Sunday, July 27, 2014

Album Sweep: August 2, 2014 - Part One...

It's time to roll out the first half of this week's "album sweep" (yes, it's back), sampling the records making their way on to the official Top 200 Albums sales chart in Billboard magazine. As always, I've included highlighted links to buy any of the sets, along with some of the artists' other major work. Support the talent!

This week's biggest-selling album is the first #1 in the long career of musical parody king "Weird Al" Yankovic, as his fourteenth studio album Mandatory Fun sells over 100,000 copies in its first week. It's also his third consecutive top-ten album. I'm so overjoyed to its success, as is Al...

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Songoftheday 7/27/14 - Everybody gather 'round now let your body feel the heat....

Miami Sound Machine - "Conga"
from the album Primitive Love (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #10 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 16

Today's Song of the day comes from the Cuban-American band Miami Sound Machine, who were fronted by husband and wife Emilio and Gloria Estefan. Starting with independent releases in the late 70s, the Latin-flavored outfit released their first proper English-language major album, Eyes Of Innocence, in 1984. The first single from the project, "Dr. Beat", became a top-10 hit in England, Germany, and the Netherlands, and went top-20 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart as well. With that momentum, the group recorded the follow-up, Primitive Love, the following year. With a firm pop presence among the club cuts, the album was a big success. The first single, "Conga", with Gloria's rapid-fire delivery of the chorus and an infectious percussion backdrop, gave the MSM their first big pop radio exposure...

"Conga" made it to the American pop top-10 in February of 1986, while going all the way to #1 on Billboard's dance club play chart. The record even crossed over to R&B stations, reaching #60 on the mag's "Black Singles" chart. The record did even better in Canada, becoming a #1 hit there, though surprisingly in England, where "Dr. Beat" was a success, this single stalled out at #79.

Ever since, the song remains one of the most identified with Gloria, beyond just the song that made her famous.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dance Sweep: August 2, 2014...

I'm at the last installment of today's "chart sweeps", checking out the songs making the charts in Billboard magazine, and I'll wrap things up with the latest dance jams in the clubs and on the radio...

On the DJ-polled Dance Club Play chart, Daft Punk get their "lucky" seventh #1 single with "Derezzed"...

The top debut at #38 finds Fatboy Slim "presenting" DJ Gregor Salto on "Samba Do Mundo" featuring Saxsymbol & Todorov....

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Country Sweep: August 2, 2014...

Part four of this week's "chart sweeps" of the Billboard radio charts has the latest songs on country stations across the U.S.A....

On the mag's Country Airplay chart, Joe Nichols spends a second week at #1 with "Yeah"...

The top debut of the week at #50 is the third single from Jerrod Niemann's High Noon album, "Buzz Back Girl". The first, "Drink To That All Night", topped this chart earlier this year...

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Soul Sweep: August 2, 2014...

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

On the main R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, Chris Brown holds for an eighth non-consecutive week at #1 with "Loyal"...

The "Rich Gang", a combination of the Young Money and Cash Money rap collectives, come in at #35 with "Lifestyle", featuring Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan. Last year their "Tapout" with Lil' Wayne and Nicki Minaj went to #7...

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Rock Sweep: August 2, 2014...

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

On their main Rock Airplay chart, The Black Keys hold tight at #1 for an eleventh week with "Fever"...

The big debut of the week at #45 is southern rock act J Roddy Walston & The Business with "Take It As It Comes". The single peaked to #25 on the Alternative rock chart. It's the follow-up to their "Heavy Bells", which made it to #28.

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Pop Sweep: August 2, 2014...

It's time to kick off the first of today's "chart sweeps", checking out the songs making their way on to the various singles charts in Billboard magazine. As always, I'll start out on the pop side of things, then later in the day move on to the latest on rock, R&B, country, and dance radio....

On the "big" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, which combines tallies of radio airplay from all formats along with sales and internet streaming, Canadian reggae-rock group Magic! spend a second week at #1 with "Rude"...

The top debut of the week belongs to Australian "boy-band" 5 Seconds of Summer, who place their fifth song in the top-40 at #24 with "Everything I Didn't Say". Their first album just came out here and is expected to come in at #1 next week. The "offiical" first single "She Looks So Perfect" also peaked at this rank, and sits at #74 in its 16th week. I guess now the 1D/Bieber crowd has moved on...

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Songoftheday 7/26/14 - Two worlds collide rival nations, it's a primitive clash venting years of frustrations...

