EVERY Billboard #1 hit discussion thread 1958-Present

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by alphanguy, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    This was a huge #1 hit, and I remember it from the time as well, but it had largely vanished from oldies radio by the '80s.
     
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  2. boyjohn

    boyjohn Forum Resident

    Obviously a great performance, but when I was a kid I hated this song, it seemed to go on forever. Now I can appreciate it more.
     
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  3. John54

    John54 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Something of a return to form because I like Me and Mrs. Jones. I'm not really a huge fan of that mellow early '70s soul style but this song, If You Don't Know Me by Now by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes and Stone in Love With You by the Stylistics are all topnotch examples of it.
     
  4. Mylene

    Mylene Forum Resident

    Me and Mrs Jones still gets airplay here. It's one of those songs that's never gone out of fashion.
     
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  5. ronm

    ronm Forum Resident

    Location:
    southern colo.
    Good song.I remember this would be common on oldies stations.Now we really don't have a real oldies station.
     
  6. Manapua

    Manapua Forum Resident

    Location:
    Honolulu
    I loved this one right off the bat. It fit the time and really ramped up the Gamble/Huff juggernaut that was steadily gaining steam; filling in the hole left by Motown's temporary abdication of the R&B throne in '72. This record was also one of the earliest instances I can remember of buying singles released in differing lengths. I bought the song almost immediately on release and was dismayed to find it was a truncated version from the one I usually heard on the dial. I figured I'd have to buy the LP to get the full length but not too long after, discovered another single with the full running time of nearly 5 minutes.
     
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  7. Manapua

    Manapua Forum Resident

    Location:
    Honolulu
    M&MJ also continued the practice of couching controversy in a pretty package. Ostensibly a love ballad with the twist that the couple are in an affair. There was some moral clucking at the time but it didn't prevent this from hitting big.
     
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  8. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Paved the way for, "Saving All My Love For You", it did.
     
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  9. Black Thumb

    Black Thumb Unclassifiable

    Location:
    Reno, NV
    Awww yeah, "Me and Mrs. Jones". It's superb in performance and orchestration, but the thing that takes it to the next level is that otherworldly reverb it's immersed in.

    Not to mention the thing that got everyone's attention - the orchestra building up and up only to suddenly STOP for Mr. Paul to belt out that immortal "Meeeee aaaaand Mrs!".

    What always gets me is after the third time it happens, the strings do this sighing thing leading into the long outro.

    The album it comes from, 360 Degrees of Billy Paul is an interesting listen. It contains jazzed up versions of recent hits "It's Too Late", "Let's Stay Together" and "Your Song" - and this standout track,:

     
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  10. Hey Vinyl Man

    Hey Vinyl Man Forum Resident

    It's certainly one measure of the diversity of the top 40 at the time that this knocked "I Am Woman" off the top! What a bizarre dichotomy. Great performance, though, and impressive that it was such a big hit at a time when adultery was still fairly taboo. (Plenty of blues and folk songs had tackled the issue by this time, but they weren't hits on the pop chart.)
     
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  11. SITKOL'76

    SITKOL'76 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colombia, SC
    Last #1 hit of 1972, best #1 hit of 1972. A+ song from start to finish.
     
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  12. SITKOL'76

    SITKOL'76 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colombia, SC
    And it was knocked off the top spot by a Carly Simon tune, which in turn was knocked off the top spot by Stevie Wonder. The charts were all over the place musically at this time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
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  13. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    We have reached the end of '72, haven't we?

    Best #1: "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"

    Worst: "My Ding-a-Ling" (sorry, Chuck)

    Most surprising: "The Candy Man"

    Most embarrassing 45+ years later (besides "My Ding-a-Ling"): "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me"

    Most drama: "Without You"

    Most discussed (at the time): "American Pie"

    Best Neil Young impersonation: "A Horse With No Name"

    Best actual Neil Young #1: "Heart Of Gold"

    Most-dated (in a quaint way): "Brand New Key"

    Most-dated (in a horrific way): "Ben"

    The one that vanished the furthest down the memory hole: "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me"

    The one that best points the way toward the future: "Me & Mrs. Jones"

    This last one is kind of tough actually, but while musically "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone" to some degree points toward the dance-centric future of the '70s, it was also something of a message song, and those began dying out by the middle of the decade. Whereas "Me & Mrs. Jones" is all about bumpin' uglies, and there were a lot of songs about that in the disco era.

    It's also got a slow groove that predates the Smokey-inspired Quiet Storm to come on the R&B charts.

    Reggae heavily influenced several hits this year too ("I'll Take You There", "I Can See Clearly Now"), and while that got bigger in Europe going forward, it didn't really in America, so I can't say those pointed the way to the future.

    America's Neil Young-light sound was certainly dominant thru the middle of the decade (see also Bread), but was fading in importance after that, and anyhow we'd had singer/songwriters charting already the previous two years. So I can't really see them pointing the way toward the future.

    Definitely a transitional year on the charts. Is there another year where R&B is both so dominant and also represents the bleeding edge of pop advancement? Because a lot of the non-R&B cuts this year sound like '60s leftovers, novelty tunes, old showtunes, or not particularly challenging singer/songwriter material.
     
  14. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Location:
    Arizona
    I think "I Am Woman" is the better record, but both pale in comparison to some of her later hits, which we will be discussing in a couple of months. But, radio played the hell out of it, and I got sick of hearing it for that reason.

    Yet, another in a looooooooong line of cheatin' songs. It's done in the style of music I grew up with by the likes of Nancy Wilson and Lou Rawls. I loved it immediately, and liked that there was nothing else like it on the radio or the pop and soul charts at the time. And, again, Philadelphia International Records hit it out of the pallpark with this one. The label would see at least four years of wild success. Unfortunately, Billy Paul's success didn't last as long. We'll get to that.

    There are two versions of the 45 out there. One 45 is the same as the album version, the one I have and have only ever seen, and there's an edited version that I understand was played on the east coast.
     
  15. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Location:
    Arizona
    Yup. The rest of the 70s!:pineapple:
     
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  16. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Meanwhile over on the country chart, every other song dealt with that topic.
     
  17. W.B.

    W.B. Senior Member

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Now there's the irony - a song considered an anthem of the Women's Lib movement, replaced by (of all things) a cheating song. (One that, in theme, seemed to be Gamble/Huff's riff on Luther Ingram's "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right" from earlier in the year.) Someone must've had some kind of sense of humor to have that procession on the charts.

    Commercial pressings had two edits - the full 4:42 version, and a shorter version (that cut out the second verse) that timed at 3:37 (but the stocks still listed the 4:42 time). The short version is below:

    It should be noted that many contract pressings by other plants of this were made. One plant was the soon-to-be-doomed American Record Pressing plant in Owosso, MI, prior to the fire mentioned in connection with the look at The Temptations' #1 "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone." (I have such a copy, with 'ARP' stamped in the deadwax.) Evidently pressed before the fire. Another relatively common pressing was by Shelley Products, and yet another by the PRC plant in Richmond, IN.
     
  18. EdogawaRampo

    EdogawaRampo Forum Resident

    Exactly the way I felt about it.
     
  19. W.B.

    W.B. Senior Member

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    And strangely, both edits were released commercially (the B side was the same, though - his cover of Elton John's "Your Song"). I have a vinyl CSM pressing (gold label) with the short 3:37 edit. That was the one on mono/stereo promos (albeit with the mono time listed as 3:41 - imagine).
     
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  20. W.B.

    W.B. Senior Member

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    "If You Don't Know Me By Now" was issued as a single (ZS7 3520) on Sept. 11, 1972 - just two days before "Me And Mrs. Jones" (ZS7 3521) which came out Sept. 13. The former had Pitman label fonts only on pressings from that plant (and contract pressings by Shelley Products); the latter, used Pitman typesetting at all three of Columbia's plants.

    It should also be noted that "If You Don't Know Me By Now's" B side was "Let Me Into Your World" - originally recorded three years before by the O'Jays on their first LP collaboration with Gamble/Huff, The O'Jays In Philadelphia (originally on the Neptune label, reissued on Philadelphia International in 1973). What's more, the Melvin/Blue Notes version uses the same exact instrumental backing as the O'Jays' recording. Recycling instrumental tracks for different artists' versions was a common practice on the Brunswick label (of Jackie Wilson / Chi-Lites fame) during Carl Davis' run as A&R head, but not as much elsewhere.
     
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  21. Victor/Victrola

    Victor/Victrola Makng shure its write

    I think Billy Paul did a great job at performing Me & Mrs. Jones, but the record overall is just so d-r-a-m-a-t-i-c that I lost interest in it rather quickly. On the other hand, it was a giant hit to close out the year, so I give it respect for that. I haven't heard it in probably 10 years or more.
     
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  22. bare trees

    bare trees Forum Resident

    It's r&b but there's a jazzy vibe to it as well. I first heard this in the mid 80s on Finkleman's 45's, a radio show that ran on CBC radio.
     
  23. Craigman1959

    Craigman1959 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    I used to DJ at a cafe that became an oldies club at night. I played this song quite a bit. Good slow song....and I knew there must be some dancers who could relate to the lyrics.
     
  24. Black Thumb

    Black Thumb Unclassifiable

    Location:
    Reno, NV
    Billy was a seasoned nightclub performer by this time so his vocal on M&MJ naturally has a bit of that vibe.

    His Wikipedia page is surprisingly thorough - he was actually in the same Army unit with Elvis and Gary Crosby.
     
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  25. pickwick33

    pickwick33 Forum Resident

    From 1973, this was one of the rare rock albums on Columbia to list the song titles on the cover.[​IMG]
     
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