Adventures Through The Mines of Mellow Gold 13

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Welcome back to yet another edition of Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold! We’re a day early this week, since I thought that combining Mellow Gold with Mellowmas tomorrow would be enough to make jasonhare.com explode. However, this does NOT mean that you shouldn’t go over to Jefito’s today for the Ninth Day Of Mellowmas, because today, Jeff’s got THE Mellowmas track of the season – it was actually recorded in the right era! Go! And come back afterwards!

So I don’t know if you’re all Mellowed out, what with these posts plus Mellowmas every day (and we still have three wonderful days to go!). However, we must give some well-deserved Mellow Props to Terje, who last week discussed his disturbing Mellow dream: Christopher Cross, Peter Cetera and Stephen Bishop covering “Good King Wenceslas/We Three Kings” – as a barbershop acapella trio – in tights, no less. (His dream, not mine.)

I know. You’re shivering already. But would you believe me if I told you it went further? If you’re subscribed to the comments, you may have seen this already:

I strongly recommend clicking above and checking out that sucker at full size. Terje, you scare the hell out of me, but that is some impressive work. As Jeff astutely noted, you have created the official picture of Mellowmas!

Now that none of us can get that image out of our minds, let’s get Mellow, shall we?

Sammy Johns – Chevy Van (download)

First and foremost, we must give thanks to the donor (and fan) of this track – Ms. Betty Rocker of Betty Rocker’s Music Pantry. What? You haven’t visited The Pantry? What the hell’s wrong with you? She’s serving up great music, recipes, and pop culture commentary. Go! I’ll be here waiting.

I imagine that many of these Mellow Gold songs bring us back to another time, another place – probably a point in our youth that we’ve now romanticized beyond compare – but this song may really call up some great memories of special times. Because who among us doesn’t long for the days when we could pick up some chick on the side of the road, get laid, then drop her hippie ass off in some podunk town? Oh, those were the days, my friends. That was when “free love” meant something! Jesus, between “Chevy Van” and “Afternoon Delight,” the charts of the mid-70s couldn’t have been greater advocates of loose sex!

Sammy Johns’ career started when he was just a teenager in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, where he founded a group known as The Devilles. The band had modest local success, and after ten years together, Johns moved to Atlanta to forge ahead with a solo career. He signed to the General Recording Coroporation’s GRC label in 1973, and released his eponymous debut album in 1974. The first single from the record, “Early Morning Love,” was a minor hit, but it was “Chevy Van,” released the next year, that drove (get it? ha.) Johns to the height of his popularity.

“Chevy Van” peaked at #5 in early May of 1975. Now, I don’t remember 1975 very well (being that I was -2 at the time), but maybe some of you could enlighten us as to whether the popularity of this song really was due to the country being pretty sexed up at the time. I’ll tell you this, however: Chevrolet’s van sales went through the roof after this song.

The tune was so popular that Johns signed with Warner-Curb the next year, and a movie, loosely based on the free-love style of “Chevy Van,” was released, with Johns contributing his signature song (as well as “Early Morning Love”) to the soundtrack. Originally titled (yes, it’s true) “Chevy Van,” the movie ultimately called “The Van” was released in 1977.

If you’re not familiar with the intense plot of “The Van,” here’s an edited snippet, from its Wikipedia entry:

After Bobby and his best friend Jack graduate from high school Bobby decides to spend his well earned money, that he earned from working at a car wash, to buy a van, not just any Van, but a hyped-up Chevy Van, complete with waterbed, toaster and television, Bobby feels confident that he can take over the town for the night and get the girl of his dreams…After trying to force sex on a girl and after making love to a girl who turns out to be a prostitute, Bobby tries for some bigger game and goes after a girl from his high school called Tina (played by Deborah White) and at the same time is drawn to the movies antagonist Dugan’s girlfriend, Sally…Bobby ignores his feelings and makes love with a very large girl called Bertha …however he is once more interrupted along the course after he winds up having sex with Dugan’s girl Sally…

Oh my God. BEST MOVIE EVER. Seriously, this movie is the inspiration for Road Trip, Europtrip, Harold And Kumar…and yet I’ve never heard it mentioned before. Plus, it features the very first film appearance of Danny DeVito – thankfully, not as a sex fiend, but as Bobby’s boss. And, of course, Sammy Johns’ mellow, venereal disease-promoting hit is all over the movie. The best part, though, is that the van in the movie is a Dodge.

“Chevy Van” remained Johns’ biggest hit. How could you beat it, really? I’m thankful he never went the pathetic route and re-recorded (coughMARDONEScough) or tried for a sequel, like “She gave me a reacharound in my Nissan Bluebird” or anything like that. Johns did go on to other successes: signing with Elektra in ’82, he released a few more singles, including “Common Man,” which was re-recorded by country singer John Conlee, and became a hit. Suddenly Johns was in the songwriting business, with his most notable tune being “America,” with the brilliant lyric “And my brothers are all black and white, yellow too/And the red man is right, to expect a little from you/Promise and then follow through, America,” recorded by Waylon Jennings in 1985.

What’s Johns up to now? Honestly, I have no clue. I imagine he’s got herpes. If you have any information, please enlighten us.

England Dan & John Ford Coley – I’d Really Love To See You Tonight (download)

Oh boy.

I’m really excited about this one. It’s been on my Mellow Gold list for eons. Why? Because there’s nothing that’s not Mellow Gold about it: from the lyrics to the music to the look of the artists themselves, it’s 100% wimpy. Oh man, do I love this song. First, here are My Top Five Interesting Facts About England Dan And John Ford Coley:

1) They’re complete posers.
England Dan got his moniker because he liked to pretend he was British. John Ford Coley’s real name is John Colley. He changed the last name so people wouldn’t pronounce it incorrectly, and “Ford” isn’t even CLOSE to being part of his name at all. They came up with the name after nothing else was working for them.

2) They weren’t always wusses. No, Ford and Colley Coley were friends and co-musicians from a very early age, but made their first dent as members of a rock/R&B hybrid group called Southwest F.O.B. Eventually, Ford and Coley started acting as the opening act for the band, but in acoustic duo format, and realized that they were way, way gentler than they thought they were – and the audience dug it. (This is just like Mike and I, except they had talent.) Of course, England Dan had it in his blood – his brother is Jim Seals of Seals & Crofts. (We’ll be covering them – come summer, obviously.)

3) The famous Mellow label, Herb Alpert’s A&M, picked ’em up. Two albums. No hits.

4) A&M dropped ’em. Still, the fact that they made two albums before getting dropped is, again, a sign of the times. For four years, they simply performed, unable to get a record deal.

5) Their most famous song got them re-signed – and it wasn’t their song to begin with. Nope, it was written by a gentleman named Parker McGee. (Love that name.) Sensing they were on to something wimpy, they played their demo version to a number of record companies. Atlantic Records heard it and turned ’em down, but the man in the adjoining office – Doug Morris, head of Big Tree Records (and now, like, the most powerful man in the universe) – heard the song and offered them a contract.

And so, “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” became the group’s most massive hit. No, not their only hit (I know you smartasses will be quick to name the others in the comments), but certainly their biggest hit: the first of their four Adult Contemporary #1s, and their closest call to #1 (#2 in late September 1976). Did it deserve to be their biggest hit? Granted, I’ve only heard a couple, but I’m going to go with SHIT YES for this one. And now, we talk about why it’s Mellow Gold. (Not like I need to tell you, but…)

First of all, look at these guys. LOOK AT THEM!

Exactly what you expected, right?

Second of all, musical quality: gentle piano, mimicked by light acoustic guitar strumming, sweet, sweet string section, a solid, lower harmony echoing the chorus, and ladies crooning in the background: “I’m not talkin’ ’bout changin’…..liiiiife!” There’s just a little electric guitar riffin’ in the chorus and bridge, but it’s unobtrusive and low in the mix. Great little fills. Do you hear what I’m talking about, people? Does it get any mellower? Well, only if you look at the lyrics.

Hello, yeah, it’s been a while.
Not much, how ’bout you?
I’m not sure why I called,
I guess I really just wanted to talk to you.

Wait, wha?…oh, he’s talking to her on the phone. Three lines in and already he’s wussin’ it up. “I’m not sure” and “I guess” are not phrases of a man who’s going to do anything stronger with a woman than, oh, I don’t know, watch television. (Foreshadowing!)

And I was thinking maybe later on,
We could get together for a while.
It’s been such a long time,
And I really do miss your smile.


“Maybe?” Dude, take your nuts in your hand and tell her what you really want! Oh wait, I forget. You don’t want her cooter. You really just do miss her smile. This is sad. And I love the way you say the word “while.” You know those actors who really pronounce their w’s? This guy is one of them. It’s “fhuile.” Love it.

I’m not talking ’bout moving in,
And I don’t want to change your life.
But there’s a warm wind blowing,
The stars are out, and I’d really love to see you tonight.

Wait a minute. I’m not talkin’ ’bout moving in? Really? That’s what he’s saying? Because for the first 10 years of having heard of this song, I would have sworn on a Bible that he was saying “I’m not talkin’ ’bout the linen.” What does that mean? No clue. But I really thought that’s what he was saying. In fact, I remember belting this song at the top of my lungs in front of 6 of my roommates at college, and not one of them disagreed with me talking (or, I guess, not talking) ’bout the linen.

We could go walking through a windy park,
Or take a drive along the beach.
Or stay at home and watch t.v.
You see, it really doesn’t matter much to me.

You guys haven’t heard Mike speak, but nobody says that second line, specifically the word “beach,” the way he does. He does a specific dialect of Mellowese. It has a croon in it. It’s fantastic.

There’s so much wrong with this stanza. First of all, why does the park have to be windy? Is this a dealbreaker for you, if it’s not windy? Does the rest not matter much to you, except for the wind? And let’s talk about “or stay at home and watch t.v., you see, it really doesn’t matter much to me.” Okay. First of all, talking about watching t.v. in a song is not going to get you anywhere other than giggling at Potsie’s latest antics on “Happy Days” while sitting on separate ends of the couch. Which apparently you’re fine with. (To be fair, Anson Williams was a hoot!) Second of all, “it really doesn’t matter much to me” – this is the musical equivalent of the “I don’t know, what do you wanna do?” conversation that you had with your significant other, which ended in the two of you driving each other batshit and ultimately doing nothing.

The bridge:

I won’t ask for promises,
So you won’t have to lie.
We’ve both played that game before,
Say I love you, then say goodbye.


How nice. He’s let her off the hook. He doesn’t care that she’s inherently a lying bitch – no! It’s like they always say: if you don’t want the answer, don’t ask the question. Well done, England Dan. Denial’s the way to a commitment. Oh, but wait, that’s right – he doesn’t want a commitment. Nor does he want a one night stand. All this guy wants to do is sit around and watch t.v. with a chick. Can someone tell me why he put on the freaking big-collared suit in the first place? Just wear sweatpants!

There is so much wrong with this song. And by “there is so much wrong,” I mean “there is so much right.” Because it may not make sense to us in the here and now, but in the smooth ’70s, this track on the AM dial made all the sense in the world. It was a cool night for England Dan and his lady, Secaucus Jane.

That’s it. I’m spent. Between this and Mellowmas, I’m done for the week. That sound you just heard was my wife walking out the door, looking for a real man. I’m taking a break. Have a great one and see you soon!

  • Great writeup.  I have a fondness for ED&JFC — but the I really genuinely like Seals & Crofts.  I actually thought "Nights Are Forever Without You" was a bigger hit — faulty memory — but "I’d Really Love to See You Tonight" (Really!) is definitely the one that puts them in the Mellow Hall. ("Really" is really not a word that belongs in a song title. Especially before "love".  It’s just a little bit… protesting too much.)

  • Great entry, Jason. You can safely reward yourself with a well-deserved break. Also, don’t be scared. I feel much better now after listening through most of the Beatles catalog and a lot of jazz in the last couple of days. Now, if I can only resist the temptation to download these two chestnuts, I’m well on the way to a full recovery :) (just checked, already have’em… gotta rephrase that: "…if I can only resist listening to these two chestnuts"…)

  • If you thought “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight” is as wimpy as can be in it’s original form, just take a listen to cover Barry Manilow did a few years back! Talk about SOFT rock!

    I love it!

  • BD

    For at least 10 years, I thought the line was "I’m not talking about Meridian." Even at my barely-in-grade-school age, I knew enough geography to know of a town called Meridian, Miss.Not that I had any idea why they were singing about it.I know England Dan and John Ford Coley had other hits, but I can’t think of them. Same holds for a few of their contemporaries. I know the name "Melissa Manchester," but I simply can’t associate it with a song. Not one. Would that make her a no-hit wonder?

  • woofpop

    Ahh.. ED/JFC had some others, too: the aforementioned (and rocking – for them) "Nights Are Forever", the wimpiest of all "It’s Sad to Belong", and the really kind of cool, but career killer cover of Todd Rundgren & Utopia’s "Love Is The Answer" (how the hell did THAT happen?).
    Plus, they did the theme song to "James at 15", which was the coolest show ever – in 1977. That one alone is worth it’s own column – that show fucking ROCKED (in a sensitive kind of way)!
    Oh yeah, and they were members of the Baha’i faith (so were Seals and Crofts) – which must make it the mellowest of religions..

  • woofpop

    BD –
    Come on! Melissa Mancheseter was HUGE – sort of. "Don’t Cry Out Loud", "You Should Hear How He Talks About You" and the theme from "Ice Castles" – I know, everyone saw that one at the multiplex at the mall, right?

  • woofpop

    Jason,
    Good clarification about "The Van" – I was looking at the picture, and I thought "wait – that’s a Dodge"…

  • David

    Love “Love is the Answer.” The way those mellow voices swell at the end, with the Gospel-lite backup singers, building and building into a crashing, layered wave of effete sensitivity … If these guys had ‘nads, you just KNOW they dropped when that was recorded.

  • woofpop

    GREAT description, David. But.. can a wave of effete sensitivity actually crash?

  • Not to blow my own horn too much, but this is exactly what I had in mind when I harassed Jason into starting these sojourns into the Mines of Mellow Gold. My hat? Off to you, sir.

  • Gully Foyle

    James at 15 damn straight! Great show, wasnt he the first teenager to knock up a chick on tv? 
    "the van" movie wasnt half bad, it was one of those bummer, downer, sensive mellow flicks of the mid to late 70s. I think there was some good poontang in it too.
    EG and JFC sure looked like saps, no doubt. and someone hit the nail on the head, "Sad to Belong" is the pussiest song ever.  but their hits are all worthy and I dont know why "Love is the Answer" killed off their career, its great.  Dan Seal made it kinda big in 80s as country crooner, i dont know what happened to Colley.

  • woofpop

    James at 15 – YES! He had sex with a swedish exchange student, and then the show became James at 16…
    After ED and JFC parted ways, ED dropped the E and just became Dan Seals like Gully said, and became a successful hat act through the 80’s. JFC formed another group (Leslie, Kelly and John Ford Coley), turned to acting, and wound up in Nashville writing (isn’t that where most mellow golders wind up??)…

  • Elaine

    Right up until today, I mean this day, I thought he was saying "there’s a warm wind blowing the stars around."  Jasonhare.com: on top of everything else, you’re correcting mondegreens for the masses.

  • Elaine

    Hey woofpop, didn’t Seals team up with Marie Osmond for "Meet Me in Montana?"  (A guilty pleasure type song for me.  I admit: I don’t hate it.  I think the harmonies are pretty.)

  • Elaine, I forgot about that one, but I thought the same thing about the lyric.  It’s not your fault; that’s what it sounds like he’s saying.

    What does it take to get these mellow douchebags to enunciate?

  • Robert

    I thought Down With Snark said all that could be said about "I’d Really Love to See You Tonight" a few months ago, but I was wrong, and I’m glad to see you rose to the challenge, Jason.  "Just wear sweatpants" — c’est formidable!  I don’t know what I thought the line "I’m not talking ’bout moving in" sounded like when I was younger, but I know it wasn’t that.  I think it’s the way the duo stresses the second syllable over the first in "moving" that leads to mass confusion.  But man oh man, what lyrics!  It reminds me of Harrison Ford’s quote about George Lucas’s "Star Wars" dialogue: "You can type this shit, but you sure can’t say it."

    "Bop" was a good little mainstream country song from Dan Seals in the mid-’80s.

    Finding out recently that George Benson wrote "Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You," a song I’ve never liked, is similar to when I found out that Todd Rundgren wrote "Love Is the Answer," a song I liked in seventh grade, then immediately mocked, and now like again.  And even though England Dan & JFC’s version is over the top, I prefer it to Utopia’s, because with lyrics like these …

    Who knows why Someday we all must die We’re all homeless boys and girls And we are never heard It’s such a lonely world People turn their heads and walk on by Tell me, is it worth just another try?

    … you need to go all the way.  Now, Todd Rundgren is generally no slouch when it comes to writing solid, memorable, heart-on-sleeve lyrics, but "Love Is the Answer" is from a period when he was also writing songs like "Bag Lady."  Todd was all about the common man — and the love of said common man — in the mid- to late ’70s.  He was feeling everybody’s pain and letting you know it, so England Dan & JFC’s lite gospel treatment feels right … much like moonlight.

  • Gully Foyle

    Yeah, Todd was great. I dont know why, John Lennon hated him and called him "Turd Runtkin". Todd sure did sing for the common man, kind of like a Neil Peart with rediculously tight pants.
    Yeah, Dan Seals "Bop" wasnt half bad, him and Coley should reunite and go to Branson.
    Speaking of GBenson, he had some mellow golders, when he gave up his incredible guitar for easy listening Pablum.

  • BD

    Woofpop — Yeah, you’re right. I just associate the Ice Castles theme with piano lessons rather than Melissa Manchester.

  • Holy shit…so do I!

  • I have no more info on Sammy Johns, except that the song came out the year I was born, which I’m not sure I knew before. I knew I could count on you for getting the backstory, nice work!
    I used to the think the chorus to "I’d Really Love To See You Tonight" was
    I’m not talking about women
    and I don’t want to change your mind
    but there’s a warm wind blowin’ when the storms are out
    and I’d really love to see you tonight.
    WAY OFF!

  • Here’s some background on John Lennon’s feud with Todd Rundgren, for those who are interested, since it is sort of interesting:

    http://trconnection.com/trconn.php/article=lennon.art

    I always liked Melissa Manchester’s “You Should Hear How She Talks About You,” but I probably couldn’t recognize any of her other songs if you played them for me.

  • Jefito, Robert: George Benson didn’t write "Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You"! It was actually written by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin for George Benson and his 20/20 album in 1984. At one point Jack Wagner also did a version of the song (haven’t heard it, although I’d love to – kind of…)
     
    Mr. Masser, a former Manhattan stockbroker, based his entire career on these romantic ballads with complex chord structures, frequent modulations, and much counterpointing of chorus against verse. Theme from ‘Mahogany’, The Greatest Love of All, Miss You Like Crazy, All at Once, Didn’t We Almost Have It All, Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You – they’re all his babies. Whitney Houston says "she can hear the mountains and the valleys" when she works with Masser. Indeed.

  • Oh my God, Terje, you just totally fucking schooled me. I’m packing it in. I quit. You can have my blog, you glorious bastard. (Although I’m 99% certain Wagner *didn’t* do a cover of "Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You" — it’s just that Medeiros’ version is frequently mistaken for a ‘lost’ Wagner song by people whose ears are slightly broken.)

  • Yes, I’m truly sorry about that. My musical knowledge is like a fart in the ocean compared to yours, and I felt really bad for having to correct you – but, as it were, I simply had to stand up for mr. Benson. I’m with you all the way on the Wagner-Medeiros interpretation, though.

  • Robert

    Whew!  Benson’s off the hook!  Thanks, Terje.  Jefito, you’re the Jayson Blair of music blogs now.  How could you?!

  • I know, how could I? Shows you what happens when you believe Glenn Medeiros’ Wikipedia entry…

  • mike

    THAT’S why the dude was called "England Dan?"  Because "he liked to pretend he was British?"  Even his nickname is wussy.
    And I’m not convinced he only wants to "watch TV."  My theory (which I think I’ve propounded in your comments previously, don’t recall) is that he is indeed looking for a one-night stand but going about it in the most passive-aggressive, faux-Alda/Donohue way imaginable.  He probably read in a "How To Pick Up Girls" book that it works.  The best example of this is Dr. Hook’s "Sharin’ The Night Together."
    It’s probably just as well that the Mellow Golders yada-yada over what they really want.  Otherwise you get Exile’s "Kiss You All Over," which is just creepy..

