It’s always amazing when songwriters can cram a full story into a three-minute song. Some of these stories have lasted, while some have fallen by the wayside. Some of the more enduring story songs include (to name just a couple) Aerosmith’s “Janie’s Got a Gun” and Meat Loaf’s “Paradise By The Dashboard Light”. Paul Nicholas’s one and only hit song, “Heaven on the 7th Floor”, on the other hand, falls into the latter category.
Rita Coolidge was one of those artists who could have been known for many different things during her career. She had some success with then-husband Kris Kristofferson. Before that, according to multiple accounts, she wrote the piano coda of the Derek and the Dominoes classic “Layla”. But I would imagine most people remember her best for a string of hits in the late 70s, all of which were remakes. Two of those were top ten hits (though even those are not getting much airplay these days), but how many of my readers remember a top 30 hit entitled, simply enough, “You”?
It’s certainly not uncommon to hear of a popular recording artist switching labels. In some cases, the jilted label waits a while, then releases a greatest hits collection from that artist containing only those hits (and almost-hits) which that artist recorded while under contract to that particular label. And that’s all well and good. Less common, though, is for a label to continue to release singles by a long-gone artist. That, however, is exactly what happened with Donna Summer.
In the late 1970s, disco ruled the airwaves.* Some artists, such as the Bee Gees, made a full-blown dive into the genre., while others made occasional forays into the field. And as the disco craze went on, even artists who many people might not have pictured doing so went and made disco records. Remember disco hits from Cher, KISS, and others? Well, if you don’t, that’s what this webpage is for.
With all that said, if you hadn’t previously heard today’s spotlighted hit, could you have pictured a song with a disco sound coming from the progressive rock group The Alan Parsons Project?
Yeah, me neither. But it happened. And it was glorious.
In the minds of many people, some of the best music from the 1970s was Southern rock. Best exemplified by groups such as The Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd, the rock subgenre reached its zenith in that decade amid a bunch of other genres that sounded nothing like it (which perhaps helped its success). Among the many, many bands that appeared in the 70s specializing in Southern rock was a band from Alabama called, for some reason, Wet Willie.
Sometimes a recording artist will find chart success early in his or her career and then, despite years, or even decades, of further recordings, will never reach the charts again. To add insult to injury, for some of those artists, their one and only hit is left behind by radio after its original chart run. That almost perfectly describes the career of Polly Brown.