Friday Five: May 1975

Here’s five song from the top five of May 1975:

5. “How Long” by Ace
This “super sounds of the 70s” kind of song remains a standard on rock radio today. If you offered me a hundred bucks I couldn’t have told you the name of the group who made it. And until this moment I didn’t know the lead singer of said band (the British called Ace) was Paul Carrack, who had some hits in the 80s as part of Squeeze and Mike + The Mechanics. It peaked at #3 in May 1975.

4. “Sister Golden Hair” by America
Talk about songs of the 70s! Few songs have more of that iconic 70s soft rock sound than this hit by America. The trio were more following the trend than setting it, but they knew how to work within it as good as any pop group. It reached the #5 spot in late May, before topping the charts the following month.

3. “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” by Freddy Fender
I love this song! I don’t remember it being that big a thing in my childhood. I suspect it would have been different if I grew up in Texas because Freddy Fender is a bigger part of Chicano culture in Texas. Still, it’s a song I knew and when I got into Freddy Fender in the late 90s it was something I could play on repeat. Wistful, romantic, pained, and lovely, it reached the top spot on the country charts in March 1975 and then climbed its way up the Hot 100 in May until it reached #1 at the end of the month. Freddy recorded it in a few minutes on a lark. It became his first and only #1 on the pop charts.

2. “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” by John Denver
Freddy Fender might have been the only Chicano to top the Country and Pop charts with the same song in 1975, but he was not the only person to do so. John Denver released this song on his 1974 album Back Home (which included his mega-hit “Annie’s Song”). A live version of the song (recorded at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles) made it onto his 1975 album An Evening with John Denver and that version climbed the charts. It entered the top 5 on the Hot 100 in May, the same month it topped the country charts. It did the same on the pop charts in June.

1. “Shining Star” by Earth, Wind & Fire
When Earth, Wind & Fire are at their best they’re nothing short of musical magic. This song hit #1 on the R&B charts in March 1975 and topped the Hot 100 in May. The first string of bass notes draws you in and the hot horns keep you grooving.

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