MIKE-SHELL PRESENTS - THE LINER NOTES TO "EVEN MORE SUPER HITS OF THE SEVENTIES"!

CLICK HERE to download the 15 page LINER NOTES to "More Super Hits of the Seventies!" - or just read them below.

CLICK HERE for photos, sound samples & video from "More Super Hits of the Seventies!"



If you’re reading this it probably means you pledged your support to WFMU during our 2015 fund raising efforts - so first of all, thank you!

“Even More Super Hits of the Seventies” is the third in a series that sprang to life as I was looking for a special way to entice listeners to make a pledge to the station and to express my thanks to the many listeners who literally keep the station on the air with their direct financial support. Once again I approached some of my favorite music makers and asked them to create a recording just for us - to cover a song that went top 40 somewhere on Earth in the 1970s - the one rule was: no irony.

Like the first two volumes, I was, and am, completely bowled over by the quality of the music I received and the obvious thought behind the creation of the recordings. The idea that this music simply wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the good feelings that WFMU has engendered throughout the musical community is a powerful one, and it keeps returning to me. It is inspiring to know that so many musicians appreciate and support our free-form radio mission.

And if you appreciate the support these artists have shown to WFMU, please support them and reach out to let them know that you value their efforts.
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1. Sam Phillips “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All

Produced by Sam Phillips
Recorded and Mixed by Eric Gorfain
Recorded at Littlebox Studios, Los Angeles, CA

Jay Bellerose - Drums
Jennifer Condos - Bass
Eric Gorfain - Violins
Sam Phillips - Vocals and guitars

I’ve long been a fan of Sam Phillips’ unique songs and sound. Her first few albums, released under the name Leslie Phillips, were recorded for a Contemporary Christian label who marketed her as "the Christian Cyndi Lauper." By 1988 she had started fresh, adopting the name Sam Phillips, and began releasing a series of super interesting albums packed with great songs, great singing and out of the ordinary production. Her latest “Push Any Button” culls the best of the 44 tunes created for her recent subscription series.

Sam’s song choice “(Last Night) I Didn’t Get To Sleep At All” was a 1972 top ten single for The 5th Dimension, produced by Bones Howe* and features Hal Blaine* and the cream of the 60’s L.A. session musicians. It was written by Englishman Tony Macaulay who had a hand in writing quite a few catchy songs - among my favorites "Baby Now That I've Found You" and "Build Me Up Buttercup" for The Foundations and the Edison Lighthouse hit "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)”. Sam’s stripped down take on this pop classic hits all the right prerequisites for a great cover version, she’s reverent of what’s best about the song but makes it her own, emphasizing the plaintiveness and it kicks off this collection in grand style.

Why did Sam choose this song?:
"I chose the song because there is a longing in the melody of this song that transcends the lyric. I also like singing about not being able to sleep because 'you were on my mind'".

Visit www.samphillips.com for more information about Sam, and for a free song download. Side note: in 1986 I waited on her at Carlos & Pepe’s restaurant in Santa Monica in and she was charmer.


2. Sam Elwitt “Baby Blue”

Produced by Sam Elwitt Recorded at Nokie's, Brooklyn, NY

Sam Elwitt - Instruments and Vocals

Sam Elwitt has been a long time presence on New York City’s music scene. Perhaps you know him from his brainchild The Nutley Brass (whose “Ramones Songbook as Played by Nutley Brass“ is a classic) or from his current instrumental combo The Moto-Gators, or maybe it’s his work with The Sea Monkeys, or his current cutting edge work producing The New Surfsiders or his latest, producing one of 2014’s best albums Miriam’s “Nobody's Baby”.

“Baby Blue” was written by Badfinger’s Pete Ham and Badfinger’s version, produced by Todd Rundgren, peaked at #14 in the spring of 1972. About three years later Ham would commit suicide and in 1983 Badfinger’s Tom Evans would also take his own life.

Why did Sam choose this song?:
“Hooks, big guitars, harmonies -- what's not to love? Badfinger does it again!”

