The comeback hits, part the second

DeShannon love songs

Roberta Flack.Donny HathawaySome more comeback hits. This is when an artist, who’d had some success on the pop charts, regains that commercial stature. As before, I’m basing these on Billboard’s singles pop charts, because it’s fun!

If I Were A Carpenter – Bobby Darin. After a pair of Top 10 songs in 1963, including 18 Yellow Roses, he returned with this #8 hit in 1967.

Smoke On the Water – Deep Purple. Their 1st Top 30 song was Hush, #4 in 1968. This song, in 1973, also hit #4.

Put A Little Love In Your Heart – Jackie DeShannon. She had only two Top 30 songs, What The World Needs Now is Love, #7 in 1965, and this, #4 in 1969.

Abraham, Martin, and John – Dion. After a couple of #6 hits in 1963, including Drip Drop, he reached #4 in the pivotal year of 1968.

Not Ready To Make Nice – Dixie Chicks. Landslide reached #7 in early 2003. But that was before the Iraq war. This return reached #4 in 2007, long before they were redubbed The Chicks.

What A Fool Believes – The Doobie Brothers. Black Water was their first #1 in 1975. This one, in 1979, was their second, the first Top 20 since Takin’ It To the Streets, #13 in 1976.

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan. This song from Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, #12 in 1973, was his first Top 20 since Lay Lady Lay, #7 in 1969.


The Closer I Get To You – Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. At #2, her biggest hit since her #1 Feel Like Makin’ Love in 1974. His only other Top 20 hit is their 1972 duet, Where Is the Love, which reached #5.

The Old Man Down The Road – John Fogerty. He wasn’t recording much for nearly a decade, in part because he sounded too much like that lead singer of Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty. This hit #10 in 1985.

I Want To Know What Love Is – Foreigner. They had a couple of Top 5 hits in 1981, including Urgent, with that Junior walker sax solo. But they only had one #1, in 1985, thanks to the New Jersey Mass Choir and Jennifer Holliday.

December 1963 – the Four Seasons. the group had five #1 hits. Rag Doll (194) was the fourth. This, in 1976 was the fifth. Other than Who Loves You (#3 in 1975), it was also their first Top 10 since C’mon Marianne, #9 in 1967.

In 1998, my office was having its holiday party in September (long story). We played a board game. One of the questions was to name songs featuring years, but you needed at least eight words of the lyrics. My response: “Oh what a night, late December back in ’63.”

Ain’t No Woman – Four Tops. Their first Top 5 (#4 in 1973) since Bernadette (#4 in 1967).

Spanish Harlem – Aretha Franklin. QoS had tons of “comebacks”, such as Freeway of Love (#3 in 1985). But I picked this earlier resurgence, #2 in 1971, her first Top 5 since Since You’ve Been Gone, #5 in 1968.


Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye. this return to form involved a change of record labels, from Tamla/Motown to Columbia. The song hit #3 in 1983, his highest position since the #1 Got To Give It Up in 1977.

Kiss On My List – Daryl Hall and John Oates. #1 in 1981, their first chart-topper since Rich Girl in 1977.

Got My Mind Set On You – George Harrison. #1 in 1988. the first #1 since Give Me Love in 1973 and first Top Ten since All Those Years Ago, #2 in 1981.

The End Of The Innocence – Don Henley. #8 in 1989, his first Top 10 since All She Wants To Do Is Dance, #9 in 1985. (Live version here.)

Long Cool Woman – the Hollies. #2 in 1972, their first Top 5 since Bus Stop in 1966.

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