DEAR JERRY: Just recently, the country band Lonestar reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart with the single “Amazed.” This tune finally made it to the No. 1 position after spending 31 weeks on the charts.
This occurrence causes me to wonder if any other single has ever taken longer to reach the top. Has there been any?
Rick Emmer, Tampa, Florida
DEAR RICK: Excellent question, and for the definitive answer let's bring in Billboard chart book author Joel Whitburn:
Yes, Jerry and Rick, there was just one.
On August 3, 1996, “Macarena,” by Los Del Rio, reached No. 1 on Billborad's Hot 100 survey in its 33rd week on the chart.
Amazingly, “Amazed” made it to the top a couple of weeks faster than the dance hit “Macarena.” Coincidentally, both are single word titles.
But the similarities do not end there.
Both “Amazed” and Macarena" followed very similar chart paths. “Macarena” first charted for 20 weeks, then dropped completely off the chart then returned 16 weeks later and climbed all the way to No. 1.
“Amazed” originally charted for 20 weeks, then fell off for nine weeks before rising again, this time to No. 1.
DEAR JERRY: In the mid-'60s, when most of the planet was caught up in the British music invasion, I was nuts about two uniquely American styles surf and hot rod music.
Not only did I buy the records, but I even owned a classic coupe that I named “No Go Showboat,” after the hit song of the same title. It didn't “go” (as in racing), but was just for show.
Some cool “coupe” songs at the time were “Three Window Coupe” (Rip Chords) and, of course, “Little Deuce Coupe” (Beach Boys). All of which brings me to my question.
One tune that I heard only a time or two on the radio, but never again, is titled (I think) “My '34 Coupe.” Sorry to say, I never did know the band, nor have I ever seen it listed anywhere, by anyone. It's like it never existed.
If it helps any, the only line I recall is at the beginning: “My '34 coupe is neat as a pin.”
Seeing the musical mysteries you have solved for countless others give me hope that you can identify this recording for me.
Aaron Swindell, Lakeland, Fla.
DEAR AARON: Even without the clue line I would have gotten this one, but with it I am certain of the answer.
The reason you haven't been able to locate this track is you have flubbed 50% of the title. It is “Competition Coupe,” a February 1964 release by the Astronauts. As a surf music collector, you are surely familiar with this Colorado band's 1963 hit instrumental, “Baja.” Both of these tracks were huge hits on the west coast, though they failed to attract much attention in other parts of the country.
Besides the original 45 rpm (RCA Victor 8298), which usually sells for $10 to $15, you can also get “Competition Coupe” on the 1988 compact disc, “The Astronauts Surf Party” (RCA 8557-2-R).
As a parting shot dare we call it a coupe de grâce consider this tidbit. All three of the songs you mention, “Little Deuce Coupe, Three Window Coupe,” the Timers' “No Go Showboat,” as well as the elusive “Competition Coupe” are all co-written by Roger Christian, a popular Los Angeles dee jay in the '60s.
IZ ZAT SO? This tidbit also comes compliments of chart guru, Joel Whitburn:
Another interesting and related fact about the Lonestar hit, “Amazed,” is that the last time a country music group meaning three or more people topped the Hot 100 was way back on August 24, 1959.
Then it was the song about life of “Little Jimmy Brown,” titled “The Three Bells,” and recorded by a trio called the Browns.