[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Beatles [/lastfm]released the “Rubber Soul” album this week….”A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the first Peanuts TV special, debuted on CBS later this week, becoming an annual Holiday Classic…and….at the very bottom of the TV rankings are these new shows; “Convoy,” “Hank,” “Shindig II” and “Camp Runamuck.” Meanwhile, these are the hits that are on the very top of the weekly chart, beginning December 4th, 1965….
(Last week’s position in brackets)
1. Turn! Turn! Turn!/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Byrds[/lastfm] (2) — this will spend three weeks atop the chart and become the group’s biggest all-time hit. It is their follow-up to “Mr. Tambourine Man,” their first release and a #1 song in early summer and “All I Really Want To Do,” which didn’t do very well on the charts. “Turn! Turn! Turn!” would be their last top ten song, surprisingly. “Eight Miles High” would peak at #14 next spring and that was as high as any of their future releases would get.
2. I Hear A Symphony/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Supremes[/lastfm] (1) — Supreme, Mary Wilson, says that this is her all-time favorite of all the tunes the group had on the charts, and, this is right from the horse’s mouth; she told me this during an interview I had with her a few years back. The Supremes had an impressive 12 #1 songs and this would have been their 7th in a row had “Nothing But Heartaches” not failed to perform up to standards last summer, only peaking at #11 (go figure…that was one of our favorites by The Dreamgirls of Motown!)
3. 1-2-3/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Len Barry[/lastfm] (3) — the former lead singer of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Dovells [/lastfm]peaked at #2 with this a few weeks back. It would be his biggest hit by far as a solo artist. “Like A Baby” would peak early next year at #27 and “Somewhere” from “West Side Story” would follow and reach as high as #26. From there, Len’s solo career would falter after two more releases that couldn’t crack the top 50.
4. Let’s Hang On!/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The 4 Seasons[/lastfm] (4) — the British Music Invasion didn’t slow these “Jersey Boys” down a bit. They’d score SIX more Top Ten Songs after this one, reaching into the mid 70′s, and finish their chart career with a total of 5 #1′s. “Let’s Hang On!” will peak at #3 next week.
5. I Got You (I Feel Good)/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]James Brown [/lastfm](9) — this will peak at #3 and stay there for three weeks in a row. “The Hardest Working Man In Show Business” was that, indeed. He had an incredible 99 songs reach the top 100 in his career. “I Got You” turned out to be his biggest hit, as, amazingly, he never reached #1, though he scored 8 top ten tunes during his decades-long-career on the charts.
6. Rescue Me/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Fontella Bass[/lastfm] (6) — this peaked at #4 a few weeks ago. St. Louis-born Fontella would follow this up with “Recovery” but never make even the top 30 again. Of this, her singing career would not “recover,” though she’s gotten a lot of mileage out of “Rescue Me” over the years, as she joined the list of “One-Hit-Wonders” of the 60′s.
7. A Taste Of Honey/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass[/lastfm] (7) — in its peak position for two weeks, trumpet-playing bandleader/producer/composer Herb reached the top ten for the second time with this instrumental. His first hit was “The Lonely Bull,” a top ten instrumental in 1962. Herb would go onto score a #1 song as a vocalist in mid 1968 with “This Guy’s In Love With You,” a tune penned by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. Little-known-fact: Herb recorded previously as a vocalist before his “Lonely Bull” trumpeting days. He used the name “Dore Alpert” and released “Tell It To The Birds” in the summer of 1962 and “Dina” on his A&M label in the summer of 1963. They were great songs but didn’t achieve much chart success.
8. Ain’t That Peculiar/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Marvin Gaye [/lastfm](8) — Marvin was one of the true Motown Legends, along with [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Stevie Wonder[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Smokey Robinson[/lastfm]. This was Marvin’s 4th top ten hit since his chart debut in the fall of 1962. He’d score his first #1 hit in late 1968-early ’69 with “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” which stayed in the top spot for an impressive 7 weeks, and score a huge number of future smashes. Sadly, Marvin was killed by his father in an argument on the day before what would have been his 45th birthday, on April 1, 1984.
9. I Can Never Go Home Anymore/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Shangri-Las [/lastfm](12) — and speaking of parent-child anger issues, this was a tune about a daughter who had a blow-up with her mother and then left home. As the song progressed, the mom passed away from a broken heart, with the relationship still not mended, leaving the Shangri-Las to plead with the record-buying and radio-listening audience to tell their moms that they love them before it’s too late, and “you can never go home…….anymore”
10. Over And Over/[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Dave Clark Five[/lastfm] (16) — who could forget Tom Hanks’ great induction/introduction speech about the Dave Clark Five a few “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” televised ceremonies ago. The DC5 was one of Tom’s favorite bands when Tom was growing up in Northern California in the 60′s. This song was a remake of both a [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Bobby Day[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Thurston Harris [/lastfm]tune in the late 50′s. It would be the group’s ONLY #1 song in their vast library of hits and reach the top spot on Christmas Day of 1965, replacing the Byrds’ “Turn! Turn! Turn!
PS: The Beatles’ last hit, “Yesterday” has recently dropped out of the top ten. It was #1 for 4 straight weeks. This is one of the few weeks during the British Music Invasion and Beatlemania that the Fab Four weren’t in the Top Ten. They’ll enter the top 10 again on January 1st with “We Can Work It Out” and reach #1 a week later.