Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Song #116: "Calypso"--John Denver (1975)

A unique voice of the 1970's, and there were many of them, makes his one and only appearance along our journey today, and in a most unusual way.....

There's more than one song in the Top 500 that was originally discovered by being on the flip side of a 45 RPM record bought at either Woolco or Woolworth at Azalea Mall in the mid to late 1970's. And, after purchasing the John Denver single "I'm Sorry", which topped the charts, we take it out of the sleeve for the first time and flip it over to discover a tribute to Jacques Cousteau.

Now, at eight years old, my knowledge of Cousteau was this: he liked seas and oceans and ABC showed specials starring him from time to time. That was it. And, to this day, I don't think I've watched an entire show that he did. I also couldn't pronounce his name when it popped up in TV Guide.  :)

I didn't realize this song was Denver's tip of the cap to Cousteau, singing about his research ship. I just knew that I really thought the song was cool. I wasn't the only one. Radio stations across the country also flipped to the B-side and started playing this song, so much so that once "I'm Sorry", started falling off the chart, "Calypso" vaulted to #2. That simply did not happen for B-side songs.

The only other instance I can think of in this era that I can remember was Linda Ronstadt's "Love Is A Rose", the single which produced another hit on side B, preferred by pop radio, in "Heat Wave".

If you can think of any others from the mid-1970's, let me know. :)  For now, enjoy my favorite John Denver song (and I do thank him for the great contribution to Baltimore Oriole lore with the playing of "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" in the seventh inning stretch!).

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