Song: “Sunshine On My Shoulders” by John Denver
Reached #1: March 30, 1974 (his first, 1 week)
This was originally a B-side (of “I’d Rather Be A Cowboy”)… but, as happened many times before the era of corporate playlists, some radio stations flipped the single over and started playing this track… by far, one of the most memorable songs John Denver ever wrote.
It took a long time for “Sunshine” to break out… it appeared on a 1971 album, was re-released as that B-side in 1973, then officially released as a single. That was wasn’t an oddity back then – songs that weren’t written as “the big hit” could still break out and become hits.
Then again, you get the feeling that John Denver wasn’t about “hits”. He was a songwriter, writing about the places and people that interested him, and if you happened to like it, that was a bonus.
Denver got his start writing – did you know he wrote Peter, Paul, and Mary’s #1 “Leaving On A Jet Plane”? After his singing career took off, he was able to give a boost to Olivia Newton-John when she came over from Australia, and also helped his friends Bill and Taffy Denoff get their band off the ground – you know that project better as the one-hit wonders Starland Vocal Band (“Afternoon Delight”).
Tomorrow, we wrap up the first quarter of the year with a movie soundtrack #1 from the mid-‘80s.
Other songs that reached #1 on March 30:
1957 – Two songs hit #1:
“Butterfly” by Andy Williams (his first, 3 weeks, Top 100 and Disk Jockey charts)
“Party Doll” by Buddy Knox (his first, 1 week, Best Seller chart)
1963 – “He’s So Fine” by the Chiffons (their first, 4 weeks)
1985 – “One More Night” by Phil Collins (his second, 2 weeks)
1991 – “Coming Out Of The Dark” by Gloria Estefan (her third, 2 weeks)