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BIG Jay's BIG Week In Pop Music History

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March 13th, 2015


THE

BIG

SINGLES

 

For the

 

Chart-Week ENDING

 

March 18, 1967


HOT 100

TOP 10 SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘67:

No. 10 (LW 5) “RUBY TUESDAY”

The Rolling Stones LONDON904

No. 9 (LW 4) “LOVE IS HERE AND NOW YOU’RE GONE”  

The Supremes MOTOWN1103

No. 8 (LW 9) “MY CUP RUNNETH OVER”  

Ed Ames RCA VICTOR9022

No. 7 (LW 12) “FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH (Stop, Hey What’s That Sound)” 

Buffalo Springfield ATCO6459

No. 6 (LW 7) “SOCK IT TO ME- BABY! 

Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels NEW VOICE820

No. 5 (LW 3) “BABY I NEED YOUR LOVIN’” 

Johnnie Rivers IMPERIAL66227

No. 4 (LW 8) “THERE’S A KIND OF HUSH”  

Herman’s Hermits MGM13681

 No. 3 (LW 1) “PENNY LANE” 

The Beatles CAPITOL5810

No. 2 (LW 6) “DEDICATED TO THE ONE I LOVE”

The Mamas & The Papas DUNHILL4077

 

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 2)

 

“HAPPY TOGETHER”

The Turtles

WHITE WHALE RECORDS244

 

The Turtles’ first and only No. 1 45 RPM on the Hot 100 Singles chart, was possibly the most perfect single released in the last three years of the ‘60s. The group had a few hits prior to finding “Happy Together” on a nearly worn-out demo copy by the song’s writers Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon. The Turtles’ first hit song, “It Ain’t Me Babe” written by Bob Dylan, was a national winner; riding the wave of the Folk/Rock craze in ’65. That song reached No. 8 on the Hot 100, but none of the next songs they released on the independent White Whale Records were able to get higher than No. 20—yet that song, “You Baby,” was a regional big hit in many cities, but failed to gain the traction it needed on a few major radio stations that passed on it. “You Baby” has since garnered a kind of cult-status among “Sunshine Pop” fans, written by P. F. Sloan. The Turtles had passed on Sloan’s song “Eve Of Destruction,” later made into a No. 1 record by Barry McGuire. But after a mini-drought in ’66, White Whale had their first and only No. 1 song in the nation with “Happy Together.” Songwriters Bonner and Gordon had played their own demo to dozens of artists with all of them passing. But the former group called the Crossfires (formed at Westchester High School in Southern California) who changed their moniker to the Turtles after they were spotted in a club and were offered a contract by the owners of the brand new White Whale Records. The Turtles loved the sound of England’s the Zombies, and patterned their vocals after their lead singer Colin Blunstone plus their intricate harmonies. The Turtles had some great voices in their midst, as Howard Kaplan (changed to Kaylan) and Mark Volman had been singing in school choruses through Junior and Senior high school. Various members came and went during the time the group was together. Those harmonies and strong lead vocals were used to perfection on “Happy Together,” which only took only six weeks upon chart-entry to reach the pinnacle of 45 RPMs. This was the first of three back-to-back weeks as the biggest hit in the land; kicking out of the top spot another perfect single “Penny Lane” by the Beatles.

Why did they have to cut the song short? The ending is sublime. You could see the group was having a blast on the video above. The fact that Volman was holding a French Horn (an instrument he didn’t know how to play) and used it as a prop was adorable. But White Whale needed a follow-up, and went back to Bonner and Gordon, who willingly responded with “She’d Rather Be With Me.” That song reached a respectable No. 3 on the Hot 100 in June of ’67. It happens to be the groups’ biggest hit worldwide; eclipsing “Happy Together” in overall global sales. Both are quite strong Pop records. A couple of truly magnificent singles after those two monster hits included “You Know What I Mean” (No. 12) and “She’s My Girl” (No. 14) both written by Bonner and Gordon. But White Whale wanted more Pop, at a time when the group wanted to do more intricate music. After failing to have another major hit through most of 1968, the label pushed again, basically telling them to make another “Happy Together” or there wouldn’t be a happy-ending for the group and the company. Having failed at being an “album” group, while recording an LP later titled The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands, featuring the group portraying many different images—poking fun at themselves and the record company—they laid down to tape the frilly, yet sublime single “Elenore,” plus the immaculate “You Showed Me.” “Elenore” with all of its Pop overtones was the groups’ “raspberries” to the label. It sort of backfired on the band when it became a No. 6 Pop hit and another almost carbon copy of “Happy Together.” “You Showed Me” was written by members of the Byrds; James (formerly Roger) McGuinn and Gene Clark. After that song also reached No. 6 Pop, the hits dried up for the Turtles. As The Florescent Leech and Eddie a/k/a Flo & Eddie, Kaplan and Volman joined Frank Zappa’s ensemble the Mothers Of Invention, and both have been in-demand session singers for years. That’s Kaylan and Volman singing background vocals on “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” from T-Rex, “Hungry Heart” by Bruce Springsteen and dozens of other hits by various artists over the years. I have an autographed copy of The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands from the two singers, with Kaylan telling me he hadn’t seen a nearly mint copy of their album since it came out. I pride myself in keeping my extensive record collection in great shape. It is one of my favorite albums of the ‘60s. Kaylan (real last name Kaplan) and Volman have been in the news as of late, winning a lawsuit over copyrights of their songs recorded before 1972 getting proper performance royalties on certain music delivery platforms. Former Turtles singer and bass guitarist, Chip Douglas, produced “Daydream Believer” by the Monkees. He’s even given a mention in the spoken intro to the song by Davy Jones, when he says, “What number is this Chip” with the boys and Douglas replying, “Seven-A.” Group member and one of their drummers (pre-“Happy Together”) Don Murray died in 1996 at age 50. Songwriter Alan Gordon passed in 2006, after having co-written other great pop songs with Gary Bonner like “Celebrate” from Three Dog Night, and as a solo writer of hits such as “My Heart Belongs To Me” from Barbra Streisand.

 

TOP 40

EASY LISTENING SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘67

No.1

EASY LISTENING

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

“LADY”

Jack Jones

KAPP RECORDS800

John Allan Jones a/k/a Jack was the offspring of actor/singer Allan Jones and actress Irene Hervey. Jack Jones got the singing bug after his friend Nancy Sinatra invited her father Frank to sing at their University High School. The younger Jones was briefly was a part of his father’s singing act, but it was clear within weeks that he would have his own career as a vocalist. Though failing as a Rock & Roll singer when first signed to Capitol Records in 1959, Jack had a string of Middle-of-the-Road or Easy Listening hits from 1962 through 1968. Most of those were on Kapp Records owned by David Kapp. During this survey-phase in ’67, Jones held the crown with this week’s biggest Top Easy Listening Singles chart hit with his third No. 1 on that list—“Lady.” The song had a pretty good pedigree, as it was co-written by composers Burt Kaempfert and his cohort Herbert Rehbein, with lyrics from Larry Kusik and Charles “Hoss” Singleton—most famous for writing English lyrics for other famous songs like “Strangers In The Night” and “Spanish Eyes.” “Lady” was in the last of four consecutive seven-day survey-periods on this survey this week in ’67; his last entry into the Pop Top 40 at No. 39.

The single “Lady” came from an album of the same name, with three tracks (including this one) conducted and arranged by noted musician, Ralph Carmichael. Jones had already won two Grammy® Awards for Best Male Vocal—for his first Hot 100 hit, 1962’s “Lollipops And Roses” (No 66 Pop) and 1963’s “Wives And Lovers” (No. 14 Pop)—along with four other Grammy® nominations. Jones had his first Easy Listening Singles chart No. 1 song with “The Race Is On” (No. 15 Pop) followed by the 1966 hit “The Impossible Dream (The Quest)” (No. 35 Pop) and this week’s chart-topper. Jones has recorded dozens of albums through the years, even after he switched to RCA Victor in ’68. Jack Jones is still actively touring at age 77. This summer, he’s embarking on a tour of the U.K. (where he is revered) and some casino showrooms here in America.  

 

HOT RHYTHM & BLUES SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘67

No.1

R&B

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 14)


“I NEVER LOVED A MAN (The Way That I Love You)

Aretha Franklin

ATLANTIC RECORDS – 2386

While “Respect” was the first “shot heard ‘round the world” for Aretha Franklin, she set that one up with her first outing on Atlantic Records with this rapid-selling single “I Never Loved A Man (The Way That I Love You)”—her debut on the label. She’d been languishing on Columbia Records for six years, with that company never quite figuring out what to do with her vocal and piano talents. Finally, Atlantic scooped her up, with producer Jerry Wexler almost immediately sending her to Rick Hall’s Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama to begin recording her first album for the New York-based label. She was only there a few days, due to a fight that broke out between her then husband and some session musicians; sending the couple truckin’ back to Detroit. “I Never Loved A Man (The Way That I Love You)” was the only fully completed track done at Fame. The record jumped from No. 14 to No. 1 this week in ’67, displacing the Supremes hit “Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone”, heralding her highness’ debut as the Queen Of Soul on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles survey. The song was written specifically for Aretha by Ronnie Shannon (at the insistence of Franklin’s husband and manager (at the time) Ted White. The single was released on February 17, 1967 (this week at No. 20) eventually reaching No. 9 on the Hot 100. Here’s a smokin’ hot live version of the song recorded in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

