Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I enjoyed your column last summer with the trivia about “first” No. 1 hits, etc, and am hoping you'll carry that theme a bit further.Will you do a similar list of first No. 1 hits by singers who kept things all in the family?

Frank & Nancy made No. 1 with “Something Stupid,” but are they the first father-daughter duo to do it?

Is Sonny & Cher the first married couple? Would ABBA, being two married couples, be on the list?

There may also be interesting No. 1 firsts by sisters, brothers, fathers, sons, mothers, and daughters.

I am interested in 1950 through 1979, as I know little about music of the more recent years.
—Heidi McPherson, Cypress Gardens, Fla.

DEAR HEIDI: Sounds like good family fun, let's give it a whirl.

Remember, these are the first chart-toppers in each category. You won't, for example, find the Carpenters in the brother-sister group, though Richard and Karen had four No. 1 hits. But their string began seven years after Nino Tempo & April Stevens first crossed the brother-sister finish line.

The same applies to Sonny & Cher who arrived on the scene long after Les Paul & Mary Ford.

I will even list family duos separately from groups of three or more since groups are regarded by some to include more than two members. The list is chronological:

First sisters (three or more): “I Can Dream, Can't I” (Andrews Sisters, 1950).

First brothers (three or more): “Rag Mop” (Ames Brothers, 1950).

First husband and wife: “How High the Moon” (Les Paul & Mary Ford, 1951).

First brothers (two): “Wake Up Little Susie” (Everly Brothers, 1957).

First mixed-gender siblings: “The Three Bells” (Browns, 1960).

First brother and sister duo: “Deep Purple” (Nino Tempo & April Stevens, 1963).

We might as well mention the Righteous Brothers, who, despite their “Brothers” billing, were not related.

Still, they are unique in a “bro” sort of way, and they — Bill Medley & Bobby Hatfield — did have a couple of No. 1 hits. So we'll create a new category:

First unrelated “brothers”: “You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'” (Righteous Brothers, 1965).

As for unrelated “sisters,” the Soul Sisters had the Top 50 hit “I Can't Stand It,” but it didn't get anywhere near No. 1.

First father and daughter: “Something Stupid” (Frank & Nancy Sinatra, 1967).

First mother and son: “I Think I Love You” (Partridge Family, 1970).

Jack Cassidy's son David Cassidy is actually the step-son of Shirley Jones, but he and Shirley definitely qualify in this category.

There doesn't seem to be any qualifying mother-daughter or father-son teams. Not only from the requested period, but going as far back as 1940.

The first mother-daughter act that comes to mind is the Judds (Naomi and Wynonna), with 14 No. 1 Country hits to their credit; however, none made the Pop charts and all are post-1979.

Also worthy of mention in this category is Helen Reddy's Top 10 hit, “You and Me Against the World” which includes a few spoken words from her daughter, Tracy.

As for a father-son team, one that just barely misses our list is “Play a Simple Melody” backed with “Sam's Song (The Happy Tune),” by Bing and Gary Crosby.

This two-sided hit, actually credited on the label to “Gary Crosby and Friend,” made it to No. 2 in the summer of 1950, but just couldn't pry “Mona Lisa” (Nat King Cole) from the top chart position.

ABBA does not qualify as two married couples because Benny and Anni-Frid had not yet wed when “Dancing Queen” topped the charts, in 1977.

IZ ZAT SO? Before the 1970s, solo artists dominated most fields of music, and Country is no exception.

In the last week of 1962, a husband-wife team finally reached the No. 1 C&W position, and it would be “Don't Let Me Cross Over,” by Carl & Pearl Butler.

It was not until 1970, and Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan's “Tennessee Birdwalk,” that it happened again.

That made just twice in about 25 years we found a married couple atop the C&W charts.

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