Let’s wrap up this, uh, wrap up of July 1970 tunes. Pt. 2 is a little more singles-centric.
7/16/70: Diana Ross – Single: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
I think just about any Motown artist could’ve done a successful rendition of this classic Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson-written song. A few of them certainly did. This is the third version behind Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell’s original which was followed by the version recorded by Diana and the Supremes with the Temptations. Diana released her solo take 50 years ago this month, and it reached #1 on both the pop and R&B charts. She earned a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
July 1970: Humble Pie – Humble Pie
Humble Pie released their third album overall and their first on A&M this month in 1970. It’s considered a transition album toward their heavier sound, and it received a middling grade at the time. I don’t know, Marriott, Frampton, Ridley, and Shirley were just a damn solid band to my ears.
July 1970: Funkadelic – Free Your Mind, Your Ass Will Follow
See my comments on Parliament’s debut in my July Music Wrap Up, Pt. 1.
July 1970: Grand Funk Railroad – Single: I’m Your Captain (Closer to Home)
One of those classic rock radio staples that seems on the verge of being forever squeezed out of ever-shrinking playlists these days in favor of more newly christened “classic” songs such as Pour Some Sugar on Me. Ugh.
July 1970: James Brown – Single: Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine
Brown released this as a two-part single 50 years ago this month. What can be said, other than he truly was the godfather of soul. I heard a funny interview with Bootsy Collins recently where he was asked if it was true that James fired him for taking acid trips during performances. He responded in the affirmative that while people might’ve been shakin’ their moneymakers in the aisles, he was soaring across the galaxy while somehow playing these funky bass licks.
July 1970: Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – Single: Tears of a Clown
For some reason I’ve always thought of the R&B and soul songs mentioned in this post as being from a few years earlier. This classic from Smokey and the Miracles is no different – it sounds like a companion track to The Tracks of My Tears dating to 1965. It’s irrelevant, but a realization I just had. It goes to show how cool the variety of music overall was in 1970. It wouldn’t be long before Stevie, Marvin and others took soul and R&B in a more serious direction.