Mike McKay's Blog
Monday, December 15th, 2014 by Mike McKay
December 15, 2014: The 101 number one song of the day took only three weeks to get to the top where it stayed for over 7 weeks which was the longest duration for a Motown song to date. Plus, the same song had gotten to number two just a fairly short time before.
In fact, a number of insiders were surprised that it was released as a single so soon after Gladys Knight and the Pips took it to the penultimate chart position the previous December. Interestingly enough, today’s featured artist had recorded his version before Gladys Knight but before that it was recorded by Smokey Robinson. In fact the song was covered by lots of others as well including the Isley Bros., Elton John, Ike and Tina Turner and Creedence Clearwater Revival to name just a few. But the version that rose all the way to number one this week in December, 1968 belonged to Marvin Gaye – “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”
Friday, December 12th, 2014 by Mike McKay
December 12, 2014: The 101 number one song of the day took the roundabout way to the top of the charts. It was part of an album released in 1967. It didn’t get to number one until more than three years later.
Stevie Wonder wrote the original version with Henry Cosby but both were unhappy with the lyrics they wrote for it so they asked William Robinson if he could come up with a new set of lyrics. He did and it was included as one of the tracks on an album entitled “Make it Happen.” Later, in 1970 British Motown executive John Marshall was looking for a single to be released in England and came across this cut you’re about to hear. To everyone’s amazement it went to number one. It was decided then to release it in the states and it became the first number one hit for a group that had been together since 1954. It was there December 12, 1970 for William Robinson who was better known to the world as “Smokey” (The Tears of a Clown)
Thursday, December 11th, 2014 by Mike McKay
The 101 number one song of the day was never intended to be taken seriously, something slapped together in 10 minutes as a B side for a song no one will remember. People loved the wrong song but love wasn’t the subject – instead, it was physical conflict.
The one that people were supposed to cater to was called, “I Want to Give You My Everything.” Executives at the record company thought it was okay but they weren’t too excited by it so the asked the producer what was on the flip side. He was almost embarrassed to tell them saying, “it’s just a fun thing, but it won’t really sell.” The executives thought it had some potential because of the unusual subject matter which was gaining a lot of interest in the 70s because of Bruce Lee action movies. They were right and on December 11, 1974 it was the number one song in America for Carl Douglas.
(Kung Fu Fighting)
Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 by Mike McKay
December 10, 2014: The 101 number one song of the day was the most expensive, elaborate single ever produced when it reached the top of the music world on December 10, 1966. And many have called it a masterpiece.
It was recorded in 17 sessions over a period of six months, at four different recording studios. It has lots of texture on it because so many overdubs were done. Its creators would double or triple or even quadruple the exact same part so it would sound like twenty voices. It was recorded at multiple studios because each had it own marked sound according to the driving force behind today’s 101 number one song of the day – that was Brian Wilson – Here are the Beach Boys (Good Vibrations)
Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 by Mike McKay
December 9th, 2014: The 101 number one song of the day reached the top of the charts twice and the original version – sung by a group calling themselves the Casinyets is today’s featured single. The name, by the way, stood for something that most struggling artists would not want you to know.
It stood for Can’t Sing Yet. That’s what the four girls from Michigan thought of themselves when they formed the group in High School. They performed in a local talent show and that led to an audition in front of the head of a fledgling record label in Detroit. He thought they sang pretty good but he wanted to hear some original material. One of the members asked a songwriter friend if he had anything that might work for them and he offered the song you’re about to hear. Actually not, because the group member stayed up all night and totally rewrote the song keeping only the title. The head of the record company agreed to sign them to a contract and it would lead to his label’s first number one song. His name is Berry Gordy, Jr. and Motown was on its way. The song reached the top on December 11, 1961. And since everyone involved agreed that by this time the girls could sing – and pretty well – they came up with a new name: the Marvelettes. (Please Mr. Postman)—That song was also recorded by the Beatles and later on, the Carpenters who also took it to number one.
Monday, December 8th, 2014 by Mike McKay
December 8, 2014: A sensitive ballad written by a musician to his wife expressing his feelings of separation is the sole number one single for one of America’s most popular heartland rock bands and it’s today’s 101 Number One Song of the Day.
Today’s featured group began in 1963 as the Tradewinds in Chicago and worked for years building up a following but it wasn’t until the middle 70s that the group began making the charts. By then they had renamed themselves after the river, which according to Greek mythology, dead souls are ferried across to read Hades – the underworld. The inspiration for the song was the weeks and months on the road touring and how much the band’s lead singer, Dennis DeYoung missed his wife while on tour. It reached number one on December 8, 1979 and it’s today’s 101 Number One Song of the Day for the band Styx. It’s “Babe.”
Friday, December 5th, 2014 by Mike McKay
December 5, 2014: The 101 number one song of the day has the distinction of having the most ancient lyrics of the rock era. They go all the way back to the Old Testament.
The song was written by the legendary Pete Seeger who adapted the words from the Book of Ecclesiastes. It was recorded by a group that consisted of Jim McGuinn who would later change his first name to Roger and David Crosby who would later quit the group because he couldn’t get along with McGuinn. And the making of this record was not an easy process: it took more than 50 takes to produce the track that was released as the single. But once it hit the airwaves it steadily rose to number one where it stayed for three weeks. It was number one on December 5, 1965 for the Byrds (Turn, Turn, Turn)
Thursday, December 4th, 2014 by Mike McKay
December 4, 2014: The 101 number one song of the day was designed to be so inferior that disc jockeys would immediately recognize it as the “B” side it was intended to be. It did not turn out that way.
Gary De Carlo was signed by Mercury Records to do several songs, each of them he felt deserved to be “A” sides. The song you’re about to hear was dug up and slapped together late one night to back one of the other songs to be released as a single. The song came in at two minutes so in order to further insure that DJs wouldn’t play it, they lengthened it to four minutes by adding a chorus. But there weren’t any words to the chorus so they just made it up as they went along. The head of the label liked the song and thought it was deserving of a main side. However, Gary De Carlo was upset that his other songs were had to take a back seat to this one and refused to have his name attached to it and for that matter to promote it by performing the song. As it shot up the charts – arriving at number one this week in 1969, another group was recruited and they made up a name for them. That name was “STEAM” and here’s your 101 number one song of the Day (Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye)
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014 by Mike McKay
December 3, 2014: The artist who created today’s 101 number one song of the day was going through two very rough years of self-induced problems. Although those two years ended with a chartbuster, it was his career that was about to go bust.
He was beset by lawsuits and fines for being late at concerts or not showing up at all. In 1970, 26 of his 80 scheduled appearances were cancelled; in 1971 the figures were better but only slightly – 12 out of 40 were cancelled. Illness, management battles and eviction from his Los Angeles mansion added to his woes. But during this week in December, 1971 he owned the number one song in America. But it was only a brief period of remission because it would be the last time he broke into the top ten. It’s Sly and the Family Stone with “Family Affair.”
Monday, December 1st, 2014 by Mike McKay
December 1, 2014: The 101 number one song of the day was hated by the lead singer of the group that recorded it– not because he didn’t like the melody but rather because it hit much too close to home.
Dennis Edwards remembers the first time he heard the song, he got terribly upset. Eventually, he grew to love the song but not until it got to number one and won a Grammy to boot. The original problem was a particular lyric: “It was the third of September/That day I’ll always remember/Cause that was the day my daddy died.” As it happened, that was the day Dennis’ father actually did die, although he was a real preacher, not the kind portrayed in the song which reached number one on this week in December, 1972 for the Temptations (Papa Was a Rolling Stone)