Top 40 Smash Taps: “Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)”

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.

The Four Tops were one of the signature acts of Motown. They placed twenty-four singles in the Billboard Top 40, including two that made it all the way to the top spot. Featuring Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson, Lawrence Payton and the incomparable Levi Stubbs. The epitome of dependability, the quartet was comprised of the same four individuals–across multiple labels and countless tours–for nearly forty-five years. They are neck and neck with the Supremes and the Temptations for the designation of the act that best defines the landmark Motown sound.

By the early nineteen-seventies, though, the group’s time with Motown was drawing to a close, perhaps in part because they were abruptly starting to slip on the charts. Though they had a pair of Top 15 hits in 1970, they started to significantly struggle to generate radio or consumer attention, beginning with the 1971 single that joined their tally of Top 40 songs, but just barely. “Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)” peaked at #40. Other Motown efforts largely fared even worse, though they did scramble a couple places higher with “MacArthur Park (Part II),” because there was an insatiable appetitie for hearing people sing about that cake left out in the rain back then. Maybe the commercial doldrums could be attributed to Motown, as the Four Tops rattled off a nice string of solid hits when they jumped to the ABC-Dunhill label in 1972, including the Top 5 charting “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got).”

“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
“What Now” by Gene Chandler
“Put It in a Magazine” by Sonny Charles
“Got a Love for You” by Jomanda
“Stone Cold” by Rainbow
“People in Love” by 10cc

37 thoughts on “Top 40 Smash Taps: “Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)”

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