Influential Albums 1479–1485

J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.

Here are the latest entries in the "albums that influenced me" series I started writing in May 2020.

Note: Just because an album appears on this list doesn't mean I give it a blanket endorsement. Many of the secular albums on this list are mainly there because they wound up being spoofed by ApologetiX.

1479. Something Special for Young Lovers – Ray Charles Singers
I first heard of The Ray Charles Singers in the opening line of "Life Is a Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)" by Reunion: "B.B. Bumble and the Stingers, Mott the Hoople, Ray Charles Singers." I assumed it had something to do with the legendary R&B/pop/country singer-pianist Ray Charles, a.k.a. "The Genius" and "Brother Ray." Wrong. His backing singers were called The Raelettes. The man who brought us "What'd I Say," "Georgia on My Mind," and "Hit the Road Jack," and "I Can't Stop Loving You" was born Ray Charles Robinson Sr. in September 1930. "The other Ray Charles," as he was sometimes called, entered this world as Charles Raymond Offenberg in September 1918. He created The Ray Charles Singers while leading the orchestra for The Perry Como Show. Their biggest hit was "Love Me With All Your Heart (Cuando Calienta El Sol)," which hit #3 on the pop chart and topped the adult contemporary chart for four weeks. That was in 1964, the same year The Beatles dominated the American charts. In fact, the week "Love Me With All of Your Heart" rose to #3, "Love Me Do" was at #4, on its way down from #1. The Ray Charles Singers followed up with "Al-Di-La" (#29 pop, #4 AC) and reached the Top 40 one more time with "One More Time" (#32 pop, #7 AC). Those were their Top 40 pop hits, but they amassed a dozen Top 40 adult contemporary hits. Released in 1964, Something Special for Young Lovers was the group's highest-charting by far, reaching #11 on the Billboard 200. The only hit it contained was "Love Me With All Your Heart." That album was followed up by Al-Di-La and Other Extra-Special Songs for Young Lovers (#45), Songs for Lonesome Lovers (#88), and Songs for Latin Lovers (#125). Notice a pattern there? Yes, both in the derivative titles and in the descending chart positions. The Ray Charles Singers would never had another charting LP. Anyway, I bought Something Special for Young Lovers in 2005, because I needed "Love Me With All Your Heart" for my #3 hits playlist. I was pleasantly surprised by the song; it's closer to Lawrence Welk than The Beatles but still has its charms.  

1480. Greatest Hits: 30 Cuts – The Dave Clark Five 
For a brief time in the '60s, it appeared that The Dave Clark Five might overtake The Beatles as the most popular act of the British Invasion. Ultimately, the Fab Four prevailed, but the DC5 still notched 17 Top 40 hits in the United States within a three-year span, 14 of which made the Top 20. Eight of those reached the Top 10: "You Got What It Takes" (#7) "I Like It Like That" (#7), "Glad All Over" (#6), "Bits and Pieces" (#4), "Catch Us If You Can" (#4), "Can't You See That She's Mine" (#4), "Because" (#3), and "Over and Over" (#1). Across the pond, "Glad All Over" and "Bits and Pieces" also topped the U.K. charts. In Canada, three of the group's singles hit #1: "Bits and Pieces," "Over and Over," and "At the Scene" (#18 U.S.). In the late spring of '67, The Dave Clark Five released their final U.S. Top 40 single, "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" (#35). At about the same time, The Beatles unveiled their landmark Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP, and suddenly the rules of the game were changed. However, the DC5 continued to have U.K. hits through 1970, the biggest of those being "Everybody Knows" (#2 U.K.), "The Red Balloon" (#7 U.K.), "Good Old Rock 'n' Roll" (#7 U.K.), and "Everybody Get Together" (#8 U.K.). Greatest Hits: 30 Cuts is different than the 1966 LP The Dave Clark Five's Greatest Hits, which appeared earlier on this list and only contained 10 tracks. This later collection, which I purchased in 2005, included all 24 of the DC5's U.S. Hot 100 hits, and even another that went to #101, "Look Before You Leap." ApologetiX spoofed "Glad All Over" in 2020 and "Can't You See That She's Mine" in 2024.  

1481. Rock On 1969 – Various Artists
Olivers had a big year in 1969. The movie Oliver! won the Academy Award for Best Picture in April, and Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder/first baseman Al Oliver placed second in the voting for National League Rookie of the Year in November. Meanwhile, in the interim, American pop singer Oliver (a.k.a. William Oliver Swofford) had two huge hits — "Good Morning Starshine" in July (#3 U.S. pop, #3 U.S. AC, #1 Canada pop, #1 Canada AC) and "Jean" (#3 U.S. pop, #3 U.S. AC, #1 Canada pop, #1 Canada AC) in October. Both of them appear on Rock On 1969. As we've discussed before, the Rock On series was on the Canadian label Madacy, so it's relevant to mention how the individual songs fared on the pop charts and adult contemporary charts (when applicable) in Canada. In addition to "Jean" and "Good Morning Starshine," this compilation featured two other #1 Canadian pop hits, "This Magic Moment" by Jay & The Americans (#1 Canada, #6 U.S.) and "Wichita Lineman" (#1 Canada, #3 U.S. pop, #1 U.S. AC), and two additional #1 Canadian AC hits: "Galveston" (#1 Canada AC, #2 Canada pop, #2 U.S. AC, #4 U.S. pop) and "Hurt So Bad" by The Lettermen (#1 Canada AC, #10 Canada pop, #10 U.S. AC, #12 U.S. pop). The rest of the selections were no slouches, either: "Traces" by The Classics IV (#2 U.S., #2 Canada), "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" by Jackie DeShannon (#4 U.S. pop, #2 U.S. adult contemporary, #12 Canada), "Hawaii Five-O" by The Ventures (#4 U.S., #5 Canada), "Goin' Up The Country" by Canned Heat (#11 U.S, #5 Canada), "Games People Play" by Joe South (#12 U.S., #7 Canada), and "I Can Hear Music" by The Beach Boys (#24 U.S., #34 Canada). That last one is the only cut not to make it to the Top 10 on either the U.S. or Canadian charts, but it did make it to #10 on the U.K. chart, and it's a wonderful tune.  

1482. Design of a Decade 1986/1996 – Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson's first greatest hits LP arrived in stores on October 2, 1995, and contained 16 tracks — six from Control (1986), seven from Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989), and one from Janet (1993), plus two brand-new songs, "Runaway (#3) and "Twenty Foreplay," which was not officially released as a single. Design of a Decade 1986/1996 included half a dozen #1 hits: "When I Think of You," "Miss You Much," "Escapade," "Black Cat," "Love Will Never Do (Without You)," and "That's the Way Love Goes." The other tracks were as follows: "Let's Wait Awhile" (#2), "Rhythm Nation" (#2), "Come Back to Me" (#2), "Nasty" (#3), "What Have You Done for Me Lately" (#4), "Alright" (#4), and "Control" (#5). Aside from "Twenty Foreplay," only one cut wasn't a Top Five hit, "The Pleasure Principle" (#14). My favorite cuts are "Escapade" and "When I Think of You." The album itself reached #3 on the Billboard 200 and sold two million copies in the United States. ApologetiX spoofed "Black Cat" in 2023. Our parody was sung by my oldest daughter, Janna, who has been mistakenly called "Janet" countless times in her lifetime, because when you say "Janna Jackson," it sounds almost identical to "Janet Jackson."  

1483. Rock On 1967 – Various Artists
As we continue with more albums I owned in Quebec-based Madacy's Rock On series, I've decided to order the songs by the highest chart position they reached, whether that be in Canada or the States ... and if you don't like that, take off, eh? Rock On 1967 featured five tracks that topped one or both of those charts: "Ode To Billie Joe" by Bobbie Gentry (#1 Canada, #1 U.S.), "Georgy Girl" by The Seekers (#1 Canada, #2 U.S.). "Little Bit O' Soul" by The Music Explosion (#1 Canada, #2 U.S.), "Gimme Some Lovin'" by The Spencer Davis Group (#1 Canada, #7 U.S.), and "Happy Together" by The Turtles (#1 U.S., #2 Canada). The other seven selections all reached the Top 10 in one place or the other: "Come Back When You Grow Up" by Bobby Vee (#2 Canada, #3 U.S.), "Tell It Like It Is" by Aaron Neville (#2 U.S., #8 Canada), "Knight in Rusty Armour" by Peter & Gordon (#3 Canada, #15 U.S.), "Expressway to Your Heart" by The Soul Survivors (#4 U.S.), "On a Carousel" by The Hollies (#7 Canada, #11 U.S.), "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" by Glen Campbell (#9 Canada, #26 U.S., #1 Canada Country), and "Skinny Legs And All" by Joe Tex (#10 U.S.). Despite my best efforts, I wasn't able to determine what position "Expressway to Your Heart" got to on the Canadian chart, but I've always liked that tune. When I was in college, I remember seeing a former member of The Soul Survivors as a non-celebrity contestant on a TV game show. I think it was either Jeopardy! or Tic-Tac-Dough. The gives new meaning to this line from Steely Dan's 1980 hit "Hey Nineteen": "It's hard times befallen the sole survivors." Now, everywhere I look, the lyrics are spelled like that, but considering the fact that the first line of the song is "Way back when, in sixty-seven" and the song also references Aretha Franklin by name, I don't think it's unreasonable to deduce that the dudes in the Dan were actually alluding to The Soul Survivors.

