ringo and george Rock Flashback: Beyond Brown Sugar

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As we noted earlier this week, “Brown Sugar” by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]the Rolling Stones[/lastfm] hit the Billboard Hot 100 forty years ago. It was the highest-debuting song of the week.

A couple of the other new songs that week are noteworthy, if not quite so legendary. One of them represents a collaboration between two of the most prominent artists of the moment.

Also new on the Hot 100 during this week in 1971  was “It Don’t Come Easy” by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Ringo Starr[/lastfm]. He joined his ex-mates [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]John Lennon[/lastfm] (“Power to the People” and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Paul McCartney[/lastfm] (“Another Day”) on the chart. If [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]George Harrison[/lastfm] had hung in one more week with “What Is Life,” all four solo [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Beatles[/lastfm] would have been represented. (That would eventually happen, in the fall of 1974.) As it was, Harrison co-wrote “It Don’t Come Easy,” and there’s a bootleg version featuring him singing it.

The [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Grand Funk Railroad[/lastfm] version of “Feelin’ Alright” also hit the Hot 100 this week 40 years ago. It’s a cover of the original performed by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Traffic[/lastfm], later covered by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Joe Cocker[/lastfm] and many others since 1970, from the album Survival. And toward the bottom of the chart, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]David Crosby[/lastfm]’s first solo single appears. “Music Is Love,” from his album If I Could Only Remember My Name, prominently features [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Neil Young[/lastfm] on vocals. Neither record would get a great deal of traction—in fact, this would be the only week on the Hot 100 for “Music Is Love.”

Forty years ago this week, a generous amount of the goofy music we associate with the 1970s was on the radio, alongside solid Motown songs by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Marvin Gaye[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]the Temptations[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Stevie Wonder[/lastfm], plus [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Janis Joplin[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]the Doors[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Alice Cooper[/lastfm]. Below the top 40 are singles by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Nilsson[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Emerson Lake & Palmer[/lastfm], and even [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jimi Hendrix[/lastfm] (“Freedom”). If all you had was an AM radio back then, it would have sounded pretty good a lot of the time.

Because “Freedom” isn’t heard often enough—and because it is awesome—here it is.

Experience more Rock Flashbacks here.


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