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BIG Jay's BIG Week In Pop Music History

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March 6th, 2015


THE

BIG

SINGLES

 

For the

 

Chart-Week ENDING

 

March 12, 1966


HOT 100

TOP 10 SINGLES

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘66:

 

No. 10 (LW 16) “HOMEWARD BOUND”

Simon & Garfunkel COLUMBIA43511

No. 9 (LW 11) “I FOUGHT THE LAW”

Bobby Fuller Four MUSTANG3014

No. 8 (LW 3) “LIGHTNING STRIKES”  

Lou Christie MGM13412

No. 7 (LW 25) “NOWHERE MAN” 

The Beatles CAPITOL5587

No. 6 (LW 12) “19th NERVOUS BREAKDOWN”

The Rolling Stones LONDON9823

No. 5 (LW 6) “ELUSIVE BUTTERFLY”

Bob Lind WORLD PACIFIC77808

No. 4 (LW 5) “CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’”  

The Mamas & the Papas DUNHILL4020

No. 3 (LW 4) “LISTEN PEOPLE” 

Herman’s Hermits MGM13462

No. 2 (LW 2) “THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKIN’” 

Nancy Sinatra REPRISE0432


 

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

 

“THE BALLAD OF THE GREEN BERETS”

SSgt Barry Sadler

RCA VICTOR RECORDS8739

The chief hit in America this week in ’66 was a song you don’t hear much today. Perhaps it brings back too many unpleasant memories of a very complicated time in our nation’s narration, or, subjectively, it is considered too “nationalistic” to play on today’s radio. Even at the time of release, it was hard to categorize. “The Ballad Of The Green Berets” by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler—U.S. Army Special Forces (as it appeared on some 45’s label) was recorded at a time when there had not yet been the persistent protests to the rapidly escalating war in Vietnam. That resistance grew not long after this song was the biggest hit single-of-the-year in ’66. This week in ’66, Sadler sat atop the Hot 100 Singles chart (for the second of five consecutive weeks) the Easy Listening Singles chart (second of five as well) was No. 2 on the Country Singles chart—in addition to having the leading album in America on the Top LPs chart due to the song “The Ballad Of The Green Berets”—fittingly titled Ballads Of The Green Berets on RCA Victor Records. (**See below). The melody of this monster hit was based on an old American folk song called “The Butcher’s Boy.”

The single was released on January 11, 1966 and sold over five million copies in the U.S. alone. When Barry Sadler penned the music for the composition, Robin Moore wrote the lyrics after he got special training to see what it was like to become a member of the choice Special Force of the U.S. Army. Sadler was recovering from a leg wound after being injured during engagement in South Vietnam. During a long recovery at Walter Reed Army Hospital due to infection, he heard a speech by Robert F. Kennedy dedicating the JFK Center for Special Warfare at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. It was then that Sadler determined to give away his share of the rights to his new song to that center. The tune was dedicated to the first native-born Hawaiian soldier and Special Forces soldier killed in action in Vietnam in 1962; James Gabriel, Jr., Specialist Five. Gabriel was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star for Valor and the National Defense Medal. As for Barry Sadler, he had just one more minor hit called “The A-Team.” Many years after the Vietnam War, the even more highly decorated Sadler (who was a medic) shot and killed a man in a lover’s triangle. He was sentenced to a fairly small amount of time in prison. Moving to Central America, while in Guatemala City in 1988, he was mysteriously shot in a taxi. Sadler suffered brain damage from the head wound and was discovered dead at his mother’s home in Tennessee a year later in November, 1989.

EASY LISTENING SINGLES CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘66


No.1

EASY LISTENING

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

“THE BALLAD OF THE GREEN BERETS”

SSgt Barry Sadler

RCA VICTOR RECORDS8739

 

This was the second of five back-to-back seven-day survey-phases for this song to be the leading single on the Easy Listening chart. (**See above.)

 

 

HOT RHYTHM & BLUES SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘66

No.1

R&B

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 3)

“6 3 4 – 5 7 8 9 (Soulsville U.S.A.)”

