Posts Tagged ‘Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’

The women I’m discussing this evening all came from jazz, soul, R&B, and gospel to try their luck in disco. As singers, they were well above average. Gloria Gaynor, Thelma Houston, and Patti LaBelle had the biggest voices; Candi Staton and Loleatta Holloway were the most subtle. You could’ve hired any of them to sing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” and loved the results.

Forgive me for omitting Anita Ward (“Ring My Bell”) if she was one of your favorites. If she was, why are you reading this blog?

Commercially, the move into disco was a smart decision. Even The Grateful Dead tried it. Artistically, it didn’t always work. The Grateful Dead shouldn’t have tried it. The material the women in this post had to work with was uneven, and most of the lesser numbers and even some of the bigger ones are forever bogged down in the ’70s.

What follows is my idea of the best of the best. I may not like some of them, but I respect all of them.

Freda Payne
Band of Gold
The sophisticated Payne recorded jazz and R&B ballads in the 1960s. These are collected on Early Essentials (2011) if you want to explore them. I don’t. Her voice and arrangements are not for me. I’ll say more about that when I get to Dionne Warwick in my next post.

Payne’s commercial breakthrough, “Band of Gold,” was a monster smash that was beaten into the collective unconscious of an unwilling humanity by one billion plays on AM radio. I didn’t have to listen to it for this review because I recall it at the cellular level. Despite my mixed feelings for “Band of Gold” (I can never decide if I hate it or despise it), I give Payne credit for invading what was for her alien territory (pop, disco, and soul) and with this album beating everyone at their own game. Plus she looked smashing in her bikini on the cover of Reaching Out (1973) and in her gardening outfit on the cover of Payne & Pleasure (1974).

Gloria Gaynor
Never Can Say Goodbye
Love Tracks
Never Can Say Goodbye is famous for having three songs on one side with no breaks between them. It may have been the first LP designed for djs. The songs are “Honey Bear,” “Never Can Say Goodbye,” and “Reach Out (I’ll Be There).” The transitions are clumsy. DJs in clubs had already invented fading out and fading in, but the record companies were still catching up. The three songs are about 19 minutes, which is long enough for me to wander out of the off-leash area and dig up somebody’s garden.

“Honey Bear” exists solely to build excitement for “Never Can Say Goodbye.” “Never” is terrific, except for the horns, which are disconnected from the rest of the song, as if Gaynor’s producer had hired Chicago but locked them up in another room. Chicago should always be locked up in another room. “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” is not bad, but the drums are totally annoying. Listening to this version is like trying to eat lunch and read your book at the park while a FedEx cargo plane flies overhead every 45 seconds.

“Never Can Say Goodbye” was a hit for The Jackson 5 in 1971. The song was infectious, but Michael Jackson was 13 and sounded like it. Isaac Hayes turned “Never” into an emotional slow dance. I could do without the male chorus he brought along. Gaynor’s bright, brassy voice and the dance-tempo beat and the 4-minute radio edit are what I want to hear.

Cover of a Cover of a Cover Alert #1: The Communards did a spectacular job with “Never Can Say Goodbye” on Red (1987). The singer is Jimmy Somerville, whose interstellar soprano you can hear in the movie Pride (about the gay groups that helped the striking miners in the U.K.) when they get to the scene in the disco.

Gaynor’s Love Tracks unleashed the female battle anthem “I Will Survive.” The original vinyl is enshrined in the Smithsonian and protected by an eternal flame and an honor guard. The album also gave us a minor disco classic called “Anybody Wanna Party?” There are 300 words in this song and 60 are “Anybody wanna party.” I’m in the wrong line of work.

Thelma Houston
Any Way You Like It
Houston went to #1 with her version of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” The original (with Teddy Pendergrass ripping his heart out and throwing it down and stomping on it until he died) was a phenomenon in 1975, but Houston, who could belt one out like Tina Turner, established her own place in musical history with her reimagining of the song.

Cover of a Cover of a Cover Alert #2: The Communards tackled this one on their debut, Communards (1986), and once again triumphed.

The album cover of Thelma Houston’s debut, Sunshower (1969), is one of the most pleasing yellows I’ve ever been pleased by.

