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1975: The Demented Year in Review

What a year 1975 was! 1975 was a wonderful year in terms of novelty music and subjects.

With most any year in the 60's, 70's, and 80's, you can really get a feeling for the times, for the music and the rest of our culture that year, by listening to whatever Dickie Goodman record he put out that year. This was his biggest single since Flying Saucer way back in 1956...

  • "Mr. Jaws", by Dickie Goodman, which was the best-selling novelty hit of 1975

    This was one of the so-called novelty hits of 1975, and it's sort of a sequel to "Troglodyte" three years earlier.

  • "The Bertha Butt Boogie - Part 1", by The Jimmy Castor Bunch
  • "Wolf Creek Pass", by C.W. McCall, who would go on to record "Convoy" in 1976.

    in the background, one of the big hits of 1975, "Fly, Robin, Fly" by Silver Convention in 1975, they were from Germany. Kind of remarkable how slow some of those real early disco songs were back then. People think of disco being faster.

    He played a TV newscaster on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" named Tex Baxter.

  • "Hi Guys", by Ted Knight

    This next singer became a big star in the land of dementia after he started sending in some of his homemade tapes which made the Funny Five many times. His success helped inspire a young Alfred Yankovic to start sending Dr. Demento his homemade tapes, and you know the rest of the story...

  • "Waffle Whiffer", by Brad Stanfield

    in the background we hear a soul instrumental "The Express"

    1975 was the year of Shaving Cream, which was actually the most requested song of 1974, but it was in 1975 that it became a national Top 40 hit. Pretty good for a 29-year-old record, but that wouldn't be the last of such records being rereleased 2-3 decades after its original outing whether it hit the charts or not.
    Benny Bell was the writer of the song, and in 1975 he claimed to be the singer too, but it was only after the threat of the lawsuit that Benny finally fessed up that another man actually sang the lead vocal on the record, the late Paul Wynn.

  • "Shaving Cream", by Benny Bell (Vocal: Paul Wynn) originally from 1945.

    After a brilliant career spanning several decades, Roy Rogers had a comeback hit that year.

  • "Hoppy, Gene And Me", by Roy Rogers

    Events in 1975

    01/03, A. Cancelled. Q. what is "Jeopardy!?" "Jeopardy!", the TV game show, has its last airing for a while; with Art Fleming as host and Don Pardo as announcer on NBC.

    01/06, "Wheel Of Fortune", TV Game Show, debut on NBC. The original host was Chuck Woolery and the letter turner was Susan Stafford.

    01/23, Hal Linden is kindly "Barney Miller," captain of the wild 12th Precinct on ABC. Also on the police payroll: Abe Vigoda as Fish, Max Gail as Wojo, Gregory Sierra as Chano, Jack Soo as Yemana, Ron Glass as Harris, Ron Carey as Levitt, Steve Landesberg as Dietrich and James Gregory as Inspector Luger. The talented cast made the show a hit for eight seasons (it is still in syndication). There are 170 episodes in the series; making it one of television's most durable comedies.

    02/22, "No No Song" by Ringo Starr entered the Top 40 chart.

    03/22, R.C., "Wolf Creek Pass" by C.W. McCall peaked at #40 on the pop singles chart.

    03/29, R.C., Dolly Parton's "The Bargain Store" topped the U.S. country singles chart despite being banned by some radio stations for supposedly suggestive lyrics.

    04/19, Benny Bell's "Shaving Cream", originally released in 1946, entered the Top 40 chart and peaked at #30 the next week. Credit Dr. Demento's radio show for such a late revival.

    04/19, R.C., "Beer Barrel Polka" by Bobby Vinton peaked at #33 on the pop singles chart.

    04/26, R.C., "The Bertha Butt Boogie Part 1" by Jimmy Castor Bunch peaked at #16 on the pop singles chart.

    04/26, R.C., "Shaving Cream" by Benny Bell peaked at #30 on the pop singles chart. Thanks to the Dr. Demento radio show for reviving that lost novelty hit, the only pre-rock era song to chart in the rock era to this date.

    06/07, R.C., "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" by John Denver peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart. A parody of that was "Thank God I'm a Jewish Boy" by Alan Leiberman.

    06/20, Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw opened in 460 screens across the country and grossed over $450 million. Dickie Goodman "interviewed" the shark.

