Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Aussie Sweep: July 31, 2013...

I'm ready to head Down Under to check out the singles making their way on to the official music sales chart in Australia this week, as Avicii holds on to #1 for a fourth week with "Wake Me Up!"...

The highest debut at #22 is Australian Idol runner-up from 2006 Jessica Mauboy from the Northern Territories city of Darwin, with "To The End Of The Earth". Since her TV fame, she has hit the top-10 five times, going to #1 with "Burn" in 2008...

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6 of the 60s: 7/31/13 (1966)...

Hey gang, it's time to serve up some sixties realness with a half-dozen nuggets from 1966, the year President Lyndon Johnson signed the Freedom Of Information Act into law. This week I've got six summertime-themed classics (or titles) from the greats.

Lovin' Spoonful - "Summer In The City"
from the album Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful (1966)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 
Songwriters: John Sebastian, Mark Sebastian, Steve Boone

This song is so cool and busy at the same time that is perfectly alliterates the title of the song as the band's single #1 hit.

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Songoftheday 7/31/13 - Something in the way you love won't let me be, I don't want to be your business so baby won't you set me free...

Madonna - "Borderline"
from the album Madonna (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: 10 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 15

Today's Song of the Day is by a then-upcoming singer/dancer named Madonna, who had already scored a top-40 hit at the beginning of 1984 with the dance track "Holiday". However, at that point she wasn't getting a whole lot of radio play, and MTV didn't touch the crude homemade-style video for the song. That all changed with the next single from the album, "Borderline". A full-on pop confection written by producer Reggie Lucas, it was further remixed by her then-boyfriend Jellybean Benitez after Madonna and Lucas split over artistic direction for the song.

Besides Benitez, the other major contributor to the success of the song is director Mary Lambert, who helmed her first of many Madonna videos with this effort, setting the singer in her own style amidst a cinematic approximation of "street life" in Los Angeles. Torn between a hooligan and a photographer trying to win her love, the clip goes from color to black and white and means something and then nothing at the same time. Like most of the 80s...

The single became Madonna's first top-10 pop single, as well as going to #4 on the dance club chart,  and #23 on the adult contemporary chart. In England, the record went to #2, and it even went to #1 next door in Ireland.

"Borderline" along with the video is what really brought Madonna to the masses, with girl starting to pick up fashion tips from the singer, and finally breaking her free fast from the "dance chick singer" mold. You got to hand it to Lucas for lyrics that really transcended the usual disco fare, and also pushing her to put some emotion into her singing. And it was only up from there.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kraut Sweep: July 30, 2013...

It's time to cross over into Germany to sample the songs making their official top-100 sales chart this week, as Swedish DJ A-lister Avicii spends a second week at #1 with "Wake Me Up"...

The top debut of the week at #19 is by German rapper Shindy, who gets his first top-40 hit as a lead artist with "Stress ohne Grund" ("Stress For No Reason") featuring fellow hiphop artist (and fellow hunkiness) Bushido...(NSFW German-style)...

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French Sweep: July 30, 2013...

Good afternoon, gang, I'm ready to cross the Atlantic to check out the songs making the official sales chart in France this week, as Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" commands the #1 position for a sixth non-consecutive week.

It's another week devoid of any big releases, as the highest debut of the week doesn't come until down at #56. 17-year-old Martin Garrix is in with an underground club hit "Animals"...

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Songoftheday 7/30/13 - I caught you smilin' I know I've seen you here before, how come you're hiding hey girl don't you wanna hit the floor...

Shalamar - "Dancing In The Sheets"
from the albums Footloose (Original Soundtrack) (1984) and Heartbreak (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #17 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's Song of the Day is by the disco/soul group Shalamar, who went into 1984 with almost a completely different lineup than the one that hit the top-40 the year before with "Dead Giveaway". Both Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel left due to differences with singer Howard Hewett and their label, leaving Hewett to recruit guitarist Micki Free and keybordist Delisa Daniels to the trio. Shalamar's first album with the new lineup would include a track that would also be in the movie Footloose, and was written by that movie's screenwriter Dean Pitchford along with session musician Bill Wolfer. "Dancing in The Sheets" would become the soundtrack's fourth top-40 hit after the title track by Kenny Loggins, Bonnie Tyler's dramatic "Holding Out For A Hero", and Deniece Williams' jubilant "Let's Hear It For The Boy". Surprisingly, the video didn't include anything from the movie, but rather continued the plotline from "Dead Giveaway"...

 (nice co-op of the Pan-Pacific, the venue seen in the movie Xanadu)

"Dancing In the Sheets"  reached the top-20 on both the pop and R&B charts in the US, while going to #9 on the dance club play chart in Billboard magazine. In England, where the band had a lot of success, the success nonetheless stalled out at a frustrating #41.

Shalamar would have one more pop hit from the album, "Amnesia", that would be the group's last time in the Hot 100. After the third single reached the top-40 on the R&B chart ("My Baby Loves Me"), and another minor soul single that would be used in the first Beverly Hills Cop movie ("Don't Get Stopped In Beverly Hills"), Hewett would leave the group, leaving no members from their classic lineup left. Adding new singer Sydney Justin, Shalamar would release Circumstantial Evidence in 1987. That album would spin off two top-30 R&B singles with the title track and "Games", but that would be the last success the group would have, with nothing since a followup album in 1990 went nowhere. In the meantime, both Hewett and former member Jody Watley would go on to have successful solo careers, with Watley winning the Best New Artist Grammy for her first solo album in 1987.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Robbed Hit of the Week 7/29/13 - Genesis' "Illegal Alien"...

Genesis - "Illegal Alien"
from the album Genesis (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #44

This week's "robbed hit" was a crazy choice for a follow-up single to a top-10 breakthrough for progressive rock group Genesis. As they were finding their ground as more of a "pop" act, with tighter production and shorter songs, they got their first top-10 pop hit in 1984 with the second single from their self-titled album, "That's All". But instead of going with one of the stellar pop songs from the set, like "Taking It All Too Hard" or "Just A Job To Do", the band released the novelty single "Illegal Alien", complete with faked up accent by Phil Collins and a video that pretty much hits most of the stereotypes still held by the Republican party today regarding immigration...

As much as they were trying to poke fun at the stereotyping of Mexicans, and the repeated chorus of "it's no fun being an...", pop radio really didn't know what to do with it (though MTV loved the comedic clip), and the single stalled right under the top-40, as it also did in their native England. You really don't hear this anymore as well, though I'm sure Limbaugh and the ilk would probably lean to this...

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Album Sweep: August 3, 2013 - Part Two...

I'm back with round two of this week's "album sweep" sampling the records making their first appearance on the Top 200 Albums sales chart in Billboard magazine. You can check out part one by clicking here, and as before I've included links to buy anything you see.

Coming in at #47 is husband and wife religious musical team of Kim Walker-Smith and Skyler Smith from the collective Jesus Culture, with their bluegrass-ish Home. It's their first album together apart from the group...

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Songoftheday 7/29/13 - My baby, he don't talk sweet he ain't got much to say but he loves me, loves me, loves me I know that he loves me anyway...

Deniece Williams - "Let's Hear It For The Boy"
from the albums Footloose (Original Soundtrack) (1984) and Let's Hear It For The Boy (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14

Today's Song of the Day is by R&B singer Deniece Williams, who topped the R&B chart and reached the pop top-10 in 1982 with her remake of the soul classic "It's Gonna Take A Miracle". It took another two years for her to reappear on the Hot 100, but she did it in a grand way - with a track from the biggest movie musical of the year, Footloose. The bubbly and extreme-positive "Let's Hear It For The Boy" was written by the team of Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford, the latter a screenwriter for the film itself. Produced by jazz-funk star George Duke, the song became the third top-40 single from the soundtrack after the title track by Kenny Loggins and Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out For A Hero"....

"Let's Hear It For The Boy" became the second #1 hit from the movie, and Deniece's second chart-topper after her duet with Johnny Mathis in 1978, "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late". It also topped the R&B and dance charts in America, and reached #3 on the adult contemporary (easy-listening) format. It was a worldwide smash as well, reaching the top of the chart in Canada, #2 in England, Ireland, and New Zealand, and top-10 pretty much everywhere else.

This would also be Deniece's latest entry in the top-40; her follow-up single, "Next Love", petered out at #81 the same year. She would go on to still have success on R&B radio, reaching the top-10 twice in the late eighties, with "Never Say Never" going to #6 in 1987 and "I Can't Wait" hitting #8 in 1988. The latter would be her last Hot 100 hit to date, topping out at #66. However, as the 90s dawned and pop/soul-style of R&B gave way to "new jack swing", her style of music got pretty much shoved to the side (and she wasn't willing to follow that path). She transitioned into gospel music (which her work already had been deeply integrated with), and left her pop career behind.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Brit Sweep: July 28, 2013...

Well gang, the weekend's almost over, so time to roll out this week's Brit Sweep, sampling the songs reaching the top-100 on the official British charts this week, as Avicii spends a second week on top with "Wake Me Up"...

Well, the power of One Directioners trying to get to #1 wasn't enough, since you can only buy the track once (as opposed to "YouTubing" it a thousand times), and their new single "Best Song Ever" winds up at #2. And actually, 1D has only topped the UK charts with three of their eight top-40 hits (their debut "What Makes You Beautiful", the ballad "Little Things", and the one-off charity single "One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks)"), so it shouldn't be too much of a shocker. Cute video, up until the music starts and they do the rote "trashing the establishment" crap that you know that "establishment" is trying to push right now...

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Album Sweep: August 3, 2013 - Part One...

It's time to start up the first half of this week's "album sweep", where I sample the records spending their first week on Billboard magazine's Top 200 Albums chart. As usual, I've included links to buy anything you see, but if you can please go down to a real record store and show some love.

The week's biggest-selling album for the second frame is Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail, which sells more than 150K this week.

Arriving in the runner-up position is singer/songwriter/awesomeness Sara Bareilles, whose The Blessed Unrest becomes her third top-10 effort (all of her major-label releases). In 2010 her last set Kaleidoscope Heart topped the albums chart...

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Songoftheday 7/28/13 - You should've been gone knowing how I made you feel, And I should've been gone after all your words of steel...

Steve Perry - "Oh Sherrie"
from the album Street Talk (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's Song of the Day is by the (now former) lead singer of the arena-rock band Journey, Steve Perry. After joining them in the late seventies, his amazing voice brought them from a C-level prog-rock outfit in the Bay Area to one of the biggest bands in America, with multi-platinum albums and a string of top-40 singles like "Open Arms" and "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)". In 1982 he lent his vocals to Kenny Loggins' top-20 hit "Don't Fight It", his first hit outside of the group. After the release and tour behind the band's seventh album with him, Frontiers, Perry released his first solo album Street Talk. The first single from the set put him squarely in the pop milieu, with a love song written for his then-girlfriend Sherrie Swafford.

"Oh Sherrie" was co-written by Steve with a posse including country-rock songwriter Randy Goodrum ("You Needed Me", "Bluer Than Blue") along with studio musicians Craig Krampf and Bill Cuomo, the latter who provided the keyboard hook, just like he did with Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes". And the video was a "big production that wasn't a production" that was a big event on its premiere on MTV, and featured Swafford as his girlfriend (now that's a perk)...

"Oh Sherrie" became a huge hit for Perry, with enough minor-chord drama to remind people of his band, but with a personal sweetness that helped by having the focus only on him. The song topped out at #3 on the pop chart in June of 1984 (his best outing since 1982's "Open Arms") and ended up topping the Mainstream Rock chart as well (which Journey only did once with "Separate Ways"). Surprisingly, the song was a little "hard" for adult-contemporary, stalling at #33 at the format (since then it's a staple for oldies stations for his work). In the UK, where arena-rock was totally un-cool, the single managed only to reach #89 on the single charts.

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dance Sweep: August 3, 2013...

Well gang, I'm up to the final "chart sweep" of the day, and this time I'm bringing you the latest dance jams in the clubs and on the radio per Billboard magazine.

 On the DJ-polled Hot Dance Club Play chart, Australian duo Empire Of The Sun score their first #1 hit with "Alive"....

The top entry on the club list at #39 is a sure bet to reach the top - and it's my "Dance Pick Of the Week". It's Swedish DJ.producer Avicii with "Wake Me Up!" featuring vocals by the awesome Aloe Blacc...

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Country Sweep: August 3, 2013...

Hey folks, it's time for part four of my five-part "chart sweeps" checking out the songs making the radio charts in Billboard magazine for the first week, and I'm up to the latest on country stations nationwide.

On the Hot Country Airplay chart, The Band Perry reach the top spot for a fourth time (two from each album) with "DONE."...

The top entry of the week at #42 is country kingpin Blake Shelton with the third single from his Based On A True Story album, "Mine Would Be You". He hopes to extended his nine-single #1 streak....

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Soul Sweep: August 3, 2013...

We're at the hump of today's "chart sweeps" sampling the songs reaching the radio charts at Billboard magazine, and now it's time for the newest R&B songs to make the grade.

On the main R&B/HipHop Airplay chart, Robin Thicke takes over the top spot with "Blurred Lines". It's his third single to top this format...

The sole debut at #50 is R&B siren Ciara with "I"m Out"featuring Nicki Minaj. It follows her comeback jam "Body Party" which slips from #2 to #3 this week...

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Rock Sweep: August 3, 2013...

Hey gang, time for round two of today's "chart sweeps" sampling the songs making the radio charts in Billboard magazine, and now I've got the latest on rock radio..

On the aggregate Rock Airplay chart, Imagine Dragons won't let go of the top spot for an incredible 21st week with "Radioactive"....

Rocketing on the chart at lucky #13 is heavy metal act Avenged Sevenfold with "Hall To The King", the title track to their forthcoming sixth studio album. Since the all-format airplay chart (originally called "Rock Songs") debuted in 2009, the band has sent four songs into the top-10, with "Nightmare" going to #3 in 2010...

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Pop Sweep: August 3, 2013...

Hey guys, it's time to kick off today's five-part "chart sweep" checking out the songs making the charts at Billboard magazine this week. As always, I'll start out on the "pop"side of things...

On the "big" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, Robin Thicke holds on to #1 for a seventh week with "Blurred Lines".

As opposed to last week, when Jay-Z placed two new songs in the top-40, the highest entry of the week doesn't come until down in the bottom half of the chart. Coming in at #58 is the winner of The Voice from last season, Danielle Bradbery, who rode Blake Shelton's coattails with vapid delivery and virginal pedo-appeal to dominate that show. Now she arrives with a song that made the country sweep last week, "The Heart Of Dixie", with just enough vague tribalistic buzzwords in the title to excite the meth belt. It's only time until she dumped on to the D-list reality show train....

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Songoftheday 7/27/13 - There was this new feeling coming out of the streets, everybody's talkin' 'bout it wherever they meet...

Irene Cara - "Breakdance"
from the album What A Feelin' (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #8 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's Song of the Day is by singer Irene Cara, who had the biggest hit of her career in 1983 with the movie title theme "Flashdance...What A Feeling". Releasing a record using the subtitle, Cara went on to have a couple more top-40 hits with "Why Me" and "The Dream (Hold On To Your Dream)" from the movie D.C. Cab. The fourth single from the album would simply crib the name of the latest dance fad, "Breakdance", set to a Giorgio Moroder post-disco beat that had really nothing to do with the music associated with "break dancing". But never mind, it managed to give Irene her next (and so far latest) big hit...

"Breakdance" became Irene's third top-10 hit in June of 1984. It also made the top-20 on the dance chart as well. Irene would have one more hit from the album, "You Were Made For Me", which went to #10 on the adult-contemporary chart, but hasn't appeared on the American charts since.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

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

Hey gang, Friday's here, and time for my top 100 tunes for the week. This time out Robin Thicke spends a second week at #1, while Bruno Mars (pictured above) shimmies his way into the top-10 with the third single from his latest album. Singles by Ciara, Empire Of The Sun, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red), while former big hits from 30 Seconds To Mars, fun, Lady Antebellum, and Pitbull drop off my list. My name is Carlos. Carlos Danger.

