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Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold 15


Wow, has a week really gone by since we explored the wussiness of Christopher Cross and Ambrosia? I guess time flies when you’re wimpin’ it up! Well, no matter – onwards and upwards as we head to another week of Adventures Through The Mines of Mellow Gold!

Walter Egan – Magnet And Steel (download)

Break out your bobby socks and poodle skirts, everybody: Mellow Gold’s goin’ ’50s! “Magnet and Steel,” a #8 hit for Walter Egan in August of 1978, had an unmistakable retro sound, but that doesn’t mean it’s not Mellow Gold. In fact, Egan was well-connected in the Mellow World: most notably, he was part of the Washington, D.C. scene that included, at the time, Bill and Taffy Danoff (Starland Vocal Band), and was offered a spot in Linda Rondstadt’s band (when he declined, the position went to Mr. Andrew Gold instead). But perhaps Egan’s most famous connection, MG or no MG, would be to Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

Hoo boy, I’m in the middle!
Oh, this is awkward.
Is it hot in here?
I knew I shouldn’t have worn velvet.

After meeting Buckingham at a party and becoming friends, Egan asked him to produce his album Fundamental Roll. Buckingham didn’t really have time for such things, having just joined the Mac, but did agree to be involved on the fringe of production here and there. Nicks provided backing vocals. Egan was no dummy, and gave them both full production credits.

A couple of years later, Buckingham had some free time, and fully produced Egan’s album Not Shy along with veteran Mac producer Richard Dashut. Not Shy was the album that included “Magnet And Steel.” And here’s where things get interesting.

Both Nicks and Buckingham were in the studio for various parts of the Not Shy sessions. Egan claimed that Buckingham was great to be around during this period of time, except when Nicks was there as well, as the couple were not getting along at the time.

Now, it’s no secret that Buckingham and Nicks have had, shall we say, not the healthiest of relationships. But what probably didn’t help the situation was the fact that Nicks and Egan wound up sleeping together for a period of time during the sessions for Fundamental Roll. After she recorded backing vocals for his song “Tunnel Of Love” (no, not that “Tunnel Of Love”), Egan became downright smitten. He drove home from the sessions, and on the way, saw a purple Lincoln Continental with the license plate “Not Shy.” Struck with inspiration, he went home and wrote “Magnet And Steel.” That’s right: “Magnet And Steel” is about Stevie Nicks. And guess who sings those backing vocals? That’s Lindsey on the low, Stevie on the high. Awkward!

Of course, the Egan/Nicks relationship didn’t last. (My wife: “Why would she date a guy named Walter?” My response: “I dunno, why would she date a guy named Lindsey?”) Regardless, word is that she was honored the song was about her, although admittedly, she preferred the first draft, “Microphone Stand And Scarf.”

And because nobody can get involved with the Mac without getting a little incestuous, Christine McVie adds some backing vocals to Egan’s 1983 album Wild Exhibitions (he insists it was purely professional). Still…shudder.

But all this talk of “Magnet and Steel” and we haven’t even discussed the song itself! Over the course of time, there have been many ways to describe the attraction between two people. “For you are the magnet and I am steel” is a little unwieldy, no? I mean, unless by “steel” he’s talking about his johnson. If that’s the case, then I think it’s okay. But judging by the way Egan looked and dressed at the time, as well as the musical climate surrounding him, I’m guessing he meant it more emotionally…which, of course, is the Mellow Gold Way. Q.E.D.

Maybe I’m wrong, though. Egan seems pretty damn confident. Take a look at the video: Egan knew he was hot shit. You need high self-esteem to actively show off your pink jacket.


The rest of the lyrics are supremely innocuous so I don’t even think it’s worth our time dissecting them. Instead, let’s make fun of the music! Specifically, let’s talk about that guitar solo. Egan plays the most simple solo I’ve ever heard. Walter! You have LINDSEY FUCKING BUCKINGHAM (Lindsey Fuckingham?) in the studio with you, and you choose to play a solo that specifically just plucks out every note of the verse vocal? Maybe this was an homage to ’50s guitar playing, but I just plain think it sucks. That being said, you gotta love that chorus. It’s catchy. (How do I know? Because you’ll be singing it to yourself in about 20 minutes.) I’ll be honest with you, though: I don’t really hear much Buckingham or Nicks in those backing vocals. However, Egan insists it’s them. I guess we’ll take his word for it. After all, we are all but magnets, and he is steel. If steel wore a pink jacket.

