Friday, July 30, 2010

You've come a long way, baby

It's hard to forgive Paul Anka for "(You're) Having My Baby," but he didn't deserve the flak he took from feminist groups over the song.  There are legitimate causes, and there are let's-get-our-panties-in-a-knot-over-nothing stands.

This clearly was the latter.

(Say, did you know that Anka,  Buddy Guy, David Sanborn and Marc Bolan of T-Rex are all birthday boys today?  Even more incredible: It's also the birthday of feminist activist Eleanor Smeal.  What sweet irony.)

We can't blame Anka for occasionally re-inventing himself through the years, which allowed him to score hits in three different decades. He has had three chart-toppers, and we're on board for the first two: "Diana" in 1957 and "Lonely Boy" in 1959.  But by the time "(You're) Having My Baby'' came along in 1974 -- giving Anka the record for the longest gap between No. 1s -- we were on to other things.

A glance at the top songs of 1974 confirms our suspicions: It was a crappy year for music. Here is the Billboard Top 10:

1. The Way We Were, Barbra Streisand
2. Seasons In The Sun, Terry Jacks
3. Love's Theme, Love Unlimited Orchestra
4. Come and Get Your Love, Redbone
5. Dancing Machine, Jackson 5
6. The Loco-Motion, Grand Funk Railroad
7. T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia), MFSB
8. The Streak, Ray Stevens
9. Bennie and the Jets, Elton John
10. One Hell of a Woman, Mac Davis

"(You're) Having My Baby" finished No. 28 for the year, but spent three weeks at No. 1 beginning on Aug. 24.  When you add it all up -- and we need to mention Anka wrote Johnny Carson's Tonight Show theme song -- you have to give the man his props. And so we do, on his 69th birthday.

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