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BIG Jay's BIG Week In Pop Music History


The Week of May 1st, 2014


For the Week Ending May, 3rd 1969

The Top Five Hot 100 Singles:

No. 5:  “ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE” – Jerry Butler – Mercury 72898

No. 4:  “YOU’VE MADE ME SO VERY HAPPY” – Blood, Sweat & Tears – Columbia 44776

No. 3:  “HAIR” – The Cowsills – MGM 14026

No. 2:  “IT’S YOUR THING” – The Isley Brothers – T-Neck 501


No. 1:  “Medley: AQUARIUS / LET THE SUNSHINE IN (The Flesh Failures)”

The 5th Dimension

 Soul City – 772

This is the fourth of an eventual six solid weeks as the nation’s leading Hot 100 Singles chart record. The song (and it’s a long title) “Medley: Aquarius / Let The Sun Shine In / (The Flesh Failures) was on the Johnny River’s-owned Soul City Records from the 5th Dimension. It was the group’s first No. 1 Pop single and their second of five overall two-million-selling singles. The classic line-up of the 5th Dimension was red-hot with this release, including; Billy Davis, Jr., Lamont McLemore, Ron Townson, Marilyn McCoo and Florence LaRue. The so-called “Wrecking Crew” of crack studio musicians backed-up the vocal group on this and virtually all of their recordings. The most difficult part of the recording was how to transition the first half (“Aquarius”) with the second half (“Let The Sun Shine In.)” Legendary studio session drummer Hal Blaine suggested to producer Bones Howe that he would try a time-signature/tempo-shift using his snare drum, and the results were of epic proportions. “Medley: Aquarius / Let The Sun Shine In) (Flesh Failures)” won the Grammy® for Record of the Year for 1969, and was the most played song of the year on radio. The song came from the 5th Dimension LP called The Age Of Aquarius that also featured the hit songs “Wedding Bell Blues” (No. 1) written by Laura Nyro, “Workin’ On A Groovy Thing” (No. 20—originally recorded and charted by Patti Drew in ’68) written by Roger Atkins and Neil Sedaka and “Blowin’ Away” (No. 21) also penned by Nyro.

The music stemmed from the Broadway play Hair (The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical) with the song’s lyrics written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni—music composed by Galt MacDermot. The show opened Off-Broadway in 1967, and jumped to the Great White Way at the Biltmore Theater on West 47th Street in Manhattan a year later. You’ll notice in the list of the Top 5 hits of the week (*see above) that a version of the title song “Hair” is there by the Cowsills.  There were other songs from the musical to hit the Hot 100 including: “Good Morning Starshine” by Oliver, “Easy To Be Hard” by Three Dog Night and a really good recording that should have been a hit by the Happenings of another medley called “Where Do I Go / Be-In / Hare Krishna.” 

No. 1 on the Easy Listening Singles chart:


Glen Campbell

 Capitol Records – 2428

While Glen Campbell had two charting Hot 100 songs after his No. 3 hit “Wichita Lineman”—a Christmas chart song “Christmas Is For Children,” and a duet re-make of “Let It Be Me” with Bobbie Gentry (No. 36)—he scored his second million-selling single with “Galveston written by Jimmy Webb. “Wichita Lineman” had also been composed by Webb and was Campbell’s first truly monster hit. This was the sixth and final week in the top slot of the Easy Listening Singles chart for the Capitol Records release. “Galveston” also reached the summit of the Country Singles chart. Here’s some interesting trivia—Don Ho was the first to record Webb’s song. Jimmy wasn’t pleased that Campbell’s cover version changed some of the lyrics; that for some, was seen as a patriotic tune. Webb had intended it originally to be a protest song about the Vietnam War. 


