The most different versions of a single on the Hot 100

A lot of songs have been on the charts multiple times by different artists. In the fifties, it was not unusual for multiple versions of the same song to be on the charts and even in the top ten at the same time. Christmas songs have to be excluded from this search since streaming and radio airplay threaten to eventually take

It’s natural to wonder which song holds the record for the most charted versions in the Hot 100. I’m still wondering thanks to Hallelujah (which was up to nine by 2016, after which I don’t have chart information yet).

The record was held for a long time by the eight different versions of Stand By Me that reached the charts nine different times.

The first charted version of Stand By Me was recorded by Ben E. King in 1961 and it reached #4.

Earl Grant is best known for his 1957 hit The End, which reached #7 in 1958. He never reached the top forty again, but in 1965 he recorded an instrumental version of Stand By Me that reached #75.

Spyder Turner only reached the Hot 100 twice: his version of Stand By Me reached #12 in 1967 and later that year he peaked at #95 with the ironically titled I Can’t Make It Anymore.

Jimmy Ruffin recorded a song that was written for the Spinners and took What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted to #7 in 1966. His brother David left the Temptations and had a solo hit in 1969; My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me) reached #9 in 1969. The two of them teamed up on a cover of Stand By Me that only got to #61 in 1970 before returning to solo careers (and each of them had one more top ten hit later).

I’m pretty sure that John Lennon had a few hit records both in a previous group and as a solo artist before releasing his version of Stand By Me in 1975. The single got to #20; it was five years before he reached the Hot 100 again.

Urban Cowboy spawned nearly a dozen successful singles, some of which even crossed over from the Country chart to the Hot 100 in 1980. Mickey Gilley’s version of Stand By Me reached the top of the Country chart and #22 on the Hot 100 that year, his only top forty pop single.

Maurice White reached #50 with his version of Stand By Me. He exactly matched Spyer Turner when only other entry on the Hot 100 was a record that reached #95 the next year.

The film Stand By Me used Ben E. King’s version of Stand By Me on its soundtrack and it vaulted his original single back up to #9.

Four family members from the Chicago area formed Young Warriors 4 the Cause and later shortened their name to 4 the Cause. Their version of Stand By Me only reached #82 in the US but was a top ten hit in at least eight countries.

Unchained Melody also charted for nine different runs and also has an additional wrinkle: the Righteous Brothers are on that list twice because a new version had to be recorded when the song was used in the film Ghost. The original version hit #4 in 1965.  That version was re-released on various compilation albums but was not available as a CD or cassette single in 1990, so the Righteous Brothers re-recorded the song and reached #19 with the new version.

Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day 11/28/2019

1963 Little Eva – Let’s Turkey Trot

One local radio station began playing Christmas music a week before Thanksgiving this year and a second is revving up to add to the Christmas sounds the day after. A lot of stores also began selling Christmas paraphernalia the day after Halloween, so the trivialization of Thanksgiving continues.

And there appears to be only one song that comes close to fitting the Thanksgiving holiday: Let’s Turkey Trot.

There was a dance called the Turkey Trot that gained notoriety between 1900 and 1910. The dance was denounced by the Vatican and considered scandalous, and eventually faded away.

You can see Abby doing a portion of the dance on an episode of NCIS; nowadays it looks more humorous than scandalous.

Little Eva was a maid who also had the good fortune to babysit for Carole King and her husband, Gerry Goffin. They wrote The Locomotion for Dee Dee Sharp, but she wasn’t interested in recording the song. They recorded a demo with Little Eva and played it for music producer Don Kirshner (who later worked on music for both the Monkees and the Archies). Don was exceptional at recognizing hit records and had the song released on one of his record labels. The single went to number one on the Hot 100 and sold over a million copies in 1962. The success of the record briefly made a star out of Little Eva.

Little Eva had three more top forty singles in 1962 and 1963. The most unusual single was Let’s Turkey Trot, a song written by Gerry Goffin and Jack Keller. The Cookies (who recorded Chains and Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad About My Baby) and Carole King sang backup vocals on the record. The single reached #20 in 1963. Little Eva not only toured with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars, but she also got to sing the song on Shindig.

Jan and Dean recorded Let’s Turkey Trot on their album Jan & Dean Take Linda Surfin’ but don’t appear to have ever released the song on a single.

Eva was left nearly penniless after the hit records stopped, and quit the music business. Nothing changed when for her when Grand Funk Railroad covered The Loco-Motion, but when Kylie Minogue successfully recorded a cover version in 1988, Little Eva was able to make a living off her music by appearing as an oldies act. She died from complications of cancer in 2003.

