American Top 40 PastBlast, 6/11/77: John Miles, “Slowdown”

Well, at least that’s the way the title was written down in my own charts (as we’ll see by the end of the month). If you listen to the lyrics though, it’s plain that John Miles is imploring us to take it easy, not engage in performing less work. So where did I pick that up? From Billboard, on one of my many visits to Recordland at the Florence Mall. This is from the 6/11/77 Hot 100, courtesy of

Note who produced Miles’s hit.

It’s not a one-time typo, either, as I’ve got it this way for all five weeks it appeared on AT40. The next question becomes: why did Billboard do this? Well, take a look at the US single (from Discogs):

I’m speculating here, but it looks to me that whoever created the label on this side of the pond must have simply forgotten to hit the space bar. Here’s the UK single (also via Discogs):

Not a huge deal, but the error did propagate, all the way down to a 13-year-old’s sheet of notebook paper.

Miles’s biggest hit worldwide is “Music,” which reached #3 for three weeks in April 1976 in his home country–it peaked at #88 here a month later. It’s a hybrid ballad/anthem/proggy thing, complete with strings and a lengthy interlude in 7/4 time. Hearing it now (for the first time, actually), I can understand how it resonates, but the lyrics also seem plenty clichéd. I might feel differently if the song had been with me my whole life.

Miles has participated annually in the European concert series Night of the Proms since its inception in 1985. Last month, he, the NotP band, and the Antwerp Philharmonic created a quarantine version of “Music.”

Rebel, the album on which “Music” appeared, was produced by Alan Parsons (perhaps that’s not a surprise upon reflection). Miles subsequently provided vocals for several songs on Alan Parsons Project albums over the years, including APP’s first Top 40 hit “(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether,” as well as their last appearance on the Hot 100 (one of my favorites), “Stereotomy.”

“Slow Down” (I’ll use the actual title for once) was a sizable hit in the US discos–Wikipedia says it reached #2 on the disco chart. It’s sitting at its AT40 peak of #34 on this show.

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