Brasil '66 singles

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
"Scarborough Fair" was played pretty frequently on the MOR station that I listened to. It seemed to me like a solid followup to "Fool On The Hill", but it wasn't all that popular on the bog Top 40 stations, as I recall.
A good example is KHJ in Los Angeles, which only played three Brasil '66 singles. "The Look of Love" peaked at #2. So did "Fool on the Hill". "Scarborough Fair" only made #10. But beyond the peak number is this story---it took two weeks to move from hitbound to #25. The next week, #10. Then #12, then #24, then gone.

Now, KHJ was a quick on-quick off station in those days. Seven weeks on the chart for a big record was about it. Six was more common. "Hey Jude" set some kind of record for charting for 11 weeks. But four---that's short. And it suggests it might not have really been a #10 or #12 record.

KHJ gave itself a lot of latitude by putting this language at the bottom of its weekly chart: "The listing of records herein is the opinion of KHJ based on its survey of record sales, listener requests and KHJ's judgement of the record's appeal. "
 

Rudy

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"Scarborough Fair" was played pretty frequently on the MOR station that I listened to. It seemed to me like a solid followup to "Fool On The Hill", but it wasn't all that popular on the bog Top 40 stations, as I recall.
Back when XM Radio was still around, "Scarborough Fair" was the only Brasil '66 song I ever heard, on the 60s channel.
 

Rudy

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KHJ gave itself a lot of latitude by putting this language at the bottom of its weekly chart: "The listing of records herein is the opinion of KHJ based on its survey of record sales, listener requests and KHJ's judgement of the record's appeal. "
Kinda reminds me of Rosalie Trombley there. :wink:
 
How could I have forgotten!? -- "Black Magic Woman" is an example of a song done by a then-current popular recording artist (band), and then covered soon after by another big band/act/name/group/artist.

(Again, correct me if I'm wrong -- but my understanding is) the original release of "Black Magic Woman" by Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac was a hit in the U.K. (and maybe Europe), but it was Santana's cover version (adaptation) that got lots of notice and airplay (sales, impact, etc.) in the U.S.

Santana's version got popular in 1970, which means, that it was a cover of a song that had recently been made a hit by another hit-making artist. That's my point here, with this post.
But, as I said, I am not sure how many Americans were familiar with the original by 1970 when they would have heard Santana's version for the first times.



In fact, all of Santana's most-played songs (best-known tracks) were covers of songs that were originally done by others (as singles/45s). But "Evil Ways" and "Oye Como Va" were originally done many years earlier (earlier in the 1960s, I think) -- and even then, the originals probably weren't well-known by the Pop and Rock mainstream and white youth cultures in the U.S. when Santana released their versions of those songs. So, those two particular examples aren't the strongest support for my thesis here.
In fact, to this day, Santana's versions of those three songs -- "Black Magic Woman" , "Evil Ways" and "Oye" are the best-known versions/recordings of those particular songs.

This might serve as a bit of a parallel for the idea I had expressed about Lani having done some adaptation of "Oh Well" -- in a Mose Allison -type style with piano instead of guitar. (It would be the reverse process of what Pete Townsend did with "Young Man Blues." by Mose Alison.)
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Fleetwood Mac's "Black Magic Woman" peaked at #37 in the UK (again, 36 other songs did better on its best week), and was not released as a single and did not chart in the US. It was on a Fleetwood Mac compilation released in 1969 in the US called ENGLISH ROSE, which peaked at #184, so it's fair to assume very few people in the US ever heard it before Santana.

As for "Evil Ways", yes Willie Bobo recorded it and released it on the 1967 BOBO MOTION album, but that didn't chart.

Neither did "Oye Como Va", which Tito Puente wrote in 1956, but didn't release until 1962's EL REY BRAVO album, which also didn't chart.

Bottom line---none of those songs were hits by other hit-making artists. Even Fleetwood Mac, which had charted (1969's "Oh Well" peaked at #55 and was their only chart single until "Over My Head" in 1975), had yet to have anything close to a hit in the US before "Black Magic Woman" was released by Santana).
 
