Thursday, June 30, 2016

Songoftheday 6/30/16 - Me and Billy boy and old lady Jane, we hitched a ride took a fast movin' train...

"The Last Mile" - Cinderella
from the album Long Cold Winter (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #36 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 2

Today's song of the day comes from Philly glam metal band Cinderella, whose sophomore album Long Cold Winter had scored them a top-20 pop hit with the power-ballad second single "Don't Know What You Got ('Til It's Gone)" in the fall of 1988. They followed that up with the more upbeat road anthem "The Last Mile". Written by lead singer Tom Kiefer, the guitar crunch of Jeff LaBar dominated this concert fave...

"The Last Mile" became Cinderella's third top-40 pop hit in the U.S. in March of 1988. The single also climbed to #18 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

German Sweep: June 29, 2016...

Here's the top ten hits in Germany this week, according to their official singles chart, as French DJ KUNGS and Australian act Cookin' On 3 Burners returns to #1 for a second non-consecutive week...

1. "This Girl" - KUNGS vs Cookin' On 3 Burners (3)
2. "This One's For You" - David Guetta featuring Zara Larsson (1)
3. "Wir Sind Gross" - Mark Forster (5)
4. "80 Millionen" - Max Giesinger (2)
5. "Can't Stop The Feeling!" - Justin Timberlake (4)
6. "One Dance" - Drake featuring Wizkid and Kyla (7)
7. "Don't Be So Shy" - Imany (DEBUT)
8. "Cheap Thrills" - Sia featuring Sean Paul (6)
9. "Please Tell Rosie" - Alle Farben featuring YOUNOTUS (8)
10. "Don't Let Me Down" - The Chainsmokers featuring Daya (9)

French singer Imany lands in the top 10 for the first time in Germany with the Filatov and Karas remix of her single "Don't Be So Shy", which has gone to #2 already in her homeland...(NSFW-ish for lots of butts...)

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Songoftheday 6/29/16 - I can't stop the way I feel, things you do don't seem real...

"She Drives Me Crazy" - Fine Young Cannibals
from the album The Raw and the Cooked (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14

Today's song of the day comes from the "ska-wave" trio Fine Young Cannibals, who came together after the break-up of the classic band the English Beat (or, simply, The Beat), who were a giant musical force in a short time in the beginning of the 80s in their native Britain. While members Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger went on to form General Public, who landed a top-40 pop hit in America in 1985 with "Tenderness". Meanwhile, former guitarist Andy Cox and bassist David Steele recruited singer Roland Gift, whose vocal style recalled a more "reedier" Ranking Roger, for their Fine Young Cannibals act. Releasing their self-titled debut album in 1985 as well, they fared much better than GP did in the UK, scoring a pair of top ten hits with "Johnny Come Home" and a cover of Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds". The former also crossed over to the American dance chart at #9, and scraped the pop chart at #76. After a third British top-10 with "Ever Fallen In Love" from the movie Something Wild, Steele and Cox had a one-off club hit in the U.S.  at #3 with the cut-and-paste joy of "Tired of Getting Pushed Around" under the moniker of "Two Men, A Drum Machine and a Trumpet". The trio returned in 1988 (a year later in America) with The Raw & The Cooked, which was partly recorded in Prince's Paisley Park studios. One of those tracks would be the first single, "She Drives Me Crazy". Written by Gift and Steele, the mid-tempo piece of upbeat pop glee (with deceptively dark break-up lyrics) accented by massive guitar fuzz and catchy percussion was the trick to break them in the U.S. pop radio market, while Roland's incredibly handsome face bowled us over at MTV...

While "She Drives Me Crazy" landed them a fourth top-ten hit in their native Britain, their first single to make the American Top-40 pop list went all the way to #1 in April of 1989. The extended remix single also topped Billboard's Dance Club Play chart for a couple of weeks. The song also crossed over to their Modern Rock radio chart at #5, and slipped on to their R&B countdown at #54 (their sole single to chart here). Internationally, the track was huge, going to #1 in Canada, Australia (for three weeks), New Zealand, Spain, and Austria (for two months), and top ten in Belgium (#2), Germany (#2), Ireland (#2), Switzerland (#3), Sweden (#4), the Netherlands (#5), and Norway (#6).

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

French Sweep: June 28, 2016...

Here's the top ten hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as David Guetta and Zara Larsson's EURO2016 anthem holds on top for a second week...

1. "This One's For You" - David Guetta featuring Zara Larsson (1)
2. "Can't Stop The Feeling!" - Justin Timberlake (2)
3. "Don't Be So Shy" - Imany (3)
4. "Encore Un Soir" - Celine Dion (7)
5. "This Girl" - KUNGS vs Cookin' On 3 Burners (6)
6. "Come" - Jain (RE-ENTRY)
7. "Paradise Secret" - Jenifer (DEBUT)
8. "Cheap Thrills" - Sia (4)
9. "J'ai Cherche'" - Amir (5)
10. "Il Est Ou Le Bonheur" - Christope Mae (8)

French singer and judge/mentor on The Voice Jenifer, from the city of Nice, returns at #7 with "Paradise Secret". It's her ninth single to make the top-10 in her home country, and first since 2007's "Tourner Ma Page". Her debut, a cover of ABBA's "Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)" (from her Star Academy TV show), went to #1 in 2002...

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Songoftheday 6/28/16 - One look and I saw what I wanted to see, you know that you wrapped my heart around your finger so easily...

"Cryin'" - Vixen
from the album Vixen (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #22 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 6

Today's song of the day comes from the all-female metal band Vixen, who had broke through with American pop radio with a little help from Richard Marx with "Edge Of A Broken Heart".  Their follow-up single was "Cryin'", a mid-tempo synth-rock exercise written by Gregg Tripp and Jeff Paris. Mind you, the keyboards were played by studio hands (including Derek Nakamoto), but the result didn't stray far from the Bon Jovi template...

"Cryin'" became Vixen's second and final top-40 pop hit in March of 1989. It reached the same rank on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart. Internationally, the single was their first to make the top-40 in the UK at #27.

A third single from the debut album, "Love Made Me", stiffed in America but continued their upward trajectory in Britain at #36. The following year, the group released their sophomore effort, Rev It Up. The lead track "How Much Love" became their biggest American rock radio hit at #11, but just missed the pop top 40 (it also hit the British top-40). A follow-up song, "Love Is A Killer", was a minor hit on the Hot 100 at #71, and a third, "Not A Minute Too Soon", returned them one final time to the UK top-40. The band would split in 1991 and reunited in various forms over the next twenty years, while original member Jan Kuehnemund passed away from cancer in 2013.

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Robbed hit of the week 6/27/16 - New Edition's "Can You Stand The Rain"...

"Can You Stand The Rain" - New Edition
from the album Heart Break (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #44

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the Boston R&B vocal group New Edition, whose first album after replacing the departed Bobby Brown with Johnny Gill, Heart Break, returned them to the pop top-10 with the single "If It Isn't Love" in the fall of 1988. While the follow-up single, "You're Not My Kind Of Girl", reached the #3 spot on Billboard's R&B chart, the single relatively stiffed at pop radio, popping in at just #95 on the Hot 100. The third release was also written by their production team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (the guys behind Janet Jackson), but it turned out to be their finest ballad moment of their career. "Can You Stand The Rain", a missive on weathering the worst of problems in a relationship when everything is seemingly going swimmingly...

Although "Can You Stand the Rain" scored New Edition their fourth #1 R&B hit and first since 1984's "Mr. Telephone Man", the single amazingly stalled out right under the pop top-40 in March of 1989. However, within the next year or so they would all land top-10 hits, albeit under three different acts (Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant, and Bell Biv Devoe).

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Songoftheday 6/27/16 - Early in the morning I put breakfast at your table, and make sure that your coffee has its sugar and cream...

"Superwoman" - Karyn White
from the album Karyn White (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #8 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day comes from Karyn White, who went from being a background singer to a solo soul star in her own right, landing a top-10 pop/#1 R&B single with her debut release "The Way You Love Me". The follow-up to that record was also written and produced by the "Deele" team of Babyface and L.A. Reid with Daryl Simmons. "Superwoman" was a ballad that marched into the room and demanded respect from her man, and the video showed her coming to terms with the advances of a man willing to take that place...

"Superwoman" became Karyn's second top-10 pop hit in the U.S. in April of 1989. It also was her second to top Billboard's R&B chart (for two weeks), while it also peaked at #12 on their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio list. Internationally, the song was a top-20 hit in the UK (#11), Canada (#16), and Ireland (#20).

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Songoftheday 6/26/16 - 1,2,3,4 walking like a man hitting like a hammer, she's a juvenile scam never was a quitter...

"The Look" - Roxette
from the album Look Sharp! (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's song of the day comes from the Swedish pop duo Roxette, who had previously been in other bands before coming together in the mid-80s. After having a big hit in their homeland with "Neverending Love" in 1986 (#3), Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson recorded their first album, Pearls of Passion. Although they landed a couple more hits in Sweden, the sound was a bit dated at the time. In 1987, a token holiday single, "It Must Have Been Love (Christmas For The Broken Hearted)" climbed to #4 there, and eventually would be one of their biggest hit singles when they remade it for the Pretty Woman soundtrack in 1990. It also signaled a growth in their sound, drawing possibly from the latter romantically complex work of that other Swedish group, ABBA.

In 1988, Gessle and Fredricksson released their sophomore effort, Look Sharp!. While they again had massive success domestically with "Dressed For Success" and "Listen To Your Heart", it was the third try that caught the attention of an American student, who according to story brought the single back to Minneapolis to be played on their local pop radio station. "The Look", written by Gessle and produced by Clarence Öfwerman (who tours with the act), was a flashy bright slice of rhythm guitar led pop over a pulsing synth-bass beat that carries the tonal delivery of the duo (with the verses shot fast like rap) like it was the "new" new wave...

"The Look" became Roxette's first hit in America, climbing all the way to #1 on the Hot 100 in April of 1989. The song also slipped on to Billboard's Dance Club Play chart for a week at #47. Internationally, the single topped the charts in Australia, Italy, Germany, Norway, Spain, Finland and New Zealand. In their home, the song stopped at #6, and in Britain, it peaked at #7.

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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Songoftheday 6/25/16 - Everytime I look into your loving eyes, I see a love that money just can't buy...

"You Got It" - Roy Orbison
from the album Mystery Girl (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #9 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's song of the day comes from rock and roll icon Roy Orbison, who had grown up in modest means in Texas in the 40s, adopting his signature look - darkened glasses (he wasn't blind) and jet-black hair - pretty early on. Getting signed on to the legendary Sun Studios (home at one time to Elvis and Johnny Cash), Orbison released his breakthrough hit, "Ooby Dooby", in 1956, and popped on to the pop chart at #59. However, he was unable to follow up on that success, and beside his songwriting, which scored him a B-side to a #1 hit with the Everly Brothers' "Claudette" (named for Roy's wife), he lost almost everything, retired from even performing live. After a break, where he concentrated on writing, he re-upped with RCA, and put out the string-backed "Uptown" in 1959, which brought him back to the chart at #72. However, it was his next release that really got America and the world to see who he really was an artist. "Only The Lonely (Know The Way I Feel)", from a year later, would capture the heartache and solitude that his aching falsetto voice could relay like none of the other teen idols that were all over radio. The single climbed to #2 in the U.S., and was an international smash, topping the chart in the UK, and top-10 in Canada (#2) and Australia (#5). In 1961, his song "Running Scared" became his first to top the Hot 100 in America. Roy would go on to tour with the three biggest bands in pop music, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and the Rolling Stones. His (probably) best-known track, "Oh, Pretty Woman", went to #1 in 1964, but it would be his last to reach the top 10 on the American pop chart for 25 years. His modest success continued, but personal tragedies like the death of not only his wife but his two oldest sons took a toll and he retreated as rock music changed to more harder fare. The 70's pretty much left Roy behind, but he did re-emerge in 1980 with a duet with Emmylou Harris, "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again", from the Meat Loaf film Roadie, which reached the top ten on the country and easy listening charts (and #55 pop) and earned him a Grammy for best country duo/group performance. Another movie collaboration, the sublime re-do of his own 1961 hit "Crying" with k.d. lang from Hiding Out, landed at #28 on the adult contemporary chart and #42 country in 1987, but the exposure really belied its chart position (and also gave his another Grammy for country collab). That same year, Roy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, further proving his artistic legacy. While he was preparing to record a new solo album with Electric Light Orchestra frontman Jeff Lynne, he ended up taking part in the rock "supergroup" project The Traveling Wilburys, which produced a top-3 album and almost top-40 hit with "Handle With Care". Orbison also finished his solo set Mystery Girl, which would end up being released two months after his death from a heart attack in December 1988. The first single, "You Got It", written by Roy with Lynne and fellow "Wilbury" Tom Petty, sparked a wave of nostalgia for the man gone way too soon at the age of 52...

"You Got It" became Orbison's ninth and final top ten pop hit in the U.S. in April of 1989. The single also made it to #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart, and even crossed over to #7 on their Country Singles chart. Internationally, the record went to #1 in Canada and top-10 in the UK (#3), Ireland and the Netherlands. It would be nominated as well for a Grammy for Rock Performance.

Two more singles would come from Mystery Girl, with "California Blue" reaching the AC (#44) and Country (#51) charts, while the solemn "She's A Mystery To Me" made it to #23 on the Adult Contemporary list. In 1992, an album of outtakes with Lynne, King Of Hearts, earned Roy a posthumous top-10 hit in the UK with his version of Cyndi Lauper's "I Drove All Night", and a top-40 follow-up with "Heartbreak Radio" (his k.d. lang assisted "Crying" also reached #13 in the UK at that time). In 1998, the Grammys honored him with a Lifetime Achievement award. But even besides that, Orbison stood out like no other solo male rock performer of the 60s, with a voice that went back to the heavens from whence it came.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Brit Sweep: June 24, 2016...

Let's head over the Atlantic one again to check out the notable songs making their way on to the official singles chart in the UK this week, as Drake seems to be the one stable thing in the country right now, spending an eleventh week at #1 with "One Dance"...

Modern rock band Bastille, from London, return at #25 with their brand new "Good Grief". It's the first single from their upcoming second album Wild World. It's their fifth top-40 hit; they've been to #2 twice, with their international smash "Pompeii" and their 90's mash-up "Of The Night"...

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twostepcub's music chart for June 24, 2016...

Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. "Cake By The Ocean" sails in for a third week at #1, while the Lumineers (pictured above) move into the top-3. Former big hits from Pet Shop Boys, Coldplay, Rihanna, Stonebridge, Thomas Rhett, and Cole Swindell drop off my list, while songs from Alesso, OneRepublic, and Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats make some of the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). Happy Pride weekend, New York!

This Week        Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. Cake By The Ocean - DNCE (1)
2. Can't Stop The Feeling! - Justin Timberlake (4)
3. Ophelia - The Lumineers (5)
4. 7 Years - Lukas Graham (2)
5. T-Shirt - Thomas Rhett (7)
6. Ride - twenty-one pilots (6)
7. Spirits - The Strumbellas (3)
8. Never Forget You - Zara Larsson & MNEK (9)
9. Cheap Thrills - Sia f/Sean Paul (13)
10. I Took A Pill In Ibiza - Mike Posner (8)
11. Off The Ground - The Record Company (10)
12. Dark Necessities - Red Hot Chili Peppers (14)
13. Send My Love (To Your New Lover) - Adele (18)
14. Don't Let Me Down - The Chainsmokers f/Daya (16)
15. Pillowtalk - Zayn (17)
16. Something In The Way You Move - Ellie Goulding (12)
17. Snapback - Old Dominion (15)
18. Piece By Piece - Kelly Clarkson (11)
19. Lost Boy - Ruth B (23)
20. Unsteady - X Ambassadors (20)
21. Bored To Death - blink-182 (31)
22. Wherever I Go - OneRepublic (36)
23. Brand New - Ben Rector (19)
24. So Happy - Tony Moran (24)
25. One Call Away - Charlie Puth (21)
26. Ain't No Man - The Avett Brothers (32)
27. Kill The Lights - Alex Newell, Jess Glynne, DJ Cassidy & Nile Rodgers (38)
28. Humble and Kind - Tim McGraw (26)
29. Faded - Alan Walker (33)
30. This One's For Me & You - Johnny Gill f/New Edition (25)
31. Stressed Out - twenty-one pilots (27)
32. Mind Reader - Dustin Lynch (28)
33. First - Cold War Kids (29)
34. Walking On A Dream - Empire Of The Sun (22)
35. My Church - Maren Morris (35)
36. Keep You In Mind - Guordan Banks (39)
37. Kiss This - The Struts (37)
38. Think Of You - Chris Young f/Cassadee Pope (30)
39. Fire - Barns Courtney (43)
40. Noise - Kenny Chesney (44)
41. HandClap - Fitz & The Tantrums (51)
42. I Need Never Get Old - Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats (54)
43. Coming Over - Dillon Francis & Kygo f/James Hersey (47)
44. One Night - WTS f/Gia (34)
45. Came Here To Forget - Blake Shelton (46)
46. My House - Flo Rida (42)
47. Just Like Fire - Pink (49)
48. The Devil's Bleeding Crown - Volbeat (53)
49. One Dance - Drake f/Wizkid & Kyla (57)
50. Smile - Sheila Gordhan (50)
51. Better Place - Rachel Platten (56)
52. Somewhere On A Beach - Dierks Bentley (48)
53. Church Bells - Carrie Underwood (63)
54. Under These Lights - Xenia Ghali (58)
55. H.O.L.Y. - Florida Georgia Line (65)
56. Hymn For The Weekend - Coldplay (66)
57. Hell No - Ingrid Michaelson (61)
58. Wasted Time - Keith Urban (62)
59. This Is What You Came For - Calvin Harris f/Rihanna (69)
60. Work From Home - Fifth Harmony f/Ty Dolla $ign (60)
61. Way Down We Go - Kaleo (71)
62. Record Year - Eric Church (68)
63. Lake By The Ocean - Maxwell (73)
64. Feel This Way - Philip George f/Dragonette (40)
65. No - Meghan Trainor (45)
66. Hands To Myself - Selena Gomez (52)
67. Light It Up - Major Lazer f/Nyla & Fuse ODG (67)
68. Fix - Chris Lane (80)
69. All My Friends - Snakehips f/Tinashe & Chance The Rapper (55)
70. Head Over Boots - Jon Pardi (74)
71. I Wanna Know - Alesso (86)
72. Bulletproof - NERVO f/Harrison Miya (72)
73. So Alive - Goo Goo Dolls (77)
74. Dangerous Woman - Ariana Grande (76)
75. Lights Come On - Jason Aldean (85)
76. T.U.T.P. (Turn Up The Party) - Dirtyfreqs f/Vassy (88)
77. One Night In Heaven - Toy Armada & DJ Grind f/Inaya Day (DEBUT)
78. Casual Party - Band Of Horses (DEBUT)
79. Night's On Fire - David Nail (DEBUT)
80. Working For It - ZHU & Skrillex & THEY. (90)
81. Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day - Luke Bryan (83)
82. No Money - Galantis (92)
83. Shine - Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals (91)
84. Lush Life - Zara Larsson (84)
85. Me Too - Meghan Trainor (95)
86. No Good - Joe Maz & Scotty Boy f/Krista Richards (87)
87. Rise - Sixx A.M. (97)
88. Take It From Me - KONGOS (DEBUT)
89. The Right Song - Tiesto & Oliver Heldens f/Natalie La Rose (93)
90. Amen - Anthony Hamilton (RE-ENTRY)
91. Angel - Lalah Hathaway (81)
92. Hair - Little Mix f/Sean Paul (100)
93. Encore Un Soir - Celine Dion (98)
94. Up & Up - Coldplay (94)
95. American Country Love Song - Jake Owen (99)
96. Needed Me - Rihanna (DEBUT)
97. This Girl - KUNGS vs. Cookin' On 3 Burners (RE-ENTRY)
98. Trouble - Cage The Elephant (DEBUT)
99. Cry - Sigma f/Take That (DEBUT)
100. Music Feels Better - Alexa Aronson f/Snoop Dogg

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 that artist's official website. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 6/24/16 - If there's a fire in my eyes, it should come as no surprise to you...

"More Than You Know" - Martika
from the album Martika (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #18 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 8

Today's song of the day comes from singer Martika (aka Marta Marrero), who had been a kid star in the mid-80s on the television show Kids Incorporated, a "Mickey Mouse Club"-type singing and sketch show that featured many current hits redone like today's Kidz Bop does. Signing a record deal with Columbia, she released her debut album in 1988. The first single, "More Than You Know", was a bubbly shot of dance-pop gleaned from Madonna and Debbie Gibson. Written by the singer with Michael Jay and Marvin Morrow, it was pure enough for the kiddies yet with vocals strong enough for the dance clubs...

"More Than You Know" became Martika's first top-40 hit in the U.S. in April of 1989. The song also climbed to #12 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart. Internationally the song originally was a minor hit in Canada at #78, but in 1990, after the follow-up "Toy Soldiers" became a huge worldwide hit, it made the British chart at #15, #10 in Ireland, and #32 in Australia.

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