Monday, March 31, 1975

Today in Music (1925): “Adeste Fideles” broadcast simultaneously around the country

O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)

writers unknown

Writer(s): unknown (see lyrics here)

Published: 1751

First Charted: December 30, 1905 (Columbia Male Quartet)

Peak (various versions): 2 PM, 48 HR, 20 AC, 60 CW, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions – all versions): -- radio, 106.9 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The origins of “O Come All Ye Faithful” (Adeste Fideles” in its original Latin) are unknown. The original words have been credited as far back as the 13th century to St. Bonaventure and King John IV of Portugal in the 17th century. It is more widely believed that the text was written by anonymous Cistercian monks. WK Musicologists have generally credited the original words to John Francis Wade, a music copyist who published the words in Cantus Diversi in 1751. WK The text has been translated many times into English, most often credited to Catholic priest Frederick Oakeley in 1841. WK

German-British composer George Frideric Handel, German composer Christopher Willibald Gluck, English composer John Reading, Portuguese composer Marcos Portugal, and English composer Thomas Arne have all been credited as potential composers of the melody. WK

The first charted version of the song came in 1905 when the Columbia Male Quartet reached #7. Others to chart with the song include John McCormack (1915, #2 PM), the Associated Glee Clubs of America (1925, #5 PM), Bing Crosby (1945, #45 PM, 48 HR), Faith Hill (2009, #60 CW), and Chris Mann (2012, #20 AC). The hymn is played by a symphony orchestra at Carnegie Hall in the 1992 film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

In 2003, a recording of “Adeste Fideles” was added to the National Recording Registry. It was featured on The Eveready Hour, which was broadcast at 9pm over New York’s WEAF. The March 31, 1925 program was simultaneously broadcast on multiple radio stations around the country. A mass alliance of glee clubs known as the Associated Glee Clubs of America was featured on the program. It was “one of the first electronically captured musical performances.” NRR “Twelve conductors representing fifteen clubs “took turns leading the massed chorus.” NRR In June 1925, a recording of the performance was promoted as “4,850 voices on one record! The most unusual phonograph record ever made with ‘Adeste Fideles’ and ‘John Peel.’” NRR


First posted 12/20/2023.

Saturday, March 15, 1975

The Doobie Brothers “Black Water” hit #1

Black Water

The Doobie Brothers

Writer(s): Patrick Simmons (see lyrics here)

Released: November 15, 1974

First Charted: December 20, 1974

Peak: 11 US, 3 CB, 11 HR, 12 RR, 38 AC, 1 CL, 11 CN, 22 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 23.6 video, 94.62 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“You can almost feel the warm breeze blowing in as the summery sounds of wind chimes lead into the acoustic guitar and fiddle during the opening of…the Doobie Brothers’ ‘Black Water.’” UCR This was a “California band’s blissed-out reverie about an imagined American South, a place where you can drift on a raft down the Mississippi River and then go to hear ‘some funky dixieland’” SG in “a world where rock ‘n’ roll has yet to exist.” SG “Like Creedence Clearwater Revival, another Bay Area rock band who dreamed about Louisiana bayous, the Doobie Brothers felt a longing for a version of Americana that they’d never actually experienced.” SG

The Doobie Brothers formed in 1970 in San Jose after “Skip Spence — former frontman of bugged-out San Francisco psych-rock weirdos Moby Grape” SG introduced his bandmate, drummer John Hartman, to guitarist Tom Johnston. The pair formed the Doobie Brothers with singer and guitarist Patrick Simmons, taking their name from “the suggestion of a roommate, who was probably making fun of them for all the weed they smoked. They hated the name, and it was only supposed to be a placeholder for the first few shows. But somehow, they never came up with anything better.” SG

The band released their fourth album, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, in 1974. It featured “Black Water,” which was never intended as a single. It was relegated to the B-side of “Another Park, Another Sunday,” which only made it to #33. “However, in an oft-repeated tale in rock history, an intrepid DJ [at a Roanoke, Virginia radio station SG] flipping the record over and playing the other side led to the song hitting the No. 1 spot” UCR more than a year after the album had been released.

“Written and sung by guitarist Patrick Simmons, ‘Black Water’ was a change up from the more rootsy rock and roll that had established the band.” UCR Simmons recorded the song solo, “playing acoustic guitar along with a primitive drum machine, and producer Ted Templeman overdubbed the rest of the band in later.” SG It “featured a subtle-but-clear country influence, and a lovely breakdown a cappella section.” UCR


First posted 7/27/2022.