Intuitive Samba: Here's the problem: Lyrics began to matter. Music became personal as '68 morphed into '69, and artists seemed less authentic doing songs that others popularized or whose lyrics didn't seem to fit their persona.
[…] The times changed.
But what about Linda Ronstadt? -- (I suppose (baby) "You're no good" wasn't a mainstream white-audience Top-40 Pop hit until she did her version, maybe ; other examples?) Maybe Michael (and others) would say that it fit her image, fine, though.
… or, Joe Cocker? Like Santana, these popular artists of the time (late '60s and early 1970s) weren't known for original material. But, I suppose that the songs that they had hits with weren't hits for other name-artists before their versions became big (particularly in the Top-40 American Pop mainstream). So Michael's rule still applies.

Joe Cocker's first hit, of course, was "Little Help from my Friends" back in 1968 -- I suppose that was really an album track on Pepper and not a 45 hit single (particularly, in the U.S.).
And, Joe's follow-up hit was "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window")

Wikipedia says : "reached number 30 on the Billboard top 40 in 1970.[7]"
Again, an album track on Abbey Road for the original artists, not a single (Correct me where I am making mistakes here).

Interestingly -- Michael pointed out that, perhaps, Sergio chose to cover "Norwegian Wood" because it was getting Top 40 airplay (in the U.S.) as if it was a single, but it actually wasn't technically released on a 45, at the time.
 
Actually, wasn't Joe Cocker's 2nd hit single (or,at least 45 release) "Feelin' Alright" ?
-- And, Mr. Hagerty would likely point out that Traffic's original version wasn't really a hit, originally.

But, I'm veering off the topic of Latin-Jazz -flavored music by using these other artists as examples.
 
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Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
But what about Linda Ronstadt? -- (I suppose (baby) "You're no good" wasn't a mainstream white-audience Top-40 Pop hit until she did her version, maybe ; other examples?) Maybe Michael (and others) would say that it fit her image, fine, though.
… or, Joe Cocker? Like Santana, these popular artists of the time (late '60s and early 1970s) weren't known for original material. But, I suppose that the songs that they had hits with weren't hits for other name-artists before their versions became big (particularly in the Top-40 American Pop mainstream). So Michael's rule still applies.

Joe Cocker's first hit, of course, was "Little Help from my Friends" back in 1968 -- I suppose that was really an album track on Pepper and not a 45 hit single (particularly, in the U.S.).
And, Joe's follow-up hit was "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window")

Wikipedia says : "reached number 30 on the Billboard top 40 in 1970.[7]"
Again, an album track on Abbey Road for the original artists, not a single (Correct me where I am making mistakes here).

Interestingly -- Michael pointed out that, perhaps, Sergio chose to cover "Norwegian Wood" because it was getting Top 40 airplay (in the U.S.) as if it was a single, but it actually wasn't technically released on a 45, at the time.
"You're No Good" stiffed at #51 ten years before. It was unlikely to have been remembered by a mass audience. I'd argue that it not only fit Linda's image, it established Linda's image.

It helps to remember that Linda's biggest singles chart success as a solo artist had been "Long Long Time", which only made #25 ("Different Drum", with the Stone Poneys managed to peak at #13). The four singles leading up to "You're No Good" peaked at #85, 51, 67 and 108.

And---Linda caught and helped propel a mid-70s nostalgia wave that began with the film "American Graffiti", picked up steam with the Carpenters NOW AND THEN, Elton John's "Crocodile Rock" and covers of "Daddy's Home" (Jermaine Jackson), and then became a three-year trend with hits in '73, '74 and '75 like "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and "Do You Wanna Dance" (Bette Midler), "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu" (Johnny Rivers), "Jambalaya" (The Blue Ridge Rangers), "The Twelfth of Never" (Donny Osmond), "The Loco-Motion" (Grand Funk), "Hooked on a Feeling" (Blue Swede), "You're Sixteen" (Ringo Starr), "He Don't Love You" (Tony Orlando & Dawn), "Please Mister Postman" (Carpenters), "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" (Elton John), "How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You" (James Taylor) and others.

Linda did very well in that phase, with "When Will I Be Loved", "Heat Wave", "The Tracks of My Tears", "That'll Be The Day"...and actually continued to hit with covers after the trend had peaked ("Blue Bayou", "It's So Easy", "Ooo Baby Baby").

As for Joe Cocker, we're not really comparing him and Lani in terms of what material might work, are we?

So far, we're at seven pages of the same answer from me. Stuff changed. Old-school adult artists (especially those dependent on cover songs) fell out of favor. Lani was never able to successfully reposition herself in terms of being a successful chart artist. But she's done just fine.

