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This week as October calls,
and those once blooming flowers and leaves fall,
I will share some songs for you all
that involve numbers.

Completing the trilogy of song observations, I defer now to songs with numbers. Wedwand touched on the whole number/letter dichotomy back in May when the flowers and leaves were blooming.

(In case you missed it: https://wedwand.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/numbers-and-letters/)

So here we go, 2-3-4.

Song Titles With Numbers

“One” – Three Dog Night. “It’s the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.” And to make matters even worse, “Two can be as bad as one,” they tell us. I love the fact that Three Dog Night had a hit with One. (1)

I am so confused. Doing research on this topic, I never realized the number of songs with numbers, but we plod forward. Songs will be limited to two per category.

“I’m Eighteen” – Alice Cooper. Speaking of confused, the lyrics even proclaim “I’m 18, I get confused very day”.

If you ever were 18, had a child who was 18, or knew someone who was 18, you know this song is lyrically brilliant. Released in November of 1970, if you happened to be 18 years old at that time, with a November birthday, well. the song still remains your personal anthem.

Songs That Prove Rock & Roll Artists Can Count to 4

“I Saw Her Standing There” — The Beatles. It is the first song on the Beatles first album released fifty years ago on March 22, 1963. And it STILL “stands” up today.

Before a single note is played, McCartney blares, “One! Two! Three! Four!” “Well she was just seventeen, you know what I mean…” follows. “1-2-3-4” AND “just 17” in the first 10 seconds of the song? Does it get any better than that numerically? 2 minutes and 54 seconds of rock and roll that changed the face of music forever.

“Centerfold” – J Geils Band. “Na na na na na na. Na na na na na na na na” After fourteen “Na’s”, wait for it, 1-2-3-4 is the interjection on the song after a pregnant pause followed by some more “Na Na’s”.

Ring This Number Up

“867-5309” – Tommy Tutone. Admit it. If you were around in 1982, you called that number at least one time. Even if you didn’t know anyone named “Jenny”, you still called and proclaimed. ” I got your number…” Today, the phone number is still blocked in over half the United States area codes. Really it is.

Here’s an interesting article from People Magazine written at the time about the myriad of calls made to that number inspired by one song from a “One Hit Wonder.”

http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20082266,00.html

Wedwand briefly touched on the One Hit Wonder phenomenon in July.
https://wedwand.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/181/

Two way tie for Runners-up
Beechwood 4-5789 1962 The Marvelettes
Pennsylvania 6-5000 1940 Glen Miller Band (2)

Song with countdowns

“Instant Replay” – Dan Hartman

To start the song, a festive crowd with a bass drum back beat shouts:
“10-9-8-7-6-5-4321”

Then the song swings into a classic disco beat. Hey, don’t judge. The song came out in 1978, when platform shoes, short skirts, white suits, and disco balls were considered cool!

Dan Hartman is the only artist I know, who had a song lip synched by a black artist and it made everyone else think that Dan himself was black. One of my all-time favorite songs is “I Can Dream About You.” It was a 1984 staple on MTV when MTV was MTV. Here’s the clip in case you forget:

Sadly, Hartman died in 1994. RIP, Dan.

“Space Oddity” – David Bowie
Shifting from the upbeat disco bass beat to this psychedelic sounding hit from 1969, a slower countdown is heard:
“Ground control to Major Tom. Commencing countdown, engines on.
Check ignition and may God’s love be with you” is the lyric.
A background voice whispers, “Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Liftoff”
(Odditly enough, the first man set foot on the moon was in 1969 too.)

So, I’m sure I missed one or two songs, three, four, maybe more. Maybe 25 or 6 to 4. I invite you to share your favorite forgotten number song.

Footnotes:
(1) Regarding “One”, interesting fact, Harry Nilsson wrote this song after calling someone and getting a busy signal. He stayed on the line listening to the “beep, beep, beep, beep…” tone, while writing the song. The busy signal became the opening notes of the song.

(2) For all you young-uns out there, back in the old days, the first two characters of phone numbers were reflected by words rather than numbers. So 867-5309 may have been TOmmy 7 -5309. Here’s an interesting article on old Chicago phone numbers.
http://forgottenchicago.com/articles/old-telephone-numbers/

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