This week’s selection first appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1965, rising to a #3 ranking, and remains one of the most widely recognized songs by one of the most successful groups in history. Many cover versions have been recorded, including a 1985 release that also reached the #3 ranking on the Billboard Hot 100. This song appears on The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list, and in 2004 was ranked at #71 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
This week’s selection also had international appeal, rising to the following rankings in other countries: Canada – #2 in RPMs national chart; Rhodesia – #2; Sweden – #6; Australia – #8, and #1 in South Africa, remaining in the top slot for six weeks. This song has reportedly received between four and five million radio plays in the United States alone, making it this group’s most lucrative source of royalties.
This song has been prominently referenced by other artists on multiple occasions. Most notably, the Beatles’ “Back in the U.S.S.R.” is considered an homage to the song. This week’s selection is also included in the soundtracks of the 1985 James Bond movie, “A View to Kill”, and at the beginning of “Rush Hour 2”, during which Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker sing along with the song which is playing on the radio at the time. This song also appears twice during “Rush Hour 3”, first as a ringtone, and later on a French singer performs the song. In “Saved by the Bell”, Principal Belding tells Zack that this song is his all-time favorite and walks off the screen, humming the song.