101 #1 Song of The Day
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)
Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 by Mike McKay
November 26, 2014: The 101 number one song of the day required spoonfeeding, mothering, big sistering and even reprimanding just to get it recorded. And that’s not all – something else one rarely sees in a recording studio was brought in to finish the job.
Ellie Greenwich was the writer and she found the four girls who made up today’s featured group difficult to work with. Lead singer Mary Weiss was 16 at the time and the microphone in her face inhibited her. She was also quite emotional and she was encouraged to let that emotion flow freely. Listen closely and you will hear her crying as she sings. The song reached number one this week in 1964. Oh – and that thing rarely seen in a recording studio?
It was a great big motorcycle. It’s the Shangri-Las (Leader of the Pack)
Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 by Mike McKay
November 25th, 2014: The 101 # 1 Song of the Day was co written by Elton John’s main collaborator, Bernie Taupin and became the first number one song for a San Francisco band that had been around for over twenty – well sort of.
In the 60’s they recorded under a similar but different name. When they regrouped in the 70s and again in the 80s they “updated” their previous name. When they first heard the song they felt it had been written just for them but it wasn’t. The music was written by Martin Page of the band “Q-Feel” who wrote it for himself but the other band recorded it and took it to number one where it sat on November 25th, 1985 for Jefferson Starship – We Built This City
Monday, November 24th, 2014 by Mike McKay
November 24, 2014: The 101 number one song of the day had an odd journey to the top of the heap and the lead vocalist wasn’t even a member of the band – ever – before or after it became a hit.
It was recorded by a group called Thee Sixpence whose members had composed the instrumental track. The lyrics were added by a college student named John Carter who was invited to be at the session. Thee Sixpence resented someone putting words to their music and relegated the song to the status of an afterthought so they didn’t bother to protest when Carter said their lead singer wasn’t right for the song. Carter picked another guy who was there to sing lead. The next day, that guy was gone and when asked what happened to him, the band members said he was just someone who happened to be there that day and he wasn’t part of the group. Since they didn’t think much of the song in the first place, his vocals were left in place. When a couple of their songs were released on a small label, they looked in Billboard magazine and discovered two other bands with similar “sixpence” names. So they turned the page and closed their eyes and pointed to a random spot. A finger landed on a Beatles’ song. It was Strawberry Fields Forever and that pointed them in the direction of the name they would use when the song they didn’t care for arrived at number one. It was this week in November, 1967. And when they made appearances to support the song, the lead vocal was performed by their drummer who sounded the most like the anonymous guy whose voice is actually on the record. And by the way, he played the bongos with his hands on fire. Go figure – it’s the Strawberry Alarm Clock and “Incense and Peppermints.”
Friday, November 21st, 2014 by Mike McKay
November 21, 2014: The 101 song of the day was written and performed by a guy who once got Kris Kristofferson a job – as a janitor.
He’d been working at the Columbia Records’ studio in Nashville trying to get some of the songs he’d written recorded and while there he did odd jobs including mopping the floor and cleaning bathrooms. He started to move up a bit and passed his janitorial duties onto a fellow struggling songwriter and Rhodes Scholar Kris Kristofferson. Kris didn’t hold that job too long and when he made it big, he asked today’s featured artist to join his band. Later, when he got married, Kris and Rita Coolidge bought him a little organ on which he wrote the song that put his own name up in lights and arrived at number one this week in November, 1974 – His name is Billy Swan and here’s your 101 number one song of the day (I Can Help)
Thursday, November 20th, 2014 by Mike McKay
November 20, 2014: The 101 number one song of the day won an Oscar for its creator but what he really wanted was the lead role in the movie for which it was written.
He was invited by MGM executives to discuss a novel they had acquired. He thought he was being interviewed to star in the movie but during their meeting he agreed to write the score for the film about a black action hero. Instead, a few weeks later he was informed that actor Richard Roundtree had been cast in the role. Although disappointed, he had already committed himself to writing the music, so he fulfilled his obligation. It would go on to win an academy award for best song but by then it had already risen to number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 where it was on November 20, 1971 – Isaac Hayes (Shaft)