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BIG Jay's BIG Week In Pop Music History


The Week of May 15th, 2014


For the Week Ending May 23rd, 1964

The Top Five Hot 100 Singles:

No. 5:  “LOVE ME WITH ALL YOUR HEART (Cuando Calienta El Sol)” – Ray Charles Singers – Command – 4046

No. 4:  “CHAPEL OF LOVE” – The Dixie-Cups – Red Bird – 10-001

No. 3:  “HELLO DOLLY” – Louis Armstrong – Kapp 573

No. 2:  “LOVE ME DO” – The Beatles – Tollie 9008

No. 1:  “My Guy”

Mary Wells

Motown Records 1056

By 1964, William Robinson was one of the most prolific R&B producers/songwriters of the early ‘60s; and on this week’s No. 1 45 RPM on the Hot 100 Singles chart, the artwork featured just his nickname “Smokey” as the moniker of the producer. “My Guy” was in the first of two eventual weeks in the pinnacle position of the Pop survey, as sung by “The Queen of Motown,” Mary Wells. This “Hitsville, U.S.A.” song was not only the biggest single for Wells; it was the last solo 45 for the singer on Motown. Mary has the distinction of having the very first No. 1 single on the Motown label; the first for Berry Gordy’s sister label Tamla Records was “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes. Wells had four earlier Top-15 Pop hits all put together by Robinson. Just as she was reaching No. 1 nationally with “My Guy,” her husband (and Motown employee Herman Griffin) convinced her to end the agreement with the company, already an option in her deal, the day Wells turned 21 years-old on May 13, 1964.  For a hefty advance, she signed a new contract with 20th Century Records. However; without the production and writing proficiency of Smokey and the exhilarating momentum that the “Sound of Young America” was enjoying, Wells was never able to achieve another hit single higher than No. 34 on the Hot 100 on any other label; except for one dual-sided chart single (both songs reaching the lower teens on the chart) as duets with Marvin Gaye, released just after “My Guy.” About two-years after a diagnosis of throat cancer, Mary Wells died in July of 1992 at the age of 49. 

No. 1 on the Easy Listening Singles chart:


Louis Armstrong and The All Stars

Kapp Records – 573 

Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong has the distinction of being the first artist to topple the Beatles from their 14 consecutive-week run (with three separate songs) atop the Hot 100 Singles chart with “Hello Dolly” on Kapp Records. His nine consecutive-week reign on the Pop Standards Singles chart was far superior than that solitary week at the apex of the Hot 100 survey, ending the week of May 9, 1964; listed on the label as by Louis Armstrong And The All Stars. This was the final week in the No. 1 slot on this chart. “Hello Dolly” would go on to win a Grammy® for “Satch” in the Best Vocal Performance – Male category for 1964. The Jazz trumpeter/singer’s first recordings were in the early 1920s as a part of a band called King Oliver’s Jazz Creole Band. In 1949, Armstrong became the first Jazz performer to grace the cover of TIME Magazine. “Satchmo” (short for Satchelmouth) died in his sleep at his home in Corona, Queens, New York on July 6, 1971.   


***Note: There was no Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart at this time***

No. 1 on the CASHBOX R&B Singles chart:


Mary Wells

Motown Records – 1056

“My Guy” (see above) was an even bigger hit on the R&B chart from Cashbox Magazine, which is considered the chart-of-record by most musicologists from November 30, 1963 through January 23, 1965, as Billboard halted a separate chart for Pop and R&B singles during that timeframe. On Cashbox, “My Guy” was No. 1 for seven consecutive-weeks during all of the month of May, and halfway into June! The introduction to the song imitates the basic main melody of the song “Canadian Sunset,” suggested by trombone player George Bohannon to the “Funk Brothers” bandleader Earl Van Dyke. It also uses the bass notes on the piano from “Begin The Beguine.” “My Guy” entered the Grammy® Hall of Fame in 1999. 



For the week ending on Saturday, May 23rd, 1964

No. 1 on the Top LP’s chart:


Featuring She Loves You and Roll Over Beethoven

The Beatles

There was no album called The Beatles’ Second Album in the minds of the Fab 4 themselves. Their real second album in the U.K. was With The Beatles on Parlophone Records—the first being Please Please Me in the U.K. Capitol Records, the EMI subsidiary in the U.S. decided to release Meet The Beatles as the first Capitol LP. They accomplished this by trimming some songs off of With The Beatles and adding two singles tracks also not on the British version. Capitol did more trickery with this long-playing record; using some of the material on With The Beatles, and yet, incorporating a song that was not included, but written for their first film, A Hard Day’s Night called “You Can’t Do That” in addition to songs that WE heard first in the U.S.—“I Call Your Name” and “Long Tall Sally” which were released in Britain on an EP (Extended Play) after this LP was rushed to stores in the U.S.A. “She Loves You” had been released on Swan Records as an American single earlier in the year on the Philly-based Swan Records. But true Beatle-maniacs know it had originally come out in September of ’63 in America on Swan, but it went nowhere at that time. That song and “Roll Over Beethoven” (which was released in the U.S. as a single earlier as an import from North-of-the-Border on Capitol of Canada) were specifically mentioned on the cover of the LP. There are some audible differences between the MONO and STEREO versions of The Beatles’ Second Album that true Beatle-people also know about. It you want to be a true Record Pig and wish to know what they are, shoot me an email. BigJay@BigJaySorensen.com   

***Note: Like the R&B Singles chart, there was no R&B ALBUM chart during this time period from Billboard Magazine. Cashbox Magazine also did not publish a separate R&B LP listing.  





For the week ending on Saturday, May 19th, 1973

The Top Five Hot 100 Singles:

No. 5:  “DANIEL” – Elton John – MCA – 40046

No. 4:  “FRANKENSTEIN” – The Edgar Winter Group – Epic – 5-10954

No. 3:  “LITTLE WILLY – Sweet – Bell – 45-251

No. 2:  “TIE A YELLOW RIBBON ROUND THE OLE OAK TREE – Dawn Featuring Tony Orlando – Bell – 45-318


Stevie Wonder

Tamla Records – 54232F

Stevie Wonder was only able to keep this song in the No. 1 space on the Hot 100 Singles chart for a sole week, but it was his second chart-topper (“Superstition” was the first) on that listing from the album Talking Book on Tamla Records. But many record buyers didn’t realize that Stevie wasn’t the first singer they heard on this track—or the second for that matter. Recorded in New York City, Wonder allowed male singer Jim Gilstrap to open the song, with a woman named Lani Groves singing the rest of the opening lyrics. THEN Wonder jumped in to finish the song. Another background singer named Gloria Barley rounded out the back-up vocals. On the LP Talking Book, Wonder gave credit to the musicians on the record. So, we know that on this song, Stevie played the electric piano, drums and guitar, with Scott Edwards on bass guitar and a guy named Daniel Ben Zebulon was on congas. This single differed from the LP version, as there was a horn section overdubbed for the 45, likely played by the other brass instrument performers on the album including: David Sanborn and Trevor Laurence on saxes, and Steve Madaio on trumpet. When Wonder was recording this album and performing much of the instruments himself, the co-producers and engineers had every instrument he wanted to play in a circle in the studios so he could simply move the next instrument to overdub into the mix of the track. Some bad-blood occurred shortly after this album was a hit, with co-producers Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil feeling they were never fully compensated and not given proper credit for the creative process of the making of Talking Book. The song was written about Stevie’s wife at the time, Syreeta Wright; although the couple divorced in 1976. “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” won a Grammy® for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.   


No. 1 on the Easy Listening Singles chart:


Elton John

MCA Records – 40046

“Daniel” by Elton John on MCA Records just missed being a No. 1 record on the Hot 100 Singles chart, but it did manage to reach the zenith of the Easy Listening Singles chart for this, the second of two back-to-back weeks and eventually sold over one million copies. The track was culled from the Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player album. Many people misinterpreted the meaning of the song, but Bernie Taupin (lyric writer) bluntly says it was about a man (Daniel) returning from the war in Vietnam and being treated as a hero; when all the guy wanted was to go back to his farm to pick up life where he left off—with the story told from the brother of Daniel’s point of view. Over in the Mother-Country, “Daniel” was awarded a prestigious Ivor Novello Award for the category Best Song, Lyrically and Musically. 



No. 1 on the Best Selling Soul Singles chart:


The Independents

Wand Records – 11252

“Leaving Me” sold over a million copies and was No. 1 for this, its only week on the Best Selling Soul Singles chart. What? Jesse Jackson’s brother was a member of the R&B group the Independents? Yes he was. His name is Charles “Chuck” Jackson (not the singer of “Any Day Now (This Bird Has Flown)” from the ‘60s. There was another guy with the last name Jackson in the group—Maurice Jackson—no relation to Chuck. The rest of the Wand Records act consisted of Helen Curry, Eric Thomas and Marvin Jerome Yancy. Chuck and Jerome would later help Natalie Cole’s career as a recording artist take shape as producers and writers.



