Song: “Summer In The City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful
Reached #1: August 13, 1966 (their first, 3 weeks)
I was surprised to find out this wasn’t a John Sebastian song – it sounded like some of his other hits – but it didn’t fall far from the family tree. John’s brother Mark co-wrote this ode to summertime on the streets of New York.
To give you an idea of how competitive the top of the pop charts were in the mid-‘60s, this is the Spoonful’s only #1 hit. Classic songs like “Do You Believe In Magic”, “Daydream”, and “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind” didn’t make it to the top spot.
You have to wonder if they’d have made it even bigger had they been kept on for a TV series about a young rock band trying to make it (about a year before “Summer”)… but as John Sebastian had already signed the Spoonful to a record contract, NBC and Screen Gems couldn’t have sold soundtrack albums. So the TV folks went to Plan B, ran a trade ad looking for 4 “insane boys”, and The Monkees were born.
Oh, and as to yesterday’s tease… the Spoonful were not named for a spoonful of recreational substances. The name came from a line in “Coffee Blues” by Mississippi John Hurt, a bluesman who Sebastian had compared his band to (and who, ironically, passed away just as the Spoonful made it big)…
Tomorrow, an Italian kid and a singer with Native American roots hit #1…
No other songs hit #1 on August 13.