Candi Staton
Young Hearts Run Free
“Young Hearts Run Free,” a song that writer David Crawford based on Staton’s life at the time, went all the way to 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100. I don’t care for the music, as I feel I’ve heard it a hot 100 times before, but the lyrics are more mature than anything you’d expect on a disco record:

What’s the sense in sharing, this one and only life

Ending up, just another lost and lonely wife

You count up the years, and they will be filled with tears

Love only breaks up, to start over again

You’ll get the babies, but you won’t have your man

While he is busy loving, every woman that he can

The poor woman was stuck with Shaft!

Staton came out of the gospel scene, adapted to a tumultuous musical landscape, and scored numerous hits in the 1980s and ’90s. One of them, “You Got the Love” (no relation to the “You Got the Love” I’m about to describe), is a 1986 example of electronic dance music that has some serious wistfulness going on.

Maxine Nightingale
You Got the Love
Lead Me On
Nightingale, who is English, is the only non-U.S. citizen in my survey, but as I announced upfront I’m a provincial slob from the USA. USA! USA!

This lady has a good voice, but she struggles to be heard against all the musicians on her debut. There’s a great guitar break in “You Got the Love”; the guitarist faces the same hurdle and doesn’t clear it. I like the song, but the original, by Rufus with Chaka Khan, is the better choice.

“Right Back Where We Started From” hit the #2 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. You can also find it on the soundtrack of the Paul Newman hockey movie Slap Shot. It resembles Jean Knight’s “Mr. Big Stuff” in that it sounds like music composed for kids. The beat is one-two, one-two with plenty of handclaps. The piano line is simple, but when it falls away near the end you miss it.

On the cover of her debut, You Got the Love, Nightingale is photographed in jeans and a T-shirt waiting on a bench with her guitar. Looks like an early Bill Withers cover. On the cover of Lead Me On, she’s leaning against a wall in tight pants and a tube top while a tiger inspects her derrière. Not like a Bill Withers cover. The leaden “Lead Me On” was an inexplicable hit. I assume people bought it because they needed help falling asleep.

Evelyn “Champagne” King
Smooth Talk
King was only 17 (but already hitting the champagne?) when she recorded Smooth Talk. “Shame” peaked at #9; it was popular in clubs because it was fast and long (6 minutes). It’s the only disco song I know with a starring part for a sax. King doesn’t spend a lot of time singing, making this a distant ancestor of EDM. This hit and the rest of the album have been reduced in stature with the passage of time.

Patti LaBelle
Patti Labelle
It’s Alright with Me
In the early ’60s, Patti LaBelle founded the band Labelle with Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx. Actually, she founded more than one band and went through several name changes, but let’s call them all Labelle. Patti, Sarah, and Nona worked hard, toured incessantly, and by 1971 were opening for The Who.

(Their version of “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” on their 1972 album Moon Shadow, is competent. They can rock. Their version of “If I Can’t Have You” on the same disc has an edge of hysteria I usually only hear from Queen. In fact, much of their work in the early ’70s sounds like Aretha Franklin taking hits off a helium tank.)

Labelle became famous in 1974 when they released “Lady Marmalade.” That’s the “voulez-vous couchez avec moi (ce soir)?” song. I don’t know why it’s always referred to as a disco classic, as even in 1974 it was too slow to dance to. Plus it’s super annoying. France should’ve recalled their ambassador.

Patti LaBelle went off on her own in the ’70s. She has been singing, touring, recording, and delighting her army of fans ever since. This is not a cause I’ve ever enlisted in, but in the spirit of fairness I’ll name one passable song from each of these records:

Patti LaBelle: “Funky Music”
Tasty: “Save the Last Dance for Me” (original by The Drifters)
It’s Alright with Me: “It’s Alright with Me”

Nona Hendryx went off an experimental trip that I’ve only read about. I’ll track her down one of these days.

Loleatta Holloway
Love Sensation (1980)
Here’s how I listen to music for this blog:

  1. I play the album on a CD. I want the original sequence, the cover art, and the liner notes.
  2. I play the album on Rhapsody.
  3. I play somebody else’s CD. Do I still have your CD? Well too bad, you still have mine!
  4. I play whatever I can find on YouTube.
  5. By this time I’m sick of the whole thing, but if I have any energy left I’ll try Spotify or Pandora.
  6. I go to the library.

