Category Archives: #1 album

Elvis Presley Album Elvis

Elvis Presley Album Elvis

Hits #1 on May 5, 1956
Happy Anniversary
Elvis Presley album Elvis
album cover photo by William V. “Red” Robertson
Elvis Presley album Elvis

Elvis on the cusp

In early 1956, Elvis’s popularity was, like the Beatles seven years later, about to run wild. No one had coined a term like Elvis-mania, but it could have been that.

Elvis’s 1955 singles (“Baby Let’s Play House” and “I Forgot to Remember to Forget”) with Sam Phillips Sun Records had done well on the country charts.

Elvis Presley album Elvis


Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s new manager, had grand plans and the chutzpah to carry them out. His first move was to have RCA records buy Elvis’s contract from Phillips. It cost RCA $35,000 and with the omniscience of retrospect, we might say that that was quite a good deal for RCA. At the time it was an expensive risk.

Rock and Roll, derived some many sources, was just beginning to make mainstream headway despite mainstream suspicions.  Editorials suggested that the music was immoral, that the music turned teenagers into juvenile delinquents, and that the music was simply devil music. These phobic fears did more to entice than dissuade young people.

On September 9, 1956, Elvis appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. The appearance marked, as the Beatles in 1964, a huge step in Elvis’s success. It was on that show that the cameras kept the image above Elvis’s swaying waist.

Elvis Presley album Elvis

Elvis Presley

RCA had released his first album, Elvis, on March 23, 1956. The album had 12 songs, some that Elvis had done with Sun Records before moving to RCA as well as with RCA after the move. Elvis composed none of the songs. In fact, a different person or group wrote each song.

The album hit #1 on May 5, 1956, the first rock and roll album ever to make it to the top of the charts.

Side one:

  1. Blue Suede Shoes
  2. 2. I’m Counting on You
  3. 3. I Got a Woman
  4. 4. One-Sided Love Affair
  5. 5. I Love You Because
  6. 6. Just Because
Side 2:

  1. Tutti Frutti
  2. Tryin’ to Get to You
  3. I’m Gona Sit Right Down and Cry (Over You)
  4. I’ll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin’)
  5. Blue Moon
  6. Money Honey

The entire album clocked in at 28:03 seconds (the Beatles “Meet the Beatles” album totaled 26:43). Unlike what the Beatles would begin to do with pop albums with their 1965 Rubber Soul, much more a unified album, Elvis Presley became a collection of singles. That’s where financial success was.

And the album was a success.

Elvis Presley album Elvis       


The album spent ten weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart in 1956, the first rock and roll album ever to make it to the top of the charts and the first million-selling album of that genre.

In 2021 Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at 332 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Elvis Presley album Elvis

Beatles 1965 Rubber Soul

Beatles 1965 Rubber Soul

Beatles 1965 Rubber Soul
George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and Paul McCartney

The Beatles released their Rubber Soul album in time for Christmas on December 6, 1965. It became the Billboard #1 album on January 8, 1966 and remained there until February 18.

Beatles 1965 Rubber Soul

1965 Turning Point

1965 was a turning point for 1960s music. Although Beatlemania had hit America in 1964 and the band had six #1 singles that year alone, the music was still not what would eventually lead to the Woodstock Music and Art Fair and other such festivals.

After their touring ended in 1966, the Beatles went into the studio and went in another direction. Why?

The simplest answer is that Dylan had gone in a different direction and the Beatles realized that they could, too. And where Dylan and the Beatles headed, many followed.

Beatles 1965 Rubber Soul

Meeting Bob

In August 1964 the Beatles played a concert in New York City and afterwards famously met Bob Dylan who didn’t realize at first he was introducing the Beatles to marijuana. He was and they reportedly enjoyed the experience. (see Bob Dylan Introduces the Beatles for more).

In 1965, Dylan had gone  “gone electric” to both the delight and dismay of his fans. His song “Maggie’s Farm” was his declaration of independence. No longer would he be pigeon-holed as a protest folk singer.