Wilson Pickett

ATLANTIC RECORDS – 2320

A very strong record on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart for the “Wicked” Wilson Pickett on Atlantic Records with “6 3 4 - 5 7 8 9 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)” This was the second biggest R&B hit single of the year, with an ultimate seven weeks in the top spot; second only to the eight-week run of the Temptations “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” a few survey-periods down the road. Pickett was on Atlantic Records which still had a production and distribution deal with Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Steve Cropper, the guitar legend, wrote the song with another Stax employee, Eddie Floyd of “Knock On Wood”-fame. Both songwriters were put together by Stax co-owner Jim Stewart. He may have had serious second-thoughts about having Floyd co-write the tune, as it’s been reported that Pickett thought the song was a, “Piece of $&!*,” actually coming to fisticuffs with Eddie over it. Pickett’s boss, Jerry Wexler, got a frantic phone call from Stax boss Stewart. Wexler ordered his client to listen to the song again. Pickett acquiesced and recorded it. Pickett’s sessions at the Stax Studios were reportedly rigorously rocky, as he was so incendiary at times, several musicians simply walked out. That led to this being the last sessions there with Stax owner Stewart banning any outside production coming into his domain. At first, Pickett’s label Atlantic Records decided to take him to another studio in Memphis, but then decided to ship him off to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to record after that.

The song “6 3 4 – 5 7 8 9 (Soulsville, U.S.A)” was named after the moniker of the Stax (and Volt Records) Studios at 926 East McLemore Avenue in South Memphis; an old movie theater and now the Stax Museum. It’s certain, that over the years, anyone with that phone number anywhere in America got pranked numerous times. Cropper also got co-producer’s credit on the track with Stax founder/engineer Jim Stewart. Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles, featuring LaBelle, Nona Hendrix and future member of the Supremes, Cindy Birdsong were the backup singers on “6 3 4 – 5 7 8 9 (Hitsville, U.S.A).” The song was incorporated into the Pickett LP called The Exciting Wilson Pickett which also included: “In The Midnight Hour,” (No. 21 Pop) that had been included on his first album as well, “Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won’t Do,)” (No. 53 Pop) his biggest Pop hit, “Land Of 1000 Dances” (No. 6) and a re-make of a song from his former group (and Eddie Floyd’s) the Falcons called “You’re So Fine” a hit in ’59 before Pickett joined. The Exciting Wilson Pickett is seen as one of the best soul albums of the ‘60s. Pickett’s session at the Stax Studios were reportedly rocky, as he was so incendiary at times, several musicians walked out. That led to this being the last sessions at Stax when Stax owner Stewart banned any outside production coming into his domain. At first, his label Atlantic Records decided to take him to another studio in Memphis, but then decided to ship him off to Muscle Shoals, Alabama after that. Pickett was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, class of 1991, along with receiving a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation. In addition, for a comeback LP in 2000, Wilson received the W.C. Handy Award from the Blues Foundation. Pickett had several run-ins with the law over the years, including alcohol and drug offences, domestic violence and erratic-behavior including driving his car on the lawn of the one-time mayor of Englewood, NJ while shouting death threats. The “Wicked Pickett,” a native of Prattville, Alabama, died of a heart-attack in January of 2006 in Reston, Virginia.

 

THE

BIG

ALBUMS


 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

March 12, 1966

 

TOP LPs

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘66:

No. 1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 4)


BALLADS OF THE GREEN BERETS

SSgt Barry Sadler

RCA VICTOR RECORDS

The album, Ballads Of The Green Berets, was recorded at the then state-of-the-art “Studio A” in Nashville, Tennessee that producer/guitarist Chet Atkins had erected just months earlier. Two men wrote the song “The Ballad Of The Green Berets;” Barry Sadler and Robin Moore, who would go on to write a non-fictionalized book called The Green Berets and other books like The French Connection. The Green Berets novel was made into a manuscript for the motion picture The Green Berets starring John Wayne in 1968. The LP featured several songs about either the military or locations in Southeast Asia with titles like: “Saigon,” “Letter From Vietnam,” “Badge Of Courage,” “Troopers Lament” and even a song called “Salute To The Nurses.” The famed Sid Bass was the orchestra leader on Sadler’s LP, and it was produced by Andy Riswell, who had worked with Perry Como, Judy Garland, Harry Belafonte and many others. Riswell later won a Grammy® for Best Score From An Original Cast Show Album, as the producer of Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, the Original Broadway Cast Recording. Riswell died in 1999 at the age of 94.  (**See above.)

