Thursday song of the day: Today’s song is about a hippie girl that the singer wants to change.
Mark Lindsay was the lead singer of Paul Revere & the Raiders, and sang yesterday’s song. He also had a solo career. As a matter of fact, yesterday’s song Indian Reservation was supposed to be released as a Mark Lindsay solo record, but ended up being credited to The Raiders.
His first solo album was Arizona in 1969. The title track from the album told the story of the singer’s girlfriend who was a stereotypical hippie. The singer considers Arizona immature and naïve and tries to convince her to become more conventional and realistic. In the end, however, the singer adopts her beliefs and moves with her to San Francisco.
Arizona was released as a single in November 1969 and sold over a million copies, making it to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. While he had bigger hits as part of Paul Revere & the Raiders, Arizona was Lindsay’s biggest solo hit. He broke the Top 40 only one other time as a solo artist, with 1970’s Silver Bird, which peaked at #25 on the Hot 100.
Friday song of the day: Today’s song is one of the most popular novelty songs that isn’t recorded by Weird Al Yankovic.
After his career as a child actor – most famously as Will Robinson in the 1960s series Lost in Space – Billy Mumy and his friend Robert Haimer formed Barnes & Barnes. It all started out as a joke between two high school kids. They amused themselves by shooting home movies on Super 8 that they called “art films.” Then they started addressing each other as “Art.” This evolved into them portraying the fictional twin brothers Art and Art Barnes. (Later changed to Art and Artie Barnes to differentiate between the two.)
As Barnes & Barnes they recorded silly little songs on a home 4-track tape recorder. Haimer was a fan of the Dr. Demento radio show which played novelty songs, and in 1978 suggested that they send a few songs to the show. One of these was Fish Heads, a song literally about fish heads. Dr. Demento played it and it was popular on the show. This led to Barnes & Barnes releasing the song as a single in 1979, on their own Lumania Records label.
Their friend Bill Paxton – who had not yet achieved fame as an actor in Terminator, Aliens, Weird Science, etc. – made a music video of Fish Heads in 1980 on a budget of just $2000. It was an odd little video, but was played twice on Saturday Night Live. This grew the popularity of the song beyond just the Dr. Demento audience.
Saturday song of the day: Today’s song began as a gospel number but was reworked and became a disco classic.
In 1978 James Wirrick and the singer Sylvester (full name Sylvester James Jr,) were working on songs for Sylvester’s second album. One of the songs they wrote was You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real). It was written and recorded as a mid-tempo gospel song, but when producer Patrick Cowley heard a rehearsal, he thought it would work better as a disco song. The disco remix layered on electronic instruments and altered the rhythm.
The result was released as a single in January 1979 and was a big hit in dance clubs. You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) reached #1 on the Dance Clubs Songs chart, and #36 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its significance went beyond its immediate impact, however. It became something of a gay anthem, and was one of the more critically lauded songs of the disco era. In a genre filled with a lot of formulaic garbage, You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) has endured. In 2019 it was selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion on the National Recording Registry, to be forever preserved as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Sylvester had three top 40 hits in 1978 and 1979 and continued recording into the 1980s. In December 1988 he died of complications from AIDS at the age of 41.
Sunday song of the day: Today’s song makes liberal use of nonsense words.
The 1960s musical Hair contained several songs that became pop hits. One was Good Morning Starshine, which was pretty much a song about singing, and contained numerous nonsense words. It is sung by the character Sheila, who was played by Lynn Kellogg in the 1968 Broadway production of the play.
The song has been covered by several artists over the years, but the best-known version is by a singer who went by the one-word name Oliver. His full name was William Oliver Swofford and he had three top 40 hits in 1969 and then his popularity quickly faded. His first single was Good Morning Starshine, which sold over a million copies and climbed to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In the 1970s, Oliver got out of the music business and later established a new career as an executive in a pharmaceutical company. He died of cancer in February 2000 at the age of 54.