Keep tabs on Sam at: www.samelwitt.com


3. They Might Be Giants “Starry Eyes”

Produced by Pat Dillett and They Might Be Giants
Engineered by Pat Dillett and Jon Altschuler
Recorded in New York City

They Might Be Giants:
Marty Beller - Drums
John Flansburgh - Guitar, Vocal
John Linnell - Keyboard, Vocal
Dan Miller - Lead Guitar
Danny Weinkauf - Bass

The two Johns at the core of They Might Be Giants met while attending High School in Lincoln, Massachusetts. They would form their band when they reconvened in Brooklyn in the early 1980’s. Since then TMBG have sold over four million records, won two Grammy Awards and created an unusually devoted fan base, in part by a touring schedule that consistently brings their high energy and spontaneous live show around the globe.

Will Birch and John Wicks wrote “Starry Eyes” and their band, The Records, had a minor hit with it in October of 1979. I’ve always loved this song, and the fact that it wasn’t a smash is part of the story of the state of music in the 1970’s - things were changing, but not quickly enough. I am ashamed to say I shoplifted the import 45 of this from the record store in The New Rochelle Mall while in high school.

Hear a new song EVERY WEEK in 2015 from They Might Be Giants by visiting their dialasong.com.


4) Nikki Corvette with Prima Donna "It Don’t Come Easy"

Vocals, Final Mix, Final Production - Produced, Engineered & Recorded by Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders, Detroit

Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keys, Sax - Produced by Bruce Duff, Engineered by Paul Roessler & Recorded at Kitten Robot Studios, Los Angeles

Nikki Corvette - Vocals
Kevin Preston - Guitars
Aaron Minton - Keys/Sax
David S. Field - Drums
Lights Out Levine - Bass
Amy Gore - Backup Vocals

Detroit native Nikki Corvette’s band grew up on the music of Iggy & the Stooges and the MC5. In her teens she formed Nikki and the Corvettes, whose high energy power pop has been described as “a cross between the Ronettes and the Ramones” and “snotty bubblegum punk.” They recorded one highly influential album and broke up in 1981. After some time away from music Nikki returned with Nikki and the Stingrays and Gorevette, collaboration with Amy Gore of the Gore Gore Girls.

"It Don't Come Easy” was written by Ringo Starr (although I’ve always thought it was {at least} co-written with George Harrison) and his 1971 Harrison produced single of it (featuring Stephen Stills on piano) reached number 4 in both the US and UK charts.

Why did Nikki choose this song?:
“There were so very many great songs I wanted to cover for this project and it was really hard to decide. I wanted something suitable for my voice (that I could actually sing....), something fun, that everyone knew (I personally like covers that I can sing along to), someone I admired and finally a song that was different from my usual music. 'It Don't Come Easy' was all this and more and I'm super happy with my choice and the band I did it with (Prima Donna are amazing!). Hope you enjoy it!!! XOXO”

You can friend Nikki at: https://www.facebook.com/nikki.corvette


5) Mitch Easter "Fox On The Run”

Produced & Recorded by Mitch Easter in the Celestial Shed

Mitch Easter - Guitar, Bass, Synth, Lead Vocals
Chris Garges - Drums
Shawn Lynch - Backing Vocals

Mitch Easter first showed up on my radar as the producer of the first few early 80’s releases by R.E.M. Records that helped create the idea of “indie rock” - an idea that would help revitalize the music business, college radio, record retail, fanzines, etc. In the wake of R.E.M. hundreds of bands journeyed to his Drive In studio to make records. He struck out on his own with Let’s Active, and other musical projects - and continues to play & record to this day.

Fox On The Run song was written by the four members of Sweet. They recorded a rocking version in 1974 for the UK release of their Desolation Boulevard lp, but re-recorded it with a bit more Pop emphasis - and that version was a world wide hit reaching 2 in the UK and 5 in the US.

Why did Mitch choose this song?:
“This song blows my mind!”

