Dr. Smooth’s Flashback #3: Billboard chart of July 26, 1975

Spend an hour remembering some of the most popular jazz of Summer 1975 as listed on the Jazz LPs chart in the July 26, 1975 issue of Billboard magazine.



#37: “Milonga Triste” by Gato Barbieri, from the #37 album of the week, Chapter Four: Alive in New York. In 1973, Argentinian saxophonist Gato Barbieri started a four-part Latin American cycle of albums.  This album, recorded at The Bottom Line in New York City on February 20–23, 1975, marked the end of that cycle.  As is often the case, these albums are regarded by critics as Barbieri’s best work but they didn’t sell as well as the more commercial albums that were to follow  This track features Eddie Martinez on electric piano and Ron Carter on bass.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 31 6


#31: “Greasy Spoon” by The Crusaders from the #31 album, Southern Comfort. The second track on the album, this brief down-and-dirty funk tune, written by drummer Stix Hooper,  features guitarist Larry Carlton.  This would be the album’s last week on the jazz charts.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 3 39
Billboard 200 38 18
R&B 3 24


#24: “That’s the Way of the World” by Roy Ayers Ubiquity from the #24 album, A Tear to a Smile.  A mellow cover of the Earth, Wind & Fire hit, this finds Ayers in fine form on vibraphone throughout.  On this date, the album had been on the chart 5 weeks and was steadily ascending to the top ten.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 8 20


#22: “If You’ve Got It, You’ll Get It” by The Headhunters from the #22 album, Survival of the Fittest.  Herbie Hancock’s band steps out on their own; Hancock produced but did not perform on this space-funk album.  This track, with an insistent bass line sometimes doubled on bass clarinet, contains an infectious singalong chant.  This is the album’s closing track and features guitarist DeWayne “Blackbird” McKnight on a trippy solo that could only come from the ’70s.  The album had peaked at #12 on the previous chart and was starting its quick descent.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 12 17
Billboard 200 126 10
R&B 34 6


#19: “I Love the Girl” by Donald Byrd from the #19 album, Stepping Into Tomorrow. Another album closer, this mid-tempo song features keyboardist Jerry Peters and Byrd on trumpet on top of an odd string arrangement.   Also on the track are session giants Harvey Mason on drums and Chuck Rainey on bass.  This album had its ups and downs on the chart.  On the previous chart, this album was at #5 and the following week it would chart at #8.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 2 33
Billboard 200 42 19
R&B 7 18


#17: “Carnival” by Eddie Harris from the #17 album, I Need Some Money. This song starts off as a noodling experiment with saxophone/synthesizers but develops into a fun tune that wouldn’t be out of place at the street celebration suggested by the title.  Credits on this song include “Electronic Rhythm Machine” and “Eddie Harris attachment & reed trumpet.”  I’m guessing the Eddie Harris attachment is what links the saxophone to the synth while casual research shows that the reed trumpet is simply a regular trumpet played with a saxophone mouthpiece.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 9 22
Billboard 200 125 9
R&B 36 9


#11: “Loving You was Like a Party” by Marlena Shaw from the #11 album, Who is This Bitch, Anyway? This track is more quiet storm R&B than jazz, but it’s such a great song and it’s on the Blue Note label, so we’ll call it whatever they want.  This sultry song, written by producer Bernard Ighner, also features Harvey Mason on drums and Chuck Rainey on bass.  Nice synth solo from Larry Nash.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 8 22
Billboard 200 159 5
R&B 47 3


#8: “Midnight at the Oasis” by Hubert Laws from the #8 album, The Chicago Theme. A wannabe funky cover of the tune that was a pop hit for Maria Muldaur.  The Bob James arrangement is somewhat dated, but features a tasty guitar solo from George Benson.  On this date, the album had been on the jazz chart for only 3 weeks and was steadily ascending.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 2 31
Billboard 200 42 18
R&B 18 9


#6: “Sneakin’ Up Behind You” by The Brecker Brothers from the #6 album, The Brecker Brothers. The brothers called their music “skunk funk” and you can hear that on this track.   In addition to brothers Michael (saxophone) and Randy (trumpet), this track features bassist Will Lee, phaser-drenched keyboards by Don Grolnick, and alto sax work from David Sanborn.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 5 22
Billboard 200 102 13
R&B 25 12


#1: “Mister Magic” by Grover Washington, Jr. from the #1 album, Mister Magic. Washington’s most beloved track from his days with Kudu/Motown, this track features Bob James on electric piano, Eric Gale on guitar, and Harvey Mason on drums.  A very successful album, it was #1 on the jazz chart from April 12 until September 27, 1975.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 64
Billboard 200 10 34
R&B 1 34


As always, thanks to Herc of Herc’s Hideaway for research assistance and support.


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