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BIG Jay's BIG Week In Pop Music History

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February 13th, 2015


THE

BIG

SINGLES

For the

 

Chart-Week ENDING

 

February 15, 1969


HOT 100

TOP 5 SINGLES

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘69:

 

No. 5 (LW 3) “WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN”

Brooklyn Bridge BUDDAH75

No. 4 (LW 5) “BUILD ME UP BUTTERCUP”

The Foundations UNI55101

No. 3 (LW 4) “TOUCH ME”  

The Doors ELEKTRA45646

No. 2 (LW 1) “CRIMSON AND CLOVER” 

Tommy James and The Shondells ROULETTE7028

 

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 2)


“EVERYDAY PEOPLE”

Sly & The Family Stone

EPIC RECORDS10407

This was the fourth charting song on the Hot 100 for Sly & the Family Stone on Epic Records, and the outfit’s first million-selling 45 RPM and first of three No. 1 pop hits with “Everyday People.” This tune preached the gospel of being “multi-cultural” years ahead of the term being invented; not only lyrically, but in practice with a fully integrated line-up. “Everyday People” from Sly & The Family Stone on Epic Records was enjoying its first week of an eventual four in the top Pop spot this week in ‘69, and would top the Best Selling Rhythm & Blues Singles list for two weeks beginning next week.

Sly’s sister Rose (Rosemary Stewart) was featured as an important vocalist on this track, and would go on to have some solo hits in the early ‘70s as Little Sister. The bass player with The Family Stone, Sly’s cousin Larry Graham maintains this was first occurrence of the use of the so-called ‘slap-pop’ thumping and plucking style that would become a signature sound not only for him, but for much of the rhythmic or funk music to follow from contemporary musicians of the era. The flip-side of the 45 was “Sing A Simple Song” which, along with “Everyday People,” appeared on their current breakthrough album Stand.  Some picture sleeves of the 45 RPM of “Everyday People” used the subtitle “(Different Strokes For Different Folks,” but not on the actual vinyl disc. The assemblage would play later in the year at the celebrated Woodstock Music and Art Fair (An Aquarian Exposition) in upstate New York on what would become the fourth day of the festival (long after many people had headed home after three sweltering days, starting their segment at 3:30 AM on Sunday, August 17, 1969. While they did carry out “Everyday People” at Woodstock, I wasn’t able to locate that ’69 version (it IS available on a limited-edition two-CD set from 2009 of their entire set called The Woodstock Experience) but, here is a super-hot medley-of-hits including a brief “Everyday People” on The Ed Sullivan Show on CBS Television on December 28, 1968, eight months earlier.

Try to top THAT energy. When Sly was focused, they were a powerful live act…if they showed up or played on-time.

 

EASY LISTENING SINGLES CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘69

No.1

EASY LISTENING

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 2)

“I’VE GOTTA BE ME”

Sammy Davis, Jr.

REPRISE RECORDS – 0779

Here’s a song from the Broadway musical Golden Rainbow, which opened on 42nd Street at Manhattan’s Shubert Theater on February 4, 1968, featuring Steve Lawrence and his wife Eydie Gormé. While the show closed just 11 months later, this week’s No. 1 Easy Listening Singles chart hit resonated with a wide-variety of record buyers; during an era when rock and soul music dominated the charts. Sammy Davis, Jr.’s version of “I’ve Gotta Be Me” was released on his pal Frank Sinatra’s label Reprise Records and became a hit just before the show itself closed! Ironically, Golden Rainbow was loosely based on a 1959 film starring Frank Sinatra called A Hole In The Head. Here’s a live version by fellow ‘Rat-Packer,’ Sammy Davis, Jr. in rare form.  

