Friday, February 3, 2017

Buckinghams – "Kind of a Drag" (1967)

Kind of a drag
When your baby says goodbye

There was something for everyone on the Billboard “Hot 100” fifty years ago.

You had well-produced, mass-market pop singles like the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer,”  Sonny & Cher’s “The Beat Goes On,” the Turtles’ “Happy Together,” and today’s featured song, “Kind of a Drag” by the Buckinghams.

You had songs by the greatest classic-rock groups, including the Beatles (“Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”), the Rolling Stones (“Ruby Tuesday” and “Let’s Spend the Night Together”), and the Byrds (“So You Want to Be a Rock ’n’ Roll Star”).

You had romantic ballads (like Johnny Rivers’ “Baby, I Need Your Lovin’” and Aaron Neville’s “Tell It Like It Is”), Motown and Memphis classics (like “Standing in the Shadows of Love” by the Four Tops, and Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness”), and music by the middle-aged crooners that your parents liked (like “Lady” by Jack Jones and “My Cup Runneth Over” by Ed Ames).

Last and certainly least, you had oddball hits like the Royal Guardsmen’s “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron,” the New Vaudeville Band’s “Winchester Cathedral,” and Senator Bobby’s “Wild Thing.”

This month’s “28 Songs in 28 Days” will serve up music from each of these categories.  But we’re really just scratching the surface.

*     *     *     *     *

You may have forgotten about the Buckinghams, but they owned the Billboard “Hot 100” in 1967.  

“Kind of a Drag,” their first hit single pushed “I’m a Believer” out of the #1 spot in February of that year.

They followed up with four other hit singles before 1967 was over – “Don’t You Care” (#6), “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” (#5), “Hey Baby (They’re Playing Our Song)” (#12), and “Susan” (#11).  

But the Buckinghams never cracked the top forty after ’67 – perhaps because they parted company with their producer, James William Guercio, in ’68.  (Guercio went on to produce eleven albums for Chicago, as well as the hugely popular Blood, Sweat & Tears album.)

The Buckinghams were supposed to appear in my hometown (Joplin, Missouri) when I was in high school.  But they cancelled – supposedly because their guitarist broke his arm or some such thing.  That excuse sounded like a load of bushwa to me back then, and it still does.

Here’s “Kind of a Drag,” which is as good an example of a perfect little three-minute AM-radio song as there is:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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