1973: 27 songs hit #1

Jim Croce and Stevie Wonder

In 1973, 27 songs hit #1. Almost all of them were certified gold; Crocodile Rock was certified platinum.

Five of the exceptions were Motown songs, two by Stevie Wonder. From most reports, Motown didn’t allow the RIAA, the industry association, to look at the books to certify the recordings until the late 1970s.

The late Jim Croce is the other artist on the list with two #1 songs.

This #1s roster includes songs by all ex-Beatles except John Lennon, plus a Beatles colleague. The other non-gold record was by George Harrison.

I have links to all the songs and a dozen posts I wrote when the artist turned a number divisible by five or would have.

Killing Me Softly With His SongRoberta Flack, #1 for five weeks. Before the Fugees.

Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree – Dawn Featuring Tony Orlando, #1 for four weeks

My LovePaul McCartney & Wings, #1 for four weeks. Wings went to #2 with Live and Let Die.

You’re So VainCarly Simon, #1 for three weeks. The song was NOT about me.

Crocodile RockElton John, #1 for three weeks. He also had two #2 songs, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Daniel.

#1 for TWO weeks

Let’s Get It OnMarvin Gaye. I wasn’t hearing the ripoff that Ed Sheeran allegedly committed.

Keep On Truckin’ -Eddie Kendricks

Bad, Bad Leroy Brown – Jim Croce

Top Of The World – Carpenters. Yesterday Once More Went To #2.

Midnight Train To GeorgiaGladys Knight and the Pips. By this time, they were at Buddah Records. Neither One Of Us went to #2.

Brother Louie – Stories

Will It Go Round In CirclesBilly Preston


The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia – Vicki Lawrence.  Carol Burnette surprised her with a gold record for the song on the last show of the sixth season of The Carol Burnette Show. 

Time In A Bottle – Jim Croce

The Most Beautiful Girl – Charlie Rich

The Morning After – Maureen McGovern

A single week at #1

Touch Me In The MorningDiana Ross

Delta Dawn – Helen Reddy. Two songs about morning, followed by a dawn song?

Frankenstein – The Edgar Winter Group, an instrumental. Two instrumentals reached #2: Dueling Banjos by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell; and Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001) by Deodato.

You Are The Sunshine Of My LifeStevie Wonder

Angie – The Rolling Stones

Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) – George Harrison

We’re An American Band – Grand Funk

Superstition – Stevie Wonder

Love Train – O’Jays

PhotographRingo Starr

Lydster: Flip Your Wig and other games


You might flip your wig about the activities when our daughter was home on spring break.

Her bedroom had a bunk bed for several years. But the beds had become very uncomfortable to sleep in. When she was home at Christmas, she slept on a futon in her mother’s office, my daughter’s bedroom pre-kindergarten.

However, in my wife’s new job with an afterschool program, she needs her office. This means we had to reclaim the room by removing the bunk bed. Easier said than done. The metal joints were stripped, and no wrench in our collection would take it apart.   Our contractor came to do the job.

One section was huge and heavy. I slid it down the stairs but asked her to help me carry it from the front porch to the street. She did it by herself, proving she has greater upper arm strength than her old dad.

The games people play

One afternoon, she decided she wanted to play some board games. I beat her in a game of Yahtzee. But she utterly defeated me in our second game of Boggle, getting 50 points in one three-minute round versus my 15.  She’s become an outstanding player.

The other thing we played was  The Beatles Flip Your Wig board game. It came out in 1964. My wife and daughter bought it for me a few years back. I must admit that the play is pretty lame, but it was a sweet gesture.

The rules are these. You pick a Beatle and go around the board, trying to pick up four cards, a picture of your Beatle, his autograph, his instrument, and a generic hit record. You want to be the first player to collect all four cards.

While I won two out of three games, the game is so dependent on luck that there was no sense of accomplishment. Still, it was a fun afternoon with my daughter.

Cheese and Onions

All You Need Is Cash

This post was birthed by one blog post, one discussion about cheese and onions, and one television show.

The blog post is by Arthur. He wrote about three songs that went to #1 in 1983. He notes, “The idea for these posts is loosely based on a series of posts Roger Green did as artists turned 70.” Knowingly or not, it also parallels me noting the #1 hits in various years ending in 3 in 2023; I’ll tackle 1983 in September.

Arthur picked three songs. Maneater by Hall and Oates he likes more than I. I much prefer the previous three #1s by the duo, Kiss On My List, Private Eyes, and I Can’t Go For That.

