Song: “The Loco-Motion” by Grand Funk
Reached #1: May 4, 1974 (their second, 2 weeks)
This seemed like an odd song for Grand Funk (who had dropped the “Railroad” from their name by this point) to cover – it’s a ‘60s dance song done by a one-hit wonder. Apparently, GFR guitarist Mark Farner liked to whistle the song in the studio, other band members hard it, and they decided “OK, what the heck” and did the song.
“The Loco-Motion” is one of just nine songs to hit #1 for two different acts – of course, Little Eva did the original version in 1961 (we’ll get back to that later this summer). Unlike the other eight, this one almost became a three-time #1, but Kylie Minogue’s 1988 version stopped at #3 on the Hot 100.
I don’t know if it was related, but their next move after “The Loco-Motion” was to put the “Railroad” back in their name (in 1975).
As with many classic bands, they’ve broken up and reformed several times over the years – the first breakup was in 1976, the second run was from 1980-83, and the final run with the original lineup was from 1996-2000. That one ended when Farner claimed he’d be defrauded of his rights to the band’s music. Farner now tours with his band, NRG, and the rest of GFR carries on, both likely at a casino or state fair near you.
Kind of a sad way for Homer Simpson’s favorite band to play out the string…
Tomorrow’s #1 feels so good… and that’s all the clue you get.
Other songs that hit #1 on May 4:
1996 – “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey (her eleventh, 2 weeks)