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BIG Jay's BIG Week In Pop Music History

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May 22nd, 2015


THE

BIG

SINGLES

 

For the

 

Chart-Week ENDING

 

MAY 25, 1963

HOT 100

SINGLES

Top 10

 

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘63:

 

THIS WEEK—LAST WEEK—TITLE—WRITER(s)—ARTIST(s)—RECORD LABEL—CATALOG NO.    

***************************************************************************

No. 10 (LW 14) “ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT”

(Sam Cooke)

SAM COOKE RCA Victor8164  

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No. 9 (LW 26) “IT’S MY PARTY”

(Herb Weiner / Seymour Gottlieb / John Gluck / Beverly Ross)

LESLIE GORE MERCURY72119

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No. 8 (LW 12) “TAKE THESE CHAINS FROM MY HEART”  

(Fred Rose / Hy Heath)

RAY CHARLES ABC-PARAMOUNT10435

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No. 7 (LW 11) “(TWO FACES HAVE I  

(Twyla Herbert / Lou Christie)

LOU CHRISTIEROULETTE4481

***************************************************************************

No. 6 (LW 7) “LOSING YOU”

(Jean Renard / Carl Sigman)

BRENDA LEE DECCA31478

***************************************************************************

No. 5 (LW 10) “I LOVE YOU BECAUSE” 

(Leon Payne)

AL MARTINO CAPITOL4930

***************************************************************************

No. 4 (LW 5) “FOOLISH LITTLE GIRL” 

(Howard Greenfield)

THE SHIRELLES SCEPTER1248

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No. 3 (LW 4) “SURFIN’ U.S.A.” 

(Brian Wilson)

THE BEACH BOYS CAPITOL4932

***************************************************************************

No. 2 (LW 2) “I WILL FOLLOW HIM”

(Arthur Altman / Norman Gimble /                               Roy Stole / Del Roma)

LITTLE PEGGY MARCH RCA VICTOR8139

***************************************************************************

 

 

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

 

“IF YOU WANNA BE HAPPY”

 (Carmella Guida / Frank Guida / Joseph Royster)

Flip-Side:

“DON’T RELEASE ME”

JIMMY SOUL

S. P. R. Q. RECORDS3305

Ok, so it was 1963, and this week, the No. 1 song on the Hot 100 singles chart was one of the most sexist songs ever to reach the pinnacle. Jimmy Soul’s “If You Wanna Be Happy” was in the last of two back-to-back seven-day survey-stages in the top slot. Perhaps because a female was a co-writer, it made the sentiment of the lyrics even more curious by today’s standards. Carmella Guida was the wife of Norfolk, Virginia record company owner Frank Guida. She, her husband and a guy named Joseph Royster came up with this ditty, based on the melody of the 1934 Trinidad Calypso tune by a guy known as Roaring Lion (real name Rafael de Leon) called “Ugly Woman.” Here’s a hunk of Big Jay’s Record Pig Music Trivia©. De Leon’s grandson is none other than Alfonso Ribeiro—who played Carlton Banks; most famous for co-starring with Will Smith on TV’s The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and also a season-winner on Dancing With The Stars. It was announced that Ribeiro is taking over the hosting duties from longtime host, Tom Bergeron on TV’s America’s Funniest Home Videos next season. DeLeon died in 1999 at the age of 91 and is credited with bringing Calypso music to the mainstream. It was Frank Guida who adored Calypso music, and wanted to merge it with Rhythm & Blues. His first stab at this new genre was with a song recorded by a local Coastal Virginia club singer Jimmy McCleese (given the new last name of Soul) with “Dancing Matilda (And The Channel)” that reached No. 22 on the Hot 100. That 45 RPM’s success set up the No. 1 song in un-enlightened America this week—“If You Wanna Be Happy.”

If you look at the charts, you’ll see that the follow-up was a similar song called “Treat ‘Em Tough,” which bubbled-under the Hot 100 with its highest position No. 107. Obviously, the negative slant of the song prevented it from being a hit. But “If You Wanna Be Happy” (if you’d just pick and ugly woman to marry you) somehow resonated in a big way with record buyers and Top 40 radio in the spring of ’63. Jimmy McCleese a/k/a Soul joined the service and never had another hit song. Here’s still more Big Jay’s Record Pig Music Trivia©. None other than Gary U.S. Bonds turned down recording “If You Wanna Be Happy.” The song it was based on, “Ugly Woman”—first performed for a mass audience in a 1943 film called Happy Go Lucky by another Calypso singer named “Sir Lancelot” Pinard; another Trinidad native. That comic flick starred Mary Martin, Dick Powell, Betty Hutton, Eddie Bracken, and Rudy Vallée.

MIDDLE-ROAD SINGLES

“Special Survey”

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘63

No.1

MIDDLE OF THE ROAD

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 4)

 

“I LOVE YOU BECAUSE

(Leon Payne)

Flip-Side:

“MERRY-GO-ROUND”

AL MARTINO

CAPITOL RECORDS4930

Al Martino, growing up in South Philadelphia, befriended a kid named Alfredo Cocozza, who became a singing star when he changed his moniker to Mario Lanza. So Jasper Cini, with Lanza’s support, changed his name from Alfred Cini to Al Martino. Under that stage-name, he was formally discovered on the Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts TV program. The prize was a recording deal with a label called BBS and released “Here In My Heart” in 1952. His ‘pal’ Lanza’s label RCA Victor wanted Mario to release it, but his friendship with Martino allowed Al to have the million-selling hit. The song was a massive success in the U.K. where it was one of the biggest selling singles of all time there. That song led to Martino getting a deal with Capitol Records, where he spent over 25 years. Other hits included: “I Love You More And More Every Day” (No. 9 Pop) and what became his signature song “Spanish Eyes” (No. 1 for four weeks on the Easy Listening Singles list) in late 1965. While that song just reached No. 15  Pop in early ’66 on the Hot 100, the song lives on as a standard. In ’67, Al Martino had what became a wedding standard (No. 42 Pop) with “Daddy’s Little Girl.” He held down the No. 1 spot on the Easy Listening Singles chart in ’67 with “Mary In The Morning” (No. 15 Pop) co-written by Johnny Cymbal (of “Mr. Bass Man”-fame along with a former associate of mine, Mike Lendell a/k/a Michael Rashcow) and “More Than The Eye Can See” (No. 54 Pop) co-written by the recently departed Bob Crewe along with noted songwriter Larry Weiss (known for “Rhinestone Cowboy.” This week on what was then called the “Middle-Road Singles” chart, the principal song was also Al Martino’s highest-charting Pop (No. 3) hit; “I Love You Because.”    

Later in Al Martino’s career, he had a surprise hit released in ’74 called “To The Door Of The Sun (Alle Porte Del Sole)” hitting the peak position of No. 17 on the Pop chart in ‘75. He’s arguably most famous for his role as Johnny Fontane in the flick The Godfather in 1972, starring Marlon Brando and sang the Love Theme from the movie called “Speak Softly Love.” He also appeared in The Godfather III in 1990 with Al Pacino. Al Martino died in 2009 at the age of 82.

 

HOT R&B SINGLES

“Special Survey”

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘63

No.1

R&B

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 3)

 

“I WILL FOLLOW HIM”

(Arthur Altman / Norman Gimbel /    Del Roma / Roy Stole)

Flip-Side:

“WIND-UP DOLL”

LITTLE PEGGY MARCH

RCA VICTOR RECORDS – 8139

Who recorded “I Will Follow Him” first? That’s a detailed story, so I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version. French orchestra leader Frank Pourcel, who had an instrumental version of the Platters’ hit, “Only You” (No. 9 Pop in ’59) was the first artist to release the original version of the song in 1961; although it had a different name. The song “Chariot” was written under the pseudonyms Roy Stole (Frank Pourcel) and Del Roma who was, in reality, Paul Mauriat of “Love Is Blue”-fame. That original instrumental had words added to it and originally recorded by an Italian 20 year-old named Paola Neri. Somehow, Petula Clark recorded a version in Italian, German, English and French. For comparison purposes, here’s Petula Clark singing the song (this was a hit over in France) as “Chariot,” with these French lyrics penned by a guy named Jacques Plant—not the ‘50s and ‘60s hockey player. 

Margaret Battavio from Lansdale, Pennsylvania had been brought to an audition by a family friend to sing for record producers Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore in New York City. They had a production deal with RCA Victor at the time, and signed the 4 foot 10 inches Battavio. Against her will, Hugo and Peretti dubbed her “Little” Peggy March. At least they used the name Peggy, which is a nickname for many women named Margaret. Petula Clark’s version was storming the charts on the European continent (except in her native U.K.) and then “Little” Peggy’s producers found the song and commissioned English lyrics put to paper by Norman Gimbel and Arthur Altman. March recorded her version in January of ’63 in Manhattan at the RCA Studios with the orchestra conducted by Sammy Lowe. He had arranged songs for a diverse list of artists, including: Sam Cooke, the Platters, James Brown, Al Hirt, the Tokens, Brook Benton, Connie Francis and even Benny Goodman. Here’s the Luigi & Peretti produced rendition of “I Will Follow Him.”

