Wednesday, February 22, 2017

German Sweep: February 22, 2017...

Here's the top ten hits in Germany this week, according to their official singles chart, as Ed Sheeran remains on top for a sixth week...

1. "Shape Of You" - Ed Sheeran (1)
2. "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" - Zayn & Taylor Swift (2)
3. "Paris" - The Chainsmokers (4)
4. "Castle On The Hill" - Ed Sheeran (3)
5. "Rockabye" - Clean Bandit featuring Anne-Marie & Sean Paul (5)
6. "Way Down We Go" - Kaleo (6)
7. "Call On Me" - Starley (8)
8. "Alone" - Alan Walker (7)
9. "Loin" - Maître Gims featuring Dany Synthé (DEBUT)
10. "Scared To Be Lonely" - Martin Garrix featuring Dua Lipa (DEBUT)

French rapper Maître Gims, who I featured a couple of weeks ago, sees his single "Loin" ("Far") featuring producer/DJ Dany Synthé leap into the top ten at #9...

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Songoftheday 2/22/17 -There goes my old girlfriend there's another diamond ring, and all those late night promises I guess they don't mean a thing...

"What It Takes" - Aerosmith
from the album Pump (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #9 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

The song of the day for this "hump day" comes from hard-rocking Boston boys Aerosmith, whose Pump album pumped out a pair of top ten pop hits already with "Love In An Elevator" and the Grammy-winning "Janie's Got A Gun". The third single from the record would be the laid-back country-pastiche ballad "What It Takes", written by the band's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry along with "song doctor" Desmond Child. The song has Tyler questioning about how he can get over the lover he's singing to. It also name-checks another track on the album, "F.I.N.E.", which went to #14 on the Mainstream Rock radio chart between "Jamie's Got A Gun" and this one...

"What It Takes" became Aerosmith's third top 10 pop hit from Pump (their only set to score such a feat) in May of 1990. The single also climbed to #1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. Internationally, the song went to #15 in Canada and just missed the top-40 in Australia at #46.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

French Sweep: February 21, 2017...

Here's the top ten hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as Ed Sheeran spends a sixth week at #1...

1. "Shape Of You" - Ed Sheeran (1)
2. "Je M'en Vais" - Vianney (4)
3. "Human" - Rag N' Bone Man (3)
4. "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" - Zayn & Taylor Swift (RE-ENTRY)
5. "I Feel It Coming" - The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk (5)
6. "Rockabye" - Clean Bandit featuring Anne-Marie & Sean Paul (6)
7. "Makeba" - Jain (DEBUT)
8. "Chained To The Rhythm" - Katy Perry featuring Skip Marley (DEBUT)
9. "Be Mine" - Offenbach (8)
10. "Helium" - Sia (DEBUT)

Pop singer Jain, from the city of Toulouse in the southwestern part of the country, finally reaches the top ten after over a year on the chart with her second single "Makeba". Her first, "Come", went to #1 here, and now is getting airplay in the U.S....

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Songoftheday 2/21/17 - I'm learning to live without you now but I miss you sometimes, the more I know the less I understand,

"The Heart Of The Matter" - Don Henley
from the album The End Of The Innocence (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #21 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 8

Today's song of the day comes from Don Henley, whose third album apart from the Eagles, The End Of The Innocence, had granted him a top-10 pop hit with the title track along with a top-40 follow-up in "The Last Worthless Evening".  The third single from the record was another bit of thoughtful adult-pop ruminations on romance, "The Heart Of The Matter". Helping himself come to terms with a failed relationship, Henley acts the sage with some meaty lyrics about the true feelings a break-up can produce even years after the love has gone...

"The Heart Of The Matter" became Don's eighth and so-far most recent top-40 solo pop hit in May of 1990. The single also climbed to #3 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, while it spent two weeks at #2 on their Mainstream Rock radio list. North of the border, the track made it to #9 in Canada.

Three other tracks from the End Of The Innocence album, "I Will Not Go Quietly", "If Dirt Were Dollars" (the B-side of "The Heart Of The Matter" cassingle) and "How Bad Do You Want It?", reached the top-10 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, with the latter coming close to the pop top-40 at #48.  Another song, the epic "New York Minute", also reached that rank on the pop chart.

However, even with this success, Henley's career took a turn and got shelved for almost a decade as he legally fought with his record company, Geffen, to release him to seek another label. It was one of the biggest musician-label battles in the rock era, and influenced the signing and managing of music artists for years. He appeared on duets with Trisha Yearwood and Scandal's Patty Smyth, and the result reached the top ten on the country and pop charts respectively, with the latter's "Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough" going all the way to #2 on the Hot 100.

 Finally, after reuniting with the Eagles for an incredibly successful tour and album, he released his fourth solo album Inside Job in 2000. The single "Taking You Home" topped the Adult Contemporary chart, and was his most recent Hot 100 appearance at #58. It would be another 15 years before his next studio release, Cass Country, which had Don delving into country music. "Take A Picture Of This" made the AC chart at #14.

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Monday, February 20, 2017

Robbed hit of the week 2/20/17 - Leila K. w-Rob N Raz's "Got To Get"...

"Got To Get" - Leila K. with Rob 'N' Raz
from the album Rob 'N' Raz featuring Leila K. (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #48

This week's "robbed hit" comes from Swedish dance-pop singer/rapper Leila K., who went from strict Moroccan parental upbringing to hooking up with producers Rob 'N' Raz (Robert Wåtz and Rasmus Lindwall). Releasing a collaborative album in 1990, after the success of like-sounding artist Neneh Cherry, their infectious single "Got To Get", written by Leila, became an international hit, reaching the clubs and radio of America...

While "Got To Get" climbed to #8 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart, the single stopped short of the pop Top-40 in the U.S. in March of 1990. Internationally, the record made the top ten in the Netherlands (#2), Germany (#3), Austria (#3), Switzerland (#3), Norway (#4), the UK (#8), Finland (#10), and her native Sweden (#10).

Her follow-up single with Rob N Raz, "Rok The Nation", did even better in Sweden, hitting #3, but missed the British top-40 by a hair at #41. Leaving behind the duo, Leila returned in 1992 with the rave track "Open Sesame", which was a top ten single in The Netherlands (#2), Switzerland (#4), Germany (#5), Austria (#5), and Finland (#9), and reached the top-40 in the UK (#23) and Sweden (#21). Three years later Leila K came back into the top ten in Sweden and Finland with "Electric", one of three local top-40 hits from her Manic Panic album. But after that, as that style of music faded away, so did Leila's fortunes, eventually finding her living on the streets by the new millenium. I can only hope that she's doing better (she doesn't have an online presence right now), though you can view a documentary on her 90s antics, Fuck You, Fuck You Very Much.

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Songoftheday 2/20/17 - You're the main reason I dress to impress, and hope so maybe one day I will end all this loneliness...

"If U Were Mine" - The U-Krew
from the album The U-Krew (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #24 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 7

Today's song of the day comes from the U-Krew, an R&B group from the unlikely setting of Portland, Oregon, who shortened their name from "The Untouchable Krew" and released their debut (and only) album in 1989. The first single from the set was the new jack swing jam "If U Were Mine". Written by the act's Larry Bell, James McClendon, and Hakim Muhammad, it had a touch of influences from Bobby Brown to Teddy Riley's Guy...

"If You Were Mine" became the U-Krew's sole top-40 pop hit in April of 1990. A second single from the album, "Let Me Be Your Lover", was a minor hit on both the pop (#68) and R&B (#81) chart. Their record company folded before they could release a second album.

Up tomorrow: An Eagle gets to the crux of the problem.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Songoftheday 2/19/17 - Beneath the white fire of the moon, love's wings are broken all too soon...

"Heart Of Stone" - Cher
from the album Heart Of Stone (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #20 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 6

Today's song of the day is from Cher, whose Heart Of Stone album had spun off three top-10 pop hits in the U.S. with "Just Like Jesse James", "If I Could Turn Back Time", and her duet with Peter Cetera, "After All". The fourth single from the record would be a cover of a minor hit for British pop vocal group Bucks Fizz in 1988. Bucks Fizz, who had won the Eurovision song contest in 1981, released "Heart Of Stone", written by their producer Andy Hill with King Crimson alum Pete Sinfield, originally climbed to #50 on the British singles chart, their final original chart appearance...

Cher's version, produced by Peter Asher, didn't change the instrumentation much, but her voice definitely gave it a heft the quartet couldn't...

"Heart Of Stone" reached the top 20 on the American pop chart in April of 1990. The single also climbed to #30 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary radio chart. Internationally, the song made the top-40 in Ireland (#24) and Canada (#26), and just missed the top-40 in the UK at #43.

A fifth single from the Heart Of Stone album, the Michael Bolton-written "You Wouldn't Know Love", wasn't put out in the States, though it peaked at #29 in Ireland and was a minor hit in Britain at #55.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Brit Sweep: February 18, 2017...

It's time to cross the Atlantic yet again to check out the notable songs and albums making the charts in the UK this week...

On the Official British singles chart, Ed Sheeran racks up a sixth week at #1 with "Shape Of You", though his "Castle On The Hill" gets nudged down a notch by Rag N' Bone Man's "Human" at #2...

Katy Perry rockets into the top ten at #7 with her brand new single "Chained To The Rhythm". It becomes her 14th top ten effort...

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Songoftheday 2/18/17 - It's been seven hours and fifteen days since you took your love away...

"Nothin' Compares 2 U" - Sinéad O'Connor
from the album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (four weeks)
Weeks in the top-40: 15

Today's song of the day belongs to Irish alternative rock artist Sinéad O'Connor, who comes from the suburbs of Dublin, where she endured a troubled childhood wrecked by divorce and abuse before setting off on a musical career. The start of that career was tumultuous at first, including an unfinished album and a child at just twenty years old. But the eventual fruit of that, apart from her son Jake, was her stunning debut album The Lion And The Cobra in 1987. A nominee for a Grammy for best alternative album, the record's first single, "Troy", peaked at #8 in the Netherlands and almost reached the top-40 in the UK at #48. Her next two singles, "Mandinka" and "Put Your Hands On Me", both reached the top 20 on the American dance chart, with the former becoming her first top-40 hit in the UK at #17 as well as putting her at #6 on the singles chart in her native Ireland. In the fall of 1988, a track from the movie Married To The Mob, "Jump In The River", got Sinéad her first American radio success, going to #17 on Billboard's Modern Rock list. That song, co-written with guitarist Marco Pirroni from Adam and the Ants and Siouxsie and the Banshees, would eventually end up on her sophomore album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. Released in 1990, the next single from the set would be a cover of an obscure track off an album from Prince-affiliated band The Family. Written by the Purple One, O'Connor's take on "Nothing Compares 2 U" slowed the tempo to a mournful crawl, as her aching voice swayed between gospel-style faith and angry depression (in the case of the title, going from one to the other in one line) as she takes her emotions out for a drive over a lost love. The music video, which mostly featured her singing and crying directly into the camera, is one of the most remembered clips of the rock era...

Sinéad's version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" topped the American pop charts for four weeks in April of 1990, one of three songs that year that spent the most weeks on top within the year. The single also spent three weeks at #2 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart, while also going to #1 for a week on their Modern Rock list and #23 on their Mainstream rock chart. Internationally, the record went to #1 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and her native Ireland. It would be nominated in 1991 for Grammys for Record of The Year (losing to Phil Collins' "Another Day In Paradise") and Female Pop Vocal (which Mariah Carey took home for "Vision Of Love"). She did get the Grammy for Alternative Rock performance for the entire album, though.

The follow-up single, the uptempo rock track "The Emperor's New Clothes", was a moderate hit around the world, hitting the top-10 in Ireland (#5) and Italy (#10), but stalled down at #60 on the American pop chart (it did manage to top the Modern Rock radio list, though). A third release, the delicate new age of "Three Babies", was a top-40 hit in Ireland (#19), Italy (#12), Switzerland (#22), and the Netherlands (#29). A 12" remix single featuring "Emperor" and album cut "I Am Stretched On Your Grave" went to #27 on the dance club play chart in Billboard.

In 1992, O'Connor came back with an album of cover versions, Am I Your Girl?, that puzzled many of her rock fans, and with the backlash from her public actions, like refusing to have the National Anthem played at a concert in New Jersey as well as her infamous "ripping the Pope" at the end of her performance on Saturday Night Live, besides her top-20 finish on her pre-SNL single "Success Has Made A Failure Of Our Home", it got relatively lost in the shuffle, and pop radio never came back. Two years later, her contribution to the soundtrack for In The Name Of The Father, "You Made Me The Thief Of Your Heart", was her last radio chart appearance in the States at #24. It was better in the UK, where the lead single from her Universal Mother set, "Thank You For Hearing Me", grabbed her a top-20 hit at #13 that same year.

Between 2002 and 2003, O'Connor appeared on three big club hits in the U.S., with both a remix of the aforementioned first single "Troy" and a featured role on Conjure One's "Tears From The Moon" climbing to #3, and "Guide Me God" with Ghostland hitting #20. She has been releasing albums rather regularly since, but her public life, which was punctuated with mental health issues, suicide watches, sexuality and religious bounces, and provocative statements, has overshadowed most of the great music she's able to create. Her latest album, I'm Not Bossy, I'm The Boss, came in 2014, but the single, "Take Me To Church", sadly was eclipsed by the stellar but different song from Hozier which came into popularity at the same time.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

twostepcub's music chart for February 17, 2017...

It's Friday, and I'm ready to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. British rapper-turned-bluesrocker Rag N' Bone Man holds at #1 for a fourth week, while blink-182 score their second top 10 hit from their California album. Former big hits from Old Dominion, Fitz & The Tantrums, Brett Young, and Lodato/Joseph Duveen drop off the list, while songs from Donna Summer/Barbra Streisand, LeAnn Rimes, and Marshmello/Wrabel make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). All chocolates, half-price!

This Week              Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. Human - Rag N' Bone Man (1)
2. Rockabye - Clean Bandit f/Anne-Marie & Sean Paul (2)
3. Star Of The Show - Thomas Rhett (5)
4. Water Under The Bridge - Adele (2)
5. Scars To Your Beautiful - Alessia Cara (6)
6. Waste A Moment - Kings Of Leon (4)
7. She's Out Of Her Mind - blink-182 (11)
8. Still Breathing - Green Day (12)
9. Shape Of You - Ed Sheeran (16)
10. Take It All Back - Judah & The Lion (10)
11. 24K Magic - Bruno Mars (7)
12. Don't Wanna Know - Maroon 5 f/Kendrick Lamar (8)
13. Dirty Laundry - Carrie Underwood (9)
14. Better Man - Little Big Town (19)
15. So I Can Have You Back - Joe (15)
16. Say You Won't Let Go - James Arthur (18)
17. The Greatest - Sia f/Kendrick Lamar (13)
18. Love Me Now - John Legend (14)
19. Castle On The Hill - Ed Sheeran (29)
20. Seein' Red - Dustin Lynch (21)
21. Side To Side - Ariana Grande f/Nicki Minaj (17)
22. Starving - Hailee Steinfeld & Grey f/Zedd (26)
23. I Feel It Coming - The Weeknd f/Daft Punk (28)
24. Sober Saturday Night - Chris Young f/Vince Gill (30)
25. Starboy - The Weeknd f/Daft Punk (20)
26. Thick Of It - Mary J. Blige (22)
27. Trouble - Cage The Elephant (27)
28. Wanna Be That Song - Brett Eldredge (24)
29. 80s Mercedes - Maren Morris (25)
30. A Guy With The Girl - Blake Shelton (34)
31. Heathens - twenty-one pilots (23)
32. Move Your Body - Sia (42)
33. If The Boot Fits - Granger Smith (37)
34. Love On The Brain - Rihanna (40)
35. Let Me Love You - DJ Snake f/Justin Bieber (33)
36. Mercy - Shawn Mendes (41)
37. Closer - The Chainsmokers f/Halsey (39)
38. Treat You Better - Shawn Mendes (38)
39. Body Moves - DNCE (43)
40. Fresh Eyes - Andy Grammer (36)
41. You're Not There - Lukas Graham (49)
42. Enough Is Enough 2017 - Donna Summer & Barbra Streisand (56)
43. Love On The Weekend - John Mayer (44)
44. Blood In The Cut - k. flay (52)
45. Blow Your Mind (MWAH) - Dua Lipa (35)
46. Rhythm & Blues - The Head & The Heart (51)
47. Kill A Word - Eric Church f/Rhiannon Giddens (48)
48. Nothing To Lose - Vassy (54)
49. Million Reasons - Lady Gaga (53)
50. Trouble - Offaiah (50)
51. Hell In Paradise 2016 - Yoko Ono (45)
52. The Urge In Me - Joe Gauthreaux f/Inaya Day (60)
53. Distortion - Jessica Sutta (63)
54. Blue Ain't Your Color - Keith Urban (47)
55. Way Down We Go - Kaleo (55)
56. Long Live Love - LeAnn Rimes (70)
57. This Town - Niall Horan (59)
58. I Don't Wanna Live Forever - Zayn & Taylor Swift (62)
59. Play That Song - Train (61)
60. Cleopatra - The Lumineers (68)
61. Fast - Luke Bryan (74)
62. Shine - Mondo Cozmo (64)
63. Think A Little Less - Michael Ray (67)
64. Today - Brad Paisley (66)
65. Touch - Little Mix (73)
66. My Name Is Human - Highly Suspect (58)
67. Dirt On My Boots - Jon Pardi (77)
68. Call On Me - Starley (80)
69. In A Drawer - Band Of Horses (69)
70. Paris - The Chainsmokers (82)
71. Yeah Yeah 2016 - Luciana & Dave Aude' (84)
72. May We All - Florida Georgia Line f/Tim McGraw (72)
73. Show Me Love - Brian Justin Crum f/Toy Armada & DJ Grind (DEBUT)
74. On Hold - The xx (76)
75. Somebody Else - The 1975 (85)
76. Show You The Light - MARC f/Efraim Leo (81)
77. Dancing On My Own - Calum Scott (87)
78. Hurts - Emeli Sande (78)
79. Mayday - Greg Gatsby & Richard Fraioli f/Camila (83)
80. Square Hammer - Ghost (65)
81. Let's Hurt Tonight - OneRepublic (91)
82. Ritual - Marshmello f/Wrabel (96)
83. Love & Hate - Michael Kiwanuka (DEBUT)
84. Road Less Traveled - Lauren Alaina (90)
85. Name For You - The Shins (95)
86. Bad Things - Machine Gun Kelly f/Camila Cabello (94)
87. The Weekend - Brantley Gilbert (DEBUT)
88. You Don't Know Me - Jax Jones f/RAYE (93)
89. Koinz - SR (99)
90. It's Quiet Uptown - Kelly Clarkson (DEBUT)
91. Ophelia - The Lumineers (86)
92. Slumber Party - Britney Spears f/Tinashe (100)
93. Take My Breath Away - Alesso (97)
94. Any Ol' Barstool - Jason Aldean (DEBUT)
95. Atlas, Rise! - Metallica (RE-ENTRY)
96. Long Song Away - Kevin Ross (RE-ENTRY)
97. Je M'en Vais - Vianney (98)
98. Team - Krewella (DEBUT)
99. September Song - JP Cooper (DEBUT)
100. Heavydirtysoul - twenty-one pilots (DEBUT)

