Sunday, January 31, 2016

Country Sweep: February 6, 2016...






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, Thomas Rhett spends an amazing sixth week at #1 with "Die A Happy Man", the longest stay since 2007...

Dierks Bentley returns all the way up at #29 with "Somewhere On A Beach", the first single from his forthcoming album Black...


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Soul Sweep: February 6, 2016...






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

On the main R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, Tory Lanez scores his first #1 hit with "Say It"...

There's apparently no escaping Bieber fever as Justin's "Sorry", the #1 pop hit in America, crosses over to the R&B radio chart at #44. The last time he was on this chart was in 2012 with "Boyfriend", peaking at #52...


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Rock Sweep: February 6, 2016...


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

On their main Rock Airplay chart twenty-one pilots are on top for a fifth week with "Stressed Out"...

Hard rock hitmakers 3 Doors Down return for the first time in three years with "In The Dark" at #42. It's the first single from their upcoming sixth studio album Us and The Night...


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Pop Sweep: February 6, 2016...


Time to catch up with my rundown of the new songs on the various charts in Billboard magazine, starting with the latest pop hits...

On the "big" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, which combines tallies of sales (like iTunes and Amazon MP3), internet streaming (like Spotify and YouTube), and radio airplay from all genres, Justin Bieber holds at #1 for a third week with "Sorry"...

Pop singer/songwriter Mike Posner returns with the highest debut of the week at #79 with "I Took A Pill In Ibiza". Back in 2010 Mike went to #6 on the chart with "Cooler Than Me". This year-old track, remixed by the duo SeeB, has gone to #1 in Norway and top ten in a few European countries already...


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Songoftheday 1/31/16 - As I watch you move across the moonlit room, there's so much tenderness in your loving...


"Hands To Heaven" - Breathe
from the album All That Jazz (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (two weeks) 
Weeks in the Top-40: 16

Today's song of the day comes from the British "sophist-pop" band Breathe, who came together in London in the mid-80s, and released their first album in 1988. The first American single from the set, "Hands To Heaven", was a slow-paced vocal workout from lead singer David Glasper...


"Hands To Heaven"  became Breathe's first American success, reaching the top-10 on the pop chart in August of 1988. The single peaked at the runner-up spot on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart. Internationally, the song went to #4 in their native UK, as their also did in Norway, and made the top ten in New Zealand and top-40 in Germany and Sweden.

Up tomorrow: a rap duo breaks the sound barrier.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Brit Sweep: January 30, 2016...


It's time to head across the Atlantic to check out the songs making their debut on the official singles chart in the UK this week, as Canadian singer Shawn Mendes racks up a second week at #1 with "Stitches"...

Rihanna is back with the highest debut of the week at #13 with "Work", from her just-released album Anti...(the clip is exclusive right now to Tidal)..

Danish indie-pop band Lukas Graham sails in at #24 with "7 Years"...


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Songoftheday 1/30/16 - Something's coming over me I'm so dizzy I can't see, can't make out the forest for the trees...


"Rush Hour" - Jane Wiedlin
from the album Fur (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #9 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day comes from Jane Wiedlin, who with Belinda Carlisle was a part of the all-female rock band the Go-Go's. While she was still with the group, she guested on the alt-band Sparks' "Cool Places", which went to #49 on the American pop chart and #13 dance. After they broke up in 1984, Wiedlin released her self-titled first solo album the year after. But while Belinda's first, "Mad About You" reached the top-3, Jane's lead single "Blue Kiss" sputtered out at #77 (though it was her sole solo dance hit at #30). Three years later, she put out her second record, Fur. The first release from the disc, "Rush Hour", was written by Wiedlin with Peter Rafelson and produced by Stephen Hague (New Order), but sounded like it was taken off a Go-Go's album, which certainly helped it with mainstream radio...


"Rush Hour" became Jane's sole top-40 pop hit so far, reaching the top-10 in July of 1988. Internationally, the song climbed to #12 in the UK, #8 in Ireland, and #31 in New Zealand.

Jane's second single from Fur, "Inside A Dream", was a minor pop hit in the US (#57) and the UK (#64). In 1990, her third solo release, Tangled came out to little notice even though the first single, "World On Fire", was among her best work in or out of the Go-Go's. Ten years later, the same time she released her most recent solo disc, Kissproof World, Wiedlin reunited with the Go-Go's where she's been touring and recording since. In 2005, she was involved with the VH1 TV show The Surreal Life, an American copy-cat of Celebrity Big Brother (without the eliminations).

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Friday, January 29, 2016

twostepcub's music chart for January 29, 2016...


Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. Adele reigns for an eighth week, while Sam Hunt (pictured above) climbs a pair of spots in the top ten. Former big hits from Emin, R. City/Adam Levine, Old Dominion, and Chris Cornell drop off my list, while songs from Grace/G-Eazy, JoJo, and the Zac Brown Band make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red).

This Week           Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Hello - Adele (1)
2. Stressed Out - twenty-one pilots (2)
3. Adventure of A Lifetime - Coldplay (3)
4. Stay A Little Longer - Brothers Osborne (5)
5. Here - Alessia Cara (6)
6. On My Mind - Ellie Goulding (4)
7. Break Up In A Small Town - Sam Hunt (9)
8. Hotline Bling - Drake (8)
9. Ex's & Oh's - Elle King (7)
10. Stand By You - Rachel Platten (10)
11. When We Were Young - Adele (18)
12. Confident - Demi Lovato (12)
13. Gonna Know We Were Here - Jason Aldean (15)
14. Mess Around - Cage The Elephant (20)
15. The Fire and the Flood - Vance Joy (19)
16. Top Of The World - Tim McGraw (13)
17. First - Cold War Kids (17)
18. Home Alone Tonight - Luke Bryan f/Karen Fairchild (22)
19. Wildest Dreams - Taylor Swift (16)
20. Burning House - Cam (11)
21. S.O.B. - Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats (21)
22. Shame - Tyrese (26)
23. Stitches - Shawn Mendes (23)
24. Die A Happy Man - Thomas Rhett (24)
25. Like I'm Gonna Lose You - Meghan Trainor (25)
26. Hold My Hand - Jess Glynne (14)
27. The Light - Disturbed (27)
28. Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah) - Andy Grammer (28)
29. Let It Go - James Bay (33)
30. Higher Place - Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike f/Ne-Yo (34)
31. I'm Comin' Over - Chris Young (31)
32. Smooth Sailin' - Leon Bridges (32)
33. I Love This Life - LoCash (36)
34. Irresistible - Fall Out Boy f/Demi Lovato (38)
35. Shout It Out Loud - Robin S. & DJ Escape (40)
36. One Call Away - Charlie Puth (41)
37. The Ghosts Of Beverly Drive - Death Cab For Cutie (29)
38. Sax - Fleur East (42)
39. Renegades - X Ambassadors (37)
40. Roses - The Chainsmokers f/ROZES (44)
41. I Got The Boy - Jana Kramer (43)
42. Run On Love - Lucas Nord f/Tove Lo (30)
43. Magnets - Disclosure f/Lorde (47)
44. Can't Sleep Love - Pentatonix (46)
45. Automatic - ZHU vs AlunaGeorge (35)
46. Dibs - Kelsea Ballerini (50)
47. Nightlight - Silversun Pickups (51)
48. Believe - Chaos f/CeCe Peniston (56)
49. You Don't Own Me - Grace f/G-Eazy (59)
50. Return To The Moon - EL VY (54)
51. Love Myself - Hailee Steinfeld (55)
52. Love Me Like You - Little Mix (52)
53. When Love Hurts - JoJo (63)
54. Til It Happens To You - Lady Gaga (58)
55. Nothin' Like You - Dan + Shay (45)
56. Gonna - Blake Shelton (53)
57. Catch & Release (Deepend Remix) - Matt Simons (57)
58. Backroad Song - Granger Smith (62)
59. Carry On - Coeur de Pirate (49)
60. Same Old Love - Selena Gomez (60)
61. We Went - Randy Houser (66)
62. Another Lonely Night - Adam Lambert (70)
63. Beautiful Drug - The Zac Brown Band (73)
64. Never Leave - DVBBS (64)
65. In The Night - The Weeknd (69)
66. Wash It All Away - Five Finger Death Punch (72)
67. Lay It All On Me - Rudimental f/Ed Sheeran (39)
68. Levels - Nick Jonas (48)
69. Crash 2.0 - Adventure Club vs Dallask (71)
70. No Sleeep - Janet Jackson (65)
71. Break On Me - Keith Urban (78)
72. DSYLM - B. Howard f/BK Brasco (74)
73. Hold On Forever - Rob Thomas (68)
74. Used To Love You - Gwen Stefani (75)
75. Kiss Me - Olly Murs (76)
76. Stolen Car - Mylene Farmer & Sting (86)
77. Alone No More - Philip George & Anton Powers (87)
78. Over and Over Again - Nathan Sykes (DEBUT)
79. Perfect - One Direction (RE-ENTRY)
80. Mr. Misunderstood - Eric Church (90)
81. Earned It - The Weeknd (81)
82. State Of My Head - Shinedown (83)
83. Sweet Lovin' - Sigala f/Bryn Christopher (85)
84. Don't Be So Hard On Yourself - Jess Glynne (84)
85. Ditmas - Mumford & Sons (DEBUT)
86. Be Right There - Diplo & Sleepy Tom (96)
87. Trip Switch - Nothing But Thieves (DEBUT)
88. Show Me Love - Robin Schulz & J.U.D.G.E. (88)
89. Out Of The Woods - Taylor Swift (DEBUT)
90. Country Nation - Brad Paisley (92)
91. Smoke Filled Room - Mako (91)
92. New Americana - Halsey (94)
93. Hypnotize - Zella Day (93)
94. California Dreamin' - Freischwimmer (99)
95. Lover Come Back - City and Colour (DEBUT)
96. Heartbeat - Carrie Underwood (DEBUT)
97. Don't Worry - Madcon f/Ray Dalton (RE-ENTRY)
98. The Girl Is Mine - 99 Souls f/Destiny's Child & Brandy (RE-ENTRY)
99. Fall 4 U - Natali Yura (DEBUT)
100. Lush Life - Zara Larsson (DEBUT)

Besides three songs re-entering the countdown, eight new tracks make their debut on my chart this week (highlighted in blue), and if you click on any of them, you'll connect to that artist's official website. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 1/29/16 - Just when I believed I couldn't ever want for more, this everchanging world pushes me through another door...


"Hold On To The Nights" - Richard Marx
from the album Richard Marx (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14

Today's song of the day comes from pop singer/songwriter Richard Marx, whose debut album had already spun off three straight top-5 pop hits with "Don't Mean Nothing", "Should've Known Better", and "Endless Summer Nights". The fourth single from the record was the album's big ballad, "Hold On To The Nights". Written by Marx and produced by him with David Cole, it would go on to be the biggest success from the already successful album...


"Hold On To The Nights" became Richard's first #1 hit in July of 1988. Susprisingly, the song only made it to #3 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") chart. Internationally, it didn't get too much notice, only being a minor hit at #60 in the UK and #72 in Australia.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Aussie Sweep: January 28, 2016...


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 Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself" spends a seventh week on top...

Sydney producer/musician Flume finally lands his first top ten hit here with "Never Be Like You" featuring Kai...


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Songoftheday 1/28/16 - I'm like a strange cat running in the heat of the night, I've got a fire in my eyes got a date with delight...


"Tall Cool One" - Robert Plant
from the album Now and Zen (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #25 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 7

Today's song of the day comes from Robert Plant, who had carved a respectable solo career after the dissolution of Led Zeppelin. He had already racked up a third solo top-40 hit with "Little By Little". In 1988 Plant released his fourth solo album, Now and Zen. After the first radio single "Heaven Knows" topped the rock chart for six weeks, the next selection "Ship Of Fools" landed at #3 on the rock list and was a minor pop hit at #84. It was the third release from the record, "Tall Cool One", that got pop radio noticing. Of course sampling a whole slew of Led Zep songs in the mix, including former bandmate Jimmy Page redoing the "Whole Lotta Love" slide. Written by Plant with Phil Johnstone, it was his 'hardest' pop solo hit to date...


"Tall Cool One" became Robert's fourth and so-far last top-40 pop hit in America in July of 1988. The song also climbed to #1 for four weeks on Billboard's Album Rock Tracks chart. Internationally, the song just missed the top 40 in Australia at #46. Three more tracks from Now and Zen also reached the rock chart as well.

In 1990, Plant put out Manic Nirvana, also with Johnstone, and returned to the top of the rock chart with "Hurting Kind", which barely missed the American Top-40 at #46. Three years later came Fate Of Nations, which put him back in the top-40 in the UK with "29 Palms", one of three top-10 rock hits from the set. In the mid-90's, Plant officially reunited with Page for a pair of albums, one live and one studio, that made top-ten business on the album chart, and scored him another #1 rock hit with "Most High" in 1998. Going back to his solo work, he last graced the British top-40 in 2005 with "Shine It All Around", which also was his most recent American rock hit at #18. His 2007 collaboration with bluegrass great Alison Krauss, Raising Sand, which won Album of the Year at the 2007 Grammy Awards. Plant's most recent solo album, Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar, reached #10 on Billboard's Albums chart in 2014.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

German Sweep: January 27, 2016...






Here's the top ten hits in Germany this week, according to their official singles chart, as EFF (the collaboration between DJ Felix Jaehn and rapper Mark Forster) climb to #1 with "Stimme"...

1. "Stimme" - EFF (4)
2. "Stitches" - Shawn Mendes (3)
3. "Catch & Release (Deepend Remix)" - Matt Simons (1)
4. "Light It Up (Remix)" - Major Lazer featuring Nyla and Fuse ODG (5)
5. "Hello" - Adele (2)
6. "Love Yourself" - Justin Bieber (7)
7. "Geiles Leben" - Glasperlenspiel (6)
8. "Show Me Love" - Robin Schulz & J.U.D.G.E. (8)
9. "Sorry" - Justin Bieber (9)
10. "7 Years" - Lukas Graham (DEBUT)

Danish band Lukas Graham, named for its lead singer, finally makes the top 10 with their single "7 Years" (I featured on this series two weeks ago), a personal fave of mine this year so far...


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Songoftheday 1/27/16 - Hey baby you've been on my mind tonight, I'm so lonely I just had to sit down and write...


"Lost In You" - Rod Stewart
from the album Out Of Order (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #12 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9

Today's song of the day comes from Rod Stewart, who had carried through the 80s quite well, last landing another top-ten pop single with "Love Touch" from the movie Legal Eagles. Two years later, Rod released his 15th album Out Of Order, which turned out to be his strongest album of the decade. Produced by Stewart with Bernard Edwards of Chic and Andy Taylor of Duran Duran, and the latter helped write the first single with Rod, "Lost In You". With a hint of mandolin and faux pipes-like sounding guitars, the song rolls along like the old car in the video...


"Lost In You" became Rod's ninth top-40 hit of the 80's in July of 1988. The single also climbed to #3 on Billboard's Album Rock Tracks chart, his highest rank up to that point. Internationally, the song went to #14 in Ireland, and was a more moderate top-40 success in Australia (#22), Germany (#25), the Netherlands (#34), and his native Britain (#21).

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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

French Sweep: January 26, 2016...






Here's the top ten hits in France, according to their official singles chart, as American singer/songwriter Matt Simons climbs to #1...

1. "Catch & Release (Deepend Remix)" - Matt Simons (2)
2. "Hundred Miles" - Yall featuring Gabriela Richardson (6)
3. "Hello" - Adele (4)
4. "Don't Worry" - Madcon featuring Ray Dalton (5)
5. "Blind" - Feder featuring Emmi (8)
6. "Tu Vas Me Manquer" - Maitre Gims (7)
7. "On Ecrit Sur Les Murs" - Kids United (DEBUT)
8. "Sorry" - Justin Bieber (10)
9. "Love Yourself" - Justin Bieber (DEBUT)
10. "No Me Mires Mas" - Kendji Girac featuring Soprano (DEBUT)

The charity record "On Ecrit Sur Les Murs" ("We Write on the Walls") from Kids United, a group of six kids from immigrant families put together by UNICEF...


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Songoftheday 1/26/16 - Now it's not the first time it's not the last, I know all about your checkered past...


"When We Kiss" - Bardeux
from the album Bold As Love (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #36 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's song of the day comes from the duo Bardeux, who started out with Acacia Smith and Tarrie B. After releasing a 12" single "Three Time Lover", Tarrie left and Jaz Teaney took over. Releasing their debut album Bold As Love in 1988, Acacia and Jaz scored a minor pop hit with the HI-NRG jam "Magic Carpet Ride" (#81). They followed it up with a slower and more seductive offering, "When We Kiss". Written by Acacia with producer Jon St. James (who worked with Stacey Q, whose influence you can definitely hear), the booty-call jam works at a pace not really for the dancefloor...


"When We Kiss" became Bardeux's sole top-40 pop hit in June of 1988. After that, Acacia again herself needing a new partner, and Melanie Taylor joined for their second album Shangri La. While the kickin' first single, "I Love To Bass", reached #3 on the Dance Club chart and #32 on the R&B list, it stopped at #68 on the pop Hot 100 (a true crime). The second single, "Thumbs Up", hit #17 dance and #59 R&B, and the title track slipped on to the club chart at #40. While Acacia carried on in the Bardeux name after that, Melanie went on to sing on Bette Midler's tours in the 90s.

Up tomorrow: A rockin' Scotsman has no idea where he is.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Robbed hit of the week 1/25/16 - Nu Shooz's "Should I Say Yes"...


"Should I Say Yes" - Nu Shooz
from the album Told U So (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #41

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the Portland, Oregon duo Nu Shooz, who took their debut hit "I Can't Wait" to the top of the pop, R&B, and dance charts in the summer of 1986, followed by the top-40 "Point Of No Return". Two years later, the married pair of Valerie Day and John Smith released their second major-label album, Told U So, which was more laid-back soulful than their last. The first single, "Should I Say Yes", was a departure from the sound they were known for, with a sparse electro-beat reminiscent of the freestyle work of Stevie B...


While "Should I Say Yes" climbed to #17 on Billboard's R&B chart, the single stopped short at #41 on the pop Hot 100. It also was a minor hit in the Netherlands. The two attempted a more upbeat follow-up with "Are You Lookin' For Somebody Nu", which did make it to #2 on the Dance chart, but by then mainstream radio had left them behind. They continue to record and perform, though, tagging on to the 'freestyle oldies' circuit that's been lucrative.

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Songoftheday 1/25/16 - Sleep baby sleep now that the night is over, and the sun comes like a god into our room...


"New Sensation" - INXS
from the album Kick (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's song of the day is by the Australian rock band INXS, who broke huge in America with their sixth album Kick, and landed a #1 pop single with "Need You Tonight" along with a #2 follow-up in "Devil Inside". The third single and in my opinion best of the bunch was the uptempo dance-rock track "New Sensation". Written by lead singer Michael Hutchence along with band keyboardist Andrew Farris, the song floats along the inescapable rhythm guitar bed until the sax kicks in on the chorus...


"New Sensation" became the third straight top-ten pop hit in the U.S. for the band in July of 1988. The single also climbed to #8 on Billboard's Rock radio chart (then called the "Album Rock Tracks"), while the extended version stopped short at #11 on the Dance Club Play list. Internationally, the record topped the chart in Canada, made the top ten in their native Australia (#9) and Spain (#9), and top-40 in the UK (#25), the Netherlands (#14), Ireland (#15), Germany (#35), Belgium (#19), and New Zealand (#16).

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Songoftheday 1/24/16 - Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty, sound of their breath fades with the light...


"Under The Milky Way" - The Church
from the album Starfish (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #24 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 5

Today's Song of the Day comes from the Australian modern rock band the Church, who came together in the beginning of the 1980's in Sydney. Led by singer and bassist Steve Kilbey, they released their debut album at the end of that year, and second single "The Unguarded Moment" landed them a top-40 hit in both Australia (#22) and New Zealand (#19). They had a second top-40 hit in their home country in 1982 with "Almost With You". Both were produced by Bob Clearmountain, who translated his "big sound" he uses with the likes of Bryan Adams with the emo posturing of Kilbey's vocals. They muddled along for a little while, even landing on the albums chart in America, before being dropped by their local label and moving off to America.

The result was their fifth album Starfish, a much moodier and less post-punk-styled work, and the first single from the project was "Under The Milky Way". Written by Kilbey along with Karin Jansson, the song strummed along to rule the newly-burgeoning "modern rock" radio format...


"Under The Milky Way" became the Church's sole top-40 pop hit in the U.S. in June of 1988, while climbing all the way to #2 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart. Internationally, the single reached the top-40 in both their native Australia (#22) and New Zealand (#25), but was only a minor hit in Canada at #69, and missed the top-75 in the UK.

The follow-up single from the album, "Reptile", went to #27 on the American rock chart (and slipped in at #99 in Australia). In 1990, the band released Gold Afternoon Fix, and the first single, "Metropolis", was their highest-charting hit in their homeland at #19, while in America, the song went to #1 on the newly-formed "Modern Rock" chart in Billboard, and #11 on the regular Mainstream Rock radio list. Two years later, they went to #3 on the Modern Rock chart with "Ripple" from their Priest=Aura album, which would be their so-far last appearance on the singles chart, though their continue to release albums and tour.

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Dance Sweep: January 30, 2016...


I'll wrap up this week's "music sweeps", checking out the songs making 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, Robin S. returns to #1 for the first time since 1997 with "Shout It Out Loud" with DJ Escape...

The sole new entry but still worthy "Dance Pick of the Week" belongs to the band PHASES who land at #50 with "I'm In Love With My Life"...


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Country Sweep: January 30, 2016...


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, Thomas Rhett's "Die A Happy Man" spends an amazing fifth week at #1...

Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler continues to try to break into the country music market at #57 with "Red White & You". It follows "Love Is Your Name", which made it to #33 on this chart...


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Soul Sweep: January 30, 2016...


We're at the "hump" of today's "music sweeps", sampling the songs making their way onto the various radio and singles charts in Billboard magazine. This time out I'm serving up the latest R&B hits on the airwaves...

On their R&B/Hip Hop Airplay chart, Drake's "Hotline Bling" is on top for a fifteenth week...

Hip-hop artist Bryson Tiller jumps in at #33 with "Exchange". His radio hit "Don't" is up at #4...


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Rock Sweep: January 30, 2016...






Round two of this week's "music sweeps" is up, checking out the songs making their way on to the singles charts in Billboard magazine, and this time I've got the latest hits on rock radio...

On the main Rock Airplay chart, twenty-one pilots stay at #1 for a fourth non-consecutive week with "Stressed Out"...

...as their new single "Ride" is the highest entry at #30...


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Pop Sweep: January 30, 2016...






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

On the "big" chart, Billboard's Hot 100, Justin Bieber tops the chart for a second week with "Sorry"...

After the death of David Bowie, the current single from his #1 album Blackstar, "Lazarus" lands his legacy the first top-40 pop hit in America since 1987's "Never Let Me Down". Also two other of his tracks, "Space Oddity" and "Under Pressure", re-enter the charts at #42 and #45 respectively. As for "Lazarus", it's an amazing piece of work; obviously this would never have had a shot at the top-40 save for the circumstances, but sadly it's good that it did happen, and this song should end up in the same regard as his best work.


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Songoftheday 1/23/16 - See you dancing in my dreams, feel you heartbeat inside of me...


"Mercedes Boy" - Pebbles
from the album Pebbles (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's Song of the Day comes from dance-pop singer Perri "Pebbles" Reid, whose debut single "Girlfriend" landed her an out-of-the-box #1 R&B/top 5 pop hit. Her follow-up, the mid-tempo jam "Mercedes Boy", was written by the artist and produced by Charlie Wilson from the Gap Band. Seemingly comparing her privates to a luxury car, she's asking to be your Uber. Trying to grasp on to the then-hot "freestyle" genre, they slapped two "background singers" for her video...


"Mercedes Boy" climbed to the runner-up spot on the American pop chart in July of 1988, while becoming her second in a row to hit #1 on Billboard's R&B chart. The extended version also went to #2 on their Dance Club Play list. Internationally, the single just missed the top-40 at #42 in the UK, while reaching #14 in Canada and #39 in the Netherlands.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Brit Sweep: January 22, 2016...



It's time to cross the pond to check out the songs making their debut on the official singles chart in Britain this week, as Canadian singer Shawn Mendes scores his first #1 hit with "Stitches"...

Mancunian rock band the 1975 land the highest-charting single of their career, as "The Sound" comes in at #15. It's now their fourth top-40 hit in the UK...


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twostepcub's music chart for January 22, 2016...


It's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. Adele remains on top for a seventh week, while newcomer Alessia Cara (pictured above) climbs a pair of slots in the top ten. Songs from Disclosure/Lorde, JoJo, and Robin S/DJ Escape make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red), while former big hits from The Weeknd and Coleman Hell drop off the list. Snowmaggedon 2016, commence!

