Bob Lefsetz: Welcome To My World - "Top Ten - Week Ending June 26, 1965"
1. "Mr. Tambourine Man"
Folk rock. A new sound with the old melody and lyrics of folk married to rock guitars, a hybrid that snuck up on the Brits and caught them unawares. You've got no idea what a revelation it was to hear this sound on the radio, just ask Tom Petty! Of course the song was written by Bob Dylan, but at this point most people did not know this, even though they were aware of his previously most famous composition, "Blowin' In The Wind," albeit done by Peter, Paul & Mary. But that would change soon, with the release of the iconic "Like A Rolling Stone" shortly thereafter. Dylan was suddenly front and center, both entrancing and alienating people simultaneously. Ironically, so many who hated the bard from Hibbing's voice LOVED this!
2. "I Can't Help Myself"
The Four Tops
Not my favorite Four Tops track, that would be "Reach Out I'll Be There," this was still great, in an era where the U.K. and Detroit were vying for our attention, with L.A. and New York trying to edge in too. This was akin to the modern era, except the names have changed, now it's Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook.
3. "Wooly Bully"
Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
From back when Pharaohs were musicians, not horses, and they knew how to spell it!
Was this a novelty hit or was it the latest rock extension or was it just Tex-Mex, something we were almost completely unfamiliar with, although we did hear the Sir Douglas Quintet's exquisite "She's About A Mover," a track with similar genealogy, on the radio a few months before.
Who can forget... "Uno, dos, one, two, tres, quatro!" Certainly not U2, ha!
4. "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
The Rolling Stones
Was Mick trying to make some girl pregnant or..?
Everybody talks about the lyrics of "Louie Louie," but it's these that we were mesmerized by, that we tried to figure out.
This exploded out of the speaker, it was ubiquitous in a way no record is today. You couldn't live on the planet and be unaware of this track. Taylor Swift may be able to bring Apple to its knees, but she can't make everybody listen to her music, but the Stones could.
With the help of radio, with the help of the youthquake...
We were addicted to our transistors. Radio ran the culture. The Top Ten was played in public... I remember hearing this over the PA at one in the morning at the World's Fair, it was EVERYWHERE!
5. "(What A) Wonderful World"
Ah, the sands of time. For a long time this was the most famous rendition of this song, but it's been eclipsed by Art Garfunkel's rendition, never mind Paul Simon and James Taylor's version with the added verse, and, stunningly, the original take of this song has come back from the dead, yes, Sam Cooke's take is much more famous than Herman's Hermits' today, and Sam wrote it with Herb Alpert and Lou Adler.
6. "Crying In The Chapel"
I HATED Elvis!
Oh, I get it now, I loved going to Graceland, but there was no way I could sit through this when it came on the radio, it was slow and dirgy and representative of everything that once was that the British Invasion rubbed off the chart. That's right, there was a revolution in music, an unexpected one that wiped the decks clean and brought in a whole new sound and audience. Can we have one again?
7. "For Your Love"
An iconic song from a nearly forgotten band. That's right, we used to marvel at the three guitarists that emanated from this group, Clapton, Beck and Page, but that was back when we still cared about rock music.
This was a one listen smash that I used to see on "Where The Action Is" that summer. Brief and to the point, it was written by a 19 year old Graham Gouldman years before he had success with his group 10cc.
8. "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte"
Top Forty radio was truly the best of the best, genre didn't matter, and Top Forty was the only thing that mattered, this was long before FM went free form. The song is from the motion picture of the same name, which played for months, back before movies opened wide and were done in weeks.
I didn't hate this as much as "Crying In The Chapel," I listened to it, afraid I might miss one of my favorites on the radio, but I never really cottoned to "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte."
9. "Help Me, Rhonda"
The Beach Boys
The iteration from "Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)", not the one from "The Beach Boys Today!," which was released just months before "Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)" The takes are oh-so-similar, yet they're different. The earlier version is not a hit, it's close, but not there. Whereas the one from "Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)" is a smash, I'll include both.
However...even though "Help Me, Rhonda" went to number one, it's been eclipsed in the public consciousness by the number three single that came after, from the same album, "Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)", the piece-de-resistance, the definitive statement known as..."California Girls."
I first heard "California Girls" on the radio. And then I took my transistor everywhere, in order to catch it again, I dangled my radio from my handlebars, when I was stationary it was glued to my ear. Just to hear the mellifluous sounds of that intro, and then the gallop into those lyrics that made me want to move to California.
And I did.
10. "Seventh Son"
Talk about completely forgotten, no one under fifty knows who this dude is.
His crime was to have hit cover versions of some of the greatest records of all time. And therefore, as we gained knowledge and got hipper, we disparaged him. But I'd like to see him perform today.