This week 53 years ago, former Vice President Richard Nixon was defeated in the race for governor of California; Ted Kennedy was first elected to the U.S. Senate; Nelson Mandela began a prison sentence in South Africa; Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady, died; "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" topped the box office; and the following songs were the most popular in the U.S., according to Billboard's Hot 100 chart archive.
10. "Popeye (The Hitchhiker)," Chubby Checker
Dear someone from 1962: What is this song and why?
9. "Do You Love Me," The Contours
Written by Motown founder Berry Gordy, "Do You Love Me" was The Contours' only hit, but became a smash again when it was rereleased as part of the soundtrack to the 1987 film "Dirty Dancing."
8. "Monster Mash," Bobby Boris Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers
Sometimes all it takes is a Boris Karloff impersonation and the best backup band name ever to get a hit.
7. "Gina," Johnny Mathis
"Gina" was one of Mathis' biggest hits, and went on to appear on his 18th(!) album, the compilation "Johnny's Newest Hits." Just last year, Mathis was inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame (apparently, a thing).
6. "Next Door to an Angel," Neil Sedaka
Sedaka's last big hit of the 1960s. So, like, bake her some muffins and welcome her to the neighborhood or something, Neil.
5. "Only Love Can Break a Heart," Gene Pitney
Deep stuff, with a clearly necessary whistling part.
4. "Return to Sender," Elvis Presley with the Jordanaires
Performed in the film "Girls! Girls! Girls!" this Presley favorite (it sold, oh, just about 14 million copies) was co-written by Winfield Scott and Otis Blackwell. Blackwell also penned Presley's "Don't Be Cruel" and "All Shook Up."
3. "All Alone Am I," Brenda Lee
The most dramatic song of 1962? Discuss.
2. "Big Girls Don't Cry," The Four Seasons
Like "Do You Love Me," this one also appeared on the "Dirty Dancing" soundtrack — and like "Sherry," the Four Seasons' track before it, "Big Girls Don't Cry" eventually spent five weeks at No. 1.
1. "He's a Rebel," The Crystals
No. 1 for two weeks, "He's a Rebel" was produced, like with most the girl groups in the 1960s, by Phil Spector. It was also written by the singer of No. 5 on this list, Gene Pitney. It also has the awesome distinction of being the first song with a lead vocal by Darlene Love.Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun