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BIG Jay's BIG Week In Pop Music History

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February 27th, 2015


THE

BIG

SINGLES


For the

 

Chart-Week ENDING

 

March 6, 1965


HOT 100

TOP 10 SINGLES

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘65:

 

No. 10 (LW 4) “DOWNTOWN”

Petula Clark WARNER BROTHERS5494

No. 9 (LW 12) “FERRY ACROSS THE MERSEY”

Gerry and the Pacemakers LAURIE3284

No. 8 (LW 13) “THE BIRDS AND THE BEES”  

Jewel Akens ERA3141

No. 7 (LW 10) “KING OF THE ROAD” 

Roger Miller SMASH1965

No. 6 (LW 6) “TELL HER NO”

The Zombies PARROT9723

No. 5 (LW 19) “EIGHT DAYS A WEEK”

The Beatles CAPITOL5371

No. 4 (LW 5) “THE JOLLY GREEN GIANT”  

The Kingsmen WAND172

No. 3 (LW 2) “YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVIN FEELING” 

The Righteous Brothers PHILLES124

No. 2 (LW 1) “THIS DIAMOND RING” 

Gary Lewis and the Playboys LIBERTY55756


 

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 3)

 

“MY GIRL”

The Temptations

GORDY RECORDS7038

100 years from now, someone will be singing “My Girl” in their virtual shower. The song was No. 1 on the Hot 100 for just this week in ’65; replaced next week by the on-coming locomotive called “Eight Days A Week” by the Beatles. The Temptations had a hard to believe 60 Hot 100 hits during their 49-year span reaching that chart. “My Girl” arguably was the vocal groups’ crowning moment. Most music-lovers know that William “Smokey” Robinson wrote the song; but many are surprised that he didn’t write it alone. Ronald White, also a member of the Miracles with Robinson co-wrote and co-produced the track on Gordy Records. White (who passed away in 1995 due to leukemia) was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 with the rest of the Miracles after initially Smokey Robinson had been elected alone, which had caused quite a stir. But let’s get back to the Temptations and this monumental song. David Ruffin had his first chance to shine on a Temptations single with this release. Previously, Eddie Kendricks or Paul Williams would get the nod as lead vocalist. Smokey had seen Ruffin perform the song “Under The Boardwalk” at a show, and thought he would be perfect for this new song he and White had written. His hunch paid off. Note the mono mix of the song is different from what we usually hear now in stereo. I like THIS version above all other mixes I’ve heard over the years.

I’ve seen one report claiming that the rest of the Temptations had to persuade Robinson to have David Ruffin sing the lead and for the group to record the song to begin with. However, some members thought the Miracles should record it first. But, the Temptations had instant success with their first national No. 1 Pop hit.  Smokey may have originally wanted his own outfit to get the first crack at it, but after he had seen Ruffin do such a great job at a Detroit nightclub with “Under The Boardwalk,” he wanted Ruffin’s voice on the track. Smokey claims he wrote the song WITH Ruffin in mind. He played the song for the vocal group on a piano at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and the five guys just fell into place adding backing vocals that were perfect. When the Motortown Revue got back to Hitsville, U.S.A., Smokey had the Funk Brothers lay down to tape the basic tracks to the song. Guitarist Robert White began doodling a riff, but stood up and said it was wrong and wanted to get rid of it. Smokey reportedly said to leave it in; and it became the iconic guitar lick that we all know and love. Arranger Paul Riser added the sweet strings from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra that added just the right touch to this sweet love song. Had Smokey done “My Girl” himself with the Miracles, would it have become the standard that it is? We’ll never know. I doubt Smokey’s wallet is crying over missed opportunities.

 

 

EASY LISTENING SINGLES CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘65

No.1

EASY LISTENING

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

“KING OF THE ROAD”

Roger Miller

SMASH RECORDS – 1965

This was a survey-period that would also produce another recording career-high moment—this time for Roger Miller.  He had his biggest hit record in the No. 1 slot on the Easy Listening Singles chart this week in ’65 with “King Of The Road.” The eventual million-selling 45 RPM was in the fourth of an eventual astounding 10 weeks as the standard-barer on that list; becoming the biggest Easy Listening single that year. The single would reach No. 4 on the Hot 100 in a couple of weeks and it would also become a hot-selling No. 1 song on the Hot Country Singles chart. But it was the so-called “Middle-of-the-Road” audience that embraced the song first, sending it to the top of the Easy Listening list. Here’s a live rendition of Miller’s classic.

