Category Archives: #1 Song

Rolling Stones Satisfaction

Rolling Stones Satisfaction

Rolling Stones Satisfaction

The Stones first US #1

July 10, 1965
Rolling Stones Satisfaction

But first…on July 10, 1961 

Rolling Stones Satisfaction
Bobby Lewis

On July 10, 1961 “Tossin’ and Turnin'” by Bobby Lewis became the #1 song. It remained there until August 27. Not a bad run.

Frustrated love. Can’t sleep. Kicking blankets off. Flipping pillows. Written by Ritchie Adams and Malou Rene, both Americans, one wonders what the British listener thought about a guy tossin’ all night.

Rolling Stones Satisfaction

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Four years later, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” became #1. The first US #1 song for the Rolling Stones (their fourth #1 in the UK). More frustration. Its ambivalent lyrics had us giggling if we were still young, nodding if we were old enough.

It was a great air guitar song, especially with a tennis racket. That’s what I was doing a lot of that summer at Cedar Grove Beach Club in New Dorp, Staten Island.

Kevin Hagerty and I played tennis for hours with my sister’s transistor radio blasting. Every time “Satisfaction” came on we stopping playing (by the way, playing more than generously describes our jejune tennis prowess) and starting strumming. That’s if Kev could find his racket after tossing it into the weeds  following another poor shot.

Rolling Stones Satisfaction

Keith’s dream

The story is that Keith Richards started to record some guitar doodling and the famous riff before falling asleep with the tape still running and recording snoring.

Keith intended the famous fuzzy guitar intro to suggest horns and horns were supposed to replace that fuzz. Others disagreed. Others wanted that sound.

That sound became part of rock and roll’s DNA.

Rolling Stones Satisfaction


Stereo recording was around in 1965, but mono still dominated. For some today, mono is the preferred listening choice. In any case, it was not until later releases that stereo versions appeared. Jack Nitzsche, who played the tambourine on the original recording, has some piano on the stereo offering.

Rolling Stones Satisfaction

Best ever?

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” makes every top ten list and always near the top. Rolling Stone magazine said it’s the second greatest rock song ever. [It said Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone was #1]

And as popular as the Rolling Stones were before its release and success, following it put the Rolling Stones on others’ list of greatest rock and roll band in the world.

Rolling Stones Satisfaction

Aretha Franklin Respect

Aretha Franklin Respect

Billboard #1 June 3 – June 30, 1967
Aretha Franklin Respect

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Those of you who have visited the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts know that the Main Gallery is not a Woodstock museum–as in a museum that recalls the “greatest festival of all time.

The Main Gallery sets up that momentous 1969 event by walking visitors through the turbulent 60s: the civil rights movement, the space race, technological innovations, the Vietnam War, Beatlemania, the counterculture, assassinations, fashion, politics, the change in family, nationalism, and the many other of that era’s crucial hallmarks.

As guests get about halfway through, album covers appear. Of course until then the little records with big holes dominated sales. By the end of the decade, the big records with the little holes began to outsell singles.

Aretha Franklin Respect
I Never Loved A Man the Way That I Love You

Among the first half-dozen albums that are displayed is Aretha Franklin’s  breakthrough Atlantic Records debut album, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You.  It is the featured image atop this postThe single by the same name was a hit for Franklin and Atlantic Records selected “Respect” (can anyone write that title thinking of the song without mentally singing the letters like Aretha?) as her next single.

It was #1 song from June 7 to June 17, 1967.

Aretha Franklin’s career never looked back after that.

Aretha Franklin Respect

Otis Redding

Otis Redding had written the song and released it as a single in the summer of 1965. The song did well commercially and helped establish his presence on radio waves’ white side.

He continued to sing his version of the song and included it in his amazing performance at the Monterey International Jazz and Pop Festival on June 17, 1967. It was during his introduction (listen above) that he says, “that a girl took away from me, a friend of mine, this girl she just took this song.

Aretha Franklin Respect

Muscle Shoals

Columbia Records had recognized Aretha Franklin’s potential, but had not been able to translate it.  Ahmet Ertegun and his Atlantic Records found a way. He brought her to  Muscle Shoals, Alabama and Rick Hall’s FAME Studios.

Jerry Wexler and Arif Mardin produced the record and Tom Dowd engineered it. The musicians were the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, aka, the Swampers: Cornell Dupree (guitar), Willie Bridges (sax), Charles Chalmers (sax), Roger Hawkins (drummer),Tommy Cogbill (bass), Dewey ‘Spooner’ Oldham (keyboards), and King Curtis (sax). Franklin’s sisters Carolyn and Erma were the backing vocals.

That group lighted the fuse that launched Franklin. The song went from Redding’s covert plea for sex when he got home to Franklin’s proclamation of freedom, demand for R E S P E C T.

Aretha Franklin Respect


Not only did the song establish Franklin as a star, it became an anthem of the times for civil rights and women’s liberation. As an NPR story said, ” ‘Respect’ Wasn’t A Feminist Anthem Until Aretha Franklin Made It One.”

That is why that album cover display is so appropriate for the Main Gallery.

Thank you Aretha.

