’74-’75 – A definition of a ‘sleeper hit’ from The Connells

It has been a long time since music was given coverage on my blog. You would have to go as far back as September 2017 to find that I had covered The Verve’s 20 Year Anniversary of their seminal album “Urban Hymns” in a Tableau data visualisation. This post is an unusual one as it involves a band that you may have never heard of.

That band I am talking about is from Raleigh, North Carolina and has been around for more than 30 years. Founded by brothers Mike (rhythm guitar) and David Connell (bass) with Doug Macmillan (vocals) and John Schultz (drums) in 1984, The Connells are one of the most underrated bands to come out of the United States.

The band still plays to its home state of North Carolina although the band only plays every so often in the South East region of the United States, mostly at benefit concerts and music festivals.

In the band’s heyday around the late-1980’s to early-1990’s was with the inclusion of George Huntley, Steve Potak and Peele Wimberley on guitar, keyboards and drums. Their 1987 album “Boylan Heights” took the band to great success before releasing two other albums in 1989 (Fun & Games) and One Simple Word in 1990.

The Connells are simply known for their one hit wonder in the mid-1990s from their seminal fifth album “Ring”. ’74-’75 is a song that provokes so many meanings towards me because it’s about reuniting with old school friends that you have not met for many years and revisiting life as a young person.

I must have listened and watched the music video hundreds of times. Every time I watch the video to ’74-’75 from Mark Pellington, the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. George Huntley and Mike Connell’s simple guitar playing along with Doug Macmillan’s and Peele Wimberley’s drums makes this one of my favourite songs of all-time.

Listening to the live versions of ’74-’75 on YouTube even though it does not include the classic “Ring” line-up, Mike Ayers on guitar and Joel Rhodes on flugelhorn breathes new life into the song. It sounds just as fresh as it was on a CD or cassette tape in the UK in 1995 even though I was born in February 1996!

Whenever I ask anyone if they have heard of The Connells and ’74-75′, their initial response is “I have never heard of them”. It’s not surprising considering they were Number 14 in the UK Singles Charts in 1995 despite the track not being a big hit in their home country, failing to chart in the Billboard Hot 100.

With that said, The Connells’ ’74-’75 is the sleeper hit of all hits because of its poignant lyrics fused alongside a Celtic-influenced sound to create an iconic one-hit wonder of the 1990’s. It is a song that’s definitely worth checking out 25 years later from its original release in 1993 whilst also viewing the 2015 update of the song’s music video.

Image credited to Spotify.

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