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• 1992 – SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST / Vanessa Williams
• 1982 – I LOVE ROCK ‘N ROLL / Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
• 1972 – THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE / Roberta Flack
• 1962 – JOHNNY ANGEL / Shelley Fabares
• BONUS – MISTY / Johnny Mathis
To quote a well-known phrase from 1960’s and 1970’s radio – “And the Hits, Just Keep on Comin!'” – and welcome to another installment of #1 Songs On This Date.
Since it began in early January, 158 distinct number one singles from the years 1956 through 1995 have been featured – with hundreds more to follow.
They’re all part of a permanent archive that’s being built at HouseoftheHits.com 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.
Due to copyright issues, some audio song files may not play on smartphones, tablets and connected devices. A PC, Mac or laptop may be required.
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#1 / April 18th, 1992
SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST
All four singles from this installment of #1 Songs On This Date come from some of the fine ‘home grown’ ladies of the Pop-Rock Top 40 era, and first up is Tarrytown, NY’s Vanessa Williams.
Most people initially became aware of Williams in 1986 as the first Afro-American contestant to win the ‘Miss America’ pageant – during which she sang the 1929 classic tune Happy Days Are Here Again (now best remembered as the campaign song for Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s successful 1932 presidential campaign).
But Vanessa’s image and popularity soon took sharp turns downward, with nude photos that were taken in her past being published by Penthouse magazine. Williams would become the first ‘Miss America’ to relinquish her crown.
In spite of the fiasco, Williams managed to survive, and turned her vocal talents into a successful career as a recording artist.
1987’s debut album for the Wing label, titled The Right Stuff, produced a five-spot of hits inside Billboard’s R&B Top 10, in addition a #8 Hot 100 single called Dreamin’ in 1989.
Her biggest success, Save The Best For Last, hit Billboard’s top rung on March 21st of ’92 and was in the midst of a five-week sojourn there on this date.
[Trivia Bit] Although Vanessa’s ‘best,’ it was not the ‘last’ time Williams would occupy a spot among the U.S. Top 10.
Love Is, a duet with American R&B performer Brian McKnight, and Colors Of The Wind, from the Disney animated movie ‘Pocahontas,’ topped out at #3 and #4 in 1993 and 1995 respectively. The latter also added a gold record plus the Oscar for ‘Best Original Song’ to its accolades.
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#1 / April 18th, 1982
I LOVE ROCK ‘N ROLL
Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
Philadelphia-born Joan Jett (Joan Larkin) was touring England as a member of an all-teen girl group called The Runaways when she discovered her future mega hit.
I Love Rock ‘N Roll was originally recorded by a British group called The Arrows in 1975 – written by their lead singer Alan Merrill and guitarist Jake Hooker.
In an interview with the website Songfacts.com, vocalist Merrill explained the song’s origin:
“That was a knee-jerk response to the Rolling Stones‘ ‘It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll.’ I remember watching it on (the British TV music show) ‘Top of the Pops’. I’d met Mick Jagger socially a few times, and I knew he was hanging around with Prince Rupert Lowenstein and people like that – jet setters.”
“I almost felt like ‘It’s Only Rock and Roll’ was an apology to those jet-set princes and princesses that he was hanging around with – the aristocracy, you know. That was my interpretation as a young man – Okay, I love rock and roll. And then, where do you go with that?”
This hit version of I Love Rock ‘N Roll was recorded in 1981 – Jett’s second cover attempt of the rock anthem – with her band The Blackhearts.
The single occupied Billboard’s pole position for an impressive 7 weeks en route to becoming the preeminent music chart tabulator’s top single of 1982.
[Trivia Bits] Joan Jett wanted to record I Love Rock ‘N Roll with The Runaways, but the other band members didn’t like the song and made the mistake of passing on it.
Her initial cover recording of ILRNR happened in 1979, with Paul Cook and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols. Released as the B-side of a single, nothing came of it.
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#1 / April 18th, 1972
THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE
Number One: 6 weeks
Replaced: A HORSE WITH NO NAME / America
Succeeded by: OH GIRL / Chi-Lites
Although undoubtedly unplanned, many ‘firsts’ were involved with the #1 Song On This Date in 1972 by Black Mountain, NC’s Roberta Flack.
