This week, Taylor Swift takes a two-notch climb to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 with yet another winner of a hit, “I Knew You Were Trouble”. It’s off her latest disc, Red, which has sold close to 3 million copies in the States in just the three or so months it’s been out. However, if you thought she was the only one to cause a little chaos at the top of the charts, then take a seat on the “cold hard ground” and tune yourself to five other “Trouble” smashes that broke into the top ten on the Hot 100, one of which was a huge #1 song.
THE FORTUNES – “You’ve Got Your Troubles” (1965)
In the heat of the British Invasion of the 1960’s, one of the bands to follow the mighty Beatles was this band from Birmingham, England. It was their biggest hit to date in the U.S., peaking at #7, though it hit the #2 spot in the United Kingdom. Other than that, the group was rather unfortunate in the States with several low charters until a surprise top-20 hit in July 1971, “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again”. The group never charted that strongly again.
SIMON & GARFUNKEL – “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1970)
It’s a classic and one of my favorite songs of all-time, but exclusively this version of it. Written during a period of conflict within the duo, this beautiful ballad stormed the Hot 100 and spent six consecutive weeks at #1, ensuring its status as the #1 song of the year and the #2 song of the decade (only beat by Debby Boone‘s “You Light Up My Life”.) It’s by far the biggest “Trouble” single to make it onto the charts, though we’ll see if Swift can top it. The duo had a handful of top-40 hits after this and both had solo material that did well, particularly Paul Simon‘s early to mid-70’s catalogue.
ARETHA FRANKLIN – “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1971)
Almost a year after the Simon & Garfunkel version had left the charts, the Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin, took her R&B rendition of the song to #6 on the Hot 100, her first top ten hit at the time in nearly three years. This version was also heard on the television show Glee, with actress Amber Riley providing the lead vocal. Linda Clifford took her discofied version of the song to #41 on the Hot 100 in 1979. It was also the original a-side to Clay Aiken‘s first post-American Idol single, but was listed on the charts under the b-side’s title, “This Is The Night”, for most of its run because it received more airplay.
MARVIN GAYE – “Trouble Man” (1972/3)
From the soundtrack to the film of the same name, this became another hit for Gaye, peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 in early 1973. It also hit the top 5 on the R&B chart. Rapped T.I. recently released an album that was titled Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head, partially inspired by the song. Gaye caused some major trouble on the charts for the next ten years with songs like “Let’s Get It On” (1973) and “Got To Give It Up” (1977) until his untimely death in 1984.
LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM – “Trouble” (1981/2)
During a break from Fleetwood Mac in the early 80’s, both Buckingham and Stevie Nicks recorded solo projects. Though the solo LP from Nicks, Bella Dolla, was more successful, Buckingham also managed to score a top ten song of his album, Law And Order. It peaked at #9 in January 1982, just before Billboard changed chart policies, which sent it flying downward as it soon as it exited the top 40 in early February. Buckingham continued with the Mac for a few more albums and had one additional solo top-40 hit in 1984, “Go Insane”.
A number of other “Trouble” titles have cracked the Hot 100 over the years, the first of which was “Trouble In Paradise” by vocal group The Crests. It hit #20 in 1960. Some of my favorites include “A Girl In Trouble (Is A Temporary Thing)” by Romeo Void (1984), “Trouble Me” by 10,000 Maniacs (1989) and “Trouble” by Pink (2003), plus two songs that have only made the CHR chart: “The Trouble With Love Is” by Kelly Clarkson (2004) and “Troublemaker” by Olly Murs, which was may just see topping the Hot 100 in 2013. Stay tuned, and stay out of trouble, okay?
Have another favorite “Trouble” song? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.