Sunday, May 18, 2008

Are You Ready for the Country?

On the American Top Forty from May 14, 1975, Casey Kasem noted that B.J. Thomas' "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" had recently hit Number One on the country chart. I had never thought of that as a country song back then, but listening to it now, it certainly had that flavor to it.

I didn't listen to much of anything but pure Top Forty back then, so I had a very limited knowledge of what was happening in country music. Unless it was an obvious crossover, like the pop hits of Charlie Rich, I never thought that any of the songs I was listening to could have been country hits as well.

But in reality, there was a whole lot of crossin' over going on. Although I can hear the C&W in them now, when these songs were making some noise on the country charts in the 1970s, it was wholly unbeknownst to me:

* Olivia Newton-John's "Let Me Be There" went to Number Seven on the country charts in 1973; "Have You Never Been Mellow" went to Number Three and "Please Mr. Please" went to Number Five, both in 1975

* Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown" went to Number 13 on the country charts in 1974

* Billy Swan's "I Can Help" went to Number One on the country charts in 1974. His real name was Billy Lance Swan.

* C.W. McCall's "Convoy" went to Number One on the country charts in 1976

* Linda Ronstadt's "When Will I Be Loved" went to Number One on the country charts in 1975

* Anne Murray's "I Just Fall in Love Again," "Shadows in the Moonlight," and "Broken Hearted Me" all went to Number One on the country charts in 1979

* John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" went to Number One on the country charts in 1975. Well, I guess that one's no surprise.


Scraps said...

One of the things I regret about letting go of the Seventies Survival Project -- which I may yet resurrect in another form -- is that I didn't have the opportunity to talk about how much I love the changing choruses of "Sundown", and how great the development of "Let Me Be There" is -- corny key change and everything.

Scraps said...

And "I Can Help" is awesome. It never sounded country to me, but I think Swan was an established country performer at that point.

T. Nawrocki said...

One nice thing about "Let Me Be There" is that the bass voice singing counterpoint to ON-J, sounding exactly like an Oak Ridge Boy, is actually a British guy named Mike Sammes.

Pike said...

To this day, I wonder if he or she actually had even been mellow.

T. Nawrocki said...

Or even if he or she had ever tried.