The 20th Anniversary Edition of the Top 77 of All Time Has Arrived!

 

Commentary and analysis by Board Moderator Mike Riccio.

 

It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone and it’s time once again to take a look at the songs YOU voted as the very best!

 

Voting took place from 10/30/17 through 12/4/17through OldiesBoard.com.

 

These are the songs we heard on WABC Radio in New York that helped shape our memories of the songs we loved.

 

Let’s start with the "extras"...the songs that just missed the top 77 on the list.

 

From #100 to #78...Here are the results

 

Asterisks {*} indicate a former #1 song on WABC or nationally.)

 

(Position/Title/Artist/Year/WABC & Billboard Peak)

100  *I Feel Fine / Beatles / 1964 (#1 WABC & Nat’l)

99      Free Bird / Lynyrd Skynyrd / 1975 (Did Not Chart WABC, #19 Nat’l)

98    *Ticket to Ride / Beatles / 1965 (#2 WABC, #1 Nat’l)

97    *Love Will Keep Us Together /Captain & Tennille / 1975 (#1 WABC & Nat’l)

96      Red Rubber Ball / Cyrkle / 1966 (#3 WABC, #2 Nat’l)

95      I Only Want To Be With You / Dusty Springfield / 1964 (#5 WABC, #12 Nat’l)

94     Taxi / Harry Chapin / 1972 (#9 WABC, #24 Nat’l)

93   *Stayin' Alive /Bee Gees / 1978 (#1 WABC & Nat’l)

92   *Jailhouse Rock / Elvis Presley / 1957 (Pre-dates WABC/#1 Nat’l)

91     Walk Away Renee / Left Banke / 1966 (#2 WABC, #5 Nat’l)

90     Piano Man / Billy Joel / 1974 (#19 WABC, #25 Nat’l)

89   *Mack the Knife / Bobby Darin /1959 (Pre-dates WABC, #1 Nat’l)

88   *You're So Vain / Carly Simon / 1973 (#1 WABC & Nat’l)

87   *Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) / Temptations / 1971 (#1 WABC & Nat’l)

86   *He's A Rebel / Crystals / 1962 (#2 WABC, #1 Nat’l)

85     A Whiter Shade Of Pale / Procol Harum / 1967 (#2 WABC, #5 Nat’l)

84   *Crimson and Clover / Tommy James and the Shondells / 1969 (#1 WABC & Nat’l)

83   *You Don't Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show) / Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. / 1977 (#1 WABC & Nat’l)              

82   *Will You Love Me Tomorrow / Shirelles / 1961

81   *I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) / Four Tops /1965 (#1 WABC & Nat’l)

80   *Reach Out I'll Be There  / Four Tops / 1966 (#1 WABC & Nat’l)

79   *Poor Side of Town / Johnny Rivers / 1966 (#6 WABC, #1 Nat’l)

78     Superstar / Carpenters / 1971 (#2 WABC & Nat’l)

 

AND NOW --- THE SONGS THAT MADE THE 20TH EDITION OF THE TOP 77 OF ALL TIME

 

77     *Windy / Association / 1967 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…”No Fair at All” peaking only at #51, The Association would have made the top 40 with each of their first ten chart songs including “Windy”.

 

76     *Yesterday / Beatles / 1965 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…some of The Beatles, this would have been a single in England sooner than 1976. The song was such a different sound for them that John, George and Ringo voted not to release it in the U.K. in 1965.

 

75      Beyond the Sea / Bobby Darin / 1960 (Pre-dates WABC, #6 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…the success of “Mack the Knife”, Bobby might have stayed in the rock and roll genre and never released singles like this or “Artificial Flowers”.

 

74      Lola / Kinks / 1970 (#8 WABC, #9 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR...Kinks manager Robert Wace’s encounter in Paris with a transgender woman, Ray Davis might never have been inspired to write this.

 

73      Can't Find The Time / Orpheus / 1969 (Did Not Chart on WABC, #80 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…songwriter Bruce Arnold being strongly influenced by what was happening in folk music in the early 1960s, he might never have decided to form the group Orpheus, and instead might have remained part of a Beatles sound-alike group.

 

72      Mr Dieingly Sad / Critters / 1966 (#6 WABC, #17 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…this song, The Critters would have never had a national top 20 hit, despite making the top 20 multiple times in New York.

