The melodies and rhythms of music touch the heart and soul of each listener. The same song may mean something entirely different from one person to another. For one, it may bring on smiles of happiness and memories of joy. For another, those memories may be filled with heartache. For others, it is expressing through music what one cannot put into words alone. Music is pleasure that allows each to cope when all else seems to fail. Music abates loneliness.
There are songs that are immediate No. 1s while others take time to climb the ladder to the top of the charts. Then, there is that one which comes along totally unexpected...see Music Trivia at the end.
1949 Hank Williams, aka The Drifting Cowboy, went into Herzog Studio in Cincinnati to record one of the most heart-rending songs ever recorded—'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry'. Williams wrote the song originally intending that the words be spoken, rather than sung. The song about loneliness was largely inspired by his tumultuous relationship with wife Audrey Sheppard.
1969 One hit wonders Zager and Evans started a three week run at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'In The Year 2525', a very unusual song in a very unusual year. The song stayed at #1 for 6 weeks on the US chart, which was longer than any other song that year and earned it the distinction of #1 Record of the Year 1969. The song reflected the apprehension of the times and also the wonder of technology: it started its chart run the week before the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Here is the timeline of why this science fiction-themed song was the #1 hit of 1969:
March 1969 - two futuristic sci-fi movies receive Oscars: Planet Of The Apes and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
July 11, 1969 - David Bowie's "Space Oddity" (the tale of Major Tom) is released in the UK. It doesn't become a chart topper until September.
Week ending July 12, 1969 - "In the Year 2525" hits #1 on Billboard's Top 40 chart.
July 16, 1969 - Apollo 11 Moon Mission lifts off from Florida.
July 20, 1969 - Apollo 11 astronauts make history when they set foot on the moon.
1975 KC and the Sunshine Band went to No.1 on the US singles chart with, 'Get Down Tonight', the group's first of five No.1's peaked at No.21 in the UK. This was the first of 5 US #1 hits for KC & The Sunshine Band. It also went to #1 on the R&B charts, not surprising since Disco was really a funky form of R&B. The song features a distinctive introduction, in which a recorded guitar solo is rendered at double speed over a normal-speed guitar line in the background.
1975 Rod Stewart had his fifth UK No.1 album when Atlantic Crossing started a five-week run at the top of the charts and No.9 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart. The title indicated Stewart's new commercial and artistic direction, referring to both his crossing over to Warner Brothers and on his departure to escape the 83 per cent top rate of income tax introduced by British Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson for the jet-set lifestyle in Los Angeles (where he had applied for American citizenship at this time).
1986 Steve Winwood went to No.1 on the US singles chart with, 'Higher Love', a No.13 hit in the UK. This Track was Winwood's first #1 single as a solo artist. It also won 2 Grammys in 1987: Record Of The Year (beating Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and Robert Palmer's "Addicted To Love"), and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Winwood played many of the instruments on a number of hits in the '60s and '70s as a session musician and as a member of Traffic, The Spencer Davis Group and Blind Faith. In the '80s, he established himself as a solo artist with songs he wrote with Will Jennings (writer of "My Heart Will Go On" with James Horner for the movie Titanic), who put lyrics to Winwood's music.
1995 Carly Simon and James Taylor performed live together in front of 10,000 fans on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. It was the first time they appeared live on the same stage since 1979. The former couple played their own solo sets before combining their efforts in raising money for the local agricultural society.
2003 Blu Cantrell Feat Sean Paul were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Breathe’, Beyoncé was at No.1 on the US charts with ‘Crazy In Love’ and R. Kelly had the Australian No.1 single with ‘Ignition (Remix).’
2013 Cinema's across the UK were handing out earplugs to parents taking their children to see One Direction’s British-American 3-D concert film. Billed as an intimate all-access look at life on the road for the global music phenomenon, This Is Us follows the lives of the five members of the boy band, One Direction. Accompanying chaperones could enjoy One Direction: This Is Us 3D without being worried by the high-levels of expected screaming and shouting in the auditoriums. Humans are capable of screaming as loud as 120 decibels, which is the same as standing next to a running chainsaw. The film was rolled out internationally on 30 August 2013 with a majority of markets being reached by the end of September 2013.
2013 A 96-year-old who wrote a song for his late wife made the US iTunes Top 10, alongside Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Fred Stobaugh, whose wife Lorraine had died in April, had no previous musical experience and wrote the song on a whim for a competition. He submitted his handwritten lyrics by post and, although the contest was online-only, the organizers were so moved they put the words to music. 'Oh Sweet Lorraine' was No.7 on US iTunes and had seen over 1.9m YouTube views.
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...