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 11/29/2019

Chris Thompson was born in England but grew up in New Zeland. He sang and played guitar in a number of bands there before moving to Australia. When no clear career path appeared down under, Chris moved back to London in 1973.

In 1976 he joined Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and sang lead on their number one cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Blinded By The Light. After a few years with that band, Chris moved to Los Angeles and formed the band Night.

Night included a female singer, Stevie Lange. She sang lead on the group’s first singleHot Summer Night. The single was written by Walter Egan (Magnet and Steel) and reached #18 in 1979. The group had one other hit record which was released after that.

A remake of the 1931 film The Champ was filmed in 1979. The film starred Jon Voight, Faye Dunaway, and a very young Ricky Shroder. The theme song for the film was If You Remember Me, which was written by the all-star lineup of Carole Bayer Sager and Marvin Hamlisch. Chris recorded the song, and it was released as a single, but it was not used in the movie.

The single was released with the instrumental Theme From The Champ on the B-side. Various copies of the single were credited as Chris Thompson, Chris Thompson & Night, and Chris Thompson and Night.

Night had one more single reach #87 a few years later, but otherwise did not continue.

Chris co-wrote and sang backup vocals on the Doobie Brothers hit Ain’t No Stopping Us and released his own first solo album in 1981. He and Jennifer Warnes recorded the theme song to All The Right Moves in 1983.

In 1986 he was part of the re-formed Manfred Mann Earth Band and recorded a few more albums with the band through 2004. He also continued to record solo albums and guest vocals with the Alan Parsons Project and other artists.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Thompson_(English_musician)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Champ_(1979_film)

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

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!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Eva
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let%27s_Turkey_Trot

Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day 11/27/2019

In the sixties, Paul Davis was a member of several groups, including the Six Soul Survivors and the Endless Chain. He began his own solo career in 1969 singing pop/country and began writing and recording his own songs in the early seventies.

Paul’s recording of I Go Crazy entered the Hot 100 in August 1977 and remained on the Hot 100 through May 27, 1978, when it fell back to #99. The 40-week run was a record that lasted until Tainted Love by Soft Cell stayed on the chart for 43 weeks beginning in 1982. Songs can more easily hang around on the charts now that streaming is more important than actual sales, resulting in Radioactive by Imagine Dragons staying on the Hot 100 for an unimaginable 87 weeks.

His next release after his record-setting single was a cover of the Beach Boys’ Darling that he recorded with Susan Collins. The record peaked at #51 that Summer.

In August 1978, Paul’s recording of Sweet Life reached #17 on the Hot 100 and #7 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The single stayed on the charts for “only” 21 weeks.

He didn’t reach the Hot 100 again until 1980 when he began a string of four more top forty singles.

Paul stopped recording for almost a half-dozen years and then found a new career on the Country chart. He had moved to Nashville and continued to write songs. Paul wrote the song Meet Me In Montana which was a #1 hit on the Country chart for Marie Osmond and Dan Seals in 1985. He then wrote another #1 Country hit for Dan.

Paul then returned to the studio and sang and co-wrote on a #1 duet with Marie Osmond and another #1 record with Tanya Tucker and Paul Overstreet.

After being shot during a robbery in 1986 Paul stopped recording and concentrated on his songwriting.

Paul died after a heart attack in 2008. Many of Paul’s recordings and songs are now owned by the MPL Publishing Company which in turn is owned by Paul McCartney.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Davis_(singer)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Billboard_Hot_100_chart_achievements_and_milestones#Most_total_weeks_on_the_Hot_100

Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day 11/26/2019

Judy Collins was born in Seattle and her family moved to Denver when she was about ten years old. Her father was a blind singer and piano player, and Judy learned to play the piano and sing at a young age. By her teens, she had added guitar to her repetiteur.

After graduating from high school, Judy began performing folk music at small clubs in the Denver area. She later moved to Connecticut and then to Greenwich Village in New York City. Her first album came out in 1961 and she followed that with a new album almost every year. While she also released singles, none of them produced hits until she covered Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides, Now in 1968. The single reached #8 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It also won the Grammy Award for the Best Folk Performance.

While she did not reach the Top Forty on the Hot 100 very often, she had ten more singles reach the top forty on the Adult Contemporary chart.

Her last hit on the Hot 100 was Send In The Clowns. The song was from the play, A Little Night Music, and Judy’s cover version was released in 1975 and just managed to reach #38. While Judy did not win a Grammy for Send In The Clowns, her performance no doubt helped the song win the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1976.

The play was turned into a movie in 1977. Even though the film starred Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Rigg, critics and audiences were not too impressed. Elizabeth Taylor sang Send In The Clowns in the film, but Judy’s version was re-released as well and did better the second time around. The single peaked at #19 in 1977 and was popular enough that Judy was invited to perform the song on the Muppet Show. Rather than sing to the muppets, she was backed up while singing by dancing (voguing?) clowns who looked a lot like miming muppets.

Judy has released 27 studio albums during her career including her most recent album in 2019. She received a Grammy Nomination as recently as 2017 for her album Silver Skies Blue.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Collins
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Collins_discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Send_In_the_Clowns
https://www.grammy.com/grammys/artists/judy-collins

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

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tavares_(group)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven_Must_Be_Missing_an_Angel
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Perren

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day 11/24/2019

It’s difficult to know how to categorize Leon Russell.

He wrote a large number of hit records during his career, including (but certainly not limited to) Everybody Loves A Clown, She’s Just My StyleDelta LadySuperstarA Song For You, and This Masquerade.

He worked as a session musician appearing on countless hit records playing piano, keyboards, guitar, xylophone, and harpsichord. He also arranged and produced records.

In 1970, he organized and led the Mad Dogs And Englishmen tour.

While he had only a few hit singles, he released six gold albums.

Leon recorded his last top forty single on the Hot 100 in 1975. His single of Lady Blue reached #14 that year. Two more singles followed in 1976, but they only reached #53 and #52.

Earlier in his career, Leon recorded and released an album using the pseudonym Hank Wilson. He was no doubt exposed to Country music in the fifties and early sixties while he was growing up in Tulsa, and felt the need to lean into Country. It was an album of Country songs, and three singles from the album touched either the Hot 100 or the Country charts. Leon briefly toured with Willie Nelson and in 1979 they released a single. The duet was a cover of the Elvis tune, Heartbreak Hotel. The single reached #1 on the Country charts that year and was nominated for a Grammy award. He later won a Grammy award for a Country instrumental version of Foggy Mountain Breakdown in 2001.

Leon was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. He died at the age of 74 after complications from a heart attack in 2016.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Russell#Singles
https://www.grammy.com/grammys/artists/leon-russell

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: