Monday, September 22, 2014

Album Sweep: September 27, 2014 - Part Two...

The second half of this week's "album sweep" is up, sampling the records making their first appearance on the Top 200 Albums 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 when possible as well as some of the artists' other big work. Support the talent!

Karen O of the indie-rock group Yeah Yeah Yeahs released her first solo album, Crush Songs, which is in at #44. Her band's most recent album, Mosquito, was their first top-10 effort at #5 last year...

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Songoftheday 9/22/14 - Act your age not your shoe size, maybe we can do the twirl....

Prince & The Revolution - "Kiss"
from the album Parade (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's Song of the Day is by the Minneapolis musician that bridged the gap between funk and rock and along with Michael Jackson paved the way for African-American artists on MTV. Prince had followed up the biggest moment in his recording career, the movie and soundtrack to his opus Purple Rain, with the psychedelic pop experiment of Around The World in a Day, which scored the "Purple One" two top-10 hits with "Raspberry Beret" and "Pop Life". The following year, Prince went back to the movies, filming a second movie named Under The Cherry Moon. Despite his critical success with Purple Rain, this second movie was a complete departure, with the artist directing himself (after disputes with music video queen Mary Lambert led her to quit), and music being downplayed in the film. Under The Cherry Moon ended up tanking both with moviegoers and critics, scoring a handful of "Golden Raspberry" awards (no pun intended), but the companion music album did signal a return to form for Prince, with a loose funk/rock groove throughout that brought radio back. The first released single from the project, "Kiss", was like Purple Rain's "When Doves Cry" an sparse, rhythm guitar-driven song with no bass and lots of room for him to wail and inprovise James Brown-style on this slinky sexual-without-mentioning-how song. Originally meant for one of his mentoring bands, Mazerati, he claimed it back for himself...

Kiss from PRINCE on Myspace.

"Kiss" became Prince's third #1 pop hit in America in April of 1986. The single also went to the top of both the R&B and Dance Club Play lists in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the single was a smash, reaching the top-10 in Canada, the UK, Germany, Austria, Holland, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand.

Despite the movie being panned, Prince's music made up for it, landing him a Grammy award for best R&B performance from a duo or group. And it remains one of his most loved songs still, probably for it's directness and pure fun.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Brit Sweep: September 21, 2014...

The weekend is coming to a close, and it's time to check out the songs making their way on to the official singles chart in UK (yes, the unified United Kingdom) this week...

The new #1 song in Britain this week is the second chart-topper for dance act Sigma, who enlists Paloma Faith for "Changing", my "Brit Pick of the Week".  It's Faith's first time at #1; Sigma ruled earlier this year with "Nobody To Love"...

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Album Sweep: September 27, 2014 - Part One....

Hey gang, it's time to roll out the first half of this week's 'album sweep', sampling the records making their debut on the Top 200 Albums sales chart in Billboard magazine. As always, I've included highlighted links to buy any of the new sets (support the talent!), but if you can, get over to an independent record store and show some love...

The top-selling album in the U.S. is the first album that went to #1 on the Gospel Albums chart to also top the all-genre list as his seventh studio album Anomaly sells over 88,000 copies in its first week. It's also the first Christian albums #1 to top the chart from an African American, and the third year in a row a Christian album has topped the Top 200 without a pop single attached (last year Chris Tomlin did it, and in 2012 TobyMac did). Also as an actor, he is starring in the just-released Believe Me (which also stars a certain Glee alum named Max Adler). This is his second top-10 album...

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Songoftheday 9/21/14 - Somebody told her that there was a place like heaven across the water on a 747...

Electric Light Orchestra - "Calling America"
from the album Balance Of Power (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #18 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 7

Today's Song of the Day comes from the symphonic rock act Electric Light Orchestra, who were still chugging along in the 80's after a very successful 70's, and last scored a top-20 pop hit in 1983 with "Rock N Roll Is King". However, as drummer Barry Bevan was moonlighting with Black Sabbath and leader Jeff Lynne was working under his own name with other ELO-mate keyboardist Richard Tandy, they had to be pushed by their label to make a contract-fulfilling album before splitting up. That set, Balance Of Power, dropped their signature string section in favor of more synthesizers, and that resulted in something more in tune with the easy-listening early-80s, like the Beach Boys trying to record Limahl's "Neverending Story". The video, of course, was filmed in Paris...

"Calling America" became ELO's so-far latest top-40 pop hit in April of 1986. The single also crossed over to the Mainstream Rock (#22) and the Adult Contemporary (#20) radio charts in Billboard magazine. While a couple more tracks from the album were minor hits in the UK, it would be the last showing for ELO on any chart in America.

The band would split after that, with Lynne going on to produce various rock acts and be a part of the Traveling Wilburys "supergroup" with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty, while Bevan would for a time record under the moniker ELO Part II, which had a #60 hit in the UK with "Honest Men". In 2001 Lynne and Tandy would reform the Electric Light Orchestra (without Bevan this time), and release the album Zoom, which made the albums chart but failed to place any singles on the radio or sales chart. Most recenty, a previously unreleased track from the 70s, "Surrender", popped on to the UK chart at #81 in 2006, and they have been on and of performing since.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dance Sweep: September 27, 2014...

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

On the DJ-polled Dance Club Play chart in Billboard magazine, Erika Jayne collects her seventh #1 club hit with "PAINKLLR"...

The top entry at #42 is the triumvirate of Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj with their pop hit "Bang Bang"...

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Country Sweep: September 27, 2014...

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

On their Country Airplay chart, Dustin Lynch claims his first #1 hit with "Where It's At (Yep, Yep)"...

Easton Corbin is back at #53 with his new single "Be My Love Song"...

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Soul Sweep: September 27, 2014...

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

On the main R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart,  Jeremih spends a fourth week at #1 with "Don't Tell 'Em"...

Hip-Hop singer August Alsina comes in at #49 with "No Love", the fifth single from his Testimony album. It's been remixed with a cameo from Nicki Minaj. Last year he went to #2 with "I Luv This Shit"...

K Camp takes the #50 spot with "Blessing". It follows "Cut Her Off", which topped out at #3...

Meanwhile, on the older-skewing Adult R&B radio panel, Kem's "It's You" stays on top for a fourth week... his next single, "Nobody", arrives at #25. The smooth and spiritual song is my "Soul Pick of the Week"...

Gospel/soul singer Ann Nesby, who got her start fronting the Sounds Of Blackness, returns at #30 with "Remember". She's made it to #18 on this list with "I Apologize"...(sadly, there's no clip to!)

Lastly, on the Rhythmic radio format, where stations include more dance music into their mix, the aforementioned "Don't Tell 'Em" is on top for a fourth week...

Rapper Migos lands at #38 with "Fight Night", a track that's alright hit the top-10 on the main R&B chart...

Aussie singer/songwriter Sia is in at #39 with her pop/dance hit "Chandelier"...

...and at #40 is rapper Baby Bash with "Certified Freak" featuring Baeza...

I'll return with the newest on country radio...

Rock Sweep: September 27, 2014...

Round two of this week's "charts sweeps" is up, sampling the songs making the latest radio charts in Billboard magazine. This time up I've got the latest rock songs on the radio...

On the main Rock Airplay chart, Vance Joy spends a sixth week on top with "Riptide"...

Rocketing back on the chart at #22 is pop-punk vets Fall Out Boy with "Centuries", the preview single from their upcoming sixth album (I wrote a little more on the last sweep, where it's the big debut as well). Their welcome return is my "Rock Pick of the Week". Last year they went to #8 here with "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark"...

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Pop Sweep: September 27, 2014...

It's time to kick off the first of today's "chart sweeps", checking out the songs making their way on to the singles charts in Billboard magazine. As always, I'll start on the pop side of the house, then later move on to the newest in rock, R&B, country, and dance music. And away we go...

On the "big" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, which combines tallies of sales, internet streaming (like Spotify and YouTube), and radio airplay from all formats, Meghan Trainor stays on top for a second week with "All About That Bass"...

There are two big debuts in the top-40 this week. The winner is the first single from the upcoming sixth album from emo-pop-punk group Fall Out Boy, as "Centuries" comes in at #22. Yes, that's Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" you hear at the beginning, leading to another rock-out from the band trying to compete with the glut of metalcore thrash as well as the bands imitating their early stuff while they delved into pop/dance hybrids. It becomes their eighth top-40 pop hit; in 2007 they made it to #2 with "This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race"...

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Songofhteday 9/20/14 - Here I lay all along tossin turnin, longing for some of your....

Force M.D.'s - "Tender Love"
from the albums Chillin' (1985) and Krush Groove (Original Soundtrack) (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #10 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11 

Today's Song of the Day comes from the vocal soul group Force M.D.'s, who came together in Staten Island in the early 80's (as the L.D.'s). With three brothers (Antoine, Khalil, and Stevie Lundy) and their uncle Jessie Lee forming the core of the group, the renamed act first performed their blend of hip-hop and doo-wop on the streets of New York, and that sound can be heard on their first minor R&B hit single "Let Me Love You", which went to #49 on the soul chart in 1984. Reminiscent of the early New Edition (who were between their indie debut and MCA signing at that time), the next single, "Tears", was more traditional, and broke the group on R&B radio, climbing to #5 on that genre chart and almost making the Hot 100 in Billboard, "bubbling under" at #102. They had four songs from their debut album on dance label Tommy Boy make the top half of that list, setting their profile up for their next release.

Then came along their inclusion in the pseudo-documentary on Def Jam records, Krush Groove, not with their appearance (they didn't make the film), but their song "Tender Love". Written and produced by a fresh-outta-the-Time Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the ballad spotlighted their voices, cutting out the percussion and laying their vocals on a dreamy synth melody that predicted their own "Let's Wait Awhile" and "Come Back To Me" with Janet Jackson. The simplicity of the record is so freakin' divine amongst the busy arrangements of the current freestyle and new wave records it was being played against, and audiences and record buyers responded...

"Tender Love" became Force MD's first and so-far last big pop hit, going to the top ten in the U.S. in April of 1986. The single also made it to #4 on the R&B, and crossed over to its biggest success on adult contemporary (or 'easy listening') radio, peaking at #2. Internationally, the single made the UK top-40 as well at #23.

With the group's next album, Touch & Go, they scored their first R&B #1 hit with the sublime "Love Is A House", but the song stalled down at #78 on the pop chart, and its follow-up, the title track, didn't even show despite reaching #10 R&B. The record did give them their only trip on the dance club chart with "Deep Check" which spent a week on that list at #48. A fourth album caught their retro styling and smooth R&B shadowed by the growing popularity of new jack swing, with a couple of moderate soul hits like "Are You Really Real?" (#23), which attempted to conform to the style, and in a way brought their original hip-hop/soul blend back. In 1992, a single release of a Touch & Go album track, "Your Love Drives Me Crazy" from their greatest hits set, became their most record chart hit (#78).

With the passing of a couple members including brother Antoine from ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease (yes, the ice bucket one), the rest of Force MDs reunited and released an album in 2000, and continue to tour with brothers Khalil and Stevie with new member Damen Heyward.

But despite their pop "one-hit-wonder" tag some people give them, the group deserved much better, and "Tender Love" is truly one of the greatest of the Jam/Lewis songs in its directness and simple beauty.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

twostepcub's music chart for September 19, 2014...

Hey gang, the weekend is upon us, and its time to run down my top 100 tunes from the week. Sam Smith hangs tight at #1 for a thirteenth week, while Meghan Trainor shimmies up into the top-5. Former big hits from Bleachers, Ed Sheeran, and Pharrell Williams (at last) drop off my chart, while songs by Jessie J, Ed Sheeran (again), and David Guetta make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). Sorry John, no treble....

This Week               Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. Stay With Me - Sam Smith (1)
2. Dangerous - Big Data f/Joywave (2)
3. A Sky Full Of Stars - Coldplay (4)
4. All About That Bass - Meghan Trainor (12)
5. Rude - Magic! (3)
6. Maps - Maroon 5 (8)
7. Chandelier - Sia (7)
8. Riptide - Vance Joy (11)
9. Latch - Disclosure f/Sam Smith (5)
10. Love Runs Out - OneRepublic (6)
11. Stolen Dance - Milky Chance (13)
12. Hideaway - Kiesza (10)
13. Am I Wrong - Nico & Vinz (9)
14. Rather Be - Clean Bandit f/Jess Glynne (18)
15. Do It Again - Royksopp & Robyn (15)
16. Really Don't Care - Demi Lovato f/Cher Lloyd (26)
17. Bartender - Lady Antebellum (19)
18. Take Me To Church - Hozier (16)
19. Roller Coaster - Luke Bryan (29)
20. Problem - Ariana Grande f/Iggy Azalea (14)
21. Don't - Ed Sheeran (35)
22. Come With Me Now - KONGOS (17)
23. Never Say Never - Basement Jaxx (31)
24. Cool Kids - Echosmith (28)
25. Pretty Hurts - Beyonce (25)
26. Girls Chase Boys - Ingrid Michaelson (22)
27. Summer - Calvin Harris (23)
28. Secrets - Mary Lambert (32)
29. Prayer In C (Robin Schulz Mix) - Lilly Wood & The Prick (37)
30. Drunk Of A Plane - Dierks Bentley (20)
31. Fever - The Black Keys (21)
32. First Love - Jennifer Lopez (36)
33. Shake It Off - Taylor Swift (40)
34. Love Never Felt So Good - Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake (24)
35. Waves (Robin Schulz Mix) - Mr. Probz (27)
36. Lovers On The Sun - David Guetta f/Sam Martin (50)
37. Hope You Get Lonely Tonight - Cole Swindell (45)
38. U Get Me High - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (43)
39. 1000hp - Godsmack (39)
40. Ghost - Ella Henderson (30)
41. I Was Gonna Cancel - Kylie Minogue (33)
42. I Don't Dance - Lee Brice (34)
43. West Coast - Lana Del Rey (47)
44. Meanwhile Back At Mama's - Tim McGraw f/Faith Hill (44)
45. My Sweet Summer - Dirty Heads (53)
46. Angel In Blue Jeans - Train (48)
47. Baby Baby 2014 - Amy Grant f/Dave Aude (52)
48. Back To The Shack - Weezer (56)
49. Superheroes - The Script (57)
50. Aftermath (Here We Go) - Dave Aude f/Andy Bell (38)
51. Break Free - Ariana Grande f/Zedd (61)
52. Yeah - Joe Nichols (41)
53. Bang Bang - Jessie J, Ariana Grande, & Nicki Minaj (73)
54. Good Kisser - Usher (54)
55. Where It's At (Yep Yep) - Dustin Lynch (55)
56. Somethin' Bad - Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood (60)
57. Try - Colbie Caillat (62)
58. Boom Clap - Charli XCX (63)
59. Believer - American Authors (59)
60. Gimme Something Good - Ryan Adams (64)
61. It's You - Kem (65)
62. River Bank - Brad Paisley (46)
63. Classic - MKTO (49)
64. Do I Wanna Know? - Arctic Monkeys (58)
65. Back Home - Andy Grammer (67)
66. Do You - Spoon (76)
67. Small Town Throwdown - Brantley Gilbert f/Justin Moore & Thomas Rhett (70)
68. Reservation For Two - Fantine (78)
69. Bye Felicia - Joe Gauthreaux f/Mitch Amtrak (69)
70. Later On - The Swon Brothers (74)
71. PAINKILLR - Erika Jayne (85)
72. Five Hours - Deorro (72)
73. Dirt - Florida Georgia Line (77)
74. Burnin' It Down - Jason Aldean (79)
75. American Kids - Kenny Chesney (75)
76. Be Okay - Oh Honey (80)
77. I Don't Want To Be Here Anymore - Rise Against (87)
78. Ready Set Roll - Chase Rice (82)
79. Black Widow - Iggy Azalea f/Rita Ora (83)
80. Ballast - Nothing More (81)
81. Left Hand Free - alt-J (89)
82. Gotta Get Away - The Black Keys (DEBUT)
83. Believe - Irina (88)
84. Last Call - Bello Boys f/Kat Deluna (84)
85. Until It's Gone - Linkin Park (DEBUT)
86. Battleships - Daughtry (90)
87. I'm Not The Only One - Sam Smith (92)
88. Words As Weapons - Seether (68)
89. Shelter Me - Lee Dagger f/Inaya Day (DEBUT)
90. We Are Tonight - Billy Currington (66)
91. Dust - Eli Young Band (91)
92. Sunshine & Whiskey - Frankie Ballard (94)
93. What's Best For You - Trey Songz (95)
94. Messed/Fucked Up World - The Pretty Reckless (DEBUT)
95. This Is How We Roll - Florida Georgia Line f/Luke Bryan & Jason Derulo (71)
96. Leave The Night On - Sam Hunt (DEBUT)
97. Don't Tell 'Em - Jeremih f/YG (97)
98. Samba De Mundo - Fatboy Slim f/Gregor Salto (DEBUT)
99. Crazy Lucky - Better Than Ezra (DEBUT)
100. Get Her Back - Robin Thicke (RE-ENTRY)

There are a lucky seven songs making their debut on my chart this week (highlighted in blue), and if you click on any of them you'll connect to their official website for tour dates, music, news, and more. And here they are on video after the break....

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Songoftheday 9/19/14 - We're not indestructible baby better get that straight, I think it's unbelievable how you give into the hands of fate...

Robert Tepper - "No Easy Way Out"
from the albums No Easy Way Out (1986) and Rocky IV (Original Soundtrack) (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #22 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 7

Today's Song of the Day is by pop/rock singer/songwriter Robert Tepper, who grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey, right across the river from New York City. His first big success was as a songwriter, co-writing the pedo classic "Into The Night", which made the top-20 for singer Benny Mardones twice in the 80's. But in 1985 he got his own singing shot when he was recruited to record a song for the soundtrack to the fourth installment of Sylvester Stallone's Rocky franchise. "No Easy Way Out", the frenetic gym-ready anthem that sounded like a handful of montage-linking soundtrack cuts, became the third single released from the album after Survivor's "Burning Heart" and James Brown's "Living In America"...

"No Easy Way Out" became Tepper's first and sole top-40 pop hit in March of 1986, while scaling to #12 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart. He would sport one more minor pop hit with the follow-up single "Don't Walk Away", but continued to have success as a writer, penning songs like "Le Bel Age" for Pat Benatar. But you know, this song sounds a lot better than I remembered (and aged better than "Burning Heart" did I think)...

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

8 of the 80s: 9/18/14 (1986)

#Throwback Thursday 80's style is back, with eight more nuggets from 1986, the year the Oprah Winfrey talk show premiered in syndicated broadcast...

Sheena Easton - "Jimmy Mack"
from the album Do You (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #65
Songwriters: Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, Eddie Holland

This cover of the Martha & The Vandellas classic was produced by Nile Rodgers, though it sounds a lot more sterile than his Chic work (or Madonna's "Like A Virgin" even).

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Songoftheday 9/18/14 - I saw her today I saw her face, it was the face I loved and I knew I had to run away...

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers with Stevie Nicks - "Needles And Pins [Live]"
from the album Pack Up The Plantation: Live! (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #37 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 2

Today's Song of the Day comes from two of the biggest rock stars of the 80's, Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks, who had already scored a top-10 hit together with "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" from Nicks' first solo album Bella Donna. In 1985, Petty was touring behind his big album Southern Accents, which garnered him a top-20 pop hit with "Don't Come Around Here No More". Petty and his band the Heartbreakers then released a live album, Pack Up The Plantation: Live!, and while most of the record was from that preceding tour, there were a couple of nuggets from concerts past, including a live date in 1981 which had Tom duetting with Stevie on the 60s hit "Needles and Pins". The song, co-written by Sonny Bono with Jack Nitzsche, was first released in 1963 by one of the female pop singers of that decade, Jackie DeShannon. Though it stalled out at #84 on the Hot 100 in the U.S., it topped the chart in Canada...

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

7 of the 70s: 9/17/14 (1976)

Hey gang, it's time to go back to the 70s, and this week I've got seven more nuggets from 1976, the year tobacco ads are banned in Australia's TV and radio airwaves...

