Song: “Car Wash” by Rose Royce
Reached #1: January 29, 1977 (their first, one week)
Rose Royce is a group, not a person. They did get their name, indirectly, from lead singer Gwen “Rose” Dickey – but it wasn’t her idea. Their guru, former Motown wizard Norman Whitfield, changed their name as he felt it fit the spirit of the Car Wash soundtrack better than “Magic Wand”. Then again, he also renamed Gwen Dickey as “Rose Norwalt” when he brought her into Magic Wand, so… maybe this was in his mind all along?
Unfortunately, after starting with such an infectious hit single, it was all downhill from there… they had only one other top-10 single on the pop charts (and last went top-10 on the R&B charts in late 1978), and then broke up in 1980.
The song lives on, though. That hand-clapping you hear at the start? It’s been sampled for any number of R&B and hip-hop songs over the years.
And, like many short-lived American acts, the band has had a long career in the UK (without Dickey, although she’s said she’d go back – maybe). They still tour there regularly.
Tomorrow, the song that introduced us to a teen singer out of Louisiana by way of Disney… and, some think, the Twilight Zone. If you look carefully, there might even be a reference to that singer on this page.
Other songs that reached #1 on January 29:
2000 – “Truly Madly Deeply” by Savage Garden (their second, 4 weeks)
2011 – “Hold It Against Me” by Britney Spears (her fourth, 1 week)