Fred Bronson discusses chart records, parent/child chart entries and signature song hits with readers.
STEP BACK IN TIME
You knew this was coming. Any time you mention a record for the rock era or the Hot 100, you know I will research the pre-rock era for some comparable accomplishment. This time it is Usher setting a new Hot 100 record for the most weeks at No. 1 in a single year.
In 1940, when the Record Buying Guide (a primitive juke box chart) was the only pop singles chart Billboard published, Glenn Miller and His Orchestra held the number one spot for 26 consecutive weeks with "In the Mood," "Tuxedo Junction" and "The Woodpecker Song."
The most I could find on the Best Seller Chart was 25 weeks in a calendar year. Elvis Presley did it twice, in 1956 and 1957.
On the subject of a parent and child recording a chart hit together, how about the Mills Brothers? The group, one of the most successful of the 1930s, 40s and early 50s, consisted of brothers Herbert, Harry and Donald and their father, John Mills. John retired in 1956, but the three brothers continued hitting as late as 1968.
Forest Grove, Ore.
Thanks for the pre-rock era trivia. It was fascinating enough to make the print edition of "Chart Beat" in the issue of Billboard dated Dec. 4.
NOW SHE'S BEEN TO HER, TWICE
Thanks for an entertaining and informative column.
My question concerns former Motown recording artist Charlene. Charlene has signed to Cleveland City Records in the United Kingdom. The first single will be a remake of "I've Never Been to Me" coupled with another classic Ron Miller/Ken Hirsch tune, "I Was You."
Cleveland City plans to launch the single in the United States after the New Year. Have there been other artists that have had hits more than once with their signature song?
Since you've limited this to signature songs, that limits the answer. The first example that comes to mind is Neil Sedaka, who had a No. 1 hit with the original "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" in 1962, then scored a top 10 hit with a slowed-down version of the same song in 1976.
Frankie Avalon's first No. 1 hit was "Venus," in 1959. His final chart entry was a disco version of the same song. It peaked at No. 46, also in 1976.
I don't know if you'd consider "Candle in the Wind" to be Elton John's signature song, but how about "The Twist" for Chubby Checker? He took the song to No. 1 in 1960 and 1962, then re-recorded it with the Fat Boys in 1988. "The Twist (Yo, Twist!)" went to No. 16.
In regards to parents and children charting together, I have a couple examples to add to the Hot 100, and some honorable mentions from the country chart.
On the Hot 100, Rufus and Carla Thomas hit No. 92 with "That's Really Some Good," and No. 94 with the flip, "Night Time Is the Right Time," in 1964.
In 1992, Gerald Levert hit No. 37 with [his father] Eddie Levert on "Baby Hold on to Me." They also hit No. 75 with "Already Missing You" in 1995.
On the country side, in 1988 Michael Martin Murphey and son Ryan hit No. 4 with "Talkin' to the Wrong Man." Buck Owens and his son Buddy Alan charted with "Too Old To Cut the Mustard" in 1971/72, at No. 29 and in 1989 Johnny Cash hit No. 45 with "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" with daughter Rosanne Cash and the Every Brothers.
The oddest has to be the Hank Williams Jr. with Hank Williams Sr. No. 7 song from 1989, "There's a Tear in My Beer."
Thanks for letting me add these.
Des Moines, Iowa
Glad to do it, in the name of family relations.