I'm going to start this thread, wherein each week, I will post a One Hit Wonder.
It's always been my favorite part of the music scene. While the Fleetwood Macs and Elton Johns and Doobs and Eagles were maintaining their places at the top of the charts, along come those odds and ends, on the fringes of the music world, to unseat the perrenial chart toppers for a while. Sometimes they would hit the top ten, maybe even number one. Then, just as quickly, they were gone, if not from music, from the charts.
It always fascinated me. And, there a lot of them. Really, really good songs.
So, hopefully, I'll get it right. Hopefully, I won't make a fool of myself. Most of all, hopefully, people will click on the link* and listen to the song for the first time in decades, or maybe even for the first time ever, and think, yea, that's groovy.
If I get facts wrong, straighten me out. If I leave something out, fill it in.
And finally, some of you I know, some I don't. But that's neither here nor there. It's all about the music, right?
*I will be using a link 'yousendit.com' to put the songs in the posts. You'll have to click on the link and download the song in order to hear it. the song only stays there for about a week, I think, then it expires. Also, if there's a video, I'll post a link for that as well.
Ok, let's get started, shall we?
The year was 1977.
Gas cost .69 cents a gallon, to pour into your brand new Porshe, show room floor cost, 9,395 dollars. A new bikini would run you 9.00 dollars. You could send a letter anywhere on earth for .13 cents. Minimum wage was 2.30 an hour. Farrah Fawcett posters were all the rage, as was Mr. Microphone.
At the movies, Star Wars blasted into space with cutting edge special effects, the Bee Gees provided a brilliant soundtrack for John Travolta to dance to in Saturday Night Fever, Burt Reynolds and his mustache charmed the pants off of my first crush, Sally Field, in Smoky and the Bandit, and Roger Moore tried again (and failed, IMO), to be the James Bond in The Spy who Loved Me.
On the Boob Tube, Bill Murray replaced Chevy chase on SNL. American Bandstand turned 25, (Dick Clark might still be 25). Roots changed the way people looked at people. CHiPS started off silly and stayed that way. Fantasy Island told tales of Paradise Found & Lost. Jack Chrissy, and Janet took non-sex sexual situation comedy to new heights.
The music world loses Elvis.
On the charts, Rod Stewart's 'Tonight's the Night', and Andy Gibb's 'I just Want to Be Your Everything' battled it out for the top spot.
Meanwhile, topping out at #18 on the charts,
Ram Jam's Black Betty
clubbed you over the head with crunchy guitars and a tribal beat.
The band members were:
BILL BARTLETT lead guitar and vocals
HOWIE BLAUVELT bass and vocals
PETER CHARLES drums
MYKE SCAVONE vocals and percussion
Ram Jam's Black Betty
Bill Bartlett had an earlier one hit wonder, with the Lemon Pipers (Green Tambourine).
The song Black Betty was boycotted by the NAACP, citing it was degrading to black women, even though the song was done in the 1930's by black men. This is where my history is a bit muddled. From what I've read, Huddie 'Leadbelly' Ledbetter wrote the song. However, upon more research, I've found that John and Alan Lomax recorded an a capella version in 1934 by either Leadbelly or 'Iron Head' James Baker, depending on where you get your information. It's a mystery to me, and, actually, I kind of like that the song's exact origins are unknown.
Huddie 'Leadbelly' Ledbetter
I could have sworn I had a recording of Leadbelly doing the song with his guitar, somewhere here in this computer, but I simply cannot find it. So, I scrounged up:
Allegedly, Leadbelly's 1939 a cappela version
the song, however, has been covered several times.
Ram Jam released one more album, in 1978, never to be heard from again. but, they will always have the most kick-ass version, IMO.