  • mike

    I still hear it as "there’s a warm wind blowin’ the stars around," btw.  And note the female response in the last chorus before the fadeout – it’s the only time we hear it, like she’s saying "I really want to see you tonight, too."

  • Mike, you and I are on an eerie, similar wavelength today.  On my commute, I heard Dr. Hook’s "A Little Bit More," and thought "this is such a passive-agressive pick-up song.  I must cover this."  So, not exactly the same song, but damn, we’re close.  I bet we’re wearing similar clothes today, too.

  • Elaine

    Robert!  I’m so glad you posted that Todd Rundgren link, because I had completely forgotten I was going to ask about him here.  Last week, "Hello It’s Me" came across my radio dial, and I listened hard to the lyrics for probably the very first time.  It is mellow GOLD.  He’s telling her he thinks about her all the time but their relationship is broken, implying that they haven’t seen each other in ages but talks about how familiar he is with her, saying she’s always there but just doesn’t care, says he’ll come around to see her for a booty call if she’s hip, asking her to think of him, telling her she’s free… it’s wuss rock at it’s finest!

  • Mr. Masser, a former Manhattan stockbroker, based his entire career on these romantic ballads with complex chord structures, frequent modulations, and much counterpointing of chorus against verse. Theme from ‘Mahogany’, The Greatest Love of All, Miss You Like Crazy, All at Once, Didn’t We Almost Have It All, Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You – they’re all his babies. Whitney Houston says "she can hear the mountains and the valleys" when she works with Masser. Indeed.
     
    The same guy wrote all those songs?!?!?!
      
    Dear Jesus, he’s like…the Lieber & Stoller of sissy. The Smokey Robinson of lame! Jason, you have to do a retrospective of this guy. He doesn’t even have a wikipedia page.
     
    Also, you should put Don’t Cry Out Loud up at some point. Don’t Cry Out Loud is *hysterical*

  • You know, Elaine, I thought about suggesting "Hello It’s Me" here for "Mellow Gold," but because of the part where Todd pretty much says "Hey, maybe can still get togther and fuck occasionally," I figured it wasn’t England Dan/Paul Davis territory.  I mean, Todd’s sensitive in this song, but he still has a penis.  Great, great song, though.  One of my favorites.

    Todd comes across kinda arrogant in that Melody Maker interview, doesn’t he?  Oh well, the man is a musical monster, and in our 20s don’t we all get a little cocky?  "Rock ‘n’ Roll Pussy," from "A Wizard, a True Star," is supposedly about Lennon.

    A truly wussy song by Todd is "Be Nice to Me," from my favorite album ever, 1971’s "The Ballad of Todd Rundgren.  The lyrics are here:

    http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Be-Nice-To-Me-lyrics-Todd-Rundgren/820872E91553B87C48256A1800326A47

    Beautiful melody, but definitely not cock-rock lyrics.

  • I just noticed this part near the end of "Be Nice to Me":<br><br> You know I ain’t in heat<br> And it would feel real neat<br> If you would just be nice to me<br><br>See?  This man has no interest in seeing you naked.

  • woofpop

    Hey now.. don’t mess with "Be Nice To Me" – that’s just a great, great song. But, you’re right, it’s not Nugent – for sure.

  • I love "Be Nice to Me."  But upon further inspection, it’s right up "Mellow Gold’s" alley.  And it came out in ’71 (it didn’t make the Top 40, but it was released as a single); you could say it was a precursor to the "Mellow Gold" era.

  • woofpop

    Robert –
    You’re right, it is kind of part of the roots of mellow gold. I think the definition of mellow lies heavily in artist perception vs. radio bands. While they all occasionally crossed over, The FM artists (Taylor, Carole King, Cat Stevens, Todd, Neil Young) were perceived as such, and still don’t seem like a fit here, while the AM artists (John Denver, America, Croce) are perfect fits. Although, I was thinking about it, and "Can We Still Be Friends" would be the candidate for wimpdom here…

  • el bandito

    So this might be interesting only to me…but there will be a PBD pledge special in the not to distant future with 70’s signer/songwriters. I tell you this because of the story the producer told me. They wanted ED & JFC and they also wanted Seals and Crofts. But could not get them sll to do it. But Seals would and England Dan would because they play together now as Seals and Seals. Anyway, their manager would not let them do it unless they could play new material and that material would be on the broadcast. Producers said no way. So Seals and Seals would not perform on the program. Think about this. They just come out and do a hit or 2 from each of their catalogs and probably up their booking fees and dates 100% – but they play hard ball and are left to continue playing shitholes because of thenew material. Just stupid.Great site – thanks for Mellow Gold – it rocks!!!