This Week             Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
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1. Hello - Adele (1)
2. Stressed Out - twenty-one pilots (2)
3. Adventure Of A Lifetime - Coldplay (4)
4. On My Mind - Ellie Goulding (3)
5. Stay A Little Longer - Brothers Osborne (5)
6. Here - Alessia Cara (8)
7. Ex's & Oh's - Elle King (7)
8. Hotline Bling - Drake (12)
9. Break Up In A Small Town - Sam Hunt (19)
10. Stand By You - Rachel Platten (14)
11. Burning House - Cam (6)
12. Confident - Demi Lovato (16)
13. Top Of The World - Tim McGraw (11)
14. Hold My Hand - Jess Glynne (10)
15. Gonna Know We Were Here - Jason Aldean (15)
16. Wildest Dreams - Taylor Swift (9)
17. First - Cold War Kids (13)
18. When We Were Young - Adele (24)
19. The Fire and the Flood - Vance Joy (23)
20. Mess Around - Cage The Elephant (21)
21. S.O.B. - Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats (18)
22. Home Alone Tonight - Luke Bryan f/Karen Fairchild (26)
23. Stitches - Shawn Mendes (17)
24. Die A Happy Man - Thomas Rhett (20)
25. Like I'm Gonna Lose You - Meghan Trainor f/John Legend (25)
26. Shame - Tyrese (27)
27. The Light - Disturbed (29)
28. Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah) - Andy Grammer (28)
29. The Ghosts Of Beverly Drive - Death Cab For Cutie (22)
30. Run On Love - Lucas Nord f/Tove Lo (30)
31. I'm Comin' Over - Chris Young (31)
32. Smooth Sailin' - Leon Bridges (38)
33. Let It Go - James Bay (37)
34. Higher Place - Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike f/Ne-Yo (40)
35. Automatic - ZHU vs AlunaGeorge (35)
36. I Love This Life - LoCash (39)
37. Renegades - X Ambassadors (33)
38. Irresistible - Fall Out Boy f/Demi Lovato (42)
39. Lay It All On Me - Rudimental f/Ed Sheeran (32)
40. Shout It Out Loud - Robin S. & DJ Escape (52)
41. One Call Away - Charlie Puth (51)
42. Sax - Fleur East (46)
43. I Got The Boy - Jana Kramer (44)
44. Roses - The Chainsmokers f/ROZES (54)
45. Nothin' Like You - Dan + Shay (36)
46. Can't Sleep Love - Pentatonix (48)
47. Magnets - Disclosure f/Lorde (71)
48. Levels - Nick Jonas (34)
49. Carry On - Coeur de Pirate (49)
50. Dibs - Kelsea Ballerini (50)
51. Nightlight - Silversun Pickups (53)
52. Love Me Like You - Little Mix (57)
53. Gonna - Blake Shelton (43)
54. Return To The Moon - EL VY (55)
55. Love Myself - Hailee Steinfeld (59)
56. Believe - Chaos f/CeCe Peniston (63)
57. Catch & Release (Deepend Mix) - Matt Simons (61)
58. Til It Happens To You - Lady Gaga (58)
59. You Don't Own Me - Grace f/G-Eazy (67)
60. Same Old Love - Selena Gomez (60)
61. Boomerang - Emin f/Nile Rodgers (41)
62. Backroad Song - Granger Smith (62)
63. When Love Hurts - JoJo (87)
64. Never Leave - DVBBS (66)
65. No Sleeep - Janet Jackson (45)
66. We Went - Randy Houser (68)
67. Spin Spin Sugar - Scotty Boy f/Sue Cho (47)
68. Hold On Forever - Rob Thomas (56)
69. In The Night - The Weeknd (79)
70. Another Lonely Night - Adam Lambert (75)
71. Crash 2.0 - Adventure Club vs. Dallask (83)
72. Wash It All Away - Five Finger Death Punch (82)
73. Beautiful Drug - The Zac Brown Band (73)
74. DYSLM - B. Howard f/BK Brasco (78)
75. Used To Love You - Gwen Stefani (76)
76. Kiss Me - Olly Murs (80)
77. Unbreakable - Janet Jackson (77)
78. Break On Me - Keith Urban (88)
79. Locked Away - R. City f/Adam Levine (74)
80. Break Up With Him - Old Dominion (70)
81. Earned It - The Weeknd (81)
82. She Used To Be Mine - Sara Bareilles (72)
83. State Of My Head - Shinedown (89)
84. Don't Be So Hard On Yourself - Jess Glynne (84)
85. Sweet Lovin' - Sigala f/Bryn Christopher (86)
86. Stolen Car - Mylene Farmer & Sting (RE-ENTRY)
87. Alone No More - Philip George & Anton Powers (RE-ENTRY)
88. Show Me Love - Robin Schulz & J.U.D.G.E. (92)
89. Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart - Chris Cornell (85)
90. Mr. Misunderstood - Eric Church (90)
91. Smoke Filled Room - Mako (91)
92. Country Nation - Brad Paisley (94)
93. Hypnotic - Zella Day (DEBUT)
94. New Americana - Halsey (96)
95. Promise To Love - Kem (DEBUT)
96. Be Right There - Diplo & Sleepy Tom (RE-ENTRY)
97. Bang My Head - David Guetta f/Sia & Fetty Wap (DEBUT)
98. This Is The Love - Spandau Ballet (DEBUT)
99. California Dreamin' - Freischwimmer (DEBUT)
100. L'Amour Toujours - Dzeko & Torres f/Delaney Jane (DEBUT)

There are six songs making their debut on my chart this week (highlighted in blue), and if you click on any of them, you'll connect to that artist's official website. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 1/22/16 - So now you've returned and you want to try our love again, but frankly I'm concerned that you will hurt me like you did then...


"Promise Me" - The Cover Girls
from the album Show Me (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #40 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 1

Today's song of the day comes from the freestyle trio the Cover Girls, whose debut album Show Me, after almost making the top-40 with the title track, then only nicked the top 100 with the follow-up "Spring Love". They finally cracked the American Top 40 in the winter of 1988 with "Because Of You", with original member Sunshine Wright leaving to be replaced by Margo Urban. The fourth single from the set was the "ballad" of the album, "Promise Me". Written by the trio of Albert Cabrera and Tony Moran (aka the Latin Rascals) with Andy Tripoli, the song served as a break from the frenetic pace of the genre, and the background vocals set it up a notch...


"Promise Me" slipped into the pop top-40 for a week in May of 1988.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Aussie Sweep: January 21, 2016...


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 Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself" spends a sixth week at #1...

British singer and X Factor UK finalist Fleur East lands on these shores at #25 with "Sax". Will it eventually make it to America? I certainly hope so...


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Songoftheday 1/21/16 - Love is like a bomb baby c'mon get it on, livin' like a lover with a radar phone...


"Pour Some Sugar On Me" - Def Leppard
from the album Hysteria (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 15

Today's song of the day comes from the pop/metal band Def Leppard, whose Hysteria album had slowly and surely was picking up business, after first single "Women" sort of stiffed in America down at #80, then follow-up "Animal" made the top-20, and lastly, the title track from the set cracked the top ten, the first time for the group. The fourth single from the record was "Pour Some Sugar On Me", written by the band with producer Robert "Mutt" Lange. With a booming march-like chorus that Lange would later use to great effect with wife Shania Twain, the song became their best-known hit. Although in my neck of the woods there was whispering about it being about the "bubble" of the crack pipe...


"Pour Some Sugar On Me" became Def Leppard's sixth top-40 pop hit, reaching the runner-up spot on the Hot 100 in July of 1988. Possibly hindered by its mainstream success, the single surprisingly did much more modestly on the American Mainstream Rock radio chart in Billboard, stopping at #25. Internationally, where it was released as the third single ahead of "Hysteria", the record made the top-10 in Ireland (#8), the top-20 in the UK (#18) and New Zealand (#16), and top-40 in Australia (#26).

