Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Songoftheday 8/31/16 - The wind blows are we not friends? There is no reason to let it end...

"Who Do You Give Your Love To?" - Michael Morales
from the album Michael Morales (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #15 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day comes from pop singer/songwriter Michael Morales, who grew up in San Antonio in a family of musicians, and released his first album in 1989. The first single from the set, "Who Do You Give Your Love To?", was a enjoyable if not remarkable slice of power-pop written by the artist, who sonically bears more than a passable resemblance to Rick Springfield...

"Who Do You Give Your Love To?" became Morales' first hit, reaching the pop top-20 in July of 1989.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

French Sweep: August 30, 2016...

Here's the top ten hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as French singer Imany finally makes it to #1 in her homeland with "Don't Be So Shy". It's in its 25th week...

1. "Don't Be So Shy" - Imany (2)
2. "Can't Stop The Feeling!" - Justin Timberlake (1)
3. "Encore Un Soir" - Celine Dion (10)
4. "Duele El Corazon" - Enrique Iglesias featuring Wisin (3)
5. "Don't You Know" - KUNGS featuring Jamie N Commons (6)
6. "Let Me Love You" - DJ Snake featuring Justin Bieber (8)
7. "This Girl" - KUNGS vs Cookin' On 3 Burners (5)
8. "Cheap Thrills" - Sia featuring Sean Paul (7)
9. "Love To Love You Baby" - Giabiconi (4)
10. "This Is What You Came For" - Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna (9)

No new songs debut in the top-10 this week, and one that makes the top-40, "Boucan" from rapper Maitre Gims, isn't available on video as yet.

On the albums chart in France, the childrens act Kids United claim the #1 spot with Kids United 2: Tout Le Bonheur Du Monde...

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Songoftheday 8/30/16 - I walk the street at night until the morning light comes shining through...

"Crazy About Her" - Rod Stewart
from the album Out Of Order (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #11 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day comes from Scottish rock icon Rod Stewart, whose 1988 album Out Of Order had been one of his most successful so far at radio, with two top-20 pop hits in "Lost In You" and "Forever Young" followed by the mid-tempo "My Heart Can't Tell You No" with reached the top-5. The fourth pop radio single from the set was the dance-rock exercise "Crazy About Her". Written by Stewart with band keyboardist Duane Hitchings and guitarist Jim Cregan, it was like a lot of his 80s singles that straddled guitar crash and a funky-lite beat, with Chic's Bernard Edwards' production providing the right amount of bass (though the "rap" interlude hasn't aged as well)...

"Crazy About Her" became the fourth top-20 pop hit from Out of Order in July of 1989.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Robbed hit of the week 8/29/16 - The Cure's "Fascination Street"...

"Fascination Street" - The Cure
from the album Disintegration (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #46

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the British "goth-mod rock" band the Cure, who after eight years and seven studio album landed themselves a top-40 pop hit in the U.S. with the sublime jangle-rock of "Just Like Heaven" in the winter of 1988. A follow-up single, "Hot! Hot! Hot!" was also a minor hit in America at #68. However, alcoholism caused the ousting of keyboardist Lol Tolhurst, the only remaining original member besides lead singer/guitarist Robert Smith. With former Psychedelic Fur Roger O'Donnell coming on as an official member, the Cure recorded their eighth studio set Disintegration. While internationally the more creepy arachnophobic "Lullaby" was put out as the first single, in the U.S. the first radio offering from the set was the dark, almost pre-grunge rock of "Fascination Street". Written by the band (with Tolhurst still getting credit) and produced by Smith with Dave Allen, the song got them much love from rock radio...

Although "Fascination Street" went to go to #1 on the newly-minted Modern Rock chart for seven weeks, and #24 on the Mainstream Rock radio list, the single stalled under the pop top 40 in June of 1989. (Pop stations quickly caught on to the album cut "Love Song" which would be the next single.) The 12" remix was able to climb to #7 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart.

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Songoftheday 8/29/16 - It wasn't my intention to mislead you, It never should have been this way what can I say?

"Toy Soldiers" - Martika
from the album Martika (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's song of the day is from (then) teen pop singer Martika, who had gone from a stint as a child variety show star in Kids Incorporated to her Madonna-esque first hit single "More Than You Know" in the spring of 1989. The follow-up release swung to the other side of the spectrum, as she co-wrote the anti-drug "message song" "Toy Soldiers" with her producer Michael Jay. Inspired by a friend struggling with addiction, the marching plea sported background vocals from Kids Incorporated co-stars like Fergie (of later Black Eyed Peas fame), Rashaan Patterson, and Jennifer Love Hewitt...

"Toy Soldiers" became Martika's biggest pop hit, topping the American pop chart in July of 1989. The song also slipped onto Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart at #37. Internationally, the record went to #1 in New Zealand, top-10 in Norway (#2), Ireland (#3), Switzerland (#3), Canada (#4), Finland (#4), Sweden (#4), Germany (#5), Australia (#5), the UK (#5), and Spain (#10).

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Songoftheday 8/28/16 - Come on girls do you believe in love, cause I've got something to sing about it and it goes something like this...

"Express Yourself" - Madonna
from the album Like A Prayer (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's song of the day comes from Madonna, who had just released the most provocative music video up to that point for the gospel-pop anthem "Like A Prayer" in the spring of 1989. The second release from the same-titled album was another slice of uplifting dance-pop, "Express Yourself". This time, the video was a bit "safer", though it did sport her flashing her lace bra and grabbing her crotch in Michael Jackson-style. The song, written and produced by Madonna with Stephen Bray, has since become one of her most loved singles. Here's the original brass-infused album version...

However, MTV mostly played the video using the Shep Pettibone remix, which removed the horns and admittedly campy background deep-vocals and added more bass...

"Express Yourself" became the second top-10 hit from Like A Prayer, reaching the runner-up spot in July of 1989. The song also crossed over to Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") chart, peaking at #12. The 12" remix single (including Pettibone's take) topped the dance club play chart for three weeks. Internationally, the song went to #1 in Canada, Italy, Switzerland, #3 in Germany, #5 in the UK, #7 in France, and top 10 in most of the rest of the world. The video would win three MTV Music Video awards in technical categories, and took Best Video at the Billboard Video Awards.

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Brit Sweep: August 27, 2016...

Let's cross the Atlantic yet again to check out the notable songs and albums making their way on to the official charts in the UK this week...

On the singles chart, Major Lazer leads for a fifth week with the Justin Bieber/MØ-sung "Cold Water"...

A year after Ellie Goulding went to #1 with the song "Love Me Like You Do" from the movie 50 Shades of Grey, she is back with another film offering, this time "Still Falling For You" from the Bridget Jones' Baby soundtrack which enters at #25...

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Bonus Songoftheday 8/27/16 - If you are confused, check with the sun, carry a compass to help you along...

(Ed. Note: wouldn't you know it, but going through the SOTDs I've done this year and realized I passed this one over. Instead of shifting my sched, I'll throw a bonus in for Saturday. Cheers!)

"Stand" - R.E.M.
from the album Green (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #6 (three weeks)
Weeks in the top-40: 11

The last time we saw alternative rock pioneers R.E.M. was with their pop breakthrough hit "The One I Love", which sauntered into the top ten in the winter of 1987.  With that momentum, and wishing to expand their worldwide audience, the band switched from indie label I.R.S. to behemoth Warner Brothers in time for their sixth studio set Green. The first single from the set was the typically dark brooding emo-rock of "Orange Crush", which hat-tipped to the lethal chemical weapon Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War. However, the second release from the record was unlike anything they've done before; an absolutely perky pop song that was both sing-along and fleetingly coherent. "Stand", written by the band and produced yet again by Scott Litt (who helmed the "One You Love" sessions), the song rang all the bells (albeit ironically) at pop radio...

"Stand" became the group's second top 10 pop hit in America in April of 1989. The song was a huge success on rock radio, reaching #1 on both of Billboard magazine's Mainstream (one week) and Modern (two weeks) Rock radio charts. Internationally, the record made it to #17 in Ireland, #16 in Canada, and was a minor hit in the UK at #48.

Even though their next single was winkingly titled "Pop Song 89", it kind of stopped short on the pop charts at #86. A fourth release from the set, "Turn You Inside-Out", made the #7 spot on the Mainstream Rock chart, and #10 Modern Rock.

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Songoftheday 8/27/16 - I'm a man who lives in the city I'm a man who lives in the street, from F.L.A. to Frisco Bay and everywhere in between...

"The Doctor" - The Doobie Brothers
from the album Cycles (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #9 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9

Today's song of the day comes from the rock/soul band the Doobie Brothers, who came together in the early 70s in Northern California with guitarists Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons joining drummer John Hartman. They released their debut album in 1971, but it didn't get much notice at first; but after adding funky bass player Tiran Porter, their second release Toulouse Street brought them to pop radio, where the easy-going lead single "Listen To The Music" reached #11 (and #3 in Canada) in 1972. The following year, with their The Captain and Me set, they conquered the top ten with one of the best rhythm guitar hooks in rock history on "Long Train Runnin'" (#8). Recruiting a third guitarist with ex-Steely Dan guy Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, the Brothers landed their first #1 pop hit in 1975 with the southern rock classic "Black Water". That song also was his first to reach the top-40 in the UK. Their popularity continued to grow, however massive health problems ended up temporarily sidelining Johnston; Baxter helped bring in another Steely Dan vet, singer/pianist Michael McDonald, who would end up in the late 70s being just as vital part of the group than the rest. Their first single with McDonald singing lead, "Takin' It To The Streets", landed at #13 on the US pop chart in 1976. His influence on the band was immense; drifting from the twangy southern-rock sounds of Simmons' "Black Water", their sound immediately brought the keys and bass to center stage. Although Johnston returned to the Doobies for a brief time, he had again departed after the Livin' On The Fault Line album for a solo career, scoring a top-40 pop hit with "Savannah Nights". But with him gone the band climbed even higher, with their biggest album to date, 1978's Minute By Minute. Reaching #1 on the sales charts, the record preoduced the chart-topping pop hit "What A Fool Believes". However, the unending pressure to continue recording as well as musical differences caused a chunk of the band to defect, including Hartman and Baxter. After another album, One Step Closer, with hired hands to fill in the departed members, and another top-5 pop hit with "Real Love", even Simmons jumped ship, and with McDonald itching for a solo career, the band called it quits after a successful "farewell reunion" tour including Simmons, Johnston, Porter and Hartman.

After a break where McDonald found success including a top-5 pop hit out of the box with "I Keep Forgettin'", and to a lesser extent Simmons with a top-30 offering in "So Wrong", a dozen former members came together originally for a charity concert, then eventually for a massive "reunion tour" in 1987. With that momentum, the earlier lineup including Simmons, Johnston, Hartman, Porter, and percussionist Michael Hossack went into the studio to record a new album, Cycles. The first single, "The Doctor", was written by Johnston with producers Charlie Midnight and Eddie Schwartz, and brought them back to their rhythm guitar-led roots...

"The Doctor" returned the Brothers to the pop top ten in America in July of 1989. The single also landed them their first #1 hit on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart for three weeks. It also crossed over to the Adult Contemporary radio list at #31. Internationally, the record went to #14 in Canada, #32 in Australia, #37 in the Netherlands, and was a minor hit in England at #73.

