Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, Vol. 3

The 37 minutes of prime early '70s radio fare on this, the third volume of Super Hits of the '70s: Have a Nice Day, shows just how lucky AM radio listeners were in 1970-1971. The material runs the gamut from heavily produced pop/rock product like the Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You" through Mungo Jerry's skiffle-like international hit "In the Summertime," to the downright strange, chant-like "Neanderthal Man" by Hotlegs (the post-Mockingbirds and Mindbenders, pre-10CC incarnation of Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley, and Lol Creme), but it's all eminently listenable, and much of it is surprising. Alive & Kicking's "Tighter, Tighter" was one of Tommy James's big successes of his post-Shondells career, as well as the one national hit for which the Brooklyn-based group is remembered. Similarly, Brian Hyland's blue-eyed pop-soul rendition of Curtis Mayfield's Impressions-era classic "Gypsy Woman" was a triumph for producer Del Shannon, returning Hyland to the charts for the first time in eight years. There are lots of one-shots and near one-shots here: Denver-based Sugarloaf's "Green-Eyed Lady" seemed to point the way to a big future that somehow got derailed -- why the Jerry Corbetta-led quartet couldn't come up with another hit for four years is anyone's guess, given that this was an original and the group (especially Corbetta at the keyboards) had a field day expanding the song in some reasonably progressive directions within the confines of the pop idiom; similarly, R. Dean Taylor, the most successful white artist ever developed by Motown, managed a chart-topper with the ominous "Indiana Wants Me" but never equaled that success; and Bobby Bloom's "Montego Bay," which hit the Top Ten in the late fall of 1970, was the veteran songwriter's first hit of his own, and might've jump-started the whole reggae boom in America by three years, but it was an isolated triumph. Bobby Sherman demonstrates why his star was falling with the distinctly pop sound of "Julie, Do Ya Love Me," while Punch, a one-shot A&M Records act, closes out the 12-song disc with "Fallin' Lady," a frantically paced piece of pop/rock from the summer of 1971 that sounds like Tom Jones meets Up With People. None of it is exactly profound (that what FM radio was there for), but it all sounds great, and this reviewer would've stayed tuned to a set like this. ~ Bruce Eder

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