Rare Earth was a band with one foot planted in rock and another foot planted in R&B. Some have called it the first white band signed by Motown to be successful, which is based on its predecessors never managing to release a hit.
Certainly, Rare Earth was successful enough to exist from the late 1960s to the early 2020s. Something that is much easier said than done. Sadly, that ended when the last surviving member of the original lineup died because of COVID-10-related complications.
Here is our opinion on the ten best Rare Earth songs ever released:
10. “What’d I Say”
“What’d I Say” started as a Ray Charles song. Specifically, it was the one that enabled him to break into white markets, so it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that it had a profound influence on the popular music of the late 1950s and beyond.
Unsurprisingly, “What’d I Say” is much covered. Rare Earth’s version is better than most but not as good as some. That is no slight when the other performers include Ray Charles and numerous other 20th-century greats.
“Ma” is the title track of the studio album of the same name from 1973. The latter was notable in that the band wasn’t involved in making the music or the lyrics for the songs on the release.
Something that might be connected to the performance of the preceding studio album Willie Remembers. Regardless, “Ma” is a straightforward song about the narrator’s mother, who might not have been the most sophisticated individual ever but was nonetheless incredible in her own right.
8. “Hum Along and Dance”
“Hum Along and Dance” is another song from the same studio album. The original version came from the Temptations in 1970. Subsequently, “Hum Along and Dance” received covers from Rare Earth and the Jackson 5 within a month of one another in 1973.
As such, it isn’t hard to see why this version has been overshadowed. Even so, interested individuals should still check it out because it is worth a listen.
7. “Good Time Sally”
Moving on, “Good Time Sally” came out on Rare Earth’s next studio album Willie Remembers. The narrator says he met the titular woman when he was still a newcomer to the city. She introduced him to a whole new world of exciting possibilities.
Unfortunately, their relationship came to an abrupt end when he met her roommate, who reacted very poorly to everything that was happening. Despite this, the narrator remembers the titular woman with fondness, which is very much in line with the general tone of the song.
6. “Warm Ride”
Some people might associate “Warm Ride” with the Bee Gees. After all, they wrote the song, though their recording wasn’t released until the reissue of Bee Gees Greatest in 2007.
That is because the Bee Gees meant “Warm Ride” for Rare Earth, who went on to release it as the last of the band’s singles in 1978. It did well, as shown by how it reached the number 39 position on the Billboard Hot 100.
5. “I Just Want to Celebrate”
Even people with no interest in the oldies might have heard this song at some point. That is because “I Just Want to Celebrate” was one of the most memorable songs of the 1970s. Indeed, it reached the number seven position in the United States, thus making it the last time Rare Earth would ever release a Top 10 hit.
It is common to see “I Just Want to Celebrate” included whenever people make compilations of the music of the 1970s. Something that has contributed much to the song’s longevity in the popular consciousness.
4. “Born to Wander”
“Born to Wander” was the first track on Ecology in 1970. That was more or less the peak of Rare Earth’s career. As a result, interested individuals shouldn’t be surprised to see Ecology’s contents make their way onto this list.
This song remains enjoyable. Unfortunately, it has slipped somewhat because it is so tied to what was then contemporary youth culture, meaning it is out of sync with modern listeners.
3. “Hey Big Brother”
Supposedly, “Hey Big Brother” references George Orwell’s 1984. For those unfamiliar, it envisions a dystopian future in which the world has been divided into hostile blocs more interested in remaining in power by maintaining totalitarian control over their people than anything else.
The song invites the titular entity to look at the people on the street. That is interesting because that was a notable gap in Big Brother’s surveillance capabilities as depicted in 1984.
It maintained very tight control over the minor bureaucrats who made up its rank and file, but it was more dismissive and thus more relaxed towards the working classes that made up most of society.
2. “Get Ready”
“Get Ready” is undoubtedly one of Rare Earth’s best-known songs. It would have been the band’s debut single if it had gotten its wish. Instead, it became their second when their debut single, “Generation, Light Up the Sky,” met with a disappointing response.
That turned out to be a wise choice because “Get Ready” went number four in the United States and number one in Canada. Moreover, the single went on to sell more than a million copies, thus making Rare Earth’s name in a single release.
1. “(I Know) I’m Losing You”
“(I Know) I’m Losing You” is the single that followed “Get Ready.” This song didn’t do quite as well in a commercial sense. However, it is telling that it managed to reach the number seven position in the United States anyway.
Indeed, Rare Earth’s version of the song managed to best the Temptations’ original version by one spot on the same chart, which was a remarkable feat considering the Temptations’ well-earned status as musical legends.
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