Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Year of Living Trivially

Today, as MJN remarked in the comments to the previous item, marks the one-year anniversary of "One Poor Correspondent." Thanks to all who have read and commented here. I hope you have enjoyed participating with this blog as much I have enjoyed writing it. For those of you who are just joining us and wondering what all the foofaraw is about, I suggest you start with this post, discussing the origins of "One Tin Soldier"; it may not be the best post we've ever done, but it's pretty good, and it's certainly archetypal of what we're trying to accomplish here.

I thought this might also be an opportune moment to discuss how I chose the title for this blog. The original idea came from the fact that notions or pieces of trivia often popped into my head that I would then send around to certain of my friends via email, except I was very sloppy about actually making sure the emails got written and sent. So I set up the blog in recognition of the fact that I had indeed been one poor correspondent.

And of course, the title references "Sister Golden Hair," the best single from the Seventies pop group America. It's been written that the band was made up of army brats living in Europe, hence the name, but one of them, Dewey Bunnell, was actually British. They came blasting out of the box in the spring of 1972 when their first single, "A Horse With No Name," went all the way to Number One. "Horse" was often described as a Neil Young ripoff, but the country was in the mood for one at the time. It was directly preceded in the top spot by "Heart of Gold," Young's only Number One hit (and only Top Thirty hit, as it happens).

The band became big enough to lure Beatles producer George Martin into its fold; Martin produced the hits "Tin Man" and "Lonely People" before twiddling the knobs for "Sister Golden Hair," which was released in the spring of 1975 as the first single from America's album Hearts (the band was in the habit of titling all its LPs with words starting with H). On June 14, 1975, it became America's second (and last) Number One single, sneaking into the top spot for a lone week between John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" and the Captain & Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together." The opening guitar riff is based on George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord," but of course Harrison had no standing to complain about the seeming plagiarism.

By that December, three years into their hitmaking career, America had enough material to release History: America's Greatest Hits (note the H), with cover art by a graphic designer then known as Phil Hartmann. Down one N, he would be later known as one of America's greatest sketch comedians.

And that's all I got. Hope the second year of OPC is as much fun as the first.

No comments: