Friday, November 16, 2018

Song you should hear 11/16/18 - "Thursday" from Jess Glynne

(I meant this to be my song you should hear from yesterday, but due to the storm, didn't get to it. But it's so damn good, I can't pass it for a whole week, so better late than pregnant...)

"Thursday" is the new single from British soul-pop singer Jess Glynne. It's the third release from her album Always In Between, following top ten hits "I'll Be There" and "All I Am". Written by Jess with Ed Sheeran and producer Steve McCutcheon, the inspiring song urges you to embrace your beauty within. With her voice stripped from the neo-house thump she's accustomed to, the record is a fresh look at an oft-covered topic...

But for those of you needing a bop to start the weekend, Colin Jay and RYAN have transformed the song into a club banger...

Songoftheday 11/16/18 - Like a river flows surely to the sea, darling so it goes some things are meant to be...

"Can't Help Falling In Love With You" - UB40
from the album Promises & Lies and Sliver: Music From The Motion Picture (1993)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (seven weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 23

Today's song of the day comes from the British reggae band UB40, whose 1989 album Labour Of Love II had landed them two top ten pop hits in America with remakes of the Temptations' "The Way You Do The Things You Do" and Al Green's "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)". In 1993, the group returned with their tenth album Promises & Lies, which was almost all original material save for one cover. But that cover ended up being released as the first single and becoming the biggest hit of their career. "Can't Help Falling In Love", written by Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore, with George David Weiss, was adapted from a French love ditty from almost the time of the French Revolution. But in the modern era, it was best known from being performed by the King himself, Elvis Presley, who included it in his Blue Hawaii movie. It reached #2 on the American pop chart and spent six weeks on top of Billboard magazine's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio format list...

UB40 took that delicate and emotionally somber number and pumped it up with a bright production that could feel comfortable at a parade in New Orleans...

UB40's version of "Can't Help Falling In Love" became their second #1 pop hit in America in July of 1993. The record also came within a notch of reaching the top ten on both the Modern Rock and Adult Contemporary charts in Billboard magazine (#11). Internationally, the single topped the charts in the UK, Australia, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, New Zealand, and Finland. It also went to #2 in Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland, #4 in Norway, and #5 in France.

It would be their last song to reach the pop top-40 in the U.S. - follow-up single "Higher Ground" went to #14 on the Modern Rock chart, but stalled at #45 on the pop Hot 100. That song did much better overseas, getting to #8 in the UK and New Zealand, and #9 in the Netherlands and Ireland. The album scored three more top-40 hits in Britain: "Bring Me Your Cup" (#24), "C'est La Vie" (#37), and "Reggae Music" (#28). But by the time of the next album, Guns In The Ghetto in 1997, America had left the band behind, although track "Tell Me If It's True", with a little help of its placement on the Speed 2: Cruise Control movie, got to #14 in the UK. Even another covers release, Labour Of Love III, couldn't earn American attention, although in their homeland they landed their most recent top 10 hit with "Come Back Darling" (#10) in 1998.

The band was running on fumes in the new millenium already, with only a remake of the Manhattan's soul ballad "Kiss and Say Goodbye" from their 2005 album Who You Fighting For? reaching the British top-40 at #19. In 2008, lead singer Ali Campbell left the group, who eventually replaced him with his own brother Duncan. Meanwhile, Ali carried on with an off-brand version of UB40 with former members Astro and Mickey Virtue. The remaining members' most recent studio album, Getting Over The Storm, was released in 2013 and got to #29 on the British albums chart.

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Disco Dessert 11/15/18 - "Flight From Versailles" from Grand Tour...

"Flight From Versailles" is a track from Canadian disco act Grand Tour. Led by producers Willi Morrison and Ian Guenther, who were the pair behind the T.H.P. Orchestra, Grand Tour was put together for the act's sole album, On Such A Winter's Day. Based around the season, it was like nothing else in the genre, as disco normally celebrating those hotter summer nights. Released in 1977, three tracks from On A Winter's Day charted together on Billboard magazine's Disco/Dance Tracks chart, climbing as high as #9. Although with "Flight From Versailles" was "Late November" and a cover of the Mamas & The Papas' classic "California Dreamin'"...

And here's the whole album, for fireplace listening...

Songoftheday 11/15/18 - I wannagirl who always has the time, to send my world and count the stars above...

