(Pictured: Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin on stage in 1976.)
Having spent two posts on the American Top 40 show from July 17, 1976, it’s time to look at the Bottom 60 songs on the Hot 100 for that date. But here’s a spoiler alert before we begin. I mentioned last week that there were two summer-of-76 shows missing from my collection that I have now acquired. One was the July 17 show; the other is the show dated August 7, only three weeks later. I’ll be writing about that show during the first part of August. To keep from repeating myself any more than I already do, I’ve chosen to write about Bottom 60 songs from the July 17 chart that won’t be on the August 7 show.
41. “Framed”/Cheech and Chong. These gentlemen made the Billboard Top 40 three times with “Basketball Jones,” “Sister Mary Elephant,” and “Earache My Eye,” and they just missed at #41 two other times. “Framed” is technically a cover of the Leiber and Stoller song of the same name, but with some new lyrics. As Kurt Blumenau discovered, “Framed” was #1 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, for the week of July 17. (Their other single to peak at #41 was “Bloat On,” their parody of the Floaters’ “Float On,” early in 1978.)
49. “Hot Stuff”-“Fool to Cry”/Rolling Stones. During the week of June 19, this record, then listed as “Fool to Cry”-“Hot Stuff” sat at #21 on the Hot 100. The next week, listed as “Hot Stuff”-“Fool to Cry,” it fell to #63. From there, it began climbing again, going to #59 and #53 before hitting #49 in this week. Next week, it will fall to #96, then bounce to #89, and be gone entirely from the chart dated August 7, 1976.
51. “Roots, Rock, Reggae”/Bob Marley and the Wailers. Marley’s album Rastaman Vibration was an enormous hit in 1976, going to #8 on the Billboard album chart. “Roots, Rock, Reggae” would spend three of its six weeks on the Hot 100 at #51.
58. “Good Vibrations”/Todd Rundgren. As remarkable as it was to have the Beach Boys (“Rock and Roll Music”) and Beatles (“Got to Get You Into My Life”) back in the Top 40 during the summer of 1976, “Good Vibrations” was there too, for three weeks. Rundgren’s album Faithful was intended as a tribute to 60s rock, but the covers on the first side are not covers as much as they are note-for-note recreations of songs by the Beach Boys, Beatles, Yardbirds, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix.
74. “Hell Cat”/Bellamy Brothers
78. “Gotta Be the One”/Maxine Nightingale
These two artists had ridden the Top 40 together to #1 and #2 back in the spring with “Let Your Love Flow” and “Right Back Where We Started From,” but neither’s followup had the power to do it again. It would be 1979 before either act got back into the pop Top 40.
88. “Ode to Billie Joe”/Bobbie Gentry. The 1967 hit was in its first week back on the charts on July 17, 1976, thanks to the success of a theatrical movie based on it. A new recording of the old song, also by Gentry, would chart in two weeks.
91. “Hey Shirley (This Is Squirrely)”/Shirley and Squirrely. Over the years, I have written about several records inspired by the CB craze. I have always forgotten to mention “Hey Shirley,” but that’s OK because it’s awful. (America’s thirst for speeded-up rodent voices once seemed inexhaustible.) “Hey Shirley” made #28 on the country chart in a five-week run and #48 on the Hot 100.
93. “You to Me Are Everything”/The Real Thing
94. “You to Me Are Everything”/Broadway
The Real Thing version of “You to Me Are Everything” was a #1 hit in the UK in June 1976 and it’s fantastic, but its impact in the States was blunted by competing versions. And it wasn’t just the group Broadway to do it. On July 31, 1976, a third version of “You to Me Are Everything” would chart, by a group called Revelation, produced by Freddie Perrin and sounding almost exactly like the Real Thing’s recording. The Real Thing would get to #64; Broadway would peak at #86 and Revelation at #98.
Programming Note: This would, in a normal year, be opening day of the Green County Fair in my hometown of Monroe, Wisconsin. I did a podcast episode earlier this year about the fair and the farm I grew up on. It was accidentally yanked from Soundcloud a while back, but I’ve reposted it today. If you didn’t hear it then, you can listen now, at that link or at the usual spots.
3 thoughts on “Hot Stuff and Good Vibrations”
This was the point at which I thought I’d begun to lose my ear for hits, because I just didn’t hear “Fool To Cry” or “Hot Stuff” as hits. Too much time programming AC, I wondered?
Nope. They just weren’t.
Regarding the Real Thing’s version of “You to Me Are Everything,” at least it made the Hot 100. For some reason from 1973-77, at least 18 records that topped the UK chart never made a dent on even the lowest rung of Billboard’s pop chart, and it wasn’t just native acts either. “Tears on My Pillow” by Johnny Nash, “Chanson D’Amour” by the Manhattan Transfer and “Show You the Way to Go” by the Jacksons all were top Brit hits with no action here. To my (admittedly incomplete) knowledge, there’s never been a period before or since when so many records failed to become so-called “Transatlantic” hits since the start of the Hot 100 in 1958. In fact, from 1958-72, there were only 17 such occasions, one less than the five-year burst of (in)action during the mid-1970s.
“Show You The Way To Go” did sneak into the Top 30 at #28 on the Hot 100 in 1977 but I don’t recall hearing it much in my area. “Enjoy Yourself” did much better and it did better on the Hot 100 at #6.