Oddest chart hits

What do you think are the oddest chart single hits. (By oddest, I’m not including novelty songs, but those with at least ostensibly serious intent.)

My vote goes to the brilliant, mesmerising ‘O Superman’ by Laurie Anderson which got to number two in the UK charts in 1981. Basically it’s just Laurie Anderson going ‘ha ha ha ha’ for over eight minutes while intoning lyrics like these:

*'Cause when love is gone, there’s always justice.
And when justice is gone, there’s always force.
And when force is gone, there’s always Mom. Hi Mom!

So hold me, Mom, in your long arms. So hold me,
Mom, in your long arms.
In your automatic arms. Your electronic arms.
In your arms.
So hold me, Mom, in your long arms.
Your petrochemical arms. Your military arms.
In your electronic arms.*

Done in one, I think. How on earth did that get to no 2 in the charts? Remember that UK charts, at least back then, are based purely on sales. It is a mystery.

It was a mystery then, and so it remains. But it did get in to the top twenty in a couple of European countries.

“An Open Letter to my Teenage Son” by Victor Lundberg. Top ten in 1967. Strange days!

Let’s see:

In the Year 2525 has got to be up there as one of the strangest hits. I think it went to #1 in the US in the 60’s.

I’ve always thought that My Humps by the Black Eyed Peas was one of the strangest and most terrible hits ever.

Reading up on the song I found out that it was initially “championed” by John Peel. I assume it must have then went onto the Radio1 daytime playlist, though I dont know this for sure. Getting onto the Radio1 playlist back then didn’t guarantee success but did vastly improve a records chances. Radio1 had a virtual monopoly on what became “hot”.

John Peel championed a lot of records and very few of them saw any chart action!

Didn’t a senator or congressman have a record of some speech reach the top of the charts in the 1960s? “These Brave Men” or something like that? Goo-fu is failing me.

“Gallant Men”

by Senator Everett Dirksen.

Popped out of the dust bins. Everett Dirksen, “These Gallant Men,” 1968. He apparently recorded four albums of spoken material and was for a time the oldest chartbuster on record.

…aaaaaaaannnd ninja’ed.

Ballad of the Green Berets - Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler

Not a bad tune, but 5 weeks at #1? During Viet Nam?

My first wife loved Laurie Anderson. “O Superman” is actually one of her more accessible pieces. For my part, I’ve heard enough of her work that I’m good from here.

Not everyone was wearing love beads and protesting. A look at the chart will show that it was driven by those with money to buy, which was an older demographic than the teens of the era, and not as focused on rock and pop as you might think. It’s the mid-1970s before a lot of what’s regarded as the classic music of the era really dominated the list. The Perry Como crowd was still charting regularly into the early 1970s.

Can we count “Some Velvet Morning” (#26 on the US Billboard Hot 100) by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood?

Song co-written by Robin Moore. The book he wrote by the same title predated the song by a little bit and ended up on the best seller list, too

A couple of years later, the book was adapted into John Wayne’s movie

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, Bryan Hyland

And in the same year: Alley Oop, The Hollywood Argyles

Ahab The Arab, Ray Stevens (#5)

Surfin’ Bird, The Trashmen (#4)

I think these all qualify as novelty songs.

November, 1976: a dirge hit #1 in Canada and #2 in the US

:smack: I know: next time I’ll read the OP. What a concept. :o

Well then, I’ll submit MacArthur Park, which was definitely an incomprehensible hit.

The Lords Prayer?