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Audio Samples of "Billboard's" #1 Pop Singles


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Sorry it's been so long since I posted the last installment. Work has just been incredibly hectic this past month.

1976 (Part 3 of 3):

444. A Fifth of Beethoven--Walter Murphy & the Big Apple Band (1 week, October 9)

445. Disco Duck (Part 1)--Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots (1 week, October 16)

446. If You Leave Me Now--Chicago (2 weeks, October 23)

447. Rock 'n Me--The Steve Miller Band (1 week, November 6)

448. Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)--Rod Stewart (8 weeks, November 13)

1977 (Part 1 of 3):

449. You Don't Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)--Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (1 week, January 8)

450. You Make Me Feel Like Dancing--Leo Sayer (1 week, January 15)

451. I Wish--Stevie Wonder (1 week, January 22)

452. Car Wash--Rose Royce (1 week, January 29)

453. Torn Between Two Lovers--Mary MacGregor (2 weeks, February 5)

454. Blinded by the Light--Manfred Mann's Earth Band (1 week, February 19)

455. New Kid in Town--The Eagles (1 week, February 26)

456. Love Theme from "A Star Is Born" (Evergreen)--Barbra Streisand (3 weeks, March 5)

457. Rich Girl--Daryl Hall & John Oates (2 weeks, March 26)

458. Dancing Queen--ABBA (1 week, April 9)


*The fact that "Disco Duck" made it to #1 is one of the biggest travesties in all of chart history.

*Even though the band was successful after his departure, I think that the distinctive vocals of lead singer Peter Cetera had a lot to do with Chicago's massive popularity. And speaking about Chicago, I just love the album cover (shown in this video installment) of a chocolate bar featuring the group's logo.

*The eight weeks that Rod Stewart's "Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)" spent at #1 was the most any song held the top spot since "Hey Jude" by the Beatles in 1968.

*Not only were Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. former members of the Fifth Dimension, they also were (and still are) wife and husband. Additionally, McCoo played the role of Tamara Price on DOOL during 1986 & 87.

*"Rose Royce" is just such a cool name for a group.

*It amazes me just how different Manfred Mann's second #1 hit--"Blinded by the Light"--was from their first chart topper (1964's "Do Wah Diddy Diddy"). By the way, "Blinded by the Light" was written by Bruce Springsteen, who surprisingly has never had a number one hit of his own.

*The legendary duo of Hall & Oates was one of the few white acts that could master the R&B sound. Prior to "Rich Girl" (which sounded far more like a song from the early-80's than one from the late-70's), the duo had scored two other top ten hits with "Sara Smile" and "She's Gone." However, following the huge success of "Rich Girl," the group's popularity faded, and a comeback would not occur until 1980.

*Aside from Volvo, ABBA remains the most successful Swedish export of all time. Nevertheless, they were far less popular in the United States than they were in just about every other developed nation in the world. "Dancing Queen"--the group's only number one hit in America--happens to be one of my favorite songs of the 1970's; this record just has such an enchanting and mesmerizing quality about it.

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It's good to be back!

The closest Bruce Springsteen ever got to number one was number two with Dancing in the Dark. Manfred Mann's version of Blinded By the Light is radically different from Springsteen's version and I'd dare say far better.

Leo Sayer drove me up a wall but he did once co-write a pretty good song: The Three Dog Night tune, The Show Must Go On.

As for A Fifth of Beethoven, his music didn't survive all this time to be subjected to this.

I Wish is a great song and Wonder had an unusual way of making the lyrics rhyme. This is one of his best songs, along with Sir Duke and in the 90's, Overjoyed, which was used by ESPN for Michael Jordan's selection at number one of their 100 Greatest Athletes of All Time list.

I've always enjoyed Hall & Oates except for their foray into commercial schlock in the 80's. Darryl Hall has a wonderful voice and incredible phrasing.

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I agree with Eric regarding "A Fifth of Beethoven" being a good disco song.

1977 (Part 2 of 3):

459. Don't Give Up on Us--David Soul (1 week, April 16)

460. Don't Leave Me This Way--Thelma Houston (1 week, April 23)

461. Southern Nights--Glen Campbell (1 week, April 30)

462. Hotel California--The Eagles (1 week, May 7)

463. When I Need You--Leo Sayer (1 week, May 14)

464. Sir Duke--Stevie Wonder (3 weeks, May 21)

465. I'm Your Boogie Man--KC & the Sunshine Band (1 week, June 11)

466. Dreams--Fleetwood Mac (1 week, June 18)

467. Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1--Marvin Gaye (1 week, June 25)

468. Gonna Fly Now (Theme from "Rocky")--Bill Conti (1 week, July 2)

469. Undercover Angel--Alan O'Day (1 week, July 9)

470. Da Doo Ron Ron--Shaun Cassidy (1 week, July 16)

471. Looks Like We Made It--Barry Manilow (1 week, July 23)

472. I Just Want to Be Your Everything--Andy Gibb (4 weeks, July 30)


*David Soul is best known as the portrayer of Ken "Hutch" Hutchinson on the TV show "Starsky & Hutch." As a singer, "Don't Give Up On Us" was his one and only hit.

*Despite her powerful voice, "Don't Leave Me This Way" was essentially Thelma Houston's sole hit (although another record of hers barely made the Top 40).

*According to a quote in "The 'Billboard' Book of Number One Hits," Don Henley of the Eagles stated that his group reached its peak with the "Hotel California" album. In May 1977, the album's title track became the group's fourth #1 hit. Coincidentally, each of the Eagles' five number one hits spent just one week at the top of the chart.

*One of Stevie Wonder's best songs--"Sir Duke"--was actually a tribute to jazz great Duke Ellington.

*Although Fleetwood Mac was one of the most influential bands of the 70's, "Dreams" was the group's only number one hit. Without a doubt, Stevie Nicks has one of the most unique female voices in all of rock and roll.

*Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1" was recorded "live" at the London Palladium. Gaye, who was shot to death by his father in 1984, scored his last big hit with "Sexual Healing" in 1983.

*"Gonna Fly Now (Theme from 'Rocky')" has to be one of the greatest movie theme songs of all time. However, my personal favorite movie theme is the one from "Superman," performed by John Williams (which, to the best of my knowledge, did not even chart).

*"Da Doo Ron Ron" was originally a hit by the Crystals (#3 in 1963), whose version was--in my opinion--far superior to the one performed by Shaun Cassidy.

*Andy Gibb was the younger brother of the three members of the Bee Gees: Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb. I'm pretty sure that Andy's three older brothers served as backup singers on "I Just Want to Be Your Everything." Note that on the next installment of number one hits, the four Gibb brothers will be the dominant force at the top of the charts.

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I was surprised that Thelma Houston never had another hit because her voice is amazing.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Sir Duke is one of Stevie Wonder's best songs.

I'm Your Boogie Man is a fun and funky song that has held up well over time.

Fleetwood Mac has had some great material but I didn't always like Stevie Nicks' songwriting. She tended to be a drama queen and basically set all her personal problems to music and used a lot of imagery to make it sound pretty.

The Marvin Gaye track was wonderful, just like everything he recorded.

Shaun Cassidy scares me. Thankfully he later found his niche as a producer and developer of television programs and stopped butchering other people's songs.

Undercover Angel.... EWWWWW. That song sucked. You want to take a shower after hearing it because you feel like you've just been slimed.

The next segment will begin with Best of My Love by the Emotions, three woman with some incredible voices.

Hotel California had a lot of controversy surrounding it but the song was basically about excess. The line "they stab it with their steely knives but they just can't kill the beast" was added as a message to Steely Dan, who mentioned the Eagles in one of their songs (unfortunately, that song's name is escaping me at the moment).

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I'm a Thelma Houston FANATIC. One of my fave CDs of all time is a 1969 album (her first0 she did all written, arranged and produced by Jimmy Webb who called her the greatest vocal talent he had ever met, Sunshower. I had to import the CD from Japan at some cost but it was worth it. It's a breathtaking album, that deserved to be a hit, but was a flop (though it was well known within the industry and by other musicians). Anyway her rollicking cover of Don't Leave me this Way is one of my disco loves (especially the nearly 6 minute full album mix which has some great ad libs)--Hal Davis, who had a disco hit with Love Hangover, was the producer.

Shaun Cassidy has actually done some great tv (American Gothic and the underated Invasion...)

We're starting to get into one of my fave eras of music :D

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1977 (Part 3 of 3):

473. Best of My Love--The Emotions (5 weeks, August 20)

474. "Star Wars" Theme/Cantina Band--Meco (2 weeks, October 1)

475. You Light Up My Life--Debby Boone (10 weeks, October 15)

476. How Deep Is Your Love--The Bee Gees (3 weeks, December 24)

1978 (Part 1 of 2):

477. Baby Come Back--Player (3 weeks, January 14)

478. Stayin' Alive--The Bee Gees (4 weeks, February 4)

479. (Love Is) Thicker than Water--Andy Gibb (2 weeks, March 4)

480. Night Fever--The Bee Gees (8 weeks, March 18)

481. If I Can't Have You--Yvonne Elliman (1 week, May 13)

482. With a Little Luck--Wings (2 weeks, May 20)

483. Too Much, Too Little, Too Late--Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams (1 week, June 3)

484. You're the One That I Want--John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John (1 week, June 10)

485. Shadow Dancing--Andy Gibb (7 weeks, June 17)

486. Miss You--The Rolling Stones (1 week, August 5)


*From mid-1973 through mid-1977, songs usually enjoyed little longevity at the top spot. Beginning with this installment, however, you will find plenty of singles that spent many weeks at #1.

*The disco classic "Best of My Love" by the Emotions served as the inspiration for another number one hit: 1991's "Emotions" by Mariah Carey.

*While "Best of My Love" was #1, an event that had nothing to do with the Emotions rocked the musical world: Elvis Presley died (on August 16, 1977) at the age of 42.

*"'Star Wars' Theme/Cantina Band" by Meco was not the theme actually heard on the movie. At the time, Meco himself felt that the version heard on the movie would not become a pop hit during the late-70's, and therefore decided to record a disco version of the tune. However, Meco turned out to be wrong in his initial assessment, given that the original version of the song--performed by the legendary John Williams--peaked at #10 on the chart.

*The ten weeks Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" spent at #1 was the most any record had spent at the top since way back in 1956, when Elvis Presley's double sided hit--"Don't Be Cruel/Hound Dog"--held the number #1 position for eleven weeks. Despite the song's massive popularity, Boone (who is the daughter of 50's pop icon Pat Boone) ended up becoming a one-hit wonder.

*As a result of their soaring falsettos and distinctive harmonies, the Bee Gees are actually one of my favorite groups of the 70's. My favorite song of theirs is the beautiful "How Deep Is Your Love."

*"Baby Come Back" by Player was a song that was very much inspired by the Hall & Oates sound. One of Player's members was actually future B&B star Ronn Moss. Interestingly, Moss is not the only future soap star who had a number one hit: ten years before DOOL went on the air, Bill Hayes scored a chart topper with 1955's "The Ballad of Davy Crockett."

*It's rare for back-to-back number one hits (each by a different artist) to be performed by members of the same family. Yet, in 1978, three consecutive number one hits--"Stayin' Alive," "(Love Is) Thicker than Water," and "Night Fever"--were all performed by the Gibb brothers.

*Not only was "Night Fever" the biggest hit of the Bee Gees' career, it was also the group's third straight #1 hit from the soundtrack to "Saturday Night Fever."

*The beautifually enchanting "If I Can't Have You" by Yvonne Elliman was also featured on "Saturday Night Fever." The song was written by none other than the three members of the Bee Gees.

*The six straight number one singles from (and including) "How Deep Is Your Love" to "If I Can't Have You" were all released on the RSO record label. This is an incredible accomplishment, considering no other record company has ever come close to attaining six consecutive number one hits.

*"Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" was not the only well known song performed by the duo of Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams. The two of them also sang the theme song to "Family Ties."

*Along with "Saturday Night Fever," the motion picture "Grease" was responsible for turning movie soundtracks into major sources of successful pop singles. Aside from "You're the One That I Want," the film's title song--performed by Frankie Valli--also hit #1 on the chart. (Note that the film's title song will be featured in the next batch of #1 hits.)

*Andy Gibb was riding high in 1978 when "Shadow Dancing" became his third consecutive #1 hit. Unfortunately, his career would turn sour in the early-80's. Worst of all, he would die at the age of 30 in 1988.

*"Miss You"--the Rolling Stones' eighth number one hit--marked an amazing comeback for them. The group's last major hit came in 1989, when "Mixed Emotions" peaked at #5.

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Yes, we are definitely headed into a huge part of the disco era.

A lot of these songs are from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and the film not only made huge stars out of the Bee Gees, it scored an Oscar nod for John Travolta, if I'm not mistaken. Not bad for a low budget film that had no idea the impact it would eventually have on music and film. The Bee Gees made huge hits out of everything they touched, including Andy's music and other artists like Samantha Sang. Songs from their next album, Spirits Having Flown, would also dominate the charts.

Deniece Williams has a very interesting and expressive singing voice.

You Light Up My Life was just the kind of sappy song that we would expect Pat Boone's daughter to record. It stayed at number one for a mind-boggling 10 weeks, proving that the record buying public is equally sappy, LOL.

Miss You was incorrectly labeled as a dance song when it came out and yes, you could dance to it. But listening to it now, it has the same signature funky riffs that most of the Stones songs had anyway!

Brace yourselves, some real crap is coming up, beginning with Three Times a Lady by the Commodores, and a song with some of the worst lyrics known to man: MacArthur Park.

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I never knew that the Rolling Stone's attempt at disco, Miss You actually made it to number 1! wow.

I'm strange with the BeeGees--I actually love a lot of the pop and disco songs they've written and produced--but HATE HATE HATE their vocal stylings, so whenever someone else sings their stuff (even the hit UK cover in the late 90s of Tragedy by the cheesetastic Steps) I much prefer that. That said one song I do like their vocals on is How Deep Is Yoru Love--otherwise, sorry Max, I wish they'd drop the falsetto... Yvonne's Can't Have You is GORGEEOUS--too bad she never had quite the career she deserved despite her gorgeous vocals and singing for Jesus Christ Superstar (which she was discovered for as a street busker) and Love Pains.

Meco--who first made disco fame as producer of one of the first MASSIVE disco records--Gloria Gaynor's Never Can Say Goodbye in 1975 (he also was one of the first disco producers to make record side long "mixes"--something that became standard particularly on Donna Summer's albums--the first being Gaynor's Honey Bee/Never Can Say goodbye/Reach Out I'll be There medley) made a bit of a cottage industry for him of doing record long disco versions of classic movie themes. Star Wars was MUCH longer on record, probably some of the most notable and successful other ones he did were a Superman one and a ridiculously campy (and huge in the gay clubs) Wizard of Oz one... That said as a disco fan I've never been too into his production work--I find it simplistic and a bit square.

And as a Donna Summer fan I'm a bit disappointed to realize she didn't have a number one single (though she had a number of top 10s--Love to Love You Baby, I Feel Love and Last Dance notably) till the very end of 1978...


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"Miss You was incorrectly labeled as a dance song when it came out and yes, you could dance to it. But listening to it now, it has the same signature funky riffs that most of the Stones songs had anyway!

Brace yourselves, some real crap is coming up, beginning with Three Times a Lady by the Commodores, and a song with some of the worst lyrics known to man: MacArthur Park."

Miss You is undenibaly disco influenced though--you can't deny that...

And careful. MacPark (even better in its original 17 minute Suite form with alter single Heaven Knows) is one of my faves. The lyrics are over the top but they'r emeant to be and they *make sense* if you pay attention--Jimmy Webb is a killer songwriter/producer--one of my faves to come out of the 60s and something of a genius--matched with Giorgio Moroder's great classic disco production and Donna Summer's flawless vocals (which make Richard Harris' original 60s version fot he song all the more unlistenable) make the track just shimmer. Donna opens her modern concerts with the song and the opening vocals never fail to electrify the audience. I can think of few better examples of the perfection of disco bombast--and a song that proves what a great vocal delivery Donna had.


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IMO, MacArthur Park only paid off because of Summer's vocals. The lyrics are kind of silly.... what am I saying? The lyrics are VERY silly, and if it was intentional then thank God! If I put my mind to it, I could write a song that dumb too. No offense, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this song.

Speaking of Meco, I believe he is the one that did an album called Pop Goes the Movies, that I can still remember to this day. It featured themes from films from Hollywood's golden era and I thought he did a nice job with the music from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I don't believe any of it charted but I could be wrong.

And then there is....Stars on 45!

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Hahah oh I don't think Mac Park is meant to be taken seriously really. That said I also think the lyrics are better than say, Muskrat Love ;) They make sense. it's a metaphor--an obvious one but--the cake in the rain is a relationship ending that she can't get back.

What MAKES the song for me though is the gorgeous second part, which isn't in the 4 minute radio edit (which is drives me crazy) with the lyrics:

"There'll be another song for me

and I will sing it

there'll be another dream for me

someone will bring it

I will drink the wine while it is warn

and never let you catch me

looking at the sun, oh yeah

and after all the loves of my life

after all loves in my life

you'll be the one

I will take my life into my hands

and I will use it

I will win the worship in their eyes

and I will lose it

I will have the things that I desire

and my passion flow

like rivers through the sky

oh and after all the loves in my life

after all the loves in my life

you'll still be the one

and I'll ask myself why. "

Anyway it helps that i'm a huge fan of Jimmy Webb (from his 5th Dimension Glen Campbell days thru to the 90s) and of Donna so... Yeah agree to disagree. At least we agree abotu Donna's vocals


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