Club 99: Billy Williams, “I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You)”
In Club 99, I look at songs that peaked at position #99 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and help to put them into context. Together we can decide if the song deserved more success or got too much.
The Song: “I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You)”
The Artist: Billy Williams
#99 Chart Date: August 4, 1958
Today’s entry is the first #99 in the Billboard Hot 100 era, “I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You)” by Billy Williams. Williams charted several times going back to the mid-1940s, but by far his biggest hit was “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter,” which hit #3 in the summer of 1957. Just over one year later he released “I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You)” as the b-side of “It’s Prayin’ Time.”
In just about every important way, “I’ll Get By” is a carbon copy of his earlier hit. The arrangement, melodies, and vocal gimmicks are purposely meant to evoke and duplicate Williams’ earlier hit.
The record-listening public wasn’t having any of it, however, and the new song peaked at #99 on August 4, 1958, the same week the new Hot 100 debuted.
It’s a decent song compared to others of the era, but loses points for being a total knockoff.
To hear other songs in Club 99, check out my Spotify playlist.