Thursday, March 31, 2016

Aussie Sweep: March 31, 2016...


It's time to head Down Under to check out the songs from local artists making the chart in Australia this week, as Hilltop Hoods remain on top of the Australian Artists Singles chart with "1955". (Lukas Graham rules the main singles chart in that country again with "7 Years")...

Sydney-based singer/songwriter Celia Pavey, who has changed her recording moniker to Vera Blue, sees two songs of hers reach the chart. First at #6 is "Hold"...


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Songoftheday 3/31/16 - My little baby sister can do it with ease, it's easier than learning your A B C's...


"The Loco-Motion" - Kylie Minogue
from the album Kylie (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's song of the day comes from Australia's jewel, Kylie Minogue, who broke through on American shores in the summer of 1988 with her hit single "I Should Be So Lucky". She followed that up in the States with a remade version of her cover song that ruled the Australian and British charts, "The Loco-Motion". Written by legends Carole King and Gerry Goffin, it was first released by newcomer teen (and Carole's babysitter) Little Eva (Boyd) after being passed on by Chubby Checker co-hort Dee Dee Sharp. The single went all the way to #1 on the pop chart in the U.S. and Canada (and #2 in England) in 1962...


A dozen years later, the rock band Grand Funk Railroad did a remake of the song done in a sloppy, rollicking style, and became only the second time that a song would top the Billboard pop chart twice from two different artists...


So it was no big surprise when Kylie took her version of the song yet again to near the top of the charts with her bubbly take on the classic...


This time around, Kylie went to #3 on the American Hot 100, the highest rank she's ever been so far, in November of 1988. The single also climbed to #39 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart, and peaked at #12 on their Dance Club Play list. Internationally, the Stock-Aitken-Waterman produced version in 1988 went to #2 for four weeks in the UK, as well as making it to #1 in Canada, Ireland, Belgium, and Finland, #2 in Switzerland, #3 in Germany and Austria, and #5 in France.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

German Sweep: March 30, 2016...


Here's the top ten hits in Germany this week, according to their official singles chart, as Alan Walker remains on top for a seventh week...

1. "Faded" - Alan Walker (1)
2. "Die Immer Lacht" - Stereoact featuring Kirsten Ott (2)
3. "Stressed Out" - twenty-one pilots (3)
4. "Cheap Thrills" - Sia (6)
5. "Fast Car" - Jonas Blue featuring Dakota (4)
6. "Love Yourself" - Justin Bieber (5)
7. "I Took A Pill In Ibiza" - Mike Posner (DEBUT)
8. "Me, Myself & I" - G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha (7)
9. "7 Years" - Lukas Graham (8)
10. "Work" - Rihanna featuring Drake (9)

American pop singer/songwriter Mike Posner moves into the top ten at #7 with "I Took A Pill In Ibiza". Back in 2010 he had a couple of top-40 hits in Germany with "Cooler Than Me" reaching #22...


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Songoftheday 3/30/16 - Forty-seven dead beats living in the back street, north east west south all in the same house...


"Wild Wild West" - The Escape Club
from the album Wild Wild West (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 16

Today's song of the day comes from the British rock band the Escape Club, who came together in the early 80's in London from members of other new wave bands. After a little-noticed debut album in 1985, the group, led by singer Trevor Steel, changed labels for their sophomore effort Wild Wild West in 1988. The title track, a campy march of a tune that only lyrically identified with the title, made not a scratch of inway in their native UK, but was a big-time novelty hit in the US (kind of like if INXS did a comedy record)...



"Wild Wild West" climbed all the way to #1 on the American pop chart in November of 1988. The single also went to #3 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart, #45 on the Mainstream Rock radio chart, and popped in at #36 on their dance club play list. The song also made it to #6 in Australia and #12 in New Zealand...

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

French Sweep: March 29, 2016...


Here's the top ten hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as Alan Walker's "Faded" is on top for a fourth week...

1. "Faded" - Alan Walker (1)
2. "Stressed Out" - twenty-one pilots (2)
3. "This Girl" - Kungs vs. Cookin' On 3 Burners (DEBUT)
4. "Hymn For The Weekend" - Coldplay (3)
5. "7 Years" - Lukas Graham (10)
6. "Catch & Release (Deepend Remix)" - Matt Simons (4)
7. "Miracle" - Julian Perretta (8)
8. "Love Yourself" - Justin Bieber (5)
9. "On Ecrit Sur Les Murs" - Kids United (6)
10. "Work" - Rihanna featuring Drake (7)

French DJ/producer KUNGS, from the city of Aix-En-Provence, rockets in at #3 with "This Girl" with Cookin' On 3 Burners, a trio from Australia. The song is a rehash of the latter's single from 2009...


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Songoftheday 3/29/16 - Don't ask me what you know is true, don't have to tell you I love your precious heart...


"Never Tear Us Apart" - INXS
from the album Kick (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #7 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's song of the day is by the Australian modern rock/pop band INXS, whose landmark Kick album had granted them three huge hits in the U.S. with "New Sensation", "Devil Inside", and the #1 "Need You Tonight". The fourth single from the set was the sweeping grand ballad "Never Tear Us Apart", which played with rhythms in its 3/4 time signature and stop-start pacing in a tale of broken romance, written by lead singer Michael Hutchence with bandmate Andrew Farriss...


"Never Tear Us Apart" became the fourth single from Kick to reach the top ten on the American pop chart in November of 1988. The song went to #5 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, while it slipped in on their inaugural Modern Rock list at #28. It also crossed over to the Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") chart at #42, their first time on that format. Internationally, the record reached the top ten in Canada (#9), Belgium (#8), and the Netherlands (#9), but was a more modest hit in Britain (#24) and their native Australia (#11).

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Robbed hit of the week 3/28/16 - Dino's "Summergirls"...


"Summergirls" - Dino
from the album 24/7 (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #50

This week's "robbed hit" comes from "freestyle" dance music singer Dean Esposito, aka "Dino", who started his career in Las Vegas as a producer and radio DJ, before embarking on a performing path in the late 80's. He released his debut 12" single "Summergirls" in the summer of 1988, and the warm-weather club track made waves on urban dance radio...


"Summergirls" made it to the halfway mark on the Billboard pop Hot 100 chart in August of 1988. It would be the first of five songs from Dino's debut album 24/7 to make the chart (the next will be a "robbed hit" in the upcoming months)...


Songoftheday 3/28/16 - When I'm feelin' blue all I have to do is take a look at you, then I'm not so blue...


"A Groovy Kind Of Love" - Phil Collins
from the album Buster (Original Soundtrack) (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's song of the day comes from Phil Collins, whose dual careers as both a solo artist and the lead singer/drummer of the progressive rock/pop band Genesis had made him one of the hottest commodities of the 80s. He closed out 1985 with a #1 duet from the movie White Nights, "Separate Lives", then the following year returned to Genesis for the Invisible Touch album, which spun off five top-10 hits including the chart-topping title track. After that, he returned as a solo artist not only for music, but also back to the movies, where he had his first starring role in the film Buster in 1988. A somewhat comedic turn on the horrific events of the Great Train Robbery of 1963 in England, it created a little controversy in the UK for its handling of such a fresh subject, but nonetheless, the affable Collins' music didn't suffer. He contributed three tracks to the movie, and two of them hit the charts. The first was a cover of a song that went to #2 on both the British and American charts for the Mindbenders in 1965, "A Groovy Kind Of Love". Written by Carole Bayer Sager with Toni Wine, it was based on a classical piece by Muzio Clementi. Their version was sort of a blend of old-school Beatles sway with the then-hot baroque-pop of the time...


Phil took the song down a more delicate path, making it a wistful ballad...


Phil's version of "A Groovy Kind Of Love" did much better than the Buster movie, spending two weeks at the top of the American pop chart in October of 1988. The song also had three weeks atop Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart. Internationally, the song was #1 for a week on his native Britain's singles chart, while it also made the #1 spot in Canada, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, #2 in Australia and Norway, and #3 in Germany.

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Songoftheday 3/27/16 - How can I explain when there are few words I can choose, how can I explain when words get broken....


"Chains Of Love" - Erasure
from the album The Innocents (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #12 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's song of the day comes from the British electro-pop duo Erasure, who came together after former Depeche Mode founder Vince Clarke found himself again in need of a vocal muse after the glorious Alison Moyet departed Yaz (or Yazoo) for a solo career. After an open call delivered him a singer with as much flair as Moyet as well as camp in droves in the openly-gay Andy Bell, Erasure was 'born' in the mid-80s. Their debut album Wonderland was released in 1986; the first single "Who Needs Love Like That" became a minor hit in the UK at #55. A more modest reception that Clarke's earlier acts, yes, but from the start getting a growing and loyal following from the still-repressed LGBT community in Britain, with the video featuring both the gay Bell and straight Clarke in drag. The extended version of the song, backed with the #100 UK hit "Heavenly Action" on the 12" single, climbed to #8 on the American dance club play chart in Billboard magazine. The third single, "Oh L'Amour", was the right blend of whimsical melancholy that was the first to catch my ear, buying Wonderland in college in Chicago that year, as the single went to #3 on the dance chart. It wasn't a big hit in their native Britain, stalling at #85, but internationally they started to catch on, reaching the top-20 in Germany, Sweden, Australia, France, and Ireland. All the while, their gay fanbase in both Britain and America was still growing.

In 1987 the pair released their sophomore effort, The Circus, which took their retro-electro sound and dug deeper in the lyrical aspect of the songs, which paid off well. The lead single "Sometimes" would end up being their highest-charting non-EP single of their career so far, ending up in the runner-up #2 position on the British chart, and reaching the top ten in Germany (#2), Belgium (#2), the Netherlands (#2), and Ireland (#3), as well as on the US dance chart. Three more singles hit the British charts, with third release "Victim Of Love" becoming their first to go to #1 on Billboard's dance chart. Meanwhile, The Circus reached the top 10 on the albums chart in England, and spawned a successful double-disc remix set dubbed The Two Ring Circus.

By the time of the release of their third album together, The Innocents, Clarke had fleshed out Erasure's sound to fully graduate from the proto-new-wave roots into a full fledged yet utterly campilicious pop unit, with Bell's songwriting skills evolving into the clarion call for gay and lesbian youth worldwide, without alienating the "mainstream" music scene. In the winter of 1988, the first British single "Ship Of Fools" landed them their fourth UK top ten hit at #6. But instead of that, Americans got the second single to introduce The Innocents, "Chains Of Love". Written by Clarke and Bell and produced by Stephen Hague (who had big crossover success in America with similar acts like the Pet Shop Boys and New Order), the pop anthem had an unforgettable chorus, a totally sing-along verse that is pure vamp, and a video that pulled no punches in the sexuality department, clothing Andy with a rainbow-colored frilly shoulderless number by the end as he and Vince are dangled over a stage by literal chains (and harnesses)...


"Chains Of Love" was Erasure's first big pop success in the U.S., reaching the top-20 on the Hot 100 chart in October of 1988. The song was on Billboard's inaugural Modern Rock radio chart, spending two weeks as high as #22, while the remix reached #4 on their Dance Club Play list. Internationally, the single went to #14 in Canada, #6 in Ireland, and #18 in Germany, though very surprisingly it stopped right at #11 in the UK.

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Songoftheday 3/26/16 - Out of the blue out of the night, you came along and you changed my life...


"True Love" - Glenn Frey
from the album Soul Searchin' (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #13 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9

Today's song of the day comes from the recently-passed singer/songwriter/guitarist from the legendary rock group Eagles, Glenn Frey, who in the mid-80s had a trifecta of hit songs from the movies and TV with the #2 "The Heat Is On" from Beverly Hills Cop, and "Smuggler's Blues" and "You Belong To The City" from the massive hit TV show Miami Vice. In 1988 Glenn released his third solo album Soul Searchin', and the first single from the project was the laid-back soft-blues/rock of "True Love". Written by Frey with longtime collaborator Jack Tempchin, the song felt like another soundtrack contribution in its earnest, well, "niceness"...


"True Love" became Glenn's seventh and final top-40 pop hit in the US in October of 1988. The song climbed all the way to #2 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart, and made it to #15 on their Mainstream Rock list. Internationally, the single peaked at #2 in Canada, while in Australia the track missed the top-40 at #49, and in the UK it stalled at #84.

Frey would released the title track as a follow-up, which went to #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart, but didn't make a peep anywhere else. It actually was the "B-side" of the second single from Soul Searchin' was the embarrassing self-help commercial for Bally's gym, "Livin' Right", which made Huey Lewis' "Hip To Be Square" seem like the Sex Pistols, and ended up at a meager #90 on the pop chart (and #22 Adult Contemporary).

In 1991, Glenn would contribute a song to yet another soundtrack, this time the girl-power classic Thelma & Louise, and while "Part Of Me, Part Of You" missed the pop top-40 at #55, it was a big success on rock and easy-listening radio, making the top ten. The single also appeared on his fourth album Strange Weather, and the second single from it, "I've Got Mine", was his final solo Hot 100 appearance at #91, though it reached the top-20 on the American adult contemporary and Canadian pop charts. Three years later, he would reunite with (most) of the Eagles for a massive comeback tour, and made it back into the top-40 on the pop chart with "Get Over It" in 1994. They would release a full-length original album in 2007, and his own solo covers set in 2012. Earlier this year, Glenn passed away from complications from surgery. He was 67, and his contributions to pop and rock music from his work with the Eagles and his solo stuff changed the direction of pop, rock, and country music in the decades he lived.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Brit Sweep: March 25, 2016...






It's time to shift over the Atlantic to check out the songs making their debut on the official music "singles" chart in the England and the UK this week, as Mike Posner spends a second week on top with "I Took A Pill In Ibiza"...

The highest debut of the week at #17 comes from British neo-house duo Blonde, who recruit singer Craig David for "Nothing Like This". It's their fourth single to reach the chart; last year they went to #4 with "All Cried Out" with Glee's Alex Newell, while Craig has racked up fourteen top-10 hits in the UK, with his first two, "Fill Me In" and "7 Days", going to #1 back in 2000...


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twostepcub's music chart for March 25, 2016...


Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. Adele's "When We Were Young" reigns for a fourth week, while Danish band Lukas Graham leaps into the top-5. Songs from Cole Swindell, Brett Eldredge, and Nothing But Thieves make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red), while former big hits from Kelsea Ballerini, Sam Hunt, Elle King, Matt Simons, and Disclosure/Lorde drop off my list. Where's that chocolate!?!?!?!?

This Week                Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. When We Were Young - Adele (1)
2. Stressed Out - twenty-one pilots (2)
3. Adventure Of A Lifetime - Coldplay (4)
4. Beautiful Drug - The Zac Brown Band (6)
5. 7 Years - Lukas Graham (9)
6. Roses - The Chainsmokers f/ROZES (5)
7. Mess Around - Cage The Elephant (3)
8. Let It Go - James Bay (10)
9. Cake By The Ocean - DNCE (13)
10. One Call Away - Charlie Puth (8)
11. Stand By You - Rachel Platten (7)
12. Mountain At My Gates - Foals (20)
13. Heartbeat - Carrie Underwood (16)
14. Home Alone Tonight - Luke Bryan f/Karen Fairchild (12)
15. True Original - Dave Aude f/Andy Bell (19)
16. Here - Alessia Cara (11)
17. Hello - Adele (17)
18. You Should Be Here - Cole Swindell (38)
19. Drunk On Your Love - Brett Eldredge (39)
20. The Fire and the Flood - Vance Joy (14)
21. First - Cold War Kids (21)
22. Over and Over Again - Nathan Sykes (22)
23. Break On Me - Keith Urban (23)
24. We Went - Randy Houser (31)
25. Smooth Sailin' - Leon Bridges (25)
26. In The Night - The Weeknd (18)
27. Trip Switch - Nothing But Thieves (47)
28. Stitches - Shawn Mendes (28)
29. Backroad Song - Granger Smith (24)
30. Pretty Pimpin' - Kurt Vile (34)
31. Stranded - Dirty Disco f/Inaya Day (36)
32. Die A Happy Man - Thomas Rhett (32)
33. Nobody To Blame - Chris Stapleton (43)
34. Little Bit Of You - Chase Bryant (48)

35. Ditmas - Mumford & Sons (35)
36. The Girl Is Mine - 99 Souls f/Destiny's Child & Brandy (37)
37. Shame - Tyrese (33)
38. Brand New - Ben Rector (44)
39. Another Lonely Night - Adam Lambert (29)
40. I'm Burning Up - Karine Hannah f/Dave Aude (40)
41. Under The Influence - Elle King (41)
42. Something In The Way You Move - Ellie Goulding (54)
43. Unsteady - X Ambassadors (51)
44. America's Sweetheart - Elle King (56)
45. Out Of The Woods - Taylor Swift (30)
46. Same Old Love - Selena Gomez (46)
47. Snapback - Old Dominion (61)
48. Fast Car - Jonas Blue f/Dakota (58)
49. Walking On A Dream - Empire Of The Sun (59)
50. On My Mind - Ellie Goulding (42)
51. I'm In Love With My Life - PHASES (66)
52. Faded - Alan Walker (67)
53. Electric Love - BORNS (57)
54. Ways To Get High - Pop Evil (55)
55. I Like The Sound Of That - Rascal Flatts (65)
56. Lithium - Athena (68)
57. Ophelia - The Lumineers (74)
58. Spirits - The Strumbellas (62)
59. Saint Cecilia - Foo Fighters (60)
60. State Of My Head - Shinedown (50)
61. Stay A Little Longer - Brothers Osborne (45)
62. Hollow - Tori Kelly (64)
63. Stolen Car - Mylene Farmer & Sting (49)
64. My House - Flo Rida (69)
65. Hide Away - Daya (70)
66. Confession - Florida Georgia Line (71)
67. Hey No Pressure - Ray Lamontagne (79)
68. Angel - Lalah Hathaway (72)
69. My Church - Maren Morris (77)
70. Renegades - X Ambassadors (52)
71. Work - Rihanna f/Drake (81)
72. Take Me Back - Claire Rasa (82)
73. Hymn For The Weekend - Coldplay (88)
74. The Sound Of Silence - Disturbed (84)
75. Make Me Love You - Gwen Stefani (87)
76. Oasis - A Great Big World (78)
77. Piece By Piece - Kelly Clarkson (RE-ENTRY)
78. Look It Here - Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats (DEBUT)
79. I Took A Pill In Ibiza (SeeB Remix) - Mike Posner (93)
80. I Love This Life - LoCash (75)
81. Ride - twenty-one pilots (85)
82. Pillowtalk - Zayn (86)
83. Youth - Troye Sivan (DEBUT)
84. Lush Life - Zara Larsson (94)
85. Me, Myself & I - G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha (89)
86. Bang My Head - David Guetta f/Sia & Fetty Wap (90)
87. Love Is - Inas X (DEBUT)
88. Mind Reader - Dustin Lynch (98)
89. Sound Of Your Heart - Shawn Hook (99)
90. That Don't Sound Like You - Lee Brice (DEBUT)
91. Off The Ground - The Record Company (DEBUT)
92. High Horse - Amuka & DJ JST (92)
93. Think Of You - Chris Young f/Cassadee Pope (DEBUT)
94. New Romantics - Taylor Swift (100)
95. Say My Name - Odesza f/Zyra (97)
96. Way Down We Go - Kaleo (96)
97. Ain't Got Far To Go - Jess Glynne (DEBUT)
98. Runaway - Bright Lights f/3LAU (DEBUT)
99. This One's For Me & You - Johnny Gill f/New Edition (DEBUT)
100. NO - Meghan Trainor (DEBUT)

There are ten songs making their debut on my chart this week (and another making a big comeback), and they're highlighted in blue. 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 3/25/16 - Hear the night music playing? Don't you know what it's saying? We should feel it together forever...


"Don't You Know What The Night Can Do?" - Steve Winwood
from the album Roll With It (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #6 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's song of the day comes from British rock singer/musician Steve Winwood, who stripped down the synthesizers and went a little old-school blues-rock in 1988 for his month-long #1 pop hit "Roll With It". For the second single from that album, Steve went a little moodier (and added tons of keyboards) for a song that was a sort of first in that it got major exposure as a commercial before its own radio release. "Don't You Know What The Night Can Do?", written by Winwood with longtime collaborator Will Jennings, was co-opted by Michelob beer, who was going to be sponsoring his upcoming tour. Choosing the track from the album for the commercial while "Roll With It" was still fresh and new, it did give a strange air to people not used to rock songs from legitimate artists being used as ad fodder. Nevertheless, the song was already quite familiar when it got its own release...


"Don't You Know What The Night Can Do?" became Winwood's sixth (and so-far most recent) top-10 solo pop hit in the U.S. in October of 1988. The single also topped the Mainstream Rock chart in Billboard for two weeks (his third time there), and crossed over to their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio list at #2. Internationally, the single didn't do much, just missing the top-40 in New Zealand at #46, and popped in for only two week on the charts in his native Britain, peaking down at #89.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Aussie Sweep: March 24, 2016...


It's time to head Down Under to take a look at the new music in Australia, and instead of recapping the main singles chart, which has became overloaded with foreign music, I'll start checking out the songs on ARIA's Australian Artists' singles charts, as the Hilltop Hoods hold at #1 with the stellar "1955" (it's at #3 on the main chart)...

Well it's a lucky chance I've converted over, since the top debut at #5 were runners-up on the just-ended Australia's Got Talent's eighth season. King Social, a ska-rock band from Queensland, are in with their performance of "Big Man", which ably describes the lead singer and guitarist (woof, woof)...


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Songoftheday 3/24/16 -May the good Lord be with you down every road you roam, and may sunshine and happiness surround you when you're far from home...


"Forever Young" - Rod Stewart
from the album Out Of Order (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #12 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day comes from Rod Stewart, who rolled out what would be the biggest album of the decade for him, Out Of Order, with the rollicking "check back with the ex" track "Lost In You". The second single from the album would be the reflective mid-tempo rock song "Forever Young". Written with bandmates Kevin Savigar and Jim Cregan, credit was given to Bob Dylan when it was pointed out the similarities with his song and one done by Dylan of the same title from his album Planet Waves. Nevertheless, the song became one of Rod's "signature" tunes...


"Forever Young" became the second top-20 pop hit from Out Of Order in America in October of 1988. The single went all the way to #3 for a week on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") chart, and #13 on their Mainstream Rock radio list. Internationally, the song went to #9 in Canada, but missed the top 40 in Ireland (#41), New Zealand (#46), and even his native Britain (#57).

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

German Sweep: March 23, 2016...


Here's the top ten hits in Germany this week, according to their official singles chart, as "Faded" from Alan Walker holds at #1 for a sixth week...

1. "Faded" - Alan Walker (1)
2. "Die Immer Lacht" - Stereoact featuring Kirsten Ott (2)
3. "Stressed Out" - twenty-one pilots (3)
4. "Fast Car" - Jonas Blue featuring Dakota (4)
5. "Love Yourself" - Justin Bieber (5)
6. "Cheap Thrills" - Sia (DEBUT)
7. "Me, Myself & I" - G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha (8)
8. "7 Years" - Lukas Graham (7)
9. "Work" - Rihanna featuring Drake (6)
10. "Stitches" - Shawn Mendes (9)

Australian singer/songwriter Sia leaps in at #6 with her new single "Cheap Thrills". In this country, this is her fifth top ten hit; she's gone as high as #3 as the featured singer on David Guetta's "She Wolf (Falling To Pieces)"...


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Songoftheday 3/23/16 - I been watching your eyes looking for someone, time after time they met mine the chase is on...


"What You See Is What You Get" - Brenda K. Starr
from the album Brenda K. Starr (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #24 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 7

Today's Song of the Day comes from singer Brenda K (for real surname Kaplan) Starr, who had her big mainstream radio break in the summer of 1988 with the ballad "I Still Believe" (which future superstar Mariah Carey sang back-up on). For the follow-up she re-released her top-ten club hit from 1986, "What You See Is What You Get". Written by producer Stephen Lunt and Arthur Stead, it bridged the gap between freestyle sass and bubbly dance-pop a la Madonna...


"What You See Is What You Get" became Brenda's second and so-far final top-40 pop hit in the U.S. in October of 1988. She released a second album that went unnoticed (as freestyle became overshadowed by adult-pop in the likes of former protege Mariah). Aside from a duet with singer George Lamond on "No Matter What" in 1991 that almost made the top-40, radio dropped interest, leaving her to leave music for a while.  Five years later, she appeared as a featured guest on reggae artist Mad Lion on his single "Double Trouble", which peaked at #69 on Billboard's R&B chart in 1996. In the late 90's she re-emerged in the Spanish-language music community, and she made her true comeback, going to #1 on the "Tropical" Songs chart with "Herida" in 1997. She repeated the feat in 2002 with "Por Ese Hombre", which was nominated for a Latin Grammy. Her most recent album was ten years ago with AtrĂ©vete a Olvidarme, with the title track reaching #21 on the tropical chart.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

French Sweep: March 22, 2016...


Here's the top ten hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as "Faded" from Alan Walker is on top for a third week...

1. "Faded" - Alan Walker (1)
2. "Stressed Out" - twenty-one pilots (2)
3. "Hymn For The Weekend" - Coldplay (6)
4. "Catch & Release (Deepend Remix)" - Matt Simons (4)
5. "Love Yourself" - Justin Bieber (5)
6. "On Ecrit Sur Les Murs" - Kids United (7)
7. "Work" - Rihanna featuring Drake (9)
8. "Miracle" - Julian Perratta (8)
9. "Me, Myself & I" - G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha (DEBUT)
10. "7 Years" - Lukas Graham (DEBUT)

 American rapper G-Eazy teams up with singer Bebe Rexha at #9 with "Me, Myself & I". Bebe previously went to #6 on this chart as a featured singer on David Guetta's "Hey Mama" single...


