Monday, August 21, 2017

Robbed hit of the week 8/21/17 - 2nu's "This Is Ponderous"...

"This Is Ponderous" - 2nu
from the album Ponderous (1991)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #46

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the new wave band 2nu from Seattle, who had a left-field hit single with the spoken-word dance-pop novelty "This Is Ponderous". Seemingly inspired by such alternative dance acts like Art Of Noise, who had a top-40 hit with the similar-sounding "Paranoimia", vocalist Jock Blaney and songwriter Mike Nealy track the day of a man in a dream-like trance...

"This Is Ponderous" climbed to just above the halfway point on Billboard's Hot 100 pop chart in February of 1991. It's remained a cult favorite among lovers of novelty records and art-dance music. The band didn't have any radio success since, though one of their compositions, "Crossroads", was used in Johnnie Walker ads and probably is more known that this single was.

Songoftheday 8/21/17 - Why be afraid if I'm not alone, life is never easy the rest is unknown...

"Coming Out Of The Dark" - Gloria Estefan
from the album Into The Light (1991)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14 

Today's song of the day comes from Cuban-American singer/songwriter Gloria Estefan, whose first solo-billed album Cuts Both Ways had landed her five pop hits on the Hot 100, including three that made the top-40 with "Here We Are", "Get On Your Feet", and the #1 single "Don't Wanna Lose You". However, when she was touring behind the album, her bus was hit by a truck, sending Gloria into the hospital in critical condition, requiring surgery and left her with two metal rods in her back. After almost a year in therapy, she re-emerged, not only to continue her tour, but with a new album, Into The Light, in the winter of 1991. The first single was an inspirational anthem that drew strength from her struggle to recover from the accident. "Coming Out Of The Dark", written by Gloria with husband Emilio and backup singer Jon Secada (who would have his own solo career come to pass in short time), was dramatic but not maudlin, and proved to be one of her "signature" songs...

"Coming Out Of The Dark" became Gloria's third (and so far most recent) #1 pop hit in the U.S. in March of 1991. The single also topped Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart for two weeks, and was her fourth and final single to cross over to their R&B chart at #60. Internationally, the song went to #1 in Canada for a week, and reached the top-40 in Belgium (#10), the Netherlands (#11), Ireland (#16), the UK (#25), New Zealand (#26), and Switzerland (#28). The "B-Side" of the single, the Spanish version "Desde la Oscuridad", climbed to #4 on Billboard's Latin Songs chart.

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Songoftheday 8/20/17 - Never knew uds, so cool as ice? Hear the vibes man they'll stupefy Ducks categorize us as hard criers, That's a lie we know why we're occupiers...

"Deeper Shade Of Soul"- Urban Dance Squad
from the album Mental Floss For The Globe (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #21 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 7

Today's song of the day comes from the Dutch band Urban Dance Squad, who were one of the first acts on the continent to have success with the rap & rock fusion that had given rise to American groups like Faith No More and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Forming in the city of Utrecht in the mid-80s, their first single, "Deeper Shade Of Soul", was named from the record it sampled, recorded by Latin jazz artist Ray Barretto in 1968. Barretto had a top-20 hit in 1961 with "El Watusi"...

The Squad, with lead singer/rapper Patrick Tilon from the former Dutch South American territory turned independent country of Suriname, along with DJ DNA (Arjen de Vreede), incorporated the Barretto track into a hip stoner/ghetto rider anthem that bridged the gap of college rock and R&B stations...

"Deeper Shade Of Soul" became the Urban Dance Squad's sole American pop hit, reaching the top-40 in March of 1991. Internationally, the record was a minor hit in their native Netherlands at #52 and in Australia at #56. Two more singles from the Mental Floss.. album, "No Kid" and "Fastlane", charted in the 50s in Holland. However, the album was much better than its reception belies.

The band wouldn't place on the American charts ever again, but continued to have success at home, eventually reaching the Dutch top 40 in 1994 with "Demagogue". They folded by the end of the decade, with Tilon appearing on the first two albums from Dutch DJ Junkie XL, and provided vocals for their chart hit "Zerotonine" in 1999 (#63 UK, #62 Netherlands).

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Songoftheday 8/19/17 - I looked out across the river today, saw a city in the fog and an old church town where the seagulls play....

"All This Time" - Sting
from the album The Soul Cages (1991)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #5 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9

Today's song of the day comes from Sting, who had two very successful solo albums after disbanding the Police in the late 1980's. The second of those, ...Nothing Like The Sun, had scored him a pair of top-20 pop hits in America with "We'll Be Together" and "Be Still My Beating Heart". He also sent three tracks from that album to Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart: a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" (#11), "The Lazarus Heart" (#30), and "An Englishman In New York" (#32), with the latter becoming the sole one from the record to make the top-40 in his native Britain courtesy of a dance remix from Ben Liebrand (#15). In 1990, Sting released his third solo effort, The Soul Cages, a deeply personal work dealing with his father's death. The first single, "All This Time", though, was upbeat in tempo and lush in production (using the then-new "Q Sound" 3D approximation technology), and radio took him back in...

"All This Time" became Sting's fourth top ten pop hit in the U.S. in March of 1991. The song was massive on rock radio, topping Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart for seven weeks, his solo career best (the Police's "Every Breath You Take" topped for nine weeks), while also hitting #1 on their Modern Rock list for two weeks as well. The track also climbed to #9 on the Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") chart. Internationally, the single spent a week atop the chart in Canada, hit the top ten in Norway (#7), and reached the top-40 in Ireland (#13), Switzerland (#18), France (#21), the UK (#22), the Netherlands (#22), Germany (#23), Austria (#23), and Australia (#26).

Despite the success of the single, and maybe because of the intimate nature of the album, "All This Time" was the only hit single from The Soul Cages on pop radio. The hard-edged guitar-led title track, which did manage to reach the top ten on the mainstream (#7) and modern (#9) rock radio chart, missed the pop Hot 100 completely, but made up for it by winning the first Grammy Award for Rock Song in 1992. A third release in the States, "Why Should I Cry For You?", climbed to #32 on the mainstream rock list. In Britain, the exotic-sounding "Mad About You" was offered as the follow-up to "All This Time", and stalled down at #56 (followed by "Soul Cages" at #57).

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Friday, August 18, 2017

twostepcub's music chart for August 18, 2017...

Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee spend a fifth week at #1, while Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood (pictured above) climb a couple notches in the top ten. Songs from Calvin Harris/Pharrell/Katy Perry/Big Sean, Rudimental/James Arthur, and Karel Ullner make the biggest jumps on my chart (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red), while former big hits from Kings Of Leon, Ariana Grande, LP, and Joe Bermudez drop off the list. This eclipse is an omen I'm telling you...

