Sunday, October 16, 2005

Fine 70s Cheese


Update (6/19/06): This page has been the subject of intense Google®Searching for "subtitle of a rupert holmes hit with the" today. If somebody would please explain why everyone needs to know this and how you have never heard of "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" before. Thanks. Feel free to read the entire post and leave a comment. I'm just intensely curious about this Blogstorm.


Last week, trusty had a post on guilty music pleasures. I didn’t make a big deal because I don’t consider my musical pleasures guilty. Then Ces at Drink At Work declared his bad taste in music for all to ridicule. The gauntlet was thrown.

Back in the early days of file sharing, before Napster brought it to the masses, I would create themed mix CD’s from music I “borrowed” from Internet Relay Chat. Part of the challenge was to come up with a playlist and then hunt down the songs. One of my proudest achievements was a CD I made called “CHEESE – The Worst #1 Hits Of The ‘70’s”.

As the self-explanatory subtitle reveals, the key for inclusion was that each song had to have been a number 1 Billboard Hit during the 1970s. The definitive source is Joel Whitburn’s Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, which has an appendix that lists every number one hit of the rock era. Not only did it have to be popular it had to be bad. Bad in the “not good” sense, not the “cool” sense. These songs are truly awful.

The real trouble was limiting to what would fit on a single CD. I finally narrowed it down to 22 songs that could easily be the playlist for WHLL-AM. My only regret is that nothing Dr. Hook released made number one. "Sylvia’s Mother Said" belongs in this collection so bad.

So here is the definitive list, no argument allowed, of the worst hit songs of the 1970s.

Artist – Title, Year, Weeks at #1
Blue Suede – “Hooked On A Feeling”, 1974, 1
Paper Lace – “The Night Chicago Died” 1974, 1
Bay City Rollers – “Saturday Night” 1975, 1
Carl Douglas – “Kung Fu Fighting” 1974, 2
Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods – “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero” 1974, 2
The Raiders – “Indian Reservation” 1971, 1
Cher – “Gypsies, Tramps, & Thieves” 1971, 2
Helen Reddy – “Delta Dawn” 1973, 1
Maureen McGovern – “The Morning After” 1973, 2
Starland Vocal Band – “Afternoon Delight” 1974, 3
Paul Anka – “You’re Having My Baby” 1974, 3
Mary MacGregor – “Torn Between Two Lovers” 1977, 2
Debby Boone – “You Light Up My Life” 1977, 10
Vicki Lawrence – “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” 1973, 2
BJ Thomas – “Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” 1975, 1
Captain & Tenille – “Love Will Keep Us Together” 1975, 4
Three Dog Night – “Joy To The World” 1971, 6
Dawn – “Knock Three Times” 1971, 3
A Taste of Honey – “Boogie Oogie Oogie” 1978, 3
Chic – “La Freak” 1978, 6
Rupert Holmes – “Escape (The Pina Colada Song) ” 1979, 3
CW McCall – “Convoy” 1976, 1

The truly sad thing is that I have this CD on shuffle play as I am posting this and I am grooving to every tune. The power of nostalgia.

I am open to nominations for Volume II. The criteria are the same. It must be a number one hit from the 70s. If you aren’t sure, nominate it and I will post in the comments where the song peaked if it doesn’t qualify.

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24 comments:

terrilynn said...

Good morning, Michele sent me. That might just be the definitive cheesy song list! And of course I'm grooving to it in my head, because that's my era (I graduated HS in 1977).

Now I'm eagerly awaiting Volume 2.

kenju said...

I like some of these, even though they were "after" my time (late 50's and 60's). I agree with you on the Paul Anka. Yucky.

Michele sent me.

Mooselet said...

Mmmmm, I love cheese. Especially ooey-gooey melted cheese. Cheesy goodness is what all of these songs are. I'm sitting here with my morning cup of tea and singing snippets of each.

Surely Donna Summer had a cheesy #1 somewhere in that era?

trusty getto said...

Oh, I *like* that list. I'm gonna do some searching on iTunes right this minute ;)

Anonymous said...

That's Blue SWEDE, not Suede. Blue Swede was led by the Swedish singer Bjorn Skifs (pronounced sort of like "Wheefs"); I guess they thought his real name might be too tricky for Americans. That "Hookah-chaka, hookah-hookah-HOOKAH-chaka" is pretty mind-numbing.

My husband and I were just discussing Rupert Holmes earlier today. We saw a movie poster for the new film "Where the Truth Lies," based on one of Holmes' novels. Holmes is an exceedingly talented playwright, novelist and television writer, yet the first line of his obituary is guaranteed to mention that dreaded pina colada song.

--Sue T. (Michelle DIDN'T send me! I got here on my own!)

Suburban Turmoil said...

You're right. That's some truly awful stuff. And yet, it resonates...

dena said...

That list of titles reads like it should be part of VH-1's next special...Top 100 Cheesiest Top Ten Hits of the 70's. You might want to pitch your CD mix to them.

visiting from michele's today.

Read/Think/Live said...

