Magazines during the '70s were replete with back-page ads that promised "we make your songs into hits!" It was the heyday of the singer/songwriter and many aspiring stars and weekend musicians were looking for outlets that would take them out of the mundane. Most of the time, these "vanity recording" firms would end up bilking their clients by producing inferior or cookie-cutter recordings (using the same instrumental tracks many times over while ineptly forcing their clients' lyrics onto them, with pathetic lead vocals to boot). The results of such efforts would more likely end up in the bottom of a music executive's waste basket than at the top of the charts. A phenomenal exception was William DeVaughn's million-selling "Be Thankful for What You Got." The singer/songwriter/government worker approached (with his own 900 dollars) Philadelphia firm Omega Sound, who was able to secure the services of the core rhythm section of MFSB, who'd played on numerous gold records. Beginning with the congas of Larry Washington, the low-key track slides into an organ-based groove that features the fat bass of Ron Baker. DeVaughn's high tenor is very akin to Curtis Mayfield. That, along with the inspiring message, caused some confusion on its initial release. If you listen closely, the song only has two chord progressions, which sort of helped to keep the focus on the lyric's theme. Produced by Frank Fioravanti and arranger John Davis and issued on Wes Farrell's Roxbury label, "Be Thankful for What You Got" sold nearly two million copies, gliding up to number one R&B and number four pop in spring 1974.