For the week ending on Saturday, May 16th, 1970

No. 1 on the Top LPs & Tape chart:


Led Zeppelin

Atlantic Records – 7255

Led Zeppelin—a reggae band? Well, they tried with the song “D’yer Maker” or in other words, “Did ya make her?” or the English way of saying the island of “Jamaica.” “D’yer Maker” was the second single from this week’s biggest album in America for its last of two-consecutive survey periods on top. The LP called Houses Of The Holy was controversial from the moment it was released, simply for its cover photo taken by a guy named Aubrey Powell. Actually it was a pastiche of several photos of dozens of young naked girls taken in Northern Ireland. That creeped-out not just buyers, but record outlets and Atlantic Records, which put stickers in odd places on the cover to make it somewhat less icky. But Led Zep’s fifth studio LP Houses Of The Holy did pretty well in overall sales—reaching over 11 million copies sold in the U.S. alone. The first single was “Over The Hills And Far Away.” Note that Led Zeppelin was not a singles band. And the bigger of the two singles was actually recorded as a sort of inside joke. John Paul Jones despised the song, because it wasn’t really a reggae song after all. That’s because drummer John Bonham couldn’t perform a close enough version of a reggae beat! The SONG called “Houses Of The Holy” wasn’t even ON the LP of the same name. That track was included on their next album (a double-album set) called Physical Graffiti, released in 1975.  


No. 1 on the Best Selling Soul LPs chart:


The Spinners

Atlantic Records – SD 7256

After being relegated to third-tier status during their stay with the Motown music factory, the Spinners (or as they had to be called the Detroit Spinners in the U.K. because a local group there was also called the Spinners) finally broke away from the clutches of Berry Gordy, Jr. Head back to 1957 and the genesis of the vocal group was formed in a Detroit suburb. Their first Hot 100 Singles chart hit was in 1961, with the song “That’s What Girls Are For” on the Harvey Fuqua-owned Tri-Phi Records label. Flash forward to ’65 and being signed by Motown with the minor classic “I Will Always Love You” right out of the gate. But then, nothing happened for five years. Finally, Gordy and his minions allowed the 1970 release of a song written and performed musically largely by Stevie Wonder called “It’s A Shame” with G. C. Cameron on lead vocals; actually recorded over a year before. Then again…nothing! Cameron stayed with Motown, but he suggested that they hire his cousin Philippe Wynne to bolster their vocal chops. That was the spark that ignited a decade of almost non-stop hits, starting with the Bobby Smith lead on “I’ll Be Around,” and “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love,” the Wynne lead on “One Of A Kind (Love Affair)” and “Ghetto Child” rounded out the album simply called Spinners. This LP has been called one of the records that helped propel the “Philly Sound” with producer Thom Bell. Many of the top musicians in Philadelphia performed on the LP, engineered by the guy who really put Philly music on the map for the Cameo/Parkway record labels in the early to mid-‘60s, Joe Tarsia.



For the week ending on Saturday, May 18th, 1985

The Top Five Hot 100 Singles:

No. 5:  “SMOOTH OPERATOR” – Sade – Portrait – 04807

No. 4:  “EVERYTHING SHE WANTS” – Wham! – Columbia –38-04840

No. 3:  “ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK” – Murray Head – RCA – 13988

No. 2:  “CRAZY FOR YOU” – Madonna – Geffen – 29051



Simple Minds

A&M Records – 2703

Not only did Simple Minds originally turn down the opportunity to perform this song intended for the motion picture The Breakfast Club, but so did Billy Idol, Cy Curnin of the Fixx and Roxy Music’s Brian Ferry. Keith Forsey, the incredible drummer on songs like “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer became a composer/producer and approached all of the above to do his song “Don’t You Forget About Me” for the forthcoming John Hughes coming-of-age dramatic/comedy. After everyone Forsey approached turned it down, A&M Records pushed the Glasgow, Scotland band into doing it. Simple Minds quickly re-arranged “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”—the song that would become the theme of the film—although the band didn’t know it at the time. Their input to the movie-music took them all of just over three hour’s soup-to-nuts. They had viewed a screening of the flick and liked what they saw. So, after trying for several years to break into the U.S. market, Simple Minds not only got noticed—they had their first and only No. 1 song in the colonies. The ensemble’s leader, Jim Kerr at one time thought the song’s lyrics were awful. He kind of changed his tune about the tune realizing just how big the record was. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” was the No. 1 song for just this sole week. They left this track off of their then forthcoming album Once Upon A Time, as the band still tried to distance themselves from it; which seems kind of odd, as the song stayed on the British singles charts for almost two years! Their next hit was on that album; with “Alive And Kicking” reaching No. 3 on the Hot 100 Singles chart in the autumn of 1985. Simple Minds several hits on Modern Rock charts in the U.S. for several years, and remained quite successful in the U.K.

