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The soundtrack from Elvis's movie was the #1 Album and the movie was #1 at the box office. Two singles, "Can't Help Falling in Love" and "Rock-A-Hula Baby" would make the Billboard chart.

Billboard Top 20,12/9/1961
Rank..Previous .. # Weeks .. Title .. Artist


#1 .. 2 / 15 Please Mr. Postman----------------------The Marvelettes
#2 .. 1 / 11 Big Bad John----------------------------JImmy Dean
#3 .. 3 / 9 Goodbye Cruel World---------------------James Darren
#4 .. 6 / 23 The Twist-------------------------------Chubby Checker
#5 .. 7 / 7 Walk On By------------------------------LeRoy Van Dyke
#6 .. 17 / 5 The Lion Sleeps Tonight-----------------The Tokens
#7 .. 11 / 5 Run to Him------------------------------Bobby Vee
#8 .. 12 / 9 Tonight---------------------------------Ferrante & Teicher
#9 .. 16 / 7 Let There Be Drums----------------------Sandy Nelson
#10 .. 21 / 5 Happy Birthday Sweet 16-----------------Neil Sedaka
#11 .. 14 / 10 Moon River------------------------------Jerry Butler
#12 .. 4 / 12 Runaround Sue---------------------------Dion
#13 .. 5 / 11 Fool Number One-------------------------Brenda Lee
#14 .. 10 / 8 Crazy-----------------------------------Patsy Cline
#15 .. 29 / 4 Peppermint Twist-------------Joey Dee & the Starliters
#16 .. 9 / 13 I Understand----------------------------The G-Clefs
#17 .. 24 / 10 Moon River------------------------------Henry Mancini
#18 .. 8 / 11 Tower of Strength-----------------------Gene McDaniels
#19 .. 26 / 7 I Don't Know Why------------------------Linda Scott
#20 .. 20 / 9 Gypsy Woman-----------------------------The Impressions

Girl Groups had a significant presence on the pop music charts in the early 1960's. The Marvelettes were one of the most successful and "Please Mr. Postman" was their biggest hit. It reached #1 on the Billboard chart on December 9th, 1961. It also represented the dawn of the Motown era -- Tamla was Barry Gordy's first label. "Please Mr. Postman" replaced Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" in the top spot and would itself be replaced the next week by "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" which would hold its #1 ranking for four weeks. The success of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" goes somewhat unrecognized as its success spanned the years 1961 and 1962. Therefore it was not recognized in the top 100 of Billboards end of year rankings in either year. It was ranked #10 in 1962 by Cashbox magazine.

Another significant entry in the top ten of December 9th was Chubby Checker's "The Twist." It had already been a #1 record in September of 1960, but its popularity was re-ignited when the Peppermint Lounge in New York sparked a national twist craze. Parkway records re-issued Checker's record and it was again on its way to the top. On January 13, 1962, it would gain the distinction of becoming the only record to achieve a #1 ranking for two separate releases.

"Runaround Sue" by Dion was a former #1 hit while Joey Dee's "Peppermint Twist" would eventually gain the top rank. Bobby Vee's "Run to Him" would stall at #2 on December 23rd.

Two other records from the top twenty are notable. Patsy Cline's "Crazy" had peaked at #9 in November, but would eventually be recognized as one of the greatest country songs of all time. At the other end of the spectrum was "Gypsy Woman" which would only graze the top twenty, but some consider one of the best from the soul group, The Impressions.

 

In other news:

  • Grandma Moses died.

  • Joseph P. Kennedy suffered a stroke

  • Brenda Lee was appearing at the Sahara in Las Vegas.

  • The first American helicopters arrived in Vietnam.

  • Barbie's boyfriend Ken is introduced.

  • Reggie White was born.

  • Dean Smith coached his first basketball game at North Carolina.

  • U.S. Army Specialist 4 James T. Davis, 25, of Livingston, Tennessee became the first American combat fatality in the Vietnam War. 

  • Edith Wilson, wife of President Woodrow Wilson, died.

DorisDay and Rock Hudson teamed up for their second time -- can you name the movie?
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