That ’70s song, Vols. 13 and 14

Here’s proof again of how the Top 40 charts varied from place to place, from market to market, in the spring of 1970.

Forty years ago this week, the great “Vehicle” by the Ides of March was rocketing up the charts at the band’s hometown station — WLS, the Big 89 in Chicago — and at WOKY, the Mighty 92 in Milwaukee.

When “Vehicle” came out, it was a new sound for the Ides of March, which had been a Chicago and Midwest favorite since the mid-’60s. By the time they started recording for Warner Bros. in 1970, they’d added a horn section to the standard guitar-and-drum lineup. That big sound drove “Vehicle.”

“Vehicle” was written and sung by Jim Peterik. After the Ides of March broke up in 1973, he co-founded Survivor in 1978 and co-wrote several hits for .38 Special in the early ’80s.

That is, until the band was persuaded to get back together in 1990, still beloved in their hometown of Berwyn, Ill., a generation later. It has since recorded five CDs and still plays live occasionally. The Ides of March has a handful of gigs this summer, all but one in the Midwest.

“Vehicle,” the Ides of March, from “Vehicle,” 1970.

It makes sense that a regional favorite like the Ides of March would do well in Chicago and Milwaukee, but those charts were far from identical. Here’s evidence of that.

Looking to cash in on Neil Diamond’s success with “Sweet Caroline” and “Holly Holy” on another label, Bang Records tweaked and re-released “Shilo,” which Diamond initially recorded in 1967.

It was No. 15 on the WLS charts in Chicago but nowhere on the WOKY charts in Milwaukee. Go figure.

“Shilo,” Neil Diamond, 1967, from “Double Gold,” 1973. It’s out of print. The original “Shilo” is available on “Classics: The Early Years,” a 1990 CD release. The single version is available on “His 12 Greatest Hits,” a 1993 CD release.

This is the original song, not the version released as a single in 1970. Bang Records remixed “Shilo” in 1970, adding a new backing track to make it sound more like Diamond’s more recent hits on the Uni label.

The “Double Gold” greatest-hits LP was Bang’s final attempt to cash in on Diamond. In 1966 and 1967, he cut 25 songs and two albums for Bang, which chopped, sliced and diced them into four compilation LPs.



Filed under April 2010, Sounds

4 responses to “That ’70s song, Vols. 13 and 14

  1. David Stoeffler

    As an impressionable youngster, I loved this song — the horns, the guitar interlude and especially the soulful ending, “Great god in heaven you know I luh-uh-uh-uh-uhv youuuuuuuu.”

  2. grrrrrreat tune! still love it 40 yrs later!

  3. Larry O

    Jeff you are invited to a Vinyl extravaganza at Larry and Mels anytime you want…call me..
    you’d have a great time!

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