Forgotten 70s Songs Worth Another Listen

All images courtesy of Getty Images

All images courtesy of Getty Images

Songs are a lot like people; some enter our lives and take up residence there. We purchase singles and albums and get to know them intimately, and soon, they are familiarly and comfortably ensconced in our lives, like family.

In fact, just as it can be with family, we sometimes get so tired of hearing them that we think we’ll never listen to them again. Other songs come and go, like new acquaintances, whose company we enjoy for a time before they drift from our lives, and fade into the background, soon to be mostly forgotten, consigned to the periphery of our memories.

As the years go by we think of them occasionally and wonder if we’ll ever hear them again. Now, thanks to modern technology like Google and YouTube, we need only to recall a title or a line to bring them back into our lives. 

Let’s do that, recall ten of those old, mostly forgotten songs from days of yore that are well worth revisiting.

 Answering Machine” by Rupert Holmes

David Goldstein, better known as Rupert Holmes, was a successful songwriter for years before he scored his one and only number one hit with “Escape (The Pina Colada Song),” from 1979’s album Partners In Crime. Holmes would return to the top ten one more time with his follow-up single “Him,” which peaked at number four. The third and final single from the album was “Answering Machine,” which was actually released in 1980, and only made it to number thirty-two on the Hot 100 chart, but it was another cleverly written little gem that left the listener guessing on what the answer to the most important question of all would be before the beep interrupted. 

Sideshow” by Blue Magic

Elvis Presley gave broken hearts a place to go with “Heartbreak Hotel,” and Johnny Cash gave them “Home of the Blues.” In 1976, Blue Magic, an American R&B and soul band formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1972 gave broken hearts another place to go — to the “Sideshow” via this smooth, poignant ballad. And for fifty cents, brokenhearted lovers could step right up, and get a ticket to the show. When the chorus hooked you with, “So let the sideshow begin, Hurry, hurry, step right on in, Can’t afford to pass it by, Guaranteed to make you cry…” what was guaranteed was an earworm that would, like a lovely stranger coming into your life, remain in the back of your mind long after most other songs had faded.

Forever Lovers” by Mac Davis

Morris ‘Mac’ Davis was an American country music singer, songwriter, and actor from Lubbock, Texas, who got his start writing songs for Elvis Presley, including “In The Ghetto.” He hit the big time with his crossover hit “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me” in 1972, which led to his own variety show. 1976’s “Forever Lovers” was one of his lesser know songs, only making number sixty-seven on the Hot 100, and number seventeen on the country charts, but was a haunting ballad about a woman whose husband dies on their honeymoon before they can consummate their marriage. She returns to the hotel decades later, dons the now faded negligee, and waits to join her husband in death.

Conquistador” by Procol Harum

Procol Harum is an English rock band formed in 1967 (their name comes from the Latin and means Beyond These Things). They began as a psychedelic band and evolved more toward prog rock. Their best known single was the monster hit “Whiter Shade of Pale,” which sold over ten million copies, and is still a staple on oldies stations. The Spanish flavored “Conquistador,” which originally appeared on their self-titled debut album, was released in 1972 as a single from the live album, Procol Harem Live: In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and was their third top-40 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. One unusual thing about the song is that Gary Brooker wrote the music not only before the lyrics were written, but before the band had even official formed. Keith Reid later wrote the words, which was the opposite of how they normally did things. 

Paloma Blanca by George Baker Selection

“Paloma Blanca,” (Spanish for white dove, and also called “Una Paloma Blanca”), was written by Dutch musician George Baker, under his real name, Johannes Bouwens, and recorded, and released by his band, George Baker Selection in 1975. It was the title track of their fifth album, and was a worldwide hit, topping the charts in many countries. While it peaked only at number twenty-six on the American Billboard Hot 100, it did top the Billboard Easy Listening Singles chart (the top hit of 1976 on that chart) and made number thirty-three on the Hot Country Singles. Another guaranteed earworm to get reacquainted with, “Paloma Blanca” is a high-flying and spirited tune that makes a person just feel good.

