene Pitney) before anyone else had a chance to cover it and have a hit with it. The Crystals couldn't get there in time, but Darlene Love and the Blossoms were based in LA, so Spector used them but put the record out under The Crystals' banner. Debbie Byrne's cover of the song marked her debut as a solo performer after leaving the Australian TV show, Young Talent Time.

9. Hey Paula - Ernie Sigley & Denise Drysdale
Denise Drysdale (right) began her career as a dancing three-year-old and by the age of 10 she was working on GTV9 in Melbourne. At 16, she was sacked from Graham Kennedy’s In Melbourne Tonight for being overweight and the "weak link" of the show. After claiming to be a singer despite never have sung professionally in her life, Denise was invited to tour Australia with Ray Brown and the Whispers. She was then offered a recording contract and appeared in 26 episodes of the ABC’s Dig We Must. A year later, she was employed as Melbourne’s first go-go dancer at age 17. In 1974, she became Ernie Sigley’s barrel girl on The Ernie Sigley Show, earning her the nick-name "Ding Dong". During this stint with Sigley, they recorded a cover of the 1962 Paul & Paula hit, 'Hey Paula'.

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10. Would You Lay With Me - Judy Stone
In the 1960s Judy Stone aspired to be a country singer, but found country music hard to break into so she began recording country rock. Within a few years she had become the Golden Girl of the TV show, Bandstand, and was paired off with Col Joye. They recorded and did many shows together however that was where the 'pairing' ended. Judy married Leo De Kroo of The De Kroo Bros but their union only lasted a year or two. "Would You Lay With Me" was one of her biggest hits.

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Other Hits of 1974

Ain't Too Proud to Beg - The Temptations
A hit single for Gordy's Motown label, "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" was produced by Norman Whitfield and written by Whitfield and Edward Holland, Jr. The song's success, in the wake of the relative under-performance of the previous Temptations single, "Get Ready", resulted in Norman Whitfield replacing Smokey Robinson, producer of "Get Ready", as The Temptations' main producer. View the video online

Annie's Song - John Denver (right)
Country boy John Denver is said to have written this ballad for his then-wife Ann Martell after the near break up of their marriage. He wrote it in 10 minutes while on a ski lift. The song was one of three singles to chart from what is generally considered to be Denver's best album, Back Home Again. The album was recorded when the singer/songwriter was at his creative peak and at the height of his popularity. Despite being one of the most popular choices for weddings, "Annie's Song" was, for a long time, banned from Catholic ceremonies because of the suggestion of premarital sex. View the video online

Band on the Run - Paul McCartney & Wings
This song follows a formula McCartney (right) established in song writing as a member of The Beatles in that he combined pieces of different songs to create it. The Beatles often found themselves with numerous bits of incomplete songs, which they would string together and form a new song. This technique was used on the Sgt. Peppers and Abbey Road albums - the whole second side of Abbey Road is a pastiche of unfinished songs, and "A Day In The Life" is a good example of two Beatles songs combined to make one. This song appears at first to be about McCartney's days with The Beatles too, but the songswriter says it was not; "Well, at the time, bands like us (Wings) and the Eagles were feeling like and being treated like outlaws and desperadoes, you know. I mean, people were getting busted for pot, that is.

And that's about all they were getting popped for: never anything serious. And our argument was that we didn't want to be outlaws. We just wanted to be part of the regular scene, you know, and make our music and live in peace. We didn't see why we should be treated like criminals when all we wanted to do was smoke pot instead of hitting the booze. And that's what the song was about; it was my reaction to that whole scene ... " It's interesting to note the lines/words "Sailor Sam" and "but we (he) never will be found" also appear in the song "Helen Wheels". In a 1975 Rolling Stone interview, John Lennon said "Band On The Run was a great song and a great album." A brief reprise of "Band on the Run" appears at the end of McCartney and Wings' song "1985." Hear the song online

Best Of My Love - The Eagles (right)
With five No.1 singles and four No.1 albums, the Eagles were among the most successful recording artists of the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971–1975 and Hotel California, were ranked among the ten best-selling albums according to the Recording Industry Association of America. "Best of My Love" hit the top of the charts in March 1975, becoming the Eagles' first of five chart toppers. Lifted from the band's third album, On the Border, the song was written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey and J. D. Souther. View the video online

Beach Baby - The First Class
The First Class was a British studio based pop group, put together by songwriter and record producer John Carter. The line-up included Tony Burrows, who had scored several hit singles in the 1970s with other groups who did not exist outside the recording studio, plus Robin Shaw, Chas Mills, Del John, Spencer James (a latter day lead singer with The Searchers), Eddie Richards and Clive Bennett. This, their debut single, successfully did what bands like The Beach Boys failed to do - revive the 1960s surfing sound in the next decade. Their subsequent releases, however, including "Bobby Dazzler", "Dreams Are Ten a Penny" (a hit for Kincade) and "Won't Somebody Help Me", did not chart. Hear the song online

The Bump - Kenny (right)
When the dance song "The Bump" rocketed up the charts, everybody wanted to see the band Kenny that had recorded it. When the group was invited to appear on Top of the Pops, it's creators were in trouble because Kenny didn't exist. Songwriters Bill Martin and Phil Coulter had used session musicians to record "The Bump", so the two men looked around for some young faces to fit their music. They found what they wanted in the cold storage department of a banana warehouse in Enfield, Middlesex, England. A group called Chuff was rehearsing there and the songwriters signed them up. Chuff became Kenny, appeared on the TV show miming "The Bump" and shot to overnight success on the record they didn't make! Chris Spedding and Clem Cattini were among those heard anonymously on Kenny's four UK hits. All inconsequentially catchy, these were "The Bump" (a dance craze ditty that fought off competition from a b-side version by the Bay City Rollers), "Fancy Pants", "Baby I Love You OK" and the band's swansong, Bill Martin and Phil Coulter's "Julie Ann". The band later provided the backing to the theme tune for UK Television's popular Minder series, sung by Dennis Waterman. View the video online

The Bitch is Back - Elton John (right)
Released as the second single released from John's 1974 album, Caribou, "The Bitch Is Back" was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. It has become as much associated with Tina Turner who made it a hit for the second time in 1978, as Elton John. The song was inspired not by John or Taupin directly, but rather by Bernie Taupin's wife. When discussing the Caribou album prior to it being recorded, John threw one of his legendary tantrums. This led to Taupin's wife to claim "the bitch is back". Taupin then wrote the lyric. View the video online

Can't Get Enough - Bad Company
Bad Company is the eponymous debut album by hard rock band Bad Company. The album was recorded at a mansion known as Headley Grange with The Ronnie Lane Mobile Truck in November 1973. The album peaked at No.1 in the US. Two singles from it, "Can't Get Enough" and "Movin' On", were both hits in the US. "Can't Get Enough" was a minor hit in Australia. View the video online

Candle In The Wind - Elton John
A moving tribute to Hollywood screen godess Marilyn Monroe, through lyricist Bernie Taupin was inspired to write the song after hearing the phrase "candle in the wind" used in tribute to Janis Joplin. It has been a No.1 hit three separate times over a 23 year period. The original single release, lifted off the album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, reached No. 11 in the U.K. charts and No. 1 in Australia. At the time, it was not released as a single in the United States ("Bennie and the Jets" was chosen instead). On 14th December 1986, a live version of the song was recorded in Sydney. It was released in 1987 on the album Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and as a single. It again became a No.1 hit in Australia. This is the most popular version, that stills gets radio play today.

Elton and Bernie rewrote the lyrics and played this at Princess Diana's funeral in 1997. They changed the first line from "Goodbye Norma Jean" to "Goodbye England's Rose." After the funeral, Elton released the version dedicated to Princess Diana as "Candle In The Wind '97." Within a month, it became a No.1 hit and the biggest selling single ever in Britain. Proceeds went to charity.

China Grove - The Doobie Brothers (right)
"China Grove" is a single lifted from The Doobie Brothers' 1973 album, The Captain and Me. It was written by original lead singer Tom Johnston, before he fell ill in 1975 and was replaced by Michael McDonald. The song is based on a real town in Texas of that name. The connection is obvious given its real-life proximity to San Antonio, which is referenced in the lyrics. However, the rest of the song is largely a fictional account portraying China Grove as Texas' version of Chinatown. Notable is the mention of samurai, whom in fact are Japanese, not Chinese. The bass riffs in the song feature clave. View the video online

Don't Let the Sun go Down on Me - Elton John
This is one of two singles lifted from the 1974 Elton John album, Caribou. It was released while "Bennie and the Jets" was still in the Top 40, and reached the Top 10 after four weeks. By September it would become Elton's fourth gold single. The chorus of the song is supported with a horn arrangement by Del Newman, and features backing vocals by the Beach Boys' Carl Wilson and Bruce Johnston, and Toni Tennille. Also on the song are percussion accents provided by Ray Cooper and a mellotron played by Dave Hentschel (Bread). As successful as the 1974 record had been, it was as a duet with George Michael that "Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me" had its greatest success. The pair had performed the song at the Live Aid concert in 1985. The new single was recorded live at a concert at Wembley Stadium, London on 25th March 1991 when Elton John was a surprise guest of George Michael; it became a massive hit worldwide. View the video online

Drift Away - Dobie Gray
Written by Mentor Williams, the song was originally recorded by Dobie Gray in 1972 and became Gray's biggest hit a year later. It has become one of the most recorded songs of the 1970s, its catchy beat and guitar solo being popular with bands and fans of soft rock alike, particularly at live concerts where it is often used to close concerts. There is a common misheard lyric in the chorus, as many incorrectly believe the first line is "Gimme the Beach Boys and free my soul" as opposed to the actual "Gimme the beat, boys, and free my soul". View the video online

Gonna Make You A Star - David Essex (right)
It was in the 1970s that Essex emerged as one of the UK's top performers. His biggest hits during this decade included two No.1 singles: "Gonna Make You A Star" (1974), a satirical look at his success; and "Hold Me Close" (1975), a cheerful singalong. He also appeared in Stardust, a 1974 sequel to That'll Be The Day; the title song was another Top 10 hit.  View the video online

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is universally acknowledged as perhaps the best Elton John album ever. is generally revered as the songwriting duo ofElton John and Bernie Taupin were writing at their most creative, Elton's band never sounded better and there isn't a dud song on any of the four sides (it was a double album).
The Yellow Brick Road of the album and song's title is an image taken from the movie, The Wizard Of Oz. In the movie, Dorothy and her friends follow the yellow brick road in search of the magical Wizard of Oz, only to find they had what they were looking for all along. The lyric is believed to loosely recount a true life story reported in the L.A. Herald Examiner about a young runaway from Oklahoma who got mixed up with the mob, then was taken under the wings of an in-the-closet Beverly Hills big shot. The youth later returned to heartland America and became an elementary school teacher, but was later killed by a drunk driver in front of the church where he used to be an altar boy. This song could also be a follow-up to "Honky Cat". In that song, the singer leaves his "redneck ways" for the bright lights of the big city. Maybe in "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", the man finds out the city is not all it's cracked up today, and heads back to his rural home with his tail between his legs. View the video online

Good Morning (How Are You) - Moir Sisters (right)
Born in Scotland, sisters Jean, Margot and Lesley Moir migrated to Australia with their parents in the early 1960s. In 1969, they returned to Scotland briefly where Jean was given a guitar as a gift. She took up the instrument and quickly developed a talent for writing songs. Margo and Lesley were encouraged to form a trio with her, and they developed a tight, three-part harmony style in 1970 that would become their trademark sound. They performed on the TV talent show New Faces in Melbourne and won a series of Showcase. Brought to the attention of EMI executives, they recorded "Good Morning How Are You?"/"We Will Never Change" in May 1974. It reached No. 6 and remained on the record charts for 16 weeks. The trio was signed to Elton John's Rocket label and released an album in 1975, Lost - Somewhere Beyond Harmony, produced by the late Ivan Hutchinson. Back in the UK as The Moirs, they released 'State of Shock' in 1978. In the early 1980s, they signed with WEA and issued two singles which failed to sell as well as their first hit. Margot Moir issued a solo single, 'Scarlet Skies'/'Tightrope' in 1989, and an album, Loving You, in 1996. Based in Melbourne, she continues to perform with her daughter, Rae-Emma, in the Melbourne pop/ rock band, Celtic Spirit. Hear the song online

Honey, Honey - ABBA (right)
Supergroup ABBA, who dominated the popular music scene in the 1970s with their highly polished version of glam rock, made their entry onto the international music scene with "Waterloo", an unashamedly upbeat pop track produced with Michael B. Tretow's "wall-of-sound" approach. They performed the song on their successful third attempt at winning the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest; their win catapulted then into European consciousness and rocketed the single to the top of the charts worldwide. With an album's worth of material released when the show was held at the Brighton Dome in England on 6th April 1974, they were on their way. "Honey, Honey", featured on their second album, "Waterloo", was chosen as the follow-up single to "Waterloo". Though sales in the US and the UK were sluggish, Australia embraced the single and made it the first of many No.1's for ABBA in this country. From that time, Australia held a special place in the hearts of the group members, as it was here where they had their first No.1 hit outside of their native Sweden. "Dance (While The Music Still Goes On)", also on the "Waterloo" album, was not released as an ABBA single, but it was covered by an Australian group called Milk & Honey. The single received plenty of airplay on Australian radio, making the top 10 charts in Brisbane. View the video online

I Shot The Sheriff - Eric Clapton
This song, written by Bob Marley, was first released on The Wailers' album, Burnin'. After its release, a member of Clapton's band played the Bob Marley album for him and convinced him to record it. Clapton's cover version was included on his album, 461 Ocean Boulevard. Of the lyric, Marley said, "I want to say 'I shot the police' but the government would have made a fuss so I said 'I shot the sheriff' instead... but it's the same idea: justice." This was Clapton's only No.1 hit. He came close to having a second in 1992 with "Tears In Heaven," which reached No.2. View the video online

It's Only Rock'n Roll - The Rolling Stones (right)
This song was the title track to the first album after producer Jimmy Miller right the band. It is memorable for being the first time lead guitaarist Ron Wood contributed to a Stones song. The lyrics were inspired by David Bowie's song "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide." The part about "suicide on stage" is probably a reference to Glam rockers like Marc Bolan and Alice Cooper who included suicide as part of their stage theatrics. Mick Jagger recalls: "The title has been used a lot by journalists, the phrase has become a big thing. That version that's on there is the original version, which was recorded half in Ron Wood's basement, if I remember rightly. It was a demo. It's a very Chuck Berry song, but it's got a different feeling to it than a Chuck Berry song. You can't really do proper imitations of people. You always have to start out by imitating somebody. In painting, some famous artist always starts out by being an impressionist. And then they become the most famous abstract artist. Or an actor starts out by imitating someone else's style. And then you develop your own". View the video online