No. 1 on the Best Selling Rhythm & Blues Singles chart:


The Isley Brothers

 T-Neck Records – 901

Their last single on the Tamla (Motown) label only reached No. 92 on the Hot 100 Singles chart…and that was in the spring of 1967. Clearly, the Isley Brothers were not happy with their three-year stay at Motown. They were fortunate to have gotten a Holland-Dozier-Holland (No. 16 Pop) composition “This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)” before the songwriters bolted for the door in the Motor City; but clearly, that wasn’t enough to keep them there. So Ronald, O’Kelly and Rudolf Isley along with their younger brothers (15 years-old) Ernie and Marvin (16 years-old) along with brother-in-law Chris Jasper (18 years-old) re-christened their own label based in Teaneck, New Jersey and aptly called it T-Neck Records. They had originally embarked on their label before their stint at Tamla Records, but with no charting hits. This time, with their first new release, the group had a million-selling 45 RPM “It’s Your Thing (No. 2 on the Hot 100) plus an LP called It’s Our Thing that made noise on the R&B and Pop charts as one of the first true funk records.



For the week ending on Saturday, May 3rd, 1969

No. 1 on the Top LP’s chart:

The Original Broadway Cast Recording


Various Artists

 RCA Victor Records – LSO 1150

This was the second of 13 consecutive weeks as the leading album on the Top LPs chart for the Original Broadway Cast Recording Soundtrack to HairThe Tribal Love-Rock Musical on RCA Records. The music had already won a Grammy® for Best Score from an Original Cast Show. The recordings featured Ronnie Dyson (later known for his hit “(If You Let Me Make Love To You) Then Why Can’t I Touch You)” along with Melba Moore, Diane Keaton and Paul Jabara.


No. 1 on the Best-Selling Rhythm & Blues LPs chart


The Temptations

 Gordy Records – S 939

Call this “Psychedelic Soul” It was the sixth of an eventual 13 non-consecutive seven-day chart-periods for the album Cloud Nine by the Temptations on Gordy (Motown) Records to sit atop the Best Selling R&B LPs chart. The vocal group was under the wing of Norman Whitfield, who had the unenviable task of having a new lead singer—Dennis Edwards—who had taken over for a booted David Ruffin. The first time with the group in a recording studio for Dennis Edwards was for the title track of the LP, “Cloud Nine.” Not a bad way to join the rat-race for chart superiority. That title track reached No. 6 on the Hot 100 Singles chart and was a certified million-selling single after Berry Gordy, Jr. finally released information to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) about record sales. Additionally, the 45 RPM release of the song “Cloud Nine won a Grammy® for Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance, Vocal or Instrumental for 1969. That song had been released several months before the LP hit the record shops on February 17, 1969. Also released just before the Cloud Nine album touched down to earth was the follow-up single called “Run Away Child, Running Wild—another Best Selling R&B Singles chart-topper and No. 6 Hot 100 hit as well. Both songs featured at least one line sung by each member of the Temptations. 





For the week ending on Saturday, May 5th, 1979

The Top Five Hot 100 Singles:

No. 5:  “STUMBLIN’ IN” – Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman – RSO 917

No. 4:  “KNOCK ON WOOD” – Amii Stewart – Ariola America 7736

No. 3:  “MUSIC BOX DANCER” – Frank Mills – Polydor 14517

No. 2:  “HEART OF GLASS” – Blondie – Chrysalis 2295


Peaches & Herb

Polydor Records – 14547

Originally, the duo Peaches & Herb was Francine Barker (Hurd) along with Herbert Fame—real name Feemster. That teaming had five Top 40 Hot 100 singles chart-hits from 1966 through 1968 including “Close Your Eyes” and a remake of “Love Is Strange” on the Columbia subsidiary label called Date Records. Some lean years followed with a different “Peaches” in the form of Marlene Mack. After a dismal short-term time with the parent Columbia Records in 1971, Feemster (who had quit the business and became a Washington, D.C. cop) was determined to find the right combination with his voice after seven non-charting years. Fame not only found a new “Peaches,” but a new record label; Polydor. Flash-forward to the disco-fied year of 1978, and Fame teamed with Linda Green as the new, NEW “Peaches” and together they had three years of fairly big hits; including two monster 45 RPM releases. The first big one from an album called 2 Hot! was “Shake Your Groove Thing” the infectious dance track that sold over a million copies; reaching No. 5 on the Hot 100 Singles chart, No. 4 on the Hot Soul Singles listing and No. 2 on the short-lived Disco Singles chart. That song was written by Dino Fekaris and producer Freddie Perren. Then that team gave Fame and Green the record of a lifetime. The hopeful ballad “Reunited featured lush orchestration, and the guitar of “Wah Wah” Watson—a/k/a Melvin Ragin—perhaps best known as the wah-wah-pedal guitarist on “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” by the Temptations during the Psychedelic Soul period at Motown, “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye and the song “Car Wash” by Rose Royce from the film of the same name. Unfortunately, Peaches & Herb were not able to follow that immense success with another enormous hit song, but they did achieve one more Top 20 Pop hit with “I Pledge My Love” in early 1980.  


