John Scott’s Top 40 Songs from Jacksonville
Jacksonville’s contributions to pop music are enormous and sadly, mostly overlooked. This list of Jacksonville’s Top 40 hopes to end the overlooking and start the appreciating. John Scott is part of Jacksonville’s Big Show on 99.1 WQIK on from 5:30AM – 10AM.
40. “Here I Go Again” – Glenn Jones (1992) Jax native Glenn Jones was a mainstay on the R&B Top 40 charts from 1983 through 1994. “Here I Go Again” is his sole number one R&B hit, knocking Vanessa Williams’ “Saving the Best For Last” off of the top spot.
39. “It’s Almost Tomorrow” – The Dream Weavers (1955) The Dream Weavers began as a duo in Miami, but hit their stride as a group while attending the University of Florida. Jackson grad Lee Turner was pianist for the group and another Jacksonville native Eddie Newsom played bass. The group recorded their lone top 10 hit in Jacksonville.
38. “Precious, Precious” – Jackie Moore (1970) A true Jacksonville collaboration, written and produced by Jacksonville’s Dave Crawford, Moore was one of the few southern-style soul hit makers on the R&B charts in the 70s. This, her only song to hit the pop charts, went top 30.
37. “Face Down” – Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (2006) Middleburg rock band debuted with their biggest hit, charting in the top 5 on the Alternative charts and top 25 pop hit helping their debut album go gold.
36. “Whatta Man” – Salt n Pepa with En Vogue (1993) The song was originally written by Jacksonville’s David Campbell, a minor R&B hit in 1968 for Linda Lyndell. With the powerhouse teaming of two of the sassiest trios in R&B/Hip Hop history, this song in its revamped form became a smash.
35. “So Into You” — Atlanta Rhythm Section (1977) The ARS morphed out of the Classics IV, a Jacksonville band that we’ll see later in the countdown; a couple of the Jacksonville natives joined ARS. This slow-cooked brooding southern rock gem typifies the ARS, crack musicians who know how to hit the pocket. A top 5 pop hit.
34. “It Keeps Right on a-Hurtin’” – Johnny Tillotson (1962) Jacksonville-born, Palatka-raised Tillotson had his biggest hit with a self-penned tune inspired by his father’s terminal illness. The song went top 5 on the pop charts and crossed over to be a big country hit that year. It was subsequently covered by over 100 artists.
33. “Butterfly Kisses” – The Raybon Brothers (1997) The ultimate Daddy-Daughter song was written by Bob Carlisle, who also recorded a hit version of the song. But the Raybon Brothers, who spent many years living in Jacksonville, had a gold record with the song and a sizeable country hit. Lead singer Marty Raybon was also lead singer of the group Shenandoah who tracked many country hits from 1988-1995.
32. “Brick House” – Commodores (1977) Often the Commodores are remembered as a vehicle for Lionel Richie ballads. Yes, they had their biggest hits with his great songs, but one of the most memorable of the Commodores’ hits was this funk classic, featuring the lead vocals of Jacksonville’s Walter “Clyde” Orange. Orange also sang lead on their R&B #1 hit, “Nightshift” in 1985.
31. “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” – Scott McKenzie (1967) The song was written by McKenzie’s long-time friend John Phillips of Mamas and the Papas and McKenzie (Jacksonville born – moved at 6 months) sang it. The hippie anthem was written to promote Monterrey Pop Festival but hit a nerve worldwide and sold a reported 7 million copies. McKenzie is a one-hit wonder as a recording artist but did co-write the Beach Boys 1988 hit “Kokomo”.
30.”Live Like You Were Dying” – Tim McGraw (2004) Contrary to popular belief, Tim McGraw was not born here – conceived here? – Yes. His mom got pregnant with then-Jacksonville Suns pitcher Tug McGraw and moved and subsequently bore and raised Tim in Louisiana. His mom moved back to the area after Tim graduated high school and Tim joined her a year later. He worked at Pappa’s nightclub on Beach Blvd for a while before taking off to Nashville. This song is the biggest of an incredibly huge career in country music, transcending the genre to worldwide fame through music and acting.
29. “WOP” – J. Dash (2011) Stanton grad J. Dash’s dance song featuring Flo Rida was a You Tube sensation with nearly 10 million hits, earning him a gold record for downloads.
28. Feudin’ and Fussin’ – Dorothy Shay (1947) Shay was born and raised in Jacksonville and started her career in New York City with a country girl comedy actress/singer act known as the “Park Avenue Hillbilly.” She sold over three million copies of her version of “Feudin’ and Fussin’ in 1947.
27. “Train, Train” – Blackfoot (1979) Blackfoot’s Ricky Medlocke took his Skynyrd roots and segued them into a harder rocking offering he called Blackfoot. This song was a staple on Classic Rock formats, with the smoking harmonica solo intro performed by Ricky’s dad, Shorty, who wrote the song.
