It's pretty funny that I started blogging on competitive reality shows and not on my first love, pop music. Did you have a feeling that Flo Rida would return to #1 this week? As I blog pop hits, I may look at the genre from different vantage points. This week, let's look at what is #1 today, then 10 years ago, 20 years ago, etc. Most of my pop music history books are in storage, so this is off the top of my head. (I did double check to make sure I was accurate, thank you, Internet.) Oh, this is all according to Billboard Magazine, using their Hot 100, when available (1958 & forward.)
WHISTLE • Flo Rida
The catchy oral sex anthem has a second week at the top, after being kicked out of the top by Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" for a couple of weeks. Did you catch that they are just sitting on the -6, 4, 1, 5 chord progression throughout the song? That is memorable to those of us of a certain age because it is the one employed on Heart's 1987 chart topper "Alone." It is heard in the first 6 measures of the 11 measure chorus. In other words, you can sing, "Till now, I always got by on my own, I never really cared until I met you. And now it chills me to the bone" to the music of Flo Rida's "Whistle." As someone who used to have to put together medleys on a regular basis, this is the sort of thing that always gets my attention, and leaves my friends in stitches.
DILEMMA • Nelly feat. Kelly Rowland
The biggest hit ever for both Nelly and Kelly Rowland, "Dilemma" spent 10 non-consecutive weeks at the top of the chart. The song was based on Patti Labelle's 1983 "Love, Need and Want You." Hmmm ... The song was overly inspired by Patti Labelle's 1983 "Love, Need and Want You?" Maybe that is the way to say it, eh? No, it's a tribute, it's an homage, it's not plagiarism. Or, maybe you would like to listen and decide for yourself? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ_oKq8jwu4
END OF THE ROAD • Boyz II Men
Their 5th chart hit in a row for the act, this was their first time at the top of the charts. At the time it became the rock era song with the most weeks at #1, 13. Whitney Houston's cover of "I Will Always Love You" beat that by a week just a few months later. Featured in the Eddie Murphy "Boomerang" flick, Boyz II Men were one of the acts at the time to stress genuine vocal talent over theatrics or image. What I didn't realize was that this was the fifth single release from the debut project. (I somehow thought this was off of a 2nd album, silly me.) When was the last time a FIFTH release was the biggest? I can come up with several where the 4th single was the biggest, but not a fifth. Def Leppard's "Love Bites," their 5th single from "Hysteria" might appear to have done the trick, peaking at #1, while their 4th, "Pour Some Sugar On Me" stalled at #2. However, "Bites" quickly rose & fell off the charts. "Sugar" rode the charts all summer long in 1988, so it ended up being the bigger hit, and, again, the 4th release from their #1 album.
HARD TO SAY I'M SORRY / GET AWAY • Chicago
Chicago changed labels and had a major comeback with their first top 40 hit in three and a half years. Featuring more Toto members than Chicago members, Peter Cetera and David Foster were the driving force behind this late Summer hit. This was their first top ten smash since late 1977's #4 smash "Baby, What A Big Surprise," another hit penned by Cetera.
BLACK & WHITE • Three Dog Night
With lead vocals by Danny Hutton, this is the last #1 by the group. Funny, each number one of theirs featured a different lead singer. I didn't catch all the 'Island" influence in 1972, it just sounded like a typical pop song to me then, but now, it screams Caribbean to me.
SHERRY • Four Seasons
Their first big chart hit, "Sherry" was number one for five weeks in the late Summer / early Fall of 1962. Written by member Bob Gaudio, and featuring the falsetto of Frankie Valli, the song was one of three that hit #1 for them in a six month period.
Okay, I get it, they needed a piercing lead to break through the fog of AM radio, but now a little bit of Frankie Valli's voice goes a long, long way. Or, is it just me?
YOU BELONG TO ME • Jo Stafford
Wow, don't you just *love* her voice? Her tone is so rich, full, and well placed. Stafford's first solo number one, she had hit the top before with 1945's "Candy" (with Johnny Mercer) and 1947's "Temptation (Tim-tayshun)" with Red Ingle & The Natural Seven. Jo had a hit comedy project in 1960 with her husband, Paul Weston, as "Jonathan and Darlene Edwards In Paris." Geez, how did I not realize they were one & the same?
(I'VE GOT A GAL IN) KALAMAZOO • Glenn Miller
Forgive me, Glenn, somehow this one evaded my radar. Being 'too young' is no excuse.
It was featured in the movie Orchestra Wives and spend eight weeks at the top of the chart. It sold as a 78 r.p.m. vinyl record. The tune was billed to Glenn Miller & His Orchestera, featuring Tex Beneke, Marion Hutton and The Modernaires.