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

German Sweep: January 20, 2016...






Here's the top ten hits in Germany, according to their official singles chart, as American singer/songwriter Matt Simons climbs to #1 with "Catch & Release"...

1. "Catch & Release (Deepend Remix)" - Matt Simons (2)
2. "Hello" - Adele (1)
3. "Stitches" - Shawn Mendes (4)
4. "Stimme" - EFF (6)
5. "Light It Up (Remix)" - Major Lazer featuring Nyla and Fuse ODG (9)
6. "Gieles Leben" - Glasperlenspiel (3)
7. "Love Yourself" - Justin Bieber (10)
8. "Show Me Love" - Robin Schulz & J.U.D.G.E. (5)
9. "Sorry" - Justin Bieber (7)
10. "Lush Life" - Zara Larsson (8)

For the second week in a row, there are no new songs in the top ten, but entering the entire top 100 at #11 is Austrian music star DJ Ötzi, who teams up with Nik P. for "Geboren Um Dich Zu Lieben" ("Born To Love You"). The pair went all the way to #1 in Germany back in 2007 with "Ein Stern"...




Songoftheday 1/20/16 - Out where the river broke the bloodwood and the desert oak...


"Beds Are Burning" - Midnight Oil
from the album Diesel And Dust (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #17 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9

Today's song of the day comes from the Australian rock band Midnight Oil, who came together in Sydney in the mid 70s, changing their name from The Farm after adding lead singer Peter Garrett. Releasing their self-titled debut album in 1978, they snuck on to their national singles chart at #100 with "Run By Night". Heralded for their live act, their albums sold well, and they finally cracked the top-40 in 1980 with their EP Bird Noises. With a rawer sound and more incendiary lyrics than their more popular peers INXS and Icehouse, nevertheless their audience kept growing, and in 1982, they broke bigin their homeland, with album 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and lead single "Power and the Passion" both reaching the top ten. A following EP Species Diseases was their first release to top the singles chart (In Australia, "extended play" mini-albums of a few songs were counted as "singles"). Along with their politically charged music and videos, Garrett also started to become heavily involved in Australian politics, running for office as early as 1984.

The band reached their crest with the release of their sixth studio album Diesel And Dust in 1987. While in Australia, their first single "The Dead Heart" nabbed them their highest-charting hit in their country at #4, it was second track "Beds Are Burning" that broke them worldwide. Also delving into the national issue of the treatment of aboriginal peoples of the country, the song name-checked a lot of locally news-worthy things that would have never been exposed worldwide. And the song, which rides on an infectious bed of bass guitar and low rhythms, with its lyrics of shame over the plight of the native population, is something American rock rarely touched itself...


"Beds Are Burning" became Midnight Oil's sole top-40 pop hit, reaching the top 20 in July of 1988. The record also climbed to #6 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, while the extended version made it to #20 on their Dance Club Play list. Internationally, besides peaking at #6 in Australia, it topped out at the same rank in the UK, went to #3 in the Netherlands, #5 in France, and went all the way to #1 in Canada, South Africa, and their neighboring New Zealand.

After "The Dead Heart" was released as a follow-up and rose to #53 on the American pop and #11 on the American rock charts, the band toured worldwide, taking up with social and political causes like Greenpeace. In 1990, Midnight Oil released Blue Sky Mining, which also tackles heavy subjects, and the title track topped both the Mainstream and the newly-created Modern Rock charts in Billboard, while just missing the pop top-40 at #47 (it did hit #8 in Australia). Another track from the album, "Forgotten Years", also hit #1 on the Modern Rock list (#11 Mainstream as well). It took three more years before their next set, Earth And Sun and Moon, with controversial single "Truganini" reaching the top 10 on both the American rock charts and #10 in Australia (so far their most recent one). Two other tracks from the album, "Drums Of Heaven" and "Outbreak Of Love", made it to the Modern Rock top ten in the U.S. The band landed their latest top-40 hit in their home country in 1996 with "Underwater" (#22). After a one-off single in 2003, "No Man's Land", a minor hit in Australia, Midnight Oil called it quits for a while, reuniting in 2009 for live performances. Garrett has since become much more known as a politician, winning a seat in parliament, and since serving as a minister of various artistic and educational arms of the government.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

French Sweep: January 19, 2016...


Here's the top ten songs in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as the death of David Bowie causes Adele's "Hello" to fall from #1 after eleven weeks...

1. "Space Oddity" - David Bowie (DEBUT)
2. "Catch & Release (Deepend Remix)" - Matt Simons (3)
3. "Life On Mars" - David Bowie (DEBUT)
4. "Hello" - Adele (1)
5. "Don't Worry" - Madcon featuring Ray Dalton (2)
6. "Hundred Miles" - Yall featuring Gabriela Richardson (6)
7. "Tu Vas Me Manquer" - Maitre Gims (8)
8. "Blind" - Feder featuring Emmi (DEBUT)
9. "Heroes" - David Bowie (DEBUT)
10. "Sorry" - Justin Bieber (4)

David's "Space Oddity" rockets back up to the top of the chart this week.


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Songoftheday 1/19/16 - Not a dime I can't pay my rent, I can barely make it through the week...


