Tag Archives: ABBA

Break The S-P-E-L-L: The Better The Letters

They've put a S.P.E.L.L. on you.

They’ve put a S.P.E.L.L. on you.

Last week, pop star Lady Gaga treated her fans to an ARTPOP film centered around the third release from her latest effort, “G.U.Y”, an acronym for “girl under you.” The clip has accumulated over 25 million views on YouTube thus far and is currently into the top 50 at CHR radio, meaning that it will likely make the Hot 100 in some capacity very soon. Considering the mixed reaction to this era in general, it could be the song to put it back on track.

This single from the performer features a title that is fully spelled out and vocally spelled out during the composition, which seems to be a rarity on the charts today. From the decades of archives, we find some cases where a song title is only partially spelled out, and others where it may not be fully sung the way it’s officially printed. Yes, it’s a little bit technical, but that’s the way these P-O-S-T-S work sometimes. In honor of the newest entry to the club, here are nine other top 40 hits with different titles from years past that I like, all spelled out for Y.O.U.:

“A-B-C”, The Jackson 5 (#1, 1970)
The quintet out of Gary, IN took the world by storm beginning in 1969 with four consecutive #1 single, with this being the second of them. It was fully written and produced, as many of their early hits were, by Motown’s The Corporation.

“W.O.L.D.”, Harry Chapin (#36, 1974)
Life as a traveling radio disc jockey takes its toll on you, and so, Chapin wrote this ode inspired by longtime Boston DJ Jim Connors of station WMEX. Connors helped break the performer’s first big song, “Taxi”, during the spring of 1972.

“L-O-V-E”, Al Green (#13, 1975)
Green put out some absolute classics in the 1970’s, and although wasn’t one of his biggest on the Hot 100, it was one of his last #1’s on the Soul chart. After several years of declining sales, he turned to gospel music and became a reverend.

“S.O.S.”, ABBA (#15, 1975)
The former Eurovision winners turned Swedish superstars made some of the best music of the decade, like this catchy tune. It remains the only entry ever on the Billboard Hot 100 to feature both an act and song title that are palindromes.

“T-R-O-U-B-L-E”, Elvis Presley (#35, 1976)
Recorded on his 1975 album, Today, one of the King’s final top 40 songs was written by Jerry Chesnut, who was hot on the Country charts at the time. It later became a minor Country hit in 1993 for Travis Tritt, but missed the Hot 100.

“Y.M.C.A.”, The Village People (#2, 1979)
If there’s any song that will make you boogie down (and maybe spell out the title with your arms up in the air), then this would be good. It was the signature hit for these costumed singers – now, it’s a Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Wedding standard.

“C-I-T-Y”, John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band (#18, 1985)
The 1983 movie Eddie And The Cruisers made them stars and after living “on the dark side”, Scotti Bros. landed them a few other top 40 singles, including this, their final trek into the region. The Rhode Island sextet is still together today.

“P.A.S.S.I.O.N.”, Rythm Syndicate (#2, 1991)
The debut hit from this Connecticut sextet was huge on the pop charts, spending two weeks at #2 behind “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”, the huge ballad by Bryan Adams. They charted four singles through 1992 before disbanding.

“U-N-I-T-Y”, Queen Latifah (#23, 1994)
Before she hosted her own daytime television show or even married couples at the GRAMMY Awards, the Queen took her rapping flow onto the charts during the 1990’s. This was her biggest hit, which also peaked at #2 on the Rap chart.

For the word on W-O-R-D-S and everything musical in-between, don’t forget to click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.

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TOP TEN: Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A List After Midnight)

Thank you for the music.

Thank you for the music.

