Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Disco Dessert 9/18/18 - "I'm Ready" from Kano...

"I'm Ready" was the first club hit for Italian HI-NRG dance act Kano, who hail from Milan. The single rose to #8 on Billboard's Disco/Dance Singles chart in 1980, then crossed over to their R&B chart, peaking at #21 the following year. The song appeared on their self-titled debut album. You may recognize the synth foundation of this track as the sample used in the 1990's bass hit "Whoomp! There It Is!" by the Tag Team, one of the most successful singles of the rock era.

Song you should hear (and see) 9/18/18 - "S.O.S." from Cher...

"S.O.S." is the second promo single released from Cher's upcoming ABBA tribute album Dancing Queen. There's now a new music video, featuring a baker's dozen of up and coming women you should know, including singer Betty Who, Ocean's 8 producer Sas Goldberg, Lauren Weedman from Looking, and Transparent star Trace Lysette. The gheys will probably bitch and moan that Cher herself isn't in this, but I don't mind, the message is beautiful and isn't distracted by her presence.

Songoftheday 9/18/18 - There ain't a dream that don't have the chance to come true now, it just takes a little faith baby...

"Love Can Move Mountains" - Celine Dion
from the album Celine Dion (1992)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #36 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's song of the day comes from Canadian singer Celine Dion, whose self-titled second English-language album had already spun off three pop hits in America with "Nothing Broken But My Heart", and two top ten singles in "If You Asked Me To" and "Beauty And The Beast" (from the same-titled Disney film). The fourth release from the record would be her most club-friendly offering to date, with "Love Can Move Mountains". Written by song doctor supreme Diane Warren and produced by Ric Wake, who handled Taylor Dayne's albums, the song grooved on a house music bassline with a choir of backup singers to almost make this a religious experience...

"Love Can Move Mountains" became the fourth top-40 pop hit from Celine Dion in the U.S. in January of 1993. The single climbed to #8 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio format chart. Because of the dance remixes of the track, it would be first to reach the Dance Club Play chart, peaking at #5. Internationally, the single spent two weeks at #2 in Canada, while it just missed the top-40 in the UK at #46.

A fifth single from the album, the ballad "Water From The Moon", missed the main pop chart in the U.S., but climbed to #11 on the Adult Contemporary radio chart, and got to #7 in Canada. That was followed by "Did You Give Enough Love", which had a lite new jack swing vibe, and scaled to #17 in Canada.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Disco Dessert 9/17/18 - "Clouds" from Chaka Khan...

Since the remnants of Hurricane Florence are heading north...

"Clouds" was the first single from Chaka Khan's second solo album Naughty. Written by the incomparable writing husband-wife team of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, who also penned her signature "I'm Every Woman" debut solo hit, the elegant yet soulful string-laden track featured a young Whitney Houston (and her mother Cissy) on backup vocals. The single would rise to #10 on Billboard's R&B chart, but only "bubbled under" their pop Hot 100 chart at #103. Most surprisingly, the 12" single, paired with "Papillon (Hot Butterfly)", stopped short at #31 on their Disco/Dance Singles chart, though staying on the list for 18 weeks. However, in 1989 as part of the Life Is A Dance remix project album, where the C&C Music Factory guys mixed the song, topped the Dance Club Play chart as an entire record.

Robbed hit of the week 9/17/18 - Chaka Demus and Pliers' "Murder She Wrote"...

"Murder She Wrote" - Chaka Demus & Pliers
from the album All She Wrote (1993)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #57

This week's "robbed hit" comes from a pair of Jamaican reggae artists who had previously been working solo, Chaka Demus and Pliers. Respectively born John Taylor and Everton Bonner from the capital of Kingston, they were locally successful, but when touring in the U.S., decided to collaborate, where they recorded their first set Gal Wine Wine Wine. Two more independent records followed until they released a collection of songs named for their breakthrough single "Tease Me". In 1993, that song went to #3 in the UK, and #5 in both Australia and the Netherlands, and was an international success. That was followed by "She Don't Let Nobody", which peaked at #4 in the UK and #9 in Ireland. Then a cover of the Isley Brothers/Beatles' "Twist and Shout" featuring the Taxi Gang ended up spending two weeks at #1 on the British chart.

