I have the book Bubbling Under the Billboard Hot 100, 1959-2004, one of many Joel Whitburn tomes in my collection. This one notes the songs that did not quite make it to the list of the Hot 100 singles that were most popular. Some of these were regional hits, others B-sides of chart-toppers.
In the book, there’s a list of the songs that made it to #101 on the Billboard charts in the US, but no higher, rather like Moses not quite to the promised land. There were 402 songs during the period, excluding August 1985 to November 1992, when the Bubbling Under chart was discontinued.
Some songs I recognize, with which YOU may also be familiar.
Links to all:
Earth Angel – the Penguins. 2 weeks starting 1 Feb 1959. This was a cheat in that in 1955, it had gotten to #8 (and #1 for 3 weeks on the R&B charts); this was the reissue.
I Call It Pretty Music, But the Old People Call It The Blues, Pt 1 – Stevie Wonder. 31 Aug 1963. I first heard this on a hits compilation.
I’m Down – the Beatles. 7 Aug 1965. The ONLY B-side of the Beatles’ first 21 regular Capitol/Apple releases not to chart in the Top 100. B-side of Help! (#1 for three weeks.) This is a live take because I couldn’t find a studio version.
Baby Driver – Simon & Garfunkel. 19 Apr 1969. B-side of The Boxer (#7). I saw Paul Simon solo in 1991.
Today I Sing the Blues – Aretha Franklin. 1 Nov 1969. A cover of a Sam Cooke song.
Gypsy – Van Morrison. 27 Jan 1973. Not to be confused with Gypsy Queen.
Barbara Ann- The Beach Boys. 9 Aug 1975. ANOTHER cheat, as the original release went to #2 for 2 weeks in 1966.
Baretta’s Theme – Sammy Davis Jr. 22 May 1976. Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow, theme to a TV show starring Robert Blake.
Accidents Will Happen – Elvis Costello. 14 Apr 1979. I saw him live a few years ago.
It’s Different For Girls – Joe Jackson. Two weeks, starting 8 Dec 1979. I saw him live in the late 1980s.
Ashes to Ashes – David Bowie. 25 Oct 1980. The return of Major Tom.
Try Jah Love – Third World. 1 May 1982. I really thought the last four, plus the U2 song were bigger hits, as I heard them on the radio a lot.
Atomic Dog – George Clinton. Three weeks, starting 16 Apr 1983.
Two Hearts Beat As One – U2. Two weeks, starting 9 Jul 1983.
White Lines (Don’t Do It) – Grandmaster & Melle Mel. 2 weeks, starting 17 Dec 1983. But it did get to #47 on the R&B charts. I own this 12″, which is a couple of minutes longer than the single.
Skylark – Linda Ronstadt. 12 Jan 1985. From Lush Life, one of the three Nelson Riddle LPs that I have on a 2-CD set.