Sunday, March 29, 2020

Songoftheday 3/29/20 - Take this pink ribbon off my eyes, I'm exposed and it's no big surprise...

"Just A Girl" - No Doubt
from the album Tragic Kingdom (1995)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #23 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9

Today's song of the day comes from the ska-punk rock band No Doubt, who originally came together in the mid-80's, led by guitarist/keyboardist Eric Stefani and his sister Gwen singing backup while John Spence was the lead singer, and bunch of other musicians who were replaced pretty early. One of the first replacements was bass player Tony Kanal, who was also dating Gwen on the sly at the time, as well as sax player Eric Carpenter. But just as they were going to get their big break playing for major label execs, Spencer ended his life, with the band splitting up for a bit before reuniting eventually with Gwen as the lead vocalist. Adding drummer Adrian Young and lead guitarist Tom Dumont, the band solidified the core of the lineup that remains to this day. Finally signed by Interscope Records, the band released their self-titled debut album in 1992. However, neither the album nor any singles got any notice on the radio or in the stores beyond their Southern California base, as ska-punk was in a lull at that point overtaken by heavier rock sounds. But after waiting three years, in which a farmed-out record of outtakes The Beacon Street Collection was released independently and was pretty successful, No Doubt returned with their second Interscope album Tragic Kingdom. The lead single from the record, "Just a Girl", was a pop-punk gem that spotlighted Gwen's squeaky yeah assertive voice over a fast-breaking production that in 1995 quite fit in with the Green Days and the like of the day. Radio was on board, and suddenly the band found themselves with their first hit. Written by Gwen with Dumont, it was produced by Matthew Wilder, himself a hitmaker from the 1980s with his top ten "Break My Stride". However by the time "Just A Girl" was released, Eric had left the band, and doesn't appear in the iconic music video even though he plays keys with his own solo on the track...


"Just A Girl" became No Doubt's first top-40 pop hit in May of 1996. The song also climbed to #10 on Billboard magazine's Alternative Rock radio chart as well. Internationally, the single reached the top ten in Australia (#3), Norway (#4), Iceland (#7), New Zealand (#9), and Ireland (#10). In the UK, the single originally peaked at #38, but a re-release after their much biggest success with "Don't Speak" cause the song to return to rise to #3. It also made the top-40 in the Netherlands (#14), Sweden (#14), Austria (#21), Germany (#24), France (#28), Belgium (#30W/#37F), and Switzerland (#31). At the Grammy Awards in 1997, the band was nominated for two categories, Best Rock Album (which went to Sheryl Crow for her self-titled set), and Best New Artist (which country ingenue LeAnn Rimes took home).

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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Disco Dessert 3/29/20 - "Somebody Else's Guy" from Jocelyn Brown...

"Somebody Else's Guy" was a club and radio hit for singer Jocelyn Brown. A veteran journeyman vocalist on a plethora of disco hits since the mid-70s, she titled her debut album in 1984 after this song, written by Jocelyn with Annette Brown. On Billboard magazine's Dance/Disco Top-80 chart, it rose to #13, while going all the way to #2 on the R&B chart as well.


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Songoftheday 3/28/20 - I am still living with your ghost, lonely and dreaming of the west coast...

"Santa Monica (Watch The World Die)" - Everclear
from the album Sparkle and Fade (1995)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: ineligible to chart
Billboard Hot 100 Airplay peak: #29 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Hot 100 Airplay Top-40: 14

Today's song of the day comes from the power-pop rock group Everclear, who came together in the early 1990s in Portland, Oregon, after lead singer/guitarist Art Alexakis moved there after flopping out in San Francisco. recruiting two members from want ads, bass player Craig Montoya and drummer Scott Cuthbert, the trio released an EP and their first indie album World Of Noise in 1993. With the buzz from that set, and replacing Cuthbert with Greg Eckland, the new lineup signed to Capitol to record their major-label debut Sparkle and Fade. The first single from the record, "Heroin Girl", was a bleak reference to both Alexakis' girlfriend and brother, both who died from overdose. While it became their first rock radio success, climbing to #34 on Billboard magazine's Alternative Rock radio chart, the song was way too loud and dark to carry over to mainstream stations. That changed with their second release, "Santa Monica (Watch The World Die)", which had just as much angst in the title but a much more melodic and standard structure. Written by Alexakis, Montoya, and Eckland with Art producing the record, the song alluded to that girlfriend's end as well as his own attempt at ending his life, all to a volley of chiming guitars not unlike Green Day's "When I Come Around"...


