the #1 hit records on the pop charts 1967

Estimated reading time is 37 minutes.

THIS IS THE EIGHTH in a series of ten articles listing and addressing the #1 records of the year as they appeared on Cash Box magazine’s Top 100 chart from 1960 through 1969. It was originally published as “Hey, There Georgy Girl, Penny Lane, And Ruby Tuesday!” on my publication Tell It Like It Was on Medium on July 27, 2019. The article below is identical to that one.

Please read “Introduction To The #1 Records On The Cash Box Pop Chart Of The 1960s” before reading this article. It will explain the nature of this project, introduce you to the writers whose opinions follow, and will make everything easier to understand.

The opinions expressed below are those of John Ross, Lew Shiner, and me. John is the talent behind the Round Place In The Middle website where he opines about rock & roll, western movies, and detective novels. John is my favorite writer writing about rock & roll. He is currently working on his first novel.

I have removed the links between song titles and their corresponding YouTube pages that were originally included in this article as many of the pages have been deleted.

Lew is one of the finest novelists in America. Since you’re reading his name here, start with his novel Glimpses, which combines time travel with fantasy and the milieu of ’60s rock music. Follow that with Deserted Cities Of The Heart (time-travel and psychedelic mushrooms!) and then his latest, Outside The Gates Of Heaven, which also takes place in the ’60s.

If you want to skim through this article and skip around from record to record or comment to comment, that works and you’ll have fun. But this article will make more sense if you read it from beginning to end.

One of the first things you will notice is that each of the articles opens with a calendar of events that reflect the zeitgeist of the era. Hopefully, these will give you some background and some context in which the #1 records of that were made.

 

Cowsills 1967 1000 bw

FEATURED ARTIST: Having just turned 16, when I heard the Cowsills’ The Rain, The Park & Other Things on Top 40 radio in late 1967, I had to hate it! It was like a huge helping of something too sugary that, after eating it all, you never wanted to eat anything sweet again. My opinion of the record didn’t change much until the last few years of the last century when Rich Rockford—Vancouver’s favorite Charlie Manson lookalike—talked me into opening up my head and turned me on to the song’s delights in. Now it’s one of my favorite singles in a year full of records I can say the same thing about!

In the memories of some of us who lived then, the group has a reputation of having had a hugely successful career. But after reaching the top with The Rain, The Park & Other Things in 1967, they only made the Top 10 two more times: Indian Lake in 1968 (which, fifty years later, sounds like something Al Jardine might have concocted for a Beach Boys album in 1969–1972) and Hair in 1969 (which, fifty years later, sounds like something that belongs on a Broadway stage lampooning the Sixties Counterculture).

When the Cowsills arrived in 1967—one year after the pre-Fab Four (the condescending nickname given the Monkees at the time—they looked like yet another cynical ploy of the record industry to capitalize on the popularity of rock groups by giving the pre-adolescents their own group. Had Kasenetz-Katz stuff not followed in 968, we would probably use the term bubblegum music to describe the Cowsills.

Such was not the case: The Cowsills were a talented group who happened to be rather young (except for Mom) and, with little Susan, rather adorable. The lives of the various siblings after their fifteen minutes of fame were the opposite of adorable. Family Band: The Cowsills Story is a documentary movie about the group and the family, neither of which have the happiest of endings.

I wrote the above to call your attention to a project of Billy Cowsills, the Blue Shadows. Described by one Canadian scribe as “a group melts an edgy Mersey-like guitar sound with exacting vocal harmonies drawn of the early Everly and Louvin Brothers,” Billy himself referred to the quartet as “three vegetarians and a junkie.” They lasted four years, produced two albums, won a Juno Award for Best County Group or Duo, and then dispersed. If you haven’t heard of the Blue Shadows, stop right here and give a listen to the stunning Deliver Me.

 

1967

January
The first Human Be-In took place in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

February
The television comedy/variety show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour débuted on CBS-TV in the United States.

March
An Easter Be-In was held at Central Park in New York with more than 10,000 participants. The New York Times described them as “poets from the Bronx, dropouts from the East Village, interior decorators from the East Side, teachers from the West Side, and teenyboppers from Long Island [who] wore carnation petals and paper stars and tiny mirrors on foreheads, paint around the mouth and cheeks, flowering bedsheets, buttons, and tights.”

April
Demonstrations against the Vietnam War in New York City and San Francisco organized by the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam drew hundreds of thousands of people.

May
Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu were (finally) married in Las Vegas.

June
Doubleday Books published Harlan Ellison’s multi-author anthology of original short stories Dangerous Visions.

July
The British Parliament decriminalized homosexuality.

August
The first pulsar (“an entirely novel kind of star”) was discovered.

September
BBC Radio completely restructured its programming, introducing a new national pop station, Radio 1, based on pirate station Radio London.

October
Che Guevara was captured in Bolivia and executed.

November
US Army General William Westmoreland boasted, “I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing.”

December
Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first successful human heart transplant in Cape Town, South Africa.

 


 

1967

 

Medium 45 1966 Monkees ImABeliever 600

January 7–February 11

The Monkees
I’m A Believer
Colgems 66-1002
(6 weeks)
This record spent two weeks at #1 on December 24–December 31, 1966, for a total of eight weeks at the top. Refer to that date for more information.

 

Medium 45 1967 Seekers GeorgyGirl 600 1

February 18

The Seekers
Georgy Girl
Capitol 5756
(1 week)

The song Georgy Girl is heard at both the beginning and end of the movie Georgy Girl. Each of the versions in the movie has different lyrics, and both of those lyrics are different from the single. “Georgy Girl” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song but lost to the theme song from the film Born Free.

Lew: 1967 was also the high point of Swinging London—clubs like the Scotch of St. James, the Bag O’ Nails, and the Ad Lib; the Indica Gallery; clothing shops in Carnaby Street and King’s Road. The 1966 film Georgy Girl, starring Lynn Redgrave (Vanessa’s sister), was one attempt to capitalize on this, and this single was the film’s theme song.

