Tag Archives: Love Story

Just The Two Of Us: Cold Hard Chart Twins

Chiseled on the charts.

Chiseled on the charts.

Disney’s latest animated film Frozen has all the makings of a classic, including a strong run at the box office and a soundtrack selling very well. Early reports by both Billboard and HITS Daily Double last week indicated that it may be enjoying its first week at #1 on the album chart, which will officially be reported in a few days. A song from it, “Let It Go”, was released in two different forms by different vocalists, which are charting concurrently: one featured in the film by Idina Menzel and a poppier take by Demi LovatoLovato’s version thus far has peaked at #43 on the Hot 100, while the version by Menzel’s gone to #32. The two renditions are still doing modestly well at iTunes despite little radio play.

This certainly isn’t the first time this kind of situation has happened on Billboard’s singles survey. It was commonplace in the 50’s and 60’s when a small amount of original music reached the public. Even in the 90’s, the dance sensation that swept the nation, the “Macarena”, had two different versions charting at one time by Los Del Rio (#1) and Los Del Mar (#71). However, this is likely the most notable case in the digital era as it’s occurred outside of a music competition show issuing a set of the contestants’ weekly studio cuts or a series like Glee that releases multiple covers in a week. If you’re wondering about who else has pulled off the trick, here’s several of my favorite examples from the 70’s and 80’s:

“(Where Do I Begin?) Love Story” (from Love Story) (1971)
The Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal film was huge at the box office. A vocal version of its theme went to #9 for Andy Williams, while two instrumentals by Henry Mancini & His Orchestra (#13) and Francis Lai & His Orchestra (#31) were top 40 concurrently for four weeks in the spring. Mancini and Williams would chart on the Hot 100 again.

(Lai) (Mancini) (Williams)

“I Don’t Know How To Love Him” (from Jesus Christ Superstar) (1971)
Two renditions of one of this work’s most famous songs went top 40, one by Helen Reddy and the other by Yvonne Elliman. The Reddy version hit first in early May, peaking at #13, while the Elliman version followed two weeks later and peaked at #28. Both singers scored #1 singles later in their career, with Reddy doing it three times and Elliman once.

(Elliman) (Reddy)

“I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)” (1971-2)
It was one iconic Coca-Cola commercial and two bubbly takes. A version by American The Hillside Singers went top 40 in mid-December, but after a debut by England’s The New Seekers the next week, the latter eclipsed it, peaking at #7 vs. a #13 for the original. The English group would seek one last hit in 1973 with a medley from the musical Tommy.

(Hillside Singers) (New Seekers)

“Gonna Fly Now” (from Rocky) (1976)
During the summer of 1976, both the film starring Sylvester Stallone and song exploded. A version by composer Bill Conti climbed to #1 in July while jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson went as high as #28. Two other disco versions by R&B groups Current and Rhythm Heritage each peaked at #94, though all four didn’t appear together on one chart.

(Conti) (Current) (Ferguson) (Rhythm Heritage)

“Theme from Star Wars” and “Theme from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind” (1977 and 1978)
May 1977 brought about the premiere of a classic, Star Wars, and with it brought two versions of its theme into the top 40. John Williams conducted the London Symphony Orchestra to a #10 hit, but it was Meco and his “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” medley that propelled to #1. One year later in 1978, the two charted together again when Close Encounters Of The Third Kind premiered. This time around, John Williams went to #13, while Meco stopped at #25.

(Meco – SW) (Williams – SW) (Meco – CE) (Williams – CE)

“Dancin’ Shoes” (1979)
With a title like this, you’d expect this would be two takes on a dance song. However, it’s a ballad. Both cracked the Hot 100 during the same week in December 1978; however, a version by Nigel Olsson, longtime drummer in Elton John‘s band, climbed to #18 on Bang Records, while the original version by Mercury’s The Faith Band rose to a lowly #54.

(Faith Band) (Olsson)

“One Night In Bangkok” (from Chess) (1985)
Before it was a show, the concept album named Chess garnered good reception and placed this song onto the charts. The most well-known version by English singer Murray Head peaked at #3, giving him a second top 40 hit. An alternate version sung by Canadian actress Robey (born Louise Robey) went to #77. Both wouldn’t chart again on the Hot 100.

(Head) (Robey)

Other notable examples of this occurrence from the 70’s onward include 1974’s “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero” (#1 for Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods vs. #96 for Paper Lace), 1977’s “Love In C Minor” (#36 for Cerrone vs. #46 for The Heart and Soul Orchestra) and 1997’s “How Do I Live” (#2 for LeAnn Rimes vs. #23 for Trisha Yearwood).

Is there another chart entry with two versions that you like and I didn’t mention? Let me know! Comment below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.

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Storybook Children: Tales Of The Top 10 Titles

Read all about 'em.

Read all about ’em.

If you’ve taken a peek at iTunes in the last day or two, you’ve probably noticed that the new One Direction single, “Story Of My Life”, is absolutely dominating the sales charts. (I covered the premiere last Friday.) With two versions of the song up for sale, there’s no doubt that it has the makings of another top ten smash on the Hot 100 for the boys. Where it actually debuts, however, will be a mystery until next week’s revelation of the chart. Until then, it’s time to open the chart files to the chapter on sensational stories that sizzled on the music surveys. From country to rock to pop, they’re all page turners indeed. Read on:

“My True Story”, The Jive Five (#3, 1961)
The quintet from Brooklyn formed in the 50’s with that smooth a cappella sound. In addition to hitting #3 on the Hot 100, this debut single also topped the R&B charts for three weeks. The soul group charted on the Hot 100 a handful of times, but only made the top 40 one other time with 1965’s “I’m A Happy Man”, which went to #26. After their hit days were over, they notably worked with Nickelodeon on a ad campaign in the 80’s and they still occasionally perform today under a different formation.

“Love Story (Where Do I Begin)”, Andy Williams (#9, 1971)
First screened in December 1970, the movie Love Story, starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw, became an instant success and grossed over $100 million at the U.S. box office. The theme from it became the last top ten single on the pop survey for the then 43-year-old Williams, his first in nearly a decade. The singer and television host passed away last year at the age of 84. Two instrumental versions of the same song charted concurrently with the Williams version, which you can listen to below.

“Absolutely (Story Of A Girl)”, Nine Days (#6, 2000)
Led by singer and guitarist John Hampson, the five-man band out of Long Island struck gold in 2000 with this catchy number and parent album The Madding Crowd. The group would chart again later that year with “If I Am”, which made the top 40 at a few radio formats, but barely edged into the top 70 on the Hot 100. After a shelved followup album with 550 Music (which was eventually released digitally), the band’s recorded on and off together independently, last putting out an EP earlier this year.

“Love Story”, Taylor Swift (#4, 2008)
She’s still on top after all these years, selling out worldwide tours and making lots of money. This was Swift’s first and only song to top both Billboard’s pop and country airplay charts (although she also pulled off the trick on Mediabase with “You Belong With Me”) and remains one of her more enduring songs in terms of radio presence today. She’s currently racking airplay at the mainstream formats with “Everything Has Changed”, a duet with Ed Sheeran, and at country stations with a solo song, “Red”.

Ah, but in the library of love songs and lyrical masterpieces, there are other top 40 stories from over the decades:
“(Theme From) Love Story”, Henry Mancini & His Orchestra (#13, 1971)
“The Story Of My Love”, Paul Anka (#16, 1971)
“Neverending Story”, Limahl (#17, 1985)
“The Story In Your Eyes”, The Moody Blues (#23, 1971)
“Both Sides Of The Story”, Phil Collins (#25, 1993)
“The Story Of My Love”, Conway Twitty (#28, 1959)
“(Theme From) Love Story”, Francis Lai & His Orchestra (#31, 1971)

…and if you really want to dig deep into depths of the dramatic, check out these two hits that pre-dated the Hot 100 (then the Billboard Top 100): “A Story Untold” by The Crew Cuts (#16, 1955) and “The Story Of My Life” by Marty Robbins (#15, 1958).

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