One Chart Dig: March 27, 1961

Poking around in a few Billboard charts that were released on today’s date over the years, I pondered for a few moments the Top Ten from March 27, 1961:

“Surrender” by Elvis Presley
“Pony Time” by Chubby Checker
“Dedicated To The One I Love” by the Shirelles
“Apache” by Jorge Ingman & His Guitar
“Don’t Worry” by Marty Robbins
“Blue Moon” by the Marcels
“Walk Right Back” by the Everly Brothers
“Wheels” by the String-A-Longs
“Where The Boys Are” by Connie Francis
“Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)” by Carla Thomas

I know almost all of those ten records now – Marty Robbins’ “Don’t Worry” at No. 5 seems to have escaped my attention for these fifty-three years – but the only one I recall from that time is the Connie Francis single. And the rest of the Hot 100 from March 27, 1961, seems the same way, with almost all of it unknown to the seven-year-old whiteray. That’s not surprising.

Nor is it surprising that even now, there are records in that chart that I do not know, and I think we’ll spend a few days in the next week digging into it. We’ll start by dropping down to the Bubbling Under portion of the chart, and at No. 101, we find a name that’s now familiar: Joe Jones, whose “You Talk Too Much” went to No. 3 (and to No. 9 on the R&B chart) in late 1960.

Jones’ follow-up record was a drum- and horn-driven take on “California Sun,” a tune that the Rivieras would take to No. 5 in a speeded-up and surfed-up (but equally drum-driven) version in 1964. Jones’ version was the original of the Henry Glover/Morris Levy tune, according to SecondHandSongs, and I liked very much one of the comments left about the record at YouTube: “Great record, but no matter how much the lyrics insist he wants to go to California, those horns aren’t going anywhere but New Orleans!”

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