One Chart Dig: September 6, 1969

Late last evening – actually early this morning, to be accurate – I was digging around in the various Billboard Hot 100 charts that have been issued on September 6 over the years, wondering about a post for this morning. My favorite year among those that showed up in my search was, of course, 1975, with 1969 a close second. (The other years with a September 6 chart were 1980, 1986, 1997 and 2003.)

But I’ve dug around in both 1969 and 1975 recently, and I figure I will do so again after autumn arrives a little later this month. So I was going to check out the other four September 6 charts without much enthusiasm because one never knows when a glittering nugget of a song lies buried somewhere deep. And then, as I was giving a cursory glance to the chart from September 6, 1969, I saw a title that intrigued me. So I dug a little bit.

Not quite two weeks ago, I discovered and posted here an answer song to Bobby Vinton’s “Roses Are Red,” the tune “Long As The Rose Is Red” by one Florraine Darlin. I’m no expert on the phenomenon of answer tunes, but I do find them interesting. And given the title I found languishing in the Bubbling Under section of the chart I was reading, I wonder first, have any answer tunes ever done as well in the charts as the record that sparked them? And second, do they exist today, and if not, when did they fade away?

I have no answers, only questions on that topic, but I hope that someone might shed some light on the world of answer tunes or at least provide a reference to learn more.

Obviously, the tune that piqued my interest as I read the September 6, 1969, chart was an answer tune: “Billy, I’ve Got To Go To Town” came from Geraldine Stevens and was a response to the No. 6 hit, “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town” by Kenny Rogers & the First Edition.

It turns out that Geraldine Stevens was better known as Dodie Stevens, whose “Pink Shoe Laces” went to No. 3 in 1959 when she was just 13. She also had minor hits with “Yes, I’m Lonesome Tonight,” which sounds like an answer song itself and reached No. 60 in February of 1961, and “No,” which went to No. 73 in September of 1960. Wikipedia says that she also had a hit with the Christmas single, “Merry, Merry Christmas Baby.”

But it was under the name of Geraldine Stevens – her birth name was Geraldine Ann Pasquale – that the singer released “Billy, I’ve Got To Go To Town.” The song is an answer to Rogers’ sad song about the Vietnam vet, now confined to a wheelchair, who watches his wife, Ruby, get all dolled up and head out the door, ostensibly to find a full-bodied fellow in town. In the chart for September 6, 1969, the record is at No. 117 in its third week in the Bubbling Under section. It went no higher and was gone from the chart two weeks later.

I have to honestly say that after several listenings, I’m still not sure what Ruby’s going to be doing in town, but she says Billy should trust her:

I’ll be back Wednesday, most likely with this week’s installment of the Ultimate Jukebox.

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2 Responses to “One Chart Dig: September 6, 1969”

  1. WZJN says:

    Not a bad tune. Same song, different words.

  2. WZJN says:

    Hey Greg, head over to http://thesongsthatpeoplesing.wordpress.com/ – he’s got an answer tune up this week also. An answer to The O’Kays I’m A Girl Watcher.

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