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving…this year I can add something new to the list of things I’m grateful for, those of you who read my blog regularly!

Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day 11/25/2019

1975 Tavares – Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel

Five brothers named Ralph, Pooch, Chubby, Butch, and Tiny started singing together in 1959 as Chubby and the Turnpikes. The group had a few local hits after signing with Capitol Records. In 1969, they were joined by drummer Joey Kramer and dropped Chubby from their name and became The Turnpikes. About a year later Joey left to join Aerosmith and the group started using other backup musicians.

In 1973, the group began appearing using their last name as the group name: Tavares. They recorded their first album in 1973 and began to regularly reach the R&B charts with their singles.

We don’t remember it now, but for a brief time, Tavares was more successful than Hall and Oates. That duo’s first charting record was She’s Gone, which only reached #60 on the Hot 100 in 1974. After that single faded, Tavares covered the song and their version went to #50 on the Hot 100 and reached #1 on the R&B chart. The original version by Hall and Oates was reissued in 1976 to capitalize on the success of Sara Smile, and that time the record reached the top ten.

Tavares did even better in 1975 when they released It Only Takes A Minute. That single made it to #10 on the Hot 100 and also reached #1 on the R&B chart.

Freddie Perren was a songwriter and producer who had worked with the Jackson Five on many of their early hits. Freddie began working on disco records in 1975 and produced Love Machine by the Miracles and Boogie Fever by the Sylvers. He also produced the fourth Tavares album, Sky High. The first single from that album was Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel (Part 1). The disco single was the group’s first truly international hit, reaching #1 on the US Dance chart, #3 on the R&B chart, and #15 on the Hot 100. The record also reached #1 in the Netherlands, which led to an appearance on the Dutch television show TopPop.

The group had a long string of R&B hits and four of them reached the Hot 100 as well. They continued recording new music until 1983, after which the group continued to appear in oldie shows.

My eBooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks are all available on Amazon on my author page:


Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day 11/21/2019

1973 Three Dog Night – Pieces Of April

Dave Loggins was the second cousin of singer-songwriter Kenny Loggins. He released his first album, Personal Belongings, in February 1972. The album was a collection of soft rock/folk-rock songs that he wrote and played acoustic guitar on. A number of studio musicians aided in the recording. The first single from the album was Claudia, but little happened when it was released.

One of the songs on the album was noticed by somebody since Three Dog Night recorded Pieces Of April on their album Seven Separate Fools, which was released shortly after that. The first single from their album was Black & White, which reached the top of the Hot 100 late that Summer. The album was released with something special inside: seven oversized playing cards, each of which featured a photo of one of the members of the group.

Thanks no doubt due to the name of the band, people think of Three Dog Night as only have three members. The band was indeed formed by the three vocalists, Danny Hutton, Cory Wells, and Chuck Negron in 1967. They hired additional musicians to back them up and initially worked with Brian Wilson and recorded as Redwood. When that didn’t work out they dropped their backup band and started over with four new musicians. After one more change, they settled into a lineup that lasted through their hit records: Michael Allsup on guitar, Jimmy Greenspoon on keyboards, Joe Schermie on bass, and Floyd Sneed on drums. Danny’s girlfriend suggested changing the group’s name to Three Dog Night after she read an article about indigenous Australians who slept with one, two, or three dogs when the weather got cold, colder, or really really cold.

Late in the year, the band released their second single from the album, Pieces Of April, a ballad that Chuck sang lead on. The single peaked at #19 in early 1973. Dave’s original version of the song was also released in 1973 as the B-side of Think’n Of Your, but neither side charted.

After Three Dog Night’s success with Dave’s song, he was able to record a second album and the single Please Come To Boston was released in 1973 and reached #5 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

After years of not charting, in 1979 Dave recorded a completely different arrangement of Pieces Of April. The new single reached #22 on the Adult Contemporary chart and was the last time Dave had any measurable success.

Three Dog Night’s career continued strong for a few more years before the hits ran out and the lineup started to evolve. Al Ciner from Rufus and the American Breed joined the group and several other members were replaced over time. Danny began having health and drug problems and was fired from the group and replaced by Jay Gruska in 1975. The group continues to tour and released a single as recently as 2017.

My latest book has articles with music history and trivia for more oldies that the radio doesn’t seem to play and includes links to over 150 videos as well: