Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*: #10-1

O.K., everyone have their glasses ready?  Let's all toast to the music we love!  Today, July 9, 2015, is the 60th birthday of the Rock Era.  It marks 60 years to the day that "Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley & the Comets became the first national #1 song, thereby ushering in the Rock Era.  Music changed forever, and ever since, rock & roll has been a big part of our lives. 

Happy Birthday Rock Era!  (and thanks for all the memories...)  We salute the occasion with the final segment of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*, Number 10 through 1*:

The Sound Of Silence 
Simon & Garfunkel

"One of the greatest classics ever."

"So beautiful!"

"The lyrics are out of this world..."

"There is a tension to this song - you keep expecting it to break out and get fast and loud. But it is very restrained instead. The quiet cry from inside. The visions it invokes are timeless."

"Powerful song that rings today."

"A true classic.  The more I listen to it, the more I love it."

"Without a doubt my favorite song."

"I just started listening to this and it is a masterpiece."

"The relevance it has today is a testament to the legacy of the song."

"That's one of the greatest songs I've ever head all my life.  It really touches my heart."

"One of the best!!!  Paul Simon is such a genius."

Though starting out as the folk duo Tom and Jerry in the late 1950s, the arrangement ended when Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel began attending college.  In 1963, however, they reformed and began performing Simon's original songs near their hometown of Queens, New York.  Soon, the two performed on Monday nights at Gerde's Folk City in Greenwich Village.  Paul Simon wrote this song over several months between 1963 and 1964.

Garfunkel once summed up the song's meaning as "the inability of people to communicate with each other, not particularly internationally but especially emotionally, so what you see around you are people unable to love each other."

Simon later told Terry Gross of National Public Radio about his memories of writing the song: 

It was just when I was coming out of college.  My job was to take the songs that this huge publishing company owned and go around to record companies and see if any of their artists wanted to record the songs.  I worked for them for about six months and never got a song placed, but I did give them a couple of my songs because I felt so guilty about taking their money.  Then I got into an argument with them and said, "Look, I quit, and I'm not giving you my new song."  And the song that I had just written was "The Sound of Silence."  I thought, "I'll just publish it myself," and from that point on I owned my own songs, so that was a lucky argument. 
In September, Simon & Garfunkel performed three songs at the club, including "The Sound Of Silence", attracting the attention of producer Tom Wilson.

Simon wanted to get a publishing deal when he presented the song to Wilson at Columbia Records.  Paul thought the song would work for a group called the Pilgrims.  To show Wilson what the song would sound like with two singers, he and Garfunkel sang it for the executives gathered at Columbia.  Those executives were not only impressed with the song; they were very interested in Simon & Garfunkel, and signed them to a recording contract.

The duo recorded the song March 10, 1964 at Columbia Studios in New York City for their album Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.  Simon & Garfunkel released the album in October of 1964--its failure, falling short of over 3,000 copies sold initially, resulted in the duo breaking up.  Simon returned to England and Garfunkel went back to his studies at Columbia University.

But behold!  In November of 1965, the song broke in Boston, Massachusetts, and quickly spread down to coast to Washington, D.C. and throughout Florida.  The growing airplay led Wilson to remix the song.  Wilson had heard the Byrds "Turn!  Turn!  Turn!", and got the idea to achieve a similar sound on the Simon and Garfunkel song.  Wilson overdubbed the original acoustic version with electric instrumentation from the same musicians who played on Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone".  No one bothered to tell Simon & Garfunkel of the remix.  Columbia then released the single in September of 1965.

At the time, Rock Era fans could hear "Yesterday" and "We Can Work It Out" by the Beatles, "Homeward Bound", also by Simon & Garfunkel, "Turn!  Turn!  Turn!" by the Byrds, "Unchained Melody" from the Righteous Brothers, and "Get Off Of My Cloud" by the Rolling Stones.

Within two weeks, "The Sound Of Silence" hit #1 in Boston, and by December, it was the #1 song in the United States.  By January of 1966, it had sold over one million copies.

Imagine the surprise of both Simon and Garfunkel when they heard their song on the radio and found out it was #1!  At the time, Paul was performing at small clubs in Denmark, and picked up a copy of Billboard, as he had done routinely for years.  Simon opened up the magazine and found "The Sound Of Silence" at #86.  Several days later, Garfunkel called Simon to tell him the good news about their single.  The success of the song caused the duo to reunite and put together a second album, which Columbia titled Sounds of Silence to capitalize on the song's success.  Simon recounted his feelings of the whirlwind of activity that all of a sudden was surrounding the song and the duo:

I had come back to New York, and I was staying in my old room at my parents' house.  Artie was living at his parents' house, too.  I remember Artie and I were sitting there in my car one night, parked on a street in Queens, and the announcer [on the radio] said, "Number one, Simon & Garfunkel."  And Artie said to me, "That Simon & Garfunkel, they must be having a great time."  We didn't know what to do with ourselves.

"The Sound Of Silence" reached the Top 10 all over the world, #1 for 2 weeks in the U.S, #3 in Australia and Austria, #5 in Ireland, and #9 in the U.K. and West Germany.

The song sold over one million singles and helped sell over 19.5 million albums.  With seven million airplays, "The Sound Of Silence" is one of the 20 Most-Played Songs in history.  Clearly, in 2015, Rock Era fans continue to eat it up.

Had Wilson not remixed the song without telling Simon & Garfunkel, it is quite possible that they never would have gotten back together.  Think for a moment what that would have meant to Rock Era fans and the Rock Era in general.  In 2015, they place three songs in the Top 20 for the last 60 years in the updated edition of The Top 500*.

In 1999, Broadcast Music Incorporated named the song as the 18th most-performed song of the 20th century.  In 2013, "The Sound Of Silence was added to the National Recording Registry by the United States Library of Congress.





Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In 
5th Dimension


"There was no song ever written, sung or played that can get me up tempo and in a good mood like this one right here."
"A masterpiece."
"This song is pure soul."
"Not a song to be played softly..."
"This song is so spiritual."
"Love this of the greatest ever!"
"The lyrics, the music, the singing, the harmonies, that bass...everything is perfect."
"I absolutely LOVE this song!"
"One of the greatest of all-time."
"Gives me goose bumps. The second part could go on forever."
"This is one of the most beautiful songs ever created."
"Still so inspiring!!!"
"This song is Epic. Just Epic.
Song #9* is an incredible medley of two songs, "Aquarius" and "Let The Sunshine In", written for the 1967 musical Hair.  Actors James Rado and Gerome Ragni, who conceived of the idea for the musical, worked on the lyrics, while Gale MacDermot came up with the music.  Rado and Ragni met when they both performed in the Off-Broadway play Hang Down Your Head and Die.  That play flopped, which probably gave Rado and Ragni both the incentive and the idea that they could do something better.    
If you listen to the lyrics, the "Age of Aquarius" sounds like a pretty good place to be.  The 5th Dimension sings of an age of love, light, and humanity.  "Can we please have the age of Aquarius now?", you ask.  If you're a believer of the lyrics, the flower power children of the '60s seemed like they were destined to live in the age of Aquarius, but many of those people changed when they grew up.   
The reality is that the Age of Aquarius, we are sorry to report, is still hundreds of years away.  The Age of Aquarius describes an astrological age, which occurs because the motion of the Earth causes the identity of the pole star to change over time.  Specifically, the Age of Aquarius begins when the vernal equinox point moves out of the constellation Pisces (the Age we are currently in) and into Aquarius. 
The "dawning of the Age of Aquarius" in the song is a relative term.  The exact circumstances for the change are "When the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars".  The cycle of precession, or the movement into every sign of the Zodiac, lasts 25,800 years, and since there are 12 constellations of the Zodiac, the sun's position at the time of the March, or vernal, equinox moves in front of a new constellation roughly every 2,150 years.   
When the Age of Aquarius is set to begin depends on which astrologer you talk to.  Their proposed dates range from the year 2062 to 2680.  
The musical Hair became something of a cultural phenomenon, and was tailor made for the baby boomer generation.  The music both described and became anthems for young people who grew up in the '60s.  After an off-Broadway debut in October, 1967 at Joseph Papp's Public Theater and a run in a midtown discotheque discothèque space, Hair opened on Broadway on April 29, 1968 at the Biltmore Theatre and ran for 1,750 performances.   
The show soon hit the road for simultaneous productions in cities across the United States and Europe, with Hair running in London for 1,997 performances.  Since then, many productions have been staged around the world--Donna Summer got her first big break when she starred in the German production of Hair.  Dozens of recordings of the musical have been released, including the original Broadway cast recording, which has sold over three million copies.  
The music of Hair was so great, and received such a following, that artists were clamoring to get the rights to record the songs.  The Cowsills recorded the title song and reached #2 with it.  Shortly afterwards, Oliver recorded "Good Morning Starshine" and hit #5.  Later in the year, Three Dog Night peaked at #8 with "Easy To Be Hard".  Members of the 5th Dimension loved "Aquarius" and wanted their producer, Bones Howe, to get the rights to the song, as Bruce Pollock wrote about in his book By the Time We Got to Woodstock:  The Great Rock 'n' Roll Revolution of 1969
Among the many people calling the publisher in 1968 for a lock of Hair's mystique was the L.A. producer Bones Howe, who'd been working with the 5th Dimension since engineering "Up-Up And Away" for their first album in 1967. He'd produced hits for the Turtles ("It Ain't Me Babe") and the Association ("Windy");  he'd been a personal guest of Lou Adler at the Monterey Pop Festival where he was perhaps the only West Coast guy in attendance to appreciate Laura Nyro's gruesome performance. Later he delivered Laura's "Stoned Soul Picnic" to the 5th Dimension, for which it was their biggest r&b hit. He was shuttling back and forth between his home in L.A. and the studio in New York working on the vocals for the Stoned Soul Picnic album when the group told him they wanted to do "Aquarius."

The thing that bothered me about it was that there'd been other releases of "Aquarius", and none had done anything, so I was concerned about what we would do that would be any different.  I went to see the show and there's a place where they do "The Flesh Failures" and at the end of the song is just a three bar repeated thing of '"Let the sunshine in" where Ragni was swinging across the stage on a chandelier and there was all kinds of craziness going on. That really stayed with me and I came out of the theater saying, "I wonder if I could stick that on the end of 'Aquarius' and make that the ending." 

 So I went back to the hotel and I called the publisher.  I mean you don't mess with the music from a Broadway show. I started my professional career in 1956 and I knew a lot about what you can and what you can't do with songs.  I said, "Look, the 5th Dimension would like to record 'Aquarius,' but I'd like to make it a medley and I'd like to use the last three bars of 'The Flesh Failures' and I don't want to do it without permission."  So he said "okay, you can go ahead and do it."
The next problem was to go ahead and do it. The record was plotted in the fall of '68 and more or less finished in January of '69.  I had to do a lot of work with my vocal arranger, Bob Alsivar.  Because they couldn't sing both songs in the same key, we had to do a modulation; we figured out how I was going to do the instrumental arrangement so we could change keys.  The record itself is the result of a conglomeration of things.  I began as a jazz musician and I know the standard repertoire pretty well.  I kept thinking about a song called "Lost in the Stars" and trying to find something to give you that kind of impression.   I described it to Bill Holman and he wrote that beautiful woodwinds and strings part that's in the intro. 

We did the track in L.A. and the vocals in Las Vegas where the 5th Dimension were opening for Frank Sinatra.  We were working in that studio in Las Vegas where you used to have to stop when the train went by.  Once when we were doing practice runs while the train passed Billy started that riff at the end "oh let the sunshine…" so I said, "Wait, let me put that on a separate track at the end.  There were a lot of happy accidents making the record.

Howe came through, and the 5th Dimension recorded the song for their album The Age of Aquarius.  In March of 1969, the medley debuted on the charts, getting airplay the same time as classics such as "Get Back" by the Beatles, "Honky Tonk Women" from the Rolling Stones, "Proud Mary" and "Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, "In The Year 2525" by Zager & Evans, "Everyday People" by Sly & the Family Stone, "The Boxer" by Simon & Garfunkel, "You've Made Me So Very Happy" by Blood, Sweat & Tears, "Crimson & Clover" from Tommy James & the Shondells, "Time Of The Season" by the Zombies, "Traces" by the Classics IV, Tommy Roe's "Dizzy", "Get Together" by the Youngbloods, and "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies.

"Aquarius"/"Let The Sunshine In" rocketed to #1 for 6 weeks in the United States, with 11 weeks in the Top 10.  Showing great mass appeal, it also went to #1 for 2 weeks on the Adult chart and hit #6 on the R&B chart.  It also reached #1 in Canada, #2 in Finland, #3 in Germany and Australia, and #4 in Switzerland.

The song got a big boost when it appeared in the movie Forrest Gump.  To date, "Aquarius" has sold over 2 million singles, helped sell over 13.5 million albums, and has chalked up over 5 million radio airplays in the U.S. alone.

The song is ranked #33 on the American Film Institute's ranking of the top songs in American cinema history in their series 100 Years...100 Songs.




"Classic song!"
"This song never fails to bring tears to my eyes.  Every time."
"Great song--this speaks to the heart."
"So incredibly beautiful."
"One of the best songs ever."
"The immortal Paul McCartney classic."
"The greatest song of all-time."
"Wow!!!  This song is still amazing!"

"The greatest!"

"The most beautiful song EVER."

"Perfect song."


"A classic that will be around 200 years from now."

"Yes! I've always known they were the best there is, but now I'm really seeing how everything they did is Perfect.  Beyond awesome, and about life."

"Wow!  Beautiful classic."


It was first thought that this song was written by Paul McCartney during the Beatles' tour of France in 1964.  McCartney later said that the song came to him in a dream at girlfriend Jane Asher's house in January of 1965, when Paul woke up with the melody in his head and played it on the piano in Asher's attic.

Because of the unusual way he came up with the song, McCartney took the melody around to veterans of the music industry, asking them if he had unconsciously stolen someone else's song.  In the meantime, McCartney kept the melody in his mind by writing a funny first verse that started, "Scrambled eggs/Oh how I really love your legs..."  Paul recalled later in his biography Paul McCartney:  Many Years from Now

So first of all I checked this melody out, and people said to me, "No, it's lovely, and I'm sure it's all yours."  It took me a little while to allow myself to claim it, but then like a prospector I finally staked my claim; stuck a little sign on it and said, "Okay, it's mine!"  It had no words.  I used to call it "Scrambled Eggs".

Finally, McCartney was assured by everyone that the melody was indeed his, and he flew to Lisbon, Portugal to vacation at the villa of Bruce Welch, a member of the Shadows.  On the car ride to Welch's place, McCartney began to write lyrics on the back of an envelope to the melody:
I remember mulling over the tune "Yesterday", and suddenly getting these little one-word openings to the verse.  I started to develop the idea ... da-da da, yes-ter-day, sud-den-ly, fun-il-ly, mer-il-ly and Yes-ter-day, that's good.  All my troubles seemed so far away.  It's easy to rhyme those a's: say, nay, today, away, play, stay, there's a lot of rhymes and those fall in quite easily, so I gradually pieced it together from that journey.  Sud-den-ly, and 'b' again, another easy rhyme: e, me, tree, flea, we, and I had the basis of it.
When McCartney got to Welch's house, Bruce said that he was packing to leave.  Paul asked him if he had a guitar because he was working on the lyrics since the airport.  Said Bruce: "He borrowed my guitar and started playing the song we all now know as 'Yesterday'." 
McCartney recorded the song with only the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar and a string quartet, recording Song #8* June 14, 1965 at EMI Studios in London.  The Beatles included the song on their U.K. album Help!, but the group members voted not to release it as a single  In the U.S., Capitol Records had the authority to decide which singles to release, and they went with "Act Naturally" with "Yesterday" as the B-side.  It did not take long for fans to reverse the bad decision by Capitol, and "Yesterday" was switched to the A-side quickly.  The song appeared on the U.S. album Beatles Yesterday and Today in 1966.

"Yesterday" could be heard the same time as "The Sound Of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel, "Satisfaction" and "Get Off Of My Cloud" by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles' own "Help!", "Turn!  Turn!  Turn!" by the Byrds, "California Girls" by the Beach Boys, "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers, and "I Got You Babe" by Sonny & Cher. 
This song reflected a turning point in songwriting for the Beatles.  Up until "Help!", Lennon had written five #1's for the group.  Beginning with "Yesterday", McCartney wrote eight.  "Yesterday" remained at #1 for four weeks in the United States, and was finally released as a single in the U.K. in 1976, when it hit #8.
"Yesterday" was nominated for Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards.   In 1999, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The song has gone over 1 million in single sales, and has helped sell over 39 million albums. 
As of 1986, according to The Book of Guinness World Records, 1,600 cover versions of "Yesterday" had been recorded.  The book now reports that over 3,000 versions have been recorded of the song.  In 1997, "Yesterday" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.  In 1999, Broadcast Music Incorporated placed "Yesterday" as the third most-performed song of the 20th century in the United States.  And in 2015, "Yesterday" still ranks as the third-most played song in U.S. history with over nine million airplays.   
Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, the Supremes, Boyz II Men, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Andy Williams, and Tom Jones are among those who have remade "Yesterday".



Don't Be Cruel
Elvis Presley

"One of the greatest songs ever."



"One of the forever classics."


"Awesome voice!"

"Immortal song."

"One of the best songs I've ever heard."

"One of the coolest songs ever."

"A song that will live throughout time."

"The raw energy is so captivating."

"This is an incredible song."

"It doesn't get any better."


We take you back to Christmas Eve of 1955--Otis Blackwell was on the street in front of the Brill Building in New York City trying to keep himself warm.  It was raining and there were leaks in the soles of Blackwell's shoes.  Just then, his friend Leroy Kirkland walked by and asked Otis if he had written any more songs.  Over the next week, Blackwell sold six of them to a publishing company for $25 each. 

The management at the Brill Building liked his work so much that they gave Otis a full-time job writing songs.  Soon after, Blackwell received great news:  an up-and-coming rock star wanted to record one of his songs.  However, the singer wanted half the writer's fee.  Blackwell's first reaction was not to take it, but his friends convinced him that half of something was better than all of nothing.  Besides, this new singer just might "make it", and if he did, the royalties would be tremendous. 

It wasn't Elvis who wanted half of the "writer's fee", but his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.  In the end, "Don't Be Cruel" made a lot of money for Presley, Parker, Blackwell, and all involved with the song.    

Otis Blackwell wrote Song #7*, which he brought to Presley's song publishers, Hill and Range.  Blackwell also wrote "Return To Sender" and "All Shook Up" for Elvis, as well as "Fever" for Peggy Lee and "Great Balls Of Fire" for Jerry Lee Lewis.

Presley recorded the song July 2, 1956 at RCA Studios in New York City, the same day that he recorded "Hound Dog".  Presley insisted on 28 takes before he was satisfied with "Don't Be Cruel", and he made 31 takes of "Hound Dog".  He released the double-sided single July 13.  "Don't Be Cruel" did not appear on an album until 1958, when it was included on the compilation Elvis' Golden Records.  

In addition to being out at the same time as "Hound Dog", "Don't Be Cruel competed with Presley's other hits "Heartbreak Hotel", "Love Me Tender" and Too Much", as well as "Young Love" by Tab Hunter, "Singing The Blues" by Guy Mitchell, and "My Prayer" by the Platters.

"Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog" collectively went to #1 for 11 weeks on the Popular chart, 10 weeks on the Country and Western chart, and 6 weeks on the R&B chart.   But Billboard's methodology back then was different than it is now.  Rather than list the songs separately based on their individual popularity, Billboard listed both at #1.  At first, the buzz was all about "Hound Dog" with the #1 song listed as 'Hound Dog"/"Don't Be Cruel".  "Don't Be Cruel" soon overtook it at #1 on the Popular chart, the R&B chart, and the Country chart, and the listing was flipped to "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog".  By 1956, the 45 topped four million singles sold. 

The double-sided single held the Rock Era record for most weeks at #1 until Boyz II Men topped it in 1992 with "End Of The Road", although as we described yesterday, proper methodology necessitates that those chart numbers must be distributed between "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog".  Several other songs chalked up more weeks at #1 in the years to follow, including the current record holder "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men in 1996.  Unfortunately for those songs, by the 1990s, music sales had fallen significantly, and that is why those songs with more weeks at #1 are all ranked behind "Don't Be Cruel". 

"Don't Be Cruel" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.  Together with "Hound Dog", the song sold over eight million singles, helped sell over 36.5 million albums, and has been played over 4 million times in the United States alone.

Cheap Trick turned it into a big hit of their own in 1988 (#4); others that have covered it include Neil Diamond, Connie Francis, Ringo Starr, Jackie Wilson, Devo, and Jerry Lee Lewis.



I Want To Hold Your Hand 

"The best of the best here."
"The best song I've ever heard in my life."
"Genius forever."
"Brilliant music."
"Just.  Awesome."

"This is a jewel."

"They were so raw, so real, what you see and hear is authentic creativity in it's purest form with no bells, whistles or technology...damn good."

"Simply one of the best ever."

"A legendary song.  They were just incredible."

"Awesome sound."

"The song that shook the world!"

"The best classic of them all."


"One for the ages."

The song at #6* didn't start the Rock Era, but it certainly gave it a good kick in the side.

Just as "Rock Around The Clock" revolutionized the sound of Popular music in 1955, ushering in what we now know as the Rock Era, so did "I Want To Hold Your Hand" in 1964. Just as we illustrated in the case of the former with the #1 songs that had prevailed prior to Bill Haley & the Comets' classic, we do it here with the Beatles. By showing you what the popular songs were before and after the Beatles, we can draw a line where most people can see a clear difference.

The #1 songs prior to "I Want To Hold Your Hand" were "Deep Purple" by Nino Tempo & April Stevens, "I'm Leaving It Up To You" by Dale & Grace, "Dominique" by The Singing Nun, and "There! I've Said It Again" by Bobby Vinton. Elvis Presley had dominated the early years of the Rock Era, but in 1964, Elvis was nowhere to be found in the Top 10.

Everything changed in popular music when "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was released. The stories of countless artists who were successful before January of 1964 who all of a sudden struggled was painful for them, but obvious nonetheless. Artists like Pat Boone, Neil Sedaka (who was later to make a comeback), Vinton, Bobby Rydell, Ray Charles, Brenda Lee, Connie Francis, and many, many more who were popular pre-Beatles had a marked drop in success after 1964.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney teamed to write the song at 57 Wimpole Street in London. Up to that point, John and Paul had written songs at McCartney's house in Liverpool, England. McCartney had recently moved there, where he was living as a guest of Dr. Richard and Margaret Asher. McCartney had met the Asher's daughter, Jane, earlier in the year and had become her boyfriend. In Paul's biography, Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles, Paul reflected on writing with John in those early years:

'Eyeball to eyeball' is a very good description of it. That's exactly how it was. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was very co-written. It was our big number one; the one that would eventually break us in America.

The Beatles were already a hot commodity in the U.K., with advance orders of one million copies for a single no one had heard yet. "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was the first Beatles song to be recorded with four-track equipment. Over the years, the group would painstakingly and meticulously use every bit of those four tracks in making the most innovative and creative songs ever seen to that point in history.

On October 17, 1963, the Beatles went into the #2 studio at EMI Studios in London to record "I Want To Hold Your Hand". The group recorded seventeen takes of the song.  The Beatles were already experimenting--with extreme compression on Lennon's rhythm guitar, they achieved organ-sounding guitars.  Producer George Martin did mixing on the song on October 21, 1963.   

One month later, on November 29 in the U.K., the group released the single.  The release date in the United States was December 26.  Up to that point, Capitol Records had refused to release Beatles singles in the U.S.--they said the group would never make it in the United States.  So, manager Brian Epstein had to find other, much smaller labels to release Beatles product, first Vee Jay Records and then Swan Records. 

Beginning with "I Want To Hold Your Hand", Capitol finally relented and decided to give the group a try.  $177 million in album sales later, the Beatles did O.K.  The song later appeared in stereo on the British album Something New and the group's debut album in the U.S., Meet the Beatles!.  

Originally, the single was planned for release in mid-January of 1964 to coincide with the Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.  A 14-year-old girl, Marsha Albert, changed all that when she tried to get ahold of the single earlier.  Albert had seen a report on CBS News about the Beatles on November 22.  With Beatlemania sweeping Great Britain, Alexander Kendrick, CBS News' London bureau chief, arranged the first major television news story and interview with the Beatles to air in the United States. 

Albert saw the CBS story and wrote Carroll James, disc jockey of WWDC in Washington, D.C., saying she thought the Beatles would be popular in the U.S., and if he could get one of their records, it would be great to hear them. 

Eventually, James decided he would like to hear the record, and got the WWDC promotion director to have the British Overseas Airways Corporation fly in a copy of "I Want To Hold Your Hand".  Years later, after surviving members of the Beatles requested a nationwide search for Albert, Lloyd de Vries of CBS News tracked her down in 2004,  She said:



Carroll James called me up the day he got the record and said "If you can get down here by 5 o'clock, we'll let you introduce it."  Albert managed to get to the station in time, and introduced the record with: "Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time on the air in the United States, here are the Beatles singing "I Want to Hold Your Hand".



"I Want To Hold Your Hand" became a monster hit at WWDC, a station which to that point catered to fans of artists such as Andy Williams and Bobby Vinton.  Capitol threatened to obtain a court order to ban airplay of the song, which had already spread to disc jockeys in Chicago, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri.  WWDC ignored the threat, and soon, Capitol came to the realization that they benefited from the publicity, and to take advantage, released the single two weeks ahead of schedule.
Up to the time she was found in 2004, Albert was secretive and unknown.  She saw herself as "kind of a footnote, a little asterisk."  But author Bruce Spizer, who published the book The Beatles Are Coming!  The Birth of Beatlemania in America that year disagreed:

Marsha Albert's actions forced a major record company to push up the release date of a debut single from an unknown band during the holiday season, a time when record companies traditionally released no new product.
On January 27, 1964, the Beatles recorded a German version of the song, "Komm, gib mir deine Hand", at Pathe Marconi Studios in Paris, France to appease the German division of EMI.  That division was convinced the Beatles would not be popular in Germany unless they recorded their songs in German.
Mark Lewisohn later wrote about the excitement which was beginning to spread in 1964 in his book The Complete Beatles Chronicle:
"She Loves You" had already sold an industry-boggling three quarters of a million before these fresh converts were pushing it into seven figures.  And at this very moment, just four weeks before Christmas, with everyone connected to the music and relevant retail industries already lying prone in paroxysms of unimaginable delight, EMI pulled the trigger and released "I Want To Hold Your Hand".  And then it was bloody pandemonium".
"I Want To Hold Your Hand" fought off classics such as their own "Can't Buy Me Love", "Please Please Me", Love Me Do", and "Twist And Shout", and "My Guy" by Mary Wells. 

Demand for the Beatles' single was insatiable--in the first three days upon release, 250,000 copies had sold to eager Rock Era fans. Capitol was so surprised by the reaction that they took the unprecedented step of pressing copies of the 45 and sending them to rival labels Columbia and RCA to help them distribute them and keep up with demand.  
Rock Era fans loved the song; most adults and many critics dismissed them, saying "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was nothing more than a passing fad.  Members of the Beatles have chuckled for 51 years now, and on this date, July 9, 2015, that song ranks at #6 for the Rock Era*.

On February 1, the Beatles scored their first #1 song in the United States.  It not only was the beginning of Beatlemania in America, but the launching of the phenomenon of the "British Invasion".  Scores of skiffle and beat groups in Liverpool and elsewhere rushed to record their songs to see if they too could enjoy success in the U.S.  Throughout the year, British artists enjoyed success on the American charts theretofore unseen, and continued that success through much of the decade. 
"I Want To Hold Your Hand" remained at #1 for 7 weeks, and spent 12 weeks in the Top 10.   The song knocked "She Loves You" out of the top spot in the U.K.  "She Loves You" had seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to intense media coverage of the group, and when "I Want To Hold Your Hand" took over, it marked the first time in U.K. history that an artist had replaced themselves at #1.  It went on to score five weeks at the top.  "I Want To Hold Your Hand" also raced to  #1 in Germany (under the German version referred to earlier), the Netherlands, and Norway.
The group had yet another effect.  Up to that time, Rock Era fans preferred to buy singles.  When Meet The Beatles! was released, demand for the album outpaced that of the single.  According to a Billboard article by Jack Maher in 1964, two months after release, the LP had shipped 3,650,000 copies, over two hundred thousand more than the single for "I Want To Hold Your Hand" at 3,400,000. 

The Beatles won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, and "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was nominated for Record of the Year.  In 1998, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and it is included in the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  The Recording Industry Association of America, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Scholastic Press named "I Want To Hold Your Hand" as one of the Songs of the Century.
The song has sold over five million copies in the U.S. alone and helped sell 47 million albums.  To date, the song has logged 5 million in radio airplay.



(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
 Rolling Stones

"Classic yeahhh!"




"This is the ultimate song that depicts the uncompromising tirade of changing social attitudes,  materialism and political indifference which reflected the angry mood of the mid 1960s."

"A classic after all these years."

"Best music in the world."

"This song is amazing."

"Best song ever."


"Epic track."

"Can't deny this catchy classic."

"Awesome tune."

"This is certainly the greatest song ever.  Not only because of its musical fascination, but also because of its meaning for the society we live in!"


Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote the Rolling Stones' signature song.  There are some reports that Richards began writing the song May 6, 1965, and that they began recording it May 10.  These dates are not possible, for disc jockey Joe Condon played a test pressing of "Satisfaction" on April 29.  It is possible that the Rolling Stones re-recorded the song on the dates shown above, but Richards did not write the song on May 6, no matter what he says.  When you live that kind of lifestyle, you get a lot of things mixed up, including the date you wrote a song.
Jagger wrote all the lyrics to the song except the line "Can't get no satisfaction".  Mick wrote about the two sides of America, the real and the phony.  "Satisfaction" tells the story of a man who looks for authenticity but is unable to find it.  Jagger and his mates certainly made boatloads of money from concerts in the U.S.; if that is the authenticity Jagger wanted, he seems to have found it.
When the group first recorded the song, Richards played a short guitar riff to open the song.  He planned on redoing the track later with a horn section playing the riff instead.  "This was just a little sketch, because, to my mind, the fuzz tone was really there to denote what the horns would be doing," he said.  Richards ran his guitar through a Gibson Fuzz Box to create a distortion effect.  Jack Nitzsche played piano and helped produce the song.   He also played the tambourine part because he thought Jagger's attempt lacked soul.
Keith thought the riff sounded gimmicky, but the other members of the group outvoted him and the Stones released the single June 6 in the United States and August 20 in the U.K.  from the album Out of Our Heads.
It is probably a good thing that Richards was outvoted--it has become one of the most recognizable openings in music history, and Newsweek called Richards' riff "five notes that shook the world".

During its chart run, "Satisfaction" faced competition from "Yesterday" and "Help!" by the Beatles, "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers, "I Can't Help Myself" from the Four Tops, "California Girls" and "Help Me Rhonda" by the Beach Boys, "I Got You Babe" by Sonny & Cher, and "Crying In The Chapel" from Elvis Presley. 

"Satisfaction" rose to #1 for 4 weeks and spent 9 weeks in the Top 10.  It also peaked at #1 in the U.K., Germany, Austria, and Holland, and #3 in France.

The song sold over one million copies and helped sell 18 million albums.  The airplay of the song far outranks its sales, with the song chalking up 8 million.

The Stones do not own the publishing rights to this song.  In 1965, they signed a deal with Allan Klein, who made some creative accounting maneuvers to avoid high British taxes.  Klein wound up controlling most of the group's money, and to get away from their contract with Klein, the Rolling Stones signed over publishing rights to all the songs they had written up to 1969. 
In 1999, Broadcast Music, Inc. ranked "Satisfaction" as the #91 most-performed song of the 20th century.  In 2006, the U.S. Library of Congress added the song to its National Recording Registry.


Jagger said of "Satisfaction":
It was the song that really made the Rolling Stones, changed us from just another band into a huge, monster band... It has a very catchy title.  It has a very catchy guitar riff.  It has a great guitar sound, which was original at that time.  And it captures a spirit of the times, which is very important in those kinds of songs... Which was alienation.


Bridge Over Troubled Water 
Simon & Garfunkel

"Classic!!! DEEP"
"How could such young men understand the intensity and depth of emotion life throws at ...everyone.  Incredible."
"This song is a masterpiece of the entire world of music."
"One of the greatest songs ever written."
"It is official, this is the MOST beautiful song I have ever heard! The first time I heard this song it brought me to tears!"
"Still a masterpiece!"
"What a brilliant song."
"musical, lyrical, and emotional genius."
"This is my number one.  My favorite song ever."
"One of the greatest pop vocals in history by Art Garfunkel."
"One of the most outstanding songs ever recorded.  Sacred music."
"One of the most musically gifted songs I've ever heard..........magical :)"
"It came out way before my time, but it's still one of my all-time favorites..."
"Best song ever."

Paul Simon wrote this masterpiece.  The chorus were inspired in part by the 1958 song "Mary Don't You Weep" by the Swan Silvertones.  That song included the line by Claude Jeter--"I'll be your bridge over deep water if you trust in me."
Simon suggested that his singing partner Art Garfunkel sing the song as it was written in a higher key that fit him better.  Paul wrote the song on his guitar, but, according to his biography Paul Simon:  A Life, written by Marc Eliot, decided to use piano accompaniment, both because it fit the Gospel influence of the song as well as Garfunkel's voice.
Simon & Garfunkel recorded the song November 9, 1969, the last song for their new album.  Famous session musicians Larry Knechtel (piano), Hal Blaine (drums) and Joe Osborn (bass) played on "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as well as other songs on the album.  After recording had begun in Los Angeles, Garfunkel felt the song's two verses were too short, and asked Knechtel to play a third, for which Simon would write additional lyrics for.  Simon & Garfunkel then returned to New York City, where they recorded vocals for the song.
Simon & Garfunkel released the single January 26, 1970 as the title song from their fifth and final studio album.  During its chart run, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" remained calm in the face of competition from "Let It Be" and "The Long And Winding Road" by the Beatles, "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" by B.J. Thomas, Simon & Garfunkel's own "Cecilia", "Venus" by the Shocking Blue, "Someday We'll Be Together" by Diana Ross & the Supremes, and "ABC" by the Jackson 5.
"Bridge Over Troubled Water" remained at #1 for 6 weeks in the United States with 10 weeks lodged inside the Top 10.  It also proved its mass appeal by scoring 6 weeks at #1 on the Adult chart.  The song also reached #1 in the U.K., Canada, France, and New Zealand, #2 in Australia and Ireland, #3 in Germany, #4 in Austria, #5 in the Netherlands and Switzerland, and #7 in Norway. 

"Bridge Over Troubled Water" helped the popular duo win Grammy Awards for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Contemporary Song, Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists, and Album of the Year.
The song has sold over 6 million copies worldwide, 2 million in the U.S., and has helped sell over 25.5 million copies.  "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is one of the most-played songs in history with 6 million since 1970.  Here we have a case where airplay hasn't kept up with demand for the song. 



Hey Jude


"Amazing song."
"Best song in history."
"My all-time favorite song."
"Amazing music."
"Just epic."
"Iconic song."
"A song of hope, encouragement.  That's how I interpret it.  Great song."
"Best song of all-time."
"Classic song."
"For my money.....this is one of the Beatles best songs.....brilliantly constructed by the producer to bring the record from a quiet beginning to a climactic ending...the music is simply outstanding."
"It doesn't get any better than this.  Takes me to another place--sublime!

Paul McCartney wrote this song, originally as a ballad called "Hey Jules", meant to comfort John Lennon's son, Julian, during his parents' divorce.  After John and wife Cynthia separated, McCartney drove to see Cynthia and Julian.  Cynthia had been part of the Beatles' scene since before they became famous in 1963.  McCartney later said to Barry Miles in the biography, Paul McCartney:  Many Years From Now, that he found it "a bit much for them suddenly to be personae non gratae and out of my life".

Cynthia was surprised by the great gesture, relating to Craig Cross in the book The Beatles:  Day-by-Day, Song-by-Song, Record-by-Record:  "I was touched by his obvious concern for our welfare ... On the journey down he composed 'Hey Jude' in the car.  I will never forget Paul's gesture of care and concern in coming to see us."

Paul told Miles "I knew it was not going to be easy for him (Julian).  I always feel sorry for kids in divorces."

When McCartney played the song for John, he assured him that he would change the line "the movement you need is on your shoulder", saying "it's a stupid expression; it sounds like a parrot."  Lennon answered, "You won't, you know.  That's the best line in the song." 

McCartney kept the phrase in as John asked, and later said, when he performed the song live "That's the line when I think of John, and sometimes I get a little emotional." 

Many people believe that McCartney began the song about Jullian, but then included his own feelings, because many of the lyrics befit a grown man more than a young boy.  McCartney had just begun a relationship with Linda Eastman, whom he soon married.
The Beatles recorded "Hey Jude" from July 31 to August 2 in 1968 at Trident Studios in London.  It was the first time that sessions of the group had not gone well, as author Nicholas Schaffner surmised in the book The Beatles Forever, "partly because Yoko Ono was constantly at Lennon's side, and also a result of the member's divergence after their trip to India earlier that year to study Transcendental Meditation."  Author Peter Doggett, in his book You Never Give Me Your Money:  The Beatles After the Breakup, described "Hey Jude" as a song that "glowed with optimism after a summer that had burned with anxiety and rage within the group."  

The Beatles taped 25 takes of the song at the EMI Studios in London on July 29 and 30, which effectively were rehearsals for recording at Trident.  On August 1, the group recorded four takes of "Hey Jude", and the first one was kept for the master.  Overdubs were recorded August 2 of McCartney's lead vocal and bass, backing vocals from Lennon, McCartney and George Harrison, and the tambourine played by Ringo Starr.   

The Beatles released their 7:11 single on August 26, 1968 in the U.S. and August 30 in the U.K.  It was one of four singles released simultaneously to launch Apple Records, the Beatles label.

"Hey Jude" faced some great songs during its chart run:  "People Got To Be Free" by the Rascals, the Beatles' own "Revolution", Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Everyday People" by Sly & the Family Stone, "Crimson And Clover" from Tommy James & the Shondells, "Hello I Love You" by the Doors, "Love Child" from the Supremes,

"Hey Jude" went to #1 for 9 weeks and spent 14 weeks in the Top 10. 

"Hey Jude" became the longest-running song to reach #1 at that time.  Meat Loaf broke that record in 1993 with the fellow Top 500 Song* "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)", which ran 7:58.  Don McLean's "American Pie", the song at #11 for the Rock Era*, would have broken the mark at 8:32, but its length of was split up onto separate sides of the 45.  "Hey Jude" also reached #1 in 12 countries, including #1 for 2 weeks in the U.K., and #1 in Germany, Canada, France, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, and #2 in Finland.  By the end of the year, the song had sold over five million copies.

"Hey Jude" was nominated for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the Grammy Awards.  In 2001, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The song has sold 8 million singles and helped sell over 38 million albums.  It has been played over five million times on the radio.

Julian Lennon did not find out "Hey Jude" was written for him until he was a teenager.  Around this time, he reconnected with his dad, who he would visit in New York City from time to time until John was murdered in 1980.


Heartbreak Hotel 
Elvis Presley

"Greatest song of all-time."
"Forever awesome song."
"Great song--one of my favourites; I get a cold chill when I listen to this."
"One of the most perfect recordings ever made.
"Best record of all-time."
"It is Amazing!!!"
"Epic song."
"Evocative song and one of the most important recordings in popular music.I just love this record!"
"This is one of the top 10 most significant recordings in rock/pop music."
"Wow.  That's hardcore hipster."
"Classic.  Great stuff!"
"The greatest recording of all-time."
"Such a great beat.  Absolute genius."

Singer-songwriter Tommy Durden and high school teacher Mae Boren Axton wrote Song #2*.  The songwriters say they were inspired by a newspaper article in The Miami Herald about the suicide of a lonely man who jumped from his hotel window.  However, extensive research has been done to locate the article, and every search has turned up empty.  Some believe the story is an urban myth.  When completed, Axton asked the Wilburn Brothers if they wanted to record it, only to be turned down.  Mae then signed a publishing deal with Buddy Killen, who had set up his own company called Tree Publishing. 
Axton arranged through manager Colonel Tom Parker to present the song to Elvis Presley in November of 1955,  Presley attended a country music convention in Nashville, Tennessee, and on November 10, Axton played the song for Elvis at the Andrew Jackson Hotel.  After hearing the demo, Presley shouted "Hot dog, Mae, play that again!".  He listened to it 10 times, memorizing the song.
RCA had just bought Presley's contract from Sun Records, and Elvis recorded "Heartbreak Hotel" in his first session for RCA January 10, 1956 at the RCA Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, along with his band, session musicians Chet Atkins on guitar and Floyd Cramer on piano, and the Blue Moon Boys.  Guitarist Scotty Moore later told The Independent newspaper:  
It was a larger studio than Sun's and more regimented - they called everything by a tape number.  We would sit around at Sun, eat hamburgers and then somebody would say, "Let's try something."
Presley released it as a single January 27, Presley's first release on his new label RCA Victor.  "Heartbreak Hotel" competed with his own "Don't Be Cruel" and "Hound Dog", along with  "My Prayer" and "Only You (And You Alone)" by the Platters.
"Heartbreak Hotel" accomplished the unprecedented feat of reaching the Top 5 on the Popular, R&B and Country and Western charts simultaneously.  It ran up to #1 on the overall chart for 8 weeks, topped the Country chart for 10 weeks, and reached #3 on the R&B chart.  It stopped at #2 in the U.K., and then found its way to #10 in 1971 when the single was re-released.
In 1995, "Heartbreak Hotel" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.  In 2004, it was named to the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The song has sold over 2 million singles and helped sell 31.5 million albums.  It has achieved 5 million in radio airplay.
George Harrison of the Beatles called "Heartbreak Hotel" "a rock and roll epiphany" for him when, at age 13, he heard it for the first time. 

Keith Richards, lead guitarist for the Rolling Stones said in an interview with Life magazine:

Then, "Since my baby left me"—it was just the sound... That was the first rock and roll I heard.  It was a totally different way of delivering a song, a totally different sound, stripped down, no violins and ladies' choruses and schmaltz, totally different.  It was bare right to the roots that you had a feeling were there but hadn't yet heard.  I've got to take my hat off to Elvis.  The silence is your canvas, that's your frame, that's what you work on; don't try and deafen it out.  That's what "Heartbreak Hotel" did to me. It was the first time I'd heard something so stark.

Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zeppelin, said that "'Heartbreak Hotel' changed my life."  Plant told Life magazine:

It was so animal, so sexual, the first musical arousal I ever had.  You could see a twitch in everybody my age.  All we knew about the guy was that he was cool, handsome and looked wild.


I Will Always Love You
Whitney Houston

"Great music.  Awesome love song."
"Classic gold."
"Most impressive song I've ever heard."
"Simply amazing.  Cannot imagine more beautiful music."
"This song will always be legendary."
"This song is the best of all-time."
"BEAUTIFUL !!! YES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"Perfect in every way.  The greatest voice ever."
"What a voice.  Awestruck."
"The greatest song of all-time."
"Great classic.  This song is so beautiful."
"Perfect, this amazing masterpiece."
"Best song Eeeeeeeeevvvvver!"
"The greatest song ever."

