Saturday, October 31, 2015

Songoftheday 10/31/15 - Show me show me show me how you do that trick the one that makes me scream, she said...


"Just Like Heaven" - The Cure
from the album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #40 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 1

Today's Song of the Day comes from the British band the Cure, who started out in southern England as a post-punk outfit led by singer Robert Smith in the late 70s. With drummer Lol Tolhurst, they released their first indie single, the controversial "Killing An Arab" (inspired by the books of French writer Albert Camus), in 1978. A second release, "Boys Don't Cry", snuck onto the Australian singles chart at #99 the following year and popped on to the American dance chart at #70.

As the 80s loomed and the post-punk and new wave movements really gained steam, the Cure's star brightened, as they landed their first top-40 hit in England with "A Forest" (#31). During the first half of the decade the band, who had undergone a member shift with half of the band replaced, were coalescing into a sound that tapped both those two genres. Releasing singles separate from the albums, their exposure (much like the Smiths) grew twofold, first scoring their first top-40 dance hit with "Primary" in 1981 (#25), then just missing the American pop chart in 1983 with "Let's Go To Bed" (my first exposure to the group). It was a big hit Down Under, reaching the top-20 in both Australia and New Zealand. But by that time bassist Simon Gallup again was replaced by Phil Thornalley. With the synth-heavy follow-up "The Walk" (like a sister song to New Order's "Blue Monday") going top-20 in the the UK, and the campy "The Love Cats" making it to #7 right after,
it seemed like mainstream pop radio was catching up with the band.

In 1985, the Cure released their Head On The Door album, which sold a half a million copies in America and got them their first Hot 100 chart hit with the college rock anthem "In Between Days". The goth answer to the bright and shiny bands of the new wave era, the misfits of the youth had a band they could claim as well. They put out a compilation of their singles, Standing On A Beach/Staring At The Sea, which ended up selling over two million copies in the U.S., and provided their new American fans a complete overview of what their music was about. It also perfectly set up for their next album, which broke them on American radio.

Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me was released in 1987, when Smith and Tolhurst were again joined by Gallup (who replaced his replacement) and Porl Thompson, with Boris Williams taking over drums from Tolhurst, who had switched over to keyboards. The first single, "Why Can't I Be You?", was a bright, spastic burst of energy, with keys sounding like horns the prevalent part of the production. It reached #54 on the pop chart in the U.S., and the top-30 of our dance chart. The second American single was a much more traditional alt-rock nugget in the spirit of "In Between Days". "Just Like Heaven", written by the band and produced by Smith with David Allen, it focused on the rhythm guitar strum and the bouncy bassline...


"Just Like Heaven" became the Cure's first American top-40 pop hit in January of 1988, while making it to #28 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart. Internationally, the record made the top-40 in Ireland (#15), Spain (#25), New Zealand (#31), France (#33), and their native Britain (#29).

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Friday, October 30, 2015

twostepcub's music chart for October 30, 2015...


Friday is here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. Elle King holds at #1 for a second week, while Calvin Harris (pictured above) leaps into the top ten. Songs from twenty-one pilots, Ellie Goulding, and Sam Smith make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red), while former big hits frrom Icona Pop, Thomas Rhett, Fantine, and Zedd drop off my list. Last minute vacation!

This Week            Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Ex's & Oh's - Elle King (1)
2. Wildest Dreams - Taylor Swift (2)
3. First - Cold War Kids (4)
4. Renegades - X Ambassadors (6)
5. Can't Feel My Face - The Weeknd (3)
6. How Deep Is Your Love - Calvin Harris f/Disciples (12)
7. Could Have Been Me - The Struts (9)
8. Like I'm Gonna Lose You - Meghan Trainor f/John Legend (8)
9. Photograph - Ed Sheeran (5)
10. Someone New - Hozier (14)
11. Something Better - Audien f/Lady Antebellum (16)
12. Lose My Mind - Brett Eldredge (13)
13. Uma Thurman - Fall Out Boy (7)
14. Ship To Wreck - Florence + The Machine (10)
15. Don't Be So Hard On Yourself - Jess Glynne (15)
16. Nothin' Like You - Dan + Shay (21)
17. Fight Song - Rachel Platten (17)
18. I Am - AWOLnation (22)
19. The Hills - The Weeknd (29)
20. No Sleeep - Janet Jackson (24)
21. Fly - Maddie & Tae (23)
22. Lean On - Major Lazer & DJ Snake f/MO (20)
23. Marvin Gaye - Charlie Puth f/Meghan Trainor (18)
24. Strip It Down - Luke Bryan (28)
25. Break It Down Again - Old Dominion (32)
26. Cool For The Summer - Demi Lovato (11)
27. Feelings - Maroon 5 (37)
28. S.O.B. - Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats (46)
29. Omen - Disclosure f/Sam Smith (33)
30. There Must Be Love - David Morales f/Janice Robinson (30)
31. Watch Me - Silento (26)
32. Save It For A Rainy Day - Kenny Chesney (25)
33. Black Magic - Little Mix (19)
34. Smoke Break - Carrie Underwood (38)
35. Locked Away - R. City f/Adam Levine (36)
36. Unconditional - Ultra Nate (42)
37. Love Is Free - Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique f/Maluca (49)
38. Wasn't Expecting That - Jamie Lawson (43)
39. Feel The Vibe - Bob Sinclar f/Dawn Tallman (47)
40. Hold Each Other - A Great Big World f/FUTURISTIC (45)
41. Dreams - Beck (27)
42. I'm Comin' Over - Chris Young (54)
43. Sweet Escape - Alesso f/Sirena (39)
44. The Other Boys - NERVO f/Kylie Minogue, Jake Shears, and Nile Rodgers (64)
45. Cecilia and the Satellite - Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (40)
46. Gonna - Blake Shelton (51)
47. Footsteps - Pop Evil (57)
48. Gonna Wanna Tonight - Chase Rice (52)
49. The Wolf - Mumford & Sons (35)
50. Shame - Tyrese (50)
51. Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Mix) - OMI (31)
52. Top Of The World - Tim McGraw (56)
53. Morning Sun - Robin Thicke (53)
54. OXO - Olivia Somerlyn (62)
55. The Writing's On The Wall - Sam Smith (76)
56. Burning House - Cam (66)
57. Anything Goes - Florida Georgia Line (61)
58. Earned It - The Weeknd (58)
59. Stitches - Shawn Mendes (69)
60. 2 Heads - Coleman Hell (63)
61. Out Of My Mind - ARCS (65)
62. Stressed Out - twenty-one pilots (92)
63. Shut Up And Dance - Walk The Moon (59)
64. Love 3X - ZZ Ward (68)
65. Song For Someone - U2 (67)
66. Let Me See Ya Girl - Cole Swindell (71)
67. Gonna Know We Were Here - Jason Aldean (77)
68. Thunder - Leona Lewis (72)
69. Was It All It Was - Dirty Disco f/Debby Holiday (89)
70. On My Mind - Ellie Goulding (94)
71. Lay It All On Me - Rudimental f/Ed Sheeran (DEBUT)
72. Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah) - Andy Grammer (87)
73. Different Colors - Walk The Moon (73)
74. Good For You - Selena Gomez f/A$AP Rocky (74)
75. The Ghosts of Beverly Drive - Death Cab For Cutie (90)
76. Stand By You - Rachel Platten (88)
77. You Have To Believe - Dave Aude f/Chloe Lattanzi & Olivia Newton-John (DEBUT)
78. Let's Love - Echosmith (78)
79. Synergy - Sted-E & Hybrid Heights w/Crystal Waters (DEBUT)
80. 24 Frames - Jason Isbell (81)
81. Drag Me Down - One Direction (81)
82. Teacher - Nick Jonas (82)
83. House Party - Sam Hunt (80)
84. Hold My Hand - Jess Glynne (84)
85. El Perdon (Forgiveness) - Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias (85)
86. Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart - Chris Cornell (DEBUT)
87. Stay A Little Longer - Brothers Osborne (91)
88. Hotline Bling - Drake (DEBUT)
89. Outside - Foo Fighters (93)
90. Buy Me A Boat - Chris Janson (75)
91. Astronaut - Sido f/Andreas Bourani (95)
92. The Fire and the Flood - Vance Joy (DEBUT)
93. The Otherside - Red Sun Rising (99)
94. Easy Love - Sigala (98)
95. Peanut Butter Jelly - Galantis (RE-ENTRY)
96. Run Away With You - Big & Rich (DEBUT)
97. Angels Fall - Breaking Benjamin (DEBUT)
98. Hold On Forever - Rob Thomas (100)
99. Alone No More - Philip George & Anton Powers (DEBUT)
100. Runnin' (Lose It All) - Naughty Boy f/Beyonce & Arrow Benjamin (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 for more information. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 10/30/15 - C'mon girls let's go show the guys that we know how to become number one in a hot party show...


"Push It" - Salt-N-Pepa
from the album Hot, Cool & Vicious (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #19 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's Song of the Day comes from the rap act Salt-N-Pepa, named for its leader Cheryl James ("Salt") and Sandra Denton ("Pepa"). Along with DJ Spinderella (Deidra Roper), they released their first indie single "Showstopper" in 1985, which climbed to #46 on the R&B chart in Billboard magazine. That success led them and their producer Herby "Luv Bug" Azor to Next Plateau Records, where they recorded their debut album Hot, Cool & Vicious. The third single from the set, "Tramp", landed the trio into the top-40 on the soul chart at #21, but it was the "B-side" that brought the women their true breakthrough. "Push It", written by Azor with a dash of the Kinks' 60's hit "You Really Got Me" added, was undeniably dance-club gold, and the "glass ceiling" of hip-hop was finally broken...


"Push It" became Salt-N-Pepa's first pop hit, reaching the top-20 on the Hot 100 in February of 1988. The single also went to #28 on Billboard's R&B chart, while the 12" single peaked at #18 on their Dance Club Play list. Internationally, the single went all the way to #2 in the UK, topped the charts in Belgium and the Netherlands, and top-10 in Sweden (#2), Australia (#3), New Zealand (#4), Norway (#4), Spain (#6), Switzerland (#6), Ireland (#6), Canada (#7), Germany (#9), and Austria (#9).

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Aussie Sweep: October 29, 2015..


It's time to head Down Under to check out the songs making their debut on the official singles chart in Australia this week, as Macklemore & Ryan Lewis spend a fourth week at #1 with "Downtown"...

One Direction claim the top debut of the week as they leap in at #4 with "Perfect". It's the second single from their upcoming Made In The A.M. album, following the #1 "Drag Me Down"...


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Songoftheday 10/29/15 - You always wanted a lover I only wanted a job, I've always worked for a living how am i gonna get through?


"What Have I Done To Deserve This?" - Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield
from the album actually. (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's song of the day is by the British synthpop duo Pet Shop Boys, whose sophomore album actually. returned them to the top ten in America with "It's A Sin". For the second single Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe recruited a singer they revered, British "blue-eyed" soul legend Dusty Springfield, for the tune "What Have I Done To Deserve This?". Dusty, who was nearing her 50th birthday, had been gone from the American Top-40 since 1970's "Brand New Me". In her 60s heyday, she reached the top-10 on the pop chart three times before, but the retro-styled track with Neil's deadpan rap anchoring the song squarely in the 80s, became her highest-charting single ever in the States...


