I have been postponing it for a while, but today I have to to take my medicine.
Back in March, I announced that in my newly acquired 1955-1999 edition of Joel Whitburn’s Pop Music Annual, I found a bunch of songs that I hadn’t included in my earlier Down in the Bottom series, which wrote about the one-hit wonders to peak between Numbers 90 and 100 on the Hot 100 between 1955 and 1986. I blamed Joel for omitting them from my old 1955-1986 edition and including them in the later one, because I was sure it wasn’t me who screwed up.
What a dumbass. I owe Joel an apology, for it was indeed I who missed them. Sixteen of ’em, to be exact. All of them were there in my older edition of the book, but I missed them, including eight of them at Number 91 alone. Eight, for chrissakes. All I can think is that I was interrupted in my research one day and by the time I got back to it, I thought I was done with the 91s.
What a tool. You have no idea how much this pains me, really. But it does mean we get to dive anew into some obscure corners of music history, which will be fun, provided I see every goddamn thing I should. Let’s take four of them today and the rest in days to come.
“The Yen Yet Song”/Gary Cane and His Friends (peaked at #99, 6/6/60, one week on chart). I am pretty sure that having to listen to this is my punishment for screwing up. An ad in the May 9, 1960, edition of Billboard contains an ad that says, “Sixteen youngsters and a seventeen year oldster sing the new hit Yen Yet Song.” The ad also proclaims it “big novelty flash! smash!” It was co-written by Lou Stallman, whose songwriting credits include “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle” by Deniece Williams, Perry Como’s “Round and Round,” Clyde McPhatter’s “Treasure of Love,” and the maudlin and manipulative “Once You Understand” by Think.
“I Lied to My Heart”/The Enchanters (peaked at #96, 3/13/61, two weeks on chart). There are at least two different groups of Enchanters, and probably more. One of them backed Garnet Mimms and scored several hits under the name Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters. They also scored a single hit without Mimms in 1964 called “I Wanna Thank You,” which I didn’t include in my earlier series because they’d charted so many times with Mimms. This batch of Enchanters is apparently not the same one, although “I Lied to My Heart” appears in some online discographies credited to Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters. Which I suppose they could be. It’s not like I haven’t been wrong before.
“What Will I Tell My Heart”/Harptones (peaked at #96, 5/15/61, two weeks on chart). One of the most famous New York doo-wop acts, it’s hard to believe “What Will I Tell My Heart” was the only chart single they ever managed, because their sound is the Platonic ideal of doo-wop. They’re most famous for their 1953 version of “Sunday Kind of Love,” which won them a talent contest at the Apollo Theater, got them a record deal, and was their first single. They’re members of the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and an edition of the group still exists today, fronted by original members Willie Winfield and Raoul Cita.
“Time to Get It Together”/Country Coalition (peaked at #96, 3/28/70, three weeks on chart). Here’s a gently rockin’, generic-soundin’ plea for some sort of connection, or communion, or something like that. But in true me-decade fashion, “Time to Get It Together” suggests that the key to humanity “getting it together” is for individuals to get together: “you and me, that’s all we need to be free.” (Leonard Nimoy recorded it, too.) Country Coalition briefly included bluegrass banjo legend Doug Dillard, but I’m not sure if he’s on this record or not.
In the next installment: Additions to Numbers 93, 94, and 95.
“The Yen Yet Song”/Gary Cane and His Friends (out of print; you can listen to it at the link, and you know you want to—it’s not necessary to download it)