Readers offer more examples of duets that officially aren’t. I.e., songs that sound like duets but, for various label/legal reasons, were credited only to one act.
As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to email@example.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20
A VERY GARY NO. 1
Gary Trust @gthot20
Garys rejoice! Gary Allan tops the @billboard 200 for the first time, making him the first Gary ever to top the tally.
Ian Solley @iansolley
@gthot20 @billboard of course us Brits have had Gary Glitter (persona non grata) and Gary Numan … and what about Gary Puckett and the Union Gap – did they get a No. 1?
To recap, I Tweeted the above goofy trivia earlier today in honor of Gary Allan notching his first Billboard 200 No. 1.
As a card-carrying Gary (literally: driver's license, bank card, etc. …), how could I let the rare occurrence of the name suddenly being so prominent pass?
From someone personally experienced on the topic, being named Gary often invites such clever nicknames as the surely-not-outdated "Gary Gnu," Gary being pronounced "Geary" or, even better, "Gerry."
Plus, how uncommon is the name Gary now? Wiktionary defines it as "popular from the 1940s to the '70s," due largely to the success of legendary actor Gary Cooper. And, Wikipedia cites Gary as given to "around 0.1% of all newborn males in the 1990s." (The most popular baby boy names in 2012? In order: Aiden, Jackson, Ethan, Liam and Mason.)
In other words, it's not often that a Gary gets to No. 1 on any kind of mainstream popularity list.
So, in honor of Gary Allan, let's prove that the name still carries some clout. Expanding on those Twitter mentions, here are some more Garys who've made notable marks on Billboard charts.
While Allan becomes the first Gary to crown the Billboard 200, this Gary remains the only such-named soloist to have topped the Hot 100. With his group the Playboys, "This Diamond Ring" spent two weeks at No. 1 in February 1965. The band arrived with seven consecutive top 10s, beginning with "Ring," through 1966.
The prog-rocker sent his first two Hot 100 entries to No. 2 in 1976: "Dream Weaver" and "Love Is Alive."
To answer your question, Ian: Puckett, like Wright above, came oh-so-close to No. 1. The Union Gap, fronted by Puckett, notched two No. 2 Hot 100 hits: "Young Girl" and "Lady Willpower" in 1968. It tallied five top 10s in all in 1968-69.
Gary U.S. Bonds
The R&B-leaning rocker (born Gary Anderson) collected five Hot 100 top 10s in 1960-62 (with the charts mirroring that the name sure was more popular back then). "Quarter to Three" rose the highest (No. 1, two weeks), followed by "School Is Out" (No. 5). Ironically, the latter song peaked the week of Sept. 9, 1961, when school was no longer out. (His follow-up that fall, the apt No. 28 hit "School Is In").
And, as you cite, Ian, proof that a Gary was popular after the '70s! The British singer (nee Gary Webb) rode his new wave classic "Cars" to No. 9 on the Hot 100 in June 1980.
Despite a modest No. 83 Hot 100 peak 30 years ago, this Gary gave us a hit that many still remember fondly: his "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" doubled as the theme to NBC's classic sitcom "Cheers."
Ready for a Gary popular in the '90s? With the still-active British boy band Take That, he reached No. 7 on the Hot 100 in 1995 with "Back for Good." As a soloist two years later, his "So Help Me Girl" reached No. 3 on Adult Contemporary. Barlow has enjoyed further acclaim in his judge's role on "The X Factor" in his native U.K.
Also in the '90s, Chapman solidified his standing as a cornerstone of Christian music, upping his sum to five top 10 sets on the Christian Albums chart.
And, a post-Y2K Gary success story: Michael Andrews' moody update of Tears for Fears' "Mad World," featuring Jules, climbed to No. 16 on Digital Songs in 2006.
Gary Clark Jr.
Even more recently (Nov. 10, 2012), the soulful roots rocker roared onto the Billboard 200 at No. 6 with "Black and Blu." His single "Ain't Messin' Around" holds at its No. 17 peak to-date on Triple A this week.
Plus, a few Garys who've nonetheless impressively dominated Billboard charts as part of groups: Extreme and Van Halen's Gary Cherone, Rascal Flatts frontman Gary LeVox, who's sung the group's 12 Country Songs No. 1s (and on four Billboard 200 No. 1 albums), and Gary's Gang, Gary Turnier's funk group that topped Dance Club Songs in 1979 with "Keep on Dancin'."
And, to wrap up (for all you bored non-Garys ...), an honorable mention of one more Gary (while agreeing with you about the singer of "Rock and Roll, Pt. 2," given his personal track record. His real name is Paul, anyway.)
The city that gave us perhaps the rock era's most accomplished family, the Jacksons, including the King of Pop, Michael?