No. 1 on the Easy Listening Singles chart:

“Love Is The Answer”

England Dan & John Ford Coley

 Big Tree Records – 16131

Known for their “soft-rock” sound of the mid-to-late ‘70s, England Dan Seals and John Ford Coley had what would be the last Top 10 hit on the Hot 100 Singles chart, and the fourth and last No. 1 song on the Easy Listening/Adult Contemporary charts. The song “Love Is The Answer was first recorded by the tune’s writer, Todd Rundgren with his group Utopia in ’77. For their LP Dr. Heckle & Mr. Jive, England Dan and John Ford Coley, along with their producer Kyle Lehning, took a chance on this track with its Gospel-feel, and harder edge than most of their previous singles. 



No. 1 on the Hot Soul Singles chart:


Peaches & Herb

Polydor Records – 14547

This was the second of four back-to-back weeks as the leading Hot Soul Singles chart record on Polydor Records for Peaches & Herb with “Reunited.” (**See above)  


For the week ending on Saturday, May 5th, 1979

No. 1 on the Top LPs & Tape chart:

Minute By Minute

The Doobie Brothers

Warner Bros. Records – BSK 3198

This was a bittersweet LP for the Doobie Brothers, as it was the third to feature Michael McDonald as lead vocalist (after founding lead sing Tom Johnston had left the band due to illness and personal issues) and was the final album for some of the other founding members due to disagreements of the direction of the ensemble. But the LP Minute By Minute was a resounding success (selling over six million copies in America) giving the band the biggest hit single and biggest non-greatest hits LP to feature the brand name of the Doobie Brothers. The album’s singles, in order of release were: “What A Fool Believes (the biggest hit single in their history) written by Kenny Loggins and McDonald, “Minute By Minute” co-written by McDonald and musician/songwriter Lester Abrams (who also performed on track) and “Depending On You,” co-written by Patrick Simmons and McDonald. This was the last album to feature the guitar wizardry of Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and founding drummer John Hartman. McDonald valiantly continued with his idea of what the Doobie Brothers should be at the time. Finally, the group broke-up in 1982. There was a reunion of several members of the band in 1989 featuring the well-again Tom Johnston and they had a final hit song called “The Doctor” reaching No. 9 on the Hot 100. The groups’ greatest hits LP called Best Of The Doobies has sold over 10 million copies in the U.S. alone.  


No. 1 on the Best Selling Soul LPs chart:

2 Hot!

Peaches & Herb

Polydor Records – PD-1-6172


The album called 2 Hot! and the songs from the LP are featured above in the section The Big Singles. This was the last of eight non-consecutive weeks in the pinnacle position for Peaches & Herb on the Hot Soul LPs chart. 


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

The Top Five Hot 100 Singles:

No. 5:  “PINK CADILLAC” – Natalie Cole – EMI-Manhattan -- 50117

No. 4:  “WHERE DO BROKEN HEARTS GO” – Whitney Houston – Arista -- 9674

No. 3:  “ANGEL” – Aerosmith – Geffen – 28249

No. 2:  “ANYTHING FOR YOU” – Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine – Epic – 07759



Terrence Trent D’Arby

Columbia Records – 07675


Many music composers over the years have said they either dreamed a lyric or a melody while sleeping or in a twilight state. Add this one to the half awake category. Terrence Trent D’Arby’s only No. 1 song and one-half million-selling single was “Wishing Well” on Columbia Records. “Wishing Well” had been the No. 1 Black Singles chart-leader for a single week for the week ending on April 2, 1988. This track came from the album The Hardline According to Terrence Trent D’Arby, which also contained the No. 4 single later in ’88 called “Sign Your Name.” The former native-New Yorker, boxer and Gospel-loving young man who eventually moved to England had just two more chart entries and vanished—much like he disappeared from the U.S. Army as he went AWOL while stationed in Germany. Oh yeah, he was discharged from the service for that escapade before his few years in the musical spotlight.  

