Monday, May 16, 2016

Early '70s "Break-In" Records on the Charts

The novelty record boom of the late fifties brought forth the "break-in" single, a creation by record producer Dickie Goodman in which he'd insert snippets of current hits into a little melodrama usually set up as a newscast. "The Flying Saucer" (credited to Goodman and his partner Bill Buchanan) was his biggest one, hitting #3 in 1956, after which Goodman, the original mad sampler, went straight to court. (He prevailed after judges declared his records to be artistic statements.)

The early seventies novelty resurgence spawned more break-in records thanks to the nostalgia boom among adults and the strong preteen radio demographic who appreciated their entertainment value. Dickie Goodman resurfaced on the charts during this era, along with some imitators, but the difference between these new break-in records and those of previous years - and those after - was a darker undercurrent reflecting frustrating current events. Kids could laugh at them, but adult ears were crucial to their success. A glance at Goodman's rather enormous discography indicates a consistent eye for politics and current events from the fifties all the way to his tragic death of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1989. (The image above comes from a 6/2/73 Billboard ad.)

Dickie Goodman and Ruthie - "Speaking of Ecology" (1971) (did not chart)
The Delegates - "Convention '72" (Billboard #8, entered 10/21/72)
John and Ernest - "Super Fly Meets Shaft" (Billboard #31, entered 4/14/73)
Dickie Goodman - "Watergrate" (Billboard #42, entered 6/16/73)
Dickie Goodman - "Energy Crisis '74" (Billboard #33, entered 2/2/74)
Dickie Goodman - "Mr. President" (Billboard #73, entered 6/5/74)
Grand Canyon - "Evil Boll-Weevil" (Billboard #72, entered 11/2/74)


  1. I have vivid memories of "Mr. Jaws" being played on WABC-AM in New York. I also remember one time one of the jocks saying something like "Well, that was the longest three minutes of my life" when it ended. Guess they got tired of it in heavy rotation.

  2. Ha! I remember Goodman's "Hey ET" getting tons of airplay although it never ended up charting...