“King Of The Road” was so popular, it crossed the Atlantic and was a chart-topping single in the U.K.; at a time when their home-grown artists were ruling the roost. The record also was a No. 1 record in Norway of all places! Miller is said to have seen a sign with the phrase, “Trailers for sale or rent,” and that ended up being the opening line of the song. “King Of The Road” was also based on Miller watching a hobo (as he called him) at Boise, Idaho’s airport. Roger Miller was described as a Country singer, but his talents went far beyond that description. He was not just a singer, musician and songwriter, but Miller was also an actor who performed on his own TV variety show in 1966. Miller was the first artist to cover Kris Kristofferson’s “Me And Bobby McGee”—a Country hit in 1969. He later wrote the music and acted in the Broadway show based on Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn called Big River. The show ran on Broadway for two and a half years. Miller performed in Big River for three months as Pap, replacing John Goodman who left for a career on TV and movies. I participated in a radio interview with Roger Dean Miller in 1986 while Big River was on Broadway. He spoke of having a very rough childhood, being born in Ft. Worth, Texas, and losing his mother the age of one. He then lived with her sister in Oklahoma on a cotton farm; joining the service to avoid being arrested for stealing a guitar at age 17, serving in Korea. Miller was married at a young age, but divorced when he became labeled as a “wild-one” due to his drinking and other demons. When we spoke however, Miller was charming and came across as genuine. Back in the early ‘60s, he moved to Nashville, and starting writing for other artists; then had a string of hits including a few novelties: “Dang Me,” “Chug-A-Lug,” “Engine Engine #9. He recognized his success in the Mother Country with a song called “England Swings” in addition to a heart-wrenching ballad “Husbands And Wives” before giving up on songwriting in the late ‘70s. He was approached to write songs for the new musical and acquiesced. Miller died of lung cancer at the age of 56 in 1992. He was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1995.

 

HOT RHYTHM & BLUES SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘65

No.1

R&B

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)


“MY GIRL”

The Temptations

 

GORDY RECORDS – 7038

While “My Girl” was No. 1 for just a sole week in ’65 (**see above) the record was a monster on the revived Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart. Billboard Magazine had ceased publishing a separate R&B singles list because they believed the Hot 100 Singles list contained many if not all of the biggest song of that genre. They changed their minds after 15 months and brought back the R&B list starting on the week ending on January 30, 1965—and the first No. 1 song was “My Girl.” The single was in the last of six consecutive survey-phases this week in ’65.

 

THE

BIG

ALBUMS

 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

March 6, 1965

 

TOP LPs

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘65:

No. 1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 1)

BEATLES ‘65

 

The Beatles

CAPITOL RECORDS2228

This was the last of a total nine weeks as the principal Pop album in America on the Top LPs chart for the Beatles, with Beatles ’65 on Capitol Records. It was another Capitol chop up creation, as eight cuts were from the British original album Beatles For Sale. Capitol insisted on not using another six tracks so they could make yet another mess of  album called Beatles VI, seven months later. “I’ll Be Back” came from the British LP A Hard Day’s Night, with the single “I Feel Fine” backed with “She’s A Woman” included on Beatles ’65 in the midst of a crap-load of echo and reverb that wasn’t on the master recordings, because Capitol was only given a mono dub to use in America. That blunder made us THINK that was the way George Martin and the Fab Four intended those two tracks to appear. Years later, when we heard the echo/reverb-less tracks of both songs, did we realize we were not only deceived by Capitol in ‘65, but also repulsed by the gimmickry involved in their feeble attempt at making a mono recording sound like stereo in their haste to get Beatles product to market. Regardless, Beatles ’65 was the largest selling NON-soundtrack album of the year. Three of the tracks could effortlessly have been singles: “No Reply,” “I’m A Loser” and “I’ll Be Back.” Here’s an out-take of the tune “I’m A Loser” in glorious stereo.

