too much typing—since 2003

5.04.2005

back on the shelf

It's curious to me how certain songs retain their popularity, having second lives on oldies radio, in movie soundtracks, and so forth, while others - initially just as popular - disappear down the memory hole. Here's a list of the top 40 singles from 1973...some of them are still pretty well-heard, while others seem to have vanished completely.

Another example: "Star" by Stealers Wheel (yes, the "Stuck in the Middle with You" guys do have other songs...) suddenly popped into my head, seemingly unaccountably, just the other day. The song made the top 30 in both the US and the UK (at least according to several online band biographies) and yet it seems rarely heard today, and it's not readily available on compilations - even after the Tarantino-inspired revitalization of "Stuck in the Middle with You."

And that's the other curious fact: you think a song just randomly popped into your head - but often there's a reason. In this case, I've recently been getting into Enon, and while putting together a mix CD for a friend, I realized that this track, "Grain of Assault," has a melodic line and rhythmic feel similar enough to "Star" that it's probably the reason I thought of the older song.

Not quite as amusing as the time I suddenly found myself thinking of the theme from The Prisoner...and then realized I'd just been quickly walking down a long corridor.

3 comments:

Tris McCall said...

pretty good year for singles -- spinners, o'jays, four tops plus two paul simon numbers in the top forty. then you've got songs by steely dan and pink floyd. we should do so well in '05.

2fs said...

That was a striking thing about those charts: how many of those songs (for me) hold up still, thirty years later. I'm sure part of that is that it's my childhood we're talking about... It'll be interesting to see what people thirty years from now think of today's charts. I'll be in my antigrav walker, with the cybernetic drool evaporator going full-swing, muttering about how great things were then (now) and how it's all gone to hell in a plaid-bermuda-shorts basket since...

velvet lane said...

That's a pretty strong collection of songs there. I'm not of the "music used to be better" camp, but I am def. an enthusiastic member of the "pop charts used to be more interesting" club. I mean, Perry Como could top the charts in 1973, alongside Dr. Hook and Cheech and Chong...