Monday, June 2, 2008

Be Thankful for What You Had

On the American Top Forty for June 8, 1974, Casey Kasem told a sweet story of an R&B singer named William DeVaughn, who worked for seven years drawing up plans for sewers in his hometown of Washington, D.C., while he tried to get his singing career off the ground. According to Casey, DeVaughn started thinking about quitting his day job when his hit song, "Be Thankful for What You Got," hit the Hot 100. When it crashed the Top Forty three weeks later, DeVaughn hung up his drawing tools.

You see where this is going, don't you? DeVaughn's hit, a slight R&B number of little distinction sung in a smooth Curtis Mayfield-type near-falsetto, was at Number Eleven when Casey spun his little tale. It would eventually reach Number Four, which probably made DeVaughn's decision look pretty good. In fact, DeVaughn's choice seemed wise for ten weeks, which is as long as "Be Thankful for What You Got" lasted in the Top Forty.

DeVaughn's second single, "Blood Is Thicker Than Water," topped out at Number 43 in the summer of 1974, and that was more or less it. There were no more hits, and according to Wikipedia, DeVaughn eventually went back to drafting. I'm sure they were happy to have him back.

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