Thursday, April 28, 2016

Aussie Sweep: April 28, 2016..

It's time to head Down Under to check out the songs making the local-artists chart in Australia this week, as Sia holds at #1 with "Cheap Thrills" (gnash leads the all-inclusive chart with "I Hate U, I Love U" with Olivia O'Brien)...

Two metalcore bands from the state of New South Wales, Northlane from Sydney and In Hearts Wake from Byron Bay, collaborate at #5 with the 3-track EP Equinox...

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Songoftheday 4/28/16 - I recorded every movement and plotted how to seize her, I used a tiny camera I thought I'd Japanese her...

"Spy In The House Of Love" - Was (Not Was)
from the album What Up, Dog? (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #16 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day comes from the alternative-pop/dance act Was (Not Was), who were led and put together by producers David Weiss (David Was) and Don Fagenson (Don Was) in the late 70s in Detroit. In 1980, they released the single "Wheel Me Out" (with Weiss' mom Elizabeth singing/speaking), which landed at #34 on Billboard's Dance Club Play/Disco chart. But by the time of their self-titled debut album a year later, the duo brought on a pair of soul singers in "Sweet Pea" Atkinson and Harry Bowens, who added a flavor of old-style soul to the avant-garde production. Their first release together, "Out Come The Freaks", was a nod to the hiphop/disco amalgam that was gaining tread with the Sugar Hill Gang and the Furious Five, and climbed to #16 on the dance chart. Another track from the album, "Tell Me That I'm Dreaming", made it to #3 on that list, and crossed over to Billboard's R&B chart at #68.

Two years later, the band released their sophomore full-length set, Born To Laugh At Tornadoes, which had gathered a cult following since, with its mixture of styles and guests as varied as Mel Torme' and Ozzy Osbourne. "(Return To The Valley of) Out Come The Freaks", a sequel of sorts to their hit from the last album, in a old-school soul style like the Drifters, just missed the top-40 in England at #41.

In 1986, their most successful album to date, What Up, Dog?, was recorded, which found Was (Not Was) a much tighter unit and centered on Atkinson and Bowens singing more classic pop instead of the studio tricks that marked their last albums. The first single from the set, the funky workout "Robot Girl", nicked the British chart at #95. But the second release, "Spy In The House Of Love", was a perfect nugget of dance-pop with Atkinson's growl weaving a tale of betrayal over a sophisti-pop groove...

"Spy In The House of Love" became the group's first big pop success in the States, reaching the top-20 on the pop chart in December of 1988. The song also crossed over to Billboard's R&B chart at #77. Internationally, the record initially went to #51 in the UK in 1987, but on re-release a year later climbed to #21 (and #13 in Ireland). The 12" remixed single, which sounded dramatically different from the original version, topped the American dance chart for two weeks, and was one of the most notable club hits of the year.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

German Sweep: April 27, 2016...

Here's the top ten hits in Germany this week, according to their official singles chart, as Australian singer/songwriter Sia claims her first #1 hit in the country with "Cheap Thrills" featuring Sean Paul (it's also his first #1 as well)...

1. "Cheap Thrills" - Sia featuring Sean Paul (2)
2. "Faded" - Alan Walker (1)
3. "Die Immer Lacht" - Stereoact featuring Kirsten Ott (3)
4. "Stressed Out" - twenty-one pilots (4)
5. "I Took A Pill In Ibiza" - Mike Posner (5)
6. "One Dance" - Drake featuring Wizkid (DEBUT)
7. "Work From Home" - Fifth Harmony featuring Ty Dolla Sign (7)
8. "Fast Car" - Jonas Blue featuring Dakota (6)
9. "Don't Let Me Down" - The Chainsmokers featuring Daya (DEBUT)
10. "Bonbon" - Era Istrefi (DEBUT)

Canadian rap star Drake jumps into the top ten at #6 with "One Dance" featuring Wizkid. It's his second top ten hit here, after his featured role this year on Rihanna's "Work"...

(Well, what do you know, they pulled the YouTube audio track for this. Without an official version. Bastards!)

