Friday, October 25, 1974

Bob Marley & The Wailers released Natty Dread

Natty Dread

Bob Marley & the Wailers

Released: October 25, 1974

Peak: 92 US, 44 RB, 43 UK, 98 AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.1 UK, 2.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: reggae


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Lively Up Yourself (1971, --)
  2. No Woman, No Cry (8/75, 8 UK)
  3. Them Belly Full But We Hungry
  4. Rebel Music (3 O’Clock Road Block)
  5. So Jah She
  6. Natty Dread (6/75, --)
  7. Bend Down Low (4/67, --)
  8. Talkin’ Blues
  9. Revolution

Total Running Time: 38:59

The Players:

  • Bob Marley (vocals, rhythm guitar)
  • Aston “Family Man” Barrett (bass)
  • Carlton “Carlie” Barrett (drums, percussion)
  • Bernard “Touter” Harvey, Jean Roussel (piano, organ, keyboards)
  • Al Anderson (guitar)
  • Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, Griffiths (backing vocals)


4.130 out of 5.00 (average of 20 ratings)

Quotable: “The ultimate reggae recording of all time” – Jim Newsom, All Music Guide

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Natty Dread is Bob Marley’s finest album, the ultimate reggae recording of all time. This was Marley’s first album without former bandmates Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston, and the first released as Bob Marley & the Wailers. The Wailers’ rhythm section of bassist Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett and drummer Carlton ‘Carlie’ Barrett remained in place and even contributed to the songwriting, while Marley added a female vocal trio, the I-Threes (which included his wife Rita Marley), and additional instrumentation to flesh out the sound.” AMG

“The material presented here defines what reggae was originally all about, with political and social commentary mixed with religious paeans to Jah. The celebratory Lively Up Yourself falls in the same vein as ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ from Burnin’. No Woman, No Cry is one of the band's best-known ballads. Them Belly Full (But We Hungry) is a powerful warning that ‘a hungry mob is an angry mob.’ Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Road Block) and Revolution continue in that spirit, as Marley assumes the mantle of prophet abandoned by ’60s forebears like Bob Dylan.” AMG

“In addition to the lyrical strengths, the music itself is full of emotion and playfulness, with the players locked into a solid groove on each number. Considering that popular rock music was entering the somnambulant disco era as Natty Dread was released, the lyrical and musical potency is especially striking. Marley was taking on discrimination, greed, poverty, and hopelessness while simultaneously rallying the troops as no other musical performer was attempting to do in the mid-‘70s.” AMG

Notes: The 2001 Definitive Remasters edition also includes the track "Am-A-Do," which was recorded during the Natty Dread sessions but shelved until the 1991 compilation Talkin' Blues.

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First posted 3/26/2008; updated 5/10/2021.

Saturday, October 19, 1974

Today in Music (1964): Simon & Garfunkel Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. released

Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.

Simon & Garfunkel

Released: October 19, 1964

Peak: 30 US, 24 UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 2.5 world (includes US + UK)

Genre: folk rock


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

  1. You Can Tell the World
  2. Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream
  3. Bleecker Street
  4. Sparrow
  5. Benedictus
  6. The Sound of Silence (acoustic version)
  7. He Was My Brother
  8. Peggy-O
  9. Go Tell It on the Mountain
  10. The Sun Is Burning
  11. The Times They Are A-Changin’
  12. Wednesday Morning 3 A.M.

Total Running Time: 31:38


2.188 out of 5.00 (average of 6 ratings)

About the Album:

Simon & Garfunkel’s debut album “doesn’t resemble any other Simon & Garfunkel album, mostly because their sound here was fundamentally different from that of the chart-topping duo that emerged a year later. Their first record together since their days as the teen harmony duo Tom & Jerry, the album was cut in March 1964, at a time when both Simon and Garfunkel were under the spell of folk music. As it had in 1957 with ‘Hey, Schoolgirl,’ their harmonizing here came out of the Everly Brothers’ playbook, but some new wrinkles had developed – Paul Simon was just spreading his wings as a serious songwriter and shares space with other contemporary composers.” BE

“The album opens with a spirited (if somewhat arch) rendition of Gibson and Camp’s gospel/folk piece You Can Tell the World, on which the duo’s joyous harmonizing overcomes the intrinsic awkwardness of two Jewish guys from Queens, New York doing this repertory. Also present is Ian Campbell’s The Sun Is Burning, a topical song about nuclear annihilation that Simon heard on his first visit to England as an itinerant folksinger the year before.” BE

“But the dominant outside personality on the album is that of Bob Dylan – his Times They Are A-Changin’ is covered, but his influence is obvious on the oldest of the Simon originals here, He Was My Brother. Simon’s first serious, topical song, dealing with the death of a freedom rider – and dedicated to Simon’s slain Queens College classmate Andrew Jacobs – it was what first interested Columbia Records producer Tom Wilson in Simon & Garfunkel.” BE

“By the time the album was recorded, however, Simon had evolved beyond Dylan’s orbit and developed a unique songwriting voice of his own, though he still had some distance to go. His other originals betray the artifice of an English major at work, sometimes for better, as on Sparrow and the original, all-acoustic release of The Sound of Silence, and at times for worse, on the half-beautiful but too-precious title song (which he would re-write more successfully as ‘Somewhere They Can’t Find Me’).” BE

“There are also a pair of traditional songs, a beautifully harmonized rendition of Peggy-O – which they probably picked up in Greenwich Village, or from recordings by Dylan or Joan Baez – and Go Tell It On the Mountain, both of which fit well into the zeitgeist of the folk revival.” BE

“The record didn’t sell on its original release, however, appearing too late in the folk revival to attract much attention – Bob Dylan was already taking that audience to new places by adding electric instruments to his sound. But the seeds of the duo’s future success were planted when, months after the album had been given up for dead – and the duo had split up – the all-acoustic rendition of ‘The Sound of Silence’ started getting radio play on its own in some key markets, which possessed to producer Wilson to try and adapt it to the new sound, overdubbing an electric band.” BE

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First posted 5/5/2011; last updated 10/9/2023.

