Gone But Not Forgotten: The Decade in Deaths

George Harrison
Songwriter, guitar great, Beatle

February 25, 1943 - November 29, 2001

 

 

Twenty-five years ago today, a member of the Beatles topped the Billboard Hot 100 for the last time.

On this date (Jan. 16) in 1988, George Harrison rose 2-1 on the survey with "Got My Mind Set on You," the first single from his album 'Cloud Nine.' The song became Harrison's third Hot 100 leader, following the double-sided "My Sweet Lord"/"Isn't It a Pity" (1970) and "Give Me Love - (Give Me Peace on Earth)" (1973).

After the Beatles tallied a record 20 No. 1s between Feb. 1, 1964 ("I Want to Hold Your Hand") and June 13-20, 1970 ("The Long and Winding Road"), Harrison became the first Beatle to top the Hot 100 as a soloist following their breakup, when "Lord" lifted to No. 1 the week of Nov. 28, 1970. Paul McCartney followed when "Uncle Albert"/"Admiral Halsey," with Linda McCartney, reigned the week of Sept. 4, 1971. Ringo Starr took "Photograph" to the top on Nov. 24, 1973, and John Lennon first ruled with "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" on Nov. 16, 1974.

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Along with Harrison's three Hot 100 No. 1s, McCartney, including his time with Wings, has notched nine leaders and Starr and Lennon have each collected two, making for 36 trips to the top for the Fab Four combined between 1964 and 1988. (Notably, it's now been more years - 25 - since a Beatle last led the Hot 100 than their span of group and solo No. 1s).

The follow-up to Harrison's last No. 1 (which features Starr on drums) celebrated the iconic band that gave him his start: "When We Was Fab" reached No. 23 in March 1988. In 1995-96, the Beatles would tally their final Hot 100 entries to date (upping their sum to 71 Hot 100 hits). "Free As a Bird," a reworking of a John Lennon song with new elements, from the first edition of the group's three mid-'90s "Anthology" sets, rose the highest, peaking at No. 6 the week of Jan. 6, 1996.

 

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