American DJ duo the Chainsmokers grab their first top ten hit in this country with "Don't Let Me Down" featuring vocalist Daya...

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Songoftheday 4/27/16 - Well if you wanna see other guys, baby I could let it slide...

"Finish What Ya Started" - Van Halen
from the album OU812 (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #13 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day comes from the hard rock band Van Halen, whose second album with new lead singer/guitarist Sammy Hagar, OU812, had scored a #1 rock hit with "Black And Blue" as well as a top-5 pop follow-up with the song "When It's Love". However, accusations of the group, known best for Eddie Van Halen's guitar work, "softening" their sound for pop hits and straying away from good old rock and roll, still bubbled around. Hence, it was a smart move for their third release from OU812 to bring out a track that featured no synthesizers at all, but rather good old rhythm and plucked guitar. "Finish What Ya Started", a rather meek plea to a lover to get them off despite knowing they fool around, was a nice slice of southern groove rock written primarily by Sammy and Eddie...

"Finish What Ya Started" became the third top-40 pop hit from OU812 in America in December of 1988. The song also climbed up to #2 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

French Sweep: April 26, 2016...

Here's the top ten hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as KUNGS and Cookin' on 3 Burners recapture the #1 spot for a second non-consecutive week...

1. "This Girl" - KUNGS vs Cookin' On 3 Burners (2)
2. "Cheap Thrills" - Sia (3)
3. "Paradise" - Nehuda featuring Cris Cab (DEBUT)
4. "Don't Be So Shy" - Imany (5)
5. "One Dance" - Drake featuring WizKid (1)
6. "Faded" - Alan Walker (4)
7. "I Took A Pill In Ibiza" - Mike Posner (6)
8. "Stressed Out" - twenty-one pilots (7)
9. "7 Years" - Lukas Graham (8)
10. "Catch & Release" - Matt Simons (10)

French singer Nehuda, who appeared on the fourth season of this country's version of The Voice, leaps into the top ten at #3 with "Paradise" featuring American singer/songwriter Cris Cab, who had a top ten hit of his own two years ago with "Liar Liar"...

Songoftheday 4/26/16 - We are the people that can find whatever you may need, if you got the money honey we got your disease...

"Welcome To The Jungle" - Guns N' Roses
from the album Appetite For Destruction (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #7 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's song of the day is by the hard rock/Blues-metal band Guns N' Roses, who had broke through on pop radio in a big way in the fall of 1988 with the love ballad suite "Sweet Child Of Mine", which went to #1 on the Hot 100. Capitalizing on that success, the group re-released their second single, "Welcome To The Jungle", which originally hit rock radio airwaves in the spring of that year, reaching #37 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. But this time around, radio was primed and ready based on the incredible sales of their debut album Appetite for Destruction, which validated putting such hard-edged material in rotation. I'm telling you, Axl Rose's screech in the chorus with the "bring you to your kn-kn-kn-kn-knees!" is evil in a way that most people not exposed to Ozzy Osborne had yet to hear. And the bleak representation of life in the underbelly of Los Angeles was like a spotlight on a rash that had not been exposed to so many. Written by Axl along with lead guitarist Slash and bass man Duff McKagan, the song cut across the sugar-filled landscape of pop radio like a machete, but did have that amazing bridge where it almost morphs into a sanguine ballad (kind of like "Layla" at its 2 and a half minute mark) before being yanked back into the devilish darkness...

"Welcome To The Jungle" became Guns N' Roses' second top-10 hit on the American pop chart in December of 1988. Internationally, the song reached #24 in the UK, #6 in New Zealand, and #14 in Ireland.

But in my opinion, more than Nirvana, this band and especially this single started the change in pop radio that would see more rawer rock and rap music eventually dominate through the next decade.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Robbed Hit of the week 4/25/16 - Depeche Mode's "Strangelove"...

