Number One Hits

From The Pages Of
The Billboard Book Of Number One Hits

Dancing Queen

Winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with "Waterloo" propelled Sweden's ABBA onto the world stage. They had nine #1 hits in the U.K. but only one on The Billboard Hot 100: "Dancing Queen." The world still loves ABBA after almost 50 years and "Dancing Queen" is a global favorite, appearing in the stage musical and motion picture "Mamma Mia!" and as one of the highlights of their virtual stage show in London, "Voyage."

The Fleetwoods
Come Softly To Me

Gretchen Christopher and Barbara Ellis formed a singing duo, the Saturns, when they were in high school in Olympia, Washington. Looking for a blues trumpet player, they found Gary Troxel, who proved to be better at singing than playing the trumpet. Gretchen composed the music and lyrics to her original song "Come Softly" and arranged it in counterpoint to the street corner humming ("dum dum, dum doo dum") of Gary Troxel, as he walked her downtown, after school (for her scholarship dance classes at Olympia Academy of Theatrical Arts, where she also rehearsed as a Soloist with the Olympia Ballet Company). The Fleetwoods were signed to a new label, Dolphin, and were named after a local telephone exchange, FLeetwood. Label owner Bob Reisdorff changed the title to the less-suggestive "Come Softly To Me."

Carole King
It's Too Late

Being such a big fan of Carole King's songwriting, I interviewed her for my college newspaper, the Daily Sundial. She took a break from recording an album at A&M in Hollywood and we met in an office there. I asked her about the album she was making and she told me she didn't want to be a star, the album was just her way of getting her demos to other artists. A few months later the album was released and it was titled "Tapestry."

Year 1964
I Want To Hold Your Hand
The Beatles

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote "I Want To Hold Your Hand" in the basement of a home owned by the family of Paul's girlfriend, Jane Asher. They recorded it on Oct. 19, 1963. Manager Brian Epstein thought it would be the single that would finally break them in the U.S. Capitol Records in America had turned down all of the group's previous U.K. singles but agreed this was the one.

My Guy
Mary Wells

Mary Wells began her Motown career as a singer/songwriter, composing her first hit, "Bye Bye Baby." But then Berry Gordy paired her up with songwriter Smokey Robinson, who penned a string of hits for Mary, ending with her first and only No. 1 hit, "My Guy." Shortly after, Mary left Motown and recorded for a number of other labels, without ever scoring another major hit.

A World Without Love
Peter and Gordon

Peter Asher and Gordon Waller were both fans of the Everly Brothers. They formed a duo called Gordon & Peter and played at school parties and local clubs. EMI auditioned them and signed them. Peter had a friend who was dating his sister Jane, and that friend, Paul McCartney, played a song he had written for the Beatles that the group didn't think was right for them. That's how Peter & Gordon ended up with "A World Without Love," the first Lennon-McCartney song not recorded by the Beatles to go to #1 in America.

Where Did Our Love Go
The Supremes

The Supremes reportedly did not like "Where Did Our Love Go" when they recorded it, but it became their first No. 1 hit and made them Motown superstars.