Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Chart Song Cinema: Madron (1970)

"Till Love Touches Your Life" (1970) Richard Williams

Written by Riz Ortolani and Arthur Hamilton * Produced by Alfred Perry * 45: "Till Love Touches Your Life"/"I've Never Loved Anyone" * LP: Madron * Label: Quad * Billboard charts: —

The theme song for this violent Wild Bunch-era Western (filmed in Israel) about a gunfighter and a nun was nominated for a 1971 Academy Award, and it's one of only two tracks on the album with vocals. (A different version with Jan Daley appears at the end.) The singer, Richard Williams, had been a regular on the TV show Love-American Style, and his 1970 Where Do I Go LP, which also contained "Till Love Touches Your Life," earned a plug in Billboard that predicted "good MOR mileage." Contrary to a blurb on that album's cover from KMPC personality Johnny Magnus declaring Williams as being "on his way to the very top," Williams subsequently disappeared with rare thoroughness.

Written by the prolific Italian film composer Riz Ortolani and lyricist Arthur Hamilton (who had written both words and music for Julie London's "Cry Me a River"), the flamenco-flavored song with its fluid bass guitar runs missed the Billboard charts, although it did appear on a 1970 airplay list for Los Angeles station KMPC, arguably the nation's most influential MOR outlet.  

Update (October 2017): As mentioned above, a non-charting version of the same song with a similar arrangement by vocalist Jan Daley (which was also released as a single) appeared at the end of the movie and as the last track on the soundtrack album. A cancer survivor (at the age of 22) and a former United Service Organizations tour member with Bob Hope, Daley has continued to record and perform since 1970. In the summer of 2017, her album The Way of a Woman entered the Billboard jazz album chart and peaked at #2. (Although Daley's bios refer to her as a former Miss California in the 1960s, none of my research efforts have been able to verify this.)

"Till Love Touches Your Life" (Richard Williams)

"Till Love Touches Your Life" (Jan Daley)

Also see: A KMPC Playlist circa 1971

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