Jessie Rifkin listened to every number one song in the history of the pop charts, from Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool” up through this week’s “ET” by Katy Perry and wrote about it for the Washington Post. He notes that “The first 100 non-instrumental No. 1’s were performed by 38 solo acts and 62 groups, but the most recent 100 were performed by 91 solo acts and nine groups” and that George Harrison and Elvis Presley had number one hits after they were not at the top of their careers. “And only 19 instrumentals have reached the top spot, none after 1985’s synth-percussion-fest “Miami Vice Theme” by Jan Hammer.” Perhaps most significantly,
What is remembered as the defining music of an era and what actually sold the most at the time are very different. Imagine the 1960s without Bob Dylan, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix; the 1970s without KISS, the Who and Led Zeppelin; the 1980s without Bruce Springsteen, Journey and Run-DMC; the 1990s without Nirvana, Green Day and Public Enemy; the aughts without John Mayer, Linkin Park and Taylor Swift. None of these giants have had a No. 1 song — at least not yet.
Get your own sense of what Jessie Rifkin listened to with these wonderful compilations of five seconds from every number one song on the top 40. If you are as old as I am, it is the aural equivalent of seeing your life pass before your eyes. What is the first pop song you remember? What is the first one you ever bought? What’s your favorite one-hit wonder?
I’ve got two great new Shalom Sesame DVDs to give away! Grover Learns Hebrew features “Will and Grace’s” Debra Messing and Countdown Shavout has a guest appearance by…a dancing cow. These are a great treat for Jewish families and anyone who wants to learn more about Judaism.
To enter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the DVD you want to win and tell me your favorite Jewish holiday. Don’t forget to include your address! I will select a winner on May 1. Good luck!
Cracked has a funny post about what’s behind seven hotly debated movie mysteries, from what’s in “Pulp Fiction’s” briefcase to what Billy Murray whispered to Scarlett Johansson in “Lost in Translation.” They even take on the last episode of “The Sopranos.”
The DVD pick of the week is Tikki-Tikki-Tembo and More Stories of Asian Heritage, another from my very favorite series for young children and their families. This one arrives in time for May’s celebration of Asian Heritage Month in May, with some of the all-time greatest children’s classics, gorgeously illustrated and gently animated to encourage young readers. The title story is about a boy with a very, very long name — quite a problem when he falls down a well and someone has to get him some help.
The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks (Written by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon, narrated by B. D. Wong) A compassionate couple risks their lives to reunite a pair of Mandarin ducks.
Grandfather’s Journey (Written and illustrated by Allen Say, narrated by B. D. Wong) A touching story about Grandfather’s travels from Japan to the United States and back again.
The Stonecutter (Written and illustrated by Gerald McDermott) Tasaku is a lowly stonecutter who longs for more power in this Japanese folk tale.
Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China (Written and illustrated by Ed Young, narrated by B. D. Wong) This Asian version of the classic fairytale brings lessons about strangers, trust, and courage.
Sam and the Lucky Money (Written by Karen Chinn, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu, narrated by Ming-Na Wen) On Chinese New Year Sam meets a stranger who helps him make the perfect decision on how to spend his lucky money.