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BIG Jay's BIG Week In Pop Music History


The Week of May 29th, 2014



No. 5(LW 2):  “TICKET TO RIDE” – The Beatles – Capitol -- 5407

No. 4(LW 6):  “CRYING IN THE CHAPEL” – Elvis Presley – RCA Victor – 447-0643

No. 3(LW 3):  “BACK IN MY ARMS AGAIN” – The Supremes – Motown – 1075

No. 2(LW 5):  “WOOLY BULLY” – Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs – MGM – 13322

No. 1 

(Last Week No. 1):


The Beach Boys

 Capitol Records – 5395

This hit’s story began with a completely different version called “Help Me Ronda” from the Beach Boys’ LP The Beach Boys Today! Brian Wilson (who co-wrote it with his cousin Mike Love) went back into the studio after he heard the track on the radio and thought he could perfect it with a few members of the “Wrecking Crew” (L.A. musicians who played on thousands of recordings from Pop to Standards) and re-cut the entire piece. Al Jardine got his first lead singing turn for an A-side single, in its second of two consecutive weeks as the biggest 45 RPM in America. There are not a lot of words in the song about seeking help from the girl who refused to be the love interest of the singer, but the melody and complex craftsmanship jumped out of the speakers due to Brian’s production with the Wrecking Crew. The name of the girl was altered from Ronda to Rhonda (the more utilized spelling at the time) yet there wasn’t a real “Rhonda” in mind when the song was composed. Perhaps the simplicity of the lyrics was simply ignored by record-buyers, as the music grabbed them instead. During this session, the Wilson brothers’ father, Murry Wilson interrupted the recording, screaming that the group lacked enthusiasm. Brian (as heard on some bootleg recordings) stopped the proceedings, which led to a furious discussion. The elder Wilson exited and was never involved with their recordings again. This hit version of “Help Me Rhonda” appeared on the next Beach Boys LP called Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) released just a few months after The Beach Boys Today! which also featured another luscious hit single “California Girls” and a song obviously inspired by the encounter Brian had with his dad called “I’m Bugged At My ‘Ol Man.”   



No. 1


Elvis Presley

RCA Victor Records -- 447-0643


Many didn’t realize it, but “Crying In The Chapel” was a track that was already almost five years old and sitting in the vaults at RCA Victor. Elvis Presley had recorded the song in 1960 during the 14 hour sessions for a Gospel LP called His Hand In Mine. This song was eventually released as what was called an “Easter Special” single in the spring of ’65. The song was No. 3 this week on the Hot 100, and was in the third of an ultimate seven weeks as the biggest 45 RPM on the Easy Listening Singles chart. “Crying In The Chapel” sold over two-million copies for RCA Victor. Another major hit from that same studio session way back in 1960 became a No. 1 Hot 100 hit (a non-Gospel song) in March of 1961 called “Surrender.” “Crying In The Chapel” was originally recorded by Darrell Glenn in 1953. His version was both a Pop and Country/Western hit at the time, and was covered by many other artists including Sonny Till & the Orioles (No. 1 on the Juke Box Race Records chart and No. 11 Pop) in 1953, which was a cover version of the Darrell Glenn hit.



No. 1


Four Tops

Motown Records – 1076

The Top Selling Rhythm & Blues Singles chart got a jump on making this song No. 1, as “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” would become the Hot 100’s chart-topping single next week. The song may sound amazingly similar to an earlier Motown Records release, “Where Did Our Love Go” by the Supremes. That’s because it had the same chord-structure as this Four Tops track; both written by the incredible writing and production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland. With Levi Stubbs in the Gospel-like lead, the rest of the Tops sound was embellished on the track by the female vocal group, the Andantes (who sang on many of their Motown hits without credit) along with the Funk Brothers and a string section from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Stubbs passed away in 2008. Lawrence Payton died in 1997 and Renaldo “Obie” Benson expired in 2005. Left holding the group together to this day is Abdul “Duke” Fakir. The Four Tops could have ceased to exist in 1988 had they boarded a flight they missed; the Pan Am Flight 103 that crashed due to terrorism in Scotland, killing everyone onboard.



For the Week Ending June 5, 1965


No. 1 

(Last Week No. 1)

Mary Poppins – Original Soundtrack

Various Artists

Buena Vista Records – 4026

Walt Disney Records became Buena Vista Records in 1959 to not only facilitate the singing career of Annette Funicello, but also to be the label for sountracks to their movies and other contemporary releases. This week, the No. 1 album in America for the 10th of an eventual 14 non-consecutive survey-periods was Mary Poppins – Original Soundtrack. The film, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, was the biggest hit of the year, with the soundtrack featuring songs from brothers Richard and Robert Sherman. The most recognized tracks on the soundtrack are “A Spoon Full Of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee.”



