Best #1 single of the year retrospective: 1969

Ah, 1969. If you remember it, you weren’t there. :slight_smile:

There were 18 songs to hit the top of the charts this year, including I Heard It Through the Grapevine, which is currently #2 in the 1968 poll, but I’ll include it here since there’s a significant margin between it and the #1 pick for that year. As I’ve mentioned before, Billboard changed its policy this year regarding secondary tracks on singles; whereas previously they had tracked those songs separately, they decided this year that if an A-side and B-side (or double A-side as the case may be) were both getting significant airplay, they’d share the same slot on the Hot 100. “Come Together/Something” is the first single impacted by this which becomes relevant to our poll, with the two songs sharing #1 for one week, and it’s something that occurs pretty often through the early '70s and intermittently until the late '90s when Billboard started tracking album cuts regardless of whether or not they had a single release. For ease of voting, whenever this happens, I’ll list the two songs separately, with an asterisk to indicate that they were co-headliners.

With all of that out of the way, which of these songs is your fave?

  • denotes one half of a double A-side

Previous polls: 1955-56 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 2012 2013

Unhesitatingly, “Something.” One of the greatest songs of all time. Every note in it is just perfect. With “Come Together,” also one of the world’s greatest songs, on the flipside, together they make the ultimate single.

I refuse to accept the validity of any answer besides Honky Tonk Women. The rest are good songs; Honky Tonk is a great song.

That is all.


Apparently “Come Together”/“Something” was right on the cusp of this change. I don’t have access to the actual weekly charts, but Joel Whitburn’s Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits book lists “Come Together” and “Something” as still charting separately, with the former reaching #1 and the latter peaking at #3.

The change you mention is reflected in The Beatles’ 1970 release “The Long and Winding Road”/“For You Blue,” which are listed together on that single’s #1 placing.

In retrospect, I should have waited…then I could have voted for “Dock of the Bay” last year and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” this year.

“Honky Tonk Women” and “Something” are both great songs, but they suffer a bit from overplay, and there are many Beatles and Stones songs I prefer to them. There are other good songs on this chart, but I wouldn’t say that any of them are real knock-outs.

Each succeeding year of this exercise will only continue to confirm that 1964-65-66 were truly the peak years for the kind of rock/pop that the Billboard Hot 100 tracked.

Marvin Gaye any year.

Negative votes needed for Zager & Evans. :mad:

I picked Leaving on a Jet Plane, but it was all I could do to not pick Sugar Sugar just because it’s so sweet and sticky.


“Suspicious Minds” would be my 2nd place (not a big Elvis fan, but that song is great), “Honky Tonk Women” for 3rd, although I like “Country Honk” better.

I can finally vote for a Beatles tune in “Something”, with “Come Together” in second place. Most of the rest of the choices are pretty lame, and I took “Grapevine” for the previous year.

“Get Back” was #1 the week I was born, but the Stones once again get my vote.

Well, judging from the results, at least one person besides me liked it enough to vote for it. :smiley:

Lots of great stuff to choose from. One of the few Rolling Stones songs I actually like, and two of my favorite Beatles cuts, but “Leaving On A Jet Plane” is one of the best songs ever written, and yet PP&M improved it with their arrangement.

God help me, but Sugar, Sugar is one of the best pop songs of all time (and I believe it was the biggest single of the year, per Billboard).

I figure “Something” will take it, and this (the late '60s) is when I get off the Stones bandwagon - except for a few songs here and there, I’m not much of a fan of anything they did post-1966, when they started doing the lazy, Clapton-ish white blooze stuff. So I went with “Everyday People” to give Sly some love.

The two sides’ run to the top as described in The Billboard Book of #1 Hits:

Oct. 18, 1969 (debut week for both sides): “Something” #20, “Come Together” #23
Nov. 1: “Come Together” #10, “Something” #11
Nov. 15: “Come Together” #2, “Something” #3
Nov. 22: “Something” #3, “Come Together” #7
Nov. 29: New Billboard policy goes into effect, “Come Together”/“Something” #1

Oh crud… I tried to vote for Elvis and ended up voting for the unbelievably awful “Wedding Bell Blues.”

It was a mistake! I SWEAR!!!

Your error will be duly noted if and when we ever get to the “Best of the songs that didn’t get any votes in the other polls” poll. :slight_smile:

Everybody at the time thought that Hair would be the first of endless rock musicals, with Broadway changing its musical ballad tradition. Obviously that never happened and nobody has a good explanation why.

The music was designed to be sung raw on the stage yet translated perfectly into the recording studio and the polish producers could impart. The show generated an unprecedented Top Four. Three Dog Night’s version of “Easy to Be Hard” went to #4. Oliver’s hit number three with “Good Morning Starshine.” The Cowsills - the Cowsills! - did a fine version of “Hair” and got a number two out of it.

But it was the Fifth Dimension who made good into perfect with the medley “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In.”

Does the show hold up after 50 years? No clue. I’ve never seen it. In retrospect, it swung more toward pop than rock at precisely the time the two were separating in intent. It was a harbinger of the easy listening 70s. But the question isn’t best rock song of 1969. That song never came close to number one. “Aquarius” is about perfect in what it does. Good enough for me.

I blame Jesus Christ Superstar.