July 14 – Ahab the Arab, Brother Louie

1962

US pop-country singer-songwriter Ray Stevens — a 60s version of Weird Al — makes the top-40s chart with novelty song Ahab the Arab; it reaches US#5 in July.

(A cover by UK DJ Jimmy Savile is released in July). Stevens (real name Harry Ragsdale) tops it with his Mar. 23, 1974 release The Streak, which rises to US#1 on May 18 (UK#11) poking fun at the early-70s fad.

But his biggest seller is the more serious 1970 hit Everything Is Beautiful (#1 in US,CA,AU), which wins him a 1971 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

He even wins a 1975 Grammy for (and enjoys a worldwide top-20 hit with) his hee-haw rendition of old jazz standard Misty — with a whole lot more energy than most rusty lounge acts ever imagined.

( Website ) ▷Songfacts▹ ▷Interview▹

1973

Short-lived NYC pop band the Stories hits the charts on the way to an August 25 US#1 with a recording of Brother Louie from the album About Us. (*)

It is a cover of a song by Hot Chocolate (the UK’s first interracial pop band, from London) that made UK#7 six months earlier. The keyboardist for the Stories — he’d departed in 1972 in mid-album — was Michael Brown, who wrote the hits Left Banke is remembered for.

Hot Chocolate (formed in 1969) has a hit in 1975 (UK#2,US#3) with You Sexy Thing, written by lead singer Errol Brown and bass player Tony Wilson; it’s heard in dozens of film soundtracks.

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