No. 1 

(Last Week No. 1)

The Temptations Sing Smokey

The Temptations 

Gordy Records – G 912

The album wasn’t their first (that was Meet The Temptations) but what was called The Temptations Sing Smokey pretty much introduced the general record-buying public to the vocal group; released on March 22, 1965 on Gordy Records. William “Smokey” Robinson used several people to help co-write his songs, with the first track from this Temptations LP being the Eddie Kendricks lead vocal on “The Way You Do The Things You Do” co-penned by Robert “Bobby” Rogers. At the time, Rogers was married to Wanda Young, one of the lead singers of the Marvelettes. Bobby passed away in March of 2013. The record-of-a-lifetime “My Girl” (featuring the lead vocal by David Ruffin) was also included on this set, which Robinson co-wrote with fellow Miracles-member Ronald White; who died in August of 1995. The follow-up hit single to “My Girl” from The Temptations Sing Smokey was “It’s Growing,” that Robinson co-composed with Warren “Pete” Moore also of the Miracles. The Temptations Sing Smokey was a phenomenal success for Gordy (Motown) Records, sitting in the No. 1 spot on the Top Selling Rhythm & Blues LPs chart for a total of 18 non-consecutive weeks. This was the ninth week at the survey’s peak position. The album was also the first of eight consecutive No. 1 LPs for the Temptations on the R&B charts; an eventual 16 altogether in their lengthy career.



For the Week Ending June 5, 1976


No. 5(LW 8):  “MISTY BLUE” – Dorothy Moore – Malaco – 1029

No. 4(LW 5):  “GET UP AND BOOGIE (That’s Right)” – Silver Convention – Midland International – 10339

No. 3(LW 3):  “FOOLED AROUND AND FELL IN LOVE” – Elvin Bishop -- Capricorn – 0252

No. 2(LW 1):  “SILLY LOVE SONGS” – Wings – Capitol – 4256

No. 1  

(Last Week No. 2)


Diana Ross

Motown Records – 1392

Ms. Ross knocked “Silly Love Songs” by Wings out of the top spot on the Hot 100 Singles chart for two weeks, but gave up the thrown as Paul McCartney’s song had another four weeks at No. 1 after “Love Hangover.” Diana Ross’ version was in its final survey-period at the pinnacle. The 5th Dimension recorded a cover-version, because Motown had released another song as the initial single from her album called Diana Ross. That song was the Michael Masser and Pam Sawyer tune “I Thought It Took A Little Time (But Today I Fell In Love).” It stalled at No. 47 on the Hot 100 Singles chart. Realizing they might lose a hit to the 5th Dimension, Motown quickly dumped their first choice and rush-released “Love Hangover.” They both hit the survey on the same day, and the Ross version destroyed the ABC Records release; leaving it freeze at No. 80. Truth be told, the song was written for either Ms. Ross or Marvin Gaye in mind by the composers Marilyn McCloud and Pamela Sawyer. It was Sawyer who co-wrote hit records like: “If I Were Your Woman” by Gladys Knight & the Pips, “Love Child” by the Supremes and “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)” by a solo David Ruffin. Diana “The Diva” Ross was given the disco-ball-treatment in the darkened studio to get her in the mood to sing “Love Hangover” by producer Hal Davis. The Diana Ross LP contained a much longer version of “Love Hangover”— clocking-in at just under eight minutes.



No. 1


Captain & Tennille

A&M Records – 1817

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes lighting strikes twice when recording a remake of a classic. This week’s No. 1 song on the Easy Listening Singles chart was first performed in 1960 by the Miracles featuring Bill “Smokey” Robinson, as it said on the Tamla Records label. It was the Motown Corporation’s first million-selling 45 RPM release. The tune was written by Smokey and his boss Berry Gordy, Jr. Flash-forward to 1976, and after a few other remakes of the song, the other most successful interpretation was from the duo Captain & Tennille. The Captain was Daryl “Captain” Dragon, a keyboard wizard who had toured with the Beach Boys. He met Catherine Antoinette “Toni” Tennille after he worked for a group she was with. After he left the Beach Boys excursion, he recommended HER for the group as a keyboardist, and she got the gig—making Toni the first Beach “Girl.” They decided to team and were signed to A&M Records. They married just before their first hit “Love Will Keep Us Together.” “Shop Around” peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100 Singles chart and was featured on their second album, Song Of Joy, which also included their previous hit “Lonely Night (Angel Face)” (a No. 4 Hot 100 million-seller) a Neil Sedaka composition plus the often maligned “Muskrat Love,” (also No. 4 Pop and a million-selling single) a song made semi-popular by the group America in ’73. Tennille filed for divorce from her long-time husband in 2013.



