January 17, 2021
Archie Bell had a number one record but there was a problem. The problem was he was in a German hospital recovering from being wounded in Vietnam.
A version of the song has been recorded as a demo in 1964, but it was not until the week before he left for his Army training that a final version was recorded. It entered the Hot 100 at number 81 on March 30, 1968. It reached number one on May 28, 1968 and remained there for two weeks. It also topped the R&B Chart.
Bell got out of the Army in April of 1969. While they would have some R&B hits, large commercial success had passed them by.
January 6, 2021
Bobby Goldsboro placed 25 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 but only two reached the top ten. “See The Funny Clown” reached number nine in 1964, but it was 1968 when he had his biggest hit.
Goldsboro was opening for Roy Orbison on tour when he released the Bobby Russell written tune “Honey.” “Honey” reached number one April 13, 1968, and remained at the top of the charts for five weeks.
Goldsboro left the Orbison tour and went out on his own. He was a regular on late night talk shows and even had a syndicated television music series 1972-1975 that lasted 78 episodes.
January 4, 2021
If ever a music artist got the short end of the stick, it was Otis Redding.
Despite only being in his late 20’s, he had spent nearly a decade on the road performing his brand of rhythm & blues. He finally had a break-out experience with his performance at the Monterey Pop Festival.
On December 7, 1967, he recorded “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” in a Memphis studio. Three days later he was dead in a plane crash.
Three months later “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” became the first posthumous number one single. On March 16, 1968, it began a four week run at the top of the charts. To top it off, the song won Grammy Awards for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” remains one of the definitive songs of its era.
January 2, 2021
Paul Mauriat had a successful career for nearly 50 years. While he was always more popular in Europe and Japan than in the United States; he had one shining moment in the USA.
“Love Is Blue” is a song that has been recorded dozens of times but it is this instrumental version that remains definitive and memorable.
An instrumental song had not reached number one on the United States pop chart for five years. “Love Is Blue” did not start out with a lot of momentum as it debuted at number 99 on January 6, 1968. Five weeks later it was at number one.
February 10, 1968 was the date “Love Is Blue” reached the top of the charts. It continued to sell and it spent a total of 5 weeks on top of the music world.
December 30, 2020
The Lemon Pipers were a rock and roll band with a problem. There would be dropped by their label unless they recorded a song they did not like. They finally agreed to record “Green Tambourine,” which resulted in their forever being associated with the musical bubble gum movement.
“Green Tambourine” entered the Hot 100 at number 68 on December 16, 1967. Seven weeks later, it topped the chart for the week of February 3, 1968.
It their defense, the use of a sitar makes the sound a little above the usual bubble gum fare. Hits such as “Rice Is Nice” and “Jelly Jungle” followed but when the bubble gum movement ended, so did their career.
December 20, 2020
John Fred and His Playboy Band inhabited The Southern Bar and Club scene for nearly a half-century, but for one shining year, they appeared on the national music scene.
The song originated on a Florida beach, where there were hundreds of girls wearing sunglasses. The song was a little more pop oriented than the band’s usual fare, but of such are pop songs born.
“Judy On Disguise” was popular from the time of its release and so ten tears into his career, John Fred had a hit record. “Judy In Disguise” reached number one January 20, 1968, and for two weeks John Fred was on top of the American music world.
December 8, 2020
“Hello Goodbye” was a big hit in the United States but not as big as in their home country. The song topped the British charts for seven week, tying “From Me To You” as their longest charting number one.
It was recorded during the the Magical Mystery Tour sessions, but was not meant for the movie. I have always preferred the flip side, “I Am The Walrus,” which was recorded for the movie. Unfortunately it stalled at number 56, which was the lowest charting flip side of any of their number one singles.
“Hello Goodbye” debuted on the Hot 100 December 2, 1967, and reached number on December 30th. It was their 15th American chart topper and remained at number one for three weeks.
December 7, 2020
The Monkees had finally taken control of their career and were creating and producing there own music. Unfortunately their television show was nearing its end and would be canceled after the 59th episode. Over the next 50 years they would re-unite in various combinations and then drift apart again.
The band’s popularity rivaled that of the Beatles for two years and they would leave behind a musical legacy of a number of pleasant pop tunes.
“Daydream Believer” was their last number one song. It reached the top of the charts on December 2, 1967, and there it remained for four weeks.
December 1, 2020
“Incense And Peppermints” was one of those songs that was catchy but which had lyrics that made no sense. It was just a series of words that rhymed. The lead vocal was originally sung by a friend happened to drop by the studio. The band quickly broke-up but re-formed in 1985 and several original members are still playing with the band today. They even issued a new album in 2012.
The big winner was lead guitarist Ed King. He was lucky enough to join Lynyrd Skynyrd after leaving the Strawberry Alarm Clock. He was also lucky enough to write the eternal radio rock song “Free Bird.” He was really lucky to leave the band just before the famous plane crash. And he was luck to be a part of a number one song.
“Incense And Peppermints” entered the Hot 100 at number 88, September 30, 1967. It became the number one song in the nation for the week of November 25, 1967.
November 24, 2020
Lulu, (Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie), has always been more popular in her home country of England than in the United States. She has had hit songs and been a regular on TV and radio for decades. She was even married to a bee Gee for four years. In the United States she is best known for one huge hit song.
Lulu had a part in the Sidney Poitier film To Sir With Love and was selected to sing the title song. Originally released as the B side to the single, “The Boat That I Row,” it was another one of those records that dee jays flipped over.
“To Sir With Love” never charted in England and was not nominated for an Academy Award. What it did do was sell copies. It reached the top 100 in September and on October 21, 1967, reached number one position. It remained the number one song on the United States for five weeks.