Song: “Blue Moon” by the Marcels
Reached #1: April 3, 1961 (their first, 3 weeks)
“Blue Moon” was a standard – written in 1934 by Rodgers & Hart – and had been recorded by quite a few artists before 1961. Mel Tormé put it on the charts in 1949. Elvis Presley did a version on his debut album in 1956.
The Marcels didn’t even know the song. The producer on their debut album needed another song to fill out the disc – and asked if anyone in the group had heard of the song. One had, and he worked to teach the song to the group. He didn’t quite match the lyrics up to the original, but it worked out in the end, as less than a month after the song hit the charts, it became the only version of “Blue Moon” to hit #1.
Unfortunately, they had the poor timing to be a multi-racial vocal group at the height of Southern racism – after they ran into all kinds of problems in the South during a 1961 tour, the white members of the group left, and by 1962, the group had fallen apart.
Tomorrow, a day I’ve been waiting for since I started this blog. One day. One band. The top 5 songs. It only happened once.
Other songs that reached #1 on April 3:
1971 – “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)” by the Temptations (their third, 2 weeks)
1976 – “Disco Lady” by Johnnie Taylor (his first, 4 weeks)