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#2 Chart Position Curse?

MorningOpensQuietly

Active Member
Thread Starter
On this week's Sirius XM Radio's broadcast of American Top 40 from the week of July 28, 1973, the Carpenters are #2 with Yesterday Once More, and Casey Kasem confidently predicts that YOM will be at #1 the following week. Well, I guess we all know by now that good ole Casey jinxed our favorite duo, as Maureen McGovern's The Morning After catapulted from #9 to the #1 spot the next week and robbed K&R from the top spot once again. It got me to thinking about how many times did the Carpenters stall out at #2? Do I catch the scent of a dastardly Billboard conspiracy of denying our Carps their rightful place on the throne? Just how subjective are those chart positions anyway? I know this topic has been touched on before in the forum. It would be great to get all the smart folks out there to comment!
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Well, 5 times to be exact. I often think they were short changed by the powers that be. Their perceived image at the time didn’t help with. Kacey loved Karen’s voice. Too bad he didn’t have more influence on the rankings too. They should have had at least 3-4 more number 1 hits. I felt Only Yesterday would make it in 1975 too. It’s the ultimate Carpenters pop song. Karen at her fun vocal best. The harmonies! I think programmers just got to a point where they didn’t like to play them anymore. It made a very quick exit after in peaked at #4. I couldn’t believe it didn’t reach the top. It was hard to accept that it would be their last top 10 single on the American Top 40. It still smarts 45 years later.
 

goodjeans

Well-Known Member
Well, 5 times to be exact. I often think they were short changed by the powers that be. Their perceived image at the time didn’t help with. Kacey loved Karen’s voice. Too bad he didn’t have more influence on the rankings too. They should have had at least 3-4 more number 1 hits. I felt Only Yesterday would make it in 1975 too. It’s the ultimate Carpenters pop song. Karen at her fun vocal best. The harmonies! I think programmers just got to a point where they didn’t like to play them anymore. It made a very quick exit after in peaked at #4. I couldn’t believe it didn’t reach the top. It was hard to accept that it would be their last top 10 single on the American Top 40. It still smarts 45 years later.
" Only Yesterday" sounded like #1 the moment that I first heard it.
And I probably heard it on the day of its release.
WIP Philadelphia.
It is a great memory.
 

Portlander

Well-Known Member
The 5 number 2 chart positions always annoyed me also and CCR had the same curse with 3 consecutive number 2's for a grand total of 5 also. I will always take comfort in the fact that the Carpenters did have 15 number 1 hits on the Adult Contemporary charts which is no small feat. And am still very proud of their top 10 Country hit (#8) with "Sweet Sweet Smile" at a time when their mainstream popularity was in serious decline on the pop charts.

I still feel that the Neil Sedaka incident in 1975 was a notable turning point in their career when DJ's and radio stations across the country sided with Sedaka and the Carpenters airplay suffered immensely. I was finishing up my senior year in high school when "Only Yesterday" was moving up the charts! It also still bothers me that my favorite Carpenter hit "Won't Last a Day Without You" barely failed to crack the top 10!
 

John Tkacik

Active Member
The 5 number 2 chart positions always annoyed me also and CCR had the same curse with 3 consecutive number 2's for a grand total of 5 also. I will always take comfort in the fact that the Carpenters did have 15 number 1 hits on the Adult Contemporary charts which is no small feat. And am still very proud of their top 10 Country hit (#8) with "Sweet Sweet Smile" at a time when their mainstream popularity was in serious decline on the pop charts.

I still feel that the Neil Sedaka incident in 1975 was a notable turning point in their career when DJ's and radio stations across the country sided with Sedaka and the Carpenters airplay suffered immensely. I was finishing up my senior year in high school when "Only Yesterday" was moving up the charts! It also still bothers me that my favorite Carpenter hit "Won't Last a Day Without You" barely failed to crack the top 10!

