Tuesday, March 31, 2015

French Sweep: March 31, 2015...


Here's the top ten hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as Jamaican reggae-pop artist OMI leaps from #6 to #1 with the Felix Jaehn remix of "Cheerleader"...

1. "Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)" - OMI (6)
2. "Uptown Funk!" - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars (2)
3. "Avenir" - Louane (1)
4. "Are You With Me" - Lost Frequencies (4)
5. "Love Me Like You Do" - Ellie Goulding (5)
6. "Take Me To Church" - Hozier (9)
7. "Earned It" - The Weeknd (3)
8. "Christine" - Christine and the Queens (7)
9. "FourFiveSeconds" - Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney (8)
10. "Conmigo" - Kendji Girac (DEBUT)

French singer and winner of that country's version of The Voice, Kendji Girac, lands his second top-10 hit with "Commigo" ("With Me"). He previously hit #3 with "Andalouse"...








Songoftheday 3/31/15 - And even though I know how very far apart we are, it helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star...


"Somewhere Out There" - Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
from the album An American Tail (Original Soundtrack) (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's Song of the Day was a duet from the animated movie An American Tail, which attempted to put Amblin Entertainment (Steven Spielberg's company) on the map aside Disney and the like in 1986. Telling the story of the Jewish migration to America to escape persecution in Russia and Germany but told in the eyes of mice, it was more Yentl then Mickey. For the theme song, rock vocalist Linda Ronstadt was enlisted. Linda had been toning down her sound in the eighties, though her last top-40 pop hit was the remake of "I Knew You When" in 1983. She was paired up with soul/pop singer James Ingram, who had been successful entirely up to that point with collaborations on the pop chart, even with a rare "triad" hit in 1984 with "What About Me?" with Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes. The song they hooked up on, "Somewhere Out There", was written by legendary pop songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil along with film composer James Horner, and produced by Peter Asher, who handled most of Linda's classic recordings....


"Somewhere Out There" went all the way to the runner-up position on the American pop chart in March of 1987, while making it to #4 on the adult contemporary (or "easy listening" radio chart in Billboard magazine. Internationally the record climbed to #2 in Canada and #8 in the UK. It was Linda's biggest hit in over a decade (since 1975's #1 "You're No Good"). The record won Song of the Year and Best Movie/TV song at the Grammys, though it lost the Oscar to Top Gun's "Take My Breath Away".

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Robbed hit of the week 3/30/15 - The Human League's "I Need Your Loving"...


"I Need Your Loving" - The Human League
from the album Crash (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #44

This week's "robbed hit" is by the British new wave band the Human League, who got shipped to Minneapolis for the sonic overhaul with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (formerly of the Time), who rewarded them with a #1 pop hit in America with "Human". The thing is, with their control of the album, Crash sounded nothing like the group's previous work, even in a jarring way, and with second single "I Need Your Loving" attempting to make them over into Janet Jackson, the funk had a bit of trouble getting through...


Even though "I Need Your Loving" was a trainwreck that even the band disavows, they nearly missed the pop top-40 in America on the momentum of "Human" in January of 1987. The single also crossed over to the R&B charts at #52. Internationally, the record was a minor hit in England (#72) and Canada (#67).


Album Sweep: April 4, 2015 - Part Two...


Part Two of this week's "album sweep" is here, sampling the records making their debut on the Top Album Sales chart in Billboard magazine. You can check out part one by clicking here, and as before I've included highlighted links to buy any of the new sets when possible...

Pastor Charles Jenkins and his Fellowship Chicago rise to #43 with Any Given Sunday...


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Songoftheday 3/30/15 - All this time I couldnt shake your memory, and I never knew the sweetest love was the first...


"Jimmy Lee" - Aretha Franklin
from the album Aretha (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak; #28 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 4

Today's Song of the Day comes from the Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who had closed out 1986 with a remake of the Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash" that made the top-40. The second single from the Aretha album also hearkened back to the 60s with the girl-group sounding track "Jimmy Lee". Co-written by her producer Narada Michael Walden, it had a sterile soul groove that only Aretha could overcome with her booming voice making the track a winner...


"Jimmy Lee" became the second top-40 pop hit from Aretha in February of 1987. The record did best on R&B radio, peaking at #2 on that chart, while also crossing over to both the adult contemporary (#17) and dance club play (#19) lists in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the record stopped just short of the top-40 in England at #46, and was a minor hit in Canada #64.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Brit Sweep: March 29, 2015...


The weekend is coming to a close, and it's time to check out the songs making their debut on the just-released official singles chart in Britain this week...

There's a new #1 song in the UK as Jess Glynne from London leads with "Hold My Hand", my "Brit Pick of the Week". It's her first solo #1; she topped the chart as a featured singer on two songs, "Rather Be" by Clean Bandit and "My Love" from Route 94...


