Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Songoftheday 10/21/14 - Good times they come and they go, never going to know what fate is going to blow...

Sade - "Never As Good As The First Time"
from the album Promise (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #20 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-20: 7

Today's Song of the Day comes from a British jazz-soul outfit named for its beautiful and sweet-sounding lead singer, Sade, who had scored their second top-10 single in 1986 with "The Sweetest Taboo" from their sophomore album Promise. At that same time, the group earned the Best New Artist award at the 1986 Grammys.  The second single from the project upped the tempo slightly for a classy lite-disco treat called "Never As Good As The First Time". With Sade's vocals recalling the dark soulful moans of house music, over a percussive, bright musical backdrop, the single was as close as a club track that she would have at that point from a non-remixed offering. Perfect for your first-date dinner, the video had Sade out and about on horseback...

"Never As Good As The First Time" became the second top-40 pop hit from Promise in America in May of 1986. The song also reached the top-10 on both the R&B (#6) and Adult Contemporary (#8) charts in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the record went top-40 in Ireland, New Zealand, and the Netherlands, but was only a minor hit at #89 in their native Britain...

Up tomorrow: Bay Area Rockers recommend self-assurance.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Robbed hit of the week 10/20/14 - Jennifer Rush's "The Power Of Love"...

Jennifer Rush - "The Power Of Love"
from the album Jennifer Rush (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #57

This week's "robbed hit" was a song that made this artist, its songwriter, quite rich anyway. Jennifer Rush was born in Queens, but spent a big chunk of her life in Germany, where her musical career took off. Releasing her first single in 1982 (under her birth name Heidi Stern), it wasn't until 1984 that she landed her first hit in Germany, "25 Lovers" (#25, natch).

Another track from the album that single came from, her self-titled debut, was a stately ballad called "The Power Of Love". With Rush's soaring voice and anthemic chorus, the song was huge in Europe, becoming the biggest-selling single in England in 1985, and topping the charts in at least eight countries. Upon hearing it on the radio, I was certain it was going to be just as big over here in the States...

Well, I was wrong (well, sort of). Jennifer's version of "The Power Of Love" stalled on the Hot 100 in America at #57. However, three more versions of the song would make the pop charts in the U.S., with one a #1 smash....

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Album Sweep: October 25, 2014 - Part Two...

Part two of this week's "album sweep" is up, sampling the records making their first appearance on this week's Top 200 Albums sales chart in Billboard magazine. You can check out part one by clicking here, and as before I've included highlighted links to buy any of the new sets, as well as some of the artists' other major work. But if you can, get down to an indie record store and show some love...

Coming in at #54 is the soundtrack to the new Nicholas Sparks book-to-film adaptation The Best Of Me. The set is mostly country artists with new material, including Lady Antebellum, Kacey Musgraves, and Colbie Caillat...

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Songoftheday 10/20/14 - Ain't got no rap ain't got no line, but if you'll give me just a minute I'll be feelin' fine...

ZZ Top - "Rough Boy"
from the album Afterburner (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #22 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 7

Today's Song of the Day comes from Texan rock trio and Duck Dynasty fashion inspiration ZZ Top, whose synth-heavy 1985 album Afterburner had already churned out a top-10 hit with "Sleeping Bag" and a top-40 followup in "Stages". For the third single to hit pop radio, the guys shifted down a peg for as much as a ballad as you're ever gonna get from them, "Rough Boy". Written by the band and produced by long-time collaborator Bill Ham, the track is actually more traditional in instrumentation than the rest of the album, focusing on the guitar solo in the middle. The almost soft-porn music video extended the "Eliminator car" theme with a much much bigger special effects budget.

"Rough Boy" became the third top-40 hit from Afterburner in May of 1986, while also climbing to #5 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart. Internationally, the song was a top-40 hit in France, Ireland and England, the latter where it was the biggest hit from the record at #23.

Since then the song's aged pretty well, as the synthesizers are in the background (though that was one of my plusses for the album).

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Brit Sweep: October 19, 2014...

Well the weekend is almost over, and it's time to check out the songs making the official British singles chart this week, as Meghan Trainor spends a third week at #1 with "All About That Bass"...

The big debut of the week at #3 is the latest from One Direction, who preview their upcoming Four set with "Steal That Girl". They've been to #1 three times so far, with "What Makes You Beautiful", "Little Things", and their charity single "One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)"...

