Friday, September 18, 2015

Top 10 On This Date ... In 1968

Here's the way Billboard Magazine ranked 'em on September 18, 1968 ... 

10.  Hey Jude - The Beatles  
First week in The Hot 100 and already a Top Ten Hit!  Two weeks later it would top the chart ... (Jeannie C. Riley's "Harper Valley PTA" delayed that journey by a week) ... where it would stay for the next nine consecutive weeks, easily becoming the biggest hit of the year.  Clearly still a popular track ... it topped Ron Smith's Labor Day 500 for the 7th time ... out of 14 charts ... a couple of weeks ago ... and remains the biggest hit of The Beatles' career

 9. Hello, I Love You - The Doors
A catchy tune by Morrison and Company that topped The Billboard Chart for a couple of weeks in early August

 8. Hush - Deep Purple  
These hard rockers took a Billy Joe Royal pop hit, fuzzed it up and scored a Top Five Hit.  It would remain their biggest chart success until 1973 when "Smoke On The Water" went all the way to #2

 7. You're All I Need To Get By - Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell  
One of eleven hits by this Motown duo.  Two years later, Tammi would be gone.  By the end of 1968, you'd find Marvin Gaye on top of the charts with the biggest hit of his career, "I Heard It Through The Grapevine".

 6. The House That Jack Built - Aretha Franklin
Back in the day when Billboard used to chart both sides of the same single separately, this side made The Top Ten in September of '68.  It actually out-performed its flipside, "I Say A Little Prayer", yet THAT'S the one you hear on the radio all these years later.  "The House That Jack Built"???  Not so much.

 5. 1, 2, 3 Red Light - The 1910 Fruitgum Company
We got a chance to visit with Frank Jeckell of The 1910 Fruitgum Company a couple of weeks ago when the group performed here in Chicago at The Arcada Theatre.  1968 was a very big year for bubblegum music ... and this one of the biggest hits of that genre.

 4. Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf
A Summer Anthem ... and, without a doubt, one of the most popular and longest lasting hits of the '60's.  Counter-culture back in the day ... but good old rock and roll some 47 years later.

 3. Light My Fire - Jose Feliciano
We already caught The Doors at #9 with their latest, "Hello, I Love You".  Here, Jose Feliciano takes a completely different spin on The Doors' first chart-topping hit "Light My Fire".  You rarely hear THIS one anymore either.

 2. Harper Valley P.T.A. - Jeannie C. Riley
It would top the chart the following week.  This "novelty" hit made a quick run up the charts and remains one of those mystery One Hit Wonders all these years later.

 1. People Got To Be Free - The Rascals
No longer "Young", Felix Cavaliere and Company took a political stand with this one ... and it held down Billboard's #1 Spot for five straight weeks.

Here in Chicago on the recently renamed WLS Hit Parade, "Hey Jude" was already #1 (leaping from #20 the week before.)  Incredibly, it would only stay at #1 for a week, replaced a week later by "Fire" by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown", who had a three week run at the top of the chart.    

In at #2 were The Beach Boys with "Do It Again", a bit of a "comeback" record for The Boys Of Summer.

The Ohio Express held down the #3 spot with "Down At Lulu's", a song we featured a few weeks back in Forgotten Hits.  (Toldja bubblegum was big in '68!)    

The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown were at #4 with the aforementioned "Fire", followed by The Who at #5 with "Magic Bus", The Beatles again at #6 with "Revolution", the flipside to "Hey Jude", the Don Fardon version of "Indian Reservation" at #7 (Paul Revere and the Raiders would top the chart with their version of this track three years later), the Aretha flipside "I Say A Little Prayer" holding down the #8 spot, "Hush" by Deep Purple at #9 and "My  Special Angel" by The Vogues at #10.

Biggest premier this wee on the Chicagoland Chart?  "Shapes Of Things To Come" by Max Frost and the Troopers, the VERY FIRST Forgotten Hit ever featured, over the long Thanksgiving Weekend in 1999.