Jet - Paul McCartney & Wings
This song is said to have beeen inspired by McCartney's labrador retriever puppy named Jet, but the lyric tell another story. McCartney often hides the meaning of his songs that are about people in his life, and this one is no exception. It is now gererally accepted that this song is about John Lennon and David Bowie, who had struck up a friendship at the time "Jet" was written. McCartney and Lennon were still not on speaking terms. Lennon had coined the named Jet for what became The Beatles when they played in Hamburg. The line, "I Can Almost Remember Their Funny Faces That Time You Told Me That You Were Going To Be Marrying Soon" appears to be a reference to the reaction to Lennon's announcement that he was going to marry Yoko Ono. "Jet! Was Your Father As Bold As A Sergeant Major?" may refer to Lennon's father who was a merchant marine. "I Thought The Major Was A Lady" reflects McCartney's thoughts about Bowie (Major Tom) at that time, and how he looked like a woman in his Ziggy Stardust days. "Suffragette" may be a reference to Bowie's song "Suffragette City". "The wind in your hair of 1000 laces" is perhaps a reference to John growing his hair out. "Climb on the back and we'll go for a ride in the sky" may be a reference to The Beatles' "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" which Lennon and McCartney co-wrote. Bowie admitted in an interview some years later to responding to McCartney in one of his own songs, the 1983 hit, "Let's Dance," once he finally figured out what "Jet" was all about. In it he asks Paul to 'put on his red shoes & dance the blues' - Bowie's way of suggesting that the songwriter go back to his skiffle roots. But skiffle didn't rhyme with shoes (his first draft being: 'don't sniffle, let's hear more skiffle, let's dance'). View the video online

Machine Gun - The Commodores (right)
The members of The Commodores met as freshmen at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in 1968, and were signed with Motown, having first caught the public eye as the opening act for The Jackson 5 while on tour. "Machine Gun", the instrumental title track from the band's debut album, became a staple at American sporting events, and is similarly featured in many films, including Boogie Nights and Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Another instrumental, "Cebu" (named after an island in the Philippines), later became a staple. Three albums released in years 1975 and 1976 (Caught in the Act, Movin' On, Hot On The Tracks) are considered the peak of their harder funk perioid. After those recordings the group started to move towards a softer sound. Hear the song online

Jungle Boogie - Kool and the Gang (right)
"Jungle Boogie" is a funk song recorded for Kool and the Gang's 1973 album, Wild and Peaceful. It soared to the top ten as a single and became hugely popular in the clubs. The song's spoken lead vocal was performed by the band's roadie Don Boyce. An instrumental version of the tune with an overdubbed flute part and additional percussion instruments titled "Kool Jazz" appeared on the album, Spirit of the Boogie. "Jungle Boogie" has been repeatedly sampled on songs including The Beastie Boys' 1989 release "Hey Ladies", Madonna's 1992 top ten hit "Erotica" and Janet Jackson's 1994 top ten single "You Want This". View the video online

Kissin' In The Back Row Of The Movies - The Drifters
The American doo wop/R&B vocal group, The Drifters, was originally formed by Clyde McPhatter of Billy Ward & the Dominoes in 1953. By 1970, they had relocated in Britain where they underwent major personnel changes. Throughout the 1970s, the British charts were the only place where their records consistently charted - notably "Kissing In The Back Row Of The Movies" (a Top 10 hit in Australia), "There Goes My First Love" and "You're More Than A Number In My Little Red Book". 

Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas (right)
Douglas was a session singer for Pye records when he wrote this. He got the idea for the song when he saw two kids in London immitating Kung Fu moves from Bruce Lee movies. In 1974 the Asian producer Biddu asked Douglas to record a song he wrote with Larry Weiss called "I Want To Give You My Everything," and Douglas convinced him to use "Kung Fu Fighting" as the B-side. They recorded it in 10 minutes, figuring it was just a B-side, but the record label loved it and made it the A-side. Kung Fu movies were very popular at the time, and this song capitalised on the craze. Douglas was the first Jamaican-born singer to have a No.1 hit in the US. Many radio stations on the American West Coast pulled this song from their playlists after complaints from Chinese-Americans about the line "funky Chinamen from funky Chinatown". The term "Chinaman" was considered derogatory at the time. Hear the song online

Listen To The Music - The Doobie Brothers (right)
It was with this song that The Doobie Brothers broke into the international music scene. It was written by the band's lead vocalist, Tom Johnston, who also played guitar on the track. The band's image originally reflected that of their biggest fans - leather jackets and motorcycles - but with their 1971 self-titled debut album, they departed significantly from that image to a more mellow sound. "Listen To The Music" is lifted from the band's second album, Toulouse Street. Johnston has said in interviews that this song is about his belief in the early 1970s that music could be a unifying force and how he thought at the time that he and other musicians could change the world through their artistry. However he doesn't believe that anymore as he feels the music industry has been taken over by big business. View the video online

Let Go - Brian Cadd
In 1973 Cadd had begun to fulfil his ideas for Bootleg Records by putting together the Bootleg Family Band. The next single was "Alvin Purple", the theme song from Tim Burstall's feature film of the same name. Brian wrote the score for both Alvin Purple (1973), and its sequel Alvin Rides Again (1975). There were more hits for Cadd and Bootleg through 1974 – the LP, Moonshine, and the singles "Class Of '74" (the theme song from the TV series of the same name), "Let Go" and "Boogie Queen". By this time Brian had signed an American distribution deal and Moonshine came out on Chelsea Records in the US. After signing a new deal with the Interfusion label, Brian moved to Los Angeles, and over the next 15 years he worked variously in the US, Europe and Australia as an artist and producer as well as writing material for other performers. View the video online

Love's Theme - Love Unlimited Orchestra
"Love's Theme" is an instrumental piece recorded by Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra and released in 1974. It is one of the few purely orchestral recordings to reach No.1 on the US charts. The piece, included on the album Rhapsody in White, is considered to be a major influence in the development of the disco sound, which would explode in popularity the following year. Many regard it as the first disco hit ever. Hear the song online