But before their British success, the pair released an original in the States, "Murder She Wrote". Written by the duo with producer Sly Dunbar and Lloyd Willis, it would bring them a lot of airplay on urban stations that were reggae-friendly, despite the subtle reference to abortion in the lyrics...

While "Murder She Wrote" rose to #39 on Billboard's R&B chart, the single stopped at #57 on the American Hot 100 pop chart in February of 1993. When released as the fourth single from the album Tease Me (renamed All She Wrote for America), it climbed to #27 in the UK. In the U.S., the track "I Wanna Be Your Man" which smartly sampled the R&B classic "Show and Tell" followed, and went to #87 on the R&B chart while "bubbling under" the pop Hot 100 at #112, though in the UK it did a bit better, peaking at #19. Lastly, the song "Gal Wine" from their start charted at #20 in Britain.

In 1996 Chaka and Pliers returned with their For Every Kinda People album, named for their cover of Robert Palmer's "Every Kinda People". That track went to #15 in New Zealand, and #47 in the UK. A year later, an interpolation of the Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" hit #19 in New Zealand and #51 in the UK, their most recent chart hit. However, they continued to still record together for awhile; their most recent collab album So Proud came in 2008. Chaka has also been recording solo - his Second Coming was released in 2013.

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Song you should hear 9/17/18 - "Burn Me Out" from Fozzy...

"Burn Me Out" is the third single release from the album Judas from hard rock band Fozzy, led by wrestling giant Chris Jericho. It follows two songs that reached the top ten on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, "Judas" and "Painless".

Songoftheday 9/17/18 - I know you're tired of the same old line, me sayin' I have something to do...

"Quality Time" - Hi-Five
from the album Keep It Goin' On (1992)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #38 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 2

Today's song of the day comes from the R&B vocal group Hi-Five, whose sophomore album Keep It Goin' On had already scored them their third top ten pop hit in the fall of 1992 with "She's Playing Hard To Get". The second single from the record would be the midtempo new jack swing-lite of "Quality Time". Written and produced by R. Kelly, the track would not only help the group led by the late Tony Thompson, but also give more cred to Kelly as a music powerhouse...

"Quality Time" became Hi-Five's fourth top-40 pop hit in January of 1993. The song spent a week on Billboard's R&B chart. Internationally, the single reached #36 in New Zealand. The third and final single from Keep It Goin' On, "Mary Mary", managed to get to #50 on the R&B tally, while missing the pop chart altogether. After the release of the album, member "Pooh" Clark died after a motor vehicle accident, and Russell Neal left the group as well. They would be replaced by their next record.

Up tomorrow: Canadian singer does some topological rearranging.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Disco Dessert 9/16/18 - "Smack Dab In The Middle" from Janice McClain...

Janice McClain, an R&B singer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, landed a club hit in 1979 with her single "Smack Dab In The Middle". The song peaked at #6 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart, followed by a short run on their R&B chart landing at #91. She's since then been a go-to back-up singer, scoring a second R&B hit in 1986 with "Passion and Pain". "Smack Dab In The Middle" was one of the best mixes of disco legend Larry Levan...

Song you should hear 9/16/18 - "S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun)" by The Glorious Sons...

"S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun)" is the second single from Canadian rockers The Glorious Sons' Young Beauties and Fools album. The first, "Everything Is Alright", went to #32 on the Alternative Rock radio chart earlier this year. It makes trailer trash so damn catchy.

Songoftheday 9/16/18 - There's an empty chair at my table, there's an empty look in your eyes...

"Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)" - Def Leppard
from the album Adrenalize (1992)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #34 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's song of the day comes from pop-metal giants Def Leppard, whose 1992 album Adrenalize had already spun off a trio of pop hits with "Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad?", "Make Love Like A Man", and "Let's Get Rocked". The fourth release from the record would be the mid-tempo track "Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)". When Adrenalize first came out, rock radio immediately caught on the track, where it would go on to spend five weeks at #1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart. Written by the band with "Mutt Lange", and produced by Mike Shipley, it would be their biggest success from the album...

"Stand Up" became the fourth and last top-40 pop hit from Adrenalize in January of 1993. Internationally, the singles climbed to #11 in Canada. While the world saw the release of "Heaven Is" as the fifth release, going to #13 in the UK and #24 in Ireland, the US got the ballad "Tonight", which hit #62 on the American pop chart, #13 on the Mainstream Rock list, and #34 in the UK.

Up tomorrow: Soul group promises some precious moments.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Disco Dessert 9/15/18 - "Hot Stuff" from Donna Summer...

"Hot Stuff" was the second #1 pop hit for the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, in the summer of 1979. Taken from her classic album Bad Girls, he hired on guitarist Jeff Baxter from the Doobie Brothers to give the song the hard edge it's known for. Along with "Bad Girls", "Hot Stuff" topped Billboard's Disco/Dance Singles chart for seven weeks, while the former song alone spent three weeks at #3 on their R&B tally. A remix of the track went to #1 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart this year.

Today's song you should hear 9/15/18: "Love Wins" from Carrie Underwood...

"Love Wins" is the new single from American Idol and country star Carrie Underwood's just-released Cry Pretty album. It follows her Olympic Games offering "The Champion" as well as the title track, which peaked at #9 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart. It looks like Carrie is riding out the apocalypse with the audience of Coachella.

Songoftheday 9/15/18 - What are those dogs doing sniffing at my feet, they're on to something picking up this heat...

"Steam" - Peter Gabriel
from the album Us (1992)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #32 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 5

Today's song of the day comes from British rock music icon Peter Gabriel, who had transformed from his progressive rock roots with the band Genesis to being a funky hitmaker in his solo career. His 1986 album So had spun off three big pop hits in America, with #1 hit "Sledgehammer" and top ten single "Big Time" joined by "In Your Eyes", which scaled the pop chart twice. Instead of following up with another rock album, in 1989 Gabriel was commissioned to create a soundtrack for the movie The Last Temptation Of Christ. The resulting work, Passion, was an amazing combination of world music experiments, and ended up winning a Grammy Award for Best New Age album, also lifting Gabriel's stature in the world music community to new heights.

Three years later, Peter finally re-emerged with a new studio album, Us, in 1992. The first single from the record, "Digging In The Dirt", pulled from a lot of the sounds from the Passion project, and the dark, brooding track ended up topping both the Mainstream (one week) and Modern (two weeks) Rock radio format charts; however the song only got to #52 on Billboard's pop Hot 100 in America (it did climb to #6 in Canada). The second release from the record, though, did much better, since it was a funk-rock hybrid much like "Sledgehammer" and "Big Time" were. "Steam", written by Gabriel who co-produced the song with Daniel Lanois, was also accompanied by a high-tech at the time special effects laden music video that won Music Video of the Year at the Grammy Awards...

"Steam" became Peter's fifth and so far final top-40 pop hit in the U.S. in January of 1993. The song spent five weeks at #1 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart, and rook four weeks at #2 on their Mainstream Rock list. Internationally, the single topped the chart in Canada for one week, and reached the top ten in Ireland (#7), New Zealand (#7), and his native Britain (#10). It also made the top-40 in Belgium (#25), the Netherlands (#27), Sweden (#28), and Australia (#29). Along with the Music Video Grammy, Gabriel was nominated for Best Solo Rock Performance in 1994, losing to Meat Loaf's "I Would Do Anything For Love".

The third release from Us, the emotional ballad "Blood Of Eden", featured Irish singer Sinead O'Connor, and just missed the British top-40 at #43. That was followed by the funkier "Kiss That Frog", which peaked at #18 on both the Mainstream and Modern rock charts in Billboard, but missed the pop Hot 100 entirely (and again missed the British top-40 at #46). Finally, the album track "Secret World", which lent its name to his accompanying tour behind the record, scaled to #34 on the Mainstream Rock chart. He also was nominated for a Grammy in 1993 for the whole Us album for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, losing to Eric Clapton's "Tears In Heaven".

Peter began 1994 with a song he contributed to the movie Philadelphia, "Lovetown", which rose to #22 on the Modern Rock chart. Later that year, with the release of the live album from his Secret World tour, his concert rendition of "Red Rain" made it to #33 on the Mainstream Rock list, so far his most recent lead chart appearance on the singles charts in America, and the single brought him back to the British top-40 at #39.  It was also nominated for a Grammy for Male Rock Vocal Performance, which another cut from Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen's "Streets Of Philadelphia", got the trophy.

Gabriel would take an extended break from recording new material, briefly returning in 2001 to sing on the single "When You're Falling" from the world music group the Afro-Celt Sound System. The result went to #27 on Billboard's Adult Top-40 radio chart (so far his only showing on that format). He finally returned with a proper album in 2002, when his seventh studio set Up arrived. But even though that record reached #9 on the American albums sales chart, none of the songs from it made either the pop or the rock radio charts. The lead single "The Barry Williams Show" did go to #10 in Italy, and again was nominated for a Male Rock Vocal Grammy in 2003 (again losing to Bruce Springsteen for his "The Rising" single). Second release "More Than This" managed to go #47 in the UK and #39 in Italy, then came "Growing Up", which was also a top-40 hit in Italy at #35. After that album came a compilation of his work, Hit, that included a previously unreleased track, "Burn You Up, Burn You Down", which got to #78 on the British singles chart.

In 2012, Gabriel would work with composer Thomas Newman for the soundtrack to the animated movie WALL-E; the result would grab him a pair of Grammy Awards, for Best Song from a Movie or Film, "Down To Earth", as well as one or Best Instrumental Arrangement for "Define Dancing".

Since then, Gabriel has been concentrating on touring, and albums not really meant for radio consumption; including a complimentary pair of cover albums, Scratch My Back and I'll Scratch Yours. His most recent studio album, New Blood, features orchestral version of his earlier work. Most recently, he was nominated for yet another Grammy Award in 2017 for Best song from a Movie or TV for "The Veil" from the movie Snowden (which Justin Timberlake took for the complete opposite in "Can't Stop The Feeling").

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Disco Dessert 9/14/18: "In The Bush" from Musique...

Put together in New York City by producer Patrick Adams, this trio of Christine Wiltshire, Gina Tharps, and Mary Seymour released their debut album in 1978. From it title track "Keep On Jumpin" and the notorious nugget of "In The Bush" climbed to spend two weeks at #1 on Billboard's Disco/Dance Singles chart. "In The Bush" would go on to reach the American R&B chart at #29 and the pop Hot 100 at #58, but across the pond in the UK it would be a top-40 pop hit at #16. I know this was big since my dad has recorded this on his 8-track player (along with the B-52's "Love Shack" and Freez' "IOU"), but the double entendre of the lyrics kept pop radio from catching on. Oh, those innocent times...

Song you should hear 9/14/18 - "Here I Am" from Dolly Parton & Sia...

For the upcoming Netflix movie Dumplin', starring Jennifer Aniston as a pushy former beauty queen mom, Dolly Parton was commissioned for the soundtrack. Dolly recreated her old classic "Here I Am" with Australian singer/songwriter Sia for an emotional remake that's quite welcome back. Here original came from her iconic 1971 album Coat Of Many Colors.

twostepcub's music chart for September 14, 2018...

Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the week. Ella Mai remains on top for a third week, while country singer Brett Young (pictured above) slips into the top 5. Former big hits from Imagine Dragons, Keith Urban, Bastille, Jake Owen, and the Record Company drop off my list, while songs from Drake, Charlie Puth, and the Chainsmokers make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). Go away, Florence!

