(A look at bands / artists, who this day in The ‘70s were ALMOST Top of the Pops.)
13th June 1977
Perhaps because I was never really ‘big’ on popular chart acts (other than during the Glam period) writing this series of articles on artists / songs that were ‘Almost Top of the Pops’ has provided me with some enlightening and surprising background facts.
None more so though, than Carole Bayer Sager, whose one and only UK chart hit as a solo artist spent nine weeks in the Top 40 at a time when Punk and New Wave music were making their mark.
It was easy to dismiss ‘You’re Moving Out Today,’ as the archetypal, upbeat, fun, ‘novelty’ song. And so I did. I loved the song, for the clever lyrics; the story it told; the hooky chorus; the bounce and sort of twee delivery. But I thought no more of Ms Bayer Sager.
Forty five years later, mention the song title to most people of a certain age, and we’ll instantly recall the performer’s name. No need for Google on this one, I reckon.
However, ask what else she is known for and I’d have been stumped… which is where Google does enter the picture.
In her own right, between 1977 and 1981, Carole released just three albums. There were also nine singles (with ‘You’re Moving Out Today’ being the third) issued from 1977 and 1985.
So I could perhaps be forgiven for thinking she was not exactly a prolific performer. And she wasn’t. It is for her song writing that she made her name. Remember this?
This would be credited as Carole’s first hit, having written the lyrics in 1965, whilst collaborating with Toni Wine who based the music on a classical piece by Muzio Clemente. The song would eventually be offered to the Manchester based band The Mindbenders. (Singer Wayne Fontana had recently left to go solo, his position as lead vocalist being inherited by Eric Stewart – yeah, he of 10CC fame.)
This time around, the song reached #2 in both the UK and USA charts, only to be bettered by Phil Collins taking it to #1 in both countries (and several others) in 1988.
So while we all (well, I speak for myself, perhaps) welcomed Carole Bayer Sager as both a ‘newcomer’ and ‘one hit wonder’ in 1977, we were already incorrect on both scores.
**Toni Wine also wrote hits for Tony Orlando & Dawn, and provided the female vocals for cartoon group, The Archies; think of the line, ‘I’m gonna make your life so sweet.’)**
Over the years, Carole would collaborate with, and write lyrics for Melissa Manchester; she wrote Leo Sayer’s hit, ’When I Need You’; she wrote Broadway musicals with her composer (first) husband Marvin Hamlisch; she received an Oscar nomination with her husband, ‘Nobody Does It Better,’ the theme to the James Bond film, ‘The Spy Who Loved Me,’ sung of course by Carly Simon.
After their marriage ended, Carole would team up with, and later marry, none other than Burt Bacharach, with whom she’d then receive an Academy Award for ‘Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)’ the #1 hit for Christopher Cross.
Probably their most successful collaboration though, was the composition of ‘That’s What Friends Are For,’ which was revived in 1986 to raise money for Aids Research. The track, sung this time by Dionne Warwick & Friends – including Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight – quickly reached #1 in USA and raised over a million dollars for the charity.
Amongst others, Carole has also worked with Carole King and had songs recorded as hits for likes of Neil Diamond, Patti Labelle and Michael MacDonald, Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli.
Carole Bayer Sager also worked with Bette Midler, back in the ‘70s. It was this collaboration, which also included Bruce Roberts, that actually spawned the song prompting this post: ‘You’re Moving Out Today.’ Interestingly, there were two recordings of the song released. Ms Midler released the song in USA during February 1977, reaching only #42, with Ms Bayer Sager faring bettter in the UK some three months later, peaking at #6 … almost Top of the Pops.
This may well have been her only UK chart hit in her own name, but Carole Bayer Sager, a ‘one hit wonder?’ – I don’t think so!
(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson from Glasgow – June 2022)