On the other hand, we find the lyrics of Africa by Toto insipid. Yet I like the song, especially when done by others. Here are  42 covers of the piece.

Arthur discusses the stupid copyright claim launched against Men at Work’s Down Under. As luck would have it, I discussed this back in 2010. I wrote that I didn’t think the “swipe” of the song Kookaburra “was substantial enough to be a copyright violation.” Now, Led Zeppelin, for instance, did some heavy lifting of songs, mainly from blues artists, most of whom were black.

The Rutles

My wife prepared some pizza using a prepackaged thin crust with tomato sauce, cheese, and onions. I said, “Cheese and Onions, just like the Rutles song.” She didn’t know what I was talking about.

Back in 1978, in the Saturday Night Live timeslot, there was a faux documentary of a fake rock band called All You Need Is Cash.

As IMDb noted, the film “follows their career from their early days in Liverpool and Hamburg’s infamous Rat-Keller to their amazing worldwide success. A parody of Beatlemania and the many serious documentaries made about the Beatles.” The Wikipedia page details the Rutles phenomenon.

There was a soundtrack of 14 songs which I bought on vinyl. I loved it. And I didn’t think they violated copyright on the LP collection. For instance, Cheese and Onions was a mashup of Across the Universe, Sexy Sadie, Mind Games, Across the Universe, and A Day In The Life, complete with the antithesis of the latter’s extended ending.

I particularly enjoyed Love Life. While rooted in All You Need Is Love, I thought it was different enough, with the reprise of Hold My Hand replacing She Loves You.

Get Up and Go, in the movie, not on the LP, but present on the 20-song CD John Lennon said was too much on the nose compared with Get Back, and I totally agree.

Nevertheless, despite having received Lennon’s and Harrison’s blessing for the project… Neil Innes “was forced by ATV Music to credit some of the songs to Lennon–McCartney–Innes.”

This is…

A recent Final JEOPARDY category was the 20th CENTURY EPONYMS. The clue: A 1940 headline about this included “failure,” “liability when it came to offense,” & “stout hearts no match for tanks.”

Much of the JEOPARDY fandom thought this was impossible. For one thing, many didn’t know what an eponym was. I’ve learned that since I used to read record reviews and saw an artist’s “eponymous first album.”

Others thought one would have studied European history to get it. I remember the answer from high school world history.

Sunday stealing: Favorites

Green. Or blue.

Bartholomew_and_the_Oobleck-Dr._Seuss_(1949)This week’s Sunday Stealing is Favorites.

1. What is your favorite accent?

It varies. Sometimes it’s French. I love the sound of even mundane French words. My high school French is all but gone. “Je m’appelle Roger Vert.”

Other times, it’s Italian, which has a lot of musical terms, some of which I know.

2. What is your favorite animal?

In what context? I like the idea of the kangaroo and its pouch. The ant’s industriousness is impressive. But I don’t want them in my house.

I’m a cat person, though my male feline,  Midnight, is demented.

3. What is your favorite band?

Historically, it’s always been The Beatles. But there are LOTS of bands I’ve loved, such as Talking Heads and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Speaking of the latter, John Fogerty just got the rights to his songs back after a half-century.

Other artists aren’t in what are “bands” but groups such as the Supremes and the Temptations—or solo artists such as Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin.

4. What is your favorite childhood book?

Bartholemew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss. Speaking truth to power.

5. What is your favorite color?

Green’s up there. Or blue. Or blue/green.

6. What is your favorite drink?

It’s Diet Cherry Pepsi, but it’s TERRIBLE for me for a lot of reasons. Lemonade, I guess.

7. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Easily strawberry.

8. What is your favorite place on the planet?

IDK. It would have to be near water. My favorite specific event was going out on a pier in Galveston, TX, in 1996 or 1997 at five a.m. and watching the tide come in.

9. What is your favorite sandwich?

There is a 2014 movie called Chef, starring Jon Favreau. The title character makes a Cubano that is practically food porn. On rare occasions, I’ve had one; stellar.


10. What is your favorite swear word?

Growing up, not only were obvious even mild epithets disallowed, but also their tame equivalents, such as darn, sugar, BS, and jeepers creepers.

I have a friend of mine whose use of the word @$$h0!e is quite exquisite, but I don’t have the artistry to pull it off.    Mine is probably bull$h!t, which I’ve used far more in the past eight years than before.

11. What is your favorite thing to wear?

Caps in summer and wool hats in the winter to protect my head from the sun. I have approximately 1.37 zillion T-shirts, usually with designs. Sneakers, almost always sneakers.