   

Here’s some Big Jay’s Record Pig Music Trivia©; on the 45 RPM paper sleeve of “I Will Follow Him,” it proclaimed that, “The World’s Greatest Artists are on RCA Victor Records.”  Similar slogans appeared on many record labels, all trying to make the public think they were the best and/or biggest recording entity. RCA Victor also boasted at the time, “This record is the ultimate in recording technique (they called it “Orthophonic Hi-Fidelity”) bringing you the most perfect high fidelity reproduction ever offered in the history of the record industry!” Also, Little Peggy March was the youngest person to have a No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100. It had been No. 1 for three survey-periods on that list beginning with the week ending on April 27, 1963. Amazingly, her recording was on top of the Hot R&B Singles listing for this sole week in ’63. I met “Peggy” in 1986 as (obviously) a grown woman. She said she begged Luigi & Peretti go not call her “Little” anything, but they insisted, when the initial recording she did with them was the title track from the Broadway musical starring Sid Caesar called Little Me—a song she said was a mistake. She was right, as it didn’t reach the charts. But there was barely any chart-action after “I Will Follow Him” became a worldwide hit for March—at least in the U.S. Her biggest other 45 RPM was “Hello Heartache, Goodbye Love” reaching No. 26 on the Hot 100 in the fall of ’63 here in the states. But she did have success abroad after moving to Munich, Germany at age 20 after marrying. She’s also had a fruitful songwriting career, with a No. 1 song in Europe, sung by Audrey Landers (Afton Cooper on the TV show Dallas) who co-wrote the song “Manuel Goodbye” with March. Peggy also wrote another No. 1 record in Europe called “When The Rain Begins To Fall” by Jermaine Jackson and actress Pia Zadora in 1985. That record only reached No. 54 here in America. March spends time in Germany where she records in German to this day.

 

THE

BIG
ALBUMS

 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

MAY 25, 1963

 

TOP LPs

150 Best Sellers MONAURAL

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘63:

No.1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 1)

 

 

DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES

and Other TV Requests

ANDY WILLIAMS

COLUMBIA RECORDS8815

Andy Williams was on fire this week in ’63 with an album that had only been on the Top LPs Mono chart for six weeks; Days Of Wine And Roses and Other TV Requests on Columbia Records. The LP would stay at the peak of that Mono chart for 16 back-to-back survey-periods. It remained on the album chart for a staggering 117 weeks. A song from the album (falling to No. 18 this week) was still quite strong on the Hot 100, “Can’t Get Used To Losing You.” The 45 RPM had reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 for four consecutive weeks. It was held out of the No. 1 spot by Little Peggy March’s “I Will Follow Him” and the Chiffon’s hit, “He’s So Fine.” Williams’ single was the prime 45 on the Middle-Road chart for four survey-phases. “Can’t Get Used To Losing You” was written by legendary songwriters Jerome “Doc” Pomus and Mort Shuman. This track was produced by Robert Mersey.

The flip side of “Can’t Get Used To Losing You” was written by some other legendary songwriters; notably Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer. “Days Of Wine And Roses” only got to No. 26 on the Hot 100, but garnered the No. 9 slot on the Middle-Road list. That title track from the movie Days Of Wine And Roses won an Oscar® for the songwriters in the Best Original Song category. Williams’ version was at No. 36 this week on the Hot 100 and climbing.

The film starred Jack Lemon and Lee Remick. The title comes from a poem written by Ernest Dowson. One of the song’s writers, Henry Mancini, also had an instrumental version of his composition reach No. 33 on the Hot 100.

Mancini’s version reached No. 10 on the Middle-Road singles chart. New inductee to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Bill Withers, once claimed his inspiration for his huge hit “Ain’t No Sunshine,” came to him while watching the movie Days Of Wine And Roses.

 

NOTE:

There was NO separate Rhythm & Blues ALBUM chart during this time in Billboard Magazine.



THE

BIG

SINGLES

For the

 

Chart-Week ENDING

 

MAY 27, 1972

HOT 100

SINGLES

Top 10

 

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘72:

 

THIS WEEK—LAST WEEK—TITLE—WRITER(s)—ARTIST(s)—RECORD LABEL—CATALOG NO.    

***************************************************************************

No. 10 (LW 12) “HOT ROD LINCOLN”

(Charlie Ryan / W. S. Stevenson)

COMMANDER CODY and his Lost Planet Airmen ASYLUM11034

 ***************************************************************************No. 9 (LW 14) “SYLVIA’S MOTHER”

(Shel Silverstein)

DR. HOOK and THE MEDICINE SHOW COLUMBIA45562

***************************************************************************

No. 8 (LW 4) “I GOTCHA”  

(Joe Tex)

JOE TEX DIAL1010

***************************************************************************

No. 7 (LW 8) “TUMBLING DICE  

(Mick Jagger / Keith Richards)

THE ROLLING STONESROLLING STONES19103

***************************************************************************

No. 6 (LW 10) “MORNING HAS BROKEN”

(Eleanor Farjeon)

CAT STEVENS A&M1335

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No. 5 (LW 13) “THE CANDY MAN” 

(Leslie Bricusse / Anthony Newley)

SAMMY DAVIS, JR. with the Mike Curb Congregation MGM14320

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No. 4 (LW 5) “LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE FOR ME” 

(Al Green / Al Jackson / Willie Mitchell)

AL GREEN HI2216

***************************************************************************

No. 3 (LW 1) “THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE”

(Ewan MacColl)

ROBERTA FLACK ATLANTIC2864

***************************************************************************

No. 2 (LW 3) “I’LL TAKE YOU THERE”

(Alvertis Isbell)

STAPLE SINGERS STAX0125

***************************************************************************

 

 

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 2)

 

“OH GIRL”

 (Eugene Record)

Flip-Side:

“BEING IN LOVE”

THE CHI-LITES

BRUNSWICK RECORDS55471

Oh what a record—Eugene Record that is. He’s the guy who wrote “Oh Girl,” the No. 1 song this week on the Hot 100 Singles chart on Brunswick Records. And yeah, what a 45 RPM record “Oh Girl” was. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song that described the heartache of a breakup any better than this one. It hits you right in the gut. This Chicago group obviously took their name from the Windy City, as some members of a group called the Chanteurs (formed in 1959) merged with some guys from a vocal ensemble called the Desideros to form the Hi-Lites. They discovered that name was already taken, so they decided to become the Chi-Lites around 1964. This unit had been recording for Brunswick Records for two years without cracking the Top 25 on the Pop chart; yet they were a powerful act on the R&B chart. Their first major Pop success was in ‘71 with the No. 26 Pop hit “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People” taking a cue from the socially conscious songs coming from Curtis Mayfield; another Chi-Town luminary. Then, the Chi-Lites found the magic potion with a potent ballad about losing a lover and seeing someone like her everywhere the guy went. “Have You Seen Her” (No. 3 Pop and No. 1 Soul) was also filled with some rock fuzz-guitar sounds, reminiscent of the things the Temptations were doing out of Motown at the time; and yet, it also utilized doo-wop-styled vocals. The lead vocal by Eugene Record was largely a narrative about trying to make sense of the loss of a woman. Record co-wrote “Have You Seen Her” with fellow Brunswick Records alum, Barbara Acklin. She had scored with the superb Soul song from ’68 called “Love Makes A Woman” that Record had also co-written with others. “Have You Seen Her” set up the Chi-Lites to have a monster Soul smash with “Oh Girl”—No. 1 for just this survey-phase in ’72.

“Oh Girl” had slid down to No. 3, then rose back to No. 2 this week on the Best Selling Soul Singles special survey. But, a big deal was made this week with the main headline in Billboard Magazine proclaiming the Top 5 acts on the Pop Hot 100 were all black; with the Chi-Lites on top, followed by the Staple Singers at No. 2, Roberta Flack at No. 3, Al Green at No. 5 and Sammy Davis, Jr. at No. 5. The Chi-Lites found it difficult to follow-up those two huge successes, though they did have some decent recordings through 1975. Several group defections occurred after “Oh Girl” was a hit. Add to that, after 1972, the sound of Soul music was rapidly being replaced by a new blend of R&B and Rhythmic Pop called Disco. Many so-called Soul acts fell by the wayside including the Chi-Lites after 43 R&B charting songs. Record went solo in ’76 with marginal success. He reformed the Chi-Lites in 1980, only to leave again in ’88. The Chi-Lites have been well-regarded by the music industry, including inductions into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the R&B Music Hall of Fame and were named pioneers for the Rhythm & Blues Foundation. Eugene Record passed away in 2005, Robert “Squirrel” Lester (their tenor singer) died in 2010 and the bass singer Creadel “Red” Jones passed in ’94. Original member Marshall Thompson still performs with a new bunch of singers as the Chi-Lites.


TOP 40 EASY LISTENING SINGLES

“Special Survey”

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘72

No.1

EASY LISTENING

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

“THE CANDY MAN”

(Leslie Bricusse / Anthony Newley)

Flip-Side

“I WANT TO BE HAPPY”

SAMMY DAVIS, JR.

MGM RECORDS14320

The anti-hippy guy, Mike Curb signed Sammy Davis, Jr. to MGM Records, after the music vet split from his friend Frank Sinatra’s label Reprise when the Chairman of the Board ceded the label to Warner Brothers. Davis initially attempted to re-ignite his career with Motown with no success. Though he reportedly loathed the song “The Candy Man,” he revitalized his career with that remake when he signed with the President of MGM Records, the future Lt. Governor of California, Mike Curb. He had famously rid MGM of any artists who depicted drug use or simply had long hair. Davis at time acted like a “hippy” but with laughable results. “Groovy man.” The song “The Candy Man” was included in the soundtrack to the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder. But on the soundtrack the song was sung by British actor Aubrey Woods. Here’s his soundtrack version from the film.

Woods passed away in 2013. The Mike Curb Congregation took a stab at recording the song, and couldn’t get any traction with their rendition. But when a reluctant Sammy Davis, Jr. laid a version down to tape with Curb and the legendary arranger/producer Don Costa behind the console, he had his first and only Hot 100 No. 1 song in two weeks. This was the second and final survey-phase at the peak of the Top 40 Easy Listening Singles list for “The Candy Man.”

Davis has been called one of America’s all-time great entertainers. He had been a performer with his parents in vaudeville in the late 1920s, and had a string of hits from the mid-‘50s through 1976 when he recorded the theme from the Robert Blake TV show called Baretta with “Baretta’s Theme (Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow.)” Davis was a constant smoker and died of throat cancer at age 64 on Mary 16, 1990.

 

BEST SELLING SOUL SINGLES

“Special Survey”

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘72

No.1

SOUL

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

“I”LL TAKE YOU THERE”

(Alvertis Isbell)

Flip-Side

“I’M JUST ANOTHER SOLDIER”

STAPLE SINGERS

STAX RECORDS – 0125

This was a marvelous time for a veteran family vocal group this week in ‘72. The long-time gospel-turned-secular recording artists Staple Singers had their first of three No. 1 songs on the Best Selling Soul Singles chart with “I’ll Take You There.” Initially formed after Roebuck “Pop” Staples moved his family from the Mississippi delta area to Chicago, the Staples Singers (including Pop, daughters Mavis, Cleotha and Yvonne plus son Pervis) performed gospel music until 1967. They had a couple of low-charting records on the Pop chart with Epic Records. Then, signed to Stax Records, Mavis had a solo release in 1970 on their Volt Records subsidiary label; bombing like their other releases. The entire group now dropping the last letter ‘s’ in their name had their first Top-30 success with the incredibly fun track, “Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)” on the parent Stax label, produced by Booker T. & The MG’s guitarist/songwriter Steve Cropper. That song was co-written by Pop artists and songwriters Jeff Barry and Bobby Bloom. Staple Singers next 45 release with the Bar-Kays as their back-up band died a quick death. Their next single in late ’71, “Respect Yourself” written by Luther Ingram and Sir Mack Rice was released from a new LP (currently No. 4 on the Soul LPs chart) called Be Altitude: Respect Yourself with Alabama’s Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and the Stax Memphis Horns. That track was again co-written by pop songwriters Jeff Barry of “Sugar Sugar” fame, and the “Montego Bay” guy, Bobby Bloom. That title track sold over two million copies even without being a Best-Selling Soul Singles chart-topper (it made it to No. 2) and just reaching No. 12 on the Pop chart. The next single broke the group even wider into the mainstream. “I’ll Take You There” was written by Alvertis Isbell; who was better known as Al Bell, the singer and then new co-owner of Stax Records; later known as one of the icons of soul music. He also produced that breakthrough Staple Singers LP. This was the last of four total seven-day survey-periods as the leader on the Best Selling Soul Singles register.

“I’ll Take You There” reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 Singles chart for just a week during the next survey-period for just a sole (better yet Soul) week. A new version of the song featuring the Staple Singers, but headlined by Bebe & Cece Winans was No. 1 again on the R&B singles chart in 1992. Staple Singers would have one more Pop chart number one song during the last week of 1975 on a new record label, Curtom, owned by Curtis Mayfield with the title track “Let’s Do It Again” from the Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby film of the same name. The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, and was given a Grammy® Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Pop Staples died in 2000, and his daughter Cleotha died February of 2013 from Alzheimer’s disease.  


THE

BIG
ALBUMS

 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

MAY 27, 1972

 

TOP LPs

& TAPE

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘72:

No.1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 1)

FIRST TAKE

ROBERTA FLACK  

ATLANTIC RECORDS8230

Roberta Flack owned the Pop LP’s & Tape chart as well as the Best Selling Soul LPs chart this week in ’72 with her album First Take. What people didn’t know at the time was that this album was originally released in 1969. But due to the inclusion of the song “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” in the 1971 film Play Misty For Me, starring Clint Eastwood, Jessica Walter and Donna Mills, the album was re-released with that song becoming a monster hit for Ms. Flack in ’72. In fact, the song was No. 1 for six survey-phases beginning with the week ending April 15th ending its run last week.

