This continuing series on the Analog Kid blog takes a look back at some of the best AOR songs from the ’70s and ’80s. All of these songs were radio favorites from my teenage years in Texas, but for some reason you just don’t seem to hear them very much any more. I hope to change that.

Texas Radio & The Big Beat: 1979

John Cougar

John Cougar: “I Need A Lover” (Mellencamp)

From the album John Cougar

Riva Records, 1979

I Need A Lover

“I Need A Lover” became John Cougar’s first Top 40 hit when it peaked at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979. Forget the shortened single version– the extended intro is what makes the song a classic. Pat Benatar’s cover version also received a lot of airplay on Dallas classic rock stations when it was released later that year.

George Harrison

George Harrison: “Blow Away” (Harrison)

From the album George Harrison

Dark Horse Records, 1979

Blow Away

Raise your hand if you have somehow forgotten about “Blow Away.” Go ahead, it’s OK– I forgot about it for more than ten years back in the ’80s. It wasn’t until I bought a copy of George’s Best Of Dark Horse 1976-1989 compilation (in 1990, I believe) that the song came roaring back to me. Would you be shocked to learn that “Blow Away” was a Top 20 hit in the United States? Well, you shouldn’t be. It’s a gorgeous song, and for me it’s one of Harrison’s Top 5 solo tunes.

Down To Earth

Rainbow: “Since You Been Gone” (Ballard)

From the album Down To Earth

Polydor Records, 1979

Since You Been Gone

Speaking of songs I had somehow forgotten…

I bought a Rainbow best-of compilation about fifteen years ago, and popped the CD into my car stereo on the way home from the record store. The moment I heard the opening riff to “Since You Been Gone,” I was immediately teleported back to 1979. “Since You Been Gone” was written by former Argent guitarist Russ Ballard, and comes from Rainbow’s only album with vocalist Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz).

Night

Night: “Hot Summer Nights” (Egan)

From the album Night

Planet Records, 1979

Vinyl rip courtesy of the Analog Kid

Hot Summer Nights

Night were an L.A.-based band made up mostly of  top-notch session musicians. Do the names Robbie McIntosh, Nicky Hopkins, and Rick Marotta ring a bell? The band only recorded two albums together, and “Hot Summer Nights” was a Top 20 hit in the U.S. in 1979. Former Manfred Mann’s Earth Band vocalist Chris Thompson was also in the group, but the lead vocal on “Hot Summer Nights” came from Stevie Lange (the wife of soon-to-be huge producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange). McIntosh would go to join The Pretenders in 1982, and would also tour and record extensively with Paul McCartney in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

Bombs Away Dream Babies 1

John Stewart: “Midnight Wind” (Stewart)

From the album Bombs Away Dream Babies

RSO Records, 1979

Vinyl rip courtesy of the Analog Kid

Midnight Wind

John Stewart was a member of the Kingston Trio and a respected songwriter (“Daydream Believer”), but it took a little help from the biggest group of the late ’70s to get him into the Top 10 as a solo artist. Lindsey Buckingham was a big fan of Stewart’s, and he produced Bombs Away Dream Babies and contributed some unmistakable guitar as well. Stevie Nicks added vocals to the Top 5 song “Gold,” and also sang on the follow-up single “Midnight Wind” (#28 on the Hot 100).

Note: Buckingham also plays guitar on two of today’s bonus tracks. One is “Gold,” and it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out the other one!

______________________________________________________________________

Bonus Tracks!

The first rule of The Analog Kid blog is that if you write about a song on the Analog Kid blog, you share the song on the Analog Kid blog.

In The Heat Of The Night

Pat Benatar: “I Need A Lover” (Mellencamp)

From the album In The Heat Of The Night

Chrysalis Records, 1979

I Need A Lover

winning

Russ Ballard: “Since You Been Gone” (Ballard)

From the album Winning

Epic Records, 1976

Since You Been Gone

Not Shy

Walter Egan: “Hot Summer Nights” (Egan)

From the album Not Shy

Columbia Records, 1979

Vinyl rip courtesy of the Analog Kid

Hot Summer Nights

The Roaring Silence

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band: “Blinded By The Light” (Springsteen)

From the album The Roaring Silence

Warner Brothers Records, 1976

Blinded By The Light

Learning To Crawl

The Pretenders: “Time The Avenger” (Hynde)

From the album Learning To Crawl

Sire Records, 1984

Time The Avenger

The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees

The Monkees: “Daydream Believer” (Stewart)

From the album The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees

Colgems Records, 1968

Daydream Believer

Bombs Away Dream Babies 1

John Stewart: “Gold” (Stewart)

From the album Bombs Away Dream Babies

RSO Records, 1979

Gold

 

About The Analog Kid

"I'm 5-foot-8, 123 pounds. I have, uh, brown hair, blue eyes. I enjoy surfing, backgammon and men who aren't afraid to cry."

3 responses »

  1. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks … Brings back a lot of memories. Especially the great John Stewart … What a fine songwriter … Americana before Americana! Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (where JS will feature)

  2. Mark says:

    I remember looking at my brother’s copy of the Roaring Silence, thinking it was the coolest album cover I’d ever seen. And of course Blinded by the Light is a killer song.

  3. Mark says:

    I have to say, Blinded by the Light has to be one of the most brilliant re-working of a song that I have heard. Maybe you could do a post on reworked songs that were better than their originals….

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