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 1970
I Want You Back
The Jackson 5

Originally written as "I Want To Be Free" and intended for Gladys Knight & the Pips, the writing/producing team behind the song brought it to Berry Gordy and suggested it be recorded by Diana Ross. Gordy said it would be better for a new group he had just signed from Gary, Indiana and said the song should be rewritten for them. "I Want You Back" was the first of four consecutive No. 1s for the Jackson 5.

The Tears Of A Clown
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

The Miracles' first big hit was "Shop Around," which peaked at No. 2 on Dec. 12, 1960. Exactly 10 years later, to the day, they scored their first No. 1 with "The Tears Of A Clown." The song first appeared on their 1967 album "Make It Happen" but was not released as a single. In 1970, British Motown exec John Marshall was looking for a follow-up to a re-issue of "The Tracks Of My Tears" and found another "Tears" song, "The Tears Of A Clown." He released it as a U.K.-only single and it topped the U.K. chart. A month later, Berry Gordy suggested that because of the British success, Motown in America should also release the three-year-old song.