Monthly Archives: August 2013

Wherefore Chart Thou, Romeo? The Star-Crossed Singles

They'll fight for this "Love".

Shakin’ with Shakespeare.

The British band Lawson recently made it up to #6 in the United Kingdom with their single “Brokenhearted”, which features B.O.B. and is included on a forthcoming album. Now, the boys have a second single out, the power pop song that is “Juliet”. It’s out in the U.K. on October 13. Seems that the quartet had a little inspiration from ol’ William Shakespeare; Juliet, a main protagonist in the play Romeo And Juliet, is one of the most memorable characters in written history. So, as you might expect, she’s also been written into a handful of hit songs. Yet, her lover, Romeo, might be just a little bit jealous if she’s getting all the attention from the music makers of the world. So, who wins this single battle of the sweethearts? Drink down this look at the competition on both sides of the pond:

UNITED STATES
In the U.S., there’s been six top 40 hits since the Hot 100’s been around that mention either Romeo himself or the pair together. (Sorry, Juliet!) They come from three different decades, although many of them have become obscure over the years given some of these acts’ diminished careers. Remember any of these?

“Romeo’s Tune”, Steve Forbert (#11, 1980)
“Romeo”, Dino (#6, 1990)

“Tune” was Mississippi-born Forbert’s only top 40 hit; his followup made it to a lowly #85 later in 1980. Dino would continue to chart until 1993, when he scored with a cover of “Ooh Child”.

“(Just Like) Romeo & Juliet”, The Reflections (#6, 1964)
“Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet, Henry Mancini & His Orchestra (#1, 1969)
“Romeo & Juliet”, Stacy Earl featuring The Wild Pair (#27, 1992)
“Romeo And Juliet”, Sylk-E. Fyne featuring Chill (#6, 1998)

The Reflections never had a single as big as their first, but an additional two made the lower region of the Hot 100. Conductor and producer Mancini made the Hot 100 a handful of other times, most notably with a top 20 version of the theme from Love Story in 1971. Earl charted with one more non-top 40 single after this before her charting days were over thanks to a musical shift with more rock and rap. Both Sylk-E. Fyne and Chill remain one-hit wonders and that won’t change anytime soon.

In total, all six songs mention Romeo, while only four mention Juliet. Looks like the guy beats the gal in this race, although it is close.

UNITED KINGDOM
In the U.K., we raise it up to nine songs to officially make the top 40 between 1957 and now on the Official Singles Chart. Interestingly enough, nothing from the U.S. crossed over to the U.K. and vice versa, although some of the same act names pop up again in different incarnations. Hopefully, there weren’t any legal troubles along the way. Let’s see how the English do when it comes to Mr. William’s words:

“You You Romeo”, Shirley Bassey (#29, 1957)
“Romeo”, Petula Clark (#3, 1961)
“Romeo”, Mr. Big (#4, 1977)
“Romeo Me”, Sleeper (#39, 1997)
“Romeo”, Basement Jaxx (#6, 2001)
“Romeo Dunn”, Romeo (#3, 2002)

Bassey was yet to see her biggest success in the U.K. at that point, including two number-one singles in 1959 and 1961, respectively. Clark continued to enjoy pretty consistent success until the end of that decade. Not to be confused with the U.S. band, the U.K. Mr. Big only had other one charting single after their “Romeo” which just dented the top 40. Sleeper‘s single was the last of seven top 40 hits in a row, all charted in the 90’s. Basement Jaxx had a string of moderate charters following their hit and last made the top ten in 2005 with “Oh My Gosh”. The U.K. Romeo had top ten singles in a row, including “Dunn”, before the label he was on filed for bankruptcy.

“Romeo And Juliet”, Dire Straits (#8, 1981)

Though this single never entered the Hot 100, the band would return and in a big way with the #1 “Money For Nothing” from 1985.

“Juliet”, The Four Pennies (#1, 1964)
“Juliet (Keep That In Mind)”, Thea Gilmore (#35, 2003)

The British quartet never made it to the top ten again, although they charted in the top 40 until 1966. They never made it to the Hot 100. Gilmore released a followup that charted at #50, and would never go as high on the charts since then.

Looks like Juliet didn’t fare any better over here. Seven for Romeo, a mere three for Juliet. Well, Lawson will probably bring that number up to four come October. The majority of their songs have gone top ten in that territory, so potentially expect the same with “Juliet”. The ending of the play may be depressing, but the charts don’t have to be… or do they?

What’s your favorite single about our dear Romeo and/or Juliet? Comment below, follow the blog below or click the “Get Social!” page to find PGTC on social media.

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Insane In The Brain: New Music Gone Nuts

The world’s gone madly lately; so have some of the songs that made my top 40 since the beginning of the year. I’ve gone from “Crazy All My Life” by Daniel Powter to “Keep Me Crazy” by Chris Wallace and finally, “I Want Crazy” by Hunter Hayes. That is crazy, at least it’s certainly more “crazy” titles than I can remember in any given chart year. Luckily, if you’re a fan of all the madness, the songs aren’t getting more sane anytime soon. Behold, the latest in silly singles, singers gone screwy and all that is mental in the music industry:

Bad to the bone.

Bad to the bone.

CONOR MAYNARD – “R U Crazy?”
Release Date: October 6 (U.K.)

Here’s the young singer who many liken as the British equivalent of Justin Bieber, but Conor Maynard has proven that he has a musical identity of his own, and one that many people like. His debut album, Animal, debuted at #1 in his native U.K. and was certified Silver. Though a push in the U.S. was attempted late last year and earlier this year, things didn’t really pan out as the label wanted, and he never got his due justice on the charts. However, last time around, Maynard peaked at #6 in the United Kingdom with the title track in a new version featuring British rapper Wiley. It was his fourth consecutive top ten single in a row there. Now, he looks to extend that streak to five with his newest single, “R U Crazy?” It leads off his second album, due this fall. He promised a new sound on this record and he’s definitely achieved it with this single, which begins as a more traditional swing number before transitioning into a hard-hitting urban beat. (The video version I’m describing his a slightly different feel than the radio version, but both are online.) It appears that Maynard wants to be a bad boy of pop now given a darker shift in image and music. I mean, where did “I ain’t your mister/’Cause I’m breakin’ up with ya/Shoulda hooked up with your sister/Go now, here’s my middle finger” come from? Complete 180 right there. However, it works for him. It’s a hit, and should the time come to try the U.S. once again, I think pop radio would embrace it fully.

A dire case of Squier.

A dire case of Squier.

EMINEM – “Berzerk”
Release Date: out now, September 8 (U.K.)

Guess who’s back? Yes, it’s the dude from Detroit who keeps turning out new music that brings the hype. His next album, a sequel to his Marshall Mathers LP, is due November 5 in the heart of Q4. Produced by the legendary Rick Rubin, the rapper’s latest track takes us back to the 1980’s and Def Jam Records, an homage of sorts to the unpolished, raw nature of some of the recordings from that era. It might be a little messy on first listen given the more street feel of it, but it’s for sure a grower and you’ll want to listen again and again. What works so best about it is the sampling in it: you can hear a small vocal sample of “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” by the Beastie Boys in the first verse (and a few variations of it) but taking prominence in the arrangement is 1981’s “The Stroke” by Billy Squier, which was a top 20 hit on the Hot 100. Primiarly a rock musicians, he did very well for himself for a while on that survey and on the national scene, but since he began, the hip-hop community has taken even more of a liking to Squier’s work. Think of how many acts over the years took a sample of the drum break in his song “The Big Beat”, including Jay-Z on 2004’s “99 Problems” and Alicia Keys on her hit of last year, “Girl On Fire”. You may hear Squier’s material all over the classic hits airwaves nowadays, but this one will certainly bring him back on the pop scene. It’s a cool idea that sounds fresh even though it’s rooted in the decades past.

Feeling wacky about either Conor Maynard or Eminem‘s new songs? Comment below, follow the blog below or click the “Get Social!” page to find PGTC on social media.

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Monkeying Around: Pop Goes The Primates

The Ape of things.

The Ape of things.

You saw him perform it a few nights ago on MTV’s Video Music Awards and now, Bruno Mars is unleashing “Gorilla” as the fourth single from his former #1 album, Unorthodox Jukebox. Now that “Treasure” is falling down the charts, will Mars be able to rack up a fourth top 5 hit from his album? We’ll just have to wait and see. However, while we all prepare for “Gorilla” to take over the airwaves, here are some of the other characters who swung from vine to vine in order to find the treetop of top 40 hits from 1958 onward:

“The Monkey Time”, Major Lance (#8, 1963)
Mississippi-born Lance became one of the most successful acts for Okeh Records, signed to the label in 1962 after being recommended by another highly regarded singer of R&B music, Curtis Mayfield. “Time” was his first single to chart and was an instant hit, going to #8 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart. He would become best known for “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um” (#5, Hot 100), which peaked the next year.

“Mickey’s Monkey”, The Miracles (#8, 1963)
Tamla Records put Smokey Robinson and his band on the map with a series of singles that went high on the Hot 100 and even higher on the R&B charts. This song was their third top ten on Billboard’s national chart and it also went to #3 on the R&B listing. Of course, with many bigger hits to come like “I Second That Emotion” (1967) and the #1 “The Tears Of A Clown” (1970), they entertained audiences for some time.

“Harry The Hairy Ape”, Ray Stevens (#17, 1963)
Comedian and country singer Stevens has been recording music for over five decades and he’s still not run out of punch lines. His first top ten single in 1962 was “Ahab The Arab” (#5). This came the next year, and actually became a bigger hit on the R&B chart (#14) than on the pop chart (#17). Strange indeed, but he can be pretty strange sometimes. His latest release, “Guilt For Christmas”, came out earlier this year.

“One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show (Part 1)”, The Honey Cone (#15, 1972)
The R&B trio out of Los Angeles made their debut in 1969 with a handful of songs that bombed on the national survey, but in 1971, they rose to #1 with the song “Want Ads”. “One” was the third in their string of top 40 hits on the Hot 100, having previously flopped for Joe Tex in 1965. After recording one more album which received little attention, the group split in 1973, though they’ll be reuniting in 2014 for a cruise.

“Shock The Monkey”, Peter Gabriel (#28, 1983)
After splitting with Genesis and making a name for himself on the album chart in the U.S., the only thing Gabriel was missing was a hit single. His first of a handful of charting successes was “Shock”, which reached the top 40 in late 1982 and peaked in early 1983. Though it wasn’t the biggest of his releases, it would open the door for him and allowed “Sledgehammer” and “Big Time” from So to go top 5 nationally.

“Monkey”, George Michael (#1, 1988)
Why did he have to share his baby with a “Monkey”? That was question on everyone’s minds during the summer of 1988 when this energetic single was released. Following three consecutive number-one singles from Faith (the title track, “Father Figure” and “One More Try”), this also topped the Hot 100 for two weeks, as well as the Hot Dance/Club Play survey for two weeks. It wasn’t as successful internationally.

You may be wondering specifically about the gorilla itself when it comes to the record charts; after all, it is a larger species of the monkey family. While there have been a few singles released about the great monster King Kong, a gorilla, none were strong enough to make the top 40. That list includes “King Kong (Part 1)” by Jimmy Castor (#69, 1975), “Kong” by Dickie Goodman (#48, 1977), “Theme From King Kong (Part 1)” by the Love Unlimited Orchestra (#68, 1977) and “King Kong” by Jibbs featuring Chamillionaire (#54, 2006). It’s also worth mentioning that there was one minor single that mentioned the word “gorilla” by name, recorded by a now popular disc jockey of several syndicated shows. That would be Rick Dees and His Cast Of Idiots, who went to #56 in 1977 with “Dis-Gorilla (Part 1)”, the followup single to the #1 “Disco Duck”. Seems that not every animal was down with getting down back then.

For more musical monkeys and chart trivia that can’t be caged, follow the blog below or click the “Get Social!” page to find PGTC on social media.

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (August 27)

The "King" takes its throne.

The “King” takes its throne.

Turn up the guitar or just get turnt up! These are all the new releases you need to know about for the week of August 27:

  • They made it to #1 last time around with Nightmare in 2010, so can rockers Avenged Sevenfold do it again? Their latest is Hail To The King and the title track is currently #1 at both Active and Mainstream Rock radio. If it’s not at the top, then it’ll definitely be somewhere in the top 3. (iTunes)
  • Big Sean made a Big Splash in 2011 with his debut album called Finally Famous. Now, he’s in the Hall Of Fame, which features the current Urban radio hit “Beware”, featuring Jhene Aiko and Lil Wayne. (iTunes)
  • “Bandz A Make Her Dance” and apparently also make her buy Juicy J‘s album. His Stay Trippy (what a title) release is out this week and could pick up some rather juicy sales. (iTunes)
  • Following the release of her recent #1 in the U.K., “Burn”, Ellie Goulding is firing up this New Release Tuesday with Halcyon Days, a deluxe edition of her 2012 album Halcyon.  (iTunes)
  • Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand are back with their first album in four years, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. “Right Action” is the first single from it, which is currently a minor hit on Alternative radio. (iTunes)
  • They’ve been performing together since the 90’s; now, they’re at it again. Jars Of Clay open the jar once more to reveal Inland, their newest full-length release. (iTunes)
  • Atlanta’s Goodie Mob, led by Cee Lo Green, returns with their first album of original material in 9 years, Age Against The Machine. (iTunes)
  • Former American Idol contestant Mandisa releases her fifth regular studio album this week, Overcomer. The gospel release is led by the title track, which is a top 5 hit on the Christian charts. (iTunes)
  • Canadian singer-songwriter Serena Ryder brings her Harmony to the U.S., featuring the single “Stompa” and a followup, “What I Wouldn’t Do”. Both have been hits in her native Canada. (iTunes)
  • Other albums out this week include Alabama‘s Alabama & Friends (iTunes), The Life Acoustic by Everlast (iTunes), Little River Band‘s Cuts Like A Diamond (iTunes), Famous by Marques Houston (iTunes) and a Various Artists compilation, Now! That’s What I Call Next (iTunes). There’s also a Target-exclusive release of Emeli Sandé‘s Live At The Royal Albert Hall available this week.

