EVERY Billboard #1 rhythm & blues hit discussion thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by tomstockman, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    In imitation (the sincerest form of flattery...) of the "Billboard #1 Hot 100 Hits" thread I thought it'd be nice to discuss the rhythm and blues records in a similar manner. So I present, "EVERY Billboard #1 rhythm and blues hit!"

    Now a word of disclosure - I'm not any sort of exhaustive source on these records, I just thought it would be fun to read what y'all have to say! So I'll be mostly coming in here once a day (roughly, maybe a little less if I just can't find the time but that seems unlikely) to post the latest track up for discussion. I'll be going off this list initially:
    List of Billboard number-one rhythm and blues hits - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia »

    You'll notice that the list starts in 1942, before there was a rhythm and blues chart. Well for the first 16 years of the Billboard charts it looks like there were multiple contenders for the sort of records we'll be looking at in this thread, but for fun's sake I'll be including them all (so we'll be starting significantly behind the other thread). So if anyone knows what's going on with all these charts feel free to chime in, I certainly don't. And if there's some sort of consensus that I'm a fool to start in 1942 I'll gladly just jump to the more consistent 50s...
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
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  2. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    Looks like the first song is actually this:

    Mr. Five by Five - Ella Mae Morse with Freddie Slack and His Orchestra

    Ella Mae Morse with Freddie Slack and His Orchestra [1] had a hit recording with the song in 1942, which went to number one on the Harlem Hit Parade chart (Capitol 115), for two non consecutive weeks,[1] as did Harry James and His Orchestra also issued a best-selling platter on the Columbia label that year. The song appeared on Variety's 10 Best Sellers on Coin Machines list in December 1942.[2]
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  3. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    Made some edits to my first two posts after doing some more digging to find the first hit, the rest I think should be easier for me to find so that was hopefully just a little hiccup...
     
  4. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    Oh and if anyone hasn't heard this first track, it's available to stream at Spotify (as will most of these songs, I expect), so I might as well post that for the interested:

    Mr. Five By Five »
    URI if you use the app: spotify:track:5A0SH2AUQa0iyaVkTs1wDu
     
  5. Manapua

    Manapua Forum Resident

    Location:
    Honolulu
    Looks to me like until we hit the 50s, most of these titles will be in the big band genre. Are there folks on this site who know this stuff well enough to comment?
     
  6. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    Yeah, that was my concern as well. I guess it is between 12 and 3 a.m. for most of the US right now, though, so I'll give it 24 hours or so before I view it as enough of a concern to jump ahead.
     
  7. Hey Vinyl Man

    Hey Vinyl Man Forum Resident

    I love big bands, but I wouldn't say I'm an authority on them for the most part. I will say, though, I'd love to learn more about what was big on the 1940s equivalent of the R&B charts!
     
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  8. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    And if you don't know much about the song in question on a historical level, you can always just post your thoughts on it as a music fan!
     
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  9. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    NS, Canada
    You Tube (for those like me who don't really know what Spotify or Mr Five by Five is.)



    First observation, those were might white charts (see that Bing Crosby was number 5)

    Second, Imelda May has covered that song from what I see.
     
  10. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    Was curious exactly what chart we're looking at after that last comment so I looked it up, for now it's the "Harlem Hit Parade" described as the "most popular records in Harlem, based on sales reports from Rainbow Music Shop, Harvard Radio Shop, Lehman Music Company, Harlem De Luxe Music Store, Ray's Music Shop and Frank's Melody Music Shop, New York." So it's not exactly a genre based chart but based on regional sales. Pretty neat, I thought!
     
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  11. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    Found this wiki clip, too, which indicates why this chart is the 1942 equivalent of the R&B chart:

    Billboard published "Race Records" charts between 1945 and 1949, initially covering juke box plays and from 1948 also covering sales. These were revised versions of the "Harlem Hit Parade" chart which it had introduced in 1942.

    In June 1949, at the suggestion of Billboard journalist Jerry Wexler, the magazine renamed its chart again to "Rhythm & Blues Records". Wexler wrote : "Race" was a common term then, a self-referral used by blacks...On the other hand, "Race Records" didn't sit well...I came up with a handle I thought suited the music well - 'rhythm and blues'... a label more appropriate to more enlightened times."


    So it looks like this is actually the same chart that would eventually be the rhythm & blues chart - so I guess whatever metric they use to determine records in 1949 is an evolved version of "reports from Rainbow Music Shop, Harvard Radio Shop, Lehman Music Company, Harlem De Luxe Music Store, Ray's Music Shop and Frank's Melody Music Shop, New York."
     
  12. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    One thing that's interesting to me, that I don't really know the reasons for, is how there are comparatively fewer top overall singles than top r&b singles. In the period we'll cover just for 1942 there are 5 Harlem Hit Parade singles, compared to just TWO overall #1 songs - one of which is an overlap from the Harlem Hit Parade. AND the first of those two overall #1 songs began it's #1 run nearly a month before our Harlem Hit Parade chart started.
     
  13. John22

    John22 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Northern Germany
    When I read Joel Whitburn's book "Hot R&B Songs 1942-2010" the title of the R&B singles charts changed very often and between 1948 and 1958 there were up to three different charts (Juke Box - Best Sellers - Jockeys):

    Harlem Hit Parade > Most-Played Juke Box Race Records > Most-Played Juke Box Rhythm & Blues Records > Most Played in Juke Boxes > Most Played R&B in Juke Boxes > 6/17/57 final chart

    From 5/22/48 Best Selling Retail Race Records > Best Selling Retail Rhythm & Blues Records > National Best Sellers > Best Sellers in Stores > R&B Best Sellers in Stores > 10/13/58 final chart

    From 1/22/55 Most Played by Jockeys > Most Played R&B by Jockeys > 10/13/58 final chart

    On October 20, 1958 was a new start with one R&B chart "Hot R&B Sides" with 30 positions. Later chart titles were Hot R&B Singles > Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles > Top Selling Rhythm & Blues Singles > Top Selling R&B Singles > Best Selling R&B Singles > Best Selling Rhythm & Blues Singles > Best Selling Soul Singles > Hot Soul Singles > Black Singles > Hot Black Singles > Hot R&B Singles until 1998 > other titles

    From 11/3063 to 1/23/65 Billboard published no R&B singles chart.
     
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  14. CliffL

    CliffL Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sacramento CA USA
    I'm not that familiar with early R & B from the 40s except for Louis Jordan, the Ravens, and the Orioles. I did see Joe Liggins and the Honeydrippers live in the 80s at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee.
     
  15. Orion XXV

    Orion XXV Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    Technically, the first #1 on this chart was "Take It and Git" by Andy Kirk. It's okay though.

    Billboard created the Harlem Hit Parade chart in 1942 as a way to "race" records, as they were called. Up till 1945, this chart was compiled by surveying select retailers within the Harlem community. Later on, Billboard discontinued the sales chart and switched over to the Juke Box chart before re-establishing a Best Sellers and finally, a Disc Jockey chart. In 1958, the multiple charts were consolidated into one all-encompassing chart known as Hot R&B Sides (which took sales from R&B retailers and airplay from R&B disc jockeys - a mirror formula structure to the Hot 100).

    So what kind of music to expect? Jazz and doo-wop until the late 1940's when the blues kick through.

    When the blues start to become HUGE in the R&B community, the crossover activity is diminished and will remain so until rock 'n' roll's breakout. Once that occurs, however, R&B begins to shift its focus towards the soul sound that we associate with Motown, Sam Cooke, Bobby Bland etc.

    So, that's a little bit about what's going on during this time period.
     
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  16. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    Thanks, this makes sense! The source I'm going from looks pretty ship-shape except for these two singles which somehow got mangled together - it was listed as "Take It and Orchestra" with the cat number for "Mr. Five by Five", with no artist credit at all. So it looks like I tripped up a little getting this thread out the gate, but hopefully it can be smooth from here out... :whistle:
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  17. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
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  18. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    Billie Holiday's gotta be the most famous artist mentioned so far, and with Ella Mae Morse recording for Capitol over in California, and Andy Kirk in Kansas, this is our first "Harlem Hit Parade" record from a Harlem resident musician.
     
  19. greelywinger

    greelywinger That T-Rex Guy

    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio USA
    Some R&B #1s from my collection...

    1955
    "Maybellene" — Chuck Berry
    1957
    "School Day" — Chuck Berry
    "Wake Up Little Susie" — The Everly Brothers
    1958
    "Sweet Little Sixteen" — Chuck Berry
    "All I Have to Do Is Dream" — The Everly Brothers
    1960
    "Cathy's Clown" The Everly Brothers
    1961
    "Shop Around" The Miracles
    1962
    "Sherry" The Four Seasons
    "Big Girls Don't Cry" The Four Seasons
    1963
    "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" The Miracles
    1965
    "My Girl" The Temptations
    "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" The Four Tops
    1966
    "Get Ready" The Temptations
    "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" The Temptations
    "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" The Temptations
    "(I Know) I'm Losing You" The Temptations
    1968
    "I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)" The Temptations
    1969
    "Run Away Child, Running Wild" The Temptations
    "I Can't Get Next to You" The Temptations
    1970
    "I Want You Back" The Jackson 5
    "ABC" The Jackson 5
    "The Love You Save" The Jackson 5
    "I'll Be There" The Jackson 5
    1971
    "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" The Temptations
    "Never Can Say Goodbye" The Jackson 5
    1973
    "Masterpiece" The Temptations
    "Keep on Truckin'" Eddie Kendricks
    1974
    "Let Your Hair Down" The Temptations
    "Boogie Down" Eddie Kendricks
    "Dancing Machine" The Jackson 5
    1975
    "Happy People" The Temptations
    "Shoeshine Boy" Eddie Kendricks
    "Shakey Ground" The Temptations
    "Baby That's Backatcha" Smokey Robinson
    1976
    "Walk Away from Love" David Ruffin
    1979
    "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" Michael Jackson
    1980
    "Rock with You" Michael Jackson
    "Let’s Get Serious" Jermaine Jackson
    1981
    Being with You Smokey Robinson
    1983
    "The Girl Is Mine" Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney
    "Billie Jean" Michael Jackson
    "Beat It" Michael Jackson
    1986
    "What Have You Done for Me Lately" Janet Jackson
    "Nasty" Janet Jackson
    1987
    "Control" Janet Jackson
    "The Pleasure Principle" Janet Jackson
    "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" Michael Jackson with Siedah Garrett
    "Bad" Michael Jackson
    "The Way You Make Me Feel" Michael Jackson
    1988
    "Man in the Mirror" Michael Jackson
    "Another Part of Me" Michael Jackson
    1989
    "Miss You Much" Janet Jackson
    1990
    "Rhythm Nation" Janet Jackson
    "Escapade" Janet Jackson
    1992
    Remember the Time Michael Jackson
    In the Closet Michael Jackson
    1993
    "That's the Way Love Goes" Janet Jackson
    1994
    "Any Time, Any Place" Janet Jackson
    1995
    "You Are Not Alone Michael Jackson
    1998
    "I Get Lonely" Janet and Blackstreet

    Darryl
     
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  20. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    I'm gonna keep going on this, if only for my own edification!

    Next up:

     
  21. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    This song features the great BILLY ECKSTINE on vocals. This is our first blues record on the chart, though it's really more of a jazz on a blues - it's neat to see the mishmash of musical areas r&b as we know it developed from - jazz, doo-wop, blues, swing, gospel; all in the mix rubbin' shoulders.
     
  22. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
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  23. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    Not a lot of reviews for old singles online, but I found this one at rateyourmusic.com, originally posted a user there who goes by "LimedlBagels", I thought it was a nice little review (not sure the policy for cursing on the stevehoffman forums so I edited out an epithet... sorry Bagels.

    "That intro is heavy, man. Heavy drama, anyway. It'd sound like a storm even if the word wasn't in the title. And then the horns schmooze in over the wandering electric guitar licks and the whole song takes on this kind of dazed confidence, like like getting up from a table in a '40s bar, late at night, and dancing with some stranger in a dreamy stupor. (I dunno where this ****'s coming from.) Eckstine's singing here is just okay, and the lyric is a total throwaway. But the way the trumpet blares the song into a more assertive swing — while still keeping the daze — is good enough that I still usually just glaze over the vocal.

    The B-side's an instrumental, with diminished squashed chords played as though each hand were playing hide-and-seek...or at least not trying to step on the other one's toes. (Fingers.) It's the audio equivalent of a goofy chase through a set of MC Escher staircases.

    Both of 'em are marvelous. Very surprised this page is so empty.

    A."

    I happen to like the singing! But it is telling of the era that the singer isn't credited as a lead artist on the track: the single reads
    "STORMY MONDAY BLUES - Fox Trot
    Earl Hines and His Orchestra
    Vocal Refrain by Billy Eckstine"
     
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  24. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    NS, Canada
    I like this one better than the Ella Mae Morse track, if what I listened to on You Tube is the correct song. But being unfamiliar with most 1940s Music, I was expecting the T-Bone Walker classic.
     
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  25. tomstockman

    tomstockman Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Shanghai
    Funny - the Wikipedia article for "Stormy Monday Blues" includes this bit, "The song has sometimes been confused with T-Bone Walker's 1947 song "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)", which is frequently shortened to "Stormy Monday" or "Stormy Monday Blues". When Eckstine later recorded "Stormy Monday Blues" in 1959 with Count Basie for their Basie/Eckstine Incorporated album, the song was credited to T-Bone Walker, even though Eckstine is a cowriter of the original."
     

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