Monday, December 31, 2012

Robbed Hit of the Week 12/31/12 - U2's "New Year's Day"...

U2 - "New Year's Day"
from the album War (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #53

This week's "Robbed Hit" is by Irish rock icons U2, who came together in Dublin in the mid-70s. After releasing their first EP in 1979, the band had their first taste of success in the beginning of 1980 with the release of their debut full-length album, Boy. One of the tracks on that set, "I Will Follow", became a top-40 hit in New Zealand and a minor hit in Australia, as well as making the newly-minted rock radio chart in the States (at #20). Their followup album, October, did even better, scoring the group their first top-40 hit in England (and top-5 single in their native Ireland), "Fire". Meanwhile, both albums were creating a big word-of-mouth reaction, and their touring helped build a buzz as well.

U2 answered that groundswell with their most epic album yet, War, which dealt with the savagery of conflict, and the first single, "New Year's Day", which was inspired by the Solidarity movement in Poland...

While "New Year's Day" became the band's first big hit in England, reaching #10, as well as peaking at #2 on the American rock radio chart, the single stalled at #53 on the US pop chart. However, the band would soon make for it by the legacy this song left, allowing them to grow into one of the biggest rock acts of the 80s.

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Twostepcub's Best of 2012: Part Ten - the Top Ten of 2012...

Hey gang, thanks for dropping by, and as it's the final day of 2012, it's the final part of my recap of the biggest songs on my weekly personal chart this year. You can check out the rest of the Top-100 for 2012 by clicking here....

#10 - The Lumineers - "Ho Hey"
          from the album The Lumineers (2012)
          Twostepcubchart peak: #3 (three weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 29

Mumford & Sons made folk-rock viable on mainstream radio last year, but it took the Denver trio to have the first big folk hit on pop radio without compromising any musical intregrity. Having exposure through soundtracking Microsoft ads didn't hurt, though.

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December 31st candletime...

Today, December 31st, marks the 70th birthday of the Police's Andy Summers...

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Songoftheday 12/31/12 - Down in the street there is violence and a lot of work to be done...

Eddy Grant - "Electric Avenue"
from the album Killer On The Rampage (1982)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (five weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 15

The final Song of the Day for 2012 is by Guyanese reggae/pop star Eddy Grant, who moved to England as a child. His first musical success was as part of the Equals, who had a top-40 hit in the US and a #1 single Britain with "Baby Come Back" in 1968. After leaving to go solo in the mid-70s, Eddy released his first album in 1975, but it wasn't until four years later that he scored his first top-40 single in the UK, "Living On The Frontline" from his third album Walking On Sunshine. The title track also gave Eddy his first minor R&B hit in the States. His next album, Can't Get Enough, did even better, resulting in a top-10 British hit, "Do You Feel My Love", that made the charts in Germany, Australia, and Holland, amongst others.

With his 1982 set Killer On The Rampage, Grant dropped some of the reggae rhythms for some electro-dance overtones, while keeping the social relevancy in some of his lyrics. The first single, "Electric Avenue", is a deceptive reference to the riots in London's Brixton section in 1981, where the real Electric Avenue resides (named for the fact that it was the first to be electric-lit). But fans across the world, including America, just grabbed on to the party-like vibe of the song, making it a cruising anthem...

"Electric Avenue" hung on for five weeks at #2 on the pop chart in the US, while also making the top-10 on the dance list and #18 on the R&B chart. It also went top-10 in the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Brit Sweep: December 30, 2012...

Hey gang----This is usually the time I run through the newest singles on the official chart in Britain, but being the Christmas/Boxing Day week there, there are absolutely no debuts on the chart, but here's the #1 record for the week by X Factor winner James Arthur reclaiming the title for the second non-consecutive week with "Impossible"...

That's it for tonight...I'll return tomorrow with another Song of the Day, candletime, the Top Ten of my personal chart for 2012, and this week's "robbed hit". Cheers!

Album Sweep: January 5, 2013...

It's time to check out the new albums making their way on to the Top 200 Albums chart in Billboard is usual for the Christmas week there are few new records out, and only six new sets make the chart. Here they are, with links to buy anything you see...

Taylor Swift's Red racks up its sixth week at #1, selling over 275,000 copies....

The top entry at #2 is rapper/TV reality show whore T.I., who is in with his eighth studio album Trouble Man: Heavy In The Head. It's the first of a two-release set (the second due next year). The man born Clifford Harris Jr. has had three chart-topping albums so far...(NSFW)

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December 30th candletime...

Today, December 30th, marks the 53th birthday of comedian/actress/singer Tracey Ullman...

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Songoftheday 12/30/12 - Tongue-tied I'm short of breath, don't even try, Oooh, try a little harder ...

Kajagoogoo - "Too Shy"
from the album White Feathers (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #5 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's Song of the Day is by the English new-wave group Kajagoogoo, who started out as Art Nouveau before recruiting singer Christopher Hamill, who went by an anagram of his last name, Limahl. Their first single, "Too Shy", was produced by Duran Duran keyboardist Nick Rhodes and that band's own producer Colin Thurston, and as Duranmania was gaining full steam, Kajagoogoo rode those coattails to their first bonafide hit...

"Too Shy" ended up at #1 in both Britain and Germany, and went to the top-5 on the American pop chart. It also made the top-30 on but the US rock and dance charts, and the album became a top-40 success as well. But it would be a short-lived success, as friction between Limahl and the rest of the band would cause his ejection. As the band continued on, they wouldn't score another top-40 hit, though Limahl himself would due to a little movie called The Neverending Story.  The rest of the boys, renaming themselves Kaja, managed to have a #2 club hit in 1985 with "Turn Your Back On Me"..

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dance Sweep: January 5, 2013...

It's time to close out today's "chart sweeps" with the latest dance songs making the charts on Billboard magazine.

On the Hot Dance Club Play chart, Enrique Iglesias racks up another #1 hit with "Finally Found You"...

The top entry this week is by German producer Zedd, who follows up his #1 club hit "Spectrum" with the title track from his new album Clarity at #44...

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Country Sweep: January 5, 2013...

Hey gang, I'm up to part four of today's "chart sweeps" of the latest music making the Billboard music charts, and this time it's the newest on country radio.

On the Country Airplay chart, Justin Moore moves to the top with "Til My Last Day". It's his third country #1 hit.

There are only two new songs on the chart, and the first at #52 is the title track from Rascal Flatts' latest album, Changed. They have had an even dozen chart-topping singles, the latest, "Banjo", from the beginning of this year...

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Soul Sweep: January 5, 2013...

It's time now for this week's third "chart sweep" of the latest R&B music to make the Billboard magazine airplay charts...

On the main R&B/HipHop Airplay chart, Miguel's "Adorn" is at #1 for an astonishing 16th week (forget the "R&B Songs" list, which has Rihanna at #1 from crossover airplay)...

Speaking of Rihanna, both the new entries are album cuts from her new Unapologetic set. First at #27 is "Pour It Up"....

...while the second debut at #50 is her "Loveeeeeee Song" featuring Future..(NSFW)


Well, over on the Adult R&B (Urban Adult Contemporary) radio format chart, Miguel is also at #1 for an eighth week.

The sole debut here, based on airplay during the week before the holiday, is "Be Mine For Christmas" by Kem featuring Ledisi...

That's it for the soul side of the house, I'll be back in and hour and a half with the newest on country radio... Groove on!

Rock Sweep: January 5, 2013...

Welcome back to part two of this week's "chart sweeps" of the newest music making it to Billboard magazine's weekly singles charts...this time out it's the latest on rock radio...

On the aggregate Rock Airplay chart, Muse takes back the #1 spot for a third non-consecutive week with "Madness"...

The top entry this week is by hard rocking northwesterners Alice In Chains, with their brand new track "Hollow" at #34. It's filled to the brim with grungy badness, and I'm happy they still eschew the "mainstream route"...

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Pop Sweep: January 5, 2013...

Hey folks, it's time for this week's "chart sweep" checking out the newest songs making their way on to the music singles charts in Billboard magazine. I'll start with the latest on the pop side.

On the big chart, Billboard's Hot 100, which combines sales, airplay, and internet streaming tallies, Bruno Mars spends a third week at #1 with "Locked Out Of Heaven"...

The final entry from this season's The Voice is the top debut this week, as winner Cassadee Pop's version of Faith Hill's #33 hit from ten years ago, "Cry", comes on the Hot 100 at # 60. Now we can start the inevitable memory loss of every single Voice winner in the three seasons. Because really, as noble as those shows pretend to be, it isn't about the singers, it's about the judges, right? Well of course, "Cry" is perfect for Pope since the only notes she can hit are when she's wailing top-volume...

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December 29th candletime...

Today, December 29th, marks Marianne Faithfull's 66th birthday...

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Songoftheday 12/29/12 - The way you move soft and slippery Cut the night just like a razor Rarely talk and that's the danger...

INXS - "The One Thing"
from the album Shabooh Shoobah (1982)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #30 (two weeks)
Weeks in the top-40: 5

Today's Song of the Day is by the Australian new-wave group INXS, who came together under singer Michael Hutchence and keyboardist Andrew Farriss in school in Sydney. Farriss brought along his two brothers, and began gigging in pubs in the late 70s. They released their self-titled first album in 1980, and from it had their first top-40 hit in their homeland, "Just Keep Walking". Their followup, the single-only release, "The Loved One", did even better, making the top-20 there.

When it came time to record their third album, the group had tightened up into a funky new wave rock unit that is epitomized by its first single, "The One Thing", written by Hutchence and Andy Farriss, and produced by Mark Opitz, who has also worked with AC/DC, which helped them get the "big" sound that broke them in America...

The song was their biggest in Australia yet, going to #14, and became their first top-40 pop hit in the US, and was a huge hit on MTV and rock radio, peaking at #2 on that chart.

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Friday, December 28, 2012

twostepcub's music chart for December 28, 2012...

Hey gang, it's the end of the workweek, and time for my top-100 tunes for this Christmas week. Ne-Yo hangs on to #1 for a second week, while Pink (pictured above airing herself out) moves closer to the top-10. Songs by the Lumineers, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Avicii with Lenny Kravitz make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red), while former big hits by Train, Miranda Lambert, Kristine W, and Taryn Manning drop out. A gnome?

This Week           Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself) - Ne-Yo (1)
2. Madness - Muse (2)
3. Ho Hey - The Lumineers (4)
4. Locked Out Of Heaven - Bruno Mars (6)
5. Skyfall - Adele (3)
6. Don't You Worry Child - Swedish House Mafia f/John Martin (7)
7. Some Nights - fun (5)
8. I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons (8)
9. Adorn - Miguel (9)
10. Little Black Submarines - The Black Keys (10)
11. Little Talks - Of Monsters And Men (11)
12. Try - Pink (14)
13. Chalk Outline - Three Days Grace (13)
14. Sweet Nothing - Calvin Harris f/Florence Welch (24)
15. Home - Phillip Phillips (15)
16. Die Young - Ke$ha (17)
17. Diamonds - Rihanna (21)
18. One More Night - Maroon 5 (18)
19. Southern Comfort Zone - Brad Paisley (23)
20. Blow Me (One Last Kiss) - Pink (12)
21. Gangnam Style - PSY (19)
22. It's Time - Imagine Dragons (20)
23. Take A Walk - Passion Pit (25)
24. Too Close - Alex Clare (16)
25. The A Team - Ed Sheeran (29)
26. Feel Again - OneRepublic (28)
27. Creepin' - Eric Church (31)
28. Goodbye In Her Eyes - The Zac Brown Band (34)
29. Candy - Robbie Williams (30)
30. Cruise - Florida Georgia Line (32)
31. Till My Last Day - Justin Moore (36)
32. She Wolf (Falling To Pieces) - David Guetta f/Sia (22)
33. Girl On Fire - Alicia Keys (38)
34. The One That Got Away - Jake Owen (27)
35. Troublemaker - Olly Murs f/Flo Rida (45)
36. Beneath Your Beautiful - Labrinth f/Emeli Sande (42)
37. El Cerrito Place - Kenny Chesney (41)
38. Finally Found You - Enrique Iglesias f/Sammy Adams (46)
39. Hall Of Fame - The Script f/ (35)
40. Your Body - Christina Aguilera (40)
41. Catch My Breath - Kelly Clarkson (47)
42. How Country Feels - Randy Houser (50)
43. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - Taylor Swift (33)
44. Lately - Anita Baker (44)
45. Miss Me - Andy Grammer (43)
46. Something For The Weekend - Dave Aude f/Luciana (51)
47. Did It For The Girl - Greg Bates (52)
48. She's So Mean - Matchbox Twenty (48)
49. I Cry - Flo Rida (59)
50. Better Dig Two - The Band Perry (61)
51. Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain) - Gary Allan (55)
52. Beer Money - Kip Moore (54)
53. Don't Mind - Mary J. Blige (53)
54. Overjoyed - Matchbox Twenty (58)
55. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye - Luke Bryan (37)
56. Anything Could Happen - Ellie Goulding (66)
57. Been Away Too Long - Soundgarden (68)
58. Thinkin Bout You - Frank Ocean (62)
59. Trojans - Atlas Genius (69)
60. Begin Again - Taylor Swift (65)
61. Stubborn Love - The Lumineers (81)
62. Kill Your Heroes - AWOLnation (63)
63. Superlove - Avicii vs. Lenny Kravitz (83)
64. Tornado - Little Big Town (79)
65. Wanted - Hunter Hayes (73)
66. Thrift Shop - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/Wanz (86)
67. We Come Running - Youngblood Hawke (71)
68. True Believers - Darius Rucker (72)
69. Picking Up The Pieces - Paloma Faith (84)
70. I Don't Deserve You - Paul van Dyk f/Plumb (70)
71. One Day/Reckoning Song - Asaf Avidan & The Mojos (49)
72. The Only Way I Know -Jason Aldean f/Luke Bryan & Eric Church (82)
73. Don't Stop The Party - Pitbull f/TJR (77)
74. Spectrum - Zedd f/Matthew Koma (74)
75. Between The Raindrops - Lifehouse f/Natasha Bedingfield (76)
76. Tip It On Back - Dierks Bentley (80)
77. Live While We're Young - One Direction (78)
78. I Knew You Were Trouble - Taylor Swift (88)
79. My Oh My - Tristan Prettyman (57)
80. Love's Got A Hold On Me - Frenchie Davis (DEBUT)
81. I'm Moving On - Yoko Ono (67)
82. Mountain Sound - Of Monsters And Men (94)
83. Daylight - Maroon 5 (87)
84. Soldier - Gavin DeGraw (92)
85. Beauty And A Beat - Justin Bieber f/Nicki Minaj (100)
86. Enemies - Shinedown (DEBUT)
87. Somebody's Heartbreak - Hunter Hayes (DEBUT)
88. Only Love - Ben Howard (90)
89. Six Degrees Of Separation - The Script (DEBUT)
90. 93 Million Miles - Jason Mraz (DEBUT)
91. Stars - Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (91)
92. The Power Of Love - Gabrielle Aplin (RE-ENTRY)
93. Little Things - One Direction (93)
94. You & I - Avant f/Keke Wyatt (DEBUT)
95. Cryin' On A Suitcase - Casey James (96)
96. One Of Those Nights - Tim McGraw (DEBUT)
97. Don't Wake Me Up - Chris Brown (RE-ENTRY)
98. Parking Lot - Nelly Furtado (98)
99. A L'ombre - Mylene Farmer (RE-ENTRY)
100. Beam Me Up (Kill-Mode) - Cazzette (DEBUT)

There are eight new songs on my final chart for the year (highlighted in blue), and you can click on any of the artists to be connected to their official website. And after the break, here they are...

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Twostepcub's Best of 2012: Part Nine - #20-#11...

Welcome back gang, I'm almost to the end of my recap of the biggest songs of this year on my weekly personal music chart, and it's time to enter the top-20. If you haven't you can check out the rest of the list by clicking here.

#20 - Matchbox Twenty - "She's So Mean"
          from the album North (2012)
          Twostepcubchart peak: #2 (three weeks)
          Weeks on the chart: 26

Rob Thomas is back with the band on this homage to a destructive love, with a model torturing them in the video as well. It looks like they followed Maroon 5's advice and got a bit funkier, and I like it.

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December 28th candletime...

Today, December 28th, marks the 34th birthday of singer/cutie patootie John Legend...

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Songoftheday 12/28/12 - You could never know what it's like, your blood like winter freezes just like ice..

Elton John - "I'm Still Standing"
from the album Too Low For Zero (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #12 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

 By the way, this is post #2000 on my little ol' blog. Wow. Thanks to anybody who's found their way here, I hope I've been at least adequately entertaining.

Today's Song of the Day is by British singer/songwriter/piano master Elton John, whose 1982 album Jump Up! signaled a mini-comeback for him, scoring two top-20 hits with "Empty Garden" and "Blue Eyes", and reuniting him with songwriting collaborator Bernie Taupin (who co-wrote the former).

With his seventeenth studio set, Too Low For Zero, and not only solely counted on Taupin for all the lyrics on the album, but recruited his old bandmates like Nigel Olsson, Davey Johnstone, and Kiki Dee for a return to his wheelhouse. To herald this return to form, Elton released "I'm Still Standing" as the first single from the album. Written by Taupin about recovering from his divorce, Elton went to the French Riviera to film the gayest video I've ever seen in my life...

Yes, you saw it right - the guy in the black unitard/sometimes red pants is Bruno Tonioli of Dancing With The Stars fame.

"I'm Still Standing" did pretty well for Elton, giving him a another top-20 pop hit in the States, a top-10 single in Britain, Germany, and Australia, and going to #1 on the Canadian singles chart. It also made the top-40 on the mainstream rock and adult-contemporary (soft-rock) radio formats in the US.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Twostepcub's Best of 2012: Part Eight - #30-#21...

Hey gang, thanks for dropping by, it's time to head into the top-30 of the biggest songs on my personal chart this year. If you haven't yet, you can check out the rest of the list so far by clicking here...

#30 - Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris - "We Found Love"
         from the album Talk That Talk (2011)
         Twostepcubchart peak: #1 (four weeks)
         Weeks on the chart: 20 (in 2012)

Rihanna's new signature song did good by introducing the mainstream to Scottish DJ Harris, while the video basically recreated her relationship complete with a Chris Brown doppelganger. No matter, since the synth hook and "We found love in a hopeless place" tagline were inescapable in the beginning of the year.

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December 27th candletime...

Today, December 27th, marks the 68th birthday of Foreigner's Mick Jones...

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Songoftheday 12/27/12 - I was as wrong as I could be to let you get away from me, I regret that move for as long as I'm livin'...

Sergio Mendes - "Never Gonna Let You Go"
from the album Sergio Mendes (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #4 (four weeks)
Weeks in the top-40: 16

Today's song of the day is by the king of Brazilian music, Sergio Mendes, who was born in the wealthy suburb of Rio called Niteroi in 1941, and after starting in jazz music, moved to America in the mid-60s. He put out his first album in 1960, but it wasn't until 1966 that Sergio had his breakthrough single, "Mas Que Nada" featuring vocals from new band member Lani Hall, which missed the pop top-40 but went all the way to #4 on the adult-contemporary chart. Two years later, Sergio and the band (now dubbed "Brasil '66") finally crossed over to the mainstream as his "The Look Of Love" became his first top-10 hit, peaking at #4. In a couple of months, a followup single, a remake of the Beatles' "Fool On The Hill", topped the AC chart for six weeks and became their second top-10 pop hit.

But as the 70s arrived with music changing to disco and rock, Mendes' loungetastic bossa nova sounds took a back seat. It wasn't until 15 years after their last top-40 single that a new album with a soft-rock ballad brought Mendes back to the big-time. With "Never Gonna Let You Go", written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and originally recorded by Dionne Warwick in 1982, Mendes' now-wife Hall sat this one out, with vocals handled by Leza Miller and a remarkably Michael McDonald-esque John Pizzulo...

"Never Gonna Let You Go" turned out to be Mendes' biggest pop hit, if completely eschewing his musical roots. It matched the peak of "The Look Of Love" on the pop chart, and went to #1 on the adult-contemporary chart for four weeks. It also was a top-40 hit on the R&B chart (no doubt due to the McDonald comparisons). In Britain, it just missed the top-40, topping off at #45.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Aussie Sweep: December 26, 2012...

Happy Boxing Day, and it's time to check out the latest records making their way on the official sales chart in Australia this week. My faves Macklemore and Ryan Lewis spend a fourth week at #1 with "Thrift Shop" (currently the ringtone on my phone)...

The top entry this week is by fourth-place finisher on the last season of Australia's X Factor, and she arrives at #36 with "Set Me On Fire", her first official single since the show...

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Twostepcub's Best of 2012: Part Seven - #40-#31...

Hey gang, I'm back from a Christmas break and time to get back to my recap of the biggest songs on my personal chart this year. If you want to check out the previous parts one through six, you can click here...

#40 - Coldplay - "Paradise"
          from the album Mylo Xyloto (2011)
          Twostepcubchart peak: #2 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart: 17 (in 2012)

The most Eno-esque of the songs on the producer's work with Coldplay was there most recognized hit in quite a while, with an ethereal chorus built on a track that I would love to hear David Bowie cover. Combine that with the most endearing "plushie" video I've seen, and you've got the biggest rock song in Britain last year (which crossed over to the States this year)...

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December 26th candletime...

Today, December 26th, marks the 33rd birthday of singer Chris Daughtry..

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Songoftheday 12/26/12 - I been staring at your photograph wondering where you're at today...

Champaign - "Try Again"
from the album Modern Lovers (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #23 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9

Today's Song of the Day is by the Illinois-based R&B group named for its hometown, Champaign. They released their first album, How 'Bout Us, in 1981, and the title track became a soft-rock and R&B smash, going to the top-10 on both the adult-contemporary and the soul singles chart, while peaking at #12 on the pop chart in the US.

Their followup album, Modern Lovers, gave the band another quiet storm success with the single "Try Again". Written by keyboardists Michael Day and Dana Walden with drummer Rocky Moffitt, the song became their second top-40 pop hit...

"Try Again" was a bigger success at R&B radio, where it peaked at #2, and adult-contemporary (soft-rock) as it landed at #6. It would be the final top-40 hit for the band, and unfortunately Day passed away from cancer in 2001.

Up tomorrow: Brasil '83.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Kraut Sweep: December 25, 2012...

Hey gang, it's time to check out the latest music making its way on the official sales charts in Germany...there's a lot more action here even though its a going-into-holiday week. Rihanna's "Diamonds" remains at #1 for an eighth week..

There are two debuts all the way up in the top-10, and the first is by Irish rock group the Script, with "Hall Of Fame" featuring at #4. This is by far their biggest hit - they only had one previous top-40 hit when "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" went to #28 in 2008...

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French Sweep: December 25, 2012...

Hey gang....I'm back with this week's look at the new music making its way on to the official charts in France. This week Adele's "Skyfall" hangs on to #1 for a sixth non-consecutive week.

The highest new entry on the chart at #52 is Parisian electronica musician Kavinsky with "Protovision". His "Nightcall" was a huge hit here, reaching the top-10...

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December 25th candletime...

Today, December 25th, marks the 58th birthday of Annie Lennox...

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Robbed Hit of the Week 12/24/12 - John Anderson's "Swingin'"...

John Anderson - "Swingin'"
from the album Wild & Blue (1982)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #43

This week's "robbed hit" is by Florida-born country singer John Anderson, who had his first minor country chart hit in 1977 with "I've Got A Feelin' (Somebody's Been Stealin')". He released his self-titled first album three years later, and finally made the country top-40 with "The Girl At The End Of The Bar". That album ended up sending half of its twelve tracks on the country chart, with "1959" making the top-10 in 1980.

In 1982 Anderson put out his fourth studio album, Wild & Blue, and the title track, the first single, went to be his first #1 country hit. For the followup, he released a rollicking line-dance staple, "Swingin'". The song, written by John with Lionel Delmore, became his biggest hit to date..

"Swingin'" was a huge success, hitting #1 on the country chart, selling over a million copies in the US, and winning the CMA award for the Single of the Year. However, as pop radio was eschewing country music, especially as boisterous as this, the lack of pop airplay caused the song to stall just under the top-40. It would be John's solitary song to make the Hot 100 chart in Billboard, but he would go on to top the country chart three more times, most recently in 1993 with "Money In The Bank". And although his chart success recently has slowed, he still reserves a place in my heart for having such a distinctive voice in such a cookie-cutter genre.

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Twostepcub's Best of 2012: Part Six - #50-#41...

Hey gang, I'm back to kick off the second half of the 2012 recap of the biggest songs on my personal chart this year. You can also check out parts one, two, three, four, and five as well, and like before, I've included links to buy anything you like on Amazon.

#50 - Calvin Harris - "Feel So Close"
          from the album 18 Months (2012)
          Twostepcubchart peak: #5 (one week)
          Weeks on the chart: 21 (in 2012)

The Scottish-born DJ and producer had a great 2012, supporting Rihanna on her biggest hit and having has first American hit as a lead artist. This song originally was on my chart back in the summer of 2011 when it was a big British single, but slowly and surely "Feel So Close" with Harris' own conversational vocals over the grand synth hook caught hold in the States. Sometimes you don't need wailing women on the track to make a good dance record...

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December 24th candletime...

Today, December 24th, marks the 41st birthday of Ricky Martin...

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Songoftheday 12/24/12 - I got to have a shot of what you got it's oh so sweet...

ZZ Top - "Gimme All Your Lovin"
from the album Eliminator (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #37 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's Song of the Day is by Texan blues-rock heroes ZZ Top, who were formed in 1969 under guitarist Billy Gibbons, with two other members who would be replaced that same year with classic lineup of bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard (ironically the one without the beard). They put out their first album (aptly named ZZ Top's First Album) in 1971, but it wasn't until their second, Rio Grande Mud, that they got their first minor chart hit, "Francine" which went to #69 a year later.

The trio's next album, Tres Hombres, is still a classic (it's one of Rolling Stone magazines top-500 albums of all time), and gave them another minor hit in America, "La Grange", that went to the top-20 in Australia in 1973. Two years later, they had their first US breakthrough hit as the wickedly rauchy "Tush" made the top-20 on the pop chart. In the early 80s, the band continued to grow their success on rock radio, and in 1981 their pun-intended song "Tube Snake Boogie" became a top-5 hit on the nascent Maintream Rock chart in Billboard. The processed vocals on that blues-rock number set them up for the full-on attack they would put out on the next album.

In 1983, the band released their eighth studio album, Eliminator. The album kept their blues roots but added extra synthesizers and vocal harmony production tricks to result in a full-out pop/rock hybrid smash of an album. The first single, "Gimme All Your Lovin", written by the band (also engineer Terry Manning would win a settlement claiming rights) and produced by Bill Ham, introduced most of the post-MTV world to the three hombres with the help of a kickin' new car and a gaggle of lovely ladies...

The single became ZZ Top's third top-40 hit, and went to #2 on the Mainstream Rock radio format chart as well. It also was their first worldwide success, reaching the top-10 in England, Ireland, Belgium, and the Netherlands, and helped Eliminator become their third top-10 album and biggest seller, eventually pushing over 10 million copies. And most importantly, it helped the trio of semi-older musician get a hip brand that would carry them through the video age over two more albums...

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Brit Sweep: December 23, 2012...

Hey's time to wrap up the weekend with a look at the new songs making their way on the the official music sales charts in Great Britain this week.

This week is the lauded "Christmas #1" week, where the busiest shopping week of the year causes an annual race to be the top single of the week. In the past, X Factor/Idol "winner's songs", novelty hits, and viral campaigns (like in the case of Rage Against the Machine's "Killing In The Name"). But also there are tearjerker single, like last year's "Wherever You Are" by the Military Wives (a chorus made of spouses and girlfriends of soldiers overseas). The same thing happened this year, as the charity record for the legal fund for the families of those lost in the tragic football accident at Hillsborough in 1989, where 96 people died from a crowd rush in an inadequately laid out and policed stadium. That being said, is it me, or it is an odd choice for a tribute to those whose died from being crushed in a human stampede to be the song "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"? Well, either way, the performances by the all-star group called the Justice Collective, featuring Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, Mel C from the Spice Girls, Glenn Tilbrook from Squeeze, Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliot from the Hollies and more, are outstanding...

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Album Sweep: December 29, 2012..

Hey gang, it's time to check out the new albums making this week's Top 200 Albums chart in Billboard magazine...since things are slowing down for the holiday, there are only 14 new sets this week, so I'll put them all in one post. And as always, I've included links to buy anything available online if I can...

Selling over 200,000 copies this week, Taylor Swift's Red spends a fifth non-consecutive week at #1..

I'm surprised that Red wasn't deposed by the top debut this week, Bruno Mars' Unorthodox Jukebox, which comes in at #2 after selling close to 200K. His single "Locked Out Of Heaven" had the mojo to knock Rihanna off the singles chart, but maybe next week, after his Saturday Night Live appearance is rebroadcast. His first album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, peaked one slot lower at #3 in 2010...

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December 23rd candletime...

Today, December 23rd, marks the 48th birthday of Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder...

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Songoftheday 12/23/12 - She's right here behind the glass and you're gonna like her 'cause she's got class...

The Tubes - "She's A Beauty"
from the album Outside Inside (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #10 (one weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's Song of the Day is by Phoenix-area rock group the Tubes. Formed by high school buddies and led by John "Fee" Waybill, they released their self-titled first album in 1975, but it wasn't until their second that they scored their first minor hit in America with "Don't Touch Me There". But what really got them noticed was the late resurgence of a track from their first record, "White Punks On Dope", which became a top-40 hit in England in 1977. And while they continued to have success in Britain, and accrued a reputation of being an amazing live act, the costly tour and lack of success led them to be booted from their label (A&M) to flee to Capitol records...

At the new label, capitalizing on the fresh new-wave movement and yacht rock thriving, the Tubes' meshed into a more cohesive unit on their first LP of the 80s, The Completion Backward Principle. Produced by a then-fresh David Foster, the set's easy-rock first single, "Don't Want To Wait Anymore", shot to the American top-40 for the first time. Its successor, "Talk To Ya Later", did even better on rock radio, going to #7 and probably being their longest-lasting hit.

For their next set, David Foster came back to helm Outside Inside, and co-wrote the first single "She's A Beauty" with Waybill and Steve Lukather of Toto. The song, a Wall of Sound of rock scrumptiousness, featured a music video choreographed by Kenny Ortega and featuring a very young Robert Arquette being driven around a female house of not-so-fun...

That lil' boy would go on to become Alexis Arquette, transsexual actor in Last Exit To Brooklyn and The Wedding Singer, reality star of the Surreal Life, and more.

As for "She's A Beauty", it became the band's biggest pop hit, making the top-10, and also went to #1 on the Rock chart as well (oddly, it was only a minor hit in England, peaking at #79). It would also be the last time the band would be in the top-40. After touring with David Bowie and a few more minor hits, Fee left the group in the mid-80s to concentrate on songwriting (he co-wrote Vixen's "Edge Of A Broken Heart"),  only to return in the early 90s, and the band's been off-and-on doing the oldies circuit since. Sadly, keyboardist Vince Welnick, who also played with the Grateful Dead, committed suicide in 2006.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dance Sweep: December 29, 2012...

Hey gang, it's time to wrap up today's "chart sweeps" of the newest songs making their way on to the weekly music charts at Billboard magazine. I'll finish with the latest dance songs on the radio and in the clubs...

On the DJ-polled Hot Dance Club Play chart, Ellie Goulding claims her first #1 hit with "Anything Could Happen".

The top debut is by American Idol's first winner, Kelly Clarkson, who had her first two #1 club singles this year, with "Stronger" and "Dark Side". She's now at #31 with "Catch My Breath"...

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Country Sweep: December 22, 2012...

Welcome back, I'm up to part four of today's "chart sweeps" of the newest songs making it on to the weekly music singles charts at Billboard magazine. This time out it's the latest at country radio...

On the Country Airplay chart, newcomers Florida Georgia Line spend an incredible third week at #1 with their first single, "Cruise". It's the first time this year any act has had a song stay at the top for more than two weeks...

The top debut at #51 is another new act, family group The Henningsens, with "American Beautiful"...

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