Notably, two songs written by Beatles’ hero Carl Perkins were used on Beatles ’65. “Honey Don’t” highlighted Ringo Starr on vocals, and “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby” was sung by George Harrison. I asked Perkins years later during a live radio interview how he felt when they included those two songs in their recorded repertoire. Perkins told me, “They helped me pay the mortgage!” Perkins became dear friends with George Harrison through the years. Two other non-Lennon/McCartney tracks were included, with “Rock And Roll Music” written and originally recorded in 1957 by Chuck Berry and “Mr. Moonlight” written by Roy Lee Johnson and recorded first by Dr. Feelgood and the Interns (featuring Piano Red a/k/a Willie Lee Perryman) in 1962. The first remake version of that song was from the Liverpool beat-group the Merseybeats a year later; with the Beatles recording the song in October of ’64 and including it on their British LP Beatles For Sale.

 

HOT R&B LPs

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘65:

No. 1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 1)


SHAKE

Sam Cooke

RCA VICTOR RECORDS3367

In 1963, after losing his two year-old son Vincent in a drowning accident, Sam Cooke soldiered on; recording and touring. Sam himself died a year later from a gunshot wound after reportedly shot by an L.A. hotel manager after he appeared in her office half-naked on the night of December 11, 1964. The cause of his death is still widely debated. Cooke’s album Live At The Copa moved into the No. 1 spot on the Hot R&B LP’s chart for three weeks in early February; only to be replaced at the top spot by an album called Shake on RCA Victor Records just last week. That LP rocketed to the top of the newly revitalized Hot R&B LP’s chart that had been inactive for about a year and a half. Live At The Copa was still locked-in at No. 2, showing how the African-American community loved Sam Cooke. This is the second of what would be three back-to-back survey-periods on this chart for the long-player Shake. That album contained the superb title track which had slid down to No. 6 this week on the national R&B chart. The monumental anthem for the Civil Rights movement, “A Change Is Gonna Come” was on the B side of “Shake” on a 45 RPM release. First here’s “Shake” with some very cool images included from the era.

Now here’s the landmark recording, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” which had been recorded almost a year earlier and was used on the LP called Ain’t That Good News, released on March 1, 1964; the final album given to the public while Cooke was still alive.

René Hall arranged and conducted the song for Cooke’s producers Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore. As an aside, Hall played lead guitar on Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” in the ‘70s. The single that contained both “Shake” and “A Change Is Gonna Come” had been released by RCA Victor just 12 days after Cooke died.

 

THE

BIG

SINGLES

 

For the

 

Chart-Week ENDING

 

March 4, 1972




HOT 100

TOP 10 SINGLES

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘72:

No. 10 (LW 14) “BANG A GONG (Get It On)”

T. Rex REPRISE1032

No. 9 (LW 10) “SWEET SEASONS”

Carole King ODE66022

No. 8 (LW 4) “LET’S STAY TOGETHER”  

Al Green HI2202

No. 7 (LW 13) “HEART OF GOLD” 

Neil Young REPRISE1065

No. 6 (LW 7) “THE LION SLEEPS TONIGHT (Wimoweh) (Mbube)”

Robert John ATLANTIC2846

No. 5 (LW 8) “EVERYTHING I OWN”

Bread ELEKTRA45765

No. 4 (LW 5) “DOWN BY THE LAZY RIVER”  

The Osmonds MGM14324

No. 3 (LW 3) “PRECIOUS AND FEW”

Climax CAROUSEL30,005

No. 2 (LW 2) “HURTING EACH OTHER” 

Carpenters A&M1322


 

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

 

“WITHOUT YOU”

Nilsson

RCA RECORDS74-0604

 

It is the third of four ultimate weeks in ’72 at the crest of the Hot 100 Singles chart for Nilsson with “Without You” on RCA Records. “Without You” was Harry Nilsson’s only No. 1 single in America, but as perfect a single as there ever was. The song was written by two members of the group Badfinger, Pete Ham and Tom Evans (who both later committed suicide over royalties issues and other demons) and was originally recorded by the group for their November, 1970 album called No Dice on Apple Records; a quite valuable piece of vinyl if you can find it in mint condition, complete with a scantily clad model on the cover. The Nilsson version appeared on Harry’s LP called Nilsson Schmilsson, released in late ’71; with his rendition picked for inclusion on the album after he heard Badfinger’s version at a party in London. Badfinger got its start on the Apple Records label with an inside edge as the Beatles’ confidant Mal Evans was their champion while they were known as the Iveys. Their first LP was recorded while they were still being called the Iveys, including the group’s debut single “Come And Get It,” written by Paul McCartney. Their moniker was quickly changed to Badfinger; reportedly named after the working title of “With A Little Help From My Friends” from the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I’ve heard other stories about who came up with the name, including an Apple Records executive claiming his kid used to often utter the word. It was on the ensemble’s second album No Dice that contained the original of “Without You.” The song was written in Golders Green, an area in the London, England borough of Barnet; with the verses written by Pete Ham and the chorus by Tom Evans. For comparison purposes, here is Badfinger’s version of the song.

Certainly, the Badfinger version is more raw and more of a rock-ballad. It’s actually two songs stitched together, much like Paul McCartney had done and still does today. In the hands of Nilsson and producer Richard Perry, the track became a polished, huge production piece, utilizing some of the best musicians accompanying Harry. They included: Gary Wright on that lovely piano track, German Beatles pal from their Hamburg days Klaus Voorman on bass, John Uribe on acoustic guitar, legendary session drummer Jim Keltner on drums. Here’s a rare rough practice demo done by Nilsson prior to the actual take produced by Richard Perry.

The lush orchestration and string and horn arrangement was overseen by Paul Buckmaster. But most notably, it’s the ethereal voice of Harry Edward Nilsson (not Nelson as widely reported) that makes this remake so incredible, and done in one take according to producer Perry. This is one of my favorite recordings during my listening lifetime.

The B side of the single (written by Nilsson) was a great record as well called “Gotta Get Up.”

Harry won the Grammy® for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in ’69 for “Everybody’s Talkin’” his remake of the song written by Fred Neil after it was used in the film Midnight Cowboy. “Without You” also won the Grammy® for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for ’72, and the album Nilsson Schmilsson was nominated for Album of the Year, featuring the other self-penned singles “Coconut” (No. 8 Pop) and (No. 27 Pop) “Jump Into The Fire.” The LP Nilsson Schmilsson was No. 6 this week on the Top LP’s & Tape chart. Harry, the former bank teller, was infamous for being John Lennon’s drinking/drugging buddy during the former Beatles’ “lost weekend” in the early ‘70s. In Nilsson’s case it contributed in his undoing voice-wise and creatively—a waste of talent if you ask me—eventually leading to his passing in California in ’94 of heart disease.

 


TOP 40

EASY LISTENING SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘72

 

No.1

Easy Listening

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

 

“WITHOUT YOU”

Nilsson

RCA RECORDS74-0604

This was the third of five ultimate survey-phases as the biggest hit on the Top 40 Easy Listening Singles chart for Nilsson’s “Without You.” (**See above.)

 


BEST SELLING SOUL SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘72

No.1

Soul

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)


“LET’S STAY TOGETHER”   

Al Green

HI RECORDS2202

“Let’s Stay Together” was the third Hot 100 charting single from Al Green on the Memphis-based label Hi Records (distributed by London Records) under the tutelage of the then new Vice-President of the label (in 1970) trumpeter/songwriter/engineer/producer “Papa” Willie Mitchell. It was in Mitchell’s renovated movie palace, called Royal Studio in South Memphis that created all of those breathtaking, yet sparse Al Green recordings. “Let’s Stay Together” was in the final survey-period of an astounding nine weeks in the No. 1 spot on the Best Selling Soul Singles register this week in ’72. It would become the biggest Soul single of the year when all was said and done; and the only 45 RPM released from the album also called Let’s Stay Together. That LP would have a long and healthy life as the Hot Soul LP’s chart’s No. 1 record starting in a couple of weeks. Here’s a live version of the song, “Let’s Stay Together” by Green in his prime.

In the studio, Albert Green(e) was backed up by what was called the HI Rhythm Section, comprised of “The Human Metronome” Al Jackson, Jr. (of Booker T. & the M.G.’s fame who co-wrote “Let’s Stay Together” along with Green and Mitchell) or alternate drummer Howard Grimes, along with the three Hodges brothers; Leroy on bass, Charles on organ and Maybon “Teenie” on guitar. Often, Green’s backing band also consisted of what were dubbed “The Memphis Horns” featuring six players. The Memphis Horns members were given a Grammy® Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. Al Green was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and was invited into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2004. He received Kennedy Center honors in 2014. He became an ordained minister in the mid-‘70s. Willie Mitchell died in 2010 in his beloved Memphis.

 

THE

BIG

ALBUMS


 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

March 4, 1972

 

TOP LP’s

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘72:


No. 1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 1)


AMERICAN PIE

Don McLean 

UNITED ARTISTS RECORDS5535

 

After performing with the recently departed Folk singer Pete Seeger in the ‘60s, Don McLean made a name for himself with this set of tunes. Having spent five weeks as the nation’s No. 1 Hot 100 Singles chart leader with “American Pie,” McLean’s album also called American Pie sat at the thorny crown of the Top LPs & Tapes list this week in ’72. This was the last of seven consecutive weeks at the zenith of the album chart. The composition “American Pie” has been dissected by musicologists for decades; considered a sort of “History of Rock & Roll” or a lament of the demise of what McLean believed was REAL Rock ‘n Roll music from the ‘50s. The LP had a printed dedication to Buddy Holly, which led many to believe the wearer of the first hipster eyeglasses was indeed the catalyst behind the story of, “The day the music died;” or perhaps the end of innocence.

The single was cut almost in half for two sides of the 45 release. McLean was 13 years-old when Holly, J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) and Richie Valens died in a cornfield in Iowa (along with the pilot of their small plane) in early February, 1959 after performing at an all-star Winter Dance Concert tour in nearby Clear Lake. McLean says the song was on the subject of Holly, but Don has never actually publically interpreted the lyrics; leaving it up to the individual to decide what the song means. Contrary to places that say he wrote the epic song in their establishment, McLean says it was written partially in Cold Spring, NY and in Philadelphia prior to a show at Temple University. The core rhythm section on the song was comprised of David Spinozza on electric guitar, Bob Rothstein on bass, Paul Griffin on piano, Roy Markowitz on drums. They practiced the song for weeks prior to going to the studio to record. McLean has inferred that he originally wanted the song to just be recorded on a solo acoustic guitar with his voice. Producer Ed Freeman with engineer Tom Flye (who had worked on the Woodstock Soundtrack) talked him out of that idea, and laid down the full-blown tracks in New York City on May 26, 1971. Freeman had wanted the song to begin in MONO, then switch to STEREO, but because of engineering limitations, that idea was squashed. But it would have had the impact of the film The Wizard of Oz going from black and white to color if they’d been able to accomplish that. Flye claims he had to make eight edits to piece together the piano parts in the beginning of the song performed by Paul Griffin. And, if you read the album liner-notes, you’ll see McLean was joined by “West Forty Fourth Street Rhythm and Noise Choir.” They were all personal friends of McLean, including, but not limited to: Livingston and James Taylor, Carly Simon and even Don’s hero folk-hero Pete Seeger who sang the campfire-like chorus at the very end of the song. The album American Pie, released on United Artists Records, also included the future hit “Vincent” also frequently known as “Starry Starry Night” and was a song about 1800’s Dutch artist Vincent van Gough. The idea to add the strings later in the song was McLean’s after the producer wanted them from the beginning. I think Don’s idea was more effective. The album American Pie was recorded at the Record Plant in New York City during the summer of ‘71. It’s been reported that just two takes of the 8:33 instrumental track was needed to satisfy producer Ed Freeman. However, McLean’s vocal track was done over 20 times, with pieces of each of his takes spliced together to get just the right phrasing for each segment of the song! The tunes’ vocals were completed over the course of a couple of weeks. McLean still performs today and is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He DID record other songs ya know…including the 45RPM chart records: “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night),” “Castles In The Air,” “Dreidel,” “If We Try,” “Wonderful Baby” (a much overlooked recording) in addition to a comeback of sorts in ’81 with a remake of Roy Orbison’s “Crying,” and another remake of “Since I Don’t Have You.” He also wrote “And I Love You So,” (sometimes shown as “And I Love Her So”) from his first album in 1970; made into a hit by Perry Como in ’73. McLean’s original manuscript of the lyrics to “American Pie” will be auctioned off at Christie’s New York on April 7, 2015. The National Endowment of the Arts and the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America have called the record “The Song of the Century.” 

