Soul Heaven, Disco Inferno

Picking up the trail from this earlier post, here are a few more singles that reached no higher than Number 99 on the Hot 100. As was the case with songs that peaked at 100, there were lots of them in the 1960s, fewer in the 1970s, and none come the 80s.

“She’s My Girl”/Bobby Shafto (7/18/64). Shafto was a handsome British boy who failed to make much of an impact in the States despite the British Invasion. “She’s My Girl” features guitar by Jimmy Page, who would do better eventually.

“Soul Heaven”/The Dixie Drifter (9/11/65). In 1961, Tex Ritter cut a song called “I Dreamed of a Hill-billy Heaven,” which imagined a meeting with several prominent country stars in the hereafter, even though they weren’t actually dead at the time he made the record. “Soul Heaven” is a similar sort of thing, except the artists it honors were all in the Choir Invisible by the fall of 1965: Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole, and Sam Cooke. The Dixie Drifter was Enoch Gregory, a North Carolina-born New York City DJ, who used to say on the air, “I’m the Dixie Drifter, the soul sifter . . . I comes when I wants to and I leaves when I pleases.” (Nice working hours if you can get ’em.)

“Stay Away From My Baby”/Ted Taylor (12/04/65). Taylor was a gospel singer, a veteran of the Mighty Clouds of Joy and the Santa Monica Soul Seekers. The latter group also had a secular identity as the Cadets, famous for recording “Stranded in the Jungle.”

“Open Up Your Door”/Richard & the Young Lions (9/24/66). This is a record by a Detroit-area band that I’ve blogged about a couple of times previously. Late last year, I heard from Bob Freedman, one of the founding members of the band, in a comment to my first post about the record. He says the widely told story that the Young Lions nearly became the first white act signed to Motown isn’t true, and that “Open Up Your Door” was the victim of poor promotion. I e-mailed Bob and asked if he’d be willing to tell more about the Young Lions, but I never heard back.

“I Don’t Know How to Love Him-Everything’s Alright”/Kimberlys (3/20/71). Most of the online citations for the Kimberlys talk about them as the band that backed Waylon Jennings in the late 60s. I have no idea whether they’re the same Kimberlys who recorded this medley of songs from Jesus Christ Superstar. If I had to guess, I’d say not, but I don’t know.

“(Call Me Your) Anything Man”/Bobby Moore (8/9/75). This was supposedly the first 12-inch single ever produced, remixed by 1970s mix-master Tom Moulton. observes that what the 12-inch single meant in practical terms was not so much increasing the length of the song as it was being able to master it louder, for better dance-floor rockin’. The version here is from a 45—if I’m reading the Allmusic piece correctly (and I may not be; it’s rather poorly written), the regular 33 and 45 versions didn’t sound as good as the 12-inch.

“Tonight’s the Night”/S.S.O (1/24/76). S.S.O stands for Soul Sensation Orchestra, and it features a vocal group calling itself the Sugar Sisters.  “Tonight’s the Night” was written by Douglas Lucas—and he may be the male voice on it, too— but that’s all I know.

I’m pretty sure we’ll revisit this topic again sometime, as sure as there’s a Number 98 on the Hot 100.