Neal: Another example of how my prejudices work against me: Georgy Girl was yet another record that I hated back then. Of course, it’s a fine pop record and I have come to enjoy it in my incipient dotage. But my decades-long hate affair with it has kept me from ever seeing the movie!

This despite the fact that it is, as Lew said, about Swinging London of the Swinging Sixties. The cast alone should have drawn me to see it by now: Lynn Redgrave is Georgy and her suitors are James Mason and Alan Bates. I just ordered it from the King County Library and will have seen it long before you read these words.

John: I’ll say this for it. I’ve never seen the movie, but hearing the song makes me feel like I have.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: No
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (August 14, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: 3,000,000
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 RollingStones RubyTuesday PS 600

Medium 45 1967 RollingStones RubyTuesday 600

February 25

The Rolling Stones
Ruby Tuesday
London 45-904
(2 weeks)

The Rolling Stones’ first single of the new year was Let’s Spend The Night Together / Ruby Tuesday. The featured side was a great rocker but it was about exactly what the title implies and considered too risqué for American Top 40 radio and was unofficially “banned.” (And I have linked the title to the video from the Ed Sullivan Show, who “forced” the Stones to sing “let’s spend some time together,” to which Mick does some exaggerated eye-rolling.)

Fortunately, the Stones had the good sense to include an even stronger flip-side: Ruby Tuesday was not about sex but about a mysterious, mercurial girl who “can’t be chained to a life where nothing’s gained or nothing’s lost.”

The radio stations simply flipped the record and played the B-side instead of the A-side and the Stones had one of their biggest hits in the States! After one week at #1, Ruby Tuesday was bumped out of the top spot and then returned to #1 on March 11, 1967, for a total of two weeks at the toppermost of the poppermost.

John: To quote me from a prior blog post: “Keith wrote the lyrics about someone (a Show Biz kid named Linda Keith) for whom he had enough affection to alert her English actor dad when she was on the verge of disappearing forever—into the underbelly of New York City and the arms of Jimi Hendrix as it happened.

A rescue operation was launched. She was saved. Whether it was written before, during, or after, this is about the hope that she—and the thousands like her who were a new phenomenon of the culture that enabled the Stones, and which they enabled in turn—would be. That’s still what it’s about.”

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (1 week)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (May 1, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: 3,000,000
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Yes

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 Supremes LoveIsHere 600

March 4

The Supremes
Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone
Motown M-1103
(1 week)

I find Diana Ross’ vocal instrument to be rather limited in range and its ability to convey many emotions. I normally do not find her attempts to convey complex emotions believable. This is not to say she is not a good singer, but her light, breathy style sounds best to me when used in a sex-kittenish manner.

Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone has always been one of my favorite Supremes recordings because Ross’s vocal is so convincing. Unfortunately, Brian and Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier saddled the record with the lame idea of including several spoken sections which are not convincing at all. Oh, well.

John: I think it’s fair to say Neal and I part company on the Supremes more than any other major ’60s act. Diana Ross’s massive insecurities were the engine of their image and their music and clearly tapped into something essential that millions responded to in an unstable age. She always convinced me. That said, this is not one of my favorites—it suited their themes perfectly, but somehow I’ve never rated it on a level with their very best.

Lew: I’m with John on this one, and on the Supremes in general, especially the Holland-Dozier-Holland material.

Neal: John, Lew, all I said was Diana had limited range, not that the Supremes were a lousy group. They were great but I often thought that Ross wasn’t the strongest singer and maybe Flo or Mary should have been given a shot at the lead. I am neither original nor unique in that opinion.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (1 week)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: No
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Yes

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 RollingStones RubyTuesday 600

March 11

The Rolling Stones
Ruby Tuesday
(1 week)
This record spent one week at #1 on February 25, 1967, for a total of two weeks at the top. Refer to that date for more information.

 

Medium 45 1967 Beatles PennyLane PS 600

Medium 45 1967 Beatles PennyLane 600

March 18–March 25

The Beatles
Penny Lane
Capitol 5810
(2 weeks)

In the UK, this was issued as part of a double-A-sided single: Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever. It was the Fab Four’s first forays into psychedelia on the 45 rpm format. Where “Penny Lane” sounded like a lovely trip through the neighborhood while eight miles high, Strawberry Fields Forever could have been used as the theme music for a movie about Alice finding her way around Wonderland.

Lew: Lennon’s Strawberry Fields Forever was written and recorded first, and McCartney’s Penny Lane was in some ways a deliberate answer record to it.

John: A brilliant, fragmented version of childhood that somehow coheres in McCartney’s vocals. One of their very best—and, paired with Strawberry Fields Forever, a forever contender for the greatest two-sided single.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (1 week)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (March 20, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: 2,000,000
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Yes

But do you like it?
John:
✮ ✮

Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 Turtles HappyTogether 600b

April 1–April 8

The Turtles
Happy Together
White Whale WW-244
(2 weeks)

Written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, Happy Together was a brilliant piece of sardonic irony as it wasn’t about being either happy or being together. It was about the poor singer imagining being together happily with the girl of his dreams. It was about unrequited love, which most of us have experienced. I know I have:

Imagine me and Nicole Kidman.

I do.

I think about her day and night.

It’s only right, to think about the girl I love.

I should call her up, invest a dime.

What’s the worst that could happen

Berni might find out and my cook would be goosed!

Lew: The song was written by Alan Gordon and Garry Bonner of the New York band the Magicians, whose biggest hit was An Invitation To Cry. The Turtles were one of my favorite ’60s bands, and while they got most of their mileage from cover tunes, they could also write great originals like Elenore.

