The [lastfm]Bee Gees[/lastfm] made TWO big comebacks on the national charts. After their first hit, “New York Mining Disaster, 1941” in 1967, they faded off the Top 20 in 1969 and 1970.
“Lonely Days” got them back into the top 10 in early 1971. That big hit was followed by their FIRST #1 song, “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.” It’s in the top spot this week in 1971.
After “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” slipped off the charts, it would be almost ANOTHER 4 YEARS until the group would reach the Top Ten again; with their 2nd #1 song, “Jive Talkin'” in mid 1975. It would be their SECOND big comeback.
Now….the Top Ten THIS WEEK in 1971 (last week’s chart position in brackets)….
1. HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART/The Bee Gees (6) — This is the first week at #1 and it would spend 4 weeks on top.
2. INDIAN RESERVATION/[lastfm]The Raiders[/lastfm] (2) — This spent a week at #1 a few weeks back, and, like the Bee Gees, this was the Raiders’ first #1 song. It was originally recorded by Don Fardon in 1968 when it peaked at #20 nationally.
3. YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND/[lastfm]James Taylor[/lastfm] (1) — The top three songs this week were all #1 tunes, and, like the Bee Gees and the Raiders, James scored his first #1 tune with this. It was written by Carole King. “You’ve Got A Friend” would be James’ only number one song.
4. MR. BIG STUFF/[lastfm]Jean Knight[/lastfm] (4) — Jean was an R&B singer from New Orleans. This would peak at #2 next week and stay in the runner-up position for two weeks. After a promising start, it would turn out to be Jean’s only top ten hit. Her two other releases didn’t even crack the top 40.
5. DRAGGIN’ THE LINE/[lastfm]Tommy James[/lastfm] (5) — After Tommy and the Shondells parted ways, he spent the next couple of years as a solo artist in the low portions of the top 100. This would be his first top ten hit after the group split up. It would also be his last.
6. TAKE ME HOME, COUNTRY ROADS/[lastfm]John Denver[/lastfm] (8) — John was called “a song’s best friend.” This was John’s first hit on his way to super stardom. It would peak at #2 late this month. John was killed in the fall of 1997 at the controls of a small private experimental plane which crashed off the California coast. He was only 53. He would have FOUR #1 songs and many other hits through 1975 and be one of the most popular male vocalists of the decade, even hosting his own national TV Variety Show specials.
7. IT’S TOO LATE/[lastfm]Carole King[/lastfm] (3) — The “B” side of this huge hit was “I Feel The Earth Move,” both songs were included in one of the bigger albums of the ’70’s; “Tapestry.”
8. BEGINNINGS/COLOUR MY WORLD/[lastfm]Chicago[/lastfm] (16) — As with Carole King’s #7 song, this was also a two-sided hit. Chicago shortened their name from “The Chicago Transit Authority” and would go on to become one of the most popular bands in rock ‘n’ roll history with many hits, #1 songs and thirty albums to date.
9. WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE/[lastfm]Tom Clay[/lastfm] (10) — This was a touching spoken word song. Tom was a popular radio dee jay. It was a creative and emotional musical capsulization of the assassinations of some of our country’s leaders, including actual soundbites of news broadcasts of the events.
10. MERCY MERCY ME (The Ecology)/[lastfm]Marvin Gaye[/lastfm] (11) — At this time in Motown Megastar Marvin’s career, he was turning to songs with meanings and commentaries of social significance. 1971 was his year of trying to make a difference with his music. This song was the follow-up to “What’s Going On.” “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” would be his next message song. All were top ten hits in ’71.