Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Summer of 1968

Summer songs are EVERYWHERE lately in Forgotten Hits ...

If you check The Forgotten Hits Website ...

Click here: Forgotten Hits - Home

You'll find our special countdowns of The Top 50 Songs Of Summer, 1967 and 1969 ...

Click here: Forgotten Hits - The Summer Of Love Countdown

Click here: Forgotten Hits - The Top 50 Songs From The Summer of '69

Both of these countdowns were put together as special 40th Anniversaries Features over the past few years ...

But we've left out 1968!!!

So THIS year, we've asked our official chart statisticians to work up The Top 50 NATIONAL Hit as well as the Top 50 Chicagoland Hits for us once again ... only THIS time for The Summer of '68.

Special thanks to Randy Price, who used his Super Charts (a consensus of the Billboard, Cash Box and Record World Charts), to calculate the national list ... and to Jack Levin who did the same to calculate our Chicagoland favorites by way of the WLS and WCFL weekly survey charts for June, July and August.

A point system previously established was used to calculate the points earned ONLY during those three summer months in order to establish the OFFICIAL Biggest Hits Of Summer, 1968. You'll find the results below. (This feature will also move to our other website, where several of our older series have been archived.)

Meanwhile, we're just about ready to announce YOUR All-Time Favorite Songs Of Summer ... be sure to check back on Monday, June 21st ... the OFFICIAL First Day Of Summer ... for the final results. Thanks again to everyone who voted!

And you can HEAR those results on the radio, too!!!

On Monday, Scott Shannon and The True Oldies Channel will be featuring songs from the countdown all day long ... broadcast on nearly 100 radio stations across the country (and all over the world, thanks to streaming online!)
You can Listen Live here: Click here: True Oldies Channel

Also on Monday, Dee Jay Scarlett Hayze will count down the complete Top 20 in order on HER "Summer Solstice" Program ... it airs from 7 - 9 pm Eastern Time, Live on:

And, the following weekend, Phil Nee of WRCO in Richland Center, Wisconsin, will broadcast the ENTIRE Top 40 on HIS radio program!!! (You may recall that Phil also counted down our recent ranking of Your All-Time Favorite Instrumentals ... which you can ALSO find on The Forgotten Hits Web Page):
Click here: Forgotten Hits - Top 40 Instrumentals, 1955 - 1979
(We're working to post a rebroadcast of Phil's Summer Countdown Program, too, since his radio station doesn't offer live streaming ... stay tuned for more details!)

Meanwhile, here are the ...


The National Charts

Here are The Top 50 Songs of Summer, 1968, based on the combined rankings of these songs on the Billboard, Cash Box and Record World charts. Very special thanks to Randy Price for compiling this information EXCLUSIVELY for Forgotten Hits!

