We now resume our alphabetical survey of the U.S. top-10 hits of the 1970s, our last for 2020:
• Hot Chocolate - Emma, You Sexy Thing, Every 1's A Winner: One of the best British groups of the 1970s, danceable edgy soul with a sinewy guitar sound — Emma was a portrait of a woman who doesn't achieve her ambitions and takes her own life.
• Thelma Houston- Don't Leave Me This Way: In my mind, the best disco song of all time, consistently exciting and propulsive.
• Hues Corporation-Rock the Boat: Pleasing sort-of early disco, a definite earworm.
• Engelbert Humperdinck - After the Lovin': Unlike most critics, I really like many of Engelbert's immaculately recorded and performed 1960s hits, especially Winter World of Love — his one 1970s hit is very, very 1970s, I can visualize the open neck men's shirts, gold chains and roaring fireplace at the ski lodge.
• Brian Hyland- Gypsy Woman: No (posthumous) offence, Curtis Mayfield, but I prefer this nicely atmospheric Del Shannon-produced (and only mono-mixed) version to your fine original by the Impressions.
And now the I list.
• Janis Ian-At Seventeen: This song about alienation is so gorgeously sung that Janis Ian should have had many more hits in the 1970s and beyond.
• Ides of March- Vehicle: A 1970 hit that I first heard as a bumper for radio shows — seems to me a bit like a faster Blood, Sweat and Tears with a similarly gruff vocalist.
• Luther Ingram- If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want To Be Right): A superb 1972 hit (mostly available only in mono, strangely) about infidelity, but I prefer the lushly produced and more dramatic Millie Jackson 1974 version.
• The Isley Brothers - That Lady, Fight the Power: The former is a joyous rhythm and blues raver, and the latter is a defiant song and one of the first big hits to have a profanity (BS in its full wording) — it's a precursor to politically-oriented rap.
And now the J list:
• Terry Jacks-Seasons in the Sun: Very wispy where the original was sarcastic — Jacks actually produced an (inferior) version with the Beach Boys with more of the original French lyrics — this will probably be released on the upcoming Feel Flows Beach boys box set
• Jermaine Jackson- Daddy's Home: I like the doo-wop original better, much better.
• Michael Jackson- Got To Be There, Rockin' Robin, Ben, Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, Rock with You: The first of these hits was probably his best of the decade with his child's voice, the second is a lively revival of the Bobby Day original, the third is very polarizing, with many hating the ode to a rat, and the latter two are rhythmic masterpieces from what I think remains Michael's best solo album — Off the Wall.
• The Jackson 5-I Want You Back (which hit at the tail end of 1969 but which I'm counting as a 1970 hit), ABC, The Love You Save, I'll Be There, Mama's Pearl, Never Can Say Goodbye, Sugar Daddy, Dancing Machine: Unbelievably, the group had seven top 10s in a two-year period, and the latter was an early disco fluke at a time when the hits were drying up for the group, but then...
• The Jacksons: ... the group moved from Motown Records (Jermaine remained for a while) to Epic, and progressed to masterful, mature disco-tinged rhythm and blues hits like Enjoy Yourself and Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground), as well as Show You The Way To Go (#28).
• The Jaggerz-The Rapper: Fun and funky, and apprently the group name has no connection to Mick Jagger, and was named after a "jagger bush," another term for a thorny bush.
• Tommy James-Draggin' the Line: Quite a groove.
• Jefferson Starship-Miracles, Count On Me: Very pleasant pop, a little like Fleetwood Mac when Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham joined. (A few entries back, I mentioned that the Isley Brothers' Fight the Power was one of the first hits to feature a profanity — the full version of Miracles has an even more explicit lyric that did not make it to the single edit, understandably.)
Next time: Jigsaw and others.