When the band broke up, lead singers Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman lost the right to use the “Turtles” name, or their own names, in performance, and so billed themselves as Flo (Volman, short for “Phlorescent Leech”) & Eddie.

John: A perfect distillation of the year’s developing chart-topping theme: Melancholy. I could imagine some lad dedicating it to Ruby Tuesday, in hopes she’d finally understand her worth.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (3 weeks)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (May 4, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Yes

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 NancySinatra SomethinStupid 600

April 15

Nancy Sinatra & Frank Sinatra
Somethin’ Stupid
Reprise 0561
(2 weeks)

Somethin’ Stupid was written by Carson Parks, who recorded the original version with his wife Gaile Foote Parks as Carson & Gaile. At the same time that Parks was introducing Frank Sinatra to this song, his brother of Van Dyke was introducing Brian Wilson to dove-nested towers and columnated ruins domino.

After one week at #1, Somethin’ Stupid was bumped out of the top spot and then returned to #1 on May 6, for one more week as the nation’s best-selling record for a total of two weeks at the top.

Lew: The title of this song is truth in advertising.

Neal: Ahh, I find it a likable lightweight.

John: Too much Frank. I always liked Nancy better.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (4 weeks)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (April 19, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No

But do you like it?
John:
Lew:
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 Monkees ALittleBitMe 600

April 22–April 29

The Monkees
A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You
Colgems 66-1004
(2 weeks)

Like everybody in the world—except, perhaps, writers and editors who take their rock and pop too damn seriously (John has dubbed them the Crit-Illuminati, an appellation that begs explanation) (and I am on his case to write it for readers of Tell It Like It Was)—I loved the Monkees. My brother, sister, and I watched the show every week, usually with our Father. It was the only thing resembling rock & roll that he liked (except Elvis Presley’s FUN IN ACAPULCO album).

While I enjoyed Davy Jones on the show, I almost always found his singing wimpy. But they work perfectly here! Written by Neil Diamond, A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You is essentially a Davy Jones solo record as no other Monkee took part in the sessions. Backing vocals may be by Diamond.

John: One of their best, which is saying a lot. If Neil Diamond, who was fantastic in this period, was backing up Davy, he was backing a better singer.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: No
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (March 8, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: 3,000,000
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew:
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 NancySinatra SomethinStupid 600

May 6

Nancy Sinatra & Frank Sinatra
Somethin’ Stupid
(1 week)
This record spent one week at #1 on April 15, 1967, for a total of two weeks at the top. Refer to that date for more information.

 

Medium 45 1967 Supremes TheHappening 600

May 13

The Supremes
The Happening
Motown M-1107
(1 week)

In the late ’50s, a “new” art form developed: the “happening.” These were staged events, often in public places, that combined “elements of dance, theater, music, poetry, and visual art to blur the boundaries between life and art and forge a path for new methods of artistic practice. But for all their historical significance, this genre of work remains elusive and ephemeral.” (Artsy)

For a few years, happenings were the talk among New York art circles who cared about such things. and they became popular in the mid-1960s. It’s probably not a coincidence that Berry Gordy had his songwriters come up with a song titled The Happening. This is that song but it has nothing to do with avant-garde art; it is a convoluted take on waking up to life when love takes a detour.

Or something like that.

Lew: Most people date Motown’s psychedelic period from the Supremes’ Reflections later in ’67, but you can see the first tentative steps toward acknowledging the counterculture here. A “happening” was a kind of cross between an art performance with audience participation and a spontaneous eruption of coolness. Drugs were often involved.

Neal: Okay, now we have to write something somewhere about Motown’s psychedelic music, mostly Norman Whitfield’s songs and productions for the Temptations. I will say this as a teaser: I didn’t know anyone back “then” who did acid who didn’t chuckle at the idea of listening to Motown’s so-called “psychedelic albums.” I did know some trippers who got off on MAGGOT BRAIN, but that’s also another story.

John: My least favorite Supremes’ record (let alone hit). This does not make me want to see the movie . . . and, by reaching #1, it has tainted every Supremes’ comp released since. How this reached the top while Reflections, their greatest record, stalled at #2, is one of the mysteries of the age—or else just a sign that things were about to go very, very wrong.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (1 week)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: No
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Yes

But do you like it?
John:
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 YoungRascals Groovin PS 600

Medium 45 1967 YoungRascals Groovin 600

May 20–May 27

The Young Rascals
Groovin’
Atlantic 45-2501
(3 weeks)

One of the loveliest recordings of the decade, I hear Groovin’ as the singer and his girl blissfully high, walking around Central Park in New York in the summer, maybe even tripping down the streets of the city smiling at everybody they see.

After one week at #1, Groovin’ was bumped out of the top spot and then returned to #1 on June 24, 1967, for one more week as the nation’s best-selling record for a total of three weeks at the top.

John: Not only one of the greatest records of the decade and of the Rascals’ own mighty career, but the inspiration for Smokey Robinson’s Cruisin’, one of the greatest of his even mightier career more than a decade later. That was how rock & roll—and America—used to work.

Lew: Smokey was once asked where he got his inspiration, and he said, “Other people’s songs.” I was shocked at first, but then I thought, of course, you do. Everybody does. Smokey was just being more honest than most. Not my favorite Rascals song (that would be Come On Up or Lonely Too Long or It’s A Beautiful Morning or half a dozen others) but still a great one.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (4 weeks)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (June 13, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Yes

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 Happenings IGotRhythm 600

June 3

The Happenings
I Got Rhythm
B.T. Puppy 45-527
(1 week)

Another record I hated back then but sounds pretty damn good in my old age! In fact, as an old fart, I can modify the lyrics and make this my song: “I have rhythm! I have music! I still have my girl! Who could ask for anything more?”

John: The Four Seasons crossed with the Gershwins. I’m surprised nobody thought of it before. Catchy. I wasn’t sure I’d ever heard it before, but pulling it up on YouTube I realized it was one of those oldies I never learned much about because it didn’t quite grab me. It didn’t make me want to change the station, didn’t make me want to find the record.

With all this talk about psychedelia, I should mention that I can’t imagine anything further out than their cover of My Mammy, a Top 20 hit that is, uh, not played on oldies stations.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: No
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: No
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 ArethaFranklin Respect 600

June 10–June 17

Aretha Franklin
Respect
Atlantic 45-2403
(2 weeks)

By 1966, Aretha Franklin had been recording for more than ten years. During that time, she’d released more than two dozen singles, only one of which reached the national Top 40. With Columbia, she had recorded everything under the Sun—except some real soul. Then she signed with Atlantic Records who put her in a funky little studio and let her cut loose.

Respect was her second single for Atlantic and the one that put her on the map. Written by Otis Redding, his version had been a Top 10 R&B hit in 1965. But since 1967, say “r-e-s-p-e-c-t” and everyone thinks A-r-e-t-h-a.

John: Well, Aretha’s first Atlantic single, I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Loved You) went Top 10 on both Billboard and Cash Box, and #1 R&B so I don’t know about this putting her on the map. But it’s true Respect became her—and soul’s—defining anthem. It’s also true that a thousand spins haven’t broken its awe-inspiring spell. Nor will a thousand more.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (2 weeks)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (June 1, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: 2,000,000
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: Yes
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Yes
• Grammy Award: Best Rhythm & Blues Recording 1967
• Grammy Award: Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance – Female 1967

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 YoungRascals Groovin 600

June 24

The Young Rascals
Groovin’
(1 week)
This record spent two weeks at #1 on May 20–May 27, 1967, for a total of three weeks at the top. Refer to that date for more information.

 

Medium 45 1967 Association Windy 600

July 1–July 8

The Association
Windy
Warner Brothers 7041
(3 weeks)

After a relatively disappointing second album and its attendant singles, Windy was the Association’s second #1 record. They reached the Top 10 with two more sides but by the end of 1968, they were has-beens on AM radio Top 40.

There are a handful of records from this time that are now lumped into the sunshine pop genre (a term that I find ridiculous) that are simply great records that don’t have the harder sound or edge we associate with most rock music. Windy is one such record.

There are a number of records from this time that dealt obliquely with the psychedelic experience and are often not recognized as such by many fans and even historians. Windy is one such record.

While it is wise to assume little, it is not unwise to assume that pop songs of the ’60s that mention certain words (such as “high” and “stoned”) are making reference to the smoking of marijuana and its effects on most human beings.

Similarly, any song using the word “trip” or “tripping” is suspect: that is, one can assume the possibility that the songwriter wanted listeners to make some connection between LSD and the psychedelic experience.

So, take the lyrics to this song at face value then the song is about a girl named Windy who stumbles around the streets of the city, smiling at everybody she sees. After enough falls and enough bruised elbows and knees, the smiling must have been stoic at best. 

Instead, consider the lyrics being about a girl named Windy who does lots of acid and is therefore always tripping down the streets of the city. And if you’ve ever done any tripping, you know that smiling at everybody you see comes naturally! Handing out rainbows and flying above the clouds isn’t that difficult, either.

After one week at #1, Windy was bumped out of the top spot and then returned to #1 on July 22, 1967, for one more week as the nation’s best-selling record for a total of three weeks at the top.

Lew: The Association’s first big hit, Along Comes Mary, didn’t get played in Dallas because somebody decided “Mary” was “Mary Jane” (a.k.a marijuana) and they didn’t want to endanger our youth by suggesting that anything good could come of this. So the first I heard from them was Cherish, in 1966, which I loved.

Windy, though it sounded at first like a song about flatulence, charmed me anyway. The Association had more singers than they knew what to do with, intricate harmonies, and backing by the ever-astonishing Wrecking Crew (Hal Blaine et al.).

What’s not to love?

John: One of the great harmony groups from harmony’s golden age. I had a brief rock snob phase in my early twenties where I attempted to dismiss things like this. Mercifully, it didn’t take. Unlike Ruby Tuesday, Windy didn’t need saving. I keep hoping I’ll spot her in the park someday.

Neal: Lew, as one old fart to another, how many people our age do you think remember this song as being about a girl named Wendy?

Warner Brothers did not seek immediate RIAA certification for an official Gold Record Award for Windy. This was rectified on July 14, 1976, when it received a Gold Record Award for 1,000,000 sales and a Platinum Record Award for 2,000,000 sales.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (4 weeks)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: No
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 FarnkieValli CantTakeMyEyes blue 600

July 15

Frankie Valli
Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You
Philips 40446
(2 weeks)

Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You was the fourth single that Philips issued as a Frankie Valli solo record. It was the first of his solo records to crack the Top 40. On Billboard, it peaked at #2, but on Cash Box, it was #1 for two weeks. It reached the top for a week, then was nudged out of the top spot by the Association and then came back for a second week as the nation’s #1 record.

From 1962 through 1965, I pretty much hated the Four Seasons, mainly because I found Frankie Valli’s falsetto shrill and worse, unnecessary. Unlike Smokey Robinson, Valli seemed to use it as a kind of shrill novelty factor in the group’s recordings.

Someone must have agreed with me as the group’s first new record in 1966 was Working My Way Back To You, a record so good that I started to like the Seasons! And Frankie’s falsetto was under control—from this point forward, Valli seemed content merely to be a truly fine singer instead of a novelty act.

The group followed with more good records in 1966, notably Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ‘Bout Me) and I’ve Got You Under My Skin. I started to change my opinion about Frankie and the guys. Then came Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You and any doubts I had about my new-found appreciation for a group I bragged about hating a year before were gone.

After one week at #1, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You was bumped out of the top spot and then returned to #1 on July 29, 1967, for one more week as the nation’s best-selling record for a total of two weeks at the top.