 

HOT R&B LPs

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘66:


No. 1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 2)


GOING TO A GO-GO

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

TAMLA RECORDS267

This LP was released on November 1, 1965, and was the first album to feature the new moniker Smokey Robinson & the Miracles; yet it was still not the official name of the group. But the SINGLES from this LP and all others up to the 1966 45 RPM “(Come ‘Round Here) “I’m The One You Need,” were all credited as just the Miracles. That would continue until the first release by the group to open up 1967 with the single “The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage.” Going To A Go-Go’s album cover did not show the face of Smokey’s then wife Claudette as she had retired from the group to raise her family. She had been with the group since its inception. The album Going To A Go-Go was not simply a way to cash-in on the “Go-Go” discotheque-craze; because the LP featured some of the most treasured ballads by Smokey and company, including: “Tracks Of My Tears” (the opening track to the long-player (No. 16 Pop) and “Ooo Baby Baby (also No. 16 Pop) and “My Girl Has Gone” reaching No. 14 Pop. Here’s that sweet ballad.

But the song that was inspired by watching dancers at a bowling alley lounge was written by Smokey, along with Warren Moore, Robert “Bobby” Rogers and their legendary guitar player Marv Tarplin. “Going To A Go-Go” wasn’t lip-synced on this video, although a pre-recorded musical track by the Funk Brothers was used. Listen to the drum opening on “My Sharona” from the Knack in the late ‘70s, and you’ll see where they got that from—right here on “Going To A Go-Go!”    

Group member Pete Moore did the vocal arrangements for the group, as he did on this album as well. Smokey shared the producers chair with Frank Wilson and William “Mickey” Stevenson, then the head of the Motown A&R (Artists and Repertoire) department. I think this is clearly one of the best albums the Miracles ever recorded.

 

THE

BIG

SINGLES

For the

 

Chart-Week ENDING

 

March 10, 1973





HOT 100

TOP 10 SINGLES

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘73:

No. 10 (LW 12) “DADDY’S HOME”

Jermaine Jackson MOTOWN1216

No. 9 (LW 9) “ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH”

John Denver RCA VICTOR0829

No. 8 (LW 11) “THE COVER OF THE ROLLING STONE”  

Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show COLUMBIA45732

No. 7 (LW 5) “CROCODILE ROCK” 

Elton John MCA40000

No. 6 (LW 8) “ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA (2001)”

Deodato CTI12

No. 5 (LW 7) “LOVE TRAIN”

O’Jays PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL3524

No. 4 (LW 4) “COULD IT BE I’M FALLING IN LOVE”  

The Spinners ATLANTIC2927

No. 3 (LW 3) “LAST SONG”

Edward Bear CAPITOL3452

No. 2 (LW 2) “DUELING BANJOS” 

Eric Weisberg and Steve Mandell – Deliverance WARNER BROTHERS7659


 

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

 

“KILLING ME SOFTLY WITH HIS SONG”

Roberta Flack

ATLANTIC RECORDS2940

 

This was the third of five non-consecutive weeks at the Hot 100 Singles chart summit for Roberta Flack’s Grammy® Award-winning “Killing Me Softly With His Song” on Atlantic Records. To this day there is disagreement about what or who inspired the song. Was it one of the songwriters Norman Gimble changing a word in a phrase read in a book given to him by arranger/songwriter Lalo Schifrin about someone, “Killing me softly with his blues” as Gimble put it? Or was it due to singer Lori Lieberman telling Gimble the account about seeing Don McLean (“American Pie”) perform at a show? Lori claimed at the time, Gimble did come up with the phrase, (Charles Fox came up with the music) after hearing her tell him of the experience seeing McLean at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Lieberman didn’t think the word “blues” was right composition; recommending it be changed to “song” instead. Perhaps we’ll never truly know which version of the story is exact, but the 45 RPM became the biggest hit of year in 1973. Here’s Flack’s take on the tune.

