Picture this: The year is 1970, and you’re cruising down the road in your cherry red Cutlass Supreme Convertible with the top down. Wind in your hair and not a care in the world, you flip on the radio. The Top 40 station is back from commercial, so you crank up the volume and you hear… squeaks and splashes??
Fifty years ago, the unthinkable happened in the greatest way. Somehow, the classic Jeff Moss song “Rubber Duckie” found its way onto the Billboard Top 100 Singles chart. Naturally, we all recognize the song today as quite the bop – but it’s impressive that 1970s music enthusiasts had the foresight to see it too.
The song first hit the Billboard chart during the week of August 15th, 1970, but it peaked at #16 exactly 50 years ago this week. As much foresight as our forefathers may have had, they still couldn’t get “Rubber Duckie” up to #1.
So, if “Rubber Duckie” made it to #16, what were the clearly inferior songs that made up #s 1 through 15?? It’s time to set history straight and see if the good people at Billboard (and the record buyers of 1970) made a huge mistake.
Feel free to listen along with this Spotify playlist, starting with “Rubber Duckie” and working our way up to #1!
#15 – “In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry
Of all the songs on the September, 1970 Billboard chart, “In the Summertime” might be the most Muppet-sounding. However, I have to assume that the only reason it beat “Rubber Duckie” is because people got it confused with the Roger Miller song of the same name, which is such a dope song, Jim Henson covered it with his own likeness on The Muppet Show a few years later.
Conclusion: “Rubber Duckie” deserves to appear on this list, while other songs are here in a case of mistaken identity.
#14 – “I (Who Have Nothing)” by Tom Jones
It’s a well-known fact that when song titles put words (in parentheses), those words are optional. Therefore, this song is just called “I”, and it’s not at all about the letter I. And Sesame Street would corner the market on I songs for the next few decades.
Conclusion: “Rubber Duckie” has superior educational value.
#13 – “All Right Now” by Free
Wonder what happened to Free lead singer Paul Rodgers to make him believe that everything is “all right now”? I’ll tell you: He took a bath. And as Ernie told us, a little tub time is all it takes to give you a fresh look at life.
Conclusion: Cleanliness is an easier way to be “all right”.
#12 – “Groovy Situation” by Gene Chandler
I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of many groovier situations than to be submerged in soapy water with your favorite squeaky pal.
Conclusion: Cleanliness is an easier way to be “groovy”.
#11 – “Don’t Play That Song” by Aretha Franklin
Don’t play this song. Play “Rubber Duckie” instead.
Conclusion: Why aren’t we always playing “Rubber Duckie”??
#10 – “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago
Math is not Chicago’s strong suit. Once Ernie’s done with his bath, he can teach them a bit about how 6Q and 4Q can add up to 10Q. You’re welcome.
Conclusion: Nothing on this list actually adds up.
#9 – “(I Know) I’m Losing You” by Rare Earth
Rare Earth wouldn’t be so worried about losing anything if they were in an enclosed porcelain fixture filled with water where the only important items float.
Conclusion: You can’t lose a Rubber Duckie in the bath.
#8 – “Snowbird” by Anne Murray
Is the bird a duck? No? Then forget it, Anne Murray.
Conclusion: Ducks > snowbirds.
#7 – “Candida” by Dawn
Dawn is better known today as “Tony Orlando and Dawn”, a trio with the name of a duo. “Dawn” consists of singers Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent, but sources say that this recording could’ve been any combination of them plus singers Ellie Greenwich, Robin Grean, Leslie Miller, and Linda November. Plus, the album cover (seen above) features four people who did not appear in this song at all. Therefore, at least eleven people got potential credit for a song by a band with one name that would soon become two names to indicate three people. Things are much simpler when we can credit a song to a puppet, a puppeteer, and a squeaking duck.
Conclusion: Dawn is more confusing than a duck.
#6 – “Cracklin’ Rosie” by Neil Diamond
Obviously Neil Diamond wrote this song as an homage to Ernie’s bathtub.
Conclusion: “Rubber Duckie” is the best bathtub-themed song of 1970.
#5 – “Julie, Do Ya Love Me” by Bobby Sherman
Bobby Sherman may as well be singing “Julie, you’re so fine, and I’m lucky that you’re mine.” And it doesn’t even include a lesson about cleanliness! What a hack.
Conclusion: “Rubber Duckie” has soap, water, AND excessive adulation.
#4 – “Patches” by Clarence Carter
Y’know, it occurs to me that we may not actually know Rubber Duckie’s real name. There are many rubber ducks in this world, and maybe the one owned by Ernie would prefer to be called “Patches”. If that’s what this song is about, then I’m good with it being at #4. So let’s see: Patches is… *checks notes* a poor boy who’s forced to take extra jobs to help his family survive after his father dies. So… not a duck.
Conclusion: Songs about ducks are better than songs not about ducks.
#3 – “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
If you’re looking out your back door, then logically someone can look in and see you too. Therefore, it’s unlikely that you’re narrating this song from the bathtub.
Conclusion: Privacy while bathing is important.
#2 – “War” by Edwin Starr
War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.
Rubber Duckie. What is it good for? Absolutely everything.
Conclusion: Say it again, y’all.
#1 – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Diana Ross
No wind, no rain can stop me (baby) if you’re my goal. Especially if you’re a little fellow who’s cute and yellow and chubby.
And there you have it: Fifteen songs that should’ve moved out of the way 50 years ago to allow “Rubber Duckie” to hit that #1 spot on the Billboard charts.
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by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com