This Week            Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke f/Pharrell Williams & T.I. (1)
2. Safe And Sound - Capital Cities (2)
3. Brave - Sara Bareilles (4)
4. DONE. - The Band Perry (5)
5. Get Lucky - Daft Punk f/Pharrell Williams (3)
6. Mirrors - Justin Timberlake (6)
7. My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark - Fall Out Boy (7)
8. Treasure - Bruno Mars (11)
9. I Love It - Icona Pop f/Charli XCX (9)
10. Can't Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/Ray Dalton (8)
11. Red Hands - Walk Off The Earth (12)
12. I Need Your Love - Calvin Harris f/Ellie Goulding (15)
13. Radioactive - Imagine Dragons (13)
14. Just Give Me A Reason - Pink f/Nate Ruess (14)
15. People Like Us - Kelly Clarkson (17)
16. Demons - Imagine Dragons (18)
17. Love Somebody - Maroon 5 (19)
18. Stompa - Serena Ryder (10)
19. Sweater Weather - The Neighbourhood (20)
20. Out of My League - Fitz & The Tantrums (22)
21. San Francisco - The Mowgli's (24)
22. Crash My Party - Luke Bryan (29)
23. Gone, Gone, Gone - Phillip Phillips (21)
24. Next To Me - Emeli Sande (16)
25. Heart Attack - Demi Lovato (25)
26. Heartbeat - Tony Moran f/Deborah Cooper (26)
27. Cruise - Florida Georgia Line f/Nelly (31)
28. This Is What It Feels Like - Armin van Buuren f/Trevor Guthrie (33)
29. Runnin' Outta Moonlight - Randy Houser (39)
30. More Than Miles - Brantley Gilbert (30)
31. See You Again - Carrie Underwood (38)
32. Jump Right In - The Zac Brown Band (36)
33. Mountain Sound - Of Monsters And Men (23)
34. Beat This Summer - Brad Paisley (34)
35. This Is My Goodbye - Antoine Clamaran (40)
36. Harlem - New Politics (41)
37. Come & Get It - Selena Gomez (45)
38. Stay - Rihanna f/Mikky Ekko (28)
39. I'm Alive (Life Sounds Like) - Michael Franti & Spearhead (43)
40. Fire We Make - Alicia Keys & Maxwell (42)
41. Clarity - Zedd (37)
42. Cups (When I'm Gone) - Anna Kendrick (44)
43. Anywhere With You - Jake Owen (27)
44. I Want Crazy - Hunter Hayes (46)
45. All Over The Road - Easton Corbin (49)
46. Reload - Sebastian Ingrosso & Tommy Trash f/John Martin (51)
47. Live It Up - Jennifer Lopez f/Pitbull (56)
48. Dear Darlin' - Olly Murs (48)
49. Bruises - Train f/Ashley Monroe (53)
50. Hey Pretty Girl - Kip Moore (50)
51. Should've Gone To Bed - Plain White T's (57)
52. Play Hard - David Guetta f/Ne-Yo & Akon (32)
53. Again - Jessica Sutta (58)
54. Bullet - Rokelle f/Dave Aude (64)
55. Little Bit Of Everything - Keith Urban (59)
56. U B The Bass - Luciana (66)
57. Recovery - Frank Turner (61)
58. It's A Beautiful Day - Michael Buble (62)
59. It's Not Over - Chaka Khan (69)
60. Hold On - NERVO (35)
61. Point At You - Justin Moore (65)
62. Body Party - Ciara (82)
63. Don't Ya - Brett Eldredge (71)
64. Alive - Empire Of The Sun (84)
65. Here's To Never Growing Up - Avril Lavigne (60)
66. Our Song - Matchbox Twenty (73)
67. Best Of Me - Anthony Hamilton (68)
68. Came Back Haunted - Nine Inch Nails (81)
69. Stone - Alice In Chains (70)
70. Easy - Mat Zo & Porter Robinson (72)
71. Same Love - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f/Mary Lambert (91)
72. Trenches - Pop Evil (76)
73. Wagon Wheel - Darius Rucker (63)
74. Walks Like Rihanna - The Wanted (74)
75. La La La - Naughty Boy f/Sam Smith (75)
76. Goodbye Town - Lady Antebellum (89)
77. Highway Don't Care - Tim McGraw f/Taylor Swift & Keith Urban (67)
78. Hangman's Bodycount - Volbeat (78)
79. When I Was Your Man - Bruno Mars (55)
80. Adorn - Miguel (79)
81. Summertime Sadness - Lana Del Rey (86)
82. I Got You - Jack Johnson (87)
83. Make Some Noise - DJ Escape & Inaya Day (DEBUT)
84. We Can't Stop - Miley Cyrus (96)
85. Lose To Win - Fantasia (85)
86. Age Ain't A Factor - Jaheim (94)
87. The Other Side - Jason Derulo (RE-ENTRY)
88. Everything Has Changed - Taylor Swift f/Ed Sheeran (98)
89. Counting Stars - OneRepublic (DEBUT)
90. Royals - Lorde (DEBUT)
91. Love Me Again - John Newman (DEBUT)
92. Heartbeat - The Kopecky Family (92)
93. Brokenhearted - Lawson f/B.o.B (97)
94. Get Your Shine On - Florida Georgia Line (83)
95. Redneck Crazy - Tyler Farr (DEBUT)
96. If So - Atlas Genius (DEBUT)
97. 22 - Taylor Swift (93)
98. Power Trip - J. Cole f/Miguel (DEBUT)
99. Papaoutai - Stromae (DEBUT)
100. Bang Bang - (100)

