Here’s a song that’s in two pretty exclusive clubs.
1) At least a couple of times in recent years, I’ve heard on the weekly rebroadcasts Casey read a listener question about a cappella songs that hit the Top 40. Each time, he said there’d been two, and played a small bit of both: Judy Collins’s “Amazing Grace,” which hit #15 in February of 71, and Prelude’s “After the Gold Rush,” sitting here at #24 and ready to peak two spots higher the following week. A sorta thorough tour through my copy of Pete Battistini’s American Top 40 with Casey Kasem (The 1980s) turned up at least three occasions this question was addressed: 5/30/81, 10/27/84, and 7/26/86 (the 81 show played earlier this year). I confess that I’ve not attempted to track post-summer-of-86 instrument-free hits.
2) “After the Gold Rush” is, of course, a remake of the title track of Neil Young’s classic 1970 album. That got me wondering how many times Young covers made AT40. Again, I didn’t research it heavily, but the only other one I could think of/readily discover was the excellent “Lotta Love,” from early 79, by Nicolette Larson. It’s certainly possible I’m missing something, though—please feel free to let me know.
(Two enjoyable covers of other tracks from After the Gold Rush graced tapes I made in the early 90s: Anne Richmond Boston’s version of “When You Dance I Can Really Love,” and St. Etienne’s club take on “Only Love Can Break Your Heart.”)