Tuesday, February 28, 2017

French Sweep: February 28, 2017...

Here's the top ten hit in France this week, according to their official sales chart, as Ed Sheeran remains on top for a seventh week...

1. "Shape Of You" - Ed Sheeran (1)
2. "Human" - Rag N' Bone Man (3)
3. "Grande Armee'" - Lacrim (DEBUT)
4. "Je M'en Vais" - Vianney (2)
5. "I Feel It Coming" - The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk (5)
6. "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" - Zayn & Taylor Swift (4)
7. "Rockabye" - Clean Bandit featuring Anne-Marie & Sean Paul (6)
8. "Be Mine" - Offenbach (9)
9. "Lose Yourself" - Eminem (RE-ENTRY)
10. "It Ain't Me" - Kygo featuring Selena Gomez (DEBUT)

French rapper Lacrim rockets on to the singles chart at #3 with "Grande Armee'", but there is no official audio/video clip as yet (boo!)...

Norwegian DJ/producer Kygo scores his third top ten hit with "It Ain't Me" featuring Selena Gomez. It's her second appearance as a featured artist in the top ten after showing up on Charlie Puth's "We Don't Talk Anymore"...

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Songoftheday 2/28/17 - I know there's pain why do you lock yourself up in these chains?

"Hold On" - Wilson Phillips
from the album Wilson Phillips (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 18

Today's song of the day comes from the trio made of offspring of members of two of the biggest groups in 60s pop, Wilson Phillips. With the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson's daughters Carnie and Wendy Wilson joined by Chynna Phillips, the daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, they adapted their California harmony style to a 90's soft-rock atmosphere for their self-titled debut album at the beginning of the decade. The first single from the set, "Hold On", was the adult contemporary pop version of one of those kitten hanging on a branch motivational posters, but after the dull gloom of the Reagan-Bush I years (which unbeknownst were winding down) it was a needed shot of positivity on the radio. And their musical pedigree showed in their spot-on vocals, like sirens calling Odysseus to his doom. It was written by Chynna and Carnie with producer Glen Ballard...


"Hold On" went all the way to #1 on the American pop chart in June of 1990, spending 18 weeks in the top-40 (tied with Mariah Carey's "Love Takes Time" for most weeks that year). The song ended up Billboard's top Hot 100 pop hit for the year. It spent a week atop their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart. Internationally, the record reached the top ten in Australia (#2), Canada (#3), the UK (#6), New Zealand (#6), Ireland (#7), and Sweden (#10). They would be nominated for four Grammys that year, including Song of the Year for "Hold On", but lost all of them.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Monday, February 27, 2017

Robbed hit of the week 2/27/17 - Enuff Z'nuff's "Fly High Michelle"...

"Fly High Michelle" - Enuff Z'nuff
from the album Enuff Z'Nuff (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #47

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the glam-metal band Enuff Z'nuff, who came together in the Chicago suburbs in the mid-80s. Named for the nick-surname of bassist Chip Z'nuff and led by singer Donnie Vie at the start, the band released their eponymous debut album in 1989. The first single, "New Thing", was all over MTV, and reached the top-40 on the rock radio chart at #35, and was a minor pop hit at #67. But their second single, a trippy take on the power ballad, "Fly High Michelle", became their biggest success. Written by Vie and Z'Nuff, the psychedelic take on metal was an interesting twist...



While "Fly High Michelle" climbed to #27 on the Mainstream Rock radio list in Billboard, it fell just short of the top-40 on the pop Hot 100 in March of 1990. A year later, the band released their sophomore effort, Strength, and while the lead single "Mother's Eyes" gave them their highest ranking on the rock chart at #17, it missed the pop chart altogether. They've been kicking around ever since, recording a stream of albums even after Vie left touring in 2003 before reuniting five years later.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Songoftheday 2/27/17 - You can keep your fancy bars clubby friends and fast cars, and when the going gets hard you can eat your credit cards...

"Room At The Top" - Adam Ant
from the album Manners & Physique (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #17 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 8

The song of the day for this Monday is brought to you by new-wave troubadour Adam Ant, who had disbanded his post-punk band the Ants (save for collaborator Marco Pirroni) and broke through in America with his jumpy dance track "Goody Two Shoes" in 1982. However, he found it hard to follow that success in the States, though the title track from his next album, "Strip", almost hit the top-40 a year later. Slipping in another record in 1984, he went to #13 in his native UK with "Apollo 9", a return to his post-punk form, but in the U.S. his only appearance was on the dance chart at #29 with "Vive Le Rock". He took time off from music in the latter half of the decade, re-emerging in 1990 with his third "Adam Ant" album, Manners & Physique. Again working with Pirroni, they teamed up with producer Andre Cymone (Jody Watley) to write the first single, "Room At The Top". A slower, sonically updated pop ditty in the fashion of "Goody Two Shoes", it found a niche on mainstream radio during a period of flux between the dance-pop of the late 80s and the grunge & rap of the early 90s...


"Room At The Top" became Adam's second American Top-40 pop hit in May of 1990. The song also climbed into the top-20 on Billboard's Modern Rock radio chart at #17. The 12" remixes (including one from house music pro Justin Strauss) helped this become his biggest club hit, landing him at #3 on the dance chart. Back in Britain, the single peaked at #13.

His second American single from Manners, "Rough Stuff", was a respectable dance hit at #14, while in the UK, the more mainstream "Can't Set Rules About Love" almost hit the top-40 at #47. 

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Songoftheday 2/26/17 - Had enough of my yesterdays can't go back to mistakes that I made, had enough of my downside the hard life we've been through...

