Today marks an important date when it comes to numbers: 12/12/12. December 12, 2012. It’s not going to happen again until December 12, 2112, if the Mayans are wrong, that is. It’s not like there’s going to be a 13/13/13, unless we get an extra month somehow. I guess anything could happen. To celebrate this momentous occasion, here are some lists of my favorite #12-peaking songs throughout the decades. All data comes from the archives of the Billboard Hot 100. For now, it’s the 1970’s and 1980’s, though I may update this post with a 1990’s playlist later on. There are plenty of songs that still get regular airplay today on your classic hits and classic rock-formatted radio stations, while others have been gone from radio stations for many years now, maybe even since the end of the songs initial release. It was so hard to narrow the songs down when so many charted way back when, so even if you don’t see your favorites in here, just know that I did go through everything that I could. That being said, I’m sure you’ll remember most of the well. Let’s dig into these dozens, shall we?
1970: Charles Wright and The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band – Express Yourself
You’ve probably heard this one sampled in an advertisement lately for Windows 8. It’s a funky soul classic, which has been remixed into several tracks, including a 1989 single by N.W.A. of the same name.
1972: Don McLean – Vincent
It doesn’t compare to his ode about “the day the music died”, but it’s still a good track from his earlier period. This, of course, was a tribute to artist Vincent van Gogh.
1972: Eagles – Take It Easy
Before their stay at the Hotel California, the group charted with this classic rock radio regular. They’d chart with bigger singles in just a few years.
1973: Elton John – Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
One of the Rocket Man’s rockier numbers. It missed the top ten, but people remember it like it did nowadays.
1974: Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Takin’ Care Of Business
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. One of the Canadian’s band best chart successes, even though their only top ten hit was a #1 tune from the same year.
1975: KISS – Rock and Roll All Nite (Live)
Prepare to paint your face. This was the breakthrough hit from the Big Apple rockers, which is still remembered well.
1975: Queen – Killer Queen
First big hit for Freddy Mercury and the boys, which showed off their dramatic style, as well as some excellent instrumentation. It’s also one of the few times a band’s name was featured in the name of the single.
1976: Peter Frampton – Baby, I Love Your Way (Live)
From the huge album Frampton Comes Alive, this one remains a big hit on the airwaves today. It became a bigger hit for the group Big Mountain in 1994.
1976: Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back in Town
One of the first big songs in the Irish rock movement. This one endures very well, even though they’re a one-hit wonder here in the States.
1978: Chris Rea – Fool (If You Think It’s Over)
Rea usually gets some seasonal airplay overseas with his song “Driving Home For Christmas”, but this was his only major U.S. hit, a pop ballad.
1979: G.Q. – Disco Nights (Rock Freak)
A disco classic with plenty of funky guitar and synthesizers. It was later sampled in a number of songs, including 1989’s “I Beg Your Pardon” by Canadian group Kon Kan.
1979: Nick Lowe – Cruel to Be Kind
As new wave rolled in in the late 70’s, Lowe scored his only hit to date, a great pop tune.
Twelve More Twelves:
1971: The Staple Singers – Respect Yourself
1973: Bob Dylan – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
1973: The Moody Blues – I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock ‘N’ Roll Band)
1974: Jim Stafford – My Girl Bill
1975: Barry Manilow – It’s A Miracle
1975: J. Geils Band – Must Of Got Lost
1976: Bay City Rollers – I Only Want To Be With You (strangely enough, Dusty Springfield‘s original also hit #12!)
1977: Dave Mason – We Just Disagree
1978: ABBA – The Name Of The Game
1978: Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Hollywood Nights
1978: Gerry Rafferty – Right Down The Line
1979: Cheryl Lynn – Got To Be Real
1980: The Jacksons – Lovely One
After their big dance hits in the late 70’s, the group remained on a disco kick in 1980 when “One” rose on the charts. It has a great groove.
1981: Climax Blues Band – I Love You
First dance at the wedding, anyone? This tender ballad has been a favorite for many lovebirds throughout the years.
1982: Fleetwood Mac – Gypsy
Wonderful track from their album Mirage with Stevie Nicks taking on the lead vocals. This was their last top-20 hit from the album.
1983: Def Leppard – Photograph
One of the big breakthroughs of the “Rock 40” era, the band continued to have success well beyond their first rockin’ hit.
1983: Elton John – I’m Still Standing
Good song with an even better message about staying strong. Fun video in the hot summer sun too.
1984: The Cars – Magic
The band from Boston scored this one off of their album Heartbeat City. It’s a memorable pop song from what could be their best LP.
1985: Foreigner – That Was Yesterday
Doesn’t really stack up to anything they put out in the 70’s, but it’s enjoyable. Much more dark and haunting than their usual fare.
1986: Boys Don’t Cry – I Wanna Be A Cowboy
One of the odd spoken word records to hit the charts during the decade. It’s a catchy song, but extremely dated-sounding.
1987: Level 42 – Lessons In Love
Though it didn’t fully duplicate the top ten success of “Something About You”, this was another solid single by the band, who would never make the top 40 in the U.S. again.
1988: D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Parents Just Don’t Understand
Remember when rap music was fun and playful? The first big hit for Will Smith saw him chasing after girls and crashing his parents’ new car.
1988: Lita Ford – Kiss Me Deadly
Just to prove that girls could rock in the 80’s, Ford’s anthem was rough and tough, inspiring a new generation of ferocious females. Ford would have several other songs chart in the next few years.
1989: Howard Jones – Everlasting Love
He’s had much bigger, but this was a really pleasant song that also cracked the top ten on the airplay chart. Jones never had a single as big as this one for the rest of his career.
Twelve More Twelves:
1983: Adam Ant – Goody Two Shoes
1983: Prince & The Revolution – 1999
1984: New Edition – Mr. Telephone Man
1984: “Weird Al” Yankovic – Eat It
1985: Ashford & Simpson – Solid
1986: Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Like A Rock
1986: Culture Club – Move Away
1987: Cyndi Lauper – What’s Going On
1987: Glenn Medeiros – Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You
1987: Motley Crue – Girls, Girls, Girls
1988: Erasure – Chains Of Love
1989: Tom Petty – I Won’t Back Down
Hope you enjoy all the memories! Thanks for checking in on all these twelves.