AT40 PastBlast, 9/24/77: Sanford/Townsend Band, “Smoke From a Distant Fire”

–This song is so close to perfect, it’s truly surprising that the group never had anything else remotely close to a hit single. It’s #25 here, falling from its peak of #9 the previous week. I recall liking it then, but my appreciation for it has grown immensely over the decades since. Tightly played, well-written and -sung–it’s the whole package.

–About a month ago, a mutual music blogging friend led me to HERC’s Hideaway. That joint’s proprietor was in the midst of counting down his personal Top 100 of 1977. HERC is just a little younger than I am, and he sure seems like a kindred spirit–I immensely enjoyed all the personal remembrances and stories associated with the songs in his countdown. While my own rankings of many of the hits from 77 would certainly be different from his, we very much agree on where to place “Smoke From A Distant Fire.” If you sorta like what I do, you’ll very much enjoy this series of posts.

–This is the countdown whose beginning I caught the night of my grandparents’ 50th anniversary reception. It was almost certainly the first time I heard the songs “I Wouldn’t Want To Be Like You” and “Help Is On Its Way,” both of which debuted this week–I suppose I was generally listening to stations that were more reactive, as opposed to interested in breaking songs.

–It’s a repeat re-broadcast; I heard it when it was played three years ago. Casey tells a hilarious and somewhat hard-to-believe story about Sanford and Townsend in this show. It concerns a way that S and T scrounged for $ as struggling, starving artists in LA. At one point they stumbled across a crate of bottles returnable for deposit in an alley behind a grocery store and came up with the genius plan of duping the owners by taking the crate around to the front of the store and claiming the deposit. It worked–over and over again, as employees kept placing the bottles back in the alley, without ever catching on! At the end of the tale, Casey claims that AT40 sent a staff member to check on its veracity and reports back that they did indeed see that crate, still in the alley.

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