26. “Don’t Forbid Me” – Pat Boone (1957) Boone was born in Jacksonville and moved at age 2, but for years he was one of our few claims to fame. Boone found initial fame covering R&B songs for the pop (read: white) audiences, but his chops on pop ballads kept him a superstar throughout the 1950s (second biggest charting act in the decade behind Elvis). Though he had bigger hits, this song makes the list for having what I call a Duval Double Play – the song was written by Jacksonville’s Charlie Singleton (whom we’ll see later). This song hit #1 on the pop charts in ’57.
25. “Rollin’” – Limp Bizkit (2000) The rocking rap sound of Limp Bizkit was best personified in this hit which was a mainstay on the alternative and rock charts in 2000. An interesting story comes from the video, which was filmed atop one of the World Trade Center towers. The band received a letter from the World Trade Center thanking them for featuring the towers in their video. They received the letter on September 10, 2001.
24. “Quarter to Three” – Gary U.S. Bonds (1961) Bonds (born Gary Anderson in Jacksonville) moved at an early age to Virginia. “Quarter to Three” became his only number one song, which he received co-writing credit for arranging the vocals. The song made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 500 Songs That Shaped Rock n Roll.
23. “Soldier Boy” – The Shirelles (1962) Songwriter and Producer Luther Dixon moved to New York at a young age after being born in Jacksonville. He wrote “16 Candles,” a doo wop standard for The Crests and was given reign of writing and producing a new girl group, the Shirelles. With Dixon producing, the Shirelles scored over a dozen hits with many co-written by Dixon, including this one, which peaked at number one. The Shirelles are in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Their architect, Luther Dixon is not. We got Skynyrd in, let’s work on Luther next. Dixon died in his hometown on Jacksonville in 2009.
22. “Strangers in the Night” – Frank Sinatra (1966) – Jacksonville’s Charlie “Hoss” Singleton wrote the words to Frank Sinatra’s last number one hit. The song is one of the most played songs in radio history. This got docked a few notches on its ranking on this list because, though Singleton wrote the lyrics, the most memorable words in this song are Sinatra’s ad-libbed “do-be-do-be-do”’s at the end.
21. “Spooky” – Classics IV (1968) The song was originally an instrumental by a jazz player in Atlanta, then J.R. Cobb and Buddy Buie added words and “Spooky” became an international hit for Jacksonville’s Classics IV. Their most played hit shows up later in the list.
20. “Ocean Avenue” – Yellowcard (2004) The band of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts grads struck gold record status with a song about their hometown. Guitarist Ben Harper said, “”It’s this place where we used to hang out in Jacksonville. Instead of talking about a girl, it’s talking about a scene and a feeling that we want to get back to: hanging out and writing, before we moved to California.” Cherry Street in Riverside is also mentioned.
19. Ramblin’ Man – Allman Brothers (1973) Although Macon is the official home of the Allmans, Jacksonville was the first place the band played as The Allman Brothers Band and drummer Butch Trucks was born and raised here. This is their biggest pop hit, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.
18. “Boys of Summer” – Don Henley (1984) Although Ribault High grad Mike Campbell is best known from his association as Tom Petty’s right hand man in the Heartbreakers, the biggest pop hit he is associated with is this Don Henley classic, which he co-wrote, co-produced and added that signature guitar lick.
17. “Caught Up in You” – 38 Special (1982) 38 Special’s first couple of albums were in the normal Southern Rock vein, good stuff, but it didn’t stand out. Then the Jacksonville band co-wrote with veteran hit songwriter Jim Peterik whose more streamlined, pop radio-friendly songs took 38 Special to platinum status without losing their Southern flair. “Caught Up in You” was number one on the Rock Charts and a top 10 Pop Hit.
16. “Whoot, There it Is” – 95 South (1993) The Jacksonville duo of AB and Daddy Black drove this Miami sound to a top 20 hit. The bigger hit came from an Atlanta group Tag Team, whose similarly titled “Whoomp, there it is” was the massive hit most people know.
15. “Higher and Higher” – Rita Coolidge (1977) Of all the songs from Jacksonville, I would’ve never pegged this one to be one of the most played songs in radio history, yet here it is, amassing over 6 millions plays on radio. The laid-back lite R&B groove of the Jackie Wilson song was the biggest hit in Jackson grad Rita Coolidge’s career.
14. “Oh, Pretty Woman” – Roy Orbison (1964) Robert Nix is the only person to make it on this list in three separate incarnations. He is represented already as a member of Atlanta Rhythm Section and Classics IV and makes it here on one of THE Rock n Roll classics. That unmistakable snare drum is Robert Nix, making the first noise for Roy’s best known song.
