Top 40 Smash Taps: “I (Who Have Nothing)”

These posts are about the songs that can accurately claim to crossed the key line of chart success, becoming Top 40 hits on Billboard, but just barely. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 40.

“I (Who Have Nothing)” reached the Billboard Top 40 on three different occasions. The first, and arguably now best known, version was by Ben E. King and released in 1963. Seven years later, Tom Jones carried the song close to the Top 10. By the end of the nineteen-seventies, every last page of the pop music songbook was up for grabs again, as long as the performer was ready to transform it into disco. In the case of this Italian song by way of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the person ready to turn the beat around with it was Sylvester. Born Sylvester James, Jr. the performer churned out a steady stream of singles through the second half of the decade, including a pair of tracks that topped the dance charts and crossed, ever so gingerly, in the main Top 40. “I (Who Have Nothing)” was the follow-up to those singles. It wound up as his final trip to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #40. While there was no more true crossover success, Sylvester remained a regular presence on the dance charts through the next decade, landing a #1 as late as 1986. Sylvester died in 1988, a casualty of the AIDS epidemic. Before his death, Sylvester became a vocal advocate, joining those demanding greater, more urgent attention to the quest for a cure, or at least viable treatment. Sylvester managed to keep that activism going posthumously, dictating that future royalties from his music be distributed to various AIDS charities in the San Francisco area.

Previously…

“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.
“I’m in Love” by Evelyn King
“Buy Me a Rose” by Kenny Rogers
“Who’s Your Baby” by The Archies
“Me and Bobby McGee” by Jerry Lee Lewis
“Angel in Blue” by J. Geils Band
“Crazy Downtown” by Allan Sherman
“I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Rhythm of Love” by Yes
“Naturally Stoned” by the Avant-Garde
“Come See” by Major Lance
“Your Old Standby” by Mary Wells
“See the Lights” by Simple Minds
“Watch Out For Lucy” by Eric Clapton
“The Alvin Twist” by Alvin and the Chipmunks
“Love Me Tender” by Percy Sledge
“Jennifer Eccles” by the Hollies
“Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Olympics
“The Bounce” by the Olympics
“Your One and Only Love” by Jackie Wilson
“Tell Her She’s Lovely” by El Chicano
“The Last Time I Made Love” by Joyce Kennedy and Jeffrey Osborne
“Limbo Rock” by The Champs
“Crazy Eyes For You” by Bobby Hamilton
“Who Do You Think You’re Foolin'” by Donna Summer
“Violet Hill” and “Lost+” by Coldplay
“Freight Train” by the Chas. McDevitt Skiffle Group
“Sweet William” by Little Millie Small
“Live My Life” by Boy George
“Lessons Learned” by Tracy Lawrence
“So Close” by Diana Ross
“Six Feet Deep” by the Geto Boys
“You Thrill Me” by Exile
“What Now” by Gene Chandler
“Put It in a Magazine” by Sonny Charles
“Got a Love for You” by Jomanda
“Stone Cold” by Rainbow
“People in Love” by 10cc
“Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)” by the Four Tops
“Thinkin’ Problem” by David Ball
“You Got Yours and I’ll Get Mine” and “Trying to Make a Fool of Me” by the Delfonics
“The Riddle (You and I)” by Five for Fighting
“I Can’t Wait” by Sleepy Brown
“Nature Boy” by Bobby Darin
“Give It to Me Baby” and “Cold Blooded” by Rick James
“Who’s Sorry Now?” by Marie Osmond
“A Love So Fine” by the Chiffons
“Funky Y-2-C” by the Puppies
“Brand New Girlfriend” by Steve Holy
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” by Bonnie Pointer
“Mr. Loverman” by Shabba Ranks
“I’ve Never Found a Girl” by Eddie Floyd
“Plastic Man” and “Happy People” by the Temptations
“Okay” by Nivea
“Go On” by George Strait
“Back When My Hair Was Short” by Gunhill Road
“Birthday Party” by the Pixies Three
“Livin’ in the Life” by the Isley Brothers
“Kissing You” by Keith Washington
“The End of Our Road” by Marvin Gaye
“Ticks” and “Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley
“Nobody But You Babe” by Clarence Reid
“Like a Sunday in Salem” by Gene Cotton
“I’m Going to Let My Heart Do the Walking” by the Supremes
“Call Me Lightning” by the Who
“Ain’t It True” by Andy Williams
“Lazy Elsie Molly” and “Let’s Do the Freddie” by Chubby Checker
“Second Fiddle” by Kay Starr
“1999” by Prince
“I’ll Try Anything” by Dusty Springfield
“Oh Happy Day” by Glen Campbell
“I’d Love to Change the World” by Ten Years After
“Friends” and “Married Men” by Bette Midler
“Spice of Life” by the Manhattan Transfer
“You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd” by Roger Miller
“Don’t Pity Me” by Dion and the Belmonts
“Ask Me No Questions” by B.B. King
“Can’t Leave ‘Em Alone” by Ciara
“All I Really Want to Do” by the Byrds
“Love Rollercoaster” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Just a Little” by Brenda Lee
“Sweet Maxine” by the Doobie Brothers
“Where You Lead” and “The Way He Makes Me Feel” by Barbra Streisand
“Charity Ball” by Fanny
“I’m Comin’ Home” by Tommy James
“I’m Goin’ In” by Drake
“Your Time to Cry” by Joe Simon
“We’re Free” by Beverly Bremers
“The Resurrection Shuffle” by Ashton, Gardner and Dyke
“It Should Have Been Me” by Gladys Knight
“Still Crazy After All These Years” and “One-Trick Pony” by Paul Simon

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6 comments on “Top 40 Smash Taps: “I (Who Have Nothing)”
  1. […] Crazy After All These Years” and “One-Trick Pony” by Paul Simon —“I (Who Have Nothing)” by […]

  2. […] Crazy After All These Years” and “One-Trick Pony” by Paul Simon —“I (Who Have Nothing)” by Sylvester —“Breakdown” by Tom Petty and the […]

  3. […] Crazy After All These Years” and “One-Trick Pony” by Paul Simon —“I (Who Have Nothing)” by Sylvester —“Breakdown” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers […]

  4. […] Crazy After All These Years” and “One-Trick Pony” by Paul Simon —“I (Who Have Nothing)” by Sylvester —“Breakdown” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers […]

  5. […] Crazy After All These Years” and “One-Trick Pony” by Paul Simon —“I (Who Have Nothing)” by Sylvester —“Breakdown” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers […]

  6. […] Crazy After All These Years” and “One-Trick Pony” by Paul Simon —“I (Who Have Nothing)” by Sylvester —“Breakdown” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers […]

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