Friday, March 7, 1975

David Bowie Young Americans album released

Young Americans

David Bowie

Released: March 7, 1975

Peak: 9 US, 2 UK, 17 CN, 9 AU

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.1 UK, 3.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock


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

  1. Young Americans [5:11] (3/1/75, 28 US, 20 CB, 27 HR, 32 RR, 3 CL, 2 CO, 18 UK, 27 AU)
  2. Win [4:44]
  3. Fascination (Bowie/Vandross) [5:45] (16 CL, 36 CO)
  4. Right [4:15]
  5. Somebody Up There Likes Me [6:30]
  6. Across the Universe (Lennon/McCartney) [4:29]
  7. Can You Hear Me [5:03]
  8. Fame (Alomar/Bowie/Lennon) [4:16] (2/21/75, 1 US, 1 CB, 1 HR, 1 RR, 17 UK, 21 RB, 1 CL, 1 CO, sales: 1 million airplay: 1 million)

Songs written by David Bowie unless indicated otherwise.

Total Running Time: 40:13

The Players:

  • David Bowie (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Carlos Alomar, Earl Slick (guitar)
  • Mike Garson (piano)
  • David Sanborn (saxophone)
  • Willie Weeks, Emir Ksasan (bass) Andy Newmark, Dennis Davis (drums)
  • Ava Cherry, Robin Clark, Jean Fineberg, Jean Millington, Luther Vandross (backing vocals)
  • Ralph MacDonald, Pablo Rosario (percussion)
  • John Lennon (vocals, guitar, and backing vocals on “Across the Universe” and “Fame”)


3.677 out of 5.00 (average of 23 ratings)

Quotable: --

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

For Young Amerians, David Bowie’s ninth studio album, he abandoned the glam rock of previous releases in favor of R&B. Bowie biographers have considered the album one of his most influential, noting he was one of the first white musicians from the time to “overtly engage with black musical styles.” WK “Rock ‘n’ Roll with Me” and “1984” from previous album Diamond Dogs exhibited “elements of funk and soul” WK and the subsequent tour dropped hints as well, “but the full-blown blue-eyed soul of Young Americans came as a shock.” AMG

He enlisted “first-rate sessionmen” AMG including then-unknown singer Luther Vandross as a backup singer and funk guitarist Carlos Alomar, who had played with James Brown, Chuck Berry, and Wilson Pickett. Alomar had never heard of Bowie, but they made an immediate connection and worked together for nearly fifteen years hence. WK Bowie also hired drummer Andy Newmark, who’d worked with Sly & the Family Stone, and bassist Willie Weeks from the Isley Brothers. WK

The result was “a set of songs that approximate the sound of Philly soul and disco, yet remain detached from their inspirations; even at his most passionate, Bowie sounds like a commentator, as if the entire album was a genre exercise.” AMG Bowie himself labeled the new direction “plastic soul.”

In January 1975, David Bowie and John Lennon met at Electric Lady Studios in New York to record a cover of the Beatles’ song Across the Universe and new song Fame. WK The latter, which “had a beat funky enough that James Brown ripped it off,” AMG hit #1 in the United States. Bowie was surprised by how successful it was, saying it “was really out of left-field for me.” WK

The “plastic, robotic soul helped inform generations of synthetic British soul. What does hurt the record is a lack of strong songwriting. Young Americans is a masterpiece…[as is ‘Fame’] but only a handful of cuts (Win, Fascination, Somebody up There Likes Me) comes close to matching their quality. As a result, Young Americans is more enjoyable as a stylistic adventure than as a substantive record.” AMG

Other critics echoed similar sentiments. Pitchfork’s Douglas Wolk said it “comes off as an artist trying very hard to demonstrate how unpredictable he is.” WK He called it “distinctly a transitional record,” WK an observation seconded by NME’s Ian MacDonald, who considered the record a result of Bowie “not knowing where to take his career next.” WK

However, author David Buckley says the record “brought fans of both glam rock and soul together in the wake of the disco era.” WK Biographer Nicholas Pegg said “Bowie had undertaken the first significant excursion into Black Soul by a mainstream white artist,” paving the way for others to engage in similar styles. WK

Notes: The 1990 Rykodisc reissue adds previously unreleased tracks “Who Can I Be Now?” and “It’s Gonna Be Me” as well as the 1974 A-side single of “John, I’m Only Dancing Again.”

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 2/20/2008; last updated 7/31/2021.