Sunday, April 5, 2009
Speaking of Etta James, she had nine Top Forty hits between 1960 and 1968, and the highest-charting of these was "Tell Mama," which hit Number 23 in the early days of 1968. (This is the same song, co-written by Clarence "Patches" Carter, that would become a staple for Janis Joplin.) At a guess, I think this makes Etta James the artist with the most Top Forty hits who never had a Top Twenty hit. I realize that it's highly unlikely that anyone would ever check out (or even care about) such a thing other than me, but I will see what I can do to confirm it for you.
What's most surprising about this is that "At Last" is not one of those nine Top Forty hits. Etta's recording of "At Last" came out in April 1961 and went to Number Two on the R&B charts, but only Number 47 on the Hot 100. I'm not sure why it didn't cross over better, because Miss James had already had three Top Forty pop hits by then.