Radio Hits of February 1968: Look Back

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It’s February 1968 and the Winter Olympic Games introduced the world to such medalists as Peggy Fleming and Jean-Claude Killy. NET aired the first national showing of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. At the end of the month, “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” singer Frankie Lymon died from a heroin overdose.

And on the Record World chart in late February, a sonic blend of classic pop, R&B, psychedelic, bubblegum, and soul songs were on playlists across the U.S., topped by a sappy instrumental tune.

In a two-year period in the late ’60s, the Box Tops had seven singles that reach the Top 40 of the chart. One was “Cry Like a Baby,” which became their second biggest hit. It debuted on the chart this week at #83.

Sly & the Family Stone scored five Top 10 singles, three of which went to #1. Their first chart hit was “Dance to the Music,” which jumped from #80 to #63 this week (on its way to #8).

Taking a huge leap from #46 to #26 this week was the psychedelic hit from the First Edition, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).” The song ultimately peaked at #5; its lead singer, Kenny Rogers, went on to become one of the biggest recording stars of the ’80s.

Soul duo Sam & Dave followed up their huge 1967 hit, “Soul Man,” with another Isaac Hayes and David Porter classic, “I Thank You,” at #21 this week.

In 1966, “Walk Away Renee” became the Left Banke’s biggest hit. Less than two years later, the Four Tops recorded it, too. Their version jumped from #27 to #17 this week.

The last of The Association‘s five Top 10 hits, “Everything That Touches You,” might not have the immediate recall of their bigger hits like “Cherish” and “Windy,” but its beautiful harmonies are top shelf.

The first of three Top 5 singles from the bubblegum group, the 1910 Fruitgum Company, was “Simon Says,” based on the children’s game.

The multi-racial pop group, the Foundations, scored four big singles in their native U.K. Two of them earned success in the U.S. including their first, “Baby Now That I’ve Found You,” with an outstanding lead vocal from Clem Curtis, and those marvelous hand claps.

Otis Redding‘s posthumous hit, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Baby,” climbed to #8 this week, up from #22, and on its way to #1.

Ohio rock band, The Human Beinz, were a classic one hit wonder. Their great “Nobody But Me,” filled with great guitars and lyrics featuring the names of popular dances, was at #5.

Related: The cast of The Office choreographed an opening dance scene to the song

The Temptations had a lengthy period of success and 1968 was no exception. “I Wish it Would Rain,” released at the end of Dec. ’67, and with a great vocal by David Ruffin was at #2.

Topping the chart this week was an instrumental smash, “Love is Blue,” from French orchestra leader Paul Mauriat. The million-seller was #1 for five weeks, and was one of the biggest singles of 1968.

83. “Cry Lake a Baby” – The Box Tops (Mala)

63. “Dance to the Music” – Sly & the Family Stone (Epic)

26. “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” – The First Edition (Reprise)

21. “I Thank You” – Sam & Dave (Stax)

17. “Walk Away Renee” – The Four Tops (Motown)

16. “Everything That Touches You” – The Association (Warner Bros.)

11. “Simon Says” – 1910 Fruitgum Co. (Buddah)

10. “Bottle of Wine” – Fireballs (Atco)

9. “Baby Now That I’ve Found You” – Foundations (Uni)

8. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Baby” – Otis Redding (Volt)

7. “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight” – Boyce & Hart (A&M)

6. “Valley of the Dolls” – Dionne Warwick (Scepter)

5. “Nobody But Me” – Human Beinz (Capitol)

4. “Green Tambourine” – Lemon Pipers (Buddah)

3. “Spooky” – Classics IV (Imperial)

2. “I Wish It Would Rain” – Temptations (Gordy)

1. “Love is Blue” – Paul Mauriat (Philips)

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