Friday, December 9, 2016

Bracketology: 1976 Adult Contemporary singles, Champion

When it comes to this particular match-up, the in-your-face bombasticism of "I Write The Songs" loses to the laid-back smoothness of "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight" which has almost everything I look for in a soft rock tune: strings, a catchy bridge, soaring strings. What's it missing? Fender Rhodes and sax solo, but that chorus is the stuff and more than makes up for the lack of electric piano. The lyrics appealed to me as a ten-year old. I was too young and naïve to realize that it was a song about a booty call and thought about girls I'd really like to see that night.

This song debuted on the charts in June 1976, and was on the radio that entire summer. According to most sources, this was the duo's biggest hit. The song was nominated for Grammy for Best Pop Vocal by a Duo, Group or Chorus, losing out to Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now" (and understandably so). Nonetheless, I'm hooked from the piano intro and then the next 2½ minutes get better and better.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Bracketology: 1976 Adult Contemporary singles, Finals

The semifinal results are in:
  • Semifinal #1: Ironically, "I Write the Songs" was not written by Barry Pincus, but he sure hit with it (plus the songwriter claims that the "I" in the song refers to God, but that's a story for another time). 50 year old me thought he was going to choose Simon & Garfunkel, but at the last second, 10 year old me rode a wave of nostalgia to the finals. I'll admit this one coulda gone either way and who doesn't get nostalgic in December?
  • Semifinal #2: This would have made a heckuva final match-up itself. I'm going with ED & JFC because its just so dang smooth. In 1976, I was living among the oilfields of west Texas and, as you can imagine, Southern and country rock was very popular (or country soft rock in this case) and radio program directors force fed me a steady diet of Allman Bros., Eagles, Ronstadt, and ED & JFC (among others) and I didn't mind a bit. 
Your humble blogger around the time these
songs were first heard on the radio,
looking annoyed at having to take
a Cub Scout picture in the back yard.

Unfortunately, Paul Simon went oh-fer-two in this round, but he's still a favorite around these parts (and if you haven't checked out his latest release, you should).

Check back as we crown the champion.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Bracketology: 1976 Adult Contemporary singles, Semifinals

Let's see how the quarterfinal match-ups panned out (for me, at least):
  • Quarterfinal #1: Let's start off with an upset! I've always considered "Paloma Blanca" to be a borderline novelty tune, so while that one is a fun listen every once in a decade, I'm giving the nod to the underrated Simon & Garfunkel reunion single with the odd form - a midtempo ballad with a shout chorus? And it works.
  • Quarterfinal #2: ONJ's two-sided single isn't her best work, but I still love her. Call me, Liv!
    Any excuse to post a picture of me kissing a cardboard cutout in a Vegas gift shop.
    But as a confessed Fanilow could this match go any other way?
  • Quarterfinal #3: This is the closest match-up of this round. I particularly like the instrumental turnaround from the chorus of "If You Know What I Mean" (you know, the one with the flat 7). However, Steve Gadd's classic drumming and Rhymin' Simon's lyrics pull away in a photo finish.
  • Quarterfinal #4:  No upset here. I'd really love to see England Dan & John Ford Coley in the final round. Foreshadowing! (or is it? 😈)

Check back for the final round match-up.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Bracketology: 1976 Adult Contemporary singles, Quarterfinals

During 2016, this blog has periodically focused its attention on the singles and albums of 1976. It's only natural for someone who's been given the nickname "Soft Rock Kid" to look at some of the soft rock of the year, so I've created this bracket of the top eight Adult Contemporary/Easy Listening singles from 1976 and we'll match them against each other, round by round, until a winner emerges. I hope you'll play along as I'm sure your bracket will turn out differently from mine. Singles and seedings taken directly from the December 25, 1976 issue of Billboard magazine:

Fill out your bracket(s) with your personal favorites and check back for the semifinal round.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Charting the Charts: David Bowie - Tonight (1984)


Here's a look at how David Bowie's 1984 album fared in various publications:

Date Billboard 200 Cashbox 200 Rolling Stone 50
Oct 13
Oct 20 35 19
Oct 27 24 9
Nov 3 21 7
Nov 10 17 6
Nov 17 17 6 12
Nov 24 11 9
Dec 1 11 12 5
Dec 8 24 21
Dec 15 35 26
Dec 22 31 30
Dec 29

Date Billboard 200 Cashbox 200 Rolling Stone 50
Jan 5 40 40
Jan 12 41 49 24
Jan 19 43 58
Jan 26 51 61 41
Feb 2 70 71
Feb 9 78 83 40
Feb 16 86 83
Feb 23 105 83
Mar 2 110 87
Mar 9 143 94
Mar 16 164 97
Mar 23 182 114
Mar 30 195 128
Apr 6
Apr 13
Apr 20
Apr 27
May 4
May 11
May 18
May 25

(click any photo to enlarge)
Rolling Stone, November 8, 1984, pp. 71 & 73
Smash Hits, September 27, 1984, p. 25
Robert Christgau

The Great Rock Discography, 7th ed.:  4/10