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

  • “Beneath Your Beautiful (EP)”, a new multi-track release featuring the hit by Labrinth and featuring Emeli Sandé. This features a few remixes of the track as well. (iTunes)
  • “Berzerk”, the crazy new single from Eminem‘s forthcoming studio album due in November. (iTunes)
  • “Best Day Of My Life”, by recent PGTC Profile act American Authors. Their self-titled EP makes its debut this week. (iTunes)
  • “Everything To Me”, from former Westlife member and now soloist Shane Filan. (iTunes)
  • “Marry Me”, a new release from pop and R&B singer Jason Derulo dedicated to his love, Jordin Sparks. (iTunes)
  • “Rock N Roll”, the latest single from pop punk princess Avril Lavigne. (iTunes)

Ariana Grande is hoping her first album, Yours Truly, brings out the teens to stores next week, but she faces some fierce competition from Nine Inch Nails and Tamar Braxton. Who will debut at the top? Stay tuned for our next update!

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Jason Derülo – “Marry Me” (+ Lyrics)

Engaged and ready to smash.

Engaged and ready to smash.

Debuting on On Air With Ryan Seacrest this morning, Jason Derülo‘s followup to “The Other Side” in the U.S. is “Marry Me”, showing a little bit of his softer side. It’s unclear why his recent #1 single in Australia, “Talk Dirty” (featuring 2 Chainz), won’t be his official second single here, but all three songs will appear on his forthcoming album, Tattoos. For now, before the song official premieres, you can listen to a clip of it via Derülo’s Instagram account.

Listen to the premiere of “Marry Me” via KIIS-FM in Los Angeles.

“MARRY ME”

(If there are any corrections, let me know below. Thanks!)

[Verse 1]
105 is the number that comes to my head
When I think of all the years I wanna be with you
Wake up every morning with you in my bed
That’s precisely what I plan to do

[Bridge]
And you know one of these days when I get my money right
Buy you everything and show you all the finer things in life
Will forever be enough, so there ain’t no need to rush
But one day, I won’t be able to ask you loud enough

[Chorus]
I’ll say will you marry me
I swear that I will mean it
I’ll say will you marry me

[Verse 2]
How many girls in the world can make me feel like this?
Baby I don’t ever plan to find out
The more I look, the more I find the reasons why
You’re the love of my life

[Bridge]
You know one of these days when I get my money right
Buy you everything and show you all the finer things in life
Will forever be enough, so there ain’t no need to rush
But one day, I won’t be able to ask you loud enough

[Chorus]
I’ll say will you marry me
I swear that I will mean it
I’ll say will you marry me

[Middle 8]
And if I lost everything
In my heart it means nothing
‘Cause I have you, girl I have you
So get right down on bended knee
Nothing else would ever be
Better, better
The day when I say

[Chorus x2]
I’ll say will you marry me
I swear that I will mean it
I’ll say will you marry me

Ooh whoa ooh oh (x3)

[End – repeat Verse 1]
105 is the number that comes to my head
When I think of all the years I wanna be with you
Wake up every morning with you in my bed
That’s precisely what I plan to do

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SINGLE PREMIERE: Miley Cyrus – “Wrecking Ball” (+ Lyrics)

We're seeing her again.

We’re seeing her again.

“Wrecking Ball” serves as the second single from Cyrus’s forthcoming album, Bangerz. It’s a much different side to Cyrus than her current hit, “We Can’t Stop”, which sees her serving up a more urban image. This ballad incorporates hints of 80’s electronic music as well as a more modern pop edge.

Listen to the premiere of “Wrecking Ball”. / Purchase “Wrecking Ball” on iTunes.

