Thursday, May 28, 2015

#1 - 1964 - 1969

Our look back at the nation's #1 Records continues today in Forgotten Hits.  


Gross errors in 1964 include The Beatles' "Twist And Shout", #1 on nearly every chart we researched across the country (as well as Cash Box and Music Vendor) during our 50 Year Anniversary Salute to Beatlemania and The British Invasion last year ... but NOT in Billboard Magazine ... and "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers, an absolutely deserving #1 Record that has stood the test of time ... it topped the charts everywhere but Billboard, too.    

Record World charted The Beatles at #1 for FIFTEEN straight weeks in 1964 ... "I Want To Hold Your Hand" (#1 for NINE weeks), followed by "She Loves You" (one week), "Twist And Shout" (one week) and "Can't Buy Me Love" (four weeks).  The Fab Four would hit the summit in Record World three more times before the year was over ... "Love Me Do" for a week in May, "A Hard Day's Night" for three weeks in July and August and "I Feel Fine" for two weeks in December.  That's 21 weeks on top in a 52 week year!  

Other records that topped two out of three charts include "My Guy" by Mary Wells (it missed in Record World), "A World Without Love" by Peter and Gordon (also cheated out of the top spot in Record World), "Everybody Loves Somebody" by Dean Martin (denied in ... you guessed it, Record World), "Ringo" by Lorne Greene (#1 everywhere except Record World) and "Mr. Lonely" by Bobby Vinton, which missed in Cash Box.  In hindsight, I suppose each of these records warranted a week at the top ... but even more so, I think the Mary Wells record, the Peter and Gordon hit and even Dino's comeback all deserved to be across-the-boards #1 hits. 

"Maybe" #1's for '64?  "She's Not There" for The Zombies ... it only reached the top in Cash Box Magazine.  I don't feel that "Popsicles And Icicles" by The Murmaids, "Bread And Butter" by The Newbeats or "We'll Sing In The Sunshine" by Gale Garnett were universally deserving, despite each spending a week at #1 in one national publication.  


#1 on two charts out of three include "Back In My Arms Again" by The Supremes, "A Lover's Concerto" by The Toys, "Get Off Of My Cloud" by The Rolling Stones and "Let's Hang On" by The Four Seasons.  I'll concede that each of these records probably deserved a week at #1.   

Other #1 Records that only topped ONE chart (and deserved a better showing across the boards) include "Love Potion Number Nine" by The Searchers, "My Girl" by The Temptations, "Wooly Bully" by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs (it was Billboard's Record Of The Year, for God's sake ... yet never made it to #1 in their magazine!), "Like A Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan (an absolute classic) and "1, 2, 3" by Len Barry, which was ALL over the radio back in the day.  Questionable #1's?  How about "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat" by Herman's Hermits or "A Taste Of Honey" by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, both #1 in Cash Box only.  


"Barbara Ann" by The Beach Boys topped the national charts everywhere but in Billboard ... "My Love" by Petula Clark did the same thing ... but not in Cash Box.  "A Groovy Kind Of Love" missed in Billboard, as did "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haa! by Napoleon XIV, "Little Red Riding Hood" by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, "Sunny" by Bobby Hebb and "Yellow Submarine" by The Beatles.  "Reach Out, I'll Be There" topped the charts in Billboard and Cash Box ... but not in Record World.  The Napoleon XIV novelty hit was one of the fastest-rising records of all time ... even though its chart-life was short-lived, it absolutely deserved to be a #1 Record, as did "Barbara Ann", "A Groovy Kind Of Love" and probably "Sunny" (even though it's not one of my personal favorites.) 

Solitary #1's include "I Got You" by James Brown (Record World only), 19th Nervous Breakdown by The Rolling Stones (Cash Box), "Nowhere Man" by The Beatles (for two weeks, no less!, in Record World), "Daydream" by The Lovin' Spoonful (in Cash Box), "See You In September" by The Happenings (in Record World), "Mellow Yellow" by Donovan (another two week stint at #1 in Record World) and "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra (Record World only).  


