Tuesday, November 5, 2013

We're Number One!

As I've said before, our music of the late 1960s and early '70s is our universal language, the common bond of our VU Centennial Class of 1973. To me the music is particularly important because it bringsa back so many memories of good times and good friends from working (and hanging out) at WRVU (my home away from home).

So I thought I'd start a monthly update looking back on the Number One songs (based on the BILLBOARD HOT 100) from the time we were together in school. Let's start with November, 1969.

We'd had a few months on campus and had gotten our sea legs as Commodores. Hopefully, we hadn't gotten too many deficiencies in our grades and we were looking forward to our first holiday break(and going home) with the Thanksgiving coming.

Of course, unlike today, we only got a five day weekend (Thursday-Friday) off, not the whole WEEK students enjoy now. And when we tried to start out early (go home Tuesday or Wednesday) one or more of our teachers would, of course, schedule a big test or paper due....

Now Elvis Presley is not a rock star I ordinarily think about in our era of music. He's more a 1950s and early '60s hit maker (and he was huge back then). But playing off his successful comeback in 1968, Elvis recorded his seventeenth and last number one record in the U.S., SUSPICIOUS MINDS, which hit the top (for one week) on November 1, 1969. The song is still ranked #91 on ROLLING STONE's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (thank you, thank you very much)....


From November 8 until November 28, the Number #1 Hot 100 BILLBOARD song came from The Fifth Dimension, "WEDDING BELL BLUES." Written by Laura Nyro it not only became a top hit, Wikipedia says it coined what is now a popular phrase in pop culture, especially for women waiting for certain someone to either pop the question or set the date.

Indeed, two members of the group, Marilyn McCoo and Bill Davis were engaged when the song was a hit, but had not set a wedding date. Life does imitate art. Watch the interplay between McCoo and Davis in this YouTube video...


The final #1 BILLBOARD song of November, 1969 (November 29-December 5) was actually a two-sided hit from The Beatles,  COME TOGETHER/ SOMETHING. Both A-side songs came from the ABBEY ROAD album with COME TOGETHER written by John Lennon and SOMETHING by George Harrison. We didn't know it but the end for The Beatles was looming just ahead. It had been a long and winding road since they led the British Invasion when we were in junior high, but after the group split, we learned to let it be. Here's COME TOGETHER/SOMETHING.....



A couple of intereresting notes to offer. SOMETHING has been covered by 150 other artists according to Wikipedia. George Harrison said his favorite version was done by James Brown whic he kept on his personal jukebox. As for COME TOGETHER, it only made it to #4 in the UK, probably the song was banned by the BBC perhaps because the lyric "he shoot Coca-Cola" to be product placement.

If you've got a favorite song from our era you'd like to place here, send me an e-mail or a message below or the Class Facebook page and we get it on  (just like the old days at WRVU taking listener requests at 7424 and 7425 on the VU phone system). I'll never forget those numbers...or the music!


Unknown said...

Thanksgiving week. Number one requested song was Peter, Paul, and Mary "Leaving on a Jet Plane." I swear we played that once an hour all four years for the lovesick Freshmen.

Steve Womack

Anonymous said...

Thanks Pat for continuing to blog about our lives and our music.