leejohnson's current selection is:
If I Can't Have You
by Yvonne Elliman



This song was Elliman's biggest hit. It was written by the 'Bee Gees', as was much of the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack. The 'Bee Gees' were the first to record the song, and used it as the B-side of their "Stayin' Alive" single.

The song is a great example of lyrical dissonance, as the upbeat 'disco' groove accompanies a lyric of loneliness and despair. The singer has lost her (or his - note how it's gender-neutral) love, and wonders if she can find the strength to go on.

Elliman got her start as a backing singer for Eric Clapton and performed on many of his '70s hits, including "I Shot the Sheriff". This song made her the first Asian/Pacific Islander to have a No. 1 hit (she hails from Honolulu, Hawaii).

The huge success of this song resulted in Elliman being remembered as a 'disco' artist, but this style of music was an exception to the medium-tempo ballads that she specialised in, and which comprised the bulk of her recordings. She sang the role of 'Mary Magdalene' on the original album "Jesus Christ Superstar" and in the subsequent Broadway and film versions, and achieved her first hit single with the ballad "I Don't Know How to Love Him". This performance led to a 1974 "Golden Globe" nomination for 'Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy', making her the first Pacific Islander to be nominated for a "Golden Globe" in acting in a leading role.

This song was produced by Freddie Perren and recorded at his Los Angeles studio 'Mom & Pop's Company Store'. Perren was a former 'Motown' producer who found success in the '70s producing 'Peaches & Herb' and a number of 'disco' artists. "Saturday Night Fever" producer Robert Stigwood commissioned him to record some songs for the soundtrack, which ended up being this track and "More Than A Woman" by 'Tavares'. On both tracks, Perren used his favourite session musicians: Scott Edwards on bass, Bob 'Boogie' Bowles on guitar, James Gadson on drums and Sonny Burke on piano.

In an interview with Scott Edwards, he explained how these musicians contributed to the songs: "Most of the hits were stuff that we came up with ourselves. We'd have a basic chord chart, because at the time the people who were arranging had good ideas for the strings and horns. But as far as the rhythm section, most people, if they were smart, they left the rhythm section alone. Because to get the drums and bass to really lock and still be functional, you really can't control them too much if you're not a drummer or a bass player yourself."

Kim Wilde recorded this song in 1993, taking it to No. 12 in the UK and No. 3 in Australia.


Chart action: A No. 1 hit in 1978 on the US Billboard singles chart, with a stay of 22 weeks in the Hot 100. Two weeks at No. 4 in the UK, during a 9-week Top 40 tenure in the same year.
1977 - RSO Records - United States
Posted: 18th August 2017
Rewind to the Seventies! Anything from 1969 to 1980 appears here.......
Born in 1954, leaving education by 1972, 'glam' was my thing, "Ziggy" Bowie my hero. I was even the only guy in my town with the haircut (though not the carrot red colouring!). Therefore every seventh selection is a Bowie track.
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All leejohnson's selections:
With 1 other
18 Aug 2017
16 - 18 Aug 2017
12 - 14 Aug 2017