1967 kicks off with a couple of records that probably should have been #1's across the board.  "I'm A Believer" was such a HUGE hit for The Monkees that it denied a couple of other deserving songs a week on top of the charts.  (It topped Billboard's survey for seven weeks, Record World's for five ... and spent EIGHT weeks at #1 in Cash Box).  As such "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron" (#1 in numerous cities around the country) only reached #1 in Record World ... while "Georgy Girl" by The Seekers hit #1 everywhere except Billboard.  That's because The Buckinghams spent two weeks at #1 with their first hit, "Kind Of A Drag".  At the very least, that tally probably should have been reduced by a week to allow "Georgy Girl" to rank as an across-the-boards #1 Hit.  

After topping the charts with their first two releases, The Monkees got cheated out of a third straight #1 Record when Billboard didn't rank "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" in the top spot.  It spent two weeks at #1 in Cash Box and a week on top in Record World.  It was definitely deserving of a #1 berth in all three publications ... but Billboard ranked the Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet "Somethin' Stupid" at #1 for four weeks instead.  (Maybe they received an offer they couldn't refuse???)   

Frankie Valli received the same fate with his smash "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", #1 for TWO WEEKS in both Cash Box and Record World ... but NOT #1 in Billboard ... absolutely a #1 Record in the eyes of all of America (and certainly portrayed that way in "Jersey Boys").  In fact, Frankie's solo hit may have been bigger than most of The Four Seasons' hits up to that point.  

Billboard ranked The Doors' hit "Light My Fire" at #1 for three weeks and then gave The Beatles a week on top with "All You Need Is Love".  The other publications saw it the other way around ... The Doors held the top spot for one week in both Cash Box and Record World ... and then The Beatles spent two weeks at #1 in those publications.  

Three records that probably deserved #1 status were "Little Bit O'Soul" by The Music Explosion, "Never My Love" by The Association and "The Rain, The Park And Other Things" by The Cowsills ... yet each of these reached #1 in only one of the national trades.  Sam and Dave's "Soul Man" hit the top spot in both Cash Box and Record World ... I don't know that this record was big enough to do so.  (It peaked at #2 in Billboard.)  


1968 kicked off with two records that reached #1 in Cash Box only ... Gladys Knight and the Pips' version of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" (ironically, the year would close with the Marvin Gaye version on top of the charts) and "Chain Of Fools" by Aretha Franklin.  A couple of weeks later Chicago's own American Breed were at #1 in Record World only with their smash "Bend Me, Shape Me".  (Here is why I think Record World paid more attention to the Chicago charts than the other publications ... Dionne Warwick's "Theme from 'Valley of the Dolls'" also reached #1 in Record World only ... like "Bend Me, Shape Me", it, too, was a #1 Hit here in Chicago.  

Big discrepancy on just how big Paul Mauriat's hit "Love Is Blue" was ... five weeks at #1 in Billboard, SEVEN weeks at #1 in Cash Box ... but only THREE weeks at #1 in Record World.  It was followed by Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On The) Dock Of The Bay", which spent FOUR weeks at #1 in Billboard ... but never reached the top spot in either of the other publications.  Now THAT kind of discrepancy is just HUGE!!!  (Especially since Billboard didn't rank another Stax / Volt artist, Sam and Dave, at #1 for their hit "Soul Man" the previous year, after it topped the charts in both Cash Box and Record World.  I don't see how ANY records sits at #1 in Billboard without reaching the top in Cash Box or Record World, too ... something just doesn't feel right about this one!  

The Monkees were denied AGAIN of a sure-fire #1 spot in Billboard when "Valleri" reached the top in both Record World and Cash Box ... and spent two weeks on top of both of those charts.  Without question, this was ABSOLUTELY a #1 Record ... everywhere but Billboard.  Billboard also denied Gary Puckett and the Union Gap a #1 Hit when "Young Girl" topped the charts in both of the other publications ... but not in Billboard.  

The same thing happened with their follow-up release ... "Lady Willpower" hit the top spot in both Cash Box and Record World ... but did NOT hit #1 in Billboard.  What's up with that???   

Billboard had a couple more large discrepancies regarding a given record's popularity later that year ... The Rascals' hit "People Got To Be Free" topped the chart for five weeks in Billboard ... but only held the #1 position for three and two weeks in Cash Box Magazine and Record World, respectively.  "Hey Jude" is another classic example ... nine weeks on top in Billboard but only FOUR weeks at #1 in Record World.  (Cash Box fell somewhere in the middle with seven weeks at #1).  Their Apple Records signee Mary Hopkin deserved a universal #1 Hit with her first record, "Those Were The Days" ... it topped the chart for four weeks in Record World, two weeks in Cash Box ... but never hit the summit in Billboard due to "Hey Jude"'s run at the top.  

Finally, Marvin Gaye's version of "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" was a seven week Billboard chart-topper ... but only spent ONE week at #1 in Record World.  Again Cash Box fell somewhere in the middle, with five weeks on top of the charts. 


One reason "Grapevine" only spent a week on top in Record World is because it was knocked out of the top spot by the killer Supremes / Temptations duet "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me".  This record topped the chart for three weeks in Record World ... and spent a week at #1 in Cash Box as well ... but never reached the top of the charts in Billboard.  It absolutely should have been an across-the-boards #1 Hit. 

"Build Me Up Buttercup" by The Foundations spent two weeks at #1 in both Cash Box and Record World but never reached #1 in Billboard.  Hindsight has proven it to be one of the biggest hits of the '60's ... as such, it deserves recognition as a #1 Record.  

Another good example is "Hair" by The Cowsills.  This record topped the charts all over the country ... and spent three weeks at #1 on the Record World chart and two weeks at #1 in Cash Box ... but did NOT reach #1 in Billboard ... and that's just wrong.  It absolutely should be considered a #1 Record.  

Same thing for Elvis' hit "In The Ghetto", number one in both Cash Box and Record World but not in Billboard.
Meanwhile, Billboard ranked The Temptations' hit "I Cant Get Next To You" at Number One for two weeks ... yet it never reached the top in either of the other national trade publications.  Instead, they assigned two weeks at #1 to Elvis again for "Suspicious Minds", a song we STILL hear three or four times a day some 46 years later.  

And here's an odd one ... we talked about "Something" / "Come Together" just recently in Forgotten Hits.  Well, in Record World Magazine, "Something" topped the charts for two weeks before being replaced by its B-Side, "Come Together", giving the record a total of FIVE weeks on top of the charts.  (That's because "Something" cut into the #1 run of "Wedding Bell Blues" by The Fifth Dimension, which topped the charts for three weeks in both Billboard and Cash Box Magazine.)  As far as The Beatles' two-sided hit, Cash Box simply gave "Come Together" a three week run at the top ... while Billboard delegated only one week to "Come Together".   

Once again, we consulted Randy Price's SUPER CHARTS.  This research takes into consideration every record's performance in all THREE national trades, thus utilizing the statistics used to compile each magazine's individual weekly charts, increasing the research database by perhaps as much as ten fold!)  I wondered if HIS chart research agreed with many of our assessments shown above.   

"They're Coming To Take Me Away," "The Rain, The Park And Other Things" and "In The Ghetto" all peaked at #2 on the Super Charts ("In The Ghetto" dropped to #7 in Billboard the week it reached #1 in Cash Box and Record World). Some of your other chart examples are shown below.
– Randy   

Here are a few SUPER CHARTS reflecting records that absolutely deserve certification as "Official" #1 Records in the USA ...


Tomorrow in Forgotten Hits ... a look at the #1 Hits of the '70's.
Meanwhile, you can pick up your OWN copy of Joel Whitburn's Chart Comparison book here ...