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?