This Week              Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. Despacito - Luis Fonsi f/Daddy Yankee (1)
2. Attention - Charlie Puth (2)
3. There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back - Shawn Mendes (5)
4. Feel It Still - Portugal, The Man (4)
5. Run - Foo Fighters (6)
6. Redbone - Childish Gambino (3)
7. Believer - Imagine Dragons (7)
8. The Fighter - Keith Urban f/Carrie Underwood (10)
9. Don't Take The Money - Bleachers (9)
10. Malibu - Miley Cyrus (14)
11. Stay - Zedd & Alessia Cara (11)
12. Craving You - Thomas Rhett f/Maren Morris (12)
13. Drinkin' Problem - Midland (17)
14. No Such Thing As A Broken Heart - Old Dominion (18)
15. You Look Good - Lady Antebellum (15)
16. Castle On The Hill - Ed Sheeran (8)
17. That's What I Like - Bruno Mars (13)
18. It Ain't Me - Kygo & Selena Gomez (16)
19. Shape Of You - Ed Sheeran (19)
20. Swish Swish - Katy Perry f/Nicki Minaj (22)
21. Somebody Else Will - Justin Moore (24)
22. Flatliner - Cole Swindell f/Dierks Bentley (27)
23. High - Sir Sly (23)
24. The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness - The National (28)
25. Yours If You Want It - Rascal Flatts (20)
26. Something Just Like This - The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (26)
27. Dig Down - Muse (31)
28. Give Love - Andy Grammer f/Lunchmoney Lewis (32)
29. Do I Make You Wanna - Billy Currington (37)
30. My Fire - Nile Rodgers & Tony Moran f/Kimberly Davis (30)
31. HUMBLE. - Kendrick Lamar (21)
32. Slow Hands - Niall Horan (35)
33. Body Like A Back Road - Sam Hunt (33)
34. Love Is Love Is Love - LeAnn Rimes (38)
35. Issues - Julia Michaels (25)
36. The Cure - Lady Gaga (29)
37. Everything Now - Arcade Fire (41)
38. Now Or Never - Halsey (42)
39. The Man - The Killers (43)
40. Wish I Knew You - The Revivalists (40)
41. Feels Like Summer - Weezer (51)
42. Say You Won't Let Go - James Arthur (34)
43. Wild Thoughts - DJ Khaled f/Rihanna & Bryson Tiller (47)
44. Sometimes - Kat Graham (48)
45. Strip That Down - Liam Payne f/Quavo (49)
46. Symphony - Clean Bandit f/Zara Larsson (36)
47. Mama - Jonas Blue f/William Singe (57)
48. Hurricane - Luke Combs (44)
49. Holding On - The War On Drugs (60)
50. Save As Draft - Katy Perry (54)
51. In Case You Didn't Know - Brett Young (46)
52. Feels - Calvin Harris f/Pharrell, Katy Perry, and Big Sean (66)
53. Versace On The Floor - Bruno Mars (58)
54. Runnin' Out - After 7 (50)
55. Cold Little Heart - Michael Kiwanuka (45)
56. The Night We Met - Lord Huron (56)
57. Take It All Back - Judah & The Lion (53)
58. Drink Up - Train (62)
59. The Violence - Rise Against (63)
60. Can I Sit Next To You - Spoon (61)
61. My Girl - Dylan Scott (55)
62. Every Time I Hear That Song - Blake Shelton (52)
63. Song #3 - Stone Sour (59)
64. Small Town Boy - Dustin Lynch (64)
65. Level - Stokely (69)
66. Your Song - Rita Ora (68)
67. They Don't Know - Jason Aldean (74)
68. You, I & The Music - Junior Sanchez (78)
69. Thunder - Imagine Dragons (75)
70. OK - Robin Schulz f/James Blunt (70)
71. Now That We're Dead - Metallica (71)
72. Gltchlfe - Taryn Manning (73)
73. Waterfall - Stargate f/Pink & Sia (77)
74. Only Want You - Skylar Stecker (79)
75. Sugar Shack - Tami (76)
76. Heartache On The Dance Floor - Jon Pardi (84)
77. Let The World Be Ours Tonight - Deborah Cox (DEBUT)
78. 2U - David Guetta f/Justin Bieber (82)
79. Unforgettable - French Montana f/Swae Lee (83)
80. Praying - Kesha (85)
81. Sun Comes Up - Rudimental f/James Arthur (95)
82. We Get High - Karel Ullner (96)
83. More Girls Like You - Kip Moore (89)
84. Under My Skin - Kendra Erika (94)
85. Turn It Up - Kym Sims (DEBUT)
86. Dirt On My Boots - Jon Pardi (86)
87. Most Girls - Hailee Steinfeld (87)
88. Lights Out - Royal Blood (88)
89. For Her - Chris Lane (DEBUT)
90. My Man - Tamar Braxton (94)
91. One Of Us - New Politics (91)
92. Just You & I - Tom Walker (99)
93. More Than You Know - Axwell & Ingrosso (93)
94. Don't Matter Now - George Ezra (RE-ENTRY)
95. Rain - The Script (100)
96 Came Here For Love - Sigala f/Ella Eyre (RE-ENTRY)
97. Pretty Girl - Maggie Lindemann (97)
98. Only The Wild Ones - Dispatch (98)
99. Miracles (Someone Special) - Coldplay & Big Sean (DEBUT)
100. Power - Little Mix f/Stormzy (RE-ENTRY)

There are four 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 8/18/17 - Every night I say a prayer in the hopes that there's a heaven, but every day I'm more confused as the saints turn into sinners...

"Show Me The Way" - Styx
from the album Edge Of The Century (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's song of the day comes from the arena rock band Styx, who after slipping in one more top-40 pop hit in the summer of 1984 with the execrable "Music Time", from a contract-fulfilling live album, the band split up. Both lead singers Dennis DeYoung and Tommy Shaw recorded a few solo albums, each scoring a top-40 pop hit with DeYoung's "Desert Moon" and Shaw's "Girls With Guns". In 1990, DeYoung reunited with Styx members James Young and brothers Chuck and John Pannozzo. Shaw was at that time in the "supergroup" Damn Yankees with Ted Nugent and Night Ranger's Jack Blades, and was riding high with the success of the top-10 pop hit "High Enough". In his place, the band brought in New Jersey local favorite Glen Burtnik, who was well known on the Jersey Shore venues that had previously started Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny. Their first album together was Edge Of The Century in 1990, and the lead track, "Love Is The Ritual", featured Burtnik on vocals (it was a leftover from his solo career). It sounded nothing like Styx's previous work, and more of a mix of hair-metal or Bon Jovi and white boy dance-pop of Robbie Nevil, and while it climbed to #9 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, it stalled way down at #80 on the pop Hot 100. But the second single, "Show Me The Way", was written, produced, and sung by DeYoung, and his familiar almost-Broadway theatrical power-ballad style took them back to pop radio, where the first Iraq War had given a market for sentimental and inspirational songs like this to catch on with military families and friends, as it sounded like a rewrite of Bette Midler's "From A Distance"...

"Show Me The Way" became Styx's eighth (and so far last) top ten pop hit in March of 1991. The song also spent two weeks at #3 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart, spending over seven months on the list. Internationally, the single made it to #4 in Canada, and was a minor hit in Australia at #68.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Songoftheday 8/17/17 - Where do we go from here? What must we do to make that change?

"This House" - Tracie Spencer
from the album Make The Difference (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14

Today's song of the day comes from R&B/pop singer Tracie Spencer, who at the age of twelve landed herself a top-40 pop hit with the infectious dance-pop jam "Symptoms Of True Love" in the winter of 1988. Two more singles from her debut album, "Hide and Seek" and a cover of John Lennon's "Imagine", reached the top-40 on Billboard's R&B chart as well. Two years later, Tracie released her sophomore record Make A Difference. The first single from the set, "Save Your Love", was another dance-pop confection like "Symptoms", but while it hit #7 R&B and #20 Dance, it missed the pop chart altogether. That was remedied, though, with the release of the second song from the album, "This House". Written by producers Matt and Paul Sherrod with Marty Spencer, the album version was remixed into a "house music" jam (tying in the name), and with inspirational lyrics of striving for peace and harmony among everyone, it resonated with Americans, landing Tracie the biggest pop hit of her career. The video had her singing among scenes with Native Americans...

"This House" climbed all the way to the top-3 on the American pop chart in March of 1991. The single also went to #7 on Billboard's R&B chart, while the remixes on the 12" single helped it up to #7 on their Dance Club Play list. Internationally, the single reached the top-40 in New Zealand (#26), and was a minor hit in the UK at #65 and Australia (#87).

The third single from the Make A Difference album, the youthful club jam "This Time Make It Funky", reached the top-40 on the dance (#13) and R&B (#31) charts, but stalled under the halfway mark on the pop Hot 100 at #54. Spencer slowed it down then with the midtempo love ballad "Tender Kisses", which rewarded her with her only R&B #1 hit, and almost made the top-40 at #42. That was followed by the even more slower "Love Me", which got to #48 pop and #2 R&B. She wouldn't be back until seven years later on her Tracie album.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Songoftheday 8/16/17 - Everybody needs a little place they can hide, somewhere to call their own don't let nobody inside...

"Shelter Me" - Cinderella
from the album Heartbreak Station (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #36 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 2

Today's song of the day comes from the glam/heavy metal band from Philadelphia, Cinderella, whose sophomore album Long Cold Winter had scored them a trio of top-40 pop hits with "Don't Know What You've Got ('Til It's Gone)", "The Last Mile", and "Coming Home". In 1990, the group released their third effort, Heartbreak Station, which was more blues/acoustic inclined and was led off with the single "Shelter Me". Written by lead singer Tom Keifer, it would be their last entry on the pop top-40, helped along with a MTV-ready video featuring Little Richard...

"Shelter Me" became Cinderella's fifth and final top-40 pop hit in February of 1991. The song also climbed to #5 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, their highest ranking of their career. Internationally, the song reached the top-40 in Canada at #27, and was a minor hit in the UK (#55) and Australia (#48).

The band's second single from the album was the title track "Heartbreak Station", which also made the rock top ten at #10, but just missed the pop top-40 at #44. In 1992, their contribution to the Wayne's World soundtrack, "Hot And Bothered", got to #45 on the rock chart, and probably nice royalties from the success of the album. However touring behind the album caused Kiefer to require surgery to get his voice back, and Cinderella's next album took four years to emerge. That set, Still Climbing, sent lead track "Bad Attitude Shuffle" only to #37 on the rock radio list, and nowhere near the pop chart. They were dropped by their label, and went their separate ways, reuniting every now and then for touring and live sets, but Kiefer has had a solo album reach the chart in 2013.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Songoftheday 8/15/17 - Beautiful beautiful girl from the north, you burned my heart with a flickering torch...

"Candy" - Iggy Pop
from the album Brick By Brick (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #28 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's song of the day comes from punk legend Iggy Pop, who was born James Osterberg Jr in suburban Michigan. Starting out as a drummer, and assuming the first name of "Iggy" for one of his bands the Iguanas, he put together his own group as the lead singer called the Stooges in the late 60's, dubbing himself "Iggy Pop". They released their self-titled debut album in 1969, with the cult classic "I Wanna Be Your Dog" barreling through speakers of those in the know at the time. It was produced by Velvet Underground member John Cale, and climbed to just about the halfway mark on Billboard magazine's albums chart. Their follow-up, Fun House, was even more chaotic and more revered by punk rock lovers, who deem this a seminal start to the genre. With drummer Scott Asheton and his brother Ron on guitars and then bass after Dave Alexander got booted, the band had a following but no big success. But heroin had crippled most of the band including Pop, and they split up in 1971.

