“Angie Baby” is a popular song that was written by American Alan O’Day, and became a hit for Australian singer Helen Reddy. The song reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart at the end of December 1974 and became one of Reddy’s biggest-selling singles. The song also topped the U.S. adult contemporary chart, Reddy’s fifth #1 on this chart.
The song’s cryptic lyrics have inspired a number of listener theories as to what the song is really about. Reddy has refused to comment on what the true storyline of the song is, partly because she has said she enjoys hearing other listeners’ interpretations. Reddy has also said that “Angie Baby” was the one song she never had to push radio stations into playing.
“Cat’s in the Cradle” is a 1974 folk rock song by Harry Chapin from the album Verities & Balderdash. The single topped the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1974. As Chapin’s only No. 1 hit song, it became the best known of his work and a staple for folk rock music. Chapin’s recording of the song was nominated for the 1975 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2011.
The song’s lyrics began as a poem written by Harry’s wife, Sandra “Sandy” Gaston; the poem itself was inspired by the awkward relationship between her first husband, James Cashmore, and his father, John, a politician who served as Brooklyn Borough President. She was also inspired by a country music song she had heard on the radio. Harry also said the song was about his own relationship with his son, Josh, admitting, “Frankly, this song scares me to death.”
“Kung Fu Fighting” is a song written, composed and performed by Carl Douglas and produced by Biddu. It was released as a single in 1974, on the cusp of a chopsocky film craze, and eventually rose to the top of the British and American charts, in addition to reaching number one on the Soul Singles chart. It received a Gold certification from the RIAA in 1974 and popularized disco music. It eventually went on to sell eleven million records worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time. The song uses the quintessential Oriental riff, a short musical phrase that is used to signify Chinese culture.
“Kung Fu Fighting” was rated number 100 in VH1’s 100 Greatest one-hit wonders, and number 1 in the UK Channel 4’s Top 10 One Hit Wonders list in 2000, the same channel’s 50 Greatest One Hit Wonders poll in 2006 and Bring Back … the one-hit Wonders, for which Carl Douglas performed the song in a live concert.
“I Can Help” is a song written and performed by Billy Swan. Released in July 1974, the song was a big crossover smash, reaching No. 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Country Singles charts late that fall. Although Swan had other charting singles on both the Hot 100 and country charts, the song is generally recognized as being Swan’s only major hit single release. However, Swan had continued success as a songwriter for other artists and as a session musician.
“Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” is a song written by John Lennon, released as a single in 1974 on Apple Records, catalogue Apple 1874 in the United States and Apple R5998 in the United Kingdom. It peaked at number 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Cashbox Top 100. It also peaked at number 36 on the British singles chart. It was the lead single for the Walls and Bridges album in the US; in the UK it was released the same day as the album.
In Canada, the song spent two weeks at number two, and became the 30th biggest hit of 1974.
“You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” is a rock song written by Randy Bachman and performed by Bachman–Turner Overdrive (BTO) on the album Not Fragile (1974). It was released as a single in 1974 with an instrumental track “Free Wheelin'” as the B-side. It reached the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and the Canadian RPM chart the week of November 9, 1974 as well as reaching #2 on the UK Singles Chart.
“You Haven’t Done Nothin'” is a 1974 funk single by Stevie Wonder, taken from his album Fulfillingness’ First Finale and featuring background vocals by The Jackson 5. The politically aware song became Wonder’s fourth Number 1 pop hit and his tenth Number 1 soul hit. In the UK the single spent five weeks on the chart, peaking at Number 30.
The song was one of his angriest political statements and was aimed squarely at President Richard Nixon, who resigned two days after the record’s release. The Jackson Five sing the words “Doo da wop!” repeatedly in the chorus, when Wonder sings “Jackson Five, sing along with me”. The song also features a thick clavinet track and an early appearance of the drum machine. The B-side “Big Brother”, also a political statement, was taken from Wonder’s 1972 album Talking Book.
“Then Came You” is a 1974 Grammy-nominated hit for American soul singer Dionne Warwick and American R&B group The Spinners, and credited to Dionne Warwicke and Spinners (from 1971–1975, Warwick added a final ‘e’ to her last name). The track was written by Sherman Marshall and Phillip T. Pugh, and produced by Thom Bell.
Released during a time that Warwick’s chart fortunes were at an ebb after moving to Warner Bros. Records in 1972, the Philadelphia soul single was a rare mid-1970s success for the singer. Sung as a duet with Spinners main lead singer Bobby Smith and the Spinners, who were one of the most popular groups of the decade, the song became Warwick’s first ever single to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and also became her highest-charting R&B record reaching number two on that chart. It was also the first number-one pop hit for the Spinners. Spinners member Phillippe Wynne took over lead duties at the very end of the song, as he did on another one of the group’s big hits, “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love”.
While Warwick was signed to Warner Bros. at the time, this release actually came out on Atlantic Records, which was the Spinners’ label, but also a sister label to Warner Bros.
Warwick eventually left Warner Bros. for Arista Records in 1978 where she regrouped and found consistent success again as an artist.
“Nothing from Nothing” is a song written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher and recorded by Billy Preston for his 1974 album The Kids & Me. The song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week in October 1974, becoming Preston’s second solo chart-topper in the United States (following his 1973 hit “Will It Go Round in Circles”). It spent four and a half months on the chart.
Preston performed “Nothing from Nothing” later on Saturday Night Live – the first musical performance ever on the show. The song was also used in a Chevrolet commercial, and prominently featured in the 2008 film Be Kind Rewind.
“I Honestly Love You” (first released in Australia as “I Love You, I Honestly Love You”, per its chorus) was a worldwide pop hit single for Olivia Newton-John in 1974. The song was Newton-John’s first number-one single in the United States and Canada.
Released on the Long Live Love album in the United Kingdom by EMI, it was eventually released on the album If You Love Me, Let Me Know in the United States on MCA. The song was written by Jeff Barry and the Australian composer Peter Allen; the latter recorded it around the same time on his album Continental American. It also appears in the musical about Allen’s life, The Boy from Oz. VH1 placed the song at No. 11 on its “40 Most Softsational Soft-Rock Songs” list. The song won Newton-John both the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 17th Grammy Awards. Andy Williams released a version in 1974 on his album, You Lay So Easy on My Mind.
A snippet of the song plays over Chief Brody’s radio in the second shark attack in 1975’s “Jaws”, moments before Alex Kitner and Pippet the dog disappear beneath the waves.