Those opening lyrics come from The Four Lads 1955 Top Five record, “Moments To Remember”. Many hit songs throughout rock and rolls’ history either had a month of the year in the title or in the lyrics. Our quiz this week is about those songs. One of two of the questions actually give you the month in the question, but then we’ll want to know the name of the artist. These were all Top 30 hits, with a couple going to #1...so if your rock and roll memory is in top form, you’ll be fine.
1. In the early to mid 1960’s, this American group that the play “Jersey Boys” was based on, had such #1 chart hits as “Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Walk Like A Man” and “Rag Doll”. Their 5th and final #1 happened in 1976. The title of that hit had a month of the year in the title. What’s the name of this #1 hit?
2. Ok we’re going a little further back than usual with this question. In December of 1957, this song was #1 for a singer born in Jacksonville, Florida. His great-great-great-great grandfather was a famous frontiersman. During his lengthy career, this performer had five #1 hits and was well known for wearing white buck shoes. He’s also an actor who’s starred in over 15 movies, including “Journey To The Centre of the Earth”, “State Fair” and “Bernadine”. In 1977, his daughter also reached the #1 spot on Billboards’ Hot 100 singles chart. The song we’re looking for, with a month of the year in the title, came from a 1957 movie that also starred this performer as well as actress Shirley Jones (aka Mrs. Partridge from “The Partridge Family” TV series). So who is this actor/singer and what’s the name of his ‘month’ song? (HINT: Think taxes)
3. This R&B group with three names was formed in Los Angeles by a former session drummer for Chess Records in Chicago. He was also a former member of the Ramsay Lewis Trio. The group first hit the singles chart in 1971, but their biggest single, “Shining Star” was a #1 smash in 1975. The song we’re looking for with a month in the title made it to #8 on Billboards’ Hot 100 in February of 1979. In fact, the month is the entire title of the song. One of this groups’ lead singers went on to a successful solo career working with producer Phil Collins (yep, that Phil Collins). Can you name the group with three names as well as their ‘month’ song?
4. The opening lyrics to this 1969 hit are: “Hot August night and the leaves hangin’ down...and the grass on the ground smellin’ sweet.” Although this song only made it to #22 on Billboards’ Hot 100 singles chart, the first three words were used as the title of a best selling live album by the same artist. This Brooklyn, New York born singer/songwriter/actor first hit the singles chart in 1966 and he’s had three #1 hits. He also wrote The Monkees biggest #1, “I’m A Believer”, which stayed at the top of the Hot 100 for 7 weeks. “I’m A Believer” had a revival in 2001 when it was featured at the end of the first “Shrek” film sung by Smashmouth, who put the song back on the singles chart that same year. OK, we’ve given you the month in this question. What we want to know is – who’s the singer/songwriter?
5. “January, you start the year off fine. February, you’re my little valentine. March, I’m going to march you down the aisle. April, you’re the Easter bunny when you smile”. Those lyrics come from this singer/songwriter’s 7th charted hit single from 1961. He first appeared on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart in December 1958 with a #14 hit, “The Dairy”. He’s had three #1 hits on his own and in 1975, a husband and wife duo took a song he’d co-written to #1. That song went on to win the Grammy Award for ‘Record of The Year’. He launched his career as a member of The Tokens and made a successful comeback in the 1970’s thanks to Elton John. So who is this singer/songwriter?
1. The Four Seasons took “December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night)” to the #1 spot for three weeks starting the week of March 13th, 1976, where it remained for 3 weeks. It was replaced by Johnny Taylor’s “Disco Lady”.
2. This was definitely an oldie, but a goodie. Pat Boone took the song “April Love” to #1 for one week in December of 1957. It’s the title song from the 1957 movie “April Love”. Pat’s six #1 hits were: “Ain’t That A Shame” (1955). “I Almost Lost My Mind” (1956), “Don’t Forbid Me” (1957), “Love Letters In The Sand” (1957), “April Love” (1957) and 1961’s “Moody River”. His great-great-great-great grandfather was Daniel Boone. Pat’s daughter Debby, had her own #1 hit in 1977 with “You Light Up my Life”.
3. It was the week of February 10th, 1979 and Earth, Wind & Fire had the #8 hit on the singles chart called “September”. It came from songwriter Allee Willis along with Earth, Wind & Fires’ Maurice White and Al McKay. “September” was written specifically for Earth, Wind & Fire’s Greatest Hits album. The song has been heard in several movies, the most famous of which is “Night At The Museum” starring Ben Stiller. Allee Willis also co-wrote Earth, Wind & Fire’s next Top Ten hit, “Boogie Wonderland” as well as The Pointer Sisters’ “Neutron Dance”. Philip Bailey, one of Earth, Wind & Fire’s lead singers, had a #2 hit with “Easy Lover” (produced by Phil Collins, yep that Phil Collins) in 1985.
4. Neil Diamond was the artist. The song was “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Band”. Neil’s been in the Songwriters Hall of Fame since 1984. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of in 2011, the same year he received the Kennedy Centre Honors. His star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame was unveiled this past August. Neil’s three # 1 hits were “Cracklin’ Rosie” (1970), “Song Sung Blue” (1972) and his duet with Barbra Streisand, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (1978).
5. “Calendar Girl” was Neil Sedaka’s biggest hit to that time. It reached #4 on the Hot 100 singles chart in 1961. Neil would go on to have many more hits, including three #1’s, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” in 1962, plus “Laughter In The Rain” and “Bad Blood” (featuring Elton John on backing vocals), both in 1975. That same year, Neil and longtime co-writing partner Howard Greenfield watched as The Captain & Tennille took their song “Love Will Keep Us Together” to #1. The song even mentions Neil with the line “Sedaka is back” as it’s fading out.