Songs That Have Hit #1 By Two Different Artists

Number 1 in 1975Here’s the back story about this post: I was listening to my favorite music podcast, Coverville, which was doing a cover story of Kylie Minogue, cover songs of and by the Aussie singer. At some point, the host says the song The Locomotion went to #1 (implicitly, on the US charts) three times. I know this is inaccurate, as I’ve heard the claim before. Little Eva #1, Grand Funk #1, Kylie only to #3, which is still impressive. Kylie’s version DID go to #1 in her native land.

So what songs HAVE gone to #1 more than once? The Wikipedia, and other sources note these:

1 “Go Away Little Girl” — Steve Lawrence (1963) and Donny Osmond (1971)
2 “The Loco-Motion” — Little Eva (1962) and Grand Funk (1974)
3 “Please Mr. Postman” — The Marvelettes (1961) and The Carpenters (1975)
4 “Venus” — Shocking Blue (1970) and Bananarama (1986)
5 “Lean on Me” — Bill Withers (1972) and Club Nouveau (1987)
6 “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” — The Supremes (1966) and Kim Wilde (1987)
7 “When a Man Loves a Woman” — Percy Sledge (1966) and Michael Bolton (1991)
8 “I’ll Be There” — The Jackson 5 (1970) and Mariah Carey (1992)
9 “Lady Marmalade” — Labelle (1975) and Christina Aguilera / Lil’ Kim / Mýa / Pink (2001)

BTW, I own both versions of 2-4, 8 and 9, but only the older versions of 5-7. (I didn’t even REMEMBER Bolton’s version.)

But the website cites footnote 28 which is Retro-Hits.com, which additionally lists:

“Butterfly” – Charlie Gracie (1957) and Andy Williams (also in 1957)
“Young Love” – Sonny James (1957) and Tab Hunter (also in 1957)

Why were the 1957 songs be left off the Wikipedia list? (I own Williams and James.)

I asked THE guru of all things pop music history, Chaz Hill, a/k/a Dustbury: “Well, it does say specifically ‘Billboard Hot 100,’ a chart which wasn’t actually created until 1958. (Before that, there were four different charts: Best Sellers in Stores, Most Played by Jockeys, Most Played in Juke Boxes, and ‘Top 100,’ which isn’t quite the same.) I’m assuming that they’re using the stricter definition at Wikipedia, the looser one at Retro Hits. (Joel Whitburn, who compiles all those chart books, does his figuring on the looser definition.)”

Thanks, Mr. Hill. This reminds me of a lot of library reference questions. They may seem easy on the surface, but there are often nuances to make them a bit more complicated.

8 thoughts on “Songs That Have Hit #1 By Two Different Artists”

  1. I loved the video that accompanied Club Noveau’s take on “Lean On Me.” The cut itself, of course, has a thumpin’ bass Withers would have liked, but the video (I’m not usually into them) showed African dance, Harlem’s best Lindy dancers, and a host of other great performances. It was all in a break-out beat section, and it had me on my feet dancing.

    Thanks for your research, Roger. Oh God, Bananarama…! Amy

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  2. You Keep Me Hangin’ On went to #6 by Vanilla Fudge in 1968. In those less than reliable pre-’58 charts, Unchained Melody went to #1, #3 and #6 by 3 different artists, all in 1955, before The Righteous Brothers went to #4 in 1965.

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  3. Roger, this is the kind of post that makes me glad that you are a magpie and move from topic to topic. I tend to read your blog by the week on Sundays now and the variety of thought and subject is what’s kept me coming back all these years.

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