by Kevin Burton
Yes you do know the song “But It’s Alright” by J.J. Jackson, but maybe not by its title.
If I mention that Huey Lewis and the News did a just about carbon copy of the song in 1994, that might help your recognition.
(No I’m not talking about “It’s Alright” by the Impressions. That song hit number 4 in 1963 with Curtis Mayfield singing lead.)
“But It’s Alright” and some others I will mention today will bring the curtain down on our series about hits that peaked at number 22 on the hot 100. Can’t say I won’t stumble upon one or two more. And feel free to mention some in comments below if you know of any, maybe I’ll dig into them. But after today we’ll be finished with 22s for the most part.
John Bush, writing on http://www.allmusic.com, says But It’s Alright is”driven by one of the catchiest guitar hooks in the history of rock and roll,” and has “a devastating vocal performance.”
Very true. If I had a cover band I’d definitely do this song to get the people dancing. Sounds like a perfect song for The Blues Brothers.
It hit number 22 in 1966 released by Calla Records. Warner Brother released it in 1969 but it failed to make the top 40.
Another good tune you may not know by its name is “Long Time” which hit number 22 for Boston in 1977.
The song is almost eight minutes long with the first 2:30 being a sort of introduction called Foreplay. I don’t think the first part got played on radio much. One you get past it, you will recognize and like the song. This is Boston after “More Than A Feeling” and before “Don’t Look Back.”
John Farnham became the new lead singer for the Little River Band in 1982. It was Farnham who turned in a magnificent vocal performance on “We Two” which hit number 22 in 1983. For a long time I thought the song was called “Carousels and Wishing Wells.”
The 1975 song I know as “Emotion” by Helen Reddy started its life as a French song called “Amoureuse.” It was written by Veronique Sanson and made famous by Kiki Dee when her version hit number 13 on the UK chart in 1973.
Patti Dahlstrom wrote English words for the French tune and recorded a version of “Emotion.” Reddy covered it in 1974 and it hit number 22 in early 1975.
“Emotion” is a very strange song to hear from the famously feminist Reddy. It’s about a desperate woman whose emotional wellbeing depends on some man. But it’s an underrated tune, with more musical merit than some of her more famous songs.
The website www.rateyourmusic.com asks the question “Who ruled the 70s?” and lists the top 100 music acts of the decade, starting with Don McLean at number 100.
Chicago was number three on the list, topped only by Elton John and the Bee Gees.
Chicago didn’t rule the 80s but was still going strong, and hit number 22 in 1982 with “Love Me Tomorrow,” a song that had that classic Chicago sound. It was written by longtime lead singer Peter Cetera.
Check out “Happy Heart” by Andy Williams at your own risk. His version, released in 1969, hit number 22 in the US. Petula Clark’s version had a simultaneous release but didn’t make the American top 40. It did hit number nine in Canada.
I say at your own risk because the Williams version has a snappier swingin’ arrangement. One you hear the chorus it will be stuck in your head. You’re going to need a chaser song to get rid of it.
One of the early hits for the Eagles, “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” was released in December 1972, and peaked at number 22.
The only Rolling Stones song to hit the US Hot 100 with Keith Richards singing lead was “Happy” which hit number 22 in 1972. They finished the song in four hours, according to Wikipedia. The music sounds fully formed. They perhaps could have taken a bit more time and had another run at better lyrics.
In researching this series I’ve been amazed by songs that I thought were huge hits that either made my 22 series or were close. “Feel Like Making Love” by Bad Company and “Slow Ride,” by Foghat for example, both peaked at number 20.
The quality of the song is only one factor that determines how high a song rises. The flukier elements are a bag part of the fun of studying rock and roll history.