There are eight debuts on the chart this week (highlighted in blue), and if you click on any of them you'll connect to their official website for more info. And now here they are on video after the break...

Songoftheday 7/26/13 - If you said goodbye to me tonight, there would still be music left to write...

Billy Joel - "The Longest Time"
from the album An Innocent Man (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #14 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's Song of the Day is by Billy Joel, whose retro-pop opus An Innocent Man was proving to be the biggest of his career, and had already spun off three top-10 pop hits with "Tell Her About It", "Uptown Girl", and the title track. For his fourth release from the album he went really old-school with the a-capella number "The Longest Time". Written by Billy and produced by Phil Ramone, the record actually uses his voice overdubbed 14 times, unlike the video which has his band members miming the harmony parts as old schoolmates of his....

"The Longest Time" topped the Adult-Contemporary (easy listening) chart and went top-20 pop in May of 1984. The single also reached the top-40 in Canada, Australia and Britain as well.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

8 of the 80s: 7/25/13 (1985)....

I'm ready for another 80's throwback, and this week I'm back to 1985, the year Back To The Future premiered, becoming the biggest movie of the year. As always, I've included links to buy anything on CD or MP3 if possible.

Marvin Gaye - "Sanctified Lady"
from the album Dream Of A Lifetime (1985)
Billboard peak: #101
Songwriters: Marvin Gaye, Gordon Banks

This doctored-up track left when Gaye was murdered in 1984 was originally a "Pussy" instead of a "Lady", but Banks covered up his mumble on the demo with turned-up back-up singers and scored a #2 R&B hit posthumously. I'm sure he wouldn't have wanted this released, though.

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7 of the 70s: 7/25/13 (1975)...

Hey gang, it's time for this week's 70s throwback, and I'm going back to 1975, the year the island nation of Cape Verde became independent from Portugal after 500 years.

Eagles - "One Of These Nights"
from the album One Of These Nights (1975)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1
Songwriters: Glenn Frey, Don Henley

The title cut to Frey's favorite Eagles album always triggered a memory of black vinyl spinning in a dark, semi-funky circle.

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Songoftheday 7/25/13 - You're talking it all sounds fair you promise your love how much you care...

Berlin - "No More Words"
from the album Love Life (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #23 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 8

Today's Song of the Day is by the American new-wave group Berlin, who came together in Los Angeles in the late seventies, but didn't get firmly established until singer Terri Nunn settled in with the band in 1980, and released their second album (and first with her) in 1982. The second single released from the set, "Sex (I'm A...)", became a college-radio success and landed them their first pop chart single the following year, reaching #62. They re-released their first single after that, the classic retro-noir of "The Metro" which topped off at #58 in 1983 as well. After a third minor hit ("Masquerade"), Berlin recorded their third album Love Life, and with it came the first single "No More Words", written by guitarist John Crawford and produced by disco/pop legend Giorgio Moroder. The big MTV push came with a high-concept "Bonnie & Clyde(s)"-styled video with the band as vagabond bank robbers...

"No More Words" became Berlin's first top-40 pop hit in May of 1984, and helped Love Life become their second to reach the top-40 on the albums chart.A year later it would be featured in the movie Vision Quest, even becoming the "B-side" to the Madonna #1 hit "Crazy For You".

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Aussie Sweep: July 24, 2013...

Hey gang, it's time for this week's musical outback adventure as I bring you the songs appearing on the official singles chart in Australia for their first week this week, as Avicii's "Wake Me Up" enjoys a third week at #1...

The top entry at #17 is New York "swag-pop" duo Karmin with "Acapella". Last year they made it to #9 with their worldwide hit "Brokenhearted"...

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6 of the 60s: 7/24/13 (1965)...

Hey gang, it's hump day and time to roll out another half-dozen nuggets from the 60's, and this week I'm back to 1965, the year Mariner 4 flew by Mars giving us the first close-up images of the planet. This week I've included some inspirations from the Royal Baby announcement...

Herman's Hermits - "I'm Henry VIII, I Am"
from the album Herman's Hermits (1965)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1
Songwriters: Fred Murray, R.P. Weston

With the appearance of the presumed future king of England, may Henry be one of the named considered? Probably not. But hell, I'll bring out this teen-rock remake of a 1910 musichall song.

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Songoftheday 7/24/13 - Welcome to the human race with its wars, disease and brutality you with your innocence and grace restore some pride and dignity to a world in decline...

The Pretenders - "Show Me"
from the album Learning To Crawl (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #28 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 6

Today's Song of the Day is by the bi-national punk-pop group the Pretenders, who recouped from the death of half of their original group members with the reflective top-5 hit "Back On The Chain Gang", then followed it up with the rollicking "Middle Of The Road". The third single released from their Learning To Crawl effort was "Show Me", a midtempo jangler seemingly inspired by the birth of Chrissie's first child with the Kinks' Ray Davies...

"Show Me" reached the pop top-40 in the US in May of 1984, while becoming the fourth top-10 rock hit from the Learning To Crawl album at #8. But by the time of her next album Hynde would drop original drummer Martin Chambers and bassist Malcolm Foster from the lineup, again making the Pretenders a mere backing band for herself.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

French Sweep: July 23, 2013...

Hey gang, it's time to cross back over the Atlantic to check out the songs reaching the official sales chart in France this week, as Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" pops back up to the top spot for a fifth non-consecutive week.

Claiming yet another country is rapper Jay Z, whose "Holy Grail" with Justin Timberlake jumps on to the sales chart at #40. It's his twelve appearance in the top-40, though only his seventh as a lead artist. Surprisingly his highest rank in this country was his collab with Linkin Park on "Encore/Numb" which went to #5 in 2005...

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Songoftheday 7/23/13 - Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods, where's the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds...

Bonnie Tyler - "Holding Out For A Hero"
from the albums Footloose (Original Soundtrack) (1984) and Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #34 (three weeks)
Weeks in the top-40: 4

Today's Song of the Day was one of the six top-40 hits from the 1984 movie Footloose's original soundtrack, sung by Welshwoman Bonnie Tyler. Tyler, who had her big break the year prior with the Jim Steinman-penned "Total Eclipse of the Heart", went to the man again for another epic single. "Holding Out For A Hero" featured Meat Loaf backup singer Ellen Foley and the E Street Band's Roy Bittan....

"Holding Out For A Hero" became Tyler's third and latest top-40 hit in April of 1984. That same year, she would also release a song from the re-release of the black-and-white classic film Metropolis, "Here She Comes", which made it to #76, and a year later would place a rung lower with a song from her album Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire (which also included "Holding Out"), "If You Were A Woman and I Were A Man", an attempt to recreate a smash with the drama of her former hits.

Internationally, the single barely made the charts in her native Britain, placing at #96, until a year later, where a re-release brought it to #2 on the UK chart and #1 in neighboring Ireland. It would also reappear on the chart in 1991 in Britain as well.

The nineties saw Bonnie more successful on continental Europe than in the UK or the States, having a bunch of hits including "Bitterblue" which went top-10 in a few countries. This past spring Bonnie represented England for the Eurovision song contest with "Believe In Me", which didn't get her much love even in her own country, stalling at #93 on the chart.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Robbed Hit of the Week 7/22/13 - Jeffrey Osborne's "We're Going All The Way"...

Jeffrey Osborne - "We're Going All The Way"
from the album Stay With Me Tonight (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #48

This week's "robbed hit" is by soul singer Jeffrey Osborne, who had established a solid solo career apart from old band L.T.D. by 1984 with his second album Stay With Me Tonight, which spun off two top-40 pop hits with "Don't You Get So Mad" and the title track. After starting the year with a track that made the top-10 on the dance chart and R&B chart, "Plane Love", Osborne released the big ballad from the album, "We're Going All The Way". Written by powerhouse husband and wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, it took his vocal stretch proven on "On The Wings Of Love" and seemed destined to be the big love song of the spring...