 

71     *Maggie May / Rod Stewart / 1971 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…radio station djs discovering this as the “B” side of “Reason to Believe”, the song may never have achieved legendary status.

 

70     *Incense And Peppermints / Strawberry Alarm Clock / 1967 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR...the existence of a local group with a name similar to Strawberry Alarm Clock’s original name, they wouldn’t have changed their name and would likely have been known as “Thee Sixpence” on this hit.

 

69     *Daydream Believer / Monkees / 1967 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…producer Chip Douglas running into Kingston Trio member John Stewart at a party at Hoyt Axton’s Hollywood home, Stewart might never have had the chance to offer his song, “Daydream Believer”, to the Monkees.

 

68      Thunder Road (from “Born to Run”) / Bruce Springsteen / 1975 (WABC & Nat’l – Did Not Chart) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…numerous rewrites, this song would be titled “Wings for Wheels”.

 

67      Midnight Confessions / Grass Roots / 1968 (#3 WABC, #5 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…a demo of this song by the Evergreen Blues Band, the Grass Roots manager, Steve Barri, could not have chosen this as the band’s “West Coast” version of a “Motown-style” production.

 

66     *Stoned Soul Picnic / 5th Dimension / 1968 (#1 WABC, #3 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…clarification from producer Charlie Callelo, we might be scurrying to find the meaning of the word “surry”. In reality, Callelo asked writer Laura Nyro what it meant. She replied that the word meant nothing, saying, “Oh it’s just a nice word.”

 

65       Layla / Derek & the Dominos  / 1972 (#7 WABC, #10 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR a 7th century Arabian love story that became the basis for “The Story of Layla and Majnun”, this song might never have been written.

 

64     *Lightnin' Strikes / Lou Christie / 1966 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…this song, Lou would never have had a #1 hit.

 

63     *The Twist / Chubby Checker / 1960 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…a 19th century minstrel tune called “Grape Vine Twist”, with its lyrics set to the music of Ballard’s “Is Your Love for Real”, Chubby Checker’s career might have been VERY different.

 

62      Things I'd Like To Say / New Colony Six / 1969 (#5 WABC, #16 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…this song, this group would have never made the top 20.

 

61      Beginnings / Chicago / 1971 (#11 WABC, #7 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…legal action from the actual mass transit company, the group might still be known as the Chicago Transit Authority.

 

60     *Close To You / Carpenters / 1970 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…Herb Alpert’s dislike of the line about sprinkling moon dust, The Carpenters might never have been given this song to record.

 

59      What A Wonderful World / Louis Armstrong / 1988 (Did Not Chart WABC, #32 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…the movie “Good Morning, Vietnam”, this song might never have had a chart revival and would have remained relatively obscure in the U.S.

 

58      Days / Kinks / 1968 (Did Not Chart WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…the relative failure of their previous single “Wonderboy”, the band might never have released this as a single in a desperate attempt to reverse their declining commercial success in 1968.

 

57     *Groovin' /Young Rascals / 1967 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…a name conflict with Borrah Minnevitch’s and Johnny Puleo’s group “The Harmonica Rascals”,  manager Sid Bernstein might never have added “Young” to the group’s name to avoid litigation.

 

56      Can't Help Falling in Love / Elvis Presley / 1962 (#8 WABC, #2 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…the “twist” phenomena, this song would have been Elvis’17th #1 hit. Instead, “Peppermint Twist” by Joey Dee and the Starliters kept it from the top.

 

55      Dawn (Go Away) / Four Seasons / 1964 (#2 WABC, #3 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…The Beatles, this song likely would have been #1 on the national charts. During its entire six-week run in the top ten, only Beatles hits ranked above it in the chart.

54     *Runaway /  Del Shannon  / 1961 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…Manager Ollie McLughlin persuading  Del Shannon and Max Crook to rewrite “Little Runaway” so that it featured Crook’s Musitron keyboard, this song might never have had the instrumentation that makes it so unique.

53     *We've Only Just Begun / Carpenters 1970 (#1 WABC, #2 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FORa wedding-themed television commercial for Crocker National Bank in California that aired in the winter of 1970,  Richard Carpenter never would have asked Paul Williams to finish a complete version of the song for The Carpenters.

