Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rant #968: Money Honey

Everybody who was around at the time remembers when the Beatles made their debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

It was a cold February evening in 1964, an evening that really changed the world of popular music and culture.

I remember years later, in the fall of 1975, Howard Cosell tried to duplicate that feat with a band by the name of the Bay City Rollers.

They debuted on his variety show--which was called "Saturday Night Live," believe it or not--and they were supposed to be the next musical sensation.

Alas, they did have a few hits during their career, but both his show and the Rollers fizzled after a brief time.

There was a tie-in between the Scottish Rollers and their tartan apparel and the show, as the Rollers' hit "Saturday Night" was steaming up to the loftier heights of the chart at the time.

Well, it didn't last for the band, but they did have a few notable hits.

Continuing the teenybop tradition that the early Beatles exuded, that the Monkees further exploited, that David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman rode their coattails on and that "boy bands" since then have jumped on, the Rollers had a couple of hits during a career that basically lasted from 1975 to 1977.

They placed eight songs in the Billboard Hot 100 during that span, and right after "Saturday Night" was another nearly irresistible tune, "Money Honey."

Again, the song followed the formula of "Saturday Night," in that it was very repetitive, very simple, but quite a nice pop song.

The song went to No. 9 on the charts, and the Rollers seemed to be onto something good.

But like I said earlier, it didn't last very long.

"I Only Want to Be With You" and "You Made Me Believe In Magic" were two other hits they had, and then they were pretty much done.

They even came back as simply "The Rollers" at one point, but they were done.

I rediscovered the single "Money Honey" while looking through my record collection the other day, and I have to say that it is a really fine record, trashy in its own right, but one of those songs that you can rightfully say, "This is so bad that it's good."

Let me tell you, by 1976 or so, I was a firm FM listener, tuned into the top rock and roll station on the FM dial, WNEW-FM in New York.

They played the Grateful Dead, Genesis, Led Zeppelin ...

They did not play the Bay City Rollers.

But I kind of liked all the hype surrounding that band, and I liked their music.

It was catchy, jumpy and it was rock and roll and pop, two idioms that were taking a big hit around that time from the burgeoning disco scene.

I even sought them out on TV. I seem to remember that in these pre-MTV days, they were part of CBS's Saturday morning lineup, which solidified their placement as major heroes for the weenyboppers.

But heck, I was in college at the time, probably three times as old as the kids watching them on Saturday morning.

But I did like them, have some of their records in my collection, and "Money Honey" is probably my favorite song of theirs.

There really isn't that much more to say. The Rollers moved on, as did I. You rarely hear "Money Honey" on the radio anymore, even though it did hit No. 9 in 1976, the year of our Bicentennial.

I listened to it the other day, and yes, I still like the record.

And all these years later, I am not ashamed to say that either.

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