Our friend Jerry Osborne responded to a reader question and explained how CASHBOX and Billboard differed over the years.

DEAR JERRY: Recently I asked about the highest ranking tune on Cash Box that never appeared on Billboard.

You replied that "The Letter," by Wayne Newton, lasted 31 weeks on the Cash Box Top 100, and, in December 1992, even reached No. 1. Amazingly, Wayne's song did not chart at all on Billboard.

Now I'm knocking on your door again, with the flip side of the issue.

What is the highest ranking tune on Billboard, that never appeared on Cash Box?

DEAR C.J.: Yeah, I recognized your distinctive knock. C'mon in.

There are several different answers to this question, each with disclaimers and fine print.

The immediate answer is Craig Mack's "Flava in Ya Ear" (Bad Boy 79001). It peaked at No. 9 on Billboard's Hot 100 in November 1994, went platinum, and somehow never appeared on the Cash Box survey.

In late '94, however, the Cash Box operation was in decline, and just 24 months later (Nov. 16, 1996) they published their final issue. (Cashbox re-emerged as an Internet magazine in 2006.)

As the end drew near, it is certainly possible less research was put into developing their charts, thus making comparisons to the newly revamped Billboard Hot 100 suspect.

How they overlooked "Flava in Ya Ear" is unknown, yet they and Billboard both chart his follow-up, "Get Down," coincidentally with a remix of "Flava in Ya Ear" on the flip side (Bad Boy 79012).

Perhaps we should reboot our research.

Since the first full year of Billboard Top 100 charts was 1956, it makes more sense to begin then, and continue through 1989.

Even with new parameters, there are nagging issues — significant differences between the two magazines that might, for our purpose, disqualify some highly-charted singles.

1. The biggest variance is the Cash Box policy, before September 1965, of combining numerous versions of the same song at one chart position. The focus then was strictly based on the popularity of songs, not the artists.

Sharing that philosophy was the long-running TV show, "Your Hit Parade." They counted down the nation's Top 10 songs, indifferent to whose versions were the best sellers.

2. Then there was Billboard's separate Disc Jockey chart, published up until the week before they introduced the Hot 100 (August 1958). The Jockey chart sometimes included versions of songs by artists other than those with the biggest hit versions on the Best Sellers and Top 100 charts.

3. Billboard discontinued including Christmas records on the Hot 100 after 1962.

4. Cash Box sometimes included EPs on their singles charts, while Billboard usually listed individual tracks from those EPs.

With all that in mind, here are the candidates for highest peaking records exclusive to each magazine's singles charts (1956 through 1989).


Remember, "The Letter" (1992) is now out of the picture.

"Snoopy's Christmas," by The Royal Guardsmen (Laurie 3416), peaked at No. 10 on Cash Box in December 1967. It could, however, be disqualified because Christmas records were disallowed on Billboard's Hot 100.

Elvis Presley's "King Creole" EP (RCA Victor EPA-4319) peaked at No. 20 on the Cash Box Top 100 in September 1958. None of the four individual tracks on the EP ("King Creole"; "New Orleans"; "As Long As I Have You"; "Lover Doll") charted on the Hot 100, but at that time Billboard did not include EPs on that chart, so this one might not qualify.

If those two are eliminated, then the answer is "Kid Stuff," by the McGuire Sisters (Coral 61771). It peaked at No. 36 on the February 23, 1957 Cash Box Best Sellers chart, yet never appeared on any Billboard charts.


Determining which records qualify gets even more complicated.

If the pre-Hot 100 Disc Jockey charts are included, then it's "Silhouettes," by the Diamonds (Mercury 71197). This peaked at No. 10 on the DJ chart in November 1957 even though their version reached only No, 60 on Billboard's Top 100 chart.

"Silhouettes" was also affected by Cash Box's policy of listing more than one version of a song. The Rays recording was the only one designated a "best-selling version" on Cash Box. Whether the Diamonds' version would have charted had sales for each version been compiled separately is unknown.

The same mystery applies to two others in the 1950s:

"A Theme from the Threepenny Opera (Mack The Knife)," by Louis Armstrong (Columbia 40587), peaked at No. 20 on Billboard's Top 100 in March 1956, and Lawrence Welk's "Last Date" (Dot 16145) reached No. 21 on the Hot 100 in December 1960.

If the above three are eliminated, the next contender is "Topsy I," by Cozy Cole (flip side of "Topsy II," the smash hit ).

Since Billboard and Cash Box listed both titles of double-sided hits separately at the time, the absence of "Topsy I" on the Cash Box Top 100, and its peak position of No. 27 on Billboard, makes it the highest ranking Billboard-only song, without competing versions.

Cash Box specifically showed "Topsy II" on their charts, so there was never a thought of combining the two parts into the same listing

A gigantic "thank you" is extended to Cash Box archivist, Randy Price, for sharing his valuable research with us this week. Without Randy's input, I probably wouldn't have attempted a reply to this question.

Christian St. James
is on

Visit his website here
Newberry Opera House

North Platte, Nebraska, humorist James Larson, has written five new songs available at
James-Larson.com. they are:
Doctor Doctor, Hillary's Brain, Rush Limbaugh on the E.I.B., Duck Dynasty, Bigfoot, and a few serious songs Bring our P.O.W.s Home, Heaven Is For Real, Jesus, and A Labor of Love

Greg Finch Ministries

For some great award winning gospel music visit his website!
Just click the picture

Christian Gospel Artist
RC Kouba

Gospel Meets Southern Rock & Roll
Mark Bush and his Hit Song
"Dusty King James"

Listen to the song and an Interview with 
Mark Bush

GRAMMY® Winner Michael W. Smith Invites Host of A-List Performers to Join Him on New Christmas Record Michael W. Smith & Friends: The Spirit of Christmas, Available September 30

Greg Finch talks to CASHBOX about his New hit song 
"I Like Chicken and Biscuits"

Hear the Interview Here

Bob Seger's#1 Album


Ray Sanders was born in Hardin County, Kentucky in a log cabin home that was said to be a bit like the one Abe Lincoln was born in. His education in his younger years took place in schools in Kentucky, but college took him to Texas Western in El Paso, Texas where he got interested in the western way of life. At one time six foot two Ray said he wanted to make a home in the southwest someday.

While he was in El Paso, he said in an article in an old Cowboy Songs magazine that he started working at KHEY which was a 10,000 watt station back then. The station booked him for personal appearances all around the southwest in places such as El Paso, Tucson, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico and more.

He came back to Kentucky and worked with WLEX-TV out of Lexington. Later on, he was singing on the Mutual Radio Network. That got him in touch with many folks in the business and one of them was Hal Smith from Nashville, Tennesse. He got Ray a recording contract with Cullman Records and was booked on tours throughout the country.

When he got to appear on the WSM Grand Ole Opry, it got the attention of Libery Records who signed him to their roster and because of that, he moved to Hollywood to work on his recordings. Of the first six records he did with Liberty, he had seven songs hit the national charts. They reported that one disc jockey poll voted him number six best new singer.

In addition to his music interests, Ray had some business interests as well as being a writer and an electronic technician.

Some of the records that he did that did well for him included, "Dynamite", "Walking Blues" and "This Time". In 1959, he did a tune with the backup of the Jorndanaires - "I Can't Resist You" b/w "I'm So Afraid".

Listen to a great new Hillside Records release from the legendary 
Ray Sanders

Little Heart Of Dixie

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We are pleased to bring you our exclusive interviews by long time CASHBOX interviewer 
Bob Sands. Click here.

We conducted an interview  with songwriter Johnny Spears. Johnny is a key figure in a song ownership dispute that has been playing out in a CASHBOX Exposed column. You will be able to hear Mr. Spears speak first hand about his inspiration for the song in question.  Click here for the interview.

Longtime friend of CASHBOX 
Rock legend Tommy James of Tommy James and the Shondells
offers a behind the scenes look at the creative process in the music business, including songwriting, recording and everything involved. Click the picture to visit his page for links to his
 "Inside Tracks" Series.

This is how we looked in the 1950's

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