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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