Take a look at the recording studio Mr. Easter currently operates here: http://fidelitorium.com/


6) The Woggles “Treat Her Like A Lady”

Produced by Jeff Walls & the Woggles
Recorded by Drew Vandenberg at Chase Park Transduction , Athens GA

Dan Eletxro – Drums, Tambourine, Backing Vocals
The Professor Mighty Manfred – Lead Vocals
Buzz Hagstrom – Bass, Backing Vocals
Flesh Hammer – Guitar, Keyboard, Backing Vocals
Special Guest Lady Fingers – Backing Vocals

Since 1987 the Athens, Georgia based Woggles have combined their love of 60’s garage rock with bits of soul, surf and rockabilly and wrapped it all up with the band’s infectious energy. Their records threaten to jump out of the grooves and their live show is always amazing (no shoe gazing) and will renew your faith in Rock & Roll.

In 1971 “Treat Her Like A Lady” was a big hit for Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose, whose four members were all siblings. Written by Eddie Cornelius the song would reach #3 in the U.S. charts. The Woggles version wonderfully implements the take no prisoners approach.

More info at: www.thewoggles.com


7) The Explorers Club "I Wanna Be With You”

The Explorers Club history goes something like this: formed in 2005 in Charleston, South Carolina. Their influences lean heavily toward the Beach Boys but include an eclectic mix including AM Gold, power pop and lighter 60’s fare, like Burt Bacharach. They released a few eps and singles and two amazing (and critically lauded) albums “Freedom Wind” and “Grand Hotel,” recorded a song for the first volume of WFMU’s “Super Hits of the Seventies,” played a live set on my radio show in 2013 and a few days later the broke up. Luckily band leader Jason Brewer*, after a move to Nashville, reconsidered and put a new version of the band together. Expect a new album in 2015.

Written by Raspberries lead singer Eric Carmen 1972’s "I Wanna Be With You” is a song that just has so much going for it. While it only reached #16 on the Billboard charts, it is one of those songs with a legacy that is bigger then its chart success would indicate.

Check in with The Explorers Club at: www.facebook.com/explorersclub


8) Billy Dolan "Instant Karma"

Recorded by Billy Dolan at Tulllocks Woods Studio
Mixed by Scott Anthony at Storybook Sound, NJ

Billy Dolan - plays all the instruments

I first became aware of Rockford, Illinois based Billy Dolan when the first single (on Sub Pop) from his band 5ive Style arrived at WFMU in 1994. Their album soon followed and it was filled with instrumental music that was funky and melodic with experimental touches - but not self indulgence. I had the band on my show in ‘96 for a live session and Billy’s guitar playing really blew my mind. (you can take a listen to excerpts from 5ive Style live on WFMU here: http://tinyurl.com/nb8y3dv ). In the years since 5ive Style Billy has worked with various bands, always doing something interesting. He blew my mind again when he delivered a song with a vocal performance, I was expecting an instrumental - I didn’t even know he could sing.

"Instant Karma" was a world wide hit for its composer, John Lennon, in 1970. The Phil Spector produced single reached #3 in the US and has been covered countless times. Drummer Alan White, from Yes, really shines on Lennon’s version.

Why did Billy pick this song?:
“Because I like John Lennon.”

See videos of many of Billy’s bands here: www.youtube.com/user/ANTPATROL


9) Pete Donnelly and Shelby Lynne "O-o-h Child"

Produced & Recorded by Pete Donnelly at Westmont Station, Westmont NJ
Shelby Lynne Recorded by Grady Price at Everso Records, Palm Desert CA

Pete Donnelly - Bass, Drums, Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Shelby Lynne - Vocals

For years Pete Donnelly has been in the much loved band The Figgs (who spent some time backing Graham Parker). He was a member of one of my favorite bands, The Candy Butchers and he was in the also much loved NRBQ for a few years. Lucky for us lately he’s been concentrating on making Pete Donnelly music, releasing great solo albums in 2013 & ’14.

Although Shelby Lynne’s first album was released in 1989 it was not until WFMU’s Laura Cantrell* emailed me to say she thought I might like 1999’s “I Am Shelby Lynne” that she entered my world. It was Lynne’s sixth album and her first not aimed at mainstream Country audiences, and it blew my mind apart. If you’ve never heard it, stop reading this and go have a listen - it will change your life. Since then Shelby has continued releasing a string of albums full of confessional heartbreaking songs.