You be surprised how some albums resist this formula.

For this reason I’m including Love Sensation, even though it’s from another decade, as it’s the only one of Loleatta Holloway’s albums I’ve heard from A to Z. “Love Sensation” was a club sensation, but I guess clubs have changed in 35 years because when I listened to it just now I didn’t feel like throwing my hands in the air like I just don’t care. The album is not distinctive, despite her voice.

It should be noted that “Loleatta Holloway” is the perfect searchable name.

One thing I’ve learned from these disco divas is how long a record company was willing to wait, in the ’60s and ’70s, for an artist to become commercially viable. They were all given years to develop. Does the music business still work this way?

That’s it for disco. Tomorrow we fire our retro rockets and begin our descent from Diva Week!


In 2014 I heroically listened to every album Prince ever made. Well, I heroically came close. I listened to the first 14. I will eventually listen to the remaining 987. This was an exciting, enlightening quest for which I received 100% zero thanks. I didn’t get a link from Wikipedia. I didn’t get a lousy T-shirt from Prince. And, as always, WordPress refused to give me any money.

I remain undeterred. Why? Because it says BLOGGER on my uniform! So today I jump on my new project, the project I should’ve jumped on before I jumped on Prince: the black music of the 1970s. But first: The Rules!

Rule 1: Provincialism is good. I’m disqualifying 98% of planet Earth. Once you dive into my unscientific survey you’ll discover that almost all of these performers are from the USA. That’s because I’m from the USA. USA! USA!

Rule 2: One-hit wonders are blunders. The 1970s were a magnet for the truly awful (that was somehow spectacularly popular). For every passable tune such as Jean Knight and “Mr. Big Stuff” you get a dumpster full of this:

Billy Paul, “Me and Mrs. Jones”
Peaches & Herb, “Reunited”
Labelle, “Lady Marmalade”*
Anita Ward, “Ring My Bell”
A Taste of Honey, “Boogie Oogie Oogie”**
Hues Corporation, “Rock the Boat”
Carl Douglas, “Kung Fu Fighting”***

* This is the “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, c’est soir” song.
** I hate to put them on this list, because they were an early girl-power band with two female guitarists. Also, they looked most excellent in backless swimsuits. But their song sucks.
*** According to legend, “Kung Fu Fighting” was recorded in 10 minutes. Of course it was.

Rule 3: I make the tough calls! Reggae was obviously a vital part of the ’70s – it was a huge influence on British punk – but I don’t care for reggae so you won’t find it here. I like the blues but there’s no blues on my list because after half an hour it’s not the blues, it’s whining. There’s no rap because, while I like some rap, I don’t understand it.

Even within the genres I like – rock, psychedelia, disco, soul, R&B – I’ll have to leave out some fun people to make sure I can get through this project before 2250 A.D. Here are two:

  • Eddie Kendricks, who sang lead on The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination” and had a solo hit with “Keep on Truckin’.”
  • Johnny “Guitar” Watson, who played blues, jazz, and funk but is probably best remembered for that sentimental lament, “A Real Mother for Ya.”

Rule 4: I’m sure to forget somebody. I only remembered The Spinners about 5 minutes ago.

This list I’m about to unleash is not exhaustive, though it’s exhausting me. I might not make it past 1974. But here goes.

The ’70s begin!

On the starting line we have:

  • Marvin Gaye and worthy but lesser satellites: Al Green, Bill Withers, Donny Hathaway
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Diana Ross, but not The Supremes
  • Quincy Jones
  • Ray Charles
  • James Brown
  • George Clinton
  • Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, and Barry White
  • The Jackson 5, The Isley Brothers, and other notable families
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Sly & The Family Stone
  • Ike & Tina Turner
  • Gladys Knight & The Pips
  • Earth, Wind & Fire and Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
  • Rufus (featuring Chaka Khan)
  • The Four Tops
  • The Spinners
  • The Temptations

Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder were at their height in the ’70s, and their height is somewhere north of the Matterhorn. I could write about them and never get to anyone else.

Diana Ross released 17 albums in the ’70s. (First on this list is James Brown’s brain-busting 28.) She played Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues. She recorded duets with Marvin Gaye. Like a true diva, Diana Ross can’t be ignored. But I can ignore her former co-workers. This was not their decade.