"Nothin' But A Good Time" - Poison
from the album Open Up And Say Ahhh! (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #6 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's song of the day comes from the band Poison, who found themselves at the top of the "glam-metal" heap by the mid-80's. Their debut album, Look What The Cat Dragged In, landed them a top-10 pop hit off the bat with "Talk Dirty To Me". After their follow-up "I Want Action" missed the top-40, they came back strong with the power-ballad "I Won't Forget You". In 1988, the group released their second album Open Up And Say...Ahhh!, pretty much a copycat version of their first. The first single, like "Talk Dirty...", was the set's party anthem, "Nothin' But A Good Time". Written by the band and produced by Tom Werman (who had produced yesterday's SOTD act Cheap Trick), it was a no-brainer for their fans...


"Nothin' But A Good Time" became the second top-10 pop hit for Poison in July of 1988. The single also became their first to hit Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart at #19. Internationally, the song went to #10 in Australia, #35 in the UK, and #36 in Canada.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Robbed hit of the week 1/18/16 - Sweet Sensation's "Take It While It's Hot"...


"Take It While It's Hot" - Sweet Sensation
from the album Take It While It's Hot (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #57

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the freestyle vocal trio Sweet Sensation, hailing from New York City with lead singer Betty LeBron along with backup vocalists and sisters Margie and Mari Fernandez. Originally signed to Next Plateau Records (Salt N Pepa's label), the group released their first single, "Hooked On You" in 1986, which climbed to #64 on the pop chart (it later would become a top-40 hit). Their next single, "(Goodbye Baby) Victim Of Love",  got the attention of DJs, and landed them on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart at #44. After Atlantic Records' Atco imprint picked them up, those two songs were included on their 1988 debut album Take It While It's Hot. The title track, written by Joe Malloy, would be their next radio release, and was the first to rule radio in New York...


"Take It While It's Hot" made it to the midsection of the Hot 100 pop chart in the U.S. in May of 1988, while climbing to #14 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart. They would succeed it with a few more hits, including two that made the top-40 (and future "songs of the day") that would help make the album one of the best freestyle longplayers of the decade.

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Songoftheday 1/18/16 - Another night slowly closes in and I feel so lonely, touching heat freezing on my skin I pretend you still hold me...


"The Flame" - Cheap Trick
from the album Lap Of Luxury (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14

Today's song of the day comes from the power-pop/rock band Cheap Trick, who started out in Illinois led by guitarist Rick Nielsen as Fuse. Dropping their original lead singer and hiring on Robin Zander, they changed their name and came back to the midwest from Philly. Getting signed and releasing their self-titled debut album in 1977, their first three albums weren't particularly noticed in America, other than a minor pop hit with "Surrender". However, across the Pacific in Japan, they were huge, convincing them to go and tour the country. The resulting live album, Live At Budokan, overshadowed everything they've done before, and is considered one of the best (if not the best) live rock albums ever. So much was the fervor over the record that after scores of import copies were sold in America, their record company finally decided to release it stateside. Their live version of "I Want You To Want Me", originally on their second album In Color, climbed up to the top ten on the U.S. pop chart. With that momentum, their next studio album, Dream Police, hit the top ten on the albums chart in America, while the title track also did top-ten business in Canada and Australia and hit #26 in the States. Everything was looking up, with a big following and a distinctive look (the four-piece had two traditionally "rock-style" members in Zander and bassist Tom Petersson and two eclectic ones with Nielsen's nerdish outfits and drummer Bun E Carlos looking like their dad). But the coming of new wave and the second "British Invasion" of the early 80s placed them on the sidelines for awhile, with Petersson leaving, and their music getting less play on American stations. They stalled out right under the top 40 four times in that period, with "Tonight It's You" reaching #44 in 1985.

Under threat of losing their contract, and regaining Petersson to the lineup in 1987, Cheap Trick for the first time contracted out some of the songs on their next studio album, Lap Of Luxury. The first single from the project, "The Flame", was one of them. Written by Bob Mitchell and Nick Graham, no chances were taken, with the by-the-numbers power-ballad was trotted out right off the bat, and the public responded in favor, with mainstream stations giving them their biggest-ever hit...


"The Flame" went all the way to #1 on the American pop chart in 1988. The single also climbed to #3 on Billboard magazine's Mainstream Rock chart, and even crossed over to their adult contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart at #29. Internationally, the song went to #1 in Canada and Australia, #32 in Germany, and #11 in New Zealand. And like Heart, Chicago, and Foreigner before them, changed their image irrevocably.

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Songoftheday 1/17/16 - You never make me stay so take your weight off of me, I know your every move so won't you just let me be...


"Dirty Diana" - Michael Jackson
from the album Bad (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's song of the day comes from Michael Jackson, whose Bad album had carried through on all the hype surrounding the follow-up to the biggest album of all time, Thriller. The first four singles, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man In The Mirror", and the title track, all went to #1 in quick succession. The fifth single from the record, "Dirty Diana", took the promise of the rock/R&B fusion of "Beat It" from Thriller and took it farther, replacing Eddie Van Halen with the edgier Steve Stevens (Billy Idol's right-hand man). With Michael putting his angry face on about a psychotic groupie, the song comes across scary and cocky at the same time...


"Dirty Diana" became the fifth straight number-one pop hit from Bad in July of 1988, setting a record not even tied until Katy Perry's Teenage Dream album (and that one has the asterisk of having an expanded re-release). The song also crossed over to Billboard's R&B chart, peaking at #5. Internationally, the single topped the chart in Spain (though on its re-release in 2006), and made the top ten in the Netherlands (#2), Germany (#3), Ireland (#3), Switzerland (#3), Great Britain (#4), Canada (#5), New Zealand (#5), Austria (#7), and France (#9). After Jackson's death in 2009, the song came back to the charts all over the world, landing in the top 20 in the UK.

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