“Oh Child” is just a perfect piece of 70s music. Written and produced by Buddah Records staff producer Stan Vincent for The Five Stairsteps the record has a subtle political message and melds a light Pop arrangement with sweet Chicago Soul. Bernard Purdy’s* drums drive the song (well, he says they do) and it reached #8 on the U.S. charts. There’s a great You Tube video of the band singing the song on Soul Train that I highly recommend.

Why did Pete & Shelby pick this song?:
"Not a lot of words to memorize...no, actually all of them relevant every day, great song"

Check out www.petedonnellymusic.com and www.shelbylynne.com for information about this dynamic duo


10) Green "Superstar”

Produced by Jeff Lescher
Recorded by Dan Yotz at Sound Sculptor Studio, Geneva,IL

Clay Tomasek - Bass & Vocals
Mike Zelenko - Drums
Jason Mosher - Guitar & Vocals
Jeff Lescher - Guitar, Piano & Vocals
Al Hurt - Horns
Dan Yotz - Percussion

In 1986 a friend put a song from Green’s self titled debut lp on mixtape for me and I immediately went out and bought the record (it had to be special ordered). With their first two lps the Chicago band made quite an impression. The songs and singing of Jeff Lescher* were impossible to listen to and not connect to. The critics lavished praise on the band, which toured and did “all the right things” but never quite managed to grab the national spotlight they deserved. Lescher has continued to lead various line ups of Green for 30 years now.

“Superstar” was written by Bonnie Bramlet and Leon Russell and recorded (under the name “Groupie (Superstar)”) by “Delaney & Bonnie and Friends featuring Eric Clapton” and issued on the b-side of a 1969 single. It was not a hit. It was covered a few times (including by Cher & Peggy Lee) before Richard Carpenter heard Bette Midler sing it on The Tonight Show and decided it would be a good fit for The Carpenters. His instincts were correct as their single (with Joe Osborn on bass and Hal Blaine* on drums) reached #2 in the US.

Why did Green pick this song?:
“Leon Russell really is the Master of Time and Space. Thanks also to Richard and Karen. Also, to Bonnie Bramlett.”

Find out what Green are up to right now at: www.groupgreen.org


11) David Myhr “Oh Susie”

David Myhr - Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Bass, Harpsichord
Hanna Ekström - Violins, Violas
Andreas Dahlbäck - Drums, Tambourine

Produced by David Myhr & Andreas Dahlbäck
Recorded by by Andreas Dahlbäck and David Myhr at Durango Recording, Stockholm, and Strong Melody Studio, Stockholm
Mixed by Marcus Black

It was the incredibly well crafted Power Pop recordings by David’s band The Merrymakers that first connected me to David’s musical abilities. From their base in Pitea, Sweden the band built a worldwide following (with a particularly rabid fanbase in Japan - where they’ve sold over 100,000 albums). David eventually went solo and has continued to experiment with different forms of music, but all with a trace of Pop in them.

Written by Björn Håkanson & Tim Norell “Oh Susie” was a big hit in many parts of the world in 1979 for Sweden’s Secret Service. It was especially huge in Russia, where the band still tours to enthusiastic crowds.

Why did David pick this song?:
It was evening sun in my old home town Piteå in the north of Sweden. I was eighteen and cruising around in the car when I first heard “Oh Susie” on the radio. It immediately struck a chord with me. Its melancholy seemed to me to have an almost Harrison-esque vibe. I found out it was from a Swedish band from the seventies called Secret Service and we used to include it in our otherwise sixties dominated cover repertoire. The singer Ola Håkansson had been a star already in Ola & The Janglers and later became a legendary music business mogul and it was he who first gave my former band The Merrymakers our first record deal. The original has a distinct disco flavor but Andreas Dahlbäck and I decided to try to give it a more timeless appeal.

Hear more from David at: www.davidmyhr.com


12) The Philistines Jr. “The Logical Song”

Recorded and Mixed by Peter Katis at Tarquin Studios
Additional Recording by Greg Giorgio and Marlowe Stern

Vocals by Henry Katis
Instruments by Peter Katis, Tarquin Katis and Tim Walsh

The Katis brothers entered my life in 1996 when I was looking for a recording studio and tracked Peter down because he had produced one of my favorite records in 1995, The Mommyheads’ “Bingham's Hole.” Besides running a recording studio Peter and his brother Tarquin also played in The Zambonis, backed James Kochalka and fronted The Philistines Jr. In the intervening years The Philistines have occasionally released new music, when the can fit it in around Peter’s schedule producing bands like Interpol and The National. "The Logical Song" was a hit single for Supertramp in 1979. Although it only peaked at #7 it stayed in the top 100 for 3 months helping the album Breakfast in America go quadruple platinum and become the biggest-selling English language album of all time in France.

You can take a peek into the world of The Philistines Jr. here: www.tarquinrecords.com


13) Nick Martellaro "Stayin' Alive”

Recorded by Nick in a garage, Southern California
Mixed by Scott Anthony at Storybook Sound, NJ

Nick Martellaro - all instruments & vocals

It was a video of Nick covering a Los Shakers* song that introduced me to the psychology student’s You Tube channel which is filled with tons of great covers (lots of Beatles) and poppy originals, all recorded in his parents Southern California garage.

There’s nothing more 70s then “Disco” - so “Stayin Alive” is very 70s. Written by all three brothers Gibb for the soundtrack of the film “Saturday Night Fever,” the (recorded in France) single spent four weeks at number one. The basic drum track is a loop of a few bars from the already recorded "Night Fever."

Why did Nick pick this song?:
“I'm always trying to challenge myself by covering songs in genres I've never attempted before. A few years ago I would've laughed at myself trying to sing a Barry Gibb falsetto for five minutes. When I heard the criteria for this album, I knew I wanted to try something totally overdone and really disco. In a way, I kind of like covering songs that people think are too worn-out to cover. I don't care how many times a day they play it on the radio...I sing along with the Bee Gees every time! Good music is good music, that's all there is to it. Actually attempting to cover "Stayin Alive" gave me a whole knew appreciation for their talent. Between the intricate vocal harmonies and weaving, interlocking musical parts, the song couldn't have been arranged better.”

Spend some time watching Nick’s videos here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Grinch89

14) amandla "Fly Like An Eagle"

Claude Coleman Jr. Recorded, Produced and performed everything at AzaleaHouse Studio

Claude Coleman has been a much in demand drummer for years with his highest profile gig being the drummer of Ween from 1994–2012. Claude’s solo project, amandala, lets him stretch out musically writing and playing a wide variety of musical styles. The third amandala album “‘Laughing Hearts” has just been released!

I got Steve Miller’s "Fly Like An Eagle" lp one Christmas in junior high school, I loved it then & still have it and listen to it today. The single of the title song (1:42 shorter then the lp version) reached #2 on the charts and was one of three top 40 hits from the album.

Why did Claude pick this song:?
“Everyone wants to fly – and that was my singular, main objective covering this tune. The soar and thrill of the journey, over the destination, just the flight!”

See/hear what amandla is up to here: facebook.com/amandlanet AND here: www.amandlanet.net

15) The Mommyheads “What A Fool Believes”

Produced and recorded at Storefront Music, NYC, by Adam Elk.

Adam Cohen – Guitar, Voice
Michael Holt – Keyboards, Voice
Dan Fisherman – Drums, Percussion, Voice
Jason McNair - Bass

As referenced in the notes for track 12 above, The Mommyheads’ 1995 lp “Bingham’s Hole” was a one of my favorites. It was their 4th record and I was not the albums only fan, it got them signed to Geffen - and soon after their major label debut - the band broke up. They reunited in 2008 picking up where they left off.

Why did The Mommyheads pick this song?:
“Adam voice is a dead ringer for Michael McDonald’s, and we, as Mommyheads, have had to endure endless Doobie brother serenades over the years.”

Like The Mommyheads here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Mommyheads/160746808128


16) Grace Denton "Ring The Living Bell”

Produced and recorded by Pete Shadbolt

Grace Denton – Vocals, Accordion, Arrangement
Ian Ross – Accordion, Guitar, Double Bass

Grace Denton came to my attention when she covered a song by one of my favorite bands Bucky*, for the charity compilation “Women, Ladies and Girls (Sing the Bucky Songbook)” When not having the good sense to cover Bucky Grace takes photos, makes art & videos and plays in several bands from her base in West Yorkshire.

1971’s "Ring The Living Bell” was the follow up to the number one hit “Brand New Key” from Melanie. The self penned single cracked the top 40 (#31 on Billboard, #21 on Cash Box, #18 on Billboards Adult Contemporary charts). It’s one of those top 40 songs that, interestingly, is not part of the Oldies radio format - and I find it is interesting to ponder about songs that have a longer legacy then others that had less chart success initially, but I’m a bit obsessive.

Why did Grace pick this song?:
I've loved this song since a good friend put it on a mix tape for me. I wanted to make it quite new for this compilation, and it seemed like it could go in a lot of different directions from the original. I'm really thankful to Pete and Ian for helping me make it.

See Grace’s art at: http://gracedenton.co.uk

17) Marshall Crenshaw "I Just Want To Celebrate”

Recorded by Marshall Crenshaw at home
Mixed by & Additional Background Vocals & Percussion recorded by Scott Anthony at Storybook Sound, NJ

Marshall Crenshaw - Drums, Guitars, Bass, Percussion
The Storybook Sound Singers - Background Vocals, Percussion

Detroit native Marshall Crenshaw as been making great original music since 1982, when he went from playing John Lennon on Broadway’s Beatlemania to putting together a trio (with his brother Robert on drums) and getting signed to Warner Brothers where his debut album’s mix of well crafted anti-Arena Rock was a breath of fresh air. He’s never stopped, only matured as the years have passed.

Rare Earth were one of the first white bands signed by Motown. Label songwriters/producers Dino Fekaris and Nick Zesses (Fekaris also co-wrote Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive) wrote "I Just Want To Celebrate” which was a #7 hit for Rare Earth in 1971. It’s another one of those hits that oddly just doesn’t get respect from Oldies radio.

Why Did Marshall pick this song?:
“I've always loved this line in the song: "I put my faith in the people, but the people let me down." Like a lot of us, I wonder if humanity is too dumb to save itself.”


18) The Kanaloas “Saturday Night”

Produced By The Kanaloas
Recorded And Mixed At Lombardi Studios, Santiago D.C. (Spain) By Martin Esturao

Jose Makahiki – Guitar
Miki Staccat Dora – Guitar
Joe Bongo From Mongo – Drums
Juanito Double Walk – Bass Guitar

Why did The Kanaloas pick this song?:
“The Kanaloas are truly fans of bubble-gum flavoured rock’n’roll bands, like The Bay City Rollers. Even this song did influence The Ramones and their Blitzkrieg Bop! (and then everything changed…). So, that’s our best chance to pay tribute to all those bands like them… So, get ready for fun, ‘cos it’s S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night!!”

Take a trip to Spain: https://es-es.facebook.com/TheKanaloas AND https://myspace.com/thekanaloas


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When I imagine the hours of effort that went into making these recordings it makes me feel incredibly indebted and appreciative to all of the artists who participated.

Special thanks to;
-Scott Anthony at Storybook Sound for mastering the project and taking 18 masters recorded in different corners of the world and making them sound like a cohesive album - and for helping out by mixing a few of the songs, doing some last minute overdubs and for being a “yes” person http://www.storybooksound.com/
-WFMU listener Steve McFarland for the package design & amazing Photoshop work on the front cover of all three volumes in the Super Hits series! http://www.steve-mcfarland.com/
-Listener Aaron Dunkel for the perfect video editing! http://aarondunkel.com/
-Jay Sherman-Godfrey who helped me to sequence all 3 volumes of this series!
-WFMU ‘s Rex Doan for his voice over work!
-WFMU's Gaylord Fields for proofreading!

When names are followed by an asterisk (*) in this document it means that this person is someone I have interviewed or that person has been the subject of an interview , so if you’re still curious check wfmu.org/michael for my radio show archives.

Once again, thanks for supporting WFMU.

-Michael Shelley 2015
Michaels@wfmu.org


v2.2 (this document will possibly be edited, expanded & corrected in the coming weeks, so check back for later versions)