Friday, May 12, 2006

Low Nocturnal Temperatures in the Outback

Today in Music History:

In 1960 Elvis guest-stars on a Frank Sinatra-hosted TV special, Welcome Home Elvis, and cuts his first post-Army recordings in Nashville. They yield the hit album Elvis Is Back.

TriDog baby!Once upon a time a band took it's name from an Australian expression describing low nocturnal temperatures in the outback (the colder the night, the more dogs needed to keep warm while sleeping). Thus a Three Dog Night or around freezing or so. What would the seventies had been like if there were no TriDog to give us tunes about bullfrogs, scary parties, lonely numbers, some cat named Eli and a groovy place called Shambala.

Three Dog Night scored a succession of 21 hit singles, including eleven Top Tens, and twelve consecutive gold albums from 1969 to 1975. Wowza. In 1967, Danny Hutton conceived the idea of a three-vocalist group, and he and Cory Wells enlisted mutual friend Chuck Negron. After a few years and the addition of backing musicians they started their run in 1969 with the hit One(written by Harry Nilsson) and never looked back until 1976 when Negron had taken over most of the vocal duties, making Hutton an unhappy camper so he split. I'm sure there was some "experimental" drug use mixed in there which didn't help. I remember one summer when music was really starting to be a focal point in my life and about the only memories I have of that year is the music. The year was 1973 and summer vacation had descended across the land. WLS was the station of choice. That year was an exceptional one for music and that summer had some memorable tunes. I remember hearing Shambala all the time on that AM juggernaut.
Shambala by Three Dog Night
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In a multifaceted and entertaining continuance of this magical (not really) summer here are some other hits from June, July, and August of that year. First off here's a great tune that you hardly ever hear anymore from a wee Irish laddie.
Get Down by Gilbert O'Sullivan
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If you're going to mention any songs from that summer then this tune which is a tale of interracial romance from the band Stories has to be included. Though originally helmed by onetime Left Banke mastermind Michael Brown, Stories ironically scored their only hit after Brown had left the band.
Brother Louie by Stories

This 1973 hit was one of the more memorable songs by a one-hit wonder. Maybe cause it's kinda dumb and catchy. This song was originally released in June of 1972 and did a spectacular belly flop. In November a radio station in Kansas began playing it in conjunction with the holidays (apparently feeling that the sing-song nature of the track gave it a seasonal feel) and it drew a massive response, leading to more stations picking up on it. By June 1973, "Playground in My Mind" had climbed to number two, lodged behind Paul McCartney's "My Love" and sold over a million copies. For your displeasure.
Playground in my Mind by Clint Holmes
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Well my time grows short and I won't have time to go into detail about my next few choices but I just gotta put em up.

Feelin' Stronger Every Day by Chicago
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Behind Closed Doors by Charlie Rich
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Say Has Anybody Seen my Sweet Gypsy Rose by Tony Orlando and Dawn
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So really that's just a small sampling of some of the lesser knowns. We also had some monster hits from Grand Funk, Deep Purple, Wings, and the Carpenters. Not to mention the rest of the year which had some great stuff. So if I was making a greatest Hits of 1973 CD, these are a few I would put on there. Just out of curiosity I would be interested to hear what some of you guys favorites from that summer or year were.

Funny Toon