Johnnie Taylor - "Disco Lady"
from the album Eargasm (1976)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1
Songwriters: Don Davis, Harvey Scales, Al Vance

After a decade of a moderately successful career singing classic soul, Taylor "dirtied" up his music a little, and in the process scored both the first "platinum" single (given for selling over a million copies) and the first #1 pop hit with "Disco" in its name.

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German Sweep: September 17, 2014...

Here's the new songs making their way on to the top-ten of the official singles chart in Germany this week, as David Guetta spends a fourth week on top with "Lovers On The Sun"...

Maroon 5 jump into the top-10 at #6 with their latest, "Maps". It's their fourth single to make the top ten in this country; they went as high as #2 with "Moves Like Jagger"...

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Songoftheday 9/17/14 - We can decide this there'll be no tears no tragedy, try I wouldn't break and cry if you walk away and leave me...

Arcadia - "Goodbye Is Forever"
from the album So Red The Rose (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #33 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's Song of the Day comes from one of the two side projects from members of the new romantic Fab Five, Duran Duran, that made a big splash on the charts in the mid-80s. As Andy and John Taylor put out the rock-edged Power Stations album, the trio of singer Simon LeBon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, and drummer Andy Taylor came together temporarily as Arcadia, the much more "Duran-ny" of the two bands. Their So Red The Rose project had already scored them a #6 hit with "Election Day" (matching the height of the Power Station's "Some Like it Hot" single). The second single, "Goodbye Is Forever", is an even more infectious pop candy piece that would've fit nicely on Seven And The Ragged Tiger...

"Goodbye Is Forever" became Arcadia's second and final top-40 pop hit in the U.S. in March of 1986. It wasn't a single in their native Britain; rather "The Promise" was put out, and reached #37 there. The followed it with "The Flame" (my favorite from the album), which was a minor hit in England at #58. Shortly after, LeBon and Rhodes rejoined John Taylor to reboot Duran Duran for the Notorious album in the fall of 1986.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

6 of the 60s: 9/16/14 (1966)

I'm ready to serve up another half-dozen nuggets from the 60s, and this week I'm back to 1966, the year that German-American inventor Ralph Baer began work on developing a system to play games on television that would end up becoming the Magnavox Odyssey, the first video game console.

The Mama's and the Papa's - "Monday Monday"
from the album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears (1966)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1
Songwriter: John Phillips

Years before the Bangles had a "Manic Monday", the classic folk-rock group laid the case against the start of the work-week, but this time for more heartbreaking reasons.

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French Sweep: September 16, 2014...

Bonjour, mes ami, it's time to cross back over the Atlantic to check out the songs reaching the top-10 in France this week, as Lilly Wood and the Prick stay on top for a ninth week with the Robin Schulz remix of "Prayer In C"...

British singer/songwriter George Ezra comes in at #9 with "Budapest", a song that's already been to the top of the charts in Germany and Britain...

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Songoftheday 9/16/14 - Er War Ein Punker und er lebte in der groen stadt...

Falco - "Rock Me Amadeus"
from the album Falco 3 (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's Song of the Day is by the Austrian pop star Falco (aka Johann Hölzel), who had done stints in a few bands before striking out on his own in the early 80s, releasing his debut in 1982. A song from that record, "Der Kommissar", became a huge hit internationally, but was outshined in America and England by an English-language reinterpretation by the band After The Fire. Even his own translated version crept to #72, since the ATF record made the top-5 on the U.S. pop chart (and at least provided him good royalties).

After a second album that wasn't as successful, Falco released Falco 3 in 1985. With Dutch producers Rob and Ferdi Bolland in the studio, he drew inspiration from the immensely popular Oscar-winning movie about Austrian composer Mozart, Amadeus, for a rap/pop novelty that despite its mostly German lyrics, found an audience around the world including the U.S. this time, no doubt help by its hilarious video..

"Rock Me Amadeus" became the only German-language single to top the Hot 100 in March of 1986. The single also crossed over to both the Dance Club Play (#4) and even the R&B (#6) charts in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the record was huge, going to #1 in England, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and of course his native Austria.

After "Rapture", you could say that this may truly be the first "rap" record to top the American chart, even before "West End Girls", since the song is written to just have the chorus tag-line sung (as opposed to Harry's half-sung track).

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