Circus, “Stop Wait and Listen / I Need Your Love” (1972): One Track Mind

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If you lived in the Cleveland, Ohio, area during the early 1970s and were tuned into the city’s fertile music scene, you are sure to remember the sensational sounds of Circus.

The band’s debut single, “Stop Wait and Listen” (Metromedia Records) became a monster local hit, producing the promise a big breakout was lurking around the corner. Although the song gained a little action in assorted nooks and crannies about the country, it failed to secure a serious push, stalling at No. 91 on the national charts in March of 1973.

Gritty and vibrant, “Stop Wait and Listen” sizzles and shimmers to a hard-rocking fizz supported by a radio-friendly pop spine geared for infinite play. Rich and confident vocals, splashed with a streak of soul reminiscent of Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, charged with pumping rhythms matched by those of the Who and the James Gang, electrify the song to powerful effects. The keyboards rumble and roll with urgency, the drumming is brash and burly, and the guitars are crispy and crunchy. A swooping chorus further visits “Stop Wait and Listen,” while the hooks and melodies snap and bite with force and intention.

The flipside of “Stop Wait and Listen” serves to be equally memorable. Designed of danceable tempos and perky harmonies, “I Need Your Love” wiggles and boogies with tight and energetic grooves.

Both “Stop Wait and Listen” and “I Need Your Love” appeared on the band’s only album, Circus, which is worth tracking down as well. Self-contained and self-assured, the band knew how to write and arrange songs, then channel them into engaging pieces of pop rock. Ceasing to be in 1975, Circus remains a legend, not only to those who experienced the band first-hand, but they’ve developed a whole new audience over the years.

Had “Stop Wait and Listen/I Need Your Love” been the band’s lone contribution to vinyl, they would still inspire awe, since it is truly one of the greatest singles of all time.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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