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Songoftheday 3/22/16 - We've been over it a hundred times but this one's different, this time I'm not asking what you think I'm telling you...


"Staying Together" - Debbie Gibson
from the album Out Of The Blue (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #22 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 6

Today's song of the day is by Debbie Gibson, who as a teenager did what few people were able to do, send fourth consecutive singles to the top-5 of the pop chart in America. After doing the trick with "Only In My Dreams", "Shake Your Love", and the title track from her debut album Out Of The Blue, she became the youngest artist to write, produce, and sing on a #1 hit, "Foolish Beat". Running on that momentum, there was a fifth single released from the album, "Staying Together". Written by Gibson who co-produced it with Fred Zarr, it was yet another bubbly synth-dance teeny bopper, though with darker lyrical undertones of a love she just refuses to let go of (hide your bunnies)...


While "Staying Together" became the fifth top-40 hit from Out Of The Blue in September of 1988, it didn't match the success of the previous singles (probably her fanbase had the album already by now). Internationally, the song went to #15 in Ireland, and #29 in Canada, but stalled down at #53 in England.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Robbed hit of the week 3/21/16 - Vanessa Williams' "The Right Stuff"...


"The Right Stuff" - Vanessa Williams
from the album The Right Stuff (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #44

This week's "robbed hit" comes from Vanessa Williams, whose first claim to fame was being the first African-American woman to win the Miss America crown in 1983. However, after Penthouse magazine published a nude photoshoot of Williams done way before the contest, that she contended were private and in any means were not authorized to be published. Forced to step down only months before her "reign" ended (to be filled in by another African-American, runner-up Suzette Charles from New Jersey), her reputation was sullied so badly, it's a true testament to her talent and drive that she now is probably the most-remembers titleholder (and not for that reason).

In the years following the contest, she embarked on a singing career, releasing her debut album in 1988. The title track from The Right Stuff was released as the first single, and R&B radio took her in immediately. The song, written by producer Rex Salas with Kevin Jones, was a funky dance/new jack swing hybrid that wasn't the run-of-the-mill ballad you'd expect from a "beauty queen"...


While "The Right Stuff" made it all the way to #4 on Billboard's R&B singles chart, and topped their Dance Club Play list for a week, the song stopped just short at #44 on the pop Hot 100 in the U.S. in August of 1988. Internationally, the record made it to #21 in the Netherlands, and made two runs on the British singles chart, in 1989 reaching #62.

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Songoftheday 3/21/16 - Here I am in silence looking 'round without a clue, I find myself alone again all alone with you...


"What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)" - Information Society
from the album Information Society (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14

Today's song of the day is by the dance act Information Society, who came together in the Minneapolis area in the early 80's with singer Kurt Harland (who at the time adopted the surname Valaquen), along with Paul Robb and James Cassidy formed the core of the group. They released an indie single in 1985, "Running", which was a regional hit in New York (naturally, for it's pure freestyle dance sound), and climbed to #10 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart. Adding Amanda Kramer to the lineup, the quartet released their self-titled debut album on dance/hip-hop fave label Tommy Boy in 1988. The first single from the set incorporated samples of dialogue from Star Trek's Spock and Bones, capturing the hearts of both club queens and nerds alike. "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)", written by Robb and Harland and produced by Scritti Politti's Fred Maher, took the somewhat cut-and-paste freestyle sound and cut it into shreds and tossed it to bridge the gap between the goth-y stylers and the city roller kids...


"What's On Your Mind" became Information Society's first pop hit, reaching the top ten in the U.S. in October of 1988. The single also appeared on the first Modern Rock chart in Billboard magazine at #10, while the 12" single spent two weeks at #1 on their Dance Club Play chart. Internationally, the song went to #18 in Ireland and #58 in Canada, but missed the top-75 in the UK.

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Songoftheday 3/20/16 - There's a man working in a field, sees the rain and it's burning...


"Look Out Any Window" - Bruce Hornsby & The Range
from the album Scenes From The Southside (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #35 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 2

Today's song of the day comes from the rock band Bruce Hornsby & The Range, who led their sophomore album Scenes From The Southside with the top-5 pop hit "The Valley Road". The second single from the set was the expansively grand "Look At Any Window". Written by Bruce with brother John, the song was a fitting follow-up lyrically to their breakthrough hit "The Way It Is", with its populist message and observational tone, along with his dramatic piano-work, and remains a favorite of mine to test speakers with...


"Look Out Any Window" became the group's fifth top-40 pop hit in the U.S. in September of 1988. The single also made the top ten on both of Billboard's Mainstream Rock (#5) and Adult Contemporary (#7) radio charts. In Canada, the song climbed to #7 on the singles chart.

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Dance Sweep: March 26, 2016...






I'm up to the final "music sweep" of the week, checking out the songs reaching the charts in Billboard magazine, and I'll wrap things up with the latest dance jams in the clubs and on the radio...

On the DJ-polled Dance Club Play chart, Adele lands her second #1 in a row with "When We Were Young"...

American house music vet Mark Kinchen, recording as MK, teams up with English singer Becky Hill at #40 for "Piece Of Me"...


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Country Sweep: March 26, 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, Carrie Underwood earns her 14th #1 hit (and first since 2012's "Blown Away") with "Heartbeat"...