Magic - Pilot (right)
Like their contemporaries The Bay City Rollers, Pilot was a Scottish band that had a major impact on the popular music scene of the mid 1970s. The group was formed in 1973 in Edinburgh, by former Bay City Rollers members David Paton and Billy Lyall who were dissatisfied with the creative direction the Rollers were heading and right to form a new group. The 1974 single "Magic" from their debut album was a worldwide hit and remains a pop classic. View the video online

Midnight At The Oasis - Maria Muldaur (right)
This one hit wonder is forever a  gem from the realm of mystery and magic that was the 1970s. It contains some of the cleverest double-entendre sexually-charged lyrics ever written and Muldaur captures it all in a delightful flirty mood. Written by David Nichtern, the song tells the story of a desert love affair set in old Arabia. Maria Muldaur (born Maria D'Amato) is a roots-folk singer who performed with a variety of artists, including Bob Dylan and John Sebastian in New York's Greenwich Village in the early 1960s, the Even Dozen and Jim Kweskin jug bands and her then-husband, Geoff Muldaur, before going out on her own with this 1973 recording. Among the tunes on her 1973 self-titled album are Jimmie Rodgers' "Any Old Time," Dolly Parton's "My Tennessee Mountain Home," and the album's hit, "Midnight At The Oasis."  View the video online

Mama's Little Girl - Linda George
Linda George migrated to Australia at the age of 15 with her parents. Settling in Adelaide, she finished school and began a career in hairdressing, but ultimately wanted to be a singer. At the age of 18, she packed her bags and moved to Melbourne where she joined the band, Nova Express. Three years later, she right the band to perform for Australian troops in Vietnam with the ABC Show Band. She returned to Australia to lean times until 1973 when she was signed up by Image Records and released a string of soul influenced hits such as "Mamma's Little Girl, "Our Day will Come" and "Neither One of Us". These led to live and TV appearances and singing in a variety of TV commercial. In the mid 1970s she went into session work and in recent years has taught Voice at the Victorian College of the Arts. View the video online

Mockingbird - Carly Simon (right) & James Taylor / Johnny O'Keefe & Margaret McLaren
"Mockingbird", written by brother and sisters Inez and Charlie Foxx, is based on a traditional American Folk song sometimes known as "Hush Little Baby." The song is a lullaby, intended to soothe a young child to sleep with promises of expensive gifts. Northern Mockingbirds were often kept as pets in America, which explains the significance of the lyrics. Bo Diddley used the traditional lyrics for his 1955 song "Bo Diddley," but his song had a completely different arrangement. The song has long been a favourite for duets. It achieved its greatest chart success in Australia in 1974 with the Johnny O'Keefe version. O'Keefe had been performing the song in his concerts for at least a decade. His singer partner on the recording was Margaret McLaren, a 16-year-old singer who was with the Melbourne band Phase 2 when it backed Johnny O’Keefe on tour in 1971. She stayed on when it was re-formed as his permanent backing band, Stuart Park.

A version of the song by James Taylor and Carly Simon, who were married when they recorded it, was released in the same year. O'Keefe believed that the Taylor-Simon recording was inspired by his version after Festival Records submitted it to a number of American record companies. When the American record was released, O’Keefe campaigned to have his version given at least equal airplay on Australian radio, to the extent of lobbying the Minister for Media and the Broadcasting Control Board. Country singer Toby Keith recorded the song with his teenage daughter Krystal in 2004, and in that same year, Eminem made it into a song for his daughter Hailie. Eminem's song veers from the traditional lyrics as he details his struggles to raise his daughter and threatens to break the mockingbird's neck if it doesn't sing. O'Keefe's version was his last hit. View the video online

Money - Pink Floyd (right)
"Money" is the sixth track from British progressive rock band Pink Floyd's 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon. It was the only song on the album to make the top 20 singles charts. The song was created in a makeshift recording studio Roger Waters had in his garden shed, and the original demo version was described by him as being "prissy and very English" as opposed to having the bluesy, transatlantic feel of the released version. Though credited solely to Waters, since he wrote the basic music and all the lyrics, it is very much a group effort; the instrumental jam was a collaborative effort from the band, Gilmour overseeing the time change and guitar solo, Dick Parry doing the tenor sax solo, and Richard Wright and Nick Mason improvising their own parts. "Money" was re-recorded for the 1981 Pink Floyd album, A Collection of Great Dance Songs, because Capitol Records refused to license the track to Columbia Records in the US. As a result, David Gilmour re-recorded the track himself playing all of the drums, guitars, keyboards, bass guitar and vocals and co-producing the song with James Guthrie. Dick Parry played tenor saxophone on the track as he had done on the original recording. Hear the song online

Oh Very Young - Cat Stevens (right)
"Oh Very Young" is the only single to be lifted off Buddha and the Chocolate Box, Steven's 8th album. Released in 1974, it would be his last album before his conversion to Islam. "Oh Very Young" was in fact Stevens's last hit single. Buddha And The Chocolate Box was a homecoming of sorts for Stevens who had wandered away from the successful formula of 'Teaser' and 'Tillerman' with his last two albums. Here, Stevens returned to the rich musical world of nature, man and God. The B-side, “Jesus”, drew the analogy between Jesus Christ and Buddha which was part of the artist’s spiritual journey to find God.  Hear the song online