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Album Sweep: April 4, 2015 - Part One...


I'm ready to start the first half of this week's "album sweep", sampling the records making their debut on Billboard magazine's Top Album Sales chart. As usual, I've included highlighted links to buy any of the new sets, as well as some of the artists' other major work.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar claims the #1 position with his third studio album To Pimp A Butterfly. The record sold over 300,000 copies in its first week. It's his first to top the sales chart...




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Songoftheday 3/29/15 - The place where I come from is a small town, they think so small they use small words...


"Big Time" - Peter Gabriel
from the album So (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #8 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's Song of the Day comes from progressive rock veteran Peter Gabriel, who channeled the funk on his fourth album So and nabbed a #1 pop hit with "Sledgehammer" and a top-40 follow-up with "In Your Eyes". For the third single from the album Gabriel released "Big Time", which amped the groove as well as the visuals, using some of the same camera tricks used in his iconic "Sledgehammer" video with even more, and this over the top show of megalomania is even done better...


"Big Time" became Peter's second top ten pop hit in March of 1987, while scaling to #3 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart. Internationally, the single went top-20 in his native Britain, as well as in Belgium, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand. It remains my favorite song of his.

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dance Sweep: April 4, 2015...


I'm ready to wrap up this week's "chart sweeps" checking out the songs making their debut on the various charts in Billboard magazine, and I'll close things out with the newest dance jams in the clubs and on the radio...

On the DJ-polled Dance Club Play chart, Sia has her second #1 hit from her 1000 Forms Of Fear album with "Elastic Heart"...

Russo-German DJ/producer Zedd claims the top new entry at #35 with "I Want You To Know" featuring Selena Gomez. The track is already in the top 10 of the airplay chart...


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Country Sweep: April 4, 2015...


Part four of this week's "chart sweeps" has the latest hits on country radio as monitored by Billboard magazine...

On their Country Airplay chart, Cole Swindell nabs his second consecutive #1 hit with "Ain't Worth The Whiskey"...

Jason Aldean blasts in at #54 with the third radio single from his Old Boots, New Dirt album, "Tonight Looks Good On You". The first two, "Burnin' It Down" and "Just Gettin' Started", went all the way to #1...


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Soul Sweep: April 4, 2015...


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

On their main R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, Nicki Minaj spreads a third week at #1 with "Truffle Butter"...

The first song from the hit musical drama Empire to reach an airplay chart lands at #47 with "Good Enough" featuring star (and "out" singer) Jussie Smollett. It's my "Soul Pick of the Week", and hopefully has legs even when the show is between seasons...


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Rock Sweep: April 4, 2015...


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

On their aggregate Rock Airplay chart, Walk The Moon's "Shut Up and Dance" is on top for a sixth week...

Rocketing in at #15 is the biggest thing from Iceland since Bjork, indie-rock band Of Monsters and Men, with "Crystals", my "Rock Pick of the Week". It's the first single from their upcoming sophomore album Beneath The Skin. Their debut spun off a pair of top-3 hits with "Mountain Sound" reaching #2...


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Pop Sweep: April 4, 2015...


It's time to kick off the first of today's "chart sweeps", checking out the songs making the latest radio, club, and sales charts in Billboard magazine. As usual, I'm gonna start on the pop side of the house, then later in the day bring out the latest in rock, R&B, country, and dance music....

On the "big" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, which includes tallies of sales (like iTunes and Amazon MP3), internet streaming (like Spotify and YouTube), and radio airplay from all formats, "Uptown Funk!" from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars spends a twelfth week at #1...

As rapper Kendrick Lamar's new release To Pimp A Butterfly is the top-selling album of the week, six of its tracks sell/stream/air enough this week to make the Hot 100. First at #61 is "King Kunta", the third "single" from the project...


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Songoftheday 3/28/15 - I met a fan dancer down in south side Birmingham, she was running from a fat man selling salvation In his hand...


"Jacob's Ladder" - Huey Lewis & The News
from the album Fore! (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (one week)

Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's Song of the Day comes from the pop/rock band Huey Lewis & The News, whose fourth album Fore! (see what they did there?) had churned out a #1 hit with "Stuck With You" and followed it up with the American Psycho fave "Hip To Be Square". Their third single got a little more serious with a song written by Virginian singer/songwriter Bruce Hornsby, who had just topped the pop chart with his own recording of his "The Way It Is". "Jacob's Ladder", named for the path to heaven dreamt by the titular character in the Old Testament, is a subtle dig at those wearing their faith on their sleeve and the fake-ass evangelicals that prey on them...


"Jacob's Ladder" became the second #1 hit from Fore! in March of 1987. The single also crossed over to both the Mainstream Rock (#10) and Adult Contemporary (#17) radio charts in Billboard magazine. Internationally, outside of Canada, where it peaked at #16, the song was only a minor hit, with the subject matter a little removed from the European perspective.

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Friday, March 27, 2015

twostepcub's music chart for March 27, 2015...






Friday is finally here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. Walk the Moon spend a second week at #1, while Maroon 5 (pictured above) leap into the top ten. Songs from the Foo Fighters, Pitbull/Ne-Yo, and Calvin Harris/Ellie Goulding make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red), while former big hits from the Foos along with Erasure, Alesso/Tove Lo, Eric Church, and Chase Bryant drop off my list.

This Week           Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Shut Up And Dance - Walk The Moon (1)
2. Uptown Funk! - Mark Ronson f/Bruno Mars (2)
3. Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran (3)
4. Lampshades On Fire - Modest Mouse (6)
5. Make Me Wanna - Thomas Rhett (5)
6. Sugar - Maroon 5 (11)
7. I Bet My Life - Imagine Dragons (8)
8. Cigarette Daydreams - Cage The Elephant (4)
9. Love Me Like You Do - Ellie Goulding (15)
10. Just Gettin' Started - Jason Aldean (12)
11. Mean To Me - Brett Eldredge (14)
12. Something New - Axwell & Ingrosso (17)
13. Ghost - Ella Henderson (9)
14. Nobody - Kem (18)
15. Lips Are Movin' - Meghan Trainor (10)
16. Call My Name - Avery Sunshine (16)
17. Take Me To Church - Hozier (13)
18. Living For Love - Madonna (20)
19. Time Of Our Lives - Pitbull f/Ne-Yo (39)
20. Outside - Calvin Harris f/Ellie Goulding (40)
21. Like A Cowboy - Randy Houser (7)
22. Right Now - Mary J. Blige (23)
23. Stolen Dance - Milky Chance (21)
24. Geronimo - Sheppard (26)
25. Style - Taylor Swift (37)
26. Budapest - George Ezra (22)
27. Lonely Tonight - Blake Shelton f/Ashley Monroe (27)
28. Wrong Club - Ting Tings (34)
29. Kansas City - The New Basement Tapes (29)
30. Lonely Eyes - Chris Young (35)
31. Blank Space - Taylor Swift (19)
32. Ain't Worth The Whiskey - Cole Swindell (42)
33. Centuries - Fall Out Boy (31)
34. Jealous - Nick Jonas (24)
35. Prayer In C (Robin Schulz Remix) - Lilly Wood & The Prick (36)
36. Drinking Class - Lee Brice (38)
37. Black Sun - Death Cab For Cutie (49)
38. Riptide - Vance Joy (33)
39. I'm Not The Only One - Sam Smith (28)
40. I'm Gonna Get You - Dave Aude f/Jessica Sutta (55)
41. Heartbeat Song - Kelly Clarkson (46)
42. Lay Me Down - Sam Smith (52)
43. Honey I'm Good - Andy Grammer (53)
44. All Of You - Betty Who (30)
45. Homegrown Honey - Darius Rucker (45)
46. From Eden - Hozier (32)
47. Make You Better - The Decemberists (25)
48. Homegrown - The Zac Brown Band (58)
49. Rollercoaster - Bleachers (57)
50. Say You Do - Dierks Bentley (60)
51. Congregation - Foo Fighters (85)
52. Take Your Time - Sam Hunt (67)
53. Elastic Heart - Sia (73)