BEST SELLING SOUL LP’s

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘72:


No. 1

Soul

LP

(Last Week No. 5)

SOLID ROCK

The Temptations

GORDY RECORDS961 

The first single from Solid Rock was a dud for the Temptations, who weren’t used to having those. “It’s Summer” was a remade track that had originally been the B side to their two-million-selling track, “Ball Of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today)” in 1970. This time, “It’s Summer” flamed-out at No. 51 on the Hot 100. It was the first single since 1964 that any Temptations A side didn’t reach the Pop Top 40 on the Hot 100. But hold on. The Temptations still had some life left in them, despite the fact that Eddie Kendricks had left the group because of growing animosity with other members of the five-man ensemble. Add to that, founding member Paul Williams had to leave the Temptations due to various illnesses. Norman Whitfield was still in charge of the group’s success or failure. So, as a parting shot to not only Kendricks (who still had wanted to sing love songs with the group) but to David Ruffin as well who had left the Temptations three years prior (and griped about it constantly) the producer/writer gave them both a public slamming with the song “Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are.)” That one did reach the Top 20, stalling at No. 18 on the Hot 100. If ya like watching a turntable play a 45 RPM disc, you’ll like this.

Damon Harris and Richard Street were the voices who replaced Kendricks and Paul Williams in the group, with Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin and the gruff lead singer Dennis Edwards remaining with the Temptations. Perhaps the self-serving lyrics by Barrett Strong weren’t understood, because “Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)” didn’t quite resonate with Pop listeners the way a Temptations record used to. And the next single from the LP Solid Rock fared less well. “Take A Look Around” with another signature Whitfield  psychedelic-soul stance stalled on the Pop side at No. 30. Was this the end of a mighty legacy? Not yet. Not if you consider the album Solid Rock was this week’s chart-topping record on the Hot Soul LPs chart for the first of two back-to-back seven-day survey-periods. Plus, the group STILL had a two-million-selling single in them, but that was from another LP yet to come later in ‘72. Papa would have been proud, if he could have only found a home to lay his hat. 

 

 

 

 

THE

BIG

SINGLES


For the

Chart-Week Ending

March 7, 1987


HOT 100

TOP 10 SINGLES

 

THIS WEEK IN ’87:

No. 10 (LW 15) “LET’S WAIT AWHILE”

Janet Jackson A&M2906

No. 9 (LW 12) “MANDOLIN RAIN”

Bruce Hornsby and the Range RCA5087

No. 8 (LW 9) “BIG TIME”

Peter Gabriel GEFFEN28503

No. 7 (LW 8) “(You Gotta) FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT (To Party)”

Beastie Boys DEF JAM / COLUMBIA06595

No. 6 (LW 3) “KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF”

Georgia Satellites ELEKTRA69502

No. 5 (LW 7) “RESPECT YOURSELF”

Bruce Willis MOTOWN1876

No. 4 (LW 6) “SOMEWHERE OUT THERE”

Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram MCA52973

No. 3 (LW 5) “YOU GOT IT ALL”

The Jets MCA52968

No. 2 (LW 2) “JACOB’S LADDER”

Huey Lewis and The News CHRYSALIS43097

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

 

“LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER”

Bon Jovi

MERCURY RECORDS888184

 

The album Slippery When Wet had just slipped out of the top spot on the Top Pop Albums chart after a seven-week run at the top for Bon Jovi, but the single “Livin’ On A Prayer” was still the standard-bearer on the Hot 100 Singles chart for its last of four continuous weeks at the pinnacle. This was the second No. 1 single from the album, after “You Give Love A Bad Name” had reined supreme for a sole week for the survey-period ending on November 29, 1986. Both songs had been co-written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Desmond Child who was brought into the project along with a new producer for the group, Bruce Fairbairn.  I knew the band Bon Jovi from working in local New Jersey radio when they first began their recording careers, even playing softball with the group for a charitable event. They were eager to make a real mark in the rock music industry, so Jon and Richie Sambora were advised by Paul Stanley of the band KISS and Mercury Records to exploit the talents of Florida native songwriter Desmond Child, born John Charles Barrett (now a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.) Child’s first external writing triumph was with KISS and Cher. Jon Bon Jovi didn’t believe the song was strong enough to even BE on the album, let alone being the biggest chart hit they’d ever obtain. Here’s “Livin’ On A Prayer”—an anthem for the state of New Jersey if ever there was one.

