Friday, February 27, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Little Richard scored his first Top-40 hit, "Tutti-Frutti," in 1956, and his last, "Ooh! My Soul," in 1958. That's just a 2 1/2-year span of Top-40 hits. Richard nearly had a 30-year span, but "Great Gosh A'Mighty," featured in the film Down And Out In Beverly Hills, peaked at No. 42.
Jerry Lee Lewis, like Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers, crossed all boundaries with his late-50s hits. Lewis' singles "Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On," "Great Balls Of Fire," and "Breathless" reached the top 10 on the pop, rhythm & blues, and country charts.
Friday, February 20, 2009
The Letterman got their start in 1961, when their brand of clean-cut imagery and wholesome harmonizing was more or less in vogue. But two of their three biggest hits came in 1968 and 69, when one would have thought their style would be considered passe. You just never know.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Led Zeppelin's "Trampled Underfoot" barely scratched the Top 40 (peaking at No. 38), but the album it was taken from, Physical Graffiti, was No. 1 for six weeks. That disparity was typical for Zeppelin. All 10 of their albums cracked the top 10, but only one of their singles made the mark: 1970's "Whole Lotta Love."
Friday, February 13, 2009
Carole King remains the only artist to sweep Grammy Awards for album, record and song of the year, and best vocal performance. She won all four in 1971. Simon & Garfunkel (1970) and Christopher Cross (1980) each won the first three, but lost the vocal performance Grammys to the Carpenters and Kenny Loggins, respectively.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" hit the top 10 in 1961, and returned to the winners' circle in 1986 after being featured in the Rob Reiner film of the same name. In the rock era, only two other top-10 hits have made it back to the top 10: Chubby Checker's "The Twist" and Bobby "Boris" Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers' "Monster Mash."
Katrina & the Waves' "Walking On Sunshine" has no relation to Rockers Revenge's dance record of the same name from 1982, except that both were highly successful. Rockers Revenge's record was a No. 1 dance hit; Katrina & the Waves' was a top-10 pop smash in June, 1985.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Mick Jagger finally released his first solo album in 1985, but perhaps he waited too long--the single "Just Another Night" peaked at No. 12. If it had come out in the early 30s, when the Rolling Stones were at the height of their popularity, a Jagger single would have probably been an instant No. 1.
Rebbie Jackson's "Centipede" climbed to No. 4 on the Hot Black Singles chart in 1984. That's great by most people's standards, but in the Jackson family, it's almost a disappointment. Michael, Jermaine, and Janet have all hit No. 1, as have the Jacksons.
Freddie Jackson became the first artist in more than 26 years to succeed himself at No. 1 on the black (formerly rhythm & blues) chart, when "Tasty Love" took the top spot from "A Little Bit More" in November, 1986. The last artist to do the trick? Dinah Washington, who scored in July, 1960--when Freddie was all of nine months old.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
The Hooters were probably the least-known act on the bill at the "Live Aid" concert in July, 1985. The Philadelphia-based band was allowed to perform at the JFK Stadium show because they're hometown favorites. The exposure didn't hurt: Their next album went platinum.
The Hollies weren't the only top 60s group to land their biggest hit in the early 70s. They climbed to No. 2 in 1972 with "Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)." Paul Revere & the Raiders, another 60s mainstay, did even better, hitting No. 1 in 1971 with "Indian Reservation."
Herman's Hermits must have known how Avis felt in 1965. The group logged 10 weeks at No. 2 on the Top Pop Albums chart that year. Their Introducing Herman's Hermits album spent four weeks in the runner-up spot behind the Mary Poppins soundtrack, and then Herman's Hermits On Tour was aced out for six weeks straight by Beatles VI.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Daryl Hall & John Oates' "Method Of Modern Love" cracked the top 10 in February, 1985, which made it the duo's 15th top-10 hit. That put them in a tie with the Everly Brothers as the duo with the most top-10 singles in the rock era. The Carpenters are first runner-up, with 12.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Glenn Frey has yet to land a No. 1 solo single, but he's had hits on two smash No. 1 soundtracks. "The Heat Is On" was featured on Beverly Hills Cop and "You Belong To The City" was included on "Miami Vice." "Vice" was No. 1 for 11 weeks, the longest run of any TV soundtrack in history.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Aretha Franklin has long specialized in cover versions of old chart hits. Her very first Top-40 hit, 1961's "Rock-a-bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody," was a cover, as was her only No. 1 hit, 1967's "Respect." And so was this 1986 release, first a hit in 1968 for the Rolling Stones.