No. 1 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Singles chart:



Portrait Records – 04807

The band—yes, the band Sade (pronounced SHA-day) had this week in ‘85’s No. 5 hit on the Hot 100 Singles chart, but their hit “Smooth Operator” was No. 1 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Singles chart on Portrait Records. But wait—you thought Sade was a woman, right? You would correct in that assumption. The group’s female singer was named Sade (real name Helen Folasade Adu) with Folasade meaning, “Honor confers a crown,” in her native Nigeria, Africa. But she eventually stole the solo spotlight from her fellow band-members Andrew Hale, Stuart  Matthewman and Paul Denman; all formerly members of the group called Pride. Sade had moved to the U.K. with her English-born mother at the age of four. It was there that she began singing and performed “Smooth Operator” originally with Pride. Sade had written the song with another member of Pride named Ray St. John—no relation to my pal and CBS-FM’s Sunday star, PAT St. John—at least to my knowledge. “Smooth Operator” was in the second and final week as the biggest record on the Adult Contemporary Singles chart. The silky tune also reached No. 5 on the Hot Black Singles chart, and No. 11 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. The track came from the album Diamond Life; reaching No. 5 on the Top Pop Albums chart, long after the set had been a hit overseas. Several tracks had already been hits in the U.K. almost a year before Sade broke through in America. There would be many more to come from Sade through the rest of the ‘80s and beyond.


No. 1 on the Hot Soul Singles chart:


Kool & The Gang

De-Lite Records – 880623

What a turnaround for the Jersey City-based Kool & The Gang from their ‘70s disco/funk to the 80’s urban/pop sound they perfectly executed. Both styles won them accolades, but the bigger hits came in the ‘80s. This one was “Fresh” on top of the Hot Black Singles chart for just one week. The song was also peaking at No. 9 on the Hot 100 Singles chart from their album Emergency. That album was released back in November of ’84, and was still popping out hits. The first was “Misled,” gaining them a Top 10 Hot 100 hit, with “Cherish” (No. 2 Pop, No. 1 for six weeks on the Adult Contemporary Singles chart and No. 1 on this chart during the summer of ’85) following “Fresh” with the title track “Emergency” getting to No. 18 Pop. Their success as a crossover act was achieved by losing some of the grittier edge to the majority of their releases starting back in the late ‘70s after their “funk/disco” days. The genesis of the group stretches back to 1964 when the initial line-up started out as the Jazziacs, becoming Kool & The Flames and finally their famous moniker. Their late-‘70s into the mid-‘80s sound was bolstered by the lead vocals of James “J.T.” Taylor.  He left the band in the late ‘80s trying his hand as a solo act. “Kool” is Robert “Kool” Bell, who started the band with his brother Ronald Bell. Many talented musicians have been members of Kool & The Gang over the years.



For the week ending on Saturday, May 7th, 1988

No. 1 on the Top LPs & Tape Chart:


Phil Collins

Atlantic Records -- 7A1-81240

Four Top 10 singles came from the Phil Collins third solo album No Jacket Required sitting atop the Top Pop Albums chart this week in ’85. The first single (see video) was a ballad called “One More Night.” And who could blame Collins and Atlantic Records after the huge success of “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)” from the film and corresponding album Against All Odds: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. “One More Night” was also No. 1 for three weeks on the Adult Contemporary Singles chart in the beginning of spring ’85. The second single was currently on its way to being the second consecutive No. 1 Hot 100 tune from the set. “Sussudio” (about a guy liking an older woman) also opened the album as was at the chart summit ending the week of July 6th in ’85. A third single, “Don’t Lose That Number” reached No. 4 on the Hot 100 that summer. In between, Collins had another No. 1 song but it wasn’t featured on his album. “Separate Lives” from the film White Night was No. 1 from that movie’s soundtrack, sung by Collins and singer Marilyn Martin. Then, yet another single from No Jacket Required was released called “Take Me Home” featuring Sting on backing vocals. That track got to No. 7 on the Hot 100. This album won three Grammy® Awards for: Album of the Year for Collins and producer Hugh Padgham, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, plus Collins and producer Hugh Padgham received the Producer of the Year-Non Classical award. No Jacket Required went on to sell over 12 million copies in the U.S. alone.


No. 1 on the Hot Black Albums chart:


Luther Vandross

Epic Records -- FE 39882

Luther Vandross had yet to crossover to being a mainstream recording artist when the album The Night I Fell In Love was No. 1 on the Hot Black Albums chart this week in ’85. But he certainly hit the heights of passion with his fans. The single from the set was “‘Til My Baby Comes Home” and featured the keyboard playing from Billy Preston. The Night I Fell in Love album was nominated for the Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, losing to Stevie Wonder for his record In Square Circle. Vandross would make that leap into the upper regions of the Hot 100 Singles chart in the late ‘80s through the middle of the ‘90s. Luther Vandross died of a heart-attack on July 1, 2005 at a hospital in Hackensack, NJ.


(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)