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Smoke From A Distant Fire

#9 hit single by The Sanford/Townsend Band in 1977

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A Quick Tip by drifter51

  • Jan 12, 2011
Near or at the top of my list of the greatest songs by a one-hit wonder. Check out the video and see if you agree. 
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January 13, 2011
well, alright, Paul! Wasn't "that thing you do" also done by a one-hit wonder?
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this song


The Sanford-Townsend Band was a blue-eyed soul group featuring keyboardists Ed Sanford and Johnny Townsend, who previously worked together in a band from Tuscaloosa, Alabama called Heart. After reuniting in Los Angeles, Sanford and Townsend signed a publishing deal with Chappell Music and began writing songs, most notably "Peacemaker" for Loggins and Messina and "I Keep Forgettin'" with Michael McDonald.

Their 1976 self-titled album started getting attention when "Smoke from a Distant Fire" reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 in Cash Box recorded at the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama. The album was re-released using the song title as its own. The band supported the song by opening for Fleetwood Mac on their Rumours Tour, as well as concerts with the Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels, Jimmy Buffett, Foreigner, Heart and a host of other top acts of the day.

The band's follow-up albums, entitled Duo-Glide and Nail Me to the Wall, were significantly less successful. Sanford and Townsend returned to their careers as session musicians and songwriters. In 2008, John Townsend was in the Toler/Townsend Band with Dan Toler. Townsend's tenor voice remains substantially unchanged from thirty years prior.

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Label: Warner Brothers
Release Date: June 18, 1977

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