I bought Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles book recently. This is the 17th edition, very different from the previous iterations, most of which I’ve purchased since at least edition 12. For one thing, it’s broken into TWO books, one covering 1955-1989, and a second, to be published, for 1990-2022.
The previous version, covering 1955-2018, runs 1200 pages. The new one is 850. So what’s been added? Top 10 albums. The Pre-Rock Era hits of values, rhythm and blues, rock, and country.
Also The Most Awarded Songs. This covers a range of categories: ASCAP, BMI, RIAA, Rolling Stone magazine, plus Grammys and Oscars, and more.
150. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life – Stevie Wonder, #1 in 1973. Grammys, RS, RIAA. This is from the Talking Book album, which went to #3 for three weeks. Unsurprisingly, I own it on LP and CD. I was always taken by the fact that the first two voices are NOT Stevie but Jim Gilstrap then Gloria Barley.
149. Y.M.C.A. – the Village People, #2 for three weeks in 1979. Grammys, RIAA. I must own this on vinyl. This is a perennial at wedding receptions and other festive occasions. Incidentally, I was actually on the board of the Albany YMCA in the late 1980s. And I played racquetball there from 1983 until it closed in 2010.
The third of June
148. Ode To Billie Joe – Bobby Gentry, #1 for four weeks in 1967. Grammys, RS, RIAA. I belonged to the Capitol Record Club at the time, and because I did not send my negative option card back in time, I received the Ode To Billie Joe LP, which spent two weeks at #1. I still have it. Here’s a 2007 blog post I wrote, naturally on the third of June.
147. Le Freak – Chic, #1 for six weeks in 1978. Grammy, RRHoF. I have this on some compilation CD.
146. Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag – James Brown, #8 in 1965. Grammys, RS. There are over 100 hits in the book for the Godfather of Soul. When I was growing up, we used to get Jet magazine, put out by the same folks that put out Ebony. James ALWAYS dominated the charts in the 1960s, often with songs I had never heard. This song I have on the greatest hits CD.
145. Stayin’ Alive – the Bee Gees, #1 for four weeks in 1978. RRHoF, RS, RIAA. Of course, now known as the CPR song. From the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which spent 24 weeks at #1. I had it on vinyl at the time, and the son of my girlfriend at the time gave me considerable grief for owning a “disco” album. I now have it on CD.
144. Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley, #1 for seven weeks. Grammys, RRHoF, RS. My father hated Elvis, so my knowledge of Elvis was done rather surreptitiously. The video for Jailhouse Rock, from the movie, was oddly captivating. Now, I have the song on two different greatest hits CDs.
A seven-minute single?
143. Hey Jude – the Beatles. #1 for nine weeks in 1968. Grammy, RRHoF, RS. I actually have this on the single, the Beatles Again/Hey Jude LP (#2 for four weeks), and various CDs (Past Masters, blue album). This song ONLY went to #4 in the UK and #3 in Canada. Ken Levine is not a fan of the song.
142. Piece Of My Heart – Big Brother and the Holding Company, #12 in 1968. The Cheap Thrills album, featuring Janis Joplin, was #1 for eight weeks. Yes, I own that LP, as well as a Joplin greatest hits CD.
141.Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye, #3 for three weeks in 1983. Grammy, RRHoF, RS, ASCAP. I hadn’t bought a Marvin Gaye album in a while. Then he moved from Motown to Columbia and put out the Top 10 album Midnight Love, which I bought. When Motown put out a Gaye boxed set, which I purchased, Sexual Healing was included.
I might not have gotten this book except that my MIL gave me a generous check for Christmas. I suppose I COULD have spent the money on paying bills, but that sort of violates the spirit of the gift, or so I’ve decided to believe.