This was the initial week for this song to sit atop the R&B singles chart; with six more survey-periods to follow in that position. The B side of that record was also an R&B chart hit, with “Do Right Woman—Do Right Man” attaining its peak at No. 7. Only the instrumental track got recorded during that ill-fate Alabama session. Amazingly, there was just a one-week gap at No. 1, with “Jimmy Mack” from Martha & the Vandellas in the highest slot; followed immediately by Aretha’s groundbreaking single “Respect” for yet another eight consecutive survey-phases on that list. And, even later ’67, Lady Soul would also have her third No. 1 45 RPM for two weeks in the late “Summer of Love” with the tune “Baby I Love You” (No. 4 Pop) also written by Ronnie Shannon; giving Franklin three-straight million-selling singles debut (for Atlantic) singles. Atlantic’s Executive Producer, Jerry Wexler, must have been one happy camper.

 

THE

BIG

ALBUMS


 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

March 25, 1967

 

TOP LPs

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘67:

No.1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 1)

MORE OF THE MONKEES

The Monkees

COLGEMS RECORDS102

Mike Nesmith, when learning of the release of the LP More Of The Monkees, said that, “This was probably the worst album in the history of the world!” That’s because the man responsible for deciding the songs and the LP’s front and back covers, Don Kirshner, released it without even giving notice to the four group members. This was just one of the dealings that led to his discharge by the project producers and Columbia Pictures execs. This was the fifth of an ultimate 18 weeks at the peak of the Top LPs chart for the Colgems Records release More Of The Monkees—their biggest selling LP. The group’s second album featured the long-running No. 1 single “I’m A Believer” composed by Neil Diamond and produced by Jeff Barry, with the B side “I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” also reaching No. 20 on the Hot 100 Singles chart; written and produced by Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart and recorded on July 26, 1966 in Hollywood. The Monkees version was a cover-rendition of a song from the Paul Revere & the Raiders LP called Midnight Ride released just a couple of months earlier in May of ’66. My favorite track on the album was another Neil Diamond song, “Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow,” with the lead sung by the late Davy Jones.

Two other singles from More Of The Monkees were released outside the U.S. on RCA Records, including; “She,” and “Mary, Mary” (a Mike Nesmith composition) that was first recorded by the Butterfield Blues Band (that included Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop) for their East-West LP in 1966. And, what was their third single “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” debuted on this week’s Hot 100 Singles chart as the highest charting first appearance of a 45 RPM on the listing during this survey-period at No. 32. That tune was also written by Neil Diamond; eventually reaching No. 2 and becoming the Monkees’ third million-selling single. “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” was later included on the album Headquarters, released on May 22, 1967.  

 

HOT R&B LPs

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘67:

No. 1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 1)

 

SUPREMES SING HOLLAND, DOZIER, HOLLAND

The Supremes

MOTOWN RECORDS650

 

The leading R&B LP this week in 1967 was Supremes Sing Holland, Dozier, Holland. That’s how it appeared on the actual vinyl pasted label of the LP. But on the front cover, it was shown as The Supremes sing Holland•Dozier•Holland. And even more oddly, on the rear cover, their names were shown as (with no caps) supremes sing holland/dozier/holland. Minor differences; but perhaps someone in “Quality Control” or “Continuity” fell asleep during the physical production of the package. Either that or I’m the biggest persnickety Record Pig on the planet—which is a distinct possibility. However it was officially stamped, from that LP (released on January 23, 1967) sprang the former No. 1 single—currently at No. 9 during this seven-day span on the Hot 100 Singles and No. 2 on the Top Selling R&B Singles charts this week—“Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone.” Released on January 11th, 1967, the Supremes had previously had a run of five-straight No. 1 tunes starting in 1964, and this single was the third of another streak of four back-to-back 45 RPM’s at the summit. Songwriters/producers, brothers Brian and Eddie Holland with Lamont Dozier, gave Diana Ross another chance to shine with a spoken-word emotional segment in the mid-tempo song. olland HHolland-Dozier-Holland would ultimately break away from Motown with several years of lawsuits flying back and forth; beginning not long after this album was released. Berry Gordy, Jr. didn’t like the fact that the tune-writing trio had begun inquiring about royalties and exercising a great deal of influence with the company’s artists. So, upon their exit, the team started a new company, and wrote and produced dozens of hits on their own Invictus and Hot Wax record labels using other names due to the litigation. The team is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Soul Music Hall of Fame—plus, was the recipient a BMI Icons Award by the performing rights organization. My fave track on this album was the B side of “Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone,” “There’s No Stopping Us Now” of course, written by Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland.

The long-play was still the principal album this week in ’67 on the Top R&B LPs chart; in the last of three consecutive weeks during this seven-day survey-period, and No. 6 on the Pop Top LPs chart, its peak position on that listing. This LP also included the Supremes’ preceding No. 1 song, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” That 45 RPM peaked at the apex of the Hot 100 with the week-ending on November 19, 1966; sitting there for two survey-phases. Right after “Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone” fell off the chart, group member Florence Ballard was told to stay home; eventually leading to a final dismissal from the most successful female group in the Rock era. Ballard died on February 22, 1976. Diana Ross and especially Mary Wilson have written and commented about Flo, with Wilson showing the most heartfelt feelings for Ballard. Holland-Dozier-Holland are all still involved in the music trade; although Dozier has his own company and does not play a part with his former partners. The Holland brothers have their own production and record companies.

 

THE

BIG

SINGLES


For the

 

Chart-Week ENDING

 

March 23, 1974



HOT 100

TOP 10 SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘74:



No. 10 (LW 7) “JUNGLE BOOGIE”

Kool & The Gang DI-LITE 559

No. 9 (LW 11) “ERES TU (Touch The Wind)”

Mocedades TARA100

No. 8 (LW 10) “JET”  

Paul McCartney & Wings APPLE1871

No. 7 (LW 14) “HOOKED ON A FEELING” 

Blue Swede EMI3627

No. 6 (LW 12) “BENNIE AND THE JETS”

Elton John MCA 40198

No. 5 (LW 6) “MOCKINGBIRD”

Carly Simon & James Taylor ELEKTRA45880

No. 4 (LW 2) “BOOGIE DOWN”  

Eddie Kendricks TAMLA54243

No. 3 (LW 4) “SUNSHINE ON MY SHOULDERS”

John Denver RCA VICTOR0213

No. 2 (LW 1) “SEASONS IN THE SUN” 

Terry Jacks BELL45,432


 

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

 

“DARK LADY”

Cher

MCA RECORDS40161

Cherilyn Sarkasian a/k/a Cher had her third No. 1 solo single to date (and second in a row) on the Hot 100 Singles chart with “Dark Lady” on MCA Records. It was her third million-selling single. This 45 RPM was only at the chart’s summit for one seven-day survey-phase. During the mid-seventies, there seemed to be quite a few songs about back woods murder or lunacy (sometimes both) and “Dark Lady” fit that description perfectly. The song was written by the instrumental group the Ventures’ keyboard player Johnny Durrill.  He had sent Snuff Garrett (Cher’s producer at the time) some lyrics about a fortune teller who had an affair with a man, only to have the woman who visited the “Dark Lady” find that the “fortune-queen” herself was the one in the love-triangle. “Bang Bang”—two ended up dead in this story. Too gruesome? Not for record-buyers. Durrill instructed Garrett to add a few words to make sure the “Dark Lady” also got it in the end. Whoa—that’ll sell a million. The writer was correct. So was producer Garrett; and Cher must have been thrilled with another No. 1.

I found it interesting watching Cher sing “Dark Lady” after all these years, that she was smiling while singing about a love-tryst’s participants both getting filled full of lead. Is it me, or is that a bit twisted? Maybe she was simply in on the joke that the song was so over the top, she discovered a new genre—comedic/folk music. Here is a cartoon version of “Dark Lady.”

Notice the fire hydrant drawing when the car drives up. Tell me what YOU see! Write to me at JSorensen@wcbsfm.com. I’ll acknowledge you during next week’s feature. Cher didn’t climb to No. 1 again until the week ending March 13, 1999 with “Believe.” Talk about persistence! For those of you trying to count it out, that’s 24 years, 355 days between chart-topping 45 RPM releases. Cher, of course, had more hits in her after “Dark Lady” including: “Take Me Home” (No. 8 Pop) in ’79 (another million-seller) “I Found Someone” (No. 10) in ’87 after an eight-year lapse of hits, “We All Sleep Alone” (No. 14 Pop) in ’88, “After All” a superb duet with former Chicago bass player/singer Peter Cetera (No. 6 Pop) in ’89, “If I Could Turn Back Time” (No. 3 Pop) also in ’89, “Jesse James” (No. 8 Pop) that same year, and a few other Top 40 chart hits in the early ‘90s. After some duds, by the end of the decade, Cher once again reinvented herself with the previously mentioned song called “Believe” (No. 1 for four weeks Pop) taking dance music into the end of the millennium and winning a Grammy® for it.  

