Song: “You Light Up My Life” by Debby Boone
Reached #1: October 15, 1977 (her first, 10 weeks)
If there’s any song that has a love/hate relationship with history, it’s Debby Boone’s version of “You Light Up My Life”.
On the one hand, with 10 weeks at #1, it’s one of the biggest #1 hits ever (in the most recent Billboard All-Time Hot 100, it was #7). It was the biggest #1 hit in the history of the Hot 100 at the time, and second only to Elvis’ “Don’t Be Cruel / Hound Dog” if you include the pre-Hot 100 charts.
On the other hand, history has turned its back on the song, putting it on every Worst #1 Hit Ever list and declaring it an unlistenable piece of ancient history.
The song tends to feature on one-hit wonder lists as well, but that may be a bit unfair. Boone wasn’t abandoned by pop music, she walked away from it – focusing first on country music, then Christian music, then parenthood. While raising her four kids, she did occasional touring Broadway shows and TV movies, but pretty much got out of the music business – only returning after her youngest left the nest.
She’s currently the infomercial spokesperson for a plastic-surgery firm (while carefully NOT saying if she’s a customer), and has re-recorded “You Light Up My Life” for the commercials. Clearly, she has no problem with the song, even if history does.
Tomorrow, a legendary novelty single from a guy who usually played the hits instead of making them…
Other songs that reached #1 on October 15:
1966 – “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops (their second, 2 weeks)
1988 – “Red Red Wine ‘88” by UB40 (their first, 1 week)