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Album Sweep: October 25, 2014 - Part One...

It's time for the first half of this week's "album sweep", sampling the records making their debut on the official Top 200 Albums sales chart in Billboard magazine. As usual, I've included highlighted links to buy any of the new sets when available. Support the talent!

The top-selling album of the previous week is the sixth album from country star Jason Aldean, as Old Boots, New Dirt sells over 278,000 copies in its first week. This makes it his second #1 album; he did the same with his last effort, Night Train, which topped the list in 2012 selling almost one and a half times more than his new one...

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Songoftheday 10/19/14 - I know where beauty lives I've seen it once I know the warmth she gives...

Madonna - "Live To Tell"
from the album True Blue (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (one week)

Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's Song of the Day is by the queen of the 80s, Madonna, who's sophomore album Like A Virgin spun off four top-40 pop hits including the longest-staying #1 in 1984-1985 with the title track. She also topped the pop chart with a song from the movie Vision Quest, "Crazy For You". After a tour that took her from small clubs to sports arenas in no time, Madonna set out to record what would be her third album, True Blue. The first single from the project was an atypical somber ballad she co-wrote with her producer Patrick Leonard. "Live To Tell", used in the movie starring her husband Sean Penn, At Close Range, spotlighted her lower register, while the visuals kept her at a dark and rather plainly dressed yet still beautifully made up. And the complexity of the production, to the stark false ending that preceded the bridge, was miles beyond any of the dance music she's been peddling so far...

"Live To Tell" became Madonna's third America #1 pop hit in June of 1986, while also topping the Adult Contemporary radio chart in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the single went to #1 in Canada and Italy, as it reached the runner-up spot in England, Ireland and Norway, and pretty much top-ten everywhere else.

As much as "Like A Virgin" put Madonna at A-list status, it truly was this record that changed her the most as an artist, maturing her sound and putting no doubts as to her range and any reliance on gimmicks. And with it being released three months before the True Blue album, it allowed for the focus to be on her and that record for quite a while relatively, in the age before internet album leaks and what not. By the time the full record was out, her more evolved dance fare was much easier to sell.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dance Sweep: October 25, 2014...

I'm ready to end today's "chart sweeps" with the latest dance songs in the clubs and on the radio....

On Billboard magazine's DJ-polled Dance Club Play chart, British neo-house artist Duke Dumont nabs his third straight #1 hit with "Won't Look Back"...

The top debut of the week at #40 teams up Ibiza-based remixing act Aristofreeks with vocalist Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge for "Keep It Movin'"...

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Country Sweep: October 25, 2014...

Part four of this week's "chart sweeps" brings you the latest country songs on the radio as monitored by Billboard magazine....

On their Country Airplay chart, Florida Georgia Line land their fifth #1 hit with "Dirt"...

Meanwhile, the duo's latest single "Sun Daze" is the highest debut, coming in at #53...

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Soul Sweep: October 25, 2014...

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

On the main R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, Chris Brown takes over at #1 with "New Flame"....

The only debut this week at #49 is female rapper Dej loaf with "Try Me"...

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Rock Sweep: October 25, 2014...

Round two of this week's "chart sweeps" is up, with the latest songs on rock radio as monitored by Billboard magazine....

On their main Rock Airplay chart, Milky Chance spends a third week on top with "Stolen Dance"...

The highest debut of the week up at #24 signals the return of heavy metal giants AC/DC with "Play Ball", the first single from their upcoming 15th album Rock or Bust. It's their first without rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, who has been battling major health issues, and it's my "Rock Pick of the Week"...

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Pop Sweep: October 25, 2014...

I'm ready to kick off the first of today's five "chart sweeps", checking out the songs making the various singles charts in Billboard magazine. As usual, I'll start off on the pop side of things, then later in the day move on to the latest on rock, R&B, country, and dance radio...and away we go....

On the "big" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, which combines tallies of sales, internet streaming (like subscription services like Spotify or on-demand sites like YouTube), and radio airplay from all genres, Meghan Trainor stands firm at #1 for a sixth week with "All About That Bass", as the top-5 is again all female for the record-extending sixth week...

The (dubiously) highest debut of the week at #26 is the product of another "viral video" by late night talk show host and comedian Jimmy Fallon, who dons some bad drag and drags in will.i.am for "Ew!" at #26. I guess this is this generation's Chunky A, right? More Ugh! than Ew!.

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Songoftheday 10/18/14 - Now I know what loving you cost, now we're up to talking divorce and we weren't even married...

Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald - "On My Own"
from the album Winner In You (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 15

Today's Song of the Day is a pairing of a veteran soul singer with a soft-rock journeyman for a duet that had neither of them meeting the other during the recording. Originally intended for Dionne Warwick, "On My Own", written by legendary songwriters Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager was then given to Patti LaBelle, who had enjoyed a mainstream top-40 breakthrough in 1985 with her contributions to the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, sending "New Attitude" to the top-20 and almost getting a second top-40 hit with "Stir It Up". Feeling it worked better as a duet, she recruited Michael McDonald, who was last seen in the top-40 with the title track to his second solo album No Lookin' Back that same year. Recording separately, the pair sounded no different than if they were in the same room...

"On My Own" became the pair's first solo-credit #1 in June of 1986 (Patti had previously went to the top as part of LaBelle with "Lady Marmalade", while McDonald did the same as part of the Doobie Brothers with "What A Fool Believes"). The single also topped the "Black Singles" (or R&B) chart and went to #2 on the Adult Contemporary radio chart in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the single went to #1 in Canada and #2 in England.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

twostepcub's music chart for October 17, 2014...

Friday is finally here, so it's time to run down my top-100 tunes from the past week. Meghan Trainor remains on top for a third week, while Luke Bryan (pictured above) lands in the top-5. Former big hits by Lana Del Rey, Royskopp & Robyn, and Beyonce drop off my list, while songs by Enrique Iglesias, Alesso, and Keith Urban make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). Meatloaf! Meatloaf! Meatloaf!

This Week            Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. All About That Bass - Meghan Trainor (1)
2. Riptide - Vance Joy (2)
3. Stolen Dance - Milky Chance (3)
4. Rather Be - Clean Bandit f/Jess Glynne (6)
5. Roller Coaster - Luke Bryan (7)
6. Stay With Me - Sam Smith (4)
7. Maps - Maroon 5 (5)
8. Dangerous - Big Data f/Joywave (8)
9. Don't - Ed Sheeran (11)
10. Secrets - Mary Lambert (14)
11. A Sky Full Of Stars - Coldplay (9)
12. Cool Kids - Echosmith (12)
13. Chandelier - Sia (13)
14. Bang Bang - Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj (18)
15. Prayer In C (Robin Schulz Mix) - Lilly Wood & The Prick (15)
16. Break Free - Ariana Grande f/Zedd (19)
17. Shake It Off - Taylor Swift (21)
18. Rude - Magic! (16)
19. Hope You Get Lonely Tonight - Cole Swindell (23)
20. Lovers On The Sun - David Guetta f/Sam Martin (20)
21. Never Say Never - Basement Jaxx (17)
22. Superheroes - The Script (26)
23. Take Me To Church - Hozier (22)
24. My Sweet Summer - Dirty Heads (28)
25. Really Don't Care - Demi Lovato f/Cher Lloyd (10)
26. Back To The Shack - Weezer (30)
27. Latch - Disclosure f/Sam Smith (25)
28. Boom Clap - Charli XCX (32)
29. Angel In Blue Jeans - Train (33)
30. Love Runs Out - OneRepublic (24)
31. Am I Wrong - Nico & Vinz (31)
32. Do You - Spoon (40)
33. Gimme Something Good - Ryan Adams (39)
34. Where It's At (Yep Yep) - Dustin Lynch (34)
35. PAINKILLR - Erika Jayne (35)
36. Good Kisser - Usher (42)
37. First Love - Jennifer Lopez (27)
38. Come With Me Now - KONGOS (38)
39. Shelter Me - Lee Dagger & Inaya Day (43)
40. Left Hand Free - alt-J (52)
41. Gotta Get Away - Black Keys (46)
42. Burnin' It Down - Jason Aldean (544)
43. Try - Colbie Caillat (45)
44. Bartender - Lady Antebellum (29)
45. Somethin' Bad - Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood (50)
46. Black Widow - Iggy Azalea f/Rita Ora (51)
47. I'm Not The Only One - Sam Smith (57)
48. Hideaway - Kiesza (36)
49. Waves - Mr. Probz (49)
50. Habits (Stay High) - Tove Lo (59)
51. It's You - Kem (47)
52. Back Home - Andy Grammer (54)
53. Reservations For Two - Fantine (53)
54. Small Town Throwdown - Brantley Gilbert f/Justin Moore & Thomas Rhett (56)
55. Problem - Ariana Grande f/Iggy Azalea (41)
56. Ghost - Ella Henderson (48)
57. Day Drinking - Little Big Town (61)
58. Believer - American Authors (58)
59. Bailando - Enrique Iglesias f/Descemer Bueno or Sean Paul and Gente De Zona (74)
60. Dirt - Florida Georgia Line (64)
61. Messed Up World - The Pretty Reckless (65)
62. Ready Set Roll - Chase Rice (66)
63. Leave The Night On - Sam Hunt (67)
64. Tear The Roof Up - Alesso (78)
65. Body Needs - Consuelo Costin (75)
66. Neon Light - Blake Shelton (71)
67. Love Never Felt So Good - Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake (60)
68. This Is How We Do - Katy Perry (73)
69. American Kids - Kenny Chesney (69)
70. Later On - Swon Brothers (70)
71. Blame - Calvin Harris f/John Newman (81)
72. Sunshine & Whiskey - Frankie Ballard (77)
73. Somewhere In My Car - Keith Urban (87)
74. Stand Strong - Rosabel f/Jeanie Tracy (84)
75. Won't Look Back - Duke Dumont (RE-ENTRY)
76. Do I Wanna Know? - Arctic Monkeys (76)
77. What's Best For You - Trey Songz (79)
78. World On Fire - Slash f/Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators (88)
79. Battleships - Daughtry (80)
80. Animals - Maroon 5 (DEBUT)
81. Scarecrow - Counting Crows (86)
82. Parachute - Olivia Somerlyn (DEBUT)
83. Rainbow - Robert Plant (93)
84. Think About You - Jade Starling (90)
85. Flaws - Bastille (DEBUT)
86. Don't Tell 'Em - Jeremih f/YG (91)
87. Bad Blood - Bastille (RE-ENTRY)
88. Let Me Down Easy - Paolo Nutini (RE-ENTRY)
89. Drunk On A Plane - Dierks Bentley (85)
90. I Wanna Feel - SecondCity (RE-ENTRY)
91. Close Your Eyes - Parmalee (DEBUT)
92. Girl In A Country Song - Maddie & Tae (100)
93. Changing - Sigma f/Paloma Faith (95)
94. Burning Gold - Christina Perri (94)
95. The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) - U2 (DEBUT)
96. Faded - Zhu (96)
97. Look At You - Big & Rich (RE-ENTRY)
98. Blame It On Me - George Ezra (98)
99. Heroes (We Could Be) - Alesso f/Tove Lo (DEBUT)
100. Didn't Say - M Carnaval/D Marano/R Jeveaux f/Neysa (82)

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

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Songoftheday 10/17/14 - I say I love you I hold you near me, You say I scare you well that's your fear...

Mr. Mister - "Is It Love"
from the album Welcome To The Real World (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #8 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's Song of the Day comes from the pop/rock band Mr. Mister, whose sophomore album Welcome To The Real World had scored them a pair of #1 pop hits in America with "Broken Wings" and "Kyrie". The third single from the record was a run-of-the-mill mid-decade lite-rock fare of "Is It Love". Written by the band with lyricist John Lang, the single coasted on its synth chords, in a fluff of words, kind of like the Maroon 5 of their time..

"Is It Love" became the band's third and so-far final top-10 pop hit in the U.S. in May of 1986, while scaling to #17 on the Mainstream Rock radio chart in Billboard magazine. Internationally, while the song was a top-20 hit in Canada, it stalled right under the top-40 in Germany and only nicked the chart in England at #87.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

8 of the 80s: 10/16/14 (1980)

It's throwback Thursday 80's style and this week I'm going back to 1980, the year the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals in the World Series 4 games to 2...

