getting windy with john and lew at the tell it like it was a‑go-go

Es­ti­mated reading time is 5 min­utes.

COMING SOON TO A SCREEN NEAR YOU! The Tell It Like It Was A‑Go-Go fea­turing Trini Lopez, Johnny Rivers, and Billy Lee Riley! Yeah, that’s a joke for those of us old enough to re­member the live al­bums from those artists recorded at the Whiskey A‑Go-Go in Los An­geles. But that’s not what this post is about.

For the past few months, I have been in­volved in a rather large project with two other writers, John Ross and Lew Shiner. I as­sem­bled a list of every record to make it to #1 on the Cash Box Top 100 chart from the be­gin­ning of 1960 through the end of 1969. Each title is linked to a recording of that song on YouTube. For each entry, we went about com­menting on the record, the artist, the times, and, even­tu­ally, one an­oth­er’s comments.

It was fun, but it was also a lot of work: at this time, the ten ar­ti­cles have passed 80,000 words and fea­ture more than 200 im­ages and 500 hy­per­links. That’s a lot of work for us—granted, we had fun doing it—and it’s also a lot of reading for someone to take on.

Of course, we’re pretty cer­tain that once you start reading, you’ll have fun, too!

And to get you reading, here is a sample of our ef­forts, al­most 800 words on a record that many “se­rious” rock fans dis­miss without a second thought.

The ques­tion “But do you like it?” fol­lows each entry. There, we use a 3‑star system to ex­press our opin­ions. Ac­tu­ally, a star-shape wasn’t avail­able to us, so we used a di­a­mond (♦). We are not grading the record ala All Music Guide, we are simply stating how much we like a given record. There are ex­cel­lent records that none of us par­tic­u­larly care for, and there are “crappy” records we love.

All of this makes a hel­luva lot more sense if you take a few min­utes and read the “In­tro­duc­tion to The Top­per­most of the Pop­per­most.”





Medium 45 1967 Association Windy 600

July 1–July 8

The As­so­ci­a­tion
Warner Brothers 7041

(3 weeks)

After a rel­a­tively dis­ap­pointing second album and its at­ten­dant sin­gles, “Windy” was the Association’s second #1 record. They reached the Top 10 with two more sides but by the end of 1968, they were has-beens on AM radio Top 40.

There are a handful of records from this time that are now lumped into the sun­shine pop genre (a term that I find ridicu­lous) that are simply great records that don’t have the harder sound or edge we as­so­ciate with most rock music. “Windy” is one such record.

There are a number of records from this time that dealt obliquely with the psy­che­delic ex­pe­ri­ence and are often not rec­og­nized as such by many fans and even his­to­rians. “Windy” is one such record.

While it is wise to as­sume little, it is not un­wise to as­sume that pop songs of the ’60s that men­tion cer­tain words (such as “high” and “stoned”) are making ref­er­ence to smoking mar­i­juana and its ef­fects on most human beings.

Sim­i­larly, any song using the word “trip” or “trip­ping” is sus­pect: that is, one can as­sume the pos­si­bility that the song­writer wanted lis­teners to make some con­nec­tion with LSD and the psy­che­delic experience.


One can as­sume that any pop song from the ’60s using the word “trip” or “trip­ping” that the song­writer wanted lis­teners to make some con­nec­tion with LSD and the psy­che­delic experience.


So, take the lyrics to this song at face value and the song is about a girl named Windy who stum­bles around the streets of the city, smiling at every­body she sees. After enough falls and enough bruised el­bows and knees, the smiling must have been stoic at best.

In­stead, con­sider the lyrics being about a girl named Windy who does lots of acid, and is there­fore al­ways trip­ping down the streets of the city. And if you’ve ever done any trip­ping, you know that smiling at every­body you see comes nat­u­rally! Handing out rain­bows and flying above the clouds isn’t that dif­fi­cult, either.

After one week at #1, “Windy” was bumped out of the top spot and then re­turned to #1 on July 22, 1967, for one more week as the nation’s best-selling record for a total of three weeks at the top.

Lew: The Association’s first big hit, “Along Comes Mary,” didn’t get played in Dallas be­cause some­body de­cided “Mary” was “Mary Jane” (a.k.a mar­i­juana) and they didn’t want to en­danger our youth by sug­gesting that any­thing good could come of this. So the first I heard from them was “Cherish,” in 1966, which I loved.

“Windy,” though it sounded at first like a song about flat­u­lence, charmed me anyway. The As­so­ci­a­tion had more singers than they knew what to do with, in­tri­cate har­monies, and backing by the ever-astonishing Wrecking Crew (Hal Blaine et al.).

What’s not to love?

John: One of the great har­mony groups from harmony’s golden age. I had a brief rock snob phase in my early twen­ties where I at­tempted to dis­miss things like this. Mer­ci­fully, it didn’t take. Un­like Ruby Tuesday, Windy didn’t need saving. I keep hoping I’ll spot her in the park someday.

Neal: Warner Brothers did not seek im­me­diate RIAA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for an of­fi­cial Gold Record Award for “Windy.” This was rec­ti­fied on July 14, 1976, when it re­ceived a Gold Record Award for 1,000,000 sales and a Plat­inum Record Award for 2,000,000 sales.

• Bill­board Top 100 #1: Yes (4 weeks)
• Million-seller: Yes
• RIAA Gold Record: No
• Ac­cu­mu­lated sales: Unknown
• 500 Songs That Shaped Rock: No
• Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: No

But do you like it?
John: ♦ ♦ ♦
Lew : 
♦ ♦ ♦
♦ ♦ ♦


CopsBashDemonstrators 1967 Pentagon 1000

FEA­TURED IMAGE: By 1967, those of us who were paying at­ten­tion began to re­alize that what our gov­ern­ment, or mil­i­tary, and our media were telling us about our boys in Vietnam didn’t add up. Anti-war protests be­came more fre­quent and got a lot bigger. The re­sponse of “them” was more cops, more troops, more vi­o­lence. This photo was taken at a demon­stra­tion at the Pen­tagon. It was a time when we learned that gov­ern­ments who sicced armed troops on un­armed civil­ians weren’t just overseas.


Leave a Comment