This week’s song is a one-hit-wonder from 1970 and comes from the Ides of March, a band formed by Jim Peterik in 1965 who was the band’s lead guitarist, vocalist and primary song-writer. It also ties in with trumpet player John Larson’s 70th birthday this week.
Vehicle was written about a girl called Karen who Jim met at a Turtles gig in Chicago. He spotted her and tried to pluck up the courage to say hi, but instead she came over to him and said, “Aren’t you Peterik?” and the conversation was up and running. They dated for about six months but then she broke it off. A while later, out of the blue, he received a call from her asking if he would give her a lift to her modelling school, he jumped at the chance. Jim had a ’64 Valiant car with mag wheel covers and she probably wanted to be seen in it. He agreed and continued ferrying her around. One day he said to her ‘I’m just your vehicle’. He recalled, “Just then the light bulb popped up on top of my head and I thought about all the guys like me who don’t mind being taken for a ride by a beautiful girl. I said ‘see you later’ and started writing the song.”
The song became a hit in 1970 and just after Karen and Jim got back together and, to this day, are married and still together. The band split in 1973 and five years later Jim formed Survivor and co-write their biggest hit, Eye of the Tiger, when Sylvester Stallone commisionned the band to write the theme to Rocky III. Jim was the guitarist and keyboard player, but not the vocalist.
It was 33 years ago that the biggest live music event ever happened playing to 75,000 people at Wembley and over a billion people worldwide on TV. Those of us who were lucky enough to be will have experience something very special that will, almost undoubtedly, never happen on this scale again. Many will agree that Queen stole the show but everyone will have their own special favourites. This was one of mine.
Alessi were identical twin brothers who were born in West Hempstead, New York this week in 1953.
The pair began their career in 1970 when they were appearing in the Broadway cast of Hair. Within a few months Peppy Castro, a former guitarist with a psychedelic band called The Blue Magoos joined the cast. They teamed up with a drummer called Mike Ricciardella and formed Barnaby Bye where they were spotted and signed a deal with Atlantic Records. In the mid-seventies they split and the brothers continued as a duo.
They wrote and recorded their only UK hit, Oh Lori which became a hit on over 20 countries. By the early eighties they moved into production and wrote, produced and/or arranged songs for the like of Christopher Cross, Frankie Valli, Paul McCartney and Olivia Newton-John.
In 1979 they provided backing vocals for Art Garfunkel on his Fate for Breakfast album and the following year did likewise for John Lennon and Yoko Ono on their album Milk and Honey which was eventually released in 1984. In 1984 they contributed the song Savin’ the Day to the Ghostbusters soundtrack and throughout the eighties they provided many jingles for the David Lucas advertising agency.
In 2002 they hit the road and continued touring as a duo and over the course of 10 years (2003 – 2013) they released the albums Hello Everyone, Just Like That, Live! All Our Life, Two of Us and Marathon Day. In 2018 they are working on a new album which is, as yet, untitled.
She is best remembered for her 1962 hit Bobby’s Girl which reached number three in the UK. It was originally recorded earlier the same year by Marcie Blaine, a New York-born singer whose real name was Marcia Blank. She was a friend of someone at Seville records and agreed to record the song as a demo.
Susan was born in County Durham and moved to Birmingham as a teenager. He had a job in an office but was always checking out the music press ads for singers and sure enough Ronnie Hancock, a bandleader from the Midlands, auditioned her and joined his band for around three years.
In the mid-seventies she recorded a song called Time which was featured in the film Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry. She effectively retired from the business and currently lives in Eastbourne with her second husband, but in 2003 she was invited to appear at the opening of the refurbished Empire in her hometown on Consett which she did alongside The Bachelors.
Susan managed two small follow-up hits to Bobby’s Girl; Hand a Handkerchief to Helen got to 41 and She’s New to You stalled at 45, but let’s enjoy her number three hit from December 1962.
I was DJing at a wedding recently and got asked for a song I very rarely get asked for and I thought I’s share it this week. It was never a UK hit and it was by Gil-Scott Heron who passed away just over a year ago. Here is The Bottle