Song: “Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)” by John Fred & His Playboy Band
Reached #1: January 20, 1968 (their first, 2 weeks)
Louisiana’s John Fred Gourrier is remembered for one thing – this wordplay/parody/tribute to the Beatles’ “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”. Legend has it that he heard the song as “Lucy In Disguise With Diamonds” – and decided that, when he was told the title was wrong, he’d write his own song using the “in disguise” lyric.
If you look into his back story though, it’s interesting – he once turned down American Bandstand in order to play basketball (in the late ‘50s, when he had his other minor hit). He’d been trying to make it in music for a decade when this song hit – and because it was considered a novelty hit, he and the band never got another chance.
As with a lot of songwriters in the ‘60s, he had to go to court to get the rights to the song back – and, more importantly, the songwriting royalties.
Apparently, those royalties allowed him to stay in Louisiana after his brush with fame, raising a son, playing in concerts, coaching sports, and doing radio until his death from kidney failure in 2005.
The most delicious irony of this song making it to #1 was the song that it knocked out of the top spot. That song? “Hello Goodbye”. That’s right – the Beatles takeoff pushed the Fab Four out of the top of the charts…
Tomorrow, an album rock band’s most well-known single – one with a really strange video…
Other songs that reached #1 on January 20:
1990 – “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” by Michael Bolton (his first, 3 weeks)