Break The S-P-E-L-L: The Better The Letters

They've put a S.P.E.L.L. on you.

They’ve put a S.P.E.L.L. on you.

Last week, pop star Lady Gaga treated her fans to an ARTPOP film centered around the third release from her latest effort, “G.U.Y”, an acronym for “girl under you.” The clip has accumulated over 25 million views on YouTube thus far and is currently into the top 50 at CHR radio, meaning that it will likely make the Hot 100 in some capacity very soon. Considering the mixed reaction to this era in general, it could be the song to put it back on track.

This single from the performer features a title that is fully spelled out and vocally spelled out during the composition, which seems to be a rarity on the charts today. From the decades of archives, we find some cases where a song title is only partially spelled out, and others where it may not be fully sung the way it’s officially printed. Yes, it’s a little bit technical, but that’s the way these P-O-S-T-S work sometimes. In honor of the newest entry to the club, here are nine other top 40 hits with different titles from years past that I like, all spelled out for Y.O.U.:

“A-B-C”, The Jackson 5 (#1, 1970)
The quintet out of Gary, IN took the world by storm beginning in 1969 with four consecutive #1 single, with this being the second of them. It was fully written and produced, as many of their early hits were, by Motown’s The Corporation.

“W.O.L.D.”, Harry Chapin (#36, 1974)
Life as a traveling radio disc jockey takes its toll on you, and so, Chapin wrote this ode inspired by longtime Boston DJ Jim Connors of station WMEX. Connors helped break the performer’s first big song, “Taxi”, during the spring of 1972.

“L-O-V-E”, Al Green (#13, 1975)
Green put out some absolute classics in the 1970’s, and although wasn’t one of his biggest on the Hot 100, it was one of his last #1’s on the Soul chart. After several years of declining sales, he turned to gospel music and became a reverend.

“S.O.S.”, ABBA (#15, 1975)
The former Eurovision winners turned Swedish superstars made some of the best music of the decade, like this catchy tune. It remains the only entry ever on the Billboard Hot 100 to feature both an act and song title that are palindromes.

“T-R-O-U-B-L-E”, Elvis Presley (#35, 1976)
Recorded on his 1975 album, Today, one of the King’s final top 40 songs was written by Jerry Chesnut, who was hot on the Country charts at the time. It later became a minor Country hit in 1993 for Travis Tritt, but missed the Hot 100.

“Y.M.C.A.”, The Village People (#2, 1979)
If there’s any song that will make you boogie down (and maybe spell out the title with your arms up in the air), then this would be good. It was the signature hit for these costumed singers – now, it’s a Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Wedding standard.

“C-I-T-Y”, John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band (#18, 1985)
The 1983 movie Eddie And The Cruisers made them stars and after living “on the dark side”, Scotti Bros. landed them a few other top 40 singles, including this, their final trek into the region. The Rhode Island sextet is still together today.

“P.A.S.S.I.O.N.”, Rythm Syndicate (#2, 1991)
The debut hit from this Connecticut sextet was huge on the pop charts, spending two weeks at #2 behind “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”, the huge ballad by Bryan Adams. They charted four singles through 1992 before disbanding.

“U-N-I-T-Y”, Queen Latifah (#23, 1994)
Before she hosted her own daytime television show or even married couples at the GRAMMY Awards, the Queen took her rapping flow onto the charts during the 1990’s. This was her biggest hit, which also peaked at #2 on the Rap chart.

For the word on W-O-R-D-S and everything musical in-between, don’t forget to click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.


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