Survivor - "Burning Heart"
from the album Rocky IV (Original Soundtrack) (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 16

Today's song of the day comes from a band that got their big break with a theme song from Sylvester Stallone's boxing franchise sequel, Rocky III. "Eye Of The Tiger" topped the singles chart in 1982, and since then, the band that recorded it, Survivor, switched lead vocalist to Jimi Jamison, and enjoyed a successful follow-up album Vital Signs that scored a trio of top-20 pop hits in the U.S. In 1985, the band was hired yet again to record a song for the next Rocky movie, and the result, "Burning Heart", resulted in another hit...

"Burning Heart" reached the runner-up spot on the American pop chart in February of 1986, while stopping at #11 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart. Internationally, the single did very well, becoming the band's second top-10 hit in the UK at #5, while going top-ten all across Europe, going to #1 in Switzerland...

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Friday, July 25, 2014

twostepcub's music chart for July 25, 2014...

Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from last week. Sam Smith holds on to the top spot for a fifth week, while Canadian reggae stars (that aren't Snow) Magic! land in my top-5. Former big hits from Sara Bareilles and Thomas Rhett drop off of my chart, while songs by Dave Aude' with Andy Bell, Kylie Minogue, and Robyn & Royksopp make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). Congrats on your wedding Whore and Dr. Whore!

This Week           Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. Stay With Me - Sam Smith (1)
2. Sing - Ed Sheeran (2)
3. Summer - Calvin Harris (5)
4. Am I Wrong - Nico & Vinz (6)
5. Rude - Magic! (7)
6. Fever - The Black Keys (3)
7. Come With Me Now - KONGOS (4)
8. Problem - Ariana Grande f/Iggy Azalea (18)
9. I Wanna Get Better - Bleachers (13)
10. Fancy - Iggy Azalea f/Charli XCX (12)
11. Ain't It Fun - Paramore (11)
12. Birthday - Katy Perry (8)
13. Girls Chase Boys - Ingrid Michaelson (9)
14. Whiskey In My Water - Tyler Farr (16)
15. Play It Again - Luke Bryan (10)
16. Bad Blood - Bastille (14)
17. Happy - Pharrell Williams (15)
18. Me And My Broken Heart - Rixton (19)
19. Take Me To Church - Hozier (21)
20. Hideaway - Kiesza (22)
21. A Sky Full Of Stars - Coldplay (28)
22. Do I Wanna Know? - Arctic Monkeys (20)
23. Chainsaw - The Band Perry (23)
24. Love Runs Out - OneRepublic (29)
25. Not A Bad Thing - Justin Timberlake (17)
26. Who I Am With You - Chris Young (31)
27. All Of Me - John Legend (24)
28. The Walker - Fitz & The Tantrums (26)
29. Dangerous - Big Data f/Joywave (32)
30. Love Never Felt So Good - Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake (30)
31. Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High - Arctic Monkeys (35)
32. I'm Not Coming Down - Martha Wash (36)
33. We Are Tonight - Billy Currington (43)
34. I Will Never Let You Down - Rita Ora (27)
35. Wasted - Tiesto f/Matthew Koma (45)
36. Latch - Disclosure f/Sam Smith (54)
37. Southern Sun - Boy & Bear (33)
38. Painkiller - Three Days Grace (38)
39. Aftermath - Dave Aude f/Andy Bell (64)
40. Tennis Court - Lorde (40)
41. Beat Of The Music - Brett Eldredge (25)
42. I Don't Dance - Lee Brice (52)
43. I Was Gonna Cancel - Kylie Minogue (67)
44. Peace - O.A.R. (44)
45. Beachin' - Jake Owen (46)
46. Yeah - Joe Nichols (48)
47. Waves - Mr. Probz (49)
48. River Bank - Brad Paisley (50)
49. Lettin' The Night Roll - Justin Moore (34)
50. Do It Again - Royksopp & Robyn (74)
51. Call Me - St. Paul & The Broken Bones (55)
52. Chandelier - Sia (62)
53. Knock You Out - Bingo Players (59)
54. Maps - Maroon 5 (66)
55. Drunk On A Plane - Dierks Bentley (63)
56. Song About A Girl - Eric Paslay (61)
57. My Eyes - Blake Shelton f/Gwen Sebastian (57)
58. I Found Out - Bimbo Jones vs. Beverley Knight (58)
59. Derezzed - Daft Punk f/Negin (76)
60. Break Your Plans - The Fray (60)
61. Ghost - Ella Henderson (71)
62. Lazaretto - Jack White (68)
63. Turn Down For What - DJ Snake f/Lil Jon (51)
64. Classic - MKTO (72)
65. Calling All Hearts - DJ Cassidy f/Robin Thicke & Jessie J (65)
66. Rather Be - Clean Bandit f/Jess Glynne (56)
67. It's My Time - Kelly Price (75)
68. Already Home - A Great Big World (69)
69. I Walk Alone - Cher (39)
70. This Is How We Roll - Florida Georgia Line f/Luke Bryan & Jason Derulo (70)
71. Meanwhile Back At Mama's - Tim McGraw f/Faith Hill (81)
72. Raging Fire - Philip Phillips (42)
73. Angel In Blue Jeans - Train (83)
74. Keep Them Kisses Comin' - Craig Campbell (37)
75. Holding On To Heaven - Foxes (95)
76. Wiggle - Jason Derulo f/Snoop Dogg (80)
77. Bartender - Lady Antebellum (89)
78. Dare (La, La, La) - Shakira (82)
79. Out Of The Black - Royal Blood (79)
80. Words As Weapons - Seether (88)
81. Dark Horse - Katy Perry f/Juicy J (77)
82. Budapest - George Ezra (86)
83. How You Love Me - 3LAU f/Bright Lights (87)
84. Where It's At (Yep Yep) - Dustin Lynch (84)
85. Believer - American Authors (85)
86. Prayer In C (Robin Schulz Mix) - Lilly Wood & The Prick (91)
87. I Got U - Duke Dumont f/Jax Jones (47)
88. Let It Go - Idina Menzel (53)
89. Back Home - Andy Grammer (90)
90. Riptide - Vance Joy (94)
91. West Coast - Lana Del Rey (DEBUT)
92. U Get Me High - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (97)
93. Good Kisser - Usher (DEBUT)
94. American Kids - Kenny Chesney (DEBUT)
95. Be Okay - Oh Honey (100)
96. Small Town Throwdown - Brantley Gilbert f/Thomas Rhett & Justin Moore (DEBUT)
97. Love & Sex Pt. 2 - Joe f/Kelly Rowland (RE-ENTRY)
98. Gecko (Overdrive) - Oliver Heldens f/Becky Hill (99)
99. Sur Ma Route - Black M (DEBUT)
100. F**k Me Like You Mean It - Korr-A (DEBUT)

There are a half-dozen songs making their debut on this week's chart (highlighted in blue), and if you click on any of them you will connect to their offiical website for more information. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 7/25/14 - I need a taxi, she's so hot fresh in the serious love reaction...

Kool & The Gang - "Emergency"
from the album Emergency (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #18 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 8

Today's Song of the Day comes from a R&B/pop band from New Jersey that were enjoying a huge success with their 16th studio album, Kool & The Gang. The first three singles from the set became top-10 pop hits in the U.S. - "Misled", "Fresh", and their signature ballad "Cherish". For their fourth release from the set (surprising since the record only had eight tracks) the band released the title track, written and produced by the band, and got them back on the dance floor...

"Emergency" became the band's fourth top-20 pop hit in America from the album in December of 1985. It also climbed up to #7 on Billboard's R&B chart (their sixth consecutive top-10) and popped in at #41 on their dance club play chart. Internationally, while the single went top-40 in Ireland, it was more of a minor hit in England (#50), Canada, and Germany. However, it remains one of my faves of the group, successfully fusing their post-disco funk with a rock edge paved by Jackson and Prince.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

8 of the 80s: 7/24/14 (1980)

We move ahead a decade in this week's throwback to 1980, with eight more nuggets from the year Pope John Paul II visited Brazil, causing a stampede that killed seven people. (I've included links to buy anything you see, support the talent!)...

Diana Ross - "Upside Down"
from the album diana (1980)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1
Songwriters: Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers

The quintessential diva caught the tail-end of the disco craze with the guys from Chic in this summertime classic. Also, too, "respectfully, I say to thee..".

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7 of the 70s: 7/24/14 (1970)

It's throwback Thursday 70s-style time, and this week i'mback to 1970, the year Casey Kasem's American Top 40 syndicated radio show starts in July. (I've included highlights links to buy anything on MP3 or CD)...

Three Dog Night - "Mama Told Me (Not To Come)"
from the album It Ain't Easy (1970)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1
Songwriter: Randy Newman

The very first #1 song on Kasem's show was this cover of a Randy Newman song by the biggest hitmaking band of the early 70s.

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Songoftheday 7/24/14 - Here comes Johnny singing oldies goldies Bebopalula baby what I say, here comes Johnny singing I gotta woman down in the tunnels trying to make it pay....

Dire Straits - "Walk Of Life"
from the album Brothers In Arms (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #7 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 15

Today's Song of the Day comes from the British progressive rock band that struck in "rich" in 1985 with their #1 hit "Money For Nothing", Dire Straits. For it's follow-up the group released "Walk Of Life", a song about a busker that integrated old-time rock with folksy guitar strumming and a keyboard riff like newbies the Hooters....

"Walk Of Life" became the second top-10 pop hit off their Brothers In Arms album in January of 1986, while scaling to #6 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock and #4 on their adult contemporary radio chart. Internationally, the single was a big hit, and in their native Britain did even better than "Money For Nothing", climbing to #2 on the UK pop charts, and topping the list in Ireland.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Aussie Sweep: July 22, 2014...

I'm ready to head Down Under to check out the songs making the official singles chart in Australia this week, as the Madden Brothers spend a second week on top with "We Are Done"...

Coming in at the runner-up spot is French DJ/producer David Guetta with "Lovers On The Sun" featuring vocals from Sam Martin, a songwriter who co-penned Maroon 5's "Daylight"...

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6 of the 60s: 7/23/14 (1960)

Humpday 60s flashback time is back, and this week I'm serving up a half-dozen more nuggets from 1960, the year that a US Air Force plane was shot down over Murmansk, Russia.

Brian Hyland - "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini"
from the album The Bashful Blond (1961)
Billboard Hot 100 peak; #1
Songwriters: Lee Pockriss, Paul Vance

The summer novelty tune about a bashful girl would have nothing these days on the thong-donning Jersey Girls.

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Songoftheday 07/23/14 - She jangles me up she does it with ease, and sometimes she passes through me Just like a breeze...

The Cars - "Tonight She Comes"
from the album Greatest Hits (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #7 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's Song of the Day comes from the new wave band from Boston, The Cars, who had the biggest album of their career with their fifth studio release Heartbeat City, which spun off five top-40 pop hits including two top-tenners with "You Might Think" and "Drive". As the band took a breather (with members Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr releasing solo albums, the Cars released a greatest hits collection, including a new song as the first single. "Tonight She Comes", written by Ocasek and produced by the band with Mike Shipley, sounds like an extension of their Heartbeat City work....

"Tonight She Comes" became the Cars' fourth top-ten pop hit in January of 1986, while going all the way to #1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart (which they did before with "You Might Think" and "Magic"). Internationally, while the song went top-20 in Australia and New Zealand, it stalled out at #79 in England.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

German Sweep: July 22, 2014...

It's time to cross the border to Germany to check out the songs making their official singles chart, as French duo Lilly Wood and the Prick spend a fifth week at #1 with "Prayer In C"....

The top debut of the week belongs to German rapper Kontra K as his first hit "Woelfe" ("Wolves") comes in at #19...

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French Sweep: July 22, 2014...

I'm ready to cross the ocean to check out the songs reaching the official singles chart in France this week, as local heroes Lilly Wood and the Prick claim their first #1 hit with the Robin Schulz remix of "Prayer In C"...

It's a slow week on the charts here this week, with only four new entries in the entire top 100, and the highest debut not showing up until way down at #68. It's from the British modern rock group with the Francophile name, Bastille, with "Things We Lost In The Fire". It immediately does better than their breakthrough single, "Pompeii", which surprisingly only went to #96 in France....

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Songoftheday 7/22/14 - You glance my way I almost lost control, anxiety has taken hold...

Starpoint - "Object Of My Desire"
from the album Restless (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #25 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9

Today's Song of the Day comes from a funk/soul collective who started out in central Maryland in the late 1960s, but it wasn't until 1980 that Starpoint released their self-titled debut album under the big disco label Casablanca Records. A single from the set, "I Just Wanna Dance With You", became a top-40 hit on the R&B and dance club play charts in Billboard magazine. They continued with moderate success throughout the early 80s, as their sound evolved to a more slick funk from the disco they started with. In 1984, their single "It's All Yours" from the album of the same name returned them to the top-40 on the soul chart and even became a minor hit in England. With their next album, Restless, the band fit more with the sound of the other "star" groups (Atlantic, Midnight) with a touch of the freestyle growing in popularity with Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam and the like. Their single "Object Of My Desire", written by band members Ernesto Phillips and Kayode Adeyemo along with producer Keith Diamond, gave the band their biggest pop hit ever...

