This Week on Top 40 August 1968

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In mid-summer 1968, Richard Nixon had just been nominated to be the presidential candidate at the Republican National Convention. The soap opera One Life to Live premiered on ABC where it would remain for 43 years.

And classic rock songs dominated the Top 10 in the Windy City this week 48 years ago on WLS Chicago, long a sister station of WABC New York. The two stations shared the Musicradio moniker but were programmed separately. But getting your song played on either influential 50,000 watt clear channel station, meant you had a crack at really breaking through nationally during their heyday when AM Top 40 was king.

Bubbling under at #22 was the Beach Boys‘ “Do it Again.” While it would hit #1 in the U.K., it only reached #20 on the Billboard U.S. singles chart. The Mamas & the Papas‘ “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” with a great vocal by Mama Cass was at #20.

At #18, was the Vanilla Fudge‘s cover of the Holland-Dozier-Holland song “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” It appears that the song was re-released a year after the Fudge had already enjoyed a #6 pop hit with it.

At #10, “Sunshine Of Your Love” was one of Cream’s two biggest hits. Since we’re always trying to help Best Classic Bands‘ readers win bar bets, here’s a wild fact: the song peaked at #5 in the U.S. but only #25 in the U.K.

The Doors are represented on the chart two times. Once with “Hello, I Love You” (at #4), which would become their second #1 pop hit following 1967’s “Light My Fire.” José Feliciano covered the latter and completely transformed it in ’68, ultimately earning the blind guitarist a Grammy.

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“People Got To Be Free,” a timely song for a turbulent era, was the third (and final) #1 hit for the New Jersey-based The Rascals.

The much-covered “Born To Be Wild” was the biggest hit of Steppenwolf’s career, peaking at #2 nationally and the perfect song for the Easy Rider opening credits.

With “Sunshine Of Your Love” as a bookend on this Top 10 chart with “Born To Be Wild,” it’s a reminder of how hard the Top 40 rocked in the late ‘60s.

10. “Sunshine Of Your Love” – Cream (Atco)

9. “Stay In My Corner” – The Dells (Cadet)

8. “Light My Fire” – Jose Feliciano (RCA)

7. “1, 2, 3 Red Light” – 1910 Fruitgum Co. (Buddah)

6. “Turn Around Look At Me” – The Vogues (Reprise)

5. “Sealed With A Kiss” – Gary Lewis (Liberty)

4. “Hello, I Love You” – The Doors (Elektra)

3. “People Got To Be Free” – The Rascals (Atlantic)

2. “Classical Gas” – Mason Williams (Warner Bros.)

1. “Born To Be Wild” – Steppenwolf (ABC/Dunhill)

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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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