"What Have I Done To Deserve This?" climbed all the way to the runner-up spot on the American pop chart in February of 1988. The single also crossed over to #14 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, while the 12" remix went to #1 on the Dance Club Play list. Internationally, the song topped the singles chart in Ireland, made the #2 spot in their native Britain, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Finland, and top-10 in Canada, Belgium, Germany, France, Norway, New Zealand, and Switzerland.

As a result of the exposure from the single, Springfield recorded a whole album with the Pet Shop Boys, Reputation, that sent three singles into the British top-40, with "In Private" crossing the Atlantic to make the top-20 on the U.S. Dance chart in 1990. She put out a followup in 1995, with a collaboration with Daryl Hall (of Hall and Oates), "Wherever Would I Be" almost reaching the British top-40 at #44. Sadly, she succumbed to cancer in 1999, right before she would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

German Sweep: October 28, 2015...






Here's the top ten hits in Germany this week, according to their official singles chart, as Sido and Andreas Bourani spend a seventh non-consecutive week at #1 with "Astronaut"...

1. "Astronaut" - Sido featuring Andreas Bourani (1)
2. "Geiles Leben" - Glasperlenspiel (2)
3. "Lieblingsmensch" - Namika (3)
4. "Avenir" - Louane (6)
5. "Sugar" - Robin Schulz featuring Francesco Yates (4)
6. "Easy Love" - Sigala (5)
7. "Book Of Love" - Felix Jaehn featuring Polina (8)
8. "Photograph" - Ed Sheeran (7)
9. "How Deep Is Your Love" - Calvin Harris featuring Disciples (10)
10. "Locked Away" - R. City featuring Adam Levine (9)

There are no new songs in the top-10; down at #16 is "Ich will nur dass du weißt" ("I Just Want You To Know") from Berlin duo SDP (for Stone Deaf Productions) with singer Adel Tawil...


Songoftheday 10/28/15 - Can you hear me callin' out your name, you know I'm falling and I don't know what to say...


"Everywhere" - Fleetwood Mac
from the album Tango In The Night (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #14 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day comes from the veteran rock band Fleetwood Mac, whose Tango In The Night album had already spun off three big hits with "Big Love", "Seven Wonders", and "Little Lies". The fourth release from the record like "Little Lies" again featured songwriter Christine McVie, with the mid-tempo tune "Everywhere". It would be the last with Lindsey Buckingham before he quit the band (to come back much later), and neither he nor Stevie Nicks even appeared in the video...


"Everywhere" became the fourth top-20 pop hit from Tango In The Night in America in February of 1988. The song went all the way to #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") chart (their second and last after "Little Lies"), and stopped at #22 on their Mainstream Rock radio list. Internationally, the song climbed to the top of the chart in Belgium, made #2 in Ireland, #4 in the UK, and down at #29 in Canada. In England the song went back to the chart in 2013 thanks to its inclusion in a cute commercial, reaching #15.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

French Sweep: October 27, 2015...


Here's the top ten hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor jump two notches to #1 with "Marvin Gaye"...

1. "Marvin Gaye" - Charlie Puth featuring Meghan Trainor (3)
2. "Summer 2015" - L.E.J. (2)
3. "El Perdon (Forgiveness)" - Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias (4)
4. "Locked Away" - R. City featuring Adam Levine (7)
5. "Le Prince Aladin" - Black M featuring Kev Adams (8)
6. "Sugar" - Robin Schulz featuring Francesco Yates (6)
7. "How Deep Is Your Love" - Calvin Harris featuring Disciples (5)
8. "Perfect" - One Direction (DEBUT)
9. "Don't Worry" - Madcon featuring Ray Dalton (DEBUT)
10. "What Do You Mean?" - Justin Bieber (10)

British boy-band kings One Direction went to #1 in France with the first single from their upcoming Made In The A.M. album, "Drag Me Down". They return at #8 with "Perfect"...


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Songoftheday 10/27/15 - And through the years i will be a friend for always and forever, call on me and i'll be there for you...


"Honestly" - Stryper
from the album To Hell With The Devil (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #23 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 8

Today's song of the day comes from the Christian "metal" band Stryper, who came together in lily-white suburbia of Orange County, California in the early 80s, with brothers Michael and Robert Sweet along with guitarist Oz Fox and Tim Gaines on bass (Poison's CC Deville was an early member). Changing their name to reference an Old Testament verse (which showed up on their album covers), the band released their debut EP The Yellow and Black Attack in 1984. They followed with a full length effort the next year, Soldiers Under Command, which ended up selling over a half a million copies. With a fanbase rivaling the best of their more, ahem, secular peers, and with a strong vocalist like Michael (who sounds quite a bit like Dennis DeYoung from Styx), their pinnacle came with their third album, To Hell With The Devil. Released in 1986, the album reached the top-40, sold over a million copies, and got major MTV airplay with the single "Calling On You". After another video hit with "Free", Stryper took the textbook metal move and released a "power-ballad", "Honestly". Written by Michael and produced by the band with Stephan Galfas, the song was vague enough to be used by many a non-church-goer trying to get into a young girls' pants...


"Honestly" became Stryper's sole top-40 pop hit in the U.S. in January of 1988. Later that year, the band released another album, In God We Trust, which also reached the top-40, and spun off two more minor pop hits with the similar "Always There For You" and "I Believe In You". And although like many a hair-metal band their radio success came to a halt at the end of the decade, their albums continued to sell pretty decently, even reaching the top-40 with their No More Hell To Pay record in 2013.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Robbed hit of the week 10/26/15 - Earth, Wind & Fire's "System Of Survival"...


"System Of Survival" - Earth, Wind & Fire
from the album Touch The World (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #60

This week's 'robbed hit' comes from the long-standing soul/funk/disco band Earth, Wind & Fire, who had sold truckloads of albums and singles in the 70s, though they were still trying to beat the post-disco blacklash by the next mid-decade. After their last top-40 pop hit in 1983, "Fall In Love With Me", their following album's lead-off single, the new-wave pastiche "Magnetic", stalled down at #57 (it was a top-10 soul hit, however). Both lead singers Maurice White and Philip Bailey released solo albums, with Bailey's producing a huge single with "Easy Lover", while White's remake of "Stand By Me" stopped at #50. After two albums in a single year, another EWF record didn't emerge until four years later, in 1987, with Touch The World. The first single from the project was "System Of Survival", a semi-topical dance-soul song written by Skylark and produced by White, thankfully straying away from new wave to a more Janet Jackson/Flyte Tyme vibe...


While "System Of Survival" returned Earth, Wind & Fire to the #1 spot on both the R&B and Dance Club Play charts in Billboard magazine, the single stopped down at #60 on the pop Hot 100 in December of 1987. Internationally, the song made the top-10 in New Zealand, #14 in the Netherlands, and down at #54 in Britain.

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Songoftheday 10/26/15 - I can't sleep I keep dreaming of losing you, I feel so alone in the night scared to open my eyes...


"Say You Will" - Foreigner
from the album Inside Information (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #6 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's Song of the Day comes from the mainstream rock band Foreigner, who had evolved from a gritty outfit featuring the voice of American Lou Gramm and guitar work of Englishman Mick Jones to a slick hitmaking machine like fellow (and older) vets Starship, Heart, and Genesis. Their 1984 album Agent Provocateur had landed them a #1 pop hit (their sole one) with the spiritual ballad "I Want To Know What Love Is" and a top-20 follow-up with "That Was Yesterday". At the beginning of 1987, Gramm released his first solo album, and scored a top-10 pop hit with "Midnight Blue".

Later that year, the group recorded their sixth studio record Inside Information. With farmed out synthesizers dominating the audio, the record was much more machine than man. The first single from the project, "Say You Will", demonstrated that, with models in black and white vastly overshadowing the band itself in the music video (a trick many "older" bands employed)....


"Say You Will" reached the top-10 on the American pop chart in February of 1988. The track became the band's fourth and final #1 on the Mainstream Rock tracks radio chart, sticking around for an entire month on top (matching their "Urgent"), and even snuck into the Adult Contemporary list at #41. Internationally, the song made the top-10 in Australia (#6) and Norway (#4), while in half the band's native Britain it stalled way down at a pitiful #71.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dance Sweep: October 31, 2015...


I'll wrap up today's 'music sweeps' of the songs reaching the charts in Billboard magazine with the latest dance jams in the clubs and on the radio...

On the DJ-polled Dance Club Play chart, Justin Bieber (probably bought) leaps to #1 with "What Do You Mean?"...

As the last single from Nick Jonas' debut album, "Teacher", drops to #25 on the chart, his brand new one "Levels", my "Dance Pick of the Week", arrives at #30...


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Country Sweep: October 31, 2015..


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

On their Country Airplay chart, Luke Bryan collects his 13th #1 hit (two as featured artists) with "Strip It Down"...

Neo-traditionalist singer Joe Nichols returns at #56 with "Freaks Like Me". He's accrued five #1 hits so far...


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Soul Sweep: October 31, 2015...


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

On the main R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, Drake holds on at #1 with "Hotline Bling"...

DJ Khaled comes in at #44 with "Gold Slugs" from his "I Changed A Lot" album. It features Chris Brown, August Alsina, and rapper Fetty Wap...


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Rock Sweep: October 31, 2015...


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

On their main Rock Airplay chart, "Renegades" from X Ambassadors will not quit, racking up an eighteen week on top of the chart...

Hard rock band Five Finger Death Punch jab in at #39 with "Wash It All Away". It's the follow-up to "Jeckyll & Hyde", which went to #17 on this list and now stands at #32. This new one is already at #16 in its third week on the Mainstream Rock chart...


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Pop Sweep: October 31, 2015...


I'm ready to kick off the first of my "music sweeps" for the day, checking out the songs making their way on to the various singles charts in Billboard magazine. As usual, I'll start off on the pop side of things, then later in the day move on to the latest in rock, R&B, country, and dance. And away we gooooo...

On the "big chart", Billboard's Hot 100, which combines tallies from internet streaming (like Spotify and YouTube), radio airplay from all genres, and sales (like Amazon MP3 and iTunes), The Weeknd spends a fifth week at #1 with "The Hills"...

In a rather "slow" week, the first of the three debuts on the Hot 100 doesn't appear until #92. It's actress/singer Jana Kramer with "I Got The Boy". The song is her third to reach the "big" chart; her debut, "Why Ya Wanna", went to #50 in 2012. It also is up to #18 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart...


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Songoftheday 10/25/15 - Johnny played guitar Jenny played bass, the name of the band was the human race...


"Pop Goes The World" - Men Without Hats
from the album Pop Goes The World (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #20 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's Song of the Day comes from the Canadian synth-pop act Men Without Hats, who landed a huge left-field hit in America in 1983 with "The Safety Dance". With three brothers from the Doroschuk family from Montreal led by singer and guitarist Ivan, their follow-up album Folk Of the 80's (Part III) relatively stiffed, with the single "Where Do The Boys Go" only reaching the American dance chart at #39 (it peaked at #30 in their native Canada). It's a hidden find, that track, but sadly the Men were in fear of that "One Hit Wonder" curse (though technically they hit #84 on the Hot 100 with the second single after "Safety Dance", "I Like"). By the time 1987 came around, the group only had Ivan and Stefan left with musician Lenny Pinkas. With producer Zeus B. Held (who did Dead Or Alive's first pre-SAW album), the Men released Pop Goes The World in 1987. With the title track as the first single sounding like a sing-song kids book, it was again an unexpected hit single...


"Pop Goes The World" became Men Without Hats' second and most recent top-40 pop hit in America in February of 1988. The song also climbed to #27 on Billboard's Dance Club Play list. Internationally, the song was the band's biggest success, reaching #1 in Austria for a month, while stopping at the runner-up position in Sweden and their native Canada, and top-20 in Spain and New Zealand.

Their follow-up single, "Moonbeam", reached the top-40 in Canada and popped into the American dance chart at #46. And as their international success didn't last beyond "Pop", they continued for a few more years in Canada, scoring another top-10 single in 1989 with the more electric rock of "Hey Men". They tried to continue in the Jesus Jones-style psychedelic rock, with the minor Canadian hit "Sideways" going to #50 as their final chart appearance.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Brit Sweep: October 23, 2015...


It's time to check out the latest hits to make the official singles chart in Britain this week, as the top two songs are both newbies....

The new #1 song in the UK this week belongs to London house music DJ KDA, who adds vocals from singer Katy B and rapper Tinie Tempah on his older single "Rumble" to become "Turn The Music Louder (Rumble)"...


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Songoftheday 10/24/15 - Cab fare to nowhere is what you are, a white line to an exit sign is what you are...


"Don't Shed A Tear" - Paul Carrack
from the album One Good Reason (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #9 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's song of the day comes from British singer/keyboardist Paul Carrack, who by the mid-80s had racked up a handful of memorable hits under different acts, from the 70s power-pop band Ace ("How Long") to a short but sweet stint in English pub-rock darlings Squeeze ("Tempted") to a vocalist for Genesis guitar-man Mike Rutherford's side project Mike + The Mechanics ("Silent Running"). He even landed a moderate pop hit in America in 1982 with his solo single "I Need You". After the top-10 success of "Silent Running", Paul got around to releasing his third album One Good Reason in 1987. Using the same producer (Christopher Neil) as with the Mechanics, Paul's slick new pop/rock sound (think Maroon 5 of the 80s) was debuted with the first single "Don't Shed A Tear". Instead of one of his own songs, "Don't" was farmed out to writers Eddie Schwartz (who had his own top-40 hit with "All Our Tomorrows" in 1982) and Rob Friedman...


"Don't Shed A Tear" became Carrack's first solo top-10 pop hit in America in February of 1988. The single also made it all the way to #5 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart and even crossed over to #36 on their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio list. Internationally, the song went to #20 in the Netherlands and #33 in Australia, but didn't even reach the chart in his native Britain until 1989 and even then sputtered out at #60.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

twostepcub's music chart for October 23, 2015...






Friday's here, and I'm ready to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. Elle King takes over at the top of the list, while the Cold War Kids (pictured above) leap into the top-5. Former big hits from twenty-one pilots, Fifth Harmony, Disclosure, Kelly Clarkson, Dustin Lynch, and Taylor Swift drop off my list, while songs from Cam, Robyn, and Jason Aldean make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). The curse continues, dammit...

This Week             Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
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1. Ex's & Oh's - Elle King (2)
2. Wildest Dreams - Taylor Swift (4)
3. Can't Feel My Face - The Weeknd (1)
4. First - Cold War Kids (8)
5. Photograph - Ed Sheeran (3)
6. Renegades - X Ambassadors (6)
7. Uma Thurman - Fall Out Boy (5)
8. Like I'm Gonna Lose You - Meghan Trainor f/John Legend (9)
9. Could Have Been Me - The Struts (11)
10.Ship To Wreck - Florence + The Machine (10)
11. Cool For The Summer - Demi Lovato (7)
12. How Deep Is Your Love - Calvin Harris f/Disciples (19)
13. Lose My Mind - Brett Eldredge (15)
14. Someone New - Hozier (24)
15. Don't Be So Hard On Yourself - Jess Glynne (16)
16. Something Better - Audien f/Lady Antebellum (20)
17. Fight Song - Rachel Platten (13)
18. Marvin Gaye - Charlie Puth f/Meghan Trainor (14)
19. Black Magic - Little Mix (12)
20. Lean On - Major Lazer & DJ Snake f/MO (18)
21. Nothin' Like You - Dan + Shay (35)
22. I Am - AWOLnation (32)
23. Fly - Maddie & Tae (27)
24. No Sleeep - Janet Jackson (34)
25. Save It For A Rainy Day - Kenny Chesney (25)
26. Watch Me - Silento (22)
27. Dreams - Beck (17)
28. Strip It Down - Luke Bryan (33)
29. The Hills - The Weeknd (39)
30. There Must Be Love - David Morales f/Janice Robinson (30)
31. Cheerleader (Felix Jaehn Mix) - OMI (21)
32. Break Up With Him - Old Dominion (36)
33. Omen - Disclosure f/Sam Smith (37)
34. Emergency - Icona Pop (28)
35. The Wolf - Mumford & Sons (23)
36. Locked Away - R. City f/Adam Levine (40)
37. Feelings - Maroon 5 (41)
38. Smoke Break - Carrie Underwood (42)
39. Sweet Escape - Alesso f/Sirena (43)
40. Cecilia and the Satellite - Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (31)
41. Crash and Burn - Thomas Rhett (29)
42. Unconditional - Ultra Nate (52)
43. Wasn't Expecting That - Jamie Lawson (53)
44. What A Day - Fantine f/Wyclef Jean (38)
45. Hold Each Other - A Great Big World f/FUTURISTIC (50)
46. S.O.B. - Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats (56)
47. Feel The Vibe - Bob Sinclar f/Dawn Tallman (59)
48. Summerthing! - Afrojack f/Mike Taylor (48)
49. Love Is Free - Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique f/Maluca (64)
50. Shame - Tyrese (46)
51. Gonna - Blake Shelton (55)
52. Gonna Wanna Tonight - Chase Rice (54)
53. Morning Sun - Robin Thicke (61)
54. I'm Coming Over - Chris Young (66)
55. Cut The Cord - Shinedown (57)
56. Top Of The World - Tim McGraw (68)
57. Footsteps - Pop Evil (62)
58. Earned It - The Weeknd (58)
59. Shut Up And Dance - Walk The Moon (49)
60. Beautiful Now - Zedd f/Jon Bellion (44)
61. Anything Goes - Florida Georgia Line (63)
62. OXO - Olivia Somerlyn (70)
63. 2 Heads - Coleman Hall (77)
64. The Other Boys - NERVO f/Kylie Minogue, Jake Shears, and Nile Rodgers (DEBUT)
65. Out Of My Mind - ARCS (65)
66. Burning House - Cam (82)
67. Song For Someone - U2 (67)
68. Love 3X - ZZ Ward (78)
69. Stitches - Shawn Mendes (73)
70. Coming Home - Leon Bridges (71)
71. Let Me See Ya Girl - Cole Swindell (76)
72. Thunder - Leona Lewis (72)
73. Different Colors - Walk The Moon (79)
74. Good For You - Selena Gomez f/A$AP Rocky (74)
75. Buy Me A Boat - Chris Janson (75)
76. The Writing's On The Wall - Sam Smith (DEBUT)
77. Gonna Know We Were Here - Jason Aldean (92)
78. Let's Love - Echosmith (88)
79. Sparks - Hilary Duff (69)
80. House Party - Sam Hunt (60)
81. 24 Frames - Jason Isbell (86)
82. Teacher - Nick Jonas (89)
83. Drag Me Down - One Direction (87)
84. Hold My Hand - Jess Glynne (94)
85. El Perdon (Forgiveness) - Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias (85)
86. The Party (This Is How We Roll) - Joe Stone f/Montell Jordan (90)
87. Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah) - Andy Grammer (91)
88. Stand By You - Rachel Platten (93)
89. Was It All It Was - Dirty Disco f/Debby Holiday (DEBUT)
90. The Ghosts Of Beverly Drive - Death Cab For Cutie (95)
91. Stay A Little Longer - Brothers Osborne (DEBUT)
92. Stressed Out - twenty-one pilots (DEBUT)
93. Outside - Foo Fighters (RE-ENTRY)
94. On My Mind- Ellie Goulding (DEBUT)
95. Astronaut - Sido f/Andreas Bourani (100)
96. Great Big Storm - Nate Ruess (RE-ENTRY)
97. Queen Of Peace - Florence + The Machine (97)
98. Easy Love - Sigala (98)
99. The Otherside - Red Sun Rising (99)
100. Hold On Forever - Rob Thomas (DEBUT)

There are seven 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 10/23/15 - Stand up stand on your own, that's what they tell me you can make it alone...


"I Live For Your Love" - Natalie Cole
from the album Everlasting (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #13 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's song of the day is by singer Natalie Cole, whose father Nat "King" Cole had bridged the gap between R&B and pop music in the 40s and 50s, and herself had carved a respectable career in the 70s with her own dance and ballad hits like "This Will Be" and "Our Love". Returning in the late 80s after battling a drug and alcohol addiction, Natalie's 'comeback' single "Jump Start" leaped into the pop top-20 in the fall of 1987. The second single from the album, "I Live For Your Love", was a by-the-book MOR (middle of the road) ballad written by Pam Reswick, Steve Werful, and Alan Rich. Produced by Dennis Lambert (the Four Tops, Tavares, Five Star), the easy-listening nugget was the polar opposite of her previous sugary club single...


"I Live For Your Love" became the second top-20 pop hit in America from Cole's Everlasting album in February of 1988. The single climbed all the way to #2 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary radio chart, and stopped at #4 on their R&B (or "Black Singles") list. Internationally, it didn't get much notice, though it got to the halfway mark (#50) on the Canadian pop chart.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Aussie Sweep: October 22, 2015...


It's time to head Down Under to check out the songs making their debut on the official singles chart in Australia this week, as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis spend a third week at #1 with "Downtown"...

The singing competition craze is still in high gear in this country, as local editions of shows like the X Factor and The Voice continue to be quite successful here, with overseas artists like Ricky Martin and Joel Madden choosing to move down here for the exposure. The X Factor Australia is back on the air, with "judges/mentors" Chris Isaak and James Blunt along with Aussies Guy Sebastian (the first "Australian Idol") and Dannii Minogue (Kylie's sister) in the mix. The first performance of the season to make the chart this season is Cyrus Villanueva from New South Wales. The singer of Filipino heritage remade his mentor/coach Isaak's "Wicked Game", and the result enters at #6...


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Songoftheday 10/22/15 - The paintworks gleaming in the rising sun, all our hopes are rising high now the battles won...


"Motortown" - The Kane Gang
from the album Miracle (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #36 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's SOTD comes from the British trio the Kane Gang, who came together in the early 80s with singers Paul Woods and Martin Brammer along with Dave Brewis. They released their debut album The Bad and Lowdown World of the Kane Gang in 1985, and after the first single, "Smalltown Creed", became a minor hit in the UK at #60, the follow-up, "Closest Thing To Heaven", was their breakthrough in their home country, climbing to #12 on the British singles chart. The three matched that top-20 success with a remake of "Respect Yourself" from the Staples Singers (before Bruce Willis got his dirty paws on it). The album itself was a moderate seller as well at #21.

Fast forward two years later, and while their white-boy lite-funk of "sophisti-pop" had fallen out of favor in Britain, it was gaining steam in the U.S., with acts like Swing Out Sister and Danny Wilson among others scoring hits. In 1987 the Gang put out their sophomore effort, Miracle. And while the lead single "Motortown" failed to reach the top-40 in the UK, the song (written by the band) became their first success in the States...


"Motortown" was the Kane Gang's first and only top-40 pop hit in America in December of 1987, while making it up to #12 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart. In their native England, the single stopped down at #45, while the Miracle album peaked at a frustrating #41 in the UK.

They followed up the success of "Motortown" with another cover song, this time the club classic "Don't Look Any Further". While it was just a minor hit in both the U.S. and U.K., the extended remix went on to top Billboard's Dance Club Play chart for a week in April of 1988. The band though didn't last another album, splitting up in 1991.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

German Sweep: October 21, 2015...


Here's the top ten songs in Germany this week, according to their official singles chart, as "Astronaut" from Sido and Andreas Bourani spends a sixth non-consecutive week at #1...

1. "Astronaut" - Sido featuring Andreas Bourani (1)
2. "Geiles Leben" - Glasperlenspiel (4)
3. "Lieblingsmensch" - Namika (2)
4. "Sugar" - Robin Schulz featuring Francesco Yates (3)
5. "Easy Love" - Sigala (8)
6. "Avenir" - Louane (DEBUT)
7. "Photograph" - Ed Sheeran (6)
8. "Book Of Love" - Felix Jaehn featuring Polina (10)
9. "Locked Away" - R. City featuring Adam Levine (7)
10. "How Deep Is Your Love" - Calvin Harris featuring Disciples (5)

The sole new entry on the top-10 this week comes from French singer and actress Louane with "Avenir" ("Future"). The song went to #1 in her home country months ago...



Songoftheday 10/21/15 - Fat man sitting on a little stool, takes the money from my hand while his eyes take a walk all over you...


"Tunnel Of Love" - Bruce Springsteen
from the album Tunnel Of Love (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #9 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's Song of the Day comes from New Jersey's own rock and roll poet laureate, Bruce Springsteen, who followed up his blockbuster album Born In The U.S.A. with the decidedly more somber Tunnel Of Love, whose theme of love going wrong was laid out with the stellar first single, "Brilliant Disguise". The second release from the record was the title track, which takes the kitschy amusement park ride and flips it on its head into a labyrinth of mystery and darkness, to the point of "not seeing the other person" literally signifying the loss of an emotional connection. This lyric is all over a churning midtempo song dominated by the synth chords and bells like a lost Bruce Hornsby record. The video was shot over in Asbury Park..


"Tunnel Of Love" became the second top-10 pop hit from Tunnel Of Love (and Bruce's eleventh overall) in February of 1988. The song went all the way to #1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart for a month the previous November. It even crossed over to their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") chart at #13. Internationally, "Tunnel" went to #17 in Canada, top-40 in Ireland and the Netherlands, and just missing the top-40 in Australia (#41), New Zealand (#48), and the UK (#45).

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

French Sweep: October 20, 2015...


Here's the top ten hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as a song makes a dramatic return to the top of the list...

1. "Stolen Car" - Mylene Farmer & Sting (RE-ENTRY)
2. "Summer 2015" - L.E.J. (1)
3. "Marvin Gaye" - Charlie Puth featuring Meghan Trainor (3)
4. "El Perdon (Forgiveness)" - Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias (2)
5. "How Deep Is Your Love" - Calvin Harris featuring Disciples (4)
6. "Sugar" - Robin Schulz featuring Francesco Yates (5)
7. "Locked Away" - R. City featuring Adam Levine (7)
8. "Le Prince Aladin" - Black M featuring Kev Adams (RE-ENTRY)
9. "Brise" - Maitre Gims
10. "What Do You Mean" - Justin Bieber (9)

French vocal pop legend Mylene Farmer debuted at #1 on the French chart in its first week with her remake of Sting's "Stolen Car" with the artist himself, and now, after the debut of the music video, rockets back to the top from #77....


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Songoftheday 10/20/15 - The sweet words you whispered didn't mean a thing, I guess our song is over as we begin to sing...


"Could've Been" - Tiffany
from the album Tiffany (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14

Today's Song of the Day comes from the teenage "mall queen" singer Tiffany, who surprisingly went to the top of the American pop chart in 1987 with her remake of the Tommy James 60's hit "I Think We're Alone Now". The next single from her self-titled debut album was "Could've Been", a ballad written by nightclub singer Lois Blaitsch, and gave her more of a audience, and definitely fit some prom dances quite nicely...


"Could've Been" became Tiffany's second (and possibly final) #1 pop hit in America in February of 1988. The single also topped Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") chart for a week. Internationally, the record went to #1 on the Canadian pop chart for three weeks, and peaked at #4 in the UK.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Robbed hit of the week 10/19/15 - Bananarama's "I Can't Help It"...


