Last year on SERENDIPITY we gave you a 50th-anniversary look at my favorite songs of 1971. In case you missed it, we bring you another opportunity to sing along.
1971 Edition, part two, by Rich Paschall
We are glad to see you have returned to the “Admiral Halsey” gymnasium and auditorium for this week’s sock hop. “Maggie May” will be selling tickets if you did not get yours in advance, and Uncle Albert will be collecting them at the door. This dance is only for teenagers and adult chaperones so you will have to “Go Away, Little Girl.” “Amos Moses” will be guarding your smelly gym shoes until the last dance.
The entire Partridge Family will be in charge of concessions and would appreciate it if you all would stop calling them “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves.” It might be “Just My Imagination” but we think they are “Sweet and Innocent.” You boys remember when you look at your date, “She’s a Lady” so be sure to “Treat Her Like A Lady.” And for you guys in the back, “Where Do I Begin?”
It’s a “Wild World” and “I Just Want To Celebrate.” “If You Could Read My Mind,” you would know we are getting ready for the Top Ten Countdown. “Me and Bobby McGee” are in the DJ booth. When you look at your friendly DJs remember, “You’ve Got A Friend.” From up here, we see “Smiling Faces Sometimes,””Do You Know What I Mean?” “I Feel The Earth Move” so we will start the countdown with this “Superstar:”
10. Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey, Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney. This is the first number-one hit for Paul after The Beatles. If the song sounds a bit disjointed, perhaps it is. It is allegedly some song fragments Paul put together as one. Uncle Albert may be an actual uncle of Paul, and Admiral Halsey is reported to be based on the American Admiral “Bull” Halsey.
09. For All We Know, The Carpenters. This is one of three Carpenters tunes that finished the year on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100. The song was written for the movie, Lovers and Other Strangers and performed by Larry Meredith. The Carpenters covered it to great success.
08. Ain’t No Sunshine, Bill Withers. It was the first hit for the singer-songwriter. The unique feature of the song was repeating “I Know” 26 times in the middle of the song. He meant to write more lyrics for that part. Perhaps it is good that he did not.
07. Riders On The Storm, The Doors. This was reported to be the last song recorded by all four members of The Doors. That was December of 1970. It is believed that the title track of the album LA Woman was not finished until January of 1971, however, due to the difficulty of working with Jim Morrison.
06. Take Me Home, Country Roads, John Denver. This tune is so beloved in West Virginia that it became an official state anthem. It is also a karaoke favorite and I confess to singing it once or twice (or more).
05. It’s Too Late/I Feel The Earth Move, Carole King. Both sides of this record were A-sides. They topped the charts in February of 1971. King wrote the music and lyrics for I Feel The Earth Move while writing only the music for It’s Too Late. Toni Stern wrote the Lyrics. They are both on the critically acclaimed Tapestry album.
04. What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye. The song was written by Al Cleveland and by Renaldo Benson of the Four Tops, who turned it down. Benson gave it to Gaye who worked with it and produced it himself. It is considered one of the best R&B songs of all time.
03. If, Bread. This is basically all singer-songwriter David Gates. He produced the song and his group, Bread recorded it with Gates as the lead singer. It was a popular wedding song for decades.
02. Joy To The World, Three Dog Night. No, it is not the Christmas song. It was written by Hoyt Axton and taken to number 1 by the rock group. You might think the title is “Jeremiah Was A Bull Frog.” Our band did a Christmas Lunch for a Mothers’ Club at some point in the 70s and listed this as the last tune on the program of traditional Christmas music. We were young and we thought it was funny. This is from Soundstage in 1975:
If you are from the midwest you probably know there is nothing like Chicago in Chicago.
01. Beginnings / Colour My World, Chicago. Beginnings was recorded for the band’s first album but failed to chart as a single. When the group found some success it was released again with Colour My World on the backside. It became a two-sided hit for the group. Here I am enjoying the band from my sit on the shore of Lake Michigan at Northerly Island, Chicago:
See also: “GOLDEN OLDIES“, 1971 Edition, Part one, Serendipity, September 14, 2021.