I have blogged in the past about our summer trips to Caseville, MI. Those trips remain some of my fondest memories. I heard a song on 70’s on 7 on Sirius XM last week that will forever have a Caseville connection for me – Music Box Dancer.
There was a brief period of time when my grandparents didn’t have a TV at the trailer. During this time we had an AM/FM radio with a cassette deck in it. When we were not listening to Johnny Paycheck’s “Greatest Hits Volume II”, Willie Nelson’s “Stardust”, or some other mix cassette that my dad recorded, we were listening to the radio. As I recall, there were not too many stations that we could actually get on our little radio. One of them was a pop station and it always seemed to be playing this piano instrumental.
Frank Mills was a Canadian musician who wrote and recorded Music Box Dancer in 1974. It was not a hit until it was re-released in 1978. The story is interesting. Mills was resigned to Polydor Records in 1978, and a new song was released with Music Box Dancer as the B-side. The song was sent to easy listening stations in Canada, but by mistake one copy made it to a Canadian pop station (CFRA-AM). The program director played the A-side and couldn’t figure out why it was sent to his station. He listened to the B-Side (Music Box Dancer) and liked it and added it to the play list. By June, it was the station’s #1 song on the play list. After several months, Polydor Records decided to release the album and single in the US. It went to #3 in the US and it was Frank Mills’ only Top 40 US hit.
We would turn on the radio while we sat in the kitchen or living room at the trailer. We’d hear Reunited by Peaches and Herb, Heart of Glass by Blondie, Hot Stuff by Donna Summer and Frank Mills Music Box Dancer. It was such a simple song with a repetitive melody and we loved it. My brother and I would listen to it with our Aunt Jodi and when it was done, we’d start surfing the radio in hopes of hearing it again. We eventually got smart and I think we recorded it off the radio so we could play it whenever we wanted.
Music Box Dancer