September 2017

Police-album-synchronicityThe Police – “Wrapped Around Your Finger” – (1983)

First, this song has nothing to do with the other two from earlier this week. Second, depending on what country you’re in (U.S. or U.K.), this was either the fourth or second single, respectively, released from Synchronicity. It was a top ten hit in both countries, but did manage to hit #1 in Ireland. It’s just another great track from the Police in 1983.

220px-ShadesofGraceBob Carlisle – “Butterfly Kisses” – (1997)

I’ve always thought of this song as the female version of “Cat’s in the Cradle.” It’s still about dads, but related to daughters and not sons. Bob Carlisle is a Contemporary Christian singer, but he had a crossover pop hit with this song in the late 1990s. I think a lot of people think it’s sappy, but it has its champions.

Harry_Chapin_-_Verities_&_BalderdashHarry Chapin – “Cat’s in the Cradle” – (1974)

Harry Chapin died in a car crash about seven years after this song was released, so he had more time to write another #1 hit, but this would be it. It was a Grammy-nominated hit and has will forever be known as that sad song about father-son relationships.

oh_pretty_woman_single_cover#1 – Roy Orbison – “Oh, Pretty Woman” – (1964)

Is it just me or does Roy Orbison always look 50 years old regardless of what year his photo was taken? This song is the number one song of 1964 because it is iconic and was a #1 all over the world. You know what it is from those opening chords and most of the words (if not just the chorus) right down to Roy’s little growl at one point in the song.

ShutDownVol2Cover#2 – The Beach Boys – “Don’t Worry Baby” – (1964)

Oh man, it was hard to put this song at number two and not number one. This is one of the top three Beach Boys songs they ever recorded. It might be the most beautiful. This was the B-side to “I Get Around,” which was a #1 hit. This only peaked at #24, still respectable for a B-side, but not nearly good enough for what it is. This album was called Shut Down Volume 2 – but the Beach Boys never released a “Shut Down Volume 1″, though Capitol Records did release a compilation album featuring a number of different artists that they named after that other Beach Boys song, “Shut Down” (which does not appear on this album). Pretty weird.

TheManfredMannAlbum-#3 – Manfred Mann – “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” – (1964)

Manfred Mann’s cover of this song was a #1 hit in the U.S. Songs with nonsensical lyrics (or titles) don’t always get the best reviews, but this one is so catchy and its famous appearance in the Bill Murray comedy Stripes has helped it endure.

TheBeatlesSecondAlbumreissuecover#4 – The Beatles – “She Loves You” – (1964)

“She Loves You” was actually a standalone single from 1963 that was thrown onto their The Beatles’ Second Album album that Capitol records released in the U.S. in 1964. It was a #1 in the U.S. and it’s wonderful because this was the Beatles at their most elemental. Pure, simple, pop songs. No politics, so sadness, no drugs, no drama. Just happy, love me do, pop music. Also, this video is ridiculous. I wonder what these girls think now when they see themselves losing their shit over this band 55 years ago.

Undertheboardwalk#5 – The Drifters – “Under the Boardwalk” – (1964)

The original version – this version – of “Under the Boardwalk”, which came out in June 1964, has to be one of the last “pop standards” to ever break into the top five on the pop charts. It was a #4 hit and other than slightly upbeat music, it’s largely done in the same style as vocal groups from throughout the 1950s and even back into the 40s. It’s a classic.

ScreenHunter_945 Mar. 29 18.54#6 – Betty Everett – “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)” – (1964)

This great soul hit did not come from Motown, but instead from Mississippi-born Betty Everett. Her #6 hit was actually a cover of a version done the year before by Merry Clayton. It’s great. Cher would later have one of her biggest hits with her own cover in the 1990s.

Jan_And_Dean_-_The_Little_Old_Lady_From_Pasadena#7 – Jan and Dean – “The Little Old Lady (from Pasadena) ” – (1964)

In 1964, a brand new, shiny red, Super Stock Dodge was serious business (Max Wedge-engined cars are very expensive today). And any little old lady driving one was probably badass. This surf rock classic is often mistaken for being a Beach Boys hit, though they did cover it. Instead, it was a top three hit for Jan & Dean.

220px-Four_Tops_(album)#8 – Four Tops – “Baby I Need Your Loving” – (1965)

This 1964 single from the Four Tops is among their greatest achievements. It’s Motown gold straight from Hitsville U.S.A. It was the group’s first Motown single and, penned by Holland-Dozier-Holland, it reached #11 on the Hot 100. Johnny Rivers covered it in 1967 and took it to #3.

2646959#9 – Dusty Springfield – “I Only Want To Be With You” – (1963)

Released at the tail end of 1963, this was English-singer Dusty Springfield’s debut single. It was upbeat, has horns, and Dusty’s vocal delivery has never given any hint to her British-ness. Somehow, it only managed to hit #12 in the U.S., while it peaked at #4 in the U.K.

220px-Supremes-wherelove#10 – The Supremes – “Baby Love” – (1964)

Every time I listen to a song by the Supremes I think “this is the best song by the Supremes.” And then I listen to a different one and think the same thing. They were fantastic. This Motown #1 was written by, who else, the trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland. Astonishingly, it lost the 1965 Grammy for Best R&B Recording to a song I’ve never heard of. Seems like theft!