Top 40 Smash Taps: “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”

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 Pointer Sisters had enjoyed five Top 40 singles by the time Bonnie, the second youngest of the group, left to pursue a solo career, in 1977. As these things often go, the remaining siblings wound up scoring their biggest hit to date the following year, with a version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire”, which became their first Top 10 hit, peaking at #2 (as high as they ever got on the chart, and a spot they reached on one other occasion). Bonnie went on to have a couple of Top 40 hits on her own, both with covers of familiar tracks from the Motown catalog, perhaps facilitated by her marriage to Jeffrey Bowen, a high-powered producer at the label. The first, reaching #11, was a version of “Heaven Must Have Sent You,” originally made famous by the Elgins. Bonnie’s second and final Top 40 entry could get no higher than that #40 marker. This time Bonnie was working with a song that was even more famous, covering the Four Tops’ 1965 chart-topper “Sugar Pie (Honey Bunch).” The latter song came from Bonnie’s self-titled 1979 album, her last for Motown. There was a little more music in her future, but a lot more trouble.

“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
“Who Do You Think You’re Foolin'” by Donna Summer
“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
“Nature Boy” by Bobby Darin
“Give It to Me Baby” and “Cold Blooded” by Rick James
“Who’s Sorry Now?” by Marie Osmond
“A Love So Fine” by the Chiffons
“Funky Y-2-C” by the Puppies
“Brand New Girlfriend” by Steve Holy

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