Holland–Dozier–Holland was a songwriting and production team that was behind many of the hit Motown songs of the 60s and 70s. In fact, many people credit them for defining the Motown sound of the time. They were the creative geniuses behind the hit 1971 song “She’s Not Just Another Woman”, performed by R&B group, 8th Day.
The hit tune reached number 3 on the US R&B chart and number 11 on the US Pop chart. The single was released on a self-titled album by 8th Day, sold over a million copies, and was certified gold.
"Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas
Carl Douglas's 1974 hit single is recognizable from the very first second. That unmistakable 'oriental riff' immediately makes whoever is listening want to dance uncontrollably.
In a time when kung fu movies were wildly popular around the world, Douglas seemed to strike gold with the hit song. Especially since the martial arts king, Bruce Lee, passed away some months ago. Ironically, Carl Douglas was actually born in Jamaica.
"Playground In My Mind" by Clint Holmes
Clint Holmes is a famous singer who topped charts around the world with his cheerful song, "Playground in My Mind". By 1972, when the song was released, Holmes had already been in the military for many years, singing for three years in the U.S. Army Chorus during the Vietnam War.
So, it came as no surprise that people went crazy for such a hopeful and happy song, which was made even sweeter by children's vocals heard in the background. Holmes never wrote another hit song again, but he went on to be wildly successful in other venues, like the Joan Rivers Show, and several performances in Las Vegas.
"How Long" by Ace
Most chances are you wouldn't know the band Ace, but you'd certainly recognize their hit song "How Long." The bass riff at the song's opening is unmistakable and is still revered by many to this day. But ironically, and perhaps what makes the song so unique, is that despite its epic opening riff, the song is actually a soft rock ballad.
The story behind the song is slightly less nice. As it turns out, Ace's lead singer found out that their bassist had been playing with another band. But, despite its not-so-happy origins, Ace hit a goldmine with this 1974 hit, which went on to be covered by A-list musicians like Bobby Womack and Rod Stewart.
"Spirit In The Sky" by Norman Greenbaum
"Spirit in the Sky" is one of those songs that will live forever. Written by American singer-songwriter Norman Greenbaum, the song is an extremely cool rock tribute to Jesus (aka 'The Spirit in the Sky'). Ironically, Greenbaum was an inveterate hippie raised in an Orthodox Jewish family!
The song, which he apparently wrote in 15 minutes, was an insane hit back in 1969. So much so that it has actually topped music charts on three separate occasions by three different musicians. Greenbaum claims to have been inspired by famous American singer Porter Waggoner, whom he saw singing gospel on TV one night.