Song: “My Ding-A-Ling” by Chuck Berry
Reached #1: October 21, 1972 (his first, 2 weeks)
Given Chuck Berry’s spot at the forefront of the rock revolution in the ‘50s, it’s kind of a shame that his one and only #1 hit is this bit of twaddle.
The song had been kicking around since 1952 when Berry did the song at the 1972 Lanchester Arts Festival – a recording picked up by WMEX radio in Boston, and one that quickly got a lot of airplay… and notoriety.
A more obvious double-entendre has never existed… and a lot of blue-nosed radio stations and morality campaigners set out to have the song banned… which, of course, is one of the reasons it went to #1. The more the stick-up-the-(cough) types protested, the more the kids bought the song, and drove it to the top of the charts.
Interestingly, when an American Top 40 that contained this song was replayed on AT40: The Seventies in 2008, it was still censored by at least one radio station…
“So”, you’re asking (thank you, hypothetical you), “none of his classic singles hit #1?”
Nope. “Maybelline” hit #5. “Roll Over Beethoven” didn’t even crack the top 20 (WOW). “Rock and Roll Music” reached #8, and “Sweet Little Sixteen” was his most successful ‘50s hit, making it to #2. After “Johnny B. Goode” (#8), there was only one more top 10 hit in the main portion of Berry’s career (“No Particular Place To Go”, #10 in 1964).
Sadly, Berry’s a bit… odd… off-stage. He served time in the ‘60s for transporting a 14-year-old girl across state lines for the obvious purpose… even as late as 1990, he had a camera in the women’s room of his restaurant.
As recently as 2011, the now 86-year-old Berry was playing live dates. It’s said he still does one show a month in a restaurant near his St. Louis area home.
Tomorrow, a drummer/singer who was born about the time Chuck Berry was starting to revolutionize music…
Other songs that reached #1 on October 21:
1957 – Two songs reached #1:
“Jailhouse Rock / Treat Me Nice” by Elvis Presley (his eighth, 9 weeks, Best Seller chart)
“Chances Are” by Johnny Mathis (his first, 1 week, Disk Jockeys chart)
1967 – “To Sir With Love” by Lulu (her first, 5 weeks)