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

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Songoftheday 2/17/17 - 'Cause I've been thinkin' 'bout the things that we said late last night, when every word I said just didn't come out right...

"You're The Only Woman" - Brat Prack
from the album Brat Pack (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #36 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's song of the day comes from a pair of dance-pop singers from New Jersey, the Brat Pack, who originally emerged as a club act, scoring a top-10 dance hit in 1988 with "So Many Ways (Do It Properly Part II)" (#7 Club). Two years later, the duo released an uptempo cover of one of the softest of the soft-rock songs of the early 80s, "You're The Only Woman". Written (coincidentally) by David Pack, singer/guitarist of the band Ambrosia, the group took the original version to #13 on the American pop chart in 1980....

The Brat Pack version, performed by Ray Frazier and Patrick Donovan, was produced by future C+C Music Factory leaders Rob Clivilles and David Cole, who were also enjoying success with their female trio Seduction...

"You're The Only Woman" became the Brat Pack's sole top-40 pop hit in March of 1990. The 12" remix made it to #27 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart. They released a second single from their self-titled debut album, "I'm Never Gonna Give You Up", which hit #71 pop and #32 dance.

Up tomorrow: Irish songstress interprets a classic for a tearful juxtaposition.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Aussie Sweep: February 16, 2017...

It's time to head Down Under to check out the local artists making the charts in Australia this week...

On the Australian Artists Singles Chart, Amy Shark remains at #1 with "Adore"...

The dance group that won Australia's Got Talent then turned into a dance-pop vocal group, Justice Crew, shuffle in at #18 with "Pop Dat Buckle"....

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Songoftheday 2/16/17 - Somebody told me there'd be trouble at home, 'cause we never talk a lot when we spend time alone...

"Whip Appeal" - Babyface
from the album Tender Lover (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #6 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

The song of the day for today comes from R&B singer/songwriter/producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, whose second solo album Tender Lover had landed him a pair of #1 soul hits with "It's No Crime" (#7 pop) and the title track (#14 pop). The third single released from the record would be the slow jam "Whip Appeal", written by Babyface with singer Perri "Pebbles" Reid, who had already had a couple of top ten pop hits under her belt as well (and was married to Kenny's production partner L.A. Reid). Lasciviously using the "whip" word without giving any detail as to what is making their bedroom funky, the lyrics nevertheless oddly have him crooning "whip all your sweet sad lovin' on me". Holly Robinson (from 21 Jump Street) was featured in the video...

"Whip Appeal" became the highest-charting pop hit and second top-ten hit from Tender Lover in April of 1990. The song climbed as high as #2 on Billboard's R&B chart, while it crossed over to score Babyface his first Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio hit at #36. Internationally, the single popped into the Canadian top-40 at #39. The single would be nominated for a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal in 1991, losing out to Luther Vandross' "Here And Now".

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