Top 40 Smash Taps: “What Now”

These posts are about the songs that can accurately claim to crossed the key line of chart success, becoming Top 40 hits on Billboard, but just barely. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 40.

Upon its release in 1964, Billboard reviewed Gene Chandler’s single “What Now” in the following manner: “Tear-jerker tale of a guy done wrong by a fickle gal! Gene wails in fine style backed by driving instrumentation.” The track was Chandler’s fourth song to grace the Billboard Top 40 and the third straight, following “Just Be True,” which peaked at #19, and “Bless Our Love,” which stalled out at #39. “What Now,” as is indicated by its presence in this series, muster a top position one digit lower than its immediate predecessor. Of course, none of them came close to matching the enormous success of his best know song, just the second single of his career. “Duke of Earl” spent three weeks atop the chart in early 1962 and gave him the identity that defined him for the rest of his career.

And it was a career that went on for a surprisingly long time, considering that most undoubtedly consider Chandler to be a one-hit wonder. The Chicago native may have had only two more songs make it into the Top 40, 1965’s “Nothing Can Stop Me” and the only-possible-in-1970 “Groovy Situation,” but he had a flood of singles that logged at least some time on the charts, including one that landed on the R&B chart as late as 1986. Today, Chandler is still performing at the age of seventy-five (you can see him as part of the Royalty of Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour next weekend in Boston!). His official website even has a “Joke of the Month,” which is password protected because it can get a little blue.

“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.
“I’m in Love” by Evelyn King
“Buy Me a Rose” by Kenny Rogers
“Who’s Your Baby” by The Archies
“Me and Bobby McGee” by Jerry Lee Lewis
“Angel in Blue” by J. Geils Band
“Crazy Downtown” by Allan Sherman
“I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Rhythm of Love” by Yes
“Naturally Stoned” by the Avant-Garde
“Come See” by Major Lance
“Your Old Standby” by Mary Wells
“See the Lights” by Simple Minds
“Watch Out For Lucy” by Eric Clapton
“The Alvin Twist” by Alvin and the Chipmunks
“Love Me Tender” by Percy Sledge
“Jennifer Eccles” by the Hollies
“Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Olympics
“The Bounce” by the Olympics
“Your One and Only Love” by Jackie Wilson
“Tell Her She’s Lovely” by El Chicano
“The Last Time I Made Love” by Joyce Kennedy and Jeffrey Osborne
“Limbo Rock” by The Champs
“Crazy Eyes For You” by Bobby Hamilton
“Violet Hill” and “Lost+” by Coldplay
“Freight Train” by the Chas. McDevitt Skiffle Group
“Sweet William” by Little Millie Small
“Live My Life” by Boy George
“Lessons Learned” by Tracy Lawrence
“So Close” by Diana Ross
“Six Feet Deep” by the Geto Boys
“You Thrill Me” by Exile

43 thoughts on “Top 40 Smash Taps: “What Now”

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