These posts are about the songs that just barely failed to cross the key line of chart success, entering the Billboard Top 40. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 41.
In 1966, Dean Martin appeared in four feature films (in a starring role as randy secret agent Matt Helm in two of them), hosted thirty-three episodes of the variety show that bore his name, was named “Man of the Year” by the Country Music Association, and released at least five albums of new material, with a few more compilations and collaborations added to the record racks. Back then, working in show business meant you punched in every day.
A lot of albums also meant a lot of singles. Although Martin’s easy listening groove wasn’t exactly aligned with the prevailing pop sensibility in the year the Beatles released Revolver, Martin did manage to push two of those singles into the Billboard Top 40. And one more just missed.
“A Million and One” was already a hit in 1966, albeit on the country music chart. Billy Walker took a slow-twang version of the song, penned by Yvonne Devaney, to the runner-up position. Vic Dana also took a crack at the song in 1966, stalling out in the seventies on the Billboard chart. Included on the album The Hit Sound of Dean Martin, the Rat Packer’s version went the highest on the main chart, peaking at #41.
Other entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Top 40 Smash Near Misses” tag.