We can keep going over it, but eventually you have to ask yourself the question:

 
[…]mid-70s nostalgia wave that began with the film "American Graffiti", picked up steam with the Carpenters NOW AND THEN, Elton John's "Crocodile Rock" […] "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" (Elton John),[…]
I was going to mention Elton John's cover hit of "Lucy in the Sky" -- That wasn't a current song in 1973. Instead, that was 7 years old by then.
But would a song that was associated with 1967 have been considered (revival) "retro" nostalgia in 1973? (I wasn't around then, myself -- so those who were -- what do you think?)
 
"As for Joe Cocker, we're not really comparing him and Lani in terms of what material might work, are we?"

I wasn't suggesting that the same material would have been sung by both, nor that the vocal styles were similar.
That wasn't my (intended) point, by bringing up that example.

I was just finding an example of a popular recording artist who had hit records and airplay (particularly in the U.S.) in the late 1960s and early 1970s who wasn't known for original material and instead had impact with "covers."
 
So far, we're at seven pages of the same answer from me. Stuff changed. Old-school adult artists (especially those dependent on cover songs) fell out of favor. Lani was never able to successfully reposition herself in terms of being a successful chart artist. But she's done just fine.

We can keep going over it, but eventually you have to ask yourself the question
The 7 (so-far) pages of this thread (B'66 singles) consist of more than just a discussion about this particular idea/topic and angle.
And others can join in, of course.
I wasn't intending to have a private one-on-one conversation with just Michael on this particular thread, here.
 
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"As for Joe Cocker, we're not really comparing him and Lani in terms of what material might work, are we?"

I wasn't suggesting that the same material would have been sung by both, nor that the vocal styles were similar.
That wasn't my (intended) point, by bringing up that example.

I was just finding an example of a popular recording artist who had hit records and airplay (particularly in the U.S.) in the late 1960s and early 1970s who wasn't known for original material and instead had impact with "covers."
How could I have forgotten? -- Lani did (in fact) sing "Little Help from my Friends."

I don't know if that was a single (45) release for B'66 -- which would bring this discussion back to the original topic of this thread.
I imagine that it got some airplay, at least on M.O.R. / Easy-listening format-stations.


And, another idea would have been some duet with Joe Cocker, but that idea was already discussed on another thread (for Blush?).
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
It was. A&M 910, with "Look Around" as the b-side.
And it did not chart on the Hot 100. On the Easy Listening chart, it peaked at #31, which was Brasil '66's worst performance on that chart to date.

However, their next two singles, "The Look of Love" and "The Fool on the Hill" , were Brasil '66's biggest (#4 and #6 respectively on the Hot 100, #2 and #1 respectively on the Easy Listening chart).

And yes, both of those were covers, but that's irrelevant, because it was 1968---and as we've established repeatedly, the changes in what audiences wanted really began in earnest in 1969.
 
The question might be -- what exactly prompted, and originated the change? And, more-importantly, how did the change get adopted in-mass and become a new trend?
I suppose, at some point, some brave or imaginative radio programmer took a risk and decided to buck the then-current trends, and fashions, and industry thinking, and do something different (from what other programmers, in a given format, in a given market, were doing (and, likely, thinking that they were expected to do)).
Some brave dissident started the change somehow, somewhere -- it only stands to logic.


Otherwise, things would not have changed (particularly in the mainstream of American, commercial pop music).

Besides, I assume most posters here are American - and therefore, have an American -dominated, and -centric point-of-view on these matters.
What about European radio, or Japan, or even Latin America? Those music markets weren't insignificant (back in the 1960s and 1970s -- we're talking about, here).
In fact, there were several American artists who were very popular in those parts of the world that weren't in the U.S., at least the American mainstream.



I recall seeing mention by some other posters (other than Michael Hagerty) of having worked in radio back in the day (1970s, mostly).
I wonder, do all radio programmers (in a given market, in a given style/format, in a given period of time) think alike and make the same kind of decisions ; are they supposed to be lemmings? Maybe Michael speaks for all of them (with one, unified voice). I suppose Michael is the final, undisputed authority on what should have been popular and have gotten airplay in the U.S. mainstream airwaves (particularly back in the period of 1969-1970s or so).
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
The question might be -- what exactly prompted, and originated the change? And, more-importantly, how did the change get adopted in-mass and become a new trend?
I suppose, at some point, some brave or imaginative radio programmer took a risk and decided to buck the then-current trends, and fashions, and industry thinking, and do something different (from what other programmers, in a given format, in a given market, were doing (and, likely, thinking that they were expected to do)).
Some brave dissident started the change somehow, somewhere -- it only stands to logic.


Otherwise, things would not have changed (particularly in the mainstream of American, commercial pop music).

Besides, I assume most posters here are American - and therefore, have an American -dominated, and -centric point-of-view on these matters.
What about European radio, or Japan, or even Latin America? Those music markets weren't insignificant (back in the 1960s and 1970s -- we're talking about, here).
In fact, there were several American artists who were very popular in those parts of the world that weren't in the U.S., at least the American mainstream.



I recall seeing mention by some other posters (other than Michael Hagerty) of having worked in radio back in the day (1970s, mostly).
I wonder, do all radio programmers (in a given market, in a given style/format, in a given period of time) think alike and make the same kind of decisions ; are they supposed to be lemmings? Maybe Michael speaks for all of them (with one, unified voice). I suppose Michael is the final, undisputed authority on what should have been popular and have gotten airplay in the U.S. mainstream airwaves (particularly back in the period of 1969-1970s or so).

I don't consider myself the final, undisputed authority on anything. I do, however, have some knowledge from 48 years of working in and studying mass media in America. Everybody else seems to have walked away, and I'm simply trying to help you understand why things happened the way they did.

Let's take what you wrote from the top:

What prompted and originated the change? A movement, purely natural, within pop music. In the late 60s, rock and roll went from sharing the stage with middle-of-the-road pop to overwhelming it. That's why Jerry Moss instituted a course correction at A&M after the Monterey Pop Festival and began signing rock acts while letting the contracts of early A&M mainstays (Baja Marimba Band, Sandpipers, Liza Minelli, Claudine Longet) expire.

There was also a movement within the movement. Rock went from largely being produced the same way MOR and pop was (coordination with the label's A&R folks, top-flight producers, crack session players) to being produced, start to finish, by the artists themselves. If you haven't seen the documentary "The Wrecking Crew" yet, it probably tells the story better and in less time than this thread has so far.

Also---things always change. In life and especially in popular music. If not, we'd still be looking for the next Bing Crosby.

If you have to trace it back to one brave dissident, I suppose that would be Tom Donahue, a very popular Top 40 disc jockey in Philadelphia in the 50s and San Francisco in the 60s, who walked away from a top-rated show at KYA, found a struggling FM (the phone had been disconnected) and started playing album cuts. That was KMPX in the spring of '67 (a month before Monterey) and it was the first of the album rock radio stations. Within a year, most major American cities had at least one, drawing audience away from Top 40 and causing a response---more openness to longer, more personal, less pop-oriented material.

More accurately, though, Donahue was just a guy who knew music, lived in a place that was on the cutting edge of musical trends at the time, and saw the wave building on the horizon a little bit before everyone else.

And, no---not all programmers thought alike within a format. But that's not the point here anyway. It's not what radio did or didn't do. It's what the public did or didn't do with their record-buying dollars.

One thing I learned very early on---you can't make a hit record through airplay if the audience doesn't care. Sure, you can play it for sixteen weeks as though it's number one, but at most, you've got a turntable hit. And if the audience actively dislikes the record, for whatever reason, playing it like it's number one not only doesn't sell any copies, it probably sends your audience to another station every time it comes on.
 
Two American hits in 1969 --

1)
"Grazing in the Grass" --

Hugh Masekela had the first hit version (instrumental Soul-Jazz) in 1968 --
and Friends of Distinction had the 2nd, in 1969, with vocals.
The Wikipedia article says that the 1969 cover (adaptation) was a "Top Ten pop and R&B hit, reaching no. 3 on the former and no. 5 on the latter.[8]" Grazing in the Grass - Wikipedia


Also --
2)
"I Heard it Through the Grapevine" was originally a hit for Marvin Gaye, and was covered by John Fogerty (C.C.R.) in 1969.
"also continue to receive a fair amount of airplay"
http://forgottenHits.com/creedence_clearwater_revival

In my own time, I've heard CCR's version a lot on classic rock radio.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Two American hits in 1969 --

1)
"Grazing in the Grass" --

Hugh Masekela had the first hit version (instrumental Soul-Jazz) in 1968 --
and Friends of Distinction had the 2nd, in 1969, with vocals.
The Wikipedia article says that the 1969 cover (adaptation) was a "Top Ten pop and R&B hit, reaching no. 3 on the former and no. 5 on the latter.[8]" Grazing in the Grass - Wikipedia


Also --
2)
"I Heard it Through the Grapevine" was originally a hit for Marvin Gaye, and was covered by John Fogerty (C.C.R.) in 1969.
"also continue to receive a fair amount of airplay"
http://forgottenHits.com/creedence_clearwater_revival

In my own time, I've heard CCR's version a lot on classic rock radio.
Actually, Creedence was a cover of a cover. Gladys Knight and the Pips took "Grapevine" to #2 just one year before Marvin Gaye's version.

