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Backwards Bullets: This Week In Charts 1968

The Beatles began their longest stay atop the Billboard Hot 100 41 years ago this week, when "Hey Jude" ascended two spots to No. 1.

BEATLES’ NUMBER ONE NO. 1: This week in 1968, the Beatles lifted 3-1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Hey Jude.” The song would spend nine weeks atop the chart, becoming the longest-reigning of the Fab Four’s chart-record 20 No. 1 hits.

Two weeks earlier, the song had made Hot 100 history by becoming the first song ever to debut in the top 10, when it launched at No. 10.

“Hey Jude” also became the first chart single for the Beatles on their own Apple Records label.

While the song has long been interpreted as a musical letter from Paul McCartney to John Lennon’s son Julian as John and Cynthia Lennon were divorcing, the younger Lennon has stated that it did not always hold a prominent place in his heart. Julian Lennon told the Telegraph in London earlier this year that, though he did not have the closest relationship with his father, “Hey Jude” has ultimately been a positive force in his life.

“I had been told when I was a kid (that it was about me), but I’d forgotten. It was not until my early teens that I was reminded,” Lennon said.

“I can’t say it directly helped with any reconciliation, but what it did mean to me was that there were other people on the fringe of our life that had a great deal of love, not only for myself, but for mum, too.

“To this I still have to appreciate and thank Paul for his love and care. It was a very, very kind gesture and one it seems that will never be forgotten.”

Amidst the current wave of Rock Band and remasters-fueled Beatlemania, the Beatles last week moved 626,000 copies of their catalog in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

‘MAN’ POWER: A Billboard Singles Review 41 years ago this week predicted a joyous union between country radio and Tammy Wynette‘s then-new track, “Stand By Your Man.”

“This poignant ballad should fast take the soulful performer right back up to No. 1. Powerful production and exceptional material.”

Four decades later, “Stand By Your Man” remains the late legend’s signature song and one of the most essential anthems in country music history. On Oct. 19, 1968, it would become Wynette’s fifth of 20 career No. 1s on Country Songs.

DIAMOND RECORD: An advertisement in the Billboard issue this week in 1968 touted a Major League pitcher who threw a career curveball by moonlighting as a musician.

Read the Capitol Records ad, “Pick up any magazine. Watch any TV station. Read any newspaper. They’re filled with news of 30-game winner Denny McLain.

“And, publicity is building up to fever pitch as the World Series approaches. Every time his name is mentioned, his skill as an organist gets as much attention as his prowess as a pitcher.”

“Denny McLain at the Organ: The Detroit Tigers‘ Superstar Swings with Today’s Hits” never did reach the Billboard 200 album chart, but McLain continued his magical season on the baseball field. In October 1968, McLain would prevail in a must-win game six over the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, setting the stage for the Tigers to win the title in seven games.