American Top 40 PastBlast, 12/17/77: Paul Davis, “I Go Crazy”

This was a week of fairly limited upward action on AT40. Only two songs came on, at #38 (from #41) and #40 (from #42), and within the show, the biggest mover was “Short People,” which jumped from #34 to #29. The clog seemed to be a function of a lack of tunes ready to fall—only five songs on the show are lower than they were the previous week, and two of those are dropping from #2 to #4 and #9 to #12. Altogether, 23 songs on the show climbed either one or two spots. (Regular readers might notice that this is the week following the show that I identified last month as having the best set of six debuts in terms of mean peak position between 6/76 and 8/88. It wasn’t remotely clear from their movement here such a thing might happen: one of the six rose one spot and three climbed just two.)

One of those 23 (as it happens, at #23) had likely the most unusual ride up the chart over the years I was paying close attention*. Seven weeks earlier, “I Go Crazy,” from Mississippi singer-songwriter Paul Davis, had innocuously come on the show at #37 (from #41). It’s well-known to chart geeks that the song went on to spend 40 consecutive weeks on the Hot 100—at that time, a record. I remembered that it spent 25 of those in the Top 40 and never advanced more than three spots at a time, but I hadn’t reminded myself about the details of its tortuous climb in years. At the risk of boring you, here’s its nearly half-year run: 37-34-31-29-28-25-25-23-23-23*-21-21-19-18-16-14-12-11-9-8-7-7-7-28-35 (the asterisk is 12/31/77, the “frozen” chart that Billboardhad at the end of each year—every song maintained its spot from the previous week). I’m certain I marveled over the persistence displayed as it pushed through all those weeks in the 20s—I sure hadn’t seen anything like it before.

There would be a slew of songs over the coming months that would spend 18 or more weeks on the show, many of them Saturday Night Fever– and/or Gibb-related. “How Deep Is Your Love” had a near-contemporaneous run alongside “I Go Crazy” but a radically different experience, with seventeen weeks in the top 10 (three of those at the top). But Davis, on Atlanta-based Bang Records, more than held his own amidst the RSO onslaught.

*The second-most unusual might be on this weekend’s 80s show: “What About Me,” by the Australian band Moving Pictures, is in the fourth week of a 37-37-36-35-34-34*-34-34-32-30-30-29-29 ride.

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