As May draws to a close, let's take a look back at some of the records that topped the charts on this date over the past 60 years!
In 1955, it was Cuban Band Leader Perez Prado with his monster instrumental hit (#1 for ten weeks!) "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White". (The "Dawn of Rock And Roll" was still six weeks away ... Bill Haley's "Rock Around The Clock" had just premiered on the chart two weeks earlier ... and wouldn't reach the #1 position until July 9th.)
However by 1956 Rock And Roll had its first major superstar ... Elvis Presley sat on top of The Billboard Best Sellers Chart with his first big break-out hit "Heartbreak Hotel".
Elvis would be back on top a year later with "All Shook Up", winding up its eight week run at the top of the charts. (In fact, Elvis would have five other #1 Records during that one year span ... "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You", "Don't Be Cruel", "Hound Dog", "Love Me Tender" and "Too Much" all reached the summit on Billboard's Best Sellers Singles Chart, making "All Shook Up" his SEVENTH #1 RECORD in the span of a year!!!)
Moving ahead to 1958 we find The Everly Brothers on top with "All I Have To Do Is Dream", another record that would hold down the top spot for several weeks. (Four to be exact!)
#1 on May 29th, 1959 was "Kansas City" by Wilbert Harrison. The Everlys were back on top the following year as "Cathy's Clown" ushered in a new decade ... and new record label ... for the Dynamic Duo.
In 1961, Ricky Nelson sat on top with "Travelin' Man", a song we featured recently in our Saturday Surveys feature. 1962 brought us the instrumental hit "Stranger On The Shore" by British Import Mr. Acker Bilk ... two years before The Beatles officially ushered in The British Invasion.
1963 brought us the novelty hit "If You Wanna Be Happy" by Jimmy Soul, a record that STILL sounds catchy as hell 51 years later! And in 1964 it was Motown's Mary Wells who held down the top spot with her timeless classic "My Guy", written by Smokey Robinson. (To show no gender prejudice whatsoever, a year later he'd write another #1 Hit for The Temptations called "My Girl"!) And, as you'll see tomorrow in our "50 Years Ago This Weekend" feature, The Beatles would take over the top spot on May 30th with "Love Me Do", a record first released back home in England 20 months earlier!
On May 29th, 1965, The Beach Boys sat on top of The Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart with "Help Me Rhonda", a song they re-recorded for single release. In 1966 it was Rock And Roll Hall of Famer Percy Sledge with his biggest hit "When A Man Loves A Woman". (Yep, that's right ... Percy Sledge is in The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame ... but Chicago, The Guess Who, The Moody Blues, Paul Anka and Chubby Checker are not. Don't EVEN get me started!!!)
The Summer of Love was only weeks away ... and in 1967 we were "Groovin'" to the sounds of The Young Rascals. A year later kids were dancing to "Tighten Up" by Archie Bell and the Drells. (Archie was in Viet Nam the first time he heard his first hit record!) And in 1969, The Beatles closed out the decade with their latest, "Get Back".
The '70's began on a rockin' note with "American Woman" by The Guess Who holding down the top spot on May 29th, 1970. And a year later The Rolling Stones proved they were no "flash in the pan" rock act when their latest, "Brown Sugar" topped the charts. (44 years later they're still able to sell out stadiums around the world!) You still hear BOTH of these songs on a daily basis all these years later. (I'm seeing Burton Cummings tonight as a matter of fact at The City Winery ... but he won't be performing "American Woman" ... this is one of his Up Close solo performances, featuring just Burton at the piano ... and its hard to rock out to "American Woman" under those parameters!)
1972 brought us the second big hit for The Chi-Lites, a group out of Chicago, this time with "Oh Girl". By 1973 many of us felt that rock was dead ... but The Edgar Winter Group proved us wrong with their smash hit "Frankenstein"! Who would have thought that a year later the biggest record in the country would be "The Streak" by novelty king Ray Stevens?!?! (Don't look, Margaret!)
Another Chicago-based group would top the chart in 1975 ... the #1 Record in America on May 29th, 1975 was "Shining Star" by Earth, Wind and Fire. In 1976 Diana Ross would have one of her biggest solo hits when the disco-tinged "Love Hangover" became the biggest hit in the nation. Motown labelmate Stevie Wonder had the top honors a year later when "Sir Duke" topped the chart.
Paul McCartney had the #1 Record on May 29th, 1978, with "With A Little Luck", a record you don't hear all that much anymore. In 1979, the reunited Peaches and Herb (actually just Herb with a brand new Peaches) held down the top spot with a song appropriately titled "Reunited".
The 1980's began with New York / New Wave punk rockers Blondie at #1 with "Call Me", a song featured in the Richard Gere film "American Gigilo". In 1981 Kim Carnes was two weeks into her ten week run on top with her landmark hit "Bette Davis Eyes".
In 1982, previous May 29th chart-toppers Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder teamed up to give us "Ebony And Ivory" ... not the strongest outing for these two mega-artists. A year later another movie tune topped the charts ... this time it was "Flashdance - What A Feeling" by Irene Cara. Another year later and it was "Let's Hear It For The Boy" from "Footloose" that topped the chart (a #1 Hit for Deniece Williams) and in 1985 the top honors went to Wham! (featuring George Michael and Brian Dunkelman ... no wait ... that was the forgettable cohost of "American Idol" the first season ... I'm thinking of the just as forgettable Andrew Ridgeley ... which would make that the first time that ANYBODY has thought of Andrew Ridgeley since ... oh, about 1985!!!) for their hit "Everything She Wants".
1986 gave us the incredible voice of Whitney Houston at #1 (with yet another movie song), "The Greatest" (from the Muhammad Ali bio-pic of the same name). Rock supergroup U2 was already making their mark in 1987 when "With Or Without You" topped the Pop Singles Chart. And in 1988, George Michael was back on top (as a solo artist this time) with "One More Try".
Speaking of "American Idol", original judge Paula Abdul had her second straight #1 Record (out of an incredible six in a row!) when "Forever Your Girl" topped the charts on May 29, 1989. And in 1990, it was Madonna on top with "Vogue".
Is there much point in covering the '90's??? Or did we already lose our "core audience" ten year ago??? The only tracks I see worth mentioning are "I Swear" by All-4-One, Number One on May 29th, 1994, "MMMBop" by Hanson, #1 in 1997 (another catchy tune that I'll admit to enjoying, only because of the pure, sheer "pop" of it all!) and "Livin' La Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin in 1999. (Just TRY getting THIS one out of your head today!!!)