Monthly Archives: June 2013

Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: June 30, 2013

Third time lucky.

There are hits on the horizon…

40. Passenger – Holes
39. Gavin DeGraw – Best I Ever Had | HIGHEST DEBUT

28. Grouplove – Ways To Go (33)
25. Bastille – Pompeii (31) | BIGGEST MOVER — two weeks
07. Mayer Hawthorne – Her Favorite Song (12)

10. Kelly Clarkson – People Like Us (08) | PEAK: #06
09. Plain White T’s – Should’ve Gone To Bed (09) | PEAK: #09
08. Justin Timberlake – Mirrors (06) | PEAK: #02
07. Mayer Hawthorne – Her Favorite Song (12) | PEAK: #07
06. Sara Bareilles – Brave (07) | PEAK: #06
05. Walk Off The Earth – Red Hands (05) | PEAK: #05
04. Bruno Mars – Treasure (04) | PEAK: #04
03. Florida-Georgia Line featuring Nelly – Cruise (03) | PEAK: #03
02. Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky (02) | PEAK: #02
01. Passenger – Let Her Go (01) | PEAK: #01 for eight weeks

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Fitz & The Tantrums – 6AM (5)
2. Rudimental featuring John Newman – Feel The Love (3)
3. Andy Grammer – Crazy Beautiful (2)
4. Savoir Adore – Dreamers (6)
5. Austin Mahone – What About Love? (7)
6. Sammy Adams featuring Mike Posner – L.A. Story (4)
7. Parachute – Can’t Help (9)
8. The 1975 – Chocolate (-)
9. Toad The Wet Sprocket – New Constellation (-)
10. MKTO – Classic (-)

In The Mix:
A*STAR – Dodging Teadrops (new)
Backstreet Boys – In A World Like This
Barenaked Ladies – Odds Are
Bonnie McKee – American Girl (new)
Demi Lovato – Made In The USA
Elton John – Home Again (new)
Glenn Morrison featuring Islove – Goodbye (new)
Hey Ocean! – Big Blue Wave (new)
Jack Johnson – I Got You
Jim Brickman featuring Luke McMaster – Every Shade Of You (new)
John Mayer – Paper Doll
Jonas Brothers – First Time
Justin Timberlake – Tunnel Vision
Kelly Clarkson – Tie It Up
Krewella – Live For The Night (new)
Megan & Liz – Release You
Michael Bublé – Close Your Eyes
Mike Posner – The Way It Used To Be
Olly Murs – Dance With Me Tonight (re-entry)
Olly Murs – Hey You Beautiful (new)
Phoenix – Trying To Be Cool
Satellite – Say The Words (new)
Skylar Grey – Wear Me Out
Taylor Swift featuring Ed Sheeran – Everything Has Changed
Tegan & Sara – I Was A Fool
Tony Lucca – Never Gonna Let You Go

Chart Notes:

  • This week’s top seven songs are all bulleted as it was two weeks ago and five of the seven are by acts with their very first top ten hit: Passenger (#1), Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams (#2), Florida-Georgia Line (#3), Walk Off The Earth (#5) and Mayer Hawthorne (#7). At only six weeks old, “Her Favorite Song” by Hawthorne could be a #1 contender should the block around the top begin to fall apart. We’ll see as the summer continues. Looks like three songs will make it into the top ten next week out of Maroon 5, Pink/Lily Rose Cooper, Sheppard and Train/Ashley Monroe.
  • This week’s Biggest Mover, although it’s sort of a moderate-sized one, is by British band Bastille and their first top 40 single, “Pompeii”. It advances 31-25, a gain of six spots. Their album, Bad Blood, has yet to be released here.
  • This week’s Highest Debut is the eighth song to make my chart by singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw. His latest, “Best I Ever Had”, is in at #39 on the survey. His biggest single thus far was 2005’s “Chariot”, which went as high as #2.
  • It’s Passenger‘s chart from top to bottom this week. Not only is he #1 for an eighth week with “Let Her Go”, but he also debuts at #40 with his followup, “Holes”. It’s already doing well on the radio in Australia and is charting on iTunes in a handful of countries.
  • Look for one song to debut next week, possibly Fitz & The Tantrums, Savoir Adore or The 1975. The latter two acts are newcomers, while “6AM” would be the third song to make my chart for Fitz and friends.

See my full chart on the M4BCC message board.

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Wake Up Call: The Reemergence Of Countrified Dance

Where did you come from? Where did you go?

Where did you come from? Where did you go?

One of the newest songs to make onto the dance scene this summer is a bit of a surprise to those who know some previous material by Swedish DJ and EDM artist Avicii. His latest single features a vocal by California-born soul singer Aloe Blacc, best known for a song called “I Need A Dollar”. It never made it to the United States, but it went to #2 in the United Kingdom in the summer of 2011 and was generally big in Europe. Well, the two appear together on a new song entitled “Wake Me Up!”, which is already #1 on iTunes in Australia, Sweden, The Netherlands and four other countries, with a top ten placing in many others. However, it’s not strictly a soul record or a dance anthem, it’s a… folk meets house thingamajigger? I guess that’s the best way to describe it even if it’s not the clearest.

“Wake” begins as a guitar-driven track with Blacc delivering his verse, which leads into a steady handclap beat about 40 seconds in, only to transition into a full-out dance song a quarter of the way in. Yet, there’s a simplicity about it as it returns to its original arrangement, and even when you’re ready to rage when the energy of the song kicks in, that portion doesn’t seem as layered or as overbearing as a normal dance song on the radio or in the club. It’s actually pretty likable and will certainly appeal to a broader audience than who the two appeal to individually. So, what gives? With its huge popularity out of the gate, including a decent ranking in the United States, could we be seeing a successful new period mixing the two polar opposite genres? It could very well happen.

Combining the dance and country genres isn’t a new concept, but it doesn’t exactly come around that often, and when it does, the results are somewhat mixed. Country legend Dolly Parton did disco once – a song she recorded called “Baby I’m Burning” was a minor hit in 1979. In early 1980, Joyce Cobb just missed the top 40 with a song I quite like, “Dig The Gold”, which became the first disco song to prominently use a fiddle line. (You first hear it around the 1:05 mark.) Remember when The KLF and Tammy Wynette provided us with one of the oddest collaborations in music history? “Justified And Ancient” was even bigger, going to #11 on the Hot 100 in 1992. Then, of course, there was the novelty single “Cotton Eye Joe” by the Swedish band Rednex, which I still encounter at bar/bat mitzvahs, reunions, weddings, etc. The fiddle-full floorfiller was an international smash in 1995, though it only got to #25 here. Say it ain’t so, “Joe”. (I still know the dance routine. No, there will not be video to back that up.)

There are some holes that I’ve missed along the way, but that brief history shows why this fusion of two distinct styles doesn’t even have a name. It’s so scattered about that anybody could give it something and it would catch on. It also shows that “Wake Me Up!” is a totally different case; there are no country acts involved, each genre has an equal place in the composition and it’s not meant for consumption as a novelty song. So, wipe that slate clean, because this is a new beginning for everyone involved, and it’s beginning to pick up rather quickly.

With the rise in folk music in the mainstream consciousness thanks to acts like Mumford & Sons, Phillip Phillips and The Lumineers, among others, it makes sense that it would continue to influence acts and producers creating new material. That being said, no one could have expected this to come out of either act. While the song has its dissenters on both sides of the musical spectrum, reaction seems to be fairly positive, and the early signs of good download numbers in our neck of the woods likely means that the transition onto radio and other outlets may be easier than I’m thinking. At the same time, Blacc has never cracked the U.S. market and Avicii has had some minor chartings on a few radio formats without a true breakthrough. That could change later this year, and if it blows up like it has been internationally, this movement won’t be over for some time. Stay tuned… and don’t fiddle around in the meantime.

How do you feel about this new sound from Avicii and Aloe Blacc? Are you a fan? Do you think that country and folk has a place in dance music? Let me know! Comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Made In The “Shade”: Jim Brickman and Luke McMaster Collaborate Once More

It takes two to make a thing go right.

Two is better than one.

Here we go again! Fresh off of one collaboration and a successful tour together in the winter with a few other friends, pianist Jim Brickman and guitarist/vocalist Luke McMaster are reunited and it feels so good. While McMaster has been promoting his latest release, the title track from his solo album All Roads, in Canada, the two were back in the studio crafting up this confection. It’s set to go to radio on July 8, and the song is called “Every Shade Of You”. It was first performed in March at Brickman’s Celebration Of The 70’s concert sponsored by Crystal Light with the hope that the beverage company would eventually pick it up in an advertising campaign. So, you may just be hearing it on the tube and on the airwaves in the coming months. First, a little background on our two fine gentlemen.

After charting on the Adult Contemporary radio survey for over fifteen years (beginning in 1996) with and without guest vocalists, 51-year-old Brickman found his next collaborator in 37-year-old McMaster, formerly of the Canadian duo McMaster & James. Though they had some initial success in Canada in 2000 and 2001, they parted ways soon afterwards and McMaster was involved in a few different projects in-between that and his time with the piano man. They seemed to hit it off real well, and their sessions together provided the two with the 2012 Adult Contemporary hit, “Good Morning Beautiful”. It was serviced to the format in September, while a Christmas-themed version, “Merry Christmas Beautiful”, was at radio a few weeks later just before some stations flipped to all-Christmas music in early November.

The strategy has become (almost) a yearly tradition for Brickman, which initially started in 2003 with a #1 chart single in “Sending You A Little Christmas”, a song featuring a vocal by Kristy Starling. Similar titles with vocals by Richie McDonald (of Lonestar) and Olivia Jade Archbold both charted in the top ten in 2007 and 2011, respectively. However, the idea of creating an original song that has nothing to do with the holidays with a Christmas version that will ultimately replace it during its run is a tricky concept, and he’s done it with Wayne Brady in 2005, Geoff Byrd in 2006 and Adam Crossley in 2009. It’s paid off; in each occurrence, the original version becomes a moderate success halfway into fall, and then, boom, it’s Christmas time and it’s in the top 5. “Good” turned “Merry” ended up peaking at #3. So, fair warning now, don’t be surprised if we get a “Every Shade Of Yule” edit in a few months. (Please don’t get any ideas, guys.)

Now, the song itself… “Every Shade Of You” is pretty cute, but it’s nothing new in the musical landscape. If Train‘s “Hey, Soul Sister” and “Rhythm Of Love” by the Plain White T’s had a love child, that’s basically this song in a nutshell. I realize that description is oversimplifying it a little bit, but listen to the song and you’ll understand where I’m coming from. It’s a breezy tune about a guy who paints a virtual picture of his love, who “colored my life/With your own designs, outside the lines/And that’s what makes it fun,” going onto describe the various reasons why she’s so darn colorful. Ain’t that cute? It’s sure to be a hit on that same radio format, and I’m sure it will get a few dozen spins on Brickman’s weekend radio program, Your Weekend With Jim Brickman. It airs on a few dozen stations in the U.S. and Canada, so check his website if you want to listen in.

This summer, you can check out Jim Brickman and his comrades on several dates, including the Brickman Bash on July 18-21 in Nashville, TN, which includes performances, tours and roundtable discussions. He’s also be touring again with his The Magic Of Christmas show beginning in mid-November. I’m sure Mr. McMaster will be catching up with Brickman then as well. For now, he has a new baby girl in his life, Marlowe. Of course, the dynamic duo are also giving birth to this musical child, and the cradle will soft rock once again.

Listen to an acoustic version of “Every Shade Of You” and the studio version from Brickman’s forthcoming album.

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PROFILE: A*STAR Turns “Teardrops” Into Top 40 Airplay

Don't cry for him, Argentina.

Don’t cry for him, Argentina.

He’s a bit of an enigma, but sometimes musical mysteries are the best cases to crack. Meet a performer named A*STAR. No doubt, he’s looking to become a*star in the music industry, but trying to look him up can leave you a bit empty handed. We don’t know his real name, age, shoe size, favorite movie of all-time… you know, the important stuff. We do know that he makes his home in Montreal, Canada. We also know that he has his first single release out, a chilled-out pop track called “Dodging Teardrops” that may leave you shedding some if you don’t check it out soon enough.

The performer was first heard by music executives at the MUSEXPO conference in May 2011 and has had some form of involvement with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He sings (in both English and French), writes, and produces his own material. However, he has also been working DJ Lone Lebone, as well as Andros Rodriguez and Chris Gehringer to put together his debut album, A*STAR Is My Name. It’s due to be released in the fall after being pushed back from spring. This is because a first single from the effort, “Now Or Never”, failed to do much. However, it seems that things are on the move now with “Teardrops”.

This song was first heard on a compilation entitled Hi-Bias: Miami Mix 2013 House Essentials in a remix by StoneBridge and Luv Gunz. Two remix packages have come out since then, one in April and one in May, featuring a handful of other DJs. It was serviced to radio around the same time, edited down to just over three minutes in length. It’s the first release to be issued here from Frostbyte Media, a company based out of Toronto, Canada that just inked a distribution deal with Universal Music a few months ago. (The actual radio promotion is being handled by California-based MVP Entertainment.) Strangely enough, the song hasn’t been issued at Canadian radio yet, so this will be a true test to see if North America is ready for A*STAR or if his developing, yet inexperienced label will ultimately fail to make an impact.

“Teardrops” is a dramatic ditty, based around a piano line and the occasional burst of strings and haunting background vocals, showing off a mid-70’s influence with a modern twist. It’s not quite a dance song, but it’s also not the electro-pop beats all over the radio today. It’s smooth; I would even consider it an avant-garde sound. It pops out in a set. Lyrically, it’s same old story about boy and girl on the rocks, but the male protagonist is eager to move on and be released from his shackles and chains: “And here you are crying in my face/It’s raining diamonds and pearls down on me/And for the first time I can say/I am free.” He proclaims that he’s “dodging your teardrops” and they will “never gonna get to me”, proving his strength in the face of an emotional situation. There may be troubles around him, but he is one cool cat, and as a listener, you may find yourself recounting the same sort of situation in your own life.

Thus far, the song has picked up fourteen stations in three weeks, of which eight are actually playing the song at this point. This list includes mostly smaller markets, but a few medium-sized ones like Greensboro, NC and McAllen, TX. It’s also of note that these are all independently-run, although that doesn’t rule out that some stations under larger corporations may add the single in the coming weeks. It does help that a VEVO account was just launched for the singer and his music video for the song, even though it originally premiered two months ago on his account and has racked up about 114,000 views. That’s really impressive given the small amount of promotion its received thus far, and it can only build. He’s also amassed nearly 124,000 likes on Facebook and has about 8,000 followers on Twitter, and a decent social following will help him as this single’s chart life goes on.

It’s not your typical mainstream single, but the roll out of A*STAR and his music is anything but typical. Stay tuned as the secrets of the secluded singer continue…

Purchase A*STAR‘s “Dodging Teardrops” on iTunes.

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“Beautiful” Sounds: The Pretty Side Of Pop

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that may be right, but if the beauty’s also spreading into the music world, you know these songs will be holding your attention for some time. These two acts are coming off pretty big top 10 singles in the United Kingdom, and a followup single to equal or exceed that success would be, you guessed it, simply “beautiful”. Forget the hashtag, people; that song is over now. Luckily, these two are just starting off. Let’s take a look at these stunning singles by some marvelous male musicians:

Olly olly oxen free.

Olly olly oxen free.

OLLY MURS – “Hey You Beautiful”
Release Date: August 19 (U.K.)

Hey, hey, hey, it’s a new single from the former U.K. X Factor runner-up. Hard to believe it’s been nearly three-and-a-half years since it happened, but look at all he’s accomplished since then. As the U.S. gets a remixed version of “Dance With Me Tonight” as the latest single from Mr. Murs, “Hey” will be the fourth release in Europe from the original edition of Right Place Right Time, which has been out for seven months there. It follows up “Dear Darlin'”, which went to #5, and provides a change of pace from a ballad to an uptempo summer song. It was produced by Steve Robson, who also worked on “Tonight” and his international smash “Troublemaker”. It was co-written by Murs, Robson and Claude Kelly, and that’s no surprise because “Hey” sounds a bit like Kelly’s composition for Jessie J, “Price Tag”, mixed with Nicki Minaj‘s “Starships” and a nice post-disco beat. However, it’s a little more risqué for the 29-year-old English singer. While a song about chasing down a girl is nothing new for him, it’s a bit out there in terms of its lyrical content. He states, “I feel your body calling out to me… sex is in your eyes,” and continues, “Won’t stop ’til I got you calling my name/You know you can’t resist it, baby.” Now, Murs is obviously allowed to express him however he wants, but as someone who caters to young girls, there are some issues that could come up. I guess we’ll see how that part of his fan base responds to its single release. August will be here in no time and Murs should be riding high once again.

Life's been good.

Life’s been good.

ARMIN VAN BUUREN featuring CINDY ALMA – “Beautiful Life”
Release Date: September 9 (U.K.)

36-year-old Dutch DJ Armin Van Buuren ix experiencing a sudden resurgence on the charts nowadays over fifteen years into his career on the dance circuit. His last single, a collaboration with former soulDecision member Trevor Guthrie called “This Is What It Feels Like”, recently became his biggest hit ever in The Netherlands, going to #2. It’s his third top ten single in that country in the last five years. It also broke the top ten in the United Kingdom (his first release to do so there) and is just outside that region in Australia at the #13 slot. While the United States hasn’t exactly caught onto it yet (it’s thus far only made the lower rungs on the Dance/Club Play chart), he’s moving onto his third single from his album Intense over in Europe. “Life” features vocalist Cindy Alma, who has been working with Van Buuren since at least 2011. She was born in Marseilles, France and was discovered in a singing contest at age 14 which caught the attention of record executive Jason Flom, who currently serves as the CEO of Lava Records. She cites Madonna and Whitney Houston as her influences and she herself has got some pipes. It’s a cute song, with a great synth solo about halfway through it and a hard trance vibe through the end of it. Newcomer Alma may not be established yet, but this could do it for her. It’s far more eurodance than the mainstream-sounding “Like”, so expect it to do OK over there while it does absolutely nothing on our side of the pond. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.

So, is it Olly Murs‘s dazzling ditty or Armin Van Buuren and Cindy Alma‘s charming collaboration that you prefer? Pretty hard, but let me know! Comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (June 25)

He's a "Bad" boy.

He’s a “Bad” boy.

There’s a little R&B and a little rock on the update this week, even if it’s not the most interesting set of releases. Here’s what’s in stores today, June 25:

  • Next week’s highest debut, though probably not at #1, will be the latest album by rapper Wale. His 2011 album Ambition went Gold, and now he returns with The Gifted. First single “Bad” features Tiara Thomas and a remix of it features Rihanna. (iTunes)
  • Christian rockers Skillet went to #2 with their last album, 2009’s Awake. Well, awake they are, as they Rise up the charts with their new album. (iTunes)
  • Performing her hits like “Girl On Fire” and “No One”, Alicia Keys is out with her session for VH1 Storytellers in a both a CD-only edition and CD/DVD combo. (iTunes)
  • Soul singer India.Arie is back this week with Songversation, her first effort in four years. The lead single, “Cocoa Butter”, is wrapping up a run at Urban AC radio. (iTunes)
  • She and her siblings lit up the Hot 100 in the 1970’s as the Staple Singers; now, 73-year-old Mavis Staples has a new studio album out, One True Vine. It’s produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. (iTunes)
  • With their first album featuring new lead singer Todd La Torre, Queensryche return with a self-titled effort that’s already garnering a lot of buzz in the rock world. (iTunes)
  • Rockers Middle Class Rut are out with Pick Up Your Head, featuring the recent Alternative single, “Aunt Betty”. (iTunes)
  • Other albums out this week include: Amon Amarth‘s Deceiver Of The Gods (iTunes), the Jerry Garcia Band‘s Garcia Live Volume Two (iTunes) and the Mermaids Of Alcatraz Tour Edition of Train‘s California 37 (iTunes).

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

  • “Drinks After Work”, the latest from Country superstar Toby Keith. (iTunes)
  • “Drunk Last Night”, new from the Eli Young Band. (iTunes)
  • “Entertainment”, a fresh digital single from rapper Sean Paul‘s forthcoming album. (iTunes)
  • “First Time”, the second single from a new album by the Jonas Brothers. (iTunes)
  • “Forget You”, from pop singer Cady Groves. (iTunes)
  • “Knock It Off”, the first single from K-Ci and JoJo in over a decade. (iTunes)
  • “Tie It Up”, a country ditty from Kelly Clarkson. (iTunes)

Next week’s big album is one you can get for free via Samsung: Jay-Z‘s Magna Carta Holy Grail. However, there are also new albums from Joe and Relient K, so come back in seven for all the new stuff!

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“Stop”, Drop and Rock ‘N’ Roll: The Hits That Won’t Halt

Stoppin' 'em since 1987.

Stoppin’ ’em since 1987.

She’s no Hannah Montana anymore. Miley Cyrus has taken on a new character with an edge for her latest era, the first single release of which is “We Can’t Stop”. The party girl goes wild in the music video for her new song. It recently debuted at #11 on the Hot 100 and looks to go higher as it sits comfortably in the top 5 at iTunes. In honor of this achievement, I give you all the other top 5 hits in the history of the Hot 100 (since 1958) to feature the word “stop” in their title, excluding subtitles. Conveniently, there are eleven of them. So, don’t stop now; check them all out:

“I Can’t Stop Loving You”, Ray Charles (#1, 1962)
It was back in the late 1940’s that the legendary Charles began recording and first made the Hot 100 in 1957. “Can’t” was the third #1 song for the performer and his last on the pop chart. His last top 40 single as a solo artist came in 1971, though he last made the Hot 100 in 1990. His posthumous 2004 duets album, Genius Loves Company, hit #1 on the album chart and won Album Of The Year at the GRAMMY Awards.

“Stop! In The Name Of Love”, Diana Ross and The Supremes (#1, 1965)
When you’re hot, you’re hot, and this classic trio definitely was in the year 1965. “Name” was the fourth #1 single in a row for the group, following “Where Did Our Love Go?”, “Baby Love” and “Come See About Me”. It would spend two weeks on top of the Hot 100. They ended with twelve shortly before Diana Ross left the group, although they managed to keep cranking out music with a revolving lineup through 1976.

“Bus Stop”, The Hollies (#5, 1966)
Though they quickly attained success in Europe, pop group The Hollies waited several years before their first top ten hit in the U.S. came in September 1966. Stopping seemed to be their thing because in December of the same year, their followup called “Stop Stop Stop” went to #7. During a 1983 reunion, their cover of “Stop! In The Name Of Love” went to #30. They haven’t stopped yet as they remain together.

“Don’t Stop”, Fleetwood Mac (#3, 1977)
Former President Bill Clinton may have drilled it into our heads from using this in his presidential campaigns, but back in 1977, Fleetwood Mac made “Don’t” a hit in its own right from the landmark release Rumours. Going to #3, it was the third consecutive top ten single from the album, followed by the #9 “You Make Loving Fun”, which established a then-record for the most top ten songs from one studio album.

“I Just Wanna Stop”, Gino Vannelli (#4, 1978)
After first hitting the top 40 in 1974 with “People Gotta Move”, Montreal-born Vannelli achieved much greater success with this ballad from his album Brother To Brother. It rose to #4 late into 1978, becoming his first of two top ten singles (the second coming in 1981) and biggest hit to date. He had a handful of minor singles reach the Hot 100 through 1987 and continued charting in his native Canada into the 1990’s.

“Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”, Michael Jackson (#1, 1979)
The first of two Jackson songs on the list was a hot disco record from his first release with Epic following his departure from Motown. From his album Off The Wall, “Enough” quickly climbed into the #1 spot, becoming his first solo song to reach the top of the Hot 100 since “Ben” in 1972. The album would provide him with three other top ten hits through 1980 before regrouping with The Jacksons later that year.

“Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”, Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (#3, 1981)
In-between albums by Fleetwood Mac, Nicks pursued a solo career with 1981’s Bella Donna, which eventually went to the top spot on the album chart. The first single from it was this collaboration with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, which remains her biggest solo song to make the Hot 100 to date. She and Petty would also collaborate on a 1986 live remake of the song “Needles And Pins”, which peaked at #37.

“Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, Starship (#1, 1987)
Mannequin was big at the box office in the spring of 1987 and so was the theme song from it. “Now” became the final of three #1 singles for Starship, which at the time established a record for member Grace Slick as the oldest woman to have a #1 single at age 47. (That has since been passed by Cher, when she hit #1 with 1999’s “Believe” at age 53.) The group last made the top 40 in 1989 and the Hot 100 in 1991.

“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, Michael Jackson with Siedah Garrett (#1, 1987)
After the massive success of his 1982 album Thriller, how could Michael Jackson follow it up? Well, five years later came Bad, and this was the first single from it. The romantic ballad shot straight into the Hot 100’s top 40 with a debut at #37 during the week of August 8, 1987, climbing to #1 six weeks later for one week. It was the first of five #1 singles from the album, which was certified 9x Platinum this past spring.

“Can’t Stop This Thing We Started”, Bryan Adams (#2, 1991)
The summer of 1991 was all Bryan Adams as the Canadian singer dominated with his chart-topper, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”. Following that monster single was this notable change in direction into a rock sound, which hit the top ten in at least a dozen countries, including the United States. Parent album Waking Up The Neighbours was also a big seller, going 4x Platinum. Adams continues to record today.

“Don’t Stop The Music”, Rihanna (#3, 2008)
Back in 2008, this Barbadian beauty was just beginning her journey as a Good Girl Gone Bad. Interpolating “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango (also prominently featured in “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” by Michael Jackson), the song became another big hit for the singer, going to #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot Dance/Club Play chart. Her current release is “Right Now”, featuring producer David Guetta.

For more on the stop and go of the pop music flow, follow the blog below and find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: June 23, 2013

It's not easy being green.

It’s not easy being green.

40. The Civil Wars – The One That Got Away
39. John Newman – Love Me Again
38. Tom Odell – Another Love | HIGHEST DEBUT

33. Grouplove – Ways To Go (38)
21. Five For Fighting – What If (29) | BIGGEST MOVER — two weeks
19. Lawson – Brokenhearted (25)
07. Sara Bareilles – Brave (12)

10. Daniel Powter – Crazy All My Life (08) | PEAK: #03
09. Plain White T’s – Should’ve Gone To Bed (09) | PEAK: #09
08. Kelly Clarkson – People Like Us (07) | PEAK: #06
07. Sara Bareilles – Brave (12) | PEAK: #07
06. Justin Timberlake – Mirrors (04) | PEAK: #02
05. Walk Off The Earth – Red Hands (06) | PEAK: #05
04. Bruno Mars – Treasure (05) | PEAK: #04
03. Florida-Georgia Line featuring Nelly – Cruise (03) | PEAK: #03
02. Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams – Get Lucky (02) | PEAK: #02
01. Passenger – Let Her Go (01) | PEAK: #01 for seven weeks

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Passenger – Holes (-)
2. Andy Grammer – Crazy Beautiful (2)
3. Rudimental featuring John Newman – Feel The Love (9)
4. Sammy Adams featuring Mike Posner – L.A. Story (3)
5. Fitz & The Tantrums – 6AM (10)
6. Savoir Adore – Dreamers (-)
7. Austin Mahone – What About Love? (7)
8. Taylor Swift featuring Ed Sheeran – Everything Has Changed (6)
9. Parachute – Can’t Help (5)
10. Tony Lucca – Never Gonna Let You Go (8)

In The Mix:
Backstreet Boys – In A World Like This (new)
Barenaked Ladies – Odds Are
Britney Spears – Ooh La La
Demi Lovato – Made In The USA
Gavin DeGraw – Best I Ever Had (new)
Jack Johnson – I Got You
John Mayer – Paper Doll (new)
Jonas Brothers – First Time
Justin Timberlake – Tunnel Vision
Kelly Clarkson – Tie It Up
Megan & Liz – Release You
Michael Bublé – Close Your Eyes
Mike Posner – The Way It Used To Be
MKTO – Classic (new)
Olly Murs – Dance With Me Tonight (re-entry)
Phoenix – Trying To Be Cool
Skylar Grey – Wear Me Out
Tegan & Sara – I Was A Fool
Toad The Wet Sprocket – New Constellation

Chart Notes:

  • Leaping from 12-7, “Brave” becomes the fifth top ten single on my chart for Sara Bareilles, following “Love Song” (#8), “Bottle It Up” (#8), “King Of Anything” (#2) and “Uncharted” (#10). The 33-year-old singer will be releasing her latest album, The Blessed Unrest, on July 16.
  • For the second week in a row, Five For Fighting takes the Biggest Mover honor, climbing from 29-21 with “What If”. The song’s moved twenty spots upward in two weeks. He, John Ondrasik, also has the distinction of being the oldest musician in the countdown at age 48. Age is nothing but a number, people; it’s all about the quality of the music.
  • This week’s Highest Debut belongs to newcomer Tom Odell from Chichester, England. His song recently went top ten on iTunes in the United Kingdom and this week enters my chart at #38, titled “Another Love”. His album, Long Way Down, is out Monday over there, and gets a release here in the United States in September.
  • Another new singer to the chart is John Newman, who comes in at #39 with “Love Me Again”. Last summer, he was featured on the Rudimental song, “Feel The Love”, which went to #1 in the U.K. and is just now being released here. “Again” has already charted in several European countries, including a top ten peak in Hungary.
  • Last but not least, duo The Civil Wars debut at #40 with “The One That Got Away”, a totally different song from the same title that went to #1 on my chart for Katy Perry in 2011. This single comes after the two cancelled their tour and broke up last year, although they’ve seemed to agree on a forthcoming album release, due August 6. It’s self-titled.

See my full chart on the M4BCC message board.

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THE FRIDAY FORTY: The Sounds Of “Summer”

Happy Friday! Welcome to another special edition of an occasional segment I’m putting together called The Friday Forty. Consider it a definitive list on all sorts of music-related topics. It’s been a while since the last one, but I hope you enjoy my latest list.

Today, June 21, marks the Summer Solstice, and while the weather may feel like the summer’s already come, this would officially be the start of it. So, get out your shades and your sunscreen because the beach party awaits. You may have your favorite song that reminds you of summer, but how about the songs that actually have “summer” in the titles? From the breeze to the girls to the nights, there’s a lot to love about summer, and here are 40 of the biggest “summer” songs that have graced the charts over the past 50 years.

(This survey is based off of Billboard’s year-end tabulations from 1963-2012, with attention paid to chart life, peak and weeks in the top 40 for those that didn’t rank highly enough to make a year-end chart and tied songs.)

40. Tony Carey – The First Day of Summer (#33, 1984)
39. Belinda Carlisle – Summer Rain (#30, 1990)
38. Dawn – Summer Sand (#33, 1971)
37. Kenny Chesney – Summertime (#34, 2006)
36. Walter Wanderley – Summer Samba (So Nice) (#26, 1966)
35. Ronnie Dove – Happy Summer Days (#27, 1966)
34. Celebration featuring Mike Love – Almost Summer (#28, 1978)
33. Marianne Faithfull – Summer Nights (#24, 1965)
32. Frank Sinatra – Summer Wind (#25, 1966)
31. The Who – Summertime Blues (#27, 1970)

30. Diesel – Sausalito Summernight (#25, 1981)
29. The Lettermen – Theme From “A Summer Place” (#19, 1965)
28. Ruby & The Romantics – My Summer Love (#19, 1963)
27. Bobby Goldsboro – Summer (The First Time) (#21, 1973)
26. Peter Nero – Theme From “Summer Of ’42” (#21, 1971)
25. Night – Hot Summer Nights (#18, 1979)
24. Johnny Rivers – Summer Rain (#14, 1963)
23. Robin Ward – Wonderful Summer (#14, 1966)
22. Billy Stewart – Summertime (#10, 1966)
21. The Ataris – The Boys Of Summer (#20, 2003)

20. The Motels – Suddenly Last Summer (#9, 1983)
19. Nat “King” Cole – That Sunday, That Summer (#12, 1963)
18. Kid Rock – All Summer Long (#23, 2008)
17. Seals & Crofts – Summer Breeze (#6, 1972)
16. Bryan Adams – Summer Of ’69 (#5, 1985)
15. Bananarama – Cruel Summer (#9, 1984)
14. War – Summer (#7, 1976)
13. Nat “King” Cole – Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days Of Summer (#6, 1963)
12. John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – Summer Nights (#5, 1978)
11. Ace Of Base – Cruel Summer (#10, 1998)

The top ten:
10. Blue Cheer – “Summertime Blues”
PEAK: #14, 1968

9. Don Henley – “The Boys Of Summer”
PEAK: #5, 1985

8. Mungo Jerry – “In The Summertime”
PEAK: #3, 1970

7. Chad & Jeremy – “A Summer Song”
PEAK: #7, 1964

6. Justin Timberlake – “Summer Love”
PEAK: #6, 2007

From Bel-Air to the charts.

From Bel-Air to the charts.

PEAK: #4 in 1991

Once upon a time, Will Smith actually paid the bills by rapping his way onto the charts. So, when he (as The Fresh Prince) and his main man DJ Jazzy Jeff hadn’t scored a big hit in three years, they decided to tackle a song about babes, basketball and barbecues. It became the biggest hit of their career, launching into the top 5 while Smith was also starring on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. After one more album together and a few more seasons of his television show, Smith had his own solo career for a few years, tellin’ us how to get jiggy with it and party for the Willenium. He’s still acting today and so is his son, Jaden.

Keepin' it Lyte.

Keepin’ it Lyte.

4. LFO – “Summer Girls”
PEAK: #3 in 1999

New Kids On The Block had a bunch of hits…” and so did this Boston trio. The Lyte Funkie Ones decided that after a few singles using that name, they should just shorten it to LFO. After a demo tape of this song made it into the hands of the program director at a Washington, D.C. radio station, he knew it was a hit, and he put it on the air in its unmixed form. This move led to airplay around the country and in the heat of the boy band invasion, a physical single sold well enough to lead it into the top 5 on the Hot 100. The group recorded one additional album released in 2001. Lead singer Rich Cronin passed away in 2010.

He Marx the spot.

He Marx the spot.

3. RICHARD MARX – “Endless Summer Nights”
PEAK: #2 in 1988

Released as the third single from Marx’s self-titled debut album, this ballad recalls the protagonist’s memories of a summer love and all the good times they had together. Marx didn’t have to look far for the inspiration for it; the song was written after a trip to Hawaii that he took with his now-wife, former Animotion singer Cynthia Rhodes. However, the male in the song doesn’t end up with the girl when the season ends; he just has those images in his mind of what once was. It was Marx’s biggest hit at that time in his career, peaking at #2 in the spring of 1988, blocked behind Michael Jackson‘s “Man In The Mirror”.

Living for the "City".

Living for the “City”.

2. THE LOVIN’ SPOONFUL – “Summer In The City”
PEAK: #1 in 1966

Out of New York, John Sebastian and his band The Lovin’ Spoonful hit it big with a string of singles beginning in 1965 including “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?”, “Do You Believe In Magic?” and “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice”. However, it was in the summer of 1966 that they scored the biggest of the top-selling tracks, which spent three weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 in August. By 1967, group members began to exit the band, and Sebastian was gone the next year. However, he managed to score another #1 in 1976 as he was welcomed back to the charts with the theme from Welcome Back, Kotter.

Havin' "Fun".

Havin’ “Fun”.

1. SLY & THE FAMILY STONE – “Hot Fun In The Summertime”
PEAK: #2 in 1969

Combining members of the Stone family with several other musicians, Sly & The Family Stone became one of the top R&B acts of the 1960’s with a soulful, funkadelic sound that pleased several audiences. Originally released as a stand-alone single, “Fun” was eventually featured on the group’s Greatest Hits album in 1970. Both the single and album peaked at #2 on their respective charts, with “Fun” also making the top ten on the year-end chart. After “Family Affair” and There’s A Riot Goin’ On rose to the top in 1971, drug abuse and the egos of various band members tore the group apart, eventually splitting by 1975.

Thanks for taking some time and checking out another of the Friday Forty posts and if you have any suggestions for themes or a favorite song on the list, let me know! Post away in the comments or find on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel. Until then, keep cool and enjoy the warm days while they’re here.

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PROFILE: Eleven Past One Own The “Night” With New Single

Set your watches.

Set your watches.

The boys of Eleven Past One are making time for the big time and they certainly aren’t sleeping through any alarm clocks. The five-man band with members from New Brunswick and Ontario originally formed in 2007 and moved to the U.S. in 2009 to record their debut album, The Ultimate Catch, which was released the next year. With little promotional effort, the set ultimately didn’t do well, but it was the first in many steps to getting them where they are today, one of Canada’s hottest new acts. With a sound that combines an electro-pop pulse and a breezy, carefree attitude, the boys are on their way to superstardom in their native country and beyond with a pair of singles that are getting love from both fans and radio programmers.

Consisting of brothers Daniel (vocals) and Stephen (guitar) Richter, along with Kyle Bykiv on guitar, Steve Patenaude on drums and Dan Beattie on bass, the quintet originally hit the airwaves with their debut single, “The World Is Ours”, late last year at the CHR format in Canada. This was issued by a small label out of British Columbia called Tandemtracks, responsible for some other minor chartings in the past few years in the country. It gradually picked up adds in November and December before charting, eventually cracking the top 30 at both the CHR and Hot AC formats in February. With top 20 peaks at two different formats, it was instantly one of the highest-ranking independent singles on the charts, though it quickly fell down and off with no major label cushioning it. It’s still on Canada’s AC survey, but it’s essentially stalled out at that point, and that’ll be the end of its run up north.

That might’ve been the end of it until an opportunity last month, when Warner Music’s division in Canada came knocking on the door. Of course, with an accomplished roster including the Barenaked Ladies, Michael Bublé and Tegan & Sara, how could they pass up the opportunity to sign with them? Thus, it was, and they’re proudly showing off the contract they signed at the label’s headquarters on their Facebook header and Twitter avatar. Now, it’s back to business for the group as they play several live dates in Alberta and Ontario and promote their second single, “Tonight’s The Night”, their first full release with the new team.

While “World” could easily be reduced to a The Wanted sound-alike track as the boys pranced around on the beach in its video clip, “Night” takes them into the Hot Chelle Rae or Maroon 5 realm, a more mature but still enjoyable pop/rock edge with a reggae twist. The video for it, which is now streaming on YouTube, shows the boys in their element on stage, intercut with scenes from a raging party with feathers, a dance-off, and more. I’m sure you’d like to be a part of that. It may not be the most original concept, but it does the trick, and presents them well enough as some talented numbers with a catchy number of theirs. As the followup to a breakthrough single, they likely aren’t a household name up there yet, but with the right promotion, they could definitely be looking at some bigger recognition.

I suppose there’s a little bit of difficulty, at least from my eyes, of whether it’s better to have Eleven Past One established as a boy band or just a band, because it seems like they’re somewhere in limbo between the two classifications. Other Canadian bands to hit the U.S. with similar musical tastes, like Hedley and Simple Plan, have gone either way, and neither are really remembered in the scheme of things today. Perhaps this leaves an opening for the group to shake things up here. The U.S. division of Warner Music is riding high on our pop chart with Jason Derülo‘s “The Other Side”, and while they’re mostly concerned with their rock acts succeeding, maybe investing in a poppier act could do them some good. Any sort of U.S. release for them hasn’t been established yet, but I would certainly like to see it, especially with the kind of songs they’re cooking up.

They’re only just starting out, but Eleven Past One are taking it minute by minute until the world is theirs and they’ll win you over in no time.

Download “The World Is Ours” and “Tonight’s The Night” on iTunes Canada.


Filed under Music News, Single Reviews