Since "Santa Monica" wasn't released as a commercial single, it was unable to place on Billboard's official pop Hot 100 chart, but it got enough mainstream radio action to rise to #29 on the radio airplay component of that list. The song was huge at rock radio, where it spent three weeks at #1 as their biggest success at Mainstream Rock, while also going to #5 on the Alternative Rock list. Internationally, the single reached the top-40 in Australia (#25), New Zealand (#27), Canada (#40), and the UK (#40). A third release from the record, "Heartspark Dollarsign", was put out as a single in America, where it rose to #85 on the Hot 100, while going to #13 at Mainstream Rock and #29 at Alternative Rock, and was a top-40 hit in Australia at #40. A fourth single, "You Make Me Feel Like A Whore" was put out, but it was to much for radio at that time and it stiffed, though MTV gave the video love, and helped the Sparkle and Fade album peak at #25 on the Top 200 Albums sales chart and sell over a million copies.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

Disco Dessert 3/27/20 - "Bad Girls" by Donna Summer...

"Bad Girls" was a massive club and radio hit for the "Queen of Disco", Donna Summer. Appearing on her album Bad Girls, the song was written by Donna with her husband Bruce Sudano and his group Brooklyn Dreams (Eddie Hokenson and Joe Bean Esposito) and produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte. On Billboard magazine's Disco Top-80 chart, where the track was listed along with 12" single A-side "Hot Stuff", "Bad Girls" spent seven weeks at #1, staying on the charts for 24 weeks. It also topped the official pop Hot 100 for five weeks, as well as taking a week at the top of the R&B chart as well. "Bad Girls" was nominated for two Grammys, for Best Female Pop Vocal and Best Female R&B Vocal, losing both to Dionne Warwick for two different songs, "I Know I'll Never Love This Way Again" and "Deja Vu" respectively.



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twostepcub's music chart for March 27, 2020...

Friday is here, and it's time to run down my top 100 "hit" tunes from the previous week. Harry Styles spends a second week at #1, while the Unlikely Candidates (pictured above) are one of three acts climbing into the top ten. Former big hits from Jon Pardi, Dermot Kennedy, and Camelphat drop off my list, while songs from Justin Timberlake/SZA, Lady Gaga, and Diana Ross make the biggest jumps (moves of over 10+ places highlighted in red). We can get through this without Cheeto...

This Week        Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Adore You - Harry Styles (1)
2. Don't Start Now - Dua Lipa (2)
3. What A Man Gotta Do - Jonas Brothers (5)
4. Everything I Wanted - Billie Eilish (6)
5. Circles - Post Malone (3)
6. Before You Go - Lewis Capaldi (4)
7. The Bones - Maren Morris (7)
8. Novocaine - The Unlikely Candidates (12)
9. More Hearts Than Mine - Ingrid Andress (11)
10. Blinding Lights - The Weeknd (16)
11. And It's Still Alright - Nathaniel Rateliff (15)
12. South of The Border - Ed Sheeran f/Camila Cabello & Cardi B (8)
13. Someone You Loved - Lewis Capaldi (13)
14. You Should Be Sad - Halsey (18)
15. Slow Dance In A Parking Lot - Jordan Davis (19)
16. Stupid Love - Lady Gaga (46)
17. Dance Monkey - Tones and I (9)
18. The Man - Taylor Swift (28)
19. Homesick - Kane Brown (23)
20. Make Me Want To - Jimmie Allen (10)
21. Good As Hell - Lizzo (17)
22. Raising Hell - Kesha f/Big Freedia (14)
23. The Best - AWOLnation (225)
24. Even Though I'm Leaving - Luke Combs (24)
25. Running Up That Hill - Meg Myers (21)
26. Catch - Brett Young (34)
27. We Back - Jason Aldean (31)
28. Memories - Maroon 5 (26)
29. Lose You To Love Me - Selena Gomez (27)
30. The Hype - twenty-one pilots (30)
31. To Die For - Sam Smith (36)
32. Colors - Black Pumas (22)
33. (I'm Gonna) Love Me Again - Elton John & Taron Egerton (33)
34. Might Be Right - White Reaper (20)
35. Dance Of The Clairvoyants - Pearl Jam (37)
36. Underdog - Alicia Keys (42)
37. 10,000 Hours - Dan + Shay f/Justin Bieber (29)
38. Oh Yeah! - Green Day (43)
39. The Other Side - Justin Timberlake & SZA (79)
40. Life In The City - The Lumineers (44)
41. Cradles - Sub Urban (48)
42. I Want You Around - Snoh Aalegra (50)
43. What She Wants Tonight - Luke Bryan (47)
44. Love You For A Long Time - Maggie Rogers (38)
45. Physical - Dua Lipa (57)
46. Sad - Chico Rose f/Afrojack (51)
47. I'll Be There - Walk Off The Earth (39)
48. Kinfolks - Sam Hunt (49)
49. If We Never Met - JOHN.k (45)
50. All Night Long - Jonas Blue & Retrovision (54)
51. Dissolve - Absofacto (41)
52. Inside Out - Five Finger Death Punch (52)
53. Hero - Michael Kiwanuka (58)
54. Therapy - Duke Dumont (62)
55. Roxanne - Arizona Zervas (56)
56. Die To Live - Volbeat f/Neil Fallon (66)
57. I Just Wanna Shine - Fitz & The Tantrums (67)
58. I Hope - Gabby Barrett (68)
59. In The Dark - Vintage Culture & Fancy Inc. (35)
60. Used To Love - Martin Garrix & Dean Lewis (65)
61. Hurricane - I Prevail (72)
62. My Oh My - Camila Cabello f/DaBaby (77)
63. Anything For You - Rosabel f/Tamara Wallace (63)
64. Black Madonna - Cage The Elephant (74)
65. Homemade - Jake Owen (69)
66. One Man Band - Old Dominion (59)
67. Love Hangover 2020 - Diana Ross (87)
68. Chasin' You - Morgan Wallen (82)
69. Girls Night Out - Debbie Gibson (84)
70. Wars - Of Monsters and Men (55)
71. She... - Stokely (75)
72. Roses - SAINT JHN (92)
73. Living For The Music - Brett Oosterhaus f/Debby Holiday (73)
74. Forever Yours (Tribute) - Kygo f/Avicii & Sandro Cavazza (DEBUT)
75. Beer Can't Fix - Thomas Rhett f/Jon Pardi (85)
76. No Time To Die - Billie Eilish (80)
77. Lonely - Joel Corry (83)
78. Baila Conmigo - Jennifer Lopez (78)
79. Say So - Doja Cat (94)
80. Turn Your World Around - Bimbo Jones & Thelma Houston (100)
81. Ridin' Roads - Dustin Lynch (71)
82. Used To Like - Neon Trees (86)
83. Shine A Little Light - The Black Keys (DEBUT)
84. No Judgement - Niall Horan (88)
85. Yuve Yuve Yu - The Hu f/From Ashes To New (95)
86. Heartless - The Weeknd (90)
87. I Hope You're Happy Now - Carly Pearce & Lee Brice (DEBUT)
88. Be Afraid - Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit (98)
89. I Wish Grandpas Never Died - Riley Green (89)
90. I Don't Search I Find - Madonna (70)
91. Make You Mine - Public (81)
92. Bad Decisions - The Strokes (DEBUT)
93. Only Human - Jonas Brothers (93)
94. Does To Me - Luke Combs & Eric Church (DEBUT)
95. On My Mind - Diplo & SIDEPIECE (96)
96. Personal Jesus - Michelle Kash (DEBUT)
97. July - Noah Cyrus f/Leon Bridges (DEBUT)
98. Anthem - Connor Bvrns & Bonn (DEBUT)
99. Alive - Joey Suarez (DEBUT)
100. CP-1 - Love Regenerator (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 website for more info. And here they are on video, after the break

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Songoftheday 3/27/20 - We were as one babe for a moment in time, and it seemed everlasting that you would always be mine...

