American Top 40 PastBlast, 5/26/79: England Dan and John Ford Coley, “Love Is the Answer”

One of the possible hazards of playing disk jockey when I was growing up in the 70s or at WTLX in the 80s was that I might accidentally follow up a song from an LP with a single (or vice versa) without remembering to change speeds. I suspect that it didn’t happen all that often (I don’t have any specific memories), but it sure is something that doesn’t take more than a second to realize when it occurs.

This week’s show features a report about a “discovery” arising from playing an album at 45 RPM. A little internet sleuthing leads me to think that sometime in late 78 or early 79, a jock slapped side 2 of Champagne Jam by the Atlanta Rhythm Section on the studio turntable and inadvertently let it rip at the higher speed.  Apparently, when played faster, lead singer Ronnie Hammond’s voice on “Imaginary Lover” bears a strong resemblance to that of Stevie Nicks. Word of this curiosity reached Casey, who shows and tells us all about it during the final hour. As I write this, I haven’t listened to this report (again?—it’s more than possible I heard it 39 years ago), though I hope I have by the time you read it. Running “when ordinary lovers don’t feel like you feel” through my head right now, it’s believable…

The tease for that tale comes right after CK plays the sixth and last top 40 hit for England Dan and John Ford Coley, which is at its peak position of #10. “Love Is the Answer” is definitely my favorite of their singles (I’d say “Nights Are Forever Without You” and “Gone Too Far” are second and third). It’s a cover of a Todd Rundgren/Utopia tune and it definitely sounds like it. It’s not explicitly religious and I’ve never heard the song performed during a church service, but  I could easily imagine it being done.

I knew that Dan Seals had decent success as a solo country artist in the 80s after he split from Coley, but somehow I’d missed until this week that he’d died back in the spring of 2009. He had a nice voice, overall well-suited for his material.

3 thoughts on “American Top 40 PastBlast, 5/26/79: England Dan and John Ford Coley, “Love Is the Answer””

  1. And here they are in an earlier incarnation, doing a cover of a song by the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band(!). Their version is a bit more raw than WCPAEB’s, but I love them both.

    Like

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