Photograph - Ringo Starr (right)
It is ironic that Ringo Starr, considered the least talented of The Beatles, should become the most successful of the Fab Four after their break-up. As well as enjoying a solo recording career as a singer, Starr made a fortune as the narrator of the children's TV series, Thomas The Tank Engine. 'Photograph', his biggest solo hit, was co-written by Ringo and fellow former Beatle, George Harrison. The song and the self titled album from which it came sounded for all the world like a Beatles production, which is hardly surprising since all the Beatles and their regular session players performed on it. View the video online

Rikki Don't Lose That Number - Steely Dan
Steely Dan's third album, Pretzel Logic, was a diverse set that produced the hit single, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number". It became an enduring Steely Dan FM rock radio staple. The Grammy-Award winning American band was centered on core members Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. The band's peak of popularity was in the 1970s, when they released six albums that blended together elements of jazz, rock, funk, R&B, and pop. Their music is characterized by complex jazz-influenced structures and harmonies, literate but sometimes obscure or ambiguous lyrics filled with dark sarcasm, and their adroit musicianship and studio perfectionism. Hear the song online

Rock 'n' Roll Suicide - David Bowie
Originally released as the closing track on the album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in June 1972, the song detailed Ziggy’s final collapse as an old, washed-up rock star and, as such, was also the closing number of the Ziggy Stardust live show. Bowie saw the song in terms of the French chanson tradition, while biographer David Buckley has described both "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" and the album's opening track "Five Years" as "more like avant-garde show songs than actual rock songs". Although Bowie has suggested Baudelaire as his source, the lyrics "Time takes a cigarette ..." originate with the poem "Chants Andalous" by Manuel Machado. The exhortation "Oh no, love, you're not alone" references the Jacques Brel song "You're Not Alone" ("Jef") that appeared in the musical 'Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris'. Bowie covered Brel's "My Death" during some Ziggy Stardust live shows, and performed "Amsterdam" live on the BBC. "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" was one of the last songs recorded for Ziggy Stardust, along with "Suffragette City", which would immediately precede it in the album track list, and "Starman", soon to be issued as a single. As the final song on the album and climax to the Ziggy Stardust live shows throughout 1972-73, it soon became a slogan, appearing on many fans' jackets. Hear the song online

Roxette - Dr. Feelgood
British pub rock band Dr. Feelgood was formed in mid 1971. The name of the band is slang for heroin, or for doctors who are prepared to over prescribe drugs. In 1962 the name was adopted by the American blues pianist and singer Willie Perryman (also known as "Piano Red") who recorded his song "Dr Feel-Good" under the name Dr Feelgood & The Interns.  "Back In The Night" and "Roxette" are the band's most well known early singles. "Roxette", their first single, was written by band member John B. 'Sparko' Sparks. It appeared on the album, Down By The Jetty. The Swedish duo, Roxette, took its name from this song. View the video online

Shang-A-Lang - Bay City Rollers (right)
The Scottish bred Bay City Rollers were among the most popular musical acts of their time. For a relatively brief but fervent period (nicknamed "Rollermania"), they were a worldwide sensation. Beginning with "Remember", the Rollers' popularity exploded initially in Britain, and was centred around a string of very successful hits. Following in succession were "Shang-a-Lang" (their first Australian top 10 hit), "Summerlove Sensation" and "All of Me Loves All of You". By the spring of 1975, they were one of the highest-selling acts in Britain. That year saw a successful UK tour (which prompted newspaper headlines about Rollermania), and a 20-week UK television series, Shang-a-Lang. Since the band's quick rise to, and subsequent fall from fame, the members have endured numerous and varied struggles regarding royalty payments, substance abuse, and personal legal problems. View the video online

Silvery Moon - Sherbet
Sherbet were the first Australian act to mount headlining tours travelling to all parts of the country. Their third album, Slipsteam, consolidated Sherbet's own songwriting powers and heralded the beginning of their reign as the top Australian pop outfit. Daryl Braithwaite managed to fit in a solo recording career (including a No.1 hit with his version of 'You're My World') which only added to his and the group's popularity. Sherbet even weathered the storm of Skyhooks' dramatic burst of success which began in 1975; both bands dominated through the Countdown years. Sherbet's top-selling singles were 'Howzat' (No.1) , 'Silvery Moon' (No.9), 'Summer Love' (No.3), 'Rock Me Gently' (No.6)  and 'Another Night On The Road' (No.8). View the video online

Smokin' In The Boys Room - Brownsville Station
Though they enjoyed a number of years of success in the US, Brownsville Station's status in terms of Australian single charts is that of a one hit wonder, "Smokin' In The Boys Room", being their solitary claim to fame. Lifted from their 1973 album, Yeah!, it is recognized as one of rock's earliest teen anthems, featuring angst filled lyrics, blaring guitars and a harmonica solo. Koda got the idea for the song from memories of hanging out with his childhood friends. They would smuggle cigarettes into the men's room at the Clinton Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Koda moved the scene from the movie house to the schoolhouse later. Best known as a live act fired up by lead singer/guitarist Michael 'Cub' Koda's onstage antics, the Michigan-based southern rock band's name was chosen because it was so long that it took up most of the space on advertising, thereby hogging the limelight from whoever they happened to be playing with. Brownsville disbanded in 1979, with the individual members going their separate ways. View the video online