"Always Be My Baby" - Mariah Carey
from the album Daydream (1995)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 26

Today's song of the day comes from Mariah Carey, who just came from landing a record-breaking feat of weeks at #1 with "One Sweet Day" with Boyz II Men, as well as another chart-topper for "Fantasy". In England and overseas, Mariah released a cover of Journey's 1982 power-ballad classic "Open Arms", which went top ten in the UK (#4), Ireland (#7), and New Zealand (#8). Meanwhile, in America, where the drop from "One Sweet Day" was much slower, she put out the midtempo track "Always Be My Baby" as the third single (it would be the fourth everywhere else). Written and produced by Mariah along with Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal, the song is deceivingly written as a bouncy love song but with lyrics that actually describe a romance that is ending, with the "Always Be My Baby" almost like a dig that she won't get over the guy. Nevertheless, her fans loved it, as did radio, and Carey found herself on a winning streak again...


"Always Be My Baby" became Mariah's eleventh song to reach #1 in May of 1996. The song spent four weeks at #2 on Billboard magazine's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") chart, and took three weeks at #2 on their Adult Top-40 format list. The song was transformed into an urban contemporary jam by Jermaine Dupri that topped the R&B chart for a week as well. Meanwhile, the club remixes of the song helped it rise to #6 on the Dance Club Play chart. Internationally, the single topped the Canadian chart for two weeks, climbed to #3 in the UK, and made the top ten in New Zealand (#5) and Ireland (#10). It also reached the top-40 in Australia (#17), the Netherlands (#27), Iceland (#29), and Sweden (#38). At the Grammy Awards in 1996, "Always Be My Baby" was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal, which went to Anita Baker for "I Apologize".

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Disco Dessert 3/26/20 - "Work That Body" from Taana Gardner...

"Work That Body" was a club hit for Newark, New Jersey native Taana Gardner. Appearing on her self titled debut (and only) album, the song was written and produced by Kenton Nix, and originally remixed by the legendary Larry Levan. On Billboard magazine's Disco Top-80 chart, the song peaked at #10 in 1979. Twenty-one years later, a new remix of the track placed in back on the chart, rising to #11 in 2000.


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Songoftheday 3/26/20 - I believe life could be paradise once again, and the love we thought we lost is sleeping within...

"Lucky Love" - Ace Of Base
from the album The Bridge (1995)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #30 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 4

Today's song of the day comes from the Swedish pop group Ace Of Base, whose second album in America, The Bridge, had already scored them their fifth top-40 pop hit with "Beautiful Life" in the closing days of 1995. The second single from the project was the breezy "Lucky Love". Written by band member Jonas Berggren along with "song doctor" Billy Steinberg, who wrote many of the hits of the 1980s ("So Emotional", "Eternal Flame"), with Jonas producing the track with Denniz PoP and Max Martin. In Europe, "Lucky Love" was actually the lead single from the album, where the dance-pop production was a huge hit; in America, it actually was the more guitar-based "acoustic" mix that was favored on the radio...


"Lucky Love" became the second top-40 pop hit from The Bridge in April of 1996. The song also reached both the Adult Contemporary (#38) and Adult Top-40 (#33) "easy listening" radio format charts in Billboard magazine. The club remixes of the song helped the song land their third and final #1 hit on the Dance chart as well. Internationally, the single spent three weeks at #1 in Finland and a week there in their native Sweden. It also reached the top ten in Denmark (#2), Canada (#6), Spain (#6), France (#9), and Belgium (#9W/#24F). The song made the top-20 in New Zealand (#12), Norway (#12), Germany (#13), Austria (#14), The Netherlands (#16), Switzerland (#19), the UK (#20), and Italy (#20). A third single from the record, "Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry", missed the official American pop chart, "bubbling under" the Hot 100 at #106, while doing much better overseas, landing in the top-40 in The Netherlands (#12), Denmark (#12), Finland (#17), Sweden (#24), Austria (#38), and Iceland (#40).

