Armagideon Time

Another Monday, another truncated ‘n’ squished collection of pop hits from the polyester apocalypse of the early 1970s.

The album is the creatively titled 22 Explosive Hits, Vol 2, released by K-Tel in 1972. I purchased it for the same reason I purchased the thematically similar Believe in Music compilation — to cheaply acquire a smattering of killer cuts scattered among a veritable ocean of period-setting filler.

Here’s the track list:

A1 Sammy Davis Jr. – The Candy Man
A2 Gallery – Nice To Be With You
A3 Lobo – A Simple Man
A4 Olivia Newton-John – If Not For You
A5 Osmonds – One Bad Apple
A6 Fortunes – Rainy Day Feeling
A7 Pop Tops – Mammy Blue
A8 Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds – Don’t Pull Your Love
A9 Daddy Dewdrops – Chicaboom
A10 April Wine – You Could Have Been A Lady
A11 Hot Butter – Popcorn

B1 Derek & The Dominos – Layla
B2 Flash – Small Beginnings
B3 Giorgio – Son Of My Father
B4 Danyel Gerard – Butterfly
B5 Sugar Bears – You Are The One
B6 James Last – Wedding Song
B7 Detroit Emeralds – Baby Let Me, Take You
B8 Chi-Lites – Power To The People
B9 Millie Jackson – My Man, A Sweet Man
B10 James Brown – Honky Tonk Part 1
B11 Joe Simon – Power Of Love

The main draws here were Hot Butter’s Moogtastic instrumental “Popcorn,” the Wrecking Crew driven soft rock of Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds’ “Don’t Pull Your Love,” and the musical equivalent of a smiley face that was Gallery’s “Nice to Be With You.”

On the collateral value-added front, there are ONJ’s cover of Dylan’s “If Not For You,” the politically charged heavy soul of the the Chi-Lites’ “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People,” and Derek & The Dominos’s “Layla” (which actually benefited from K-Tel’s no so subtle snips to its runtime).

The rest I can take or leave (sorry, Godfather Brown), but the overall quality is still head and shoulders above the sophomore slump material that padded out Believe in Music‘s runtime. As a result, 22 Explosive Hits, Vol 2 offers up a more listenable snapshot of a chaotic pop era in search of a singular, salable sound.

The record came out the year I was born, and most of the featured tracks date to the year prior to that. Technically, that should rule out any direct nostalgic association on my part, but the window for such bonds to be forged was bumped up a few years. Thanks to an early childhood spent parked in front of a TV set, the music of my primordial period got drilled into me via a medley of three second snippets used by K-Tel’s compilation crafting rivals to hawk their mail-order wares.

The commercials for these albums and sets (also available on 8-track) were in heavy rotation — alongside tractor trailer driving schools and ecology-themed PSAs — during the syndicated Gilligan’s Island and Monkees repeats that constituted mid-morning UHF fare in those bygone days. So deeply did those ads burrow their way into my impressionable gray matter that my middle-aged brain still braces for specific transitions between tracks.

To this day, my subconscious assumes the follow-up line to “Bend me, shape me, any way you want me” will be “WON’T COME BACK FROM DEAD MAN’S CURVE.”

4 Responses to “Do K-Tel #5: 22 Explosive Hits, Vol 2 (1972)”

  1. Bill the Splut

    Very late 70s/early 80s there was a K-Tel ad for a 60s comp that was basically arranged into a single song. It was such an earworm, I began singing it. Out loud. To coworkers. Who would then get it stuck in their heads.

    It was late at night, because I was an insomniac. Channel 22 in Springfield MA decided to try staying on for 24 hours a day, just like them fancy Boston stations! They’d start with Get Smart and end around dawn with Battle of the Planets. In between, it was a double feature of the same syndicated package of 50s MGM movies, all with big budgets and in such brilliant, unmuddied Technicolor that I think sometimes I could feel my corneas detach.

    But the package repeated itself, in exact order, every 6 months. These were films with a lot of money behind them, but otherwise forgotten. All I remember was The Egyptian, set when they making those big pointy things using Duplo blocks, and invaluable for adding this line to my mind: “More WINE, you waddling toad!” And that Clark Gable post-Korean War film where he’s infiltrating North Korea in a submarine, which was a good metaphor for his career then. (DIVE! DIVE!!) His hair looked like a mix of 10W30 and Turtle Wax. One shot was filmed from behind his head, but as a close-up, and his hair was separating into giant pizza slice chunks.

    The plot was that North Korea stole a B29 bomber, and they had a Soviet A-bomb, and they were going to drop it on one of their own cities and blame the USA. So, yeah, right wing “false flag” paranoia existed even then. “Obummer gonna take my A-bombs away! From my cold, dead, radioactive hands, you waddling toad!”

  2. Myron M.

    What, they couldn’t find a picture of popcorn? At least what they chose starts with a P, I suppose.

  3. Myron M.

    Oh I get it now. Hot Butter.

    Which could also be found on popcorn, if they had a pic of that.


  4. Chris Wuchte

    I actually recall that ad that would stick “Won’t come back from Deadman’s Curve” in my head for the rest of the day every time I heard it. It would just leap out of nowhere before cutting back to the announcer, followed by me asking my Mom what “COD” meant.

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