A couple years later, with the help of David Bowie and his manager Tony DeFries, Iggy brought back the Stooges with guitarist John Williamson and the Asheton brothers. The result was the iconic punk precursor Raw Power, and again while the record did make the albums chart at #182, the band again descended into druggie hell, and were dropped by the label and management. Pop ended up in the hospital/rehab, put eventually set out with Bowie to Germany, where they recorded Pop's first solo album The Idiot, which came out in 1977 and contained an early version of Bowie's later top-10 pop hit "China Girl". Later that same year came his second solo disc, Lust For Life. The title track ended up a top-10 hit in the Netherlands and Belgium, helped by his set-destructing appearance on local "American Bandstand"-style show TopPop. The album also featured comedian Soupy Sales' sons Tony Fox and Hunt Sales, who would go on to play with Bowie as Tin Machine.

Pop went on his own after that, switching to Arista Records, bringing back Williamson and Stooge touring keyboardist Scott Thurston for the New Values album in 1979, but only the "I'm Bored" track saw a minor hit place in Australia, again helped by the controversial TV appearance. Releasing a scattering of albums in the early 1980's, with the single "Bang Bang" from his Party album reaching the American dance chart at #35, he again fell prey to drugs, until taking time off (with the help of royalties from Bowie's re-recordings of his "China Girl" among others) to clean up. He reemerged with Blah-Blah-Blah in 1986, and the set is my personal favorite of his, with single "Cry For Love" reaching #19 on the dance chart and #34 rock radio in the U.S., while "Real Wild Child (Wild One)" going all the way to #10 on the British pop singles chart. Two years later, Pop followed up with the Instinct record with Sex Pistols guitar man Steve Jones, which brought his punk sound back. Lead track "Cold Metal" slipped on to the rock chart at #37.

Iggy started the 1990's with a contribution to the soundtrack of the Michael Douglas movie Black Rain, "Livin' On The Edge Of The Night", that at the time would climb higher than his earlier work at #16 on the Modern Rock radio list. Produced by Don Was (of Was Not Was), the retro-rockabilly sounding track would end up on his next album, Brick By Brick. Was helmed the record, which sent the next single, "Home", to #2 on the Modern Rock chart for a week. But the third release from the set, "Candy", brought pop radio in on the party with the help of B-52's singer Kate Pierson, who was riding high after the success of her band's Cosmic Thing album. Written by Pop, it was by far his most "mainstream"-sounding record, and the mid-tempo alt-rock gem gave him his biggest American pop success...

"Candy" became Iggy's sole top-40 pop hit in the U.S. in February of 1991. The song also climbed to #5 on Billboard's Modern Rock radio chart, and #30 on the Mainstream Rock list. Internationally, the single reached the top ten in the Netherlands (#7), Australia (#9), and Belgium (#10), and got to #67 in the UK.

Later in 1991, Pop teamed up with Debbie Harry (whose partner Chris Stein produced one of his 80s records) for a cover of the Cole Porter standard "Well Did You Evah" for the AIDS benefit Red Hot & Blue album, which just missed the British top-40 at #42. Two years later, Pop put out American Caesar, and "Wild America" appeared on the rock radio list at #25.  He continued to act and record music through the decade, though his biggest notice came in 1996 when his "Lust For Life" song was a central part of the movie Trainspotting, which caused the song to finally enter the British top-40 at #26. A couple years later, he did even better with old track "The Passenger", which hawked Toyotas in a TV ad and went to #22 in the UK. Was came band to produce Pop's Avenue B album in 1999, and the single "Corruption" slipped on to the British chart on the bottom rung of #100. After a couple of high-profile featured gigs on electronic-rock act Dirty Vegas' British top ten hit "Aisha" (#9, 2000), and on punk princess Peaches' "Kick It" (#39, 2004), Iggy reunited with the Asheton brothers for his Skull Ring album in 2004, and single "Little Know It All", featuring pop-punk band Sum-41, became his most recent rock radio hit in the U.S. at #35.  He continued with the Ashetons to revive the Stooges with sax player Steve MacKay (who played on Fun House), Mike Watt on bass, and John Williamson again (after Ron Asheton died in 2009) for tours and a couple more albums. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, and Iggy's most recent solo album, Post Pop Depression, was nominated for a Grammy for Alternative Rock album this year, losing to his late friend David Bowie's Blackstar set.

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