During the 1970s, Billboard’s biggest competitor, Cash Box, had very stark differences in what songs topped its chart.
For the decade, nearly 100 songs that topped Cash Box’s singles list failed to do the same on Billboard’s Hot 100.
That’s a big challenge in this second installment of The Fantasy Number Ones.
I’ll provide the Cash Box-only Number Ones yearly, and pick up to three of them to swap out with Billboard Number Ones of that same year.
See what you think of these. All peaked at Number 2 on the Hot 100 unless otherwise noted.
Spirit In The Sky (peaked at number3)
Simon & Garfunkel:
Cecilia (peaked at 4)
Ball Of Confusion (peaked at 3)
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours (peaked at 3)
Eric Burdon & War
Spill The Wine (peaked at 3)
Patches (peaked at 4)
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Lookin’ Out My Back Door
Candida (peaked at 3)
We’ve Only Just Begun
R. Dean Taylor
Indiana Wants Me (peaked at 5)
Patches, Candida, Indiana Wants Me … blah. Spill the Wine is interesting, but not better than most other hits by War or Eric Burdon when he was with the Animals. I’d love to give Creedence Clearwater Revival a Number One spot… but not for Lookin’ Out My Back Door.
And Cecelia and We’ve Only Just Begun, while great, fall short of the artists’ songs that hit number one on the Hot 100 that year (Bridge Over Troubled Water and Close to You, respectively).
That leaves gospel rocker Spirit in the Sky and Motown masterpieces Ball of Confusion and Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours. They take over the spots held by Everything is Beautiful by Ray Stevens, Make It With You by Bread and I Think I Love You by the Partridge Family.
The Bee Gees
Lonely Days (peaked at 3)
Rose Garden (peaked at 3)
The Jackson Five
She’s A Lady
The Partridge Family
Doesn’t Somebody Want To Be Wanted (peaked at 6)
What’s Going On
The Jackson Five
Never Can Say Goodbye
It Don’t Come Easy (peaked at 4)
Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
Don’t Pull Your Love (peaked at 4)
Take Me Home, Country Roads
The Undisputed Truth
Smiling Faces Sometimes (peaked at 3)
What’s Going On is a slam dunk. The rest are pretty strong except for The Partridge Family. I’ll go with what I think are the most enduring ones here in association with their performers, Never Can Say Goodbye and Take Me Home, Country Roads.
To accommodate them, let’s remove from atop the Hot 100 Knock Three Times by Dawn, One Bad Apple by the Osmonds and Go Away Little Girl by Donny Osmond.
Got To Be There (peaked at 4)
Precious And Few (peaked at 3)
Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
Sylvia’s Mother (peak 5)
Nice To Be With You (peak 4)
Cornelius Bros. & Sister Rose
Too Late To Turn Back Now
Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast (peak 4)
I’m Still In Love With You (peak 3)
Long Cool Woman
Back Stabbers (peaked at 3)
The Main Ingredient
Everybody Plays The Fool (peaked at 3)
The Moody Blues
Nights In White Satin
I’ll Be Around (peaked at 3)
I’d Love You To Want Me
Cutting out mostly dross: Got to Be There, Too Late To Turn Back Now, Long Cool Woman, Back Stabbers, Nights in White Satin, Burning Love and I’ll Be Around are my faves. My final answers are Too Late To Turn Back Now, Back Stabbers and Nights in White Satin (he says nervously).
To remove three in 1972, I’ll go with Brand New Key by Melanie, My Ding-a-Ling by Chuck Berry and Song Sung Blue by Neil Diamond.
Oh Babe, What Would You Say? (peaked at 3)
Could It Be I’m Falling In Love (peaked at 4)
Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandell
Gladys Knight & Pips
Neither One Of Us
The Four Tops
Ain’t No Woman (Like The One I’ve Got) (peaked at 4)
Three Dog Night
Shambala (peaked at 3)
Yesterday Once More
Paul McCartney & Wings
Live And Let Die
Loves Me Like A Rock
Higher Ground (peaked at 4)
The Allman Brothers Band
The DeFranco Family
Heartbeat, It’s A Love Beat (peaked at 3)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Just You ‘N’ Me (peaked at 4)
Some close calls here. Ramblin’ Man is a given. All the rest except Hurricane Smith and The DeFranco Family would be fine with me to a lesser extent. I’ll add Could It Be I’m Falling In Love and Shambala for now.