No. 1


Candi Staton

Warner Bros. Records – 8181

Canzetta “Candi” Staton had languished with several minor hits starting in 1969 up until her signing with Warner Bros. Records in 1974. Her former label Fame Records (home of the Fame Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama) had eight pop-charting singles and 16 R&B singles in her time there (including the remake of “Stand By Your Man”—No. 24 Pop) but her producer and one of the principals of the studio Rick Hall got her signed with the major label after she earned the title of “First Lady of Southern Soul.” Her first outing at Warner Bros. in ’74 didn’t crack the Top 50, but about a year and a half later, she hit the home run with “Young Hearts Run Free.” It reached No. 20 on the Hot 100 survey, but was the biggest Soul Singles chart hit this week in ’76. It also charted at No. 8 on the Dance/Disco chart and the song was also a big hit in England, reaching No. 1 for one sole week on the Soul side. Staton made a comeback of sorts in ’92 when she sang on a huge British hit called “You Got The Love” by the band the Source. Staton has been married five times; the first, the visually-challenged Soul singer Clarence Carter, most famous for classics like: “Slip Away,” “Patches” and “Strokin’.” She was also married for a short time to former Major League Baseball player Otis Nixon. Candi’s been singing Gospel music since her days as one of Soul’s first ladies.



For the Week Ending June 5, 1976


No. 1

(Last Week No. 2)

Black And Blue

The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones Records (Atlantic) – 79104

Keith Richards has said that Black And Blue by the Rolling Stones was more of a rehearsal album or a jam session than a professionally mixed set of songs. He wasn’t too kind to the set in his auto-biography. The LP, released on their Rolling Stones Records moniker, none-the-less reached No. 1 twice. The first time, Black And Blue replaced Presence by Led Zeppelin and was in the top slot for two weeks. Then Wings At The Speed Of Sound hit the zenith of the Top LPs & Tape listing for another week. So the Beatles/Stones rivalry was still in effect in the ‘70s, as Black And Blue retained the No. position again for another two weeks; four in total. This was the third of those four. And, the Wings LP would again be in the pinnacle position for several weeks after the Stones LP faltered. The set featured “Fool To Cry” a ballad that managed to reach No. 10 on the Hot 100 and the “disco-fied” song “Hot Stuff” which only reached No. 49 as the B side of “Fool To Cry.” “Hot Stuff” was seen as the precursor to the monster No. 1 hit to come, “Miss You.” That’s Billy Preston playing piano on “Hot Stuff.” Black And Blue was the first Stones album to feature the work of Ron Wood on more than one track, who was auditioning along with other guitarists (Harvey Mandell and Wayne Perkins) to replace the Mick Taylor. Production on this hodge-podge LP was claimed by the Glimmer Twins a/k/a Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.



No. 1  

(Last Week No. 1)

Look Out For #1

The Brothers Johnson

 A&M Records

Quincy Jones must have foreseen something great in the mix of Jazz and R&B/Soul when he produced Look Out For #1 for the Brothers Johnson in ’76. Two years later, he would partner with Michael Jackson for the production of their first album together, Off The Wall.  Now, back to the Brothers Johnson; Louis “Thunder Thumbs” on bass guitar and George “Lightning Licks” on lead guitar, who had performed as a part of Billy Preston’s band up until 1973. The L.A.-based brothers joined Quincy Jones for a tour of the Far East and for a one-off single by Jones called “Is It Love That We’re Missin’” (No. 70 Pop) with the brothers getting label credit. Jones re-teamed with them in producer shoes for their first album as a duo. Look Out For #1 contained their break-out single “I’ll Be Good To You” (No. 3 on the Hot 100 and a million-selling single, plus a future No. 1 on the Hot Soul Singles chart) in addition to another standout track “Get The Funk Outa Ma Face” (No. 30 Pop) which did well on the Hot Soul survey late in the summer of ’76. The LP also sold over a million copies. This wasn’t the last of the Brothers Johnson.


