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• 1991 – THE FIRST TIME / Surface
• 1981 – THE TIDE IS HIGH / Blondie
• 1971 – KNOCK THREE TIMES / Dawn
• 1961 – WILL YOU LOVE ME TOMORROW / The Shirelles
• BONUS – TIDE IS HIGH / Paragons


Welcome to another #1 Songs On This Date! – another four-pack of the cream of the cream from the Top 40 Rock ‘n’ Roll music era.

49 distinct number one singles between the years 1956 and 1995 have already been presented since January – with literally hundreds more to come.

They’re all part of a permanent archive that’s being built at which will ultimately feature ALL 837 different number one singles as listed in 2,080 weekly national music charts published by Billboard® within that 40-year timeframe.

Fortunately, HouseoftheHits has every one of those charts – plus secondary data – as published in the essential Joel Whitburn’s Record Research series (CD-ROM and eBook edition formats).

Everything is stored digitally on a HouseoftheHits computer – as are all 837 number one singles (in high-quality audio) from the music vault.

With the availability of precise data and the HOTH song files – together with some amazing technology – approximately 600 – 700 of those Billboard® chart-toppers will be presented this year – with the remainder to follow in early 2017.

As the archive grows you will have continual free access to the accumulating repository, indexed by Decade, Month and Year. Plus, EVERY Title and Artist will be (blue) hyper-linked for smooth, easy navigation from song to song – with more great features to be added along the way.

Again, it will contain every #1 single in America, plus interesting commentary about each song (written by yours truly) and presented with a crystal clear High-Definition audio version of the complete original hit to instantly play as often as you wish.

The ever-expanding library is found HERE and you can bookmark this link for future instant access.


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Due to copyright issues, some audio song files may not play on tablets,
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    #1 / February 1st, 1991


Number One: 2 weeks
Replaced: LOVE WILL NEVER DO (Without You) / Janet Jackson
Succeeded by: GONNA MAKE YOU SWEAT (Everybody Dance Now / C + C Music Factory Featuring Freedom Williams

As with many future professional singers, vocalist Bernard Jackson started with impromptu performances in front of family members and friends at the age of six and he parlayed it into a successful music career.

A hookup in the early 80’s with a very talented and musically experienced nephew named David Townsend led to the duo combining their talents.

Townsend came from a musical pedigree. His father, singer-songwriter Ed Townsend, had scored a #13 hit in 1958 with For Your Love.

15 years later, the senior Townsend, along with “Motown” Marvin Gaye, had penned the latter’s 1973 chart-topping million-seller Let’s Get It On.

In 1987, Jackson, the younger Townsend and the former’s ex-bandmate David “Pic” Conley formed Surface and released their first album for Columbia Records.

The First Time put together back-to-back weeks at the top to become the trio’s second one-million-selling Billboard single.

A year earlier they’d hit #5 with their first big-money hit, Shower Me With Your Love.

[Trivia Bit] Demonstrating the emerging convenience and creativity of technology in the early 90’s, The First Time was literally recorded in the garage-turned-recording studio belonging to the song’s co-writer Brian Simpson – but with professional assistance. A 24-track mobile studio unit was parked on the street with microphones and cables strung into the house.



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    #1 / February 1st, 1981

(Single Version)

Number One: 1 week
Replaced: (Just Like) STARTING OVER / John Lennon
Succeeded by: CELEBRATION / Kool And The Gang

Before the release of this “steady beat” flavored single, new-wave rock band Blondie had already scored two Billboard number one million-sellers with 1979’s Heart Of Glass followed by the April, 1980 movie hit Call Me.

The latter achieved an impressive 6-week stay on the top shelf after appearing in the Richard Gere smash hit film American Gigolo.

The Tide Is High was written by Jamaican John Holt and recorded first (as ‘Tide Is High’) by his Kingston reggae band, the Paragons, in 1967 (See below).

Blondie’s producer Mike Chapman reinforced the song with extra percussion, horns and strings to give it that West Indian feel similar to the original.

The six-person group, led by New Jersey-raised singer Deborah Harry and Brooklyn guitarist Chris Stein, managed but one week at #1 with The Tide Is High.

But that was enough to join the prior mentioned two hits as their third single to cop a gold record. Two months later, Rapture became their fourth hit to match the same chart and sales statuses.

Other #1 Singles by BLONDIE (4)
1980 / CALL ME
1981 / RAPTURE





Although this “rock steady” original by Jamaica’s the Paragons has a slightly slower tempo, the arrangement in Blondie’s cover version is quite close.

Paragons’ vocalist-songwriter John Holt died in October, 2014.



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    #1 / February 1st, 1971


Number One: 3 weeks
Replaced: MY SWEET LORD b/w ISN’T IT A PITY / George Harrison
Succeeded by: ONE BAD APPLE / The Osmonds

Singer Tony Orlando was already a ten-year veteran of the pop music wars by the time Knock Three Times was spending a trio of weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.

He began as a solo recording artist for Epic Records in 1961, placing two singles on the national chart that year – Halfway To Paradise and Bless You.

But despite the tunes being penned by two of the top songwriting tandems inside New York City’s Brill Building – Gerry Goffin & Carole King (the former) and Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil (the latter) – both records struggled to reach #39 and #15 respectively.

Orlando labored in anonymity for the next nine years with 5 more forgettable releases – four of which underachieved to only “Bubbling Under” (the Hot 100) status.

He also spent that period working for a music publisher until 1970 when, as a favor, he was asked to perform the lead vocals on a song called Candida by the group Dawn.

To his (and everyone’s) amazement, the record reached #3 and sold a million in the summer of ’70.

Four months later that feat was topped when the follow-up, Knock Three Times, reached the ‘penthouse’ of Billboard while also pushing another one million copies across the counter.

[Trivia Bits] Neither of the female back-up vocalists on both singles – Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson – had met Orlando at that point; the gals recorded their parts in absentia in Los Angeles, while Tony tracked his vocals in New York.

Hopkins and Vincent Wilson eventually hooked up with Orlando to tour as a trio.

Knock Three Times was co-composed by Irwin Levine, who also penned the trio’s biggest hit, Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree (link below) and the only #1 single for Gary Lewis and The Playboys This Diamond Ring – in 1965.

Other #1 Singles by TONY ORLANDO/DAWN (3)
1973 / TIE A YELLOW RIBBON ROUND THE OLE OAK TREE (Dawn featuring Tony Orlando)
1975 / HE DON’T LOVE YOU (Like I Love You) (Tony Orlando & Dawn)



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    #1 / February 1st, 1961

The Shirelles

Number One: 2 weeks
Replaced: WONDERLAND BY NIGHT / Bert Kaempfert and His Orchestra
Succeeded by: CALCUTTA / Lawrence Welk

The quartet of female vocalists known as the Shirelles got their starts in music together while attending high school in their native Passaic, New Jersey.

After composing, performing and then winning a school talent contest with a song called Met Him On A Sunday, the gals, Shirley (Owens) Alston, Addie “Micki” Harris, Beverly Lee and original lead vocalist Doris (Coley) Kenner (then known as the Poquellos) were signed to the small Tiara record label, owned by a female classmate’s mother, Florence Greenberg.

After being renamed the Shirelles, their debut release, Met Him On A Sunday, along with the follow-ups Dedicated To The One I Love and Tonight’s The Night, were chart disappointments.

But it was the Gerry Goffin & Carole King-penned song, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, that catapulted both the Shirelles and Florence Greenberg’s label – by then renamed Scepter Records – to chart success and international fame.

[Trivia Bits] With the timeless song Will You Love Me Tomorrow, the Shirelles, with Shirley Alston now the vocalist, became the very first girl group from the Top 40 Rock ‘n’ Roll era to have a #1 single on Billboard.

Scepter Records, along with Greenberg’s subsidiary label Wand, helped launch the careers of several future acts such as Dionne Warwick, B.J Thomas, The Kingsmen, Tammi Terrell and Canada’s Guess Who.

The Shirelles were classmates with Joey Dee of the Starliters (Peppermint Twist).

Other #1 Singles by THE SHIRELLES (2)


Written By: Rick Murray Hunter
Songs Source: The Music Vault of HouseoftheHits Inc.
Billboard® Chart Data: Joel Whitburn’s Record Research (eBook Editions)
References: The Billboard Book Of Number One Hits (5th Edition) by Fred Bronson
The Archives of
Record Sleeve & Label Graphics: Courtesy of 45cat

Other #1 Songs on This Date Posts are HERE