Wednesday, August 14, 2013

B4 3 Dog Nite: Pieces Of April

In February 1972, Vanguard Records released songwriter Dave Loggins’ debut album “Personal Belongings.” While the label was not a hotbed for hit records, it provided a springboard for artists to further their careers to the next level – a major label deal. Laura Nyro had recorded one album with Vanguard prior to signing with Columbia; and likewise, Dave Loggins’ first album was on Vanguard and he subsequently signed to Epic and had the one-hit wonder with “Please Come to Boston” in 1974.

Although producing only one hit as a singer, he made his mark as a songsmith and would later be inducted into the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. Vanguard issued Dave Loggins’ version of the song as a single in early ‘72, but it failed to chart. While Vanguard was the home for a number of folk oriented artists, its biggest US hits of the ‘70s were few and far between.

These included Joan Baez’s interpretation of The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” that peaked at #3; the re-release of Benny Bell’s 1946 novelty record “Shaving Cream,” which made it to #30; and Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Mister Can’t You See” that squeezed into the #38 slot. In the 1960s, The Rooftop Singers’ “Walk Right In” was the label’s only number one record.

Loggins’ first major break was when Three Dog Night recorded “Pieces of April” within a month of his album release. “Pieces of April” would be the follow-up single to their number one, gold certified hit “Black and White”; however, it just barely made it into the Top 20 where it peaked at #19.  It, however, ended at #6 position on the Adult Contemporary chart. Both songs appeared on the album “Seven Separate Fools.”

Part of what may have stalled the single was its release in December 1972. Single releases at that time of the year tended to perform badly as radio was enthralled with playing Christmas music and many records got lost in the shuffle. The song eventually peaked during the first part of 1973. Chuck Negron sang the lead on Three Dog Night’s rendition and I do prefer it to the original which is below. In 1979, Loggins re-recorded “Pieces of April” and Epic released it as a single, but it also failed to chart.


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