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by Chuck Eddy

May 31, 2013

Hits You Never Heard Of, Part 8

by Chuck Eddy  |  May 31, 2013

Real quick: I've been poring through Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles to find cool and crazy late-20th-century Top 100 hits that everybody else forgot. This is the eighth alphabetical installment, spanning Gloria Mann to Chas McDevitt. Check out the seven previous entries here.

So naturally there's lotsa rap music from early '90s people titled "M.C.": M.C. Brains (Ohio), M.C. Breed (Michigan), M.C. Luscious (Florida), M.C. Nas-D & DJ Freaky Fred (also Florida). Not to mention more '90s hip-hoppery from Masta Ace Incorporated, Mantronix (whose sole almost-pop-hit lacks much rapping actually), and Max-A-Million. (Sorta hip-house-ish? Okay maybe not.) Plus Vaughan Mason's old-old-old-school-contemporaneous 1980 roller-boogie jam "Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll"; a pre-"Convoy" 1974 country rap from C.B. radio culture-jammer C.W. McCall; and black-vaudeville veteran Pigmeat Markham's older-than-old-school proto-rap "Here Comes the Judge" from 1968, when he was 64.

The mix actually opens with an R&B singer "rapping" a different old-fashioned way; i.e., talking: "You know it's so hard to be in love…," Huey "Piano" Smith crony Bobby Marchan's No. 31 1960 hit "There's Something on Your Mind Part 2" begins, and you empathize with his plight until, a couple minutes in, he threatens a double murder. (Sorry about the spoiler, but warning the squeamish seemed necessary.) Much other lovely and/or unruly rhythmic bluesitude follows, from (in chronological order, 1958 to 1979) the Mark IV, Ernie Maresca (Bronx Italian Dion associate, but R&B enough), Nathaniel Mayer, Toussaint McCall, Hugh Masekela (technically South African jazz but whatever), Mass Production and Maze.

There's other stuff, too: Latin freestyle (Nancy Martinez), New Wave rockabilly (Moon Martin), soft-rock sap (Peter McCann), post-expiration-date prog (Marillion), alt shoegaze (Mazzy Star), Irish-Filipino-American pop country (Neal McCoy), you name it. We've even got the only hit single from (and about) baseball Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle, a collaboration with Teresa Brewer that hit No. 87 in 1956. So play ball!

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