The album First Take was in the last of six-consecutive weeks in the pinnacle position on the Top LPs & Tape chart, and the first of two survey-phases on the Best Selling Soul LPs chart. The song actually dates back to 1957, when Folk singer and the song’s writer Ewan MacColl penned the song for his wife who was in a play and needed a romantic song inserted. MacColl reportedly wrote the song in one hour and his wife Peggy used it for that stage production. I’m continually amazed at how some hits come from the extraordinary circumstances and fate.   

BEST SELLING SOUL

LPs

“Special Survey”

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘72:

No. 1

R&B

LP

(Last Week No. 2)

 

FIRST TAKE

ROBERTA FLACK

 

 ATLANTIC RECORDS8230

 

This was the first of two weeks as the leader of the Hot Soul LPs chart for Roberta Flack with First Take on Atlantic. (**See above.)



 

 

THE

BIG

SINGLES

For the

 

Chart-Week ENDING

 

May 30, 1981

 

HOT 100

SINGLES

Top 10

 

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘81:

 

 

THIS WEEK—LAST WEEK—TITLE—WRITER(s)—ARTIST(s)—RECORD LABEL—CATALOG NO.    

***************************************************************************

No. 10 (LW 10) “WATCHING THE WHEELS”

(John Lennon)

JOHN LENNON GEFFEN49695

***************************************************************************No. 9 (LW 9) “TOO MUCH TIME ON MY HANDS”

(Tommy Shaw)

STYX A&M2323

***************************************************************************

No. 8 (LW 11) “A WOMAN NEEDS LOVE (Just Like You Do)”  

(Ray Parker, Jr.)

RAY PARKER, Jr. & RAYDIO ARISTA0592

***************************************************************************

No. 7 (LW 3) “JUST THE TWO OF US  

(Bill Withers / William Salter / Grover Washington, Jr.)

GROVER WASHINGTON, Jr. (featuring Bill Withers)ELEKTRA47103

***************************************************************************

No. 6 (LW 7) “LIVING INSIDE MYSELF”

(Geno Vannelli)

GENO VANELLI ARISTA0588

***************************************************************************

No. 5 (LW 6) “TAKE IT ON THE RUN” 

(Gary Richrath)

REO SPEEDWAGON EPIC01054

***************************************************************************

No. 4 (LW 8) “SUKIYAKI” 

(Rohusuke Ei / H. Nakamura)

A TASTE OF HONEY CAPITOL4953

***************************************************************************

No. 3 (LW 5) “MEDLEY: INTRO “VENUS” – SUGAR SUGAR – NO REPLY – I”LL BE BACK – DRIVE MY CAR – DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET – WE CAN WORK IT OUT – I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER – NOWHERE MAN – YOU’RE GOING TO LOSE THAT GIRL – STAR ON 45”

(Various Songwriters)

STARS ON 45 RADIO3810

***************************************************************************

No. 2 (LW2 ) “BEING WITH YOU”

(William Robinson, Jr.)

SMOKEY ROBINSON TAMLA54321

***************************************************************************

 

 

No.1

Pop

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 1)

“BETTY DAVIS EYES”

 (Donna Weiss / Jackie DeShannon)

Flip-Side

“MISS YOU TONIGHT”

KIM CARNES

EMI AMERICA RECORDS8077

This was the third of an ultimate nine non-consecutive survey-cycles (during a 10 week period) at the top of the Hot 100 Singles chart for Kim Carnes and her idiosyncratic remake adaptation of “Bette Davis Eyes.” The EMI-America release was from Carnes’ LP called Mistaken Identity. The leading hit of 1981 was by far “Betty Davis Eyes.” But, the 45 RPM was, in fact, the second biggest chart hit of the entire 1980’s; second only to “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John. The song was written by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon. Yes…that Jackie DeShannon who had quite a number of big hits in the ‘60s. Her writing partner Donna Weiss was not only a songwriter, but a much in demand backing vocalist on artists projects ranging from Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen, to Bob Dylan’s Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid. When a song wins Record of the Year and Song of the Year Grammy® Awards, it’s a big deal. DeShannon had recorded the tune for her 1975 LP called New Arrangement on Columbia Records. But DeShannon’s original went nowhere, perhaps due to its Honky-Tonk style. DeShannon got the inspiration for the record from seeing the movie legend in the 1942 black & white film Now Voyager. Listen to DeShannon’s original version here.

Bette Davis supposedly loved the song, as performed by Carnes— thanking the writers for making her chic once more, and being in what she called, “Modern times.” The difference between the original by DeShannon and Carnes’ adaptation involved some chord changes and the synthesizer track performed by Bill Cuomo, and the very FIRST take (all done LIVE in the studio) was the one chosen to make public. It took just seven weeks to reach the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100 Singles chart.

The song that interrupted the eventual nine-week run of “Bette Davis Eyes” was a medley of newly re-sung oldies (mostly Beatles songs) called “Stars On 45” from Dutch studio-only group also called Stars On 45 for the week ending on June 20, 1981.

HOT ADULT CONTEMPORARY TRACKS

“Special Survey”

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘81

No.1

ADULT CONTEMPORARY

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 3)

“HOW ‘BOUT US”

              (Dana Walden)

Flip-Side

“LIGHTEN UP” or “SPINNIN” on some copies

CHAMPAIGN

 

Did you ever hear of the Water Brothers Band? Neither did I. So I went digging to find that act was the first to record “How ‘Bout Us” written by Dana Walden. Here’s this very obscure version of the song…and not a bad version actually on a local Champaign, Illinois based record label called Sky Records. The copyright says it was made in 1975. Boy what I have to do to find this stuff for you guys.  

Then I came to find that some members of the Water Brothers Band evolved into the group name Champaign (appropriately named after the city in Illinois where they came from) who had this week’s Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks No. 1 song on Columbia Records. The song was climbing the Hot 100 chart this week; eventually getting up to the No. 12 slot on that list. The 45 RPM also reached No. 4 on the Hot Soul Singles chart. The song is a throw-back to some of the slick soft-soul sounds of the late ‘60s into the early ‘70s. In spite of the retro feel, somehow, it all came off as rather contemporary for the early ‘80s for this multi-racial group of singers and musicians. A guy named Pauli Carmen sang the lead with harmonies provided largely by Rena Jones. The hit track was produced by a guy named Leo Graham.

This was the first of two back-to-back survey-cycles in the No. 1 position on this chart. Champaign reached a respectable No. 23 on the Hot 100 with a follow-up single named “Try Again.” I liked their sound; but in the end it, seems they didn’t try hard enough, as they only reached the (can’t resist one more Champaign reference here) Bubbling-Under chart at No. 104 with a song called “Off And On Love.”

 

HOT SOUL SINGLES

“Special Survey”

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘81

No.1

SOUL

45 RPM

(Last Week No. 2)

“WHAT CHA’ GONNA DO FOR ME”

(Hamish Stuart / Ned Doheny)

Flip-Side

“LOVER’S TOUCH”

CHAKA KHAN

WARNER BROS. RECORDS – 49692 

The biggest hit on the Hot Soul Singles chart during this survey-phase in ’81 was the title track from Chaka Khan’s third solo album called What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me on Warner Bros. Records. The single was the second of what would be four No. 1 songs on the R&B singles listing during her career. On the Pop side, the record stalled at No. 53, after she debuted with a strong track written by Nicholas Ashford and Valerie Simpson called “I’m Every Woman” (No. 1 Soul and No. 21 Pop) later remade by Whitney Houston nearly 12 years later. Houston’s version reached No. 4 on the Hot 100 in ’93 and was the follow-up to her mega-hit, “I Will Always Love You.” “What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me” was an instant success on the Hot Soul Singles chart; written by Hamish Stuart (who has performed with both Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr’s band) and Ned Doheny who once played in a group with Jackson Browne and then with Dave Mason and Mama Cass Elliot just before her death. When her hit “What Cha’ Gonna Do With Me” was No. 1 on the Hot Soul list, Khan was still a member of the group Rufus.

Chaka Khan was born Yvette Marie Stevens in Illinois, and was raised in one of the Chicago’s South Side housing projects. By the time she was 11 years-old, she had her own all-female singing group and would later join forces with the Black Panther Party for a short time. After she decided that wasn’t for her, she performed in various R&B outfits around the Windy City. She was discovered by members of the band Rufus, and became Chaka Khan after she wed her boyfriend Hassan Khan. A first Rufus album was a dud, but when Stevie Wonder wrote a song for her to sing, “Tell Me Something Good,” the band and her luck changed dramatically. She would leave Rufus in 1983 after several hit singles and LPs. Chaka Khan continued to have hits including her biggest solo single “I Feel For You” written by Prince (No. 3 Pop & No. 1 R&B) in ’84. She won one of her 10 Grammy® Awards for her collaboration with Quincy Jones and Ray Charles on the “New Jack Swing” recording “I’ll Be Good To You”—a re-working of the Brothers Johnson hit from the ‘70s. Khan still had occasional hits into the ‘90s as she struggled with diabetes, as well as alcohol and drug issues that have since been conquered. She’s showed up on the charts into the new millennium; usually in collaborations with other artists. In 2013, she had a street named after her (Chaka Khan Way) in Chicago.

 

THE

BIG
ALBUMS

 For the Chart-Week

ENDING

May 30, 1981

 

TOP LPS        & TAPE

 

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘81:

No.1

Pop

LP

(Last Week No. 1)

HI INFIDELITY

REO SPEEDWAGON  

EPIC RECORDS36844

Call this one the album that refused to vacate the No. 1 position on the Top LPs & Tape chart. It first reached the pinnacle on that chart for the week ending on February 21, 1981. Its run was interrupted by the STYX album Paradise Theater twice during the ensuing months. All in all, Hi Infidelity was No. 1 for a total of 15 non-consecutive survey-periods. This week was the twelfth of that long run. REO Speedwagon had been a regional success in the mid-west for a several years before hitting the national spotlight. Formed at the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL in 1967, REO Speedwagon had begun to be recognized in 1978 as rockin’-good band with the release of the album You Can Tune A Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Fish. That LP sold over two million copies. Next up in came Hi Infidelity, released in the autumn of 1980. The singles from the album, in order of release were: the power-ballad “Keep On Loving You” (No. 1 Pop)—selling over two million copies, “Take It On The Run” (No. 5 Pop)—selling over one million copies and peaking this week in ’81. Let’s watch and listen now before I tell you more about the LP.

After “Take It On The Run,” the next single was “Don’t Let Him Go” (No. 24 Pop) and “In Your Letter” (No. 20 Pop)—but by then, almost anyone who wanted to hear their songs had the LP already. The album ended up selling over 10 million copies for Epic Records. Hi Infidelity’s songs were written largely by Kevin Ronan and Gary Richrath. The rest of the group (for this incarnation of REO Speedwagon) also included Neal Doughty, Alan Gratzer and Bruce Hall. Richard Page, later the lead singer of Mr. Mister, lent his voice on three songs on this REO Speedwagon LP. The Hi Infidelity picture cover was knee-deep in the hullabaloo sector, as a couple is portrayed as being involved in sexual infidelity by showing the man putting a record on a “HI-FI” record player, while his lady friend is insufficiently dressed. 


TOP SOUL ALBUMS

“Special Survey”

 

THIS WEEK IN ‘81:

No. 1

R&B

LP

(Last Week No. 1)

 

A WOMAN NEEDS LOVE

RAY PARKER, Jr. & RAYDIO

ARISTA RECORDS9543

A Woman Needs Love was the final LP for RAYDIO, as Ray Parker, Jr. was ready to embark on a solo career. The song, “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)” was No. 1 last week and the week before on the Hot Soul Singles list, and was currently No. 8 and climbing to an eventual No. 4 on the Hot 100. It even reached a peak position of No. 11 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks index. Parker’s band had a million-selling single to kick off their recording careers, the sublime “Jack And Jill” (No. 8 Pop & No. 5 Soul) in ’78, with “You Can’t Change That” (No. 9 Pop & No. 3 on the Soul chart) in ’79. There was an initial single with the new name of Ray Parker, Jr. & RAYDIO called “Two Places At The Same Time (No. 30 Pop) in the spring of 1980. But with this new LP, the song “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)” was a very strong track.

The follow-up to that track was called “That Old Song” which stalled at No. 21 on the Hot 100. Here’s that last single to carry the name RAYDIO in the moniker.

Of course, Parker went on to have a stellar solo life without RAYDIO, kicking off with “The Other Woman” (No. 4 Pop, No. 2 Soul & No. 33 Adult Contemporary) as well as “I Still Can’t Get Over Losing You” (No. 12 Pop) from his ’82 LP Woman Out Of Control. But the biggest hit was yet to come as the film Ghostbusters was a blockbuster hit on screen and as the title track that went to No. 1 for three weeks on the Hot 100, was also No. 1 on the Hot Black Singles chart and No. 9 on the Adult Contemporary listing. The song was a worldwide hit, selling over a million in here in the states, even more in the U.K. and yet more in (of all places) France. While he had a few more hits, Parker was never able to recapture the successes of the past and the chart records ended by 1987. Parker had been a very successful studio guitarist before forming his group, including touring and playing on recordings with Stevie Wonder, the Spinners, Carpenters, Diana Ross, Boz Scaggs and many others. Ray Parker, Jr. still records and was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame just last year.   


**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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