Teenybopper music may have had its genesis in the 50s. But when the late 60’s turned into the 70’s, it went from being a fad to a full-on marketing machine. Whereas Ricky Nelson may have been targeted at early-to-mid teenage girls, 70’s teen music went for a younger age, usually starting at around 9 or 10, when young girls would hit puberty. That cheap sell may be the only reason that John Travolta’s limp passion-free mopefest, Let Her In, made the Top 10 in 1976. Did they give these away free with bottles of NyQuil?
Travolta was riding high as the breakout character from the sitcom, Welcome Back, Kotter, sharing his dim-witted charm every week as Vinnie Barbarino. The theme song to the show hit #1 earlier that Spring. In fact it may be the only time that TV theme and a song from a star of that show both were in the Top 40 at the same time, as they were in June of 1976. [Also funny aside, on the week of July 31th. Travolta’s Let Her In was replaced at #10 by the more inclusive Wings hit, Let ‘Em In.]
Travolta was an up and coming stage actor in the early 70s, even starring as a T-Bird on Broadway in Grease. During this time, John was recording singles trying to break into the music business as well. It’s not that John’s voice is bad; it’s not. The material he was recording though was pretty awful. Some time around 1974, John recorded this song, written by English singer-songwriter, Gary Benson. [I list his name so you can save some tomatoes for him.] This 45 sat in a closet and should have stayed there, were it not for John’s overnight charge into fame. Taking advantage of his new-found popularity and raging pubescent hormones, the song was released and became a Top 10 smash on July 24th, holding Steve Miller‘s Take The Money & Run at #11 and Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back In Town at #12.
Was there really that much babysitting money going around? How does anyone get excited about a wimpy ballad that starts off with ‘I’m different today, hey-hey‘? [I think that line was stolen for The Fall Guy theme…] By the time she gets the message, she’ll be fast asleep. The string arrangement is as inspired as the lyrics. Were these bits of throwaway samples from an unused Hallmark ad? A paralyzed Vulcan could display more emotion than this.
And can you make sense of this?
Gonna open up after so long
With my feet stuck on the ground
And my head against the wall
I’ve been called
That’s an interesting position, John. What exactly were you called for? And where are you letting ‘her’ in?
Watch this awesome video to find out…it’s so wee-yird!