Jon thought they might have a shot at giving “Livin’ On A Prayer” to some movie soundtrack. Canadian Producer Fairbairn had to talk Jon and Richie to include it on their album. Thankfully, he won that battle. That “talk box” on the guitar hadn’t been heard since the days of Frampton Comes Alive in the ‘70s, so that unique sound was new to many record buyers just three years shy of the ‘90s. Apparently “Livin’ On A Prayer” still resonated with music downloading-types, as the tune re-emerged in 2013 on the Hot 100 at No. 25 because of a viral video was floating around on the internet. Sambora is no longer officially with the band.

 

HOT ADULT CONTEMPORARY SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘87

 

No.1

ADULT CONTEMPORARY

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 2)


“YOU GOT IT ALL”

The Jets

MCA RECORDS52968

Never reaching No. 1 on the Hot 100, the group of eight family members named Wolfgramm, from parents born in the country of Tonga in the South Pacific, scored quite well this week in ’87 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Singles chart with their second biggest hit “You Got It All” on MCA Records. They all moved to the U.S. and landed in (of all places) the cold Minneapolis, Minnesota. Having the biggest hit on THIS chart is perhaps ironic because it led the ADULT list with (at the time of recording) a 12 year-old lead singer, little Elizabeth Wolfgramm in the forefront of the track. Yet, “You Got It All,” couldn’t reach the peak of the Hot 100. Plus, the Jets had another No. 1 song on this chart called “Make It Real” in 1988 as well. “You Got It All” did reach No. 3 (for one week) on the Hot 100, their second highest chart outing after their first hit called “Crush On You” (also No. 3 but for 2 weeks) from the same album called The Jets. “You Got It All” had a pretty interesting pedigree, as Rupert Holmes best known for “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” the last No. 1 song of the 1970s, also wrote “You Got It All.”

“You Got It All” almost topped the Hot Black Singles chart as well, reaching No. 2 on that listing. This was the fourth single from the album The Jets, as “Curiosity” was the first release, not reaching the Pop Singles chart, but doing a respectable No. 8 on the R&B list. “Crush On You” was next, but the follow-up called “Private Number” stalled at No. 47 on that register, and only got to No. 25 on the Black Singles listing. The LP reached No. 17 on the Top Pop Albums chart. The Jets’ engines died out after four more hits: “Cross My Broken Heart” (No. 7 Pop) from the film Beverly Hills Cop II starring Eddie Murphy, then “I Do You” (No. 20 Pop) “Rocket 2 U” (No. 6 Pop) and “Make It Real” gaining the No. 4 slot. After that, MCA Records must have gotten a coach seat with no legroom; as the Jets went the way of People Express Airlines—bye-bye.

 

HOT BLACK SINGLES CHART


THIS WEEK IN ‘87

No.1

R&B

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 2)


“SLOW DOWN”

Loose Ends

MCA/VIRGIN RECORDS 52978

Here’s a British R&B band that Pop listeners likely never heard about called Loose Ends. But if you listened to R&B stations in 1987, you just may remember “Slow Down” as a No. 1 song! Gotta love the Beat Box used throughout the song, issued on 7-inch vinyl and 12-inch as well. The London group Loose Ends consisted of the lead singer on this track, Jane Eugene, group founder Steve Nichol on keyboards along with vocalist and guitar player Carl McIntosh.