  • el bandito, whomever you are, thank you for that story.  That’s fascinating.

  • Robert

    You’re right, woofpop, "Can We Still Be Friends" is the perfect candidate, and it’s from the late ’70s.  Wasn’t it Todd’s last Top 40 hit?  Have you ever heard Mandy Moore’s 2003 cover of the song?  It’s pretty damn good.  I’ve never heard Robert Palmer’s version.And I agree with the FM vs. AM artist argument you made, but I like when the one-offs pop up, much like how every popular artist seemed compelled to make a disco number by the late ’70s.It sounds like Seals & Seals need Homer Simpson to show up at their concerts and demand they play their hits, not the new stuff, and then demand that they skip to the chorus, just like he did at a Bachman-Turner Overdrive concert.I feel like I had something else to ramble on about.  Maybe it’ll come to me later.

  • woofpop

    Ramble on, Robert..
     

  • woofpop

    Yes, I’m almost certain it was Todd’s last solo top 40. Utopia actually had a top 40 hit (barely) in ’80 called "Set Me Free", and through revisionist history, "Bang On The Drum All Day" is a smash, but it wasn’t then. Palmer’s version was a single in ’79, right after "Bad Case.." – I like his version a LOT. And, yes, Mandy’s version is good, too – that record was a surprise.  The reaction of Seals and Seals’ (now, that’s just DUMB) management explains why they are distant memories..

  • Now I remember what I wanted to ramble about yesterday …

    Big Star was far from a Mellow Gold kind of band, but on 1975’s “Third/Sister Lovers,” which some argue is really an Alex Chilton solo album/therapy session, drummer Jody Stephens gets to sing one of his own compositions, “For You.” Here are the lyrics:

    Sometimes I can’t help but worship you
    I love you and all the things that you do
    I thought I’d sit and write this song just for you
    To let you know that I am thinking of you

    When I come home so cold at night
    You’ll have the fireplace burning bright
    Thoughts of how it’s going to be
    And how I’ll spend those cold, cold nights warm by you

    And in these autumn days I wander through the leaves
    Thinking of those winter nights I’ll spend with you

    And when I come home so cold at night
    You’ll have the fireplace burning bright
    Thoughts of how it’s going to be
    And how I’ll spend those cold, cold nights warm by you

    …….

    My brother called this song “pussy rock.” He’s right. I like the song, but he’s right.

  • Hey, it’s been a while, but… I read this and was reminded that an NPR reporter was willing to publicly humiliate herself by declaring "I’d Really Love to See You Tonight" as "the ultimate summer song."

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  • Ray

    I remember Chevy Van being a huge hit in the late spring of ’75.  The movie came out two years later and was a pretty big drive-in hit during the summer of 77.  I recently came across a DVD (the DVD issued by Rhino is your best bet, sure it’s full frame and the color hasn’t aged very well, but therein lies the charm, and it’s not cut and slashed like other DVD editions) and it’s pretty hokey but very fun nonetheless.  If you vaguely recognize the "star" of the flick but can’t quite place him (I doubt very much if anyone here could identify him by name), just think "wallpaper sample dork from that Brady Bunch episode where Marcia gets hit in the nose with the football".  Yep, that would be Stuart Getz, otherwise known as Charley from that legendary episode of The Bunch.
    As far as Sammy Johns, aside from hearing "Chevy Van" and "Early Morning Love" umpteen times during the movie, you can also enjoy several other songs, including "Country Lady", "Jenny" (no 867-5309 phone number, no girl named Jenny anywhere in the movie for that matter!), "You’re So Sweet" and also the b-side to the Chevy Van single, "Hang My Head and Moan".  There was also an LP, which you might see on eBay every now and then (if you’re REALLY REALLY interested!).

  • I actually have the DVD.  Jeff bought it for me.  I haven’t watched it yet, though – I feel like I need someone to share in the experience with me, and my wife refuses.

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