TOP TEN of the WEEK — 1969
It’s late November-early December, 1969. On November 25th, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]John Lennon[/lastfm] returned his MBE (Member of the British Empire) medal to protest his native country’s involvement in the Viet Nam war.
The first draft lottery since WWII was held here in the U.S. a week later, as all draft-eligible men were holding their breath.
Early December saw the introduction of the flying behemoth; the Boeing 747 jumbo jet….and…these are the tunes that were flying high on the charts during the week beginning Nov 29th, 1969 (last week’s position in brackets).
1. Come Together/Something/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Beatles[/lastfm] (7) — yet another two-sided hit in the days of the 45RPM single record, but were’t ALL Beatle songs TWO sided hits?? “Come Together” was written by John, first as what could be used as a campaign theme song for a possible run for California governor by drug guru Dr. Timothy Leary, and, secondly, as an anthem to married love for Yoko. “Something” was written by George Harrison and is an all-time Beatle classic. It’s one of the most “covered” Fab Four tunes by other artists. During performances, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Frank Sinatra[/lastfm] used to mistakenly give credit to Lennon and McCartney for writing the song!
2. And When I Die/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Blood, Sweat and Tears[/lastfm] (4) — in its peak position, this song was written by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Laura Nyro[/lastfm]. BS&T are coming off of their two previous top ten hits this year, “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” and “Spinning Wheel.” Ironically, both of those tunes peaked at #2 also! This one would be the group’s last top ten hit, though they’d have a few more top 40 entries left in them.
The 5th Dimension
3. Wedding Bell Blues/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The 5th Dimension[/lastfm] (1) — and speaking of Laura Nyro, she wrote THIS one, too! In 1967, Laura recorded the song herself with only modest success on the charts. Behind “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In,” this is the group’s second most popular song of all-time. During the run of this tune on the charts, it was an inside joke that it was a little too close to real life. Group members, and now long time married sweethearts Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., were seeing each other romantically at the time. “When ARE you going to marry her, BILL????”
4. Take A Letter Maria/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]R.B. Greaves[/lastfm] (2) — one of the ONE-HIT-WONDERS of the 60’s, R.B. (Ronald Bertram) was a nephew of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Sam Cooke[/lastfm], so there was music in his blood. He followed this up with the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Sandy Shaw [/lastfm]tune “Always Something There To Remind Me,” (later released by Naked Eyes), which only peaked at #27, before his chart success ended with a few more tunes that only spent a few weeks each near the bottom of the 100 most popular of the week charts.
5. Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Steam[/lastfm] (6) — this will hit #1 next week and stay on top for another before relinquishing the position to another up-and-comer on the week’s top ten, “Leaving On A Jet Plane.” Steam wasn’t crazy about the song and actually did it as a “throw away.” They didn’t want their real names even associated with the song, so they came up with a quick group name to put on the label. The name Steam would join the many others on the 60’s “One Hit Wonder” list.
6. Smile A Little Smile For Me/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Flying Machine[/lastfm] (5) — yet another “One Hit Wonder” act, this is not the same “Flying Machine” group that James Taylor was in. The tune was a major hit here in America, but didn’t do anything in the group’s home country.
Peter, Paul and Mary
7. Leaving On A Jet Plane/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Peter, Paul and Mary [/lastfm](12) — written by the group’s friend, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]John Denver[/lastfm], this is a future #1 song. This would be the trio’s biggest hit and first number one tune. It would also be their last charted song together as a group, though each of them followed this up with their own solo releases, with only modest chart success.
8. Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Stevie Wonder[/lastfm] (8) — after zooming into the top ten last week from #22, the tune stalled on the top ten in the new few weeks, peaking at #7 for two weeks in a row before dropping off the list. This was Stevie’s 9th and final top ten song of the 60’s. This decade was merely a “warm-up.” The 70’s saw Stevie constantly on the charts, with an impressive number of hits, including FIVE #1 songs! The 80’s were also huge for Stevie with more #1’s and top ten hits.
9. Down On The Corner/Fortunate Son/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Creedence Clearwater Revival[/lastfm] (21) — this was a week that saw THREE new entries in the top ten. CCR is enjoying their 4th top ten smash this year, their first full year of makin’ hits. Incredibly, the group had a total of 5 songs during their career that peaked at #2 in the country and couldn’t quite reach the very top. This would peak at #3. “Down On The Corner” was the more popular of the two on this single, with some sources crediting “Fortunate Son” as a separate song with a peak #14 position, though it tagged along for the ride on the single to #3.
10. Eli’s Coming/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Three Dog Night[/lastfm] (18) — after an impressive arrival on the top ten from #18 last week, Eli’s “coming” turned out to be a quick one, stalling at #10 next week and then “going” back down the charts. It was the group’s 3rd of 11 top ten songs. There would be THREE #1 tunes in their future, a position that they hadn’t reached yet as of this week.