All Day Music

(Pictured: Helen Reddy, who was quite a big star by the middle of the 1970s when this photo was taken. In 1971, she scored her first hits on the American chart.)

After writing about the AT40 show from September 18, 1971, earlier this week, I looked up the full Billboard Hot 100 for that week. Holy smokes there was some interesting stuff beyond the Top 40. (For the chart, see page 66 at this link.)

41. “All Day Music”/War. This would reach only to #35 on the Hot 100 in October, but it peaked at #4 in mid-September on WLS. As a result, “All Day Music” is one of my most indelible memories of the fall of ’71. If you aren’t completely sucked into that easy groove, check your pulse to make sure you ain’t dead.

43. “Marianne”/Stephen Stills. The theme of this post is apparently going to be “songs that vastly outperformed their national number on WLS.” “Marianne” would hit #42 on the Hot 100 but #6 in Chicago.

44. “Go Down Gamblin'”/Blood Sweat and Tears. Just fallen out of the Top 40, “Go Down Gamblin’” kicks your ass and the asses of your neighbors before going out to flag down random asses on the Interstate and kick them too.

45. “Stagger Lee”/Tommy Roe. A bubblegum version of the most notorious murder ballad in the history of the blues? Sure, gimme that.

47. “Lovin’ Her Was Easier”/Kris Kristofferson. Waylon Jennings and Tompall Glaser had more famous recordings of “Lovin’ Her Was Easier,” but Kristofferson, who wrote the song, does a pretty good version.

49. “Easy Loving”/Freddie Hart. This is a record we have dug around here since always. “Easy Loving” would reach the pop Top 20 late in 1971 and win the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year award for both 1971 and 1972. You could loop the first 11 seconds of it and I’d listen to it for an hour.

51. “Crazy Love”/Helen Reddy. A version of the Van Morrison song from Moondance. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time.

53. “Take Me Girl, I’m Ready”/Jr. Walker and the All-Stars. Any list of great Motown choruses had better include “Take Me Girl, I’m Ready.” It sounds a lot like “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love),” but I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.

57. “Annabella”/Hamilton Joe Frank & Reynolds. The followup to “Don’t Pull Your Love,” “Annabella” is a fine singalong ballad that made #46 on the Hot 100, although WLS charted it as high as #23 in a three-week chart run.

61. “Gimme Shelter”/Grand Funk Railroad. More volume, less subtlety. This version of “Gimme Shelter” is mostly an historical curiosity.

63. “How Can I Unlove You”/Lynn Anderson. For listeners who enjoyed her smash hit “Rose Garden” earlier in 1971, here it is again. Anderson died earlier this summer at the age of 67.

67. “Think His Name”/Johnny Rivers. Co-credited to the Guru Ram Das Ashram Singers, “Think His Name” is nevertheless a straight-up Jesus-rock number of the sort you might have been taught by an enthusiastic revival leader or church camp counselor. Needs to be 2:10, lasts 4:40.

74. “Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll”/Long John Baldry. What you want more than the song itself is the story with which Baldry introduces it, about the British bobby who busted him for playing “boojie woojie music.”

81. “Charity Ball”/Fanny. Another record we have dug around here since always. Despite reaching only #40 on the Hot 100, “Charity Ball” would go to #3 at WLS in November and kick whatever asses remained unkicked by “Go Down Gamblin’.”

98. “It’s for You”/Springwell. “It’s for You” is a psychedelic freak-out version of the Lennon and McCartney song originally written for Cilla Black. Springwell was a Detroit-area band that shared bills with Ted Nugent, Bob Seger, and other Motor City acts in the early 70s.

The week of September 18, 1971, was a pretty solid week of hits from #1 to #100, all told. Well, maybe from #2 to #100.

5 responses

  1. Life was a hell of a lot more interesting when non-motorized ass kicking was still permitted on freeways.

    Your mention of the Tommy Roe cover and “Crazy Love” triggered a recollection of Helen Reddy’s Carole King/Toni Stern-penned follow-up, “No Sad Song.” Could the tale of a murderous bloodbath possibly be set to a cheerier melody? Little wonder “NSS” has been a no-show on Helen’s numerous hits compilations.

    There were only two LPs I ever returned that weren’t defective: Tommy James & The Shondells’ ‘Crimson & Clover’ (for reasons you can probably guess) and Fanny’s ‘Charity Ball.’ Reprise hadn’t bothered to re-press the LP substituting the kick-ass single version for the lame-o original title track. I’m guessing I hadn’t been the first to return it; there were no questions asked and I exchanged it for Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’ (and special-ordered the “Charity Ball” 45, which had already fallen off the chart.)

    1. Yup, of all the differences between 45s and album versions we’ve discussed here lo these many years, “Charity Ball” is one of the biggest. The 45 has more swagger than Van Halen. The album version just sits there doing nothing…like the Gary Cherone version of Van Halen.

  2. when War starts layering those “all day, all day, all days” I’m a goner. Now it makes sense why these songs (“Marrianne,” “Go Down Gamblin'”) are remembered more by me; I was a WLS listener from ’69 to about ’81.

    I first heard Three Dog Night do the odd arrangement of “It’s For You.” Then heard the identical version by Springwell, so I’m not sure who was first.

    1. The Doggers’ “IFY” preceded Springwell’s by some 30 months (as the late-’68 B-side of “Nobody.”) Love the arrangement; another “All Day” layered thing of beauty.

  3. Even forty-four years later, I still get a thrill when Long John Baldry delivers his punch line, Ian Armitt leads the way on the piano and Baldry’s band begins to kick some serious boojie-woojie ass.

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