No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary Singles chart:

“Anything For You”

Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine

 Epic – 07759

This record was in its third and final week as the principal song on the Adult Contemporary Singles chart. It was also one week away (with a 14-day stay) from replacing “Wishing Well” by Terrence Trent D’Arby who sat atop the Hot 100 for just a sole seven-day chart-period. “Anything For You was the fourth of five singles taken from the album Let It Loose by Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine. After her next No. 3 hit (on the Hot 100) “1-2-3,” she would drop the Miami Sound Machine moniker completely, and record as a solo artist. There were three versions of “Anything For You”—one in English, another in Spanish and yet an additional vocal track combining both languages. This song was the first of an eventual three No. 1 Hot 100 singles Estefan would have with and without the name Miami Sound Machine.


No. 1 on the Hot Soul Singles chart:


Al B. Sure!

Warner Bros. Records – 28192

This was the second of three consecutive weeks at the apex of the Hot Black Singles chart for Al B. Sure! Yes, that’s an exclamation point at the end of his name—just to make SURE you got the joke. His real name is Albert Joseph Brown III, hailing from Leonia, New Jersey before moving to Mt. Vernon, New York. Label his act as “New Jack Swing” music, his stage name was meant to be one word, thus; he’s labeled alphabetically under “A” and not “S” for Sure! While “Nite And Day reached No. 1 on this chart, it rose to only No. 7 on the Hot 100 Singles listing. It was propelled by his two-million-selling album titled In Effect Mode. He received an American Music Award for Best New R&B Artist, a Soul Train Award for Best New Artist in 1988 as well as a few Grammy® Award nominations. His reported biggest selling single was collaboration with Quincy Jones, along with James Ingram, El DeBarge and Barry White called “The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)” in 1990. Al B. Sure! has had eight Top 10 hits on the R&B charts.



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

No. 1 on the Top LPs & Tape Chart:

Dirty Dancing (Original Soundtrack from the Vestron Motion Picture)

Various Artists

RCA Records – BL 86408

This album went on to sell over 11 million copies in the U.S. alone. The Dirty Dancing Original Soundtrack on RCA Records has reportedly sold over 32 million copies worldwide since its release on August 21, 1987. The soundtrack first reached the crest of the Top Pop Albums chart for the week ending November 14, 1987, and would tally-up a whopping 18 non-consecutive weeks as that list’s dominant LP/CD. This week in ’88 was the very last of those 18 seven-day periods in the uppermost slot. Three songs from the album were release as singles, including: Oscar® winner for Best Original Song and Grammy® winner for Best Pop Performance for a Group or Duo—“(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” from Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes (co-written by a Jersey guy, Frankie Previte for lyrics along with John DeNicola and Donald Markowitz for the music) released way back in September of ’87 reaching No. 1 on the Hot 100, “She’s Like The Wind” from the film’s co-star Patrick Swayze, reaching No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary Singles chart and No. 3 on the Hot 100 along with “Hungry Eyes” by (former Raspberries lead-singer) Eric Carmen—another song co-written by Previte and DeNicola. A follow-up album with other songs from the flick showed up later in ’88, which revived the song “Do You Love Me” (reaching No. 11 on the Hot 100 in its re-release) from the second album called More Dirty Dancing from the motion-picture.


No. 1 on the Hot Black Albums chart:

Introducing The Hardline According to Terrence Trent D’Arby

Terrence Trent D’Arby

Columbia Records – OC 40964

This album was released in the U.S. on October 5, 1987; after first being unleashed in the U.K. back on July 13th of that year. (**See above for the No. 1 Hot 100 Singles for more information) 


(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)