You just call on me brother, when you need a hand

Founded in Cincinnati, Ohio as trade paper for the bill posting industry in 1894 it’s now one of the oldest trade magazines in the world, but its initial name reflected its initial focus, Billboard Advertising.  As circuses, fairs, carnivals, minstrel shows and amusement parks were major billboard advertisers the publication began to carry news about them and then live entertainment in general.

In time its name was changed to The Billboard broadening its coverage to include motion pictures in 1909, then radio in the 1920s. With the rise of the jukebox industry in the 1930s The Billboard  began to publish music charts for Pop, Rhythm & Blues and Country & Western, and in 1940 published its first weekly Music Popularity Chart based on sales and radio play.  Still carrying news of outdoor entertainments until 1961, when they were spun off into a separate weekly magazine, The Billboard was renamed Billboard Music Week and then in 1963, simply Billboard.

Billboard currently publishes more than 100 music charts every Thursday, each tracking the most popular songs and albums in various categories, but the two most notable charts are the Billboard 200, for the week’s top 200 albums based on sales, and the Billboard Hot 100 which, since 1958 has served as America’s music industry standard for ranking the week’s 100 most popular songs, regardless of genre.Initially combining singles sales and radio airplay to establish a song’s placement, Billboard now combines digital sales,radio airplay, and Internet streaming data.

While “Poor Little Fool” by Ricky Nelson was the Billboard Hot 100’s first Number One Song on August 4, 1958 and “Diamonds” by Rihanna, is its current Number One (as of this Billboard week ending on December 8, 2012) the chart has had 1,020 different Number One hits since it’s inception. However there have been only nine songs to have topped the charts with different versions recorded by different artists:

“Please Mr. Postman” – The Marvelettes (1961) and The Carpenters (1975)

“The Loco-Motion” – Little Eva (1962) and Grand Funk (1974)

“Go Away Little Girl” – Steve Lawrence (1963) and Donny Osmond (1971)

“You Keep Me Hangin’ On” – The Supremes (1966) and Kim Wilde (1987)

“When a Man Loves a Woman” – Percy Sledge (1966) and Michael Bolton (1991)

“Venus” – Shocking Blue (1970) and Bananarama (1986)

“I’ll Be There” – The Jackson 5 (1970) and Mariah Carey (1992)

“Lady Marmalade” – Labelle (1975) and Christina Aguilera/Lil’ Kim/Mýa/Pink (2001)

And (naturally) today’s selection, “Lean on Me” – Bill Withers (‘72) and Club Nouveau (‘87)

Born on the Fourth of July in 1938, William Harrison Withers, Jr.’s childhood in the coal-mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia was the inspiration for “Lean on Me” which he wrote in 1971, after he’d moved to Los Angeles and found himself missing the strong community ethic of his hometown.  Despite such classics as “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Just the Two of Us”, “Lovely Day”, and “Grandma’s Hands” it was Withers only Number One single (albeit twice) on any of those Billboard Charts.

LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Sunday 2 December 

Lean On Me

 Sometimes in our lives

We all have pain

We all have sorrow

But if we are wise

We know that there’s always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you’re not strong

And I’ll be your friend

I’ll help you carry on

For it won’t be long

‘Til I’m gonna need

Somebody to lean on

Please swallow your pride

If I have things you need to borrow

For no one can fill those of your needs

That you won’t let show

 You just call on me brother, when you need a hand

We all need somebody to lean on

I just might have a problem that you’d understand

We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me, when you’re not strong

And I’ll be your friend

I’ll help you carry on

For it won’t be long

‘Til I’m gonna need

Somebody to lean on

You just call on me brother, when you need a hand

We all need somebody to lean on

I just might have a problem that you’d understand

We all need somebody to lean on

If there is a load you need to bear

That you can’t carry

I’m right up the road

I’ll share your load

If you just call me

 Call me (if you need a friend)

Call me (Call me)

Call me (if you need a friend)

Call me (if you ever need a friend)

Call me (Call me)

Call me

Call me (if you need a friend)

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