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Billboard Top 20, February 23, 1959
Rank..Previous .. # Weeks .. Title .. Artist

#1 .. 1 / 12 Stagger Lee----------------Lloyd Price
#2 .. 3 / 14 Donna----------------Ritchie Valens
#3 .. 2 / 14 Sixteen Candles----------------The Crests
#4 .. 5 / 10 The All American Boy----------------Bill Parsons
#5 .. 20 / 4 Charlie Brown----------------The Coasters
#6 .. 14 / 12 I Cried A Tear----------------LaVern Baker
#7 .. 12 / 8 Tall Paul----------------Annette
#8 .. 13 / 7 Petite Fleur----------------Chris Barber’s Jazz Band
#9 .. 7 / 14 Lonely Teardrops----------------Jackie Wilson
#10 .. 16 / 8 Peter Gunn----------------Ray Anthony
#11 .. 6 / 11 My Happiness----------------Connie Francis
#12 .. 4 / 15 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes----------------The Platters
#13 .. 11 / 9 Hawaiian Wedding Song----------------Andy Williams
#14 .. 10 / 12 Manhattan Spiritual----------------Reg Owen
#15 .. 9 / 14 Gotta Travel On----------------Billy Grammer
#16 .. 8 / 11 Goodbye Baby----------------Jack Scott
#17 .. 18 / 7 Children's Marching Song----------------Mitch Miller
#18 .. 25 / 5 I've Had It----------------The Bell Notes
#19 .. 15 / 7 Children's Marching Song------------Cyril Stapleton
#20 .. 19 / 10 (All Of A Sudden) My Heart Sings----Paul Anka

 

Lloyd Price's "Stagger Lee" was the number one song for its third of four weeks, but the real story was the rise of "Donna" to its top spot on the Billboard chart as it reached #2 -- this was just three weeks after Ritchie Valens died in the plane crash in Iowa. It was Valens's only top ten record. But the flip side secured Valens's reputation as a rock legend as he took a traditional Mexican song and gave it a driving rock rhythm. It peaked at #22, but stood the test of time and was cited as #98 of VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of Rock and Roll." Los Lobos had a #1 version of the song in 1987 when it was included in the movie bio of Valens, appropriately titled "La Bamba."

Price's "Stagger Lee" was also a product of an adaptation. "Stack-O-Lee" was an old blues standard originally written in the 1920's about an actual shooting. It was Price's only #1 record.

The only other #1 song in the top twenty from 2/23/1959 was "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" which had achieved the top spot in January. Along with "Donna," there were three other songs that achieved runner-up status: "Sixteen Candles," and "The All American Boy" had been there in January and "Charlie Brown" would reach #2 in March.

n other news:

  • Danny Ainge was born

  • Texas Instruments applied for a patent of the integrated circuit

  • Jimi Hindricks was fired from his first band in Seattle -- he played "too wildly."

  • On the same day "the music died," an American Airlines plane crashed into the East River killing 65 persons

  • John McEnroe was born

  • The FBI seized 51 bags of heroin,worth an estimated $500,000 from a Capital Airlines Viscount plane in New York. 
This Disney film was #1 at the box office in February, 1959 -- can you name it?
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