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

Johnny Preston Running Bear

On January 18, 1960 Running Bear by Johnny Preston became Billboard’s #1 single.

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:

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, good-bye.

Johnny Preston Running Bear

Teen Angel

The next #1 will be Mark Dinning’s Teen Angel.

That fateful night the car was stalled upon the railroad track

I pulled you out and we were safe but you went running back.

Johnny Preston Running Bear

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.

Now their hands touched and their lips met

The swirling river, it pulled them down

Now they’ll always be together

In their happy hunting 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.

Running Bear

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.”

Preston died on March 4, 2011 >>> NYT obit

References >>> Song facts

Johnny Preston Running Bear