"True Blue Love" - Lou Gramm
from the album Long Hard Look (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #40 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 1

Today's song of the day comes from rock singer Lou Gramm, who had scored his second top-10 pop hit after leaving the arena rock band Foreigner with "Just Between You And Me" in the winter of 1990. The second single from his sophomore album was the midtempo rock ballad "True Blue Love", written by Gramm with producer Peter Wolf...


"True Blue Love" became Lou's third and so-far last solo top-40 pop hit in March of 1990. The song also climbed to #23 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart.

In 1992, Gramm reunited with Foreigner for a couple of new tracks on a hits package, one of which, "Soul Doctor", went to #5 on the Mainstream Rock list. He continued with them for a decade, including one studio album that produced a top-10 Adult Contemporary radio hit with "Until The End Of Time" (#8, AC). After leaving again, he formed a band with his biological brothers and toured with his music with Foreigner as well as an increasing devotion to Christian music.

Up tomorrow: British new-wave troubadour heads for the penthouse.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Songoftheday 2/25/17 - I started my life in an old, cold, rundown tenement slum...

"Love Child" - Sweet Sensation
from the album Love Child (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #13 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day comes from the Latin freestyle dance-music trio Sweet Sensation, whose debut album Take It While It's Hot scored them a pair of top-40 pop hits with "Sincerely Yours" and "Hooked On You". In 1990, with new member Sheila Vega replacing Mari Hernandez (sister Margie stayed on with lead singer Betty Lebron), they released their sophomore effort Love Child. It was named for the cover of the classic Diana Ross and the Supremes song from 1968 that the trio covered as the first single. "Love Child", written by the Motown stable of songwriters R Dean Taylor, Frank Wilson, Deke Richards, and Pam Sawyer, marked the lyrical deepening on that label's premiere female vocal act, and a return to #1 for Diana, Cindy, and Mary (although the latter two weren't on the studio recording, but rather the Andantes)...


It was daring in 1968 to sing about the consequences of youthful sex, especially before marriage, and it was just as appropriate for kids to hear about in the start of the 1990s...


Sweet Sensation's cover of "Love Child" became their third top-40 pop hit in May of 1990. The 12" remix climbed to #15 on Billboard's dance chart (their final appearance there).

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Friday, February 24, 2017

Brit Sweep: February 24, 2017...


Let's cross the Atlantic yet again to check out the notable songs and records making the charts in the UK this week...

On the official singles chart, Ed Sheeran remains on top for a seventh week with "Shape Of You"...

...and while his "Castle On The Hill" drops to #4, Ed claims a third song in the top-5 as "How Would You Feel (Paean)" enters at #2...


(Click below to see the rest of the post)


twostepcub's music chart for February 24, 2017...


Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. BRIT award winner Rag N' Bone Man spends a fifth week at #1, while Ed Sheeran (pictured above), who performed at the ceremony, leaps into the top five. Songs from Brian Justin Crum, SR, and Rihanna make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red), while former big hits from the Lumineers and Dua Lipa drop out. Protect our trans family!

This Week             Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Human - Rag 'N' Bone Man (1)
2. Rockabye - Clean Bandit f/Anne-Marie & Sean Paul (2)
3. Star Of The Show - Thomas Rhett (3)
4. Scars To Your Beautiful - Alessia Cara (5)
5. Shape Of You - Ed Sheeran (9)
6. Still Breathing - Green Day (8)
7. She's Out Of Her Mind - blink-182 (7)
8. Water Under The Bridge - Adele (4)
9. Waste A Moment - Kings Of Leon (6)
10. Better Man - Little Big Town (14)
11. Say You Won't Let Go - James Arthur (16)
12. Don't Wanna Know - Maroon 5 f/Kendrick Lamar (12)
13. So I Can Have You Back - Joe (15)
14. Seein' Red - Dustin Lynch (20)
15. Castle On The Hill - Ed Sheeran (19)
16. 24K Magic - Bruno Mars (11)
17. Take It All Back - Judah & The Lion (10)
18. Love Me Now - John Legend (18)
19. I Feel It Coming - The Weeknd f/Daft Punk (23)
20. Starving - Hailee Steinfeld & Grey f/Zedd (22)
21. The Greatest - Sia f/Kendrick Lamar (17)
22. Sober Saturday Night - Chris Young f/Vince Gill (24)
23. Dirty Laundry - Carrie Underwood (13)
24. Love On The Brain - Rihanna (34)
25. Side To Side - Ariana Grande f/Nicki Minaj (21)
26. Thick Of It - Mary J. Blige (26)
27. Trouble - Cage The Elephant (27)
28. Move Your Body - Sia (32)
29. If The Boot Fits - Jon Pardi (33)
30. A Guy With A Girl - Blake Shelton (30)
31. Mercy - Shawn Mendes (36)
32. Wanna Be That Song - Brett Eldredge (28)
33. 80s Mercedes - Maren Morris (29)
34. Blood In The Cut - k. flay (44)
35. Body Moves - DNCE (39)
36. Enough Is Enough 2017 - Donna Summer & Barbra Streisand (42)
37. Closer - The Chainsmokers f/Halsey (37)
38. Starboy - The Weeknd f/Daft Punk (25)
39. Let Me Love You - DJ Snake f/Justin Bieber (35)
40. You're Not There - Lukas Graham (41)
41. Heathens - twenty-one pilots (31)
42. Treat You Better - Shawn Mendes (38)
43. Kill A Word - Eric Church f/Rhiannon Giddens (47)
44. The Urge In Me - Joe Gauthreaux f/Inaya Day (52)
45. Million Reasons - Lady Gaga (49)
46. Rhythm & Blues - The Head and the Heart (46)
47. Nothing To Lose - Vassy (48)
48. Long Live Love - LeAnn Rimes (56)
49. Distortion - Jessica Sutta (53)
50. Cleopatra - The Lumineers (60)
51. Fast - Luke Bryan (61)
52. Fresh Eyes - Andy Grammer (40)
53. Love on The Weekend - John Mayer (43)
54. I Don't Wanna Live Forever - Zayn & Taylor Swift (58)
55. Way Down We Go - Kaleo (55)
56. This Town - Niall Horan (57)
57. Think A Little Less - Michael Ray (63)
58. Show Me Love - Brian Justin Crum f/Toy Armada & DJ Grind (73)
59. Play That Song - Train (59)
60. Today - Brad Paisley (64)
61. Yeah Yeah 2016 - Luciana & Dave Aude' (71)
62. Shine - Mondo Cozmo (62)
63. Dirt On My Boots - Jon Pardi (67)
64. Paris - The Chainsmokers (70)
65. Touch - Little Mix (65)
66. Hell In Paradise 2016 - Yoko Ono (61)
67. Somebody Else - The 1975 (75)
68. Call On Me - Starley (68)
69. In A Drawer - Band Of Horses (69)
70. Trouble - Offaiah (50)
71. Show You The Light - MARC f/Efraim Leo (76)
72. On Hold - the xx (74)
73. Dancing On My Own - Calum Scott (77)
74. Blue Ain't Your Color - Keith Urban (54)
75. Koinz - SR (89)
76. Let's Hurt Tonight - OneRepublic (81)
77. May We All - Florida Georgia Line f/Tim McGraw (72)
78. Love & Hate - Michael Kiwanuka (83)
79. Mayday - Greg Gatsby & Richard Fraioli f/Camila (79)
80. Ritual - Marshmello f/Wrabel (82)
81. Bad Things - Machine Gun Kelly f/Camila Cabello (86)
82. Road Less Traveled - Lauren Alaina (84)
83. Name For You - The Shins (85)
84. You Don't Know Me - Jax Jones f/RAYE (88)
85. The Weekend - Brantley Gilbert (87)
86. My Name Is Human - Highly Suspect (66)
87. Hot Thoughts - Spoon (DEBUT)
88. Slumber Party - Britney Spears f/Tinashe (92)
89. Atlas, Rise! - Metallica (93)
90. Any Ol' Barstool - Jason Aldean (94)
91. How Did You Love - Shinedown (DEBUT)
92. Long Song Away - Kevin Ross (96)
93. That's What I Like - Bruno Mars (DEBUT)
94. All Time Low - Jon Bellion (DEBUT)
95. Heavydirtysoul - twenty-one pilots (100)
96. Just Day - KDA f/Tinashe (DEBUT)
97. Be The One - Dua Lipa (DEBUT)
98. Team - Krewella (98)
99. Why I Love You - MAJOR. (RE-ENTRY)
100. Oasis - Kendra Erika (DEBUT)

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

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Songoftheday 2/24/17 - You tell me you want a woman who's as simple as a flower, well if you want me to act like that you'd better pay me by the hour...

"Wild Women Do" - Natalie Cole
from the album Pretty Woman (Original Soundtrack) (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #34 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's song of the day comes from R&B/pop singer Natalie Cole, who had scored her fourth top ten pop hit in the summer of 1989 with the ballad "Miss You Like Crazy". The following year, Cole contributed a song to the Richard Gere/Julia Roberts hooker rom-com Pretty Woman. "Wild Women Do", co-written by Matthew Wilder (of "Break My Stride" top-40 fame), was chosen as the bouncy first single from the soundtrack...


"Wild Women Do" hit the American pop top-40 in April of 1990. The 12" remixes, done by Arthur Baker and the guys from the System ("Don't Disturb This Groove") respectively, were a big hit in the clubs, peaking at #8 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart. Internationally, the record did well in the UK, going to #16, and was a top-40 hit in Ireland (#29), New Zealand (#35), and Australia (#37).

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Aussie Sweep: February 23, 2017...


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

On the Australian Artists singles chart, dance act Pnau returns to #1 with "Chameleon"...

After spending close to nine months on this chart as an album track, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood re-enter the top-20 as the radio "release" of their "discountry" collab "The Fighter" lands at #19...


(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Songoftheday 2/23/17 - Girl I close my eyes and then I start to cry for you, you're the reason why I have to say goodbye to you...

"Sending All My Love" - Linear
from the album Linear (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #5 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 16

Today's song of the day comes from the dance-pop trio Linear, who came together in the late 80s in Miami, releasing their self-titled debut album at the beginning of the next decade. The first single from the set was the mid-tempo freestyle jam "Sending All My Love", written by the group's singer Charlie Pennachio and producer Tolga Katas. The trio dressed like metalheads, but their music was all loverboy club antics...


"Sending All My Love" became Linear's first and biggest hit pop single, reaching the top-5 on the Hot 100 in May of 1990. Internationally, the song went top-20 in  Canada (#20) and New Zealand (#13). A second single from the album, "Don't You Come Cryin'", which melded freestyle with a pop-metal style, was a minor hit in America at #70.

Up tomorrow: A pop/soul legacy parties with a pretty woman.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

German Sweep: February 22, 2017...


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

1. "Shape Of You" - Ed Sheeran (1)
2. "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" - Zayn & Taylor Swift (2)
3. "Paris" - The Chainsmokers (4)
4. "Castle On The Hill" - Ed Sheeran (3)
5. "Rockabye" - Clean Bandit featuring Anne-Marie & Sean Paul (5)
6. "Way Down We Go" - Kaleo (6)
7. "Call On Me" - Starley (8)
8. "Alone" - Alan Walker (7)
9. "Loin" - Maître Gims featuring Dany Synthé (DEBUT)
10. "Scared To Be Lonely" - Martin Garrix featuring Dua Lipa (DEBUT)

French rapper Maître Gims, who I featured a couple of weeks ago, sees his single "Loin" ("Far") featuring producer/DJ Dany Synthé leap into the top ten at #9...


(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Songoftheday 2/22/17 -There goes my old girlfriend there's another diamond ring, and all those late night promises I guess they don't mean a thing...

"What It Takes" - Aerosmith
from the album Pump (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #9 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

The song of the day for this "hump day" comes from hard-rocking Boston boys Aerosmith, whose Pump album pumped out a pair of top ten pop hits already with "Love In An Elevator" and the Grammy-winning "Janie's Got A Gun". The third single from the record would be the laid-back country-pastiche ballad "What It Takes", written by the band's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry along with "song doctor" Desmond Child. The song has Tyler questioning about how he can get over the lover he's singing to. It also name-checks another track on the album, "F.I.N.E.", which went to #14 on the Mainstream Rock radio chart between "Jamie's Got A Gun" and this one...


"What It Takes" became Aerosmith's third top 10 pop hit from Pump (their only set to score such a feat) in May of 1990. The single also climbed to #1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. Internationally, the song went to #15 in Canada and just missed the top-40 in Australia at #46.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

French Sweep: February 21, 2017...

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

1. "Shape Of You" - Ed Sheeran (1)
2. "Je M'en Vais" - Vianney (4)
3. "Human" - Rag N' Bone Man (3)
4. "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" - Zayn & Taylor Swift (RE-ENTRY)
5. "I Feel It Coming" - The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk (5)
6. "Rockabye" - Clean Bandit featuring Anne-Marie & Sean Paul (6)
7. "Makeba" - Jain (DEBUT)
8. "Chained To The Rhythm" - Katy Perry featuring Skip Marley (DEBUT)
9. "Be Mine" - Offenbach (8)
10. "Helium" - Sia (DEBUT)

Pop singer Jain, from the city of Toulouse in the southwestern part of the country, finally reaches the top ten after over a year on the chart with her second single "Makeba". Her first, "Come", went to #1 here, and now is getting airplay in the U.S....


(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Songoftheday 2/21/17 - I'm learning to live without you now but I miss you sometimes, the more I know the less I understand,


"The Heart Of The Matter" - Don Henley
from the album The End Of The Innocence (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #21 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 8

Today's song of the day comes from Don Henley, whose third album apart from the Eagles, The End Of The Innocence, had granted him a top-10 pop hit with the title track along with a top-40 follow-up in "The Last Worthless Evening".  The third single from the record was another bit of thoughtful adult-pop ruminations on romance, "The Heart Of The Matter". Helping himself come to terms with a failed relationship, Henley acts the sage with some meaty lyrics about the true feelings a break-up can produce even years after the love has gone...


"The Heart Of The Matter" became Don's eighth and so-far most recent top-40 solo pop hit in May of 1990. The single also climbed to #3 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, while it spent two weeks at #2 on their Mainstream Rock radio list. North of the border, the track made it to #9 in Canada.

Three other tracks from the End Of The Innocence album, "I Will Not Go Quietly", "If Dirt Were Dollars" (the B-side of "The Heart Of The Matter" cassingle) and "How Bad Do You Want It?", reached the top-10 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, with the latter coming close to the pop top-40 at #48.  Another song, the epic "New York Minute", also reached that rank on the pop chart.

However, even with this success, Henley's career took a turn and got shelved for almost a decade as he legally fought with his record company, Geffen, to release him to seek another label. It was one of the biggest musician-label battles in the rock era, and influenced the signing and managing of music artists for years. He appeared on duets with Trisha Yearwood and Scandal's Patty Smyth, and the result reached the top ten on the country and pop charts respectively, with the latter's "Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough" going all the way to #2 on the Hot 100.

 Finally, after reuniting with the Eagles for an incredibly successful tour and album, he released his fourth solo album Inside Job in 2000. The single "Taking You Home" topped the Adult Contemporary chart, and was his most recent Hot 100 appearance at #58. It would be another 15 years before his next studio release, Cass Country, which had Don delving into country music. "Take A Picture Of This" made the AC chart at #14.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Monday, February 20, 2017

Robbed hit of the week 2/20/17 - Leila K. w-Rob N Raz's "Got To Get"...

"Got To Get" - Leila K. with Rob 'N' Raz
from the album Rob 'N' Raz featuring Leila K. (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #48

This week's "robbed hit" comes from Swedish dance-pop singer/rapper Leila K., who went from strict Moroccan parental upbringing to hooking up with producers Rob 'N' Raz (Robert Wåtz and Rasmus Lindwall). Releasing a collaborative album in 1990, after the success of like-sounding artist Neneh Cherry, their infectious single "Got To Get", written by Leila, became an international hit, reaching the clubs and radio of America...


While "Got To Get" climbed to #8 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart, the single stopped short of the pop Top-40 in the U.S. in March of 1990. Internationally, the record made the top ten in the Netherlands (#2), Germany (#3), Austria (#3), Switzerland (#3), Norway (#4), the UK (#8), Finland (#10), and her native Sweden (#10).

Her follow-up single with Rob N Raz, "Rok The Nation", did even better in Sweden, hitting #3, but missed the British top-40 by a hair at #41. Leaving behind the duo, Leila returned in 1992 with the rave track "Open Sesame", which was a top ten single in The Netherlands (#2), Switzerland (#4), Germany (#5), Austria (#5), and Finland (#9), and reached the top-40 in the UK (#23) and Sweden (#21). Three years later Leila K came back into the top ten in Sweden and Finland with "Electric", one of three local top-40 hits from her Manic Panic album. But after that, as that style of music faded away, so did Leila's fortunes, eventually finding her living on the streets by the new millenium. I can only hope that she's doing better (she doesn't have an online presence right now), though you can view a documentary on her 90s antics, Fuck You, Fuck You Very Much.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Songoftheday 2/20/17 - You're the main reason I dress to impress, and hope so maybe one day I will end all this loneliness...


"If U Were Mine" - The U-Krew
from the album The U-Krew (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #24 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 7

Today's song of the day comes from the U-Krew, an R&B group from the unlikely setting of Portland, Oregon, who shortened their name from "The Untouchable Krew" and released their debut (and only) album in 1989. The first single from the set was the new jack swing jam "If U Were Mine". Written by the act's Larry Bell, James McClendon, and Hakim Muhammad, it had a touch of influences from Bobby Brown to Teddy Riley's Guy...


"If You Were Mine" became the U-Krew's sole top-40 pop hit in April of 1990. A second single from the album, "Let Me Be Your Lover", was a minor hit on both the pop (#68) and R&B (#81) chart. Their record company folded before they could release a second album.

Up tomorrow: An Eagle gets to the crux of the problem.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Songoftheday 2/19/17 - Beneath the white fire of the moon, love's wings are broken all too soon...


"Heart Of Stone" - Cher
from the album Heart Of Stone (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #20 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 6

Today's song of the day is from Cher, whose Heart Of Stone album had spun off three top-10 pop hits in the U.S. with "Just Like Jesse James", "If I Could Turn Back Time", and her duet with Peter Cetera, "After All". The fourth single from the record would be a cover of a minor hit for British pop vocal group Bucks Fizz in 1988. Bucks Fizz, who had won the Eurovision song contest in 1981, released "Heart Of Stone", written by their producer Andy Hill with King Crimson alum Pete Sinfield, originally climbed to #50 on the British singles chart, their final original chart appearance...


Cher's version, produced by Peter Asher, didn't change the instrumentation much, but her voice definitely gave it a heft the quartet couldn't...


"Heart Of Stone" reached the top 20 on the American pop chart in April of 1990. The single also climbed to #30 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary radio chart. Internationally, the song made the top-40 in Ireland (#24) and Canada (#26), and just missed the top-40 in the UK at #43.

A fifth single from the Heart Of Stone album, the Michael Bolton-written "You Wouldn't Know Love", wasn't put out in the States, though it peaked at #29 in Ireland and was a minor hit in Britain at #55.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Brit Sweep: February 18, 2017...


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

On the Official British singles chart, Ed Sheeran racks up a sixth week at #1 with "Shape Of You", though his "Castle On The Hill" gets nudged down a notch by Rag N' Bone Man's "Human" at #2...

Katy Perry rockets into the top ten at #7 with her brand new single "Chained To The Rhythm". It becomes her 14th top ten effort...


(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Songoftheday 2/18/17 - It's been seven hours and fifteen days since you took your love away...


"Nothin' Compares 2 U" - Sinéad O'Connor
from the album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (four weeks)
Weeks in the top-40: 15

Today's song of the day belongs to Irish alternative rock artist Sinéad O'Connor, who comes from the suburbs of Dublin, where she endured a troubled childhood wrecked by divorce and abuse before setting off on a musical career. The start of that career was tumultuous at first, including an unfinished album and a child at just twenty years old. But the eventual fruit of that, apart from her son Jake, was her stunning debut album The Lion And The Cobra in 1987. A nominee for a Grammy for best alternative album, the record's first single, "Troy", peaked at #8 in the Netherlands and almost reached the top-40 in the UK at #48. Her next two singles, "Mandinka" and "Put Your Hands On Me", both reached the top 20 on the American dance chart, with the former becoming her first top-40 hit in the UK at #17 as well as putting her at #6 on the singles chart in her native Ireland. In the fall of 1988, a track from the movie Married To The Mob, "Jump In The River", got Sinéad her first American radio success, going to #17 on Billboard's Modern Rock list. That song, co-written with guitarist Marco Pirroni from Adam and the Ants and Siouxsie and the Banshees, would eventually end up on her sophomore album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. Released in 1990, the next single from the set would be a cover of an obscure track off an album from Prince-affiliated band The Family. Written by the Purple One, O'Connor's take on "Nothing Compares 2 U" slowed the tempo to a mournful crawl, as her aching voice swayed between gospel-style faith and angry depression (in the case of the title, going from one to the other in one line) as she takes her emotions out for a drive over a lost love. The music video, which mostly featured her singing and crying directly into the camera, is one of the most remembered clips of the rock era...


Sinéad's version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" topped the American pop charts for four weeks in April of 1990, one of three songs that year that spent the most weeks on top within the year. The single also spent three weeks at #2 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart, while also going to #1 for a week on their Modern Rock list and #23 on their Mainstream rock chart. Internationally, the record went to #1 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and her native Ireland. It would be nominated in 1991 for Grammys for Record of The Year (losing to Phil Collins' "Another Day In Paradise") and Female Pop Vocal (which Mariah Carey took home for "Vision Of Love"). She did get the Grammy for Alternative Rock performance for the entire album, though.

The follow-up single, the uptempo rock track "The Emperor's New Clothes", was a moderate hit around the world, hitting the top-10 in Ireland (#5) and Italy (#10), but stalled down at #60 on the American pop chart (it did manage to top the Modern Rock radio list, though). A third release, the delicate new age of "Three Babies", was a top-40 hit in Ireland (#19), Italy (#12), Switzerland (#22), and the Netherlands (#29). A 12" remix single featuring "Emperor" and album cut "I Am Stretched On Your Grave" went to #27 on the dance club play chart in Billboard.

In 1992, O'Connor came back with an album of cover versions, Am I Your Girl?, that puzzled many of her rock fans, and with the backlash from her public actions, like refusing to have the National Anthem played at a concert in New Jersey as well as her infamous "ripping the Pope" at the end of her performance on Saturday Night Live, besides her top-20 finish on her pre-SNL single "Success Has Made A Failure Of Our Home", it got relatively lost in the shuffle, and pop radio never came back. Two years later, her contribution to the soundtrack for In The Name Of The Father, "You Made Me The Thief Of Your Heart", was her last radio chart appearance in the States at #24. It was better in the UK, where the lead single from her Universal Mother set, "Thank You For Hearing Me", grabbed her a top-20 hit at #13 that same year.

Between 2002 and 2003, O'Connor appeared on three big club hits in the U.S., with both a remix of the aforementioned first single "Troy" and a featured role on Conjure One's "Tears From The Moon" climbing to #3, and "Guide Me God" with Ghostland hitting #20. She has been releasing albums rather regularly since, but her public life, which was punctuated with mental health issues, suicide watches, sexuality and religious bounces, and provocative statements, has overshadowed most of the great music she's able to create. Her latest album, I'm Not Bossy, I'm The Boss, came in 2014, but the single, "Take Me To Church", sadly was eclipsed by the stellar but different song from Hozier which came into popularity at the same time.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Friday, February 17, 2017

twostepcub's music chart for February 17, 2017...


It's Friday, and I'm ready to run down my top 100 tunes from the previous week. British rapper-turned-bluesrocker Rag N' Bone Man holds at #1 for a fourth week, while blink-182 score their second top 10 hit from their California album. Former big hits from Old Dominion, Fitz & The Tantrums, Brett Young, and Lodato/Joseph Duveen drop off the list, while songs from Donna Summer/Barbra Streisand, LeAnn Rimes, and Marshmello/Wrabel make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). All chocolates, half-price!

This Week              Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Human - Rag N' Bone Man (1)
2. Rockabye - Clean Bandit f/Anne-Marie & Sean Paul (2)
3. Star Of The Show - Thomas Rhett (5)
4. Water Under The Bridge - Adele (2)
5. Scars To Your Beautiful - Alessia Cara (6)
6. Waste A Moment - Kings Of Leon (4)
7. She's Out Of Her Mind - blink-182 (11)
8. Still Breathing - Green Day (12)
9. Shape Of You - Ed Sheeran (16)
10. Take It All Back - Judah & The Lion (10)
11. 24K Magic - Bruno Mars (7)
12. Don't Wanna Know - Maroon 5 f/Kendrick Lamar (8)
13. Dirty Laundry - Carrie Underwood (9)
14. Better Man - Little Big Town (19)
15. So I Can Have You Back - Joe (15)
16. Say You Won't Let Go - James Arthur (18)
17. The Greatest - Sia f/Kendrick Lamar (13)
18. Love Me Now - John Legend (14)
19. Castle On The Hill - Ed Sheeran (29)
20. Seein' Red - Dustin Lynch (21)
21. Side To Side - Ariana Grande f/Nicki Minaj (17)
22. Starving - Hailee Steinfeld & Grey f/Zedd (26)
23. I Feel It Coming - The Weeknd f/Daft Punk (28)
24. Sober Saturday Night - Chris Young f/Vince Gill (30)
25. Starboy - The Weeknd f/Daft Punk (20)
26. Thick Of It - Mary J. Blige (22)
27. Trouble - Cage The Elephant (27)
28. Wanna Be That Song - Brett Eldredge (24)
29. 80s Mercedes - Maren Morris (25)
30. A Guy With The Girl - Blake Shelton (34)
31. Heathens - twenty-one pilots (23)
32. Move Your Body - Sia (42)
33. If The Boot Fits - Granger Smith (37)
34. Love On The Brain - Rihanna (40)
35. Let Me Love You - DJ Snake f/Justin Bieber (33)
36. Mercy - Shawn Mendes (41)
37. Closer - The Chainsmokers f/Halsey (39)
38. Treat You Better - Shawn Mendes (38)
39. Body Moves - DNCE (43)
40. Fresh Eyes - Andy Grammer (36)
41. You're Not There - Lukas Graham (49)
42. Enough Is Enough 2017 - Donna Summer & Barbra Streisand (56)
43. Love On The Weekend - John Mayer (44)
44. Blood In The Cut - k. flay (52)
45. Blow Your Mind (MWAH) - Dua Lipa (35)
46. Rhythm & Blues - The Head & The Heart (51)
47. Kill A Word - Eric Church f/Rhiannon Giddens (48)
48. Nothing To Lose - Vassy (54)
49. Million Reasons - Lady Gaga (53)
50. Trouble - Offaiah (50)
51. Hell In Paradise 2016 - Yoko Ono (45)
52. The Urge In Me - Joe Gauthreaux f/Inaya Day (60)
53. Distortion - Jessica Sutta (63)
54. Blue Ain't Your Color - Keith Urban (47)
55. Way Down We Go - Kaleo (55)
56. Long Live Love - LeAnn Rimes (70)
57. This Town - Niall Horan (59)
58. I Don't Wanna Live Forever - Zayn & Taylor Swift (62)
59. Play That Song - Train (61)
60. Cleopatra - The Lumineers (68)
61. Fast - Luke Bryan (74)
62. Shine - Mondo Cozmo (64)
63. Think A Little Less - Michael Ray (67)
64. Today - Brad Paisley (66)
65. Touch - Little Mix (73)
66. My Name Is Human - Highly Suspect (58)
67. Dirt On My Boots - Jon Pardi (77)
68. Call On Me - Starley (80)
69. In A Drawer - Band Of Horses (69)
70. Paris - The Chainsmokers (82)
71. Yeah Yeah 2016 - Luciana & Dave Aude' (84)
72. May We All - Florida Georgia Line f/Tim McGraw (72)
73. Show Me Love - Brian Justin Crum f/Toy Armada & DJ Grind (DEBUT)
74. On Hold - The xx (76)
75. Somebody Else - The 1975 (85)
76. Show You The Light - MARC f/Efraim Leo (81)
77. Dancing On My Own - Calum Scott (87)
78. Hurts - Emeli Sande (78)
79. Mayday - Greg Gatsby & Richard Fraioli f/Camila (83)
80. Square Hammer - Ghost (65)
81. Let's Hurt Tonight - OneRepublic (91)
82. Ritual - Marshmello f/Wrabel (96)
83. Love & Hate - Michael Kiwanuka (DEBUT)
84. Road Less Traveled - Lauren Alaina (90)
85. Name For You - The Shins (95)
86. Bad Things - Machine Gun Kelly f/Camila Cabello (94)
87. The Weekend - Brantley Gilbert (DEBUT)
88. You Don't Know Me - Jax Jones f/RAYE (93)
89. Koinz - SR (99)
90. It's Quiet Uptown - Kelly Clarkson (DEBUT)
91. Ophelia - The Lumineers (86)
92. Slumber Party - Britney Spears f/Tinashe (100)
93. Take My Breath Away - Alesso (97)
94. Any Ol' Barstool - Jason Aldean (DEBUT)
95. Atlas, Rise! - Metallica (RE-ENTRY)
96. Long Song Away - Kevin Ross (RE-ENTRY)
97. Je M'en Vais - Vianney (98)
98. Team - Krewella (DEBUT)
99. September Song - JP Cooper (DEBUT)
100. Heavydirtysoul - twenty-one pilots (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 their official website. And here they are on video, after the break...

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Songoftheday 2/17/17 - 'Cause I've been thinkin' 'bout the things that we said late last night, when every word I said just didn't come out right...

"You're The Only Woman" - Brat Prack
from the album Brat Pack (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #36 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's song of the day comes from a pair of dance-pop singers from New Jersey, the Brat Pack, who originally emerged as a club act, scoring a top-10 dance hit in 1988 with "So Many Ways (Do It Properly Part II)" (#7 Club). Two years later, the duo released an uptempo cover of one of the softest of the soft-rock songs of the early 80s, "You're The Only Woman". Written (coincidentally) by David Pack, singer/guitarist of the band Ambrosia, the group took the original version to #13 on the American pop chart in 1980....


The Brat Pack version, performed by Ray Frazier and Patrick Donovan, was produced by future C+C Music Factory leaders Rob Clivilles and David Cole, who were also enjoying success with their female trio Seduction...


"You're The Only Woman" became the Brat Pack's sole top-40 pop hit in March of 1990. The 12" remix made it to #27 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart. They released a second single from their self-titled debut album, "I'm Never Gonna Give You Up", which hit #71 pop and #32 dance.

Up tomorrow: Irish songstress interprets a classic for a tearful juxtaposition.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Aussie Sweep: February 16, 2017...


It's time to head Down Under to check out the local artists making the charts in Australia this week...

On the Australian Artists Singles Chart, Amy Shark remains at #1 with "Adore"...

The dance group that won Australia's Got Talent then turned into a dance-pop vocal group, Justice Crew, shuffle in at #18 with "Pop Dat Buckle"....


(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Songoftheday 2/16/17 - Somebody told me there'd be trouble at home, 'cause we never talk a lot when we spend time alone...

"Whip Appeal" - Babyface
from the album Tender Lover (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #6 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11

The song of the day for today comes from R&B singer/songwriter/producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, whose second solo album Tender Lover had landed him a pair of #1 soul hits with "It's No Crime" (#7 pop) and the title track (#14 pop). The third single released from the record would be the slow jam "Whip Appeal", written by Babyface with singer Perri "Pebbles" Reid, who had already had a couple of top ten pop hits under her belt as well (and was married to Kenny's production partner L.A. Reid). Lasciviously using the "whip" word without giving any detail as to what is making their bedroom funky, the lyrics nevertheless oddly have him crooning "whip all your sweet sad lovin' on me". Holly Robinson (from 21 Jump Street) was featured in the video...


"Whip Appeal" became the highest-charting pop hit and second top-ten hit from Tender Lover in April of 1990. The song climbed as high as #2 on Billboard's R&B chart, while it crossed over to score Babyface his first Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio hit at #36. Internationally, the single popped into the Canadian top-40 at #39. The single would be nominated for a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal in 1991, losing out to Luther Vandross' "Here And Now".

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

German Sweep: February 15, 2017...

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

1. "Shape Of You" - Ed Sheeran (1)
2. "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" - Zayn & Taylor Swift (6)
3. "Castle On The Hill" - Ed Sheeran (2)
4. "Paris" - The Chainsmokers (4)
5. "Rockabye" - Clean Bandit featuring Anne-Marie & Sean Paul (3)
6. "Way Down We Go" - Kaleo (7)
7. "Alone" - Alan Walker (5)
8. "Call On Me" - Starley (8)
9. "Steady 1234" - Vice featuring Jasmine Thompson & Skizzy Mars (DEBUT)
10. "Now and Later" - Sage the Gemini (9)

Los Angeles-based DJ Vice, who I featured last week with his breakout single "Steady 1234" with British singer Jasmine Thompson and rapper Skizzy Mars, now leaps into the top ten at #9...


(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Songoftheday 2/15/17 - When you hold me in your arms you rock my body with your charms, and I just don't give a darn...

"Heartbeat" - Seduction
from the album Nothing Matters Without Love (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #13 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 10

Today's song of the day belongs to the dance-pop trio Seduction, who had came on to the pop charts nefariously "Milli Vanilli"-style with their Martha Wash-sung debut single "(You're My One And Only) True Love", followed by their own voices on the #2 pop hit "Two To Make It Right" in the winter of 1990. The third single from their first (and only) album with their original lineup, which included future RuPauls Drag Race diva supreme Michelle Visage and MTV VJ Idalis Deleon, Nothing Matters Without Love, was a cover of a big R&B/dance track that never had mainstream pop success before. "Heartbeat", written by New Yorker Kenton Nix and sung by Newark native Taana Gardner, was released in 1981, and climbed to #10 on Billboard's R&B chart, while the club remix done by disco legend Larry Levan landed her at #6 on their dance club play list...


Seduction's take on the song didn't stray, though the drumming was changed to the "Soul II Soul" mid-tempo style, with chunkier instrumentation that foretold the C&C Music Factory sound the producers (Rob Clivilles and David Cole) would go on to. April Harris sang lead on the track...


Their "Heartbeat" became their third top-40 pop hit in April of 1990. The single also climbed to #21 on Billboard's R&B chart. The 12" single, which was double-billed with the non-album track "Free  Your Body", spent a week at #2 on their Dance Club Play list as well. Internationally, the song made the top-40 in New Zealand (#23), almost made the top-40 in Canada (#47), and was a minor hit in the UK (#75).

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

French Sweep: February 14, 2017...


Here's the top ten hits in France, according to their official singles chart, as Ed Sheeran remains on top for a fifth week...

1. "Shape Of You" - Ed Sheeran (1)
2. "Traîtres" - Lacrim (Debut)
3. "Human" - Rag N' Bone Man (3)
4. "Je M'en Vais" - Vianney (2)
5. "I Feel It Coming" - The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk (4)
6. "Rockabye" - Clean Bandit featuring Anne-Marie & Sean Paul (5)
7. "Tuesday" - Burak Yeter featuring Danelle Sandoval (6)
8. "Be Mine" - Offenbach (7)
9. "Sunset Lover" - Petite Biscuit (10)
10. "Bazardée" - Keblack (8)

French rapper Lacrim rockets into the chart all the way at #2 with his single "Traîtres" ("Traitors"). It's the first top ten hit for the Parisian...


(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Songoftheday 2/14/17 - Look at us now look at us baby, still tryin' to work it out never get it right

"How Can We Be Lovers" - Michael Bolton
from the album Soul Provider (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

The song of today for this Valentine's comes from romantic adult-pop singer/songwriter Michael Bolton, whose sixth album (and second big hit set) Soul Provider had provided him with a top-20 pop hit with the title track before his "remake" of his own composition "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You" (originally released by Laura Branigan) took him all the way to #1 for the first time in his career. The third single from the record would be the uptempo pop/rock confection "How Can We Be Lovers". Written by Michael with the two biggest "song doctors" of the decade, Desmond Child and Diane Warren, the pop-metal-lite track swirled around the catchy chorus hook "how can we be lovers if we can't be friends" while the production took its cues from the likes of Def Leppard and Bon Jovi. The break-up song had universal appeal and his delivery was spot-on (not as histrionic as he could be), and ages much better than some of his other singles.


"How Can We Be Lovers" became Bolton's second top-ten pop hit in the U.S. in May of 1990. The single also spent a week at #3 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart. Internationally, the song reached the top ten in Canada (#2), Australia (#3), Sweden (#10), and the UK (#10).

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Monday, February 13, 2017

Robbed hit of the week 2/13/17 - Midnight Oil's "Blue Sky Mine"...

"Blue Sky Mine" - Midnight Oil
from the album Blue Sky Mining (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #47

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the Australian rock band Midnight Oil, who arrived on American shores with a hit in their summer of 1988 single "Beds Are Burning". That song, which detailed the plight of the aboriginal population in the country, was able to catch the ear of people in the States who never had considered that issue before. Two years later, they released Blue Sky Mining, with the title track (shortened to "Blue Sky Mine") advocating for the asbestos miners that became seriously and terminally ill from their work, as well as the people living in the town. The company who owned the mine, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (referenced in the song) lied about the levels of exposure, and were eventually taken to court, and some of them received monetary compensation in the 80s. Written by lead singer Peter Garrett and the rest of the group, the fire in their passion for these causes again stoked up rock radio around the world...


While "Blue Sky Mine" became Midnight Oil's first #1 rock hit on both the Mainstream and Modern Rock charts in Billboard, the single stopped short of the top-40 on the American pop Hot 100 in March of 1990. Internationally, the song reached the top 10 in Canada (#7), New Zealand (#2), Norway (#8), and their native Australia (#8).

(Click below to see the rest of the post)