There’s a celebration going on in the United Kingdom as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, welcomed a baby boy into the world on Monday. His name has not yet been revealed. The coverage of the event is continuing on all the major news networks, so, how can I ignore it? With a musical twist on the announcement, let’s look back at the royalty that made the charts, both in act name and in song title. They reigned over the charts for several decades, and now, the crown jewels are on display for music historians to gaze upon:
Since the Hot 100 began in 1958, there have been eight acts to royally make the top 100 with their regal names. The majority of them were groups, with only one solo singer in the bunch:
BILLY JOE ROYAL: Georgia-born Royal had nine Hot 100 singles between 1965 and 1978 (with a number of near-misses), but the best known of them was his first, “Down In The Boondocks”. It went to #9 in 1965. He has also had a successful career on the Country charts in the mid-to-late 80’s.
ROYALTONES: The quintet out of Michigan made Billboard’s chart just twice, with their first single “Poor Boy” reaching the top 40 in the fall of 1958, going as high as #17. The second of the two was released in 1981 and didn’t go past #82. Several members struck big in other music acts.
THE “5” ROYALES: They were big on the R&B survey before the Hot 100 even existed. However, their only song to make the pop chart was “Dedicated To The One I Love”, a #81 single in 1961. It was bigger for both The Shirelles (#3, 1961) and The Mamas and The Papas (#2, 1967).
THE ROYALETTES: The girl group out of Maryland charted with the original version of “It’s Gonna Take A Miracle”, which later became a top ten single for Deniece Williams. Their version went to #41 in 1965. They made the Hot 100 once more before splitting apart a few years later.
THE ROYAL GUARDSMEN: The sextet from Florida scored big when they put a character from the popular Peanuts comic strip into their music. “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron” was hot seller during Christmas 1966, spending four weeks at #2. They had a total of seven singles make the chart.
THE ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA: In the early 1980’s, the music industry decided the medleys were in again. As a result, “Hooked On Classics”, mixing together pieces by Bach, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky (among others) against a rhythmic beat was a hit, going to #10 in 1982.
THE ROYAL SCOTS DRAGOON GUARDS: Though their album initially bombed, their bagpipe-heavy version of the standard “Amazing Grace” spent five weeks at #1 in the United Kingdom. It climbed to #11 on the Hot 100. They had a handful of other charting singles in Europe, but none here.
THE ROYAL TEENS: The group out of New Jersey was best known for their 1958 hit, “Short Shorts”, which went to #3. You may know it as the song from the Nair commercials. After a minor top 40 followup, the group struggled on the national charts and its members went onto play in other groups.
As for the noble song titles to capture the nation, they are fewer and far between. Only four have made the Hot 100, with one charting actively as I write this. Let’s see if you remember any of these:
“Her Royal Majesty”, James Darren (#6, 1962)
Actor and singer Darren was best known as Moondoggie in a series of Gidget films in the late 50’s and early 60’s, but he also charted with a string of ten singles on the Hot 100. “Majesty” was the second-biggest of them (#6) following “Goodbye Cruel World”, which went to #3 during the previous year. He last made the Billboard charts in 1977 and last recorded in 2001.
“Casino Royale”, Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass (#27, 1967)
From the film of the same name which portrayed James Bond (played by David Niven) in a more comical light, Alpert and his band provided this theme song, which played over the end credits of the film. It was a minor entry on the Hot 100, but it became the group’s second #1 on the then Easy Listening survey (now Adult Contemporary chart) for two weeks in length.
“The Royal Mile (Sweet Darlin’)”, Gerry Rafferty (#54, 1980)
Originally a member of the band Stealers Wheel, known for the big single “Stuck In The Middle With You”, Rafferty found even more success as a solo act with five top 40 singles in a row, including the #2 “Baker Street” from 1978. This was his last single to make the pop chart, featured on the album Snakes and Ladders. He passed away two years ago at the age of 63.
“Royals”, Lorde (#74+, 2013)
She’s only 16 years old, but she’s done a lot more than most 16-year-olds I can think of. Ella Yelich-O’Connor, known as Lorde, has a top-selling EP in The Love Club and this song, which went to #1 in her home country, New Zealand. It’s already up to #74 on the Hot 100 and is solidly in the top ten on Alternative radio. Look for it to dominate here in the U.S. this fall.
For more on the kings and queens of the music world, follow this palace of pop I call my blog down below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.