“WRECKING BALL”

[Verse 1]
We clawed, we chained, our hearts in vain
We jumped, never asking why
We kissed, I fell under your spell
A love no one could deny

[Bridge]
Don’t you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you
I can’t live a lie, running for my life
I will always want you

[Chorus]
I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you wreck me

[Verse 2]
I put you high up in the sky
And now, you’re not coming down
It slowly turned, you let me burn
And now, we’re ashes on the ground

[Bridge]
Don’t you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you
I can’t live a lie, running for my life
I will always want you

[Chorus – Extended]
I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me
I came in like a wrecking ball
Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung
Left me crouching in a blazing fall
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you wreck me

[Middle 8]
I never meant to start a war
I just wanted you to let me in
And instead of using force
I guess I should’ve let you in
I never meant to start a war
I just wanted you to let me in
I guess I should’ve let you in

[Bridge – Half]
Don’t you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you

[Chorus – Extended]
I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me
I came in like a wrecking ball
Yeah, I just closed my eyes and swung
Left me crouching in a blazing fall
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you wreck me

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Highlights from Adam’s Top 40: August 25, 2013

History in the making.

Not quite “tumbling down”… yet.

DEBUTS
40. American Authors – Best Day Of My Life
39. James Blunt – Bonfire Heart
38. Emeli Sandé – My Kind Of Love | HIGHEST DEBUT

TOP GAINERS
33. Sheppard – Hold My Tongue (39)
18. Katy Perry – Roar (25) | BIGGEST MOVER — two weeks
6. The 1975 – Chocolate (11)

THIS WEEK’S TOP TEN
10. Mayer Hawthorne – Her Favorite Song (07) | PEAK: #02
09. Grouplove – Ways To Go (10) | PEAK: #09
08. Train featuring Ashley Monroe – Bruises (06) | PEAK: #06
07. Family Of The Year – St. Croix (09) | PEAK: #07
06. The 1975 – Chocolate (11) | PEAK: #06
05. Five For Fighting – What If (03) | PEAK: #03
04. Passenger – Let Her Go (04) | PEAK: #01 for twelve weeks
03. Pink featuring Lily Rose Cooper – True Love (01) | PEAK: #01 for three weeks
02. Passenger – Holes (05) | PEAK: #02
01. Bastille – Pompeii (02) | PEAK: #01 for one week

Top 10 Next In Line:
1. Phillip Phillips – Where We Came From (1)
2. Hunter Hayes – I Want Crazy (-)
3. Kings Of Leon – Supersoaker (6)
4. Walk Off The Earth – Gang Of Rhythm (-)
5. Pet Shop Boys – Love Is A Bourgeois Construct (10)
6. Ed Sheeran – You Need Me, I Don’t Need You (7)
7. Olly Murs – Right Place Right Time (9)
8. MKTO – Classic (5)
9. Capital Cities – Kangaroo Court (4)
10. Cold War Kids – Miracle Mile (-)

In The Mix:
Atlas Genius – If So
Avril Lavigne – Rock N Roll
Backstreet Boys – In A World Like This
Bruno Mars – Gorilla
Daft Punk featuring Panda Bear – Doin’ It Right (new)
Earth, Wind & Fire – My Promise
Ellie Goulding – Burn
Fitz & The Tantrums – 6AM
Goo Goo Dolls – Come To Me
Hey Ocean! – Big Blue Wave
John Mayer featuring Katy Perry – Who You Love (new)
John Newman – Cheating (new)
Kaskade – Atmosphere
Lawson – Juliet (new)
Marie Miller – You’re Not Alone (new)
Michael Bublé featuring Bryan Adams – After All
R5 – Pass Me By
Serena Ryder – What I Wouldn’t Do

Chart Notes:

  • We have a new #1! Bastille, the quartet out of London, take their very first hit up to the top. “Pompeii” comes from their debut album Bad Blood, which is out in the U.S. on September 3. They are also the second act during this year to score a #1 song with their first charting single. Speaking of which…
  • If you’re not in the loop about why Passenger is re-bulleted with his former #1, “Let Her Go”, perhaps this post of mine from Thursday will help. He also leaps from 5-2 with “Holes”, which is now one spot away from becoming his second #1 in a row. Once again, it was great to meet and chat with him. I think you’ll find that the Brighton-born singer won’t be vacating the top 5 for some time and that’s just fine.
  • Biggest Mover honors for the second week in a row belong to Katy Perry, up this week from 25-18 with “Roar”. In a twist this week, it’s placed next to “Brave” by Sara Bareilles, which falls from 14-17. Just thought that it needed a mention, not that you need to hear it any more. Thanks, Internet.
  • A year to the chart week that her last single, “Next To Me”, fell off after a #8 peak, Emeli Sandé finally manages to break the top 40 with her next U.S. release. “My Kind Of Love” is this week’s Highest Debut at #38. One spot below her is the musician whose last single, the #16 “I’ll Be Your Man”, fell off two years ago this week. James Blunt is back, beating again at #39 with “Bonfire Heart”. It’s from his forthcoming album titled Moon Landing.
  • Last, but not least, is the debut of a new band. The four-piece American Authors are originally from Boston and are now based out of Brooklyn, NY. “Best Day Of My Life” debuts at #40. Their self-titled EP is out on Tuesday.