 

EASY LISTENING SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘74

No.1

EASY LISTENING

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

“SUNSHINE ON MY SHOULDERS”

John Denver

RCA VICTOR RECORDS0213

John Denver wrote “Sunshine On My Shoulders” while staying in snow-filled Minnesota, wishing for spring to appear with all of its wonderful weather. Denver had some help with this week’s No. 1 song on the Top 40 Easy Listening Singles chart from co-writers Dick Kniss and Mike Taylor. For decades, Kniss was the stand-up bass player for Peter, Paul & Mary, for whom Denver composed that trio’s last hit, “Leaving On A Jet Plane.” Dick Kniss died in 2012. Denver’s guitarist, Mike Taylor, had co-written Denver’s No. 9 Pop hit “Rocky Mountain High,” as well as being the co-author of “Sunshine On My Shoulders.” Sadly he passed away in 2010. Some think the song is uplifting; when it was truly about being blue after a long, cold winter—perfect for the way we all have felt this winter in much of the country including here in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area.

Next week, “Sunshine On My Shoulders” from the album Poems, Prayers & Promises, would also be the  No. 1 record on the Hot 100 Singles chart for one week; his first chart-topper on that directory. This was the second and final week atop the Top 40 Easy Listening Singles chart for the 45 RPM. John Denver’s hit was parlayed into a TV movie theme song in late ’74, which was turned into a short-lived series called Sunshine in ’75. He had several more hits awaiting, including “Annie’s Song” (No. 1 Pop) written for his later former wife, “Back Home Again” (No. 5 Pop and another million-selling single) “Sweet Surrender” another No. 1 Easy Listening chart hit, “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” (No. 1 Pop and Country) “I’m Sorry” b/w “Calypso” (a co-No. 1 Pop hit) and his last No. 1 single. His star tarnished a bit after that, as his marriage also dissolved with some documented alcohol and abuse issues. Perhaps there’s irony in the fact that Denver’s last Top 20 Hot 100 hit was titled “Fly Away” (featuring Olivia Newton-John on backing vocals) reaching No. 13. Denver died in 1997 after taking his experimental aircraft out of California’s Monterey Airport and crashing into the nearby bay waters.  

 

BEST SELLING SOUL SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘74

 

No.1

R&B

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

“LOOKIN’ FOR A LOVE”

Bobby Womack

 

This may be my favorite R&B record of the ‘70s. This takes what Sylvester Stewart and the Isley Brothers were up doing—mixing Rock and Soul sounds together—to make a new genre of great music. “Lookin’ For A Love” from guitarist/songwriter/singer Bobby Womack was actually a remake of his own recording from when he was a member of the former Gospel ensemble, then early ‘60s R&B all-family vocal group the Valentinos, recording the song on Sam Cooke’s SAR Records. That version did manage to reach No.72 on the Hot 100 in the late summer of ‘62, written by James W. Alexander (a member of the Soul Stirrers with Sam Cooke) and Zelda Samuels.

Womack’s remake of “Lookin’ For A Love” was the No. 1 song this week in ’74 on the Hot Soul Singles chart; the second of a three survey-period run at the summit. If you don’t find a groove in this song, you ain’t got no groove. Listen for the excellent electric guitar work by Bobby Womack on this 45 RPM masterpiece.

Bobby Womack began having solo success in 1968; yet he only had one No. 1 song on the R&B singles list called “Woman’s Got To Have It” in ’72. He did have other hit songs, including: “That’s The Way I Feel About Cha” (No. 60 Pop) the million-selling single “Harry Hippie” in early ’73 (No. 31 Pop) and “Nobody Wants You When You’re Down And Out” (No. 29 Pop) in ’73. Womack played guitar on countless R&B titles throughout the ‘70s. But his crowning Hot 100 moment was with his own hit, “Lookin’ For A Love” on United Artists Records. This was also his biggest hit on the R&B/Soul lists. Sadly, during his peak musical years, Womack sunk into self-admitted drug abuse, which he later conquered. Womack began to have health issues in his ‘60s, including diabetes and cancer. He also suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and died on June 27, 2014 in California at the age of 70.

 

THE

BIG

ALBUMS


 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

March 23, 1974

 

TOP LPs & TAPE

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘74:


No.1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 1)


THE WAY WE WERE

Barbra Streisand

COLUMBIA RECORDS32801


If you liked pretentiousness, this was your album; but it did sell over two million copies, so who’s to discern what the public likes? The album The Way We Were from Barbra Streisand on Columbia Records was enjoying the second of two survey-phases as the biggest album in America on the Top LPs & Tape chart. Her single of the same name had been the biggest Pop hit in America for three straight weeks starting with the analysis-period ending on February 2, 1974. The single mix was different than the two versions on this album; with the 45 RPM blend being the superior of all three. That’s the version we all heard on the radio while it was a hit record.

