Top 5: Another Giants-in-the-Earth Edition
Now THIS would make one hell of a mix tape--the Top 5 on the Billboard chart on this date in 1966.
5. "Rainy Day Women #12 and #35"/Bob Dylan. Only "Like a Rolling Stone" was a bigger single for Dylan, and not by much. "Rainy Day Women" is, of course, atypical Dylan, noisy and obnoxious--but the refrain "everybody must get stoned" made it a smash and means it will be around forever.
4. "Paint It Black"/Rolling Stones. They'd been mostly young, loud, and snotty up to this point, but this was the first of their singles to display the darkness beneath, a force the Stones would repeatedly tap for the next several years.
3. "Monday Monday"/Mamas and the Papas. Another one of those records that's been a part of our lives for so long that it's easy to forget that it's not a force of nature or something. Radio stations jumped on it before it was released as a single, and it sold 150,000 copies on its first day of single release. Everybody liked it--except for three-quarters of the group and its producer, who had to be talked into recording it. So much for judging your own material.
2. "A Groovy Kind of Love"/The Mindbenders. The British Invasion's momentum was largely spent by 1966, but not so much that there wasn't an appetite for one more Invasion classic. Phil Collins' 1988 cover went to Number One and sounded pretty good at the time, but up against the original, it isn't even close.
1. "When a Man Loves a Woman"/Percy Sledge. The second-greatest wedding processional of all time, but clearly the coolest. Another magnificent soul record from Muscle Shoals, Alabama--Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham, and crew. Even if they do go hideously out of tune right before the fade.
Also on the charts early that summer: "Good Lovin'" by the Rascals, "Soul and Inspiration" by the Righteous Brothers, and "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles. If that's any indication, your mix tape should be a C-120.