Blake Shelton rockets on to the chart at #18 with his brand new single "Came Here To Forget", my "Country Pick of the Week". It's from his upcoming If I'm Honest album. His last one, Bringing Back The Sunshine, sent all four of its radio singles to #1...


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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Soul Sweep: March 26, 2016...



We're at the hump of this week's 'music sweeps', sampling the songs reaching the charts in Billboard magazine, and this time out I've got the latest on R&B radio...

On their main R&B/HipHop Airplay chart, Rihanna and Drake spend a second week at #1 with "Work".  It's her fourth chart-topper here...

Newcomer Kent Jones arrives at #45 with "Don't Mind"..


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Rock Sweep: March 26, 2016...


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

On their main Rock Airplay chart, The Cold War Kids move back to #1 for an eleventh non-consecutive week with "First"...

Adelita's Way, a hard rock band from Las Vegas, drives in at #47 with "Bad Reputation". The track is already up to #18 on the Mainstream Rock list...


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Pop Sweep: March 26, 2016...


Hey guys, I'm back to run down the latest music on the charts this week, and this time out I've got the newest hits in pop music in America, according to Billboard' magazine.

On their "big" chart, the Hot 100, which combines tallies of radio airplay from all formats, sales (like Amazon MP3 and iTunes), and internet streaming (like Spotify and YouTube), Rihanna and Drake spend a fourth week at #1 with "Work"...

This year's Grammy winner for Best New Artist, pop singer/songwriter Meghan Trainor, lands the top new entry of the week all the way up at #11 with the first single from her upcoming second album, "NO". However, the video for this won't be out until the end of the month, and there's not even an official audio or lyric clip for it, so Meghan, you may have jilted yourself out of another top ten hit... (Well, whatya know, the video just was released on Monday...)


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Songoftheday 3/19/16 - She stepped off the bus out into the city streets, just a small town girl with her whole life packed in a suitcase by her feet...


"Fallen Angel" - Poison
from the album Open Up And Say... Ahh! (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #12 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9

Today's song of the day comes from the glam metal act Poison, who rolled out their sophomore album Open Up And Say... Ahh! with their second top-10 and biggest hit up to that time, "Nothin' But A Good Time". For the follow-up they released another uptempo rocker, "Fallen Angel". With the much-used theme of the naive girl arriving in the big, bad city, the song, written by the band and produced by Tom Werman, was tight, and their harmonies on the chorus made it a perfect fit for pop radio, and in my opinion, it was their best moment...


"Fallen Angel" became Poison's fourth top-20 pop hit in the U.S. in October of 1988. The song also climbed to #32 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart (rock radio in those days were less welcoming of pop/metal). Internationally, the record went to #21 in Australia, #32 in New Zealand, but missed the top-40 in both Canada (#55) and the UK (#59).

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Brit Sweep: March 18, 2016...






It's time to head over the Atlantic to check out the songs making their debut on the just-released music singles chart in Britain this week, as Lukas Graham steps down from #1 after five weeks to be replaced by American pop singer/songwriter Mike Posner with "I Took A Pill In Ibiza"...

Ariana Grande, who guested on Saturday Night Live last week, follows up her top-10 hit "Focus" with the highest debut of the week at #17, "Dangerous Woman"...


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twostepcub's music chart for March 18, 2016...


It's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. Adele remains at #1 for a third week, while the Zac Brown Band (pictured above) climb up three notches in the top ten. Former big hits from Fall Out Boy, Grace/G-Eazy, and Chris Young drop off my list, while songs from the Strumbellas, Claire Rasa, and Chris Stapleton make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). Happy post-St. Patty's hangover day!