See my full chart on the M4BCC message board.

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TOP TEN: All Synced Up

It's gonna be them.

It’s gonna be them.

They were one of the biggest boy bands of the late 90’s and early 00’s, selling millions of records and playing to sold out dates around the world. They had t-shirts, bedspreads, lunch boxes… all the merchandise under the sun. They also managed to be pitted against the Backstreet Boys in the biggest boy band rivalry of all-time. Then, in 2002, the boys took a hiatus, with Justin Timberlake and J.C. Chasez pursuing solo efforts, and although there’s always been speculation that *NSYNC will reunite, there hasn’t been a rumor as loud as the one recently that the band will be back together and performing at the MTV Video Music Awards this Sunday. Cue the screaming girls! Before they (potentially but probably) hit the stage, let’s do a rundown of my favorite songs from the band, both singles and album tracks:

10. “MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS”
Home For Christmas / 1998

While you were waiting for Santa Claus to sneak the presents under the tree, this original song from their holiday-themed album was a favorite both on MTV’s Total Request Live and on all-holiday music radio stations.

09. “I WANT YOU BACK”
*NSYNC / 1998

Ah, yes, the one the started it off for the boys here in the States. The cool pop track, co-written by Max Martin, caught on very quickly at radio, going to #5 on the pop airwaves, while cruising up to #13 on the Hot 100.

08. “MUSIC OF MY HEART” (with Gloria Estefan)
Original Soundtrack to Music Of The Heart / 1999

This is the band’s only collaboration on the list, a duet with Estefan. She also starred in the film with Angela Bassett and Meryl Streep. Due to strong physical sales, “Heart” went to #2 on the Hot 100 in the fall of 1999.

07. “HERE WE GO”
*NSYNC / 1998

Although never released as a single in the U.S., “Go” was a top ten success in Austria and Germany and went to #5 on the Swiss Singles Chart. It was also promoted in conjunction with the 1998 Disney film A Bug’s Life.

06. “I DRIVE MYSELF CRAZY”
*NSYNC / 1999

Originally titled “Thinking Of You”, this was the fourth U.S. single from *NSYNC. Unfortunately, they “made a mistake” releasing two ballads in a row; “Crazy” topped out at #12 on CHR radio and #67 on the Hot 100.

05. “TELL ME, TELL ME… BABY”
Celebrity / 2001

This is the highest non-single on the list, although one of the local stations sold it as the “second single” from Celebrity before it was officially announced as “Gone”. It’s as glossy as they come, fusing pop with dance.

04. “IT’S GONNA BE ME”
No Strings Attached / 2000

I’m sure you remember the video where they appeared as toy dolls, or at least for the “It’s gonna be May” meme that goes around every year. “Gonna” spent six weeks at #1 at CHR radio and also topped the Hot 100.

03. “TEARIN’ UP MY HEART”
*NSYNC / 1998

This was the first song I ever heard of theirs, mainly from seeing the video so much on the now defunct Fox Family Countdown. It’s a classic pop record. It tore up the radio charts too, going to #5 in the fall of 1998.

02. “POP”
Celebrity / 2001

This one came in with a bang and crashed just as quickly, which was too bad because it’s just an excellent song. Plus, member Lance Bass named his SiriusXM show after it, Dirty Pop. This landed at #5 on CHR radio.

01. “BYE BYE BYE”
No Strings Attached / 2000

Call it the “Holy Grail” of *NSYNC singles (I see what you did there, Adam) but it was ultimately the song that built the hype up that lead No Strings Attached to a debut week of over 2.4 million copies sold in the U.S. alone. I certainly couldn’t wait for it, and for a time, I knew most of the moves in the music video. I’ll have to brush off my steps and see how I can do. “Bye” went to #1 for ten weeks at CHR and top ten on the Hot 100.

For more on *NSYNC and everything ‘n the pop atmosphere, follow the blog below or hit the “Get Social!” tab to find out how you can connect with PGTC on social media. Also, don’t forget to watch the MTV Video Music Awards this Sunday at 9PM Eastern to see if the rumors are true!

