12/02/2021

Take a look at today’s palindromic date: 12/02/2021. One can’t just ignore it, but on the other side, I’m not entirely sure what to do with it.

As I ponder that, I’m wondering how often such a perfect palindrome occurs on the calendar. Last year, we passed by 02/02/2020, and I think that the last time before that would have been 11/02/2011. That’s using U.S. notation, of course, with the month coming first; in those places where the date comes first – making today’s date 02/12/2021 and not at all significant —palindromes are a little more likely as they’d come, in this century, anyway, in years whose last digit is 0, 1 and 2. February 20, 2002, would have been 20/02/2002; February 10 the year before would have been 10/02/2001.

So that’s kind of neat. But what to do with it? Games With Numbers, obviously, but how?

Well, during the years I’m most interested in, Billboard released a Hot 100 on December 2 – 12/02 – in 1967, 1972 and 1978. We dabble in 1972 a lot, probably more than any other years except the three years that preceded it, and there’s more interest here in 1967 than there is in 1978. But I think we’ll look at the Nos. 20 and 21 records on this date for all three years.

So, what were the No. 20 and 21 records on this date in 1967? Sitting at No 20 on this date fifty-four years ago was the Bee Gees’ “(The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts,” and parked underneath it was Vicki Carr’s “It Must Be Him.” The Bee Gees’ record was on its way up the chart and would peak at No. 11. “It Must Be Him” was on its way down after peaking at No. 3 on the Hot 100 and spending three weeks at No. 1 on the chart then called Easy Listening.

Let’s go to 1972. Perched at No. 20 fifty-one years ago was a country crossover, Donna Fargo’s “Funny Face,” and just below that was “Convention ’72” by the Delegates, a comedy cut-in record that wasn’t particularly funny. “Funny Face” would peak at No. 5 on both the Hot 100 and the Easy Listening chart and was No. 1 for three weeks on the country chart. “Convention ’72” was on its way down the chart after peaking at No. 8.

On this date in 1978, the No. 20 record was “Sweet Life” by Paul Davis, while the spot just below was occupied by “Don’t Want To Live Without It” by Pablo Cruise. Davis’ record would go just a little higher and peak at No. 17 and would peak at No. 7 on the Easy Listening chart, while the Pablo Cruise record would go no higher in the Hot 100.

Five of those six were familiar to me; I had to go the RealPlayer to remind myself of the Pablo Cruise record, but I still don’t remember it. Certainly the most successful among them was Donna Fargo’s, but it’s not really my thing. I’m pretty sure none of the six has been mentioned very often here, but the records by Carr, Davis and the Bee Gees are fine records, and I suppose that if I recalled ever hearing the Pablo Cruise record, it would be fine, too.

But I waded through the archives to check on “(The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts,” and I learned that I have mentioned the record only once in the nearly fifteen years I’ve been cobbling things together here, and that was in a listing of a radio station’s top five. I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned either the Davis record or the Carr record any more than once each, but . . . well, here’s “(The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts.”

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