Lew: In one of my rare disagreements with Neal, I liked Frankie Valli all along. I dig falsetto singing and loved nutty songs like Liar, Liar by the Castaways. However, even I couldn’t go the distance to novelty records like the Four Seasons’ version of Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right, which the group released under the pseudonym The Wonder Who? in 1965.

Neal: Oh, Lawdy Lawdy Miss Clawdy, I had forgotten about The Wonder Who? In 1965, I thought it sounded like the Chipmunks except Alvin had a cold.

John: I stand second to no one in my love for Frankie Valli’s music. And, going by its prominence in the Broadway smash Jersey Boys, based on the lives of Valli and the Four Seasons, it’s probably his and songwriter Bob Gaudio’s favorite of their recordings. For me, it’s grown a bit over the years, but it’s never going to be my favorite. With some regret, I’m forced to rate it as good, not great.

Neal: The original recording was used to fine effect in the 1997 movie Conspiracy Theory. I won’t say any more, just in case you haven’t seen it.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: No
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (September 13, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 Association Windy 600

July 22

The Association
Windy
(1 week)
This record spent two weeks at #1 on July 1–July 8, 1967, for a total of three weeks at the top. Refer to that date for more information.

 

Medium 45 1967 FarnkieValli CantTakeMyEyes blue 600

July 29

Frankie Valli
Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You
(1 week)
This record spent one week at #1 on June 15, 1967, for a total of two weeks at the top. Refer to that date for more information.

 

Medium 45 1967 Doors LightMyFire 600

August 5

The Doors
Light My Fire
Elektra EK-45615
(1 week)

The Doors’ first single had been the propulsive Break On Through (To The Other Side). Released in early January 1967, neither AM radio programmers nor 45 rpm record buyers were ready for Jim Morrison advising listeners to try some of the recently illegalized LSD. It was a great bloody record that went unheard by most of us until we bought the album.

By the Summer of ’67, everybody was ready for Morrison’s invitation to light his fire. Although seeming to be a rather blatant bit of erotica, Light My Fire was the hardest tab of psychedelia to top the American charts.

In fact, unless you want to count Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1968) as psychedelic, there never was a hard rock psych single to reach #1 again: all the other trippy tracks to top the charts were as much pop as rock. (Refer to All You Need Is Love below.)

So let’s call this the Greatest #1 Psych Single of All Time.

Lew: It’s hard to describe what it was like to hear this song on the radio in the summer of 1967, blasting down the road with the radio maxed out and all the windows open, the sense of recklessness it inspired, that breathless pause before Densmore’s snare drum crack that leads into the final coda, the passion and longing in Morrison’s voice, the knowledge that if Morrison was a madman who terrified adults, he was our madman, one of us.

This is one of two songs this year that spawned entirely different cover versions that rival the greatness of the originals. (The other being The Letter; see the September 23, 1967, entry.) In the case of this song, Jose Feliciano would find the autumnal sadness in Light My Fire and get his first major US hit in the fall of 1968.

John: I first heard this in the 45 edit, which was what oldies stations and my record player were spinning in the late ’70s. It was propulsive and irresistible. Not too long after I encountered the long version, with all the noodling in the middle. It took me years to get used to it . . . but I can hear how it might have been mind-expanding in ’67.

It’s possible no chart-topping record has ever inspired two versions as radically inspired as Jose Felicano’s and Al Green’s, which literally sounds like it’s going to combust whatever device is playing it.

Neal: A long time ago, I read a clever article stating that the Baby Boomer generation enjoyed a baby boom of their own in the year or so following the release of the Doors’ first album, with an uncountable number of babies conceived while couples were trying to light each other’s fire.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (3 weeks)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (September 28, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: Yes
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Yes

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 Beatles AllYouNeedIsLove PS WC 600

Medium 45 1967 Beatles AllYouNeedIsLove 600

August 12–August 19

The Beatles
All You Need Is Love
Capitol 5964
(2 weeks)

All You Need Is Love is the type of psychedelically-related pop song that had a big impact on the charts in 1967-1968 that I mentioned in my comments about Light My Fire (above). Related in the sense that peace, love, and understanding were promoted by people who regularly turned on, tuned in, and dropped out, along with the far-out effects in the instrumental track.

In an attempt to send out to the world some good good good vibrations, the Beatles performed this song live on television on May 25, 1967. Special guests Jane Asher, Pattie Boyd, Eric Clapton, Marianne Faithful, Mick Jagger, Keith Moon, Graham Nash, and Keith Richards can be seen and heard singing along behind the band.

My second favorite version of this song is John Travolta’s punch-drunk version in the 1996 movie Michael.

John: This is one of those songs where a Beatle (in this case John) sounds like he knows something you don’t. Then, at some point, you realize he doesn’t. But, by then, he’s got your money. When Lennon went solo, he pulled this off a lot.

Instant Karma, Give Peace A Chance, and, of course, the ultimate rook, Imagine, where—his own nine-figure fortune secure—he asked us to imagine no possessions. Quite a gift for melody, though, and he does make you think a bit.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (1 week)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (September 11, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: 3,000,000
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Yes

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 BobbieGentry OdeToBillyJoe 600

August 26–September 16

Bobbie Gentry
Ode To Billy Joe
Capitol 5950
(4 weeks)

Bobby Gentry’s unadorned, plain-spoken country ballad Ode To Billie Joe spent four weeks at #1 and had people around the country wondering what the singer and Billy Joe McAllister threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge and why Billy Joe followed shortly after.

Another record I hated at the time it was a hit but when I listen to it now I wonder what I was like back then to hate it so back then.

Lew: And I loved it. What a storyteller Gentry is. The entire song is made up of carefully observed, evocative details and spot-on dialog that circles around but never calls attention to the devastating heartbreak at the center of it—appropriately because the narrator can’t speak of her love.

On top of that, it’s got a great melody, a killer arrangement, and Gentry’s sultry voice teases and aches and never reveals more than a hint of her real feelings. A masterpiece.

Gentry herself is as much a mystery as to what the narrator and Billy Joe threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge. In 1978, after repeated failures to get another big hit, she apparently decided she was done. She made two more TV appearances, in ’78 and ’81, but otherwise has vanished from the public eye.

John: This makes every other record from this or any era sound silly by comparison. My sister left the 45 when she moved out for the last time after my brother-in-law got back from Vietnam. I started playing it a year or two later when I was about 10 years old. I played it over and over, trying to get at the song’s unsolvable mystery.

Finally, I asked my mother—the kind of mom who had no problem with her son playing a record ten times in a row—what they threw off that bridge. She assured me nobody knew. I assumed it must be one of those secrets so dark even somebody as scrupulously honest as my mother had to lie about it. Turned out, even Bobbie Gentry has never said, though she did say that wasn’t what the song was really about.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (4 weeks)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (September 11, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No
• Grammy Award: Best Vocal Performance – Female 1967
• Grammy Award: Best New Artist 1967
• Grammy Award: Best Contemporary Female Vocal Performance – Female 1967
• Grammy Award: Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) or Instrumentalist(s)

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 BoxTops TheLetter 600

September 23

The Box Tops
The Letter
Mala 565
(3 weeks)

The Box Tops’ spent three weeks at #1 with The Letter, a record so crude it sounded like it was intended as a swipe at psychedelia and the Summer of Love. I never understood the attraction of this record to consumers and this song to other artists (the Beach Boys version is too lame to discuss, but Joe Cocker’s version is too good to ignore).

It was never one of the records I hated, just one that didn’t reach me at all. Oddly, unlike the ones I hated that reach me now, the charm of this one still eludes me.

Lew: My bass player in college knew Alex Chilton (the creative fire behind the Box Tops, who would later invent power pop with Big Star). According to him, Chilton recorded the song in Memphis with studio musicians and was surprised when it became a hit. He had to teach it to his band so he could tour behind the song, only to find they couldn’t play it.

Echoing Neal’s praise for the 1970 Joe Cocker cover version, with incandescent piano playing from Leon Russell.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (4 weeks)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (September 25, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: 4,000,000
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: Yes
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal:

 

Medium 45 1967 Association NeverMyLove 600

October 14

The Association
Never My Love
Warner Brothers 7074
(1 week)

Never My Love was written by brothers Donald and Richard Addrisi (who recorded as the Addrisi Brothers) and is best known by the Association’s hit version. It is perhaps the quintessential wedding song of the decade: “How can you think love will end when I’ve asked you to spend your whole life with me?” no doubt sums up the intentions of virtually every person who marries for love—even though it’s not going to happen for about 90% of them. Oh, well.

The Association’s version is a gorgeous recording, one of this perennially under-appreciated group’s finest moments. It was pulled from their ambitious third album, INSIGHT OUT, which they hoped would establish them with serious rock and pop LP-buyers. It didn’t, but any album that features Never My Love and Windy is an album worth hearing!

In 1999, the music publishing rights organization Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) announced that Never My Love was the second most-played song on radio and television of the 20th century, beat out by You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.

John: Another great record that is all about the harmonies and the arrangement, two things the ’60s should be remembered for.

Neal: Warner Brothers did not seek immediate RIAA certification for an official Gold Record Award for Never My Love. This was rectified on November 27, 1976, when it received a Gold Record Award for 1,000,000 sales and a Platinum Record Award for 2,000,000 sales.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: No
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: No
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 Lulu ToSirWithLove 600

October 21–November 4

Lulu
To Sir With Love
Epic 5-10187
(3 weeks)

Lulu had her first UK Top 10 hit in 1964, but she never caught on with American audiences. Then she was tapped to record the theme song for a British movie about racism in British schools. To Sir With Love was the type of old-fashioned plea that would have sounded at home by a female solo singer in the ’50s or even from a girl group earlier in the ’60s. 

To Sir With Love was Lulu’s first big American hit, spending three weeks at #1. Oddly, while it was the biggest-selling record of her career, it wasn’t even released as a single in England.

Lew: My first professional gig ever, my high school band played a birthday party for a friend’s little sister. We played all the garage stuff, Gloria and Louie Louie, we played some Beatles and Byrds, we played Cream and Hendrix.

And when it was all over, one of the kids we’d played for came up and asked if we could play To Sir With Love. Our guitar player would have strangled her, but he was too busy having an apoplectic fit on the floor.

Neal: On this record, Lulu makes excessive use of a technique known as melisma: “a passage of multiple notes sung to one syllable of text, as in Gregorian chant” (Free Dictionary). I don’t much like most melismatic singing, hence I don’t much like this record (nor many records by Aaron Neville or Robin Gibb).

John: NPR’s Terry Gross once asked Al Green why he had covered this song. Her tone was one of wonder mixed with contempt. Green’s answer was this: “Because I heard it . . . and it was beautiful!” Between Lew’s guitar player and Al Green, I’ll take Al Green, in part because Lulu was such a fantastic singer even he didn’t beat her.

Neal: The movie To Sir With Love addressed various social issues (notably racism and poverty) in public schools in England. As such, it was an important movie, especially for the times. The movie was produced and directed by James Clavell from his screenplay which was based on E.R. Braithwaite’s 1959 novel which was based on the author’s experience as a teacher.

Clavell is the author of my two favorite novels ever, Shogun and Tai-Pan. Whichever one I am rereading is my number one favorite novel ever at that time. His other novels—King Rat, Gai-Jin, Noble House, and Whirlwind—are all tied for third place.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (5 weeks)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (November 2, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: 3,000,000
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew:
Neal:

 

Medium 45 1967 SamDave SoulMan 600

November 11

Sam & Dave
Soul Man
Stax 45-231
(1 week)

Sam Moore and Dave Prater’s Soul Man was the first record for the now legendary Stax Records to make it to the top of the pop charts. It was produced by Isaac Hayes and features Booker T’s MGs. For many people, this is one of the definitive soul records of the ’60s.

All over the internet, the third verse is spelled out as “I was brought up on a side street. I learned how to love before I could eat. I was educated from good stock. When I start loving, I just can’t stop.” But that is an error: the third line is, “I was educated at Woodstock.”

According to Dave Prater, “The word denoted a school that was out in the forest somewhere and they couldn’t come up with the name for the school. Trees were cut down, the school was made, and they called it [a] Woodstock.”

John: This is probably as good a place as any to mention the oddity of white rock critics, from that day to this, establishing their street cred by positing a false premise of “Stax or Motown?” and then reliably preferring Stax (by which they usually mean the entire spectrum of Atlantic labels in New York, Memphis, and Muscle Shoals). It’s a silly argument. But if you wanted to make a case for Stax, this would be a good place to start.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: No
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (November 22, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: Yes
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Yes
• Grammy Award: Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance – Vocal or Instrumental 1967

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 StrawberryAlarmClock IncenseAndPeppermints 600

November 18

The Strawberry Alarm Clock
Incense And Peppermints
Uni 55018
(1 week)

The basic music track was written by group members Mark Weitz and Ed King, but the lyrics and melody were written by John Gilbert, who was assisting another Uni band, The Rainy Daze. None of the Strawberry Alarm Clock members could pull off the lead vocals, so 16-year-old Greg Munford took the lead.

The lyrics are a meaningless jumble of phrases but do manage to slip two-thirds of Timothy Leary’s best-known suggestion when Munford sings “Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around” in the second verse.

Lew: I hereby issue a challenge to our readers. If anyone can tell me what the real lyrics are where it sounds like the lead singer says, “Occasions, far out ‘suasions bruzzle your mind,” I will acknowledge him or her on this website. Despite the incomprehensibility of the lyrics, I loved this morsel of psychedelic pop, too slick for a garage band, too hokey for the pros.

John: Like a lot of other records from the ’60s, I first heard this as a snippet on one of those K-Tel or Ronco commercials for oldies packages in the late ’70s. Sounded intriguing so I bought the 45. I then spent years chasing “real” psychedelia, hoping to come across something, anything, as mind-bending as Incense And Peppermints. No such luck. And if anyone tells me the lyrics I’ll put out a contract on their life.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (1 week)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (December 19, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal:

 

Medium 45 1967 Cowsills TheRainThePark PS 600

Medium 45 1967 Cowsills TheRainThePark 600

November 25

The Cowsills
The Rain, The Park & Other Things
MGM K-13810
(1 week)

I hated this back then: more kiddie group pop. Well, I’ve come full circle on this one and now consider it one of the great singles of 1967. (Admittedly a year filled with great singles, some of which actually got Top 40 air-play.) 

But I am uncertain as to who or even what the “flower girl” in the song is. Based on the lyrics, she could be a hippie chick, the manifestation of which was still a fairly new phenomenon in most of the country in 1967.

Or she could be a straight (you know, “normal”) girl who just happened to have some flowers in her hair that day.

Or she could be a hallucination, just a dream to the singer.

John: In addition to the great vocals, it’s the mystery Neal mentions that sells the song. The Cowsills got shafted by history. Their brutally abusive father mismanaged them into the ground (among other things he got them kicked out of an unprecedented ten-week run on The Ed Sullivan Show by acting the jackass during their first appearance), finally causing a breakup in the early ’70s, at which point the Jacksons, Osmonds, and Partridge Family (who were based directly on the Cowsills) stepped in and reaped the rewards.

• Billboard Top 100 #1: No
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (December 19, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

Medium 45 1967 Monkees DaydreamBeliever PS WC 600

Medium 45 1967 Monkees DaydreamBeliever 600

December 2–December 23

The Monkees
Daydream Believer
Colgems 66-1012
(4 weeks)

Pure pop for little girls, what Davy was best at.

Lew: The song was written by John Stewart, a latter-day member of the Kingston Trio, who would go on to a substantial solo career. I was never a Davy Jones fan, and find Stewart’s version on his album THE LONESOME PICKER RIDES AGAIN to be superior.

John: Stewart’s version is personal. It sounds like it happened to a real guy, maybe even him. Davy Jones and the Monkees’ version is anthemic. It sounds like it happened to a generation of people who didn’t know what hit them, which it did. That’s how I heard it when THE MONKEES’ GREATEST HITS album became a fixture on my record player in the late ’70s and that’s how I hear it now.

Plus, session man Eddie Hoh’s drumming, subtle as a spring shower, kicks me in the gut every time!

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (4 weeks)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (November 14, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: 3,000,000
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal:

 

Medium 45 1967 Beatles HelloGoodbye PS WC a 600

Medium 45 1967 Beatles HelloGoodbye 600

December 30

The Beatles
Hello Goodbye
Capitol 2056
(1 week)

A typical Paul McCartney record from the era: nice melody, catchy hook, clean production, devoid of intellectual content. Sort of dessert without dinner.

The flip side was another matter entirely: John Lennon’s I Am The Walrus is psychedelic gobbledygook: clever phrases flow into nonsense phrases, all joined together with the refrain, “I’m crying” and the chorus, “I am the egg man. They are the egg men. I am the walrus. Goo-goo-goo-joob.”

Or is the walrus babbling, in which case it should be written as, “I am the egg man. They are the egg men. I am the walrus: ‘Goo-goo-goo-joob’.”

Along with being the last #1 record of 1967, Hello Goodbye was also the first #1 of 1968, spending the week of January 6, 1968, as the nation’s best-selling record for a total of two weeks at the top.

