Top 40 Smash Taps: “Nature Boy”

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.

Bobby Darin has a remarkable twenty-two singles make it onto the Billboard Top 40, including an especially notable chart-topper. Though Darin was an accomplished songwriter, penning a number of his own hits, he had some of his greatest successes with covers, including “Beyond the Sea,” the English language translation of a French song that become enough of a signature tune that its title was lifted for an eventual biopic. It’s no wonder, then, that Darin kept finding jazzy near-standards to record. One of those was “Nature Boy,” first published in 1947, but hammered into the public consciousness by Nat King Cole in 1948, the same year it was featured prominently in the oddball film The Boy with Green Hair. Besides Cole, both Dick Haymes and Frank Sinatra (at least) took it into the Top 40 before Darin released his version, in 1961. As far as I can tell, Darin was the last performer to take it into the Top 40, but it’s had a long life, with versions from fairly unlikely artists, prominent placement in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge and even a take that melded it with the theme to AMC’s Mad Men, the last of which reportedly helped Allison Williams land her job on Lena Dunham’s Girls. And all that doesn’t even get into the late nineteen forties parody version called “Serutan Yob.”

“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
“Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)” by the Four Tops
“Thinkin’ Problem” by David Ball
“You Got Yours and I’ll Get Mine” and “Trying to Make a Fool of Me” by the Delfonics
“The Riddle (You and I)” by Five for Fighting
“I Can’t Wait” by Sleepy Brown

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