And A Fourth Book Arrives

Last week, I cobbled together a post (I was tempted to write “crafted” there, but that would perhaps have been giving the resulting post too much gravitas) that looked at lists in three of my oft-consulted reference books by Joel Whitburn. Had I waited another day to put that post together, I could have used a fourth: Billboard Top Adult Songs, 1961-2006, which the mail carrier brought to my door Friday.

The books pulls together data about records that have placed on the chart now called AC, a chart that’s had various titles since 1961, including “Easy Listening,” “Middle of the Road,” “Pop-Standard Singles,” “Hot Adult Contemporary” and several other things. Under its current moniker, AC, it now ranks thirty records each week.

So, to echo the structure of last week’s post, who are the top acts in the history of the AC chart? As was the case with the lists last week, the names atop the book’s list of the Top 200 AC Artists hold no real surprises:

Elton John
Barbra Streisand
Neil Diamond
Celine Dion
Kenny Rogers
Phil Collins
Barry Manilow
Elvis Presley
Dionne Warwick
Billy Joel

So who sits in spot No. 200? Gilbert O’Sullivan, a performer whose name elicits an indelible memory of the summer of 1972: I’m cleaning venetian blinds in an elementary school on the campus of St. Cloud State with the radio on. Those who remember 1972 – and many who don’t, I suppose – will know immediately what I was hearing as I cleaned the blinds. A seeming omnipresence that summer, O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again (Naturally)” topped the AC chart for six consecutive weeks beginning in late July. The record also spent six weeks atop the pop chart that summer, though that six-week stretch was interrupted midway for a week by “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass.

“Alone Again (Naturally)” was O’Sullivan’s top hit on the AC chart, but not by as much as one might think. His follow-up single, “Clair,” also topped the chart, but for three weeks instead of six. In all, O’Sullivan placed eight singles on the AC chart between 1972 and 1981 (with six them coming between June 1972 and March 1974).

So which of his charting AC singles performed less well than the others? Starting in mid-October 1973, “Ooh Baby” spent nine weeks in the AC chart and topped out at No. 29 (it got to No. 25 on the pop chart). It’s a decent record – I like the clavinet – that I doubt I’d heard until this morning.

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2 Responses to “And A Fourth Book Arrives”

  1. Steve E. says:

    O’Sullivan’s songs were so catchy, even when the lyric content was odd. It seemed he was everywhere in 1972-73 and then disappeared, even though I know his career continued.

  2. Yah Shure says:

    Uh, oh… the Shure memory banks don’t seem to have “Ooh Baby” on file anymore. At least the title itself was familiar, which wasn’t the case at all for any of G O’S’s subsequent singles.

    I’m a little surprised something as raucous (by G O’S standards, anyway) as “Get Down” managed to get all the way up to number three AC, although coming in the wake of two number ones and a number two, how could it not have fared equally well? After all, the adult crowd had already “gotten down” doing the Twist many years earlier. Hopefully, enough of them had managed to upright themselves over the course of the ensuing decade that they actually *could* get down a second time.

    Have fun with the new book!

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