Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Twostepcubchart's Best of 2014: Part Ten - #10 to #1 and the whole she-bang...


We've finally come to the end of my year-end recap of the biggest songs on my weekly personal music chart in 2014. You can catch up with all the other installments by clicking here...

#10. "Am I Wrong" - Nico & Vinz
        from the album Black Star Elephant (2014)
        twostepcubchart peak: #2 (two weeks)
        weeks on the chart: 34 (so far in 2014 - still charting)


If you needed something totally unexpected in music in 2014, here's two black soul singers from Norway with an international pop hit that was originally released under a different name. Formerly known as Envy, Nico Sereba and Vincent Dery cruised into my top-ten with this Afrobeat song that urged you to follow your dreams.

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Aussie Sweep: December 31, 2014...






It's time to head Down Under for the last time this year to check out the songs making their debut on the official singles chart in Australia this week, as Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars spend a third week at #1 with "Uptown Funk"...

In this quiet post-Christmas week, there's only one new song on the top-50, and it's "Hold Back The River" from English singer/songwriter James Bay at #46...




German Sweep: December 31, 2014...


Here's the top-ten hits in Germany, according to their official singles chart, as David Guetta spends a fourth non-consecutive week at #1 with "Dangerous"...

1. "Dangerous" - David Guetta featuring Sam Martin (1)
2. "Take Me To Church" - Hozier (DEBUT)
3. "Blue Heart" - Charley Ann Schmutzler (DEBUT)
4. "Walk" - Kwabs (3)
5. "The Hanging Tree" - James Newton Howard featuring Jennifer Lawrence (4)
6. "Thinking Out Loud" - Ed Sheeran (DEBUT)
7. "Sun Goes Down" - Robin Schulz featuring Jasmine Thompson (5)
8. "Wir Brechen Eure Seelen" - Frei.Wild (DEBUT)
9. "I'm An Albatraoz" - AronChupa (6)
10. "Do They Know It's Christmas 2014 (Deutsche Version)" - Band Aid 30 (2)

Irish singer/songwriter Hozier leaps on to the top 10 at #2 with his international smash "Take Me To Church"...


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Songoftheday 12/31/14 - I saw you standing and I felt your rage, like a dark cloud on a crowded stage...


"Dreamtime" - Daryl Hall
from the album Three Hearts In The Happy Ending Machine (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #5 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

The final Song of the Day for 2014 belongs to singer/songwriter Daryl Hall, who with musical partner John Oates had become one of the biggest pop hitmakers of the 80s, as well as duos of the rock era, with fifteen top-10 hits in America by the middle of that decade. After a contract-fulfilling live set with Temptations members Eddie Kendrick and David Ruffin gave them another top-20 single with the medley of "The Way You Do The Things You Do/My Girl", they took a break as a duo for the next few years. In the meantime, Daryl recorded and released his second solo album (and first since their 80s success), Three Hearts In The Happy Ending Machine. Produced by the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, the album was a little "trippier" than his H&O work, but didn't stray too far from his mainstream pop wheelhouse. The first single, "Dreamtime", co-written with John Beebe, even had the trademark back-up vocals that their duo records usually sported, making me look for Oates in the shadows, while the late movie score composer Michael Kamen arranged the string accompaniment...


"Dreamtime" became Daryl's first solo pop hit in October of 1986. The single also crossed over to the Adult Contemporary (#24) and Dance Club Play (#36) charts in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the record was a top-40 hit in England, Australia, and the Netherlands, and a minor hit in Germany.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Twostepcubchart's Best of 2014: Part Nine: #20 to #11...


We're coming close to the end of my top-100 recap of the biggest songs on my weekly personal music chart for 2014. You can check out the rest of the pack by clicking here...

#20 - "The Walker" - Fitz & The Tantrums
         from the album More Than Just A Dream (2013)
         twostepcubchart peak: #1 (two weeks)
         weeks on the chart: 24


The soulful L.A. modern rock band also made the top-20 on my 2013 with "Out Of My League" (#11), and this time out is lower on the list but did one better by reaching #1 on my chart for two weeks. Never has the zombie apocalypse seemed so fun.

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French Sweep: December 30, 2014...


Here's the top-ten hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars climb to #1 with "Uptown Funk"...

1. "Uptown Funk" - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars (2)
2. "Dangerous" - David Guetta featuring Sam Martin (1)
3. "Jungle" - Emma Louise (4)
4. "Andalouse" - Kendji Girac (6)
5. "Prayer In C" - Lilly Wood & The Prick (7)
6. "Diamonds" - Josef Salvat (3)
7. "Je Vole" - Louane (DEBUT)
8. "Chandelier" - Sia (5)
9. "Take Me To Church" - Hozier (9)
10. "Saint Claude" - Christine and the Queens (DEBUT)

French singer Louane, who appeared on the French version of The Voice, where she made the semi-finals, scores her first top-10 hit at #7 with "Je Vole" ("I Fly") from the French movie la Famille Belier, in which she stars. Mind you, that season's Voice winner, Yoann Freget, has yet to even make the top 100 with a song...


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Songoftheday 12/30/14 - Backstroke lover always hidin' 'neath the cover 'till I talked to my daddy he say ...


"Walk This Way" - Run-D.M.C.
from the album Raising Hell (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #4 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's Song of the Day comes from the pioneering rap trio Run-D.M.C. Joseph "Run" Simmons, the younger brother of promoter Russell Simmons, teamed up with Darryl "DMC" McDaniels and DJ Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell in the early 80s in Hollis, Queens, New York. They released their first single, "It's Like That", in 1983, and the record went to #15 on the R&B chart. Three more singles made the chart as well from their self-titled debut, and the album cut "Rock Box" made the dance club chart and revolutionized rap in a way both R&B and pop radio wasn't ready for. Mixing rock guitar licks with hip hop rhymes was lightyears away from the disco-cribbing beats that had appeared before. Their second album, King Of Rock, even further instated that mix with to of the three top-20 R&B hits having "rock" in their title. Still, in the rap-a-phobic pop radio world, none of their singles made even a dent on the pop Hot 100 in the US.

In 1986, the trio's third album, Raising Hell was released. The first single, "My Adidas", finally landed them their first top-10 R&B hit, but yet again pop radio had nothing to do with the sneaker-loving track. But their ace in the hole this time was their next single, a rap interpolation of a rock classic from the mid-70s. "Walk This Way" originally went to #10 in 1977 for Boston rockers Aerosmith.


With producer Rick Rubin convincing the trio to record "Walk This Way", Aerosmith members Steven Tyler and Joe Perry were brought on board to play on the record and appear in the video (filmed in Union City, New Jersey), which gave it enough clout for MTV and pop radio to treat the record as a pop phenomenon...


Not only did "Walk This Way" become Run-D.M.C.'s first pop hit, reaching the top-5 in September of 1986, by association it gave the (uncredited) Aerosmith their first big "hit" since the original "Walk This Way" in 1977, setting them up for their official "comeback" a couple of years later. The Run-DMC version also reached the top-10 on the R&B (#8) and the Dance Club Play (#6) charts in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the song went to #1 in New Zealand, top-10 in Britain, Australia, Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

But besides its chart fortunes, "Walk This Way" opened the door for rap music, I mean real rap music (not Blondie or the Pet Shop Boys) to be heard on mainstream pop radio. And for rap to be accepted in the rock world. Nothing would be the same since.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

twostepcubchart's Best of 2014: Part Eight - #30 to #21...


I'm back with another part of my recap of the biggest songs on my weekly personal music chart from 2014. You can catch up with the other seven parts so far by clicking here...

#30 - "Story Of My Life" - One Direction
          from the album Midnight Memories (2013)
          twostepcubchart peak: #7 (one week)
          weeks on the chart (in 2014): 23


You could say that the X Factor losers turn boy-band winners "grew up" on this record, as it did the best on the older radio formats, topping the adult pop list and #2 on the adult contemporary (or "easy listening") chart. And if this video doesn't give you the 'feels', check your pulse.

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Robbed hit of the week 12/29/14 - Mary Jane Girls' "Walk Like A Man"...


"Walk Like A Man" - Mary Jane Girls
from the album A Fine Mess (Original Soundtrack) (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #41

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the Rick James pet project Mary Jane Girls, which he put together as a group act to visually support lead vocalist JoJo McDuffie, one of his backup singers, in the early 80s. With their debut album Only Four You that spun off a top-10 pop hit with "In My House" (something Rick himself couldn't even do), the act had a great start, but didn't keep momentum on pop radio, with their follow-up "Wild And Crazy Love" stopping two notches short of the top-40. With a couple of personnel changes, the Mary Jane Girls contributed a cover of the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons classic "Walk Like A Man" to the soundtrack to the Blake Edwards movie A Fine Mess, which starred Ted Danson and Howie Mandel (how 80s can you get?). Like many of the soundtrack fare released by R&B artists in the decade, this cover whitewashed the Rick James sound right off and sounded like any of the interchangable comedy movie hits of the 80s, with just the disjointed keyboard chords suggesting a Rick James approximation...


Their cover of "Walk Like A Man", like their last hit, stalled right under the top-40, peaking at #41 in August of 1986. However, this was relatively shunned by R&B radio, peaking at #91.

The group didn't last for another record; McDuffie left for a solo career, and the most notable other member was Yvette Marine, who sued Paula Abdul claiming she provided more than just "guide vocals" on Abdul's Forever Your Girl album (she lost).

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Songoftheday 12/29/14 - Don't you believe that I want you I need you here in my arms, although you won't have to worry I'll spend each day in your charms...


"Love Zone" - Billy Ocean
from the album Love Zone (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #10 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's Song of the Day comes from Caribbean-born singer Billy Ocean, whose 1986 Love Zone album had already churned out two big hits with "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going" and "There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)". The third single from the set, the title track from the album, was a quiet storm nugget written by Ocean with his producers Barry Eastmond and Wayne Braithwaite (just like "There'll Be Sad Songs"), and was more moody that his previous hits...


"Love Zone" became Billy's sixth top-10 pop hit in America in September of 1986. The record of course did even better on R&B stations, topping the "Black Singles" chart, and also reached #5 on the Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart in Billboard magazine. Internationally the record was less successful (probably due to its softer R&B sound), reaching the top-20 in Canada, and top-40 in New Zealand, but stopping at #49 in the UK. But out of his songs from the album this one probably ages the best...

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Brit Sweep: December 28, 2014...


Hey gang, the weekend's at a close, so it's time to check out the songs making their debut on the top-100 official singles chart in Britain this week, as Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars climb back up to #1 for a second non-consecutive week with "Uptown Funk"...

The post-Christmas week (the UK considers the week before the 25th its coveted "Christmas week") is expectedly slow, with only one song making its debut in the top half of the chart. And the song, "Heroes (We Could Be)" from Swedish DJ Alesso with singer Tove Lo, is an established hit around the world already (it's top-40 in the U.S.). The single enters at #6, making Alessandro Lindlad's third top-10 hit; he went to #1 with Calvin Harris with "Under Control" in 2013...


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Album Sweep: January 3, 2015....


I'm ready to run through this week's "album sweep", sampling the records making their debut on Billboard magazine's Album Sales chart this week. As always, I've included links to buy the new sets, along with some of the artists' other major work, but if you can, stop by an indie record store. It'll do you good!

The top-selling album of the week for the sixth non-consecutive week is 1989 from Taylor Swift, who sold over 331,000 copies in its eight week out...

The top newbie is the third album from Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint, which moved almost 200,000 in its first week on sale. Her first two releases, Pink Friday and Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded both went to #1...



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Songoftheday 12/28/14 - It was way past midnight and she still couldn't fall asleep, this night the dream was leaving she tried so hard to keep...


"Captain Of Her Heart" - Double
from the album Blue (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #16 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9

Today's Song of the Day is by the Swiss jazz-pop act Double, who came together in the early 80s in Zurich under singer/guitarist Kurt Waloo and keyboardist/drummer Felix Haug. They released their first EP in 1983, but it wasn't until their sophomore effort Blue that they landed their first hit. "Captain Of Her Heart", written by the duo, was an ultra-sophisticated slice of cool pop music with a saxophone touch (from member Christian Ostermeier) that sounded perfect in the swankiest restaurant in town...


"Captain Of Her Heart" became Double's first and only hit in America in September of 1986, while climbing all the way to #4 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. Internationally, the song was an even bigger success, reaching the top-10 in Canada, England, Italy, France, and Germany. However, that would be it, save a minor hit in England from their next album, "Devils Ball" (UK #71), that featured Herb Alpert. The group split up shortly after, with Maloo persuing a solo career. Felix passed away in 2004 from a heart attack. But their shining moment remains one of the classiest "one-hit wonders" of the rock era.

And also, I bought this back in my Chicago days on vinyl, which was pressed in electric blue, which is awesome.

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dance Sweep: January 3, 2015...


I'm ready to wrap up this week's "chart sweeps" of the singles charts in Billboard magazine with the latest dance jams on the radio and in the clubs..

On the DJ-polled Dance Club Play chart, the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin lands yet another #1 hit as her cover of Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" climbs to the top...

Beyonce claims the top debut of the week at #38 with the mixes of her song "7/11"...


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Country Sweep: January 3, 2015...


Part four of today's "chart sweeps" is up with the latest songs on country radio as monitored by Billboard magazine...

On their Country Airplay chart, Tim McGraw spends a second week at #1 with "Shotgun Rider"...

All three newbies on the chart at Christmas selections. First up at #55 is Kenny Chesney with "Christmas In Blue Chair Bay", my "Country Pick of the Week". His current radio single "Til It's Gone" holds at #3...


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Soul Sweep: January 3, 2015...






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

On the main R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, ILOVEMAKONNEN and Drake spend a third non-consecutive week at #1 with "Tuesday"...

The top new entry at #42 marks the return of rapper Ludacris with "Good Lovin'" featuring Miguel. He has previously topped this chart twice, with "Money Maker" and "Stand Up"...(there's no official audio clip, so boo! to that)...

Raheem DeVaughn comes in at #49 with "Queen". The song moves up to #12 on the Adult R&B chart as well..


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Rock Sweep: January 3, 2015...


Round two of this week's "chart sweeps" is up, checking out the songs making the various radio and club charts in Billboard magazine. This time out it's the newest tracks on rock radio....

On the main Rock Airplay list, The Foo Fighters remain at #1 for a ninth week with "Something From Nothing"...

Rocketing in at #14 is indie rock band Modest Mouse with "Lampshades On Fire", my "Rock Pick of the Week".  It's from their upcoming album Strangers To Ourselves, their first since 2007.


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Pop Sweep: January 3, 2015...


Hey gang, it's time to roll out my five-part "chart sweeps", checking out the songs making their debut on the various charts in Billboard magazine. As usual, I'll start out on the pop side of things, then later in the day sample the latest tunes on rock, R&B, country, and dance radio.....

On the "big" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, which combines tallies of radio airplay of all formats, internet streaming (like Spotify and YouTube), and sales (like iTunes and Amazon), Taylor Swift holds on to #1 for a sixth week (her personal best) with "Blank Space"...

Out of the eleven songs debuting on the Hot 100 this week, six of them come from the singing competition TV show The Voice, which had its finale on the 16th of December. All four of the final contestants are represented, and two even made the top-40. But it wasn't the winner of the season who got the top nod on the chart - it was runner-up Matt McAndrew by a mile. The singer/guitarist from Long Beach Island, New Jersey comes in way up at #14 with his "original finale" song, "Wasted Love". The song was co-written by Canadian singer/songwriter/fave of mine Chantal Kreviasuk, and sold over 200,000 copies in its first week, landing at #5 on the Digital Songs chart (the most of any Voice finalist for a week)...


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Songoftheday 12/27/14 - You take my breath away and love thinks it's here to stay...


"Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)" - Glass Tiger
from the album Thin Red Line (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14

Today's Song of the Day is by the Canadian rock band Glass Tiger, who came together as "Tokyo" in the early 80s, they changed their name and released their debut album in 1986. Produced by Jim Vallance, who was Bryan Adams' writing collaborator for years, helped them land the rock star as a backing vocalist for their first single, "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)". A synth-heavy midtempo record with a brass section, the song came at the right time between Adams' own projects for that type of sound to be new and familiar at the same time, and despite it lyrically being a breakup song from the perspective of the dumped, the punchy production hides that pretty well...


"Don't Forget Me" became the band's first top-10 pop hit in America in October of 1986. The record also climbed both the Mainstream Rock (#17) and Adult Contemporary (#30) radio charts in Billboard magazine. Internationally, besides topping the chart in their home country for a couple of weeks, the single was a top-40 hit in England, Australia, and Germany. Also, the song won "Single of the Year" at the Juno Awards (Canada's Grammys)...

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Friday, December 26, 2014

twostepcubchart's Best of 2014: Part Seven - #40 to #31...






We've made it to the top forty on my recap of the songs racking up the most points on my weekly chart for 2014. You can catch up with the other installments (plus my Xmas "bubbling under" bonus 25) by clicking here...

#40 - "Play It Again" - Luke Bryan
          from the album Crash My Party (2013)
          twostepcubchart peak: #2 (two weeks)
          weeks on the chart: 20


Country A-lister Luke Bryan, who also appeared here this year at #51 with "Roller Coaster", had the #60 song of last year with "That's My Kind Of Night", and #82 with "Crash My Party". This time he "crashes" the top-40 with the top country song on my recap this year, "Play It Again"...

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twostepcub's music chart for December 26, 2014...






Friday is finally here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the week. This week (officially the start of my "2015 chart year") Sam Smith holds at #1 for a third week, while Scotsman Paolo Nutini (pictured above) leaps into my top 10. Former big hits from Clean Bandit and Blake Shelton drop off my chart, while songs by Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars, Meghan Trainor, and Brett Eldredge make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). Happy Boxing Day!

This Week               Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. I'm Not The Only One - Sam Smith (1)
2. Take Me To Church - Hozier (2)
3. Something From Nothing - Foo Fighters (3)
4. Don't - Ed Sheeran (4)
5. Animals - Maroon 5 (5)
6. Let Me Down Easy - Paolo Nutini (11)
7. Blame - Calvin Harris f/John Newman (7)
8. Heroes (We Could Be) - Alesso f/Tove Lo (12)
9. All About That Bass - Meghan Trainor (6)
10. Budapest - George Ezra (14)
11. Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran (21)
12. Stolen Dance - Milky Chance (8)
13. Shake It Off - Taylor Swift (9)
14. Habits (Stay High) - Tove Lo (10)
15. Flaws - Bastille (15)
16. Wrapped Up - Olly Murs f/Travie McCoy (18)
17. Centuries - Fall Out Boy (19)
18. Jealous - Nick Jonas (29)
19. Stay With Me - Sam Smith (17)
20. Try - Colbie Caillat (20)
21. Ghost - Ella Henderson (23)
22. Riptide - Vance Joy (16)
23. Left Hand Free - alt-J (13)
24. I Lived - OneRepublic (34)
25. Dangerous - David Guetta f/Sam Martin (35)
26. Somewhere In My Car - Keith Urban (22)
27. Faded - Zhu (32)
28. Lips Are Movin' - Meghan Trainor (68)
29. Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson f/Bruno Mars (71)
30. Dangerous - Big Data f/Joywave (28)
31. Call My Name - Avery Sunshine (41)
32. Prayer In C (Robin Schulz Mix) - Lilly Wood & The Prick (36)
33. In Your Arms - Nico & Vinz (33)
34. Waves (Robin Schulz Mix) - Mr. Probz (38)
35. Close Your Eyes - Parmalee (40)
36. Secrets - Mary Lambert (24)
37. Day Drinking - Little Big Town (27)
38. Keep It Movin' - Aristofreeks f/Kathy Sledge (42)
39. Elevation - Erasure (25)
40. Hustlin' - Vassy, Crazibiza & Dave Aude (30)
41. Something In The Water - Carrie Underwood (45)
42. Girl In A Country Song - Maddie & Tae (46)
43. Love Come Home - Kristine W. (47)
44. Cool Kids - Echosmith (26)
45. Chandelier - Sia (37)
46. These Days - Take That (61)
47. Til It's Gone - Kenny Chesney (53)
48. Blank Space - Taylor Swift (58)
49. From Eden - Hozier (57)
50. Everybody Be Somebody 2014 - Ruffneck f/Yavahn (50)
51. What's Best For You - Trey Songz (43)
52. Shotgun Rider - Tim McGraw (52)
53. Perfect Storm - Brad Paisley (59)
54. Animals - Nabiha (69)
55. Look At You - Big & Rich (55)
56. I Bet My Life - Imagine Dragons (64)
57. Talladega - Eric Church (62)
58. Bang Bang - Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj (44)
59. Make You Better - The Decemberists (74)
60. Afterlife - Ingrid Michaelson (70)
61. Superheroes - The Script (31)
62. Feelin' It - Scotty McCreery (67)
63. Cadillac Cadillac - Train (63)
64. Leave The Night On - Sam Hunt (54)
65. Lionhearted - Porter Robinson f/Urban Cone (65)
66. Like A Cowboy - Randy Houser (81)
67. Figure It Out - Royal Blood (72)
68. One Life - Chris Willis & Joachim Gerraud (51)
69. Do You - Spoon (39)
70. Sunshine & Whiskey - Frankie Ballard (48)
71. Headphones - Matt Nathanson f/Lolo (73)
72. Wrong Side Of Heaven - Five Finger Death Punch (76)
73. Do They Know It's Christmas 2014 - Band Aid 30 (85)
74. Take It On Back - Chase Bryant (78)
75. Am I Wrong - Nico & Vinz (75)
76. Cigarette Dreams - Cage The Elephant (86)
77. Too Cool To Dance - Eden XO (DEBUT)
78. It's Your World - Jennifer Hudson f/R. Kelly (90)
79. Shut Up And Dance - Walk The Moon (83)
80. Good Kisser - Usher (60)
81. Mean To Me - Brett Eldredge (99)
82. Nobody - Kem (92)
83. Love Me Harder - Ariana Grande f/The Weeknd (95)
84. Body Pop - Ranny f/Jipsta (84)
85. Sun Daze - Florida Georgia Line (89)
86. Rolling In The Deep - Aretha Franklin (96)
87. Boom Clap - Charli XCX (77)
88. Homegrown Honey - Darius Rucker (88)
89. Every Heartbeat 2014 - Amy Grant (DEBUT)
90. I See You - Luke Bryan (94)
91. Take It All The Way - Todd Terry & Tony Moran (91)
92. Make Me Wanna - Thomas Rhett (DEBUT)
93. R U Mine - Arctic Monkeys (DEBUT)
94. Like I Can - Sam Smith (98)
95. Let's Be Still - The Head & The Heart (DEBUT)
96. Rude - Magic! (82)
97. Big Fun - D.O.N.S. f/Terri B! (DEBUT)
98. When We Were Young - Dillon Francis + Sultan & Ned Shepard f/The Chain Gang of 1974 (DEBUT)
99. Diamonds - Josef Salvat (DEBUT)
100. You Got It All - Union J (DEBUT)