The song would be their last to reach the top-40 in the U.S. pop chart. They came close with the follow-up single "Need A Little Taste Of Love", which stalled at #44, though it climbed to #3 on the rock radio tally. Hoping to continue the momentum, the band put out Brotherhood in 1991, and though lead track "Dangerous" went to #2 on the rock chart, and after that an follow-up "Rollin' On" (#12 Mainstream Rock) failed to reach the pop charts, they slipped away again from recording for ten years, though they continued to tour (at one point including McDonald in 1995). When they re-emerged in 2001 for Sibling Rivalry, single "Ordinary Man" solely slipped onto the adult contemporary list at #29, and the album didn't even make the charts at all. After another ten year lull, the Doobies returned to the top-40 on the albums chart with World Gone Crazy in 2010. Most recently, the band did a remake album of their material with country artists, Southbound, that hit #17 on the albums list.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

twostepcub's music chart for August 26, 2016...

Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. Sia remains at #1 for a seventh week, while Calvin Harris and Rihanna (pictured above) climb a notch within the top ten. Songs from Ariana Grande, twenty-one pilots, and Charlie Puth/Selena Gomez make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red), while former big hits from Alex Newell/Jess Glynne and Guordan Banks drop off the chart. Get better and stronger, Rolando!

This Week             Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. Cheap Thrills - Sia f/Sean Paul (1)
2. Send My Love (To Your New Lover) - Adele (3)
3. One Dance - Drake f/Wizkid & Kyla (5)
4. Can't Stop The Feeling! - Justin Timberlake (2)
5. H.O.L.Y. - Florida Georgia Line (7)
6. Dark Necessities - Red Hot Chili Peppers (4)
7. This Is What You Came For - Calvin Harris f/Rihanna (8)
8. Bored To Death - blink-182 (6)
9. Way Down We Go - Kaleo (11)
10. HandClap - Fitz & The Tantrums (10)
11. Fix - Chris Lane (15)
12. Hymn For The Weekend - Coldplay (12)
13. Don't Let Me Down - The Chainsmokers f/Daya (9)
14. Heathens - twenty-one pilots (26)
15. Hell No - Ingrid Michaelson (16)
16. All We Ever Knew - The Head and the Heart (21)
17. Ride - twenty-one pilots (17)
18. Record Year - Eric Church (18)
19. Make You Miss Me - Sam Hunt (23)
20. I Need Never Get Old - Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (14)
21. Ophelia - The Lumineers (19)
22. We Don't Talk Anymore - Charlie Puth f/Selena Gomez (34)
23. Trouble - Cage The Elephant (27)
24. Unsteady - X Ambassadors (24)
25. This Girl - KUNGS vs. Cookin' On 3 Burners (25)
26. Head Over Boots - Jon Pardi (30)
27. I Wanna Know - Alesso f/Nico & Vinz (31)
28. Wherever I Go - OneRepublic (13)
29. Just Like Fire - Pink (29)
30. Lake By The Ocean - Maxwell (32)
31. Church Bells - Carrie Underwood (28)
32. Cake By The Ocean - DNCE (22)
33. Brand New - Ben Rector (33)
34. Me Too - Meghan Trainor (38)
35. Ain't No Man - The Avett Brothers (20)
36. Bring Back The Summer - Rain Man f/OLY (42)
37. Amen - Anthony Hamilton (37)
38. You Look Like I Need A Drink - Justin Moore (44)
39. Livin' For Your Love (Your Love) - Rosabel f/Jeanie Tracy (39)
40. Can't Wait - Jill Scott (40)
41. Kiss It Better - Rihanna (43)
42. Casual Party - Band Of Horses (52)
43. River - Bishop Briggs (53)
