We now resume our look at the top-10 hits of the 1970s, with artists and groups beginning with the letter J and K.
My best wishes to the great Neil Sedaka, the pop hitmaker and songwriter, who has been performing daily weekday virtual piano mini-concerts on social media and telling the stories behind his hits and more obscure songs. In late December, Sedaka, 81, announced that on the advice of his doctor, he had to halt the concerts for a while.
Sedaka returned Jan. 4 and revealed that he had COVID-19, but that he got through it and proceeded to perform three of his hits, and his voice was as great as ever. He will be reducing his mini-concerts to twice a week.
And now to the top-10s:
Jigsaw-Sky High: If every pop-rock song was as joyous, uplifting and filled with hooks as this 1975 hit (another example of such a song is Elton John's Are You Ready For Love), the 1970s would have been an even better decade for music.
Billy Joel - Just the Way You Are, My Life: As with some other artists, one would think Joel had many more 1970s top-10s than he did, but these two are a pretty good microcosm of his career, an effective ballad and a very pleasing, somewhat rocking, mid-tempo track.
Elton John— Your Song, Rocket Man, Honky Cat, Crocodile Rock, Daniel, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Bennie and the Jets, Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me, The Bitch Is Back, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Philadelphia Freedom, Someone Saved My Life Tonight, Island Girl, Don't Go Breaking My Heart, Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word, Mama Can't Buy You Love: Probably the pre-eminent hitmaker of the 1970s, and perhaps John's many hits is the reason I had the impression that the artist I think is somewhat like him — Billy Joel, mentioned above — had more top-10s as well.
Robert John — The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Sad Eyes: The first of these is a very good imitation of the early 1960s hit by The Tokens, and the latter, many years later, is a typical 1979-era ballad. Not bad.
Sammy Johns- Chevy Van: This one never left a hugely great impression on me.
Rickie Lee Jones — Chuck E.'s in Love: One of those songs that was a counterpoint to the slick yacht rock of the late 1970s — a more organic, funky and folkie sound that was a precursor to the likes of Sheryl Crow and Norah Jones.
Tom Jones- She's A Lady: Tom's rockingest number, but still with a Vegas flavour — written by Paul Anka, who was himself beginning a hits comeback.
Janis Joplin- Me and Bobby McGee: A nicely intimate cover version of the Kris Kristofferson song, and a #1 — unfortunately, posthumously.
And now to the K list:
Kansas-Dust in the Wind: A gorgeous, philosophical song, and a favourite of my father's.
KC and the Sunshine Band — Get Down Tonight, That's the Way (I Like It), (Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty, I'm Your Boogie Man, Keep It Comin' Love, Please Don't Go, Yes I'm Ready: Disco with an effective, more basic sound, although Keep It Comin' Love was overly repetitive — the anomalies were the very nice ballads Please Don't Go and a very nice duet with Teri DeSario of the 1960s Barbara Mason hit Yes I'm Ready.
Eddie Kendricks — Keep On Truckin', Boogie Down: One of the lead singers of the Temptations left for a solo career and had several hits, including these two — they're pretty good, but they're not timeless masterpieces.
Andy Kim-Rock Me Gently: A Montreal native, and this is the best Neil Diamond song not done by Diamond.
Next time: Carole King and others.