If you’re feeling like you need more Buckingham in your Egan, check out this cover by Matthew Sweet, from the Sabrina The Teenage Witch soundtrack. He’s all over those vocals, and that’s him on lead guitar. It’s pretty damn good.

Matthew Sweet – Magnet And Steel (download)

But back to Egan: he’s still a performing musician. Check out his myspace page, where one of his newly-added friends is “Big Cock™ – The Hardest Band In The Land.” He’s also a substitute teacher in Cool Springs, Tennessee, looks a bit like Ted Kennedy, and still wishes the Mac had asked him to join them when Buckingham left. Turns out that in that case, they were magnets and he was…I don’t know, a metal that isn’t magnetic, like steel when nickel is added to it. Or something. Okay, moving on!

Sanford Townsend Band – Smoke From A Distant Fire (download)

I have a confession to make: I’m not completely sold on this song being Mellow Gold. But that’s okay, I’m covering it anyway, for two very important reasons:

1) It was the first Mellow Gold request ever, back in MG #1 by Scraps (backed up by Billy K.).

2) This song fucking rocks! Hey, maybe that’s why it’s not Mellow Gold! Scraps and Billy, I’m really glad you suggested it; I wouldn’t have heard it otherwise.

First, a little background for you. The band consisted of Ed Sanford and John Townsend, who were both keyboardists (two in one band? How very Mellow Gold of them!). The duo met in the late ’60s as members of the band Heart (no, not that Heart). Heart had little success (although they did open for Hendrix), and eventually broke up. A number of years later, Sanford and Townsend reunited, this time as budding songwriters looking for a publishing deal. One of the members of Townsend’s post-Heart band, Feather (Feather!) was now part of the band for Loggins & Messina, which led to the Sanford/Townsend song “Peacemaker” landing a spot on the L&M album Native Sons. The big-name-band success was enough to get them into the studio to record some demos, and caught the attention of legendary producer Jerry Wexler, who convinced Warner Brothers to give them a contract.

Sanford Townsend Band was released in 1976 and was a flop. But remember, friends: this was still back in the day when record companies wouldn’t give up on an album if it didn’t sell right away. “Smoke From A Distant Fire,” the third single from the record, was released in the Summer of 1977, whereupon it, um, caught fire and reached #9. Warner Brothers quickly re-released the album as – what else? – Smoke From A Distant Fire.

If you haven’t listened to the song yet, don’t. First, let’s take a look at some of the lyrics from “Smoke From A Distant Fire.”

You left me here on your way to paradise
You pulled the rug right out from under my life

If things are the same then explain why your kiss is so cold
And that mist in your eyes feels like rain on the fire in my soul

Imagine these lyrics in the hands of somebody like Paul Davis, and you know what to expect: a slow, slow ballad, with very little guitar, and a plaintive, gentle vocal. In other words, a Mellow Gold classic. You get a taste of what it’s like to be burned by a woman you loved so much. And you feel bad for this guy who wrote these heartbreaking lyrics, but you’re praying he’s not going to call you tomorrow and cry some more. And of course, he is going to call you tomorrow and cry some more. Because he’s a pussy.

Okay, now you can listen to the song.

In the capable hands of Sanford, Townsend and co-writer Steven Stewart, this song takes a decidedly different path. Instead of a wistful, regretful tune, “Smoke From A Distant Fire” is one of the most enjoyable, happy, chipper songs about figuring out your girl is banging some other guy behind your back. I feel like it’s the kind of song that wedding bands play, and people dance and sing along, but have no idea what the song is about. The song screams joy, from beginning to end. A great shuffle, a terrific horn section, kickin’ keyboards and backing vocals, and of course, the powerful vocal from Townsend all make “Smoke” one hell of a tune. The bridge is great, too: “Don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out” is delivered perfectly, and the harmony leading into the solo is stellar. And yes, Virginia, there’s multiple sax solos. Multiple!

Just when you think this song can’t get better, they bring it down a bit with just 30 seconds left, and build up to an ending that actually made me shout “YES!” the first time I heard it. Yeah, I’m lame, we both know it, but see if you don’t get at least a touch of the same triumphant feeling at the end. Then, quickly remind yourself: this song is about somebody cheating! Hard to remember, isn’t it?

Now, I can’t write a lyric for shit, so it doesn’t take too much to impress me – however, I love the fact that “your eyes have a mist from the smoke of a distant fire” is not only a great line, but scans so “mist” rhymes with the “dist” in “distant.” These guys were clever, I tells ya.

So how did “Smoke From A Distant Fire” originate? Well, Stewart and Sanford shared an apartment, and Stewart would often stay up all night practicing classical guitar. Sanford, fed up from lack of sleep, complained that Stewart was wasting time on music that wouldn’t bring any cash flow into their lives. Stewart mockingly came up with a riff he felt was the kind of moneymaker that was beneath his level. Townsend heard the riff, ran to the piano, and “Smoke” was born. The title of the song comes from a poem Sanford wrote in college (and I’ll bet you anything the poem is mellow as all get-out).

“Smoke From A Distant Fire” was the only hit the duo would have. Sanford and Townsend continued their musical paths, however: Townsend played for a number of musicians, including Gregg Allman, and began work as a solo singer-songwriter. Sanford went a more mellow route; he’s a cowriter on McD’s “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)” and the Loggins/McD song “No Lookin’ Back.” All roads, people – all roads lead back to McD.

As an aside, it should be noted that in support of “Smoke,” Sanford & Townsend went on the road, opening for none other than Benny Mardones Fleetwood Mac, on theirRumours tour. And the circle is complete. See how nicely that wraps up? (No, I don’t know if any of them had sex with Stevie Nicks, so don’t ask.)

Thanks again for the request, and please, keep ’em coming! See you here next week for another Adventures Through The Mines of Mellow Gold!

  • Um, this was a Stevie Nicks on the verge of full-on crackdom, looking the way we want to remember Stevie as opposed to how she really looks. OF COURSE they had sex with her. And in eternal defense of Buckingham’s genius, the Matthew Sweet cover has a fantastic guitar solo at the end, laid over him virtually barking "I am steel!" And because I’m the way I am, I read the bit about "Smoke From A Distant Fire" and wondered if this song was written before KY Jelly was readily available. Sincerely, DwD

  • David

    You. Have. Made. My. Month.

    I have long loved “Smoke,” but never knew who sang it (and thus, how to find it). Oh, sure, I could have looked it up, but that would have required a level of effort that seemed … unseemly … for mellow gold.

    Listening now, I’m transported back to a magical time … a time of Sweathogs and afros and moustaches and music –- music! — on A.M. radio …

    Thanks, Jason!

  • Bruce K.

    Great post on Walter Egan and on Sanford Townsend Band.  I think you got to the essence of these songs.  Agreed, wasted guitar solo space on "Magnet and Steel". 
     Walter Egan is one of those guys who was always good friends/associates with musicians better than him.  So, he got a lot of attention by proximity, but he just didn’t have the great songs in him (at least judging from the THREE of his LPs that I have).  Which is NOT a knock on him in any real sense.   Most people in whatever field they are in are not the superstars.  It’s true for lawyers, it’s true for musicians, heck it’s even true for substitute teachers. 
    Bruce K.

  • I love "Smoke on a Distant Fire."  And even though it rocks, a former coworker, after hearing it playing in my cubicle back in 2001, did describe it to me as "one of those songs I’d hear on the radio in the back of my mom’s station wagon when I was growing up."  The back of the station wagon = Mellow Gold.  And I agree that despite the lyrics, the song exudes joy.

    Walter Egan was in Waycross, GA, in 2002 for a Gram Parsons birthday tribute concert/"guitar pull."  I remember reading about the show in the Macon newspaper and thinking, "The Walter Egan who recorded ‘Magnet and Steel’?"  Yep, same one.

  • Well done, Robert – you just proved that it’s Mellow Gold!

  • I once said "Smoke From a Distant Fire" is one of the most perfect rock songs ever, for precisely the reasons you described.  The wrap-up at the end is one of the most perfect music moments I can think of, and it’s easy to imagine an audience reacting the way you did.

  • (Whew.  Thanks, Diane.)

  • jb

    Word, Diane. "Smoke" is perfect. It’s still a great song to hear (and play) on the radio. When it came out in 1977, my girlfriend was in Europe for a month, and I remember writing to tell her, among other things, about this great new song she’d be hearing when she got home.

  • There’s a joke to be made here about your girlfriend coming home from Europe with the mist in her eyes, I just know it.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, Jason, but you’re wrong. No joke, just a lot more to the story than you could imagine. Nonetheless, jb’s recollection is flawless, as is his assessment—”Smoke” is perfect.

    Yes, I was the aforementioned girlfriend. The ‘net is a very small world.

  • (I was just kidding.)

  • Stephen

    Strange that "Smoke" isn’t included on more ’70s compilations. I looked on allmusic.com and it seemed to have only been on one lowly "hits of 1977" collections.And Walter Egan is seriously a sub in Cool Springs? I live in Nashville, I might have to put him at #2 on my "to stalk" list after Michael McD. Great story about the song and Fleetwood Mac-ness of it all. I wonder if home video had been more common in those days, just how many sex tapes of Ms. Nicks with Musician X the world would’ve been exposed to.

  • I loved this song when I was a kid, no surprise seeing as I’ve always been a Lindsey Buckingham fan. Anyway, the best thing I know about Walter Egan is that one time, in the 90’s I think it was, I was watching Jeopardy, and he was a contestant. Trebek said something like, "Walter, you have an interesting background; you had a hit in the 70’s" and they went on to mention "Magnet And Steel." Even though I know people who were once famous, or at least semi-famous, often return to ‘normal’ lives, it was kind of jarring to see him on there.
    It really shoulda been Greg Kihn, but whatever. I’m eagerly awaiting your Robbie Dupree "Steal Away" write-up.

  • Wait no more: Mellow Gold #1 covers "Steal Away."  (the great Bob Shannon and I also discuss it on the radio here.)

  • Tim

    I just heard a song on the radio, and the first thing I thought of was: "Is this Mellow Gold or not? " (This could be a new feature…Mellow Gold or Not.)  The song was by Jay Ferguson:"Thunder Island."  I haven’t heard that song in years!
    Now, there are some slide guitar fills…I believe by one Joseph Walsh,  but is this mellow enough to be…Mellow Gold?  Can you have slide guitar fills and still be mellow?  I can picture a group of people sitting around a table, like the "Man Laws" commercials, voting on this stuff. Wuss Law, or something.

  • woofpop

    Jason, awesome choices this week – both of ’em..
    Love the video for Magnet, especially the promo tag on the front that pictures "Not Shy" on LP and 8-track only. The background vocals seem to be much more Lindsey than Stevie. Good mention of "Tunnel Of Love" – a really good FM album cut from back in the day (and the B-side to the "M&S" 45) – Stevie wails and bleats all over that one.
    Thanks for the Matthew Sweet track – I think it’s better than the original. Lindsey rules!
    I have to add my name to the list of "Smoke" fans – it’s produced by Barry Beckett from the Muscle Shoals rhythm section. Kenny Loggins returned the favor for "Peacemaker" by duetting on the S&T song "Oriental Gate" on their album, which was really pretty good. S&T soon became the kings of the cut out bins, especially with the followup album, Duo Glide.

  • woofpop

    I’ll pull up to the discussion table for wuss laws..Totally mellow Gold – no question. Lyrics trump guitars. Plus, it would pass Robert’s back of the station wagon test. I always thought that "Thunder Island" answered the musical question: "what if Shaun Cassidy joined the Eagles?" "Sha-la-la my lady.."

  • Tim, “Thunder Island” is on Vol. 21 of Rhino’s “Super Hits of the ’70s: Have a Nice Day” series, alongside Walter Egan’s “Magnet and Steel,” Dan Hill’s “Sometimes When We Touch,” David Gates’s “Goodbye Girl,” Player’s “Baby Come Back,” and Michael Johnson’s “Bluer Than Blue.” I’d say that makes it mellow by association. Or, as Woofpop says, the lyrics trump the guitars.

    Does Michael McDonald live in Nashville now? A friend of mine went down there recently for a Steve Cropper tribute concert and was disappointed when one of the special guests turned out to be McDonald. My friend is not a soft rocker. Let us never speak of this again.

    In my first year of college at the North Carolina School of the Arts I knew a guy who said he once met Terry “Seasons in the Sun” Jacks in a bar in Colorado. He later told me he was lying, but he wanted to see if I’d believe it. Uh, thanks, “friend.” Another lie he tried to circulate was that Phil Collins played the little boy in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” A few months after I first heard him say it — and after he made me promise I wouldn’t tell anyone it was a lie — I heard someone in our film-school classes say, “Did you know Phil Collins was in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’?” Success! (This was 12 years ago, when you couldn’t easily check IMDB in order to squash questionable movie credit rumors.)

  • woofpop

    Hey now! NC School of the Arts – Winston-Salem Represent! I used to live there back in the ’80’s.. Bonus points for the habitual liar for even knowing who Terry Jacks was, I guess..
    That’s a great volume of Have A Nice Day – I was going to suggest "Bluer Than Blue" for here – that would be perfect.  

  • Jeff B.

       Nice choices this time out (and I had never heard the Matthew Sweet cover- I guess I should pay more attention to the shows my kids watch), as I’ve always liked both songs a lot. Walter does the Mellow/Cool Groove on "Hot Summer Night", which I like even better than "Steel", but, again- it sounds like a 70’s polish on a 50’s tune, if somewhat funkier. Or, at least as funky as Walter Egan can get…

  • Stephen

    Yeah, Robert, he moved out here from L.A. a few years ago, he’s often at a lot of society/political functions (as is Cropper and Leon Russell among others) . He played a fundraiser for the Dems before this last election at the Ryman…he’s always in our local high society magazine NFocus. There was a local ad that played for last year for an animal shelter or something along those lines.

  • Tim

    woofpop…the unholy marriage of Shawn Cassidy and the Eagles. That is classic. There is plenty of room at the Hotel Mellow Gold. You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.
    Lyrics trump guitars…Wuss Law!

  • David

    Lyrics triumph guitars, but vibe conquers all. That’s how even certain instrumentals –- lookin’ at you, Herb Alpert’s “Rise” — can also be Mellow Gold.

  • part of the Washington, D.C. scene that included, at the time, Bill and Taffy Danoff (Starland Vocal Band)  And to think they could have gone downtown to see Minor Threat play!  Or at least Tommy Keene when he was in Razz.

  • The classmate who lied about meeting Terry Jacks was at least ten years older than me; there were a lot of students in that freshman film-school class who hadn’t just graduated from high school like I had. And I’m glad you have good memories of Winston-Salem, Woofpop. It was a lousy year for me, which is why I transferred to the University of Georgia for my sophomore year.

    My brother has lived in Nashville for seven years now, but he’s said nothing of McDonald being a neighbor. That bastard! He has seen Ben Folds and David Mead in restaurants or on the street, though.

    I just noticed that I referred to “Smoke from a Distant Fire” as “Smoke ON a Distant Fire” in my first comment entry today. Good for me. Or good on me, I guess.

