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The Next 100 Songs from 1975, aka Sanbornpalooza. #1: Black Friday (1 Viewer)

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
Did one version chart much better/higher?
Tempts: #1 R&B, #26 pop

Snow: did not chart R&B, #70 pop 

If you are my age (born in early '70s), you may have come across her version first because she performed it with the New York Rock and Soul Revue with Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald in the early '90s; it was included on the live album they put out. 

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
26. Holdin' on to Yesterday -- Ambrosia (from Ambrosia)

Before their yacht rock period, Ambrosia had a top 40 hit with this song from their debut album. It was the beginning of a frequent theme in David Pack's lyrics, also heard in their big three yacht rock hits: Obsession with former lovers. Among all the tracks on the debut, this is the most obvious sign of what was to come, as it has smooth electric piano and soaring harmonies. It also makes great use of organ, violin and jazzy guitar. 

 
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Mr. Mojo

Footballguy
27. Holdin' on to Yesterday -- Ambrosia (from Ambrosia)

Before their yacht rock period, Ambrosia had a top 40 hit with this song from their debut album. It was the beginning of a frequent theme in David Pack's lyrics, also heard in their big three yacht rock hits: Obsession with former lovers. Among all the tracks on the debut, this is the most obvious sign of what was to come, as it has smooth electric piano and soaring harmonies. It also makes great use of organ, violin and jazzy guitar. 
Great song!

 

krista4

Footballguy
28. Wake Up Everybody -- Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (from Wake Up Everybody)

Another of the biggest achievements of the Philadelphia International label/Philly soul movement, this song was that empire's equivalent to Marvin Gaye's What's Going On. Co-written by Gene McFadden and John Whitehead (who would later have a huge hit of their own with Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now), the song features a chilling lead vocal from Teddy Pendergrass* and lyrics calling attention to the decay of our society, which are relevant more than ever today. 

* - yes, the lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes was not Harold Melvin. 

Title tracks in this countdown: 13 (of 72; 18%, still about 1 in 5). 
Wow, I don't recall ever hearing this song, and it was phenomenal.

 

Uruk-Hai

Footballguy
38. Sing a Song -- Earth, Wind & Fire (from Gratitude)

As I mentioned earlier, 1975 was a huge year for EWF. Early in the year, the That's the Way of the World album and its smash single Shining Star (on Tim's list) took the band to a new level of popularity, and their live act that year increased dramatically in scale and venue size. This was captured at the end of the year with the stunning live album Gratitude.

But Gratitude was not merely a showcase for their concert prowess. All of side 4 and one song on side 3 were new studio recordings, two of which were released as singles to keep the momentum rolling. Of those, Sing a Song became another huge hit, and distills everything that they had reaped in '75. The vocals soar, the horns play a countermelody and the rest of the band funks the hell out of things. And the lyrics continued the brimming positivity of Shining Star. 
Uruk-Hipping incoming.......

I'll put EWF up against any band that made records in the '70s. Whatever your band did well, EWF could do better. The only thing I never heard them do was super-charged power-chord guitar music, but I reckon they could kill that too if they wanted.

They were a band full of ringers. All jazz and/or session vets that had already paid their dues by the time they hit big. In other words, this wasn't any garage band. EWF knew exactly what they were doing and knew how to do it. They went a little off the deep end with the zodiac/messianic stuff, but the talent and the records were so good it didn't matter.

They and Steely Dan were like two edges of the same coin.

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
Uruk-Hipping incoming.......

I'll put EWF up against any band that made records in the '70s. Whatever your band did well, EWF could do better. The only thing I never heard them do was super-charged power-chord guitar music, but I reckon they could kill that too if they wanted.

They were a band full of ringers. All jazz and/or session vets that had already paid their dues by the time they hit big. In other words, this wasn't any garage band. EWF knew exactly what they were doing and knew how to do it. They went a little off the deep end with the zodiac/messianic stuff, but the talent and the records were so good it didn't matter.

They and Steely Dan were like two edges of the same coin.
I couldn't agree more with the bolded. In Tim's thread, I mentioned that there were two major pop acts who had a ton of hits in '75 that I was stunned had only one song each on Tim's countdown. EWF was one of them. The other was

KC and the Sunshine Band.

EWF and the Dan worked in different genres, but they share the same intense dedication to songcraft and perfectionism in the studio. And with both, as you mentioned with EWF, most of the instrumental parts were played by jazz veterans. It really hit me when I listened closely to EWF's I Am (1979). The production techniques, the arrangements, the transitions between the songs, all at once it struck me: This is the R&B Aja. 

 
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Uruk-Hai

Footballguy
34. Fight the Power (Parts 1 & 2) -- The Isley Brothers (from The Heat Is On)

Fierce, socially conscious funk. Jam out with your bad selves.

Time is truly wastin'
There's no guarantee
Smile's in the makin'
You gotta fight the powers that be
Got so many forces
Stayin' on the scene
Givin' up all around me
Faces full a' pain
I can't play my music
They say my music's too loud
I kept talkin about it
I got the big run around
When I rolled with the punches
I got knocked on the ground
With all this bull#### going down


&
George Clinton was already 90% into his version of Ray Bradbury-meets-Sly Stone, but I have to imagine he went  :wall:  when he heard this.

The Isleys went onto rewrite this approximately 1 bazillion times on their nest few albums

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
24. Both Ends Burning -- Roxy Music (from Siren)

This is a hell of a slow, uh, burn. It's one of those songs that predicted the future -- by the early '80s, a ton of bands were sounding like this, particularly copying the way the synths and sax were used. Not so much in 1975. The second half is spectacular, with Bryan Ferry pleading "til the end!" and Phil Manzanera going off on guitar. 

 
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Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
27. Holdin' on to Yesterday -- Ambrosia (from Ambrosia)

Before their yacht rock period, Ambrosia had a top 40 hit with this song from their debut album. It was the beginning of a frequent theme in David Pack's lyrics, also heard in their big three yacht rock hits: Obsession with former lovers. Among all the tracks on the debut, this is the most obvious sign of what was to come, as it has smooth electric piano and soaring harmonies. It also makes great use of organ, violin and jazzy guitar. 
One of my older sisters was really into Ambrosia.  I always liked their sound.

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
22. Backstreets -- Bruce Springsteen (from Born to Run)

As I mentioned in the Neil countdown and elsewhere, I'm not really into Springsteen. Luckily, one of my favorites from him happens to be a song from 1975 that didn't appear on Tim's list. The piano/organ interplay, especially at the beginning, works really well, and while I'm not normally a fan of Bruce's loud/gruff vocals, here they do a good job of conveying the desperation of the characters. And the "hiding on the backstreets" coda is an earworm that is impossible to get out of your mind. 

 
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Uruk-Hai

Footballguy
Pip's Invitation said:
24. That's the Way (I Like It) -- KC and the Sunshine Band (from KC and the Sunshine Band)

I mentioned that EWF was one of two bands that were huge in '75 that I was surprised only appeared once on Tim's list. This is the other. This song was a childhood favorite and has held up over time. If hearing this doesn't make you happy, I don't know what will. 
I saw them in concert at the old Capital Centre outside of DC in 1977. That was probably when they were at their peak as hitmakers. The band was really tight, but KC - no Sinatra on his best day in the studio - was NOT a good singer in concert. Didn't matter much, as vocals weren't their thing anyway.

I don't recall the openers, but the Trammps were up before KC and kicked ###.

 

FairWarning

Footballguy
I saw them in concert at the old Capital Centre outside of DC in 1977. That was probably when they were at their peak as hitmakers. The band was really tight, but KC - no Sinatra on his best day in the studio - was NOT a good singer in concert. Didn't matter much, as vocals weren't their thing anyway.

I don't recall the openers, but the Trammps were up before KC and kicked ###.
Pre-pandemic, they were still doing the casino concert scene.  They were huge in the mid 70's, snd surprised there wasn't more on the original countdown.

 

krista4

Footballguy
Our new superintendent plays Wake Up Everybody at the beginning of every meeting we have, except he usually plays the recent John Legend cover. It’s our theme for the year.

I prefer Harold Melvin.
I'll have to check out that cover, even if it pales in comparison.  

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
21. Mothership Connection (Star Child) -- Parliament (from Mothership Connection)

This groove is masterful in the way it comes off as laid back but not lethargic. Everyone in the P-Funk universe is at the top of their game here, and it may be the apex of George Clinton's sci-fi obsession. Not surprisingly, it has been sampled constantly, most notably by Dr. Dre on Let Me Ride. In addition, Kool and the Gang's Ladies Night borrows heavily from this song and another one from this album, Night of the Thumposaurus Peoples. 

Title tracks in this countdown: 14 (of 79; still 18%).

 
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Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
The next three songs were among the best pop the mid-70s had to offer. The other two were big hits, and this one should have been; I think @Binky The Doormat will agree with me on that.

20. Real Man -- Todd Rundgren (from Initiation)

Todd has a real way with melody, and this song is one of his best in that regard. It was also, like entry #24, predictive of future musical trends. The music on this track is almost entirely driven by synthesizers; that became common in the '80s, but not so much in 1975, at least in the US. Yet Todd's vocal and lyrics are incredibly soulful and emotional. 

I see with my heart
I hear with my heart
I feel with my heart
Sometimes it works better
And some so-called friends put me down
And they pity me for trying
Bad emotions push me around
But the vision shines on and on
It will shine when we all are gone
And I'd like to add a little sparkle while I'm here
Light it up - way down inside me
There's a real man, a real man
Forget about bad feelings and be a real man

&

 
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Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
I screwed up and my planned #20 was actually 1974, with no way to make it qualify for '75. I'll reshuffle and update in a few hours when I come back from errands. For now, here's the next thing.

19. How Long -- Ace (released as a single)

Five a Side, the debut album from Paul Carrack's first band Ace, came out in late '74, but the band's only major hit was not released as a single until '75. It sounds like it's about someone finding out that their partner has been cheating, but it was actually written by Carrack after he found out that bassist Terry "Tex" Comer was playing in another band without telling anyone from Ace. Carrack's trademark expressive vocals are already there, and the music is smooth and slick without devolving into flabby. 

 
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Binky The Doormat

Footballguy
I screwed up and my planned #20 was actually 1974, with no way to make it qualify for '75. I'll reshuffle and update in a few hours when I come back from errands. For now, here's the next thing.

20. How Long -- Ace (released as a single)

Five a Side, the debut album from Paul Carrack's first band Ace, came out in late '74, but the band's only major hit was not released as a single until '75. It sounds like it's about someone finding out that their partner has been cheating, but it was actually written by Carrack after he found out that bassist Terry "Tex" Comer was playing in another band without telling anyone from Ace. Carrack's trademark expressive vocals are already there, and the music is smooth and slick without devolving into flabby. 
such a great example of songs I hated when they came out ...

that I love now.  maybe just for the nostalgia, but there are plenty of times I really enjoy the whole "yacht rock" genre.  

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
such a great example of songs I hated when they came out ...

that I love now.  maybe just for the nostalgia, but there are plenty of times I really enjoy the whole "yacht rock" genre.  
I wouldn’t say hated in my case because I was 4 when this was on the charts, but by the 80s when I was old enough to form my own opinions and start my own collection, I had no interest in this song or others like it. But I love it now.

 

Binky The Doormat

Footballguy
I wouldn’t say hated in my case because I was 4 when this was on the charts, but by the 80s when I was old enough to form my own opinions and start my own collection, I had no interest in this song or others like it. But I love it now.
Fall of '75 was my HS senior year - and the vast majority of rock that was on the radio was pretty gross.  

I kind of enjoy a lot of that stuff now as nostalgia - and radio music quickly went even further downhill (like off a cliff) with the popularity of disco.  

I had moved onto punk and new wave by the next year (and album rock that was typically on a couple of the local FM stations)

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
Here are songs I considered for but cut from the countdown by artists appearing in entries 29-21. In spoiler text for those who don't want to know what's not on the list.

Ambrosia: 


Nice, Nice, Very Nice (from Ambrosia)

This, the first song on Ambrosia's first album, displays the musical talent of all four original members without showing off. Fans of the Hammond organ will enjoy Christopher North's work on this one. The lyrics are credited to Kurt Vonnegut, as they come from a poem in his novel Cat's Cradle. 

Time Waits for No One (from Ambrosia

This is one of the most proggy Ambrosia tunes, with strange time signatures and exotic percussion and classical-sounding guitar parts. But this isn't Gentle Giant or anything like that. The strong harmonies are still there and nothing dwells any longer than it has to. David Pack's guitar solo at 4:00 sounds an awful lot like Steve Howe. 

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes:

Bad Luck (from Wake Up Everybody)

The rhythm at the beginning of this is so odd that Richard Pryor joked about how difficult it was to dance to this song. This is another Philly International signature hit, and it is definitely on the disco side of the funk/disco bridge that was being crossed in '75. IMO the best part is the vamp during the second half of the album version (which was cut from the single version), in which Teddy Pendergrass does his best Otis Redding.

Parliament:

Chocolate City (from Chocolate City)

Some of the musical and structural ideas that drove the best tracks of Mothership Connection can also be heard on this track from earlier in '75. The lyrics extol majority-African American cities and postulate what it would be like with a African American president. Glad George Clinton lived to see that, even if it wasn't Muhammad Ali.

Bruce Springsteen:

She's the One (from Born to Run)

I like how this one builds to Clarence Clemons' sax riffs about two-thirds of the way through.
 

zamboni

Footballguy
I screwed up and my planned #20 was actually 1974, with no way to make it qualify for '75. I'll reshuffle and update in a few hours when I come back from errands. For now, here's the next thing.

19. How Long -- Ace (released as a single)

Five a Side, the debut album from Paul Carrack's first band Ace, came out in late '74, but the band's only major hit was not released as a single until '75. It sounds like it's about someone finding out that their partner has been cheating, but it was actually written by Carrack after he found out that bassist Terry "Tex" Comer was playing in another band without telling anyone from Ace. Carrack's trademark expressive vocals are already there, and the music is smooth and slick without devolving into flabby. 
I think this is a big miss by Tim not to be in his original 100, unless it didn’t meet his release year requirement. Paul Carrack could sing the Oscar Mayer bologna commercial and it would be amazing.

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
I think this is a big miss by Tim not to be in his original 100, unless it didn’t meet his release year requirement. Paul Carrack could sing the Oscar Mayer bologna commercial and it would be amazing.
For songs that were album '74/single '75 or vice versa, I considered them but I believe Tim did not. 

 

DocHolliday

Footballguy
such a great example of songs I hated when they came out ...

that I love now.  maybe just for the nostalgia, but there are plenty of times I really enjoy the whole "yacht rock" genre.  
How Long is a definitive 70s song for me.  It’s always annoyed me though.  I don’t dislike it as much as I did in the past but I still can’t like it.  It’s nice t a bad song.  Just something about it.  

 

Binky The Doormat

Footballguy
Were you rabid about Todd by '75? 
Spring of '73 I first heard the AWATS album - and my buddy, who had bought the album because the cover looked wild, then proceeded to tell that this crazy #### was the same guy who did Hello It's Me and I Saw The Light.  He had the Something/Anything album too.  It didn't take long to then hear he was the guy that did "We Gotta Get You A Woman" that I loved when I was 12.  