44. Peter Pan - Kelsea Ballerini (54)
45. Spirits - The Strumbellas (35)
46. Like I Would - Zayn (58)
47. Close - Nick Jonas f/Tove Lo (47)
48. Faded - Alan Walker (36)
49. From The Ground Up - Dan + Shay (51)
50. The Sound - The 1975 (60)
51. Wow - Beck (55)
52. Treat You Better - Shawn Mendes (57)
53. Different For Girls - Dierks Bentley (61)
54. Lights Come On - Jason Aldean (50)
55. Needed Me - Rihanna (56)
56. Sunrise - Joe Bermudez f/Louise Carver (68)
57. T-Shirt - Thomas Rhett (49)
58. Wasted Time - Keith Urban (46)
59. Drink The Night Away - Lee Dagger f/Bex (59)
60. Dangerous Woman - Ariana Grande (45)
61. Good Grief - Bastille (73)
62. Tears - Clean Bandit f/Louisa Johnson (66)
63. Let It Go - NERVO f/Nicky Romero (63)
64. Don't Be So Shy - Imany (64)
65 American Country Love Song - Jake Owen (67)
66. Tell Me We're OK - DJ Hardwerk f/Akon (71)
67. Body High - Mike Taylor (77)
68. Dancing On My Own - Calum Scott (75)
69. Wish I Knew You - The Revivalists (79)
70. How Many F*cks - Erika Jayne (70)
71. Into You - Ariana Grande (85)
72. I Took A Pill In Ibiza - Mike Posner (48)
73. Mama Said - Lukas Graham (78)
74. You Don't Know Love - Olly Murs (84)
75. Asking For It - Shinedown (65)
76. 11 Blocks - Wrabel (86)
77. Rise - Katy Perry (82)
78. Sweet Dreams - JX Riders f/Skylar Stecker (89)
79. So Alive - Goo Goo Dolls (69)
80. Perfect Strangers - Jonas Blue f/JP Cooper (80)
81. Somewhere On A Beach - Dierks Bentley (81)
82. Running For You - Kip Moore (87)
83. She's Got A Way With Words - Blake Shelton (88)
84. Think Of You - Chris Young f/Cassadee Pope (74)
85. No Money - Galantis (90)
86. Permission - RO James (94)
87. Out There - Kristine W. (DEBUT)
88. Joyride (Omen) - Chevelle (92)
89. Singing In The Rain - Simple Plan f/R. City (91)
90. Castaway - The Zac Brown Band (DEBUT)
91. Duele El Corazon - Enrique Iglesias f/Wisin (96)
92. Only - tyDi f/Olivia Somerlyn (72)
93. Cold Water - Major Lazer f/Justin Bieber & MO (99)
94. Work From Home - Fifth Harmony f/Ty Dolla $ign (76)
95. Controlla - Drake (95)
96. Christine/Tilted - Christine & The Queens (RE-ENTRY)
97. Rock On - Tucker Beathard (97)
98. Messin' Around - Pitbull f/Enrique Iglesias (98)
99. Crush - Yuna f/Usher (RE-ENTRY)
100. Hold Back The River - James Bay (RE-ENTRY)

There are only two songs making their debut on my chart this week (highlighted in blue), and if you click on either of them, you'll connect to that artist's official website. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 8/26/16 - Out my window the rain starts to fall, and the wind blows through an empty hall...

"Be With You" - Bangles
from the album Everything (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #30 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 5

Today's song of the day is by the all-female rock band the Bangles, whose third album Everything had already scored them their second #1 pop hit in the U.S. with the ballad "Eternal Flame", along with the top-5 lead single "In Your Room". The third single from the set was "Be With You", co-written and sung by the group's drummer, Debi Peterson, who finally got her turn with a radio offering...

"Be With You" became the Bangles' most recent top-40 pop hit in America in June of 1989. Internationally, the song did a bit better, reaching the top-20 in Austria (#12), Ireland (#14), Norway (#18), and Switzerland (#19).

