Top 40 Smash Taps: “Love of My Life” and “Bowling Green”

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.

By my rough, hasty count, the Everly Brothers placed a total of twenty-seven songs into the Billboard Top 40, including three that topped the chart. The siblings were such a constant presence on early rock ‘n’ roll radio that disc jockeys routinely turning singles over, giving the B-sides enough spins to merit respectable chart placement. That was the case with “Love of My Life,” the flip side to the #2 charter “Problems.”  A tender ballad penned by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, songwriters behind some of the Everly Brothers biggest hits, “Love of My Life” peaked at #40.

“Love of My Life” was released in 1958, early in the Everly Brothers’ recording career. Their other song to peak at #40 came toward the opposite end of that timeline. “Bowling Green,” released in 1967, was the final Everly Brothers single to earn the distinction of Top 10 hit. Sweet and gentle with a hint of hippie flow, wasn’t out of step with the times (the week the single hit #40, “Windy” by the Association was in the midst of a monthlong run in the chart’s top position, and the two tracks would have segued together nicely). Still, arriving a full decade after the Everly Brothers first charting single, at a time when longevity was not an expectation of pop acts, “Bowling Green” comes across as a last echo of another era. Their musical partnership ended acrimoniously a few years later, followed by several years of estrangement. The siren call of a lucrative reunion did eventually win out.

And with that the Top 40 Smash Taps feature is at an end. It has been approximately four-and-a-half years since I first put fingers to keys to write about a song that only barely qualified for the storied designation Top 40 single, writing at surprising length (given that I had a later tendency to deafult to this feature when I had limited time to compose a post) about the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven.” When I began, I had a much shorter list of songs that peaked at #40. Over the years, I stumbled upon new research avenues that expanded the roster, at one point finding a couple dozen more tracks that fit the criteria just as I thought I was reaching the finale.

I’ve no doubt that some rigorous digging would unearth at least a few more songs that fit Top 40 Smash Taps, especially if I was more attentive to charts from the past few years, most of which look to me like they were constructed randomly from confetti fashioned out of old Disney Channel program guides. That notion is going to get a chipper salute and a gracious “No thanks.” If that list below isn’t definitive, I still think it’s reasonably impressive. It’s good enough, to be sure.

I will note that I’ve compiled a whole list of songs that peaked at #41. I’ll likely start in on that someday, just not someday soon.



“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
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” by Bonnie Pointer
“Mr. Loverman” by Shabba Ranks
“I’ve Never Found a Girl” by Eddie Floyd
“Plastic Man” and “Happy People” by the Temptations
“Okay” by Nivea
“Go On” by George Strait
“Back When My Hair Was Short” by Gunhill Road
“Birthday Party” by the Pixies Three
“Livin’ in the Life” by the Isley Brothers
“Kissing You” by Keith Washington
“The End of Our Road” by Marvin Gaye
“Ticks” and “Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley
“Nobody But You Babe” by Clarence Reid
“Like a Sunday in Salem” by Gene Cotton
“I’m Going to Let My Heart Do the Walking” by the Supremes
“Call Me Lightning” by the Who
“Ain’t It True” by Andy Williams
“Lazy Elsie Molly” and “Let’s Do the Freddie” by Chubby Checker
“Second Fiddle” by Kay Starr
“1999” by Prince
“I’ll Try Anything” by Dusty Springfield
“Oh Happy Day” by Glen Campbell
“I’d Love to Change the World” by Ten Years After
“Friends” and “Married Men” by Bette Midler
“Spice of Life” by the Manhattan Transfer
“You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd” by Roger Miller
“Don’t Pity Me” by Dion and the Belmonts
“Ask Me No Questions” by B.B. King
“Can’t Leave ‘Em Alone” by Ciara
“All I Really Want to Do” by the Byrds
“Love Rollercoaster” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Just a Little” by Brenda Lee
“Sweet Maxine” by the Doobie Brothers
“Where You Lead” and “The Way He Makes Me Feel” by Barbra Streisand
“Charity Ball” by Fanny
“I’m Comin’ Home” by Tommy James
“I’m Goin’ In” by Drake
“Your Time to Cry” by Joe Simon
“We’re Free” by Beverly Bremers
“The Resurrection Shuffle” by Ashton, Gardner and Dyke
“It Should Have Been Me” by Gladys Knight
“Still Crazy After All These Years” and “One-Trick Pony” by Paul Simon
“I (Who Have Nothing)” by Sylvester
“Breakdown” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
“I’ll Be Your Shelter (In Time of Storm)” by Luther Ingram
“Spirit in the Night” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
“Don’t Ask Me Why” by Eurythmics
“Bewildered,” “Get It Together, Part 1,” “Let a Man Come In and Do the Popcorn, Part 2” and “King Heroin” by James Brown

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