This Week          Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. Boo'd Up - Ella Mai (1)
2. I Like Me Better - Lauv (2)
3. Girls Like You - Maroon 5 f/Cardi B (3)
4. Don't Go Breaking My Heart - Backstreet Boys (4)
5. Mercy - Brett Young (6)
6. Gold Rush - Death Cab For Cutie (16)
7. In My Blood - Shawn Mendes (7)
8. Beyond - Leon Bridges (10)
9. A Little Honey - Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (11)
10. Whatever You Want - Pink (5)
11. Africa - Weezer (17)
12. Tequila - Dan + Shay (12)
13. No Tears Left To Cry - Ariana Grande (9)
14. The Middle - Zedd, Maren Morris, & Grey (14)
15. Jumpsuit - twenty-one pilots (20)
16. Let You Be Right - Meghan Trainor (18)
17. One Kiss - Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa (13)
18. Say Amen (Saturday Night) - Panic! At The Disco (8)
19. Solo - Clean Bandit f/Demi Lovato (19)
20. Lash Out - Alice Merton (21)
21. Life Changes - Thomas Rhett (26)
22. Drowns The Whiskey - Jason Aldean f/Miranda Lambert (25)
23. Broken - lovelytheband (23)
24. Toy - Netta (28)
25. Kiss Somebody - Morgan Evans (15)
26. Natural - Imagine Dragons (48)
27. I'm In Love With You - Tony Moran f/Jason Walker (27)
28. Younger - A Great Big World (24)
29. Hotel Key - Old Dominion (47)
30. Shotgun - George Ezra (35)
31. Leave It Smokin' - Tamia (36)
32. Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way - U2 (22)
33. Friends - Marshmello & Anne-Marie (33)
34. Sit Next To Me - Foster The People (34)
35. New Light - John Mayer (49)
36. Growing Pains - Alessia Cara (42)
37. I'm Coming Out/Upside Down 2018 - Diana Ross (29)
38. Take Back Home Girl - Chris Lane f/Tori Kelly (32)
39. The Way I Am - Charlie Puth (67)
40. Rise - Jonas Blue f/Jack & Jack (54)
41. In My Feelings - Drake (73)
42. Good Old Days - Macklemore f/Kesha (56)
43. Rats - Ghost (39)
44. One Number Away - Luke Combs (44)
45. Love Like Yours And Mine - Peabo Bryson (60)
46. Heaven - Kane Brown (46)
47. Hooked - Dylan Scott (61)
48. Uncomfortable - Halestorm (58)
49. Flames - David Guetta & Sia (45)
50. Messin' With My Mind - Chris Cox & Lee Dagger f/Ollie James (50)
51. Delicate - Taylor Swift (55)
52. Sticks & Stones - Metro & Nelly Furtado (64)
53. Only You - Cheat Codes & Little Mix (53)
54. Stand Up - Dirty Werk f/Steve Smooth & DJ Bam Bam (74)
55. Cry Pretty - Carrie Underwood (51)
56. Have It All - Jason Mraz (48)
57. Side Effects - The Chainsmokers f/Emily Warren (82)
58. If You Were Mine - Ocean Park Standoff f/Lil Yachty (62)
59. Back To You - Selena Gomez (69)
60. Better Now - Post Malone (70)
61. Nevermind - Dennis Lloyd (72)
62. Kamikaze - Walk The Moon (66)
63. Hold On Tight- R3HAB f/Conor Maynard (63)
64. Burn The House Down - AJR (68)
65. I Wanna Know - NOTD f/Bea Miller (65)
66. Blue Tacoma - Russell Dickerson (83)
67. Never Be The Same - Camila Cabello (57)
68. Break Up In The End - Cole Swindell (88)
69. Keep A Little Soul - Tom Petty (79)
70. Deep End - Daughtry (75)
71. Get Along - Kenny Chesney (71)
72. Who You Are - Syn Cole f/MIO (59)
73. Simple - Florida Georgia Line (77)
74. Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset - Luke Bryan (78)
75. Don't Leave Me Alone - David Guetta & Anne-Marie (90)
76. Hangin' On - Chris Young (DEBUT)
77. Accelerate - Christina Aguilera f/Ty Dolla Sign & 2 Chainz (81)
78. There For You - Hilary Roberts (80)
79. Panic Room - Au/Ra & Camelphat (91)
80. Move To Miami - Enrique Iglesias f/Pitbull (84)
81. Dancing Alone - Axwell & Ingrosso f/ROMANS (93)
82. Remind Me To Forget - Kygo & Miguel (DEBUT)
83.Youngblood - 5 Seconds Of Summer (87)
84. All My Friends - The Revivalists (94)
85. Sham Pain - Five Finger Death Punch (89)
86. Promises - Calvin Harris & Sam Smith (DEBUT)
87. Torn In Two - Breaking Benjamin (95)
88. Infrared - Three Days Grace (96)
89. Drink About - Seeb & Dagny (DEBUT)
90. Jackie Chan - Tiesto & Dzeko f/Preme & Post Malone (RE-ENTRY)
91. Drunk Girl - Chris Janson (98)
92. Love Lies - Khalid & Normani (DEBUT)
93. Focus - H.E.R. (97)
94. Body - Loud Luxury f/Brando (RE-ENTRY)
95. All Day Long - Garth Brooks (99)
96. Eastside - Benny Blanco f/Halsey & Khalid (DEBUT)
97. Connection - OneRepublic (DEBUT)
98. Apollo - St. Paul & The Broken Bones (DEBUT)
99. I Like It - Cardi B f/Bad Bunny & J. Balvin (DEBUT)
100. Come On To Me - Paul McCartney (DEBUT)

There are ten 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 webpage. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 9/14/18 - Here it is, another day, so dark and gloomy my situation's real sadness goin' through me, because my love is not here for my kiss all I have is thoughts of yesterdays bliss...

"It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day!" - S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. introducing Michelle Visage
from the album The Bodyguard (Original Soundtrack) (1992)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #34 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 2

Today's song of the day comes from the same album that brought us yesterday's SOTD, the soundtrack to the Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner movie The Bodyguard. Houston already had scored two big hits from the record, with the record-breaking #1 cover of "I Will Always Love You" and her cover of Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman". While the latter was climbing the charts, another song from the record was released as well, and it was yet another "cover" record. Recorded under the moniker S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. (the periods there because there already was a Soul System), it really was the studio creation of remixers and producers Rob Clivilles and David Cole, who are best known for their other act, the C + C Music Factory. Assembling a few studio singers (including Octavia, who had a minor R&B hit in the 80s with "2 the Limit" which peaked at #66 in 1986), they brought in Michelle Visage, who had been in one of the other C+C creations, Seduction, who had a #2 pop hit in the beginning of 1990 with "Two To Make It Right". Using Michelle for the newly-written rap verses, and with Octavia, Cindy Mizelle, Bobby Coleman, Gary Michael Wade, and Jamal Alicea for the bridge and chorus that changed up Bill Withers' soft-soul hit "Lovely Day" from 1978, which peaked at #30 in the U.S. The result on the album was a breezy mid-tempo lite-rap track, which was of course transformed into a club anthem later on. Since it was an "interpolation", Clivilles, Cole, and Visage got writing credit as well as original writers Withers and Skip Scarborough, ensured plenty of royalty money from the massive sales of the soundtrack...

"It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day" became the sole hit single for the act (and the third from the Bodyguard soundtrack) in January of 1993. The song also climbed to #44 on Billboard's R&B chart, while the club remixes of the song helped it top the magazine's Dance Club Play chart for three weeks. Internationally, the single did even better, reaching #12 in Ireland, #17 in the UK, and #25 in New Zealand. It was a minor hit in Canada at #71.

That single was the one and done for the S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M. name; conceived as a way to promote Michelle's upcoming solo career, it somehow went nowhere with that (I really would like to know what happened there). Meanwhile, Mizelle did manage to put out music, with her single "I've Had Enough" going to #55 on the R&B chart in 1994.  She went on to sing backup for Bruce Springsteen. Octavia would feature on a couple of singles for producer Jose Nunez, with "In My Life" going to #1 on the Dance Club Play chart in 1998. A year later, she sang on Pete Heller's single "Big Love", which topped the dance chart for three weeks and went to #12 in the UK. As for Visage, after stints of DJing, she landed the role she has gained the most recognition and praise for - as RuPaul's judge and right-hand woman on RuPaul's Drag Race since season two to today. Her work with the show, with the tours, and from everything that sprung from the role (the great book Diva Rules, her finalist stint on Celebrity Big Brother UK) has endeared her with the LGBT community far beyond any club hits.

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Disco Dessert 9/13/18: "Superslick" from Wham!...

