Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Songoftheday 4/26/17 - Looking through my old drawer came across the letter you wrote, said you needed time away that was so long ago...

"Come Back To Me" - Janet Jackson
from the album Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

Today's song of the day comes from Janet Jackson, whose landmark album Rhythm Nation 1814 had already spun off four top five pop hits with "Alright", "Rhythm Nation", and a pair of #1's with "Escapade" and "Miss You Much". The fifth single released from the album was the lush ballad "Come Back To Me". Written by Janet with her producers Jimmy "Jam" Harris and Terry Lewis, it took the template that the album track "Funny How Time Flies" had molded on her last album Control and brought more longing and emotional drama into pining for a past lover. The music video, filmed in Paris, made the isolation and loneliness of heartbreak even more palpable in the beautiful yet strange surroundings, while the production washes over you from its acappella beginning to the end full of violins...


"Come Back To Me" became the fifth top five pop hit from Rhythm Nation 1814, reaching the runner-up spot in August of 1990. The song was her first and so far only single to go to #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart, where it stayed for three weeks. It also spent a week at #2 on their R&B list as well. Internationally, the track climbed to #3 in Canada, and was a top-40 hit in the UK (#20) and Ireland (#21).

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

French Sweep: April 25, 2017...


Here's the top ten hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as Ed Sheeran's "Shape Of You" does not quit, spending a fifteenth week at #1...

1. "Shape Of You" - Ed Sheeran (1)
2. "Despacito" - Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee (2)
3. "I Feel It Coming" - The Weekend featuring Daft Punk (5)
4. "The Cure" - Lady Gaga (DEBUT)
5. "Chained To The Rhythm" - Katy Perry featuring Skip Marley (9)
6. "Million Eyes" - Loïc Nottet (4)
7. "Human" - Rag N' Bone Man (7)
8. "Roule" - Soprano (6)
9. "You Don't Know Me" - Jax Jones featuring RAYE (8)
10. "Chocolat" - Lartiste featuring Awa Imani (DEBUT)

Lady Gaga rockets on to the entire chart at #4 with her brand new single "The Cure". It becomes her 16th top ten hit in this country. She's been to #1 three times, most recently with "Perfect Illusion"...


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Songoftheday 4/25/17 - Night time slows raindrops splash rainbows, perhaps someone you know could sparkle and shine...

"Pure" - The Lightning Seeds
from the album Cloudcuckooland (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #31 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 6

Today's song of the day comes from the British modern rock act the Lightning Seeds, which started out as a moniker for singer/songwriter/guitarist Ian Broudie in the late 1980's. Broudie, who worked on producing a couple of early albums for Echo & The Bunnymen, released his first album under the Lightning Seeds name, Cloudcuckooland in 1990. The first single, "Pure", straddled the line between the dream-pop of acts like Aztec Camera and the Dream Academy with the alternative rock of OMD and the Bunnymen, all the instruments were handled by Broudie himself....


"Pure" became the Lightning Seeds' sole American top-40 pop hit in July of 1990. The single made it all the way to #8 on Billboard's Modern Rock radio chart, while it crossed over to their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") list at #31. Internationally, the song peaked at #16 in Broudie's native UK, while it was a minor hit in Canada (#70) and Australia (#92). The next single from the album, the thumpier "All I Want", missed the pop chart, but went to #9 on the Modern Rock list.

After recruiting Simon Rogers from seminal alternative band the Fall to help in the studio, Broudie's second Lightning Seeds album, Sense, was released in 1992. The lead track, "The Life Of Riley", became their/his biggest rock radio chart hit, spending a week at #2, while slipping on to the American pop Hot 100 at #98. With this continued success, Broudie assembled an actual band to be able to tour behind, and although his fortunes in America were waning, with first single "Lucky You" his last rock radio hit (so far) at #38 (it also was their sole dance club play hit at #25), his concerts were gathering more fans in his homeland, and that song was the start of a nine-single streak of top-40 hits in the UK. In 1996, during the Britpop rage that was happening in music in the UK, Broudie teamed up with comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel for the (British) football anthem "Three Lions", which became a phenomenon unto itself, spending two weeks at #1 on the British singles chart. That single came in the middle of the promotion for the Seeds' fourth album Dizzy Heights, which was their highest-charting album in the UK (#11), while spinning off four top-20 hits there, including one, a cover of the Turtles' hit from the 60's, "You Showed Me", which climbed to #8 in 1997. A year later, a reprise of their football anthem as "Three Lions '98" by Broudie, Baddiel, and Skinner with different lyrics sent them back to #1 for an amazing three more weeks.  In 1999, they re-emerged with Tilt, which veered off into dance music, and with it their most recent top-40 British hit "Life's Too Short" (#27). Its follow-up, "Sweetest Soul Sensations", was their last minor hit so far at #67. During this time Ringo Starr's son Zak playing drums for the act. Their most recent album, Four Winds, came out in 2009, and made the top 100 there. And since, "Three Lions" has been making semi-regular appearances on the British chart, with yet another version, including Robbie Williams, and got to #21.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Robbed hit of the week 4/24/17 - Tony, Toni, Toné's "The Blues"...

"The Blues" - Tony, Toni, Toné
from the album The Revival (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #46

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the soul group Tony, Toni, Toné, who had scored four top ten R&B hits off their debut album, Who?, with one of them, "Little Walter", reaching #1 and almost making the pop top 40 in the summer of 1988. For their sophomore effort, The Revival, brothers Dwayne and Raphael Wiggins and cousin Timothy Riley again enlisted the production team of Foster and McElroy (Club Nouveau and En Vogue) for a couple of the tracks. But the first single from the set, "The Blues" was written and produced by the group themselves. Like "Little Walter", it incorporated old samples (like cribbing the Jackson Five) with the new jack swing groove...


While "The Blues" became the trio's second #1 R&B hit in Billboard, the single stopped just short of the pop top 40 in July of 1990. The 12" remix single also snuck onto the Dance Club Play list at #43. However, the success would set them up for mainstream success with their next release, "Feels Good".

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Songoftheday 4/23/17 - Staring through the windows of time, drying off the last year of our bind

"Could This Be Love" - Seduction
from the album Nothing Matters Without Love (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #11 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day comes from the dance-pop act Seduction, who had landed three top-40 pop hits from their album Nothing Matters Without Love - "Heartbeat", "Two To Make It Right", and "(You're My One And Only) True Love", albeit with the latter featuring uncredited vocals from Weather Girl Martha Wash. The fourth release from the record would be the ballad "Could This Be Love", written by Rob Clivilles who produced the track with partner David Cole. By the time this was released, member Idalis DeLeon had already left the trio to go be an MTV VJ, so Sinoa Loren came in for the single cover and video, while the lead vocals were traded between Michelle Visage and April Harris...


"Could This Be Love" became Seduction's fourth and final top-40 pop hit in America, stopping one notch short of the top ten in August of 1990. The single also was their first to reach Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart at #21.

A fifth single from the record, a new jack swing-inspired "Breakdown", was a minor pop hit at #82, but was a respectable club hit at #4, with the B-Side "Groove Me" getting dancefloor play as well (that track wasn't on the album, but rather showed up on the ultra-rare The Remixes album). When Clivilles and Cole took off to concentrate on what would be their massive C+C Music Factory project, Seduction was left to fade out, with Visage going on to a radio career, then eventually hooking up with friend RuPaul to become one of the judges on the phenomenon that is RuPaul's Drag Race. She also appeared on the British Celebrity Big Brother television show,  becoming a fan favorite and making it to the finals (and surviving the mental case that was Perez Hilton). Harris, who had a run of music theater creds after the original lineup split, kept the act alive with new members, first with a minor R&B hit "All Night Long" (#94) in 2003, then releasing an album, Feel Brand New, the following year.

Up tomorrow: Liverpool alt-rockers are like Ivory Soap.




Sunday, April 23, 2017

Brit Sweep: April 22, 2017...


It's time to cross the Atlantic yet again to check out the notable songs and albums reaching the chart in the UK this week...

On the official singles chart in Britain, after a one-week rest at #2, Ed Sheeran climbs back to the top with "Shape Of You", racking his 14th week...

As American rapper Kendrick Lamar's DAMN album came out (we'll get to that later), all fourteen of its tracks show up individually on the top 100 singles chart, as radio single "HUMBLE.", which leaps to #6 this week, is joined by the other selections from the set. Out of them, the highest comes at #18 with the Don Cheadle video-assisted "DNA."...


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Songoftheday 4/23/17 - All alone silence fills my room, but in a memory I hear you calling me...

"If Wishes Came True" - Sweet Sensation
from the album Love Child (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's song of the day comes from the Latin freestyle dance music trio Sweet Sensation, who had just scored their third top-40 pop hit in the spring of 1990 with a cover of Diana Ross and the Supremes' "Love Child". Their follow-up would be their first ballad released as a radio single, "If Wishes Came True". Written by Deanna Charles, Russ DeSalvo, and Robert Steele, the lyrics speak of heartbreak, and wanting to get back together, but not really answering what had happened to cause the split in the first place...


"If Wishes Came True" became Sweet Sensation's biggest pop hit single, topping the chart in September of 1990. The song became their first to reach the Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart at #8 as well.

Two more dance-oriented singles from the Love Child album became minor pop hits, "Each and Every Time" (#59) and "One Good Man" (#72). After a remix album was released, only lead singer Dee Lebron stayed, recruiting new members to tour with.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Songoftheday 4/22/17 - Some girls they like candy and others they like to grind, I'll settle for the back of your hand somewhere on my behind...

"Hanky Panky" - Madonna
from the album I'm Breathless (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #10 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 7

Today's song of the day is from Madonna, who took another acting turn in 1990 starring as Breathless Mahoney in then-boyfriend Warren Beatty's live-action adaptation of the comic Dick Tracy. From that film, a cut that originally was meant to be a B-side from one of the singles from her last album, "Vogue", ended up becoming one of her biggest and most beloved hit songs, spending three weeks at the top of the American pop chart in the spring of that year. The follow-up single more fit the genre of the swing-eras pastiche the film was set in, yet with lyrics glorifying a little bit of S&M to let you know this is still Madonna. Written by the singer with True Blue-era writing/producing partner Patrick Leonard, "Hanky Panky" brought some spanking onto mainstream radio with some of her most wittiest lyrics ever...


 "Hanky Panky" became Madonna's twentieth top ten pop hit in the U.S. in July of 1990. Internationally, the song topped the singles chart in Finland, and reached the top ten in the UK (#2), Ireland (#3), Italy (#5), Australia (#6), and New Zealand (#6), while going to #18 in Canada and #21 in Germany.  A third selection from the soundtrack, "Sooner Or Later", was written by Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim and won an Oscar for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

twostepcub's music chart for April 21, 2017...

Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 songs from the past week. Katy Perry and Skip Marley hang on at #1 for a second week, while Lady Gaga (pictured above) jumps into the top ten. Songs from Lorde, the Chainsmokers/Coldplay, and Luke Combs make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red), while former big hits by Brad Paisley, the Lumineers, Eric Church, Kaleo, and the Head and the Heart drop off my list. Happy Earth Day weekend!

This Week              Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
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1. Chained To The Rhythm - Katy Perry f/Skip Marley (1)
2. That's What I Like - Bruno Mars (4)
3. Human - Rag N' Bone Man (2)
4. Shape Of You - Ed Sheeran (4)
5. I Feel It Coming - The Weeknd f/Daft Punk (5)
6. Mercy - Shawn Mendes (8)
7. Rockabye - Clean Bandit f/Anne-Marie & Sean Paul (6)
8. Say You Won't Let Go - James Arthur (9)
9. Million Reasons - Lady Gaga (13)
10. Love on The Brain - Rihanna (10)
11. Still Breathing - Green Day (7)
12. Water Under The Bridge - Adele (12)
13. Scars To Your Beautiful - Alessia Cara (11)
14. Heavydirtysoul - twenty-one pilots (18)
15. Believer - Imagine Dragons (19)
16. Love Is Mystical - Cold War Kids (20)
17. Fast - Luke Bryan (16)
18. Hot Thoughts - Spoon (15)
19. Road Less Traveled - Lauren Alaina (21)
20. Paris - The Chainsmokers (22)
21. Castle On The Hill - Ed Sheeran (17)
22. Show Me Love - Brian Justin Crum f/Toy Armada & DJ Grind (14)
23. Name For You - The Shins (25)
24. I Don't Wanna Live Forever - Zayn & Taylor Swift (24)
25. Yeah Boy - Kelsea Ballerini (26)
26. Something Just Like This - The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (41)
27. Think A Little Less - Michael Ray (23)
28. Dirt On My Boots - Jon Pardi (29)
29. Better Man - Little Big Town (27)
30. 24K Magic - Bruno Mars (30)
31. Lost On You - LP (31)
32. Green Light - Lorde (52)
33. Don't Wanna Know - Maroon 5 f/Kendrick Lamar (33)
34. Down - Marian Hill (44)
35. Call On Me - Starley (36)
36. This Town - Niall Horan (32)
37. Bar At The End Of The World - Kenny Chesney (47)
38. Best Love - Yuna (46)
39. Long Song Away - Kevin Ross (39)
40. The Mack - Nevada f/Mark Morrison & Fetty Wap (40)
41. Fire Escape - Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (53)
42. Cold - Maroon 5 f/Future (50)
43. Any Ol' Barstool - Jason Aldean (48)
44. On Hold - The xx (38)
45. Heavy - Linkin Park f/Kiiara (55)
46. Body Like A Back Road - Sam Hunt (58)
47. Hey Baby - Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike vs Diplo f/Deb's Daughter (59)
48. Feel Like Home - Sander Kleinenberg f/DYSON (62)
49. A Guy With A Girl - Blake Shelton (49)
50. Waste A Moment - Kings Of Leon (42)
51. Hurricane - Luke Combs (66)
52. Hometown Girl - Josh Turner (54)
53. Trouble - Cage The Elephant (43)
54. The Weekend - Brantley Gilbert (56)
55. Black - Dierks Bentley (65)
56. Sober Saturday Night - Chris Young f/Vince Gill (34)
57. Take It All Back - Judah & The Lion (57)
58. Don't Want You Back - Leela James (70)
59. Heathens - twenty-one pilots (45)
60. Lick Me Up - Tony Moran & Dani Toro f/Zhana Roiya (64)
61. I Got You - Bebe Rexha (63)
62. Blame - Bastille (72)
63. Issues - Julia Michaels (71)
64. Stay In The Dark - The Band Perry (68)
65. Burn Brighter - Pavlova (69)
66. Places - Xenia Ghali f/Raquel Castro (79)
67. High Ticket Attractions - The New Pornographers (67)
68. Find Me - Sigma f/Birdy (83)
69. Good News - Ocean Park Standoff (81)
70. Love Never Died - Nytrix (78)
71. Seein' Red - Dustin Lynch (61)
72. Wish I Knew You - The Revivalists (76)
73. I'm Blessed - Charlie Wilson f/T.I. (77)
74. Never Again - Breaking Benjamin (74)
75. How Not To - Dan + Shay (89)
76. It Ain't Me - Kygo & Selena Gomez (82)
77. Cold Cold Cold - Cage The Elephant (87)
78. Feel It Still - Portugal, The Man (DEBUT)
79. Waterfall - Stargate f/Pink & Sia (85)
80. Watch Out - Glovibes & Gary Caos (75)
81. Trouble - R3Hab (DEBUT)
82. All We Ever Knew - The Head and the Heart (84)
83. In Case You Didn't Know - Brett Young (DEBUT)
84. I Love You - Axwell & Ingrosso f/Kid Ink (88)
85. Play That Song - Train (73)
86. Take Me - Korn (90)
87. Galway Girl - Ed Sheeran (97)
88. Symphony - Clean Bandit f/Zara Larsson (DEBUT)
89. Help - Papa Roach (99)
90. Tuesday - Burak Yeter f/Danelle Sandoval (94)
91. Alone - Alan Walker (DEBUT)
92. Touch - Little Mix (86)
93. Ciao Adios - Anne-Marie (93)
94. Stay - Zedd & Alessia Cara (98)
95. Slide - Calvin Harris f/Frank Ocean & Migos (95)
96. May We All - Florida Georgia Line f/Tim McGraw (91)
97. If I Told You - Darius Rucker (DEBUT)
98. Falling - Alesso (DEBUT)
99. I Need You - Armin Van Buuren & Garibay f/Olaf Blackwood (DEBUT)
100. Ain't No Friend Of Mine - Vali (DEBUT)

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

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Songoftheday 4/21/17 - It seems like weeks since you looked at me baby without that look of distaste, I don't know why your feelings are changing but I've seen it in your face...

"Kiss This Thing Goodbye" - Del Amitri
from the album Waking Hours (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #35 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's song of the day comes from the Scottish alternative rock band Del Amitri, who came together in Glasgow under lead singer Justin Currie and guitarist Iain Harvie in the early 80s. The original incarnation of the group released their debut album in 1985, and was a moderately successful album (helped by their opening spot on the Smiths' tour), but it wasn't until four years later, and a shuffling of members besides Currie and Harvie, when their sophomore effort Waking Hours was released. The first single from the set, "Kiss This Thing Goodbye", missed the top 40 in its first shot in the UK (#59). A second single, "Stone Cold Sober", was a minor British hit at #90 and was the first to get noticed in Australia (#50). After their third release from the record, "Nothing Ever Happens", climbed all the way to #11 on the British chart (to this day their biggest success on their homeland's chart), the band re-released "Kiss This Thing Goodbye". Written by Currie, Harvie, and short-term guitarist Mick Slaven, the song also came even closer to the top 40 there at #43, but this time American radio took notice, and now they found themselves with a Stateside hit...


"Kiss This Thing Goodbye" became Del Amitri's first American top-40 pop hit in July of 1990. The single also reached the top-20 on both of Billboard's Mainstream (#17) and Modern Rock (#13) radio charts. The track also got into the top 40 in Australia at #28 (their biggest hit Down Under). They returned to the British charts at #36 with a fourth single, "Move Away Jimmy Blue".

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Aussie Sweep: April 20, 2017...


It's time to take a trip Down Under to check out the songs and albums from local artists that made the charts this week in Australia...

On the Australian Artists Singles Chart, Dean Lewis climbs to #1 with "Waves"...

Sydney-based female trio Beatz, who were finalists on the most recent season of X Factor Australia, land their first hit at #10 with "Ain't Your Girl"...


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Songoftheday 4/20/17 - We could sail away or catch a freight train or a rocket ship into outer space...





"Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)" - Mötley Crüe
from the album Dr. Feelgood (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #19 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 7

Today's song of the day comes from the glam metal kings Mötley Crüe, whose album Dr. Feelgood had already spun off three top 40 hits with "Without You", "Kickstart My Heart", and the title track. The fourth single from their sole #1 album would be the punchline-titled "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)". Written by the band's Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars, was a highlight of the record, with a driving beat perfect for driving music but laid back and "sunny" enough to not turn off those who hated metal music. In fact, these days, this would easily pass for "mainstream country" right now...


"Don't Go Away Mad" became the fourth top-40 pop hit from Dr. Feelgood in July of 1990. The single also climbed to #13 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart. Internationally, the song was a minor hit Down Under in New Zealand (#49) and Australia (#72).

The band would release a fifth single from the album, "Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.)", which made it to #34 on the Mainstream Rock chart and was a minor pop hit at #78, but remains one of their fans' favorites...

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

German Sweep: April 19, 2017...

Here's the top ten hits in Germany, according to their official singles chart, as Ed Sheeran fends off a venerable challenge to remain on top for his fourteenth consecutive week...

1. "Shape Of You" - Ed Sheeran (1)
2. "Unter der Wolken" - DIe Toten Hosen (DEBUT)
3. "Tuesday" - Burak Yeter featuring Danelle Sandoval (2)
4. "Something Just Like This" - The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (4)
5. "You Don't Know Me" - Jax Jones featuring RAYE (3)
6. "Swalla" - Jason Derulo featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign (6)
7. "It Ain't Me" - Kygo & Selena Gomez (5)
8. "Despacito" - Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee (8)
9. "Galway Girl" - Ed Sheeran (7)
10. "Menschen Leben Tanzen Welt" - Jim Pandzko featuring Jan Bohmermann (DEBUT)

German punk legends Die Toten Hosen are back landing on the entire top 100 in this country at #2 with "Unter der Wolken" ("Under The Clouds"). It's their twelfth single to reach the top 10; two of them, "Zehn kleine Jägermeister" in 1996 and "Tage Die Wiese" in 2012, went all the way to #1...


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Songoftheday 4/19/17 - I want to pull down the shades and the lights and do what I want to do to hear it girl...

"Make You Sweat" - Keith Sweat
from the album I'll Give All My Love To You (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #14 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's song of the day comes from R&B singer Keith Sweat, who had one of the first big pop hits in the new jack swing genre with "I Want Her" in the spring of 1988. Although that debut album Make It Last Forever ended up placing four singles in the top ten of Billboard's R&B chart, none besides that first one would make the top-40 (the ballad duet title track with Jacqui McGhee came the closest, reaching #59 while going to #2 on the R&B list).

In 1990, Sweat released his sophomore effort, I'll Give All My Love To You. The lead track is another bouncy new jack number, "Make You Sweat", which not only punned his moniker but also provided the necessary come-on to get back on the dance floor. Written by Sweat with Timothy Gatling and Bobby Wooten and produced by Sweat himself, it grooved him back onto the pop charts in no time...


"Make You Sweat" became Keith's second top-40 pop hit in August of 1990. The single was also his second after "I Want Her" to top the R&B chart as well. The 12" remixes of the track climbed to #5 on Billboard's Dance Club Play, by far his biggest hit there. Internationally, the song was only a minor hit in the Netherlands (#86) and missed the British chart altogether.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

French Sweep: April 18, 2017...

Here's the top ten hits in France this week, according to their official singles chart, as Ed Sheeran holds on at #1 for a fourteenth week...

1. "Shape Of You" - Ed Sheeran (1)
2. "Despacito" - Luis Fonsi f/Daddy Yankee (5)
3. "Sign Of The Times" - Harry Styles (DEBUT)
4. "Million Eyes" - Loïc Nottet (2)
5. "I Feel It Coming" - The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk (3)
6. "Roule" - Soprano (6)
7. "Human" - Rag N' Bone Man (4)
8. "You Don't Know Me" - Jax Jones featuring RAYE (7)
9. "Chained To The Rhythm" - Katy Perry featuring Skip Marley (RE-ENTRY)
10. "Be Mine" - Ofenbach (9)

The fourth member of One Direction to have a solo hit is probably the most well-known of them all, Harry Styles, who arrives on the chart at #3 with "Sign Of The Times"...


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Songoftheday 4/18/17 - How I wonder why you just put my love aside, you threw me in the gutter and you left me there to lie...

"Bad Of The Heart" - George Lamond
from the album Bad Of The Heart (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #25 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 6

Today's song of the day comes from George LaMond, a freestyle dance music singer who grew up in Puerto Rico and the Bronx as George Garcia, before changing his name for his recording career. He released a single "Bad Of The Heart" independently in the New York area, but the massive popularity of the track on local dance radio and clubs caused Columbia Records, eager to jump on the freestyle train, to pick him up for distribution and a proper album. But first, they released a new recording, the frenetic "Without You", which climbed to #4 on the Dance Club Play chart in Billboard, but radio hadn't caught on yet.  "Bad Of The Heart", written by Phillip Andreula and Marilyn Rodriguez, was the right mixture of romantic drama, and swaying synth beats, but slowed down just a little to get that hip-swaying groove on, and the single became a mainstream success when re-released in the spring of 1990...

"Bad Of The Heart" became LaMond's sole top-40 pop hit in July of 1990. The remixes of the track climbed to #5 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart. A similar-sounding club jam, "Look Into My Eyes" (also co-written by Andreula) came out next, and reached #4 on the dance chart while being a minor pop hit at #63. As the fourth single from the set, they paired him up with female freestyle siren Brenda K. Starr on the love ballad "No Matter What", which nearly made the top-40 at #49.

Two years later, LaMond released his sophomore effort, In My Life. The first single from the record, "Where Does That Leave Love", was a freestyle classic, but by that time, the genre had been overshadowed on pop radio by R&B and rap as well as alternative rock, and while it spent five months on the chart, it stalled at #59. A follow-up single, the midtempo love jam "Baby, I Believe In You", tried to fit in, and was a minor hit at #66. The album also had George covering the Jackson Five's "I Want You Back", which became a top-40 dance hit at #33. He was let go by Columbia, and for a bit in 1995, dance/rap label Tommy Boy had him, almost making the pop hot 100 with "It's Always You" (#122 on the "Bubbling Under the Hot 100" chart). But starting around that time, his work in Latin music was getting more and more attention, and he's had a bit of success, reaching #23 on the Latin Songs chart in 1999 with "Que Te Vas". His most recent chart appearance came in 2008 with a cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'", which went to #20 on the Dance Airplay radio chart.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Robbed hit of the week 4/17/17 - Tommy Page's "When I Dream Of You"...

"When I Dream Of You" - Tommy Page
from the album Paintings In My Mind (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #42

This week's "robbed hit" comes from pop singer Tommy Page, who had reached the top of the Billboard charts with his New Kids On The Block-assisted ballad "I'll Be Your Everything" in the spring of 1990. His follow-up single would be written by him alone, "When I Dream Of You", though it still has those drum machine sounds teen-pop was in love with for a midtempo homage to freestyle...


"When I Dream Of You" came a couple notches of reaching the American top-40 in June of 1990. It also was a minor hit in Canada at #79. After a couple more albums that were more popular in the Far East, Page had a very successful career behind the scenes, first as an A&R guy at Warner Brothers Records, then as publisher at the magazine that put him on top of the charts, Billboard. Sadly, between the time I posted "I'll Be Your Everything" and today, Tommy took his life, with the news glancing at the fact that this former teen cover boy chart-topper had a husband and kids. I hope they can find some peace in time.

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Songoftheday 4/17/17 - I don't need to fall at your feet, just 'cause you cut me to the bone...

"King Of Wishful Thinking" - Go West
from the album Pretty Woman (Original Soundtrack) (1990) and Indian Summer (1992)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #8 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's song of the comes from the British synthpop duo Go West, who had a stellar debut album in 1986 that spun off four top-40 hits in their homeland, but none of them reached that level in the States. Their second release, Dancing On The Couch, may have sold a bit less, but got their feet in the door of American pop radio with their first top-40 hit "Don't Look Down - The Sequel" in the fall of 1987. They laid low for a couple of years, and then re-emerged like they did between their  first two albums with a contribution to a soundtrack; this time is was the Richard Gere/Julia Roberts rom-com Pretty Woman. "King Of Wishful Thinking", written by Peter Cox and Richard Drummie along with Martin Page, the latter who wrote "Dancing In Heaven (Orbital Be-Bop)" from the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun movie as well as Starship's massive "We Built This City", encapsulated the duo's infectious hooks with a more midtempo soundtrack synth machine we came to know and love throughout the last decade. It was released as the third single from Pretty Woman's companion after Natalie Cole's "Wild Women Do" and the #1 pop hit from Roxette, "It Must Have Been Love". And they balanced out what really is a song about denial and heartbreak and made it funny, disposing of their serious faces for once and with a bunch of non-sequiturs, including both a Julia Roberts and a Richard Gere lookalike, the latter in An Officer and a Gentleman style garb...


"King Of Wishful Thinking" became Go West's biggest American hit, reaching the top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart in August of 1990. The song also went to #7 on their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio list. Internationally, the single did the best Down Under, hitting #6 in Australia, while reaching the top-40 in Sweden (#20), Ireland (#23), New Zealand (#24), and their native Britain, coming in at #18.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Songoftheday 4/16/17 - Hard to get impossible to hold, straight and narrow like a burning fuse...

"Love Is" - Alannah Myles
from the album Alannah Myles (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #36 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 4

Today's song of the day comes from Canadian rock singer Alannah Myles, who broke through big in the U.S. with her second single from her debut album, "Black Velvet", in the spring of 1990. Working on that success, her previous single up North, "Love Is", was re-released as a follow-up. Like "Velvet" the mid-tempo rhythmic song was written by her producers Christopher Ward and David Tyson, and it originally hit #16 in Canada the previous year...


"Love Is" became Alannah's second and last top-40 pop hit in America in June of 1990. The song did better on rock radio, climbing to #19. Internationally, the single reached the top-40 in Australia (#12), Ireland (#23), the Netherlands (#25), while it was a minor hit in Germany (#45) and the UK (#61).

Despite not being able to continue the level of her success in the States, Myles' career in her home country kept going. Two more singles were released from her debut, "Still Got This Thing" and the ballad "Lover Of Mine", the latter of which did even better than "Black Velvet" there, peaking at #2. A year later, Myles released her sophomore effort, Rockinghorse, which was critically well-received and even though Americans ignored it, five singles reached the Canadian pop chart, with lead track "Song Instead Of A Kiss" becoming her sole Canadian #1, staying there for four weeks.

In 1995, A-lan-nah came out, and landed her another top ten single with "Family Secret", which returned her to her blues-rock start. A couple years later, her A Rival was released, and although the single "Bad 4 You" just missed the Canadian top-40 at #45, the album itself did. Alannah has put out a couple of indie albums since, and slipped on to the German chart in 1998 with a Rednex-style "techno-country" cover of Berlin's "Like Flames" (#98 GER). But I truly suggest listening to her entire career of work, especially Rockinghorse; it stands up with the best of mainstream rock of that time.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Brit Sweep: April 15, 2017...


Let's cross the Atlantic again to check out the notable songs and albums reaching the charts in the UK this week...

On their official singles chart, Ed Sheeran's run at #1 comes to an end after 13 weeks, and who would have the clout to do it? One of the One Direction boys, of course, as Harry Styles becomes the fourth member of the "boy-band" to nab a solo hit as "Sign Of The Times" makes its debut at #1...


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Songoftheday 4/15/17 - Treated me kind sweet destiny, carried me through desperation to the one that was waiting for me...

"Vision Of Love" - Mariah Carey
from the album Mariah Carey (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (four weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 17

Today's song of the day was the first single from what would be one of the biggest pop stars of the 1990's, Mariah Carey. Carey grew up in Long Island New York to parents of mixed race, which at that time (late 60's early 70s) was still laden with some prejudice within the community. After her parents divorced when she was still a toddler, Mariah stayed with her operatically-trained mother, who gave vocal tips, but Mariah's heart was in pop music. After toiling around for a break, including one as a back-up singer for freestyle artist Brenda K. Starr, whose hit "I Still Believe" Mariah would later cover herself, Starr referred her demo tape to Columbia Records boss Tommy Mottola, who got her signed not long after that. Like Clive Davis did for Whitney Houston's vocal strength, Mottola set Carey up with the best producers, like Ric Wake (Taylor Dayne), Narada Michael Walden (Aretha Franklin), and Walter Afanasieff (Lionel Richie), all of whom worked with Whitney as well, along with newcomer Rhett Lawrence. The first single from her self-titled debut, "Vision Of Love", was a showcase ballad that floated along her crazy-wide vocal range. Written by Mariah with longtime friend Ben Margulies (who co-wrote seven of the eleven tracks with her), the love song was more a musical bit of gymnastics than emotional art-piece, but she definitely proved without a doubt that she had the chops to silence any critics. But the lyrics of that search for the "right one" resonated with millions of women (and this one twenty-something year old)...

"Vision Of Love" became Mariah's first #1 pop hit on her first go for an entire month starting in August of 1990, one of three songs that did that feat that year. The single also spent three weeks on top of Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart, and crossed over to nab two weeks at #1 on their R&B list as well. Internationally, the song went to the top of the charts in Canada and New Zealand, and reached the top ten in the Netherlands (#8), Australia (#9), the UK (#9), and Ireland (#10). It also peaked at #17 in Germany and #25 in France. The record would win her a truck load of awards, with Grammys for Best New Artist and Pop Female Vocal for the "Vision Of Love" single (she was also nominated for Album of the Year, losing to Quincy Jones' Back on the Block, while "Vision Of Love" was nommed for both Song and Record of the Year, with Bette Midler's "From A Distance" and Phil Collins' "Another Day In Paradise" taking home the trophies). And her disciplined yet vampy way of singing inspired an army of pop singers like Christina Aguilera, Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, and the entire singing competition franchise. But there's nothing like the original.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

twostepcub's music chart for April 14, 2017...


Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. After 11 weeks on top, Rag N' Bone Man gets dethroned by Katy Perry and Skip Marley, while Shawn Mendes (pictured above) swims into the top ten. Former big hits from Sia/Kendrick Lamar, Thomas Rhett, and LeAnn Rimes drop off my list, while songs from the New Pornographers, Xenia Ghali, and The Band Perry make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). To those who celebrate, have a loving Passover or Easter weekend...

This Week       Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Chained To The Rhythm - Katy Perry f/Skip Marley (3)
2. Human - Rag N' Bone Man (1)
3. That's What I Like - Bruno Mars (4)
4. Shape Of You - Ed Sheeran (2)
5. I Feel It Coming - The Weeknd f/Daft Punk (5)
6. Rockabye - Clean Bandit f/Anne-Marie & Sean Paul (6)
7. Still Breathing - Green Day (7)
8. Mercy - Shawn Mendes (12)
9. Say You Won't Let Go - James Arthur (9)
10. Love on The Brain - Rihanna (11)
11. Scars To Your Beautiful - Alessia Cara (8)
12. Water Under The Bridge - Adele (10)
13. Million Reasons - Lady Gaga (15)
14. Show Me Love - Brian Justin Crum f/Toy Armada & DJ Grind (14)
15. Hot Thoughts - Spoon (16)
16. Fast - Luke Bryan (17)
17. Castle On The Hill - Ed Sheeran (13)
18. Heavydirtysoul - twenty-one pilots (20)
19. Believer - Imagine Dragons (21)
20. Love Is Mystical - Cold War Kids (30)
21. Road Less Traveled - Lauren Alaina (29)
22. Paris - The Chainsmokers (24)
23. Think A Little Less - Michael Ray (19)
24. I Don't Wanna Live Forever - Zayn & Taylor Swift (28)
25. Name For You - The Shins (35)
26. Yeah Boy - Kelsea Ballerini (36)
27. Better Man - Little Big Town (27)
28. Cleopatra - The Lumineers (18)
29. Dirt On My Boots - Jon Pardi (31)
30. 24K Magic - Bruno Mars (26)
31. Lost On You - LP (46)
32. This Town - Niall Horan (32)
33. Don't Wanna Know - Maroon 5 f/Kendrick Lamar (33)
34. Sober Saturday Night - Chris Young f/Vince Gill (22)
35. Rhythm & Blues - The Head and the Heart (25)
36. Call On Me - Starley (37)
37. Kill A Word - Eric Church f/Rhiannon Giddens (23)
38. On Hold - The xx (38)
39. Long Song Away - Kevin Ross (44)
40. The Mack - Nevada f/Mark Morrison & Fetty Wap (41)
41. Something Just Like This - The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (48)
42. Waste A Moment - Kings Of Leon (34)
43. Trouble - Cage The Elephant (42)
44. Down - Marian Hill (54)
45. Heathens - twenty-one pilots (45)
46. Best Love - Yuna (56)
47. Bar At The End Of The World - Kenny Chesney (61)
48. Any Ol' Barstool - Jason Aldean (52)
49. A Guy With A Girl - Blake Shelton (47)
50. Cold - Maroon 5 f/Future (59)
51. Way Down We Go - Kaleo (43)
52. Green Light - Lorde (66)
53. Fire Escape - Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (67)
54. Hometown Girl - Josh Turner (64)
55. Heavy - Linkin Park f/Kiiara (65)
56. The Weekend - Brantley Gilbert (60)
57. Take It All Back - Judah & The Lion (57)
58. Body Like A Back Road - Sam Hunt (68)
59. Hey Baby - Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike f/Deb's Daughter (69)
60. Today - Brad Paisley (40)
61. Seein' Red - Dustin Lynch (49)
62. Feel Like Home - Sander Kleinenberg f/DYSON (72)
63. I Got You - Bebe Rexha (73)
64. Lick Me Up - Tony Moran & Dani Toro f/Zhana Roiya (70)
65. Black - Dierks Bentley (79)
66. Hurricane - Luke Combs (71)
67. High Ticket Attractions - The New Pornographers (87)
68. Stay In The Dark - The Band Perry (84)
69. Burn Brighter - Pavlova (83)
70. Don't Want You Back - Leela James (74)
71. Issues - Julia Michaels (76)
72. Blame - Bastille (86)
73. Play That Song - Train (53)
74. Never Again - Breaking Benjamin (78)
75. Watch Out - Glovibes & Gary Caos (63)
76. Wish I Knew You - The Revivalists (81)
77. I'm Blessed - Charlie Wilson f/T.I. (77)
78. Love Never Died - Nytrix (88)
79. Places - Xenia Ghali f/Raquel Castro (99)
80. Slumber Party - Britney Spears f/Tinashe (55)
81. Good News - Ocean Park Standoff (91)
82. It Ain't Me - Kygo & Selena Gomez (90)
83. Find Me - Sigma f/Birdy (DEBUT)
84. All We Ever Knew - The Head and the Heart (94)
85. Waterfall - Stargate f/Pink & Sia (DEBUT)
86. Touch - Little Mix (82)
87. Cold Cold Cold - Cage The Elephant (DEBUT)
88. I Love You - Axwell & Ingrosso f/Kid Ink (96)
89. How Not To - Dan + Shay (DEBUT)
90. Take Me - Korn (100)
91. May We All - Florida Georgia Line f/Tim McGraw (89)
92. On My Way - Tiesto f/Bright Sparks (92)
93. Ciao Adios - Anne-Marie (93)
94. Tuesday - Burak Yeter f/Danelle Sandoval (98)
95. Slide - Calvin Harris f/Frank Ocean & Migos (95)
96. Places - Martin Solveig f/Ina Wroldsen (RE-ENTRY)
97. Galway Girl - Ed Sheeran (DEBUT)
98. Stay - Zedd & Alessia Cara (DEBUT)
99. Help - Papa Roach (DEBUT)
100. I Betcha - Alessandro Coli (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 to get more info about them. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 4/14/17 - We've got it together darlin' we're ready for it, you see I'm smilin' hmm we've got the people talkin'...

"You Can't Deny It" - Lisa Stansfield
from the album Affection (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #14 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 8

Today's song of the day comes from British singer Lisa Stansfield, who had conquered both sides of the Atlantic with her lush Soul-II-Soul-esque single "All Around The World" in the spring of 1990. In the UK, where that song topped the charts in November of 1989, "Live Together" was put out as the next single, and it went to #10 there, followed by "What Did I Do To You?", which peaked at #25.  Meanwhile, in the States, the second single from her debut solo album Affection would be the laid back soul number, "You Can't Deny It". Written by Lisa with collaborators/producers Ian Devaney and Andy Morris, the song matched the tempo of "All Around The World"...


"You Can't Deny It" became Stanfield's second top-40 pop hit in the U.S. in July of 1990. The song topped Billboard's R&B chart (her second) for a week, while it crossed over to their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart at #26. The 12" remix single spent two weeks at #2 on their Dance Club Play list as well. Internationally, while it wasn't a single in most of the world, the record made it to #14 on the singles chart in Canada, matching its American success...

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Aussie Sweep: April 13, 2017...

It's time to head Down Under to check out the songs and albums from local artists to make the charts in Australia this week...

On the Australian Artists Singles chart, Starley remains on top with "Call On Me"...

Hip-hop trio Bliss N Eso, from Sydney, enter at #3 with "Moments" featuring Irish singer/songwriter Gavin James...


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Songoftheday 4/13/17 - She was always something special, diamond shining bright in the rain...

"The Ballad Of Jayne" - L.A. Guns
from the album Cocked & Loaded (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #33 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 4

Today's song of the day comes from the hard rock/metal band L.A. Guns, who came together in Los Angeles in the mid 1980s. Guitarist and band namesake Tracii Guns started the group in 1983, then got together with Axl Rose, who at the time was in a band called Hollywood Rose with Izzy Stradlin. With Izzy and Axl joining with Guns and combining their names for Guns N' Roses. But still on the bar circuit and before any records came out Guns left the Guns N' Roses to themselves, and formed his own new reincarnation of L.A. Guns. Though lead singer Phil Black wrote a big chunk of their self-titled first album, it would be Phil Lewis that actually came on board by the time recording came. Although it didn't have any hit singles on it, the album did respectably, reaching the top quarter of the albums chart in the U.S. and going gold. The band's second release, Cocked And Loaded, came out in 1989, but it wasn't until a year later when the obligatory "power-ballad" from the record got to radio. "The Ballad Of Jayne", written by Tracii and the band about pin-up queen Jayne Mansfield, came at the right time between G N'R singles to give radio a fill-in slot for...


"The Ballad Of Jayne" became L.A. Guns' sole top-40 pop hit in June of 1990. The track also made it to #25 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart. Across the ocean in the UK, the song climbed to #53 on their singles chart as well.

A year later, the band would release their third effort, Hollywood Vampires. The lead single, "Kiss My Love Goodbye", which sounded like the blues-rock shuffle of Aerosmith, reached #16 on the Mainstream Rock chart, while the midtempo rhythm guitar jam "It's Over Now" got to #25, but the latter did manage to hit the pop Hot 100 at #62. Another track from the set, "Some Lie 4 Love", was a minor hit in England (#61). That same year Guns would join musicians from Ratt, Vixen, the Scorpions and Shark Island in the "supergroup" Contraband, which would have a top-20 rock hit with a cover of Mott the Hoople's "All The Way From Memphis". Tracii would return to L.A. Guns by 1995, and since the band's released a myriad of albums with a carousel of line-up changes, including a stint without Tracii Guns altogether and the dreaded two different incarnations of the band at one time. Their most recent studio album, without Guns but with Phil Lewis back on lead vocals, came in 2012.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

German Sweep: April 12, 2017...

Here's the top ten hits in Germany this week, according to their official singles chart, as Ed Sheeran makes it a lucky 13 weeks at #1...

1. "Shape Of You" - Ed Sheeran (1)
2. "Tuesday" - Burak Yeter featuring Danelle Sandoval (2)
3. "You Don't Know Me" - Jax Jones featuring RAYE (4)
4. "Something Just Like This" - The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (5)
5. "It Ain't Me" - Kygo & Selena Gomez (3)
6. "Swalla" - Jason Derulo featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign (7)
7. "Galway Girl" - Ed Sheeran (6)
8. "Despacito" - Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee (10)
9. "Chained To The Rhythm" - Katy Perry featuring Skip Marley (8)
10. "Nummer 1" - Zuna featuring Azet & Noizy (9)

There are no new entries in the top ten; further down the chart, Turkish-German rapper UFO361 from Berlin arrives in the top-40 at #30 with "Fur Die Gang" ("For The Gang") featuring GZUZ...


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Songoftheday 4/12/17 - Check this out baby tenemos tremendo lio, last night you didn't go a la casa de tu tio...

"Mentirosa" - Mellow Man Ace
from the album Escape From Havana (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #14 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 13

Today's song of the day comes from Cuban-born rapper Mellow Man Ace, who moved to Los Angeles as a toddler. He released his debut album, Escape From Havana, in 1989. One of the tracks from the album was a "story-rap" about a lying, cheating woman, with the Spanish word for liar, "Mentirosa", serving as the title to the half-English, half-Spanish, or "Spanglish", single which sampled two songs from the Latin rock giants Santana, "Evil Ways" and "No One To Depend On"...


"Mentirosa" became Mellow Man Ace's solo pop hit, reaching the top-40 in July of 1990. The single also climbed to #60 on Billboard's R&B chart, while it hit #34 on the Hot Latin Tracks list. The 12" remix single which also featured the non-album house music jam "Welcome To The Groove", climbed to #10 on their Dance Club Play chart as well. Over the pond in England, "Mentirosa" slipped on to the chart at #99, while "Welcome To My Groove" hit #96.

A year later, Ace joined fellow Latin rap artists Kid Frost and ALT as the Latin Alliance, and had a minor pop hit with another cover song, this time "Lowrider" featuring the original rock band War. That track also sampled "Evil Ways" as well, and reached #54 on the pop chart in 1991. He came back with a second solo album the following year, and from it "What's It Take To Pull A Hottie (Like You)?" spent a couple of weeks on the R&B chart peaking at #92. In the 2000's, he returned with three indie studio albums in that decade.

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