29 June 2008

Only in Oz (9) Bulldog - No (1972)

Another in my series of posts about tracks that were more popular in Australia than in their countries of origin. See also: Only in Melbourne.

9. Bulldog - No
(Billy Hocher - John Turi)
USA 1972
Decca single (USA) #32996
MCA album
MCA single (Australia) #MCA1302
Australian charts: #2 Melbourne #7 Adelaide #13 Brisbane #5 Perth (#22 Australia)
New Zealand charts: #17 NZ

No, the opening track from Bulldog's self-titled debut album, did chart in parts of the US, but it appears to have been a minor hit on some regional charts, not enough to push it onto a national Top 40. On the radio surveys posted to ARSA (which probably reflect station playlists more than sales) it shows up 27 times: the best is a #3 at WIXY Cleveland. In parts of Australia it was a genuine hit: #2 in Melbourne ain't bad.

No is a muscular but melodic piece of early 70s pop-rock, with that gruff style of white soul singing that was common at the time. It can sound mannered or forced coming from some singers, especially at this distance, but Billy Hocher pulls it off. Hocher wrote the song with Bulldog keyboardist John Turi, who would later be associated with Cyndi Lauper in the band Blue Angel and on sessions for her Night To Remember (1989).

Also in Bulldog were Dino Danelli and Gene Cornish, former members of The Rascals (earlier, The Young Rascals), one of the top American bands of the 60s that had a dozen or so Top 40 hits in the US 1966-1969, including three at #1: Good Lovin' (1966), Groovin' (1967) and People Got To Be Free (1968).

Promising credentials, but there was no follow-up with Decca/MCA after the first Bulldog album. Before breaking up, Bulldog did release a second album in 1974, Smasher, this time on Buddah. This July 2007 post at Robots For Ronnie has some hard-to-find background on this rarity, but sadly the downloadable file has expired.

Update 2022: The whole first album, including No, can now be heard at Youtube [LINK].

Red herrings
1. This is not the Australian band Bulldog, from Melbourne, also active in the early 70s.
2. For more than you'll ever need to know about songs called No No No or No No No No or even No No No No No,
see this page at my website

Chart positions from Gavin Ryan's Australian chart books and Dean Scapolo's NZ chart data.
Further reading: Joe Viglione's review of the album Bulldog at All Music Guide.