Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cusp Song of the Day: Bad Luck (Part 1)

Ah, the Philadelphia sound and the late, great Teddy Pendergrass! My weakness for '70s soul starts with Stevie Wonder, wends its way through Crown Heights Affair, Earth, Wind and Fire and the Philly Sound, until I'm left with a craving to heat up the hot rollers and break out the Candies. 

 "Bad Luck (Part 1)," from the album To Be True by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, entered the pop charts in May 1975 and received airplay and club play throughout the spring and summer of that year. In fact, the song was number 1 on what was then called the "Disco Action" chart for 11 weeks, a feat unmatched until Michael Jackson's Thriller was released in 1983. 

A Philadelphia International Records release, produced by label heads Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, "Bad Luck" was written by the hit-making team of Victor Carstarphen with John Whitehead and Gene McFadden, later known as McFadden & Whitehead of "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" fame.

In Chapter 6 of Cusp, Mark and Karen wait for the schedule-impaired Craig to come and get them from his kitchen, where they're left while he finishes showering. "Finally, hair gleaming, Craig makes his entrance, to the radio softly playing 'Bad Luck (Part 1).'" Bad luck: could that be a sign?

Notes on the video: Richard Pryor interviewing the band on Soul Train - golden! The Sharon they're talking about is Sharon Paige - more about her later when we discuss another great Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes tune. You can't have too many!

The single version sung on Soul Train is shorter than the album cut by more than three minutes and omits the then-timely reference to Richard Nixon's resignation.

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