All-in-One – Post 35 by Gavin Lakin

One. Its connotations are infinite. Painfully lonesome or intimately connected. The kid never picked to play basketball in gym or winning a championship – on top of the world. The lowest roll on a die or the winning knock card in Gin Rummy. The idioms: the one that got away or one for the record books.

The following 1970s songs made it to the Top 100 charts, all with a common word:

The 5th Dimension’s Marilyn McCoo struggled with having “One Less Bell to Answer.”

Three Dog Night sang about that “One Man Band.”

There were “One Less Set of Footsteps” on Jim Croce’s floor.

They brought on the funk, did Funkadelic, with “One Nation Under a Groove.”

James Taylor had himself a “One Man Parade.”

The Eagles’ “One of These Nights” was in-between the dark and the light. (#1)

The Spinners spun “One of a Kind (Love Affair).”

For Blondie it would be “One Way or Another.”

Billy Jack’s One Tin Soldier” walked away, performed in the film by Coven.

The Allman Brothers always left “One Way Out.”

What if I pulled from its sleeve every Number One Single from the first full week of 1970

to the last full week of 1979

and interwove every title into one sweeping song lyric? As an absolutely arbitrary exercise, how will it read to you? What songs will make you scratch your head, to think How did that one get in there? What theories can you formulate about the way we were. The decade is renowned for its eclectic One’s, one-off’s and wonders???

I present to you, All-in-One . . .

Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head /

I want you back / Venus /

Thank you (falettin me be mice elf agin – Everybody is a star /

Bridge over troubled water /

Let it be / ABC /

American woman – No sugar tonight / Everything is beautiful /

The long and winding road – For you blue / The love you save /

Mama told me (not to come) / (They long to be) close to you / Make it with you /

War / Ain’t no mountain high enough /

Cracklin’ Rosie / I’ll be there / I think I love you / The tears of a clown /

My sweet lord – Isn’t it a pity / Knock three times / ONE bad apple /

Me and Bobby McGee / Just my imagination (running away with me) /

Joy to the world / Brown sugar /

Want ads / It’s too late – I feel the earth move /

Indian reservation (the lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian) /

You’ve got a friend / How can you mend a broken heart /

Uncle Albert – Admiral Halsey /

Go away little girl/ Maggie May – Reason to believe /

Gypsys, tramps and thieves / Theme from ‘Shaft’ /

Family affair / Brand new key /

American pie / Let’s stay together / Without you /

Heart of gold / A horse with no name / The first time ever I saw your face /

Oh girl / I’ll take you there / Candy man / Song sung blue /

Lean on me / Alone again (naturally) /

Brandy (you’re a fine girl) / Black and white / Baby don’t get hooked on me /

Ben / My ding-a-ling / I can see clearly now / Papa was a rollin’ stone /

I am woman / Me and Mrs. Jones / You’re so vain / Superstition /

Crocodile rock /

Killing me softly with his song / Love train /

The night the lights went out in Georgia /

Tie a yellow ribbon round the ole oak tree /

You are the sunshine of my life / Frankenstein / My love /

Give me love (give me peace on earth) /

Will it go round in circles / Bad, bad Leroy Brown /

The morning after / Touch me in the morning / Brother Louis /

Let’s get it on / Delta dawn /

We’re an American band / Half-Breed / Angie /

Midnight train to Georgia / Keep on truckin’ / Photograph /

Top of the world / The most beautiful girl / Time in a bottle /

The joker / Show and tell / You’re sixteen / The way we were /

Love’s theme / Seasons in the sun / Dark lady / Sunshine on my shoulders /

Hooked on a felling / Bennie and the jets / TSOP / The loco-motion /

The streak / Band on the run / Billy, don’t be a hero / Sundown /

Rock the boat / Rock your baby / Annie’s song / Feel like makin’ love /

The night Chicago died / (You’re) having my baby / I shot the sheriff /

Can’t get enough of your love, babe / Rock me gently / I honestly love you /

Nothing from nothing / Then came you /

You haven’t done nothin’ / You ain’t seen nothin’ yet /

Whatever gets you thru the night / I can help / Kung Fu fighting /

Cat’s in the cradle / Angie baby / Lucy in the sky with diamonds /

Mandy / Please Mr. Postman / Laughter in the rain / Fire /

You’re no good / Pick up the pieces / Best of my love /

Have you never been mellow / Black water / My eyes adored you /

Lady Marmalade / Lovin’ you / Philadelphia freedom /

(Hey won’t you play) another somebody done somebody wrong song /

He don’t love you (like I love you) / Shining star / Before the next teardrop falls /