How about "Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady"--the memory makes me break out in hives. That was the obligatory disco slow-dance song that they always played and somehow the borderline kind of guy that I didn't mind having as a partner for The Hustle, well he wouldn't necessarily be slowdance material, and that song just made it that much worse.

I don't even know who that was, was it Lionel Richey?

Sara said...

"You Light Up My Life." I couldn't agree more. I hate that song.

You should do a 1980s version and include "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats.

"Ssss-Aaaa-Ffff-Eeee-Tttt-Yyyy
Safety-Dance!

Ah we can dance if we want to, we can leave your friends behind
Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
Well they're are no friends of mine"

(http://members.aol.com/Oxym0r0n99/safety.html)

Wickwire said...

I would love a copy of this CD.

There was a song I'm ashamed to admit I used to like but I don't know who sang it, "Run Joey Run" it was sheer CORNY! Was that from the 70's?

yellojkt said...

wickwire,
I vaguely remember that song. It was done by David Geddes and reached #4 in 1975. It shouldn't be confused with the live-action Saturday morning show "Run, Joe, Run" which was about a Vietnam vet German Shepard on the lam.

mg said...

*LAUGHS* ok, I'll admit that I picked up a "Best Of ABBA" over the weekend.

*hangs head in shame*

mg

mercuryfern said...

The seventies are a cheese filled era, it's true, but I contend the eighties have the real artery clogging power. That's where I look when I need a fix. I am not ashamed.

Sarcastic Ornery Barista said...

No 70's song list would be complete without something from the Bee Gees. Besides them, I might add "Three Times a Lady" from the Commodores, "Just Remember I Love You" by Firefall, and Leo Sayer's "When I Need You." I'm not dating myself, am I?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

OK all here is the entire list of 1 name wonders of the 70's now if that dosent take you back...God those were the days. I graduated in 84 however at 6 I could name that tune in 3 notes.

A Horse With No Name - America
I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony) - The New Seekers
Midnight At The Oasis - Maria Muldaur
December 1963 (Oh, What A Night) - Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Summer Breeze - Seals & Crofts
I'd Really Love To See You Tonight - England Dan & John Ford Coley
It's A Heartache - Bonnie Tyler
The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Robert John
Rock Your Baby - George McCrae
Undercover Angel Alan O'Day
(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty - KC & The Sunshine Band
Want Ads - The Honey Cone
Sky High - Jigsaw
Cat's In The Cradle - Harry Chapin
Just When I Needed You Most - Randy Vanwarmer

