Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Billboard Blurbs of the Top 40 Hits from 1955 to 1986

Billboard Publications, Inc./New York; 1987 by Joel Whitburn

Beginning with the A's...

ABC got its start in the British synth-pop boom of 1983-83, but landed its biggest hit, "Be Near Me." in late 1985, long after that boom had gone bust.

Bryan Adams & Tina Turner's "It's Only Love" was one of six top-20 hits from Adams' smash album, Reckless. Only two albums in history have generated that many top-20 hits: Michael Jackson's thriller and Bruce Springsteen's Born In The U.S.A., both of which yielded seven.

a-ha's "Take On Me" was the first single by a Norwegian group to hit No. 1. Great record, great video, great cheekbones--how could it miss?

Ambrosia had the biggest hit from the soundtrack to All This And World War II, a Beatles knockoff film that was such a disaster it made Sgt. Pepper's look like a smash.

The Animals' string of Top-40 hits ran out in 1968, whereupon group leader Eric Burdon set out for a solo career. His 1970 solo debut, "Spill The Wine," was a smash, but it did more to introduce his backing group on the record, War, than to create a constituency for burdon's work.

Annette Funicello is best known today as a pitch-woman for Skippy Peanut Butter. It's a wonder she wasn't signed up by Dole: One of her biggest hits was "Pineapple Princess."

Arcadia and Power Station, the two off-shoot groups from Duran Duran, both landed No. 6 singles in 1985. Power Station's "Some Like It Hot" hit No. 6 in May; Arcadia's "Election Day" reached No. 6 in December.

Ashford & Simpson have been writing top-20 hits for other artists since the mid-60s, but they didn't write one for themselves until 1985. Better late than never.

Louis Armstrong was 63 when "Hello, Dolly!" topped the chart, making him the oldest artist to ever have a No. 1 single during the rock era. The youngest was Little Stevie Wonder, who was just 13 when "Fingertips" hit No. 1.

Frankie Avalon's "Why" was the last No. 1 hit of the 1950s. The first was the Andrews Sisters' "I Can Dream, Can't I." That's change, but is it progress?

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