Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Going online makes it possible to find answers to trillions of questions, yet little ol' me can't seem to solve one musical mystery.

There are many listings of Top 10 hits, breaking things down several different ways, such as who has the most Top 10 hits; which ones remained there the longest, etc., etc.

But nowhere can I find mention of which stars had the most consecutive Top 10 Pop hits, specifically the first three decades of the Rock Era.

Can you dig up quirky details like this?
—Melanie Boyd, Harbor City, Calif.

DEAR MELANIE: Since most details we unearth are quirky to some extent, your query fits right in.

During those 29 years (1950-1979) there are nine artists with at least 10 consecutive Top 10 hits to their credit, according to either Billboard or Cash Box. To qualify, their first Top 10 entry must be before 1980, though the run can continue unrestricted.

America voted, and here are your Top 8:

1. Elvis Presley: 34 consecutive (1956-1964)
2. Beatles: 33 consecutive (1964-1976)
3. Michael Jackson: 17 consecutive (1979-1988)
4. Elton John: 16 consecutive (1972-1976)
5. Supremes: 15 consecutive (1964-1967)
6. Pat Boone: 14 consecutive (1956-1958)
7. Ricky Nelson: 12 consecutive (1957-1959)
8. Rolling Stones: 11 consecutive (1965-1967)

For both Elvis and the Beatles, our count reflects new singles by their primary labels (RCA Victor and Capitol-Apple). As to reissues, four-track extended plays (EPs), and — for the Beatles — product from miscellaneous labels, those making the Top 10 are included in the tally. All others are disregarded so as not to affect the streak.

Likewise with double-sided hits, duets, and Christmas songs. They are counted if Top 10, and ignored when not.

Before the “what about all the hits by (fill in name)” mail arrives, here are some music legends whose number of consecutive Top 10 Pop hits failed to reach double digits:

Aretha Franklin: 9 consecutive (1967-1968)
Herman's Hermits: 9 consecutive (1965-1966)
Connie Francis: 8 consecutive (1959-1961)
Paul McCartney (includes Wings): 8 consecutive (1971-1975)
Beach Boys: 7 consecutive (1963-1965)
Bee Gees: 6 consecutive, all of which reached No. 1 (1977-1979)
Temptations: 5 consecutive (1966-1967)
Chicago: 5 consecutive (1973-1974)
Everly Brothers: 4 consecutive (1960-1961)
4 Seasons: 4 consecutive (1964)
Stevie Wonder: 4 consecutive (twice: 1972-1973 and 1974-1977)
Dave Clark Five: 3 consecutive (1965)
Marvin Gaye: 3 consecutive (1971)

DEAR JERRY: There is a word in Mildred Bailey's “Small Fry” that sounds foreign to me, and I have no idea what she is referring to.

The line says the small fry “has been carousing at the berleeque.” My spelling is just how it sounds. I don't think it's supposed to be barbecue.

Do you know what this means?
—Josie Mills, Milwaukee

DEAR JOSIE: It's safe to say there are no ribs on the menu where this small fry carouses.

The reason he is being scolded by his mother or guardian — a relationship not clearly defined — is because he is hanging around the burlique, slang for burlesque shows.

Exceptions exist, but most vaudevillian burlesque venues served up enough bawdy comedy and strip tease routines to make them off limits to small frys.

IZ ZAT SO? Though the focus of today's consecutive Top 10s is Pop hits of the 1950s through '70s, two honorable mentions stretch those parameters.

Louis Jordan (and His Tympany Five) chalked up 37 consecutive Top 10 R&B hits, from 1942 to 1948.

Yet another streak, one also started in the mid-'40s, is a phenomenal achievement that far outstrips all others mentioned above.

In the summer of 1945, with “Each Minute Seems Like a Million Years,” Eddy Arnold logged the first of 67 consecutive Top 10 C&W hits. The run ended in early '56 with “Trouble in Mind.”

Clearly this feat ranks among those unlikely to ever be equaled, field or style of music notwithstanding.

Return to "Mr. Music" Home Page