Loose Ends did score a minor Hot 100 hit with ‘Hangin’ On A String (Contemplating)” which reached as high as No. 43 on that listing and had previously been a No. 1 record on the Hot Black Singles chart. They started as being called Loose End (leave the last S off for stereo…or something. Nichol was a classically trained musician; playing piano, trumpet and trombone when he toured with the band the Jam in the early ‘80s. They performed backing instrumentation for another British R&B band called Five Star, who had some minor success in America. They must have forgotten to tie up those loose ends, as Loose Ends came crashing to a halt when the singer Jane Eugene and founder Steve Nichol wanted to stay in the same groove as their previous hits. McIntosh disagreed and that was that. Make a note that if you play the video game Grand Theft Auto IV, you’ve heard “Hangin’ On A String (Contemplating)” on the fictitious radio station The Vibe.

 

 

THE

BIG

ALBUMS


 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

March 7, 1987



TOP POP

ALBUMS CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘87:

No. 1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 2)

  

LICENSED TO ILL

Beastie Boys 

DEF JAM / COLUMBIA RECORDS40238

Licensed To Ill is recognized as being the first Rap album to reach No. 1 on the mainstream Top Pop Albums chart from Beastie Boys. And you could conceivably categorize the record as the first Punk/Rap album to achieve that lofty goal. The trio of Jewish Caucasians had released Licensed To Ill at the end of 1986, and released what would be their biggest Hot 100 Singles chart record, “(You Gotta) Fight For The Right (To Party)” setting the tone for things to come. The song was actually making a mockery of people who only live to party! That sly verbal play was missed by most of the people who did “party” to the song.

Yes, that was LL Cool J making a cameo appearance on the video. Your Big Jay especially likes the pie-throwing on the video for obvious Three Stooges reasons. Nyuk nyuk nyuk. The album may have been considered a rap album, but the punk and rock overtones made it accessible for those who might not have normally cared for the genre as a whole. The second official single was “Brass Monkey” and if you view that video you see that their collective tongues were firmly implanted in the cheeks.

The album cover caused controversy, as the backward image of the made up numbers and lettering on a jet airliner 3 M T A 3 spelled “E A T M E” when held up to a mirror. Licensed To Ill sold over nine million copies in the U.S. alone, insuring it as an album of major impact. Major music publications have proclaimed since, that this album was one of the most import records in the music business. The album was in the first of seven back-to-back survey-periods as the prime album in America this week in ’87. The song “(You Gotta) Fight For The Right (To Party)” also peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100 this week. The Beastie Boys were: Adam Horovitz, Mike Diamond and Adam Yauch who died of cancer on May 4, 2012. The week after Yauch died, the album once again went to No. 1 on what’s called the Catalog Albums chart on Billboard Magazine’s list with an amazing surge in sales. 

 

TOP BLACK

ALBUMS

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ’87:

No.1

R&B

LP

(Last Week No. 1)

 

JUST LIKE THE FIRST TIME

Freddie Jackson

CAPITOL RECORDS12495

R&B crooner Freddie Jackson had the No. 1 Hot Black Album chart-leader for an amazing 14th of an ultimate 26 non-consecutive weeks during this survey-phase in ’87; titled Just Like The First Time. The Capitol Records artist was riding high on the three No. 1 Hot Black singles: “Tasty Love,” “Have You Ever Loved Somebody,” and “Jam Tonight.” His current single reached No. 2 on that chart, with the slow-jam called “I Don’t Want To Lose Your Love.” Oddly, the song did not appear on the Hot 100 Pop chart.

This was Jackson’s second studio LP; peaking at No. 23 on the Top Pop Albums chart. Some pressings of the set featured another No. 1 Hot Black chart song—a duet with Melba Moore called “A Little Bit More” which was also featured on her album titled A Lot Of Love, also on Capitol. Freddie Jackson’s album was by far the biggest R&B album of the year in 1987. This collection of songs was released on vinyl, cassette and CD formats. Freddie Jackson was from Harlem in Manhattan, and had formerly been a back up vocalist for Melba Moore; thus their duet. For all of his success on the R&B charts, Jackson never quite successfully crossed-over to the pop side, having only for Top 40 hits; the highest reaching No. 12 with “You Are My Lady” from his first album on Capitol. I participated in an interview with Freddie at the peak of his success (while a bit shy) he projected that he was passionate about his music. Jackson’s peers adored his work. 

**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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