Every Tuesday, the Analog Kid blog goes back in time and features some of the best groovy R&B/soul songs from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Sometimes you’ll hear songs from individual artists or from a specific year, and other times you’ll get an entire full-length classic LP ripped directly from the Analog Kid’s vast vinyl vault. Warning: by R&B/soul, I also mean disco. I could go all Gloria Gaynor on your ass at any given moment, so just be ready!
Groovy Tuesday: 1975 (Part 2)
Natalie Cole: “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” (Chuck Jackson/Marvin Yancy)
From the album Inseparable
Capitol Records, 1975
Before it became best-known as a promotional tool for an on-line dating service, Natalie Cole’s “This Will Be” was a #1 smash on the Billboard R&B chart. It also reached #6 on the Hot 100– not bad for a debut single! Cole was awarded Best New Artist at the 1976 Grammy Awards.
Leon Haywood: “I Want’a Do Something Freaky To You” (Leon Haywood)
From the album Come And Get Yourself Some
20th Century Records, 1975
Leon Haywood’s recording career spanned almost 30 years (and seven different labels), but he only had one Top 40 hit on the Billboard pop charts. “I Want’a Do Something Freaky To You” reached #15 in 1975, no doubt propelled by its subtle sexual references.
Your love looks like a mountain/And I’d like to slide down into your canyon.
Subtlety at its finest, my friends!
The Staple Singers: “Let’s Do It Again” (Curtis Mayfield)
From the album Let’s Do It Again
Curtom Records, 1975
“Let’s Do It Again” was the second #1 single for The Staple Singers (“I’ll Take You There” hit the top spot in 1972) and a true soul classic, but I still think of this guy every time I hear it:
Jimmie Walker became an instant star when Good Times debuted in 1974, and “Let’s Do It Again” was the title song from his first motion picture. I must have watched Let’s Do It Again at least 50 times on our subscription TV service (anybody remember ONTV?) in 1977. Am I allowed to admit now that I had no idea who Sidney Poitier was at the time?
Polly Brown: “Up In A Puff Of Smoke” (Gerry Shury/Phillip Swern)
From the album Special Delivery
GTO Records, 1975
Polly Brown was a British singer who had a string of hits in her homeland, but “Up In A Puff Of Smoke” wasn’t really one of them. The song peaked at #43 on the British charts, but it went all the way to #16 in the U.S. based primarily on its popularity in discos.
Strange but true: as a member of the duo Sweet Dreams, Polly often performed in black face. Holy Neil Diamond in “The Jazz Singer,” Batman!
The Miracles: “Love Machine (Part 1)” (Warren Moore/William Griffin)
From the album City Of Angels
Tamla Records, 1975
Who needs Smokey, anyways? “Love Machine” only spent one week at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (the week of March 6, 1976), but its long rise to the top slot meant that it was in the Hot 100 for 28 weeks. No other Miracles song– Smokey or otherwise– can make such a claim. Hoo-hoo-hoo yeah!
Want to hear more groovy tracks from 1975? Check out 1975, Part 1 here:
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.
The Staple Singers: “I’ll Take You There” (Alvertis Isbell)
From the album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself
Stax Records, 1972
Neil Diamond: “You Baby” (Neil Diamond)
From the album The Jazz Singer
Capitol Records, 1980