The Spinners - "Working My Way Back To You/Forgive Me Girl"
from the album Dancin' And Lovin' (1979)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: 2
Songwriters: Sandy Linzer, Danny Randell, Michael Zager

The Detroit vocal group came back with a vengeance with a remake of the Four Seasons classic mashed up with a disco number from producer Zager.

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Aussie Sweep: October 16, 2014...

It's time to head Down Under to check out the songs making their debut on the official singles chart in Australia, as the Veronicas spend a third week at #1 with "You Ruin Me"..

The top debut of the week at #21 is from Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz with "In Your Arms". It's the follow-up to their international smash hit "Am I Wrong", which re-enters the list at #17 this week after appearing on the X Factor. It peaked at #2 in this country...

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Songoftheday 10/16/14 - If you want to make things right love can make a way, if you want to take the time act like what you say...

New Edition - "A Little Bit Of Love (Is All It Takes)"
from the album All For Love (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #38 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 2

Today's Song of the Day is by Boston-bred vocal group New Edition, who had broke through to pop radio in America with their self-titled second album, and the top-10 hit "Cool It Now". However, tensions between the band, management, and "bad boy" Bobby Brown facilitated his departure after the recording of their third release All For Love. Remaining a quartet for the time being, the first single from the project relatively stiffed on pop radio, as "Count Me Out" stalled at #51, though scaling to #2 on the R&B list in Billboard. Their second single, a mid-tempo oscillating jam titled "A Little Bit Of Love (Is All It Takes)", took a more mature sonic approach, and had much better results...

"A Little Bit Of Love" became the second top-10 R&B hit from All For Love, and nicked the top-40 in April of 1986. The remix of the track also landed the guys their second club hit (after "Candy Girl") at #17.

I would love to have seen what could have happened if they let Bobby stay on and sing lead on this track. I feel it would've done a bit better.

Up tomorrow: a dually-named band has a romantic question.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

7 of the 70s: 10/15/14 (1970)

It's hump-day 70s madness time, with seven more nuggets from 1970, the year Janis Joplin died from a heroin overdose in a hotel room.

Simon & Garfunkel - "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
from the album Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1
Songwriter: Paul Simon

The third verse, beginning with "sail on silvergirl" was an homage to Paul's wife Peggy Harper.

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German Sweep: October 15, 2014...

Hey gang, It's time to check out the top-ten singles in Germany this week, as Meghan Trainor's US #1 "All About That Bass" does the same trick here for the first week...

1. "All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor (2)
2. "Lovers On The Sun" - David Guetta f/Sam Martin (3)
3. "Fade Out Lines" - The Avener (1)
4. "Ghost" - Ella Henderson (5)
5. "Geronimo" - Sheppard (DEBUT)
6. "Blame" - Calvin Harris f/John Newman (RE-ENTRY)
7. "Lass Uns Gehen" - Revolverheld (4)
8. "Shake It Off" - Taylor Swift (9)
9. "When The Beat Drops Out" - Marlon Roudette (6)
10. "Prayer In C (Robin Schulz Mix)" - Lilly Wood & The Prick (7)

Australian indie-pop act Sheppard jump in at #5 with "Geronimo", and song they topped the chart in their home country with earlier this year. The band is named for the surname of three of its members, siblings who were born in the neighboring country of Papua New Guinea...

Songoftheday 10/15/14 - And though I treated you like a child I'm gonna miss you for the rest of my life...

Mike + The Mechanics - "All I Need Is A Miracle"
from the album Mike + The Mechanics (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #5 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's song of the day was the second single from the side-project of Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford called Mike + The Mechanics. The group landed their first top-10 single out of the gate with "Silent Running" featuring Paul Carrack on vocals. For its follow-up, vocalist Paul Young (not the British singer of "Everytime You Go Away" fame, but the lead singer of Sad Cafe') handled the singing duties, and the result, "All I Need Is A Miracle", was a more upbeat pop love song that still has a prog-rock-ish tone to it. The music video tied it all together by continuing the plot from former hit..

"All I Need Is A Miracle" became the act's second top-10 pop hit in America in June of 1986. The single also crossed over to the top-10 on both the Mainstream Rock (#6) and Adult Contemporary (#7) radio charts in Billboard magazine, and even went to #24 on their Dance Club Play list. Internationally, while the record topped the chart in Ireland, and went top-10 in Canada and Australia, it didn't even make the top-50 in their native England.

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