Wednesday, August 15, 2012

John Sebastian: Welcome Back

Yesterday while at work, a coworker walked into my office and said, “Did you know Horshack died?” I hadn’t thought about Arnold Horshack or the actor, Ron Palillo, who played the part of the annoying character from “Welcome Back Kotter” for decades. If you lived in the 70s, you’ll certainly remember Horshack’s idiotic laugh and some of his memorable characterizations such as “ooh – ooh – ooh” and “How-ahh yah?”

A week ago, if you asked me to name the Sweathogs, I could only name two – Vinny Barbarino (played by John Travolta) and Arnold Horshack. Palillo did an excellent job in creating a memorable character for the show that ran four seasons on ABC. Palillo died of a heart attack at the age of 63. I was a sophomore in college when the show debuted and was shocked to learn that this guy who played a high school student was seven years older than me. Amazing.

To celebrate the lives of Palillo and Horshack, our one-hit wonder is from John Sebastian and is his number one theme for the show: “Welcome Back.” According to the definition, a one-hit wonder is the only song by an artist (as listed on the record) to chart in the Top 40. While Sebastian had numerous Top 40 hits with the Lovin’ Spoonful (ten to be exact), he only had one single to place within the Top 40.

 Some pressings of the single were released as “Welcome Back Kotter” while others simply were issued as “Welcome Back.”

Not only did the single chart at number one on the Hot 100, it also was a #1 adult contemporary hit and placed on the country charts at #93. The album, “Welcome Back,” peaked at #79. Sebastian plays guitar and harmonica and sings all the vocals on the track. Although the song has a Randy Newman flair, it is all John Sebastian as the author/composer and artist.

RIP Hoshack.

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