366 for 2016: Day 1 – Jigsaw, “Journey Into Space”

81SOVHLwHLL._SL1425_If you know the band Jigsaw at all, then it’s probably for their one top-10 single, “Sky High,” which reached #3 in the US and #9 in the UK in 1975. Not that they didn’t have a bit more success over the next couple of years, earning minor hits with “Love Fire” and “If I Have to Go Away,” but you know how it goes with music and the mainstream media: if you can’t manage to sustain your popularity beyond a single decade, then eventually your career is going to be distilled down to a single song. In Jigsaw’s case, it was this one.

The story of Jigsaw neither begins nor ends with “Sky High,” however: the band actually formed in 1966, and they didn’t release their final single, “Love Isn’t at Home,” until 1983. The bit that I find most fascinating about their career took place more or less in the middle of it all.

At the start of 1977, Jigsaw released a self-titled album for Twentieth Century Records, and while it wasn’t a blockbuster by any means, it was home to the aforementioned single “If I Have to Go Away.” As noted, the single wasn’t a top-10 smash – in fact, it actually stalled at #93 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it was apparently sufficient for the label to maintain their faith in Jigsaw, provided that this is an instance when we can truth the word of Wikipedia.

Per Jigsaw’s Wikipedia entry (and, yes, I am continuing to try and search for confirmation of the accuracy of what you’re about to read), Twenty Century Records flew the band to Los Angeles to record their next album, paying for their flights and accommodations and also providing them with cash advances to keep them afloat during the recording process, which ultimately took three months.

And how successful was the resulting album, Journey into Space, when it was released?

Funny you should ask: it was, in fact, not released.

Songs from the album have since turned up on various Jigsaw compilations, thankfully, but Journey into Space as a whole never even got off the launching pad. Although understandably frustrated at this turn of events, the band soldiered on nonetheless, eventually releasing a final studio album in 1981. As it was also a self-titled affair, you’d think it would’ve been confusing to consumers, but the contents confirmed conclusively that it was a very, very different album. That’s a story for another time, though.

For now, here’s the song that was intended as the title track to Journey into Space, which as far as I can tell didn’t emerge from the vaults until the 1998 compilation The Very Best of Jigsaw, which – to preempt one of the laziest music jokes in the world – was not a CD single. I haven’t a clue what Twentieth Century Records was looking for when Jigsaw handed in Journey Into Space, but it certainly sounds radio-friendly to me. Of course, that may be because the chorus unabashedly resembles the band’s biggest hit, but if you’re going to swipe from another song, it might as well be one that’s served you well in the past, right?

To purchase a copy of The Very Best of Jigsaw, click right here!

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