(Pictured: Johnny Cash at the Newport Folk Festival in the summer of 1964.)
Fifty years ago this week, the Beatles continued their absence from the weekly music survey at WOKY in Milwaukee. We noted the beginning of this absence in our last monthly check of the charts; the Fabs had been off since last appearing during the week of September 26th. The drought would continue for eight weeks in all, until the week of November 28, when “I Feel Fine” and “She’s a Woman” hit in Milwaukee. The Beatles were similarly absent from the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of November 7, 1964, unless you count the Chipmunks’ version of “All My Loving” that was bubbling way under at #134. “Matchbox” had spent its last week on the Hot 100 during the week of October 24th; the chart of October 31 was the first without a Beatles song since January 11, the week before “I Want to Hold Your Hand” debuted. Their Hot 100 absence would continue for another month.
The top of the WOKY chart dated November 7, 1964, is resolutely American (with Jay and the Americans at #1): a British act doesn’t appear until “Have I the Right” by the Honeycombs at #7. “Time Is on My Side” by the Rolling Stones is new in the top 10, and “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks moves up to #14. “She’s Not There” (#17) and “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” (#21) are still around, as are lesser hits by the Dave Clark Five, the Animals, and Peter and Gordon. On the Hot 100, the Nashville Teens (“Tobacco Road”) and Gerry and the Pacemakers (“I Like It”) hold in the Top 40, while Herman’s Hermits (“I’m Into Something Good”) sit at #41.
Here are five other records on WOKY 50 years ago this week that are worthy of note for one reason or another:
8. “Ringo”/Lorne Greene (up from 32). This Western novelty was the hottest thing on WOKY in this week and was also blazing up the Hot 100, which it may not have done had its title been “Mingo” or “Stingo.”
19. “I Don’t Want to See Tomorrow”/Nat King Cole (down from 15). We’ve had a movie bio of Ray Charles, and a film about Miles Davis is in production. Somebody needs to do one about Nat King Cole, who began his career as a reluctant singer, became a reluctant civil rights pioneer, and died far, far too soon. It’s likely that Cole discovered his lung cancer in November 1964—he was diagnosed only a brief time before his death in February 1965, when he was not yet 46 years old.
23. “Four Strong Winds”/Bobby Bare (up from 26). In 1963, Bare hit with two songs that became country standards, “Detroit City” and “500 Miles Away From Home,” which also crossed to the pop charts. “Four Strong Winds” had been a hit for its Canadian originators, Ian and Sylvia, and would be famously covered by Neil Young in the late 70s. Bare’s version would hit #60 on the Hot 100.
24. “It Ain’t Me Babe”/Johnny Cash and June Carter (up from 24). The mutual admiration between Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan is widely remembered today, but for Cash to record a Dylan song in 1964 was far ahead of the curve. “It Ain’t Me Babe” would go to #4 on the country chart, although Cash’s stiff performance doesn’t do much for me.
26. “Shaggy Dog”/Mickey Lee Lane (up from 31). Lane was a veteran of the music biz, having played on many sessions and released a number of singles starting in 1956. “Shaggy Dog” is all guitar stomp and chanting, and it would likely have scored pretty high on the parental annoyance scale. It was released on the Swan label of Philadelphia, famous for having released the Beatles’ “She Loves You” late in 1963, and would spend a single week in the Billboard Top 40 spanning November and December.