"Object Of My Desire" became Starpoint's first and only top-40 pop hit in December of 1985, while scaling to #8 on Billboard's R&B chart, and making it to #12 on the dance club play list. It also skimmed the British chart at #96, their last time on that list. Their next single, "What You Been Missing", also hit the top-10 on the R&B chart (though missing the Hot 100), and in 1986 the title track from the album almost returned them to the pop top-40 at #46.

Two years later Starpoint released their follow-up album, Sensational, and the lead-off single "He Wants My Body" returned them to the top-10 on the R&B chart, while being their last appearance on the pop chart in America at #89. Another record in 1988 put "Say You Will" at #18 R&B. Their last album together, Have You Got What It Takes in 1990, brought the band their biggest club hit when "I Want You You Want Me" climbed to #9 on the dance chart (and was their final top-40 R&B single at #32). The title track was their final hurrah that same year before breaking up. Lead singer Renee Diggs would record a solo album, but sadly passed away in 2005 from heart trouble after battling multiple sclerosis since the early 80s. The year before, guitarist (and boyfriend of Diggs) Ernesto Phillips also died from a stroke. The song's co-write Adeyemo would go on to co-write Milli Vanilli's "Girl You Know It's True"...

Up tomorrow: Boston new wavers await her arrival this evening.

Monday, July 21, 2014

robbed hit of the week 7/21/14 - Talking Heads' "And She Was"...

Talking Heads - "And She Was"
from the album Little Creatures (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #54

This week's "robbed hit" comes from a pivotal new wave/modern rock band that were following up their first big pop success. The Talking Heads, a quartet of former art-schoolers led by Brit David Byrne, found themselves with a top-10 single in 1983 with "Burning Down The House" from their fifth studio album Speaking In Tongues. The following year, instead of releasing another studio set, the band put out a film documenting their tour, Stop Making Sense, whose soundtrack companion became one of their longest-lasting sellers to date, even ending up on Rolling Stones best albums of the rock era poll. So by this time the "Heads" were the stars of the art-rock scene.

Maybe it was jarring then for fans to get a first taste of their next album, Little Creatures, which sounded polished, tight, and very mainstream. With enough hooks to hang a gallery, the record seemed predestined to be embraced by pop radio, and the first promo single "Road To Nowhere" became a top-10 hit internationally, while mainly only promoted to rock radio in the US. The second single, "And She Was", sounded like a packaged slice of the Talking Heads sound much in the way that "Love Shack" was for the B-52's a half-decade later. The video, directed by artist Jim Blashfield (who also did the Tears For Fears clip for "Sowing The Seeds Of Love") was a special effects delight in stop motion that clearly influenced the video for Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" the following year...

While "And She Was" almost made the top-10 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, stopping at #11, the single stalled out at #54 on the pop chart in November of 1985. Internationally, the song reached the top-10 in Australia and Ireland, and stopped in the top-20 in New Zealand and the UK, the latter country sending it to #17.

I admit I was pretty shocked when the song wasn't the big pop hit I'd thought it'd be. Perhaps it's better that it's a semi-forgotten treasure (as is the whole album) that I can put on without any sense of fatigue.

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Songoftheday 7/21/14 - No I cannot forget where it is that I come from, I cannot forget the people who love me...

John "Cougar" Mellencamp - "Small Town"
from the album Scarecrow (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #6 (four weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's Song of the Day is by the rural workingman's rocker John Mellencamp, whose second album after winning the right to put his real last name on his records, Scarecrow, had already produced a top-10 pop hit with "Lonely Ol' Night". For its follow-up he released a song that was like a companion to his previous single "Pink Houses". "Small Town" recollected John's days as a kid in Indiana, and its down-home midwestern message rung true throughout the rest of the country...

"Small Town" followed John's previous singles success to the #6 spot in December of 1985, while stopping one rung short of #1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart. The record also crossed over to the normally serene Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") chart, making it to #13. Internationally, the single went to #21 in Canada and #40 in New Zealand, and was a minor hit in England (#53).

"Small Town" remains probably the most well-liked of John's hits, perfectly encapsulating his roots and his musical chops in one tight four-minute package.

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