The finale of the most awarded songs #15. In honor of that, I’ll note some of the awards they got. RS is Rolling Stone 500, RIAA is Recording Industry of America, NPR is National Public Radio 100, BMI is Broadcast Music Inc, and RNN is the National Recording Registry.
10. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction– The Rolling Stones, #1 pop for four weeks pop, #19 RB only #3 in the UK in 1965. RS #2, RIAA #161, NRR. One of the most familiar hooks in all of pop music.
9. Blue Suede Shoes – Carl Perkins, #2 pop for four weeks, but #1 in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Chicago; #2 RB for four weeks, #3 country in 1956. RS #95, RIAA #78, NPR, NRR. A serious car accident prevented Carl from fully capitalizing on this hit.
8. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green, #1 pop, #1 RB for nine weeks in 1972. RS #60, RIAA #145, NPR, NRR. Despite what I might have joked in the past, Al’s NOT my cousin, to my knowledge.
7. What’s Love Got To Do With It – Tina Turner, #1 pop for three weeks, #2 for five weeks in 1984; Grammys for record and song of the year and pop female vocal; RS #316, RIAA #38, ASCAP #8. A return to form. Tina “was 44 when the song hit number one, at the time making her the oldest female solo artist to place a number-one single on the US Hot 100.”
6. Mack The Knife – Bobby Darin, #1 pop for nine weeks, #6 RB in 1959; Grammy record of the year, RS #255, RIAA #15, NPR, NRR. This is a song composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for their 1928 music drama The Threepenny Opera. It was translated into English in the 1930s. But the best-known translation was by Marc Blitzstein in 1954, which Darin adapted.
5. Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison, #1 for three weeks pop in 1964, #4 UK, RS #24, RIAA #43, BMI #26, NPR, NRR. The song was used in a 1990 film and a 2018 Broadway musical.
4. (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay – Otis Redding (pictured), #1 for four weeks pop, #1 for three weeks RB in 1968; Grammy RB song, RB male vocal; RS #26, RIAA #22, BMI #6, NPR. My wife and I were at Capital Rep seeing a musical about Janis Joplin some years ago, and I noted that Me and Bobby McGee was the second posthumous single to top the charts in the US. Dock was the first one.
3. My Girl – The Temptations, #1 pop, #1 for six weeks RB in 1965; RS #88, RIAA #45, ASCAP #2, NRR, NPR. Smokey Robinson and Ronald White of the Miracles wrote this. Smokey was inspired by his wife, Claudette Rogers Robinson, who was also in the group. This was the first of four #1 pop hits by the Temptations.
2. Rock Around The Clock – Bill Haley And His Comets, #1 pop for eight weeks, #1 for nine weeks UK, #3 for two weeks RB in 1955; RS #159, RIAA #12, ASCAP #86, NPR, NRR. Though it was released in 1954, it didn’t become an iconic hit until it was included in the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle.
1. Respect – Aretha Franklin, #1 for two weeks pop, #1 for eight weeks RB in 1967; Grammy RB record, RB female vocal; RS #5, RIAA #4, NRR, NPR. QoS and her sisters rearranged the song Otis Redding had written and recorded, and turned it into an empowerment anthem.