But while the song was big on adult-contemporary (easy-listening) radio stations, peaking at #6 as his second top-10 hit at that format, and also reaching the top-20 of the R&B chart, "We're Going All The Way" stalled under the top-40 on the pop chart. However it remains a staple on nightly "Delilah"-style radio programs and wedding receptions.

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

It's time for part two of this week's "album sweep" sampling the records spending their first week on Billboard magazine's Top 200 Albums chart. You can check out the first part by clicking here, and as always I've included links to buy anything when I can.

Entering the chart at #103 is the collective Preservation Hall Jazz Band, named for the temporarily shuttered concert venue where they played. The revolving lineup of musicians have been releasing albums since 1964, and they're back with That's It...

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Songoftheday 7/22/13 - Something about you makes me wanna keep on loving you, when I'm without you I feel I need you back in my arms...

The Romantics - "One In A Million"
from the album In Heat (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #37 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's Song of the Day is by the Detroit new wave band the Romantics, who made it big in 1983 with the top-3 pop hit "Talking In Your Sleep". They followed it up with another band-written power-pop rocker, "One In A Million"...

"One In A Million" brought the band their second and final top-40 hit in the US, while reaching #22 on the rock radio chart.

The band would go and release one more record, Rhythm Romance, which would spawn a minor pop/rock hit with "Test Of Time" and a club hit with "Mystified" before going on hiatus with management issues.  They regrouped in the late 90s, and perform on tour periodically.

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Brit Sweep: July 21, 2013...

The end of the weekend is upon us, and time to check out the just-released official singles chart in Britain this week...

The top-selling single of the week, pushing over a quarter of a million copies, is Swedish DJ/producer Avicii, with "Wake Me Up" featuring vocals by California soul singer Aloe Blacc. It's Tim Bergling's second #1 hit after "I Could Be The One" earlier this year...

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

Hey gang, it's time to start the first part of this week's "album sweep", where I sample the new albums and ones spending their first week on Billboard magazine's Top 200 Albums Chart. As always, I've included links to buy anything if possible, but if you can, stop buy a local record shop (like the Princeton Record Exchange) and show some love!

The top-selling album of the week is by rap king Jay Z, who despite offering his set Magna Carta as part of an app for Samsung, still managed to sell over a half-million copies in its first week of release. It's his 13th #1 album, and only the Beatles have had more (mind you, they had five albums go to #1 since they disbanded in 1969)...(NSFW)

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Songoftheday 7/21/13 - The winds of change are always blowing and every time I try to stay, the winds of change continue blowing and they just carry me away...

Julio Iglesias & Willie Nelson - "To All The Girls I've Loved Before"
from the album 1100 Bel Air Place (1984)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #5 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's Song of the Day was the English-language breakthrough hit for the Latin superstar from Madrid, Julio Iglesias, whose soccer career in Spain was cut short by a disabling car crash, which led him to pursue music. He released his debut album in 1969, and had three Spanish top-10 single from it, with the title track "Yo Canto" reaching #10. His exposure grew as he represented his home country in the Eurovision song contest in 1970 with "Gwendolyne", placing fourth, and giving Julio his first #1 hit in Spain.

Julio moved to the United States in 1979, and began to record in English, almost immediately having a top-40 hit with "Hey" in 1980, and by the next year topped the UK chart with a cover of "Begin the Beguine".

But it took another two years and an album with a couple superstar cameos to bring Julio to the American mainstream. In 1984 he released 1100 Bel Air Place,  named for his former home in Los Angeles. The first single from the set, "To All The Girls I've Loved Before", paired him with country singer/songwriter/toker Willie Nelson, whose 1982 album Always on My Mind was a big pop success in itself, with a top-5 title cut and a top-40 remake of "Let It Be Me" as a follow-up. Written by legendary songwriters Albert Hammond and Hal David (of the Bacharach and David), "To All The Girls I've Loved Before" was like a Reese's Cup of Latin smarm and cowboy stoner goodness...

"To All The Girls..." became Julio's first top-40 hit, reaching the top-5 in May, as well as topping the top of the country charts and top-3 of the adult-contemporary charts. It also went to #1 in Canada, and top-20 in England. It ended up being the biggest country song of 1984, and won the Academy of Country Music award for single of the year.

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