Dolly Parton wrote and originally recorded "I Will Always Love You" in 1973 for her partner and mentor Porter Wagoner, from whom Dolly was professionally separating from at the time.  Parton reached #1 on the Country chart in June of 1974 and again in October 1982, becoming the first artist in history to reach #1 with the same song on the Country chart.
Several artists wanted to record it, and Linda Ronstadt's version was one of the most notable.  Elvis Presley asked Dolly to record it, but he wanted half of the publishing rights, as was his custom.  Parton refused, and her decision later paid off when Houston's version netted Dolly $6 million.  Parton told the Observer Music Monthly in 2008:  "'I think stories like that are the reason why younger female artists say I've influenced them."
Flash forward to 1992, when Parton's song got a revival.  Whitney Houston was tabbed to star in the movie The Bodyguard opposite Kevin Costner.  Houston planned on recording Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted" as the lead single from the soundtrack.  But when that song was set to be used in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, Houston asked for a different song, and Costner suggested Parton's "I Will Always Love You". 
Everyone was on board with the song, so producer David Foster went to a record store and bought the Ronstadt version so Whitney could learn it.  When Foster asked Dolly for permission to record it, Parton relayed an important fact:  the Ronstadt version leaves out the last verse ("I wish you joy and happiness..."), which Parton said changes the tone of the song.  Parton gave Foster the lyrics and Houston recorded the full version.  Foster had to tell movie director Mick Jackson that he needed an additional 40 seconds for the song, as time had been allotted in the film for the song without the last verse.
Houston and Foster re-arranged the song with an a cappella introduction.  Houston recorded it with Kirk Whalum playing the tenor saxophone.  Some connected with the movie didn't like the intro, but Costner pushed for it, as he later said in an interview with Country Music Television:
 This is a very important song in this movie.  I didn't care if it was ever on the radio.  I didn't care.  I said, "We're also going to do this a cappella at the beginning.  I need it to be a cappella because it shows a measure of how much she digs this guy - that she sings without music."
The song instantly began ascending the charts in November of 1992.  "I Will Always Love You" faced top competition from "End Of The Road" by Boyz II Men, "If I Ever Fall In Love" by Shai, "That's The Way Love Goes" by Janet Jackson, "A Whole New World" by Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle, and Houston's own "I Have Nothing" and "I'm Every Woman".
"I Will Always Love You" sold approximately 400,000 copies its second week to break a record for the best-selling song in a single week.  The song then shattered its own mark by selling 632,000 copies for the week ended December 27, 1992.  Houston's record was beaten five years later when Elton John's tribute to Princess Diana, "Candle In The Wind 1997" sold 3.4 million copies in the final week of September of that year.
The song tied a Rock Era record when it topped the Popular, Adult Contemporary, and R&B chart simultaneously for five consecutive weeks, a mark set in 1962 by Ray Charles' "I Can't Stop Loving You". 
"I Will Always Love You" is one of the biggest worldwide hits in history, if not the biggest.  It broke the Rock Era record set by "End Of The Road" by Boyz II Men (13 weeks at the top) with 14 weeks at #1 in the U.S., scored 11 weeks at #1 on the R&B chart, and 5 weeks at #1 on the Adult chart.  The song also spent 13 weeks at #1 on the Eurochart, 10 weeks at #1 in the U.K. and Australia, 9 weeks at #1 in Norway, 8 weeks at #1 in France, Ireland, and Switzerland, 7 weeks at #1 in Belgium, 6 weeks at #1 in Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden, 5 weeks at the top in Austria, and 2 weeks at #1 in Italy.  We can find no other example of that level of global chart success. 

For example, "I Will Always Love You" is the only song to ever top the U.S., the U.K., and Australian singles charts for at least 10 weeks, according to a Billboard article by Fred Bronson and official chart information from the U.K. and Australia.  With her 10 weeks at #1 in the U.K., Houston set a British record for the longest run at the top by a solo female artist.  Finland has the dubious distinction of being the only major country in the world that didn't rank the song at #1--it was #2 there. 
Because the song straddled two years and experienced incredible longevity, "I Will Always Love You" finished as the #1 song of the year in the United States in 1992 and 1993, the first and only time this has occurred.  The song experienced similar results in the U.K. and Australia.  In the former, the song was ranked #1 for 1992 and #9 in 1993, the first time that any artist had ever placed the same single in the Top 10 two years in a row.  In Australia, "I Will Always Love You" finished 1992 at #17 and 1993 at #2.

When the song was certified as having sold over four million copies in January of 1993, Houston became the first female artist in history to reach that level.  The single has now topped 4.5 million units sold in the U.S. alone. 
We have told you that individual rankings within The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era* can change weekly, or even daily as new figures come in for airplay and sales.  We have also told you that since we first produced the special in 1979, we have published it several times, and updated it constantly since that time.  "I Will Always Love You" ranked #3 in 1999 the last time The Top 500* was published. 
Hours after Whitney died on February 11, 2012, the song was #1 on the iTunes chart for digital downloads.  Sales increased 6,723% in the following week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.  Renewed popularity of "I Will Always Loved You" sent the song to #7 nearly 20 years after its initial release.  In that historic second run, the song peaked at #3, becoming the second single in history (after Chubby Checker's "The Twist" in 1960 and 1962) to reach the Top 3 in two separate chart runs.  In the United Kingdom, "I Will Always Love You" reached #10 the week after Houston's death.
The surge in sales, downloads, and radio airplay since Houston died have pushed the song to #1 for the Rock Era.  In addition to its 4.5 million singles sold, it helped sell 22 million albums in the U.S. alone, and helped make "The Bodyguard" Soundtrack second only to "Saturday Night Fever" in all-time sales for a soundtrack album.  "I Will Always Love You" has topped 5 million in radio airplay, by far the most-played song since its release.
"I Will Always Love You", the longest-running #1 song in history from a soundtrack album, finished #65 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of the top songs in American film history. 
Houston was one of the most-decorated artists in history, and many of those awards were for her signature song.  "I Will Always Love You" won or helped win Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Producer of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female Album of the Year, and Best R&B/Soul Single, Female, American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, Favorite Pop/Rock Album, Favorite Pop/Rock Single, Favorite Adult Contemporary Album, Favorite Soul/R&B Album, Favorite Soul/R&B Single, and a special Award of Merit, Billboard Awards for Album of the Year, Hot 100 Single, Hot 100 Singles Artist, Hot R&B Single, Top 100 Hot Single-Sales, Top Pop Single, Top R & B Single Sales, Top R & B Single, Top Pop Singles Artist, a Special Award for Most Weeks at #1 (14), and Top R&B Album, World Music Awards for World's Best-Selling Overall Recording Artist, World's Best-Selling Pop Artist of the Year, World's Best-Selling American Artist, World's Best-Selling R&B Artist, and World's Best-Selling Female Recording Artist of the Era, and People's Choice Awards for Favorite Female Musical Performer and Favorite New Music Video.
Foster, who has produced songs for Celine Dion, Chicago, Michael Bublé, and many others said "I Will Always Love You" was "the love song of the century."
Stephen Holden of the newspaper The New York Times called Houston's song:
 ...a magnificent rendition.  Houston transforms a plaintive country ballad into a towering pop-gospel assertion of lasting devotion to a departing lover.  Her voice breaking and tensing, she treats the song as a series of emotional bursts in a steady climb toward a final full-out declamation.  Along the way, her virtuosic gospel embellishments enhance the emotion and never seem merely ornamental.
We hope you enjoyed The Top 500 Songs*, updated in 2015 for the very special occasion of the 60th birthday of the Rock Era.  We have much more planned, both regarding this special and more plans coming soon on Inside The Rock Era!  Stay tuned and have a great day!

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