The Most Awarded Songs #3

I know all of the lyrics to the song Tequila

Mary Wells.My GuyFrom Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles book, The Most Awarded Songs #3. This covers a range of categories: ASCAP, BMI, RIAA, Rolling Stone magazine, plus Grammys and Oscars, and more.

130. Strangers In The Night – Frank Sinatra. This was from the movie A Man Could Get Killed, starring James Garner, which I’ll admit I am unfamiliar with. But for Frank Sinatra, it was a #1 song in the midst of the rock and roll era, 1966, his first #1 in more than a decade. Yet Frank HATED the song and thought it was terrible. Especially the “doo-be-doo-be-doo” part, which later inspired CBS TV exec Fred Silverman to rename a cartoon character Scooby-Doo. Oh, and there is a complicated copyright issue.

129. Where Did Our Love Go – The Supremes. In 1964, this was the first of five consecutive #1 songs, for the former “No-Hit Supremes.” Like many of their hits, it was written by Holland-Dozier-Holland.

128. My Guy – Mary Wells. I was always impressed by the fact that My Guy and My Girl were both written and produced by Smokey Robinson. Both went to #1.

127. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2. Isn’t that true of many of us? From Joshua Tree, still my favorite U2 album, pretty much from the jump. I do find the Rattle and Hum version, with the gospel choir, intriguing, though.

126. The Way They Were – Barbra Streisand. I understood the relationship between the two main characters in the 1973 film of the same name, which I saw. Part of the film, starring Streisand and Robert Redford, was filmed at Union College in Schenectady. The idea of people who love each other but are ill-suited is quite relatable to me. The song, by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, and Marvin Hamlisch, expresses that melancholy.

Postage due

125. The Letter – The Box Tops. The Joe Cocker version is fine, but this one is both short and insistent. I feel as though I should have gotten into other Alex Chilton music, such as Big Star.

124. Tequila – The Champs. This was supposed to be the B-side to Train To Nowhere, but a DJ flipped the record. The song became so much a part of pop culture.

123. All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix. This is ALWAYS on lists of the greatest cover songs. Bob Dylan recorded the song dor his John Wesley Harding Harding album, but in his live shows, his version is more like the Hendrix iteration.

122. Coal Miner’s Daughter – Loretta Lynn. An epic recounting of her growing up in poor, rural Kentucky. But it could have been much longer, as she was asked to drop five or six verses. I always meant to see the movie with Sissy Spacek.

121. Purple Haze – The Jimi Hendrix Experience. This likewise is ALWAYS on the list of popular mondegreens. “‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy,” which I NEVER heard until others suggested it.

The Most Awarded Songs #2

proest songs and sadness

Jackie Wilson.Higher and HigherFrom Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles book, The Most Awarded Songs #2. This covers a range of categories: ASCAP, BMI, RIAA, Rolling Stone magazine, plus Grammys and Oscars, and more.

140. Need You Now – Lady Antebellum. Of the 150 songs on this list, this is one of the very few I don’t own. Indeed, I have no Lady A, which the group has renamed itself in light of their realization that antebellum suggests slavery. A black singer of blues, soul, funk, and gospel named Anita White, who’d been using Lady A in the Seattle area for more than two decades, was less than pleased.

139. Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. I was 17, and regularly protesting the war in Vietnam when Kent State and Jackson State took place, and they were gut-wrenching, and frankly, scary events.

138. Born In The U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen. When I searched for the lyrics, Google responded to the question of whether the song was patriotic. I would posit that it most certainly is, but not in the rah-rah, unthinking sense.

137. White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane. Grace Slick joined the group when Signe Anderson left to have a child. Grace brought White Rabbit, which she wrote, from the playlist of her previous group, the Great Society. It appears on the Airplane’s second album, and the first with Slick, Surrealistic Pillow

136. U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer. Somehow I never heard the song Super Freak until AFTER the Hammer song came out. I recall that some folks gave the artist grief as lacking street cred. He actually got permission and shared royalties with the writers of Super Freak, Alonzo Miller and its performer, Rick James

“In Birmingham, they love the governor”

135. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynard. In the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, which I highly recommend, Merry Clayton spoke of her and Clydie King, two well-known black studio singers, singing backing vocalists on the track, and her struggling with her decision to take the job. Neil Young, who is namechecked in the song, said that his song Alabama “richly deserved the shot Lynyrd Skynyrd gave me with their great record.” I still find parts of the song discomforting, and catchy as hell.

134. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher – Jackie Wilson. This song is so great in part because it features four members of the Motown Records house band The Funk Brothers, plus two of Motown’s house session singers, The Andantes. And Maurice White, later known as a singer for Earth, Wind, and Fire, played drums.

133. Walk This Way – Run-D.M.C. When I saw the video in 1986, with two members of Aerosmith present, I was thinking, “This is when hip hop has gone mainstream.” In a good way.

132. Crying – Roy Orbison. His 1961 hit was outstanding. But I have a soft spot for his 1987 duet with k.d. lang.

131.  Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton. I’m fascinated by how one can make art out of tragedy. The song, written by Clapton and Will Jennings, was about the tragic death of Clapton’s four-year-old son, Conor. The song was for a movie called Rush. It was Clapton’s biggest hit in the US. I first heard it on the MTV Unplugged series.

Most awarded songs #1

Top Pop Singles

Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock
Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock (Photo by �� John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

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.

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