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
    Yeah, I went looking for it on Back To The Egg. Columbia (or McCartney) were morons for not including it.

    I loved the song as a kid, but now I recognize it as another pop/rock fossil climbing aboard the disco bandwagon. Like "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy" it certainly works, but unlike "Sexy" McCartney feels like a bizarre fit on the dance floor. Whereas Rod sounds like he was born to front sleazy (or maybe not!) disco songs. "Goodnight" is sort of a discofied "With A Little Luck" - slight melody, spacy rambling instrumental noodling, pulse provided by electronics and Paul's bass.

    He was headed fast toward the end of his commercial relevance. You can only fly on vapors for so long.
     
  2. alphanguy

    alphanguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Missouri
    Next is "What A Fool Believes" by The Doobie Brothers, #1 from April 8 - April 14, 1979.

     
  3. alphanguy

    alphanguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Missouri
    I'm sorry, but I just can't stand Michael McDonald and his mush-mouthed vocals. Tom Johnston was the ONE when it comes to leading the Doobie Brothers' hits.
     
  4. pablo fanques

    pablo fanques "Mr. F!"

    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Yeah we are at the point where many stereotypical Classic Rockers are dipping their toes in the disco pool. Can't reveal too much as there are some heavies yet to come but easily the most unlikely act to tread that water would be The Grateful Dead with "Shakedown Street" in 1978. It totally works but man, who would've thunk they would have jumped that bandwagon?
     
  5. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    We've hit peak Yacht Rock. Yes, I know the term wasn't coined until decades later, but it could have been coined just for this song. :laugh:

    I always loved this one, and Michael McDonald's weird mush mouth vocals. It certainly beats the avalanche of "overtight undershorts" vocals from Styx, Supertramp, Rush, Air Supply and a host of other whiter-than-white acts that were about to infest the charts.
     
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  6. supersquonk

    supersquonk Forum Resident

    McCartney was still in the 1960s mindset of issuing singles, but then offering albums with different material. Giving fans their money's worth. Problem is by 1979 many people bought albums only, and singles were to an extent just promotion for the LP. So Back to the Egg was really undermined.

    Really loved Goodnight Tonight. Still have the 45 I bought from way back then. If only he'd kept this lineup of Wings going through the 1980s.
     
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  7. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I always liked this one. It has kind of a spooky fun vibe to it.
     
  8. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I don’t know, it never crossed my mind it was a disco song. And it has some weird breaks in it so I don’t know how well it would go over on a dance floor. Of course someone is probably going to inform me it went number one on the disco chart :D
     
  9. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    One of the greatest songs I’ve heard. Someone said that it is very spiritual. I don’t know that Barry set out to do that, but I see the characterization. I love the long outro! A very creative song with a strong hook. The falsetto seems more restrained in a positive way, and used to great effect on this song imo. On a good set up those keyboards during the outro sound amazing and really bite. Took a long time to finally get that magic pressing to experience it but just recently located a first pressing in mint condition. Sound fantastic, even better than my Nautilus.
     
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  10. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    That is a real popular sentiment but I think it’s too long to have been a hit for a pop song structured as it is, and the outro is probably where they would have cut it, which really would have changed the song. I can’t stand the edit cut of For Whom The Bell Tolls, another that really benefits from a long ending. They fade it out early and ruined the song for me. And they use that on all the comps...uggh. Would have hated to see that on Spirits.
     
  11. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    There was a quality to Mr. McDonald's vocals, throughout his career, that reminded me more of someone who had his mouth full with foodstuffs as he was singing.

    Unlike their prior #1, "Black Water" which was out-of-left-field, this one had "45 hit" written all over it.
     
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  12. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle TEFL Lord

    Location:
    Vsetin
    Michael McDonald's voice is certainly distinctive, but it's actually perfect for this kind of slick lite rock, I think: it has a kind of effortless character and personality which the music, cold, electronic, precise, kind of lacks.
     
  13. Grant

    Grant C'mon let me show you where it's at!

    Location:
    United States
    This song came as a complete surprise to me and many other people at the time. But, in 1976, Michael McDonald was brought in to transform the band's sound because the musical climate was changing and they wanted to stay relevant. It worked to the display of their longtime rock fans who favored the guitar-powered jams with the occasional horn stabs. Now the sound was dominated by keyboards and that voice. Maybe people don't remember their hit "Takin; It To The Streets".

    I love the song, and I don't care what anyone thinks, the understated arrangement is genius, and the lyrics are well done. A guy with a mean puppy love conjures up a whole relationship that never really was with a woman who had no romantic interest him him. I'm betting a lot of guys who don't like the song could relate to that. No wonder the song did so well.
     
  14. Grant

    Grant C'mon let me show you where it's at!

    Location:
    United States
    Again, the Doobies had been deliberately headed in that direction. They knew it would piss off some of their longtime fans, but would also gain them new ones.
     
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  15. Hey Vinyl Man

    Hey Vinyl Man Forum Resident

    Never have liked "What a Fool Believes". Or anything else Michael McDonald sang that I can think of offhand. It's just not my thing.
     
  16. tmoore

    tmoore Forum Resident

    Location:
    Olney, MD
    "What a Fool Believes" is one of my favorite #1 songs of all time.

    If you take away the "somewhere back in her long ago" part of the lyrics, I've been in that position with at least three different women, where I had to force myself to walk away, after realizing that what I thought was potentially there --- was, in reality, not. In every case I was probably reaching farther looks-wise than was probably appropriate for me, or would have worked long-term.

    A #1 that gives you advice for how to think, and is not a bore to listen to. It's a winner for me.

    This song came out when I was 12. I didn't really appreciate the lyrics until college-age or so, at that point it was mid to late '80s, when it helped me deal with the first such situation that I mentioned above. I probably saved myself a lot of embarrassment because of these lyrics.

    Grant states the same idea very well about 3 or 4 posts above here, except that I've always liked the song, even in 1979. (I didn't buy the single then, so it was successful without any help from me)

    ===
    As far as Michael McDonald is concerned, I've never been a big fan of his, outside of a handful of Doobie Brothers singles. Never been a fan of his post-Doobies work.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
  17. Dawg In Control

    Dawg In Control Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Granite Falls, NC
    The Doobie Brothers were two distinct bands; Tom Johnston and Michael McDonald. Maybe they should have changed their name with the style change ala Jefferson Airplane/Starship.

    I prefer the Tom Johnston albums by far, but McDonald could make a hit. "Taking It To The Streets" is an all-timer for me. The McDonald albums were full of filler; much more so than the Johnston albums.
     
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  18. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    I've dug this from the point it came out. No doubt the musical arrangement played a part, though the message was over my head for many years till I finally heard it. My own pressing I have (with accompanying pic sleeve) is a Capitol Winchester, with the small 3.3125" label and 360 embossed interlocking serrations that left impressions on many a pic sleeve or company or generic sleeve over the years.

    Mr. McDonald co-wrote this with a fella who until about 3 years before this was in a duo with someone who had been insistent on steering him towards country-rock but he didn't want to go there. By year's end this gent would have a top 10 hit with another song he and McDonald wrote (and on which McDonald sang backing vocals). When we get to that timeline, we'll find out exactly which one that is.
     
  19. Grant

    Grant C'mon let me show you where it's at!

    Location:
    United States
    That's interesting because that same fella broke up with his longtime music partner because he didn't want to do country-rock anymore.
     
  20. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    You think The Doobie Brothers were "two bands"? It could easily be argued that there were at least five (if not more) Fleetwood Macs in their long history, given the massive personnel changes and various goings-on. The Peter Green, the Bob Welch, the Buckingham/Nicks - and that's not counting those that came years after this time line I won't get into for reasons relating to not wishing to "jump ahead."
     
  21. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    You're probably saying the same thing I am, 'cept from a different perspective. When we get there, we'll see how much telepathy among us there is on this . . .
     
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  22. ChrisScooter1

    ChrisScooter1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Athens, GA
    "What a Fool Believes" was my entry point with the Doobies, aside from their appearance on "What's Happening" in early 1978. I loved the song then as I do now...although playing it every single show with my Yacht Rock band has dimmed its appeal a little. It introduced me to the rest of their early catalog and I did not hear near as large of a shift as I'm sure older fans of the band probably did. It is a bit of an anomaly given the climate of pop music at the time...definitely signaled the charts were ready to go in a new direction.

    It is a gem of pop music production. Ironic the conditions it was created were less than ideal. Even as a kid when I got my 45, the band photo (same one from the LP) looked dingy, sad and grimy. Knowing now how hard they had worked up to this point, almost killing founder Johnston in the process due to exhaustion and bleeding ulcers, I'm surprised they were able to coax such a sunny sounding song out of those clearly tired eyes. The resurgent line up put together to capitalize on the success of "Minute by Minute" had a concert broadcast on HBO in 79 which I remember distinctly, yet confused me to see the band members in concert that did not line up with the pics on the cover of my 45. Wasn't til later I learned they had essentially broken up and decided to re-group with a new line up. I will say, looking back, I missed having Baxter in the group, but that 79 line up was pretty killer. Simmons and Porter seemed to be somewhat revived, McFee was a nice addition (able to play fiddle for Black Water and could fingerpick along with Simmons for "Slat/Slack Key Soquel Rag") and Cornelius Bumpus was perfect for keeping that gruff R&B vibe they needed for some of Johnston's songs along with covering the Bill Payne keyboard parts and sax parts.
     
  23. Dawg In Control

    Dawg In Control Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Granite Falls, NC
    You're right on that. We could go that way with a few. Genesis, Chicago, Pink Floyd, Grand Funk, and The Beatles to name a few. Heck you got Pre-Army Elvis vs Post-Army Elvis. Robert Palmer, and Steve Miller are also prime examples of major style changes. Some for better and some for worse. It could be a thread in itself.
     
    Grant likes this.
  24. bare trees

    bare trees Forum Resident

    I can understand why many early fans are critical of the McDonald era. It's sound like a different band. Be that as it may, "What A Fool Believes" is a pop gem. Everything about it including the instrumentation, composition, and production ticks all of the right boxes for me.
     
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  25. Grant

    Grant C'mon let me show you where it's at!

    Location:
    United States
    I'm an early fan, but I like all three eras. But, when I want to listen to some Doobies, I will more often than not pick the pre-"Minute By Minute" era.
     

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