Our evening went nicely last night, our Circle Dinner with one other couple and two single folks from our Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. We dined well; sipped wine, beer or soda; and talked over the remains of dessert for a couple of hours. Of course, by the time our guests were gone and the dishwasher was humming along with the evening’s crop of dishes, the Texas Gal and I were pretty worn out. It had been a long day.
So I won’t linger long here. Instead, as I frequently do, I’m going to take today’s date, January 11 – 1/11 – and use it as a guide to find a single for the morning. My files of the Billboard pop charts, which cover the period from late 1954 to the summer of 2004, show that a single chart was released ten times during those years on January 11. Those came in 1956, 1958, 1960, 1964, 1969, 1975, 1986, 1992, 1997 and 2004. I’m not really interested this morning in the latter four charts, but for the others, I’m going to take a look at the Number 11 and – if there is one – the Number 111 records. I’ll also note the No. 1 record just for context.
During this week in January 1956, the No. 11 record was “Dungaree Doll” by Eddie Fisher. The record, the tenth of an eventual twenty-six records that Fisher would place in or near the chart that eventually became known as the Hot 100, is a kicky little pop tune sung to the cutie in the blue jeans. It would peak at No. 7. The chart that week went only to No. 100 (actually to a tie at No. 99), so there was no record at No. 111. The No. 1 record that week was Dean Martin’s “Memories Are Made Of This.”
Two years later, the No. 11 record one-third of the way through January was one that I featured in August of 2008 in one of the long posts I once wrote for Vinyl Record Day: the Rays’ “Silhouettes.” The tale of teenage mistaken identity and location and its flip, “Daddy Cool,” had peaked at No. 3 in late 1957. The Ray put two other records onto the pop chart, but neither of them came anywhere near the heights that “Silhouettes” did. Like the 1956 chart we just examined, the January 11, 1958, chart ended with a tie at No. 99, so there was no record to check at No. 111. The No. 1 record that week was Danny & The Juniors’ “At The Hop.”
Jump another two years, to 1960 – after the weekly chart had gotten the title of the “Hot 100” – and sitting at No. 11 on January 11 was Fabian’s “Hound Dog Man,” which had recently peaked at No. 9. The record combined Fabian’s insistence that he wanted to be a “Hound Dog Man” with the certainly that being so would entrance his beloved. Overwhelming the confused story was Fabian’s pitch, wavering and quavering as I’ve heard it in every tune of his that’s ever come my way. Despite that flaw, Fabian managed ten charting hits during his time in the spotlight.
Sitting at No. 111 in that chart from January 11, 1960, is a record by a performer whose talents I hold in much higher regard, Sam Cooke, whose “No One (Can Ever Take Your Place)” was in its first week bubbling under the chart; the record would stall out at No. 103 and thus is not nearly as familiar as many of the forty-seven records Cooke would eventually place in or near the top 100. The No. 1 record as January was one-third gone in 1960 was Marty Robbins’ “El Paso.”
The next year that a Hot 100 came out on January 11 was 1964, when the No. 11 record was “Quicksand” by Martha & The Vandellas. The record – with its immediately recognizable Vandellas and Motown sounds (though it was released on the Gordy subsidiary) – had peaked at No. 8, the second Top Ten hit for Martha Reeves and her girls, who would end up with twenty-six records in or near the Hot 100. (On her own, Reeves had one record hit the chart in 1974.)
The No. 111 record that week was an outing titled “Soul Dance” by a New Jersey singer named Tony Leonetti, and it’s about as soulless as a record can be as it details how to dance with your gal at the end of the evening. It peaked at No. 103, one of four records Leonetti placed in or near the pop chart. The No. 1 record during that week fifty years ago was “There, I’ve Said It Again” by Bobby Vinton.
“Cinnamon” by Derek – whose data is collected in Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles under his real name of Johnny Cymbal – was the No. 11 record in 1969, the next time a Hot 100 came out on January 11. That was the high point for the record, one of six that Cymbal got into or near the Hot 100, with the last two coming under the name of Derek.
Perched at No. 111 that week in 1969 was “He Called Me Baby” by Ella Washington, an R&B singer from Miami. It’s the only chart entry for Washington, and it peaked at No. 77. Country fans may recall Charlie Rich taking the song – in its original form of “She Called Me Baby” – to No. 1 on the country chart and No. 47 on the pop chart in 1974. (Harlan Howard recorded the original in 1962, Candy Staton covered it in 1971, and there have been several other versions of the tune, which gives us something to dig into next week.) The No. 1 record that week in 1969 was Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.
Finally, in 1975, the No. 11 record as January 11 showed up was “Morning Side Of The Mountain” by Donny & Marie Osmond, a record I dislike very much that would peak at No. 8, one of seven chart hits the brother and sister duo would achieve together. The chart that week stops at No. 110, so all we can do from there is note that the No. 1 record that week was Elton John’s cover of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.”
So where do we go this morning, beyond an immediate dismissal of the Osmond duo? Well, we’ll quickly dispose of Fabian, Eddie Fisher and Tony Leonetti as well. The Rays and Derek have been here before, so we’re left with Sam Cooke, Martha & The Vandellas and Ella Washington. I like Cooke’s work, just as I like nearly any record by Martha & The Vandellas. But I’d never heard of Ella Washington until this morning, and after just a few hearings, I love her one charting record. So that’s why “He Called Me Baby” is today’s Saturday Single.
Tags: Ella Washington