  • Now I feel bad. Here I’ve been busting on McD and my perception of his lack of keyboard chops, now I come to find out his most eggregious error was actually MINE – namely, Robbie Dupree’s "Steal Away". I’m sorry, McD. I’m so, so sorry for having doubted you. You still look like the slightly untrustworthy substitute teacher that tells young Jane that she’s "growing into her sweater quite nicely", but you’ve just jumped up my musical credibility ladder by three or four rungs.

    As for you, Dupree. You made me look stupid. Yes, I may be stupid but it was once disguised by a thin veneer of credibility. You just burned that away with one flaming fart. I now remove the locks which have held back the three fates: Clotho, Atropos and Jefito!

    May God have mercy on your Lite FM soul. DwD

  • Robert, I have always wondered who the people were who invented urban legends.I love Magnet and Steel.  I don’t know why.  It is a labored metaphor to put at the heart of a song.  I like those Stevie vocals, though.There are some lines in it that, while not strictly terrible, sound like they were written by a foreigner with decent but somewhat stiff English.  "With you I might try my secrets to reveal" is not a line that would turn up in conversation or poetry.

  • Elaine

    Oh, I love you guys.  Who knew that there were other people out there who dismantled and analyzed the minutiae of every song like I do.  Gives me a hopeful feeling in my heart, it does.  I was familiar with "Magnet and Steel," of course, but only came to listen well to it following its release on the Boogie Nights soundtrack.  Now I can’t hear it without thinking of Dirk Diggler’s Steel.  As for "Smoke," I had never paid much attention to the words.  It’s Mellow!  You’re right!

  • jonfromcali

    Scraps:  I’m pretty sure those falsetto/girl-backup lyrics are "With you I’m not shy," not "With you I might try."  See it?  "(With you I’m not shy) To show the way I feel/(With you I’m not shy) My secrets to reveal."
    Through the years I’ve thought they were "with you on my side," "with you I’m not high," and others.  When singing along in the car as a 12-year-old (yes!), I probably just sang "with you ah ma sha."
    Whatever.  Stop the catbox!

  • Elaine

    McD has the look of a band director, at a Fast Times-type high school, circa 1982.

  • Elaine

    It’s (With you I’m not shy)/(With you I might try). 

  • woofpop

    "with you I’m not high" – I like that one..

  • Old Dave

    I must be older than the average Jason Hare reader because both of these songs were staples during my high school years.  Magnet & Steel didn’t get much love, probably because that ‘steel/wang’ connection was made even back then, but Smoke was very popular with everyone.The Sanford/Townsend Band album is actually very good, and I doubt it qualifies as Mellow Gold (maybe right there on the cusp).  The original release – before it was renamed "Smoke From A Distant Fire", had the most gawd-awful cover you could imagine.  Semi-interesting fact from back in the day:  A lot of people thought the song was by Hall & Oates.

  • woofpop

    Although I loved a lot of the things that I did when I lived in Winston, I was ready when a job opportunity came along that allowed me to move. Got to meet a lot of amazing people, though, and saw some incredible shows. Ahh, the 80’s..good times..

  • woofpop

    Old Dave,
    Right there with you, age wise – these were both high school songs for me, too – 10th / 11th grade.. Yeah, I remember finding that original cover in a used record store, and thiking I’d stumbled onto something rare.. Someone actually was credited for designing that cover. Nice flip-flops on there, too (I’m sure that those shoes had a real name, but I don’t remember what).  But, You’re right, that album is really good.  I agree that it’s almost not mellow (I’d argue that it is because of the Loggins connection), but it’s kind of in the same prevailing mood. it could almost be beach music, though..

  • Triple G

    Got to say, I now look forward to this blog over anything else…(these songs all take you back to the days when the only thing you worried about was what’s for dinner)…Here are a couple of mellow gold nuggets to explore….From the 70’s : How about B.W. Stephenson’s " My Maria" from 1973 or Alan O’Day and "Undercover Angel" from 1977?an interesting one from the 80’s (that actually popped up recently as one of the themes when people would be booted off American Idol)-  the mellowness of Freiheit- Keeping the Dream Alive, which was personally selected by Cameron Crowe for the film Say Anything- and completely gets overshadowed by the ever popular Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel.

  • David

    Heck, if you’re taking requests / suggestions, might I add

    “Moonlight Feels Right” by Starbuck
    “Dancing In The Moonlight” by King Harvest
    “Woman Of Mine” by Dean Friedman
    “Sad Eyes” by Robert John

    … and, for that little touch o’ squareness, anything by Roger Whittaker.

  • People thought “Smoke” was by Hall & Oates? I hadn’t heard that before, but it makes sense. In the liner notes to Vol. 21 of “Super Hits of the ’70s,” it’s mentioned that many people thought Player’s “Baby Come Back” was by Hall & Oates when it was first released. And I guess some people still think that, because in the fall of 2002, about six months after I bought Vol. 21, I was in a grocery store in Atlanta when “Baby Come Back” came on the P.A. and someone a few feet away said to his wife, “Is this Hall & Oates?”

  • I’m taking notes of all of these suggestions/requests, btw.  Not sure when I’ll get to them, but I’ve been listening to the tunes as time allows.  From what I’ve heard so far, you’re all pretty much spot-on.

  • Stephen

    What I love most about Egan being a sub teacher is that if Fundamental Roll was still in print, parents would demand he be kept away from the cheerleaders.Jason, quick question, do you tend to pick things that are a little more obscure? I only ask because you’ve got some classic mellow gold from Chicago with "Baby What a Big Surprise" and "If You Leave Me Now" but those were also mega hits and may be too obvious. Either way, keep up the good work, this is my new favorite site!I agree on the Alan O’Day! Great tune. Also, I looked back through the archives but didn’t see "Please Come to Boston" by Kenny’s brother, Dave Loggins. That one is very mellow, very gold.

  • Stephen

    Kenny’s COUSIN, not brother…apologies.

  • I try to do both, Stephen.  It’s fun to find obscurities that so obviously encompass the Mellow Gold style, because they often sound like we’ve heard them before, but I also like doing the more popular ones, because I love hearing everyone’s memories in the comments.  (When you get the memories of the obscure ones, that’s when things get scary.)

    I had "Baby What A Big Surprise" on my list, but not "If You Leave Me Now," for some reason, but that’s been corrected – also added the Loggins track.  And the O’Day track had me laughing my ass off this morning.  Allll riiiiight!

  • Undercover angelMidnight fantasy Keeps hauling me to courtDemanding custody…DwD

  • Here’s a post about Matthew Sweet’s “Magnet and Steel” that I read a month or so ago but didn’t remember I’d read it until today. I like it.


  • BD

    Since we’re delving into my current hometown (Washington — well, the burbs) and my past home (the Triad — N.C. School of Arts), I’m going to have to demand that we go all the way South and start talking about the Marshall Tucker Band and the Atlanta Rhythm Section.
    I’d suggest Imaginary Lover, Heard It in a Love Song, So Into You or something like that. Maybe not Fire on the Mountain, which may be too intense. Or just too awesome.

  • BD

    Oh … and who didn’t have a thing going with Stevie Nicks in the ’70s? I think Fleetwood himself was involved.

  • woofpop

    Wow, good call BD –  So Into You  is one of the very best songs out of that era. It sounds great, even today. So does Doraville, if you remember that one. Or how about Wet Willie’s  Weekend ?  Mellow southern gold.

  • Hey….that’s MY post on "Magnet & Steel" for the other blog. Thanks Robert! Well, it’s now all come full circle–regular Jason reader/occasional poster reads comments on his own blogwork on Jason’s blog. My head’s spinning!

  • Matthew, apoolgies for not picking up on your blog in any of your previous comments.  As I mentioned on yours, what a great read.

  • Keep up the good work, Matthew!

  • Elaine

    I like "Fire on the Mountain."  Nowadays it makes me think of Deadwood.  I’ll spare you the requisite foul-mouth-expletive punctuation mark.  I miss that show. :(  Anyway, if anyone doubts that "Smoke" is actually mellow, remember that he’s singing about a girl who he knows is out two-timing him, yet he’s still kissing her cold, cheating lips and saying that he figured it out a long time ago.  That he finally tells her not to let the door hit her ass on the way out is somewhat redeeming, but the song celebrates wallowing in denial, if only temporarily.  Melllllllow listening.

  • Stephen

    One more suggestion: John Stewart of Kingston Trio came out with a top 10 hit song called "Gold" from his album Bombs Away Dream Babies produced by none other than Lindsey Buckingham and featuring backing vocals from Stevie herself. It sounds A LOT like a Fleetwood Mac or Rumours-era Mac song.

  • Good critical thinking on the mellowness factor, Elaine.  And after listening to Todd Rundgren’s "Hello It’s Me" again over Christmas, I realized that song IS dangerously borderline mellow, lyrically speaking (obviously it’s a soft rocker melodically), and that the booty-call aspect of the lyrics is heavily muted by lines like "It’s important to me / That you know you are free / ‘Cause I never want to make you change for me."  And when Rundgren brings up the idea of a booty call, he adds "if you think I should" to the end of his thought.  Not too assertive, Todd!

    This site is like a support group for me.  But I feel no shame!  Unless you think I should …

  • You guys aren’t letting up until I cover Rundgren, huh.

  • Do as you wish. You’ve given us enough already. All we’re saying is that “Hello It’s Me” and “Can We Still Be Friends” are Top 40 hits that contain some muy mellow sentiments.

  • You missed the set-up!  All you had to do was reply with "It’s important to me!"


  • Elaine

    But we never want to make you change for us.;)

  • Hello, it’s me. This is scary. I suggested Rundgren to Jason just yesterday, not noticing these last comments. Jason, did that happen more or less simultaneously? Robert, have you guys discussed "Hello It’s Me" previously? Which post was that?

  • Rundgren’s various stabs at mellowness were first mentioned, as far as I know, in Mellow Gold #13:


  • Thanks Robert. Jason’s site is turning into a veritable ’70s soft rock encyclopedia with his great posts and your equally interesting comments.

  • woofpop

    my two cents: Quien es mas wussy: "Can We Still be Friends"

  • Stephen

    Rundgren has had many mellow moments, such as his first solo single "We Gotta Get You a Woman," although not quite as mellow as those listed above. His album Something/Anything? goes from hardcore R&B, bar rock, and just plain studio weirdness to extremely mellow gold with songs like "Hello It’s Me" and "Cold Morning Light."

  • Thanks, Terje.  I comment too much here, but I try to keep it positive.  So does everyone else, of course, which makes this such a fun site to visit.<br><br>"Cold Morning Light" is a great self-pity song.  Oh, Rundgren, you provided such a great soundtrack as I wallowed in my own self-pity in the spring of 1996 once I discovered "Something/Anything?"<br><br>Jason, I saw "Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut" last week.  It is disjointed, and it’s possible Donner would’ve made a better film than the finished version if he hadn’t been fired, but his cut makes you realize what a good editor Richard Lester was.  For example, Donner’s cut includes too many lame lines from Lex Luthor; Lester’s cut makes Gene Hackman shine much more, and Lester never even got the chance to direct Hackman in any reshoots.  The new scenes with Brando are pretty good, but I’ll discuss all of that on the "Nerdy" portion of your site later.

  • Peg

    "Magnet and Steel" was recently in a movie that for the life of me I cannot remember…anyone, anyone?  I thought it was in a Ben Stiller or Owen Wilson movie, but the title fails me.  There was a couple in the car and they had magnetic necklaces or something like that, and that song was playing in the background.  HELP! This is driving me crazy!

  • “Peacemaker” needs to be released again. We have come full circle into a time when the musicians need to stand up and speak out against tyranny.

    Love, Hope, Peace, & Christ Be With You,


  • Nathan

    I See here you have posted Sanford & Townsend’s Smoke From A Distant Fire also on that album was a song called Squire James. I would love to get a copy of it if you have it?
    Can you let me know if you have it?

  • John Stewart died this week, at 68. He wrote “Daydream Believer.” I didn’t know.

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