Radio Hits in January 1969: Over and Over

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In January 1969, Richard Nixon was sworn in as the 37th President of the United States. The New York Jets, led by QB Broadway Joe Namath, defeated the Baltimore Colts 16-7 in Super Bowl III. The Beatles performed several songs on the London rooftop of Apple Records in what would be their final public performance.

And the top of the Top 40 at the end of January 1969 included a diverse group of future classic rock hits on Chicago’s 50,000 watt WLS.

Bubbling under at #25 on the survey, a fellow by the name of Bob Seger was about to have his first big hit with “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” with the Bob Seger System.

Tammy Wynette was in the midst of six straight #1 country singles. Her signature song–and only big crossover hit–“Stand By Your Man”–was at #22 this week.

The English blue-eyed soul singer, Dusty Springfield, was at #17 with “Son of a Preacher Man.” The song, from her great Dusty in Memphis album, would eventually reach #10 in the U.S.

Related: Our Album Rewind of Dusty in Memphis

Canned Heat enjoyed their biggest hit with “Going Up the Country” (#12 this week) and would cement their place in rock history at the Woodstock festival later that year.

The Turtles enjoyed seven Top 15 chart hits during the mid- to late-Sixties. “You Showed Me,” at #10 was their final chart success. The melancholy song was written five years earlier by the Byrds’ Gene Clark and Jim McGuinn, whom you know better as Roger.

Related: The biggest hits of 1969

At just 26 years-old, B. J. Thomas was on the brink of stardom with his country, Christian and pop crossover success. His “Hooked on a Feeling,” at #6 this week, became the second biggest hit of his career, topped only by the smash hit later that year: “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head.” “Hooked” is distinctive for its use of an electric sitar. Have a listen…

Related: We spoke to Thomas about recording his big hit

Best Classic Bands wrote about Young-Holt Unlimited in our 10 Great Instrumental Hits From The ’60s story. “Soulful Strut” was #5 this week.

What a year the soul-funk band Sly and the Family Stone was about to have in 1969! Two huge singles would follow “Everyday People” and then eight months later they’d blow the crowd away at Woodstock.

Say what you will but Johnny Maestro of the Brooklyn Bridge could sing his you-know-what off. The group’s “Worst That Could Happen”–#3 this week–was written by none other than Jimmy Webb. What a vocal!

The Doors were in the midst of their great chart run when “Touch Me’ reached #3 at the beginning of the year. Surprisingly, it was the last of their three Top 10 U.S. hits.

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At the top of the chart? Tommy James and the Shondells‘ “Crimson and Clover,” their second of two #1 chart hits. From their 1966 debut “Hanky Panky” (their other #1) through 1969’s “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” they enjoyed seven Top 10 singles.

Related: We spoke to Tommy James about this big hit

25. “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” – Bob Seger System (Capitol)

22. “Stand By Your Man” – Tammy Wynette (Epic)

20. “Baby Let’s Wait” – Royal Guardsmen (Laurie)

19. “I’m Living in Shame” – Diana Ross & the Supremes (Motown)

18. “California Soul” – The 5th Dimension (Soul City)

17. “Son of a Preacher Man” – Dusty Springfield (Atlantic)

16. “This Magic Moment” – Jay & the Americans (United Artists)

15. “Hang ‘Em High” – Booker T & the MG’s (Stax)

14. “”Goodnight My Love” – Paul Anka (RCA)

13. “Can I Change My Mind” – Tyrone Davis (Dakar)

12. “Going Up the Country” – Canned Heat (Liberty)

11. “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” – Marvin Gaye (Tamla)

10. “You Showed Me” – The Turtles (White Whale)

9. “If I Can Dream” – Elvis Presley (RCA)

8. “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” – Diana Ross & the Supremes/The Temptations (Motown)

7. “I Started a Joke” – Bee Gees (Atco)

6. “Hooked on a Feeling” – B. J. Thomas (Scepter)

5. “Soulful Strut” – Young Holt Unlimited (Brunswick)

4. “Everyday People” – Sly and the Family Stone (Epic)

3. “Worst That Could Happen” – Brooklyn Bridge (Buddah)

2. “Touch Me” – The Doors (Elektra)

1. “Crimson and Clover” – Tommy James and the Shondells (Roulette)

Best Classic Bands Staff

7 Comments so far

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  1. mikey
    #1 mikey 25 January, 2017, 10:39

    1969 back from saigon. best music bestist

    Reply this comment
  2. Billy K.
    #2 Billy K. 26 January, 2018, 12:26

    “Touch Me”….definitely a difficult song to sing, for sure….transition from screaming to tender…..amazing performance by Morrison!

    “Baby Let’s Wait”— is that the only Royal Guardsman hit that DOESN’T mention Snoopy in it? Or was there another?

    Reply this comment
    • clevelandrox
      clevelandrox 15 February, 2020, 04:15

      “Baby Let’s Wait” originally was released prior to the Snoopy songs and went nowhere. A couple of years after those songs, the record company decided to reissue the song, and that was when the song became a hit.

      Reply this comment
  3. Alexa ray
    #3 Alexa ray 22 January, 2021, 13:28

    Crimson and clover still rocks. My mom thought something was wrong with the record as Tommy James voice echoed at the end over and over.

    Reply this comment
    • Batchman
      Batchman 25 January, 2022, 21:33

      “Crimson and Clover” is one of the few records where the short version is definitely better than the long version. The long version sounds like it had a whole other section spliced in that was recorded at another time and place, and not even in tune (or pulse) with the rest of the recording.

      Reply this comment
  4. JennyB
    #4 JennyB 26 January, 2022, 02:11

    So cool to see Bob Seger in the early days with one of my favorites. I almost breezed past the video until I looked a little closer! The background looked familiar so I started the video and, lo and behold, there’s The Last Madman of Rock and Roll, Paul Revere, introducing the band on the show Happening! And Mark Lindsay coming out to shake hands and say “Well done.” Those were the best days, boys and girls, the BEST days and the best music! RIP, Paul Revere!

    Reply this comment
  5. JCB
    #5 JCB 29 January, 2023, 10:07

    Why is Tommy James not in the R+R Hall? Seems like a major overlook.

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