This Week            Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. When We Were Young - Adele (1)
2. Stressed Out - twenty-one pilots (2)
3. Mess Around - Cage The Elephant (4)
4. Adventure Of A Lifetime - Coldplay (5)
5. Roses - The Chainsmokers f/ROZES (6)
6. Beautiful Drug - The Zac Brown Band (9)
7. Stand By You - Rachel Platten (3)
8. One Call Away - Charlie Puth (8)
9. 7 Years - Lukas Graham (11)
10. Let It Go - James Bay (12)
11. Here - Alessia Cara (7)
12. Home Alone Tonight - Luke Bryan f/Karen Fairchild (10)
13. Cake By The Ocean - DNCE (23)
14. The Fire and the Flood - Vance Joy (14)
15. Dibs - Kelsea Ballerini (15)
16. Heartbeat - Carrie Underwood (26)
17. Hello - Adele (13)
18. In The Night - The Weeknd (18)
19. True Original - Dave Aude f/Andy Bell (29)
20. Mountain At My Gates - Foals (34)
21. First - Cold War Kids (17)
22. Over and Over Again - Nathan Sykes (22)
23. Break On Me - Keith Urban (27)
24. Backroad Song - Granger Smith (24)
25. Smooth Sailin' - Leon Bridges (21)
26. Break Up In A Small Town - Sam Hunt (16)
27. Ex's & Oh's - Elle King (19)
28. Stitches - Shawn Mendes (20)
29. Another Lonely Night - Adam Lambert (25)
30. Out Of The Woods - Taylor Swift (31)
31. We Went - Randy Houser (35)
32. Die A Happy Man - Thomas Rhett (32)
33. Shame - Tyrese (28)
34. Pretty Pimpin' - Kurt Vile (38)
35. Ditmas - Mumford & Sons (36)
36. Stranded - Dirty Disco f/Inaya Day (41)
37. The Girl Is Mine - 99 Souls f/Destiny's Child & Brandy (39)
38. You Should Be Here - Cole Swindell (42)
39. Drunk On Your Love - Brett Eldredge (43)
40. I'm Burning Up - Karine Hannah & Dave Aude (40)
41. Under The Influence - Elle King (45)
42. On My Mind - Ellie Goulding (30)
43. Nobody To Blame - Chris Stapleton (58)
44. Brand New - Ben Rector (54)
45. Stay A Little Longer - Brothers Osborne (37)
46. Same Old Love - Selena Gomez (46)
47. Trip Switch - Nothing But Thieves (61)
48. Little Bit Of You - Chase Bryant (52)
49. Stolen Car - Mylene Farmer & Sting (44)
50. State Of My Head - Shinedown (50)
51. Unsteady - X Ambassadors (56)
52. Renegades - X Ambassadors (48)
53. Alone No More - Philip George & Anton Powers (47)
54. Something In The Way You Move - Ellie Goulding (68)
55. Ways To Get High - Pop Evil (59)
56. America's Sweetheart - Elle King (66)
57. Electric Love - BORNS (57)
58. Fast Car - Jonas Blue f/Dakota (72)
59. Walking On A Dream - Empire Of The Sun (74)
60. Saint Cecilia - Foo Fighters (60)
61. Snapback - Old Dominion (75)
62. Spirits - The Strumbellas (85)
63. Catch & Release (Deepend Remix) - Matt Simons (53)
64. Hollow - Tori Kelly (64)
65. I Like The Sound Of That - Rascal Flatts (69)
66. In Love With My Life - PHASES (81)
67. Faded - Alan Walker (77)
68. Lithium - Athena (78)
69. My House - Flo Rida (73)
70. Hide Away - Daya (70)
71. Confession - Florida Georgia Line (71)
72. Angel - Lalah Hathaway (76)
73. Magnets - Disclosure f/Lorde (49)
74. Ophelia - The Lumineers (88)
75. I Love This Life - LoCash (65)
76. California Dreamin' - Freischwimmer (55)
77. My Church - Maren Morris (87)
78. Oasis - A Great Big World (79)
79. Hey No Pressure - Ray Lamontagne (83)
80. L'Amour Toujours - Dzeko & Torres f/Delaney Jane (80)
81. Work - Rihanna f/Drake (86)
82. Take Me Back - Claire Rasa (100)
83. Hymn For The Weekend - Coldplay (98)
84. Sacrifice - DeGrazio (84)
85. Ride - twenty-one pilots (DEBUT)
86. Pillowtalk - Zayn (92)
87. Make Me Like You - Gwen Stefani (DEBUT)
88. The Sound Of Silence - Disturbed (DEBUT)
89. Me, Myself & I - G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha (94)
90. Bang My Head - David Guetta f/Sia & Fetty Wap (90)
91. Secret Love Song - Little Mix f/Jason Derulo (91)
92. High Horse - Amuka & DJ JST (96)
93. I Took A Pill In Ibiza (SeeB Remix) - Mike Posner (DEBUT)
94. Lush Life - Zara Larsson (RE-ENTRY)
95. Army - Ellie Goulding (95)
96. Way Down We Go - Kaleo (DEBUT)
97. Say My Name - Odesza f/Zyra (99)
98. Mind Reader - Dustin Lynch (DEBUT)
99. Sound Of Your Heart - Shawn Hook (DEBUT)
100. New Romantics - Taylor Swift (DEBUT)

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

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Songoftheday 3/18/16 - Now I have a story that I'd like to tell, about this guy you all know him he had me scared as hell!


"A Nightmare On My Street" - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
from the album He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #15 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 9

Today's song of the day comes from the rap/DJ duo Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, whose comedic  spin on hip-hop landed them a top-twenty pop hit in the summer of 1988 with "Parents Just Don't Understand". Their follow-up single was originally intended for the movie franchise Nightmare On Elm Street 4, only to be passed over for the Fat Boys' "Are You Ready For Freddy". Instead, Jeff and Will released the song on their own, though they couldn't tie it in to the film, the lyrics were clear what they were rapping about, and it did give some nuance to their image, with the eerie synths giving a good, evil backdrop...


"Nightmare On My Street" became the pair's second top-20 pop hit in September of 1988. The song also climbed to #9 on Billboard's R&B chart. In Canada it also was a minor hit at #61.

Up tomorrow: A toxic glam metal band sings of Lucifer?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Aussie Sweep: March 17, 2016...


I'm ready to head Down Under to check out the songs making their debut on the official singles chart this week, as Lukas Graham is on top for a fourth week with "7 Years"...

London-based singer Yo Preston, a rising star on YouTube, takes his cover of Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself" reimagined as a duet as "Love Yourself vs Fuck Yourself" with Kelly Kiara...


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Irish Sweep: March 17, 2016...


In honor of St. Patrick's Day, let's take a special trip across to the Emerald Isle to check out some of the songs making the radio charts in Ireland this week, as Danish pop band Lukas Graham holds at #1 with their international hit "7 Years"...

Alternative rock band Walking On Cars, from the town of Dingle in southern Ireland, are at #5 with "Speeding Cars"...


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