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by Tom Eames
The first new No. 1 of the year was, for one week, "Keep On Running" by the Spencer Davis Group, which introduced 17 year old singer/pianist Steve Winwood to the world. Then there was yet another Lennon & McCartney penned song which topped the charts, when "Michelle" by the Overlanders reached the top for three weeks. It was going to be a very good year for the Sinatras, when Frankies daughter Nancy reached the top with "These Boots Are Made For Walkin", after a dozen or so flops. The Walker Brothers, who were the first male trio to top the chart, reached No. 1 with "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore", a song originally recorded by Frankie Valli. After the Spencer Davis Group had a second No. 1 of the year with "Somebody Help Me", Dusty Springfield reached the top with the classic "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me", her only No. 1.
Other songs around this time period included "Spanish Flea" by Herb Alpert, "Groovy Kind Of Love" by the Mindbenders, "Hold Tight" by the very succesful Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, and "Substitute" by the Who. The ever succesful Manfred Mann had another No. 1 with "Pretty Flamingo", the last single to include lead singer Paul Jones. And at the same time, there was the No. 2 hit, "Sloop John B" by the Beach Boys, who went on to be the best charting act of the year.
The Rolling Stones had another No. 1 with "Paint It Black", and Frank Sinatra reached No. 1 for three weeks, and went on to be the second best charting song of the year with "Strangers In The Night", a multi-grammy winning record which gave him is only translantic No. 1. The Beatles returned to No. 1 with "Paperback Writer", released soon after their last ever UK live show. The Kinks then got their third and last No. 1 with "Sunny Afternoon", which was also a massive hit around Europe. "Get Away", a song originally written as a TV advert for petrol, was then released as a single by Georgie Fame, and it reached No. 1 for a week. It was his only self-penned No. 1.
Chris Farlowe then reached No. 1 with "Out Of Time" the only Rolling Stones song to reach No. 1 by another artist. This song was No. 1 the week that England won the World Cup. The Troggs got their only No. 1 with "With A Girl Like You", after having their more famous hits, "Wild Thing" and "Love Is All Around", and they ended up as the third best charting act of the year. The Beatles' most succesful hit of the year was "Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby", the last of a record 11 consecutive No. 1s, and was sang by drummer Ringo Starr, and gave birth to a full-length animated film starring the band.
Regular chart visitors in the late 1960s were the Small Faces, and they received a No. 1 for a week with "All Or Nothing". Jim Reeves, who had the best charting song of 1964, also had the best charting song of 1966, with "Distant Drums", which stayed No. 1 for five weeks, and was two years after his death. The writer, Cindy Walker, was the first female songwriter to pen a No. 1. One of the best Motown songs ever then reached the top by the Four Tops, with "Reach Out (I'll Be There)", which was their only translantic No. 1, and the third best charter of the year.
Big charters the Beach Boys were No. 1 with one of the classic all time pop singles, "Good Vibrations" which took six months to complete, and four studios, 17 sessions and a record $50,000. But the Christmas No. 1 didn't go to The Beatles this year, it went to Tom Jones, with "Green Green Grass Of Home", his biggest hit, and a song about a man waiting to be hanged, one of the less Christmas inspired No. 1s!
Other famous songs this year included; "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel, "Daydream" by the Lovin Spoonful, "California Dreamin" by Mamas and the Papas, "When A Man Loves A Woman" by Percy Sledge, "River Deep Mountain High" by Ike & Tina Turner, "Black Is Black" by Los Bravos, "God Only Knows" by the Beach Boys, "Winchester Cathedral" by the New Vaudeville Band, and the ever-silly, "They're Coming To Take Me Away Ha-Haa!" by Napoleon XII.
Here are the 20 best charting singles of the year:
Here are the ten most successfully charting artists of 1966: