Song: “Don’t Be Cruel / Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley
Reached #1: August 18, 1956 (his third, 13 weeks, Best Seller chart)
Previously: Day 112
I mentioned a few days ago that Boyz II Men are the current kings of the long-lasting #1 song… but before they arrived, Elvis was The Man. The problem is figuring out just how many weeks to credit him with.
You see, the reporting systems of the day were somewhat… haphazard. There were multiple Billboard music charts, and it’s become convention to indicate that a song that hit #1 on any of them were officially #1 hits. Then you get a situation like this one – RCA Records originally didn’t classify the “Don’t Be Cruel / Hound Dog” single as a double-sided single. Both sides charted both separately and together, depending on the rules of the chart (and, later revised to fit the current rules).
On August 18, the double-sided single hit #1 on the Best Sellers In Stores chart, and stayed there for 11 weeks (10 as a double-sided hit, one credited as only “Don’t Be Cruel”). “Don’t Be Cruel” spent 8 weeks at #1 on the Most Played by DJs chart, starting on September 8, and succeeded by “Love Me Tender”. The double-sided version reached #1 on Most Played in Jukeboxes on September 1, and got 11 weeks there. Finally, there was the original “Top 100” chart (which became the Hot 100 in August 1958) – “Don’t Be Cruel” hit #1 on September 15 for 7 weeks.
So… how do you figure out how long the song was #1?
It appears that Billboard now credits the longest run on any of the four charts – so according to their records, “Don’t Be Cruel / Hound Dog” was #1 for 11 weeks (the Best Seller and Jukebox chart runs). But that kind of undersells the real longevity of the songs. One or both were #1 on at least one Billboard chart from August 8 through November 10, a total of 13 weeks. So that’s what I’m crediting the songs with – meaning that when Boyz II Men scored 13 weeks at #1 in 1992 with “End Of The Road”, they really only tied Elvis’ record. They didn’t break it until 1994.
Speaking of record-breakers, tomorrow we get the first solo hit for a singer who knows something about breaking chart records with her group…
Other songs that reached #1 on August 18:
1958 – “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)” by Domenico Modugno (his first, 5 weeks)
1973 – “Touch Me In The Morning” by Diana Ross (her second, 1 week)
1979 – “Good Times” by Chic (their second, 1 week)
2001 – “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys (her first, 6 weeks)