Flack’s remake (of the Lori Lieberman original two years prior) won a Grammy® Award for Record of the Year for Flack and producer Joel Dorn. Flack won for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Female, and the two official songwriters (Gimble and Fox) won another prize for Song of the Year. This week’s No. 1 song from ‘73 is also in the Grammy® Hall of Fame. Joel Dorn was a former Jazz radio personality and Atlantic staff producer who supervised the sparsely mellow recording “Killing Me Softly With His Song.” He had also produced Flack’s other award-winning recording “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Dorn died in 2007. Flack was the first artist to win Record of the Year (1972 and 1973) two years in a row. She was only 15 years-old when she was awarded a full musical scholarship at Howard University, but changed her major from piano to voice. Graduating at age 19, she later became a school teacher in the District of Columbia. On weekends, she played piano to accompany opera singers, eventually performing herself. She began singing professionally in 1968. It was Jazzman Les McCann who discovered Roberta Flack at a D.C. club. A year later, she recorded an album called First Take that featured “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” The song was rediscovered when it was featured in the first Clint Eastwood-directed film, Play Misty For Me. Demand for the song was swift and became a six-week No. 1 song.

 

TOP 40

EASY LISTENING SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘73

 

No.1

Easy Listening

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

 

“LAST SONG”

Edward Bear

CAPITOL RECORDS3452

So who was this Edward Bear character? It wasn’t any real person; it was the name of the character in Winnie The Pooh books. Winnie’s proper name is Edward Bear. A pop group from Toronto, Canada took the name Edward Bear and made off with this week’s honey of a song; the No. 1 45 RPM on the Top 40 Easy Listening Singles listing, “Last Song.” This record reached No. 3 on the Hot 100 Singles list for two-consecutive weeks as well. While it wasn’t quite their last song, the follow-up single called “Close Your Eyes” just squeaked into the Top 40 at No. 37 during the spring of ’73; and for U.S. audiences that was the last song for the group that ever hit the Hot 100. “The Last Song” is depicted here with some guy’s video preoccupied with deceased actress Natalie Wood, who drowned in 1981.

Edward Bear’s first hit in 1970 was called “You, Me And Mexico,” also on Capitol. In the U.S., the song only reached No. 68 on the Hot 100. However, all three of their singles were Top 5 hits in Canada. That came at a time when Canadian music radio stations had to have a high percentage of songs by Canada’s artists on the air. “Last Song” sold over a million copies in the U.S., which is almost funny, because during an interview, the lead singer of the group Larry Evoy once said he’d remain based in Canada. And, while scared of the U.S., he didn’t mind making money across the border. I hope you made a few American dollars to bring back to Canada, you hoser, eh?

 

BEST SELLING SOUL SINGLES

CHART


THIS WEEK IN ‘73

No.1

Soul

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)


“LOVE TRAIN”   

O’Jays

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS3524

While the song “Love Train” would become a No. 1 Hot 100 hit for a sole week (next week—interrupting the run of “Killing Me Softly With His Song”) it was finishing its run of four consecutive chart-phases as the biggest hit on the Best Selling Soul Singles specialty survey during this seven-day period in ’73. The “Philly Soul” sound got a huge boost from the triumph of this million-selling record by O’Jays on the Philadelphia International Records label. “Love Train” was the group’s only No. 1 Hot 100 single in their long history. There was an over six-minute LP version of the song; faded out just after the three minute mark for the 45 release. Here’s that long version from the album. Listen to the lush and almost perfect instrumentation on this track. Amazing.

