American Top 40 PastBlast, 4/10/71: Bells, “Stay Awhile”

As I’ve noted previously, the ten songs on Side One of K-Tel’s 20 Power Hits Vol. 2 for quite a while comprised the bulk of my knowledge about pop and soul hits from 71 that didn’t get lots of (or maybe any) airplay into the mid- and late-70s. This is the third time I’m picking one of those songs for a post (the first two can be found here and here); maybe eventually I’ll feature them all.

The Bells were a Canadian group.  “Stay Awhile” was their only U.S. Top 40 hit (it’s at #25 on this show, and would climb to #7). It’s yet another song whose subject matter was above the head of an 8- to 9-year old (which is when I would have started sticking the LP on Dad’s stereo). I get that lots of folks might find it incredibly cheesy, but I hear an appealing mix of sincerity and vulnerability from female vocalist Jackie Ralph. It’s just too tied in to the scenes, memories, and feeling associated with those first listens not to like it.

There’s not a lot of readily available information out there on the Internet about the Bells, who disbanded just a couple of years after “Stay Awhile.” Probably the most interesting thing to me is that Frank Mills of “Music Box Dancer” fame was a member for a couple of years. He left right before their breakthrough-of-sorts.

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