(Pictured: Beatle fans, whose devotion during the Fabs’ February 1964 visit to New York inspired a hit song.)
Here’s another installment of a series called One Week in the 40, which discusses exactly what the name implies: records that spent a single week in the Billboard Top 40 at some point between 1964 and 1986. This time, it’s singles that represented not just the performer’s only Top 40 hit, but their lone entry on the Hot 100. Let’s take them chronologically.
—“We Love You Beatles” by the Carefrees reached #39 for the week of April 11, 1964, a week in which the Beatles had 15 singles in the Hot 100 and five of the Top 10. “We Love You Beatles” was based on “We Love You Conrad,” a song from the musical Bye Bye Birdie. Fans outside the Plaza Hotel in New York City during the Beatles’ visit for The Ed Sullivan Show in February chanted it, and this record was born. One of the Carefrees, Lynn Cornell, was married to Andy White, the session drummer who sat in on the Beatles’ “Love Me Do,” and who died earlier this month at age 85.
—“I’m Into Something Good” by Earl-Jean (of Earl-Jean and the Cookies) is the original recording of the song that would become the first American hit for Herman’s Hermits. It spent the week of August 8, 1964, at #39. It did especially big business in Detroit and St. Louis, where it made the Top 10 on multiple stations.
—“Shaggy Dog” by Mickey Lee Lane has made an appearance at this blog before. Last November I wrote, “‘Shaggy Dog’ is all guitar stomp and chanting, and it would likely have scored pretty high on the parental annoyance scale.” It was a mid-chart hit in lots of places, Top 10 in a few, and #1 at KOMA in Oklahoma City for the week of November 5, 1964. Like “I’m Into Something Good,” it caught on slowly, peaking in some places before it had charted in others, which tamped down its national number: 39, for the week of November 28.
—The Marvelows were a soul group from Chicago. “I Do” reached #37 for the week of July 3, 1965; a live version by the J. Geils Band made it to #24 in 1982.
—There are many parallels between the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. In 1966, Buddy Starcher ran them down in “History Repeats Itself.” It reached #2 on the country chart and spent the week of May 14, 1966, at #39 on the pop chart.
—“Naturally Stoned” by the Avant Garde spent the week of October 26, 1968 at #40. The Avant Garde was a Nashville-based duo, Bubba Fowler and Chuck Woolery, backed by studio musicians. Woolery would go on to greater fame as a game-show host, although his first network gig was co-host of a TV revival of Your Hit Parade that ran in the summer of 1974.
—During the week of November 16, 1968, “Funky Judge” by Bull and the Matadors sat at #39. Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In had premiered earlier that year and propelled “here come the judge” into the pop-culture lexicon, spawning four different Hot 100 hits containing the phrase. “Funky Judge” isn’t one of them, but having the word in the title couldn’t have hurt.
There are a few more of these to cover, and we’ll do so in the next installment.