Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Guess Who: Star Baby

It’s Thirty Something Thursday as we cruise the tail end of the Top 40 charts with a song that really was as close to the end as possible. The Guess Who’s 1974 release of “Star Baby” only made it #39. I would have bet money that this classic mid 70s rocker charted higher than that, as I remember hearing it everywhere in 1974. Although it fared better on Cashbox’s chart placing at #30, that position was not stellar, baby.

Even though “Star Baby” had a lackluster peak position, it stayed on Billboard’s charts longer than any other song by The Guess Who. “Star Baby” remained in the Hot 100 for a total of 19 weeks – which may explain why I heard it everywhere in 1974. In that regard, it outperformed The Guess Who’s biggest US Hit – “American Woman” and its flipside “No Sugar Tonight” were the band’s only US #1 records. “American Woman’s” longevity on the Hot 100, however, only lasted 15 weeks.

“Star Baby” appeared on the album “Road Food” and was the first single release from the LP. Its follow-up, “Clap for the Wolfman,” did better overall with a peak position of #6. Composed by Burton Cummings, “Star Baby” features some very fast slide guitar work from Kurt Winter.

Both Winter and the band’s other guitarist Donnie McDougall left the band while “Road Food” was climbing the charts in 1974. They were replaced by Domenic Troiano who came from the James Gang and who had the opportunity to replicate Winter’s slide work on tour.

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