To The Door of The Sun” by Al Martino

Al Martino (born Jasper Cini), an Italian-American singer and actor, had a string of hits from the early fifties to the mid-seventies, and was described as, “One of the great Italian-American pop crooners.” Some of his best-known songs were “Here In My Heart,” “I Love You Because,” and “Spanish Eyes.” One of his acting roles was playing the arrogant womanizer, Johnny Fontane, in The Godfather. In 1975, Martino released “To The Door Of The Sun (Alle Porte del Sol),” which peaked at number seventeen on the Billboard charts. The chorus is sung first in Italian, and then, in English, and it’s another of those songs that, thanks to its stirring melody and haunting lyrics, stays in your head like a summer fling.

Please Come To Boston by Dave Loggins

Dave Loggins is an American singer, songwriter and musician from Mountain City, Tennessee (and second cousin to singer Kenny Loggins). He has written material for Three Dog Night, as well as some of the biggest names in country music such as Tanya Tucker, Wynonna Judd, Reba McEntire, Billy Ray Cyrus, Alabama, and Kenny Rogers, among others. His duet with Anne Murray, “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do,” was number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. They won a CMA Award for Vocal Duo of The Year for that song. Perhaps his best-known song (which he wrote and recorded), “Please Come To Boston,” released in 1974, was a top five hit on the Hot 100, and is a song about wanderlust and yearning, which resonates with anyone who has ever pursued an elusive dream, or loved a drifter who was never around.

Playground In My Mind” by Clint Holmes

Clint Holmes is an Englishman who was ready to give up singing professionally when he met songwriter Paul Vance, who, along with Lee Pockniss, wrote “Playground In My Mind.” The two had written several hits (most notably “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”,) and thought it would be perfect for Clint Holmes, and Vance’s nine-year-old son provided the second vocal on the song. (The B-side, “There’s No Future In My Future,” was the original A-side). Pop Dose lists it as one of the worst songs ever, and while it may be sentimental and syrupy, still, who can’t identify, in this day and age, with the opening lines, “When this old world gets me down and there’s no love to be found, I close my eyes and soon I find I’m in a playground in my mind, where the children laugh and the children play, And we sing a song all day…” The song was released in 1972 and made it to number two on the pop chart. Clint Holmes would go on to have a long career as a Las Vegas headliner.

Shake It” by Iain Matthews

Iain Matthews had first made the Hot 100 as lead singer for Matthews Southern Comfort when “Woodstock” reached number twenty-three in 1972 and topped the charts in the UK. As a solo act, Matthews entered the Hot 100 with “Da Doo Ron Ron,” also in 1972. But it wasn’t until 1978 when he recorded “Shake It,” which was on his album, Stealin’ Home, that he made the top 20. “Shake It” was written and performed by Terence Boylan, and was on his 1977 self-titled album (Timothy B. Schmit sang backup on eight of the ten singles on that album before, later that same year, joining The Eagles). Although “Shake It” wasn’t released as a single in the US, it was in the UK, where Iain Matthews was from. He first heard the song on a Seattle radio station and phoned the disc jockey for info on it. The disc jockey sent him a copy of Terrance Boylan, and he covered two songs from it, and had his biggest hit ever with “Shake It,” which made it to number thirteen on the Hot 100 chart. 

Beautiful Sunday” by Daniel Boone

“Beautiful Sunday” is a 1972 song written by English pop musician Daniel Boone (born Peter Charles Green) and Rod McQueen. As soon as they first played it for their label, in a tiny room, banging it out on a piano, the men crowded elbow-to-elbow knew it would be a hit. And sure enough, it was. The song reached number fifteen on the American Billboard Hot 100, number twenty-one in the UK, and charted in several countries around the world. Boone (singing under the name Peter Lee Stirling) had earlier had a top twenty hit in the UK with “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast” (which was later covered by Wayne Newton in the US). “Beautiful Sunday” is an irresistible foot-tapping song that has never lost its appeal to this day, nearly fifty years later. 

We hope you have enjoyed this little trip down musical memory lane.  Feel free to remind us of any other forgotten (by most, not everyone) songs that, like time machines, can transport us back to the past, and remind us of so many things. Nostalgia and fond memories await.

Image credit: Musiconline (Online Music Academy)/All images courtesy of Getty Images

Be sure to check out the full archives of Vinylstalgia, by Layne Partin, here:

One thought on “Forgotten 70s Songs Worth Another Listen

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: