Top 40 Smash Taps: “Tell Her She’s Lovely”

These posts are about the songs that can accurately claim to crossed the key line of chart success, becoming Top 40 hits on Billboard, but just barely. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 40.

“Tell Her She’s Lovely” was the third and final single from the California band El Chicano to appear on the Billboard charts. In 1970, they made it into the Top 30 with “Viva Tirado, Pt. 1,” essentially the title cut from their debut album. Two years later, they just missed the Top 40 with a cover of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl.” “Tell Her She’s Lovely” was released the following year. Relatively new band member Jerry Salas handled lead vocal duties on the track.

Given the heavy presence of Mexican-Americans in the band and the willingness to employ Latin sounds, El Chicano was dogged by comparisons to Santana, an outfit that was far more successful at roughly the same time. While understandable, it’s also fairly reductive. “Tell Her She’s Lovely,” for example, might have some basic rhythms in common, but otherwise is has a soulful, jazzy vibe quite unlike anything Carlos Santana’s group would be inclined to try on. Maybe the fact that they didn’t truly fit into the mold they were being crammed into helps account for the limited crossover commercial success the band enjoyed.

After MCA dropped the band in the mid-seventies, El Chicano sort of petered out. They were always huge in the Latino community, though, and as that cultural group’s influence grew years later, El Chicano mounted a comeback with a late-nineties album followed by periodic live shows, including, of course, their song that peaked at #40.

“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.
“I’m in Love” by Evelyn King
“Buy Me a Rose” by Kenny Rogers
“Who’s Your Baby” by The Archies
“Me and Bobby McGee” by Jerry Lee Lewis
“Angel in Blue” by J. Geils Band
“Crazy Downtown” by Allan Sherman
“I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Rhythm of Love” by Yes
“Naturally Stoned” by the Avant-Garde
“Come See” by Major Lance
“Your Old Standby” by Mary Wells
“See the Lights” by Simple Minds
“Watch Out For Lucy” by Eric Clapton
“The Alvin Twist” by Alvin and the Chipmunks
“Love Me Tender” by Percy Sledge
“Jennifer Eccles” by the Hollies
“Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Olympics
“The Bounce” by the Olympics
“Your One and Only Love” by Jackie Wilson

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