Beatles 1965 Rubber Soul

Back in the Studio

When happened in the studio when the Beatles returned there in October 1965 was “Rubber Soul.”  While  the pop sound they were known was still a part of their music,  now there was more depth, too. Boomers had lyrics to figure out.

Beatles 1965 Rubber Soul

For example, John Lennon sang on “Girl”

Was she told when she was young that pain
Would lead to pleasure?
Did she understand it when they said
That a man must break his back to earn
His day of leisure?
Will she still believe it when he’s dead?
Ah girl
Beatles 1965 Rubber Soul

More than holding hands

To the typical American Baby Boomer teenager, this was no longer simply wanting to “…hold your hand.

Beatles 1965 Rubber Soul

1966 Fork in the Road

In 1966 American pop music came upon a fork in the road and some fans remained on the well-traveled road, the road of 45s, and top ten.

Others took what was for them a path less traveled. That same year, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys produced the definitely-not-surf-music Pet Sounds. The Beatles closed 1966 with what some call Rubber Soul part two, Revolver, a continuation of their musical and lyrical experimentation.

The Mothers of Invention released Freak Out! Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests got into full swing. Light shows at concerts began. Crawdaddy, the first rock and roll magazine to write full and serious articles, appeared. Concerts at San Francisco’s Fillmore began. John Lennon got into trouble after pointing out that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. FM rock stations began.

Beatles 1965 Rubber Soul

More 1965

Jefferson Airplane released their first album. The Beatles performed their final live concert. Jimi Hendrix hit England. The Beatles began to record Sgt. Pepper’s.

That less traveled path would lead to Woodstock after a few other festival stops along the way.

For more about the album, click through >>> The Beatles site

Beatles 1965 Rubber Soul

Cheap Thrills Love Child

Cheap Thrills Love Child

Cheap Thrills Love Child. What?

On November 30, 1968 two ladies were at #1. Diana Ross & the Supremes with their “Love Child” single and Big Brother & the Holding Company’s Janis Joplin’s “Cheap Thrills” album. I would never compare these great singers. The sexy silky smooth Motown’s Ms Ross. The tough as nuts, sensitive as a teenager’s ego Texas Janis.

We Baby Boomers were fortunate to have such women sing to us.

Cheap Thrills Love Child.

Cheap Thrills Love Child
Diana Ross & the Supremes, Love Child


Cheap Thrills Love Child

So Long Hey Jude

On November 30 (until December 13, 1968) Diana Ross  & the Supremes’ single, “Love Child” became the Billboard #1 single. It was their 11th #1 single in the US. It knocked the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” out of the #1 spot, a spot “Hey Jude” had held for two months.

Cheap Thrills Love Child.

I started my life in an old, cold, rundown tenement slum

My father left, he never even married Mom

I shared the guilt my mama knew

So afraid that others knew I had no name

Cheap Thrills Love Child

Big Brother

On the same date, November 30 (thru December 20, 1968) Big Brother and the Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills returned to the Billboard #1 album spot. It had alrady been there from October 12 to November 15 when Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Landland album replaced it for two weeks.

It’s tough to choose one song from Thrills, but to my mind “Ball and Chain”  has one of the greatest starts to any song ever. It leaves you hanging…and then simply drops you!

Janis loved comic artists. R. Crumb in particular. She asked him to do something and what he came up with is an unforgettable album cover, one for the ages and one that listeners held and stared at while the album spun — over and over.

According to Columbia’s art director John Berg:  [Janis] Joplin commissioned it, and she delivered Cheap Thrills to me personally in the office. There were no changes with R. Crumb. He refused to be paid, saying, “I don’t want Columbia’s filthy lucre.

Cheap Thrills Love Child
Big Brother & the Holding Company, Cheap Thrills album cover
Cheap Thrills Love Child

Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin was only with Big Brother from 1966 to 1969 and Cheap Thrills was her last album with them. But what an album! Rolling Stone magazine’s review didn’t quite think so, but the NYT wrote quite a bit about Big Brother & Janis. Ironically, today the cover is ranked number 9 on Rolling Stone’s list of one hundred greatest album covers.

Cheap Thrills Love Child

Cheap Thrills Love Child. Cheap Thrills Love Child. Cheap Thrills Love Child.