Overlooked Singles – Part 1 – The Early 1970s
Variations – Moroccan Roll (1973)
Les Variations were a French Moroccan band, formed in the late 60s and wielding a heavy blues rock influenced psychedelic sound. Their career eventually saw the band move towards a sound inspired by their North African Jewish heritage, incorporating different scales and sounds mostly unheard in rock music from their era.
Little Richard/Quincy Jones – Money Is (1972)
When these two musical minds come together, there really isn’t much that can go wrong. This single is the theme from a Robert Redford and Goldie Hawn heist film called “$”. One of Little Richard’s many excellent early 1970s funk influenced tracks, his pairing with Quincy Jones’ arrangement and catchy bass line makes this track stand out by itself. The B side also contains an amazing instrumental version of the track called “Money Runner”.
Brownsville Station – Smokin’ In The Boys Room (1973)
Most popular bands from the Michigan area around this time have become known for pioneering the type of music that would eventually develop into what was called punk. The MC5 and The Stooges would be the most obvious examples of this. However, it was the other side of this late 60s, early 70s blues and soul influenced sound that became something that most would more closely identify with a so called “classic rock” sound. Along with bands like Grand Funk Railroad, Brownsville Station’s only real glimpse of popularity was this single. Nonetheless, it serves as a great introduction to their discography and a blast into the high energy midwest sound.
Chubby Checker – Gypsy (1973)
Another surprising entry, this time from the man who brought the world the Twist in the early 60s. In the 1970s, Checker went through a psychedelic phase, working with producers involved in other bands such as the Jimi Hendrix Experience. This B side is the result of those sessions, and it is insane. Full of drum breaks and manic screaming.
The Troggs – Strange Movies (1973)
Whilst the Troggs may be known to the majority for their 1966 hit “Wild Thing”, the band deserves far more appreciation for their raw playing style and songwriting alone. Fronted by Reg Presley, the Andover, Hampshire band was known for writing raunchy singles with heavy riffs and a no-nonsense attitude, many years before the advent of the Sex Pistols and 70s punk rock. This single is a typical example of their innuendo-filled caveman rock, and I’m sure you can figure out what the lyrics are about on your own. It’s easy to see how a tape of this band in the studio inspired the film Spinal Tap.