Saturday In The Park - Chicago
Sunshine (Go Away Today) - Jonathan Edwards
You're So Vain - Carly Simon
Baby I'm-A Want You - Bread
Give Me Just A Little More Time - Chairmen of the Board
Le Freak - Chic
Happy Days - Pratt & McClain with Brother Love
Rock And Roll Heaven - The Righteous Brothers
The Cisco Kid - War
Moonlight Feels Right - Starbuck
I'd Love You To Want Me - Lobo
Julie, Do Ya Love Me - Bobby Sherman
Welcome Back - John Sebastian
Nice To Be With You - Gallery
Shannon - Henry Gross
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown - Jim Croce
Don't Pull Your Love - Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
Love Will Keep Us Together - Captain & Tennille
(Hey, Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song - B. J. Thomas
She's A Lady - Tom Jones
Black And White - Three Dog Night
Escape (The Pina Colada Song) - Rupert Holmes
Drift Away - Dobie Gray
The Candy Man - Sammy Davis Jr. with the Mike Curb Congregation
Heartbeat (It's A Love Beat) - The Defranco Family featuring Tony Defranco
I'm In You - Peter Frampton
Spiders And Snakes - Jim Stafford
Indiana Wants Me - R. Dean Taylor
Billy, Don't Be A Hero - Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods
The Morning After - Maureen McGovern
Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves - Cher
Crocodile Rock - Elton John
Jackie Blue - Ozark Mountain Daredevils
(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher - Rita Coolidge
I'm Not In Love - 10cc
Baby Come Back - Player
I Just Wanna Stop - Gino Vannelli
Y.M.C.A. - Village People
Gold - John Stewart
Will It Go Round In Circles - Billy Preston
I Just Want To Be Your Everything - Andy Gibb
Signs - Five Man Electrical Band
Disco Duck - Rick Dees and his Cast of Idiots
Montego Bay - Bobby Bloom
If I Can't Have You - Yvonne Elliman
Love Train - The O'Jays
Knock Three Times - Tony Orlando & Dawn
Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) - Looking Glass
Little Willy - Sweet
Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me - Mac Davis
Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
It Never Rains In Southern California - Albert Hammond
Brand New Key - Melanie
Come And Get Your Love - Redbone
Everybody Plays The Fool - The Main Ingredient
Hitchin' A Ride - Vanity Fair
I Can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash
Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian) - Paul Revere & the Raiders
Cover Of The Rolling Stone - Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
When Will I See You Again - The Three Degrees
Rich Girl - Daryl Hall and John Oates
Miracles - Jefferson Starship
Best Of My Love - The Emotions
Here You Come Again - Dolly Parton
Lady Marmalade - Labelle
You Make Me Feel Like Dancing - Leo Sayer
Fire - The Pointer Sisters
Disco Lady - Johnnie Taylor
Saturday Night - Bay City Rollers
I Go Crazy - Paul Davis
Stumblin' In - Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman
Rock On - David Essex
Wildfire - Michael Murphey
You Take My Breath Away - Rex Smith
Torn Between Two Lovers - Mary MacGregor
Let Your Love Flow - The Bellamy Brothers
Fly, Robin, Fly - Silver Convention
Bad Blood - Neil Sedaka
Mr. Big Stuff - Jean Knight
Delta Dawn - Helen Reddy
Alone Again (Naturally) - Gilbert O'Sullivan
American Pie - Don McClean
Sentimental Lady - Bob Welch
Rock Me Gently - Andy Kim
Go All The Way - Raspberries
Oh Babe, What Would You Say - Hurricane Smith
Hooked On A Feeling - Blue Swede
(You're) Having My Baby - Paul Anka & Odia Coates
Last Song - Edward Bear
The Streak - Ray Stevens
Rhinestone Cowboy - Glen Campbell
Too Late To Turn Back Now - Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
Sad Eyes - Robert John
Boogie Fever - The Sylvers
Magic - Pilot
Love Is In The Air - John Paul Young
Reminiscing - Little River Band
Boogie Oogie Oogie - A Taste of Honey
Devil Woman - Cliff Richard
Hot Child In The City - Nick Gilder
Right Back Where We Started From - Maxine Nightingale
Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky) - Bill Conti
My Sharona - The Knack
You Sexy Thing - Hot Chocolate
Have You Never Been Mellow - Olivia Newton-John
Play That Funky Music - Wild Cherry
My Maria - B. W. Stevenson
One Toke Over The Line - Brewer & Shipley
Afternoon Delight - Starland Vocal Band
Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me) - Reunion
I Can Help - Billy Swan
Magnet And Steel - Walter Egan
The Rapper - The Jaggerz
Beach Baby - First Class
O-o-h Child - The Five Stairsteps
Precious And Few - Climax
Brother Louie - Stories
Playground In My Mind - Clint Holmes
Put Your Hand In The Hand - Ocean
Please Come To Boston - Dave Loggins
Turn The Beat Around - Vicki Sue Robinson
Ring My Bell - Anita Ward
Don't Give Up On Us - David Soul
In The Summertime - Mungo Jerry
Seasons In The Sun - Terry Jacks
The Night Chicago Died - Paper Lace
Knock On Wood - Amii Stewart
Sometimes When We Touch - Dan Hill
Rose Garden - Lynn Anderson
Kung Fu Fighting - Carl Douglas
Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) - Edison Lighthouse
Sweet Mary - Wadsworth Mansion
The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia - Vicki Lawrence
TSOP (Clean Version) - MFSB
Feelings - Morris Albert

Anonymous said...

Ah yes. Lots of cheese here to be sure. One song that I hated that everyone else seemed to love and worship was Kenny Roger's "The Gambler". I worked at liquor store and was easily the youngest person there by 20 years so the radio station was dominated by the older guys who loved to listen to C&W. When "The Gambler" came out they all thought it was the most profound song of all time - as if with each listen, whole new levels of understanding would occur. One of the guys would get a tear in his eyes when Kenny delivered his tag line "Somewhere in the night, the Gambler he broke even" as if this
summed up the totality of life for all of humanity. The guy would get all teary and say something like "life is a gamble and you got to know when to hold'em...." I thought it was the cheesiest song I had heard up until that point and it was hard for me not to laugh. Of course I didn't want to get beat up
so I kept my mouth shut.


In any case I cannot emphasize just how much I hate that song.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I just have to say...Awww I love Three Dog Night's Joy To The World.

I'll take some wine with my cheese, please.

Anonymous said...

Even though years after "Anonymous" wrote about "tThe Gambler" I just had to say something him. I felt similar to him. But there is a deeper understanding he is missing. Im guessd a wonderful and easy life so far.He has not lived enough to have sacrificed or to have experienced heartbreaking losses or have life changing experiences. One day he will hear it again and it will mean more to him.

Anonymous said...

There is one song everybody has forgoten that is Middle Of The Road's Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep. This must surely top any 70's cheese list

Cheburashka said...

"My name is Michael/I've got a nickel/I've got a nickel/shiny and new./ I'm gonna buy me/all kinds of candy/that's what I'm gonna do.

That's the Kraft Mac & Cheese song--It's the cheesiest!

Anonymous said...

Minnie Ripperton's "Loving you"

ick

Loving you is easy cause you're beautiful. ooooh ooooh ooooh ooooh ooooh oooooooh...

She sure can hit the high notes though.

And how about Silver Convention's "Fly, Robin fly. Up, up to the sky" You never see that one listed on the lyrics engines.

sex shop said...

Thank you for your article, pretty worthwhile material.

Robert Little said...

Wow, just stumbled upon this. Anyway... Starland Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight" was released on their first album... in 1976. Yeah, made my bicentennial summer... swing.
Otherwise, neat list.