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About Jim Barton

I'm a long-time student of the history of rock music and its performers, and my favorite branch of the rock music tree is heavy metal.

Here are my most recent posts

Chevy Van – Sammy Johns

Chevy Van – Sammy Johns

Anybody remember the van craze of the 1970s? During that decade’s second half, thousands of brilliantly-painted vans with intricate artwork (often airbrushed on) rolled down the nation’s highways. The interiors of these rolling works of art were as elaborate as the outsides, with beds, plush carpeting, soft lighting, “captain’s chairs” up front, a good stereo system, and the obligatory citizen’s band radio (CB radios were an even bigger craze at that time). No expense was … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1970s, Pop

The Ballad of Irving – Frank Gallop

The Ballad of Irving – Frank Gallop

Frank Gallop was born in 1900 and by the 1940s was an announcer for numerous radio programs before moving on to early television shows in the ’50s. “What’s a radio program?” I hear some younger readers asking. Those of you who were playing with Daddy’s MacIntosh or Hewlett-Packard desktop while still wearing diapers might very well be shocked to learn there was a time when there was no TV, let alone Internet or cell phones! In … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1960s, Country

Love Jones – Brighter Side of Darkness

Love Jones – Brighter Side of Darkness

The curiously named Brighter Side of Darkness (whatever that means) started as a Chicago trio of high school students, including Randolph Murph, Ralph Eskridge and Larry Washington. Twelve-year-old Darryl Lamont was added a short time later; it was his voice that gave “Love Jones” its Jackson Five flavor and propelled the Brighter Side of Darkness’s biggest song to number 16 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1973. But soon there was a wholesale housecleaning of … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1970s, Pop

Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil

Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil

When the oddly-titled “Beds Are Burning” became a US Top 40 hit in 1988 (peaking at Number 17), it apparently even took at least one member of the very Australian band Midnight Oil by surprise. After all, a song about the plight of the Aboriginal peoples at the hands of the colonists would seem to be an unlikely one to gain a foothold on the US charts, as Midnight Oil’s songs were about the mistreatment … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s, Rock

I Love the Nightlife (Disco ‘Round) – Alicia Bridges

I Love the Nightlife (Disco ‘Round) – Alicia Bridges

Alicia Bridges has only a single hit; a single trip to the Billboard Top 40. But what a hit “I Love the Nightlife” was. It’s a party anthem. A disco classic. I always enjoyed listening to Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40” in the 1970s and I remember this song slowly inching its way up the survey, finally peaking at No. 5 in December 1978. But that was the only time Alicia Bridges ever saw … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1970s, Pop

Got to be Real – Cheryl Lynn

Got to be Real – Cheryl Lynn

Editor’s note: This assessment of Cheryl Lynn’s “Got to be Real” reflects the opinion of Jim Barton and not toponehitwonders.com. Some of us here actually like this song…but definitely not Jim. Long before American Idol, there was The Gong Show, where amateur singers, dancers and so forth showcased their talents (or lack thereof) for three celebrities. A huge gong dangled behind the celebrities and if one or more of them didn’t like the act, he … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1970s, Pop