That’s Marty Paich who produced, arranged and conducted this session. He was the father of Toto keyboard and vocalist David Paich, famous for songs like “Africa,” “Rosanna” and more. Marty Paich died in 1995 at age 70. There was another single from the album The Way We Were on Columbia’ Stevie Wonder’s composition “All Is Love Is Fair.” Babs’ rendition died a quick death; which seemed odd after having so much success with the title track. The Diva’s adaptation only reached a paltry No. 63 and lasted a mere eight weeks on the Hot 100. It did a bit better on the Easy Listening chart. Reviews at the time said the album lacked feeling. Huh? Doesn’t Babs always emote to the point of exhaustion? Watching her sing makes me tired—and other tortuous things, too ghastly to mention. Maybe the reviewers were being facetious. That was likely the case. Barbra’s album The Way We Were had to be recalled and reissued with the heading 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. But give Barbra her accolades; as Streisand is among just 17 performers to be the conqueror of the following awards—Oscar®, Grammy®, Golden Globe®, Emmy®, and Tony®.

 

 

BEST SELLING SOUL LPs

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘74

No.1

R&B

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

LOVE IS THE MESSAGE

MFSB

 

It was the second of an ultimate six weeks at the peak of the Best Selling Soul LPs chart for the instrumental collective called MFSB (Mother, Father, Sister, Brother—sometimes known as Mother, Fu*****, Son-of-a-B****) on Philadelphia International Records for Love Is The Message. The large ensemble contained some of the finest studio musicians in the City Of Brotherly Love, and had an enormous hit single (No. 1 for two weeks starting with the week ending on April 20, 1974) “TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia).” The 45 RPM also topped the Easy Listening Singles chart for two weeks in May of ’74. The song won a Grammy® for Best R&B Instrumental Performance; recorded at Sigma Sound Studios on S. Broad Street in the Quaker City—the former home of the Cameo-Parkway record labels and studios.

Adding to the incredible rhythm section was Don Ronaldo and his strings and horns. The Three Degrees DID have a vocal version of the song released featuring the words “Soul Train.” You may have never heard this entire account of the Soul Train theme.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZoNlRn5QFg

But Don Cornelius, the owner and host of the TV show (who had invited Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff to write a new theme for his program) asked them NOT to call the song “Soul Train” as he was very protective of the copyright. Cornelius reported kicked himself for NOT allowing them to use the name as it was so connected to the show. Instead, many associated it with Philadelphia and the Gamble & Huff empire. Other highlights on the album were the title track and “Zack’s Fanfare” to open the album. This is dynamic.

Some musicologists call the song “TSOP (The Sound Of Philadelphia” the first Disco record. I don’t. I consider “Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart” by the Trammps as the first true ‘70s “Disco” record on Buddah Records in 1972. Other Disco Pigs differ, thinking it was “Shaft” from Isaac Hayes. Nope. Also, note that there were “Discothèque” records recorded in the ‘60s. For our purposes, I’d like to exclude the Johnny Rivers-type songs for this discussion. If you disagree, drop me a line at JSorensen@wcbsfm.com as this could be a fascinating debate. I say it’s the Trammps single because it had all the ingredients of Philly Soul with many of the same musicians that made up MFSB. What do YOU think? Drop me a line.

 THE

BIG

SINGLES


For the

 

Chart-Week ENDING

 

March 18, 1989



HOT 100

TOP 10 SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘89:


 

No. 10 (LW 12) “DON’T TELL ME LIES”

Breathe A & M 1267

No. 9 (LW 3) “YOU GOT IT (The Right Stuff)”

New Kids On The Block COLUMBIA08092

No. 8 (LW 13) “THE LOOK”  

Roxette EMI50190

No. 7 (LW 9) “MY HEART CAN’T TELL YOU NO” 

Rod Stewart WARNER BROTHERS27729

No. 6 (LW 11) “ETERNAL FLAME”

Bangles COLUMBIA 68533

No. 5 (LW 5) “PARADISE CITY”

Guns N’ Roses GEFFEN27570

No. 4 (LW 7) “GIRL YOU KNOW IT’S TRUE”  

Milli Vanilli ARISTA9781

No. 3 (LW 4) “RONI”

Bobby Brown MCA53463

No. 2 (LW 2) “THE LIVING YEARS” 

Mike & the Mechanics ATLANTIC88964


 

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

 

“LOST IN YOUR EYES

Debbie Gibson

ATLANTIC RECORDS88970

The first single from Debbie Gibson’s second album, Electric Youth, sat in the No. 1 spot for the third of an ultimate three weeks on the Hot 100 Singles chart. Becoming her biggest chart hit, “Lost In Your Eyes” was written by the then 18 year-old Gibson. This single reached No. 3 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Singles chart as well. Gibson owns the honor of being the initial female to have a No. 1 Hot 100 single and No. 1 Top Pop Album simultaneously. The single had been released in the U.K. back in October of ’88, but was held for release in the U.S. until January of ’89; released in both the vinyl 45 RPM format and audio cassette.

These days, you call her Deborah, thank you. She IS 44 years-old after all. Debbie was the youngest person to perform, write and produce a number one song with her previous chart topper “Foolish Beat” (**see below) from her first album, the Top 5 LP, Out Of The Blue. Deborah Ann Gibson was born in Brooklyn, New York—but she grew up in the town of Merrick, Long Island, NY. After nine of her singles reached the Pop Top 30, that aspect of her career slowed a bit. Gibson then acquired quite an impressive Broadway theater resume and made several TV appearances. She had a number one song in Japan in 2010 called “I Love You,” though her chart hits ended in 1993.

 

HOT ADULT CONTEMPORARY SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘89


No.1

ADULT CONTEMPORARY

45 RPM

 

(Last Week No. 1)

“THE LIVING YEARS”

Mike & the Mechanics

ATLANTIC RECORDS88964

 

This week in ’89, the song “The Living Years” by Mike & the Mechanics was in its concluding week of four consecutive weeks as the chart leader on the Hot Adult Contemporary Singles listing, and was about to have its first and sole week in the top spot on the Hot 100 Singles chart in the very next weekly period replacing Debbie Gibson on that register. Bass guitar player Mike Rutherford was a member of Genesis (this was a side project after Phil Collins began his own solo career) and wrote “The Living Years” with a chap named Brian Alexander (B. A.) Robertson. It was Robertson’s dad’s passing who was the focal point of the song’s lyrics and not Rutherford’s as many had thought, even though Rutherford’s father had also recently died. Robertson also wrote another Mike & the Mechanics hit “Silent Running” with Rutherford. “The Living Years” received a Grammy® nomination, the writing award for Song of the Year (losing to “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler and written by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley) but gained an Ivor Novello Award (also known as the IVORS®) by BASCA—the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors—for Best Song Musically & Lyrically. Mike Rutherford co-produced the album with Christopher Neil, who had previously done work on many hits by Sheena Easton, Paul Carrack’s “Don’t Shed A Tear” and Paul Nicholas famous for “Heaven On The 7th Floor.”

“The Living Years” is about unresolved issues with a father who had recently passed away. It was edited into a 4:25 version for some radio airplay, but stock copies clocked in at 5:30—that same version on the album called Living Years. The choir singing in the background of the song was the King’s House School Choir, led by the late Michael Stuckey, according to the album’s liner notes. That school sits in the Wimbledon sector of London, England. That choral group was also used on the song “We Don’t Need Another Hero” as sung by Tina Turner for the film soundtrack of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985. “The Living Years” was the second single from the LP/CD/Cassette Living Years. The wonderful Paul Carrack was featured as lead vocalist on the track. Carrack is also known for singing “How Long” by the group Ace, “Tempted” by Squeeze as well as many other solo and group projects. That was also Carrack’s vocal used on the Mike & the Mechanics first hit (No. 6 on the Hot 100) “Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground.)” Other vocals for Mike & the Mechanics were performed by former Sad Café vocalist Paul Young who died in 2000. His lead vocals were heard on the Mike & the Mechanics hit “All I Need Is A Miracle” which reached No. 5 on the Hot 100 Singles chart in early 1988 from the group’s first album. The band was rounded out by English musician and producer Adrian Lee on keyboards and Peter Van Hooke on drums. Van Hooke had previously played with Van Morrison on several albums and tours and also produced an album for the above mentioned Paul Carrack. It turns out, it IS who you know.   

 

HOT BLACK SINGLES

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘89

 

No.1

R&B

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 2)

“CLOSER THAN FRIENDS”

Surface

COLUMBIA RECORDS08537

 

Surface was a trio featuring members Bernard Jackson (lead singer) along with David Townsend (guitarist) and David “Pic” Conley on bass. They formed in the early ‘80s in New Jersey with a female lead singer originally. That formation splintered. The remaining three men became resident songwriters at EMI Records and re-ignited the group by moving to Los Angeles. “Closer Than Friends” by Surface topped the Hot Black Singles chart this week in ’89 on Columbia Records. The single was their first of four No. 1 songs on that chart. This week’s top R&B single “Closer Than Friends” was from the Surface album 2nd Wave.

