Chamblee54

The Number One Hit When I Was Born

Posted in Georgia History, History, Library of Congress, Music by chamblee54 on January 16, 2018







This post went up for the first time on May 28, 2008. The meme of looking up the number one hit on your date of birth is making the rounds again. It is a good excuse for something to post on a slow day. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

There is a man known as XWinger. He sells Celtic music, promotes DimSum groups, and has a blog.

Once at his place I saw a link to a site that tells you what the Number One song was on that day. The arbiter of number oneness is Billboard Magazine.

The List goes back to 1892. On January 1, 1892, the #1 hit was “Drill, Ye Terriers, Drill” by George J. Gaskin. I imagine that before a certain date this would refer to sheet music, or maybe player piano thingies. Other big hits from the Gay Nineties include “The Fatal Wedding” (1894, George J. Gaskin), “Little Alabama Coon” (1895. Len Spencer) and ” A Hot Time in the Old Town”(1897, Dan Quinn).

When my daddy was born in 1916, the top hit was “M-O-T-H-E-R (A Word that Means So Much to Me) by Henry Burr. When my mother was born in 1922, the top of the billboard charts was “Stumbling” by Paul Whiteman.

In October 1929, the stock market crashed to “Am I Blue” by Ethel Waters. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the big song was “Chattanooga Choo Choo” by Glenn Miller. Mr. Miller joined the Army after the start of the War, and toured with a band to entertain troops. On December 15, 1944, his plane disappeared in France. The number one hit that day was “I’m Making Believe” by the Ink Spots and Ella Fitzgerald. The Ink Spots played at the Domino Lounge downtown when I was a kid. I heard people say, “the Ink Spots have been around for a while”.

In 1954, this reporter was born. The number one hit that day was “Wanted” by Perry Como. Two years later, my brother was born to the sounds of “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley.

One way to track the hits through the years is to pick a date and follow it. It should be noted that Billboard is the essence of “commercial”. On my tenth birthday, the big sound was “Hello Dolly” by Louis Armstrong. On the verge of the summer of Love, the big hit was “Something Stupid” by Nancy Sinatra and Frank Sinatra. At no time did the Beatles have a number one hit on my birthday. This attitude improved in 1969 with “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by the Fifth Dimension.

The seventies continued the commercial tradition with “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night. This was in 1971, the year they played a big show at Atlanta Stadium. The disco monster raised its glittering hand with “Night Fever”, by the Bee Gees in 1978.

As the eighties rolled in, I got a job and apartment, and music became less familiar. The first big May hit of the eighties was “Call Me” by Blondie. It was from a movie starring Richard Gere. The movie did not feature gerbils. The decade was not a total loss, as 1983 featured “Beat It” by Michael Jackson.

Moving into the nineties and oughts, my old fogey decrepitude is near total. Or is that the wasteland of pop music? By this time top 40 is all but extinct, am radio given over to all talk stations, and fm music so spread out that no one style of music is dominant. The number one hit on my birthday, one recent year, is “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis.

Of course, the leaders of our country don’t always listen. On May 28, 1915, the biggest song was “I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier” by the Peerless Quartet. And, on May 28, 1964, the number one hit was “Love Me Do” by the Beatles.







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