Saturday Single No. 179

My mom surprised me the other week when she said she wanted to see a movie she’d heard being discussed by some of the folks at her assisted living center. She asked if there were a way she could see Forrest Gump.

I did a mild double-take on the other end of the phone line. It wasn’t quite what I’d expected her to request. When she mentions a movie to me, it’s usually something a little older than Forrest Gump or maybe something from the Hallmark channel. But I told her it would be easy. The Texas Gal had a weekend coming up that fell between school terms, so she’d have no homework, and we could get the movie from Netflix and have Mom over for lunch.

That’s taking place today.

So I glanced this morning at the All-Music Guide entry for the soundtrack to Forrest Gump, just making sure that there was nothing there that might upset an eighty-eight-year-old woman. There’s nothing I can see. But I was reminded that the movie has a hell of a good soundtrack. I remember thinking that when I saw the film back in 1994 although I’ve never bought the soundtrack and likely won’t, as I think I have nearly all of the tunes on it, either on vinyl, CD or as mp3s. And I got to wondering as I glanced at the list of titles: How many of the thirty-one tunes on the soundtrack went to No. 1?

As it turned out, the answer is nine. And we’ll get to those in a bit. But let’s walk our way down the soundtrack. There were four recordings on the soundtrack that did not get into the Top 40. (Well, six five, if you count Alan Silvestri’s “Forrest Gump Suite,” but . . .) Those four were “Blowin’ In The Wind” by Joan Baez, “Break On Through (To The Other Side)” by the Doors, “Volunteers” by Jefferson Airplane and “Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)” by Randy Newman.

The vast majority of the songs on the soundtrack made it into the Top Ten during a time frame that runs from 1956 to 1980. Of the songs on the double-CD soundtrack that made it into the Top 40, only three failed to touch the Top Ten: “It Keeps You Running” by the Doobie Brothers, “On The Road Again” by Willie Nelson and “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

After that, we’re in heavy Top Ten territory:

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” went to No. 8. A trio of records used in the soundtrack went to No. 7: Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’sWorth,” Jackie DeShannon’s “What The World Needs Is Love” and the Supremes’ “Stoned Love.”

Another trio of recordings on the Forrest Gump soundtrack stopped at No. 6: “Land of 1000 Dances” by Wilson Pickett, “Everybody’s Talkin’” by Nilsson and Duane Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser.” Making it into the Top Five, but just barely, were two others tunes: “Against the Wind” by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band and “Get Together” by the Youngbloods.

A quartet of recordings from the soundtrack went to No. 4: “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)” by Scott McKenzie, “I’ve Got To Use My Imagination” by Gladys Knight & the Pips, “California Dreaming” by the Mamas & the Papas and “But I Do” by Clarence (Frog Man) Henry. The Beach Boys’ “Sloop John B” went to No. 3, and one recording included on the soundtrack went to No. 2: Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35.”

Of those songs that went to No. 1, three stayed there for two weeks: “Walk Right In” by the Rooftop Singers, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” by the Four Tops and Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” Two recordings sat at No. 1 for three weeks: “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon & Garfunkel and “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)” by the Byrds. And a four-week resident at No. 1 was “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” from B.J. Thomas.

That leaves the three recordings that topped the chart for six weeks each, one in1956, one in 1969 and one in 1971: “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley, “Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In” by the 5th Dimension and “Joy To The World” by Three Dog Night .

And after looking at those titles, I decided there would be little gained by posting any of them today. All three of them are incredibly familiar, and one of them is going to show up in the Ultimate Jukebox, where familiarity is a virtue. So I went digging at YouTube for something a little less familiar. Randy Newman’s “Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)” caught my ear, but I didn’t want anyone to think I was making any kind of political statement, so I passed on it.

So here’s Clarence (Frog Man) Henry with “But I Do” from 1961, your Saturday Single:


9 Responses to “Saturday Single No. 179”

  1. Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas Says:

    At the time, I didn’t have a lot of the songs on the soundtrack, so it made an excellent addition and a nice overview of twenty-five years of pop radio.

    I also would have wagered my last dollar that Break On Through had been a Top 40 hit. Was it not released as a single?

  2. whiteray Says:

    I don’t know if it was released as a single or not, but it’s not in the “Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits,” and AMG doesn’t have it listed as reaching the Hot 100. Nor was it included on the 1970 anthology “13.” All of that surprised me this morning.

  3. AMD Says:

    I didn’t need the soundtrack either, but the only other soundtrack up to that point that I think bears comparison is that of The Big Chill.

  4. AMD Says:

    Soundtrack of that kind, I mean. Of course there were albums like American Hot Wax…

  5. Yah Shure Says:

    “Break On Through” was the Doors’ first single, but aside from some top-40 airplay in L.A., it was ignored most everywhere else. Its chart run lasted only through the first week of April, 1967 at number 126. I found my copy, complete with a full-color picture sleeve, in the cut-out bin shortly after their next single (“Light My Fire”) broke the band.

    I’ll need to re-watch the Gumper at some point, to refresh memories of the scene where Forrest ends his cross-country jaunt at Marshall Point Lighthouse. Both it and the rest of the Maine coast made for a great couple of vacations for this lighthouse groupie.

  6. jb Says:

    So . . . how did your mom like the movie?

  7. porky Says:

    Best use of “Rebel Rouser” ever in a movie.

  8. whiteray Says:

    Actually, she liked it a great deal. She said it wasn’t “complicated,” which she appreciated.

  9. Paco Malo Says:

    First, thanks to your Mom for requesting the film. Second, you’re a good son.

    Here’s some information from Wikipedia on the compilation of the soundtrack:

    “Music producer Joel Sill reflected on compiling the soundtrack: ‘We wanted to have very recognizable material that would pinpoint time periods, yet we didn’t want to interfere with what was happening cinematically.’ The two-disc album has a variety of music from the 1950s–1980s performed by American artists. According to Sills, this was due to [director] Zemeckis’ request, ‘All the material in there is American. Bob (Zemeckis) felt strongly about it. He felt that Forrest wouldn’t buy anything but American.'” (Quotes from Music Producer Joel Sil are taken from Lynette Rice’s August 14, 1994 article “Songs Set the Mood for ‘Gump'” in the Gainesville Sun.)

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