DEAR JERRY: After playing Foreigner's "Waiting for a Girl Like You," a San Luis Obispo, Calif., disc jockey said this song was No. 2 nationwide for over two months, and despite going platinum, never reached No. 1. Please fact-check this for me.
If true, was there just one blockbuster hit holding Foreigner back, or
several that just jumped over "Waiting for a Girl Like You"?
Kimberly Vaughn, Cambria, Calif.
DEAR KIMBERLY: Though the jockey didn't provide the specifics, the comments are true.
And it was neither one nor several; it was just two tunes that created the barricade.
Now for complete coverage:
For the week ending November 28, 1981, after climbing the Hot 100 for eight weeks, "Waiting for a Girl Like You" (Atlantic 3868) reached No. 2.
Topping the chart that week was "Physical," by Olivia Newton-John (MCA 51182).
For the next nine weeks, the top two positions remained the same.
On the 10th week, "Physical" dropped to No. 3, seemingly opening the door for Foreigner.
But it was not to be, compliments of "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)," by Daryl Hall & John Oates (RCA 12357).
Their tune leaped from No. 4 the previous week, to No. 1, marooning Foreigner at No. 2 for a 10th week.
For the week ending February 6, 1982, "Waiting for a Girl Like You" slipped to No. 3, beginning the sendoff to exit the charts.
"Waiting for a Girl Like You" did have an enviable 23-week stay on the Hot 100, from October 10, 1981 to March 20, including those 10 frustrating weeks landlocked at No. 2.
In doing so, "Waiting for a Girl Like You" stands alone in Hot 100 history with the most weeks at No. 2, without reaching No. 1.
Now, from the opposite coast, comes another No. 1 inspired question:
DEAR JERRY: How often has someone recorded a new version of a previous No. 1 and then see their remake equal or top sales of the original?
Neil Burnside, Jacksonville, Fla.
DEAR NEIL: There are thousands of hit recordings that have been remade and/or updated, and that is without counting cover versions intended to compete with the originals. But, excluding covers, not very often has the same song reached No. 1 by two different artists.
Beginning in 1930, in order by date of the original, and using Billboard and Cash Box surveys, there are 13 hits for which lightning struck twice:
"(When Your Heart's on Fire) Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" (1933): Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, Vocal by Bob Lawrence (Victor 24455)
"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" (1959): The Platters (Featuring Tony Williams) (Mercury 71383)
"Deep Purple" (1939): Larry Clinton and His Orchestra, Vocal by Bea Wain (Victor 26141)
"Deep Purple" (1963): Nino Tempo & April Stevens (Atco 6273)
"There! I've Said It Again" (1945): Vaughn Monroe and the Norton Sisters (Victor 1637)
"There! I've Said It Again" (1964): Bobby Vinton (Epic 9638)
"Please Mr. Postman" (1961): The Marvelettes (Tamla 54046)
"Please Mr. Postman" (1975): The Carpenters (A&M 1646)
"The Loco-Motion" (1962): Little Eva (Dimension 1000)
"The Loco-Motion" (1974): Grand Funk (Capitol 3840)
Note: Kylie Minogue's 1988 release of "The Loco-Motion" (Geffen 27752) peaked at No. 3. That's how close it came to being the only tune on this list to reach No. 1 three times, and in three consecutive decades.
"Go Away Little Girl" (1963): Steve Lawrence (Columbia 42601)
"Go Away Little Girl" (1971): Donny Osmond (MGM 14285)
"You Keep Me Hangin' On" (1966): The Supremes (Motown 1101)
"You Keep Me Hangin' On" (1987): Kim Wilde (MCA 53024)
"When a Man Loves a Woman" (1966): Percy Sledge (Atlantic 2326)
"When a Man Loves a Woman" (1991): Michael Bolton (Columbia 74020)
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (1968): Gladys Knight & the Pips (Soul 35039)
"I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (1968): Marvin Gaye (Tamla 54176)
"Venus" (1970): Shocking Blue (Colossus 108)
"Venus" (1986): Bananarama (London 886056)
"I'll Be There" (1970): The Jackson 5 (Motown 1171)
"I'll Be There" (1992): Mariah Carey (Columbia 74330)
"Lean on Me" (1972): Bill Withers (Sussex 235)
"Lean on Me" (1987): Club Nouveau (King Jay 28430)
"Lady Marmalade" (1975): Labelle (Epic 50048)
"Lady Marmalade" (2001): Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink (Interscope 497066)
IZ ZAT SO? Because both chart-topping records of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" are shown as 1968, one might think that Marvin Gaye's version was merely a cover of Gladys Knight's.
Nothing could be farther from the truth, literally. They were nearly a year apart, with Gladys Knight and the Pips' reaching No. 1 on January 13th, and Marvin Gaye on December 21st.
There are no other instances of a year's first and last No. 1 hits being the same song, much less from the same record company (Tamla/Motown/Soul).