13. “Flirtin’ with Disaster” – Molly Hatchet (1979) The title track to the band’s second album is a thundering Southern Rock anthem. Danny Joe Brown’s gruff vocals and Dave Hlubek’s blisteringly tight solos put Hatchet square on the rock and roll map, helping take the album double platinum.
12. “Tootsee Roll” – 69 Boyz (1994) “to the left, to the left” this ubiquitous dance classic comes from a group of Ribault High School guys whose Miami sound was THE sound of hip hop in ’94, it went platinum.
11. “That Ol’ Black Magic “– Billy Daniels (1950) Many versions of this song have been recorded, but few can lay claim to it like Jacksonville’s Billy Daniels. Daniels left Jacksonville to attend Columbia University and made his mark in the nightclubs of New York, Vegas and worldwide. His version of the Arlen/Mercer tune sold in the millions making Daniels one of the first African American stars to crossover to the mainstream.
10. “C’Mon and Ride It (The Train)” – Quad City DJs (1996) The guys who brought us “Whoot, There it Is” as 95 South show up as the Quad City DJ’s, giving us this double platinum single that can still be heard at sporting events around the world.
9. “Traces” – Classics IV (1969) Lead singer Dennis Yost had one of the most recognizable voices in pop music and his “tear-in-the-eye” vocals were perfect to this sentimental gem that is one of the top 20 most played songs in radio history.
8. “Joy to the World” – Three Dog Night (1971) – Hoyt Axton cannot even claim to have the biggest song of his family on this list (his mom trumped him at number 4), but the songwriter made his mark as a writer and later performer, especially here on his song that Three Dog Night made into the number one song of 1971.
7. “Feel So Good” – Mase (1997) Mason Betha (Mase) was born in Jacksonville, moved to Harlem, then back to Jacksonville for a short time, attending Robert E. Lee High. Upon his return to New York City, he connected with Sean Combs’ Bad Boy Productions and this, his debut single went platinum. His later collaborations with Diddy and Notorious B.I.G. landed him as one of the superstars of hip hop in the late 90s.
6. “Second Chance” – Shinedown (2008) Shinedown formed here in 2001 and began their recording career in 2003 to instant success that built by their third album to include this song which shattered every chart record they had achieved. It was number one on various charts and top 10 on the pop charts, attaining double platinum status. Lead singer Brent Smith said the song was about “the moment you wake up and decide you want to go for every single dream you ever wanted.”
5. “What’d I Say” – Ray Charles (1959) Charles lived in the LaVilla area of town for a little over a year(1946-7), after spending 8 years at Florida School for the Blind in St Augustine. He married gospel and R&B and invented “soul music”. This song was originally improvised after Charles’ shows and received such reaction from the audience that he recorded it. It was his first crossover in to the pop charts and is widely considered one of the most influential songs in American popular music history.
4. “Heartbreak Hotel” – Elvis Presley (1956) Mae Boren Axton was a teacher at Paxon; she was also a songwriter. She co-wrote this with Tommy Durden after seeing an article about a man whose suicide note read “I walk a lonely street.” Axton knew Elvis’ manager, the song got to him, and “Heartbreak Hotel” became Elvis Presley’s first number one pop hit, selling millions.
3. “Free Bird” – Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974) The song known as a punch line to encores (FREEEEEE BIRRRRRD) is still as majestic and invigorating to me nearly 40 years after it was released. It really is hard to quantify the magnitude this song has on the rock n roll landscape. The studio version begins with the funereal organ that morphs into the perfectly mixed jam at the end; the live version shows the imperfection of the mix, losing some of the dynamics of the guitars but still captivates. What else can you say? Just light your lighter, or hold up your cell phone….no, you need to light your lighter for this one.
2. “Georgia on My Mind” – Ray Charles (1960) The song was written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell in 1930 and many versions have been recorded. And though, I haven’t heard every version, undoubtedly, THE version of this song was not released until 1960 when Ray Charles made it his own. The song, on the strength of Charles’ version, has become the official state song of Georgia (Ray’s birth state) and one of the all-time classic recordings. Charles’ Jacksonville connection was his years-long stay at the Florida School for the Blind in St. Augustine and the subsequent years he spent in Jacksonville after quitting school, where he literally invented “soul” music.
1. “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974) If you would have asked anyone in the mid-1970s, “which song do you think will be more popular throughout the years than it is now?” it is doubtful “Sweet Home Alabama” would have shown up anywhere on that list. But it is what it is. “Sweet Home Alabama” has a life of its own; from its humble beginnings as a reply to Neil Young’s “Southern Man”, it has lived on Classic Rock, classic Hits, Oldies and Country formats, not to mention the loudest sound heard during Jacksonville Jaguars games is when it is played in the stadium. It has sold millions. Its enduring popularity shows in that it is the second most downloaded song ever to be originally released in the 20th century (second only to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”). When the iconic guitar-picked intro comes on, I still cannot help but smile and of course shout along with Ronnie Van Zant, “turn it up.