There’s a new Internet meme floating around, suggesting that whatever song was #1 on the charts on your 14th birthday would determine your future in life.
Gee, and I thought it was whatever song was #1 when you were born was the determining factor…
Okay, I’m willing to play.
For arguments and purposes, my 14th birthday was in late August of 1977. So that means … drum roll … the #1 song that week, according to Billboard magazine, and Casey Kasem would announce it as such … the #1 song that week was “Best of My Love” by the Emotions.
No, this isn’t Mariah Carey singing “Emotion.” Mariah Carey sampled this awesome track for her semi-awesome hit. Plus, the song was co-written by the song’s producer, Earth Wind and Fire’s Maurice White. That’s already bonus points.
But “Best of My Love” as a defining song for my life? Eh. Maybe.
Perhaps I’m looking at the wrong charts. What was #1 on the country charts on my 14th birthday?
It was “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” by Crystal Gayle.
Okay … good song … it was extremely popular in 1977 … but I have neither brown eyes nor blue eyes. Let’s try again.
Maybe I’m looking at the wrong country. Let’s try north. Canada, what do you have for me?
Pablo Cruise? This piece of California yacht rock was #1 that week in Canada? It wasn’t April Wine or Rush or Gordon Lightfoot or Lighthouse or anything like that? Nertz.
Okay … if the north doesn’t help, let’s check the south. Mexico’s #1 song on my 14th birthday was …
In case you’re wondering, this song is called “Gavilán o paloma,” and the performer is José José. Man, 1977 was a mellow year for music in Mexico.
Let’s try Europe. In the UK, there must have been some punk song or new wave track that topped the charts in late August of 1977. Maybe “God Save the Queen” or something like that.
Nope … The #1 song on the pop charts on my 14th birthday was the classic …
Virgo. And my name is Chuck. Now I like a woman who loves her freedom, and I like a woman who can hold her own, and if you fit that description baby, oooh, take my hand … come with me baby to love land, let me show you how sweet it can be, sharing love with Chucky…
I suppose… maybe … but what would that have to do with my destiny?
How about the Emerald Isle? Ireland, what do you have for me?
Oh great. I get some discount ABBA group with a discount “Fernando” track. I need some aspirin.
All right, this isn’t working. Can we try to the European continent? Let’s check out France. Certainly there’s some French rock band out there, or maybe even a track by Johnny Hallyday or something. And the #1 song on my 14th birthday in France is …
In case you’re wondering, this song is called “Love Me Baby” by a group called Sheila and Black Devotion. Or, in America, they were called Sheila and B. Devotion. I call this … painful tripe.
Maybe in Italy, there’s some classic rock and roll that would determine my future. And the Italian charts say that the #1 song on my 14th birthday was …
I don’t know this singer Umberto Tozzi. But apparently this song was on the Italian charts for ages, and was the #1 song of 1977 in that country. Makes me want to listen to Sheila and B. Devotion some more.
I checked the West German pop charts – at the time, some Eurodisco female duo called Baccara were riding the top of the pop charts with a couple of disco tracks, “Yes Sir I Can Boogie” and “Sorry, I’m a Lady.” But the week I was born, some other group muscled to the top of the West German pop charts with this track.
Holy crap, it’s the love child of Kraftwerk and Daft Punk! This track, “Magic Fly,” by a group called Space, forced its way inbetween two Baccara disco fluffs to claim the #1 spot in West Germany for one week. Yep. The week I turned 14. Still not finding any significance in my life.
Let’s try the Netherlands. If I can’t find some Dutch pop rock here … maybe some Golden Earring or George Baker Selection or something like that …
Yep, the #1 song in the Netherlands on my 14th birthday was a rasta classic. Classic … well … I suppose … A knife, a fork, a bottle and a cork. That’s how you spell New York. But it doesn’t suggest what my future might be, unless there’s some suggestion of an overdose in my old age.
All right, I’m going to try Oceania. Japan, what was #1 in your country on my 14th birthday? Give me some hope, man…
And what do I get? “Sindbad of the Beach,” some J-pop surf music by Japan’s most popular pop duo, Pink Lady. Laugh if you must, but just remember that a year later these two showed up as the co-hosts of their own American variety TV series.
Well, if at first, you don’t succeed, try New Zealand and see what happens. And the #1 song that week in New Zealand was …
“Boogie Nights” by Heatwave. Well, unless this song suggests that some day I’ll be making adult movies with Amber Waves and Rollergirl, I’m not seeing much of a prophecy there.
Australia, you’re my last chance. Please tell me that Dragon or Cold Chisel or AC/DC topped the charts in August of 1977. Please. Pretty please with vegemite on top.
Nope. Apparently the #1 song that week was … was …
Yep. Peter Allen. Not that I don’t mind Peter Allen, but this song about Rio is probably my third favorite song about Rio, behind the ones from Duran Duran and from Michael Nesmith.
So what can we say about this adage that whatever song was #1 on the charts on your 14th birthday will determine your life and your future?
Yep, it’s all a bunch of disco-yacht rock-electro-phony baloney.
And now I’ve got a bunch of earworms from this music.
Man, August 1977 was a crummy year for pop music in general…