A Musical List: The most Un-iconic songs to make #1 on the pop charts

Remember when the charts ruled. When everyone was rocking to the same song and blasting it from every car? When the song of summer was a song everyone knew, not just your 8 year old cousin who only listens to Radio Disney.

If you managed to have a song hit number one during this era, you must have hit the jackpot am I right? Not only is your song in every movie about the 60’s but people are naming Julia Roberts movies after it. You’re sitting pretty in every nostalgia diner jukebox, and time-life records are featuring you in every one of their infomercials. That’s prime placement right between the Bosley hair replacement infomercial and the Is Cialis right for you? advertisement.

All because you made it to the top. That’s right number one. Every song who made must be treasured today, or are they. Nope. Here is a list of the ones everyone forgot and the reasons why.

Note: These are all post 1960 because in the 50’s the charts were new and everyone was still trying to figure out how to measure sales. (Either that or people really liked Pat Boone.)

Winchester Cathedral
I have never heard of this one even though it’s from 1966 a year full of #1 hits everyone knows like Good Lovin, Monday Monday, I’m a Believer, and 96 Tears. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it, unless it’s one of those songs where you know the melody but not the name. Like Baker Street. I never knew how that went until I heard it. Oh it’s that early 80’s or late 70’s song with that famous sax solo. Why didn’t you just say that?

Lightning Strikes
This is another one from 1966 they don’t play on Oldies radio. I’m talking about real 50’s/60’s oldies radio by the way, not one of those stations that plays songs from the 60’s up to the 80’s. The eighties will never be oldies. It could be 97 years from now and the 80’s still will not be classified as oldies.

The Ballad of the Green Berets.
Sure whatever. Never heard of this either. I’m guessing it’s some sort of a ballad about Green Berets.

Disco Duck
When I was a kid I lived for a couple of years in Orange County and we could get the LA stations. At the time I thought Rick Dees was just a local DJ. I had no idea that he was a national radio presence and that in the 70’s he reached #1 with a really annoying disco song done in a Donald Duck voice.

Jacob’s Ladder
How do I not remember this Huey Lewis song from 1987. A quick play on youtube and still nothing, and I think I have a copy of their greatest hits. Yet it reached #1. Also it’s not nearly as catchy as Power of Love or any of their other stuff.

Time in a bottle.
I don’t know this song. I hear the words time in a bottle and the song message in a bottle pops in my head because it is actually iconic. I’ll send an sos… Though I think this might be the song they sing in the Hangover 2 movie ads and it’s sort of coming back to me, maybe it is iconic after all.

My Ding-A-Ling. I am sure a lot of real music journalists have had their say about this one. I won’t add anything because I don’t think I have heard the whole thing.

In the year 2525
Is this from a movie or something? I think they made fun of it on Futurama once.

Mr. Custer
OK if you say so. Yet another unknown number 1, this one is from is 1960.

Calcutta, Mother in Law, Wooden Heart, and Wonderland by Night
1961 was apparently a banner year for number ones that nobody has ever heard of. I guess everyone was too busy listening to Peggy Sue and Only the Lonely on the jukebox.

Hello Dolly. Louis Armstrong is awesome but how did this chart in 1964? The same year as Can’t Buy Me Love, come See about Me, and I Get Around. This song is here because it just does not fit in with everything else on the pop charts at the time.

The Stripper. See above. This weird burlesque song just doesn’t fit in with the other songs of the time. I can’t imagine driving around in a 1962 t-bird and hearing this between The Loco-motion and Johnny Angel.

So there you have it. Remember I said un-iconic. It can be embarrassing and awful but still remembered which is why Milli Vanilli, The Macarena and Batdance are not on this list. I stopped around 1996 because that’s when everything seemed to get diversified. Instead of having a hit song you heard everywhere, one week would feature a hip hop song none of the rock fans knew, while the next would have a rock song none of the rap fans knew. Also this is my list based solely on opinion. If The Ballad of the Green Berets is your personal workout jam, I didn’t mean to offend you, okay.


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