Aretha Franklin Respect

Johnny Preston Running Bear

Johnny Preston Running Bear

On January 18, 1960 Running Bear by Johnny Preston became Billboard’s #1 single. But before and after Running Bear…

El Paso

Running Bear was the second of three consecutive #1 songs in which someone died.  Preceding Running Bear,  Marty Robbins’s El Paso was #1.  Grateful Dead fans are familiar with that story:

Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
I fell in love with a Mexican girl
Nighttime would find me in Rosa’s cantina
Music would play and Felina would whirlBlacker than night were the eyes of Felina
Wicked and evil while casting a spell
My love was deep for this Mexican maiden
I was in love but in vain, I could tellOne night a wild young cowboy came in
Wild as the West Texas wind
Dashing and daring, a drink he was sharing
With wicked Felina, the girl that I lovedSo in anger I
Challenged his right for the love of this maiden
Down went his hand for the gun that he wore
My challenge was answered in less than a heartbeat
The handsome young stranger lay dead on the floorJust for a moment I stood there in silence
Shocked by the foul evil deed I had done
Many thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there
I had but one chance and that was to runOut through the back door of Rosa’s I ran
Out where the horses were tied
I caught a good one, it looked like it could run
Up on its back and away I did rideJust as fast as I
Could from the West Texas town of El Paso
Out to the badlands of New Mexico

Back in El Paso my life would be worthless
Everything’s gone in life; nothing is left
It’s been so long since I’ve seen the young maiden
My love is stronger than my fear of death

I saddled up and away I did go
Riding alone in the dark
Maybe tomorrow, a bullet may find me
Tonight nothing’s worse than this pain in my heart

And at last here I
Am on the hill overlooking El Paso
I can see Rosa’s cantina below
My love is strong and it pushes me onward
Down off the hill to Felina I go

Off to my right I see five mounted cowboys
Off to my left ride a dozen or more
Shouting and shooting, I can’t let them catch me
I have to make it to Rosa’s back door

Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel
A deep burning pain in my side
Though I am trying to stay in the saddle
I’m getting weary, unable to ride

But my love for
Felina is strong and I rise where I’ve fallen
Though I am weary I can’t stop to rest
I see the white puff of smoke from the rifle
I feel the bullet go deep in my chest

From out of nowhere Felina has found me
Kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side
Cradled by two loving arms that I’ll die for
One little kiss and Felina, goodbye

Johnny Preston Running Bear

Running Bear

Johnny Preston Running Bear

For Running Bear, the two young lovers, separated by a river that was too wide, but their love forced them to try to cross and meet.

On the bank of the river

Stood Running Bear, young Indian brave

On the other side of the river

Stood his lovely Indian maid

Little White Dove was her name

Such a lovely sight to see

But their tribes fought with each other

So, their love could never be,


Running Bear loved Little White Dove

With a love big as the sky

Running Bear loved Little White Dove

With a love that couldn’t die


He couldn’t swim the raging river

‘Cause the river was too wide

He couldn’t reach Little White Dove

Waiting on the other side

In the moonlight he could see her

Throwing kisses ‘cross the waves

Her little heart was beating faster

Waiting there for her brave


Running Bear dove in the water

Little White Dove did the same

And they swam out to each other

Through the swirling stream they came

As their hands touched and their lips met

The raging river pulled them down

Now, they’ll always be together

In that happy huntin’ ground

The song  has some interesting trivia associated with it besides its part in a consecutive death motif. J. P. Richardson, better known as The Big Bopper, wrote it.  Richardson had a hit of his own in 1958 with “Chantilly Lace.” He had died in the famous plane crash on February 3, 1959 in Clear Lake, Iowa, with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.

Richardson thought the Romeo & Juliet theme of this song was too serious for him to record. He passed it on to his friend Johnny Preston, who originally was unsure about the song but others eventually persuaded him to cut it.

Richardson had done background vocals along with George Jones.

Follow Up

Preston’s follow-up single, “Cradle of Love,” reached No. 7 on the Billboard chart.

In 1971 Jonathan King took the “Ocka Chunka” backing and added it to the B.J. Thomas hit song “Hooked On A Feeling.”

Teen Angel

Finally, the next #1 will be Mark Dinning’s Teen Angel.

Teen angel, teen angel, teen angel, ooh
That fateful night the car was stalled upon the railroad track
I pulled you out and we were safe, but you went running back

Teen angel, can you hear me?
Teen angel, can you see me?
Are you somewhere up above?
And I am still your own true love?

What was it you were looking for that took your life that night?
They said they found my high school ring clutched in your fingers tight

Teen angel, can you hear me?
Teen angel, can you see me?
Are you somewhere up above?
And I am still your own true love?

Just sweet sixteen, and now you’re gone
They’ve taken you away
I’ll never kiss your lips again
They buried you today

Teen angel, can you hear me?
Teen angel, can you see me?
Are you somewhere up above?
And I am still your own true love?

Teen angel, teen angel, answer me, please

Johnny Preston Running Bear

Actual deaths

Marty Robbins died on December 8, 1982 [NYT obit], Mark Dinning died on March 22, 1986 [NYT obit], and Johnny Preston died on March 4, 2011 [NYT obit].

References >>> Song facts

Johnny Preston Running Bear