The 1970’s had many excellent singles that failed to chart in the U.S. with top forty success. With record companies heavily promoting some acts and ignoring others, many acts were largely ignored by disc jockeys and radio stations with all of the politics of the business. Here’s some of the best singles of the 1970’s not to have success here on the American radio scene:
“Let’s Work Together” – Canned Heat. This 1970 remake of the Wilbert Harrison song was good enough to make the soundtrack of the classic movie, FORREST GUMP, but failed to make much of a dent on the charts in 1970. The song remained a favorite of the band, and was a great piece of music with a powerful rock sound production backing up Bob “The Bear” Hite’s vocals. A great piece of music even ignored by most FM radio stations. Strangely, Dave Edmunds had intended to a remake of the song, and had worked on an unique arrangement of the song, but when Canned Heat beat him to the release of the song, Edmunds decided to do a unique remake of the old Smiley Lewis song, “I Hear You Knocking”, complete with tons of echo effects, which had the good luck of becoming a monster international hit in both the U.K. as well as doing well in the U.S.
“20th Century Boy” – T.Rex. Marc Bolan wrote this guitar and backing vocal heavy song that has become used in Mitsubishi ads and CBS is currently using to promo a new show for the network, but the loud and brash piece of guitar rock didn’t really make it to the U.S. charts, but was a decent hit over in the U.K. Unlike the more medium tempo, “Bang A Gong(Get It On)”, where Marc Bolan was noticeably restrained and sexy in his vocal performance, he lets it all hang out on this loud piece. This was also one of the band’s best singles as well.
Tiger Feet” – Mud. Mud was a very good power pop act from the U.K. from the same producers as The Sweet, which had a fair amount of U.S. success from their complex sounding rock singles. “Tiger Feet” was pure teenage power pop bubblegum music, but it was a real contagious song, and would immediately hook you. Although the band had many successful U.K. singles, “Tiger Feet” was certainly their best and most catchy song by far. The song failed to chart in the U.S., but was a fair hit over in the U.K. A really great single by a really ignored act.
“My Coo Ca Choo” – Alvin Stardust. Alvin Stardust had a strange Schick, he looked like a 1950’s greaser, and would sometimes sing much like Elvis, but he would fluctuate this voice with an almost falsetto, almost girl sounding voice as well. A strange shtick for sure, but “My Coo Ca Choo” was a great single and far away his best song as well. This song was a hit on the U.K. charts, but totally ignored here in the states, which seems like an outright shame because it was such a powerful sounding single. Great music. The song reached number two in the U.K., but the song was even better loved in Australia, where it was #1 for seven weeks, proving that Australian kids sure knew something about music that the kids in the U.S. and U.K. didn’t know.
“I Didn’t Know I Loved You(‘Til I Saw You Rock And Roll)” – Gary Glitter. Gary Glitter may have disgraced himself with a ton of serious personal scandal and two stints in prison, but in happier days he was one of the kings of the U.K. glam rock scene. Although, he often looked like an absurd Elvis ripoff, Glitter was one heck of a great live performer, and his chest-thumping music live shows were pure electricity. In the U.S. his instrumental, “Rock And Roll(Part Two)” was a fair hit, and makes the rounds in professional sports events. But, “I Didn’t Know I Loved(‘Til I Saw You Rock And Roll)” is pure rock electricity, and true vintage Gary Glitter. If this song doesn’t shoot electric shocks all up your spine, then you’re probably not a breathing human. Dick Clark liked the song so much that he gave it a shot on AMERICAN BANDSTAND’s “Rate A Record” once before. But, the rest of the U.S. ignored this great song, and it mostly failed to make the U.S. charts. What a shame, because this was a great song. Very good.
“Paranoid” – Black Sabbath. This 1970 single only got up to number 61 on the U.S. charts, but was a true Black Sabbath classic, as most fans of the U.K. heavy metal act decided to buy the album instead of the 45, which was backed with “The Wizard”, another classic Black Sabbath song. The driving guitar goes perfect with a classic Ozzy Osbourne vocal performance here, and also tells you why Ozzy Osbourne is one of the very greatest rock and roll singers of all time. A true classic that at least got some decent FM radio play.
“The Mosquito” – The Doors. After the death of Jim Morrison, the surviving members of The Doors made two attempts at albums with the musicians on lead vocals, experimenting with some jazzy musical styles very much unlike any of the Jim Morrison era songs. One of their best songs was this 1972 jazz and “South of the border” inspired single, “The Mosquito”, which had to be one of the most radical studio editing jobs ever on an album version of a song to create a single. It was an incredible piece of music, proving what a master Robbie Krieger was at composing music. As good as this song was, it did no better than just #85 on Hot 100 charts. A real shame for a very good song. These were top flight musicians who deserved more respect than this.
There are many more 1970’s that easily come to mind that were largely ignored on the U.S. charts. But, this songs easily come to my mind as some of the best songs to slip away from U.S. singles charts success.