Saturday April 19th was ‘Record Store Day’ across North America. The major and indy record companies, musicians and record stores combine their efforts every year to attract more customers into record stores with special editions of some rare (old and new) or limited edition vinyl. So to celebrate Record Store Day, we’ll look back at some number one albums from years past.
What, for example, would have been the number one album in Billboard magazine for this week back in April 1964? Chances are pretty good that it would have been from The Beatles.
And surprise, surprise, it was! It was the final week of an 11 week # 1 run for “Meet The Beatles”, which was then replaced by “The Beatles Second Album”, which began its own five week stay at the top of the album charts beginning with the week of May 2, 1964.
See how it works? Now, you try.
1. For the week of April 22nd, 1967, this # 1 album, which enjoyed an amazing 18 weeks at the top of the album chart, was from a quartet of zany, wanna-be Beatles. They were sometimes called the ‘Pre-Fab Four’. These four actor/musicians starred in a weekly TV show where they sang songs interspersed with comedy adventures, which helped record sales enormously. What’s the name of this group? (HINT: One member of this group appeared on CBS TV’s Ed Sullivan show on February 9th, 1964, the same night The Beatles made their live North American television debut).
2. This soundtrack album ‘owned’ the # 1 position for 24 weeks from mid January until early July 1978 and remained on the charts for over two years. It was a double album from a hugely successful movie. John Travolta starred (well, that should give it away) as Brooklyn, New York teenager Tony Manero who loves to dance. Over half a dozen # 1 hits came from the soundtrack from performers such as Yvonne Elliman and The Bee Gees. Can you name this soundtrack album? (I should hope you could)
3. For ten weeks in 1984, this soundtrack album was # 1, having successfully knocked off Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” out of the top spot. The movie starred an actor who also performs in a band with his brother and brother, does this actor know how to dance. Two songs from this soundtrack album went to # 1 (including the title song). The premise of the movie is about a small town minister who succeeds in banning dancing and rock and roll from his town. It’s loosely based on real events from a town in Oklahoma. That edict is eventually overturned by a plucky teenager from Chicago named Ren McCormick, played by the actor we talked about earlier in this question. Who’s the actor and what’s the name of this movie?
4. This British group began their recording career being produced by Norman Smith, a longtime engineer for The Beatles. They went through one major personnel change in 1968 when a founding member left and became a recluse for a while. This group released several moderately successful records, but it was their 8th studio album in 1973 that took them to the ‘dark side’. Although that album sold 50 million copies, it was only # 1 for one week, however it remained on the charts for a record breaking 741 weeks (that‘s 25 years for those keeping score) and only fell off in 1988. But that’s not the name of the album we’re looking for. The group was back at # 1 in 1980 with a double album of songs about teachers, hammers, walls, and war. This album remained # 1 for 15 weeks. You don’t need to turn ‘pink’ or purple to figure out the name of the group, but what’s the name of their 1980 # 1 album that two years later became a movie starring Bob Geldof?
5. If you know the answer to question # 4, then this one should be easy. It’s the same group only 14 years later when they returned to the top of the album chart with their final studio album. The title for the album had been suggested by author Douglas Adams (“The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy”) and refers to something that rings in the British Parliament to announce that a vote is about to be taken. If you need an additional hint or two, think back to the name of the often flustered town barber on the “Andy Griffith Show” or the colour of a certain kind of salmon (and it’s not sockeye). So, what’s the name of the group and their 1994 # 1 album?
1. “Hey, hey, we’re The Monkees and people say we Monkee around.” It indeed was The Monkees (Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork) with their second album, “More of The Monkees”, that landed in the # 1 album spot in Billboard for 11 weeks beginning the week of February 11th, 1967 and ending the week of June 19th, 1967. Interestingly, “More of The Monkees” replaced their debut album, “The Monkees”, which itself spent 13 weeks at # 1. So, from the second week of November 1966 until June of ’67, The Monkees owned the # 1 album spot for nearly half a year. Eighteen year old Davy Jones was in the Broadway cast of “Oliver” and appeared on Ed Sullivan’s CBS TV show on February 9th, 1964 the same night as The Beatles live North American debut. Jones passed away on February 29th, 2012 at the age of 66). The remaining three Monkees recently announced a 2014 summer U.S. tour.
2. It was the soundtrack to the 1977 movie “Saturday Night Fever” featuring music from the Bee Gees, Yvonne Elliman, KC and the Sunshine Band, Walter Murphy, Tavares and The Trammps. The soundtrack album quickly climbed to # 1 in seven countries – Australia, Austria, Canada, Italy, the UK, the U.S. and West Germany. It was the best selling album to that time and won the 1978 Grammy Award for ‘Album of the Year’. The original article that the movie is based on, was written by Nik Cohn and published in New York magazine in 1976 under the title “Tribal Rites Of The New Saturday Night”. John Travolta later starred in the movie’s sequel “Stayin’ Alive”, directed by ‘Rocky Balboa’ himself, Sylvester Stallone.
3. Kevin Bacon, John Lithgow and Lori Singer starred in the 1984 film, “Footloose”. The soundtrack was the # 1 album for ten weeks beginning the week of April 21, 1984. Six out of the 9 songs on the soundtrack made the Top 40. Two of those nine (the title track “Footloose” from Kenny Loggins plus Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It For The Boy”) went straight to # 1 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart. Other hits included “Almost Paradise”, a # 7 duet for Ann Wilson of Heart and Mike Reno from Loverboy, plus “Dancing In The Sheets”, a # 17 hit for Shalamar. In October 2011, a new version of the movie “Footloose” was released. It starred Dennis Quaid as Reverend Moore, Julianne Hough as his daughter Ariel and Kenny Wormald as Ren McCormick. Kevin Bacon and his brother Michael have been performing as a band called The Bacon Brothers since 1995 and so far, have released 7 albums (including ‘Greatest Hits’ packages’). The title of their 1997 debut album, “Forosoco” comes from abbreviations for the music they play, ‘Fo’ (Folk), ‘ro” (Rock), ‘so’ (Soul) and ‘co’ (Country).
4. Pink Floyd dominated the album charts of 1980 for 15 weeks with their album “The Wall”. Released in November of ’79, it first hit # 1 for the week of January 19, 1980 and remained there until the week of May 3rd when Bob Seger’s “Against The Wind” album took over the top spot. In 1982, “The Wall” became a movie starring Bob Geldof (now Sir Bob Geldof). “The Wall” album was co-produced by Canadian Bob Ezrin (along with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and David Gilmour). It went on to sell nearly 25 million copies. Beach Boy Bruce Johnson and Captain & Tennille’s Tony Tennille sang back up on the album as noted in the credits, but Toto’s Jeff Porcaro played drums on some tracks and was not credited.
5. Pink Floyd did it again in ’94 with “The Division Bell”, which refers to the bell that’s rung in Parliament to alert members that a vote is about to take place. Released in March of 1994, it was # 1 for four weeks in 1994 from the week of April 23rd until the week of May 14th. This was Pink Floyds’ 14th and final studio album. Roger Waters had left the band years before and when asked for a comment on the bands’ latest album, he’s quoted as saying, “Just rubbish…nonsense from beginning to end”. Bob Ezrin returned as producer and also played keyboards and percussion. “The Division Bell” was # 1 in ten countries around the world (including the U.S. and U.K.). To date, it has sold over 6,000,000 copies. The two large metal heads featured on the cover of “The Division Bell” are on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.