Saw him live for the first time (and third concert ever) a couple of months later that May.  Hooked for life.  :)  

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
18. Daisy Jane -- America (from Hearts)

@krista4 alert! This song has cello and was produced by George Martin!

Martin began producing America (the band) the year before with Holiday. While that album produced two fantastic hit singles in Tin Man and Lonely People, the rest of it felt forced into the 1966-67 Beatles mold and IMO has not dated well. America and Martin worked together again for Hearts and came up with a sound that better blended the strengths of the Beatles with the best qualities of what the band already brought to the table. Its most famous song, Sister Golden Hair, topped the charts and appeared on Tim's list, but I like Daisy Jane, its other top 20 hit, even better. Gerry Beckley turns in a sympathetic vocal beautifully offset by the piano, and the transition into the faster "does she really love me" part is recordmaking at its finest. 

As a bonus, this is a pretty straightforward love song and has no head scratching moments in its lyrics. There's no "will you meet me in the middle, will you meet me in the air," "alligator lizards in the air" or "in the desert, you can remember your name" here. 

 

krista4

Footballguy
18. Daisy Jane -- America (from Hearts)

@krista4 alert! This song has cello and was produced by George Martin!

Martin began producing America (the band) the year before with Holiday. While that album produced two fantastic hit singles in Tin Man and Lonely People, the rest of it felt forced into the 1966-67 Beatles mold and IMO has not dated well. America and Martin worked together again for Hearts and came up with a sound that better blended the strengths of the Beatles with the best qualities of what the band already brought to the table. Its most famous song, Sister Golden Hair, topped the charts and appeared on Tim's list, but I like Daisy Jane, its other top 20 hit, even better. Gerry Beckley turns in a sympathetic vocal beautifully offset by the piano, and the transition into the faster "does she really love me" part is recordmaking at its finest. 

As a bonus, this is a pretty straightforward love song and has no head scratching moments in its lyrics. There's no "will you meet me in the middle, will you meet me in the air," "alligator lizards in the air" or "in the desert, you can remember your name" here. 
Wow, beautiful song.  Thanks for tagging me, as there's a good chance I wouldn't have listened due to general distaste for this band.

 

BobbyLayne

Footballguy
18. Daisy Jane -- America (from Hearts)

@krista4 alert! This song has cello and was produced by George Martin!

Martin began producing America (the band) the year before with Holiday. While that album produced two fantastic hit singles in Tin Man and Lonely People, the rest of it felt forced into the 1966-67 Beatles mold and IMO has not dated well. America and Martin worked together again for Hearts and came up with a sound that better blended the strengths of the Beatles with the best qualities of what the band already brought to the table. Its most famous song, Sister Golden Hair, topped the charts and appeared on Tim's list, but I like Daisy Jane, its other top 20 hit, even better. Gerry Beckley turns in a sympathetic vocal beautifully offset by the piano, and the transition into the faster "does she really love me" part is recordmaking at its finest. 

As a bonus, this is a pretty straightforward love song and has no head scratching moments in its lyrics. There's no "will you meet me in the middle, will you meet me in the air," "alligator lizards in the air" or "in the desert, you can remember your name" here. 
♥️

8th grade, trying to get up enough courage to walk across the basketball court to ask Tracey Butler to dance with me

 

BobbyLayne

Footballguy
I screwed up and my planned #20 was actually 1974, with no way to make it qualify for '75. I'll reshuffle and update in a few hours when I come back from errands. For now, here's the next thing.

19. How Long -- Ace (released as a single)

Five a Side, the debut album from Paul Carrack's first band Ace, came out in late '74, but the band's only major hit was not released as a single until '75. It sounds like it's about someone finding out that their partner has been cheating, but it was actually written by Carrack after he found out that bassist Terry "Tex" Comer was playing in another band without telling anyone from Ace. Carrack's trademark expressive vocals are already there, and the music is smooth and slick without devolving into flabby. 
wasn't my thing but well worn, well remembered radio hit

one of those "huh, never knew who that was" kind of deals

 

BobbyLayne

Footballguy
22. Backstreets -- Bruce Springsteen (from Born to Run)

As I mentioned in the Neil countdown and elsewhere, I'm not really into Springsteen. Luckily, one of my favorites from him happens to be a song from 1975 that didn't appear on Tim's list. The piano/organ interplay, especially at the beginning, works really well, and while I'm not normally a fan of Bruce's loud/gruff vocals, here they do a good job of conveying the desperation of the characters. And the "hiding on the backstreets" coda is an earworm that is impossible to get out of your mind. 
the whole album is all killer no filler

learned to appreciate the boss later than most, but my buddy Fleet* loved him and we were usually getting high at his house so I got exposed to it a lot

*actual actual first name

 

BobbyLayne

Footballguy
43. Fool for the City -- Foghat (from Fool for the City)

Fun, chugging hard rock from the same album as Slow Ride, which was on Tim's list. I luck the unexpected turn the bridge takes with the acoustic guitar and funky bass. That's then followed by an outstanding guitar solo from Rod Price. I latched onto this in the early '80s, when a live version got regular play in the first years of MTV. 

Title tracks in the countdown so far: 11 (of 57), if we count Wind on the Water, which is a section of To the Last Whale

That's a pretty high percentage, almost 1 in 5, given that most '70s (non-jazz or prog) albums had between 8 and 12 songs. I don't think I have a specific bias toward them. More likely, artists might have been inclined to name their album after a song they really liked/thought was important/thought had potential to be a hit. It was also not uncommon in the '70s to follow a successful single with an quickly assembled album named after it (Who Loves You is an example of this). 
Foghat is THE perfect example of mid-70's rock - so bad it's ...still not good.*

*ETA:  big qualifier - this applies to top 40 rock - pure album rock was and still is majestic.  

Edited October 25 by Binky The Doormat
I'm so content to not reevaluate my music choices from when I was a young teenager.

####### love this song.

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
Wow, beautiful song.  Thanks for tagging me, as there's a good chance I wouldn't have listened due to general distaste for this band.
Given that you like this song and presumably hate A Horse with No Name and the stuff that sounds like it (that song is usually a big reason why people don't like the band), I'll recommend these two:

Miniature/Tin Man (1974). You may have heard Tin Man, one of their big hits, but hearing it with the instrumental that leads into it on the album adds a whole different dimension: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnUYZY9MSMQ

Today's the Day (1976). Another gorgeous ballad IMO. I'm not even sure it's supposed to be a sad song, but it makes me sad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vww1H1zrA6k

 

Bracie Smathers

Footballguy
such a great example of songs I hated when they came out ...

that I love now.  maybe just for the nostalgia, but there are plenty of times I really enjoy the whole "yacht rock" genre.  
I think this is code.

He's com'n round on the Eagles.

♥️

8th grade, trying to get up enough courage to walk across the basketball court to ask Tracey Butler to dance with me
So romantic.

What did he say? 🤡

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
17. In France They Kiss on Main Street -- Joni Mitchell (from The Hissing of Summer Lawns)

Again, I don't understand the people who think Joni started to go off the rails with this album. On this, the first track and first single from Hissing, she sounds EXACTLY like she did on Court and Spark. It only reached #66 but should have been just as big a hit as Help Me and Free Man in Paris. The song tells a story of how the advent of rock and roll in the '50s awakens a girl to the possibilities of life beyond small-town existence. The music draws from folk and jazz, as did Court and Spark's, and would not sound out of place on a Steely Dan album. In fact, the fantastic guitar solo is played by Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, who had recently left the Dan and joined the Doobie Brothers. 

 

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