Streets Of London - Ralph McTell (right)
Penned by McTell, this song was originally about some individual people he had met in Paris while busking and hitchhiking throughout Europe, but when he realized there was already a song called "Poor People Of Paris," he changed the title to "Streets Of London." McTell had originally written this song when he recorded his debut album, Eight Frames a Second, which was released in early 1968. However he right it off, as he regarded it as too depressing. McTell recalls: "In one day, 'Streets' sold 90,000 copies and it was No.2 by Christmas. There were three versions in the German charts - all by me! 'Streets' also sold more sheet music than any song since the war. I formed a rock band just before the record was a hit, but of course we never played 'Streets'. Audiences didn't like the band, so I announced my retirement and went off to America in a fit of pique. 'Streets' opened more doors than it closed. The song is still played all over the world and even schoolchildren in the Himalayas have been heard singing it."  Hear the song online

Sugar Baby Love - The Rubettes (right)
The Rubettes were an English pop band assembled in 1973 by the songwriting team of Wayne Bickerton of Polydor Records, and his co-songwriter, Tony Waddington, after their doo-wop and 1950s American pop-influenced songs had been rejected by a number of existing acts. The band duly emerged at the tail end of the glam rock movement, wearing trademark palet blue suits and cloth caps on stage. The Rubettes’ first (and biggest hit) was “Sugar Baby Love”; it sold around three million copies worldwide. The distinctive falsetto lead vocal to “Sugar Baby Love” was performed by Paul Da Vinci (real name: Paul Prewer), who right the group within a few weeks of recording the song. Another band member had to improvise when the song became a hit and they were required to perform the song live. View the video online

Summer Breeze - The Isley Brothers
Years before this song first went to No.1 in 1972, Texas-born singers-songwriters Jim Seals and Dash Crofts had already enjoyed the thrill of having a chart-topping single with it - they were members of the group, The Champs, who had a hit with "Tequila" in 1958. When the group dissolved in 1965, the duo worked with several other artists including Gene Vincent. In 1969 they released their first album as a duo. "Summer Breeze" was the first hit single, appearing on their fourth album in fall 1972. "Summer Breeze" was covered in a harder rock/soulful style by The Isley Brothers as a single in 1974 and returned again to the singles charts at that time. It was performed and recorded by the Three Tenors during their 1996 farewell performance at the Coach and Horses Tavern in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. View the video online

Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd (right)
This song, by Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, first appeared in 1974 on their second album, Second Helping. A tribute to Muscle Shoals, a popular recording location in Alabama, "Sweet Home Alabama" was also an answer to two controversial songs, "Southern Man" and "Alabama" by Neil Young, which were critical of social conditions in the South. "We thought Neil was shooting all the ducks in order to kill one or two," said band member Ronnie Van Zant at the time. Van Zant's musical response, however, was equally controversial, with references to Alabama Governor George Wallace and the Watergate scandal. Despite (or perhaps because of) the debate, the song has become one of the most popular examples of Southern rock. The song had its origins at a band practice shortly after bassist Ed King had switched to guitar. King heard fellow guitarist Gary Rossington playing a guitar riff that inspired him (in fact, this riff is still heard in the final version of the song and is played during the verses as a counterpoint to the main D-C+9-G chord progression).
View the video online

Takin' Care Of Business - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Bachman-Turner Overdrive released their eponymous first album in the spring of 1973. Their second album was Bachman-Turner Overdrive II, and it became a massive hit in the US and their native Canada. It also yielded their best-remembered single, "Takin' Care of Business" written by Randy Bachman. BTO were one of the early hard rock bands which opted for songs backed by catchy melodies and powerful riffing. The band promoted a strait-laced lifestyle due to the Mormon religious beliefs of Randy Bachman. The song started as a jam session in the key of "C." Randy Bachman got the title from a radio announcer named DJ Darryl B, who once quipped on air: "This is Darryl "B" on C-Fun and... we're takin' care of business..." Until then, Bachman had only covered Neil Young and Bob Dylan songs. Bachman recalls: "Ralph (Murphy) and I wrote a song in '67 called "A Little Bit Of Rain." That riff is used in the middle of "Takin' Care Of Business," just to break the monotony because "Takin' Care Of Business" was three chords over and over and over.

It had no bridge, no hook, no song format, other than that it was "Louie, Louie." Endless, mind-bashing of three chords. And the original version had twelve chords. That's why nobody liked it. It had an incredible number of chords." This song holds the record for largest guitar jam in history. On 7th May 1994, Bachman led 1,322 mostly-amateur guitarists in a performance of this that lasted 68 minutes. The event was held in Vancouver. The Guess Who played this on their 2000 reunion tour. Bachman was in The Guess Who before leaving to form Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Hear the song online