12. What is your favorite food to eat on a rainy day?

Macaroni and cheese.

13. What is your favorite food to eat on a sunny day?

Fruit cocktail and cottage cheese.

14. What is your favorite number?

37. If I played sports, that would be my number unless it was unavailable, in which case I’d take 73. They’re both primes.

15. What is your favorite snack?

Golden Oreos, which purist friends of mine say can’t be REAL Oreos because REAL Oreos are chocolate. Sure, whatever.

Electric Light Orchestra and the Beatles

a reasonable choice

Electric Light OrchestraFor my next answer to Ask Roger Anything, our contestant once again is Kelly Sedinger, the fine Buffalo-area blogger at ForgottenStars.net.

I read somewhere that ELO did the kind of music that The Beatles WOULD have done had they remained together into the 70s. Agree? Disagree? (I’m not really equipped to assess the claim, but it kind of feels right to me, at least in part.)

First, I have to note that you wouldn’t have gotten this question from Kelly two decades ago because he wasn’t a fan of the Beatles at all and likely was unfamiliar with the Electric Light Orchestra. For some reason, I remember what I believe was his first Beatles song of the week, Don’t Let Me Down, a B-side.

In  2010, I asked him: “OK. How the heck could you dislike the entire oeuvre of The Beatles for so long? I can see if one doesn’t like the more avant-garde stuff or thought the early material wasn’t as good as the later tunes. But to reject the whole eclectic eight years? And how did you finally become enlightened?”

His reply: “The flip answer is, ‘Tastes change.’ The more serious answer is… ‘Tastes change.'”

Me? Obsessing?

Anyway, I started obsessing with this. I found a list of bands with three or more songwriters. Eh. The Band, the Eagles. Nah, not the right vibe.

Reddit has a list of Beatlesque bands, but of a later period. The only one I even considered was the Christine McVie/Buckingham/Nicks version of Fleetwood Mac, which is unrecognizable from the Peter Green Days. Heck, they even have their own white album, Tusk.

I thought the snake-bitten band Badfinger could have been it. The group was on Apple Records; their first hit, Come and Get It, was written by Paul McCartney. Day After Day has a lovely guitar line by George Harrison. And No Matter What is definitely of the Beatles genre.

I began fixating on When The Beatles Hit America by John Wesley Harding, the very strange song in which “John, Paul, George and Ringo are going to be reforming as The Beatles in 1993.” Which was, of course, impossible.

But it has this section, “And for anyone who didn’t realize or know, it sounded a lot like ELO, or ELP, or XTC, ABC, YMO, BTO. But it didn’t sound much like P.S., I Love You.”

The candidates

Well, not much like Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, though the Billy Preston organ, especially on I Want You (She’s So Heavy), is very nice. Bachman- Turner Overdrive? Not really.

ABC is an interesting consideration. Wikipedia notes, “Their early-1980s success in the US saw them associated with the Second British Invasion.”

Yellow Magic Orchestra, I’ll admit I don’t know musically. It’s a “Japanese electronic music band formed in Tokyo in 1978… The group is considered influential and innovative in the field of popular electronic music… and effectively anticipated the “electropop boom” of the 1980s. They are credited with playing a key role in the development of several electronic genres, including synthpop, J-pop, electro, and techno while exploring subversive sociopolitical themes throughout their career.”

XTC was actually the band I first considered. “The band gained popularity during the rise of punk and new wave in the 1970s, later playing in a variety of styles that ranged from angular guitar riffs to elaborately arranged pop.” Eclectic, like the Beatles.

And, in the end

But Electric Light Orchestra is a reasonable choice. The group formed in 1970, the year the Beatles officially broke up. They were more commercially successful than many of the other candidates, selling “over 50 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling music groups of all time.” They made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

John Lennon remarked that ELO were the “Sons of the Beatles.” George and Ringo played with ELO. Jeff Lynne played with Paul McCartney. And of course, Jeff shows up in the Traveling Wilburys with George and produced an album of his and the 1995 Beatles songs. This is a bit ironic because “In an article from the 1970s, when the writer described an ELO song coming on the radio, [George] said, almost dismissively, ‘Sounds like the Beatles.'”

Check out the 2008 article in The Guardian. ELO: The band the Beatles could have been. “Critics called them ‘dull’ and laughed at the spaceships. Did they not realise Jeff Lynne was a songwriter to rival Lennon and McCartney?” And Lynne visited the Abbey Road studios while the Beatles worked on the white album.

So, sure, ELO can claim the title. How are Jeff Lynne, ELO, and The Beatles connected?

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