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CONCERT: Passenger (Acoustic), 8/21/13 – Worcester, MA

Ready, set, "Go".

Ready, set, “Go”.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… okay, make that March and it was right here at my computer. March 21, in fact. It was then that I started writing a post about a performer named Passenger who I had heard a little about, especially because he was doing so well in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe. I also really liked his song. So, I wrote for a little bit and finished it and this piece went up just after Midnight on March 22. I didn’t think much after that because I was off to bed and hoping for maybe a few hits on it by the time I woke up.

Around 11:30 the next morning, I noticed two things that were peculiar. Firstly, my link had been tweeted out by someone named Terry McBride and this was awesome in itself even though I wasn’t sure who he was. Then, I found that pulsing orange “You’ve got a new comment” button going off with a response from somebody named Bob Divney, asking if he could use my post in an advertisement. I was confused, but a few Google searches later, it was clear that he was part of The Artist Cooperative, a small agency used for radio promotion and marketing that worked with Nettwerk Records, Passenger‘s label, which McBride is the CEO of, and that’s when a like turned into a love, which turned into some freebies from TAC, which turned into a job interview with Nettwerk Records, which turned into a #1 song on my chart for 12 weeks and now a top 5 followup single. That’s just the short version – I’m not sure you want the long one.

The point of all this is that “Will Passenger “Go” On To The U.S.?” can now be answered with a definitive “yes” – he’s sitting in the top 20 on Hot AC radio and in the top 30 of iTunes and there’s still room for much growth at digital retailers and on AAA and CHR radio. I’d like to think that maybe my article helped out when it was sent on a promotional email, even if it was in the smallest way; it was something that hopefully made up somebody’s mind about adding the song or not. Now, five months to the day that I started with that idea, I finally got the chance to see him perform live at the radio station I work at, and trust me, I was on cloud nine.

After setting up at my weekly event at a dive bar (but not in a West End town), I was back at the station smelling like I just came from the beach. Gross. After a quick wash-up, I found myself in a conversation with Andrew Govatsos, another Cooperative member, and I casually slipped in the whole blog post, which he seemed impressed with. Who wouldn’t? I think I said something to effect of “I’m so thrilled this is all happening,” to which he responded, “You wanna meet him? He’s in there.” All I could say was, “Oh my god, yeah!” There he was, red plaid shirt and blue jean shorts, sitting in one of our studios and extending his hand with a “Hi, I’m Mike, what’s your name?” and I was literally struggling for words. I was so not prepared for this moment. I managed a “So great to meet you! How was the gig in Boston?” to which he replied positively, then we took the picture you see above, and I was out of there for fear that I was bothering him. Also, there might have been an overdramatic faint on the music director’s office floor. Luckily, it wasn’t real but someone was star struck.

Fast forward through the in-between time of waiting for people to show up and getting them settled upstairs. Let’s begin the show! Like most acoustic loft performances, this was a shortened set and started off with “Patient Love”, an album track from All The Little Lights, which saw him plugging away his guitar and sounding just like the record. Then, he said, “this is a new song, tell me what you think,” before going into the line “Like the legend of the Phoenix”, which clicked with me automatically. It’s “Get Lucky”, the Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams song. He sure is clever, kids. This is coming from the same guy who was involved in a medley of “No Diggity” and “Thrift Shop” with Ed Sheeran, so he has some tricks up his sleeve. Good ones too. This seamlessly blended into “Let Her Go”, which was the cue for everyone to take out their cameras because once the hit comes on, you know the flashes come a-rolling. However, it was a passionate performance that everyone quite enjoyed. Lastly came a new song, “Scare Away The Dark”, which saw Passenger in name-check mode, from “hashtags and Twitter” and PSY‘s “Gangnam Style”, this while encouraging that “if we all light up, we can scare away the dark.” This was largely sung away from a microphone, and boy, he can belt and fill up a room. I was majorly impressed. He puts on an awesome show.

The guy’s a sweetheart and seems really humbled by what’s happened thus far with his career. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience in meeting him. He’s a superb performer and an even better person to talk to – he’s just a regular guy, but you don’t know that until someone is humanized for you before your very eyes. Also, I just want to say that as he was signing posters away, I mentioned that he couldn’t just drop “Gangnam Style” in a song without making his next medley a mix of PSY and Los Del Rio‘s “Macarena”, to which he said, “Whoa! That’s a great idea!” I don’t think I was alive at that point, but if that’s going to be my new claim to fame, I will take it. “He inspired a mash-up of the two most annoying songs ever!” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I did. Potentially. Ultimately, the show was over and everyone went their separate ways – he and his crew to New York City, me down to pack up a sound system in Small Town, Massachusetts and thinking about how my chart was going to look this weekend given what just happened, while not fully comprehending everything at the same time. It was the highest point for me this summer by far.