    06/25, Frank Zappa's album [20] ONE SIZE FITS ALL was released including the short track "Evelyn, A Modified Dog"

    08/09, R.C., "The Biggest Parakeets In Town" by Jud Strunk peaked at #50 on the pop singles chart.

    08/23, R.C., "Why Can't We Be Friends?" by War peaked at #6 on the pop singles chart.

    09/09, "Welcome Back, Kotter", TV Comedy; starring Gabriel Kaplan teaching his Sweathogs, debut on ABC.

    09/19, Dickie Goodman, who is the master of the novelty "break in" record, in which he uses excerpts from current hits into a story, earns his one and only gold record for "Mr. Jaws."

    09/26, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" movie premiered in Westwood, CA, and became a cult classic. It has grossed $150 million thru Sep 1995. Let's do the Time Warp again with the Sweet Transvestite!

    09/29, "Is It Something I Said?" album by Richard Pryor was certified Gold by the RIAA

    10/11, the comedy-variety NBC-TV show "Saturday Night Live" made its debut with guest host #1 George Carlin. The show made the original cast, its characters, and their recognizable catch phrases household names. "Live, From New York, It's.... Saturday Night!" What better way to kick off your very first show, than with John Belushi making wolverine noises and George Carlin upsetting the network executives -- by wearing a t-shirt! And Andy Kaufman lip-synching the "Mighty Mouse" theme song, the Muppets, an Albert Brooks film, five fake commercials, not one but two musical guests (Janis Ian, Billy Preston), and the sketch that NBC demands never be repeated - "Bee Hospital."

    10/11, "Low Rider" by War entered the Top 40 chart.

    10/11, R.C., "Mr. Jaws" by Dickie Goodman peaked at #4 on the pop singles chart.

    10/31, Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," which featured a passage clearly inspired by opera, was released in the UK.

    11/08, R.C., "(How I Spent My Summer Vacation) Or A Day At The Beach With Pedro & Man)" by Cheech & Chong peaked at #54 on the pop singles chart.

    11/20, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" opened in movie theaters.

    11/20, Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain finally died. Franco had ruled Spain since 1939. His final illness had lasted so long -- with so many false alarms -- that "Saturday Night Live's" Chevy Chase would get laughs by reporting: "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead." Doctors now say that his condition has then taken a turn for the worse...

    11/21, after dying the previous day, Spain's General Francisco Franco's condition has been upgraded to just plain dead!

    11/22, R.C., "D.I.V.O.R.C.E.", by Billy Connolly peaked at #1 on the U.K. pop singles chart.

    11/22, after dying two days ago, Spain's General Francisco Franco is valiantly holding on in his spite to remain dead!

    11/23, after dying three days ago, Spain's General Francisco Franco was still dead. Doctors were optimistic that his condition will remain unchanged.

    11/29, R.C., "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen peaked at #1 on the U.K. pop singles chart and stayed there for nine weeks. It was the longest stay since Slim Whitman's "Rose Marie" in 1955.

    11/29, R.C., "Low Rider" by War peaked at #7 on the pop singles chart.

    12/02, Disco group Silver Convention earns a gold record for "Fly, Robin, Fly," which hit Number One on the pop chart. It was certified Gold by the RIAA. What's so remarkable about the song that the complete lyrics were "Fly, Robin, Fly, (repated thrice); Up Up To The Sky." That's it. This song is has just six words.

    12/13, NBC's Saturday Night wasn't so-live as it had to use a time delay to accomodate any necessary censoring of guest host Richard Pryor. The tape delay was used years later on host Andrew Dice Clay.

    12/13, on "Saturday Night Live," John Belushi's Samurai character actually speaks his only line of dialogue in English, telling Richard Pryor "I can dig where you're coming from."

    12/13, "Convoy" by C.W. McCall entered the Top 40 chart.

    12/16, "One Day At A Time", TV Comedy; debut on CBS, introduced America to a divorced mother (Bonnie Franklin) raising her two teenage daughters (MacKenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli, who became the unofficial teen queen of the 70s and still, by some certain total die-hards, cute!).

    12/19, C.W. McCall earns a Gold record by the RIAA for his novelty hits "Convoy," which climbs to Number One on the pop chart early next year. The song is a saga of interstate truck drivers and their run-ins with the law. It makes extensive use of, and helps popularize, CB radio language.

    12/31, "On Location", series of special comics, debut on HBO. First up: comic Robert Klein.

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