To make room, let’s say ‘bye on the Hot 100 to: The Morning After by Maureen McGovern, Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree by Tony Orlando and Dawn, and The Most Beautiful Girl by Charlie Rich.
Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress) (peak 3)
The Americans (peaked at 4)
Rock On (peaked at 5)
Three Dog Night
The Show Must Go On (peaked at 4)
The Jackson Five
The Entertainer (peaked at 3)
You Make Me Feel Brand New
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Tell Me Something Good (peaked at 3)
Can’t Get Enough (peaked at 5)
The Three Degrees
When Will I See You Again
The easiest way for me on this one is to eliminate artists that had at least one Hot 100 Number One. Most of which were better than their songs here. That includes the Three Degrees, as they were credited on TSOP by MFSB.
The exception is Elton John. But Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me went to number one later in a duet he did with George Michael… so he’s out.
Byron MacGregor and Marvin Hamlisch were novelties, so that leaves David Essex, the Stylistics, Rufus and Bad Company. I go with Rock On, You Make Me Feel Brand New and Tell Me Something Good over Can’t Get Enough.
Getting the boot on the Hot 100 for those are The Streak by Ray Stevens, (You’re) Having My Baby by Paul Anka with Odia Coates and The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace.
You’re The First, The Last, My Everything
Boogie On Reggae Woman (peaked at 3)
No No Song (peaked at 3)
Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Jackie Blue (peaked at 3)
How Long (peaked at 3)
When Will I Be Loved
Please Mr. Please (peaked at 3)
Someone Saved My Life Tonight (peaked at 4)
At Seventeen (peaked at 3)
Run, Joey, Run (peaked at 4)
Mr. Jaws (peaked at 4)
Since these run the gamut, I’ll do the same and pick a rocker: Jackie Blue, a soulful number, You’re The First, The Last, My Everything, and a ballad: Someone Saved My Life Tonight.
Although… if you catch me another day, I might pick How Long, Boogie On Reggae Woman and At Seventeen in those categories instead.
Switched out for these on the Hot 100 will be Mandy by Barry Manilow, He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You) by Tony Orlando and Dawn and Before the Next Teardrop Falls by Freddy Fender.
All By Myself
Captain & Tennille
Lonely Night (Angel Face) (peaked at 3)
Right Back Where We Started From
Get Up And Boogie
Let ‘Em In (peaked at 3)
Lowdown (peaked at 3)
The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald
To me, the only real contenders are: Dream Weaver, Right Back Where We Started From, Lowdown and The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald. The latter three sound like the best combo. Sorry, Gary Wright, you’ll have to dream on.
What gets dropped from the Hot 100 for this trio? I’d say Disco Duck by Rick Dees, I Write the Songs by Barry Manilow and Welcome Back by John Sebastian.
I’m In You
Higher And Higher
Don’t Stop (peaked at 3)
Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue
I’d love to give Frampton, Coolidge and Gayle a number one hit. But their efforts here can’t compare to the majestic Don’t Stop. Let it take over Looks Like We Made It by Barry Manilow, which tries to be just as inspiring but is insipid instead.
Emotion (peaked at 3)
Emotion is a delight, but 1978 has enough Bee Gees-related chart toppers as is. And Randy Newman has more talent than shown in Short People.
That leaves Baker Street to finally get the top spot it deserves. Take that, Bill Wardlow! (Wardlow was Billboard’s chart guru who many believe prevented Baker Street from hitting number One. Read the story here.)
It’s tempting to replace Baker Street with what kept it from number one, Shadow Dancing by Andy Gibb. But I like that better than the choice I’ll switch out, You Needed Me by Anne Murray.
Sail On (peaked at 4)
Only one choice? Well, I like Sail On much more than the Commodores song that topped the Hot 100 that year, Still, so I’ll have it replace that one.
Now it’s your turn to say what you think about all this. Comment below…
And get ready for the 1980s… coming next week!
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