Thursday, April 27, 2017

#AtoZChallenge 1970's Billboard Hits - W is for...


Today the #AtoZChallenge  brings us to the letter W. These three songs were the top ‘W’ songs according to the Billboard Hot 100 Year-End lists.



1970 - War - Edwin Starr

"War" is a counterculture-era soul song written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Motown label in 1969. Whitfield first produced the song – a blatant anti-Vietnam War protest – with The Temptations as the original vocalists. After Motown began receiving repeated requests to release "War" as a single, Whitfield re-recorded the song with Edwin Starr as the vocalist, with the label deciding to withhold the Temptations' version from single release so as not to alienate their more conservative fans. Starr's version of "War" was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970, and is not only the most successful and well-known record of his career, but it is also one of the most popular protest songs ever recorded. It was one of 161 songs on the Clear Channel no-play list after September 11, 2001.

The song's power was reasserted when Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band took their rendition into the U.S. Top 10 in 1986. It was also covered by Frankie Goes to Hollywood in 1984, and more recently by the Rock band Black Stone Cherry on its 2016 album Kentucky.





1972 -  Without You - Nilsson

"Without You" is a song written by Pete Ham and Tom Evans of British rock group Badfinger, and first released on their 1970 album No Dice. The song has been recorded by over 180 artists, and versions released as singles by Harry Nilsson (1971) and Mariah Carey (1994) became international best-sellers. Paul McCartney once described the ballad as "the killer song of all time".

In 1972, writers Ham and Evans received the British Academy's Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.

Harry Nilsson, at the time best known for his hit "Everybody's Talkin'" and for composing such hits as Three Dog Night's "One", heard Badfinger's recording of "Without You" at a party, and mistook it for a Beatles song. After realizing it was not, he decided to cover the song for his album Nilsson Schmilsson in 1971. The song was released as a single in October 1971, and it stayed at number 1 on the U.S. pop chart for four weeks, from 13 February to 11 March 1972. The song also spent five weeks atop the U.S. adult contemporary chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 4 song for 1972.

In the UK, the song spent five weeks at number 1 on the British pop chart, beginning on 11 March, and sold almost 800,000 copies. It went to Number One in several other countries, including Australia (for 5 weeks), Ireland (3 weeks) and New Zealand (2 weeks).





1974 - The Way We Were - Barbra Streisand

"The Way We Were" is a song recorded by American vocalist Barbra Streisand for her fifteenth studio album, The Way We Were. It was physically released as the record's lead single on September 27, 1973 through Columbia Records. The 7" single was distributed in two different formats, with the standard edition featuring B-side track "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" and the Mexico release including an instrumental B-side instead. The recording was written by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman and Marvin Hamlisch, while production was solely handled by Marty Paich. "The Way We Were" was specifically produced for the record, in addition to three other tracks, including her then-upcoming single "All in Love Is Fair".

Its lyrics detail the melancholy relationship between the two main characters in the 1973 film of the same name. Its appeal was noted by several music critics, who felt its impact helped revive Streisand's career. It also won two Academy Awards, which were credited to the songwriters of the track. The single was also a commercial success, topping the charts in both Canada and the United States, while peaking in the top 40 in Australia and the United Kingdom. Additionally, "The Way We Were" was 1974's most successful recording in the United States, where it was placed at number one on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles list. It has since been certified Platinum by the RIAA for sales of over one million units.








Be sure to follow the 2017 AtoZ Challenge playlist for all of the songs featured in this years challenge.




Did you listen to any of these tunes in the 70's?  Would you like to know more about these artists in future posts? Let me know in the comments.

What does tomorrow bring?
Tomorrow brings us the letter 'X'. 
Any guesses as to which Billboard Hits from the 70s will be showcased?






22 comments:

  1. A wonderfully varied selection for W there Mary! Love each of these for their individual merits but The Way We Were is just one of *those* :)

    Bunny and the Bloke

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    1. Thank you Debs!

      I think it's letters like this that make up for the difficult ones where I had to pull out some rather obscure music.

      ~Mary

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  2. What a great selection. War in particular took me back to my university days. Find me here. LINK

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    1. Hi Susanne

      'War' was an interesting story for me. I did not know it was first done by The Temptations, and for some reason, I always immediately think of Buffalo Springfield's 'For What It's Worth'.

      ~Mary

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  3. I like that album name Nilsson Schmilsson. It reminds me of the local band Wilco who put out Wilco Schmilco. Apparently that was a nod to yet another artist but I forget who. How fascinating that the song has been covered so many times. It's always sort of depressed me. ~grin~ Be well!

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    1. Hi Darla!

      That song has always been one of my favorites. I knew it had been covered a few times, but was floored by the high number of covers.

      ~Mary

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  4. The one I loved was 'The Way We Were'... had heard it earlier and also seen the old movie... good memories :)


    White House of Anaheim: A Tale of Kindness and Karma

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    1. Hi Roshan

      I don't think I've ever watched a complete Barbra Streisand movie. I've enjoyed her music, but have a hard time with her acting. Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Mary

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  5. "War; what is it good for? Absolutely nuthin'". I couldn't agree more and love that song! :) This is the best version of "Without You", IMO. Harry really tugs at the heartstrings. Thanks for the back story, which was a surprise. I always thought Harry wrote it! "The Way We Were" was a beautiful movie with a sad ending and the song emphasizes that. Great memories here today! Thanks, Mary.

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    1. Hey there Debbie!

      I watched a documentary about Harry Nilsson a year or so ago. If memory serves me correct, he was going through a nasty divorce at the time that he did his cover of 'Without You'. I think that would explain a lot of the emotion that he put into the song.

      ~Mary

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  6. I'm no Streisand fan, but I do like "The Way We Were"--such a touching song. I always thought "Without You" was written by Nilsson. I still prefer the Badfinger version. They were such a great group with so many wonderful songs.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Badfinger was a great group, but their story is so tragic. So many artists were taken advantage of. It's a shame because they did have some really good songs.

      ~Mary

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  7. I was born in the 70's, and know these songs but haven't heard any of them lately. Brings back memories :)

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  8. Why do I always smack my head and say, "Why didn't I think of that?" hahaha... great job here girlfriend. Thanks for sharing. Personally I wanna see what you find for "X"! Mine is posted already. Enjoy the headache... hahahaha mine is a dull roar!

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    1. I can't wait to see what you've chosen. I'll get there, I promise. Just running a little bit behind. :)

      ~Mary

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  9. Awesome W choices Mary! All three of them! I love Edwin Starr's War. One of my favorites for sure. And Harry Nilsson's Without You is so moody, I love it!
    The Way We Were: such an amazingly great film and an equally great song. So good!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Thanks Michele!

      I thought these three were a pretty good representation of the decade across the board.

      ~Mary

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  10. Haven't heard War before - a catchy tune. But Without You and The Way We Were are awesome mumbers.

    Suzy at Someday Somewhere - When will we learn.

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  11. Mary,

    Great trivia on the iconic song "War"! I had no clue that The Temptations were the original vocalists on this song. I can't imagine anyone doing this song other than Edwin Starr. You got me curious, I will listen to the cover artists you mentioned. Oh, "Without You" always makes me sooo sad but I love the song! "The Way We Were" is a tender song and I like it but I'm not really a Barbara Streisand. What an Xtra treat it was to sample your "X" tunes!

    Art Sketching Through the Alphabet "W" (Walking Dead & Waves)

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  12. After reading through your W's I realized I had never seen The Way We Were, so I'm currently watching it. It's a great song, though!

    With Love,
    Mandy

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    1. Here's my confession... I've never seen it either :)

      ~Mary

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