After we mentioned that Scott Shannon had featured The Hues Corporation's first chart hit, "Freedom For The Stallion" on his program the other day, we received a few emails about this track ... which I had previously been unfamiliar with. (The Hues Corporation, of course, broke through BIG with their #1 Smash "Rock The Boat" ... and that was the first time MOST of us heard of them ... but apparently an earlier release, "Freedom For The Stallion" was a bit of a regional hit, particularly in the South.) Here are just a few recent emails that we received ... along with a couple of musical treats, too! Enjoy!
Just read your observations regarding "The Hues Corporation." Just like my earlier comments about "Freddy Cannon" and "Ray Peterson," and the fact that there were always records that would hit 'big' in one region but not always spread to the rest of the country, so it was with "Freedom For The Stallion." I don't recall that it only went to #63 nationally, Kent. It did far, far better in the south.
I had given up a great gig at Capitol to join my old dear friend, and genuine 'nice guy,' Larry Douglas, at RCA. By time "Stallion" was released. I believe Larry had left to go to CBS, where he would spend the rest of his career. Immediately I knew I'd made a BIG mistake by leaving Al Courey and going to Nipper. The record biz has always been very political, but at that time, RCA was, perhaps, the most political of them all. Some of the top brass were not true 'record men.' They were attorneys and accountants who thought they were record men. Larry and Al were the 'real deal.' Music was their passion. They fought for their team and their team returned the favor. You knew they would go to the wall for you. You knew they would watch your back.
We did 'full line' promotion in those days ... we worked everything the labels threw at us: rock, jazz, classical, country, rhythm and blues. It if was released, we worked it. However, sometimes you'd know when the top brass really wanted you to concentrate on a particular song -- or the opposite -- when it was something put out for political reasons and it was not a priority. "Freedom For The Stallion" was one of those records that was not a 'obvious' hit. It wasn't like working Elvis, John Denver, Waylon, Charley Pride, David Bowie, and some of the other 'automatic' type artists. I knew instantly that "Freedom" would be a 'work record.' But the more I heard it, the more I believed it could be a big record. I was working the southeast and that region became one of the regions where radio supported the single. While it was not a huge chart record it certainly led the way for the follow-up, "Rock The Boat." I think "Stallion" actually showed the group's vocal talents far more.
Well, that's my two-cents worth for a Saturday afternoon in Franklin -- 20 miles south of "Music City, USA."
Treasure Isle Recorders, Inc.
It's not a bad song at all ... we just never got to hear it here in Chicago. (Honestly, I'd probably be more surprised if it WAS a big hit ... the whole sound of that record doesn't feel anything at all like what was on the charts back in 1973!) "Rock The Boat" was the "obvious" hit ... but, as I said, the follow-up record, "Rockin' Soul", ALSO made The Top 20 ... and you never hear THAT one on the radio either!!! (kk)
I intended to include this photo when I mentioned the record. Guess we had lots of these Promo copies around and I 'accepted' one for my own collection.
Hard to find a digital copy of this one ... thanks again to Tom Diehl for sending us something we could share with our readers last week! (kk)
Did you know that Three Dog Night did "Freedom for the Stallion" on their "Seven Separate Fools" album from '72, which would pre-date The Hues Corp. version by nearly 2 years. Anybody know who wrote it or any other info? It's a good song that I've never listened to before even though I've had The Hues Corp. CD for about 10 years ("Rock The Boat" is one of my personal all-time favorites).
Eddie, Orange, CT
Looking at the label above, it looks like the song was written by the legendary Allen Toussaint out of New Orleans ... and, now that I've typed that, I seem to remember Scott Shannon mentioning that on the air the other day, too. Being a big Three Dog Night fan, I'm surprised that connection eluded me ... but we've included THEIR version today so the rest of the readers can enjoy it ... along with The Hues Brothers themselves, and their Top 20 follow-up Hit, "Rockin' Soul"!!! By the way, the Three Dog Night version ended up on the flipside of their 1972 chart-topper, "Black And White". (kk)
Freedom For The Stallion by Three Dog Night
Rockin' Soul by The Hues Corporation
ONE MORE: When I mentioned to Scott Shannon the fact that Three Dog Night recorded "Freedom For The Stallion" back in 1972 for their "Seven Separate Fools" album, he sent me this reply:
I AM A BIG 3 DOG FAN SO I AM FAMILIAR WITH THAT VERSION ... THEY DID A MILLION GREAT COVERS ... MY 2 FAVS ... TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS ... AND SUNLIGHT, WHICH WAS A YOUNGBLOODS COVER SONG, I PLAYED IT ON THE AIR BACK WHEN I WAS "SUPERSHAN", THE FASTEST MOUTH IN THE SOUTH ... IN THE LATE 70'S AND IT WAS A TOP 5 REQUEST SONG ... CHECK IT OUT ... SUNLIGHT ...
lol ... ironically "Sunlight" is one of MY all-time favorite Three Dog Night songs, too!!! In fact, when we featured it about six years ago in Forgotten Hits, everybody went NUTS ... seems EVERYBODY knows and loves this song!!! (Three Dog Night certainly gave up another sure-thing Top 20 Hit by NOT releasing "Sunlight" as a single"!!!)
SUNLIGHT WOULD HAVE BEEN A TOP 5 SMASH FOR 3 DOG NIGHT ... I CAN TELL YOU THAT FROM EXPERIENCE ... I SAW IT WORK ... PEOPLE LOVED THAT SONG. I PLAYED IT LIKE A HIT FOR ABOUT 3 MONTHS ... SCOTT
Even MORE ironically, we just had a similar correspondence with ANOTHER Forgotten Hits Reader ... this piece was scheduled to go out as part of our April "Leftovers" Page, but ties in so perfectly with this current discussion that we moved it up on the schedule!
Kent, Did you, like I, play the Three Dog Night / Harmony LP over and over and over? This album, I think, gave outstanding bang for the buck, with loads of excellent tracks. This is just one of the tracks from Harmony that's never heard on radio that's still in our home / car rotation ... My Impersonal Life.
"Harmony" is far and away my FAVORITE Three Dog Night album ... and I was a pretty major fan back in the day ... some GREAT tracks on this LP. ("Never Been To Spain", "An Old Fashioned Love Song" and "The Family Of Man" were the three hit singles released from the album ... but other personal favorites include their version of Stevie Wonder's "Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer", which I think blows the original away, and "Peace Of Mind", the closing "poem" piece where all three singers trade off the lead vocal ... absolutely breath-taking.) But my ALL-TIME favorite Three Dog Night "cover song" will always be their version of the Jesse Colin Young classic "Sunlight", which appeared on their "Naturally" LP. We featured this one a few years back in Forgotten Hits and got an overwhelmingly positive response ... it's one that folks had TRULY forgotten about ... and one that everybody seemed to love. Although "Sunlight" was never really a hit for EITHER artist, it was all over the soft rock stations back in the mid-'70's ... and it still holds up incredibly well today. (kk)
Sunlight by Three Dog Night
My Impersonal Life by Three Dog Night