This week I bring you another one of those classic soul songs that I just couldn’t stop listening to back in the day. I played the 45 over and over at home, and when I was in a place that had a jukebox, the song demanded my spare change like a homeless man outside an Acoustic ’80s gig in the Village. The single was so infectious that I just had to hear more, resulting in one of my very first album purchases. It’s one of those albums that I managed to lose over the years, but that’s it, over there on the left.
“Tossin’ and Turnin'” was no minor hit. The Bobby Lewis single, released on Beltone Records, made it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 10, 1961, and remained ensconced there for seven consecutive weeks. It was Billboard’s #1 single of the year, and in 2008, Billboard named “Tossin’ and Turnin'” the 27th biggest song of all time. The song has been covered a number of times, most notably by Steve Goodman, the Replacements, and Peter Criss, and it made a memorable appearance on the soundtrack of the 1978 film Animal House.
Bobby Lewis’ follow-up single, “One Track Mind,” gave him a second Top Ten single in 1961. He never had another major hit, though he continued to be a regular performer on the oldies circuit into the ’90s.