Peter Frampton's Frampton Comes Alive! remained in the top 10 for 52 consecutive weeks, 10 of which were spent at No. 1. It remains the best-selling live album of all time, but it proved impossible to follow, and ultimately did Frampton's career more harm than good.
Foreigner's "Waiting For A Girl Like You" was No. 2 for 10 straight weeks without hitting No. 1, by far the longest any record had stayed in the runner-up spot without going on to the top. But the band made it to No. 1 with the first single from their next album, "I Want To Know What Love Is."
Fabulous Thunderbirds' "Tuff Enuff" was one of several "intentionally misspelled" titles to crack the top 10 in the 80s. Among the others: Quiet Riot's "Cum On Feel The Noize," Prince's "I Would Die 4 U," Culture Club's "I'll Tumble 4 Ya," and Sheena Easton's "Telefone."
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Eurythmics' first three albums each produced a top-five single hit. The first, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)," was the biggest: It hit No. 1 in September 1983. And it wasn't as though there was no competition at the time. "Sweet Dreams" managed to dethrone the Police's "Every Breath You Take," the No. 1 hit of the year.
Donovan's biggest chart hits were "Sunshine Superman" and "Mellow Yellow," but his most familiar song to a general audience may well be "Wear Your Love Like Heaven." That single only made it to No. 23, but the song made an indelible impression as a shampoo TV commercial jingle.
Dion had twice as many Top-40 hits on his own as he did with Dion & the Belmonts. And he had four times as many top-10 hits. All in all, going solo wasn't a bad move. Dion's hits have since been covered by a wide range of artists, to say the least. "Runaround Sue" was a top-20 hit of Leif Garrett; "Ruby Baby" was featured on Donald Fagen's smash album, "The Nightfly."
Neil Diamond's two film projects to date have been less than successful, but the soundtrack albums have nonetheless been big hits. The Jonathan Livingston Seagull soundtrack climbed to No. 2 in 1973; the Jazz Singer soundtrack hit No. 3 in 1981. The latter album generated three top-10 hits.
Dennis DeYoung's "Dessert Moon" cracked the top 10, but his solo career to date has been disappointing given how popular his group Styx was in the late 70s and early 80s. DeYoung's ballads for Styx, including "Babe" and "Don't Let It End," were home-run smashes; his ballads for himself have so far ranged from base hits to strike outs.
Dexys' Midnight Runners' main claim to fame will probably always be that they're the act that kept Michael Jackson from becoming the first artist since the Beatles to have back-to-back No. 1 hits on the Hot 100. Dexys' "Come On Eileen" snuck into the No. 1 spot for one week in April, 1983, in between the No. 1 posting of "Billie Jean" and "Beat It."
Device is headed by Holly Knight, who has written numerous top-10 hits for such acts as Tina Turner, Pat Benatar, and Scandal. Knight should have kept one of the hits ofr herself: Device's first single, "Hanging On A Heart Attack," didn't go close to the top 10.
El DeBarge's "Who's Johnny" climbed to No. 3 on the Hot 100, matching the peak position of DeBarge's highest-charting hit, "Rhymthm Of The Night." Both were featured in films. "Who's Johnny" was in Short Circuit; "Rhythm Of The Night" was in Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon.
Jimmy Dean's "P.T. 109" was the first top-10 hit to make reference to John F. Kennedy, but it wasn't the last. Dion's 1968 smash "Abraham, Martin & John" referred to him, as did Tom Clay's 1971 remake of that song, and Dream Academy's 1986 hit "Life In a Northern Town."