What’s At No. 100? (12-13-69)

It’s not often I can look at a Billboard Top Ten and see twelve singles instead of ten. And it’s no doubt even more rare that I can look at twelve singles in a Top Ten and pretty much love every one of them. Here’s the Top Ten from December 13, 1969:

“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam
“Leaving On A Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul & Mary
“Someday We’ll Be Together” by Diana Ross & The Supremes
“Come Together/Something” by the Beatles
“Down On The Corner/Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Take A Letter Maria” by R.B. Greaves
“Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday” by Stevie Wonder
“And When I Die” by Blood, Sweat & Tears
“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” by B.J. Thomas
“Backfield In Motion” by Mel & Tim

So. If I love all these records, how much of that love is for the records? And how much of that love is for the time, my first December as a Top 40 listener and my only December as a sixteen-year-old, with all the tumult, grace and unrequited love that come along with being sixteen? As always, it’s hard to divide that all up.

But a quick check finds ten of the twelve records in the iPod as I began this piece, meaning I still like hearing them. As far as the other two go, well, I recall thinking about “Down On The Corner” as I restocked the iPod last year, deciding I’d go back and add it if I had room. I never did. And I whiffed on “Raindrops.” Still, 10-2 would get you into a good bowl game most years (and sometimes into the playoffs).

I’ll note a few more things and then move on: First, I’ve heard “Leaving On A Jet Plane” performed live by two of the individuals closely connected to it. The song’s writer, John Denver, performed at St. Cloud State during the winter of my senior year of high school, probably early in 1971, and introduced “Leaving On A Jet Plane” by saying, “I’d like now to do a medley of my hit.” And six years ago, Peter Yarrow sang the song during his intimate show at St. Cloud’s Pioneer Place.

Second, this would have been one of the earliest Top Tens that included more than one record I could already listen to at will. By this time, I had cassettes of Abbbey Road and Blood, Sweat & Tears. It wasn’t quite the first such Top Ten: In early November, not long after I’d acquired the 5th Dimension’s LP The Age of Aquarius, “Wedding Bell Blues” and “Come Together” were in the Top Ten together.

(For most of November, those four records, with “Come Together/Something” sometimes listed as two individual entries and sometimes as a two-sided single, were all in the Top Ten. In the Top Ten from November 15, the top four records in the Hot 100 were: “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Come Together,” “Something” and “And When I Die.” I was evidently selecting my music wisely.)

What, though, lies further down? What do we find at No. 100?

Well, we find a record I know I’ve never heard before: “Big In Vegas” by Buck Owens & The Buckaroos. Listening this morning, I heard thematic links to a couple of other singles: Glenn Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Lodi” by Creedence.

And just like the singer in the record, “Big In Vegas” didn’t make it, at least not on the pop chart: It spent exactly one week in the Hot 100, sitting right at the bottom of the chart. As one would expect, though, it did much better on the Billboard country chart, getting up to No. 5.

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