Posts Tagged ‘Split Enz’

Getting Used To Being 57

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

I’ve been fifty-seven for a little more than a week now, which is long enough to get used to it. Just like it used to take a week or so to remember to write the correct year on a check every January, it now takes about a week for me to internalize my new age every September. (It never used to; back when age and birthdays were of huge importance, my age was always at the forefront of my mind.) Of course, the simile tends to underline the fact that – year by year – I’m out-growing many of the little things that used to be day-to-day realities: paper checks are now an item almost ready to be relegated to the same place where one finds dial phones, home-delivered milk and so much more.

But that’s okay. It’s better to be fifty-seven and know the world has changed immensely than it would have been to not get to fifty-seven at all. And in the absence of anything more compelling today, I thought I’d take a look at a few of the records that have been at No. 57 at mid-September, the time when these days I begin remember to include the additional year when someone asks my age.

We’ll start with 1956 – as the Billboard data I have seems to indicate that as the first year there was a No. 57 slot for a record – and then hit every six years from there.

On this date in 1956, the No. 57 record was “Mama, Teach Me To Dance” by Eydie Gorme. The record was Gorme’s second Top 40 hit, having peaked at No. 34 earlier in the month. She’d have five more Top 40 hits, the last two with husband Steve Lawrence. The duo, it seems to me, were regulars on many talk shows throughout the 1960s.

In 1962, one of the great Fifties rockers had a single at No. 57: Bo Diddley’s “You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover” was heading up the chart toward its peak of No. 48 (No. 21 on the R&B chart). The video I’ve linked to is from a television performance (evidently in New York, according to other versions I’ve seen of the clip), and it kicks, Bo Diddley beat and all.

On this date in 1968, the Vogues’ “My Special Angel” was sitting at No. 57. A week later, the record would enter the Top 40 en route to No. 7. The record – which would spend two weeks atop the Adult Contemporary chart – would be the sixth of the group’s eight eventual Top 40 hits.

In 1974, one of Edgar Winter’s three Top 40 hits was perched at No. 57 on its way down the chart, having spent two weeks at No. 33 in mid-August. “River’s Risin’” was Winter’s last Top 40 hit and – to these ears – wasn’t quite as good as the two 1973 hits credited to the Edgar Winter Group: “Frankenstein” (No. 1) and “Free Ride” (No. 14).

Edgar Winter – “River’s Risin’” [1974]

I pretty much missed the Split Enz, although I listened to a fair amount of Crowded House, the group the Finn brothers formed after the Split Enz broke up. Around this time in 1980, the Enz’ record “I Got You” was at No. 57. It would climb just four more spots before peaking at No. 53. And although I never sought the record out, I recognize – like almost anyone else, I imagine – the song’s hooky chorus.

When mid-September 1986 rolled around, the No. 57 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 was occupied by “Emotion in Motion,” a single from Rick Ocasek of the Cars. The record would enter the Top 40 a month later and peak at No. 15, taking the top spot on the Mainstream Rock and Modern Rock charts. Even twenty-four years later, the video is, if a bit much, still fun to watch:

Our wanderings have brought us to 1992, and we’ll run through the remaining years quickly, as they’re years we don’t often deal with. The No. 57 record in mid-September that year was “Jump!” by the Movement, which went only to No. 53 in the Hot 100 but went to No. 2 on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales and to No. 1 on the Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart. I missed it entirely.

The Wilkinsons, a country trio, occupied spot No. 57 during the third week in September 1998. Three weeks earlier, “26 Cents” had peaked at No. 55 on the Hot 100, but the record it to No. 3 on the Country Singles chart, the first of seven records the group got into the country chart, though none of the others did as well as “26 Cents.” I missed this one, too, but I may have to go back and check into the Wilkinsons. I likely won’t do the same with the Movement.

The data I have in my files ends with July 2004, so I don’t know what was at No. 57 that September, but to bring things up to the current time, I glanced at the Billboard Hot 100 available online for this week. The record currently at No. 57 is “Fancy” by Drake featuring T.I. and Swizz Beatz. I listened to about a minute of it. Wasn’t quite my thing.

I’ll be back tomorrow, I hope, with a new installment of the Ultimate Jukebox.

(One title corrected since first posted; thanks, Yah Shure.)