I recently read a post on Facebook that said both Elvis and Madonna are tied for the most songs that peaked at #2 on BILLBOARD with 6 each.
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
The late Fats Domino & Creedence Clearwater Revival did NOT have a # 1 song in Billboard Hot 100 history.
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
I think there was a conscious effort from DJ’s to keep them from the top spot, that they worked at keeping them below it, even if only just barely.
 

John Tkacik

Active Member
WE'VE OMLY JUST BEGUN was probably their best chance to garner a fourth #1 single since it had enough momentum to stay at #2 for four weeks. This leads me to a question. What song does hold the record for most weeks at #2 without climbing to #1?
 

Rumbahbah

Well-Known Member
I'm sure the sales/airplay reporting was open to manipulation at times and some of these singles may well have been subject to the negative effects of this, although in some cases I think they were just up against singles that were unbeatable at that time (like Carole King's 'I Feel the Earth Move/It's Too Late' in the case of 'Rainy Days and Mondays').

However, what is interesting is that the three singles that did make it to #1 ('Close to You', 'Top of the World' and 'Please Mr Postman') probably were their three most commericial singles - of the singles that stopped at #2, only 'We've Only Just Begun' had the same complete across-the-board appeal. That's not to say they were better songs (and in my opinion, most of the #2s were better), but I can see why those particular singles made it to the top.

In terms of the longest run at #2, apparently it's 10 weeks, a record shared by Foreigner's 'Waiting for a Girl Like You' in 1981 (for most weeks stuck behind Olivia Newton John's 'Physical') and Missy Elliott's 'Work It' in 2003 (behind Eminem's 'Lose Yourself'). The longest ever consecutive run at #2 was 11 weeks by Whitney Houston's 'Exhale' in 1995, although that had already been at #1 beforehand.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
On this week's Sirius XM Radio's broadcast of American Top 40 from the week of July 28, 1973, the Carpenters are #2 with Yesterday Once More, and Casey Kasem confidently predicts that YOM will be at #1 the following week. Well, I guess we all know by now that good ole Casey jinxed our favorite duo, as Maureen McGovern's The Morning After catapulted from #9 to the #1 spot the next week and robbed K&R from the top spot once again. It got me to thinking about how many times did the Carpenters stall out at #2? Do I catch the scent of a dastardly Billboard conspiracy of denying our Carps their rightful place on the throne? Just how subjective are those chart positions anyway? I know this topic has been touched on before in the forum. It would be great to get all the smart folks out there to comment!
I never realized THE MORNING AFTER was the song that stopped YOM reaching no.1. There's a supreme irony to this. That song was featured in the previous year's film "The Poseidon Adventure". In the film a brother/sister duo sing the song on stage to the passengers and since the Carpenters were pretty much the biggest pop act as the script was being written I always presumed it was an homage to Karen and Richard. What dumb luck that the tribute act inspired the song that stopped the real duo hitting the top spot.

For the record...I've always loved both songs.
 

Portlander

Well-Known Member
Which Billboard top 10 Carpenter hits failed to reach #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts and what was the lowest (worst) charting Carpenter hit to reach #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts?
 
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Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
I never realized THE MORNING AFTER was the song that stopped YOM reaching no.1. There's a supreme irony to this.
Add this to the irony. In the film, the lead singer was supposed to be Carol Lynley, who wasn't a good-enough singer for the film. Her singing voice was dubbed by Carpenters label-mate Renee Armand, who had also recorded the song "Lost" on the BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN LP.
 

ullalume

Well-Known Member
Add this to the irony. In the film, the lead singer was supposed to be Carol Lynley, who wasn't a good-enough singer for the film. Her singing voice was dubbed by Carpenters label-mate Renee Armand, who had also recorded the song "Lost" on the BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN LP.
That's just getting spooky. Now dont get me started on The Towering Inferno 😉
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Didn't Richard say The Morning After was offered to them, and they turned it down? Or am I imagining that?
 

newvillefan

I Know My First Name Is Stephen
I think there was a conscious effort from DJ’s to keep them from the top spot, that they worked at keeping them below it, even if only just barely.
Is it really possible that DJs could collectively manage their playlists to such a degree that they engineered chart listings to keep them just below the top spot? I doubt it. I think too often it was a case of right place, wrong time: too many other good songs around at the same time jostling for the top spot. I don’t think there’s any conspiracy involved.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
If such a thing were going on, I think it would have been the radio station program directors that would have the power to manipulate their station's airplay figures. DJ's in the US just generally play what they're told to play.
 