Legendary Philly songwriters/producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff (who I interviewed back in 2009 on CBS-FM 101.1) wrote the song about peace with a beat. The MFSB orchestra did the backing music track for this timeless record put together at Sigma Sound Studios on South Broad Street in Philadelphia. “Love Train” was contained in the LP Back Stabbers; with the title track itself becoming their first million-selling single for the group originally from Canton, Ohio. The group was re-named the O’Jays after a disc-jockey in Cleveland named Eddie O’Jay, who was part of a management team led by the iconic New York radio personality Frankie Crocker. They had previously been called the Mascots and (earlier in high school) the Triumphs in 1958, and were a five-man group up until just before the Back Stabbers album was recorded in Philly. O’Jays (at the time of “Love Train” becoming their second million-selling single) consisted of Eddie LeVert, Walter Williams and William Powell. Powell died in 1977 and was replaced by Sammy Strain, formerly of the vocal group Little Anthony & the Imperials. Strain has since rejoined “Little” Anthony Gourdine in his act. O’Jays got inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, and the vocal group was placed in the R&B Hall of Fame in 2013. After over 40 years, it’s quite heartbreaking—with the world situation today in 2015—that the song “Love Train” mentions many of the countries where there is continued conflict. I’m sure that fact is not going unnoticed by the writers Gamble & Huff.  

 

THE

BIG

ALBUMS


 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

March 10, 1973 


TOP LP’s

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘73:


No. 1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 1)


DON’T SHOOT ME I’M ONLY THE PIANO PLAYER

Elton John 

MCA RECORDS2100

Riding the success of the single “Crocodile Rock” (which had been No. 1 during three weeks back in February) Elton John had the No. 1 LP in the U.S. this week in ’73 with Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player on MCA Records. This was the last of two back-to-back survey-periods as the prime LP in the U.S.A. The album (completely written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin) was recorded in France at the studio inside Château d'Hérouville near Paris, and became Elton John’s second No. 1 LP in America. The first was Honky Château on UNI Records named after the mansion/recording studio. “Crocodile Rock” was still hanging-in on the Hot 100; slipping from No. 5 to No. 7 this week. It’s a tribute to late ‘50s and early ‘60s singers; particularly Bobby Vee with the high harmony parts on the track. Here’s Elton in his prime early days from a live concert.

The B side of “Crocodile Rock,” the song “Elderberry Wine” was also featured on Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player. MCA Records had swallowed UNI Records to become one unit, with “Crocodile Rock” being the first U.S. Elton John single to be on the newly consolidated label. Big Jay’s Record Pig Music Trivia© fans know that “Honky Cat” was the last Elton John single on Uni. MCA had merged Decca,  Kapp and Uni Records into one giant vat of artists. Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player was also the first Elton John LP—actually THE first album in America on the new MCA moniker. Another big single (reaching No. 2 on the Hot 100 Singles chart weeks later) from the album was “Daniel.” That single’s B side was an outtake that didn’t make the LP called “Skyline Pigeon,” but was released on later reissues of this album. For Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player, Elton John’s band featured just the core group with Davey Johnston on guitars, Dee Murray on bass guitar, and Nigel Olsson on drums—one of only two albums featuring just those four musicians. The only other LP with just those core-four band-members was the album Breaking Hearts in 1984. That LP is most known for the song “Sad Songs (Say So Much).” Dee Murray died in Nashville, Tennessee in 1992 at the age of 45 from a stroke, after complications from skin cancer. Johnstone is still Elton John’s musical director. Nigel Olsson returned to the Elton John Band and is his drummer once again after he and Murray had been kicked out of the group in 1975.

 


BEST SELLING SOUL LP’s

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘73:


No. 1

Soul

LP

(Last Week No. 5)

THE WORLD IS A GHETTO

War

UNITED ARTISTS RECORDS5652

If you knew that the LP The World Is A Ghetto from War was the biggest chart album of 1973, you are a Record Pig. It was only No. 1 on the Top LP’s chart for two weeks, and on the Best Selling Soul LP’s chart for seven survey-phases (this was the fifth)—but it beat out huge albums from Seals & Crofts, Stevie Wonder, Carly Simon and Diana Ross when all was said and done in ’73. War had been connected with ex-Animals co-founder Eric Burdon when they had a hit mutually in 1970 called “Spill The Wine.” War had been put together in 1969, with the purpose of being a fusion of musical types to appeal to a wide fan-base. The plan worked when Burdon was joined with the group by producer Jerry Goldstein and released the LP called Eric Burdon Declares “War” on MGM Records, recorded in the first week of the 1970’s in San Francisco. The inspiration for “Spill The Wine” was found in the studio when War member Lonnie Jordan spilled a glass of wine on the mixing console in the recording studio; something Eric Burdon somehow thought was funny. The group wrote the song around that event. Burdon left the band after a second album in the middle of a tour in Europe, with War continuing on without him after they released a second chart single (No. 50 Pop) “They Can’t Take Away Our Music.” That split led to War and their first album, eponymously named War, released in ’71. The album had marginal success. Their second album away from Burdon was called All Day Music and was the restart of the hit machine that War became. That album featured the songs “All Day Music” (No. 35 Pop) and “Slippin’ Into Darkness” (No. 16 Pop) their first million-selling single. The next album exploded War in a huge way with the singles “The World Is A Ghetto” (No. 7 Pop)—a song about how no matter how rich you are, things can and do go wrong outside of what is considered the ghetto; meaning, we’re all the same and people have to make the best out of every situation. “The World Is A Ghetto” was No. 14 this week on the Hot Soul Singles survey, after peaking at No. 3 on that list. Here the edited single version, cut down from the over 10 minute album track.

The next single from The World Is A Ghetto was the group’s highest charting Pop hit, reaching No. 2 on the Hot 100 called “Cisco Kid”—another million-selling 45 RPM. That song had just debuted last week in ’73 at No. 79 on the Hot 100 singles chart; and was sitting in the No. 69 position this survey-period with a bullet. As with almost every song performed by War, each band member got a writing credit, which was a seven-person split. The group was made up of Papa Dee Allen on conga, bongos, vibes and percussion (he passed away in 1988) Harold Ray Brown on drums and percussion, Morris “B.B.” Dickerson on bass guitar, Lonnie Jordan on keyboards, Charles Miller on saxes and clarinet (he died in 1980), Lee Oskar on harmonica and Howard E. Scott on guitar. Jordan and Scott co-produced the LP with Jerry Goldstein. War would go on to have hits including: “Gypsy Man” (No. 8 Pop) “Me And Baby Brother” (No. 15 Pop) “Why Can’t We Be Friends” (No. 6 Pop and another million-seller) “Low Rider,” perhaps their best remembered song today and their last major hit called “Summer” in ’76. The group’s name was fought over, with Goldstein retaining the rights. Today, the only original member of the group allowed to use that name is co-founder Lonnie Jordan. War has been nominated, but not inducted yet into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which seems to me to be an insult, as they certainly brought all types of music together for a mass audience. Here’s hoping they get re-nominated.

 

 

 

THE

BIG

SINGLES


For the

Chart-Week Ending

March 12, 1988


HOT 100

TOP 10 SINGLES

 

THIS WEEK IN ’88:

No. 10 (LW 6) “CAN’T STAY AWAY FROM YOU”

Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine EPIC07641

No. 9 (LW 16) “I WANT HER”

Keith Sweat VINTERTAINMENT69431

No. 8 (LW 12) “OUT OF THE BLUE”

Debbie Gibson ATLANTIC89129

No. 7 (LW 8) “MAN IN THE MIRROR”

Michael Jackson EPIC 07668

No. 6 (LW 7) “JUST LIKE PARADISE”

David Lee Roth WARNER BROTHERS28119

No. 5 (LW 8) “ENDLESS SUMMER NIGHTS”

Richard Marx EMI / MANHATTAN50113

No. 4 (LW 4) “I GET WEAK”

Belinda Carlisle MCA53242

No. 3 (LW 3) “SHE’S LIKE THE WIND”

Patrick Swayze (featuring Wendy Fraser)RCA5363

No. 2 (LW 1) “FATHER FIGURE”

George Michael COLUMBIA07682

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 2)

 

“NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP”

Rick Astley

RCA RECORDS5347

 

This song ended up being the fourth biggest chart-hit of the year 1988, as British singer Rick Astley scored enormously with his debut American hit, “Never Gonna Give You Up” his only million-selling single in the U.S. The RCA Records artist is from Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, England. The then 21 year-old baritone singer had the biggest hit of the year in ’87 in his native U.K. with “Never Gonna Give You Up.” It crossed the sea and debuted on the Hot 100 Singles listing for the week ending on December 19, 1987. This was the first of a two-week run at the apex of the American Pop chart during this seven-day survey-segment in ’88.

The song “Never Gonna Give You Up” sprang from Astley’s album called Whenever You Need Somebody also on RCA Records. Later in the spring of ’88, Astley reached the peak of the Hot 100 for his second and final time with the follow-up single “Together Forever.” Astley’s first hit was the “victim” of one of the first big internet pranks. “Never Gonna Give You Up” and it’s music video was spread virally as a web meme called “Rickrolling.” The Reader’s Digest version of this fast-moving phenomenon was the fact that someone began using the URL or internet address of the music video of the song listed under another name. So every time someone clicked on what they thought was something else, it turned out to be the link to the video of Astley’s hit. Thus making it viewed almost 30 million times in a very short time. YouTube even used it as a prank on April Fool’s Day in 2008, ensuring millions of people heard the song and perhaps watched the God-awful video of Astley attempting to dance no matter what video they wished to watch. I wish someone would get a hold of a RADIO air-check of my show on CBS-FM and do that. I’ll supply a video of me dancing. Anyone? Anyone?  

 

HOT ADULT CONTEMPORARY SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘88

 

No.1

ADULT CONTEMPORARY

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 2)


“NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP”

Rick Astley

RCA RECORDS5347

This was the first of three weeks atop the Hot Adult Contemporary Singles chart for Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” (**See above.)

 

 HOT BLACK SINGLES CHART


THIS WEEK IN ‘88

 

No.1

R&B

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 2)


“FISHNET”

Morris Day

WARNER BROTHERS RECORDS 28201

Morris Day had been the leader of his former pal Prince’s backup funk band called The Time. Morris Day was prominently featured in the film Purple Rain playing the comic relief in the movie. After Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were fined and then fired from The Time (with the advice of Prince) for arriving late for a concert due to a blizzard in Atlanta, Morris Day began a solo career in 1985. Day and Prince had a falling-out, so the solo route was logical for Day at this point. It’s Morris Day who had this week’s prime record on the Hot Black Singles chart with the song “Fishnet” on Warner Brothers Records.

 

 

Morris Day’s only previous Hot 100 Singles charting record was 1985’s “The Oak Tree.” The Time had a short-lived reunion in 1990. That association led to an album called Pandemonium, yielding a No. 1 Black Singles chart single (No. 9 Pop) called “Jerk Out.” Plus they came together for a one-off at the Grammy® Awards ceremony in 2008. Problems with the name The Time caused members to simply change the moniker so they could move on—calling the reunited and reconstituted group The Original 7ven. That’s not a typo. They put out an album called Condensate in 2011. 

 

 

THE

BIG

ALBUMS


 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

March 12, 1988

TOP POP

ALBUMS CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘88:


No. 1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 2)

 

DIRTY DANCING

(Original Soundtrack from the Vestron Motion Picture)

Various Artists

Here was an album that just wouldn’t die. It had reached the No. 1 slot on the Top Pop albums chart for the first time for the week ending November 14, 1987. That time, it was at the top of the heap for nine consecutive survey-phases through the middle of January of ’88. It was overtaken by George Michael’s album Faith for a couple of weeks—then by the eponymously named LP from Tiffany. Faith jumped back to the apex for five weeks. But with the success of yet another single from Dirty Dancing—Patrick Swayze featuring Wendy Fraser with “She’s Like The Wind,”— it vaulted the album back into the No. 1 position again for yet another nine survey-phases—for a total of 18 non-consecutive weeks. Heartthrob Swayze and Fraser’s hit reached No. 3 on the Hot 100, and had just finished a two-week stay as the biggest record on the Hot Adult Contemporary Singles listing.