John: I used to love this. Then for a while, I very pointedly didn’t love it. The last time I listened to it on the Blue Album I liked it again. Lennon later bitched about Paul getting the A-sides as time went on. The B-side of this one was I Am The Walrus. This was one time he had a point because forty years of listening to I Am The Walrus has convinced me that John Lennon did know things we don’t.

Lew: I’m fond of this one. One of Paul’s better tunes. And Ringo’s drumming is really powerful, one of the highlights of the song.

Neal: If John had changed the second word to a transitive verb and titled the song “I Yam The Walrus,” then thousands of trippers could have spent thousands of hours wondering how does one yam a walrus!

• Billboard Top 100 #1: Yes (3 weeks)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: Yes (December 15, 1967)
• Accumulated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Yes

But do you like it?
John: ✮ ✮
Lew: ✮ ✮
Neal: ✮ ✮

 

 Medium photo Lulu JohnRoss 1000

FEATURED ARTIST: Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie adopted the stage name Lulu and fronted a band called the Luvvers. In 1964, she became a sensation in the U.K. with her rousing rendition of the Isley Brothers’ Shout. In 1967, she had an important acting role in To Sir With Love, a drama about social and racial issues in British schools. She also performed the theme song from the movie, which topped most American charts in late 1967 (see October 21–November 4 below).

“She had more than a little to do with To Sir With Love becoming a smash, though. It was one of the best-sung records of the greatest era for vocal music we’re likely to know. One might have thought [her producer Mickie] Most would know what to do from there — namely run off a series of quality hit singles, as he had done for Herman’s Hermits, Donovan, and the Animals previously.

Instead, he steered her toward ever more banal material, finally climaxing with the already world-famous Lulu winning the Eurovision Song Contest for 1969 with Boom Bang-A-Bang, which the singer herself has occasionally—and with some justification—referred to as possibly the worst song ever written.

Unlike most of the really good records she and Most had made together, it was a substantial hit, at least in England and Europe.

The disconnect between quality and success guaranteed a lot of sleepless nights, crying jags, and the absolute certainty that she would not renew her contract with Most when it ended a few months after the Eurovision win.”

The paragraphs above were taken from “When Lulu Went South” by John Ross. The bulk of that article addresses Lulu’s brief stay with Atco Records from 1969 into 1972. John sums her up aptly: “Lulu is a bit of an odd duck historically: a respected singer who isn’t quite revered; a commercial singer whose hits are strung out here and there over a couple of decades; a fine live performer who was always in the moment but rarely on top of it.”

Year-end observations

Twenty-five records reached #1 on the Cash Box Top 100 chart in 1967. Here is the breakdown of #1 records based on how many weeks they spent at the top of the chart:

8 weeks: 0
7 weeks: o
6 weeks: 1
5 weeks: 0
4 weeks: 2
3 weeks: 4
2 weeks: 8
1 week: 10

As 1967 was the year of the Monterey International Pop Festival and the Summer of Love, it is usually considered the quintessential year for psychedelia. But you would never know that by the records that topped the Top 100.

Of the twenty-five records to reach #1, only a few can be even remotely associated with acid, “flower-power,” or even the nascent counterculture. I have noted these records at the end of this article.

All in all, 1967 was the Year of the Pre-Fab Four, as three Monkees’ hits held the #1 spot for twelve weeks. Their nearest competitors were the Beatles, who held the top spot for a mere five weeks.

The Fab Four were also the only other artist to have three #1 records in ‘67.

Gold Record Awards

Of the twenty-five records that reached #1, Joseph Murrells lists twenty-five of them as million-sellers. Record companies sought certification from the RIAA for official Gold Record Awards for nineteen singles.

RIAA certification rate: 80%

Shuffling around the top of the chart

One of the oddest things about 1967 was that five different records had their stay at the top of the chart interrupted by another record reaching #1 then falling back.

• The Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” was #1 for one week (February 25) followed by the Supremes’ “Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone” for one week (March 4) and then returning to the top spot for one more week (March 11).

• Nancy and Frank Sinatra’s “Somethin’ Stupid” was #1 for one week (April 15) followed by the Monkees’ “A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You” for two weeks (April 22 and 29) and then returning to the top spot for one more week (May 6).

• The Young Rascals’ “Groovin’” was #1 for two weeks (May 20-27) followed by the Happenings’ “I Got Rhythm” for one week (June 3) and then Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” for two weeks (June 10 and 17) before “Groovin’” returned to the top spot for one more week (June 24).

• The Association’s “Windy” was #1 for two weeks (July 1 and 8), then Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” snuck in for one week (July 15), then “Windy” returned to the top spot for one more week (July 22), followed by the return of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” to #1 for another week (July 29).

The Summer of Love

While 1967 is often thought of as the Year of Psychedelia, only five records that topped the chart can be taken seriously as being connected to psychedelia. The Beatles had three: “Penny Lane,” “All You Need Is Love,” and “Hello Goodbye.” Even these can be argued to be connected with psychedelia more by association with the group’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album than actual psychedelic content or intent

At opposite ends of the psychedelic spectrum are the genuinely mind-bending “Light My Fire” (the unedited album version should be preferred should you want to turn on and tune in some time) and the faux psychedelia of “Incense and Peppermints” (although the Strawberry Alarm Clock made much trippier music on their albums).

Lew: “There’s always something interesting in these. This time it’s interesting how few black artists made the top spot. I wonder if the audiences were already starting to fragment, with black listeners going to more specialized stations. This has always been one of my laments, that music is so segregated now.

 


 

2 thoughts on “the #1 hit records on the pop charts 1967”

    • M

      You are welcome. Thank YOU for turning me on to the Blue Shadows.

      I found some video of Bill Cowsill and Jeffrey Hatcher at the 1995 Wild Honey Everly Brothers Tribute Show:

      Keep on keepin’ on!

      N

      Reply

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