Billboard #1 Adult Contemporary Hits 1961-Present

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by thecdguy, Sep 1, 2019.

  1. thecdguy

    thecdguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    Philadelphia, Pa.
    This is a thread for discussion of the songs which reached #1 on Billboard Magazine's Adult Contemporary chart. When the chart first debuted in 1961, it was titled "Easy Listening". The name changed several times over the course of the first 18 years, being changed to "Middle-Road Singles", "Pop-Standard Singles" and back to "Easy Listening" again. The title of "Adult Contemporary" began in 1979, and it has maintained that title since then.


    The first song to top the AC chart is "The Boll Weevil Song" by Brook Benton.

    Peak Date: July 17, 1961
    Weeks At #1: 3 (consecutive)
    Weeks Charted: 7
    Hot 100 Chart Position: #2 (3 weeks)

     
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  2. thecdguy

    thecdguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    I should point out that "The Boll Weevil Song" is Brook Benton's highest charting song on the Hot 100 chart, just narrowly edging out two other songs he's probably more remembered for, "It's Just A Matter Of Time" (#3) and "Rainy Night In Georgia"(#4).
     
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  3. Grant

    Grant That really swings!

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    I'm going to like this thread. Thanks!

    I only heard the Boll-Weevil Song a few months ago for the first time. Mean little tune, isn't it?
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
  4. thecdguy

    thecdguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Philadelphia, Pa.
    I was thinking about a thread for the AC Chart for a long time, since it seemed to be the only major chart that didn't have its own thread here. It's my favorite chart after the Pop Chart and is sometimes overlooked because some people associate it with only soft music.

    Yes, "The Boll Weevil Song" is kind of a mean song when you really think about it, as it says to the farmer at first that he won't do him much harm, then later tells him that after he's done with his farm, he won't be able to afford gasoline.
     
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  5. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

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    Your comment reminds me of that great song The Snake by Al Wilson :)

    I look forward to more posts in the thread.
     
  6. Manapua

    Manapua Forum Resident

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    Honolulu
    Good thread idea! It's a period of time (early 60s) and a genre that doesn't get much respect because, as you pointed out, the softer nature of the songs causes most to regard them as muzak. Don't have much to say about The Boll Weevil tune since I don't recall it like I do many other songs from the era. Side note, is it alright to mention other songs from the same period in time or is this strictly about #1s? As was discovered on the Pop and R&B threads, other songs that failed to reach the top oftentimes were better than the song under discussion and also help to keep interest in the thread from drying up.
     
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  7. Rob P S

    Rob P S Forum Resident

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    I was hoping someone would start this thread!
     
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  8. thecdguy

    thecdguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Philadelphia, Pa.
    Thanks for reminding me about that song, hadn't heard it in decades. That's plain downright despicable what that snake did. At least The Boll Weevil didn't infect anyone with poison, lol.

    Sure, I was planning on bringing up other songs that fell short of #1 on the AC Charts when their respective years come up. Two such songs, which I'm still surprised to this day didn't top the AC Charts, are "Wind Beneath My Wings" and "Feelings", which some people consider to be the quintessential Muzak song of all-time. They're both still many years away, though. :)
     
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  9. thecdguy

    thecdguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
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    Next is "Together", by Connie Francis. It's the first of 2 AC Chart toppers she would have.

    Peak date: August 7, 1961
    Weeks At #1: 1
    Weeks Charted: 8
    Hot 100 Chart Position: #6

     
  10. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

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    Don't think I've ever noticed that Connie song before. Doesn't really grab me. :(
     
  11. Manapua

    Manapua Forum Resident

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    I vaguely remember this Connie song and am surprised if she only managed to top the AC chart twice that this is one of them. She had dozens upon dozens of chart songs yet only two managed this feat? Something tells me this chart's history is gonna be very interesting.
     
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  12. thecdguy

    thecdguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    She most likely would have had more #1 AC Hits if the chart had been around when she started having hits in 1958. "Who's Sorry Now", her first major Pop Hit, would probably have been #1 AC.
     
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  13. thecdguy

    thecdguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    True, it's not one of her best remembered hits. Pretty song, though. And from what I understand, the version I posted is the 45 version, which is said to have a different vocal than the album version. I haven't listened for the differences yet, though.
     
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  14. Manapua

    Manapua Forum Resident

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    True that. Still, she had dozens of chart songs after '61 so it's interesting only one more managed the top. I mean, Where The Boys Are certainly should have been.
     
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  15. thecdguy

    thecdguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
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    "Where The Boys Are" was on the Pop Charts earlier in the year in 1961, before the AC Chart began. But it most likely would've been a #1 AC Hit if it the chart had existed at the time.

    Looking at Connie's discography on Wikipedia, here are her hits that would have been contenders (at least IMO) for #1 AC Hits before the chart started:

    Who's Sorry Now
    My Happiness
    Among My Souvenirs
    Mama
    My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own
    Where The Boys Are
    Breakin' In A Brand New Broken Heart

    After her next AC #1 in 1962, she hit the AC Chart 23 more times, with 9 of those going Top 10. So the potential was there for more #1's, but for whatever reason it didn't happen.
     
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  16. Hey Vinyl Man

    Hey Vinyl Man Forum Resident

    Connie Francis had a lot more hits than you'd think from listening to oldies radio (which mostly just plays "Where the Boys Are", "Lipstick On Your Collar" and "Who's Sorry Now" in my experience). I was a big fan of hers as a teenager, but I don't recall ever hearing "Together" before.
     
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  17. thecdguy

    thecdguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
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    Next is "Wooden Heart" by Joe Dowell.

    Peak Date: August 14, 1961
    Weeks At #1: 3 (consecutive)
    Weeks Charted: 13
    Hot 100 Chart Position : #1 (1 week)

     
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  18. thecdguy

    thecdguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    They also tended to play "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" fairly often as well, the only one of her 3 Pop Chart #1's that doesn't seem to be forgotten. (Maybe due in part to its similarity to another #1, Guy Mitchell's "Heartaches By The Number").
     
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  19. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

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    It's the thread with all your favorites, with none of the hard rock, rap or heavy metal. It's a thread the whole office can agree on, perfect for workday fun!

    It's also going to get difficult once you get to the point where there "Adult Contemporary" splintered into "A/C", "Hot A/C", "MOR", and all the other permutations which got separate charts in Billboard.
    Even Joel Whitburn started shaking his head by that time; so many places to rank Wilson Phillips, so little time!

    BTW, "Wooden Heart" was my very first 45 ever given to me.
     
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  20. Manapua

    Manapua Forum Resident

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    Lol. My bad eyesight misread 1/16/61 as 11/16/61. Should have said Follow The Boys instead.
     
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  21. Manapua

    Manapua Forum Resident

    Location:
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    I know I heard Wooden Heart a lot in the early 60s but I remember Elvis' version better, probably because of GI Blues. For whatever reason, his version wasn't released on single until the tale end of '64 where it failed to reach the Hot 100. It was reissued a year later and again, nada.

     
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  22. thecdguy

    thecdguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    "Follow The Boys" was another one that sounded like it had potential to be #1 AC, but it peaked at #7.
     
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  23. thecdguy

    thecdguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

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    To this day, I still don't know what the difference is between the "Adult Contemporary" chart and the separate "Adult Top 40" chart.
     
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  24. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    One's geared towards pure adult-targeted artist variety, the other as more of a "vector" format, re-purposing the all-ages nature of Top 40 in a more adult-friendly flavor. Remember, formats have honestly less to do with music, as much as they do with the positioning finesse they can use to reach specific demographics of users more appropriate the the market's individual need. This sounds like gobbledygook, but there is verifiable success in not selling music to the listener, as much as selling the station to the right music listener.

    "Adult Top 40", or "Hot A/C" is where you are more likely to feel like you're where you would hear "all" the hits of the day, until you realize what's missing (and wouldn't really care about them not being there anyway). Regular A/C is where your age/demographic/lifegroup is being spoken to specifically.

    I think most modern varieties of "Contemporary Christian" formats have this to them - not that their message is not the most important factor, but that the music is designed to be comfortable to people who have never heard the tracks, but can assume it's just another popular music station playing an unfamiliar song, until the meaning becomes obvious. "Accessibility" and comfort of where you are on the dial, is how you build an audience, in any format.

    So...it's not really a "rock station", it's a station for "rock listeners"; it's not a "classical station", it's just a station for listeners more in the mood for "a station they can expect 'classical music' from". And "Adult Contemporary" itself is a marketing term vastly useless for describing music, so much as it is describing the audience it's looking for, and how they expect to use it. (This is why you don't go to the "Broccoli Store" to buy broccoli, but you always know where to find it).
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
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  25. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

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    Wooden Heart doesn't strike me as 'adult', it's almost nursery-rhyme like. Still, I like it, especially the German part.
     
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