1969/70 One Hit Wonders
Of Zager, Evans and more Greenbaum then Yesterday
The late 60s was a wonderful tme to be a budding musician. Hammer away on a melody…sprinkle with prescient lyrics..record quickly with your buddies…and wah lah…you have a hit record. Such was the case for many a long-haired guitar playing radical of the day circa 1969. Of course for many… that one burst of creativity was the high point of their existence on this planet (only kidding) and would result in being labelled One Hit Wonder…but of course if the song you wrote was great that really didn’t matter (and the
royalties might still be rolling in 45 years later)….
….spring of 1969 brought out some wonderful upbeat sounds, perhaps none more smiling than this horn-driven 2 and 1/2 minute 45 from Spiral Starecase. Led by vocalist Pat Upton, this Sacramento bar band went from nobodies to American Bandstand in a matter of weeks in a tale similar to the film That Thing That You Do. We still had eastcoast and westcoast hits back then and More Today Than Yesterday was at first a bonafide westcoast smash, hitting #1 in LA in late April, a full month before it peaked at # 7 (Cashbox) on the national charts.
In The Summertime-Mungo Jerry
Some things you just can’t explain to todays kids…like Pet Rocks….or Watergate…or Mungo Jerry…in fact I can’t really explain Mungo Jerry to anyone who even remembers them…the song is great…sorta a Bob Marley meets Scott Joplin…recorded by an English pub band….it sold a ton of 7 inch vinyl in the summer of 1970…hitting #1 in the UK and Europe..#3 in the US…there have been lame cover versions but don’t settle for them…get the Mungo Jerry version and have a pint of Guinness while your at it ‘mate.
In the Year 2525-Zager and Evans.…time…what a concept…back in ’69 I remember daydreaming to this ditty as they sung about the years and years ahead….the year 9595??? Really, do we need to go that far into the future?? Is man really that effed up?? A mere 45 years into the future we can conclude that the latter point is horribly true…and as far as the future?…Well we’ll be Lucky if we can make it even to the year 2525…but no one guys gunna look at you then anyway…;-)
Spirit In the Sky-Norman Greenbaum
Some things just can’t be explained to Pop Culture Scholars of the 21st Century…for example…how does a Jewish guy from Boston end up writing this gritty Christian stoner anthem?? Doesn’t matter…didn’t matter…sold 2 million copies…hit #1 (Cashbox) and remains a regular classic rock (christian stoner) anthem! Greenbaum followed up this mega-hit with the long forgotten (thank god) Mendocino County anthem ‘Canned Ham’…and retired to his barn-studio to record his follow up album…and never left (he now has it wired with broadband)….1969 ..man landed on the moon…the Jets won the Super Bowl…and there was more onehit wonders than you could shake a mugo jerry with as you walked up a spiral staircase to see the spirit int the sky…I kid u not…;-D