A fourth single from Everything, "I'll Set You Free", was a minor hit in Australia and the UK, but didn't get any attention in the States. They split up shortly thereafter, with Susannah Hoffs setting off on a label-endorsed solo career. Despite a top-40 hit with "My Side Of The Bed", she couldn't continue any momentum on radio, and by 1999, they reunited for the Austin Powers soundtrack (Hoff's husband was the director), and in 2003, a proper album Doll Revolution emerged. A song from the set, "Something That You Said", went to #38 in the UK, and made the Adult Contemporary (#26) and Adult Top-40 (#40) radio lists. Bassist Michael Steele left them a trio, and they most recently released Sweetheart Of The Sun in 2011.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Aussie Sweep: August 25, 2016...

Let's head Down Under to check out the singles and albums reaching the local artist chart in Australia this week...

On the Australian Artist Singles chart, rapper Illy and singer Vera Blue remain at #1 with "Paper Cuts" (on the main chart they're at #5, with the Chainsmokers' "Closer" at #1)...

Indie-pop duo Big Scary, from Melbourne, climb in at #13 with "The Opposite Of Us"...

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Songoftheday 8/25/16 - Somewhere out in the back of your mind, comes your real life and the life that you know...

"Rooms On Fire" - Stevie Nicks
from the album The Other Side Of The Mirror (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #16 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 7

Today's song of the day is by Stevie Nicks, who was last seen taking her third solo album turn in 1985, with the Top-5 pop hit "Talk To Me" and top-20 follow-up "I Can't Wait". A third single, the beautiful "Has Anybody Ever Written Anything For You?", missed the pop top-40 at #60, but reached a respectable #31 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary radio chart. Returning to Fleetwood Mac for their 1987 album Tango In The Night, it would be four years before her next solo release, The Other Side Of The Mirror. Produced by Rupert Hine (The Fixx, Howard Jones), the album didn't stray into new wave territory like the mention of Hine would suggest; rather he gravitated more to her style, and with a romantic relationship brewing between them, Stevie wrote what would become the first single, "Rooms On Fire" with Rick Nowels. Inspired by their ill-timed romance, the song became her final top-40 solo pop hit...

"Rooms On Fire" reached the top-20 on the American pop chart in July of 1989. The song also became her second #1 Mainstream Rock radio hit (after "Talk To Me"), while crossing over to their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") chart at #16. Internationally, the single peaked at #9 in Canada, made the top-20 in the UK (#16), Ireland (#17), New Zealand (#12), and the Netherlands (#20).

While the album track "Long Way To Go" climbed to #11 on the Mainstream Rock chart (and was a minor hit in Britain and Germany and #60), the American pop follow-up "Two Kinds Of Love" stiffed altogether. Another single, "Whole Lotta Trouble", made it to #22 in Ireland, #62 in the UK, and got her nominated for a Grammy for Female Rock Vocal in 1991.

After returning to the Mac yet again for one more album, Behind The Mask, without compadre Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie took off yet again, and with 1991's Timespace retrospective, she went back to the rock radio top 10 with "Sometimes It's A Bitch" (#7).  In 1994, after another stint in rehab, the scattered Street Angel album was released, with "Maybe Love Will Change Your Mind" reaching the top-40 on the American Rock (#36) and Adult Contemporary (#17) lists as well as in Canada (#13), but it sputtered out at #57 on the pop Hot 100.

Stevie and Lindsey resolved their differences a couple years forward, and with the entire Fleetwood Mac "classic lineup" reunited for the heralded The Dance tour and album, Nicks found herself back in the public spotlight in a big way. After a box set, Nicks released the top-5 album Trouble In Shangri-La in 2001, with two top-40 adult contemporary hits including the #17 "Every Day", while the track "Planets Of The Universe" was transformed into a club anthem and went to #1 on Billboard's Dance chart. Ten years later she re-emerged with In Your Dreams (with the Eurythmics David Stewart producing). She sported a pair of adult contemporary hits, with "Secret Love" reaching #20 and "For What It's Worth" going to #25. Most recently, Stevie made a cameo on American Horror Story: Coven (natch) and her album 24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault in 2014 became her sixth top-10 album in America.

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