These posts are about the songs that can accurately claim to crossed the key line of chart success, becoming Top 40 hits on Billboard, but just barely. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 40.

Before he started performing under the name Blowfly, Clarence Reid was a crack songwriter and a fine soul singer. While most of the material he released was fairly benign, there were some early indications that there was a raunchy sensibility lurking there. The Blowfly persona started as a gag at parties, with the singer trying out dirty songs and parodies on his pals (the pseudonym was reportedly inspired by his grandmother once telling him, “You is nastier than a blowfly” when she misheard him as a boy, thinking he was singing, “Suck my dick,” rather than “Do the twist”). He’d also occasionally lapse into the persona during between song banter in his concerts. He recorded versions of different Blowfly songs over the years, often using studio time he earned in exchange for manual labor. Reid started working with Willie “Peewee” Clarke while recording in Miami, first as a songwriting partner mostly toiling for a teenage girl singer they discovered by the name of Betty Wright. Along with Clarke, Reid wrote the song “Nobody But You Babe,” which he recorded and released under his own name, getting just the tenderest taste of success when it peaked at #40 on the Billboard chart in 1969. Though he kept trying to duplicate that success, Reid would soon start officially releasing music as Blowfly, an artistic identity that proved both more prolific and notorious. “Nobody But You Babe” demonstrates that Reid was a solid performer, but he simply couldn’t compete with the attention-getting antics of his id-driven alter ego. Without Blowfly, no one’s making feature-length documentaries about Clarence Reid.

Previously…
“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.
“I’m in Love” by Evelyn King
“Buy Me a Rose” by Kenny Rogers
“Who’s Your Baby” by The Archies
“Me and Bobby McGee” by Jerry Lee Lewis
“Angel in Blue” by J. Geils Band
“Crazy Downtown” by Allan Sherman
“I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Rhythm of Love” by Yes
“Naturally Stoned” by the Avant-Garde
“Come See” by Major Lance
“Your Old Standby” by Mary Wells
“See the Lights” by Simple Minds
“Watch Out For Lucy” by Eric Clapton
“The Alvin Twist” by Alvin and the Chipmunks
“Love Me Tender” by Percy Sledge
“Jennifer Eccles” by the Hollies
“Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Olympics
“The Bounce” by the Olympics
“Your One and Only Love” by Jackie Wilson
“Tell Her She’s Lovely” by El Chicano
“The Last Time I Made Love” by Joyce Kennedy and Jeffrey Osborne
“Limbo Rock” by The Champs
“Crazy Eyes For You” by Bobby Hamilton
“Who Do You Think You’re Foolin'” by Donna Summer
“Violet Hill” and “Lost+” by Coldplay
“Freight Train” by the Chas. McDevitt Skiffle Group
“Sweet William” by Little Millie Small
“Live My Life” by Boy George
“Lessons Learned” by Tracy Lawrence
“So Close” by Diana Ross
“Six Feet Deep” by the Geto Boys
“You Thrill Me” by Exile
“What Now” by Gene Chandler
“Put It in a Magazine” by Sonny Charles
“Got a Love for You” by Jomanda
“Stone Cold” by Rainbow
“People in Love” by 10cc
“Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)” by the Four Tops
“Thinkin’ Problem” by David Ball
“You Got Yours and I’ll Get Mine” and “Trying to Make a Fool of Me” by the Delfonics
“The Riddle (You and I)” by Five for Fighting
“I Can’t Wait” by Sleepy Brown
“Nature Boy” by Bobby Darin
“Give It to Me Baby” and “Cold Blooded” by Rick James
“Who’s Sorry Now?” by Marie Osmond
“A Love So Fine” by the Chiffons
“Funky Y-2-C” by the Puppies
“Brand New Girlfriend” by Steve Holy
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” by Bonnie Pointer
“Mr. Loverman” by Shabba Ranks
“I’ve Never Found a Girl” by Eddie Floyd
“Plastic Man” and “Happy People” by the Temptations
“Okay” by Nivea
“Go On” by George Strait
“Back When My Hair Was Short” by Gunhill Road
“Birthday Party” by the Pixies Three
“Livin’ in the Life” by the Isley Brothers
“Kissing You” by Keith Washington
“The End of Our Road” by Marvin Gaye
“Ticks” and “Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley

13 thoughts on “Top 40 Smash Taps: “Nobody But You Babe”

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