You have to respect music that pops into your head, decades after it was first released. Many of those ‘stuck in your head’ tunes were one hit sensations. The 1960s and 1970s were an exciting time in music that turned out some colourful music industry stories.
We undertook some investigative Googling to see where these 1960s and 1970s music chart topping artists are now. We know there are many, many more – what are your favourites?
Music chart toppers
Originally released in: 1969
Originally recorded by: Shocking Blue
Strikingly attractive Dutch singer and songwriter Mariska Veres, daughter of a gypsy violinist, spent her life performing music. She was regularly playing gigs with a band when she was invited to replace the lead singer of Shocking Blue and propelled the band to fame with their 1969 release of ‘Venus’.
Shocking Blue went on to release ten albums and a number of singles before breaking up in the mid 1970s. Veres continued performing solo. The band got together briefly again in the early 1980s and recorded an unreleased track called ‘Louise’. During the 1980s she performed in jazz bands in Holland.
She gained a reputation for her clean living as well as her battle with her looks being given priority over her music. Sadly Mariska Veres died of cancer in 2006.
Enjoy a listen: Venus
Originally released: 1960
Originally recorded by: The Hollywood Argyles
The lead singer of The Hollywood Argyles, Gary S. Paxton was a solo artist when he recorded the novelty song Ally Oop about a character in a popular newspaper comic strip. The writer behind the chart topper, Dallas Frazier, was a country songwriter that later went on to write Engelbert Humperdinck’s ‘There Goes My Everything’.
It appears that Gary S. Paxton went on to lead a colourful life in the music industry, as a writer. His life story is a turbulent one that includes a couple of stints in a mental institution and an attempted murder that he was the victim of.
While The Hollywood Argyles shot to stardom and wasn’t heard of again, Gary S. Paxton continued to deliver country and western and gospel hits as well as working in television.
On his official website – garyspaxtonministries.com he emphasises that he is a writer, not a performer. He says he has written over 2,000 songs and had over 600 of these recorded.
Enjoy a listen: Ally Oop
Read more: Gary S Paxton
Originally released: 1962
Originally recorded by: Bobby Boris Pickett
Bobby Pickett was an aspiring actor by day and band member by night. Monster Mash was inspired by Pickett imitating horror movie actor Boris Karloff and getting a wild response from the audience. Gary S. Pixton who recorded Ally Oop (above) then composed ‘Monster Mash’ with Bobby Pickett.
Monster Mash was re-released a number of times, most recently in 2008 in Britian. It has also been endlessly covered and featured in many films and television shows and is a popular song choice on Halloween!
As for Bobby, he continued to be in demand on the Halloween circuit and continued performing music gigs up until 2006. Sadly, he is no longer entertaining the masses on Halloween as he died as a result of leukaemia in 2007.
Enjoy a listen: Monster Mash
Originally released: 1970
Originally recorded by: Bobby Bloom
Pop, calypso and rock were Bloom’s genres. In the early 1960s he was a member of a ‘doo wop’ group called ‘The Imaginations’. His music career included song-writing successes and an accomplished sound engineer.
Following an invitation to write a jingle for Pepsi, Bloom was on his way to making it big in the music world. ‘Montego Bay’ is the track that he is most strongly associated with. He was quoted as saying that Montego Bay ‘is the kind of place that makes you write songs about it’. He co-wrote Montego Bay with Jeff Barry of ‘Be My Baby’ and ‘Leader of the Pack’ fame. His partnership with Jeff Barry included working on a late Monkees album.
Sadly, this was a one hit wonder for Bobby as he died in 1974 when he was only 28 years old reportedly from an accidental shooting while he was cleaning his gun (according to Wikipedia.com).
Enjoy a listen: Montego Bay
Seasons in the Sun
Recorded by: Terry Jacks
Canada’s Terry Jacks shunned his family’s encouragement to be an architect and pursued his love of music instead. In the 1960s he was a guitar player and vocalist in the band Chessman. In 1968, he and his wife formed a band called Poppy Family. They had a number of successful releases but a number of online sources cited his dislike of performing live and media interviews which may have led to the band, and his marriage, going separate ways. He started his solo music career in 1973.
He’d heard an English language version of Belgian Jacques Brel’s 1961 composition ‘Le Moribond’ (The Dying Man).
According to songfacts.com, when he learnt a friend was terminally ill, he rewrote the lyrics inspired by his friend’s dying days and released the recording in 1973. He even named his boat ‘Seasons in the Sun’. He continued to dabble in the music industry intermittently until the 1980s.
He has since redirected his creative energy to focus on environmental pollution issues establishing an organisation called Environmental Watch of BC.
Enjoy a listen: Seasons in the Sun
Read more: MTV biography on Terry Jacks
Originally released: 1976
Originally recorded by: Starland Vocal Band
The Starland Vocal Band was a four person band – two couples – that won the Grammy for best new artist of 1976 and that was it! But their namesake carried on for a couple of decades.
In 1977 they were given their own television series called ‘The Starland Vocal Band’. And from 1997 to 2007 one of the band members, Bill Danoff, ran his own cafe in Washington DC called The Starland Cafe.
Of course, the song ‘Afternoon Delight’ has lived on in film and television, and advertising.
Enjoy a listen: Afternoon Delight
What are some of your favourite chart toppers from the 1960s and 1970s?
Images: courtesy of talent hosted by unsplash.com