"Wannagirl" - Jeremy Jordan 
from the album Try My Love (1993)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #28 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 6

Today's song of the day comes from "teen idol" actor and singer Jeremy Jordan, who parlayed his success on the soap opera Beverly Hills, 90210 into a big debut pop hit with "The Right Kind Of Love", which reached the American pop chart's top 20 in the spring of 1993. Jordan's next single would be another uptempo dance-pop ditty, "Wannagirl". Written by Tony Haynes and Keith Thomas, it would follow his first hit up the charts, if only for one more time. But man, that's the most awkward beginning of a music video that I can recall..

"Wannagirl" became Jeremy's second and final chart pop hit in the States, reaching the top-40 in June of 1993. Internationally, the single also reached the top-40 in Australia at #22, while just missing the mark in Canada (although being his biggest hit there) at #42. A third single from his album, the title track "Try My Love", got to #72 Down Under. Since then, he's been more productive as an actor, with roles in Drew Barrymore's Never Been Kissed and Nicholas Cage's Oscar-winning Leaving Las Vegas in his credits.

Up tomorrow: British reggae stars revive The King.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Disco Dessert 11/14/18 - "Get Up And Boogie" from Freddie James...

"Get Up And Boogie" was the biggest hit single for young singer Freddie James, who was only fourteen years old when this record was released. This song climbed to #5 on Billboard magazine's Disco/Dance Tracks chart in 1979. Freddie's mom, Geraldine Hunt, was also a singer, and she topped that same chart a year after her son with "Can't Fake The Feeling". Also, his sister Rosalind was one half of the duo Cheri, who reached the pop top-40 and again topped the dance chart for three weeks with "Murphy's Law" in 1982. "Get Up And Boogie" came from his debut LP of the same name. The track was a bigger hit in Europe, reaching #1 in Belgium, and #3 in the Netherlands, where this TV clip was aired. It never made the American pop chart, but it got to #24 in Canada...

Song you should hear 11/14/18 - "The Big Unknown" from Sade...

"The Big Unknown" is the new single from jazz-soul queen and her band Sade, who returns from a long absence (save a track for Oprah Winfrey's Wrinkle In Time movie). Again, this is a movie contribution, this time for Steve McQueen's film adaptation of the British TV serial Widows starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, and Carrie Coon that comes out on Friday in the States. Sade is in peak melancholic form on this beautiful track that captures the despair felt by the women (well, mostly) in the piece. We're still waiting for the follow-up to her last album, 2010's Soldier Of Love...

Songoftheday 11/14/18 - Come here tell me what you're thinking of is he real have you found another love? How long must we play this masquerade?

"Girl I've Been Hurt" - Snow
from the album 12 Inches Of Snow (1993)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #19 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9

Today's song of the day comes from the Canadian reggae-rapper Snow, who had landed a massive left-field hit with the jailbird track "Informer", which spent seven weeks at #1 in the spring of 1993. For his follow-up the man born Darrin O'Brien released a more subdued (and more satisfying) song. "Girl I've Been Hurt", written by Snow with Edmond Leary and Shawn Moltke, was a minor-key gem about breaking up that was a good counterpart to his earlier hit, substituted his toasting with all singing...

"Girl I've Been Hurt" became Snow's second and so far last top-40 pop hit in the U.S. in June of 1993. The song also climbed to #78 on Billboard magazine's R&B chart. Internationally, the single hit #10 in Portugal, while reaching the top 40 in New Zealand (#17), Ireland (#20), Iceland (#24), Australia (#26), Canada (#28), the Netherlands (#28), Belgium (#30), and Sweden (#37). It was a minor hit in the UK, peaking at #48. A third release from 12 Inches of Snow, "Uhh In You", did manage to break to British chart at #67.

In 1995, Snow released his sophomore effort, Murder Love; while the set was ignored by pop radio, it actually grew his fanbase in the reggae community. Topping Billboard's Reggae Albums chart, it's sole charting single in Canada, "Sexy Girl", only made it to #80.  Two years later, his third set, Justuss, became his third and last album to made the Reggae Albums chart at #12. But in 2000, he returned with a song, the acoustic rock of "Everybody Wants To Be Like You", that would be his highest-charting his in his Canadian home, getting to #2. He had his last hit there a couple years later with "Legal" from his Two Hands Clapping record in 2002, which scaled to #13.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Disco Dessert 11/13/18 - "Never Gonna Say Goodbye" from Poussez!