Note that the flipside of Swayze’s single “Stay” by Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs; and No. 1 45 RPM way back in November of 1960! The Dirty Dancing-mania wasn’t over. Yet another oldie from 1962 came roaring back to the Hot 100 that was featured in the film, and used on the follow-up album More Dirty Dancing. “Do You Love Me” from the Contours reached No. 11 in the summer of ’88, 26 years after its first run on the Hot 100 after having a three-week stay in the No. 3 spot back in ’62. Those oldies certainly didn’t hurt the sales of the soundtrack of the movie—including: “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes, “Hey Baby” from Bruce Channel, “Love Is Strange” by Mickey & Sylvia plus “In The Still Of The Night” from the Five Satins, the granddaddy of all oldies. The Dirty Dancing Soundtrack has sold over 11 million copies in the US alone. The RCA Records soundtrack to the film (which fictitiously took place in the Catskill Mountains of New York state starring Swayze and Jennifer Grey) had several new hits as well, including Grammy® Awards winners for Best Song and Best Duet, “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, written by Jersey-guy Franke Previte with, John DiNicola and Donald Markowitz. Previte was once with the band Franke & the Knockouts, who scored a No. 10 Hot 100 45 RPM with the song “Sweetheart” on Millennium Records. “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” first entered the Hot 100 Singles list for the week ending on September 26, 1987. It gained the No. 1 position for the week ending November 18, 1987. But the album would slip to No. 2 and sit there for weeks. Then, renewed interest in the film and/or a new single, like “Hungry Eyes” by Eric Carmen would give it a bump. That song reached No. 4 on the Hot 100 in late February of ’88. Again, Previte was one of the co-writers of “Hungry Eyes” along with John DiNicola. Carmen had several hits starting in 1972 when he was a member of the Raspberries. Their biggest hit was “Go All The Way” back in the summer of ’72—a very Beatleesque band. Carmen went solo in ’75 and scored his biggest hit ever with “All By Myself,” a million-selling single in ’75 that gained the No. 2 spot on the Hot 100 for three solid weeks. “Hungry Eyes” was Carmen’s biggest hit since ’76; briefly reigniting he recording career.

This week in ’88, the Soundtrack album was in its 10th of 18 eventual non-consecutive weeks at No. 1. Dirty Dancing has sold over 11 million copies in the US alone; and reportedly more than 42 million copies worldwide. It spawned a follow-up album called More Dirty Dancing: More Original Music from the Hit Motion Picture that included some of the leftover songs from the movie (“Do You Love Me,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Wipeout,” “Some Kind Of Wonderful” and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”) and some lame instrumentals. This album sold nowhere near what the original accomplished.  \

 

 

TOP BLACK

ALBUMS

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ’88:


No.1

R&B

LP

(Last Week No. 2)

 

CHARACTERS

Stevie Wonder

MOTOWN RECORDS6248

The 21st album from Stevie Wonder was riding high atop the Hot Black Albums chart this week in ’88 called Characters on Motown Records. The album had been No. 1 for five weeks from the middle of January through the middle of February, and had bounced back for one final week replacing an album by Gladys Knight & the Pips called All Our Love. Wonder had virtually always issued music on Tamla Records since his first outing in 1962 (with some exceptions including “I Just Called To Say I Love You” and “Love Light In Flight” (both from the film The Woman In Red)—but this was the beginning of Stevie being on the Motown label exclusively. Characters was not a huge success on the Pop album charts, but became an important record none the less. The highly anticipated LP/CD Characters debuted at No. 1 on Hot Black Albums chart—going on to gain three Grammy® nominations. The song “Skeletons” was the first single from  Characters; peaking at No. 1 on the Hot Black Singles chart, but only No. 19 on the mainstream Hot 100.

“Skeletons” was nominated for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male at the Grammy® Awards. The album was also nominated for a Grammy® in the Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male category. “Skeletons” would be Wonder’s final Top 20 Hot 100 Pop hit in his storied career. However; his next single from the album Characters called “You Will Know” (for some odd reason) stalled at No. 77 on the Hot 100. It is a beautiful song, and was No. 1 last week on the Hot Black Singles chart for just that sole seven-day survey-period.

A third single “Get It” was released as a duet with Wonder and Michael Jackson, yet surprisingly had little Pop success; just scratching No. 80 on the Pop list.  Perhaps the lack of success was because it had to fight a Columbia Records release at the same time featuring Julio Iglesias with Wonder. They must have cancelled each other out as that one only got to No. 80 as well.  

**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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