Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Songoftheday 4/30/13 - Telegram force and ready I knew this was a big mistake, there's a fine line drawing my senses together And I think it's about to break...

Duran Duran - "Union Of The Snake"
from the album Seven & The Ragged Tiger (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's Song of the Day is by the quintessential British new wave/pop band Duran Duran, who after having an immensely successful album in American with Rio, reissued their self-titled debut as a stopgap along with a new track, "Is There Something I Should Know?" which became their second top-10 single in the States.  Moving to France to record their next album (and also avoid taxes), they enlisted Ian Little to produce their next set, Seven & The Ragged Tiger. With a difficult recording history that took them to the island of Montserrat and adding another producer with Alex Sadkin, the record was finally released at the end of 1983. The first single, "Union Of The Snake", written by the band, turned heads as it premiered on MTV before being available on the radio..

"Union Of The Snake" reached #3 on both the American and British pop charts, as well as reaching the top-40 on the dance chart. It would steer the group into a more dance-funk direction that would drive the pre-teen girls (like my sister) craaaaazy.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Robbed Hit of the Week 4/29/13 - The Pointer Sisters' "I Need You"...

The Pointer Sisters - "I Need You"
from the album Break Out (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #48

This week's "robbed hit" is by the funky sibling group the Pointer Sisters, who had evolved by 1983 into a competent though moderately successful lite-R&B trio. Their ninth album, I'm So Excited, produced another top-20 hit with the rather tame "American Music", and followed it up with the future re-release party jam of the title track. Taking a full year to release another record, although they returned to producer Richard Perry, their next album would take them into a more adult, sensual sound hinted at with their "Slow Hand" smash from the early 80s.

The first single released from the new album, Break Out, was the R&B mid-tempo jam "I Need You", written by Nan O'Byrne, Richard Feldman, and John Black, and established them back on R&B radio. I love the vocal interplay between the sisters here...

"I Need You" went to #13 on the "Black Singles" chart, their highest rank since "Slow Hand", and peaked at #15 on the adult-contemporary chart, where this soft soul belonged, but it stalled out at #48 on the pop chart, most likely since mainstream radio was in full new wave and Jackson/Price rock/R&B hybrid mode. Looking back, it was an odd choice for a first single, considering the mad success of its successors on the album, but maybe the record company tried to play it safe at first. Proof that the newer grooves were to be big was the release of the 12" of "I Need You", backed with what would be their next top-5 hit, "Automatic", with stayed at #2 on the club play chart in Billboard for four weeks. Since then they've never looked back (or released a slow jam single), but it remains one of my favorite PS songs because it shows them so well as a cohesive vocal group with all three getting time to shine.

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Album Sweep: May 4, 2013 - Part Two...

It's time to roll out part two of this week's "album sweep" sampling the records spending their first week on the Top 200 Albums chart in Billboard magazine. As with yesterday's post, I've included links to buy anything you see...

Shooting in at #32 is Texas country artist Casey Donahew with his latest set, Standoff, which matches the rank of his last, Double-Wide Dream...

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Songoftheday 4/29/13 - East side, West side give up, or surrender, been down, but I still rock on...

Michael Stanley Band - "My Town"
from the album You Can't Fight Fashion (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #39 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 1

Today's Song of the Day is by Cleveland's pride Michael Stanley, who started out in a band called Silk in the late 60s before a brief unsuccessful solo stint in the early 70s. Regrouping with what would become the Michael Stanley Band, they would release their first album together in 1975. However radio success would come five years and a bunch of member changes later, when in 1980 their single "He Can't Love You" from their fourth studio album Heartland became their first and biggest pop hit, reaching #33 on the Hot 100. A few more albums and minor hit singles later, Stanley and the band emerged with You Can't Fight Fashion, produced by big-sound producer Bob Clearmountain and with a first single that was tailored for radio play across the nation with specialized version with the town inserted on "My Town" (I still remember the "Philadelphia!" and "Trenton!" put into the ones near me...

"My Town" spent a solitary week in the Top-40. The Band would go on to have one more minor hit with "Someone Like You" before splitting up in 1987. Keyboardist Kevin Raleigh would go on to write a song called "Moonlight On Water" that would be a moderate hit for both himself and Laura Branigan at the beginning of the 90s.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Album Sweep: May 4, 2013 - Part One...

Hey gang, part one of this week's "album sweep" is up, sampling the records making their first appearance on Billboard magazine's Top 200 Albums sales chart this week. As always I've included links to buy anything you see...

The top selling album of the week is alt-rock heroes Fall Out Boy, who grab their second #1 CD (after 2007's Infinity On High) with the ambitious Save Rock And Roll which sold over 150 thousand in its first week...(NSFW on that third one)

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Songoftheday 4/28/13 - Do we deserve a second chance, how did we fall into this circumstance...

Olivia Newton-John - "Twist Of Fate"
from the album Two Of A Kind (Original Soundtrack) (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #5 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14

Today's Song of the Day is by British-born Australian singer Olivia Newton-John, who had issued her second greatest hits set at the end of 1982 that gave her another Top-10 single with "Heart Attack" as well as a Top-40 followup with "Tied Up". During a break from recording she filmed another movie with Grease co-star John Travolta. The result, Two Of A Kind, was an train wreck of a comedy about "divine intervention" that made Xanadu look like Citizen Kane. However, the soundtrack was pretty good, with efforts from Journey, Boz Scaggs, Chicago, and Olivia herself, and the first single released from the set, "Twist Of Fate" was written by Peter Beckett, formerly the lead singer of the soft-rock band Player of "Baby Come Back" fame, as well as writer/producer Stephen Kipner, and produced by soft-rock king David Foster.

"Twist Of Fate" became another Top-5 hit for Olivia (so far her latest), as well as going to #4 in both Canada and Australia. In Britain, though, it relatively bombed, stalling at #57. The soundtrack is now extremely hard to get, even though it was a million-seller at the time.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dance Sweep: May 4, 2013...

It's time to close shop on today's "chart sweeps" of the newest songs making their way on to the weekly music charts in Billboard magazine, and now I've got the latest dance jams on the radio and i the clubs.

On the DJ-polled "Hot Dance Club Play" chart, lesbian twins Tegan & Sara rule for the first time with their poptastic "Closer"...

The top entry at #32 is Kelly Clarkson with the remixes of her new single, "People Like Us"...

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Country Sweep: May 4, 2013...

Part four of this week's five-part "chart sweeps" is up now, with the latest country songs making the charts in Billboard magazine.

On the Hot Country Airplay chart, Lady Antebellum hang on for a second week at #1 with "Downtown"...

There are only two new records on the chart this week, and the first at #59 is American Idol winner Scotty McCreery with "See You Tonight". It's the first single from his upcoming second album - his debut produced two top-20 hits with "I Love You This Big" and "The Trouble With Girls"...

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Soul Sweep: May 4, 2013...

Now for the "hump" of this week's "chart sweeps" of the new songs reaching the weekly singles charts in Billboard magazine, and now it's the latest on R&B radio...

On the main R&B/HipHop airplay chart, "Pour It Up" is #1 for an eighth non-consecutive week for Rihanna...

The top debut at #37 is Palestinian-American DJ Khaled with his latest, "No New Friends" with rappers Drake, Rick Ross, and Lil' Wayne in tow. His "I'm On One" topped the R&B tracks chart for 11 weeks in 2011...(NSFW)

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Rock Sweep: May 4, 2013...

We're up to part two of this week's "chart sweeps", where I bring you the newest songs making the weekly music charts in Billboard magazine, and now it's time for the latest on rock radio.

On the aggregate Rock Airplay chart, Imagine Dragons spend an eighth week at #1 with "Radioactive"....

The top entry at #38 is the first song by Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne since the Reunion album 15 years ago, and "Selling My Soul" reached #17. "God Is Dead" is from the band's forthcoming 13, and includes original members Tommy Iommi and Geezer Butler (who wrote the track) along with Ozzy...

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Pop Sweep: May 4, 2013...

Hey gang, it's time to kick off this week's "chart sweeps" sampling the new songs making their way on to the singles charts in Billboard magazine. As always I'll start on the pop side of the house...

On the big chart, Billboard's Hot 100, Pink spends a second week at #1 with "Just Give Me A Reason" featuring Nate Ruess of fun, who co-wrote the song with her and producer Jeff Bhasker.

The top debut at #19 is the return of French neo-house legends Daft Punk, who after only putting their new single "Get Lucky" on sale last Friday (April 19th) have enough sales to come in at #19 on the chart. Previously they reached only #61 with both "Around The World" in 1997 and "One More Time" in 2000...

