Category Archives: #1 Song

Beach Boys Good Vibrations

Beach Boys Good Vibrations

Beach Boys Good Vibrations

On December 10, 1966 the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” was Billboard’s Hot 100 #1 single. Capital Records had released the single on October 10. That may seem like a long time for such a great song to reach #1, but it wasn’t nearly as long as it took for Brian Wilson to make the song.  According to Rolling Stone magazine, “It took six months and cost $16,000 to make, with several distinct sections and such exotic instruments as Jew’s harp, sleigh bells, harpsichord, and theremin.”

He had started it on February 17, 1966 of that year while creating his masterpiece Pet Sounds album. At the time of its release, Billboard magazine wrote: Penned by Brian Wilson and Mike Love, group has a sure-fire hit in this off-beat and intriguing rhythm number. Should hit hard and fast.

Beach Boys Good Vibrations

Beach Boys

Beach Boys Good Vibratons
cover for Good Vibrations single

A film showing some of the ongoing recording of the Beach Boys Good Vibrations.

Read more from Rolling Stone magazine, which ranks Beach Boys Good Vibrations as the fifth best single of all time >>> Rolling Stone article

Beach Boys Good Vibrations
Brian Wilson producing Beach Boys Good Vibrations

Beach Boys Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations

“Good Vibrations” was intended to be part of the “Smile” album, but  Wilson, suffering from depression, stopped work on the it in May 1967. A New York Times article began about that album began: “I’m writing a teen-age symphony to God,” Brian Wilson announced to a magazine writer some months ago. At the time, an album lay half-completed on spools of black acetate. The rest existed only in spurts of rhythm and harmony in Brian Wilson’s head.  (NYT article)

The song ended up on a makeshift version of the original Smile, called Smiley Smile.  According to Phillip Lambert’s book, Inside the Music of Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson said that compared to what Smile would have been Smiley Smile was  “a bunt instead of a grand slam.”

Beach Boys Good Vibrations

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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.

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Lonesome Tonight

Lonesome Tonight

Elvis’s far from first

Roy Turk and Lou Handmant

Roy Turk and Lou Handman wrote “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” in 1926. It had three verses, followed by a spoken bridge. They based the bridge on a line in Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. “You know someone said that the world’s a stage. And each must play a part” refers to “All the world’s a stage” from William Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

It was recorded several times in 1927—first by Charles Hart on 9 May 1927.

Lonesome Tonight

Blue Barron

In 1950 the Blue Barron Orchestra version reached the Billboard’s top twenty single chart. This version is much closer to the style that Elvis used.

Lonesome Tonight

Al Jolson

Al Jolson also had a hit with it in 1950 and used the spoken bridge. Jolson died the same year.

Lonesome Tonight

Elvis Presley

Are You Lonesome Tonight
cover of Elvis single, “Are You Lonesome Tonight”

Others continued to record it. The song was the favorite of Marie Mott, the wife of Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s manager. Elvis recorded it in April 1960 shortly after his stint in the Army ended. RCA released the song in November 1960 and it was an immediate success in the U.S., topping Billboard’s Pop Singles chart and reaching number three on the R & B chart.  A month after the song’s release, it topped the UK singles chart.

From WikipediaThe success of “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” made the song one of Presley’s live staples. He performed it live for the first time on March 25, 1961, at a Bloch Arena benefit in Honolulu for the USS Arizona Memorial, one of his four live performances between his return from the Army and his shift in career focus to acting.

Returning to music in 1968, Presley included the song on his playlist for the  NBC special Elvis and performed it live the following year during his first Las Vegas engagement. A version of the song, recorded on August 26 and documenting Presley altering the words of the narration and laughing through the rest of the bridge, was released in 1980 as part of the Elvis Aaron Presley box set. In 1982, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” was a radio hit in the United Kingdom and reached number 25 on the British Singles Chart.Presley included the song in his 1972 documentary, Elvis on Tour,  and the 1977 CBS special, Elvis in Concert. 

Lonesome Tonight

Double Platinum

On March 27, 1992, the RIAA certified “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” double platinum.In 2008 (the 50th anniversary of Billboard’s Hot 100), the song was number 81 on the magazine’s “Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs” list.

For more on the song, see thIe NYT article from January 21, 2014 It has links to several other versions both before and after Elvis’s.

Lonesome Tonight
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