1484. Rock On 1967 Volume 2 – Various Artists
Any good cross-section of '60s pop ought to include some Motown, and Rock On 1967 Volume 2 fits the format with four of Berry Gordy's oldies-but-goodies: "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone" by The Supremes (#1 Canada, #1 U.S.), "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye (#1 U.S., #8 Canada, #1 U.S. R&B), "I Second That Emotion" by The Miracles (#3 Canada, #4 U.S. pop, #27 U.S. R&B) and "Bernadette" by The Four Tops (#4 Canada, #4 U.S. pop, #3 U.S. R&B). Two other non-Motown R&B hits made the roster as well, although they weren't as popular in the Great White North: "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" by Jay & The Techniques (#6 U.S. pop, #61 Canada, #8 U.S. R&B) and "Cold Sweat" by James Brown (#7 U.S. pop, #1 U.S. R&B). Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" wasn't actually released until late October '68, but it was recorded in February and April '67; I guess that's how they justified its inclusion on Rock On '67 Volume 2. Meanwhile, although it's not on this collection, the version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by Gladys Knight & the Pips (#2 U.S. pop, #5 Canada, #1 U.S. R&B was recorded in June '67 and released in late September '67, so it would have been a more "timely" choice. The other half dozen tracks on Rock On '67 Volume 2 were: "Incense and Peppermints" by Strawberry Alarm Clock (#1 Canada, #1 U.S.), "The Rain, the Park & Other Things" by The Cowsills (#1 Canada, #2 U.S.), "Words of Love" by The Mamas & The Papas (#3 Canada, #5 U.S.), "Let's Live for Today" by The Grass Roots (#3 Canada, #8 U.S.), "(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet" by Blues Magoos (#4 Canada, #5 U.S.), and "98.6" by Keith (#6 Canada, #7 U.S.). When I was a kid, I also owned a Hip Pocket Record of “98.6” backed with Keith’s previous hit, “Ain’t Gonna Lie” (#30 Canada, #39 U.S.). Hip Pocket Records were miniature flexi-discs (3 7/8”) that came in picture sleeves (5" x 6 1/4”) and looked like little 45s. Philco made them from 1967-69. My buddies and I found some in a box that a neighbor had left out for the garbage men in '73 or '74, I think. One man’s trash is another boy’s treasure, so we rescued them all, although I only kept one for myself. From what I’ve been able to research online, it appears there were about 25-40 titles issued in the Hip Pocket format. I remember seeing ones by The Young Rascals and Spanky & Our Gang in that box, too. I didn’t know who those artists were at the time, but their names stuck with me because they called to mind the old Little Rascals and Our Gang reruns we liked to watch on TV.  

1485. Rock On 1968 – Various Artists
The star of Rock On 1968 was Bobby Goldsboro, who opened and closed the album with two sad story songs (both sung in the first person) about short-lived marriages that ended for very different reasons — "Honey" (#1 Canada, #1 U.S pop, #1 adult contemporary) and "Autumn of My Life" (#11 Canada, #19 U.S., #2 U.S. AC). This collection contained two additional Canadian #1 hits that hit the Top Five in the States: "Spooky" by Classics IV (#1 Canada, #3 U.S.) and "Abraham, Martin and John" by Dion (#1 Canada, #4 U.S.). Three more selections were Top 10 hits on both sides of Niagara Falls: "Elenore" by The Turtles (#4 Canada, #6 U.S.), "Nobody But Me" by The Human Beinz (#4 Canada, #8 U.S.), and "Goin' Out of My Head / Can't Take My Eyes Off You" by The Lettermen (#7 U.S., #8 Canada). Rock On 1968 also included another track of special interest to me, "I Love You" by People! (#14 U.S.), featuring Larry Norman before he left the group for a solo career and became one of the founding fathers of Christian rock. However, the sleeper hit here for yours truly was the poignant and poetic "Mr. Businessman" by Ray Stevens (#7 Canada, #28 U.S.) ... a far cry from his novelty hits like "The Streak," "Harry the Hairy Ape," and "Gitarzan," but equally excellent ... and beautiful in its own way. The rest of the tracks on Rock On 1968 were "Sealed With a Kiss" by Gary Lewis and the Playboys (#7 Canada, #19 U.S.), "On the Road Again" by Canned Heat (#8 Canada, #16 U.S.), and "Darlin’" by The Beach Boys (#13 Canada, #19 U.S.).