From March 1963 to May 1970

Earlier this week, I took a pass on digging into the chart from the first week of March in 1963 in favor of two versions of “On Top Of Spaghetti,” and that was a good idea. But I’ve still been looking at that chart, which reflects pop music in America a little bit less than a year before the Beatles turned the American music world upside-down.

The top ten in the Billboard Hot 100 for March 2, 1963, forty-nine years ago today, was:

“Walk Like A Man” by the Four Seasons
“Ruby Baby” by Dion
“Hey Paula” by Paul & Paula
“Rhythm of the Rain” by the Cascades
“Walk Right In” by the Rooftop Singers
“You’re The Reason I’m Living” by Bobby Darin
“Blame It On The Bossa Nova” by Eydie Gorme
“From A Jack To A King” by Ned Miller
“Wild Weekend” by the Rebels
“What Will Mary Say” by Johnny Mathis

The first five of those are very familiar; the second five are not though I imagine I’d recognize some of them if I heard them. (Off to YouTube!) And I was right. The only one of those five I don’t believe I’d heard until this morning is the countryish Darin record.

But, as I often do, I dropped to the lower end of that particular Hot 100, and sitting at No. 126 in the Bubbling Under section was “Gone With The Wind” by the Duprees, the fourth charting record for the Italian-American doo-wop group from Jersey City, New Jersey. The best-known of the Duprees’ records is no doubt their first charting record, “You Belong To Me,” which went to No. 7 on the last day of summer in 1962.

The Duprees’ next charting record hit the Top Twenty: “My Own True Love,” which went to No. 13, used the melody of “Tara’s Theme” from the 1939 movie Gone With The Wind, spurred, no doubt, by the film’s re-release in 1961. (The group’s “Gone With The Wind,” says Joel Whitburn in Top Pop Singles, has no connection to the movie.)

“Gone With The Wind” went only to No. 89, the second straight record by the group that faltered in the lower portions of the Hot 100. They’d have two more Top 40 hits, both later in 1963: “Why Don’t You Believe Me” went to No. 37 and “Have You Heard” went to No. 18. The Duprees’ final total was eight hits in the Hot 100 with four of those reaching the Top 40, and two more hits that bubbled under; their last chart presence came in May 1970, when – recording as the Italian Asphalt & Paving Company – they reached No. 97 with “Check Yourself.”

Anyway, here’s “Gone With The Wind,” which was No. 128 forty-nine years ago today:

And here, just because I could find it, is “Check Yourself” by the Italian Asphalt & Paving Company, which turns out to have been written by Philadelphia’s own Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. It’s actually pretty good.

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One Response to “From March 1963 to May 1970”

  1. Lisa says:

    I heard “What Will Mary Say” by Johnny Mathis on the radio not long ago and I have to say it really bugged me — mainly because of the totally unnecessary grammatical problem.

    It should be “What WOULD Mary Say.” And it’s not like they were forced to go with “Will” for scansion reasons.

    Plus, the song is really tacky, not something I associate with Mathis. But the grammar problem just irked me bigtime.

    Listen and you’ll see what I mean.


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