I am mostly going to ignore Quincy Jones. Sure, Jones can compose, arrange, produce, conduct, and play. He brought out the best in the senior-citizen Frank Sinatra and the young-adult Michael Jackson. “Killer Joe” is one of my favorite jazz standards. But almost everything I like about him comes before 1970 or after 1979. I’m only going to mention Jones once, for an album I’m not recommending, and I hope the Lords of Kobol will forgive me.

Did Ray Charles do more in the ’70s than make those dopey commercials for Scotch Brand recording tape? Run-DMSteve investigates!

Everyone on this list owes something to James Brown. Everyone who isn’t on this list owes something to James Brown, even if they were born in a galaxy far, far away. Soul Brother #1 began the decade with the 11-minute “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,” a song that added substantially to my knowledge of how to deal with women (building on what I’d learned from Capt. Kirk and a stolen copy of South Pacific).

Brown ran out of fissionable uranium by mid-decade. His disco resurgence in 1979 doesn’t count.

George Clinton’s bands were Funkadelic and Parliament. After reacquainting myself with the few songs I knew and listening to the many I didn’t, I see him now as the secret weapon of the ’70s. Clinton has suffered the most from the way white radio playlists, particularly the Oldies and Classic Rock formats, exclude black artists.

We’ll get to Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, Barry White, and Marvin Gaye, James Brown, and Quincy Jones again when we dive into the deep end of the Shaft/Super Fly machismo pool.

The Jackson 5 were the best family act of any color of any era. Their only contenders are Don and Phil Everly, and I think that’s a very close race. (The Isley Brothers are right behind them. Two more challengers popped up in the ’70s: The Pointer Sisters and The Staple Singers.) The J5 were superior to Sister Sledge, The Osmonds, The Carpenters, The Cowsills, The Partridge Family (OK, that’s cheating), the von Trapps, and everyone who has ever appeared on Lawrence Welk.

Jimi Hendrix existed in the ’70s for about nine months. His early death is the second-greatest tragedy in the history of pop music. (Mozart’s early death is first.)

With Aretha Franklin, it’s always 1967, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You is on the turntable, and you’re about to drop the needle on the first track, “Respect.” I can’t imagine the pressure this woman faced at the age of 25 with “Respect” heading her résumé. Bruce Springsteen faced the same pressure when he was 25 and had just recorded “Born to Run.”

Sylvester Stewart, aka Sly Stone, is mostly known for the music he gave us in the ’60s. By the time he got to the ’70s, his revolutionary zeal had congealed. Sadly, so had his optimism. Sly & The Family Stone’s last great album, There’s a Riot Goin’ On (1971), is as confused, cynical, and hard to listen to as The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street (1972). The main difference between the two is that Stone was apathetic. The Stones were sleazy.

Sly Stone fun fact: You could transfer “Just Like a Baby” from There’s a Riot Goin’ On to Exile on Main Street and nobody would know the difference.

Most of Ike and Tina Turner’s music evaporates while you listen to it. For every “Proud Mary” or “River Deep – Mountain High” they have 20 songs that are guaranteed not to stick to your ribs. But we needed The Ike & Tina Turner Revue because they created the image of Tina Turner as a force majeure. Ms. Turner gave us one good record on her own (Private Dancer), but that’s off in the ’80s.

Gladys Knight & The Pips recorded the first version of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” a hymn that could make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window. In the ’70s they recorded “Midnight Train to Georgia.” I still want to kick them.

Earth, Wind & Fire were just getting started and didn’t know what they wanted to be when they grew up. Same with Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes.

Rufus was funky for sure, but they’re not as good as their contemporaries War. But they’re important for giving Chaka Khan a launching pad. Khan has a voice like Tina Turner’s, with less power but more finesse at close range.

The Four Tops’ many classics are all from the ’60s. In the ’70s they recorded two albums with The Supremes (minus Diana Ross), The Magnificent Seven and The Return of the Magnificent Seven. Not enough of a draw to make me listen. Sorry kids, but as I’ve stated many times in this blog I am paid to be unfair. All right, I’m not paid, but I’m still unfair.

