Friday, August 14, 2009

August 14, 1964

In the early Summer of 1964, Dean Martin was telling ANYONE who would listen that he had JUST recorded a song that would knock The Beatles out of the #1 Spot on the Charts.

Quite honestly, there was really no reason to believe him ... Martin hadn't had a #1 Record since 1956 when "Memories Are Made Of This" topped the charts ... and he hadn't even made The Top 40 since 1959 when "On An Evening In Roma" snuck in at #36.

But that's EXACTLY what "Everybody Loves Somebody" did ... it dethroned The Beatles' movie hit "A Hard Day's Night" and took over the top spot for a week in August of 1964. (Imagine his son Dino's surprise ... he admired The Beatles so much that he was inspired to start his OWN rock and roll band ... that's how Dino, Desi and Billy were born!!! Now his Dad had the biggest record in America!!! Talk about your mixed emotions!!!)

(click to enlarge chart)

"Everybody Loves Somebody" was recorded (without much success or fanfare) by Martin's Rat Pack Buddy Frank Sinatra years earlier. In fact, Ken Lane, who co-wrote the song back in 1949 and went on to become a fixture on Martin's NBC Television Series as his musical arranger, says other artists like Dinah Washington and Peggy Lee ALSO took a crack at the song ... but NOBODY made it a hit until Dino did it ... and, in the process, he made it his signature tune.

Martin had quite a varied career, first reaching fame as one half of the Martin and Lewis Comedy Duo with Jerry Lewis ... then branching off on his own as a singer with a fair amount of early-to-mid '50's chart success ("That's Amore", "Return To Me", the aforementioned "Memories Are Made Of This" and his version of "Volare" are amongst his best-known and most-loved tunes.) He had also turned to movies and in the '60's would film westerns with John Wayne, assume the role of super-sleuth Matt Helm and pilot the inaugural run of "Airport." But it was on television that we all grew to love Dean Martin and his always loose and just-a-little-bit-tipsy personna. His NBC Series ran for nine years, ultimately spawning a new series of Celebrity Roasts that continued on into the early '80's. Today Martin is considered to be the epitome of "Lounge Cool" ... his songs are routinely used in movie soundtracks and television commercials and, surprisingly, one of his best known tracks, "Ain't That A Kick In The Head" never even made the pop charts!

Back in August of 1964, music from the new Beatles film was all over the chart ... "A Hard Day's Night" backed with "I Should Have Known Better" was now at #3 after spending two weeks in the #1 spot ... "And I Love Her" sat at #21 and "I'll Cry Instead" (recorded for ... but then later dropped from the film) was in at #23. The Beatles also had the #39 record that week with a track that they had
recorded in Germany back in 1961 ... it was John Lennon's rip-roaring vocal on "Ain't She Sweet", reminiscent of his take on "Twist And Shout", that makes THIS track so noteworthy ... yet it's one of those RARE Beatles tunes that isn't still played to death these days.

Other British Invasion Hits on the chart this week include "Wishin' And Hopin'" by Dusty Springfield (#2), "How Do You Do It" by Gerry and the Pacemakers (#8), "Because" by The Dave Clark Five (#13), "Nobody I Know" by Peter and Gordon (#16) and "I'll Keep You Satisfied" by Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas (#17) ... those last two were both Lennon and McCartney cast-offs, given to other artists in Manager Brian Epstein's stable ... and "How Do You Do It" was the song Producer George Martin WANTED The Beatles to record as their follow-up to "Love Me Do" before they insisted (and convinced him) that "Please Please Me" was a better song!

The Animals were new on the charts with "House Of The Rising Sun" ... this record would top the WLS chart for a week in September after The Supremes' three week reign on top with "Where Did Our Love Go". "Rag Doll" by The Four Seasons, "Little Old Lady From Pasadena" by Jan and Dean, "Handy Man" by Del Shannon, "Under The Boardwalk" by The Drifters and "People Say" by The Dixie Cups rounded out The Top Ten this week.

"Everybody Loves Somebody" was quite an unlikely hit to unseat The Beatles from the top of the charts ... but it wasn't the only time this happened during the early reign of Beatlemania. Earlier that year, Louis Armstrong topped the national charts with his reading of "Hello Dolly", knocking "Can't Buy Me Love" (also from The Beatles' film) out of the top spot after a five week run!

I never heard the story about Dean predicting that his song, "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime" would take the #1 spot away from the Beatles on the Billboard / Cash Box charts until you mentioned it to me in a recent email. However, I know he took pride in the fact that he supplanted whatever song the Beatles had at the top of the charts with this song.

What I do know about the song is that it was a late addition to an album already in progress. Dean's Producer at the time, Jimmy Bowen, needed one more song to complete the album. Dean's friend, accompanist and Musical Director Kenny Lane suggested a song he had written over twenty years earlier - it was "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime." He played it on the piano right there in the studio and Jimmy decided to add it.

Don't forget, Dean was at the top of his game at the time with a hit television show (the Dean Martin Show), a successful movie career, sold out performances in Vegas, etc., so everything was aligned perfectly for him. Not to mention it is a GREAT song and a great "reading" by Dean. It's no wonder it went all the way to #1.

Billy Hinsche
Dino, Desi & Billy

Actually, it was the success of this record (and several others released shortly thereafter in the same musical vein) that GOT him the TV Show. Dean had been recording for Frank Sinatra's Reprise Record label for a couple of years already without much chart success ... "Everybody Loves Somebody" was the first #1 Record recorded by the label ... ironically, Frank himself would top the charts a couple of years later with "Strangers In The Night"! And, the addition of Dino, Desi and Billy to the roster certainly helped Reprise Records appeal to the kids. (Watch for YOUR record to be featured as part of NEXT week's WLS Chart, Billy!!!) Soon Frank's daughter Nancy would also start having hits for the label ... and signing British Invasion artists like The Kinks helped the label compete with the other teen sounds of the day. (kk)