It’s December of 1964 and the Beatles are back.
A month earlier, the Beatles had gone missing from the Billboard Hot 100 and from the chart at WOKY in Milwaukee. But in late November, their new single, “I Feel Fine,” backed with “She’s a Woman” hit the radio, and just as Beatle hits had been doing since February, soon conquered all. They charted at WOKY on November 28, shown together at #20. The double-sided hit would pause at #7 for the week of December 5, 1964, before hitting #1 on the 12th, where it would hold for four weeks. On the Hot 100 for December 5, “I Feel Fine” charted at #21 and “She’s a Woman” at #46.
The British Invasion bubbles along in Milwaukee, although just one British hit, the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” is in the station’s Top 10 for December 5. Elsewhere, the Zombies (“She’s Not There”), the Dave Clark Five (“Any Way You Want It”), the Rolling Stones (“Time Is on My Side”) and Manfred Mann (“Sha La La”) are in or close to the Top 20. So are Julie Rogers, with the now-forgotten “The Wedding,” and crooner Matt Monro with “Walk Away.” Marianne Faithful’s version of “As Tears Go By” and Herman Hermits’ “I’m Into Something Good” make their chart debuts. On the Hot 100, Chad and Jeremy’s “Willow Weep for Me” and the Searchers’ “Love Potion #9” are taking aim at the Top 20. Sandie Shaw, the Animals, and Gerry & the Pacemakers are farther down, along with Petula Clark’s “Downtown,” making its Hot 100 debut at #80.
Elsewhere, the Hot 100 is crowded with future classics: “Come See About Me” (which is #1 for the week of December 5), “Baby Love,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” plus lesser hits by the Marvelettes, the Four Tops, and the Miracles. “Leader of the Pack” by the Shangri-Las is on its way out; the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” is on its way up.
And aside from all that, there are these five records from the WOKY chart:
18. “The Lumberjack”/Hal Willis (up from 23). Willis was a Canadian country singer who had toured with Elvis Presley in 1956, and “The Lumberjack” was his lone American hit, going #5 country and bubbling under at #120 pop. He’s a member of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and was performing as recently as last year, when he turned 80.
28. “Roses Are Red My Love”/The “You Know Who” Group (holding at 28). The “You Know Who” Group was, as best anyone can tell, a group of New York studio players imitating the Merseybeat sound. They appeared on the cover of their lone album in masks. (History does not record whether they were ever seriously mistaken for anybody famous.) Their “Roses Are Red My Love” has nothing to do with Bobby Vinton’s 1963 hit “Roses Are Red.”
29. “Run Run Run”/Gestures (up from 30). The Gestures were from Mankato, Minnesota, and “Run Run Run” was on the Soma label of Minneapolis. “Run Run Run” is the love child of the Beatles and the Ventures. An overlong appreciation is here.
31. “Hawaii Tattoo”/Waikikis (up from 35). Although “Hawaii Tattoo” is likely supposed to be surf music, it bounces along like a country record with a big ol’ steel guitar.
32. “The Crusher”/Novas (debut). We refer here, of course, to Reginald Lisowski, raised in South Milwaukee, who grew up to become the professional wrestler known as the Crusher. He was said to have trained by carrying a beer keg on his shoulders while he ran near Milwaukee’s lakefront. He competed both as an individual and in a tag team with Dick the Bruiser, and in the upper Midwest, where AWA wrestling was a weekend TV staple, he was plenty damn famous. The Novas, from Minneapolis, recorded “The Crusher” as a tribute, and the lead vocal, by Bob Nolan, is an imitation of the Crusher’s famous growl.
During this particular week 50 years ago, Ringo Starr was in the hospital recovering from a tonsillectomy. “How are you, Ringo?” “I feel fine.”