Classic Compilation – Music Machine (1977)
An album advertising 18 Top Ten hits from 1977 with Robby the Robot from the 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet on the cover? Music Machine had me at hello.
When it came to having hits, K-Tel told no lies. Just look at the tracklisting – some of the songs on Music Machine can still get a party started over four decades later!
One of the lone downsides to this album is that there are early fade outs for a number of songs. K-Tel apparently had a habit of attempting to fit as many songs onto each compilation as possible, and this was one of the ways they did that. A previous Classic Compilation column took a look at another one of their releases that featured twenty songs.
Also, the Alice Cooper song on this album is the downright dull soft rock ballad “You and Me.” It’s Alice at his most neutered. The only redeeming value of the song is that he performed it on The Muppet Show with a monster who turned out to be Miss Piggy.
Oh, and for those wondering, this $1 purchase I found while going through used vinyl no longer included the advertised KC, and Andy Gibb posters, so it looks like I’m going to have to come up with a new plan for redecorating my office.
Missing posters aside, there are way more pros than cons when it comes to Music Machine, which has a bevy of fantastic tunes, including one that may inspire you hit the gym. The album also features a song that was at the center of a recent controversy regarding musical inspiration vs. imitation. Yes folks, lines are about to get blurred.
Let’s get into some of my favorites from this classic compilation.
Andy Gibb – I Just Want to Be Your Everything
Imagine your three older brothers form what would become one of the most iconic disco groups of all-time – the Bee Gees – and you still find a way to make a name for yourself in music on your own. That was the case for Andy Gibb, who gave us a number of hits, including this one, before his tragic passing at the age of 30.
KC and the Sunshine Band – Keep It Comin’ Love
If you’re ever having a bad day, just put this song on, and you’re guaranteed to brighten up. “Keep It Comin’ Love” has one of the happiest vibes in music history. Heck, just look at how big KC is smiling while performing it! You can’t go wrong!
Marvin Gaye – Got to Give It Up (Pt. 1)
Here it is, the song that sparked the lawsuit that sparked a controversy in music that’s still ongoing to this day. When the Marvin Gaye estate decided that Robin Thicke and Pharrell’s “Blurred Lines” was inspired by Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up (Pt. 1)” in such a way that it crossed into imitation, they sued the pants off them, and somehow won. Thankfully, other lawsuits that have been similar in nature have been struck down, but that’s of little solace to Robin and Pharrell.
As an aside, both are great songs, and it’s always a good time to groove to Marvin Gaye … let’s just leave his family out of the proceedings. We don’t want to get sued for enjoying ourselves to his music.
Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music
It’s time to get funky, and Wild Cherry are here to “Play That Funky Music.” In fact, according to the demand in the lyrics, that funky music will be played until the performer dies. That seems like quite the major ask, but hey, when you’re supremely funky you sometimes receive such monumental requests.
Strangely, the version of the song on this compilation isn’t the version we all know and love, but any Wild Cherry sounds pretty sweet to me.
Bill Conti – Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky)
My lone issue with with having this song as the final song on side one is that before flipping over the album I found myself so amped up I wanted to flip over a table. You can’t just give me the theme from Rocky, and expect me to stay calm. I’m ready to run through a wall now!
ABBA – Dancing Queen
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – there has to be something in the water in Sweden, because the neutral Nordic nation churns out amazing pop artists at an unreal rate. ABBA was the first of what has turned out to be a plethora of pop talents to hail from Sweden, and we will continue to dance with their “Dancing Queen.”
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Blinded By The Light
If you listen to any classic rock radio station for more than a few hours you’re bound to hear this oft-misquoted favorite. None of us care what the lyrics actually are, it sounds like he’s singing “wrapped up like a douche,” and we will continue to sing along using those lyrics until the end of time. Mann will be 83 later this year, and hopefully he’s at peace with this by now.
Rose Royce – Car Wash
The ‘70s were filled with a heck of a lot of good time music, and Rose Royce’s “Car Wash” definitely falls under that heading. I was only alive for 14 and a half months of the ‘70s, but based on the music alone I feel like there must have been a party every night.
Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
In case anyone was unaware, Elton John and Bernie Taupin know how to write a tune. One of the most dynamic duos in music history, they gave us a plethora of classics, including “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” which is one of their very best.
Foreigner – Feels Like the First Time
Foreigner debuted with a bang, kicking off their career with a song that has maintained a place on classic rock radio for decades. When this one comes on in the car we all crank it up, roll down the windows, and sing along … and probably break the speed limit. Did I say probably? We definitely break the speed limit.
“Feels Like the First Time” closes out my initial spin of Music Machine, but trust me when I say that while this was the first time I listened to the album, it certainly won’t be the last, because this one has an incredible amount of reply appeal.