The Friday 5×2: One Top 10 Song That Went To #1 (High School Days)

I know you’ve been following my latest series on Two For Tuesday, “High School Days.”

Thirty-nine of the songs that reached the Top 10 between June 1970 and September 1974 were the only song to reach the Top 10 and went to #1. Here are ten of them.

  1. Paul Revere & The Raiders, “Indian Reservation” This song, by John D. Loudermilk, reached #1 for The Raiders in July 1971. Subtitled “The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian,” it’s a song about the current lives of the Cherokee, who were forcibly relocated from the Southeast US to Oklahoma in the 1830’s along with the Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole. If you ever get to Georgia, visit New Echota, the capital city of the Cherokee. It’s an amazing place, and one that makes you think.
  2. Rod Stewart, “Maggie May” This was a two-sided single with “Reason To Believe” that reached #1 in October 1971. “Reason To Believe” was actually the A side of the single, but radio stations discovered people liked this song better. From Rod’s 1971 album Every Picture Tells A Story.
  3. Looking Glass, “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)” The story goes that Robert Mandel, promotions manager for Epic Records, got a test pressing of this record and delivered a copy to all the Top 40 radion stations in the Washington/Baltimore area. Harv Moore, program director at WPGC in Washington, put the song in heavy rotation for a couple of days and said the switchboard lit up like a Christmas tree. It went to #1 in Washington before it was even released. Nationally, it topped the Hot 100 and Cash Box surveys and was the #12 record for 1972. It’s not hard to see why.
  4. Mac Davis, “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me” Singer-songwriter Mac Davis, who had written songs for just about everyone up to now, reached #1 for three weeks on both the Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts in September 1972.
  5. Billy Paul, “Me and Mrs. Jones” Written by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Cary Gilbert and released on the Philadelphia International label, it became Billy Paul’s only #1 single on the Hot 100 in December 1972. Okay, it’s about two people having an affair, but Billy makes it almost romantic.
  6. The Edgar Winter Group, “Frankenstein” From 1973’s They Only Come Out At Night, which featured a really bizarre cover, this was largely a vehicle for Edgar Winter to display his virtuosity on multiple instruments (keyboard, saxophone, and drums) in concert. It was a hit in both the US and Canada in May 1973.
  7. Charlie Rich, “The Most Beautiful Girl” Some fine country from The Silver Fox. This spent three weeks at #1 on the Country and Easy Listening charts and two weeks at #1 on the Hot 100. It also reached #1 in Canada on the Top Singles chart, the Country Tracks chart, and the Adult Contemporary chart. Billboard listed it at #23 for 1973.
  8. Eric Clapton, “I Shot The Sheriff” Slowhand’s cover of Bob Marley’s 1973 single, it was included on his 1974 461 Ocean Blvd. LP and topped the chart later that year. EC’s version is both reggae and soft rock.
  9. Ray Stevens, “The Streak” This song was released in March 1974, around the same time students at Northwestern University started running around naked. By that time it had been a fad at other campuses for a while. I had a student teacher who was a student there, and she was shell-shocked by the whole affair. Naturally, all we wanted to talk about was streaking… anyway, Ray had a #1 hit with this one in May 1974, his first hit since “Everything Is Beautiful.”
  10. George McCrae, “Rock Your Baby” Disco was just beginning to rear its ugly head in July 1974 when this reached #1. Worldwide, it sold 11 million copies, making it one of the less than 40 singles to have sold more than 10 million worldwide.

And that’s this week’s Friday 5×2. I might see if I can get the rest of them in…

8 thoughts on “The Friday 5×2: One Top 10 Song That Went To #1 (High School Days)

  1. Wow…that’s a sad lot. Actually, I guess it’s a reflection on me. 10 #1 songs and I really don’t like any of them. Maggie May comes closest, but was played so much that I could change the channel in less than three notes. I liked Brandy, and it would have been great to hear it a few times but not nearly as often as we did. I love Clapton, but he had so, so many other – better songs. That people liked “I shot the sherif” always amazed me. Especially freinds of mine who liked that song, but not Clapton in general.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m baaaaack:) Vacation Time is one of relaxation and this week I was zoned out. I forgot about the Streak song but it brings back some memories especially the one at the Oscars. I like a lot of these songs.


  3. The only song I don’t know is Edgar Winter’s. Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me reminds me of the Big Bang Theory when Howard starts singing that to Penny when they first meet. I agree with Dan about the Clapton song. Happy Friday!


  4. This is an awesome list! Yes, I will change the channel on Brandy just as fast as Stairway to Heaven, but I loved a lot of the others. I grew up (born in 1966) not knowing any other sort of music other than Country existed until Junior High – LOL! Ray Stevens was the funniest thing ever – I still laugh until a cry when I hear one of his songs. And I love Eric Clapton (esp Unplugged) but never knew that was him covering ‘I Shot the Sheriff’ after Bob Marley! Kudos for surprising a musician’s wife!


  5. 12-year-old me knew every one of these! What an electic mix.
    I roll my eyes now seeing Mac Davis and Charlie Rich, but that was 1971. I agree with Dan about Clapton – he had so many betters songs. And, ugh, “The Streak.” To think THAT was our biggest embarrassment! 🎶🎶🎶

    But Paul Revere! (What was his name, John? Mark something?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mark Lindsay, who went off on his own and had a hit with “Arizona” in 1969.

      Clapton definitely had much better musical moments than “I shot the sheriff.” His work with Derek and the Dominoes and Blind Faith certainly qualifies. But I think he was just getting started with his solo career.


  6. Great selection of songs. I can do without “Brandy”. I think some songs that are played over and over again become tiring – unless of course, it is one of your favorites. Different strokes, you know.


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