John Adam

"Two Lives"
If such a thing were going on, I think it would have been the radio station program directors that would have the power to manipulate their station's airplay figures. DJ's in the US just generally play what they're told to play.
Even in the 1970's, the radio DJ's didn't have free will to play their or the listeners choices?
 

John Adam

"Two Lives"
Which Billboard top 10 Carpenter hits failed to reach #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts and what was the lowest (worst) charting Carpenter hit to reach #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts?
Goodbye To Love and Top Of The World both stalled at #2 on the AC chart, and were both Top Ten Hot 100 hits.
Looks like, I Need To Be In Love has the honor of being the lowest charting Hot 100 song that hit #1 on the AC chart.
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
Awhile back, I had heard a rumor that some folks at Billboard had played with numbers to keep them out of the top spot when they could. I don't know whether there's any truth to that or not.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
Even in the 1970's, the radio DJ's didn't have free will to play their or the listeners choices?
Correct. By the 70s, US radio stations were fairly strictly formatted so that the DJs had less and less control over what they played. The main AM stations that played the top pop records were all tightly controlled so as to maximize ratings. And of course this applies to the main, big-city stations that had the most population in their audience. A small mom & pop station in the middle of nowhere still had DJs picking their own records, but their influence in Billboard reporting was minimal.

FM stations in the beginning of the decade tended to be rock oriented or really soft Muzak stations and weren't the type that would be playing Carpenters records. By the end of the decade, FM stations became heavily formatted too as they began to overtake the legacy AM stations in most big markets.
 

kprather

Member
The longest ever consecutive run at #2 was 11 weeks by Whitney Houston's 'Exhale' in 1995, although that had already been at #1 beforehand.
Yes, "Exhale" spent more weeks at #2 than any other song. Fun fact about that song, all 11 weeks it spent at #2, it was runner up to the same #1 song: "One Sweet Day".
 

Jarred

Well-Known Member
Not saying there was a complex conspiracy in the industry but I think there’s some truth (even Richard might’ve spoken about it) to the radio station program directors (I was mistaken the DJ’s for having the power they did) doing things here and there to keep them from the tippy top at #1. But again, we also have so many amazing songs in the early 70s vying for deserved chart space.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
By 1977-78, I know here in a medium market, that it was the music/program directors at the stations. The reps would come visit, and often a long 2 martini lunch. Lots of swag etc. They would come to the record store too when time permitted. They were all crazy! Medium markets were the labels best chance at breaking new music, before the major markets played some songs. The manager of my store before he was fired, was also the music director for 2 of the Top 40 AM stations here, one, then the other. Also worked at a new automated country station at that time. He put Carpenters on the charts and ABBA too, because he knew they were my favorite groups at the time. Passage sold little, but he still reported it as a best selling album for weeks. He played Calling Occupants a lot on one station, and then Sweet Sweet Smile on the new country station when it was released, in high rotation too. I believe it went to number 4 here, while the main country station didn’t play it at all. He had a lot of pull with the labels. Glad he was on my side back then. He would play songs he thought were hits before they were released as singles as well. Sometimes the labels would ask him to stop. He did it anyway. We broke Karma Chameleon before it was released in America. I took an import 12” single to another new FM station he was programming locally, and they put it on the air that afternoon, weeks before anyone else. It was huge. He’s still a programmer in Oregon. He and all the on air disc jockeys at the station received a gold record from Epic as a result. They hung one of them in the record store for a year as a thank you. 👍
 
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