Thursday, January 18, 2018

Songoftheday 1/18/18 - Look at all the stars tonight, Look at all the moonlight, Look at us we're all alone...

"Set The Night To Music" - Roberta Flack with Maxi Priest
from the album Set The Night To Music (1991)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #6 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 16

Today's song of the day comes from singer/songwriter Roberta Flack, who after a fruitful career in the 1970's, had been relatively quiet in the next decade, landing two top 20 hits in the first part of the decade, first with her theme from the groundbreaking movie Making Love, then with her duet with Peabo Bryson, "Tonight, We Celebrate Our Love". In 1988, Flack released the sublimely beautiful Oasis album, which had both a #1 R&B hit with "Oasis", and a #1 Dance Club Play hit with one of the best transformation remixes of that decade, "Uh-Uh Ooh-Ooh Look Out (Here It Comes)". However, neither track made even a dent on the American pop chart.

Three years later, Roberta released her tenth solo studio album Set The Night To Music. The first single, and title track, was a slow-tempo soft-pop song written by master "song doctor" Diane Warren. It was originally released by Starship as the fourth and final single from their No Protection album. It didn't reach the pop Hot 100, but it climbed all the way to #9 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart in the fall of 1989...

For Roberta's version, she recorded the song as a duet with reggae singer Maxi Priest, who was coming off the biggest hit of his career, and one of the most successful singles of 1990, "Close To You". Producer Arif Mardin gave the arrangement a reggae beat with a very light touch, and it was one of the big last breaths of the soft pop movement that ushered in the decade...

"Set The Night To Music" became Roberta's eleventh and final top-40 pop hit in November of 1991. The song spent one week at #2 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart, and slipped on to their R&B list at #45. Internationally, the single reached #9 in Canada. A second single from the album, a very "soft" new-jack-swing-ish cover of the Stylistics' "You Make Me Feel Brand New", made it to #50 on the R&B chart.

In 1994, Flack recorded a covers album, Roberta, which didn't get much radio airtime but did nab the singer her first Grammy nomination in 14 years for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance, losing out to Tony Bennett's MTV Unplugged record. When the rap group the Fugees had a hit reworking her "Killing Me Softly" song from the 1970's, a club remix of her original vocals ended up topping Billboard's Dance Club Play chart for two weeks in 1996. A year later, she released a Christmas album (and re-released it in 2003). Her most recent studio album was a tribute to the music of the Beatles, Let It Be Roberta, which popped on to the bottom half of the albums chart in the U.S.

Up tomorrow: Jazz-pop singer has some thoughts.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Songoftheday 1/17/18 - I know how you feel inside I've I've been there before, somethin's changin' inside you and don't you know...

"Don't Cry" - Guns N' Roses
from the albums Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II (1991)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #10 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 17

Today's song of the day comes from the hard rock band Guns N' Roses, who had previewed their upcoming double album Use Your Illusion I & II, which was unusually released as separate units, with their contribution to the movie Terminator 2, with the tour de force rocker "You Could Be Mine", which reached the top-40 in the summer of 1991. The second single released (and the one out when the albums were out) is the power-ballad "Don't Cry", which appears in different versions (but the same music) on each of the albums. Written by lead singer Axl Rose and rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, the song was their most "serious" single released to date, and was much better received on pop radio. Shannon Hoon, who in time would have his own success with "No Rain" with Blind Melon, sings backup, and appears in the video, which partly was drawn from an incident between Axl and ex-girlfriend Erin Everly (the woman from "Sweet Child O'Mine")...

"Don't Cry" returned the band to the top ten on the pop chart in America for the fifth time in November of 1991. The song also spent two weeks at #3 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart. Internationally, the single topped the Irish singles chart for two weeks, and reached the top ten in New Zealand (#2), Norway (#2), Switzerland (#3), Australia (#5), Austria (#5), the Netherlands (#7), the UK (#8), Sweden (#9), Spain (#10), and Belgium (#10).

Despite the success of the single, it wasn't quite paradise for the group, for as foretold by the "Where's Izzy?" sign in the music video, Stradlin left Guns N' Roses that November just as the song was peaking on the pop chart, after feuds with Rose and the rest of the band after cleaning up his own act. He would be replaced by Gilby Clarke for the rest of the massive tour they were on.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Songoftheday 1/16/18 - This is it it's time for you to go to the wire, you will hit 'cause you got the burnin' desire...

"Cream" - Prince and the New Power Generation
from the album Diamonds and Pearls (1991)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 16

Today's song of the day comes from Prince, who had led off his Diamonds and Pearls with the salacious single "Gett Off". Even though that barrel of funk succeeded on R&B stations, reaching the top ten, "mainstream" radio was totally reticent, where it didn't even reach the top 50 on the pop airplay chart. So as the album was released, stations grabbed onto another track from the set which was rush released, "Cream". Written and produced by Prince, the song was lascivious in its mid-tempo "strutting" arrangement, but much more subtle...

"Cream" climbed all the way to the top of the American pop chart for two weeks in November of 1991. It would be his fifth and final time he would go to #1 on the chart in the U.S. Internationally, the song would reach the top ten in Canada (#2), Australia (#2), Switzerland (#3), Norway (#3), Austria (#4), France (#5), New Zealand (#5), Sweden (#6), and the Netherlands (#7). Over in the UK, where "Gett Off" did relatively well at #4, "Cream" peaked down at #15.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Robbed hit of the week 1/15/18 - PC Quest's "After The Summer's Gone"...

"After The Summer's Gone" - PC Quest
from the album PC Quest (1991)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #41 (three weeks)

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the teen-pop band PC Quest, who were put together in Oklahoma with brothers Chad and Stephen Petree along with Drew Nichols and Kim Whipkey (a rare instance of mixed-sex teen-oriented vocal groups: also see The Party). They were managed by George Tobin, the man behind the success of mall-pop queen Tiffany, who also co-produced their self-titled debut album. Their first chart success came with their second single "Can You Call You My Girl?", which climbed to #58 on Billboard's pop Hot 100 chart in America. With that lead-in, the group re-released their original debut single, "After The Summer's Gone" at the close of the summer of 1991. The seasonal love ballad, written by Tim James (who would go on to pen Selena Gomez's "Love You Like A Love Song") and Mike Piccirillo (who had produced Smokey Robinson's "Being With You"), did a bit better this time out...

"After The Summer's Gone" spent three weeks at the notch under the top-40 in September and October of 1991. The track even crossed over to Billboard's R&B chart, peaking at #66. After a second album went nowhere, PC Quest called it a day. Lead singer Chad Petree would go on to form the electro-modern rock group Shiny Toy Guns, who have had three successful albums and a number of alternative rock radio hits, including some like "Rainy Monday" (Modern Rock, #23) that were written by Chad and Stephen.

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Songoftheday 1/15/18 - And the time will come when we will be as one, when the feeling comes...

"Word To The Mutha" - Bell Biv Devoe
from the album WBBD-Bootcity!: The Remix Album (1991)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: not eligible to chart
Billboard Pop Airplay chart: #37 (one week)
Weeks on the pop airplay chart (19, three in the top-40)

Today's song of the day comes from the New Edition spin-off group, Bell Biv Devoe, whose first album under that name, Poison, spun off three big pop hits in "B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)" along with two that reached #3, "Poison" and "Do Me". In between albums, the trio released a collection of remixes (not uncommon at that time, Jody Watley and fellow NE-er Bobby Brown had also had successful remix collections). On the set, titled WBBD-Bootcity!, an album track called "Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, Ralph and Johnny (Word to the Mutha)!" Reduced to just "Word To The Mutha", they "got the band back together", with not only Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill appearing on the song, but also Bobby Brown on board as well. The track was not released as a physical single, but it got so much airplay on radio stations that it made the Hot 100 Airplay chart in Billboard. The music video also took the group back to their beginnings, namely the projects of Boston, where all but Gill hail from...

"Word To The Mutha" reached the top-40 on the pop airplay chart in Billboard in September of 1991. On their R&B airplay chart, the song climbed as high as #11. Down under in New Zealand, where it was released as a single, the track almost made the top ten at #11.

Up tomorrow: the Purple One needs some coffee?

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Songoftheday 1/14/18 - I hear a song that makes me laugh, and smile and sing to you...

"With You" - Tony Terry
from the album Tony Terry (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #14 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day comes from R&B singer Tony Terry. Originally from Washington DC, he sang backup for a few acts before landing his own record deal in the late 1980s. His debut single, "She's Fly", was a new jack swing track that climbed to #10 on Billboard's R&B chart, and slipped onto their pop Hot 100 list at #80 in 1987. That success led to the release of Terry's first album, Forever Yours, the following year. The second release from the record, "Lovey Dovey", became his highest-ranking R&B hit at #4. That song also almost reached the top-40 in the UK at #44, but didn't even reach the American pop chart at all. The title track came next, and the retro-soul of "Forever Love" put him back on the pop chart at #80 and R&B at #16. A fourth single, the house music jam "Young Love", scored Terry his first Dance Club Play hit at #17 (also #88 R&B). Later that year, the one-off single "Forget The Girl" continued his embrace of house, and resulted in his biggest club hit at #9, but the single somehow missed the pop and R&B charts and didn't make it on an album (both of those "house" singles slipped on to the British charts in the 90s). Also, Tony was featured on the single "On The Strength" from the group Flame, which climbed to #11 on the Dance chart (his final time) and #59 R&B.

With all the momentum from four successful hits from his debut, Terry recorded his self-titled sophomore effort, which came out in 1990. The lead single from the record, "Head Over Heels", a smoother midtempo new jack swing-inspired track, climbed to #13 on the R&B chart, but missed out on the pop list. Terry convinced his label to put out the love ballad "With You" as the follow-up. With a little help from quiet storm queen Anita Baker, who helped finance the music video, Terry slowly but surely acquired his biggest pop hit, written by future Grammy-winner Raymond Reeder...

"With You" became Terry's sole top-40 pop hit in November of 1991, spending almost six months on the Hot 100 chart in Billboard. The song also climbed to #6 on their R&B chart, and crossed over to the Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio format tally, peaking at #45.

The third release from Tony Terry, "That Kind Of Guy", which brought him back to new-jack style dance material, went to #38 on the R&B chart, followed by another love ballad, "Everlasting Love", with background vocals from pre-fame Jodeci, which was more successful, peaking at #6 R&B and giving Tony his last pop charting hit at #81.

Even with two moderately successful albums, Terry left Epic Records and got signed to Virgin, where he released his third disc Heart Of A Man. The first single from the record was a double-sided hit in which both "When A Man Cries" (#32) and "Can't Let Go" (#56) reached the R&B chart. A second single, the title track and lush ballad "Heart Of A Man", was hit most recent R&B minor hit at #86. After another sultry secular album in 2001, My Best, from which the song "Freaky Little Game" "bubbled under" the R&B chart at #110, Terry concentrated on gospel music, with his 2006 record Changed! doing well on the Gospel Albums chart (#21) and even landing a Gospel Songs hit with "Praise Him" (#18). His most recent album was the secular I Tony 8 in 2015.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Songoftheday 1/13/18 - I used to see those red tail lights heading for another town, and wish that I was on my way...

"Walk Through Fire" - Bad Company
from the album Holy Water (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #28 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 5

Today's song of the day comes from veteran rock group Bad Company, who had lost their long time lead singer Paul Rodgers, and replaced by Brian Howe and returned to the pop top-40 in the spring of 1991 with "If You Needed Somebody". In the summer, an album track from the Holy Water record, "Stranger Stranger", climbed up to #9 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart. The third and final physical single released from the record would be the uptempo pop-rock sing-along "Walk Through Fire". Written by Howe and producer Terry Thomas, who is a pro in writing catchy melodies from his old band, Charlie....

"Walk Through Fire" became the second top-40 pop hit from Holy Water in October of 1991. The song also climbed to #14 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio format chart. The single also reached the top-40 in Canada at #34.

Up tomorrow: R&B singer gets his first top-40 hit unalone.

Friday, January 12, 2018

twostepcub's music chart for January 12, 2018...

Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. Ed Sheeran (no, not  "with" Beyonce, sorry) takes over at #1, while Pink (pictured above) rockets into the top ten. Former big hits from Garth Brooks, Chris Janson, and LIGHTS drop off my chart, while songs from Clean Bandit/Julia Michaels, The War On Drugs, and Seether make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). Happy Martin Luther King Day Weekend...

This Week               Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. Perfect - Ed Sheeran (3)
2. Havana - Camila Cabello f/Young Thug (2)
3. Too Good At Goodbyes - Sam Smith (1)
4. No Roots - Alice Merton (7)
5. Walk On Water - 30 Seconds To Mars (6)
6. Beautiful Trauma - Pink (11)
7. How Long - Charlie Puth (5)
8. Up All Night - Beck (4)
9. Thunder - Imagine Dragons (8)
10. Bad At Love - Halsey (12)
11. Like I Loved You - Brett Young (16)
12. What About Us - Pink (10)
13. The Sky Is A Neighborhood - Foo Fighters (9)
14. Feel It Still - Portugal, The Man (14)
15. I Could Use A Love Song - Maren Morris (19)
16. Losing Sleep - Chris Young (24)
17. Sorry Not Sorry - Demi Lovato (13)
18. Round Here Buzz - Eric Church (21)
19. New Rules - Dua Lipa (15)
20. Location - Khalid (22)
21. One Foot - Walk The Moon (31)
22. Smoke Clears - Andy Grammer (26)
23. Woman - Kesha f/Dap King Horns (23)
24. When We - Tank (28)
25. Love So Soft - Kelly Clarkson (17)
26. Lights Down Low - MAX f/gnash (32)
27. Light It Up - Luke Bryan (25)
28. Silence - Marshmello f/Khalid (18)
29. What Lovers Do - Maroon 5 f/SZA (29)
30. Waving Through A Window - Ben Platt & The Cast Of Dear Evan Hansen (20)
31. Yours - Russell Dickerson (38)
32. All On My Mind - Anderson East (33)
33. Complicated - Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike vs. David Guetta & Kiiara (37)
34. Too Much To Ask - Niall Horan (42)
35. You're The Best Thing About Me - U2 (30)
36. Pain - The War On Drugs (51)
37. Praying - Kesha (27)
38. I Miss You - Clean Bandit f/Julia Michaels (56)
39. Angela - The Lumineers (35)
40. Unforgettable - Thomas Rhett (36)
41. Lay It On Me - Vance Joy (39)
42. Greatest Love Story - LANCO (43)
43. Anywhere - Rita Ora (47)
44. 1-800-273-8255 - Logic f/Alessia Cara & Khalid (34)
45. Freak - Rosabel f/Tamara Wallace (50)
46. Believer - Imagine Dragons (46)
47. Don't Take The Money - Bleachers (49)
48. There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back - Shawn Mendes (44)
49. Wolves - Marshmello f/Selena Gomez (57)
50. Disco Tits - Tove Lo (40)
51. Ain't No Mountain High Enough 2017 - Diana Ross (65)
52. Shine Your Love - Scotty Boy & Lizzie Curious (58)
53. Outta Style - Aaron Watson (63)
54. Reggaeton Lento - CNCO & Little Mix (54)
55. Think (About It) - Barbara Tucker (66)
56. What Ifs - Kane Brown f/Lauren Alaina (52)
57. Love Line - LeAnn Rimes (61)
58. When It Rains It Pours - Luke Combs (48)
59. All Stars - Martin Solveig f/ALMA (59)
60. The Gold - Manchester Orchestra (45)
61. Legends - Kelsea Ballerini (73)
62. Live In The Moment - Portugal, the Man (72)
63. Rich Love - OneRepublic f/Seeb (53)
64. Stars - Kristine W. (74)
65. X With You - Tom Budin & Luciana (69)
66. Best Friend - Sofi Tukker f/NERVO, the Knocks & Alisa Ueno (DEBUT)
67. A Girl Like You - Easton Corbin (71)
68. All On Me - Devin Dawson (78)
69. I'll Name The Dogs - Blake Shelton (70)
70. Sober Up - AJR f/Rivers Cuomo (80)
71. Let Me Go - Hailee Steinfeld & Alesso f/Florida Georgia Line & watt (76)
72. Written In The Sand - Old Dominion (82)
73. I Only Lie When I Love You - Royal Blood (83)
74. Betray And Degrade - Seether (89)
75. LOVE. - Kendrick Lamar f/Zacari (85)
76. I'm Too Sexy (Touch This Skin) - Ultra Nate & Quentin Harris as Black Stereo Faith (62)
77. Cryptic Love - The Trash Mermaids (87)
78. Redbone - Childish Gambino (68)
79. Almost Home - Sultan + Shepard f/Nadia Ali & IRO (75)
80. Revolution - Van William f/First Aid Kit (90)
81. Small Town Boy - Dustin Lynch (77)
82. Meant To Be - Bebe Rexha f/Florida Georgia Line (86)
83. Rx (Medicate) - Theory Of A Deadman (81)
84. Get You - Daniel Caesar f/Kali Uchis (88)
85. Kill4Me - Marilyn Manson (95)
86. Good Old Days - Macklemore f/Kesha (92)
87. No Promises - Cheat Codes f/Demi Lovato (79)
88. Body Like A Back Road - Sam Hunt (84)
89. Coping - Toni Braxton (DEBUT)
90. Hold Me Tight Or Don't - Fall Out Boy (94)
91. This Is It - Lo Moon (91)
92. Los Ageless - St. Vincent (DEBUT)
93. Love Galore - SZA f/Travis Scott (99)
94. Free - Sean Finn f/Terri B! & Peter Brown (DEBUT)
95. Stuck In My Feelings - Andreas Moss (96)
96. You Broke Up With Me - Walker Hayes (RE-ENTRY)
97. Lost - Secondhand Serenade (DEBUT)
98. Get Out Of Your Own Way - U2 (DEBUT)
99. Female - Keith Urban (DEBUT)
100. No Apology - BlissBliss (DEBUT)

There are eight 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 bios, tour info, music, merch, and more. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 1/12/18 - First time I saw you you were different than the rest, the way you walked into the room the way you wore that dress...

"Hey Donna" - Rythm Syndicate
from the album Rythm Syndicate (1991)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #13 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 8

Today's song of the day comes from the dance-pop group Rythm Syndicate, fronted by producers Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers. They scored a pop hit that came one notch from the top of the chart in America with "P.A.S.S.I.O.N." in the summer of 1991. The second single from their debut album was another lite new jack swing dance track, "Hey Donna", written by Rogers and Sturken...

"Hey Donna" became the Rythm Syndicate's second and final top-40 pop hit in November of 1991. The song also crossed over to Billboard's R&B chart at #79. A third release from their first album, the lush ballad "Blinded By Love", was a minor pop hit at #76.

In 1992, the band added the "H" to Rythm and released their second album, Sex, Life, & Love. The sole single from the record, "I Wanna Make Love To You", only made it up to #73 on the American pop chart, and they didn't last much further after that.

Up tomorrow: Veteran rockers step on hot coals, perhaps.