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Disco Dessert 3/25/20 - "Touch Me In The Morning" from Marlena Shaw...

"Touch Me In The Morning" was a remake of the Diana Ross classic hit from 1973 from jazz-soul singer Marlena Shaw. Appearing on her album Take A Bite, the song was written by Michael Masser and Ron Miller. Although the song is considered one of the most lasting disco classics, it never reached Billboard magazine's Disco Chart.


Songoftheday 3/25/20 - All I want is to have you all the time, satisfaction thats what I intend to do...

"Feels So Good (Show Me Your Love)" - Lina Santiago
from the album Feels So Good (1996)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #35 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's song of the day comes from Latin freestyle dance music singer Lina Santiago, who got her start in the Los Angeles area singing with her father's band. In 1995 she released her first single, "Feels So Good (Show Me Your Love)", written and produced by Juan Lopez, aka DJ Juanito. Even though the song came way after the crest of freestyle music in the late 1980s/early 1990s, there was enough of a techno/electronic sound to the production to gain favor in the clubs and on the radio...


"Feels So Good" became Lina's first and only top-40 pop hit in April of 1996. The song also crossed over to Billboard's R&B chart, rising to #63. But its biggest success was on the dancefloor, where the remixes of the song helped the single go to #6 on the Dance Club Play chart. Internationally, the single spent a week on the British pop chart at #84. A second single from her debut album Feels So Good, the ballad "Just Because I Love You", stalled down at #78, although it was a top-40 hit in New Zealand at #34.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Disco Dessert 3/24/20 - "Fly Me On The Wings Of Love" from Celi Bee...

"Fly My On The Wings Of Love" was a club hit for Puerto Rican singer Celinas Soto, who recorded under the name Celi Bee. Written and produced by her husband Pepe Luis Soto, the song appeared on her second album Fly Me On The Wings Of Love. On Billboard magazine's National Disco Action Top-40 chart, the song peaked at #16 in 1979.


Songoftheday 3/24/20 - I can see that it's hurting you I can feel your pain, it's hard to see the sunshine through the rain...

"Count On Me" - Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans
from the album Waiting To Exhale (Original Soundtrack) (1995)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #8 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 15

Today's song of the day comes from the late singer/actress Whitney Houston, whose second big film role in Waiting To Exhale had a soundtrack that already had granted her another #1 pop hit with "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" in the fall of 1995. The soundtrack also scored top ten pop hits with Brandy's "Sittin' Up In My Room" and Mary J. Blige's "Not Gon' Cry". The fourth single released from the album would be a duet between Whitney and a woman who was already a star in the gospel music world, CeCe Winans. CeCe started out with her brother BeBe as a duo, releasing their first single, a cover of the Officer and a Gentleman hit "Up Where We Belong" from their debut album Lord Lift Me Up (see what they did there), which was a minor hit on the Christian Adult Contemporary chart at #27 in 1984. Three years later, they returned with their self-titled second album; from it the first single "I.O.U. Me" went all the way to #2 on that religious list, while crossing over to both the R&B (#77) and Adult Contemporary (#24) radio charts. In 1989, their third disc Heaven got them to #1 for the first time on the Christian AC chart with "Lost Without You", which really broke them through with mainstream urban radio, going to #8 on the R&B chart. The modern smooth quiet storm-like arrangement were a big hit there, as their next effort, Different Lifestyles, scored a pair of #1 singles on both the Christian AC and R&B charts with "Addictive Love" and a cover of the Staples Singers' "I'll Take You There", the latter even making the pop chart at #90. After one more studio album, CeCe struck out on her own, releasing her first solo album Alone In His Prescence, in 1995. With a much stricter gospel sound, it eschewed mainstream radio in exchange for her faith. That said, she took the opportunity to sing with friend Whitney on the gospel-lite ballad "Count On Me". Written by Whitney, her brother Michael Houston, and producer Babyface, the song used Houston's star clout to bring this gospel-tinged ode to friendship to the pop radio stations for the first time in a long while...