54. Unholy - Wolfgang Gartner (54)
55. 7/11 - Beyonce (56)
56. Stay With Me - Sam Smith (51)
57. What We Ain't Got - Jake Owen (61)
58. Long Way Down - Robert Delong (78)
59. Young Blood - Bea Miller (69)
60. Go All Night - Gorgon City f/Jennifer Hudson (48)
61. Night Changes - One Direction (68)
62. Beg For It - Iggy Azalea f/MO (62)
63. I Lived - OneRepublic (41)
64. Move - Jenevieve X (64)
65. Don't Wanna Fight - Alabama Shakes (80)
66. A Guy Walks Into A Bar - Tyler Farr (75)
67. Dearly Departed - Shakey Graves (71)
68. What Kind Of Man - Florence + The Machine (83)
69. DJ Fav - Joe Bermudez f/Amanda Brigham (DEBUT)
70. FourFiveSeconds - Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney (75)
71. Waves (Robin Schulz Remix) - Mr. Probz (47)
72. Earned It - The Weeknd (82)
73. No Good In Goodbye - The Script (77)
74. Sun Daze - Florida Georgia Line (59)
75. Raise 'Em Up - Keith Urban f/Eric Church (84)
76. I See You - Luke Bryan (66)
77. Hold Back The River - James Bay (81)
78. Up - Olly Murs f/Demi Lovato (70)
79. Right Here, Right Now - Giorgio Moroder f/Kylie Minogue (DEBUT)
80. Dangerous - Big Data f/Joywave (76)
81. Face Everything And Rise - Papa Roach (86)
82. Smoke - A Thousand Horses (92)
83. Crazy - Erika Jayne f/Maino (95)
84. The Nights - Avicii (90)
85. Bright - Echosmith (100)
86. Mess Is Mine - Vance Joy (DEBUT)
87. Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf) - AWOLnation (97)
88. If You Let Me Go - Salt Ashes (DEBUT)
89. Little Red Wagon - Miranda Lambert (DEBUT)
90. King - Years & Years (DEBUT)
91. Apocalyptic - Halestorm (96)
92. When The Beat Drops Out - Marlon Roudette (94)
93. Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix) - OMI (93)
94. Bulletproof Picasso - Train (98)
95. Follow Me Down - The Pretty Reckless (DEBUT)
96. The Heart Wants What It Wants - Selena Gomez (72)
97. Really Love - D'Angelo & The Vanguard (RE-ENTRY)
98. Firestone - Kygo f/Conrad (DEBUT)
99. All I Feel Is You - Natalia Safran (DEBUT)
100. Truffle Butter - Nicki Minaj f/Drake & Lil' Wayne (DEBUT)

There are ten 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. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 3/27/15 - Sometimes you twist always insist that you know a way...


"Stay The Night" - Benjamin Orr 
from the album The Lace (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #24 (one week)

Weeks in the Top-40: 6

Today's Song of the Day is by the late Benjamin Orr, who was the bassist for the Boston new wave band the Cars since their start in the late 70s. While lead singer Ric Ocasek's ultra-cool presence and fashion sense dominated the public perception of the band, Orr actually sang lead on many of the band's classics, including their first hit "Just What I Needed" and their biggest hit "Drive". On a break after their first Greatest Hits set, both Ocasek and Orr released solo albums in 1986. On Orr's first, The Lace, the first single from the set, "Stay The Night", became his first solo hit single. Written with girlfriend Diane Page and produced by Mike Shipley, the song was a dreamier, softer version of the new wave sound that was hinted on with "Drive"...


"Stay The Night" became Orr's sole top-40 solo pop hit in February of 1987. The record was an even bigger hit on adult contemporary (or "easy listening") radio, topping out at #2 for a week, while also reaching the top-10 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in Billboard (#6). The single was a top-40 hit in Canada as well. Orr's follow-up single, "Too Hot To Stop", went to #25 on the rock radio list, but failed to make the Hot 100. Orr would reunite with the Cars for their album Door To Door later that year. He would pass on from pancreatic cancer in 2000.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Aussie Sweep: March 26, 2015...


I'm ready to head "Down Under" to check out the songs making their debut on the official singles chart in Australia this week, as Lunchmoney Lewis cashes in at #1 for the first time with "Bills"...

American pop/R&B singer/songwriter Jason Derulo returns with the highest debut of the week as his "Want To Want Me" comes in at #27. He's been really successful in this country, as all 18 of his official singles have made the top-40 here, topping the list three times with "In My Head", "Talk Dirty", and "Trumpets"...


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Songoftheday 3/26/15 - I count the falling tears they fall before my eyes, seems like a thousand years since we broke the ties...


"Nobody's Fool" - Cinderella
from the album Night Songs (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #13 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 8

Today's Song of the Day is by the heavy metal band Cinderella, who came together in Philadelphia under lead singer Tom Kiefer in the early 80s. After Jon Bon Jovi helped them score a record deal with his label Mercury/Polygram, the group released their debut album Night Songs in 1986. With a "glammed up" image belying grungy minor-chord metal material, their first single, "Shake Me", didn't really make a dent besides the "Cinderella"-inspired video showing on MTV spurring enough rock radio airplay to get it to #41 on the Mainstream Rock chart. However, they expanded on the former clip's theme with their next single, the power-ballad "Nobody's Fool". Written by Kiefer and produced by Andy Johns (who engineered the legendary albums from the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin), Tom's screech sold the pain and anger he was selling in the song...


"Nobody's Fool" became Cinderella's first pop hit, reaching the top-20 in February of 1987. Surprisingly, it did better there than on rock radio, stopping at #25 on the Mainstream Rock radio list in Billboard magazine. The record also was a top-40 hit in Canada at #35.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

German Sweep: March 25, 2015...


Here's the top ten hits in Germany according to their official singles chart, as "Love Me Like You Do" from Ellie Goulding remains at #1 for a fifth week...

1. "Love Me Like You Do" - Ellie Goulding (1)
2. "Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)" - OMI (2)
3. "FourFiveSeconds" - Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney (3)
4. "Firestone" - Kygo featuring Conrad (4)
5. "Are You With Me" - Lost Frequencies (DEBUT)
6. "Uptown Funk!" - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars (5)
7. "Wolke 4" - Philipp Dittberner and Marv (9)
8. "Wish You Were Mine" - Philip George (6)
9. "All About It" - Hoodie Allen featuring Ed Sheeran (DEBUT)
10. "Take Me To Church" - Hozier (7)

Lost Frequencies (aka Belgian DJ Felix De Laet) is in the top-5 in France with his breakthrough hit "Are You With Me". It now makes the German list at #5 (it already topped the chart in his homeland)...


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Songoftheday 3/25/15 - I was a game he would play, he brought the clouds to my day...


The Jets - "You Got It All"
from the album The Jets (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's Song of the Day comes from the Jets, the Samoan-American family act who came from Minnesota just at the time that area was hot with the like of Prince and the Time leading the way. They scored a top-3 pop single with "Crush On You", but then fell right below the top-40 with the follow-up, "Private Number". For their fourth single from the album, the siblings released "You Got It All", a midtempo love ballad written by Rupert Holmes, the "Pina Colada Song" guy. With sister Elizabeth on lead (who was 14 when this hit), the song sounded like a simple family-friendly pop classic from the start, though I'm not sure about the age difference with this guy in the video...


"You Got It All" became the band's second top-10 pop hit in March of 1987, while climbing all the way to #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart (replacing yesterday's SOTD "Ballerina Girl"). The single also was their biggest hit on the R&B chart, peaking at #2. Internationally, the record stopped just short of the top-10 at #11 in Canada.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

French Sweep: March 24, 2015...


Here's the top ten hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as Louane spends a second week at #1 with "Avenir"...

1. "Avenir" - Louane (1)
2. "Uptown Funk!" - Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars (2)
3. "Earned It" - The Weeknd (3)
4. "Are You With Me" - Lost Frequencies (6)
5. "Love Me Like You Do" - Ellie Goulding (8)
6. "Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Remix)" - OMI (DEBUT)
7. "Christine" - Christine and the Queens (4)
8. "FourFiveSeconds" - Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney (7)
9. "Take Me To Church" - Hozier (5)
10. "One Last Time" - Ariana Grande (DEBUT)

Jamaican reggae artist OMI takes his worldwide smash "OMI" to #6 in this country, courtesy of the remix by German DJ Felix Jaehn...


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Songoftheday 3/24/15 - Sometimes I've wondered if you'd ever come my way, now that I've finally found you this is where my heart will stay...


"Ballerina Girl" - Lionel Richie
from the album Dancing On The Ceiling (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #7 (one week)

Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day comes from "outrageously" popular singer/songwriter Lionel Richie, whose third solo album Dancing On The Ceiling had spun off a #1 hit with "Say You, Say Me", and two top-10 follow-ups in the title track and "Love Will Conquer All". The fourth single from the project was the gentle ballad "Ballerina Girl", written for his daughter Nicole while she was a sweet and innocent child, years away from the Hilton-adjacent tabloid fodder she'd grow up to be....


"Ballerina Girl" became the fourth top-ten pop hit from the Dancing On The Ceiling album in February of 1987. The single went all the way to #1 on the adult contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart in Billboard, and topped out at #17 on their R&B list. Internationally, the record was a top-20 success in England (#17) and France (#18), and a top-40 hit in the Netherlands.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Robbed hit of the week 3/23/15 - Jesse Johnson's "Crazay"...


"Crazay" - Jesse Johnson featuring Sly Stone
from the album Shockadelica (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #53

This week's "robbed hit" comes from funk guitarist Jesse Johnson, who came from Illinois up to Minneapolis to join the touring line-up of The Time (Prince handled almost all of the instrumental work on their albums), becoming the only musician in the band to be heard on their breakthrough Ice Cream Castles record. However, Johnson left shortly after, scoring a solo deal, and releasing his debut Jesse Johnson's Revue album in 1985. That set became one of the top-40 selling albums of 1985, and placed three singles in the R&B top-10, including the #3 "Can You Help Me?".  Two of those reached the pop chart, with first release "Be Your Man" stopping at #61.

The following year Johnson released Shockadelica, which would go on to sell over a million copies. The first single from the project, "Crazay", featuring funk/rock legend Sly Stone, who went from being a superstar in the 70s to being beaten by drug addiction during the next decade. "Crazay" brought him back to the chart for the first time since 1979's "Remember Who You Are" reached #38 on the R&B list...


While "Crazay" was a big R&B hit, rising to #2 on that chart, and made a splash in the clubs, peaking at #12, the single stalled on the Hot 100 at #53, although is stayed on the pop chart for four months. In 1988, Jesse released Every Shade Of Love, and took "Love Struck" to #78 on the Hot 100 and #4 on the R&B chart. In the 90's Johnson reunited with the Time for their Pandemonium album and top-10 "Jerk Out" single.


Songoftheday 3/23/15 - Tommy used to work on the docks, union's been on strike he's down on his luck, so tough...


"Livin' On A Prayer" - Bon Jovi
from the album Slippery When Wet (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (four weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's Song of the Day is by the New Jersey hair-rock kings, Bon Jovi, who made it to the big time with their third album Slippery When Wet, which scored the guys a #1 pop hit with "You Give Love A Bad Name" in the fall of 1986. But it was their second release from the album that would become the song people would remember them first for. "Livin' On A Prayer", written by Jon Bon Jovi along with band guitarist Richie Sambora and "song doctor" Desmond Child, mined the "everyday man" storylines like those of Springsteen and Cougar but added a slick faux-metal sheen produced by Bruce Fairbairn highlighted by the most memorable use of the talkbox in rock music since Peter Frampton...


"Livin' On A Prayer" went to #1 on Valentines' Day in 1987, spending a month on top of the American pop chart (eventually tying George Michael's "Faith" for most weeks at #1 that year). The record also topped the Mainstream Rock radio chart in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the single went to #1 in Canada and New Zealand, and top-10 in Britain, Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Spain (it stopped at #20 in Germany). Most recently, thanks to Billboard fekaka new chart rules, a "viral video" which had the song playing in the back allowed it to re-enter the top-40 in America at #25 in 2013.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Brit Sweep: March 22, 2015...


The first weekend in spring is coming to a close (um, with snow still on the ground), and I'm ready to check out the songs making their debut on the official singles chart in the UK this week, as Sam Smith and John Legend's "Red Nose Day" version of "Lay Me Down" is #1 for a second week...

The top debut of the week just misses the top ten as "So Freakin Tight" from Tough Love comes in at #11...


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Album Sweep: March 28, 2015...


It's time to kick off this week's "album sweep", sampling the records making their debut on the Top Album Sales chart in Billboard this week, which electronically tracks the vast majority of the sold albums in the United States. As always, I've included highlighted links to buy any of the new sets, along with some of the artists' other major work. But if you can, drop on by an independent record store. It'll do you (and the economy) good!

As opposed to the ridiculous sham the trade magazine has made of the old "Top 200 Albums" chart, which now includes now only singles sales but also internet streaming tallies (so basically they can call anything #1 at this point without contest), Madonna proves again to be the biggest pop star in the world as her thirteenth studio album Rebel Heart sold over 116,000 copies in its first week. It's now her ninth #1 seller and sixth in a row. Her first, Like A Virgin, topped the chart 30 freaking years ago...



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Songoftheday 3/22/15 - Awaiting the day that you're coming to stay, I hate to see you go away but you couldn't rest...


"Stop To Love" - Luther Vandross
from the album Give Me The Reason (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #15 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's Song of the Day comes from soul/pop crooner Luther Vandross, who had left the disco group Change for a solo career that had some pop success, including his 1985 top-40 hit "'Til My Baby Comes Home". However, he was also involved in a car accident that killed a protege' singer and friend of his. The next year Luther released his fifth solo album Give Me The Reason, led off by the title track which appeared in the movie Ruthless People. While it landed him a top-3 R&B hit, the single stopped down at #57 on the Hot 100. He has much better success with the bubbly second single "Stop To Love". Written by Vandross with arranger Nat Adderley, Jr., the synth-heavy track actually sounded more plucked from an 80s comedy film, and became his biggest pop hit up to that point...


"Stop To Love" danced into the pop top 20 in February of 1987, while becoming his second #1 R&B single after his solo debut "Never Too Much". The record also crossed over to both the adult contemporary (#7) and dance club play (#27) charts in Billboard. And while "Give Me The Reason" did reach the top-40 in Britain at #26, this went two notches higher on that chart.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dance Sweep: March 28, 2015...


I'm up to the last "chart sweep" of the day, checking out the songs making their debut on the various charts in Billboard magazine. I'll wrap things up with the latest dance jams in the club and on the radio...

On the DJ-polled Dance Club Play chart, remixing king Dave Aude' scores yet another #1 hit of his own with his remake of "I'm Gonna Get You" with former Pussycat Doll Jessica Sutta...

The top new entry and my "Dance Pick of the Week"  comes from Swedish Dj/producer Alesso with "Cool". Sampling Kylie Minogue's "Get Outta My Way", the track features vocals from Roy English...


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Country Sweep: March 28, 2015...


Part four of this week's "chart sweeps" has the latest hits on country radio as monitored by Billboard magazine...

On their Country Airplay chart,  Brett Eldredge scores his third consecutive #1 hit with "Mean To Me"...

Ashley Monroe was featured on Blake Shelton's "Lonely Tonight" which topped this chart two weeks ago. Now she's back on her own with "On To Something Good", my "Country Pick of the Week", at #59...


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Soul Sweep: March 28, 2015...


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

On their main R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, Nicki Minaj spends a second week at #1 with "Truffle Butter"...

Atlanta rap trio Migos have the top new entry at #43 with "One Time" from their upcoming debut album Y.R.N. The Album. They made the top 10 last year with "Fight Night"...


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Rock Sweep: March 28, 2015...


Round two of today's "chart sweeps" is up, checking out the newest hits on the Billboard charts, and this time out I've got the latest on rock radio...

On their main Rock Airplay chart, Walk The Moon's "Shut Up And Dance" spends a fifth week on top...

Rocketing in at #5 is British folk-rock band Mumford & Sons with "Believe", my "Rock Pick of the Week". It's from their upcoming Wilder Mind album. They went to #1 here in 2012 with "I Will Wait"...


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Pop Sweep: March 28, 2015...


I'm ready to kick off the first of today's five "chart sweeps", checking out the songs making their debut on the various charts in Billboard magazine this week. As usual, I'll start on the pop side of thing, then later in the day move on to the newest in rock, R&B, country, and dance music...

On the "big" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, which combines tallies from radio airplay from all formats, sales (like iTunes and Amazon-MP3), and internet streaming (on subscription services like Spotify or on-demand like YouTube), Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars claim the top spot for an eleventh week with "Uptown Funk!"...

Racing back on the chart at #31 is British folk-rock band Mumford & Sons with "Believe", the first single from their upcoming third album Wilder Mind. It becomes their third top-40 hit; they went to #12 in 2012 with "I Will Wait"...


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Songoftheday 3/21/15 - It never really mattered too much to me that you were just too darned old for me..


"Love You Down" - Ready For The World
from the album Long Time Coming (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #9 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's song of the day comes from the funk/soul band from Michigan, Ready For The World, who rode a Prince-esque groove to the top of the pop chart in 1985 with "Oh Sheila", as well as a top-40 follow-up in "Digital Display". The following year the group released their sophomore album Long Time Coming, and instead of trying a copycat of "Sheila", they released the seductive ballad "Love You Down". Written by lead singer Melvin Riley, the record went straight for the bedroom without any hesitation, taking Force MD's "Tender Love" and Janet Jackson's (future) "Come Back To Me" along for the ride on this "cougar" chase...


"Love You Down" became Ready For The World's third and so-far most recent top-40 pop hit, reaching the top ten in February of 1987. Like "Oh Sheila", the record also topped the R&B chart in Billboard magazine, while even nicking the Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart at #24. The song was also a minor hit in England, peaking at #60 on the British chart.

After another album in 1988 failed to put its top-10 R&B hit "My Girly" on the pop chart altogether, as did their 1991 single "Can He Do It (Lke This, Can He Do It Like That)" (#9 R&B), the group broke up with Riley persuing a solo career that didn't quite happen. The band reunited for the oldies touring circuit recently..

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Friday, March 20, 2015

twostepcub's music chart for March 20, 2015...


Friday is here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. Modern rock band Walk The Moon take over at #1 for the first time, while Modest Mouse (pictured above) leaps into the top ten. Former big hits from Ariana Grande/The Weeknd, Arctic Monkeys, James Newton Howard/Jennifer Lawrence, and Cazzette/Terri B! drop off my list, while songs from Sam Smith, Andy Grammer, and Dave Aude/Jessica Sutta make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). Happy Spring, Northerners!

This Week                 Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
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1. Shut Up And Dance - Walk The Moon (2)
2. Uptown Funk! - Mark Ronson f/Bruno Mars (1)
3. Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran (3)
4. Cigarette Daydreams - Cage The Elephant (4)
5. Make Me Wanna - Thomas Rhett (6)
6. Lampshades On Fire - Modest Mouse (11)
7. Like A Cowboy - Randy Houser (7)
8. I Bet My Life - Imagine Dragons (10)
9. Ghost - Ella Henderson (5)
10. Lips Are Movin' - Meghan Trainor (8)
11. Sugar - Maroon 5 (17)
12. Just Gettin' Started - Jason Aldean (12)
13. Take Me To Church - Hozier (9)
14. Mean To Me - Brett Eldredge (16)
15. Love Me Like You Do - Ellie Goulding (23)
16. Call My Name - Avery Sunshine (13)
17. Something New - Axwell & Ingrosso (27)
18. Nobody - Kem (28)
19. Blank Space - Taylor Swift (19)
20. Living For Love - Madonna (24)
21. Stolen Dance - Milky Chance (21)
22. Budapest - George Ezra (20)
23. Right Now - Mary J. Blige (25)
24. Jealous - Nick Jonas (14)
25. Make You Better - The Decemberists (15)
26. Geronimo - Sheppard (32)
27. Lonely Tonight - Blake Shelton f/Ashley Monroe (35)
28. I'm Not The Only One - Sam Smith (18)
29. Kansas City - The New Basement Tapes (33)
30. All Of You - Betty Who (30)
31. Centuries - Fall Out Boy (26)
32. From Eden - Hozier (22)
33. Riptide - Vance Joy (29)
34. Wrong Club - The Ting Tings (38)
35. Lonely Eyes - Chris Young (37)
36. Prayer In C (Robin Schulz Mix) - Lilly Wood & The Prick (40)
37. Style - Taylor Swift (49)
38. Drinking Class - Lee Brice (44)
39. Time Of Our Lives - Pitbull f/Ne-Yo (52)
40. Outside - Calvin Harris f/Ellie Goulding (50)

41. I Lived - OneRepublic (36)
42. Ain't Worth The Whiskey - Cole Swindell (46)
43. Something From Nothing - Foo Fighters (31)
44. I Am Machine - Three Days Grace (48)
45. Homegrown Honey - Darius Rucker (47)
46. Heartbeat Song - Kelly Clarkson (54)
47. Waves (Robin Schulz Mix) - Mr. Probz (39)
48. Go All Night - Gorgon City f/Jennifer Hudson (34)
49. Black Sun - Death Cab For Cutie (63)
50. Reason - Erasure (41)
51. Stay With Me - Sam Smith (51)
52. Lay Me Down - Sam Smith (77)
53. Honey I'm Good - Andy Grammer (78)
54. Unholy - Wolfgang Gartner (64)
55. I'm Gonna Get You - Dave Aude' f/Jessica Sutta (80)
56. 7/11 - Beyonce (58)
57. Rollercoaster - Bleachers (61)
58. Homegrown - The Zac Brown Band (68)
59. Sun Daze - Florida Georgia Line (55)
60. Say You Do - Dierks Bentley (72)
61. What We Ain't Got - Jake Owen (66)
62. Beg For It - Iggy Azalea f/MO (62)
63. I Like You - Tony Moran f/Debby Holiday (53)
64. Move - Jenevieve X (69)
65. Every Breaking Wave - U2 (67)
66. I See You - Luke Bryan (56)
67. Take Your Time - Sam Hunt (81)
68. Night Changes - One Direction (73)
69. Young Blood - Bea Miller (76)
70. Up - Olly Murs f/Demi Lovato (70)
71. Dearly Departed - Shakey Graves (75)
72. The Heart Wants What It Wants - Selena Gomez (57)
73. Elastic Heart - Sia (83)
74. A Guy Walks Into A Bar - Tyler Farr (88)
75. FourFiveSeconds - Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney (79)
76. Dangerous - Big Data f/Joywave (71)
77. No Good In Goodbye - The Script (85)
78. Long Way Down - Robert Delong (84)
79. Heroes (We Could Be) - Alesso f/Tove Lo (65)
80. Don't Wanna Fight - Alabama Shakes (94)
81. Hold Back The River - James Bay (91)
82. Earned It - The Weeknd (90)
83. What Kind Of Man - Florence + The Machine (DEBUT)
84. Raise 'Em Up - Keith Urban f/Eric Church (98)
85. Congregation - Foo Fighters (DEBUT)
86. Face Everything And Rise - Papa Roach (92)
87. Cassy O' - George Ezra (87)
88. Talladega - Eric Church (74)
89. Take It On Back - Chase Bryant (59)
90. The Nights - Avicii (DEBUT)
91. What's Best For You - Trey Songz (89)
92. Smoke - A Thousand Horses (DEBUT)
93. Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Mix) - OMI (93)
94. When The Beat Drops Out - Marlon Roudette (RE-ENTRY)
95. Crazy - Erika Jayne f/Maino (DEBUT)
96. Apocalyptic - Halestorm (96)
97. Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf) - AWOLnation (DEBUT)
98. Bulletproof Picasso - Train (DEBUT)
99. Runaway (You & I) - Galantis (99)
100. Bright - Echosmith (DEBUT)

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

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