1. THIS GUY'S IN LOVE WITH YOU - Herb Alpert (A&M)
2. LADY WILLPOWER - Gary Puckett & The Union Gap (Columbia)
3. JUMPIN' JACK FLASH - The Rolling Stones (London)
4. STONED SOUL PICNIC - The 5th Dimension (Soul City)
5. GRAZING IN THE GRASS - Hugh Masekela (Uni)
6. THE HORSE - Cliff Nobles & Co. (Phil-L.A. Of Soul)
7. ANGEL OF THE MORNING - Merrilee Rush & The Turnabouts (Bell)
8. MacARTHUR PARK - Richard Harris (Dunhill)
9. HELLO, I LOVE YOU - The Doors (Elektra)
10. MRS. ROBINSON - Simon & Garfunkel (Columbia)
11. YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY - The Ohio Express (Buddah)
12. HURDY GURDY MAN - Donovan (Epic)
13. REACH OUT OF THE DARKNESS - Friend & Lover (Verve Forecast)
14. THE LOOK OF LOVE - Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 (A&M)
15. TURN AROUND, LOOK AT ME - The Vogues (Reprise)
16. CLASSICAL GAS - Mason Williams (Warner Bros.-7 Arts)
17. INDIAN LAKE - The Cowsills (MGM)
18. MONY MONY - Tommy James & The Shondells (Roulette)
19. PEOPLE GOT TO BE FREE - The Rascals (Atlantic)
20. SUNSHINE OF YOUR LOVE - Cream (Atco)
21. BORN TO BE WILD - Steppenwolf (Dunhill)
22. THINK - Aretha Franklin (Atlantic)
23. HERE COMES THE JUDGE - Shorty Long (Soul)
24. DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME - Mama Cass (Dunhill)
25. SKY PILOT (pt. 1) - Eric Burdon & The Animals (MGM)
26. PICTURES OF MATCHSTICK MEN - The Status Quo (Cadet Concept)
27. TIGHTEN UP - Archie Bell & The Drells (Atlantic)
28. I LOVE YOU - People (Capitol)
29. A BEAUTIFUL MORNING - The Rascals (Atlantic)
30. LIGHT MY FIRE - Jose Feliciano (RCA Victor)
31. THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY - Hugo Montenegro (RCA Victor)
32. STAY IN MY CORNER - The Dells (Cadet)
33. SHE'S A HEARTBREAKER - Gene Pitney (Musicor)
34. AUTUMN OF MY LIFE - Bobby Goldsboro (United Artists)
35. LICKING STICK -- LICKING STICK (pt. 1) - James Brown
& The Famous Flames (King)
36. I COULD NEVER LOVE ANOTHER (After Loving You) - The Temptations
37. NEVER GIVE YOU UP - Jerry Butler (Mercury)
38. D.W. WASHBURN - The Monkees (Colgems)
39. SEALED WITH A KISS - Gary Lewis & The Playboys (Liberty)
40. JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE MIND - The Amboy Dukes (Mainstream)
41. AIN'T NOTHING LIKE THE REAL THING - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
42. HOW'D WE EVER GET THIS WAY - Andy Kim (Steed)
43. YOU KEEP ME HANGIN' ON - Vanilla Fudge (Atco)
44. I CAN'T STOP DANCING - Archie Bell & The Drells (Atlantic)
45. SOUL-LIMBO - Booker T. & The MG's (Stax)
46. HALFWAY TO PARADISE - Bobby Vinton (Epic)
47. MASTER JACK - Four Jacks And A Jill (RCA Victor)
48. A MAN WITHOUT LOVE (Quando M'Innamora) - Engelbert Humperdinck
49. DON'T TAKE IT SO HARD - Paul Revere & The Raiders (Columbia)
50. LOVE MAKES A WOMAN - Barbara Acklin (Brunswick)

A few surprises, I suppose ... but we still hear most of these songs on a regular basis on the oldies stations today.
(OMG ... Was "MacArthur Park" REALLY that big?!?!? lol)

Missing for ages: D.W. Washburn by The Monkees ... I can't even remember the last time I heard THAT one on the radio ... their last Top 20 single before the big MTV comeback of 1986.

Personally, I don't think we hear the Donovan Hit "Hurdy Gurdy Man" often enough ... the same would hold true for the Sergio Mendes version of "The Look Of Love", The Vogues' hit "Turn Around, Look At Me", "Indian Lake" by the Cowsills and "She's A Heartbreaker" by Gene Pitney ... then again I don't necessarily EVER have to hear Shorty Long's "Here Comes The Judge" again ... or the Gary Lewis and the Playboys' version of "Sealed With A Kiss" or Bobby Goldsboro's "Autumn Of My Life" either for that matter.

I can't remember EVER hearing "Licking Stick, Licking Stick" on the radio here in Chicago (but it reportedly reached #15 ... and it did, in fact, earn enough points to make our Chicagoland chart as well ... but just barely!).

"Dream A Little Dream Of Me" was recently featured on "Glee" ... and we've listened to the Mama Cass version at least fifty times since then ... what a GREAT song! Neat to see that Jose Feliciano's stripped down version of "Light My Fire" made the list a year after The Doors' first rocked our summer with the original.

And clearly instrumentals were still all the rage in 1968 ... "Grazing In The Grass" by Hugh Masekela, "The Horse" by Cliff Nobles and Company, "Classical Gas" by Mason Williams. "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly" by Hugo Montenegro" and "Soul Limbo" by Booker T. and the MG's ALL made The Top 50! That's a full 10% of the total countdown! (Ironically, the one guy who you'd EXPECT to have an instrumental hit scored the biggest hit of the whole summer when Herb Alpert SANG "This Guy's In Love With You" all the way up to the top of the charts!)

Let's see how this list compares to our local Chicagoland Charts.