"Strangelove" - Depeche Mode
from the album Music For The Masses (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #76 (in 1987), #50 (in 1988)

This week's 'robbed hit' comes from the British new wave band Depeche Mode, who had garnered a fanbase large enough to fill the Rose Bowl stadium, but was still a musical delicacy on American pop radio. They managed to break through in the summer of 1985 with the top-20 hit "People Are People", but were passed over by stations on their (in my opinion best) album Black Celebration the following year. In 1987, the group put out the ambitiously-titled Music For The Masses album, and the first single was the Bond-esque dance track "Strangelove". While the song became their first #1 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart in the U.S., and peaked at #16 in their native Britain, it pooped out at #76 on the American pop Hot 100.

After a couple more singles from Music..., including a reworked version of album track "Behind The Wheel" mixed with "Route 66" that was pretty popular and made it to the middle of the pop chart in America, they (or, rather, Mute Records) brought back "Strangelove" to the States, this time in a remix done by cut-and-paste masters Bomb the Bass, who had a top-10 British hit with "Beat Dis" that year...

This time around, "Strangelove" did a bit better, but stopped short of the American Top-40 at the halfway point on the Hot 100 in October of 1988. The new mixes re-appeared on the dance chart at #24.

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Songoftheday 4/25/16 - When you look around you wonder, do you play to win? Or are you just a bad loser?

"Domino Dancing" - Pet Shop Boys
from the album Introspective (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #18 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 6

Today's song of the day is by the Pet Shop Boys, whose second album Actually had rewarded them with a trio of top-10 pop hits in America with "It's A Sin", "What Have I Done To Deserve This" with Dusty Springfield, and their cover of "Always On My Mind". Instead of using that momentum for a third full-length album, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe took a little bit of a left turn with an EP titles Introspective. A six-track set that had an extended version of "Always On My Mind", it was preceded by the decidedly different first single "Domino Dancing". Written by the duo and produced with Miami-based guru Lewis Martinee', who had success with his female vocal group Expose' ("Come Go With Me", "Point Of No Return"), the record had much more in common with the latter's work, although the biting wit of Tennant's lyrics is still hidden in there. That, along with the music video, filmed in Puerto Rico with lots of Latin muscled boys in the mix, reminded us, yes, it was the Pet Shop Boys after all...

"Domino Dancing" became the pair's sixth and so far most recent top-40 hit in the U.S. in December of 1988. The single also made Billboard's Modern Rock radio chart at #22, while the extended remix reached #5 on their Dance Club Play list. Internationally, the song went top-ten in Germany (#3), Ireland (#4), Italy (#4), Switzerland (#5), Norway (#5), Belgium (#6), Sweden (#6), the Netherlands (#7), New Zealand (#9), and their native UK (#7).

The next single from the set, the more electro-pop goodness of "Left To My Own Devices" (which I personally would've preferred to have been the lead single), did better for them in England, climbing to #4, but in the States it stalled out down at #84. Another stellar track, the third single "It's Alright", was another top-ten hit in the UK at #5, making four total of those (albeit not in radio-version form) on the EP. The entire set itself made the American dance chart at #15.

By the time their next full-length album, Behaviour, was released in 1990, American pop radio had mostly passed them by, with the first single "So Hard" stopping at #62 (that song did make it to #17 on the Modern Rock radio list). Two more minor pop hits came from the record, but even another fun remake, this time the mash-up of U2's "Where The Streets Have No Name" with the Four Seasons' "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", only manage to squeak by at #72. They both went to #4 in the UK, where their popularity kept going strong.

In 1993 the Boys' fourth full-length album, Very, landed them in the top ten on the modern rock radio chart in America for the final time with "Can You Forgive Her?", which also brought them back to #1 on the Dance chart for the third time (after "West End Girls" and "What Have You Done..."). A second single, a remake of the Village People's camp anthem "Go West", also hit the top of the US Dance list and reached #2 on the British chart. They would continue their success internationally and in the gay-dominated dance clubs, reaching the top-10 in the UK as recently as in 2008 with "I'm With Stupid". Their 2009 release, Yes, gave them two top-40 UK pop/#1 US dance hits with "Love Etc." and "Did You See Me Coming?". The duo has no perception of stopping, scoring yet another #1 club hit this past week with "The Pop Kids" from their new Super album.

But "Domino Dancing" marked the point when the Boys went from being pop up-and-comers to underground cult faves.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Songoftheday 4/24/16 - All around the world there are people like you and me, from the poorest beggar in the street to the richest king and queen...

"Small World" - Huey Lewis & The News
from the album Small World (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #25 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 6

Today's song of the day comes from the squeaky-clean pop/rock band Huey Lewis & The News, who had scored their twelfth top ten hit with "Perfect World". The second single from the Small World album was the 'part one' version of the title track. Written by Lewis and band guitarist Chris Hayes, is seemingly cribs the keyboard riff from Prince's "1999", tweaks it just a little, and offers up a slightly jazzy slice of cosmopolitan adult-pop...

"Small World" became the second top-40 hit from the Small World album in November of 1988. The single also crossed over to #19 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or 'easy listening') radio chart, and made it to #25 on their Mainstream Rock list.

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dance Sweep: April 30, 2016...

It's time to wrap up this week's 'music sweeps', checking out the songs making the charts in Billboard magazine. I'll end with the latest dance jams in the clubs and on the radio...

On the DJ-polled Dance Club Play chart, The Pet Shop Boys go to #1 with "The Pop Kids"...

Remixers DirtyFreqs team up with Australian singer Vassy at #42 with "T.U.T.P. (Turn Up The Party)". Grade: B-

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Country Sweep: April 30, 2016...

Part four of today's 'music sweeps' is here with the latest songs making the charts in Billboard magazine. This time out it's the newest on country radio...

On their Country Airplay chart, Rascal Flatts finally make it to #1 again in their 31st week with "I Like The Sound Of That". It's their first leader since "Banjo" in 2012...

Craig Campbell comes in at #56 with his spiritual tome "Outskirts Of Heaven". Grade: D+

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Soul Sweep: April 30, 2016...

We're at the "hump" of this week's 'music sweeps', sampling some of the notable songs making their way on to the charts in Billboard magazine, and this time up I'm serving the latest on R&B radio...

On their main R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, Rihanna's "Work" featuring Drake is on top for a seventh week...

Neo-soul artist Maxwell comes in at #30 with my "Soul Pick of the Week", "Lake By The Ocean". The track also leaps into the top ten on the Adult R&B list at #8. Grade: B

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Rock Sweep: April 30, 2016...

Round two of this week's 'chart sweeps' is up, checking out the songs reaching the charts in Billboard magazine, and this time out I've got the newest on rock radio...

On the main Rock Airplay chart, the Cold War Kids hang tight at #1 for a 16th consecutive week with "First"...

Indietronica band Joywave claim this week's "Rock Pick of the Week" and the top new entry at #46 with "Destruction". The track also moves back to its peak of #21 on the Alternative chart. Grade: A-

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Pop Sweep: April 30, 2016...

I'm ready to kick off the first of this week's "music sweeps", checking out some of the notable songs making their way on to the official singles and radio charts in Billboard magazine. As usual, I'll start off on the pop side of things, then later move on to the newest in rock, R&B, country, and dance music...

On the "big" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, which combines tallies of internet streaming (like Spotify and YouTube), radio airplay from all formats, and sales (like Amazon MP3 and iTunes), Rihanna and Drake hold on to the top spot for a ninth week with "Work"...

Pitbull is back with a new single that samples heavily from an older classic, as his "Messin' Around" featuring Enrique Iglesias becomes the top new entry at #70. Its title and chorus is cribbed from REO Speedwagon's "Take It On The Run". It's the first track from his upcoming Climate Change album to make the top 100. Grade: D+

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Songoftheday 4/23/16 - I can't believe I could of been so blind but love is strange, I thought about it for a long long time but the truth remains...

"Edge Of A Broken Heart" - Vixen
from the album Vixen (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #26 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 5

Today's song of the day comes from the all-female "glam metal" band Vixen, who originally was formed in the early 80's in Los Angeles, but by the time their self-titled first album was released, only guitarist Jan Kuehnemund remained from their starting lineup. Although sporting an image of a womanly version of Poison (yes, I know), the album had producers like David Cole (of the future C&C Music Factory) and Richard Marx, the latter co-writing their first single "Edge Of A Broken Heart" with Fee Waybill of the new wave group the Tubes. No matter the heritage of the track, the band sold the pop/metal vibe and their made-up looks got the guys attention as much as lead singer Janet Gardner's voice, but either way they were a fresh respite from the testosterone-filled room of hard rock...

"Edge of A Broken Heart" became Vixen's first top-40 pop hit in November of 1988. The single also crossed over to the Mainstream Rock radio chart in Billboard magazine at #24. The song was a minor hit in England as well at #51.

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Brit Sweep: April 22, 2016...

Hey guys and gals, it's time to head over the Atlantic yet again to check out some of the songs making their way on to the official singles chart in the UK this week, as Drake tops the British list for a second week with "One Dance"...

American pop singer/songwriter Pink returns to the chart at #32 with her contribution to the upcoming Alice Through The Looking Glass movie, "Just Like Fire". She's been incredibly successful in Britain, racking up 18 top ten hits so far...

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twostepcub's music chart for April 22, 2016...

Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. Lukas Graham spends their second week at #1, while country singer Cole Swindell (pictured above) makes it to the top-5. Songs from Thomas Rhett, Sia, and Keith Sweat have the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red), while former big hits from Leon Bridges, Luke Bryan, and Dirty Disco/Inaya Day drop out. Can a brother spare a contract?