Waterloo - ABBA (right)
In the early 1970s, the Swedish songwiting-singer duo of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus were experimenting with new sounds and vocal arrangements. One of the songs they came up with was "People Need Love", released in June 1972, featuring guest vocals by their respective girlfriends Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog, who had both enjoyed success as solo recording artists. It was to be the first real ABBA song. Everyone involved felt enthusiastic about the new sound and producer Stig Anderson released it as a single, credited to Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid. The song reached No.17 in the Swedish combined single & album charts, enough to convince them they were on to something and that Anni-Frid and Agnetha should be an integral part of Benny and Björn's future recording projects. Originally recorded in Swedish, it was their English version of "Waterloo" that won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 and set ABBA on a rollercoaster ride as the most popular recording artists of the decacde. Waterloo is the place where Napoleon Bonaparte met his defeat at an epic battle in 1815. This song uses the battle as a metaphor for a woman who gives in and falls in love with a man - he's her "Waterloo." View the video online 

You're The First The Last My Everything - Barry White (right)
Producer, songwriter and singer Barry Eugene White (born Barrence Eugene Carter) was responsible for the creation of numerous hit soul and disco songs. He released 106 gold and 41 platinum albums, 20 gold singles and ten platinum singles. All inclusive, record sales of White's music with singles, albums, compilation usage and paid digital downloads as a singer, songwriter and producer now exceed 100 million worldwide. In the early 1970s he created the Love Unlimited Orchestra, which included string and percussion players. Records such as the smash hit "You're The First The Last My Everything" featuring White's deep bass voice and suave delivery were used by couples wishing to create a romantic ambience, and indeed many of his fans in later years could boast that they had conceived children, or been conceived themselves, to the sound of a Barry White recording.

Considered handsome and deeply romantic by his many female fans and admired for the unique blend of soul and classical orchestral musical elements he created, White was often affectionately referred to as the "Maestro" or "The Man with the Velvet Voice". His portly physical stature led some in the popular press to refer to him as the "Walrus of Love" (a moniker not appreciated by some fans). Although White's success on the pop charts slowed down as the disco era came to an end, he maintained a loyal following throughout his career. He died of renal failure in West Hollywood on 4th July 2003, age 58. View the video online

The Wild One - Suzi Quatro (right)
Suzie Quatro's first single, "Rolling Stone", was a flop everywhere except Portugal, where it made No.1. Her second single "Can the Can" (1973) was a number one hit throughout Europe and in Australia. It was followed up by three further major hits: "48 Crash" (1973), "Daytona Demon" (1974) and "Devil Gate Drive". Her first two albums were also huge European and Australian successes. These recordings, however, met little success in her native USA, despite her tours in the mid-1970s supporting Alice Cooper. Except in Australia, where she had a hit with "The Wild One", the popularity of Quatro's heavy glam rock style declined rapidly. In the interim, she did enjoy some success as a session player. "The Wild One" has the same title as a Johnny O'Keefe hit, but is as different song. View the video online

Remember Me This Way - Gary Glitter
During the early 1970s, Gary Glitter challenged Sweet, Slade and T. Rex as glam rock's chart dominators. He took his image seriously enough to own a reported thirty glitter suits and fifty pairs of his trademark silver platform boots. He also released several hits, with "I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am)" being the first to hit No.1 in the summer of 1973 in Britain, and "I Love You Love Me Love", its follow-up, as his second. Even an atypical ballad, "Remember Me This Way", was a hit. He had twelve consecutive Top Ten singles, from 1972's "Rock and Roll (Parts One and Two)" to "Doing Alright With the Boys" in the summer of 1975. View the video online

Jealous Mind - Alvin Stardust
In the 1960s, British vocalist and stage actor Shane Fenton (real name Bernard William Jewry), and his backing group, The Fentones, had a handful of hits in the UK singles chart. They based their sound on that of The Shadows. During the early 1970s, he re-invented himself and became Alvin Stardust, in an effort to cash in on the Glam Rock craze. His biggest hit was "My Coo-Ca-Choo" in 1973; he had four other chart successes with the hits "Jealous Mind", "You, You, You", "Red Dress" and "Good Love". In total, he amassed seven Top Ten entries, in a chart span lasting almost 25 years. "My Coo-Ca-Choo" and "Jealous Mind" were his biggest selling singles in Australia. View the video online

The Way We Were - Barbra Streisand (right)
"The Way We Were" is the hauntingly romantic threme song from the US film of the same name which tells the story of an intense Jewish woman who marries a carefree WASP following World War II. Fundamental differences in the way they engage the world - as revealed in their responses to the rise of McCarthyism - eventually pull them apart. Starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, along with Bradford Dillman, Lois Chiles, Patrick O'Neal and Viveca Lindfors, the film is both a romance about star-crossed lovers and a morality tale about the importance of commitment to both individuals and relationships. Hear the song online

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Like "Takin' Care of Businss", their other hit from their second album, Bachman-Turner Overdrive II, BTO's "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" had its origins in a jam session. It began as a riff Randy Bachman was playing around with for a future song - that song would be "Hey You". The stuttering vocals were sung to make fun of Gary Bachman, Randy's brother and the band's manager, who stuttered as a child. During microphone checks, Randy once sang it with the stutter and recorded it to give to Gary. Since this take was never intended to be released, they considered it a scratch track to get the sound correct in the studio. The band didn't even tune their instruments for it. Their record company preferred it over the non-stuttering version, and that was the one they released while the band were on tour. When he heard it on the radio, Randy Bachman insisted it be remastered to hide the fact that the instruments were not in tune. View the video online 

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