For the Week Ending May 31, 1986



No. 5 (LW 9):  “I CAN’T WAIT” – NU SHOOZ – Atlantic – 89446

No. 4 (LW 5):  “IF YOU LEAVE” – Orchestral Manoeuvers In The Dark – A&M – 2811

No. 3 (LW 3):  “ON MY OWN” – Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald – MCA – 52770

No. 2 (LW 1):  “LIVE TO TELL” – Madonna – Sire – 28717

No. 1

(Last Week No. 1)


Whitney Houston

Arista Records – 9466

This was the third and final week at the peak of the Hot 100 Singles chart for Whitney Houston’s impassioned rendition of “Greatest Love Of All.” The song was first made popular by Jazz guitarist/vocalist George Benson back in 1977 under the title “The Greatest Love Of All” from the film about Muhammad Ali, The Greatest. This was the third consecutive No. 1 Pop single for the Jersey girl from her album Whitney Houston, and was be the third of an eventual total of seven straight Billboard chart-toppers; the only artist to achieve that. Houston would go on to have an additional four more No. 1 tunes during her career after that seven-song string. Sadly, the co-writer of the song, lyricist Linda Creed, passed away one month to the day that Whitney’s version reached No. 1. Philly-raised Creed co-wrote the tune with Michael Masser for the film. Both are in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. We lost Whitney on February 11, 2012.



No. 1



Sire Records – 28717

Madonna would have her third No. 1 Hot 100 Singles chart-leader with “Live To Tell,” NEXT week in ’86, but this was her initial list-topper on the Adult Contemporary survey this week—the first of three consecutive seven-day periods. The song came from the album True Blue, and was used in her husband at the time Sean Penn’s flick At Close Range. The liner notes to True Blue from Madonna called Penn, “The coolest guy in the universe.” I guess she changed her tune after their marriage crumbled in ’89. The material girl co-wrote and co-produced the song (she wrote the lyrics) with Patrick Leonard who would continue collaborating with her through 1998.



No. 1

(Last Week No. 1)


Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald

MCA Records – 52770

This week’s survey-sizzler on the Hot Black Singles chart was the duet from Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald with “On My Own.” The song wasn’t supposed to be a duet, but the Diva didn’t think the tune worked as a solo recording. Her first choice to do the other vocals was McDonald. They were not in the studio together to sing their parts, but it was the biggest hit in either of their solo careers. The single would be No. 1 for the last three weeks of June, ’86 on the Hot 100.



For the Week Ending May 31, 1986


No. 1 (LW 1)

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

Arista Records – 8-8212

The first appearance for the 13 million-selling LP Whitney Houston in the No. 1 spot on the Top Pop Albums chart was for the week ending on March 8, 1986. But this album was released over a year before on February 14, 1985 on Arista Records. Clive Davis, company president could never have imagined the impact of his find. THIS week was the 10th non-consecutive week at the chart’s pinnacle—eventually occupying that slot for 14 total weeks. The first single was a duet listed as Teddy Pendergrass (with Whitney Houston) called “Hold Me” which rose to No. 46 on the Hot 100, but all the way up to No. 5 on the Hot Black Singles chart. The next single, “Thinking About You” missed the Hot 100, but rose to No. 10 on the R&B chart. It was the track “You Give Good Love” that blasted things wide-open for the future Diva. That song got to No. 3 on the Hot 100, and was Houston’s first Hot Black Singles chart-topping single. Another tune from the set called “All At Once” was not released in this country, but was a hit in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy. “Saving All My Love For You” was her first across the board No. 1 song, followed by two more chart-toppers, “How Will I Know” and “Greatest Love Of All.” (See above.)




Janet Jackson

 A&M Records – SP 3905

Control—and that’s what Janet Jackson had on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart this week in ’86. She’d held that slot since the week ending on April 19th with this being the seventh of an eventual eight as that chart-leading set. Her current single (see the video above) was “Nasty,” released on April 15, 1986. It would reach No. 3 on the Hot 100 for the week ending on July 19th and No. 1 on the R&B singles chart for two weeks in June. All told, there were six singles (five in the Top 5 of the Hot 100) with the sixth reaching No. 14. The first single from the LP was “What Have You Done For Me Lately,” (No. 1 Pop & R&B) next came “Nasty,” and then the only No. 1 Pop single from the album, ‘When I Think Of You” (No. 1 R&B.) That was followed by the title track, “Control” (No. 5 Pop & No. 1 R&B) then “Let’s Wait Awhile” (No. 2 Pop & No. 1 R&B) and finally, “The Pleasure Principle” (No. 14 Pop & No. 1 R&B.) There was another song that garnered radio play but was not released as a single called “Funny How Time Flies (When You’re Having Fun.) The LP had long legs, as the singles were released over a period of over one year. The album would later win the Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) award at 1987’s Grammy® celebration for Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The LP was recorded in Minneapolis, Minnesota, specifically to be away from Hollywood and the clutches of Janet’s father Joseph, whom she fired as her manager before this album was crafted.  


(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)