"Count On Me" became the fourth top ten pop hit from Waiting To Exhale in May of 1996. The song also climbed to #7 on Billboard magazine's R&B chart, while placing on both the Adult Contemporary (#4) and Adult Top-40 (#25) format lists. Internationally, the single reached the top-40 in the UK (#12), Iceland (#22), Canada (#26), New Zealand (#26), Austria (#28), Switzerland (#31), and the Netherlands (#34). At the Grammy Awards in 1997, "Count On Me" was nominated for Best Song from a Movie/TV, losing to Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me". Also, the Waiting To Exhale album was up for Album of the Year, which Celine also took with her Falling Into You set.

After this success, CeCe released her second album Everlasting Love in 1998. Although the name recognition was a bit better, and sporting a modern production, lead single "Well Alright" missed the R&B top-40 at #47, while "bubbling under" the pop Hot 100 at #109. In 2001, after switching to the more religious label Sparrow, her song "More Than What I Wanted" became her most recent R&B hit at #65. She flourished though in the gospel world, even making the top-40 on the all-genre Top 200 Albums chart in 2003 with Throne Room (#32). CeCe reunited with her brother in 2009, and their comeback album Still, which won two gospel Grammy Awards, landed a #1 gospel hit/top-40 R& single with "Close To You". Her most recent solo album, Something's Happening! A Christmas Album, came out in 2018.

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Monday, March 23, 2020

Disco Dessert 3/23/20 - "Bad Company" from Ullanda McCullough...

"Bad Company" was a club hit for Detroit native Ullanda McCullough. Appearing on her self-titled second album, the song was not a remake of the arena rock band classic but rather a song written and produced by the husband and wife team of Ashford & Simpson. On Billboard magazine's Disco Top 100 chart, the Ullanda McCullough album charted as one entry, with "Bad Company", "Warm and Gentle Explosion", and "Rock Me" featured as listed cuts. The record rose to #18 in 1981, spending five months on the chart.


Robbed hit of the week 3/23/20 - Alice In Chains' "Heaven Beside You"...

"Heaven Beside You" - Alice In Chains
from the album Alice In Chains (1995)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: ineligible to chart
Billboard Hot 100 Airplay peak: #52

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the Seattle rock group Alice In Chains, who had ridden in to success on the wave that brought us Nirvana and Pearl Jam as well. Selling millions of albums through the early 1990s, in the spring of 1994 their song "No Excuses" reached the top half of the Hot 100 Airplay chart, while topping the Mainstream Rock radio list in Billboard magazine. However, lead singer Peter Staley's drug addiction became so bad that he had to enter rehab right when they were going to embark on a tour behind the album. Despite having another radio hit at the time - "Got Me Wrong" from the soundtrack to the movie Clerks - the band broke up. Staley went and joined the supergroup Mad Season with Pearl Jam's Mike McCready for one top ten album and a radio hit "River Of Deceit", which reached the top ten on both the Mainstream and Alternative rock charts in Billboard. But by the end of the year, Staley reunited with Alice In Chains to record another studio album, which came out in the fall of 1995. The lead track, "Grind", which featured guitarist Jerry Cantrell on lead vocals, climbed to #7 on the Mainstream Rock chart, and #18 on the Alternative Rock list. It also was a top-40 hit in Britain at #23. The song would get a Grammy nomination for Best Hard Rock performance in 1996, which would go to fellow Seattleites Pearl Jam for "Spin The Black Circle". The second release from their eponymous album, also written by Cantrell who again took center stage on vocals, was "Heaven Besides You", which became a big rock hit before getting enough airplay on mainstream stations to make the radio chart, with its country-rock easiness more compatible to pop airwaves...


Since "Heaven Besides You" wasn't released as a commercial single, the song was unable to place on Billboard's official Hot 100 pop chart, but it rose to just about the halfway mark on the airplay component of the list in March of 1996. The song made the top ten on both the Mainstream (#3) and Alternative (#6) Rock charts in Billboard as well. Internationally, the single reached the top-40 in the UK at #35. A third promo single from the record, "Again", peaked at #8 at Mainstream Rock and #36 on the Alternative format. Led by co-writer Staley, it scored another Grammy nomination for Hard Rock Performance in 1997, which was won by the Smashing Pumpkins' "Bullet With Butterfly Wings". The Alice In Chains album became their second to reach #1 on the Album Sales Top 200 after their Jar Of Flies EP.

