The #1 Singles of 1967, With Love

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We’ve introduced another way of looking at the most popular music for a given year. The topic, as you know by the headline, is singles and while we have done stories on the biggest hits of the year, this series slices things a bit differently. Here, we look at the year’s #1 pop hits in the U.S.–in this case, 1967–according to Record World, a competitor of Billboard.

Earning a #1 single is an achievement that goes on an artist’s permanent biography. And in the classic rock era, Top 40 radio programmers were playing rock music alongside pop and R&B.

In 1967, five songs stayed at the top for three weeks or more. And another 12 were at #1 for two weeks. All told, 26 singles reached #1 that year. (That’s in contrast to 1974, when 44 songs topped the chart.) While we’re not going to write about all of them, they’re all listed below. Our recap begins in reverse, and alphabetically by artist, starting with the nine that grabbed the top spot for a single week. (Note: Many of the chart numbers will differ with those compiled by Billboard.)

1 Week

The Buckinghams – “Kind of a Drag”

It was anything but for the pop band from Chicago that would score another four hits within the next year, including “Don’t You Care” and “Susan.”

The Doors – “Light My Fire”

The group’s first hit was also the first #1 for the band’s label, Elektra Records. Originally clocking in at 7:06 on the band’s debut album, it was edited down significantly to meet Top 40 AM radio’s three-minute time restriction.

The Monkees – “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”

The song, with orders of a reported 1.5 million, shipped Gold, and marked Davy Jones’ first lead vocal on a Monkees single. It debuted at #36 in Record World, jumping all the way to #9 the next week. On April 29, it hit #1 (while peaking at #2 in Billboard).

Music Explosion – “Little Bit o’ Soul”

Although their name sounds like the title of a K-Tel album, they were actually a garage-rock band. Their memorable (and only) hit begins with the lyrics, “Now when you’re feelin’ low and the fish won’t bite.”

The Rolling Stones – “Ruby Tuesday”

The recording features Brian Jones on recorder, Bill Wyman fretting a double bass (with its principal composer, Keith Richards, bowing it) and outside help from arranger/composer Jack Nitzsche, who played piano on the track. Initially released in January 1967 as a B-side to the controversial “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” it became the Stones’ fourth #1 U.S. hit.

The Royal Guardsmen – “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron”

The novelty song, complete with sound effects of a fighter plane and machine guns, featured the renowned flying ace in a World War I dogfight. “Curses, foiled again!”

The Seekers – “Georgy Girl”

The Supremes – “The Happening”

From 1964-1967, the singing group earned an astounding ten #1 pop hits. It was their final single released under that name; for their next one, “Reflections,” they were billed as Diana Ross & the Supremes.

The Turtles – “She’d Rather Be With Me”

The group enjoyed five Top 10 singles, including this one with that rousing chorus, a personal favorite. Our only complaint? It’s too damn short.

2 Weeks

The Association – “Windy”

This one will bring you back, with those beautiful harmonies. The California-based pop group’s singles were either huge hits or big misses: they enjoyed five Top 10 songs, including this one, recorded with the Wrecking Crew.

The Beatles – “Penny Lane,” “All You Need is Love” and “Hello, Goodbye”

The group in the midst of its astonishing run. Each one unique. Oh, yeah… none of these were included on Sgt. Pepper’s, which was also released this year. All three did appear later in the year on the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack.

Related: A very different way of looking at 1967, with 50 classic rock albums

Lulu – “To Sir With Love”

The Scottish singer was just 18 when the song was released and it became the #1 single of 1967. Watch the final scene from the film, with Sidney Poitier’s emotional response. I’m crying. You’re crying.

Sam & Dave – “Soul Man”

The Dynamic Duo earned a Grammy for Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance, Vocal or Instrumental for their recording, backed by Booker T. & the M.G.’s (with the Mar-Keys horns) of this Isaac Hayes-David Porter composition. (“Play it, Steve,” at the 1:15 mark refers to guitarist Steve Cropper, who explains its genesis here.)

Frank Sinatra & Nancy Sinatra – “Somethin’ Stupid”

This ad, for one of the songs to reach #1 for two weeks in ’67, appeared in the May 20 edition of Record World

Daughter Nancy was just 26 when she topped the chart for the second time. Frank was 51 when they recorded this with members of the Wrecking Crew at the famed United Western Recorders studio in Hollywood.

Strawberry Alarm Clock – “Incense and Peppermints”

The biggest hit from the psychedelic rock band that featured future Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King. The song’s lead vocalist, Greg Munford, was a 16-year-old guest in the studio that day.

The Supremes – “Love is Here and Now You’re Gone

The Turtles – “Happy Together”

For two weeks in early April, we were, indeed, all happy together.

Frankie Valli – “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”

Gotta love that finger-snappin’ production! A solo number, written by the Four Seasons’ writing team of Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, and produced by Crewe.

The Young Rascals – “Groovin'”

The New Jersey-born blue-eyed soul band tapped into the spirit of the upcoming summer of love to score their second U.S. chart-topper. (The song also reached #3 on the R&B singles chart.)

3 Weeks

Aretha Franklin – “Respect”

While the Queen of Soul scored 20 #1 R&B hits, her cover of Otis Redding’s song was her only solo single to top the pop chart. (Yes, you read that right; I ain’t lyin’.) She earned two Grammys for the recording.

The Monkees – “Daydream Believer”

The song, written by John Stewart, with its beautiful vocal by Jones and hooked-filled chorus, is their most beloved, and for three weeks in December ’67, it was deservedly played once an hour on just about every Top 40 station.

Related: Looking back at The Monkees’ incredible first year

4 Weeks

The Box Tops – “The Letter”

Yes, Alex Chilton really was just 16 years old when he sang this. The song’s writer, Wayne Carson, penned “Always on My Mind” five years later.

Bobbie Gentry – “Ode to Billie Joe”

Here’s a wild fact: While the story song topped Record World‘s pop chart for four weeks, it peaked at only #17 on the country singles chart.

Related: Our ode to Bobbie

The Monkees – “I’m a Believer”

The group scored its first of three #1s in ’67 with this Neil Diamond song, with Micky Dolenz singing lead.

Related: One year later… the #1 singles of 1968

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Greg Brodsky
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  1. Jo
    #1 Jo 26 October, 2020, 08:29

    When Sam Moore of Sam & Dave uttered “Play it Steve” in Soul Man it was NOT in praise of Steve Cropper it was in frustration because of all the takes it took for Steve Cropper to execute the luck the way Isaac Hayes wanted it! Get your facts

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    • Steve
      Steve 27 October, 2020, 02:39

      At the 1:15 mark, you can hear guitarist Steve Cropper play four notes that elicit the reply from Sam Moore: “Play it, Steve!” This was spontaneous, and done in one take.

      Cropper recalled to Uncut in 2015: “Sam said ‘ Play it, Steve!’ only one time, on one take, which happened to be the best take, so we used that. I didn’t think about it at the time. We didn’t know it was going to make history.”

      The Stax studio where they recorded the song was a converted theater, and a bastion of creative energy. Cropper’s guitar lick came after producer Isaac Hayes asked him for an Elmore James sounding slide part. Cropper used a Zippo lighter as a slide and got those famous notes

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