Thank god I’m a country boy / Sister golden hair / Love will keep us together /

Listen to what the man said / The hustle / ONE of these nights / Jive talkin’ /

Fallin’ in love / Get down tonight / Rhinestone cowboy / Fame /

I’m sorry – Calypso / Bad blood / Island girl / That’s the way (I like it) /

Fly, robin, fly / Let’s do it again / Saturday night /

Convoy / I write the songs /

Theme from ‘Mahogany’ (do you know where you’re going to) /

Love rollercoaster / 50 ways to leave your lover / Theme from ‘S.W.A.T.’ /

Love machine Pt. 1 / December, 1963 (oh, what a night) / Disco lady /

Let your love flow / Welcome back / Boogie fever / Silly love songs /

Love hangover / Afternoon delight / Kiss and say goodbye /

Don’t go breaking my heart / You should be dancing /

(Shake, shake, shake) shake your booty / Play that funky music /

A fifth of Beethoven / Disco duck (Part 1) / If you leave me now /

Rock ‘n me / Tonight’s the night (gonna be alright) /

You don’t have to be a star (to be in my show) /

You make me feel like dancing / I wish /

Car wash / Torn between two lovers / Blinded by the light / New kid in town /

Love’s theme from ‘A Star is Born’ (evergreen) /

Rich girl / Dancing queen / Don’t give up on us / Don’t leave me this way /

Southern nights / Hotel California / When I need you / Sir Duke /

I’m your boogie man /

Dreams /

Got to give it up, Pt. 1 / Gonna fly now (theme from ‘Rocky’) /

Undercover angel / Da doo ron ron / Looks like we made it /

I just want to be your everything / Best of my love /

‘Star Wars’ theme – Cantina band /

You light up my life / How deep is your love / Baby come back /

Stayin’ alive / (Love is) thicker than water / Night fever /

If I can’t have you / With a little luck / Too much, too little, too late /

You’re the ONE that I want / Shadow dancing / Miss you /

Three times a lady / Grease / Boogie oogie oogie / Kiss you all over /

Hot child in the city / You needed me /

MacArthur Park / You don’t bring me flowers /

Le freak / Too much heaven / Da ya think I’m sexy /

I will survive / Tragedy / What a fool believes /

Knock on wood / Heart of glass / Reunited / Hot stuff /

Love you inside out / Ring my bell / Bad girls / Good times /

My Sharona / Sad eyes /

Don’t stop ‘til you get enough / Rise / Pop muzik /

Heartache tonight /

Still /

No more tears (enough is enough) / Babe / Escape (pina colada song).

1, 192 words. Did you notice that the last thirty or so lines were dominated by disco and dance music? The Doobie Brothers, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and Eagles somehow slipped through the pump heels and razor blade necklaces to top the charts.We also got The Knack. A few soundtrack songs and some novelty garbage.

Debby Boone, daughter of crooner Pat wins the decade with treacle such as:

Rolling at sea / Adrift on the waters / Could it be finally / I’m turning for home? / Finally a chance / To say, “Hey, I love you” / Never again / To be all alone / And you light up my life / You give me hope / To carry on / You light up my days / And fill my nights with song.

%#$!@*&$!

The Number One of Number One singles of the decade, ten weeks in that position, and add insult to injury, it was Boone’s debut. Check this out: The longest waits between debut singles to their first Number One includes such stellar and well-deserving artists as Santana (30 years), Steve Winwood of Traffic (20 years), Bob Seger (18 years), Spinners (13 years), Gladys Knight & the Pips (12 years), Yes (12 years), Dionne Warwick (11 years). (Source: The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, 5th Ed.)

I will always have my own (Spinners) “One of a Kind (Love Affair)” with the concept of one: Rankings, emotion, firsts in history, the numeral’s stately look, how it plays a part in reminding me how it feels to be last. What the lyric above confirms is that LP consumers were flaky, unpredictable sheep, the followers of trends and radio jocks’ payola scams, and for the most part had rotten taste.

But we, the esoteric, knowledgeable culture of coolness, had our own vinyl collections and concept rock radio stations, went to the parties where the music rocked and the world made sense; not ONE where a duck warbled over a nauseating beat, where a once-cool Rod Stewart had aural sex on “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright),” where a streak struck Ethel and a convoy of semis dodged Smokey, where songs ding-a-linged and da doo ron roned, downed a fifth of Beethoven and boogie oogie oogied, ultimately cackling a cacophony of computer quackery – in the process, castrating the Star Wars phenomenon for some of us, forever.

Like I said, The Allman Brothers’ “One Way Out” sounds like what my brothers and sisters of the decade miss so damn much: being intimately connected – the feeling of being one in a community – not being the poor sap eating alone on the schoolyard bench.

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