First of all, (Pun? Yes.) first is part of the song’s title.
Secondly (intended) it was the first single to be released from her first album, titled First Take (first released in 1969).
And lastly, it was Flack’s first of a trio of chart-toppers on America’s premier (ha!) weekly music chart.
In addition, it won Grammys for ‘Song of the Year’ – a songwriters category – and ‘Record of the Year’ – achievement of the recording and its producer (I suppose these also count, also being ‘firsts’ for Flack).
The exposure of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face in the soundtrack of 1971’s movie thriller ‘Play Misty For Me,’ starring Clint Eastwood as a late-night radio DJ, helped sustain the single’s six-week stay in Billboard’s penthouse position.
[Note] Ok, at the risk of a being stalked by a psycho, I will play Misty for you (see below).
Other #1 Singles by ROBERTA FLACK (3)
• 1973 / KILLING ME SOFTLY WITH HIS SONG
• 1974 / FEEL LIKE MAKIN’ LOVE
Radio DJ “Dave,” played by film legend Clint Eastwood, I am not – especially the latter! But I will also play Misty for you. Fortunately, no request line is available for an unstable ‘listener’ to reach me! 🙂
Probably his second most famous recording – after 1962’s #19 double Grammy Award-winning hit I Left My Heart In San Francisco, this Johnny Mathis classic reached #12 on Billboard in 1959.
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#1 / April 18th, 1962
Number One: 2 weeks
Replaced: DON’T BREAK THE HEART THAT LOVES YOU / Connie Francis
Succeeded by: GOOD LUCK CHARM / Elvis Presley
Southern California actress Shelley Fabares, one of the stars of the late 1950’s to mid-1960’s TV series ‘The Donna Reed Show,’ topped the Billboard Hot 100 on this date with Johnny Angel.
Fabares, as Mary Stone, played one of Reed’s two children on the program, along with actor Paul Petersen (Jeff Stone).
Like Shelley, Paul would cash in on the popularity of the TV show to launch a recording career, hitting the Top 20 twice: She Can’t Find Keys (1962 • #19) and My Dad (1962 • #6).
Fabares, whose moderate follow-up hit, Johnny Loves Me stalled at #21, also appeared in three of Elvis Presley‘s films: ‘Girl Happy’ (1965), ‘Spinout’ (1966) and ‘Clambake’ (1967).
In my oft-consulted source for solid, well-researched information, The Billboard Book of Number One Singles by Fred Bronson, Fabares says she was “intimidated” by the “beautiful” voices of the song’s back-up vocalists, Darlene Love and The Blossoms, and “terrified” at the prospect of becoming a recording artist, as she did not consider herself a singer.
Taken directly from the first-generation master tape, here’s another early 1960’s sonic whopper!
[Trivia Bits] A recording innovation from the early 1960’s that was developed by Phil Spector on his famed ‘wall-of-sound’ productions is heard during the song’s intro with the repeated title words “Johnny Angel, Johnny Angel…”: The voices of Fabares and back-up singers were fed through a rudimentary echo chamber.
It was easily achieved by placing a speaker in a room or similar enclosure (such as under a stairwell) with a microphone at the other end. An audio recording was then played through the speaker with the resultant echo it produced being added to the recording.
It became a technique often used by future artists until more modern recording equipment provided the reverb-based effect as an additional built-in feature.
Johnny Angel was co-composed by noted songwriter Lee Pockriss.
Pockriss also penned a number of significant hits with Paul Vance, including the Grammy Award-winning (‘Pop Male Vocal’) million-seller Catch A Falling Star by Perry Como (1958 • #1), Brian Hyland‘s Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini (1960 • #1), The Detergents‘ parody of the Shangri-Las’ classic hit ‘Leader Of The Pack’ titled Leader Of The Laudromat (1964 • #19), The Cuff Links song Tracy (1969 • #9) and the gold-achieving Playground In My Mind from Clint Holmes (1972 • #2).
Produced & Written By: Rick Murray Hunter / HouseoftheHits.com
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 RollingStone.com
Record Sleeve & Label Graphics: Courtesy of 45cat
Other #1 Songs on This Date Posts are HERE