It’s time once again to consider the merits of a minor hit and allow you, the reader, to be the judge of whether this minor hit should have been a major hit.
This week’s episode features Jo Jo Gunne’s 1972 single “Run Run Run.” If you’re unfamiliar with Jo Jo Gunne, don’t feel bad — you’re in the majority. Jo Jo Gunne’s major claim to fame, aside from their almost one-hit wonder status with “Run Run Run,” is the fact that the band featured Jay Ferguson and Mark Andes, late of the great Spirit. Unfortunately for Ferguson and Andes, Jo Jo Gunne would prove less successful than Spirit, who languished unjustly as a mid-level band throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s (and yes, you do sense another “mid-level band” entry in the making).
So in 1972, Jo Jo Gunne released their self-titled first album, which featured the single “Run Run Run.” “Run Run Run”‘s chart run was the stuff that one-hit wonders were made of; the single entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart at #29 in April, peaked at #6 in May, and dipped lower and lower on the chart until disappearing later that year. “Run Run Run” would be Jo Jo Gunne’s sole charting single.
The dismal chart action didn’t deter the original Gunners, though. Despite several member changes, the band hung on for three more albums before disbanding in 1975. The lack of another hit single likely didn’t bother the ever-changing membership in the Jo Jo Gunne club much; like Spirit, the band was more an album band than a singles band, anyway.
So, the moment of decision has arrived, dear reader. Watch/listen to the following YouTube clip, and make up your mind: did “Run Run Run” deserve a longer “Run Run Run” at the top of the chart, or was the song’s quick “Run Run Run” back into mid-level popularity a reflection of the songs merits (or lack thereof)?
To my mind, “Run Run Run” barely deserved the chart action it managed to achieve. I’m a huge fan of Spirit, but I could never get behind Jo Jo Gunne, which sounded like Spirit’s stupid younger brother. I can say with a fair amount of confidence that time has borne my opinion out, as “Run Run Run” has almost disappeared from oldies radio — and all but the clearest memories from the 1970s, evidently — altogether.
However, I do have a healthy appreciation for Jay Ferguson’s OTHER minor hit, 1978’s “Thunder Island,” if not for his white man ‘fro or pornstache. To make up for subjecting you to “Run Run Run,” though, I’ll share “Thunder Island,” too: