Ranking #3 hits, U.S. edition: 1965-1966

Through the 1970s the so-called “easy listening” playlists coughed up hits like Tom Jones’, but what fascinates me are the one-offs like Napoleon XIV and Shirley Ellis. Their hits aren’t terrible, just not worth playing more than once. “The Name Game” is a jump rope anthem, not much more, while “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Haa!” functions as a future unrecorded Modest Mouse track.

Meanwhile sui generis examples of introspection like “Nowhere Man” and even “Beauty is Only Skin Deep” scraped the top three.

The Hague

Napoleon XIV – They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Haa!
Shirley Ellis – The Name Game
Tom Jones – What’s New Pussycat?

Meh

Herman’s Hermits – Listen People
The Happenings – See You in September
Bobby Vinton – Mr. Lonely
The Searchers – Love Potion Number Nine
Jewel Akens – The Birds and the Bees
The Four Seasons – Let’s Hang On

Sound Solid

Simon and Garfunkel – I Am a Rock
Johnny Rivers – Secret Angel Man
Gary Lewis and the Playboys – She’s Just My Style
The T-Bones – No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)
Elvis Presley – Crying in the Chapel

Good to Great

James Brown and the Famous Flames – I Feel Good
Stevie Wonder – Uptight (Everything’s Alright)
The Beatles – Nowhere Man
The Beach Boys – Sloop John B
The Temptations – Beauty is Only Skin Deep
The Beach Boys – California Girls
Petula Clark – I Know a Place

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