 

52      In My Life / Beatles / 1966 (from “Rubber Soul”) (Did Not Chart WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…John’s suggestion for George Martin to add an instrumental bridge that was "something Baroque-sounding", one of this song’s most unique qualities might never have been included in the final product.

 

51      Gimme Shelter / Rolling Stones / 1970 (from “Let It Bleed) (Did Not Chart WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…live shows, TV and movies, this song might not have remained so prominent since its release. A staple in the band’s live shows, the song has been featured in commercials, movies and TV over 20 times since its release.

 

50      Strawberry Fields Forever / Beatles / 1967 (#34 WABC, #8 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…the famous “Paul Is Dead” mystery, the fading words of John Lennon saying “cranberry sauce” would have never been so over-analyzed.

 

49     *One Less Bell To Answer / 5th Dimension / 1971 (#1 WABC, #2 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…producer Bones Howe rediscovering this song after hearing Keely Smith’s original, it would never have been recorded by the 5th Dimension.

 

48      Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good) / Neil Diamond / 1969 (#2 WABC, #4 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…Neil’s loyal fans improvising at his live concerts, the famous/annoying “so good, so good, so good” chants would never have been tied forever to this song.

 

47      Morning Girl / Neon Philharmonic / 1969 (Did Not Chart WABC, #17 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…this one “hit” of theirs, this act would have disbanded by the mid-1970s into virtual obscurity.

 

46      Like a Rolling Stone Bob Dylan / 1965 (#3 WABC, #2 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…this song, it might have taken Dylan much longer to break through to Top 40 radio, if it would have occurred at all.

 

45     *Aquarius Let the Sunshine In / 5th Dimension / 1969 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…”In the Year 2525” by Zager and Evans, this would have been the longest reigning #1 song of the year. As it was, both songs stayed on top for six weeks.

 

44      Unchained Melody / Righteous Brothers / 1965 & 1990 (#4 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…the movie “Ghost” in 1990, this song would have never had a second life, which propelled it back into the top 20.

 

43     *California Dreamin' / Mamas and the Papas / 1966 (#1 WABC, #4 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…the group doing backing vocals on the original Barry McGuire recording as a “thank you” to Lou Adler for signing them, a decision might never have been made for them to release their own version of the song.

 

42      Glad All Over / Dave Clark Five /1964 (#7 WABC, #6 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…Carl Perkins’ song “Glad All Over”, Mike Smith might not have found a title that inspired him to write the entirely different song that became this initial U.S. hit for this British band.

 

41      Something / Beatles / 1969 (#7 WABC, #3 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…”Come Together” on the “A” side of this record, the song would have been a bigger hit and George Harrison’s talents as a songwriter might have been fully realized much sooner than they were.

 

40      Will You Be Staying After Sunday / Peppermint Rainbow / 1969 (Did Not Chart WABC, #32 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…the lack of strong national radio station airplay, this song most likely would have been a national top ten hit as it was in various markets such as Los Angeles.

 

39     *What's Going On / Marvin Gaye /1971 (#1 WABC, #2 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FORpolice brutality incident witnessed by Renaldo "Obie" Benson, the inspiration to write this hit might have never happened.

 

38     *Sugar Sugar / Archies /1969 (#1WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…the famous comic book, there would have been no Archies and no “Sugar Sugar”.

 

37      Bohemian Rhapsody / Queen / 1976 & 1992 (#3 WABC, #2 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR… the inclusion of this song in the movie “Wayne’s World”, this song would never have enjoyed a second chart run in 1992 that was stronger than its initial chart run.

 

36      Waterloo Sunset / Kinks / 1967 (Did Not Chart WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…a last-minute change of heart by lead singer Ray Davies’, this song would have been called “Liverpool Sunset”.

 

35      I Only Have Eyes For You / Flamingos /1959 (Pre-Dates WABC, #11 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…a dream where group co-producer and member  Terry “Buzzy” Johnson finally heard what this finished product could sound like, this Flamingos hit could have sounded far different than the version we’re all used to hearing.

 

34      Imagine / John Lennon / 1971 (#4 WABC, #3 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FORseveral poems from Yoko Ono's 1964 book “Grapefruit” that inspired Lennon, this classic song might never have existed as we know it today.

 

33     *Rock Around The Clock / Bill Haley & His Comets / 1955 (Pre-Dates WABC, #1 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…this song, many think that rock and roll music would never have evolved the way it did.

 

32      A Day In The Life (from “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” / Beatles / 1967 (Did Not Chart WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…lyrics that many radio station program directors interpreted as drug-related, this song might have received even wider airplay than it did in 1967.

 

31     *A Hard Day's Night / Beatles / 1964 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…the concept behind this black and white film, The Monkees and the structure for their show might have never developed as a TV show or even a group.

 

30     *The Rain The Park & Other Things /Cowsills /1967 (#1 WABC, #2 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…this group, the inspiration for The Partridge Family might have never occurred.

 

29      Wichita Lineman /Glen Campbell /1968 (#2 WABC, #3 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…Glen’s contributions as a member of the famous “Wrecking Crew” and his solo efforts, hundreds of hits would not have benefitted from his inspired guitar licks.

 

28      You Really Got Me / Kinks /1964 (#2 WABC, #7 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…Ray Davies’ change of heart to make this into a harder rocking sound, this song would have been performed in a more blues-oriented style.

 

27     *You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' / Righteous Brothers /1965 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR...the influence of  the music backing The Four Tops on “Baby I Need Your Lovin’” and the lyrics of The Paris Sisters’ “I Love How You Love Me”, this Cynthia Weil-Barry Mann penned-song likely would have not existed.

 

26     *Suspicious Minds / Elvis Presley /1969 (#4 WABC, #1 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…producer Chips Moman handing this failed Mark James release to Elvis to record, the song would have never become one of the most notable hits of Presley's career, a single that is widely regarded as having  restored his career success.

 

25     *Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) / Looking Glass / 1972 (#2 WABC, #1 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…this song, Barry Manilow’s 1974 hit would have been called “Brandy”. But Barry changed it to “Mandy” so as not to be confused with Looking Glass’ hit.

 

24     *To Sir with Love / Lulu / 1967 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…Lulu being outspoken about the songs the producers of the “To Sir, with Love” film had chosen, this would never have been written. She hated the material originally presented to her and so had  her friend Mark London write the music and Don Black write the lyrics.

 

23      Since I Don't Have You / Skyliners / 1959 (Pre-dates WABC. #12 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…the unfortunate passing of Jimmy Beaumont in 2017, The Skyliners would be one of the few doo wop acts still performing with their original lead singer.

 

22     *Downtown / Petula Clark / 1965 ((#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…this song, Petula, a child star overseas since the age of nine, might never have crossed over into the U.S. at the age of 32.

 

21     *Be My Baby / Ronettes / 1963 (#1 WABC, #2 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…Jimmy Gilmer’s “Sugar Shack”, this monster #1 hit on the east coast would have also gotten to the #1 slot nationally in the U.S.A.

 

20     *Let It Be / Beatles / 1970 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…the single version of this hit, Linda McCartney would never have been recognized as doing backing vocals, which was the only known contribution by her to a Beatles song.

 

19     *My Girl / Temptations / 1965 (#4 WABC, #1 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…The Temptations convincing writer Smokey Robinson that the song was perfect for David Ruffin’s vocals, Smokey would have recorded this song with his own group, The Miracles.

 

18      Born To Run / Bruce Springsteen / 1975 (WABC #26, Nat’l #33) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…Cash Box magazine, this signature song of Bruce would have never made the top 20! But at Cash Box, it peaked at #17.

 

17      Stairway To Heaven / Led Zeppelin / 1971 (Did Not Chart WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…opening act Spirit’s 1968 instrumental song “Taurus”, this Led Zeppelin tune could have sounded much different. Spirit took Zep to court, claiming Led Zeppelin stole their song. But Robert Plant and company prevailed, even though many agree that the two songs are very similar.

 

16     *Hotel California / Eagles / 1977 (#2 WABC, #1 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…Don Felder’s school bandmate Bernie Leadon, The Eagles likely would never have recorded this song. Leadon introduced Felder to the members of The Eagles, and later on Felder wrote the melody for “Hotel California in a rented house on Malibu Beach.

 

15     *She Loves You / Beatles / 1964 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…The Isley Brothers’ hit, The Beatles might never have borrowed the use of “Twist and Shout’s” high falsetto “woos” for “She Loves You”.