Two important points about these records, though---"Grazing in the Grass" was, as you say, different because it added vocals to a familiar song and added a significantly different arrangement. And let's face it, that "Icandigityoucandigithecandigitshecandigitwecandigit" was a monster hook. Beyond that, The Friends of Distinction had no previous MOR image to overcome. They were a fresh, new, heavily promoted R&B-ish group appealing to young audiences as a somewhat-hipper Fifth Dimension.

"Grapevine" was recorded first by the Miracles, in 1966, then by Marvin, who took the same basic arrangement and slowed it down, in the spring of 1967, but Berry Gordy rejected it as a single. Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded it in the fall of 1967, a sped-up arrangement, with a quicker tempo than Marvin's or Smokey's, which Berry liked, so it became the single.

It was finally released as an album cut on a Marvin Gaye album in 1968. Radio programmers heard the cut then, heard a hit, began playing it and forced Berry Gordy to release it as a single. And it was the bigger hit---#1 to Gladys' #2.

Motown acts covered each others' songs all the time---or more to the point, they covered songs published by Jobete, the in-house Motown music publishing arm, in an effort to boost royalties (not uncommon, a lot of that happened at A&M with music published by Almo, Irving and Rondor, too). In fact, even after Marvin's smash, Motown artists continued to cover it---the Temptations on their "Cloud Nine" album in 1969, the Undisputed Truth in 1971, and Bettye Lavette in 1982.

Creedence, one year after Marvin, just took his revision and stretched it out into an 11-minute bluesy jam. Given that Creedence was at that moment, the hottest rock band in America (the Beatles had just broken up) and that long album cuts were considered a sign of hipness, CCR's version of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" was a slam-dunk. It was released as a single twice----in 1973, when Creedence had run out of hits and broken up (it did not chart), and again in 1976, when it managed to make #43 on the Hot 100.

And again, fairly or not---Brasil '66 or Lani as a solo artist, wouldn't have had the same success with the same material at that point in time. The Friends of Distinction, Marvin Gaye and Creedence Clearwater Revival didn't have to overcome the "MOR cover act" stigma.
 

Harry

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It's important to remember that cultural changes like the one Mr. Hagerty is describing don't happen overnight, but are usually a gradual shift. The younger generation was embracing both rock and the beginning of the singer-songwriter era, while their parents were still perfectly fine with hearing someone like Tony Bennett singing the Beatles' "Something".
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
It's important to remember that cultural changes like the one Mr. Hagerty is describing don't happen overnight, but are usually a gradual shift. The younger generation was embracing both rock and the beginning of the singer-songwriter era, while their parents were still perfectly fine with hearing someone like Tony Bennett singing the Beatles' "Something".
Harry---even among the older generation, the appeal was fading, though. Let's take exactly what you cited---Tony Bennett sings "Something". There's an album by that exact name. It peaked at #193 (the single didn't make the Hot 100). Five years earlier, Tony put two albums in a row in the top five. After 1967, he only cracked the top 100 albums twice---with a Christmas Album, and with an album titled LOVE STORY (that movie floated all boats)---that is until 1996, when Tony and his era became fashionable again.

His albums called FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE, I'VE GOTTA BE ME, and TONY SINGS THE GREAT HITS OF TODAY peaked at 164, 137 and 144 respectively. And it was happening to Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis and other MOR artists who'd made a living doing covers of contemporary hits, too.
 
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TulitaPepsi

Active Member
A fairy number of previously recorded Motown songs filled out the Jackson 5's early albums, including "Honey Child" (Martha and the Vandellas), "Who's Loving You" (Smokey Robinson), "Standing in the Shadows of Love" (Four Tops) , "The Love I saw in You was Just A Mirage" (Miracles), but the biggest re-do was the Supremes "Forever Came Today" (1975) which became an early disco smash that killed a dance floor.
 
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