Here begins a list of gems that were uncovered only through deliberate research. The central tenet for this list is that I'd never heard them before (which eliminates a large number of contenders). So, at the top of the list comes:
1. Dusk (US) - Treat me like a good piece of candy (1971, Bell)
2. Tommy James (US) - Draggin' the line (1971, Roulette)
3. Chi-Lites (US) - A letter to myself (1973, Brunswick)
This is pure bubblegum pop, complete with questionable lyrics. Dusk was in fact a studio concoction, built around Peggy Santiglia, one-time lead singer in the Angels, who had a US #1 in 1963 with My Boyfriend's Back ("and you're gonna be sorry"). Why Dusk? Simply because it was put together by the same writers/producers/label who gave us Dawn. Some say Dusk was there to pick up on Dawn's rejects. Certainly the first single, Angel Baby, slots in so neatly between Knock Three Times and Candida that it's tantamount to superfluous.
Why is this one on the list? It would probably rate as merely good, but Santiglia's gutsy delivery on the refrain ("Trrreat me like a good piece of candy, baby") elevates it to the sublime for me.
Angel baby (1971 - US#57, Aus#18, NZ#3)
I hear those church bells ringing (1971 - US#53, Aus#8, NZ#3)
Treat me like a good piece of candy (1971 - Aus#77; Wellington NZ: prediction (#26))
Reach out and speak my name (1971)
Point of no return (1972 NZ: prediction)
Most sources don't list the latter two singles. The only mention I've found of Reach out was a Japanese web site on Toni Wine, who wrote and sang on Candida (but was not destined to be in Dawn). Other sources include Tom Mix's excellent blog and a blog called The hits just keep on comin'.
Feel free to nominate other candidates for this list - it's not finished yet! Be warned, though: a) I may well have heard your nominee already; and b) taste for this sort of music is just so subjective!