Paul Heinz

Original Fiction, Music and Essays

Filtering by Tag: 1975

Record Night Celebrates 1975

After a five month absence, record night returned with a vengeance last Saturday night to Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, as five high school classmates converged to celebrate 1975.  For me, ’75 is a bit of an oddball year.  None of the punk and post-punk bands I admire (Graham Parker, The Clash, Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, The Police, The Cars, The Knack, The Kings, Off Broadway, Nick Lowe) arrive until another year or two, and some of my prog-rock favorites (Yes, Genesis) are on hiatus that year.  Peter Gabriel, Rickie Lee Jones and Heart haven’t put out an album yet, the Rolling Stones are off, and so are Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder.

Nonetheless, there’s a lot of great stuff from the middle of the decade that I most admire, and much of it was unknown to me, which just goes to show you that even five like-minded white middle-class guys can surprise each other once in a while.  My favorite surprises of the evening: Ambrosia and Roxy Music.

Here’s the list (note: a few of these songs were released on LP in ’74 but charted in ’75):

Boogie On Reggae Woman, Stevie Wonder

Magneto and Titanium Man, Wings

Jesus Christ, Big Star

Superstarz, Black Sabbath

Black Diamond, Kiss

Gratitude, Earth, Wind and Fire

She Sells, Roxy Music

Travelin’ Man, Bob Seger

People, People, Tommy Bolin

Lorelei, Styx

Down the Road, Kansas

Running Out of Time, Climax Blues Band

Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen

I Don’t Know Why, Rolling Stones

Sexy Thing, Hot Chocolate

Dan Dare, Elton John

Easy Does It, Supertramp

Sister Moonshine, Supertramp

Nice, Nice, Very Nice, Ambrosia

Fame, David Bowie

Across The Universe, David Bowie

Buckets of Rain, Bob Dylan

Mystery Mountain, Journey

Love Roller Coaster, Ohio Players

Nights on Broadway, Bee Gees

Slipkid, The Who

Kojak Columbo, Harry Nilsson

Slow Ride, Foghat

Heard it on the X, ZZ Top

Lady Marmalade, Patti Labelle

Meeting Across the River, Bruce Springsteen

Custard Pie, Led Zeppelin

Beggars Day, Nazareth

Please Don’t Judas Me, Nazareth

Ballroom Blitz, Sweet

Wouldn’t You Like It, Bay City Rollers

Now Look, Ron Wood

I’m So Afraid, Fleetwood Mac

The Hard Way, The Kinks

Kung Fu Fighting, Carl Douglas

Do the Hustle, Van McCoy

I Believe in Father Christmas, Greg Lake

Deuce, Kiss

Fountain of Lamneth (part 1), Rush

Never Been Any Reason, Head East

Chevy Van, Sammy Johns

Round and Round, Aerosmith

South’s Gonna Do It Again, Charlie Daniels Band

Have a Good Time, Paul Simon

Ride the Tiger, Jefferson Starship

Something’s Coming’ Up, Barry Manilow

Sister Golden Hair Surprise, America

Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow, Joni Mitchell

Misery, Soul Asylum (a night’s end post-1975 selection)

Girls with Guns, Tommy Shaw (a night’s end post-1975 selection)

Musical Memories: B.J. Thomas

At quiet times, typically during the cognitive equivalent of brackish water, when I lie half awake and half asleep, my subconscious sometimes plays a mental jukebox from my youth, delving into snippets of music whose latent melodies bubble to the surface of recognition some forty years later, producing memories of transistor radios crackling with pop songs on 920 AM, WOKY Milwaukee.

My recollection begins around 1973 with “The Morning After” from The Poseidon Adventure, Marvin Hamlisch’s version of Joplin’s “The Entertainer” from The Sting, Sweet’s “Little Willy” and – who could forget? – “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando and Dawn.  How about “The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia” by Vicki Lawrence (of The Carol Burnett Show fame), “Killing Me Softly with His Song” by Roberta Flack, or the early hits by Olivia Newton-John, The Carpenters, Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, Todd Rundgren and Harry Nilsson?

Oh yeah.  It’s all coming back to me now, Celine.

About a month ago, my memory set its needle on the groove of the following lyric: “Hey, won’t you play another somebody done somebody wrong song.”

Holy crap.  That’s some obscure shit.  I had no idea where it came from, but I needed to know who the heck sang it.  Lo and behold, it’s not a one-hit wonder at all, and while he may not be a household name to many these days, he’s still around and still singing: B.J. Thomas.

Remember him?  I didn’t.  For reasons unknown, his name doesn’t get tossed around as often as the aforementioned singers of the 70s, but you’ve undoubtedly heard him, most notably in the 1969 classic movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  Towit:

Yeah, that’s the stuff.  It reached number one on the U.S., and it wasn’t Thomas’s first or last foray into the pop charts; he’d already scored a few hits with “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and “Hooked on a Feeling” (the original recording, not the 1974 cover by Blue Suede).  To date, he’s the recipient of eleven gold records, two platinum records and five Grammy Awards, and he’s sold more than 70 million albums.

Clearly, he’s a guy whose name should be known.  Forgive me, B.J.  I have officially righted a wrong.

But it’s Thomas’s 1975 number-one hit, “Hey, Won’t You Play, Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” that still echoes within my interior walls with recollections of rides in the Plymouth Gold Duster, my Mom taking me to Sentry where we’d exchange our 8-pack of empty Coke bottles for a new set, and upon our return home, she’d fix me a bowl of graham crackers in milk (yeah, that was my snack of choice, along with apple sauce and cottage cheese with a dash of cinnamon).  Later, I’d get out the sprinkler and place it on the uneven patio blocks – uneven because I would often pry them up to peer at the ant colonies underneath – and I’d run through the water while my sister hung upside down on the swingset.

And from inside the patio doors, the sounds of B.J. Thomas would crackle: "…and make me feel at home, while I miss my baby…while I miss my baby.”

Copyright, 2017, Paul Heinz, All Right Reserved