"Superslick" was the A-side of the double-sided hit single from the disco band Wham! (not to be confused with the duo featuring George Michael). Paired with the song "Lovemaker", the 12" single climbed to #24 on Billboard's Dance/Disco chart in 1978. The five-piece studio act from America (which is why George and Andrew had to originally come out as "Wham! UK") released an self-titled album, never to be heard from again. Producer Jim Burgess, a New Yorker who also worked with Madleen Kane, Curtis Mayfield, and Alicia Bridges, died from AIDS-related illness in 1993.

Song you should hear 9/13/18 - "Nina Cried Power" from Hozier featuring Mavis Staples...

Irish indie-rock singer-songwriter Hozier, who was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2015 for Song Of The Year for his breakthrough single "Take Me To Church", is back with his new single "Nina Cried Power". Featuring R&B legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Mavis Staples of the Staples Singers, the powerful track showcases his voice over a backdrop of people fighting for freedom. "Take Me To Church" went to #2 on the American pop chart, and this has the same potential...

Songoftheday 9/13/18 - I can cast a spell of secrets you can tell, mix a special brew put fire inside of you...

"I'm Every Woman" - Whitney Houston
from the album The Bodyguard (Original Soundtrack) (1992)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #4 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 19

Today's song of the day comes from the late Whitney Houston, who had just had the biggest hit of her career and at the time broke records with her cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" for the movie The Bodyguard. Shortly after, presumably because the record company wasn't prepared for the massive international success of the single, they released "Someday (I'm Coming Back)" from British songstress Lisa Stansfield; it was able to climb to #10 on the UK Chart as well as in Portugal, and reached the top-40 in Ireland (#16), the Netherlands (#30), and Belgium (#34). That track from the Bodyguard album wasn't released as a single in the States; that honor fell to yet another remake done by Whitney, who starred in the movie, that would end up overshadowing its predecessor.

"I'm Every Woman" originally was released as the first solo single from R&B singer Chaka Khan, member of the group Rufus, as the lead release from her debut album Chaka. Written by the iconic team of Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, Khan's single spent three weeks at #1 on Billboard's R&B chart, peaked at #21 on the pop Hot 100, and surprisingly only got to #30 on their Disco/Dance Club Play chart. It would be nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B Female Vocal, which went to Donna Summer for "Last Dance"...

Aside from an a cappella start like her last hit, Whitney's version, produced by Narada Michael Walden (who did her "How Will I Know" hit single), doesn't stray from the original, with swirling strings in the background, but with an added subtle house music beat remixed in by C&C Music Factory's Rob Clivilles and David Cole. Chaka gets called out at the end, and she even appears in the music video along with Houston's mother Cissy, dance music legend Martha Wash, song co-writer Valerie Simpson, and even label newcomers TLC...

Houston's take on "I'm Every Woman" climbed up into the pop top five in America in February of 1993. The song also scaled to #5 on Billboard's R&B chart, and even crossed over to their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio list, peaking at #26. The club remixes done by Clivilles and Cole among others helped the track top the Dance Club Play chart for two weeks as well. Internationally, the single made the top ten in Canada (#2), Belgium (#2), Spain (#3), the UK (#4), Ireland (#4), The Netherlands (#4), Portugal (#4), New Zealand (#5), Denmark (#5), Italy (#6), Sweden (#7), Greece (#7), and Finland (#10). It also got to #11 in France and Australia, #13 in Germany, #18 in Switzerland, and #19 in Austria. Like Chaka, Whitney was nominated for a Grammy Award in that same category, R&B Female Vocal Performance, again losing, this time to Toni Braxton with her "Another Sad Love Song".

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Disco Dessert 9/12/18 - "Let Yourself Go" from the Supremes...

This one's for Jeff, thanks for inspiring me today...

"Let Yourself Go" was the final R&B chart hit for the most revered "girl-group" of all time, the Supremes. Released in 1976, the trio consisted of Mary Wilson, Scherrie Payne, and Susaye Greene, and on this nugget Payne sings lead. Remixed by the legendary Larry Levan, the original version appeared on their Mary, Scherrie, and Susaye album. In combination with albums cuts "You're My Driving Wheel" and "Love I Never Knew", it reached #5 on Billboard's Disco/Dance Singles chart, while the song itself peaked at #83 on their R&B genre list.

and as a bonus, here's the Larry Levan mix in all its nine minute glory...

Song you should hear 9/12/18 - "Heart and Mind" from Courtney Marie Andrews...

"Heart And Mind" is the new stand-alone single from singer/songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews, whose May Your Kindness Remain album has been heralded as one of the best records of the year. This striking look at abuse and harrassment towards women is necessary in this day of shitty Les Moonves news.

Songoftheday 9/12/18 - Didn't I tell you what I believe, did somebody say that a love like that won't last...

"No Ordinary Love" - Sade
from the album Love Deluxe (1992)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #28 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 4

Today's song of the day comes from the jazz-soul band named for its beautiful and talented lead singer, Sade, who in the summer of 1988 scored their fourth top-40 pop hit with "Paradise". (They also reached #3 on the R&B chart in America with "Nothing Can Come Between Us".) After a long four-year break, they returned in the fall of 1992 with their fourth studio record, Love Deluxe. The first single released from the record would be the bass-driven downtempo classic "No Ordinary Love". Written by Sade with bandmate Stuart Matthewman, it would only spend a month in the pop top-40 in America, but was a much longer-lasting song in terms of popularity than that (it did manage to stay on the pop chart for 27 weeks). The song also gained exposure in its placement in the movie Indecent Proposal at a pivotful plot point...

"No Ordinary Love" became Sade's fifth and so far latest top-40 pop hit in America in January of 1993. The song climbed to #9 on Billboard's R&B chart, while crossing over to #14 on their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio format list. The record climbed the top-40 in the band's native UK twice as well, peaking at #14 in 1993. Internationally, the single reached the top-40 in Canada (#15), New Zealand (#17), France (#20), Australia (#21), Switzerland (#23), the Netherlands (#26), Sweden (#33), and Belgium (#37). The song would go on to win a Grammy Award for Best R&B Duo/Group Vocal in 1994.

The second single from Love Deluxe was the deep reggae of "Feel No Pain", which was a minor pop hit in Britain at #56, and minor R&B single in America at #59. That was followed by the jazzy "Kiss Of Life", which harkened back to the band's original sound. It fared a little bit better, reaching #75 on the U.S. pop chart, but going as high as #10 on Billboard's R&B list, and #20 on the Adult Contemporary tally. Lastly, the soft ballad "Cherish The Day" arrived to hit #45 on the American R&B chart (while "bubbling under" the pop Hot 100 at #116), and getting to #53 in the UK. Also, the band gave "Please Send Me Someone To Love" (a cover of a single from Percy Mayfield in 1950) to the movie Philadelphia, and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Duo/R&B Vocal in 1995, losing to Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love To You".) After the tour behind this album and a greatest hits set, the band took a break twice as long as previous, with the non-Sade Adu bandmates recording as the side-project Sweetback. Under that moniker, they went to #42 on the R&B chart in 1997 with "You Will Rise" featuring Amel Larrieux of the R&B duo Groove Theory ("Tell Me").

Sade (the band) reunited in 2000 for their fifth studio creation, Lovers Rock. Lead single "By Your Side" returned them to the British top-40 at #17, while in America the song climbed to #18 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #75 on the pop Hot 100; however the club remix transformation caused it to become their biggest dance hit, spending two weeks at #2 on Billboard's Dance Club Play list.

After another long absence of ten years, Sade returned in 2010 with their latest studio record, Soldier Of Love, which hit #1 on the Albums chart in the U.S. The title track climbed to #6 on the R&B chart, while peaking at #52 on the pop Hot 100. A year later, the band release their Ultimate Collection compilation, which contained their most recent chart hit in America,  a stripped down cover of rock band Thin Lizzy's "Still In Love With You", which got to #55 on the R&B chart. Most recently, they have been recording for another set, while contributing the song "Flower Of The Universe" to the fantasy movie A Wrinkle In Time starring Oprah Winfrey. But despite their spotty recording schedule, the band's stature and influence on soul music (just like Boston's with rock music) is immeasurable.

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