On this day in music history: January 19, 1974…

On this day in music history: January 19, 1974 – “Show And Tell” by Al Wilson hits # 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #10 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written and produced by Jerry Fuller, it is the biggest hit for the R&B singer Meridian, MS. Al Wilson initially makes his chart debut in 1968 with “The Snake” (#27 Pop, #32 R&B) on Johnny Rivers’ Soul City Records. He records  a handful of singles and a couple of albums but drops from the charts entirely by the early 70’s. Record producer Jerry Fuller (Ricky Nelson, O.C. Smith, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap) sees Wilson performing in a nightclub in Chino, CA. Fuller helps the singer secure a record deal with Bell subsidiary Rocky Road Records run by Wilson’s former producer (and 5th Dimension manager) Marc Gordon. For his first release, the producer has Wilson cut his song “Show And Tell”, which he had produced a version on Johnny Mathis the year before. Recorded at Larrabee Sound Studios in Hollywood, CA, the track features members of the famed studio collective The Wrecking Crew including drummer Hal Blaine and bassist Carol Kaye. The front and back of the album cover (also titled “Show And Tell”), features photos of Wilson (taken by 5th Dimension member and photographer Lamonte McLemore) standing next to Blaine’s vintage 1927 Phantom I Rolls Royce. Released as a single in September of 1973, Wilson’s version is an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #96 on October 20, 1973, it climbs to the top of the chart thirteen weeks later. Peabo Bryson also covers the song in 1989, taking it to number one on the R&B singles chart. Vanessa Williams also records it for her album “Everlasting Love” in 2005. Al Wilson’s version of “Show And Tell” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.