One Sunday in August of 1975, Tommy Reynolds woke up, go dressed and turned on his radio to tune into the American Top 40 countdown. He had just heard the end of the Eagles’ One Of These Nights, which was at #2. Then Casey talked a bout having a new #1 song, ‘shooting from #5 to #1, it’s Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds with Fallin’ In Love‘. Tommy paused for a moment then to himself, ‘I have a #1 record that I had absolutely nothing to do with. What the hell?’
No kidding, Tommy. In fact Tommy had left the group 3 years prior to that song reaching the top and was playing in a different band. But you who was really pissed that day? Alan Dennison, the man who replaced Tommy. So whose fault is this, you might ask. Well either directly or indirectly it was Hugh Hefner’s. See, when HJR&R were looking for a new record label as Hamilton Joe Frank & Dennison, Playboy Records was the only with interest to sign them, under one condition: that they use the name Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds. Apparently Hugh had a thing for Don’t Pull Your Love (insert joke here) their 1971 Top 5 hit and thought he could get them to the top if the name stayed the same. And damn, it worked. Ol Hugh knows his stuff. And to add insult to injury, their followup Winners & Losers also made the Top 40. Which meant [Tommy] Reynolds was credited for 2 hits that he had nothing to do with.
This song was a multi-format hit, hitting #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, the R&B Top 40 as well as the Top 40 in the UK. At least Alan Dennison got paid for the hits. How confusing was it for his friends and family to see him on the cover of album with someone else’s name? Man the music industry is screwed up. But the song itself is soft and loose, smooth with just a little bit of a funky groove – perfect for the post-Watergate world of mainstream American in 1975.
I was only 4 when this came out, but I created a whole new set of lyrics to this song. I can remember riding in the back seat of our Volkswagen powder blue Rabbit riding along the streets of Bay Shore on the way to a doctor’s appointment coming with my own new song. I can’t remember the words I made up, but I remember the chorus: ‘Betty, Betty’s fallin in love, She’s fallin’ in love with Fred‘. That’s right – my four-year old brain created some sort of Flintstones swinger situation to a Hamilton, Joe Frank and Denni-, I mean, Reynolds song.
By the way guys, your band name sucks and is incredibly stupid. Enjoy the 45.