"I Can't Help It" - Bananarama
from the album Wow! (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #47

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the British female vocal trio Bananarama, whose fourth album Wow! had already scored them their third top-10 pop hit in America with "I Heard A Rumour".  The follow-up in the U.S. was the third release in the rest of the world, the post-disco nugget "I Can't Help It". Written by the production team of Stock, Aitken, and Waterman along with the trio of Sarah Dallin, Keren Woodward, and Siobhan Fahey, the bouncy dance-pop track played up to their growing gay following with a myriad of muscle eye-candy, and Fahey "Carnie Wilson'd" in the video because of her pregnancy...


While "I Can't Help It" went all the way to #7 on Billboard's Dance chart, and #20 in their native Britain, the single stalled right under the American top-40 in January of 1987. Internationally, the song was a success, reaching the top-40 in Ireland, Belgium, Australia, the Netherlands, and Germany.

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Songoftheday 10/19/15 - I've been meaning to tell you I've got this feelin' that won't subside...


"Hungry Eyes" - Eric Carmen
from the album Dirty Dancing (Original Soundtrack) (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #4 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 16

Today's song of the day comes from singer/songwriter Eric Carmen, who had went from a successful stint leading the power-pop band the Raspberries to a lucrative solo career in soft rock, with a total of ten top-40 pop hits up to the mid 80s, where his Geffen debut single "I Wanna Hear It From Your Lips" became his first top-40 hit in seven years. In 1987, Eric contributed a track to what would become the soundtrack of 1987, Dirty Dancing, which already had scored a #1 hit with "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" by fellow pop vets Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. "Hungry Eyes", written by the team who wrote the former hit, Frankie Previte (of the rock band Franke & The Knockouts) and John DiNicola, the song would also return this older musician to the top of the pop charts...


"Hungry Eyes" became Carmen's second solo top-10 pop hit in February of 1988, while climbing to #2 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart. Internationally, the single went top-10 in Canada (#2), Australia (#4), Sweden (#6), and Belgium (#9), but didn't even make it to the British Top-75.

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Songoftheday 10/18/15 - Every time I see you walking by I get a thrill, you don't notice me but in time you will...


"I Want To Be Your Man" - Roger
from the album Unlimited (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's Song of the Day comes from R&B artist Roger Troutman, who got his first break as a late member of the Parliament/Funkadelic band, before starting his own group Zapp with three of his brothers (Larry, Lester, and Terry) in Ohio. With Parliament 'prime minister' George Clinton signing the band to a record deal, they scored their first hit in 1980 with "More Bounce To The Ounce", which went to #2 on the R&B chart, #19 on Billboard's Dance Club Play list, and nicked the pop Hot 100 in America at #86. With his voice modified by vocoder years before Cher and T-Pain, Zapp carved a niche in funk fast, with their debut album reaching the top-20 on the Albums chart and selling over a million copies. A year later, Roger released his own solo album The Many Facets Of Roger, also made the top-10, and reached the top of the R&B chart with his cover of Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine". Through the first half of the 80s Troutman had hits both with Zapp and on his own, with Zapp's "Dance Floor" topping the R&B list in 1982, and a year later went top-10 with "I Can Make You Dance". In 1984, Roger's solo "In The Mix" climbed to #10 R&B. Then in 1986 Zapp's "Computer Love" popped in at #8. Unlike some acts that had different sounds for their different acts, Zapp and Roger's work were totally similar, both having funk and ballad numbers, and both used the vocoder (though at times each didn't).

With "Computer Love" a cult R&B classic and his production on Shirley Murdock's debut album giving him more exposure, the time was right for Roger's third solo album, Unlimited. The first single, "I Want To Be Your Man", written by brother and Zapp member Larry, brought out the talk box yet again, and this time pop radio was ready...


"I Want To Be Your Man" became Roger's first and only top-40 pop hit as a lead artist, reaching the top-3 in February of 1988. The single also topped the R&B chart for a week in December of the preceding year, and even crossed over to Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart at #22. Across the pond, the single crawled to #61 in Britain.

Roger would have a couple more solo top-40 R&B hits, as well as one with Zapp, but by the end of the decade, their sound had been edged out on radio by the likes of rap and new jack. However, the former genre got them noticed in a different way, as act sampled and interpolated the group's hits on to many a song, and capitalizing on this, a greatest hits set was released from both acts together, and two new singles did respectable business, with "Slow and Easy" almost making the pop top-40 at #43 in 1993. Two years later, Roger returned to the pop charts as a featured artist on 2Pac's #1 hit "California Love". In 1996, he appeared on Johnny Gill's #19 R&B/#43 pop hit "It's Your Body". Zapp also had their final minor R&B hit that year with a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Living For The City" (#70). The next year Roger appeared on a couple more minor R&B hits (like Nastyboy Klick's "Down For Yours"), but sadly, in 1999, brother Larry, the man who wrote his biggest hit, ended Roger's life in a murder/suicide.

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dance Sweep: October 24, 2015...


I'm up to the last installment in today's "chart sweeps", checking out the songs making their debut on the various charts in Billboard magazine, and I'll wrap things up with the latest dance jams in the clubs and on the radio in America...

On the DJ-polled Dance Club Play chart, Olivia Somerlyn scores her second #1 hit after "Parachute" with "OXO"...

This week's "Dance Pick of the Week" and highest entry comes from British neo-house producer Duke Dumont, who is in at #31 with "Ocean Drive". His last four singles all topped the club chart, and "Need U (100%)" earned him a Grammy nomination....


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