We now continue our look at the U.S. top-10 hits of the 1970s, with artists and groups beginning with the letter P.
Pablo Cruise- Whatcha Gonna Do?, Love Will Find A Way: Very underrated smooth yacht rock.
Paper Lace - The Night Chicago Died: A catchy novelty song about the Chicago mob, from a British group, with an attention getting siren-like intro.
Ray Parker Jr./Raydio- Jack and Jill, You Can't Change That: Excellent soul-pop, and much preferable to the later, over-played Ghostbusters.
Dolly Parton- Here You Come Again: Dolly, currently the most loved musical artist in the world for her generosity and humility, produced one of the catchier hits of her career in late '77. But it was hardly representative of most of her country and western songs. Still, her hit was one of my favourite songs of 1978, when I first heard it, and her.
The Partridge Family- I Think I Love You, Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted, I'll Meet You Halfway: A guilty pleasure for sure, but the songs created for the popular ABC-TV musical family show are still memorable, particularly the first of these songs.
Billy Paul-Me and Mrs. Jones: The lushest song about adultery ever.
Freda Payne- Band of Gold: A wonderful, funky soul hit about not being able to, um, perform on one's wedding night. But I far prefer Payne's epic-length I'm Not Getting Any Better.
Peaches & Herb-Shake Your Groove Thing, Reunited: The first is pretty good disco, and the second is a masterful slow-dancer.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Don't Do Me Like That: My favorite of his songs, and, in actual fact, the only one I listen to with any regularity, to my eternal shame.
Pilot-Magic: Some call this pop hit a guilty pleasure, others call it Beatle-like. I'm somewhere in between. These days, the tune is used on a medication commercial, to cringeworthy effect.
The Pipkins-Gimme Dat Ding: This song demonstrates almost anything could become a hit, and the vocal is as cartoon-like as the male vocal on How Do You Do by Mouth and MacNeal.
Player-Baby Come Back, This Time I'm In It For Love: From the period of the late 1970s when the quality of pop hits was declining, but these aren't bad.
The Pointer Sisters — Fire: A nice, slinky version of a Bruce Springsteen song, but this group would literally explode in the early 1980s with many irresistible dance hits.
The Poppy Family-Which Way You Goin' Billy?: From Canada. One of the better hits from the many that came out of the Terry Jacks library. Jacks was connected to hits under his own name, the above-mentioned group, Susan Jacks, and The Hood.
Elvis Presley- The Wonder of You, Burning Love: It's a crying shame Elvis had only two top-10 hits during this decade. He produced numerous worthy songs during this period, particularly my favourite Elvis song of all time, It's Only Love; the LP track Just Pretend, his version of Chuck Berry's Promised Land, the slinky If You Talk In Your Sleep, the deep Loving Arms and Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues and many others. Doesn't help when an artist's album covers and marketing are mostly crass.
Billy Preston- Outa Space, Will It Go Round in Circles, Space Race, Nothing From Nothing, With You I'm Born Again: Preston, a keyboard wizard, produced some of the most rollicking, jolly hits of the 1970s, whether instrumentals or vocals. The latter hit, a duet with Stevie Wonder's ex-wife Syreeta, was an uncharacteristic lush, and very nice, ballad.
And now artists and groups starting with the letter Q.
Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman- Stumblin' In: A nice, loping, mellow hit. Of course, most in North America knew Quatro as Leather Tuscadero on Happy Days.While Quatro's American, she had more hits in England.
Queen- Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are the Champions, Crazy Little Thing Called Love: A group with a nice diversity of hits fuelled by unbounded musical ambition, from (in the order of the above list) the epic (with many musical changes), to pure arena rock geared to rouse a crowd, to a left turn toward the revival of rockabilly. These days, Queen is situated in the minds of many nearly at the level of The Beatles.
Next time: Groups and artists starting with the letter R.