The Spinners have left little behind them besides the image of five guys in yummy-colored pantsuits. But they had a run of hits in the early ’70s, starting with “It’s a Shame,” which I always thought was Al Green until I finally looked it up. Duh. However, I don’t care for the rest of their easy-listening catalog, and they gave us the gift of “The Rubberband Man,” which is clearly related to the crud back in Rule 2, so though they meant well they disappear as soon as this sentence hits the period.

The Temptations recorded “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” in 1972. This was another show-stopper written by Norman Whitfield. The Temptations could’ve stopped right there. But they didn’t, and neither will I. I’ll be back next time with: Blaxploitation!



I believe I missed Prince’s second album when it was released, as I was occupied with punk and the theory that it would be easier to initiate sexual relations with punk girls compared with disco girls. (No.) Too bad, because this is a fine disco disc. The one lasting number on it is “Sexy Dancer,” but it should last awhile, and the other songs would be popular if played as a unit at a party…if you could go back and host that party in 1979.

The album’s closer, “It’s Gonna Be Lonely,” shows some emotional depth in its story of a break-up. One verse hints at something much deeper:

I betcha thatcha never knew
That in my dreams you are the star
The only bummer is that you always want to leave
Who do you think you are?

Prince was 21 when he released this record, his second, and you can hear him struggling with the disco/smooth-R&B straitjacket – just as you can hear the 24-year-old Bruce Springsteen struggling to break out of folk-music prison on his second album, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle (1974).

On Prince, you can’t tell if Prince wants to be Lionel Ritchie, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, or some kind of disco conglomeration. They’ve even photographed him on the album cover to look like Ritchie. But on his third album all hell will break loose, just as it did with Springsteen.

What I was doing at 21: Living in Boston, writing bad science fiction. This is already getting old.

Rolling Stones’ best albums of 1979: The Rolling Stone critics got lazy that year. They gave Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps album-of-the-year honors and cited no runners-up.

It’s not as if they had a small pool of candidates: How about Pink Floyd’s The Wall, The B-52s’ The B-52s, The Clash’s The Clash, Graham Parker’s Squeezing Out Sparks, Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall, The Police’s Reggatta de Blanc (the Coldplay of their day), Donna Summer’s Bad Girls, The Buzzcocks’ Singles Going Steady, or even Sister Sledge’s We Are Family? And look at all the crap, led by Foghat, Foreigner, and The Captain & Tenille?

They called Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” the single of the year. What where they smoking, and can I have some?

Those critics better shape up for 1980.

Random Pick of the Day (but it was close)
Various artists, Day Tripper: Jazz Greats Meet The Beatles Volume 1 (2009)
Two standouts, both on piano: Ramsey Lewis’ “Day Tripper” and McCoy Tyner’s “She’s Leaving Home.” Guitarist Wes Montgomery gives “A Day in the Life” the atmosphere of listening to records at midnight with the lights off. Unfortunately, at the 4-minute mark of this 6-minute song he gets up to get a drink and trips over The Moody Blues.

The rest of this disk explains why there was no Volume 2.

Random Pan of the Day
Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1962)
Recorded in 1959 for the French film, but not released in the USA until 1962. “No Problem” is a terrific tune. Unfortunately, you get four versions of it on this disc, as well as two versions each of two lesser songs, “Prelude in Blue” and “Valmontana.” There are only 10 tracks on Les Liaisons Dangereuses and eight of them are variations of each other. The repetition wore me down.


’70s Week at Run-DMSteve concludes with some of my favorite songs of the decade. I’m not saying these are the best songs of the decade, and they’re not all of my favorites. I just stopped at 25. To keep things manageable, I limited myself to one song per artist (except in one instance), but to make them less manageable, I included some runners-up.

A few words about women, of whom my list has only one, Joan Armatrading, recording on her own. (I do have Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson of The B-52s and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads.)

There were plenty of remarkable women in rock in the ’70s. Minnie Ripperton could reach all of the known octaves and a few that she must’ve invented. But I can’t digest her music. Ditto Cher, Blondie, The Runaways, and Susie Quatro. I’ll see you in hell before I listen to Heart. If I added another 25 songs, I’d include Patti Smith (“So You Want to Be a Rock ’n’ Roll Star”), Donna Summer (“I Feel Love”), Joni Mitchell (tough one, but probably “Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire”), and The Slits (“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”). How I wish The Slits could’ve opened for Hole. I’ll try to field a more balanced squad during ’80s Week.

My heartfelt thanks to Brother Bob Lingard, who started me on this week’s theme when he kindly loaned me a CD with hundreds of songs from the ’70s and ’80s. Though listening to this collection often seemed like an endurance test, especially when I collided with Christopher Cross –

“I’m on the runnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn/no time to sleep”

– Phil Collins, and the REO Styxjourneywagon dud machine, I learned a lot. I’d forgotten how much I like Roxy Music and Squeeze, how overrated REM is and how undeservedly obscure Steve Winwood is. Party on, Brother Bob!

Here’s the list:

Aerosmith, “Sweet Emotion”
It pains me to type “Aerosmith,” but at least they’re not Foghat.

Joan Armatrading, “Love and Affection”
This is the female “Bolero”!

The B-52s, “Rock Lobster”
How amazing that “Rock Lobster,” the greatest song ever recorded by anyone in any language on any planet, was produced in the same decade that gave us “Kung Fu Fighting” and “You’re Having My Baby.”

David Bowie, “Moonage Daydream”
My favorite Bowie album is Station to Station, but this is my favorite song.

The Clash, “Complete Control”
Runner-up: “White Man in Hammersmith Palais”

Elvis Costello, “You Belong to Me”
Could easily have gone with “Mystery Dance,” “Watching the Detectives,” or “This Year’s Model.”

The Dickies, “Nights in White Satin”
One of the best covers in the history of covers. You get every note of the original but all of them played five times as fast. The single was released in 1979 on white vinyl.

Marvin Gaye, “Let’s Get It On” and “What’s Going On
If this had been ’60s Week, I would’ve picked “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

Al Green, “Love and Happiness”
I can listen to this over and over. In fact, I have.

The Guess Who, “No Time”
What this song means is anybody’s guess. The live version, recorded in Seattle on the same stage where Special D and I saw The Roches and Guys and Dolls, rocks harder.

George Harrison, “Isn’t It a Pity”
Harrison’s talent seems so very different from Lennon’s and McCartney’s. George’s work floats on a slow-moving undercurrent of grief.

Isaac Hayes, “Theme From Shaft”
Shaft. Any questions?

Michael Jackson, “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough”
The video of Jackson dancing to this song was the first thing I ever saw played back on a VCR.

K.C. & The Sunshine Band, “Get Down Tonight”
By your command!

Led Zeppelin, “Kashmir”
I’ve tried for years to dismiss Led Zeppelin as AC/DC with a library card, but songs like this rebuke me.

Paul McCartney, “Maybe I’m Amazed”
The best thing Sir Paul did on his own, and good enough to compare to his work with John.

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, “Don’t Leave Me This Way”
Thelma Houston’s version is more disco. I had to flip a coin to pick one.

Pink Floyd, “Fearless”
Dark Side of the Moon is my favorite Pink Floyd, but this is my favorite song. Always brings tears to my eyes.

Lou Reed, “Walk on the Wild Side”
To save space, the term “Lou Reed” includes the term “The Velvet Underground.”

The Rolling Stones, “Wild Horses”
If I hadn’t limited myself to one song apiece, The Stones would’ve dominated this list. For ’60s Week I would’ve picked “Street Fighting Man.”

Tom Rush, “Urge for Going”
Joni Mitchell wrote this one. Tom Rush is not in her league, except here. Not what you’d call a bouncy number.

Bruce Springsteen, “Backstreets”
One of the few times Bruce surpassed “Wild Billy’s Circus Story.”

Steely Dan, “Bodhisattva”
Steely Dan is not the most annoying band of the decade, though they’re right behind Chicago, Fleetwood Mac, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Bee-Gees in that department. “Bodhisattva,” however, is too ridiculous to resist. Plus it packs more swing than anything else in the Steely Dan catalog.

Talking Heads, “Heaven”
As I wrote here, I never appreciated this song until I heard them perform it during the Stop Making Sense concert tour.

Stevie Wonder, “Superstition”
Almost every one of his songs bursts with joy. Runner-up: “As.”

Your suggestions, comments, and suggestive comments are welcome. Thanks as always for reading. See you for ’80s Week!