When I was a freshman at Texas A&M University in 1973, I discovered Joel Whitburn. He has been publishing books since 1970 which detail the various Billboard music and video charts.
Through his research, I discovered that the rock ‘n’ roll generation was considered to have begun in 1955 with “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley & The Comets.
Forty years later and there is some disagreement about when rock ‘n’ roll started, and which song started it, but I still like 1955 since that’s the same year I was born!
Up until around 2007, I had a vinyl, cassette, CD, or digital copy of every #1 single and #1 album since 1955. I gave up that enterprise when too many rap and hip hop songs and albums became #1. I dislike intensely so-called music that uses vulgarity and other crudity to (try to) entertain or (try to) get a message across. Just don’t like it.
This evening I was wondering what song was #1 on October 6 in 1955. That led me to a really cool web site where you can look up any #1 song on any date for the United States and Great Britain. How I love the Internet and Google, but I bet the sale of Joel Whitburn’s books has suffered. Anyways….
I plugged in October 6, 1955, and it gave me the #1 song on October 6 for every year.
In looking at the list, I have all the October 6 #1 songs from 1955 to 1985. After 1985, I only have two songs: “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake (1987) and “Candle in the Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight” by Elton John (1997). The Beatles (my favorite group) have two songs on the list: “Yesterday” and “Hey Jude.”
The song that jumps out at me, though, is “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler (1983). That song was always playing on the radio in 1983 but none of the announcers would tell me the title of the song or the artist.
By the time it had faded into radio play history, I had forgotten about it, and I didn’t rediscover it until 1995. I had been in San Diego for two years but was visiting a friend in Huntsville, Texas, 45 miles north of Houston. The song came on the radio and I commented that I sure wish I knew the song title or artist. My friend—we’ll call him Eric Swanson since that’s his name—said, That’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler. Fifteen minutes later and we stopped at Huntsville largest record store where I found, and bought, the CD, “Faster Than The Speed Of Light.”
There are several versions of the song, ranging from short for radio air play to the longer album version. Here’s the album version:
Bonnie Tyler is from Wales, and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” is her biggest hit. It reached#1 in several countries, making her the first and only Welsh singer to reach the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. With sales in excess of nine million copies, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” is one of the best-selling singles of all time.
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