Two subsequent singles from the album 2nd Wave would go on to No. 1 on the Hot Black Singles chart, including: “Shower Me With Love” (which reached a strong No. 5 on the Hot 100) and “You Are My Everything” only reaching No. 84 on the Pop side. Other singles, “I Missed” got to No. 3 (though did not chart at all on the Hot 100 Pop list) and “Can We Spend Some Time” reached No. 5 on the Hot Black Singles survey; and that song also didn’t reach the Pop tally. Surface did later have a mass-appeal record with “The First Time” which was a survey-topping Hot 100 hit and also the list-leader on the Hot Black Singles charts. “The First Time” was the trio’s biggest chart success in late 1990 into early 1991. Their first triumph was in 1986 with an album called Surface, reaching No. 11 on the R&B Albums index. The song “Happy” got to No. 2 on the R&B Singles list and No. 20 on the Hot 100 Pop listing. Surface split up in ’94, only to reunite in ’98. They were ready to head out on a national tour in 2005, but Townsend was found dead in his home in 2005 under unexplained circumstances. The 50 year-old David Townsend was the son of singer/songwriter Ed Townsend, known for his late ‘50s recording “For Your Love” (No. 13 Pop in 1958) and for co-writing “Let’s Get It On” (No. 1 Pop in ’73) with Marvin Gaye. Ed Townsend had died just two years before his son.

 

THE

BIG ALBUMS

 

 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

March 18, 1989

 

TOP POP ALBUMS

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘89:

No.1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 1)



ELECTRIC YOUTH

Debbie Gibson

ATLANTIC RECORDS81932


The album Electric Youth has sold over two million copies in the U.S. alone, largely on the success by this week’s No. 1 record on the Hot 100 Singles chart, “Lost In Your Eyes.” (**See above.) Electric Youth on Atlantic Records was recorded entirely in New York City, was also the number one album in the nation this week in ’89; the second of five weeks at that chart’s zenith. This collection of songs even reached number eight in the U.K. The young woman had a huge hand in every aspect of this album. Gibson sang lead and background vocals, piano, keyboards, additional keyboards, drum programming and she arranged and mixed nine out of the 11 tracks on the collection of tunes. Three more singles came from the album: “Electric Youth” (No. 11 Pop) “No More Rhyme” (No. 17 Pop) and “We Could Be Together” reaching a disappointing No. 71. Around this time, Gibson was so hot, she had a perfume released under the moniker Electric Youth made by Revlon. The song “Electric Youth” was a bold statement that young people should be included with adults in conversations about the world around them. Here’s the title track from the album.

Perplexing to some, Debbie Gibson and Bruce Springsteen shared the 1989 Songwriter of the Year Award from the performance-rights organization, the Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers; better known as ASCAP. Another few stabs at recording didn’t quite make waves, with “Anything Is Possible” (No. 26 in early ’91) and one last low-charting song in ’93 spelled the end of Gibson’s hit-making years.

 


HOT BLACK ALBUMS

CHART

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘89

No.1

R&B

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 2)

DON’T BE CRUEL

Bobby Brown

MCA RECORDS08537

 

Bobby Brown (a former member of New Edition) had the No. 1 Hot Black Album chart-topper this week in ’89 with Don’t Be Cruel on MCA Records. The album had already been No. 1 on the Top Pop Albums chart for 11 non-consecutive weeks, casting off the singles “Don’t Be Cruel,” “My Prerogative,” “Rock Wit’cha,” “Roni,” and “Every Little Step.” “My Prerogative” became Brown’s only No. 1 Hot 100 Singles chart-topper. The album Don’t Be Cruel sold over seven million copies and helped thrust the music genre labeled “New Jack Swing” into the mainstream (he’s been called “The King of New Jack Swing”) with help from producers and songwriters Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Teddy Riley. Here’s the record that was about to debut on the Hot 100 next week in ’89 called “Every Little Step.”

Brown’s musical achievements are now clouded, as he is also infamous as the one-time husband of the late Superstar Whitney Houston. Brown has had numerous issues with drugs and alcohol, especially after the death of his ex. His daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown is (as of this writing) still in a medically-induced coma after she was found in her bathtub on January 31, 2015. It’s been reported that a cable repairman needed access to her room at the home in Georgia at the time she was found face-down in the water by a mutual friend after an argument the night before, according to her ‘boyfriend’ Nick Gordon.

**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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