Later that year Alice In Chains recorded a successful episode of MTV Unplugged, with the resulting album reaching #3 on the sales chart, and radio single "Over Now" rising to #4 on the Mainstream Rock list. However, after opening for KISS for a few shows, Staley overdosed but didn't die, putting the group on hold again. Cantrell released a solo album, Boggy Depot, which made the sales top-40 and spun off two top ten rock radio hits with "Cut You In" (#5) and "My Song" (#6). The group tried again to reunite in 1998, recording a couple of songs for a box set compilation, with "Get Born Again" leading at #4 on the Mainstream Rock chart and nearly making the Hot 100, "bubbling under" at #106. It would get another nomination for a Hard Rock Grammy, won by Metallica's "Whiskey In A Jar" from their Garage Inc album, which ironically Cantrell and Sean Kinney from the band played on. A live album produced what would be the final chart single with Staley, a concert version of their first rock radio hit "Man In The Box", which popped in at #39 on the Mainstream Rock chart in 2000.

Unfortunately, the time for Layne Staley was up, overdosing for good in the spring of 2002, a couple months before the release of Cantrell's second solo set Degradation Trip, which got Jerry another top ten rock radio hit with "Anger Rising".  After the death of Staley, Alice In Chains, temporarily defunct, were dropped by their label in 2004. Through the 2000s, the Cantrell, Kinney, and bass player Mike Inez occasionally played together with guest vocalists filling in, until their hired on singer/guitarist William Duvall as a permanent member. With a second guitar providing a new dynamic to the sound of the group, and Duvall's voice as different from Staley's as it was fitting to the music, the band first toured before setting down to record a new studio album Black Gives Way To Blue, which was released in 2009. That set was well received by critics and fans, and scored a pair of #1 Mainstream Rock radio hits in "Check My Brain" and "Your Decision". The former not only got Alice In Chains their first true hit on the pop Hot 100 at #92, but was again nominated for a Hard Rock Grammy, which was won by AC/DC's "War Machine" in 2000. A third track from the record, "A Looking In View", went to #12 on Mainstream Rock and got the Hard Rock nom the next year, which Them Crooked Vultures took home for "New Fang". The new lineup returned in 2012 with The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, which went to #2 on the albums chart and spun off another two #1 Mainstream Rock radio hits with "Hollow" and "Stone". The album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Engineered Non-Classical Album, which they lost to Daft Punk's disco rock of Random Access Memories in 2014. Their most recent studio album, Rainier Fog, came out in the summer of 2018, landing two top ten hits with "The One You Know" and "Never Fade". The third single, title track "Rainier Fog", is their most recent charting hit at #20 on Mainstream Rock. The Rainier Fog album was up for a Grammy for Best Rock Album, which went to Greta Van Fleet's From The Fires. With three big albums under their belt, it seems like the Duvall lineup of the band has proven to be a worthy entity of its own.

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Songoftheday 3/23/20 - All my little plans and schemes lost like some forgotten dreams, seems that all I really was doing was waiting for you...

"Real Love" - The Beatles
from the album Anthology 2 (1996)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #11 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's song of the day comes from the Beatles, who returned to the top ten on the American pop chart for the first time since 1976 with "Free As A Bird". Yoko Ono had given the remaining Beatles four demos of the late John Lennon's, and that was one of them. Another one, "Real Love" would be transformed by Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr into a full fledged recording. Included on the second edition of the Anthology series, "Real Love" was released as a single and while radio was softer on it than the previous single, nevertheless fans swiped up the single en masse...


"Real Love" became the Beatles' final top-40 pop hit so far in America in March of 1996. Internationally, the single reached the top ten in Sweden (#2), the UK (#4), Finland (#4), Australia (#6), and Italy (#6), and peaked at #12 in Canada. One more Anthology album was released, but the group decided not to use the other two demos of Lennon's on it.

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