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SERIES DEBUT: Ozmoe’s Hottest Debuts Vs. Biggest Movers: Part 1 -1958-1963

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What’s better:

Starting strong?

Or making an impressive stride from a low position?

Devout chart watchers like me have often pondered that question.

So, why not compare the two categories?

In this series, I’ll score the top three Hottest Debuts for each year on Billboard’s Hot 100 against the same number of Biggest Movers to determine a winner. In some cases where ties occur for the numbers involved, there will be four contenders.

When that happens, I’ll “take a mulligan” and count the higher score among the two that tied.

So, starting with the year when the Hot 100 began… here we go!

(HD stands for ‘Hottest Debuts’ and BM for ‘Biggest Movers,’ by the way.)


1958

  • Elvis Presley – “One Night with You”(entered at 30, peaked at 4)
  • Paul Anka – (All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings” (entered at 39, peaked at 15)
  • Robin Luke – “Susie Darlin’” (entered at 42, peaked at 5)
  • Ricky Nelson – “Lonesome Town” (jumped 86-18, peaked at 7)
  • Jimmie Rodgers – “Are You Really Mine” (jumped 93-26, peaked at 10)
  • The Harry Simeone Chorale – “The Little Drummer Boy” (jumped 88-29, peaked at 13)

“One Night” is a typically sturdy Elvis Fifties hit. But its B-side, “I Got Stung,” which peaked at 8, is even better.

It’s telling that Anka’s song couldn’t make the top 10. I guess fans were upset that this overdone ballad wasn’t another “Diana.” “Susie Darlin’” debuted the second week the Hot 100 chart began (as did “Are You Really Mine”,) so its inclusion might be a statistical quirk. Regardless, it’s second-tier rockabilly with bland pop. 

Fellow teen idols Nelson and Rodgers don’t offer their best here, but Nelson sounds great even with so-so material. As for “The Little Drummer Boy,” some really dislike it, but I find it more inspirational than sappy as Christmas music goes. Plus, the fact that it inspired an excellent cartoon special years later shows it has some power, and the version by the chorale is much better than other covers I’ve heard.

HD scores: One Night”7 + “(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings”4 + “Susie Darlin’”4 = 15

BM scores: “Lonesome Town”6 + “Are You Really Mine”3 + “The Little Drummer Boy”7 = 16

Winner: Biggest Movers


1959

  • Elvis Presley – “I Need Your Love Tonight” (entered at 33, peaked at 4)
  • Elvis Presley – “My Wish Came True” (entered at 39, peaked at 12)
  • Elvis Presley – “A Big Hunk O’ Love” (entered at 43, peaked at 1)
  • Johnny Horton – “The Battle of New Orleans” (jumped 93-36, peaked at 1)
  • Lloyd Price – “Wont’cha Come Home” (jumped 100-43, peaked at 43)
  • Sandy Nelson – “Teen Beat” (jumped 84-28, peaked at 4)

The Big E’s trifecta of strong newbies starts with: “I Need Your Love Tonight,” the B-side of his number two hit (“Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I.” It suffers a little in comparison to that one in terms of lyrics, but it’s still quite an enjoyable rocker.

“My Wish Came True” is also a B-side: this time to “A Big Hunk O’ Love.” The latter shows that Elvis could still rock better than anyone else when given the right music and lyrics. In contrast, Presley nimbly handles the ballad “My Wish Came True,” but goopy production and a way-too-loud chorale backing bring it down. 

“The Battle of New Orleans” is somewhat catchy but badly dated in both sound and lyrics. As the B-side to his number 20 hit “Come Into My Heart,” Lloyd Price’s “Wont’cha Come Home (his record label put the apostrophe there, not me!) sounds like a rewrite of his earlier success, “Personality.” It’s more competent than compelling due to overproduction, though Price sounds swell.

And “Teen Beat” is an instrumental that’s interesting in parts. However, its drumming gimmick needs more variation, and the ending is blah.  

HD scores: “I Need Your Love Tonight”– 8 + D– “6 + “A Big Hunk O’ Love” – 9 = 23

BM scores: “The Battle of New Orleans”4 + “Wont’cha Come Home”6 + “Teen Beat” 4 = 14

Winner: Highest Debuts


1960

  • Elvis Presley – “Are You Lonesome To-night?” (entered at 35, peaked at 1)
  • Jeanne Black – “He’ll Have to Stay” (entered at 37, peaked at 4)
  • Rosie and the Originals – “Angel Baby” (entered at 40, peaked at 5)
  • Elvis Presley – “Stuck on You” (jumped 84-17, peaked at 1)
  • The Everly Brothers – “Cathy’s Clown” (jumped 74-15, peaked at 1)
  • Percy Faith and His Orchestra – “Theme from A Summer Place” (jumped 96-43, peaked at 1)

To me, “Are You Lonesome To-night?” deserves a spot of adoration in the Presley pantheon. Hard to think of many other performers who could pull off the narration in the middle with the passion and sincerity he mustered in this beautiful ballad. 

On the other hand: “He’ll Have to Stay” and “Angel Baby” are sappy and soggy. The former is an unnecessary answer record to Jim Reeves’ much better “He’ll Have to Stay,” done by the same writers. At least Jeanne Black gives it some vocal heft. But “Angel Baby” has a strained soprano that grates on me along with the trite lyrics and sound.

“Stuck on You” is another entry in the “wish the lyrics were as tight as Presley’s vocals” category. Good, but could’ve and should’ve been better. “Cathy’s Clown” is swell in all departments. I wouldn’t be surprised if Paul McCartney loves this record. And “Theme from a Summer Place” has struck me as the quintessential easy listening instrumental, nicely flowing with a luxurious string section holding up the main melody.

HD scores: “Are You Lonesome To-night?” 10 + “He’ll Have to Stay” 5 + “Angel Baby” 3 = 18

BM scores: “Stuck on You” 7 + “Cathy’s Clown” – 9 + “Theme from A Summer Place” 8 = 24

Winner: Biggest Movers


1961

  • Elvis Presley – “Surrender”(entered at 24, peaked at 1)
  • Dion – “Runaround Sue” (entered at 42, peaked at 1)
  • Brenda Lee – “I’m Learning About Love” (entered at 43, peaked at 33)
  • Elvis Presley – “I Feel So Bad” (entered at 43, peaked at 5)
  • Troy Shondell – “This Time” (jumped 75-24, peaked at 6)
  • Chubby Checker –“(Dance the) Mess Around” (jumped 79-28, peaked at 24)
  • Elvis Presley – “Flaming Star” (jumped 85-34, peaked at 14)

“Surrender” is an unusually short song for Elvis: Less than two minutes. It was a warmed-over attempt to capture the magic of his earlier hit “It’s Now or Never.” Steve Sholes’ production is overdone, but Elvis gives it his customary oomph to put it across. As for Dion, “Runaround Sue” is a doowop-ish delight that holds up splendidly. 

“I’m Learning About Love” had only four weeks on the chart because it was the B-side of Lee’s Number 7, “Emotions.” Brenda is back in shouting form on this honking number. I just wish the lyrics and production were as entrancing her vocals. Nevertheless, it’s energetic enough to earn a score of 6. “I Feel So Bad” is a cover of a 1954 song originally written and sung by Chuck Willis, and that gives Elvis great latitude in making this one foot-stomping fun. 

This Time” is a cornball confection with affected vocals whose sound would be outdated in three years. (“Dance the) Mess Around” has an unexpected slow beginning before a lot of clapping accompanying Chubby Checker. This up-tempo number seems to throw in everything musically and name drops most every other popular songs of the time. It’s a mess, alright. “Flaming Star” has Elvis giving as much conviction as he can muster for a Western-flavored title tune for one of his movies. It’s tolerable, but it indicated already the quality of his songs for his films was going downhill. 

HD scores: “Surrender” 7 + “Runaround Sue”9 + “I “Feel So Bad” 8 = 24

BM scores: “This Time” – 2 + “(Dance the) Mess Around” – 3 + “Flaming Star” – 6 = 11

Winner: Highest Debuts


1962

  • Brenda Lee – “All Alone Am I” (entered at 50, peaked at 3)
  • Elvis Presley – “Good Luck Charm” (entered at 51, peaked at 1)
  • Jimmy Dean – “Dear Ivan” (entered at 52, peaked at 24)
  • The Four Seasons – “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (jumped 66-17, peaked at 1)
  • Elvis Presley – “Return “to Sender” (jumped 68-20, peaked at 2)
  • Gene Chandler – “Duke of Earl” S(jumped 93-49, peaked at 1)

Finally, someone outperforms the King for highest debut! (Spoiler alert: This is the last year he’ll be competing in this series.) Little Miss Dynamite is mellower than usual but still fairly affecting on “All Alone Am I.” “Good Luck Charm” is a trifle that likely would’ve been a miss without Elvis’s playful vocal tricks to make it bearable.

“Dear Ivan” begins with the last line of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, then plays its music in the background as Jimmy Dean does a spoken-word presentation. He’s addressing a fictional Russian and telling them they have more in common amid their differences in the Cold War. It’s mawkish, manipulative and nearly four interminable minutes long.

“Big Girls Don’t Cry” is a fairly fast-paced offering that I like even if Frankie Valli’s falsetto can get a little screechy at parts. “Return to Sender” finally gives Elvis some clever lyrical conceits to play with (thank you, writer Otis Blackwell), and he sounds like he’s having fun while growling out the song. And nothing can stop the Duke of Earl from being a doo-wop classic. 

HD scores: “All Alone Am I” 6 + “Good Luck Charm’ 7 + “Dear Ivan”2 =  15

BM scores: “Big Girls Don’t Cry”8 + “Return to Sender” 8 + “Duke of Earl” – 9 = 25

Winner: Biggest Movers


1963

  • The Four Seasons – “Walk Like a Man” (entered at 40, peaked at 1)
  • Allan Sherman – “Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh!” (entered at 45, peaked at 2)
  • Bobby Vinton – “There! I’ve Said It Again” (entered at 50, peaked at 1)
Need investment advice? Call Warren Buffet. Culinary tips? Gordon Ramsay's your man. And when it comes to chart stats? Look no further than Contributing Author <a href="https://tnocs.com/user/ozmoe/?profiletab=posts"> <u><b>Ozmoe,</u></B></a> who

Jan & Dean – “Surf City” (jumped 66-20, peaked at 1)

Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs – “Sugar Shack” (jumped 65-19, peaked at 1)

The Chiffons – “He’s So Fine” (jumped 87-41, peaked at 1)

I was amused when watching the musical Jersey Boys: One of the Four Seasons cracked, “Walk Like a Man? What’s our next song, Quack Like a Duck?” Joking aside, the group perform it with a lot of vocal muscle to match the production—yes, even Frankie Valli does.

“Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh!” is a comedy record with a cute storyline, smart lyrics and a wise use of Ponchielli’s Dance of the Hours as backing music. But little amuses me about Vinton’s ersatz take on “There! I’ve Said It Again.”

“Surf City” is probably the best Beach Boys imitation record, even if some lyrics are a little cheesy.

“Sugar Shack” has a stylized keyboard sound that gets more irritating as the record progresses. I’m unsure whether a different production could make this better. However, there’s no doubt for me that “He’s So Fine” is one of the greatest girl groups hits ever.

HD scores: “Walk Like a Man 7 +  Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh! – 7 + “There! I’ve Said It Again” – 3 = 17

BM scores: “Surf City”7 + “Sugar Shack”5  + “He’s So Fine” –  9 = 21

Winner: Biggest Movers


The next installment will cover the years from 1964-1969.

Gee… I wonder if any British acts will be on it …

Let the author know that you liked their article with a “Green Thumb” Upvote! 

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Virgindog
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Virgindog
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May 29, 2024 9:20 am

Interesting idea! My first thought was wondering if there will be any song that’s both a highest debut and a biggest mover. I supposed one could debut at #50 and then climb 50 to #1, but the chances seem slim.

I’m looking forward to the next installment. The late 60s were weird, chart-wise and otherwise.

cstolliver
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May 29, 2024 11:54 am
Reply to  Virgindog

Without spoiling, I think next week’s installment will show a highest debut that becomes a biggest mover.

JJ Live At Leeds
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May 29, 2024 11:03 am

Great idea. Looking through the peak chart positions and it seems that if you have the highest new entry or highest climber there’s a good chance you’ll end up in the top 5. Which seems reasonable enough. It’s interesting though to see Lloyd Price climbing 57 places and stopping dead. Feels like there should have been some forward momentum from such a big jump even if it’s competent rather than compelling. Given that it climbed from 100, presumably had it started one place lower at 101 it would have features in the highest new entries.

Also interesting to see that the highest new entry from all those years was #30. As an outsider I’m intrigued to see when and what the first #10 new entry is. I have an idea it might come up soon with a certain British act but I don’t know for sure

cstolliver
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May 29, 2024 11:55 am

I think the Jim Reeves song was “He’ll Have to Go,” although it would be fun imagining a 1960 country hit by a man as “He’ll Have to Stay.” 😉

thegue
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thegue
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May 29, 2024 1:29 pm

Great subject to cover in an article!

One quibble: you’re VERY stingy with your 10’s!

#Justiceforhessofine

lovethisconcept
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May 29, 2024 2:27 pm

Fun idea, and I’m really glad it’s you doing the research, not me. Looking forward to the next one.

blu_cheez
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May 29, 2024 3:40 pm

This is a really fun idea – keep ’em coming!

Pauly Steyreen
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May 29, 2024 4:54 pm

One thing that struck me is how the highest debuts of the year were often in the 40s or 50s. We routinely have songs debuting in the Top 10 or even at Number one these days… What a quaint idea: a song had to build goodwill and work its way to the top rather than just receive a coronation (often to precipitously fall soon thereafter).

Now if only I could get myself to care about most of these songs… A few are great (Jan & Dean, The Four Seasons), but I could throw all this Elvis, Brenda Lee and Paul Anka in the ocean… I’m keeping Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree though.

Obligatory High Fidelity quote:

Barry : Top 5 songs about death. A Laura’s Dad tribute list, okay? Okay. Leader of the Pack. The guy fuckin’ beefs it on his motorcycle and dies, right? Dead Man’s Curve. Jan & Dean.
Dick : Do you know that right after they recorded that song Jan himself crashed his car…
Barry : It was Dean you fuckin’ idiot…
Rob : It was Jan. It was a long time after the song.

Pauly Steyreen
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May 29, 2024 4:58 pm
Reply to  Pauly Steyreen

More context on the reality of Jan’s auto accident (it was just two years after the song, and it was close to Dead Man’s Curve btw). From Wikipedia:

On April 12, 1966, Berry received severe head injuries in an automobile accident on Whittier Drive, just a short distance from Dead Man’s Curve in Beverly Hills, California, two years after the song had become a hit. He was en route to a business meeting when he crashed his Corvette into a parked truck on Whittier Drive, near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard, in Beverly Hills. Berry also had separated from his girlfriend of seven years, singer-artist Jill Gibson, later a member of the Mamas & the Papas for a short time, who also had co-written several songs with him. He was in a coma for more than two months before finally awakening on the morning of June 16.

Berry recovered from brain damage and partial paralysis. He had limited use of his right arm, and had to learn to write with his left hand as well as learning to walk again.

LinkCrawford
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May 30, 2024 12:09 pm

I agreed with every one of your choices, ozmoe!

stobgopper
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May 30, 2024 7:12 pm

I have to take exception to ‘Surf City’ being the best Beach Boys imitation (or homage) song. First Class’ ‘Beach Baby’ holds that honor in this commenter’s ears. Worst Beach Boys homage? ‘Kokomo.’ Heh heh.

cstolliver
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May 30, 2024 7:55 pm
Reply to  stobgopper

I’m of two minds, Stob. I agree that “Beach Baby” is first-rate homage. But “Surf City” is one that undiscerning ears could actually think was a Beach Boys song. When I was a kid, I know I did.

cappiethedog
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May 31, 2024 12:00 am

It’s Elvis. It peaked at #4. I just played “I Need Your Love Tonight”. I thought maybe I heard it once and forgot about it. It’s a pretty great song. Is it a forgotten song, or was my region’s oldies station completely unimaginative? “One Night with You” rings a bell. Drawing a blank on “I Feel So Bad”. “My Wish Came Through”, too. Is it a matter of Elvis being so popular that his smash hits can be broken down into tiers?

When a B-side charted, was it by design or did the deejay decide on his own to play the flipside? Now I’m thinking of Diner. (sigh) I remember vinyl singles. I was there for the “death rattle” stage, but I was there.

cstolliver
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June 1, 2024 8:42 am
Reply to  Ozmoe

Elvis’ team also did a nice job of packaging singles that usually showed off completely different sides (i.e., rocker/balladeer or pop/country) appealing to different record buyers and eventually radio formats. The Beatles and Linda Ronstadt would later have a certain degree of success with the same shrewdness.

cstolliver
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May 31, 2024 3:58 pm

: Any idea why your vintage piece on Elton John and two-sided hits became the top-read this week on the site?

mt58
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May 31, 2024 4:20 pm
Reply to  cstolliver

From my side of the desk, I can tell you there were no shenanigans.
Sometimes, some of our Legacy articles just become popular again for no Discernible reason. Imagine my surprise when my article about the origins of wallpaper paste Clocked in as one of the top four Articles viewed for the month of April.
The Internet is weird. And we’re here for it.

cstolliver
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May 31, 2024 4:49 pm
Reply to  mt58

No shenanigans suggested. Thought maybe some Elton John forum or something picked it up…

mt58
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June 1, 2024 3:58 pm
Reply to  Ozmoe

Hey, Chuck and Ozmoe!

Just to clarify about my comment from yesterday; in absolutely *no way shape or form* was I inferring that anybody was trying to game the system. 

I was referring to nefarious users of the site.

Something I haven’t spoken much about is how much we are under attack on a daily basis, to include bots and other such nonsense. Bad actors? Yeah…we got ‘em. 

While this activity doesn’t endanger our readers in any way, it is a nuisance and a time-sink for yours truly. I’m not fully understanding the motives, but I do stay on top of it and continually deploy corrective measures. It takes a lot of time to sort out. 

Apologies that I did not fully explain.

rollerboogie
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June 3, 2024 6:03 am
Reply to  mt58

One of my articles had that happen to it awhile back. It is hard to know the cause. Yes, the internet is a really weird place in that way. Years ago, I posted a list of great bass lines from popular songs on my very obscure personal website and it somehow ended up on a disco forum, with some Brazilian commenters arguing about it, a couple of people even years after it was posted.

Your vigilance against bots, etc. is very much appreciated, mt.

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