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Songoftheday 4/27/13 - It all started here, she was a girl from the Midwest...

Rick Springfield - "Souls"
from the album Living In Oz (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #23 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 6

Today's Song of the Day is by Australian-born singer and soap opera star Rick Springfield, who was enjoyed a double bonus career as both Dr. Noah Drake on the hugely successful General Hospital, as well as a renewed rock star, with his third hit album in a row already scoring two hits with the top-10 smash "Affair Of The Heart" and the top-20 followup "Human Touch". He got his third big single from the album with his self-penned pop confection "Souls"....

"Souls" became Rick's tenth top-40 pop hit in the US, the only place it was a hit...

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Friday, April 26, 2013

twostepcub's music chart for April 26, 2013...

Hey gang, it's Friday, so time for my top-100 tunes from the week. This time out Imagine Dragons stay on top for a third week, while Pink and fun's Nate Ruess (pictured above) leap into the top-5. Former big hits by the Black Keys and Gary Allan drop off my list, while songs by Darius Rucker, Michael Buble, and Brantley Gilbert make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). Thunder only happens when it's raining!

This Week              Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. Radioactive - Imagine Dragons (1)
2. Carry On - fun (3)
3. Next To Me - Emeli Sande (7)
4. Just Give Me A Reason - Pink f/Nate Ruess (8)
5. When I Was Your Man - Bruno Mars (6)
6. Thrift Shop - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/Wanz (2)
7. Lover Of The Light - Mumford & Sons (5)
8. Mountain Sound - Of Monsters And Men (4)
9. Daylight - Maroon 5 (9)
10. Clarity - Zedd (12)
11. Mirrors - Justin Timberlake (16)
12. Stubborn Love - The Lumineers (10)
13. Troublemaker - Olly Murs f/Flo Rida (13)
14. Trojans - Atlas Genius (14)
15. Lego House - Ed Sheeran (20)
16. I Could Be The One - Avicii vs. Nicky Romero (17)
17. Sweet Nothing - Calvin Harris f/Florence Welch (15)
18. Beam Me Up (Kill-Mode) - Cazzette (18)
19. Catch My Breath - Kelly Clarkson (11)
20. Hero - Family Of The Year (24)
21. Mama's Broken Heart - Miranda Lambert (27)
22. I Drive Your Truck - Lee Brice (22)
23. Heaven - Depeche Mode (29)
24. Closer - Tegan & Sara (34)
25. Madness - Muse (25)
26. Don't You Worry Child - Swedish House Mafia f/John Martin (21)
27. Downtown - Lady Antebellum (31)
28. I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons (28)
29. If I Didn't Have You - Thompson Square (39)
30. Alive - Krewella (35)
31. Two Black Cadillacs - Carrie Underwood (19)
32. Try - Pink (26)
33. Locked Out Of Heaven - Bruno Mars (23)
34. I Can Take It From There - Chris Young (38)
35. Better Dig Two - The Band Perry (30)
36. Ho Hey - The Lumineers (36)
37. The Pit - Silversun Pickups (45)
38. Somebody's Heartbreak - Hunter Hayes (33)
39. Pirate Flag - Kenny Chesney (49)
40. Stay - Rihanna f/Mikky Ekko (40)
41. Hold Me - Yoko Ono f/Dave Aude (46)
42. I Knew You Were Trouble - Taylor Swift (32)
43. Adorn - Miguel (43)
44. It's A Beautiful Day - Michael Buble (56)
45. Gone, Gone, Gone - Phillip Phillips (50)
46. Ay Mama Mia - Mayra Veronica (42)
47. Get Your Shine On - Florida Georgia Line (52)
48. Beat Don't Stop - C-Rod f/Jason Walker (48)
49. Come Along - Vicci Martinez f/Cee-Lo Green (53)
50. Feel This Moment - Pitbull f/Christina Aguilera (55)
51. You & I - Avant f/Keke Wyatt (41)
52. My Love Is All I Have - Charlie Wilson (44)
53. Demons - Imagine Dragons (59)
54. Love And War - Tamar Braxton (58)
55. 1994 - Jason Aldean (64)
56. Sure Be Cool If You Did - Blake Shelton (51)
57. Because We Can - Bon Jovi (57)
58. More Than Miles - Brantley Gilbert (70)
59. Oh Mama Hey - Chris Cox + DJ Frankie f/Crystal Waters (47)
60. Forever - Ralphi Rosario f/Frankie (61)
61. Girl On Fire - Alicia Keys (37)
62. Army Of Two - Olly Murs (62)
63. Suit & Tie - Justin Timberlake (65)
64. Wagon Wheel - Darius Rucker (78)
65. Safe & Sound - Capital Cities (66)
66. Sexy People (The Fiat Song) - Arianna f/Pitbull (76)
67. News For You - Eric Benet (74)
68. Give It All We Got Tonight - George Strait (68)
69. So High - Jay Sean (69)
70. Let Her Go - Passenger (71)
71. Panic Station - Muse (79)
72. If I Lose Myself - OneRepublic (77)
73. Freak Like Me - Halestorm (73)
74. Acid Rain - Alexis Jordan (84)
75. Put The Gun Down - ZZ Ward (75)
76. Like Jesus Does - Eric Church (80)
77. 22 - Taylor Swift (81)
78. Stompa - Serena Ryder (84)
79. Up In The Air - 30 Seconds To Mars (87)
80. Gimme All (Ring My Bell) - Princess X (88)
81. I Love It - Icona Pop f/Charli XCX (91)
82. One Of Those Nights - Tim McGraw (72)
83. Scream & Shout - will.i.am f/Britney Spears (83)
84. What About Us - The Saturdays (89)
85. Rebel Beat - The Goo Goo Dolls (85)
86. As Your Friend - Afrojack f/Chris Brown (86)
87. Heart Attack - Demi Lovato (92)
88. Pompeii - Bastille (90)
89. Red Hands - Walk Off The Earth (DEBUT)
90. We Come Running - Youngblood Hawke (94)
91. Can't Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/Ray Dalton (DEBUT)
92. San Francisco - The Mowgli's (96)
93. Where Did The Angels Go - Papa Roach (93)
94. Need U (100%) - Duke Dumont f/AME (DEBUT)
95. Beat This Summer - Brad Paisley (97)
96. Mermaid - Train (54)
97. The High Road - Three Days Grace (99)
98. J'me Tire - Maitre Gims (98)
99. Shake That - Gimm + Icky (DEBUT)
100. Highway Don't Care - Tim McGraw f/Taylor Swift & Keith Urban (DEBUT)

 There are five new songs on my list this week (highlighted in blue, with links to their official website if you click on them), and here they are after the break....

Songoftheday 4/26/13 - I saw you standing hand in hand, but now you come to me the solitary man...

Asia - "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes"
from the album Alpha (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #34 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 5

Today's Song of the Day is by the progressive-rock supergroup Asia, who started out the fall of 1983 with a sophomore record and another top-10 single with "Don't Cry". For its followup, the band released a powerballad highlighted by John Wetton's soaring vocals on "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes", the one song completely written by the singer.

"The Smile...." became the band's fourth and final top-40 hit in America, while also reaching #25 on the rock radio chart as well. After a third album netted another top-10 rock single that almost made the pop top-40 ("Go"), the men took a break for a couple of years. In 1989, Wetton reformed the group without guitarist Steve Howe, and keyboardist Geoff Downes unavailable due to prior commitments, so just John and drummer Carl Palmer and studio musicians completed a few new tracks for a compilation release Then & Now, with a single "Days Like This" that went to #2 on the rock chart and became their last appearance on the Hot 100 altogether.

But then Wetton again left Asia, and they hired journeyman John Payne to take his place. For the next decade and a half, the band was a revolving door of players, with just a returned Downes the single steady member. Albums were issued sporadically, and quite popular over in Asia (no pun).  In 2006, the original members (Wetton, Downes, Palmer, and Howe) got back together and started to tour and record again, issuing a couple albums that are quite good, matching the quality of their earlier work. If you like the original sound, I suggest picking up either Phoenix, Omega or XXX.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

8 of the 80s: 4/25/13 (1984)...

The 80s are back, and it's time to take a trip back to 1984, the year Linda Hunt won an Oscar for best actress for playing a male character in The Year Of Living Dangerously (a first)...This week's crop is a whole heaping portion of soul.

O'Bryan - "Lovelite"
from the album Be My Lover (1984)
Billboard peak: #101
Songwriters: O'Bryan Burnett, Don Cornelius

The singer's chart-topping R&B hit from his third album was co-written by the Soul Train guru who mentored the artist.

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7 of the 70s: 4/25/13 (1974)...

Hey gang, it's time for another round of 70s goodness, and this week I'm back to 1974, the year an "Super Outbreak" of tornadoes kills over 300 in the Midwest. And it's all about hte "baby" today...

George McCrae - "Rock Your Baby"
from the album Rock Your Baby (1974)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1
Songwriters: Harry Casey, Richard Finch

One of the first big moments in disco, with a song written by the future heads of KC & The Sunshine band.

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Songoftheday 4/25/13 - Standing here alone the ship is waiting, all systems are go, are you sure?...

Peter Schilling - "Major Tom (Coming Home)"
from the album Error In The System (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #14 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's Song of the Day is by the German singer/musician Peter Schilling, who are from the southern city of Stuttgart, and released his debut album in 1982 in Germany, containing a native-language rework of the David Bowie "Space Oddity" song as "Major Tom", which topped the charts in Austria, Switzerland, and his homeland. After a translation to English, the single got a new life and success in America as "Major Tom (Coming Home)"...

"Major Tom" reached the top-20 on the American pop chart in the winter of 1983. While going to #1 in Canada, the song stalled right under the top-40 in England (odd, considering it's "new-wave" vibe).

Schilling himself wouldn't see another top-40 hit, though in 1988 he had a minor hit (that I loved even more) called "A Different Story", which went to #61. Meanwhile he would also have minor hits in Germany with remixes of "Major Tom" in 1994 and 2000.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Aussie Sweep: April 24, 2013...

G'day, mates, it's time again for this week's sampling of the songs making their debut on the official sales chart in Australia this week, as British singer/songwriter Passenger racks up week number four with "Let Her Go"...

The top entry this week at #15 is Korean viral video wonder PSY, who topped the charts here last year with "Gangnam Style", and is back with "Gentleman"....

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6 of the 60s: 4/24/13 (1964)...

We're up to this week's flashback to rock & roll's golden era, and this week I've got a half-dozen more nuggets from 1964, the year the Beatles occupied the entire Top 5 of Billboard's pop chart for a week in April....It's time to break out the Kleenex....

Bobby Vinton - "Mr. Lonely"
from the album Mr. Lonely (1964)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1
Songwriters: Bobby Vinton & Gene Allan

The third-best blue-eyed falsetto of the early 60s behind Valli and Orbison, Vinton's last #1 hit showed a depth that was only hinted at his start.

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Songoftheday 4/24/13 - I've never seen you look like this without a reason, another promise fallen through another season passes by...

Big Country - "In A Big Country"
from the album The Crossing (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #17 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9

Today's Song of the Day is by the Scottish rock group Big Country, who were led by singer/guitarist Stuart Adamson of the art-punk band the Skids, and with fellow axe-man Bruce Watson had the knack for being able to process their guitar sound to make it sound like bagpipes. They released their first single, "Harvest Home", in 1982, which became a minor hit for the quartet. The followup, "Fields Of Fire", was their breakthrough, reaching #10 on the British charts in the beginning of 1983, an exposing them to a much wider audience.

For their third release, and the one that would be their American pinnacle, they recorded a "namesake" song, "In A Big Country", written by the band and produced by "big-sound" genius Steve Lillywhite.

Big Country-In A Big Country by adiis

"In a Big Country" went to #17 on both the US and UK pop charts, and was a huge hit on rock radio, peaking at #3 here in the States. It would be their only American top-40 pop hit, though there was one more minor pop hit the next year with the excellent "Wonderland". They would continue to flourish through the 80s in their homeland, with three more top-10 singles, and 1986's "Look Away" going the highest at #7 (and reaching top-5 on the American rock chart as well). Two years later, "King Of Emotion" stalled right under the top-10 on the newly-minted Modern Rock chart, which they again climbed with their last American hit, "The One I Love", in 1993.

However with diminishing returns and Stuart Adamson's alcoholism and depression, after their millenial tour, he went missing, evenutally turning up dead in a hotel room in Hawaii. After a break, the rest of the members decided to reform and carry on, enlisting vocalist Mike Peters of the Alarm to take Stuart's place. They were (and remain) one of my favorite underrated bands of the 80s, and deserved a better fate in the States than a "one-hit wonder" status.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Kraut Sweep: April 23, 2013...

Welcome back as I cross the border to Germany for this week's recap of the new songs debuting on the sales chart in that country, as British folksinger Passenger enjoys a fifth week on top with "Let Her Go"...

The top debut at #18 is Maxim with "Meine Soldaten" ("My Soldiers").

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French Sweep: April 23, 2013...

Hey gang, it's time again to cross the Atlantic to check out the songs making their first appearance on the top-100 singles in France this week, as rapper Maitre Gims hangs on for a fourth week with "J'me Tire"...

The big debut on the chart at #32 is K-Pop sensation PSY, whose "Gentleman" has racked up over 200 million views on YouTube (probably sending Bill Werde into premature ejack)....

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Songoftheday 4/23/13 - Captured effortlessly that's the way it was, happened so naturally, I did not know it was love...

Rufus & Chaka Khan - "Ain't Nobody
from the album Stompin' At The Savoy - Live (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #22 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 8

Today's Song of the Day is by the Chicago R&B outfit Rufus, with its breakout lead singer Chaka Khan, who originated from the remnants of the 60s psychedelic band American Breed, whose "Bend Me, Shape Me" reached the top-10 in 1967. After adding Chaka to the lineup, the band moved to California, and after being signed, released their self-titled debut album in 1973, and from it came their first R&B Top-40 hit, "Whoever's Thrilling You (Is Killing Me)". Their sophomore set, Rags To Rufus, was their pop breakthrough, with help from powerhouses like Stevie Wonder, who wrote the first single, "Tell Me Something Good", which went to #3 on both the pop and R&B charts, and Ray Parker Jr., who wrote the followup, "You Got The Love", which topped the R&B list in 1974.

Their next effort, Rufusized, expanded their impact to the disco, as "Once You Get Started" reached the top-10 on the club chart. With Chaka clearly becoming the "lead" in the band, their next album was the first with her name on it, and they again scored with another #1 soul/top-5 pop hit, "Sweet Thing". However, that imbalance caused fights within the band, and even though they hit with another #1 R&B single, "At Midnight", the rift eventually led to Chaka leaving for a solo career in 1978.

The thing was, her contract kept her obligated to the band, so at the end of the 70s/early 80's we saw releases from each featuring her vocals. Chaka's solo stint was a smash off the bat with her first single "I'm Every Woman" which again topped the R&B chart as well as going top-40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978. The following year, returning with Rufus, they went to #1 on the soul chart with "Do You Love What You Feel". After that, Chaka's 1981 third solo album topped the charts with "What Cha Gonna Do For Me".

After Chaka finally completed her obligation with the band, they released one more album, which didn't do well, and as a break-up commemoration negotiated with her to do a live album, and the result, Stompin' At The Savoy was filmed and recorded in New York. Four new studio songs were added to the release as well, and one of them, "Ain't Nobody", became their last big hurrah. Written by Rufus keyboardist Hank Wolinski, Quincy Jones tried to snag the song for Michael Jackson's Thriller, but luckily they kept it for themselves....

"Ain't Nobody" was Rufus' final top-40 pop hit, and topped the R&B charts as well in the late fall of 1983. It also was featured in the hit movie Breakin' in 1984. In the clubs, it originally reached #6, and also went top-10 in Britain that year. Their followup single, "One Million Kisses", reached the top-40 on the R&B list before their light went out. Chaka, though, went on to have her biggest hit yet the next year, courtesy of an old Prince song called "I Feel For You".

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Robbed Hit of the Week 4/22/13 - Klique's "Stop Doggin' Me Around"...

Klique - "Stop Doggin' Me Around"
from the album Try It Out (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #50

This week's "robbed hit" is by the lite-funk trio Klique, who were led by Californian Howard Huntsberry, and released their debut album in 1981, which produced their first R&B top-40 hit, "Love's Dance" (#24). Two years later, on their third album, the group got their biggest hit, a remake of a Jackie Wilson hit from 1960, "Doggin' Around". The original made it to #15 on the pop chart and topped the R&B list...

Howard recreated the soaring vocals quite nicely, enough to eventually get him cast as the singer in the movie La Bamba in 1987...

Klique's cover, retitled as "Stop Doggin' Me Around", went all the way to #2 on the soul chart, but stalled at #50 on the Hot 100. With the British New Wave in full swing, I'm sure this would've been a much bigger pop hit had it been released in 1982 rather than a year later.

The trio went on to have a couple more R&B hits, including one more top-20 single with "A Woman, A Lover, A Friend" (another Wilson remake) in 1985. However, after that, Klique disbanded, with Hunstberry releasing a solo set after his movie role, scoring a #11 R&B hit with "Sleepless Weekend" in 1988.

Album Sweep: April 27, 2013 - Part Two...

Hey folks, it's time to roll out part two of this week's "album sweep", sampling the records making their first appearance on Billboard magazine's Top 200 Albums chart. You can check out part one by clicking here, and as before I've included links to buy anything if possible.

Coming in at #70 is country singer Chuck Wicks, whose five-song EP Rough is his first release since his debut full-length album Starting Now went to #24 in 2008. Chuck was originally seen on the reality show Nashville (not to be confused with the current hit musidrama)...

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Songoftheday 4/22/13 - People out there searchin' for action, daytime distraction slippin' right on by...

Manhattan Transfer - "Spice Of Life"
from the album Bodies And Souls (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #40 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 2

Today's Song of the Day is by the jazz-pop vocal quartet Manhattan Transfer, whose popularity can be seen as a precursor to the whole "Glee" and Sing-off craze over the last few years. The group started in New York (natch) as a five piece, releasing their debut album Jukin' in 1971. But not long after that, the band shed all its members save original Tim Hauser, while recruiting local singer Alan Paul, Laurel Masse', and Janis Siegel. Releasing a self-titled second album in 1975, they hit the charts with their first American top-40 hit, "Operator", along with a summer-season variety show on television. The follow-up, the swing standard "Tuxedo Junction", put them on the top-40 in Britain for the first time.

With their next album, Coming Out, their overseas exposure grew, as they topped the British pop chart and and a hit around the world with a cover of the 50s hit "Chanson D'Amour". However, shortly after its success, the lead on that single, Masse', was sidelined by a crippling car accident in 1978 that left the group searching again for another member. Cheryl Bentyne joined in, and they started the 80s with a disco-fied track "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone" that was a huge club hit, reaching #4 on the dance chart and staying on the list for half the year, while also becoming their second top-40 hit.

They returned to their oldies wheelhouse on their next release, and scored their biggest hit ever in 1981 with the version of the Ad Libs'  "Boy From New York City", which reached the top-10 on the pop and adult-contemporary charts. Their sixth studio album, Bodies And Souls, came out a couple years later, and pushed them into a more smooth R&B style. Rod Temperton, former member of disco group Heatwave and writer of part of Michael Jackson's classic Thriller album, co-wrote the first single, "Spice Of Life", with fellow Heatwave member Derek Bramble, while Stevie Wonder provided a harmonica solo to the record...

"Spice Of Life" became the Transfer's fourth and most recent top-40 pop hit, while also reaching the top-40 on the R&B and dance charts. It's biggest success was on the adult-contemporary (soft-rock) format, where the single peaked at #5. It's followup, "Mystery" (also written by Temperton), also made the top-10 on that chart, and eventually wound up on Anita Baker's classic Rapture album. They would continue to have a few more soft-rock hits, the latest being 1995's cover of "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" with Phil Collins. Since then, although their radio presence has dwindled except for soft-jazz stations, they continue to record and accumulate Grammys (ten in all) and reign as jazz vocal royalty.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Brit Sweep: April 21, 2013...

The weekend is almost over, and it's time to check out the new records making on the official sales charts in the UK released today. This time out the top three sellers are brand spanking new...

The big winner of the trio is drum and bass act Rudimental, who get their second #1 hit with "Waiting All Night" featuring Ella Eyre. They had reached the top last year with "Feel The Love"...

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Album Sweep: April 27, 2013 - Part One...

Hey gang, it's time to kick off part one of this week's "album sweep", sampling the records popping in on Billboard magazine's Top 200 Albums chart for the first time. As always, I've included links to buy anything you see.

This week's big winner is the fourth studio album and first chart-topping album from emo-rock group Paramore, who went through radical lineup changes and emerge with a self-titled set that sold over 100,000 last week. Their last one, Brand New Eyes, came close, reaching #2 in 2009...

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Songoftheday 4/21/13 - Your technique It leaves me weak, my heart knows It's the beat I seek...

JoBoxers - "Just Got Lucky"
from the album Like Gangbusters (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #36 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 4

Today's Song of the Day is by the British/American pop group JoBoxers, who capitalized on the success of ska-pop and working class bands like Madness and The Jam. With sole Yankee Dig Wayne on lead vocals, they reached #3 on the British charts with their debut single, "Boxerbeat". Their followup, written by Wayne with bassist Chris Bostock, became their crossover hit as "Just Got Lucky" hit on American shores...

"Just Got Lucky" became their second (and final) British top-10 single, reaching #7, while spending a month in the US Top 40 in the fall of 1983. The band would follow it up with one more UK top-40 hit, "Johnny Friendly", but after a second unsuccessful album, the band split up, with Dig eventually returning to the States after attempting a solo career in England. I admit I was like gangbusters for this song when it came out, and think they were much better than their limited success.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dance Sweep: April 27, 2013..

Welcome back to the last part of today's five-part "chart sweeps" of the new songs reaching the singles charts in Billboard magazine, and now it's the latest dance songs in the clubs and on the radio.

On the DJ-polled Hot Dance Club Play chart, 80-year-old Yoko Ono remarkably scores her tenth #1 hit with "Hold Me" featuring DJ/producer Dave Aude'.

The top entry at #34 is the third club hit for Australian sister act Nervo with "Hold On".

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Country Sweep: April 27, 2013...

I'm down to part four of this week's "chart sweeps" with the newest songs reaching the weekly music charts in Billboard magazine, and now it's the latest on country radio.

On the Hot Country Airplay chart, Lady Antebellum claim their lucky seventh #1 hit with "Downtown"...

There are two songs rocketing on the chart in the top-30, and the highest at #24 with "I Want Crazy". It's from his expanded "Encore" edition of his self-titled debut, and it's my "Country Pick of the Week"...

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Soul Sweep: April 27, 2013...

Hey gang, welcome back to the third installment of today's "chart sweeps" sampling the new songs making it on the weekly music charts in Billboard magazine, and now it's the latest R&B songs on the radio.

On the main R&B/HipHop Airplay chart, "Pour It Up" by Rihanna reclaims the #1 spot for a seventh non-consecutive week...

The top entry at #34 is Lil' Wayne with "Rich As Fuck" featuring 2 Chainz (NSFW)..

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Rock Sweep: April 27, 2013...

Part two of this week's "chart sweeps" of the newest songs to make the weekly music charts in Billboard magazine has arrived, and this time I've got the latest rock songs making the grade.

On the aggregate Rock Airplay chart (which the biz site still has fucked up three days later), Imagine Dragons remains on top for a seventh week with "Radioactive".

The sole debut at #40 is the "blue-eyed" hiphop phenomenon Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with the marriage equality-touting "Same Love"featuring Mary Lambert.  It's up to #34 on the Modern Rock list...

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Pop Sweep: April 27, 2013...

Hey gang, it's time to kick off today's five-part "chart sweeps" of the newest songs making their way on to the weekly music charts in Billboard magazine, and as always I'll start off on the "pop" side of things.

On the big chart, the Billboard Hot 100, Pink scores her fourth #1 hit with "Just Give Me A Reason" featuring Nate Ruess of fun (his first solo-credit #1 appearance and second overall).

There was speculation whether the new YouTube chart-rigging rule would cause the new single from K-Pop meme-master PSY to debut on top, but since his sales didn't come close to "Harlem Shake", and there aren't thousands of clone videos the magazine was (stupidly) counting towards the streaming count, "Gentleman" ends up still debuting at a respectable #12, one rung under his second-week position for "Gangnam Style". I'd say there isn't enough total momentum to go #1, but since we can't really tell the videos solely-American viewcount, there's no telling what "deal" the editors have with Scooter Braun..

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Songoftheday 4/20/13 - Life felt so right I was drowned in your light...

Irene Cara - "Why Me?"
from the album ...What A Feelin' (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #13 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's Song of the Day is by singer Irene Cara (last name Escalera), who in the early 80s was like the female Kenny Loggins, having a string of soundtrack hits like the themes from Fame and Flashdance, as well as the top-20 single "Out Here On My Own" (from the former movie). After her huge #1 hit with the Flashdance track, Irene released her second album What A Feelin', and the first single from it was the bouncy "Why Me?", written by her along with Keith Forsey and producer Giorgio Moroder, and seems to be custom-made for a Fame-like sequel...

"Why Me?" became Cara's first non-soundtrack top-40 hit, reaching the top-20 on the pop chart as well as going to #7 on the dance chart. Surprisingly though, the album lingered down at #77 (perhaps everyone bought the soundtrack so just bought this single). It's since worn out better than a lot of the non-new wave dance-pop of the time.

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