This Week on Top 40 August 1965

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bob_dylan-like_a_rolling_stone_s_2In the weeks leading up to August 1965, Bob Dylan had “gone electric” at the Newport Folk Festival. (More on him in a moment…) The Beatles’ Help! had opened recently at theaters; it’s single was at #5 this week). Within two weeks, Casey Stengel would retire after 55 years in baseball.

The Watts riots had just finished in Los Angeles, resulting in an astonishing 34 deaths. At the same time, Los Angelenos were enjoying hits on Top 40 AM radio mainstay KHJ, many of which were in-step with the tumultuous times.

Bubbling under at #28 were the Dave Clark Five with what would become their sixth Top 10 U.S. single in less than a year and a half, “Catch Us If You Can.”

The Animals‘ “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” written by the great songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, jumped from #30 to #22.

The Yardbirds‘ “Heart Full of Soul” climbed from #25 to #18. The song was the band’s second hit – “For Your Love” was the first – written by British Invasion songwriter Graham Gouldman.

Here’s a great performance of the song featuring Jimmy Page…

Related: Interview with Graham Gouldman

Jumping from #21 to #16 was the first hit by the Lovin’ Spoonful, “Do You Believe in Magic.”

No less than five of the songs in the Top 10 were performed by the same musicians. That’s right: the music on the Beach Boys’ “California Girls” (#10), the Turtles’ “It Ain’t Me Babe” (#7), Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe” (also #7), the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” (#6), and Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction” (#2) was played by the Los Angeles session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew. (Sonny Bono’s lone solo hit, “Laugh at Me,” at #8 this week, was likely performed with them as well.)

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To all but a few at the time, these hits had seemingly little in common. But the faceless studio performers – usually uncredited on the scant liner notes of the era –  were culled from the same top drummers, guitarists, bassists, keyboard players, etc. who performed on literally hundreds of pop and rock music’s biggest hits from the late 1950s, throughout the 1960s and into the ‘70s.

Related: More about The Wrecking Crew in our review of the 2015 documentary

At the top of the chart was Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” which peaked nationally at #2. (Of all his accomplishments, he has never enjoyed a #1 chart hit.)

10. “California Girls” by The Beach Boys (Capitol)

9. “Nothing But Heartaches” by Supremes (Motown)

8. “Laugh At Me” by Sonny (Atco)

7. “It Ain’t Me Babe” by Turtles (White Whale)

7. (tie) “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher (Atco)

6. “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers (Philles)

5. “Help” by The Beatles (Capitol)

4. “Baby, I’m Yours” by Barbara Lewis (Atlantic)

3. “You Were On My Mind” by Wee Five (A&M)

2. “Eve Of Destruction” by Barry McGuire (Dunhill)

1. “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan (Columbia)

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Best Classic Bands Staff

Best Classic Bands Staff

The BCB team brings you the latest Breaking News, Contests, On This Day rock history stories, Classic Videos, retro-Charts and more.
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