Song: “Knock Three Times” by Dawn
Reached #1: January 23, 1971 (their first, 3 weeks)
This song probably never should’ve happened.
You see, Tony Orlando had given up on singing. He’d been trying to make it through the ‘60s, but had barely made a dent. So he decided to stay in music, and went into the publishing arm of Columbia Records.
But then an opportunity came along – producer Hank Medress wanted Tony to redub the vocals on a song he was working on, called “Candida”. The song was for another label, though (Bell Records), and since Tony was working for Columbia, he couldn’t do it.
Well… he couldn’t do it under his own name, at least.
So he and Medress agreed to release the song under the nom-de-group “Dawn”, and it went to #3 on the charts. So they used “Candida” as the B-side of Dawn’s next single, “Knock Three Times” – which went to #1.
This posed a problem – since “Dawn” didn’t really exist. Yet. Studio singers Toni Wine (who co-wrote “Candida”) and Linda November (who went on to a lucrative jingle career) weren’t available to tour, and Orlando still had to get out of his Columbia situation. Of course, he did – and shortly formed the “Tony Orlando and Dawn” we would come to know with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson. That’s the group that went on to do the TV show in the mid-70s, and that did “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree”.
Now if you look at the video above, that’s Wilson and Hopkins doing the video – lip-synching Wine and November’s vocals. Maybe that’s where Milli Vanilli got the idea…
Tomorrow, a diva who knew exactly where she was going to…
Other songs that hit #1 on January 23:
1965 – “Downtown” by Petula Clark (her first, 2 weeks)
1988 – “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson (his eighth, 1 week)