Ask "Mr. Music"
Jerry Osborne

In syndication since 1986, and now in our 32nd year — Over 3,200 questions answered
Most recent column here — plus 25 years of archived ones linked below


FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 5, 2018

DEAR JERRY: Please list some Billboard No. 1 singles, that didn't do as well on Cash Box. Then, can you reverse it?
—Lee Sutherland, McMinnville, Ore.

DEAR LEE: Most No. 1 hits on either chart usually reached the Top 3 on the other guy's list. We will ignore those and begin with songs no higher than No. 4 on the competing survey.

With this investigation, the first surprise was finding only seven Billboard No. 1s, that stalled at either No. 4 or No. 5 on Cash Box:

No. 4 (1960): "Stay" - Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs
No. 4 (1986): "Holding Back the Years" - Simply Red
No. 4 (1988): "So Emotional" - Whitney Houston
No. 4 (1988): "Seasons Change" - Exposť
No. 4 (1989): "Toy Soldiers" - Martika
No. 5 (1985): "Saving All My Love for You" - Whitney Houston
No. 5 (1989): "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" - New Kids on the Block

On the flip side of this phenomena, we find 25 No. 1s on Cash Box, that didn't get that high on Billboard. Also, there are many more at positions four and five, plus two at No. 6, and one at No. 7:

No. 4 (1957): "The Stroll" - The Diamonds
No. 4 (1972): "Nice to Be With You" - Gallery
No. 4 (1972): "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast" - Wayne Newton
No. 4 (1973): "Could It Be I'm Falling in Love" - The Spinners
No. 4 (1973): "Ain't No Woman (Like The One I've Got)" - Four Tops
No. 4 (1973): "Higher Ground" - Stevie Wonder
No. 4 (1973): "Just You 'N' Me" - Chicago
No. 4 (1974): "Americans" - Byron MacGregor
No. 4 (1974): "The Show Must Go On" - Three Dog Night
No. 4 (1975): "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" - Elton John
No. 4 (1975): "Run Joey Run" - David Geddes
No. 4 (1975): "Mr. Jaws" - Dickie Goodman
No. 4 (1979): "Sail On" - Commodores
No. 4 (1980): "Cruisin'" - Smokey Robinson
No. 4 (1982): "That Girl" - Stevie Wonder
No. 4 (1983): "Puttin' on the Ritz" - Taco
No. 5 (1970): "Indiana Wants Me" - R. Dean Taylor
No. 5 (1972): "Sylvia's Mother" - Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show
No. 5 (1974): "Rock On" - David Essex
No. 5 (1974): "Can't Get Enough" - Bad Company
No. 5 (1980): "Master Blaster" - Stevie Wonder
No. 5 (1981): "Elvira" - The Oak Ridge Boys
No. 6 (1953): "Crying in the Chapel" - Darrell Glenn
No. 6 (1971): "Doesn't Somebody Want to Be Wanted" - The Partridge Family Starring Shirley Jones, Featuring David Cassidy
No. 7 (1965): "Taste of Honey" - Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

Now we know that Herb Alpert's "Taste of Honey" was Billboard's lowest ranked song to reach No. 1 on Cash Box.

DEAR JERRY: Last week's question about "Stormy," raises this question: How rare is it for someone to have two consecutive Top 10 hits, with one word titles that both begin with the same letter? The Classics IV did this in 1968 with "Spooky" and "Stormy," and both reached No. 2.
—Gwen Lambert, Jacksonville, Fla.

DEAR GWEN: Did you also know that "Spooky" and "Stormy" were followed by "Traces," another one-word title that also peaked at No. 2?

When I began my review of records by more than 5,000 artists, I expected to find a few that, like the Classics IV with "Spooky" and "Stormy," had consecutive Top 10, one-word titles, with the same first letter.

Turns out I seriously over estimated this occurrence. Aligning with the stated limitations, I found only one!

It is by Sarah McLachlan, who in 1998 had "Adia" (No. 3), immediately followed by "Angel" (No. 4).

IZ ZAT SO? Though Sarah McLachlan is the only perfect match, here are two examples that just barely missed qualifying:

In 1964, Johnny Rivers had "Memphis" (No. 2), followed by "Maybelline," that peaked at No. 11, just one spot outside the Top 10.

The Commodores had consecutive hits in 1979, with "Sail On" (No. 1), and "Still" (No. 1). If only the first title were just "Sail," it would have been a unique pairing because of both being No. 1.

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2018 columns

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February 5

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