(Pictured: Kenny Loggins, 1985.)
How much quantitative difference was there between #40 and #41 on the Hot 100 back in the day, do you suppose? How many copies sold separated the two in a typical week? How much radio action? It couldn’t have been very much.
Yet the term Top 40 has great meaning to us. Songs that cross the line have a claim on history denied to those that do not. So here we go with another installment of One Week in the 40, the poorly named feature that shines a light on records that crossed the line for a single week between 1964 and 1986. This batch spans from the 60s to the 80s.
—Andy Williams charted steadily on the Hot 100 from 1956 until 1976, with 27 Top 40 hits. He scored big on the adult-contemporary chart too, and was a TV star from the 60s to the 80s. “Ain’t It True,” which is by no means the kind of thing you’d expect from Williams, hit #40 for the week of October 16, 1965—and plunged right off the Hot 100 from there.
—Another artist with a long string of varied credits is Perry Como, who began as a big-band vocalist and became a star of radio and TV. He scored hits consistently from the late 40s to the late 50s and was not slowed all that much by the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. (It may surprise you to learn he hit the Top 10 as late as January 1971 with “It’s Impossible.”) He makes this list for “Seattle,” which was the theme from the TV series Here Come the Brides (based on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), and which spent the week of May 31, 1969, at #38.
—The Four Seasons are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Frankie Valli is not. He’s on our list, however: the unjustly forgotten “(You’re Gonna) Hurt Yourself” hit #38 for the week of February 12, 1966.
—Like Valli, Art Garfunkel is a member of the Rock Hall as part of an act, but not by himself. He makes our list with “I Shall Sing,” which moved from #45 to #38 for the week of February 9, 1974, then dropped back to #45 the following week. (“I Shall Sing” was written and recorded by Van Morrison during the sessions that resulted in the 1970 album Moondance, but not released by Van until the deluxe Moondance reissue of 2013.)
—Your list of people who should be in the Rock Hall—but aren’t—likely includes the Doobie Brothers, and this list includes them too. “Sweet Maxine,” from the album Stampede, spent the week of August 30, 1975, at #40. It would be the last time the Doobies hit with their original biker-band sound until “The Doctor” in 1989.
—A lot of people would argue in favor of the Meters for the Rock Hall, too. They’re on this list with “Sophisticated Cissy,” which leaped from #41 to #34 for the week of March 22, 1969, before falling back to #45 and then out of the Hot 100, replaced a week later by the Meters’ biggest hit, “Cissy Strut.”
—Chic has been a Rock Hall nominee in recent years. Their “Everybody Dance,” which fell between “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” and “Le Freak,” hit #38 for the week of June 17, 1978.
—Steve Perry of Journey was among the top solo acts of 1984, scoring four Top 40 hits, all from the album Street Talk. You remember “Oh Sherrie” and “Foolish Heart.” The ones you may not remember are “She’s Mine” (#21) and “Strung Out,” which I think is the best of the four. It reached #40 for the week of October 27, 1984.
—Kenny Loggins was never off the radio in the 80s, although he had but four Top-10 hits. Eight other singles made the Top 40, including the generic power ballad “Forever,” #40 during the week of July 20, 1985.
We will continue to meander through this list in similar fashion in future installments, so stay tuned.