The Chicago Charts
(compiled by Jack Levin, using the weekly surveys issued by WLS and WCFL, are two Top 40 Radio Giants) Thanks, Jack!
1 - Jumpin' Jack Flash - The Rolling Stones
2 - This Guy's In Love With You - Herb Alpert
3 - Turn Around Look At Me - The Vogues
4 - Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf
5 - Pictures Of Matchstick Men - Status Quo

6 - Stoned Soul Picnic - The 5th Dimension
7 - Hello I Love You - The Doors
8 - I Love You - People
9 - I Need Love - Third Booth
10 - Angel Of the Morning - Merilee Rush
11 - Lady Willpower - Gary Puckett & The Union Gap
12 - Grazing In The Grass - Hugh Masekela
13 - Classical Gas - Mason Williams
14 - People Got To Be Free - The Rascals
15 - Sealed With a Kiss - Gary Lewis & the Playboys
16 - Mrs. Robinson - Simon & Garfunkel
17 - Yummy Yummy Yummy - The Ohio Express

18 - Hurdy Gurdy Man - Donovan
19 - How'd We Ever Get This Way - Andy Kim
20 - The Horse - Cliff Nobles & Company
21 - Light My Fire - Jose Feliciano
22 - 1-2-3 Red Light - 1910 Fruitgum Company
23 - Indian Lake - The Cowsills
24 - She's A Heartbreaker - Gene Pitney
25 - Reach Out In The Darkness - Friend & Lover
26 - Journey To the Center Of the Mind - The Amboy Dukes
27 - Alice Long - Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart
28 - Don't Take It So Hard - Paul Revere & The Raiders
29 - The Look Of Love - Sergio Mendes & the Brasil 66
30 - Stay In My Corner - The Dells
31 - MacArthur Park - Richard Harris
32 - Autumn Of My Life - Bobby Goldsboro
33 - Can't You See Me Cry - The New Colony Six
34 - Think - Aretha Franklin
35 - If I Were A Carpenter - The Four Tops
36 - Sunshine Of Your Love - Cream
37 - Like To Get To Know You - Spanky And Our Gang
38 - Slip Away - Clarence Carter
39 - Dream A Little Dream - Mama Cass Elliott
40 - Do It Again - The Beach Boys
41 - Master Jack - Four Jacks & A Jill
42 - Face It Girl, It's Over - Nancy Wilson
43 - Here Comes The Judge - Shorty Long
44 - Young Birds Fly - The Cryan' Shames
45 - Sky Pilot - Eric Burdon & The Animals
46 - You Keep Me Hangin' On - Vanilla Fudge
47 - Soul Limbo - Booker T. & the MGs
48 - I'm A Midnight Mover - Wilson Pickett
49 - Lickin' Stick - Part One - James Brown
50 - Halfway To Paradise - Bobby Vinton

One trend that really stands out is the inclusion of four instrumental hits in a three month period. Also the number of performers with direct ties to Chicago. Remarkably only a couple songs varied widely between WLS and WCFL, most notably "I Need Love", by Third Booth, did about twice as well on WLS than it di on WCFL. The big surprise is the inclusion of Nancy Wilson having a hit single in the midst of the psychedelic era.
Jack (Rock And Roll Never Forgets)

As Jack points out, plenty of Chicago talent on the charts well into 1968 ... The New Colony Six and The Cryan' Shames are represented here as are Spanky And Our Gang with one of MY favorites from this era, "Like To Get To Know You". And the aforementioned "I Need Love" by The Third Booth, was a #2 smash here in Chi-Town ... yet never so much as "bubbled under" on the Billboard chart.

Another noticeable trend ... many of these "finalists" weren't merely songs ... but were absolute ANTHEMS of this era. Tracks like "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Born To Be Wild", "Hello I Love You" and "Sunshine Of Your Love" were inescapable if you turned your AM Radio on that summer ... yet they played side-by-side with the likes of Bobby Vinton, Bobby Goldsboro, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap and Richard Harris. (Wish someone would have left HIM out in the rain!!!)

"Pictures Of Matchstick Men", "I Love You" and "Journey To The Center Of The Mind" were all HUGE hits here in Chi-Town and I couldn't get enough of ANY of them. Likewise "Master Jack" by Four Jacks And A Jill, "Sky Pilot" by Eric Burdon and the Animals and "Do It Again" by The Beach Boys (ANOTHER #2 record here!) couldn't play often enough to satisfy my soon-to-be fifteen-year-old mind.

Bubble Gum Hits like "Yummy Yummy Yummy" and "1,2,3 Red Light" played alongside some classic soul (in fact, at least 20% of The Top 50 are by Black artists) and nobody thought any the better of it. This sort of musical hodgepodge WAS the musical landscape back in '68 ... and this way of thinking would prove to be lightyears ahead of the pre-segregated radio programming that goes on today.
One last thing ... I happened to LOVE the Nancy Wilson song "Face It Girl, It's Over" ... and have featured it twice before in Forgotten Hits. You'll find it here again today ... 'cause where ELSE are you ever gonna hear it?!?!?

Thanks again to Randy Price and Jack Levin for their research in compiling these lists ... another timeless Forgotten Hits classic!