American Top 40 PastBlast, 1/10/76: George Baker Selection, “Paloma Blanca”

I played this the other night at home, and my wife, who spent more than a little time in Germany in the 80s, commented how “Euro” it sounded.  I concur—off the top of my head, I’d say it’s the most Europop-sounding track to hit the Top 40 during the 1970-88 classic Casey era, certainly more so than anything Abba did. It’s debuting at #37 and would climb to #26, though it hit #1 on AC charts in the US and Canada, in addition to making it to the top of the pops in New Zealand and the Selection’s home, the Netherlands.

Not surprisingly, George Baker wasn’t born with that name—meet Johannes Bouwens—and this was his group’s second US hit. The first, “Little Green Bag,” made it to #21 in the spring of 70; I must confess that one’s totally unfamiliar to me.

There are any number of AT40 shows from the late 70s and early 80s for which I have a mental image or detailed memory of where I was/what I was doing in real time when it was playing. So it’s not surprising that the same thing has happened since June 2012, when I started listening again in earnest (of course, it gets a little disconcerting as chart year and actual year commingle). I heard this one previously five years ago, about a month after my father died. I was spending part of Saturday at the office, probably getting some things in order for the semester about to start, but also standing over the copier/scanner down the hall, organizing documents related to Dad’s affairs. All the while I was listening to Casey tell stories about Neil Sedaka, Paul Anka, and the Bay City Rollers, using the TuneIn app on my iPad.

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