This Week       Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. 7 Years - Lukas Graham (1)
2. Cake By The Ocean - DNCE (3)
3. Stressed Out - twenty-one pilots (2)
4. Let It Go - James Bay (5)
5. You Should Be Here - Cole Swindell (9)
6. Snapback - Old Dominion (11)
7. Drunk On Your Love - Brett Eldredge (8)
8. When We Were Young - Adele (4)
9. One Call Away - Charlie Puth (10)
10. Mountain At My Gates - Foals (6)
11. First - Cold War Kids (15)
12. Something In The Way You Move - Ellie Goulding (16)
13. Brand New - Ben Rector (17)
14. Adventure Of A Lifetime - Coldplay (14)
15. The Pop Kids - Pet Shop Boys (25)
16. Under The Influence - Elle King (21)
17. Beautiful Drug - The Zac Brown Band (7)
18. Trip Switch - Nothing But Thieves (13)
19. Walking On A Dream - Empire Of The Sun (23)
20. Roses - The Chainsmokers f/ROZES (12)
21. Piece By Piece - Kelly Clarkson (29)
22. Ride - twenty-one pilots (32)
23. Nobody To Blame - Chris Stapleton (19)
24. Little Bit Of You - Chase Bryant (24)
25. America's Sweetheart - Elle King (26)
26. Unsteady - X Ambassadors (28)
27. Faded - Alan Walker (31)
28. Fast Car - Jonas Blue f/Dakota (30)
29. I Like The Sound Of That - Rascal Flatts (33)
30. Ophelia - The Lumineers (34)
31. Hey No Pressure - Ray Lamontagne (35)
32. Pretty Pimpin' - Kurt Vile (22)
33. Youth - Troye Sivan (37)
34. Spirits - The Strumbellas (38)
35. Heartbeat - Carrie Underwood (20)
36. True Original - Dave Aude f/Andy Bell (18)
37. I Took A Pill In Ibiza - Mike Posner (47)
38. Die A Happy Man - Thomas Rhett (36)
39. Make Me Like You - Gwen Stefani (43)
40. Electric Love - BORNS (42)
41. Hello - Adele (27)
42. The Sound Of Silence - Disturbed (44)
43. Think Of You - Chris Young f/Cassadee Pope (50)
44. My House - Flo Rida (48)
45. Angel - Lalah Hathaway (49)
46. No - Meghan Trainor (54)
47. Light It Up - Major Lazer f/Nyla & Fuse ODG (57)
48. Work - Rihanna f/Drake (52)
49. Lush Life - Zara Larsson (51)
50. I'm In Love With My Life - PHASES (40)
51. If You Like It - Stonebridge f/Elsa Li Jones (61)
52. Pillowtalk - Zayn (62)
53. My Church - Maren Morris (53)
54. Humble and Kind - Tim McGraw (59)
55. The Fire and the Flood - Vance Joy (55)
56. Confession - Florida Georgia Line (56)
57. Off The Ground - The Record Company (67)
58. Stitches - Shawn Mendes (46)
59. Mind Reader - Dustin Lynch (64)
60. Lost Boy - Ruth B (74)
61. Sound Of Your Heart - Shawn Hook (63)
62. That Don't Sound Like You - Lee Brice (80)
63. Me, Myself & I - G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha (71)
64. This One's For Me & You - Johnny Gill f/New Edition (68)
65. T-Shirt - Thomas Rhett (90)
66. New Romantics - Taylor Swift (76)
67. Reapers - Muse (81)
68. Something About You - Da Buzz (DEBUT)
69. Good Love - Keith Sweat (89)
70. Hide Away - Daya (65)
71. One By One - Glovibes & Luciana (91)
72. Cheap Thrills - Sia (96)
73. Hymn For The Weekend - Coldplay (73)
74. Somewhere On A Beach - Dierks Bentley (78)
75. Jealous - M.E.L. (75)
76. Hands To Myself - Selena Gomez (92)
77. Bang My Head - David Guetta f/Sia & Fetty Wap (77)
78. 10000 Emerald Pools - BORNS (94)
79. Middle - DJ Snake f/Bipolar Sunshine (79)
80. I'm Feeling Young - KC & The Sunshine Band f/Bimbo Jones (87)
81. Say You Do - Sigala f/Imani & DJ Fresh (85)
82. Love Overdose - Nikki Lund vs North2South (86)
83. In The Dark - 3 Doors Down (83)
84. Solid Ground - Kourtney Kelly (84)
85. Work From Home - Fifth Harmony f/Ty Dolla Sign (93)
86. February (One Last Kiss) - Joe Gauthreaux f/Abigail (DEBUT)
87. Came Here To Forget - Blake Shelton (97)
88. Rise Up - Andra Day (88)
89. Backroad Song - Granger Smith (69)
90. Same Old Love - Selena Gomez (70)
91. Stay - Kygo f/Maty Noyes (95)
92. Take Me Back - Claire Rasa (58)
93. Catch & Release (Deepend Remix) - Matt Simons (RE-ENTRY)
94. Amen - Anthony Hamilton (98)
95. Lithium - Athena (60)
96. One Night - WTS f/Gia (DEBUT)
97. This Girl - KUNGS vs Cookin' on 3 Burners (99)
98. Keep You In Mind - Guordan Banks (DEBUT)
99. Girls Like - Tinie Tempah f/Zara Larsson (DEBUT)
100. Huntin', Fishin' & Lovin' Every Day - Luke Bryan (DEBUT)

There are six songs making their debut on my chart this week (highlighted in blue), and if you click on any of them, you'll connect to that artist's official website for music, tour dates, and more info. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 4/22/16 - So listen now Velvet Lou was a neighbor of mine, now he walks the dog in Jersey brother...

"Downtown Life" - Daryl Hall/John Oates
from the album Oooh Yeah!!! (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #31 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's song of the day comes from the biggest pop duo of the 1980's, Daryl Hall and John Oates, who had switched record labels to Arista and came back in 1988 with a top-3 pop hit in "Everything Your Heart Desires" and a top-40 follow-up in "Missed Opportunity". For their third release from the Oooh Yeah!!! album, they did a single-buyers enhancing trick, remixing the radio version of their album cut "Downtown Life". Written by the pair along with longtime collaborator Sara Allen and (the late) guitarist Rick Iantosca, it was a frenetic piece of pop music glamming on to the dance-pop leanings of mainstream radio at the time...

Hall & Oates - Downtown Life by jpdc11

"Downtown Life" became the third top-40 pop hit from Oooh Yeah!! in November of 1988.

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