Tag Archives: Connie Francis

FRIDAY FORTY: Just A Fool Or Forty

Happy Friday! Welcome to another special edition of an occasional segment I’m putting together called The Friday Forty. Consider it a definitive list on all sorts of music-related topics (and much better than those VH1 lists!)

It’s still a few days before you have to put your April Fool’s Day pranks into action, so make it a good one this year. I’m sure you’ll come up with something extra special. In the meantime, there’s been some foolish behavior on the music charts for years, from dancing fools to fools in the rain. We’ve kissed them and believed them. We’ve even questioned ourselves about being the fool. Everybody plays the fool, and we played these records a lot, even if they didn’t peak around the Day. (Some of them indeed did.) So, instead of my yapping and fooling around, I present to you the Friday Forty: The Top 40 Fools of the Rock Era.

(I’m still figuring out the best way to compile these lists. In this case, songs are ranked by peak from the Hot 100 (1958-1973) or the CHR airplay chart (1974-present.) Ties in peak are broken up by year-end positions on the respective survey. Enjoy!)

40. The Impressions – Fool For You (#22, 1968)
39. James Ray – If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody (#22, 1961)
38. Lulu – Oh Me, Oh My (I’m A Fool For You Baby) (#22, 1970)
37. Styx – Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) (#21, 1978)
36. The Rolling Stones – Fool To Cry (#19, 1976)
35. Frankie Valli – I Make A Fool Of Myself (#18, 1967)
34. Eddie Money – Maybe I’m A Fool (#18, 1979)
33. Dino, Desi and Billy – I’m A Fool (#17, 1965)
32. Sammy Davis, Jr. – What Kind Of Fool Am I (#17, 1962)
31. Wilson Pickett – Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You (#17, 1971)

30. Larsen-Feiten Band – Who’ll Be The Fool Tonight (#16, 1980)
29. Quarterflash – Find Another Fool (#16, 1982)
28. The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again (#15, 1971)
27. Foghat – Third Time Lucky (First Time I Was A Fool) (#14, 1980)
26. Andy Williams – A Fool Never Learns (#13, 1964)
25. Luther Vandross – Don’t Want To Be A Fool (#12, 1991)
24. Rick Nelson – Fools Rush In (#12, 1963)
23. Steve Perry – Foolish Heart (#10, 1985)
22. The Tams – What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am?) (#9, 1963)
21. Aaron Neville – Everybody Plays The Fool (#9, 1991)

20. Chris Rea – Fool (If You Think It’s Over) (#9, 1978)
19. Rick Springfield – What Kind Of Fool Am I? (#9, 1982)
18. Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb – What Kind Of Fool (#7, 1981)
17. Diana Ross – Why Do Fools Fall In Love? (#7, 1981)
16. Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 – The Fool On The Hill (#6, 1968)
15. George Michael – Kissing A Fool (#6, 1988)
14. Kenny Loggins – Nobody’s Fool (#6, 1988)
13. Lesley Gore – She’s A Fool (#5, 1963)
12. The Shirelles – Foolish Little Girl (#3, 1963)
11. Brenda Lee – Fool #1 (#3, 1961)

The top ten:
10. The Main Ingredient – “Everybody Plays The Fool”
PEAK: #3, 1972

9. Elvin Bishop – “Fooled Around And Fell in Love”
PEAK: #3, 1976

8. Elvis Presley – “A Fool Such As I”
PEAK: #2, 1959

7. Aretha Franklin – “Chain Of Fools”
PEAK: #2, 1968

6. Ashanti – “Foolish”
PEAK: #2, 2002

Not just a "Little" hit.

Not just a “Little” hit.

5. RICKY NELSON – “Poor Little Fool”
PEAK: #1 in 1958

Teen idol Ricky Nelson blew up at an early age, starring on the 50’s sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet along with the rest of his family. In 1957, Nelson began his recording career with a #1 album, Ricky, and a #2 single, “A Teenager’s Romance”. “Poor” was issued in the spring of 1958 and went to #1 for two weeks in August. It holds the distinction of being the first #1 song on the then newly introduced Billboard Hot 100 chart. Nelson had a number of big singles into the early 60’s, but by the middle of the decade, his success experienced a sharp cutoff. “Garden Party” became his final top-40 hit in 1972, peaking at #6, his biggest single in nearly a decade. He had 35 top-40 hits total. Nelson died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve, 1985.

"Somebody" familiar to the top ten.

“Somebody” familiar to the top ten.

4. CONNIE FRANCIS – “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”
PEAK: #1 in 1960

She was on the last Friday Forty about fashion-themed hits, and now, Connie Francis is back again. Like Nelson at #5, Francis also hit the charts for the first time in 1957 with the #4 “Who’s Sorry Now?” but her track record was a little more inconsistent. “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” was originally the b-side of another single, “Jealous Of You”, which only went to #19. However, in this rare case, the song that was demoted to a b-side actually went to the top spot, spending two weeks there. Francis followed it up with “My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own”, which also went to #1. She last hit the top 40 in 1964, but she occasionally made the Hot 100 until the end of the decade. Francis is now 74 years old and sometimes performs.

Couldn't quite "Beat" the top two.

Couldn’t quite “Beat” the top two.

3. DEBBIE GIBSON – “Foolish Beat”
PEAK: #1 in 1988

New Yorker Debbie Gibson wanted to make it big very young, performing in community theater and playing multiple instruments. In 1987, Atlantic Records signed her, and her debut album Out Of The Blue became a multi-Platinum success. This fourth single from the effort became the only #1 hit from it, and, at the tender age of 17, made her the youngest act to write, produce and perform a chart-topping single. Electric Youth, released in 1989, went to #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart on the strength of “Lost In Your Eyes”, but her sales slowly diminished at this point. Gibson last cracked the national charts in 1993, though she’s made some genre-specific surveys since then. She still performs today; in fact, I’ll be seeing her on April 12 at a local event here.

For your chart, your intuition...

“Games” people play.

2. JEWEL – “Foolish Games”
PEAK: #1 in 1997

After two big singles from her Pieces Of You album, this dark track from the Batman & Robin soundtrack was one of two from it to make the mainstream radio chart. (The other was the mid-charter “Gotham City” by R. Kelly.) “Foolish Games” spent four weeks at #1 in the fall, the most out of any song on the list. Jewel scored hits for a number of years afterwards, including 1998’s “Hands” and 2003’s “Intuition”, and also leaped into the world of Country music. Still, her days of big national hits are behind her. She recently put out a Greatest Hits album and a new song from it, “Two Hearts Breaking”, is receiving some minor airplay at the adult contemporary format. She’ll be on tour through the late spring and early summer.

You better "Believe" it.

You better “Believe” it.

1. THE DOOBIE BROTHERS – “What A Fool Believes”
PEAK: #1 in 1979

Now, the most foolish of the fools at #1 on the countdown. After lead singer Tom Johnston fell ill in 1975, The Doobie Brothers took on a different sound with new leader Michael McDonald. “What A Fool Believes” was the first single from Minute By Minute and was a huge and unexpected hit, spending three weeks at #1 on the airplay chart (including over April Fool’s Day) in the spring of 1979. (It only spent one week atop the Hot 100.) The group had a handful of other charting singles, then disbanded in 1982, until they reunited in 1987. They managed to take one more single into the top 40, 1989’s “The Doctor”, though McDonald had left the band at that point. The group still tours today with different lineups and Johnston reinstated as lead singer.

Thanks for logging on and checking out another of the Friday Forty posts and if you have any suggestions for themes or a favorite song on the list, let me know! Post away in the comments or find on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Consciously Charting: A Reasonable Roundup Of Hits

Even more reasons.

Even more reasons.

As the Pink and Nate Ruess duet, “Just Give Me A Reason”, spends a third week at #1 on my chart, as well as becomes the brand new #1 song on iTunes, I figured it was a good time to dip into the archives to see where it fit among the other voices of “Reason”. It turns out that the song becomes the eleventh title in the history of the Hot 100 (1958 onward) to feature the word and make the top 40. It’s currently at #8 thanks to already strong sales and a major lift at radio. Will it eventually beat some of these reasonable releases? Let’s take a look back at what’s happened so far.

The top tens:
“THE REASON”, Hoobastank (#2, 2004)
After a few years of charting on Alternative radio and one minor crossover single (2002’s “Running Away”), this California band had a huge pop breakthrough with this ballad. It remains the band’s biggest crossover single, spending eight weeks at #1 on CHR radio. They never recovered from the success of it; their singles had lower peaks on rock radio and album sales diminished. They still remain together.

“GIVE ME ONE REASON”, Tracy Chapman (#3, 1996)
In 1988, Chapman released her debut album, a self-titled effort which hit #1 on the strength of the story song “Fast Car”, which went to #6 on the Hot 100. Fast forward to 1996 and in a surprisingly return, “Give” managed to peak even higher with this bluesy number, going so far as the #1 spot on mainstream radio. It also achieved some R&B success. Chapman’s last studio album, Our Bright Future, was released in 2008.

“YOU’RE THE REASON I’M LIVING”, Bobby Darin (#3, 1963)
In an accomplished career full of big hits like “Mack The Knife” and “Splish Splash”, “Living” was another of Darin’s ten top ten and twenty-two top 40 hits between 1958 and 1966. He last made the Hot 100 in 1973 with the #67 “Happy” and died several months later during a heart operation. He received a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2010 Grammy Awards.

“SIXTEEN REASONS”, Connie Stevens (#3, 1960)
Best known as an actress, Stevens starred on the television show Hawaiian Eye from 1959 to 1962. She also appeared in several movies. In 1958, she recorded her first album, and launched several songs onto the Hot 100 over the next few years. This was her biggest single to make the chart. She occasionally directs now.

“LOVE ME FOR A REASON”, The Osmonds (#10, 1974)
The brothers from Utah became huge starting in 1971 with songs like “One Bad Apple” (#1) and “Yo-Yo” (#3), but as fast they took the charts by storm, they were dumped pretty quickly as well. “Love” was their last top ten hit. Brother Donny continued to hit the charts with sister Marie and also as a solo act. The other four brothers took on a Country sound and had some limited success on that survey in the 80’s.

The top forties:
“YOU’RE THE REASON”, Bobby Edwards (#11, 1961)
Edwards was born in Alabama and had a number of regional singles before scoring his biggest hit with Crest Records in 1961. It was one of two singles to make the Hot 100 for him, though “You’re” was the only one to hit the top 40. He retired from music shortly afterwards after his singles failed to chart. He’s still around, currently at the age of 87, though he hasn’t performed live in some time.

“REASON TO BELIEVE (UNPLUGGED)”, Rod Stewart (#19, 1993)
Stewart’s original version of “Believe” was released in 1971 from Every Picture Tells A Story, peaking at #62. It also became the b-side of his #1 hit “Maggie May” after the two swapped sides. However, it finally became a top-40 hit on its own in 1993 when it was released as a single from his MTV Unplugged performance. Stewart’s latest album, Time, is out May 7; believe that it’ll sell well on the album chart.

“ONE GOOD REASON”, Paul Carrack (#28, 1988)
Carrack’s voice has been behind classics for Ace (“How Long”), Mike + The Mechanics (“Silent Running” and “The Living Years”) and Squeeze (“Tempted”), but he scored the most U.S. top-40 hits as a solo act. “Good” was the title track to his third solo album and the followup to “Don’t Shed A Tear”, which went to #9 a few months earlier. Carrack still records and performs today.

“TO GIVE (THE REASON I LIVE)”, Frankie Valli (#29, 1967)
In era where both his solo records and his songs with the Four Seasons were charting concurrently, this became a minor hit for the singer. Shortly after this, he and the group would not make the to 40 again until the mid-70s, when they enjoyed several big charting singles. Valli still performs today and his songs, along with many by the Four Seasons, are featured in the musical Jersey Boys.

“I’LL THINK OF A REASON LATER”, Lee Ann Womack (#38, 1999)
Beginning in 1997, Womack had a string of singles make the top 40 on the Country chart, including this one, which became her fourth #2 on that survey. She finally hit #1 the next year with “I Hope You Dance”. Womack last released an album in 2008, Call Me Crazy, best known for the single “Last Call”. She currently has a new full-length effort in the works.

Honorable Mention: Though this came way before the Hot 100 even existed, one of the best known “Reason” titles is “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons”, which was written back in 1945. A version by Nat King Cole went to #1 when Billboard had a Best Sellers Chart (only ten positions) in early 1947 and versions by Eddy Howard, Dinah Shore and Charlie Spivak also made the top ten.

Keep watching the charts to see how “Just Give Me A Reason” ranks among not only these titles, but the current big national hits as well. For more chart stories just like this, follow the blog using the tab below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Draw Back Your Bow: Cupid Finds Love On The Charts

Top of the Class.

A very Classy Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Time to break out the candy and the flowers. Of course, one of the significant figures of Valentine’s Day is Cupid, the Greek god of affection and desire. With his bow and arrow in hand, he’s ready to strike both lovers in love and lovers of music. You see, the guy hasn’t done half-bad for himself being immortalized in a handful of hit singles. Time to spread out your wings as we take a look at a box full of sweet singles spread out over the decades.

“CUPID”
Three separate songs entitled “Cupid” have entered onto various Billboard lists. Arguably the most famous of the “Cupid” songs appeared on the charts for the first time in 1961, when a then 30-year-old Sam Cooke took it to #17, which seems rather low given the song’s legacy. Alas, it happened many times back in the day. A discofied remake by Tony Orlando & Dawn became the group’s last top-40 hit on the Hot 100, spending two weeks at #22 in March 1976. (They continued to hit the adult contemporary chart through the next year before breaking up.) The highest-ranking version of the song came in 1980, when R&B group The Spinners took it to #4 in 1980 in a medley with an original tune, “I’ve Loved You For A Long Time”. The latter part was written by composer and producer Michael Zager, best known for his minor 1978 hit “Let’s All Chant” with his band. It was also the group’s last top-40 hit, though they had some minor success on the R&B chart for several years afterwards.

In 1997, male R&B quartet 112 became a big act on Urban radio, thanks in part to their third single, a totally different “Cupid”, which went to #13 on the Hot 100. They released several albums from the late 90’s through the mid 00’s. Finally, just last year, a third song called “Cupid” made the Billboard charts, the genre-specific Adult Pop Songs survey. This song, done by Canadian singer Daniel Powter, went to #36 over the summer. It missed the Hot 100. Of course, you know him from his #1 hit, 2006’s “Bad Day”. A Christmas remix of “Cupid” did basically nothing for the song and he hasn’t released anything new since.

“CUPID’S CHOKEHOLD”
After a failed single in the fall of 2006, the band struck gold with a rerecorded version of this song, which became a hit in 2007. It was originally recorded two years prior. It featured Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy singing the chorus and sampled Supertramp‘s “Breakfast In America”, released a single to minor success in 1979. With strong sales and big radio play, it went to #4 on the Hot 100 in April and also spent five weeks at #1 on the CHR airplay chart. They pulled off the same track (#4 Hot 100/#1 CHR) with their 2011 single, “Stereo Hearts”, featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5.

“STUPID CUPID”
The very first of the “Cupid” title to make the Hot 100 was this Connie Francis tune from 1959. It went to #14 in August of that year. The song was co-written by Neil Sedaka, who released his own version the same year (though it didn’t hit the U.S.) and has been recorded several other times since then. Francis had several top ten hits after this single, including the #1 “My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own” in 1960, before last making the top 40 in 1964.

“THE CUPID SHUFFLE”
Chances are that you’ve done the dance at some point or at least heard the song. Originally a regional hit in the South, it spread nationwide, and by August 2007, the only charting single for Cupid (born Bryson Bernard) made it to #66 on the Hot 100 and just missed the top 20 on the R&B chart. You may remember that he tried out for The Voice last season singing none other than his only hit. He paid the price for it; none of the judges selected him and he doesn’t anything significant since the appearance.

Here’s wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day! Do you have any favorite songs to celebrate the occasion? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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