Terry Jacks’ “Seasons in the Sun”, perhaps the most maudlin hit of all time, reached #1 on the charts in March 1974 and stubbornly stayed there for three long weeks:
This schmaltzy little ditty about a man saying goodbye to his loved ones as he’s preparing for death was based on Belgian chanteur Jacques Brel’s 1961 European hit “Le Moribond”, with English lyrics provided by that most sickeningly saccharine of 60’s poets, the Godfather of New Age, Rod McKuen (ATTENTION DIABETICS: better take your shot of insulin before clicking on the next video!):
Terry Jacks was no stranger to the Top 40. He and his wife Susan performed under the name The Poppy Family (how cute!), and reached #2 in 1970 with the single “Which Way You Goin’, Billy?”:
ARRGH! All this sweetness has given me a sugar rush! Think I’ll go run around the block six or seven times….
San Jose’s The Syndicate of Sound reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966 with their proto-punk hit, “Little Girl”:
The band was formed in 1964 by members of Lenny Lee and the Nightmen and The Pharaohs as a San Jose supergroup: Don Baskin (lead singer/guitars), Larry Ray (lead guitar), Bob Gonzalez (bass), John Sharkey (keys), and John Duckworth (drums). Two years later, “Little Girl” became a local radio smash, and Bell Records picked it up for national distribution. Baskin’s snarling vocals and the speed-freak jangling guitar sounds got teens movin’ and groovin’, and the song today is considered one of the progenitors of the punk movement of the 1970’s.
Bell demanded an album from the boys, and after Ray was replaced by Jim Sawyers, the Syndicate cranked one out in three weeks that’s a garage rock classic. Besides their hit and five other originals, the group performed covers of Chuck Berry’s “Almost Grown”, Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man”, Roy Orbison’s “Dream Baby”, The Hollies’ “I’m Alive”, Louis Jordan’s “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby”, and The Sonics’ “The Witch”:
The Syndicate of Sound broke up in 1970 after several unsuccessful attempts to return to the top of the pop charts. Twenty years later, Baskin, Gonzalez, and Sawyer reformed the band, and they still play West Coast dates to this day. Rock on, gentlemen, rock on!