Number One Hits

From The Pages Of
The Billboard Book Of Number One Hits

Dancing Queen

Winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with "Waterloo" propelled Sweden's ABBA onto the world stage. They had nine #1 hits in the U.K. but only one on The Billboard Hot 100: "Dancing Queen." The world still loves ABBA after almost 50 years and "Dancing Queen" is a global favorite, appearing in the stage musical and motion picture "Mamma Mia!" and as one of the highlights of their virtual stage show in London, "Voyage."

The Fleetwoods
Come Softly To Me

Gretchen Christopher and Barbara Ellis formed a singing duo, the Saturns, when they were in high school in Olympia, Washington. Looking for a blues trumpet player, they found Gary Troxel, who proved to be better at singing than playing the trumpet. Gretchen composed the music and lyrics to her original song "Come Softly" and arranged it in counterpoint to the street corner humming ("dum dum, dum doo dum") of Gary Troxel, as he walked her downtown, after school (for her scholarship dance classes at Olympia Academy of Theatrical Arts, where she also rehearsed as a Soloist with the Olympia Ballet Company). The Fleetwoods were signed to a new label, Dolphin, and were named after a local telephone exchange, FLeetwood. Label owner Bob Reisdorff changed the title to the less-suggestive "Come Softly To Me."

Carole King
It's Too Late

Being such a big fan of Carole King's songwriting, I interviewed her for my college newspaper, the Daily Sundial. She took a break from recording an album at A&M in Hollywood and we met in an office there. I asked her about the album she was making and she told me she didn't want to be a star, the album was just her way of getting her demos to other artists. A few months later the album was released and it was titled "Tapestry."

Year 1957
That'll Be The Day
The Crickets

Buddy Holly recorded an early version of "That'll Be The Day" in 1956 and Decca executives didn't like it and refused to release it. After Decca, Buddy signed with Roulette and recorded a demo of "That'll Be The Day" but Roulette didn't release it either. Then Bob Thiele at Brunswick/Coral heard the demo and signed Holly. Because Decca owned the original recording, Thiele released a new version under the group name "The Crickets" though of course, it was Buddy on lead vocals.

You Send Me
Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke was a gospel singer and gospel singers rarely crossed over into secular music. His first non-religious single, "Lovable," was released under the name Dale Cook. But there was no disguising his voice and he was fired by his group, the Soul Stirrers. He was signed to Keen Records and in 1957 he went to #1 with a song he had written, "You Send Me."