There are nine songs making their debut on my chart this week (highlighted in blue), and if you click on any of them you'll connect to their official website for more info, tour dates, music, pictures, and more. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 12/26/14 - We thought about someone else but neither one took the bait, we thought about breaking up but now we know it's much too late...


Huey Lewis & The News - "Stuck With You"
from the album Fore! (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's Song of the Day comes from the Bay Area bar-band turned pop superstars Huey Lewis & The News, who after selling albums by the truckload of their third album Sports, with five top-40 pop hits, landed their first #1 in America with "The Power Of Love" from the movie Back To The Future. With their next album, they actually regressed back into safe "adult-pop" territory with their fourth album, which even has the dad-friendly pun name of Fore!. The first single, "Stuck With You", is a strummy sing-a-long that sonically placed it among the ilk of the mid-80s (like "We Built This City" and "Invisible Touch"), but Lewis and the News never pretended to be anything but clean-cut rockers you can bring home to mom anyway, and their utter commitment to the song turns that into an asset. And like the new pop icons of this era like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, they knew their way around a big-budget video...


"Stuck With You" became the band's second #1 pop hit in the U.S. in September of 1986. The single also topped the Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") and peaked at #2 on the Mainstream Rock radio charts in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the record went to #1 in Canada, #2 in Australia and New Zealand, and top-20 in the UK and Ireland.

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

twostepcubchart's Best of 2014: Part Six and a Half - the ones that almost made it....






I've been counting down my top 100 tunes from the year on my weekly personal music chart, and as a bonus, here's the songs that "bubbled under" (in Billboard's terms) my list; the also-rans, though equally as worthy...

#125 - "Really Don't Care" - Demi Lovato featuring Cher Lloyd
          twostepcubchart peak: #10 (two weeks)
          weeks on the chart: 11


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Ernie's Jinglemix 2014....



Here's the playlist of my annual Christmas CD I do instead of handing out cards. Have an awesome one.

1. Must Be Christmas - Band Of Merrymakers
2. Sleigh Ride - Human Nature featuring Robin Meade
3. Driving Home For Christmas - Chris Rea
4. Put One Foot In Front Of The Other - Mickey Rooney & Keenan Wynn
5. Santa Tell Me - Ariana Grande
6. Text Me Merry Christmas - Straight No Chaser featuring Kristen Bell
7. At Christmas - Sara Evans
8. Wrapped In Red - Kelly Clarkson
9. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer - Temptations
10. Baby It's Cold Outside - Idina Menzel & Michael Buble
11. I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas - Jogi Jorgensen
12. Blame It On The Mistletoe - Kendall Schmidt
13. Hairy Christmas - Home Free
14. Santa Claus Looks Just Like Daddy - Art Mooney & His Orchestra
15. I'll Be Home - Meghan Trainor
16. Christmas Comin' Round Again - Scotty McCreery
17. Night Before Christmas - Jim Brickman featuring John Oates (sorry just a teaser clip boo!)
18. Lullay Lullay (Coventry Carol) - Annie Lennox
19. Petit Papa Noel - Mary J Blige
20. You Don't Have To Be A Santa - The Mills Brothers
21. Do They Know It's Christmas 2014 - Band Aid 30
22. Don't Save It All For Christmas Day - Matt Zarley
23. That's Christmas To Me - Pentatonix
24. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Sam Smith

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

twostepcubchart's Best of 2014: Part Six - #50 to #41....


I've reached the halfway mark on my recap of the top 100 tunes on my weekly personal music chart for 2014. You can catch up with the first five installments by clicking here...

#50 - "Talk Dirty" - Jason Derulo featuring 2 Chainz
         from the album Talk Dirty (2014)
         twostepcubchart peak: #10 (one week)
         weeks on the chart (in 2014): 20


Originally on my chart as a minor hit last year when the song was a European and Australian hit, the stripper-friendly jam finally caught on in America as the biggest single from his Talk Dirty album. Also, his first hit to have a guest rapper on it.

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Aussie Sweep: December 24, 2014...


Since tomorrow is Christmas, let's check out the songs making the official singles chart in Australia a day early, shall we? Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars spend a second week on top with "Uptown Funk"...

Singer Reigan (Derry), from the Perth suburb of Maida Vale in western Australia, placed fourth on the most recent season of The X Factor Australia, and her first post-season single "All Of The Pieces" enters at #33. When she was a finalist, her cover of Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" reached #20...


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German Sweep: December 24, 2014...


Here's the top ten hits in Germany, according to their official singles chart, as David Guetta's "Dangerous" climbs back to #1 for a third non-consecutive week...

1. "Dangerous" - David Guetta featuring Sam Martin (3)
2. "Do They Know It's Christmas 2014 (Deutsche Version)" - Band Aid 30 (1)
3. "Walk" - Kwabs (4)
4. "The Hanging Tree" - James Newton Howard featuring Jennifer Lawrence (2)
5. "Sun Goes Down" - Robin Schulz featuring Jasmine Thompson (5)
6. "I'm An Albatraoz" - AronChupa (7)
7. "G.D.F.R." - Flo Rida featuring Sage The Gemini (DEBUT)
8. "All About That Bass" - Meghan Trainor (6)
9. "Auf Anderen Wegen" - Andreas Bourani (8)
10. "Fade Out Lines" - The Avener (9)

 American rapper Flo Rida basically remakes the DJ Snake hit "Turn Down For What" as "G.D.F.R.", as in "Goin' Down For Real", at #7, featuring Sage the Gemini. It's his twelfth time in the German top-ten; he topped the chart back in 2011 with "Good Feeling"...




Songoftheday 12/24/14 - Standing in the shadows calling out his name, waiting for a lover who wants to play my game...


Klymaxx - "Man Size Love"
from the albums Running Scared (Original Soundtrack) and Klymaxx (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #15 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 8

Today's Song of the Day comes from the Los Angeles all-female R&B band Klymaxx, who broke through big on pop radio at the end of 1985 with their ballad "I Miss You".  Their next move was a contribution to the soundtrack to the Billy Crystal/Gregory Hines buddy-cop movie Running Scared. "Man Size Love", written and produced by Rod Temperton (the former leader of the disco group Heatwave who contributed to Michael Jackson's Thriller album), the pure-pop confection sounds like a comedy movie song even without knowing it....


"Man Size Love" became Klymaxx's second top-40 pop hit in September of 1986, while rising to #18 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart. On the R&B chart, though, they missed the top-40 at #43, a sign their sound had strayed way far from their soulful roots. Internationally, the record was a minor hit in Canada (#55) and Britain (#86).

Up next on Friday: the sharp-dressed men of pop are adhesive.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

twostepcubchart's Best of 2014: Part Five - #60 to #51...


It's time for the fifth installment of my year-end list of the biggest songs on my personal weekly chart in 2014. You can catch up on parts one through four by clicking here...

#60 - "Superheroes" - The Script
         from the album No Sound Without Silence (2014)
         twostepcubchart peak: #12 (two weeks)
         weeks on the chart:  18 (so far in 2014 - still charting)


The Irish pop/rock band, who had my top song of 2010 with "Breakeven", came back for their fourth album after lead singer Danny O'Donoghue's stint as the "Adam Levine" on the British version of The Voice with this anthemic fist-raiser.

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French Sweep: December 23, 2014...


Here's the top ten singles in France according to their official music chart, as David Guetta's "Dangerous" spends a fifth week at #1...

1. "Dangerous" - David Guetta featuring Sam Martin (1)
2. "Uptown Funk" - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars (2)
3. "Diamonds" - Josef Salvat (5)
4. "Jungle" - Emma Louise (4)
5. "Chandelier" - Sia (8)
6. "Andalouse" - Kendji Girac (6)
7. "Prayer In C" - Lilly Wood & The Prick (10)
8. "Fade Out Lines" - The Avener (7)
9. "Take Me To Church" - Hozier (DEBUT)
10. "Le Coup Du Patron" - Dosseh (DEBUT)

Irish alt-rock singer/songwriter Hozier finally crosses over to these shores with his worldwide smash "Take Me To Church" at #9...


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Songoftheday 12/23/14 - Can you ride the rhythm of this human wave? caught up in the music and the space you save...


Device - "Hanging On A Heart Attack"
from the album 22B3 (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #35 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 4

Today's Song of the Day is by the rock trio Device, fronted by Holly Knight, one of the most sought-after "song doctor" songwriters in pop music in the 80s. Originally a keyboardist in the group Spider, she had a top-40 hit with them in 1980 with "New Romance (It's A Mystery)". Leaving that band to become a full-time songwriter, she churned out hit after hit, including Pat Benatar's "Love Is A Battlefield", Scandal's "The Warrior", Heart's "Never", and Rod Stewart's "Love Touch". Those last two she wrote with guitarist Gene Black, who she formed a new group with in 1985 called Device. With lead singer Paul Engemann on board, they released their debut album 22B3 in 1986. The first single from the project, "Hanging On A Heart Attack", was co-written by Knight with producer and long-time collaborator Mike Chapman...


While "Hanging On A Heart Attack" made it into the top 40 on the pop chart in America in August of 1986, Holly's clout didn't extend as much to raise the song as high as some of her other compositions. The 12" single did make it to #26 on the Dance Club Play chart in Billboard magazine.

After a second single, "Who Says", that stalled down at #79 on the Hot 100, Device called it a day. Knight would go on to work solo, going to #59 with "Heart Don't Fail Me Now" in 1988. Meanwhile, Engemann joined the new-wave group Animotion, and had even bigger success, scoring a top-ten pop hit with "Room To Move".

Fun fact: Paul's sister Shawn is television interviewer Larry King's seventh and current wife.

Up tomorrow: a band of Angelino girls need their romance supersized.

Monday, December 22, 2014

twostepcubchart's Best of 2014: Part Four - #70 to #61...


I'm back with part four of my recap of the biggest songs on my personal music chart from this year. You can catch up with the first three installments by clicking here...

#70 - "It's About Time" - Young The Giant
         from the album Mind Over Matter (2014)
         twostepcubchart peak: #9 (one week)
         weeks on the chart: 16


Alt-rockers from California Young The Giant took four years between their debut and their sophomore album, and their sound got a bit harder, especially on this rager that almost topped the Modern Rock chart.

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Robbed hit of the week 12/22/14 - Queen's "A Kind Of Magic"...


Queen - "A Kind Of Magic"
from the album A Kind Of Magic (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #42

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the British rock group Queen, who was last seen climbing the top-40 in 1984 with their "Radio Gaga" single, and almost nicked that level with the follow-up "I Want To Break Free". After their showstopping performance at the Live Aid charity concert, the band released their twelfth studio album A Kind Of Magic. Partly a soundtrack of sorts to the sci-fi movie Highlander, a song from another film, Iron Eagle, was the first single released from the project but even though "One Vision" was an anthemic rock classic, it stalled out at #61. Next they released the album's title track, which was featured in the Highlander movie. Written by band drummer Roger Taylor, the song's title came from one of Christopher Lambert's lines in the film...



While "A Kind Of Magic" was a worldwide success, peaking at #3 in the UK, #5 in France, and #6 in Germany, the single stopped two notches short of the top-40 in American at #42 in August of 1986.

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Songoftheday 12/22/14 - There's one born every minute and you're looking at him...


Mike + The Mechanics - "Taken In"
from the album Mike + The Mechanics (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #32 (four weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 5

Today's Song of the Day is by Mike + The Mechanics, a side project of prog-rock band Genesis' guitarist Mike Rutherford. With a more pop-leaning sound featuring singers Paul Young (not the "Everytime You Go Away" guy) and Paul Carrack (of Squeeze), they had already scored a pair of top ten pop hits in America with "Silent Running" and "All I Need Is A Miracle". The third single released from their debut album was the easy-listening-style ballad "Taken In", written by Rutherford with producer Christopher Neil. The video for the song continued the storyline from their "All I Need Is A Miracle" clip...



"Taken In" became the band's third top-40 pop hit in America in August of 1986, while ascending to #7 on the adult contemporary radio chart in Billboard magazine. But besides nicking the top-40 in Canada at #39, the single didn't succeed anywhere else in the world.

Up tomorrow:  a successful song doctor has a coronary with her own band.