It’s hard to understand how and why something as horrible as the Boston Marathon tragedy could happen yesterday, leaving two adults and one child dead along with dozens of other injured runners and spectators. However, the love and support that the city has received all across the nation and abroad is really comforting in these sad times. Living about an hour away from Boston, it’s hard to not be affected, especially since it hits so close to home. However, we always recover, and this time will be no different. Things won’t go back to normal immediately, but they will, and we’ll all be stronger because of it. Sometimes music helps to heal us when situations are bad, and so, I thought I’d compile a bit of a post about Boston and the Billboard charts, from successful acts to songs that we take pride in being Bostonians. Maybe you’ll find yourself listening to a few of these as these next few days continue on.
Songs with “Boston” in the title
“Boston”, Augustana (2006)
From San Diego, the song was originally recorded for a small 2003 independent release before making it onto their major label debut, 2005’s All The Stars And Boulevards. It wasn’t until the fall of 2006 that things really took off for the band; with placement on an episode of One Tree Hill, the buzz kept building, and the song eventually gained a ton of airplay. Though it only went to #34 on the Hot 100, it certainly felt bigger around here. It spent six weeks at #1 on my chart. They’ve had some live dates here and there since the beginning of the year.
“Please Come To Boston”, Dave Loggins (1974)
This musician from Tennessee released this tune as the first single from his first album with Epic Records, Apprentice (In A Musical Workshop). It’s best remembered by the opening line, “Please come to Boston for the springtime.” “Please” climbed to #5 on the Hot 100 in 1974 and the #1 spot on the Adult Contemporary survey, becoming the only top-40 hit for Loggins. After his big song, he became a successful songwriter in the world of Country, scoring a #1 duet with Anne Murray in 1984. He hasn’t reached any chart since 1985.
It’s also worth noting that another favorite from the area peaked in the #1 Bubbling Under position back in 2007, the equivalent to #101. That was “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by the Celtic rockers from Quincy, MA, The Dropkick Murphys.
Songs with lyrics associated with Boston
Of course, you don’t have to have the city’s name in your song title to have a charting hit about it. In 1966, the California band named The Standells went to #11 on the Hot 100 with “Dirty Water”. Of course, we all know the famous lyric in that chorus: “Well, I love that dirty water/Boston, you’re my home.” There’s also a lyric towards the beginning of the song about being around the Charles River. It’s been recorded several other times since it was a hit, though the location of it has changed depending on what act’s version you’re listening to.
In 1983, the theme song from Cheers made the Hot 100; that show, of course, was set at the bar of the same name located in the city. The single release title was “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” and it was sung by Gary Portnoy. It likely suffered because nothing on the label of it mentioned the show, and thus, it peaked at a lowly #83. The series ran from 1982 to 1993.
Lastly, Karmin‘s “Hello”, which only got to #62 on the Hot 100 last year, features this rapped lyric: “Touch down in the middle of the city/Mass. Ave Street, jam up to Newbury.” Both of these streets run through Boston.
Acts with Boston in their name
In the history of the Hot 100, only two acts have hits the charts with Boston in their name. The biggest, as you probably know, was simply Boston. The band took a total of ten songs into the Hot 100 beginning with the #5 song “More Than A Feeling” in 1976. Their biggest was “Amanda”, spending two weeks at #1 in 1986. They last charted in 1994. Lead vocalist Brad Delp took his life in 2007.
The only other act on the list is a bit of a surprise, but a well-known group both locally and on a national level. They are the Boston Pops Orchestra. Now, you’re probably wondering how in the heck they made it onto the Hot 100, and the very simple answer is: Beatlemania. The Pops peaked out at #54 in 1964 with a version of “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. The original by The Beatles went to #1 for seven weeks beginning in February; this instrumental held its best position in July.
Of course, these two acts join the dozens of other acts to chart from the Boston area, including Aerosmith, New Kids On The Block and more.
See any songs or are acts I missed on the list? Comment below! For more on the charts, song premieres and other music-related items, keep it here on the blog, or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel, and don’t forget to keep the victims in your thoughts. As President Obama stated yesterday, “Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people. I’m supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city.” Amen to that.