Three questions to start:
1) How many week(s) was “Kind of a Drag” at the #1 Spot on Billboard?
2) Which exact one or more week(s) was it at the #1 spot in 1967?
3) What song was previously in the #1 spot that “Kind of a Drag” replaced?
If you’re a longtime Buckinghams fan, you likely know the answers but just in case, scroll down and check your answers.
Question 1, it was at the #1 spot for 2 weeks.
Question 2, they were at the top the week of Feb. 18 and the week of Feb. 25, 1967, according to the Billboard Top 100 charts.
Now, for Question 3…if you’ve been to a Buckinghams’ concert in person, you just might have heard lead singer Carl Giammarese tell how The Buckinghams knocked The Monkees out of the top spot. And he does it with great flourish and satisfaction.
Their song, written by Neil Diamond, was none other than “I’m a Believer.” During some years when Carl and Nick were part of the Happy Together Tour the same year that Micky Dolenz was, when Carl would bring up that fact, it was always good for provoking a wicked grin on Micky’s face, but it was all in good fun.
Without looking it up, asking anyone in the room, or checking on your phone…
What song replaced “Kind of a Drag” on the #1 spot after two weeks? That day and time as a real blur for Carl ad Nick as things were moving quickly. Remember that the song was the last of 12 songs the band had been contracted to do for Quill Records. All those tracks were recorded in Chess Studios, and then printed on the USA Records label and distributed by All State Distributing Company.
In those days of Chicago’s burgeoning record business, at one point considered the “third coast” of music, if you were a promising band, then you were lucky if you got a record deal. But having a record was only the first part of the equation.
Getting that record played on radio stations in Chicago was step one—fortunately for The Buckinghams, longtime favorite DJ Dick Biondi gave it a lot of airplay and sincere endorsement and promotion, as he did with so many other contemporary bands.
There’s a lot of history in the middle between then-manager Carl Bonafede selling their music out of the trunk of his station wagon at gigs to becoming the number one song atop the Billboard charts. Thanks to a DJ in Little Rock, Arkansas, who discovered the popularity of the tune when his phones lit up and everyone was requesting it. All it takes is for one station to report their popular songs of the week and then the journey to the top begins as the song caught fire across the country.
More trivia—The Buckinghams never performed “Kind of a Drag” on national television during the weeks before and after hitting the No. 1 slot. Reason was because they’d concluded their relationship with Carl Bonafede as their manager. Although they were interviewing several others to take that spot and there was no one in place to advocate or arrange personal appearances until after they had signed on with Columbia Records. That’s another story for another time.
FINAL TRIVIA QUESTION
What song knocked The Buckinghams out of the #1 spot on the week of March 4?
First a little background. Since at least the week ending February 5, 1967, “I’m a Believer” had propelled up to #1 and yet “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” by the Royal Guardsmen was hanging out at #4, for the 9th week in a row. Contrasted to The Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” (on the charts for 71 weeks), the song styles could not be more different.
This same week, the top 10 spots were occupied by songs including “Stand By Me” by Spyder Turner, “98.6” by Keith, and The Blues Magoos with “We Ain’t Got Nothin’ Yet.” “Kind of a Drag” fell to number 3 that week.
The #11 spot was a song that would become even more popular as a commercial tune in advertising, “Music to Watch Girls By,” performed by the Bob Crewe Generation.
At the #12 spot that same week was “Green, Green Grass of Home” by Tom Jones. Sonny & Cher held the number 14 spot after 61 weeks on the chart with “The Beat Goes On.” Remember that later on that year, The Buckinghams would tour the country later that same year with Sonny & Cher and Tom Jones.
Further on down the chart at #15 was a clunker by Peter & Gordon called “Knight in Rusty Armour” and a 50’s feel-good “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” by The Casinos weighed in at #17. Several of these songs battled each other, some going up and down the chart positions week after week. You really couldn't predict back then what would prevail--that was the beauty and the power of groups of teenagers like Dolores Sobieleski Chapman's Buckinghams Fan Club. Nothing is more powerful than the phone lines lighting up at night.
Now to the question--which song took “Kind of a Drag’s” place at No. 1 within that month was not any of the ones just mentioned. Do you know what it was?
There’s more than one answer, actually. On Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, the #1 song for the week of March 4th was “Ruby Tuesday” with the #2 slot held by The Supremes with ”Love is Here and Now You’re Gone,” and “Kind of a Drag” coming in at #3.
Then, #4, 5, and 6 were occupied by “Baby I Need Your Lovin’”(Johnny Rivers), “Georgy Girl” (The Seekers) and “The Beat Goes On” (Sonny & Cher). So that’s the Billboard chart standing. That's the basis by which the future Casey Kasem "American Top 40" countdowns would be held each week, based on the Top 40 songs on the Billboard charts.
But if you were a teenager watching TV in 1967, you were likely tuned in to Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" weekly program, and one of the best parts of the show was when Dick would do the big reveal to the week's current No. 1 song, based on their ratings. So, when it came to the "American Bandstand" version of the song that knocked "Kind of a Drag" off the #1 spot, Here are some snapshots leading up to the big reveal!
Don’t put your guesses on Facebook…you can always add them directly to the blog post. Betting that most of you get it right!
Are you ready?
Think you already know it?
That's right! "Georgy Girl" by The Seekers! Great, catchy tune, perfectly performed by this Australian group, and definitely a great addition to the national pop charts.
And so it was that The Buckinghams' first chapter in history was written, with national acclaim on the Billboard charts, the way Carl Giammarese and Jon Poulos would walk to the newsstand each week, buying a copy of the magazine that would once bear their names as #1, sitting with the entire band and being beyond words at the accomplishment they'd made, that they'd only dreamed about before. Dreams do come true.
If it's been a while since you've heard that great song, enjoy it now:
Hope you enjoy this trip back down memory lane. More trivia coming soon.
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