Call me bizarre, judge me, tease me, etc. for fangirling for the growing list of British singer-songwriters that I enjoy rather than a Britney Spears or Lady Gaga type, but that’s just me being different and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Somebody’s got to be there for them. In a world full of cries of “one-hit wonder”, I’d probably be the first to argue that “Holes” or “Things That Stop You Dreaming” (which I would like to be the followup to “Holes”) could make an impact. It’s all part of the job. I’m genuinely excited about what’s to come for Passenger and Nettwerk Records, even if I wasn’t picked to work there — it was the consideration and the validation that counted, that maybe something could work out regardless of what employer it was. Most of all, I’m just thankful that a new favorite of mine is doing so well and can be appreciated by so many people. I’m not the first fan he ever saw or the last, and someone can probably outdo me in making posters and fan videos, but for one guy in Worcester, MA who wants to help the music industry and move onto greater places, this is a night I’m going to treasure, a thing that won’t stop me dreaming — at least for the time being.

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Crown Of The Frowns: Pulling Off An Upset On The Charts

An expression of depression.

An expression of depression.

It might be a downer, but it’s rising up the chart for singer Lana Del Rey, who appears to finally be accepted by a mainstream audience in the United States. A Cedric Gervais remix has fueled the sudden hit status of “Summertime Sadness”, which is currently up to #16 on the Hot 100 as of last week. It could very well go top ten because it continues to make significant gains on both the airplay and sales chart. Should it achieve that, it would be only the seventh song in the history of the chart to reach that portion with a depressing ditty, at least in its title, sadly. In fact, all of those prior singles have gone top 7, so the lucky seventh one has to go to top, right? Maybe. We’ll have to wait and see. Grab onto these big hits and maybe a box of tissues as well:

“So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)”, The Everly Brothers (#7, 1960)
Don and Phil Everly were all over the place as the rock era began, cranking out material that charted on the adult contemporary, R&B and pop national surveys. In the middle of the terrific twosome’s hit streak in the 50’s and 60’s came this single, and while it’s not one of their most remembered, it did spend a few weeks in the top ten with a peak of #7. The b-side to it, “Lucille”, also cracked the top 40, going as high as #21.

“Sad Movies (Make Me Cry)”, Sue Thompson (#5, 1961)
Missouri-born Eva McKee first made a name for herself as Thompson in 1961 with this debut single, which went to #5 on the Hot 100. It was written by John D. Loudermilk, who was also behind the hits “Indian Reservation”, “Tobacco Road” and Thompson’s followup to “Movies”, the #3 “Norman”. After the pop charts ignored her efforts by the middle of the decade, she returned to Country music to some minor success.

“Sad Eyes”, Robert John (#1, 1979)
John first made the Hot 100 as 12-year-old Bobby Pedrick, Jr. in 1958 with a minor single, which was followed by a few more under a change of name in 1968. After garnering his first big hit with a cover of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” in 1972, which went to #3, he fell off the radar. This unexpected comeback song climbed the charts slowly, going top 40 in June and to #1 in October, rare for the time. He last charted in 1983.

“Sad Songs (Say So Much)”, Elton John (#5, 1984)
Now, from one John to another. The English star created some pretty sad songs in his career, but this was his only single release to contain the actual world. “Songs” was the first release from his 1984 album Breaking Hearts and it went to #5 on the Hot 100, his first leadoff single to make the top 5 in four years. It also managed high peaks in Austria, Canada, and Switzerland. A music video for it was filmed in Australia.

“There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)”, Billy Ocean (#1, 1986)
It was in 1984 that Ocean first saw the top of the charts with “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)”, his first top 40 single in eight years. Two years after that massive song, he went back to the #1 spot with this big ballad. After a single frame at the top, it was knocked out by Simply Red‘s “Holding Back The Years”. Ocean would go to #1 for a third and final time in 1988 with “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car”.

“Another Sad Love Song”, Toni Braxton (#7, 1993)
She’s one of the stars of Braxton Family Values and her music career took off in a big way in the 90’s. “Love” was the first single from Braxton’s self-titled debut album in 1993. The single went top ten and the album went to #1 for two weeks in 1994. Braxton is currently promoting a duets project with Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, who featured Braxton on his 1992 hit, “Give U My Heart”, becoming her first top 40 single.

For more chart trivia that puts emotions in motion, turn that frown upside down and follow the blog below or click the “Get Social!” page to find PGTC on social media.

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