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Draw Back Your Bow: Cupid Finds Love On The Charts

Top of the Class.

A very Classy Valentine’s Day.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Time to break out the candy and the flowers. Of course, one of the significant figures of Valentine’s Day is Cupid, the Greek god of affection and desire. With his bow and arrow in hand, he’s ready to strike both lovers in love and lovers of music. You see, the guy hasn’t done half-bad for himself being immortalized in a handful of hit singles. Time to spread out your wings as we take a look at a box full of sweet singles spread out over the decades.

Three separate songs entitled “Cupid” have entered onto various Billboard lists. Arguably the most famous of the “Cupid” songs appeared on the charts for the first time in 1961, when a then 30-year-old Sam Cooke took it to #17, which seems rather low given the song’s legacy. Alas, it happened many times back in the day. A discofied remake by Tony Orlando & Dawn became the group’s last top-40 hit on the Hot 100, spending two weeks at #22 in March 1976. (They continued to hit the adult contemporary chart through the next year before breaking up.) The highest-ranking version of the song came in 1980, when R&B group The Spinners took it to #4 in 1980 in a medley with an original tune, “I’ve Loved You For A Long Time”. The latter part was written by composer and producer Michael Zager, best known for his minor 1978 hit “Let’s All Chant” with his band. It was also the group’s last top-40 hit, though they had some minor success on the R&B chart for several years afterwards.

In 1997, male R&B quartet 112 became a big act on Urban radio, thanks in part to their third single, a totally different “Cupid”, which went to #13 on the Hot 100. They released several albums from the late 90’s through the mid 00’s. Finally, just last year, a third song called “Cupid” made the Billboard charts, the genre-specific Adult Pop Songs survey. This song, done by Canadian singer Daniel Powter, went to #36 over the summer. It missed the Hot 100. Of course, you know him from his #1 hit, 2006’s “Bad Day”. A Christmas remix of “Cupid” did basically nothing for the song and he hasn’t released anything new since.

After a failed single in the fall of 2006, the band struck gold with a rerecorded version of this song, which became a hit in 2007. It was originally recorded two years prior. It featured Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy singing the chorus and sampled Supertramp‘s “Breakfast In America”, released a single to minor success in 1979. With strong sales and big radio play, it went to #4 on the Hot 100 in April and also spent five weeks at #1 on the CHR airplay chart. They pulled off the same track (#4 Hot 100/#1 CHR) with their 2011 single, “Stereo Hearts”, featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5.

The very first of the “Cupid” title to make the Hot 100 was this Connie Francis tune from 1959. It went to #14 in August of that year. The song was co-written by Neil Sedaka, who released his own version the same year (though it didn’t hit the U.S.) and has been recorded several other times since then. Francis had several top ten hits after this single, including the #1 “My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own” in 1960, before last making the top 40 in 1964.

Chances are that you’ve done the dance at some point or at least heard the song. Originally a regional hit in the South, it spread nationwide, and by August 2007, the only charting single for Cupid (born Bryson Bernard) made it to #66 on the Hot 100 and just missed the top 20 on the R&B chart. You may remember that he tried out for The Voice last season singing none other than his only hit. He paid the price for it; none of the judges selected him and he doesn’t anything significant since the appearance.

Here’s wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day! Do you have any favorite songs to celebrate the occasion? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Playlists

SAMPLE THIS: A Match Made In Chart Heaven

Who's crying now?

Who’s crying now?

It’s been a relevant part of our music culture for several decades now: the art of the sample. It makes an artist’s song arrangement sound full while also making the original writer’s bank account look full. Now, I’m not talking about full remakes of a song. Those have largely gone out of fashion (at least on the mainstream surveys) in favor of just taking a part of the original arrangement and sticking it into an entirely new song. Hence, all these sample-heavy songs that have been hogging up the charts for years. Sometimes a new song interpolating an older one will out-peak that sample; at other times, it may be the exact opposite, but what happens when both the sample and the new song constructed with it peak at the exact same position? As you might expect, it rarely happens… but for the first time in 15-and-1/2 years and for the second time ever, it’s occurred in the Hot 100’s top ten.

“I Cry” is the fourth single from Flo Rida‘s 2012 release Wild Ones and several weeks ago, it peaked at #6 on the Hot 100. It’s still at #10 on this week’s survey, but it’s moving down and likely won’t go further than that #6 position. Now, a top ten record with your fourth single is pretty cool; not many artists can achieve that with a first single from an album, but, what makes it even more special is that the song it samples also peaked at #6 on the Hot 100. On the chart dated June 4, 1988, “Piano In The Dark” by Brenda Russell (and featuring Joe Esposito of the vocal group Brooklyn Dreams) hit the same spot before descending the chart. Of course, being the 1980’s, it was out of the top 40 by early July; Flo Rida won’t be out nearly that quick. No word on how either artist feels about the coincidence, but I’m sure they must be intrigued that they’re now a part of an interesting piece of chart trivia.

The only other time this full circle moment has been completed on the Hot 100 was in 1997. It was then that “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy featuring Faith Evans and 112, a tribute record to the Notorious B.I.G. who had died several months earlier, debuted at #1 in June and stayed there for eleven weeks. The song samples the biggest hit ever for The Police, “Every Breath You Take”, which spent eight weeks at #1 in 1983. You may remember that Sting joined their crew for a memorable performance on the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. You think they’ll mind sharing this chart achievement with the Rida/Russell combo? No fighting, kids.

As far as the Hot 100 is concerned, it’s happened one other time outside of the top ten. Last year, Pitbull‘s single from Men In Black III, “Back In Time”, and the song it samples, 1957’s “Love Is Strange” by Mickey & Sylvia, both peaked at #11. (NOTE: You could make a case for “Hippychick” by Soho (1990) and “Southside” by Moby & Gwen Stefani (2001), both #14 singles on the Hot 100, but since the original song sampled by The Smiths, “How Soon Is Now?”, didn’t chart in the States, I’m keeping it out. Plus, I don’t think Moby actually credits either one. It’s blatantly obvious, though. Put a lovely asterisk next to it.)

Since I like to look at the radio charts as well, this particular form of chart action has happened once on the CHR chart tabulated by Radio & Records. In 1988, George Michael hit #1 for four weeks with “Father Figure”. In 1993, P.M. Dawn returned the sample to the top for two weeks with “Looking Through Patient Eyes”. Unfortunately, “Eyes” only hit #6 on the Hot 100. Maybe it was wearing the wrong pair of glasses.

You never know what’s coming next in the world of sampling, so be on the lookout if your favorite song-sampling record comes close to the original’s peak position. It could just end up on this small but mighty list.

For more crazy chart information like you see here, follow the blog and find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel. Let me know if I missed any examples too!

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Music News, Retro