Friday, October 11, 1974

Billy Joel’s Streetlife Serenade released

First posted 5/9/2011; updated 9/21/2020.

Streetlife Serenade

Billy Joel

Released: October 11, 1974

Peak: 35 US, -- UK, 16 CN, 85 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop/rock singer-songwriter


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Streetlife Serenader
  2. Los Angelenos
  3. The Great Suburban Showdown
  4. Root Beer Rag (instrumental)
  5. Roberta
  6. The Entertainer (11/30/74, 34 US, 13 CL, 30 AC, 30 CN, 89 AU)
  7. Last of the Big Time Spenders
  8. Weekend Song
  9. Souvenir
  10. The Mexican Connection (instrumental)

Total Running Time: 37:41


3.403 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings)

About the Album:

With his sophomore album, Billy Joel had achieved success with “Piano Man,” but it threw him. Billy Joel was driven “to deliver an album that established him as both a serious artist and a commercial contender.” AMG While critics didn’t love him, his sophomore album had delivered big with the top-25 success of “Piano Man.” Now he needed to quickly release another album to maintain a high profile, but he’d used his best stuff on Piano Man, so he was short on material.

The resulting third album, Streetlife Serenade, was, therefore, “a bit of a slump.” AMG Still, “since he has skills, he's able to turn out a few winners – Roberta, a love song in the vein of Cold Spring Harbor, the mournful Streetlife Serenader, and the stomping” AMG and “vigorous Los Angelenos,” DB on which he “rocked an electric piano.” DB

“Joel is attempting a grand Americana lyrical vision, stretching from the Wild West through the Depression on ‘Los Angelenos’ and The Great Suburban Showdown.” AMG “Joel’s ruminations on suburban malaise…are at their most overblown.” DB In the end, “it doesn't work, not only because of his shortcomings as a writer, but because he didn't have the time to pull it all together.” AMG

“The presence of two instrumentals screamed, ‘Right – I didn’t have time to write songs for my new album.’” DB “Even if Root Beer Rag, yet another sign of The Sting’s influence, is admittedly enjoyable, they're undeniably fillers.” AMG

Stylistically, it was a reiteration of its predecessor’s” AMG obsession with Elton John’s Tumbleweed Connection, “spiked with, of all things, Rockford Files synthesizers and ragtime pulled from The Sting.” AMG “It’s no coincidence that the record’s single and best song, The Entertainer, shares a title with the Scott Joplin rag that provided The Sting with a main theme.” AMG

On that “astonishingly bitter” AMG song, “he not only disparages his own role, but is filled with venom over ‘Piano Man’ being released in a single edit, that made the subtext clear: he’d had enough with California, enough with the music industry, enough with being a sensitive singer/songwriter. It was time for Billy to say goodbye to Hollywood and head back home to New York.” AMG

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Saturday, October 5, 1974

Olivia Newton-John hit #1 with “I Honestly Love You”

I Honestly Love You

Olivia Newton-John

Writer(s): Peter Allen, Jeff Barry (see lyrics here)

First Charted: August 3, 1974

Peak: 12 US, 12 CB, 14 GR, 12 HR, 16 RR, 13 AC, 6 CW, 22 UK, 11 CN, 14 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 2.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 4.0 radio, 7.96 video, 21.52 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Jeff Barry made a name for himself co-writing songs like the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” and the Shangri-La’s “Leader of the Pack,” as well as #1 hits for the Dixie Cups, Manfred Mann, and the Archies. He set to produce Peter Allen’s first album for A&M Records. Allen had already written some tunes, but Barry didn’t hear any hits. He had an idea for a song which the two then wrote together and then they made a demo. FB

The demo was just intended for themselves, but it made its way to John Farrar. He’d been a member of the Shadows before taking up songwriting, arranging, and producing work with Olivia Newton-John. Cliff Richards, who’d been the leader of the Shadows, was also pivotal in Olivia’s career. After she won a talent contest in Australia, she got to go to England as part of the prize. She eventually landed a spot on Richards’ television series. RC

Farrar played “I Honestly Love You” for Olivia and she loved it. In her 2019 memoir Don’t Stop Believin’, she recalled thinking “that everyone would be able to make those words fit in their own personal story of love and perhaps even loss.” SF She told Billboard magazine “I flipped out when I heard it…I was terrified that I would find out it had already been done.” FB Barry convinced Allen to let her record it since she was one of the world’s most popular singers. SF

It proved a savvy move which helped launch Allen’s career as a songwriter, SF although he did release a version on his Continental American album which came out at the end of the year. WK She recorded the song in just three takes with vocals which were, at times, “almost a whisper,” as she said. SF Surprisingly, the label didn’t originally intend to release Olivia’s version as a single until radio demand pushed them to decide otherwise. FB

Radio stations in Denver and Chicago ranked it the song of the year. WK VH1 ranked the song at #11 on its list of soft-rock songs. It also makes the DMDB’s list of the top 100 adult contemporary songs of all time. It won Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female.


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First posted 10/24/2020; last updated 4/30/2024.