Continuing our survey of Soul tonight with the music of Chris Bartley. A discovery of Soul legend Van McCoy, the first release on Van's new label Vando was Bartely's unforgettable The Sweetest Thing This Side Of Heaven, which we're playing tonight. It raced up the charts when it was released in July of 1967, hitting #32 on the Pop charts and #10 on the R&B charts. McCoy was a powerhouse in his own right, having written many great songs, including Baby, I'm Yours for Barbara Lewis (another Soul classic).
Unfortunately, Bartley's first hit single for McCoy would be the only one and he was relegated to one-hit-wonder status for the remainder of his career. Bartley hung it up for a while, but returned to performing in the 1980's with fellow New Yorkers The Ad-Libs (The Boy From New York City) as well as a number of other groups on the oldies revival circuit.
Bartley died of Kidney failure this past October at age 62.
The Sweetest Thing This Side Of Heaven is a fitting tribute to a wonderful singer whose association with one of the legends of the music business produced one of the classic songs of the Soul idiom. An elegant voice, impeccable production and a memorable song. If you're only going to have one hit, you might as well make it a great one.