"Never Gonna Say Goodbye" was a cut on the album Poussez! from disco act Poussez. Put together by American producer and musician Alphonse Mouzon, the studio singers lead by Christine Shire, they went to #15 on Billboard magazine's Disco/Dance Tracks chart with the entire album.

Song you should hear 11/13/18 - "Heat" from Kelly Clarkson...

"Heat" is the third single from Kelly Clarkson's Meaning Of Life album. With a new remix from British DJ Luke Solomon, the track arrives over a year after lead single "Love So Soft", which earned her a Grammy nomination for Pop Vocal Performance...

...and here's the funky Luke Solomon Remix....

Songoftheday 11/13/18 - Mista Busta where the fuck you at? Can't scrap a lick so I know ya got your gat...

"Dre Day" - Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg
from the album The Chronic (1992)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #8 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14

Today's song of the day comes from rapper and producer Dr. Dre, who had struck out on his own after his stint in one of the most influential hip-hop acts of all time, N.W.A., in the early 1990s. In the spring of 1993, Dre landed at the runner-up spot on the American pop chart with "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang". For his next single, Dre retitled his Chronic track "Fuck wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')" to just "Dre Day" to make it more palatable to mainstream radio to play the very edited version that basically was a diss track to all his enemies at the time. Luke Campbell, Tim Dog, and former N.W.A. bandmates Eazy-E and Ice Cube get roasted in the verses, all over a mix of five different George Clinton samples from Parliament, Funkadelic, and his own "Atomic Dog". Snoop Dogg is back again on the track and in the video, a comic look at the very real problem of the exploitation of hip-hop talent by the "management" culture. Beware, this is 1992, so misogynistic, racist, and homophobic taunts linger, so way NSFW...

"Dre Day" became Dr. Dre's second top-10 pop hit in July of 1993. The track also climbed to #6 on Billboard's R&B chart, while the remixes of the record helped it up to #29 on their Dance Club Play list. Internationally, the single was a minor hit in New Zealand (#49) and the UK (#59).

As a postscript, it's a worrying time on the music industry's ability to work around a "streaming economy" when this album still isn't available on Amazon, though it does appear on iTunes.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Disco Dessert 11/12/18 - "The Break" from Kat Mandu...

"The Break" was a club hit for the Canadian disco act Kat Mandu, who were put together by producer and musician Denis LePage, who would go on to form the huge HI-NRG group Lime ("Babe We're Gonna Love Tonite"). Taken from their self-titled debut, the instrumental track climbed to #3 on Billboard's Disco/Dance Tracks chart in 1979. It would their sole charting hit under that moniker, though the act lasted through three albums.

Robbed hit of the week 11/12/18 - Prince and the New Power Generation's "The Morning Papers"...

"The Morning Papers" - Prince and the New Power Generation
from the album Love Symbol Album (1992)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #44

This week's "robbed hit" is from Prince, whose 1992 release Love Symbol Album, which featured a hieroglyph that he would soon adopt as his name, had spun off two top-40 pop hits in America with "My Name Is Prince" and the "7", the latter making the top ten at the start of 1993. Another single, the lush soul ballad "Damn U", was only released in the States, where it got to #32 on Billboard magazine's R&B chart and "bubbled under" their pop Hot 100 at #108. The final single from the record would be another love ballad. But this time "The Morning Papers", written and produced by the artist, narrowed the focus to his wife Mayte Garcia...

While "The Morning Papers" reached the top 20 on the American pop airplay chart, the song just missed the Billboard top-40 by a handful of notches in May of 1993. Most like the fans of the song simply had the album already by that point. The song also got to #68 on the R&B chart as well. Internationally, the song was a big hit in Canada, climbing to #8, and reached the top-40 in Switzerland (#31) and the Netherlands (#39), and was a minor hit in the UK at #52.

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Song you should hear 11/12/18 - "Empty Space" from James Arthur

"Empty Space" is the new single from former X Factor UK winner James Arthur. It previews Arthur's upcoming third album. The song of despair from a broken heart is made even more powerful with the music video featuring actor Tom Felton (most known as Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter films). In 2016 Arthur went to #11 with "Say You Won't Let Go", selling over 2 million copies in America in the process.

Songoftheday 11/12/18 - You want commitment take a look into these eyes, they burn with fire until the end of time...

"In My Arms" - Bon Jovi
from the album Keep The Faith (1992)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #27 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 7

Today's song of the day comes from the hard rock band from New Jersey, Bon Jovi, whose fifth album had already scored two hits with the title cut "Keep The Faith" and the top ten ballad "Bed Of Roses". The third release from the record would be the uptempo track "In These Arms", which hailed to their earlier years with the tight harmonies and sing-along chorus. Written by the band's guitarist Richie Sambora, keyboard player David Bryan, and singer and leader Jon Bon Jovi, it would be a concert favorite, so much so that the music video is just live footage...

"In These Arms" became the third American top-40 pop hit from Keep The Faith in June of 1993. The song also climbed to #32 on Billboard magazine's Mainstream Rock radio chart. Internationally, the single reached the top ten in Canada (#6), the Netherlands (#7), the UK (#9), Ireland (#10), and Australia (#10). It also made the top-40 in Germany (#14), Austria (#20), Belgium (#22), and Switzerland (#23).

The fourth single from Keep The Faith, the Stones-ish "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead", got to #29 on the American mainstream rock radio chart, but only slipped on the pop list for a month, peaking at #97. But it was a much biggest hit worldwide, reaching the top-20 in Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Austria, and Finland. That was followed by the most sonically adventurous uptempo track on the album "I Believe", which missed the American charts, but again was a big hit overseas, coming one notch from the top ten in Britain (#11). Finally, the country-rock ballad "Dry County" didn't dent the charts Stateside, but internationally was big, hitting the top ten in Finland (#6), the UK (#9), and Switzerland (#10), as well as #18 in Ireland and #19 in the Netherlands.

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Disco Dessert 11/11/18 - "So Good, So Right" from Imagination...

"So Good, So Right" is a 1982 hit from the British dance/soul group Imagination, who had captured a niche in history as a black group that specifically gained the following (and definitely enticed it). With seductive fashion and the sultry falsetto of lead singer Leee John, the group went to #2 that same year with "Just An Illusion". "So Good So Right", along with A-side "Burnin' Up", went to #6 on Billboard magazine's Disco/Dance Tracks chart. It appeared on their album Burnin' Up, which was produced by the team of Jolley & Swain, who would go on to work with Bananarama.

Songoftheday 11/11/18 - I blame you for the moonlit sky and the dream that died with the Eagle's flight...

"Sleeping Satellite" - Tasmin Archer
from the album Great Expectations (1992)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #32 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 5

Today's song of the day comes from singer/songwriter Tasmin Archer, who comes from the northeast Yorkshire part of England. She released her debut album Great Expectations in 1992, with the song "Sleeping Satellite" as the first release. Written by Archer with John Beck and John Hughes, the song, with a dreamy quality like Seal's early work, became her first and biggest success...

"Sleeping Satellite" became Archer's first and only charting pop hit in America, reaching the top-40 in June of 1993. The song climbed to #12 on Billboard magazine's Modern Rock radio chart, while also crossing over to #24 on their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio list. Internationally, the single spent two weeks at #1 in the UK as well as five at the top in Ireland. It also made #1 in Greece, and the top ten in Italy (#3), Sweden (#4), Switzerland (#5), Canada (#6), France (#6), the Netherlands (#8). Her Great Expectations album hit #8 in her native Britain, while peaking at #115 in the U.S. Tasmin won a BRIT Award for Breakthrough Artist for the album.

The second release from Great Expectations, "In Your Care" raised money for children's charity Child Line, and went to #16 in the UK and made the top-40 in New Zealand at #37. That was followed by the country music-inflected "Lords Of The New Church", which got to #26 in Britain and #40 in New Zealand. Lastly, the melodic "Arienne" gave Tasmin a fourth British top-40 hit at #30. Also, album track "Somebody's Daughter" became a minor hit in Germany at #57.

In 1994, Tasmin released an extended-play single (EP), Shipbuilding. The title track, which covered the Falkland War, was written by Elvis Costello. Charting as a single in the UK, it rose to #40. Two years later, Archer released her sophomore effort, Bloom, but the lead single "One More Good Night With The Boys", stopped just short of the Top-40 at #45. Her most recent album On appeared ten years later.

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Disco Dessert 11/10/18 - "Think It Over" from Cissy Houston...

"Think It Over" was a 1978 single for soul/dance/gospel singer Cissy Houston. Mother to Whitney Houston, Cissy was a member of the group Sweet Inspirations before going solo with songs like this, which hit #5 on Billboard magazine's Disco/Dance Track chart and #32 on their R&B list. It comes from Houston's Think It Over album, and "bubbled under" the American pop Hot 100 chart at #106.  Written by Cissy with disco producer Michael Zager, it was covered by Jennifer Holliday in 2000 who took the song to #1 on the Dance Club Play tally.

Song you should hear 11/10/18 - "Chances" from the Backstreet Boys...

"Chances" is the new single from veteran boy-band the Backstreet Boys. It's the followup to their reunion hit "Don't Go Breaking My Heart", which went to #1 on my personal weekly chart, as well as #9 on Billboard magazine's Adult Top-40 radio chart, #8 on their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") format list, and #63 on the pop Hot 100. Both songs will appear on their upcoming album DNA, which is due on January 25th. The video was directed by member A.J. Maclean (looking mighty fine here) and Janet Jackson's ex-hubby Rene Elizondo.

Songoftheday 11/10/18 - Each morning I get up I die a little can barely stand on my feet, take a look in the mirror and cry Lord what you're doing to me...

"Somebody To Love" - George Michael and Queen
from the EP Five Live (1993)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #30 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 4

Today's song of the day was a collaboration between British pop star George Michael, who had been fighting with his record company over promotion of his work, and legendary rock band Queen, who had lost their lead singer Freddie Mercury to AIDS in 1991. Michael, whose Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 2 had been stopped by Sony, had lifted a couple tracks meant for it for the charity record Red Hot + Dance, landing yet another top ten pop hit in America in the summer of 1992 in the process with "Too Funky". Meanwhile, Queen had experienced a resurgence in popularity due to the Wayne's World movie, which featured their classic "Bohemian Rhapsody", causing the song to re-enter the pop chart in the U.S. and rise all the way to #2 in the spring of that same year. At that same time, the rest of the band -John Deacon, Roger Taylor, and Brian May - put together a charity concert to benefit the fight against AIDS as well as pay homage to their bandmate. The resulting sold-out concert at Wembley Arena in London featured the band playing with an all-star cast of guest vocalists including David Bowie, Elton John, Robert Plant, Annie Lennox, Roger Daltrey and many more, and was broadcast on radio and TV just like the legendary Live Aid show back in 1985. While the concert itself found itself on videocassette, and performances from various players, like Guns N' Roses, Metallica, and Def Leppard found themselves on different music releases, the set featuring George Michael (and in one song Lisa Stansfield as well) into the EP Five Live, which was released a year after the show. On the shortened disc was two performances from the tribute show: "These Are The Days Of Our Lives" with Stansfield, and "Somebody To Love". Also, non-Queen covers of Seal's Killer, the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rolling Stone", and "Calling You" from the movie Baghdad Cafe made up the rest of the set. "Somebody To Love" was issued as a single - it originally appeared on Queen's iconic Day At The Races album in 1976 and climbed to #13 on the American pop chart. Michael's live take substitute's the band's multi-layers harmonies with his booming voice along with a huge choir of backing singers...

George and Queen's live version of "Somebody To Love" made it to the American top-40 in May of 1993. It would be the band's final trip to the Billboard magazine Hot 100 pop chart (they would "bubble under" the list in 1996 with the Mercury-posthumous release "Too Much Love Will Kill You" at #118). The single would also climb to #42 on their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart. Internationally, the record did much better; in the UK and Ireland, where the Five Live EP charted as one piece, it went all the way to #1. Elsewhere, the song hit the top ten in the Netherlands (#6), Belgium (#8), and New Zealand (#8), and made the top-40 in Canada (#13), Austria (#15), France (#16), Australia (#19), and Germany (#21).

Michael released an edited version of the "Killer/Papa Was A Rolling Stone" medley as a proper single to follow "Somebody To Love". It went to #69 in the U.S., while having success in New Zealand peaking at #8 and in Canada at #19.

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