American Top 40 PastBlast, 1/14/78: Santa Esmerelda Starring Leroy Gómez, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”

Disco music upended the order of the early 70s; by 76, when I started listening in extreme earnest, many acts from the old guard, such the Carpenters, Three Dog Night, and Tony Orlando & Dawn, were fading or already done. In their place came a slew of new singers and groups. Some had an extended run of success, but there were plenty whose star shone for only one tune.

Here are some of those one-hit disco wonders—I’ll let you try to recall their single Top 40 song: Anita Ward, Patrick Hernandez, Wild Cherry, Vicki Sue Robinson, Alicia Bridges, High Inergy, Gonzalez, Odyssey, Cerrone, Stargard, Bell & James, and Instant Funk.

There’s at least one more. Leroy Gómez was punting around Paris when he hooked up with a couple of French producers and recorded this cover of an Animals hit from 65 as the frontman for an otherwise anonymous disco collective. Both the original and the remake peaked at #15 (Santa Esmerelda is at #28 here). I’m somewhat amused at the use of the word ‘starring.’

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