 

14     *Cherish / Association / 1966 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…radio stations favoring songs under three minutes long, the single version would have included the repetition of “and I do cherish you” at the end of the song. Even with that edit, the song ran over three minutes, but the label decided to print 3:00 as the running time anyway.

 

13     *Good Vibrations / Beach Boys / 1966 (#4 WABC, #1 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…lyricist Tony Asher’s suggestion, Brian Wilson would have titled this song “Good Vibes”.

 

12      Because / Dave Clark Five / 1964 (#4 WABC, #3 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…this song, the band would have had NO ballads make the top ten.

 

11     *Bridge Over Troubled Water / Simon and Garfunkel / 1970 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…Claude Jeter’s chorus from the 1958 song “Mary Don’t You Weep”, Paul Simon’s lyrics would have been quite different. Jeter performed it with his group The Swan Silvertones.

 

10     *Ain't No Mountain High Enough / Diana Ross / 1970 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR this song, Diane would have to wait three years before she would have her first solo #1 hit without The Supremes. It would have been 1973’s “Touch Me in the Morning”.

 9        God Only Knows / Beach Boys / 1966 (Did Not Chart WABC, #39 Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR The use of the word “God” in the title, this song could have been a much bigger hit. But radio stations like WABC in New York were hesitant to air it due to the title and lyrics, which in 1966 were considered controversial.

 

 8     *Rag Doll / Four Seasons / 1964 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR a dirty-faced   little girl WITH ragged clothes that Bob Gaudio spotted at stop lights in the neighborhood , this song might have never gotten the inspiration it needed to be written. “The little girl with the rag” is now a story for the ages!

 

 7      MacArthur Park / Richard Harris / 1968 (#2 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR The Association turning this song down, Richard Harris likely would never have had a hit with it. It was only after the group rejected it, that writer Jimmy Webb offered it to Sir Richard.

 

 6     *I Want To Hold Your Hand / Beatles / 1964 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR this song hurdling to the top of the charts at the beginning of 1964, The Beatles would not have occupied the #1 slot for 18 of the 52 weeks of the year, an astounding 33% of the calendar year at #1.

 

 5      In the Still Of the Nite / Five Satins / 1956 (Pre-Dates WABC, Nat’l #24) IF IT WEREN’T FOR the  classic song from 1937, The Five Satins would not have had to spell the title "In the Still of the Nite" to avoid confusion with Cole Porter's "In the Still of the Night". As The Five Satins’ rock and roll standard became more well-known, it was later spelled the same as Porter’s song.

 

 4     *Light My Fire / Doors / 1967 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR The Rolling Stones and Robby Krieger, this song might never have existed. Krieger came up with the melody and wrote most of the lyrics, which are about leaving inhibitions behind in flames of passion. Robby said, “I loved the Stones song ‘Play with Fire’ and  that's  how ‘Light My Fire’ came about."

 

 3     *American Pie / Don McLean / 1972 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR a  Rolling Stone magazine interview in 2017, we never would have learned what Bob Dylan thought about being called a “jester” in the lyrics. Bob’s thoughts?  "A jester? Sure, the jester writes songs like 'Masters of War,' 'A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,' 'It’s Alright, Ma' – some jester. I have to think he’s talking about somebody else. Ask him.” Suffice it to say, Dylan does not like this classic by McLean.

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  2     *(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction / Rolling Stones / 1965 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR…the third verse, this song would not have been banned initially from the BBC and edited on New York’s WABC. Those lyrics were considered too suggestive, causing the song to be played only on pirate stations in the U.K. Eventually, the U.K. relented.

 

  1     *HEY JUDE / Beatles / 1968 (#1 WABC & Nat’l) IF IT WEREN’T FOR… “The Theme from ‘A Summer Place”, “Hey Jude” would have stood alone as the longest reigning #1 song of the 1960s. As it was, “…Theme…” tied it at 9 weeks on top.

 

THERE YOU HAVE IT! THE 20th EDITION OF THE TOP 77 OF ALL TIME AS VOTED BY YOU!

CONGRATULATIONS TO “HEY JUDE” FOR MAKING IT TO THE TOP FOR THE 19th TIME, AND THANKS FOR VOTING!




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