Was that Bill Cosby smoking the cigar and holding maracas getting yelled at by Sammy in that clip? Anyway, Steve Lawrence himself had released his own version of “I Gotta Be Me” (but was originally incorrectly listed under the grammatically correct title, “I’ve Got To Be Me”) charting on December 16, 1967; reaching No. 6 on this chart in early ‘68. Top 40 AM radio ignored Lawrence’s version on Calendar Records from the show’s soundtrack. Here’s the Steve Lawrence version with music ‘supervised’ by Don Kirshner. Hey, ‘the man with the golden ears’ OWNED that label!

Record producer Jimmy Bowen decided that Sammy Davis, Jr. should record “I’ve Gotta Be Me” earlier ’68, and his adaptation was a surprise hit, entering the Hot 100 Singles chart for the week ending on December 12, 1968. This was the fourth of an ultimate seven weeks as the standard-barer on the Easy Listening listing for the Davis version. That was quite an amazing feat considering that the musical itself was not a huge success on the Great White Way. While the original Steve Lawrence account was very well done, Davis got his rendition into the ears of Top 40 AM radio music directors and programmers at the time, becoming the third biggest chart hit of his career. The song was written by screenwriter, novelist and playwright Walter Marks. Sammy died of cancer on May 16, 1990.

   

BEST SELLING RHYTHM & BLUES SINGLES CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘69

No.1

R&B

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)


“CAN I CHANGE MY MIND”

Tyrone Davis

DAKAR RECORDS – 602

There were TWO guys with the last name of Davis ruling the charts this week in ’69. This one was Tyrone Davis, a Mississippi-born and Saginaw, Michigan raised R&B singer, who got his start being called “Tyrone the Wonder Boy,” after he had been a valet for Blues singer Freddie King. He was a wonder, as all in all, this Davis had 43 R&B chart hits during his 20 years of recording. “Can I Change My Mind” was his first foray onto the Hot 100 singles chart, reaching a very healthy No. 5, with the song in the third and final survey-phase at the pinnacle of the Best Selling Rhythm & Blues Singles listing this week in ’69. Tyrone moved to the Windy City to find success. He found it for a mass audience with this Willie Henderson production, “Can I Change My Mind” on Dakar Records. This is Chicago Soul at its finest.

A sound-alike follow-up single was called “Is It Something You Got” and reached No. 34 on the Hot 100. Davis had 20 hits altogether on the Hot 100, with just two of those reaching the Top 5 of the Hot 100, and both were million-selling singles; “Can I Change My Mind” and 1970’s No. 3 Pop hit, “Turn Back The Hands Of Time.” Though Tyrone Davis never reached the Pop Top 30 again, he did have tons of R&B hits, and consistently made women swoon during live performances. Davis was given an R&B Foundation Lifetime Award in 1998. Tyrone David died of complications of a stroke on February 9, 2005.

 

THE

BIG

ALBUMS


 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

February 15, 1969


TOP LPs

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘69:


No. 1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 1)


THE BEATLES

The Beatles

APPLE RECORDS101

The Beatles’ producer George Martin tried to talk the ‘Fabs’ out of making what became the two-album set The Beatles into a single disc LP. For once, Martin didn’t win the argument. The Beatles had taken a Transcendental Meditation (TM) course, as George Harrison had been learning the ways of this technique of self-enlightenment; persuading the three others to take a crack at a further undertaking in India. Jointly (with wives or girlfriends in tow) they made a pilgrimage to Rishikesh, India in April of ‘68 to the mountain hideaway of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They went there to meditate, but it promptly became a place where John Lennon and Paul McCartney stealthily wrote songs; mostly separately, but gathering to go over their material. One by one, they decided to depart after either not liking the food (Ringo) or finding that they didn’t believe the ways of the Maharishi (Paul and then John.) George Harrison was the last to make tracks. Once they reunited in England at the home of Harrison, they had more than a couple of dozen song inspirations—putting to tape some sample tracks at George’s domicile studio. Then from May through October of ’68, the Beatles recorded a mind-blowing output of music, mostly prepared as solo sessions at the EMI studios at Abbey Road or at Trident Studios (also in London) with an intermittent appearance by another one, two or three Beatles present. The strain at these sessions eventually led to the groups’ lack of correspondence becoming unmistakable—so much so, that Ringo Starr walked out of the group for several session dates. The discord also led their engineer Geoff Emerick to storm out, leaving the duties to Chris Thomas. Even producer George Martin suddenly left for an extended holiday (as the British call vacation.) Here’s the entire LP, with Sir Paul playing drums on a few tracks including the opening song, “Back In The U.S.S.R.”


Ringo returned and all seemed well enough to release the tracks as a double album. Martin and EMI (the groups’ parent record company) didn’t want a double album due quality and price tag issues respectively, but the four (yes even Ringo wrote a tune) songwriters were adamant their material be included with just 16 of the 30 tracks having all four guys performing jointly. The result, however, is considered by many to be their true magnum opus, even though it was thought of by insiders as three independent solo albums, with the other members intermittently giving a hand to the proceedings. They had so many songs that didn’t get included on this collection, that some ended up being used on their concluding album together, Abbey Road; while still others would end up on solo releases after the unit broke apart. No singles were released from this set while the group was together. This album called The Beatles was the first to appear on their new collectively owned record label Apple Records. This was the seventh of an ultimate nine non-consecutive survey-phases as the biggest album in the U.S.A. And ‘The White Album’ would eventually become their biggest selling collection of recordings in America.

 

BEST SELLING

RHYTHM & BLUES

 LPs CHART


THIS WEEK IN ‘69

No. 1

R&B

LP

(Last Week No. 1)

The Original Soundtrack from
TCB*

(*Takin’ Care of Business)

Starring

Diana Ross

& the Supremes

with The Temptations

MOTOWN RECORDS – 682

If Berry Gordy, Jr. was trying to water down his two top acts, he succeeded with this album culled from the TV special of the same name. TCB (or Takin’ Care of Business) was filled with show tune fillers and Middle-of-the-Road schlock and a few of their collective hits. But it DID manage to knock the Beatles album The Beatles (**see above) from the No. 1 spot on the Top LP’s chart for one sole seven-day survey-period (last week) yet was at the apex of the Best Selling Rhythm & Blues LP’s chart for this, the fifth of an eventual six week run at the summit. The show was shown on December 9, 1968 in color on NBC Television, pre-empting Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. This album was released one week prior to the broadcast. Here’s the entire TCB special (without commercials) a special treat from your Big Jay—in stereo!

I’ve watched this show several times…and there were some bright spots…especially for the Temptations. Yet the replacement for Florence Ballard, Cindy Birdsong, seemed like just a prop (along with Mary Wilson) for Diana Ross. The TV program TCB received an Emmy® Nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Electronic Production for audio engineer William Cole at NBC. Notably, the special showcased the guy who replaced David Ruffin in the Temptations, Dennis Edwards who rocked the joint with “(I Know) I’m Losing You.” The TCB TV show was the most-watched program of the week when it was transmitted in the U.S.  

 

 

THE

BIG

SINGLES


For the

 

Chart-Week ENDING

 

February 16, 1974


HOT 100

TOP 5 SINGLES

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘74:

 

No. 5 (LW 7) “SPIDERS AND SNAKES”

Jim Stafford MGM14648

No. 4 (LW 5) “UNTIL YOU COME BACK TO ME (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”

Aretha Franklin ATLANTIC2995

No. 3 (LW 3) “YOU’RE SIXTEEN”  

Ringo Starr APPLE1870

No. 2 (LW 1) “LOVE’S THEME” 

Love Unlimited Orchestra 20th CENTURY2069

 

 

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 2)

 

“THE WAY WE WERE”

Barbra Streisand

COLUMBIA RECORDS45944

 

How’s this for the biggest hit single of the year? Barbra Streisand had her very first non-holiday No. 1 Pop single in the U.S. this week in ’74 with the theme from her hit film (along with co-star Robert Redford) The Way We Were on Columbia Records; the first of five No. 1 songs for the Brooklyn diva. The composition was an Oscar® and Golden Globe® winner for Best Original Song; written by legendary songwriters Marvin Hamlisch (music) with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. The production chores, arrangement and even conducting the orchestra were done by Marty Paich; father of the group Toto member, David Paich. Marty had produced dozens of acts, but also conducted the orchestras on TV programs like: The Sonny & Cher Show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. He also scored the music for the TV series Ironside, starring Raymond Burr. Marty Paich died in 1995. Note that Streisand’s vocal on the 45 RPM version of “The Way We Were” is a different take than the movie soundtrack version and ensuing greatest hits collections. Here is the version we remember from the single.  

This was the second of an eventual three non-consecutive weeks at the top of the Hot 100 Singles list. Love Unlimited’s “Love’s Theme” took over the peak position for a sole week during the previous seven-day survey-phase. The song had already been the chart-topping tune on the Easy Listening Singles listing for two weeks in the middle of January in ’74 and had currently moved down to the No. 4 spot on that chart; ending up the biggest chart hit of 1974. Barbra’s album The Way We Were had to be recalled and reissued with the designation Barbra Streisand Featuring The Hit Single The Way We Were and All In Love Is Fair, due to a legal setback with the movie’s producer Ray Stark. Her LP has since reverted back to the original title after the dust settled. Barbra Streisand is among just 17 performers to be the victor of the following awards—Oscar, Grammy, Golden Globe, Emmy, and Tony.

 

 

EASY LISTENING SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘74

 

No.1

Easy Listening

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 4)


“LAST TIME I SAW HIM”

Diana Ross

MOTOWN RECORDS1278

If this Diana Ross song sounded a bit like the current crop of tunes from Tony Orlando & Dawn, you were a fairly astute listener. “Last Time I Saw Him” was the No. 1 song on the Easy Listening Singles chart this week in ’74, where it would remain for a total of three consecutive survey-periods on Motown Records. The track was produced by Michael Omartian. Perhaps he came from Mars, as this cut had little red aliens playing banjos, violins, Dixieland-styled horns that was so over-the-top that it stalled at No. 14 on the Hot 100. But remember, this was 1974; and adults were still purchasing records. So, perhaps with a nod to the “older” demographics, Omartian and of course Berry Gordy, Jr. decided to play to that crowd. I suppose on that level it worked. Here is an unedited version of “Last Time I Saw Him” that you’ve likely never heard.

Michael Masser and Pamela Sawyer wrote “Last Time I Saw Him.” Masser had co-written her previous solo single with Ron Miller, “Touch Me In The Morning” which went to No. 1 on the Hot 100 in August of ’73. The plan must have been to keep a certain level of ‘sophistication’ going for Ms. Ross with “Last Time I Saw Him.” In between those two releases, Gordy allowed a duet to be released with Ross and Marvin Gaye called “You’re A Special Part Of Me” that reached No. 19; released just a month and a half after “Last Time I Saw Him.” Perhaps Motown recognized that Diana might lose her fan-base if she didn’t perform on a song with a more focused R&B feel, as “Last Time I Saw Him” only reached No. 16 on the Hot Soul Singles listing. But, ya know, the song DID become the biggest single of the year on the Easy Listening Chart, so there’s that. Maybe Motown DID know what they were doing after all.

 


HOT SOUL SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘74

No.1

Soul

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)


“BOOGIE DOWN”

Eddie Kendricks 

TAMLA RECORDS54243

Motown was on a roll this week in ’74, with Diana Ross (**see above) on top of the Easy Listening Singles chart, and former Temptations member Eddie Kendricks at the pinnacle of the Hot Soul Singles chart with “Boogie Down” on the Tamla label. Kendricks’ previous single had reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 Singles chart as well as on the Soul listing with that one, and almost accomplished both again; but “Boogie Down” stalled at No. 2 for two seven-day survey-periods on the Pop register. The song that kept the Soul man from the top was the Canadian singer Terry Jacks with the Jacques Brel/Rod McKuen song, “Seasons In The Sun.” McKuen just died on January 29, 2015. Back to “Boogie Down” now. This week in ’74, his song was in the No. 8 slot on the Hot 100 and would quickly rise to that No. 2 position. This was the second of three continuous weeks as the chart-topper on the Hot Soul survey. Here’s Eddie “Truckin’” Kendricks with “Boogie Down” on TV’s Soul Train lip-syncing the track.
Kendricks had almost left the Temptations as early as 1965, but stayed because he didn’t think the Motown machine would support him as a solo act. So he stayed. Considering that David Ruffin’s departure from the Temptations in ’68 only gave him a couple of major hits, Kendricks had to wonder if the same thing would happen to him after an altercation with group members Melvin Franklin and Otis Williams, forcing him to leave the group acrimoniously in 1970 after he walked off stage during a show in New York. He agreed to finish recording the single “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)” with the group; with that song becoming a No. 1 Pop and Soul hit in ’71. Eddie himself said Berry Gordy didn’t LIKE him either; yet, he stayed with Tamla Records until 1978. Kendricks’ success (or lack thereof) depends on the charts you look upon. On the Hot 100, Kendricks had a total of 16 charted singles with six of those hitting the Top 40. On the Soul Singles list, Kendricks had nine Top 10 hits, and three No. 1 songs; considerably better than Ruffin. “Boogie Down” was written by Frank Wilson, Leonard Caston, Jr. and Anita Poree. The track was produced by Wilson and Caston, Jr. Wilson died in 2012. Kendricks dropped the letter ‘S’ from his name in the ‘80s, after he had a stint with Arista, then Atlantic Records. By then, his Top 10 days were over on any chart. Kendricks teamed up with his former Temptations member David Ruffin for some touring, and were both featured on a RCA Records release with Daryl Hall & John Oates on a medley that included the song Kendricks did the lead on, way back in ’64, “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” with Ruffin’s “My Girl” from a track called “A Nite At The Apollo Live!” That single reached No. 20 on the Hot 100 in ’85. Kendrick was set to go out on-tour as a trio with Ruffin and the guy who replaced David in the Temptations—Dennis Edwards—in ‘91. However, Kendrick (remember he dropped the ‘S’ for savings) got lung cancer and had to curtail his touring after he had a lung removed. But all the years of smoking must have caught up with the tenor, as he passed away on October 5, 1992 in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama at the age of 52. Ruffin had died just 16 months prior in Philadelphia from a reported drug overdose at age 50.   

THE

BIG

ALBUMS



 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

February 16, 1974

 

TOP LP’s & TAPE

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘74:

No. 1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 2)

PLANTET WAVES

Bob Dylan 

ASYLUM RECORDS7E-1003

Having been signed to Columbia Records by producer John Hammond in 1961, by 1973, Bob Dylan was ready for a new record label. David Geffen’s Asylum Records scored the coup, with Dylan recording the album Planet Waves with the Band in late ’73. The album debuted at No. 19 last week, and zoomed to the No. 1 slot on the Top LP’s & Tape chart for this, the first of four back-to-back survey-periods in ’74. Oddly, Planet Waves was Bob Dylan’s first chart-topping LP. It’s been reported that Dylan forced Asylum to postpone the release of the album by two weeks, as he decided at the last minute to change the name to Planet Waves, after he originally had settled on the title Ceremonies Of The Horsemen. Though a major success on the album chart, the first single titled “On A Night Like This” stalled at No. 44 on the Hot 100. Two other singles quickly died. But sometimes chart positions can be deceiving, as Dylan only had six Top 20 singles through the entire ‘60s into the early ‘70s—yet Robert Zimmerman is the undisputed the poet of a generation. Here’s that first single and first track from Planet Waves with the Band; “On A Night Like This.”

Dylan himself drew the album cover artwork, with the phrase “Cast-iron songs & torch ballads” on the lower right side, with the word “Moonglow” on the lower left on a person’s arm; both handwritten in the drawing. Perhaps the most important song to come from Planet Waves is “Forever Young.”

“Forever Young” is used as the theme to the TV show Parenthood that first aired in 2010 (having to replace the short-lived Jay Leno Show at 10 PM after it was cancelled) on NBC TV. The series just concluded on January 29, 2015 after six seasons. The tune “Forever Young” was also used in the film Lassie in 1994. Getting back to Dylan, it should be noted that the Band had toured with Dylan in 1966, when they were still called the Hawks. ’66 was the last year Bob had toured before his motorcycle accident. And it was with the Band that Dylan returned to the much anticipated touring scene in ’74 to support the album. Considering that the Band had three lead vocalists, it was only bass player Rick Danko that sang any backing vocals on any track on the LP. This album marked the first album that Bob overdubbed his own vocals.


SOUL

LP’s CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘74:

No. 1

Soul

LP

(Last Week No. 2)


SHIP AHOY

The O’Jays

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS32408

The biggest album on the Soul LP’s chart this week in ’74 belonged to the O’Jays with Ship Ahoy on Philadelphia International Records. In fact, this was the biggest charting R&M or Soul album of the entire year. The O’Jays have a storied history going back to the early ‘60s in their hometown of Canton, Ohio. But it took the right ingredients from producers and songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff to bring the O’Jays to a mass audience. Their R&B successes early on didn’t originally resonate, even after they began using Gamble and Huff as songwriters/producers. Their first foray into the “Philly Sound” came about in 1969 when the vocal group recorded a song called “One Night Affair” on Gamble & Huff’s Neptune Records label. Two more releases failed to gain Pop acceptance. But the label’s owners were sharpening their skills as well as their pencils, when they created a new record label called Philadelphia International Records, and used the might Columbia/CBS Records for distribution. Right off the bat, the O’Jays hit a home-run with “Backstabbers” in 1972. Then, in ’73, they had the biggest hit of their careers with “Love Train.” In late ’73, the then trio of Eddie Levert, Walter Williams and William Powell laid down vocal tracks along with the musicianship of the MFSB Orchestra for this album Ship Ahoy. One of the orchestra’s bass players was given co-writing credit on their third million-selling song, “For The Love Of Money.” Anthony Jackson joined Gamble & Huff with the writing royalties, as he composed and performed that searing groundbreaking bass track throughout the song that has been sampled quite a bit through the years. Tons of tape tricks abounded on “For The Love Of Money” (No. 9 Pop and No. 3 Soul) which is still heard frequently (especially during tax season) on TV commercials. But the first single from the album was called “Put Your Hands Together,” a kind of Gospel version, or perhaps an extension of the message in “Love Train.” “Put Your Hands Together” was written by Gamble & Huff as a plea to help your fellow man. Here’s a rare live audio track (rather than lip-synced) on TV’s Soul Train from the O’Jays.

The preachy “Put Your Hands Together” (the LP’s opening track) reached No. 10 on the Hot 100 in February of ’74. It also managed to hit the No. 2 spot on the Hot Soul Singles chart. The album cover art depicted the trio as slaves on a ship, drawn by illustrator James Barkley. The backside of the LP also featured one of his beautiful drawings of the supposed ship carrying the slaves. The gatefold showed a picture of the trio standing on a beach looking out over the ocean. Both of the hit songs on the album were arranged by Bobby Martin, who died in 2013. O’Jays member William Powell passed away in 1977 from cancer and reported drug abuse and was replaced by Sammy Strain, once a member of Little Anthony & the Imperials, who rejoined that outfit after his stint with the O’Jays. And yes, that sound was captured by the legendary engineer Joe Tarsia, who so capably watched and listened to hundreds of hit recordings coming from Center City Philadelphia from the late ‘50s through the ‘70s from artists ranging from Chubby Checker, & Bobby Rydel through “Expressway To Your Heart” by the Soul Survivors to Jerry Butler’s Philly recordings, the Trammps, Teddy Pendergrass and virtually everything that came out of Philadelphia International at Sigma Sound. Tarsia should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

 

THE

BIG

SINGLES


For the

Chart-Week Ending

February 16, 1985


HOT 100

TOP 5 SINGLES

 

THIS WEEK IN ’85:


No. 5 (LW 7) “METHOD OF MODERN LOVE

Daryl Hall & John Oates RCA13970

No. 4 (LW 4) “LOVERBOY”

Billy Ocean JIVE9284

No. 3 (LW 2) “EASY LOVER”

Philip Bailey & Phil Collins COLUMBIA04679

No. 2 (LW 1) “I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS”

Foreigner ATLANTIC89596

 

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 3)

 

“CARELESS WHISPER”

WHAM!

Featuring

George Michael

COLUMBIA RECORDS04691

 

 

“Careless Whisper,” was credited as by Wham! -- Featuring George Michael in the U.S. and the U.K., and was released as the second single from the ultimate six-million-selling album Make It Big. At year’s end, “Careless Whisper” was named the principal hit of the year in ’85, selling well in excess of two million copies in the U.S.A. It was an evident endeavor to launch George Michael’s almost unavoidable soon-to-be solo career, which in point of fact took place officially at the end of ’86. It’s been reported that George wrote the song in his head at his day job a couple of years prior, although Ridgeley got a co-writing credit on the composition.

That up-front sax on the track was performed by a guy named Steve Gregory, who outstandingly performed on the 1969 hit, “Honky Tonk Women” by the Rolling Stones and is still an in-demand session player for many big name artists. George Michael reportedly recorded a version of the song in 1983 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama along with famed-producer Jerry Wexler, but wasn’t happy with the end result. Michael then scampered back to England to re-record the song his own way, releasing the version we all know from the album Make It Big; released first in the U.K. in August of ‘84; ending up with the biggest hit in the U.S.A for 1985.

 

 

HOT ADULT CONTEMPORARY SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘85

No.1

ADULT CONTEMPORARY

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

“CARELESS WHISPER”

WHAM!

Featuring

George Michael

COLUMBIA RECORDS04691

 

(**See above.) This was the second of an eventual five consecutive survey-phases for “Careless Whisper” to lead the Adult Contemporary Singles listing.


HOT BLACK SINGLES CHART

THIS WEEK IN ‘85

 

No.1

R&B

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

“MR. TELEPHONE MAN”

New Edition

MCA RECORDS52484

If this song sounds a bit like “A Woman Needs Love” by Ray Parker, Jr., there’s a good reason. Parker wrote “Mr. Telephone Man,” and it was the teen sensation New Edition that made it this week’s No. 1 song on the Hot Black Singles chart on MCA Records. Taking a cue from the old-school Temptations, three members of New Edition shared lead vocals; Bobby Brown (yes that one) Ricky Bell and Ralph Tresvant. This was actually a remake of a song first recorded by another teen act, Junior Tucker done in ’83. The New Edition rendition reached No. 12 on the Hot 100.

 

Ray Parker, Jr. produced this track for New Edition’s second LP simply called New Edition. They had changed labels after their debut album after a disagreement with their mentor, Maurice Starr. He gave them their freedom, and promptly turned around and got another bunch of kids from Boston, and turned them into New Kids On The Block. “Mr. Telephone Man” was the second single from the LP, which also included the singles: “Cool It Now,” (No. 1 R&B and No. 4 Pop) and “Lost In Love.”


THE

BIG

ALBUMS

 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

February 16, 1985



TOP POP

ALBUMS CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘85:


No. 1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 1)

LIKE A VIRGIN

Madonna 

SIRE RECORDS25157

For Madonna, “Like A Virgin” was her first No. 1 record on Hot 100 Singles chart, and ended up being the superstar’s biggest hit of the entire 1980s. The album of the same name was in the No. 1 slot on the Top Pop Albums chart for the second of an ultimate three consecutive weeks at the zenith. The album was recorded in New York City. The song “Like A Virgin” was #1 for 6 weeks from the week before Christmas in ’84 into early ’85. Her LP had been released in November of ’84. The current single in February of ’85 was climbing the chart, and gained her the nickname “The Material Girl.”



 

Chic founder Niles Rogers produced the album Like A Virgin. Madonna is remembered for rolling around in a white wedding dress as she introduced the title track on the MTV Music Awards. The third single was “Angel” (No. 5 Pop) followed by “Dress You Up” (No. 5 Pop.) Interestingly, the song “Into The Groove” was released when Sire Records re-released the album later in ’85 including that track which got major airplay on the radio. It was NOT released as an official single in America, but was featured in Madonna’s film Desperately Seeking Susan. “Into The Groove” was recorded in Philadelphia at Sigma Sound, the home of Gamble & Huff’s music machine. Here in the states, the song was only available on a 12-inch single as the B side of the song “Angel.” I think it’s one of her best recordings. 


TOP BLACK

ALBUMS

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ’85:

No.1

R&B

LP

(Last Week No. 1)

 

SOLID

Ashford & Simpson

CAPITOL RECORDS12366

After years of penning major hits for other artists, Ashford & Simpson at last had a Top 15 Pop hit themselves with this week’s No. 1 song on the Hot Black Singles chart with “Solid” on Capitol Records. Not for the lack of effort, but Nicholas Ashford and his wife Valerie Simpson had slight success as a recording act, starting in 1974 on Warner Brothers Records. They had only three Pop-charting Hot 100 singles on Warner Brothers in a five-year time span. None reached higher than the No. 36 location with a song called “Found A Cure.” Switching labels, the former Motown songwriters and backup singers thought they would have better fortune with Capitol Records. Initially, the move didn’t serve them well, with a minor release in ’82 that stalled. But persistence is a virtue, and Ashford & Simpson finally struck pay-dirt with “Solid” from an album of the same name on Capitol. The LP was No. 1 for the second of four back-to-back weeks during this seven-day survey-period in ’84 on the Black LP’s chart.


“Solid” was an enormous hit in the U.K. and was one of the best-selling records of ’84 over there. The album sat at the peak of the Top Black LPs chart this week in ’85. The album was peaking several weeks after the single had been a major hit on the Black and Pop singles lists. Following-up “Solid” was a chore, as singles “Outa The World” and “Babies” failed to crack the Hot 100. Ashford & Simpson were perhaps most famous for co-writing and producing music by the later day Supremes, also Diana Ross’ hit “Reach Out And Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” also an earlier hit for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell as well as that duo’s “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing,” “You’re All I Need To Get By” and “You’re Precious Love” in addition to “Let’s Go Get Stoned” made renowned by Ray Charles and “I’m Every Woman” first a hit for Chaka Kahn then the late Whitney Houston. In the ‘90s, the duo of Ashford & Simpson had been radio personalities on the now departed radio station WRKS (Kiss FM) here in New York City. Nicholas Ashford passed away on August 22, 2011 due to throat cancer.

**Special thanks to www.ShopRadioCast.com for supplying the photo of the 45 RPM adapter insert.

(Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net -- '60s 45 record image by dan; '70s headphones/vinyl record image by dan; '80s cassette tape image by graur razvan ionut.)

**All chart information is used by permission of Record Research, Inc., from Publisher Joel Whitburn. The original information comes from Billboard Magazine’s various Hot 100 singles, Top 200 albums, and various R & B charts published by Billboard as compiled by Record Research. www.RecordResearch.com

Copyright 2013-2014 by Big Jay Sorensen, Hosted by STCNtech (stcntech.com)
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