You know them, you love them; they’re ABBA, the Swedish quartet originally from Stockholm. Though they haven’t performed together in over 30 years, the internet is abuzz over an interview singer Agnetha Fältskog gave to German magazine Welt am Sonntag, in which she said that the band is considering a reunion next year to mark the 40th anniversary of their win at the Eurovision Song Contest with “Waterloo”. Wouldn’t that be something? Everyone seems to be excited, so how about another top ten list to celebrate? These are my top ten singles from the band to chart in America:

10. “WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE” [from The Visitors]
Year: 1982 / Peak: #27

We begin with the group’s last ever top 40 single, a minor hit with the lead done by Anni-Frid Lyngstad. It was written and recorded during a period when she and husband, band member Benny Andersson, were divorcing.

09. “MAMMA MIA” [from ABBA]
Year: 1976 / Peak: #32

It topped charts around the globe and even became the name of a musical turned movie that incorporated the band’s music. Despite being so well-known, the song barely scratched the top 40 during its U.S. run as a single.

08. “MONEY MONEY MONEY” [from Arrival]
Year: 1977 / Peak: #56

“It’s a rich man’s world.” So says the fierce foursome on this single which smashed all across Europe, but didn’t light up any cash registers here in the States. A promotional clip for the song is inspired by the 1972 movie Cabaret.

07. “S.O.S.” [from ABBA]
Year: 1975 / Peak: #15

Agnetha Fältskog takes the led on this one, which I still hear occasionally on Classic Hits stations. This release holds the distinction of being the only charting Hot 100 single in which both the artist and single are palindromes.

06. “THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL” [from Super Trouper]
Year: 1981 / Peak: #8

It was a big ballad that led off their 1980 album and one that resonated with many, becoming their last U.S. top ten hit. The band’s never performed the song in concert; understandably, it would be a very emotional experience.

05. “WATERLOO” [from Waterloo]
Year: 1974 / Peak: #6

In most of the world, including in the United States, this was the song that started it all for them. Winner of the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest and a 5 million seller worldwide, it’s a classic and a little bit of a history lesson.

04. “DOES YOUR MOTHER KNOW?” [from Voulez-Vous]
Year: 1979 / Peak: #19

This disco meets rock release is the only song on here with a lead vocal by one of the males in the group, Björn Ulvaeus. It was their last top 20 hit of the decade, though “Chiquitita” would make the top 40 by the end of the year.

03. “DANCING QUEEN” [from Arrival]
Year: 1977 / Peak: #1 for one week

Don’t you just want to get out on the floor and boogie? As the band’s signature song, it ruled the airwaves and the clubs in 1977, becoming their only #1 on the Hot 100. A cover by the A*Teens made my personal chart in 2000.

02. “SUPER TROUPER” [from Super Trouper]
Year: 1981 / Peak: #45

Named after a type of spotlight, this song from the group features a music video with a massive circus troupe, also depicted on the album cover. Though it missed the top 40 in the U.S., it managed top ten placement across Europe.

01. “TAKE A CHANCE ON ME” [from ABBA: The Album]
Year: 1978 / Peak: #3

Chances are, you know this song pretty well. It was on their biggest singles here, going top 5 here during the summer of 1978. The simple euro-pop number was certified Gold under the old requirement of 1,000,000 copies shipped to record stores. I’m also a fan of the version done by Erasure on their 1992 EP Abba-esque; it was a minor airplay-only single that never made the Hot 100 due to lack of a physical release (which was a rule at the time, now eliminated.)

For more on the band ABBA and all the dancing queens and super troupers you can handle, follow the blog below or hit the “Get Social!” tab to find out how you can connect with PGTC on social media.

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Eurovisions Of Paradise: From The Song Contest To The States

Thank you for the music.

Thank you for the music.

Once a year, dozens of European nations come together for the Eurovision Song Contest, in which each country picks an act who performs their song live on television, after which they are voted upon and a winner is crowned. This year, the Contest is being held in the city of Malmö, Sweden, with a tagline of “We Are One”. 39 countries are participating in this event, and after two semi-finals earlier this week, that pack is down to 26, who will perform in the live final later on today. You can stream it at Eurovision’s official website or if you’re outside of North America, you can probably find a national broadcaster that will air the show on television.

In the U.S., we generally aren’t in the loop with what goes on at Eurovision. We don’t even have our own Amerivision where all fifty states could participate in a contest such as this. (Wouldn’t that be fun?) Despite this, we’ve seen established acts in the United States go onto success at the annual contest. Cliff Richard and Katrina & The Waves have both scored highly for the United Kingdom with their original songs, though those specific compositions were never issued in the States. In 1988, future superstar Celine Dion, representing for Switzerland, won that year’s contest with the French song “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi” (“Don’t Leave Without Me”), competing against Luxembourg’s Lara Fabian, best known for her 2000 single, “I Will Love Again”. This year, German dance and electronic act Cascada, who hit the top ten here in 2006 with “Everytime We Touch”, will be competing for Germany with “Glorious”, which has yet to see a release here. There have also been a few cases of songs that did well at Eurovision that became hits in the United States in an alternate version or cover. For example, fourth-place entry at the 1967 Contest, “L’amour Est Bleu” by Luxembourg’s Vicky Leandros, became a #1 on the Hot 100 the following year in an instrumental version by Paul Mauriat, “Love Is Blue”.

To date, only four finalists from the Eurovision Song Contest have ever made the top 40 on the Hot 100 in their original form by the original artist or band. Remember these pop ditties?

“Nel Blu Dipino Di Blu (Volare)”, Domenico Modugno (#1, 1958) [English: “In The Blue-Painted Sky (I Will Fly)”]
Though the Eurovision Song Contest began in 1956, it gained worldwide popularity two years later when this song competed in it. Though Italy’s entry only made it to third place, it became a smash hit in the United States, spending five non-consecutive weeks at #1 on the then-newly created Hot 100, becoming the top song of the year. Furthermore, it also received Record and Song Of The Year honors at the very first GRAMMY Awards in 1959. Modugno would only ever chart one other song in the U.S., his next year’s entry in the Contest: “Piove (Ciao, Ciao Bambina)” (#97). [English: “It’s Raining (Bye, Bye Baby)”.]

“Waterloo”, ABBA (#6, 1974)
Here’s the biggest act to come out of Eurovision with the amount of international success that the group has had. Back in 1974, the quartet competed with their debut single, “Waterloo”, and it won the Contest by six points, giving the country their first ever win. Released in both English and Swedish versions, the song did very well all over Europe and also cracked the top ten in the U.S., going as high as #6. ABBA would have a total of fourteen songs hit the Hot 100’s top 40, with “Dancing Queen” going to #1 in 1977, their biggest single. They last charted in 1982 and have never created new material together since that date.

“Save Your Kisses For Me”, Brotherhood Of Man (#27, 1976)
You may recall that this group first made the top 40 in the U.S. as a quintet with their song “United We Stand”. It went to #13 during the summer of 1970. Six years later, a totally revamped group reduced to a quartet, all new members, won that year’s Eurovision Song Contest for the United Kingdom, and became so popular that it registered a minor charting here nationally, as well as a #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Though it reignited their career in their homeland for several more years, this was it for them in the U.S., and the song quickly faded away. The quartet is still together today and play live on occasion.

“Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit”, Gina G (#11, 1997)
Australian-born Gina G was the United Kingdom’s pick for the 1996 Eurovision Contest, though her song ranked in 8th place when all was said and done. However, it did climb to #1 in the United Kingdom, the last single (thus far) by any participating act from the U.K. to hit #1 on that country’s Singles Chart. Several months later, the song charted in the United States, becoming a top ten radio hit and a #11 smash on the Hot 100. Though she had a string of large singles overseas, she only charted one more time here with the #46 “Gimme Some Love” in the summer of 1997. She’s largely done with recording and performing.

Check out the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest when it airs later today. I’m personally rooting for Denmark, Finland, Ireland and the United Kingdom! Let me know your picks in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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How Swede It Is: The Icon(a)ic Hit Parade

I like it, "I Love It".

I like it, “I Love It”.

Whether it’s on the radio or in an advertisement, you know the sounds of Icona Pop and their hit song called “I Love It”. It’s currently #33 on the Hot 100 and #21 on mainstream radio. The all-female duo of Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt represents the 20th act from Sweden to hit the airplay chart (Radio & Records/Mediabase 24/7) since it began in 1973, though most of these artists also made the Hot 100 in one form or another. (I’ll be listing the peaks from both charts in some cases.) How swede it is to be loved by our American audience. From ABBA to Roxette to Swedish House Mafia, here’s the full list of acts who have charted with the times.

ABBA / AGNETHA FÄLTSKOG / FRIDA
By far the most successful act on the list, the quartet formed in Stockholm amassed twenty hits on the Hot 100 from 1974 to 1982, fourteen of them becoming top-40 entries. Of those, four made the top ten like “Waterloo” (1974) and “Take A Chance On Me” (1978), with “Dancing Queen” rising to #1 in 1977, their only chart-topper. After the group disbanded, the two female singers in the band each had one top-40 solo hit. Frida (Anni-Frid Lyngstad) went to #13 in the spring of 1983 with “I Know There’s Something Going On” (co-produced by Phil Collins) and Agentha Fältskog managed a #29 peak for “Can’t Shake Loose” during the fall of that same year. Fältskog has a new solo album due later this spring. The group has never performed together since they parted.

ACE OF BASE / YAKI-DA
Four performers from Gothenberg were all over the radio in 1993 and 1994 with songs like “All That She Wants”, “Don’t Turn Around” and “The Sign”. Five of their singles went top ten at CHR radio, but “Sign” was the only one to top the Hot 100, holding there for six weeks. Eight of their songs made the big chart, the final two coming in 1998. They’re currently together, but the two female singers were replaced during their most recent album in 2010. In 1995, member Jonas “Joker” Berggren put together the duo Yaki-Da, also from Gothenberg. Their lone hit, “I Saw You Dancing”, went to #52 on the Hot 100 and #20 on the CHR chart.

AVICII
The 23-year-old DJ from Stockholm has been mixing it up for several years now. Last year, his “Levels (ID)”, sampled in the arrangement of Flo Rida‘s “Good Feeling”, only reached #60 on the Hot 100 and #34 on CHR radio, largely overshadowed by the rapper’s hit. His current single, “I Could Be The One” (credited to Avicii vs. Nicky Romero), is top 40 at the radio format, but has yet to make Billboard’s list.

BLUE SWEDE
Ooga chaka, ooga ooga. The band from Stockholm led by Björn Skifs took their version of “Hooked On A Feeling” to #1 for a week in 1974. Four of their singles charted on the Hot 100, the last of them a medley of “Hush” by Deep Purple and “I’m Alive” by Tommy James & The Shondells, which went to #61 in 1975. They haven’t appeared together since then.

EAGLE-EYE CHERRY / NENEH CHERRY
The half-siblings of the Cherry family saw their biggest success in different decades. Neneh Cherry is best remembered for her 1989 hit “Buffalo Stance”, which climbed to #3 on the Hot 100. Five of her songs made the chart, four as a main credited artist. Eagle-Eye Cherry‘s biggest single was “Save Tonight”, which went to #5 on the Hot 100 and #1 on CHR radio in 1999. Two more of his songs garnered some airplay, the latter one peaking in 2002, but neither is remembered today. Neneh now performs with a band called The Thing; Eagle-Eye still records as a solo artist.

EMILIA
Emilia Rydberg, who recorded as Emilia, scored a huge hit in Europe with 1998’s “Big Big World”, which impacted the United States at end of the year. It barely cracked the Hot 100 at a peak of #92, though it rose to #19 on CHR radio before falling quickly falling out. She performs today as Emilia Mitiku.

EUROPE
How can you deny the epic synthesizer line in “The Final Countdown”? A classic in the world of pop, it reached a high of #8 on the Hot 100 in 1987 for the quintet from Upplands Väsby. Power ballad “Carrie” went to #3 later that year. A total of five of their songs reached the Hot 100, the last of them coming in the fall of 1988. The band is still active today with a different lineup.

LEGACY OF SOUND / MEJA
Dancing onto the scene in 1993, the group had only one song hit the U.S. market, “Happy”. It managed a lowly #68 on the Hot 100 and a #25 peak on CHR radio. Vocalist Meja cracked the CHR chart twice as a solo artist with “All ‘Bout The Money” (#36, 1999) and a duet with Ricky Martin, “Private Emotion” (#29, 2000). “Money” failed to make the Hot 100; “Emotion” rose to #67. She still sings today.

REDNEX
What the folk is going on? Marrying bluegrass with a eurodance beat, the novelty hit “Cotton Eye Joe”, based on the nineteenth-century southern song, went to #25 on the Hot 100 in 1995. It was certified Gold. They never charted again here, but they’ve hit the top ten in Sweden as recently as 2008. The group remains together.

ROBYN
The sweet pop sounds of Robyn were all over the U.S. by 1997 including “Do You Know (What It Takes?)” and “Show Me Love”, both going top ten. An additional airplay-only single, “Do You Really Want Me?”, made the top ten at CHR radio in 1998. She made a triumphant return with a dance sound in the 2000’s, scoring a handful of hits across Europe, but nothing charted nationally here. She last put out a series of EPs in 2010 and no new material has been announced as of yet.

ROXETTE
The duo of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle out of Halmstad took the U.S. by storm in 1989 with their #1 hit “The Look”, followed by two other #1’s: “It Must Have Been Love” in 1990 (featured in the movie Pretty Woman) and “Joyride” in 1991. Six of their songs made the top 2 in a two-year span, which gives the largest amount of top ten singles for a Swedish act. In total, twelve of their singles hit the Hot 100 through 1994, with a few additional releases receiving Adult Contemporary airplay in the years since then. The two continue to record, both solo and together, last putting out original material as a duo in 2012.

SEPTEMBER
Petra Marklund, who took the stage name September, started her career in Sweden in 2003, but the performer from Stockholm didn’t reach the Hot 100 until 2008 when “Cry For You” peaked at #74. It also spent three weeks at #29 on CHR radio, two of them dated on September charts. She hasn’t hit nationally since, but continues to make the top ten in her native country under her given name.

SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA
The trio of DJs Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello have been together since 2008. They first made the the CHR chart in 2011 with “Save The World” (#37), but it failed to make the Hot 100 by just a few positions. Last year, “Don’t You Worry Child” became their biggest hit ever in almost every territory, including a #6 peak on the Hot 100 and a better #2 at CHR earlier this year. They’ve broken up for the time being.

THE CARDIGANS
From the city of Jönköping, this quintet led by Nina Persson scored an international hit with “Lovefool”. It wasn’t eligible for the Hot 100 at the time due to a rule barring airplay-only singles from charting, but it did climb to #1 on the Hot 100 Airplay survey and spent six weeks at #1 on CHR radio during the spring of 1997. They had several other hits in Europe, but broke up in 2006 before reuniting last year.

Who is your favorite act from Sweden to break in America? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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More Than Words: Song Titles That Stretch (Longer And Longer)

Boy, is that long.

Boy, is that long.

The comeback of indie rockers Fall Out Boy has also issued in a return of those long song titles with the unnecessary subtitles that were popular about five or so years ago. “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)”, their newest single, has nine words in its main title along with a three word subtitle, totaling 12 words. However, it’s not the longest top-40 song title of all-time. In fact, two other songs by the band are on this list, which just shows how much they like the idea. Here’s a look at some of the rest of those pop hits that pack on the wordage: nine or more in the main title or twelve or more total.

(Information is provided by the Billboard Hot 100 prior to the fall of 1973 and Radio & Records/Mediabase through 2013. The list is composed of individual song titles, so double a-sided releases with two separate songs credited as opposed to a medley of them are not counted.)

There’s at least a dozen examples of top-40 singles with nine words in their main title. They range from 1965’s “May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” by Little Jimmy Dickens (#15) to 1988’s “I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That” by Elton John (#2) to 2001’s “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” by U2 (#30). Two such singles went to #1: “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando and Dawn from 1973 and “When The Going Get Tough, The Tough Get Going” by Billy Ocean from 1986.

Here’s where the numbers start shrinking. Only four songs have gone top-40 with ten words in their main title. In 1976, ABBA went to #17 with “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”. Twenty years later, Bryan Adams rose to #20 with “The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You”. The last two examples charted within less than six months of each other. From 2006, Fall Out Boy hit with “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me”” (#32) and then Panic! At The Disco got to #35 with “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage”. I bet you thought that was a mouthful.

Going up to eleven words, we have two titles. The first, in 1968, was the last top ten hit for vocal group The Lettermen: the medley of “Goin’ Out Of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, originally by Little Anthony & the Imperials and Frankie Valli, respectively. It rose to #7, tying for their best peak position of all-time. In the summer of 1996, the only big song for the Primitive Radio Gods found itself at that same peak. It was called “Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand”.

After Meat Loaf‘s grand comeback in 1993 with “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”, the singer went to #20 the next year with an emotional song, “Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are”, which stands at 12 words total. Only one other top-40 hit made it there, but with the help of a subtitle like Fall Out Boy‘s newest release. That was “Son Of A Gun (I Betcha Think This Song Is About You)” by Janet Jackson in collaboration with Missy Elliott, Carly Simon, and P. Diddy on some remixed versions. It stalled out at #22 towards the end of 2001.

Ray Stevens is best known for big #1 hits like comedy record “The Streak” (1974) and the more Country-tinged “Everything Is Beautiful” (1970), but back in 1961, he garnered his very first hit with novelty single “Jeremiah Peabody’s Polyunsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills”, at 13 words in length. It peaked at #35.

The Bellamy Brothers had a #1 smash on the pop survey in 1976 with “Let Your Love Flow”. Their second and last top-40 crossover single was 1979’s “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me”, which clocks in at 14 words. It spent two weeks at #39 on the Hot 100 (Radio & Records only published a top 30 at that point) and also went to #1 on the Country chart.

In 1985, the duo of Daryl Hall and John Oates were coming off another big era in Big Bam Boom, which landed them a one-off concert at the Apollo Theater in New York City. It was recorded into a full-length live album, and one-half of their opening medley was edited into a single that climbed to #24. The full title? “A Night at the Apollo Live! The Way You Do The Things You Do/My Girl”, sixteen words in length. After that, the terrific twosome never released a single more than five words long.

Beating them by one word is the last spot on this list by Fall Out Boy with a song they released in 2007, again, extended by an itsy bitsy subtitle. “I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me & You)” peaked at #25, and could’ve been at the top of this list, peaking at 17 words, 14 in the main title. Alas, it only comes in second.

If you remember the charts in the early 1980’s, then you’ll probably know this song, or at least the components of it. Sometimes it was just referred to as “Medley” or “Beatles Medley” for the sake of convenience, but on the record itself and on the charts, every single song included was listed out in full. So, the longest title in terms of words to make the top 40 is (deep breath in) “Medley: Intro Venus/Sugar Sugar/No Reply/I’ll Be Back/Drive My Car/Do You Want To Know A Secret?/We Can Work It Out/I Should Have Known Better/Nowhere Man/You’re Going To Lose That Girl /Stars On 45”, a whopping forty-one words for the Dutch studio group Stars On 45. It went to #3 in airplay and #1 on the Hot 100 for a week. They charted a handful of times with other medleys on Billboard after that colossal single, but all of them had reduced titles like “More Stars” or “Stars on 45 III: In Tribute To Stevie Wonder”.

Well, that was a whole lot of words, but something tells me I’ve forgotten one or two, so I need you help. Can you think of any other hit singles that managed a length of at least nine words? Let me know in the comments or find me on Twitter at @AdamFSoybel.

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Didn’t Win The Powerball Jackpot? Here’s A Playlist That’s On The Money

A little dinero would be nice.

Yes, it was a sad time for all as we watched the 11 o’clock newscast only to find that our $10 worth of lottery tickets didn’t get us any prizes. That’s okay, though, I’m sure you’ll hit the jackpot next time. In the meantime, here are sixteen tunes (since 16 was one of the lucky numbers) I enjoy on the wins and woes of money for you to savor while your fortune awaits.

BARRETT STRONG – “Money (That’s What I Want)” (1960)
One of Motown’s earliest releases, this straight-forward R&B tune has a simple lyric that resonates with many people. This was Strong’s only charting hit, but he became a successful songwriter in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, writing many hits for groups like The Temptations. This song was most notably covered on the cheap in 1979 by The Flying Lizards, who turned it into, well, something different. That version peaked in early 1980 but did not make the top 40.

“Money (That’s What I Want)” reached #23 on the Hot 100 way back in 1960.

PINK FLOYD – “Money” (1973)
Empty out your cash registers because we’re taking a trip to the Dark Side Of The Moon. An epic six-minute song from the landmark album, it still gets quite a bit airplay today.

For some time, “Money” was the group’s only top-40 hit, peaking at #13 in 1973. That is, until “Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)” stormed the top of the Hot 100 in 1980.

THE O’JAYS – “For The Love Of Money” (1974)
Here’s one that trumps them all… at least when it comes to The Apprentice. This socially-conscious hit about the effects of money packs a lot of funk into this R&B number.

“For The Love Of Money” rose to #3 on the Hot 100 in the summer of 1974.

STEVE MILLER BAND – “Take The Money And Run” (1976)
When they weren’t watching the tube, Billie Joe and Bobbie Sue decided to have some adventures, shot a man, and then took his money on the run with them. Kids these days. The Steve Miller Band are still rocking and rolling on Classic Rock radio today and have even put out some new material in the past few years.

“Take The Money And Run” got as high as #11 on the Hot 100 in the summer of 1976.

HALL & OATES – “Rich Girl” (1977)
There is something about that Philadelphia sound that’s extra smooth. There’s no denying that Daryl Hall is one of the best and charismatic vocalists of all-time and this song about a girl with rich parents is also rich in flavor.

“Rich Girl” hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in March 1977.

ABBA – “Money, Money, Money” (1977)
The Swedes just know how to make those great Pop tunes. ABBA stands among the best, and this song shows it, a dark tale of a woman who desperately wants a little bit of dough to compete “in a rich man’s world.” Key change included!

“Money, Money, Money” was the third and final release from Arrival, which provided the group’s first and only #1 on the Hot 100, “Dancing Queen”. It topped out at #56 in the fall of 1977.

DIRE STRAITS – “Money For Nothing” (1985)
The sultans of swing returned six years after their first hit only to find themselves critiquing the music video business. Their catchy sound, along with Sting’s of “I want my MTV”, propelled them back to commercial status with Brothers In Arms, which launched three singles into the top 40 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

“Money For Nothing” spent three weeks at #1 in September and October 1985.

RUSH – “The Big Money” (1985)
The Canadian trio led by Geddy Lee shocked more than a few fans when this ditty came out, a distinctively more glossy sound than previous records, similar to The Police’s Synchronicity or Yes’s 90125. Lyrically, it’s holds up with the best of their material: “It’s the power and the glory/It’s a war in paradise/It’s a Cinderella story/On a tumble of the dice.”

“The Big Money” went as high as #45 on the Hot 100 in January 1986.

ABC – “(How To Be A) Millionaire” (1986)
ABC’s penultimate top-40 hit in the States was an energetic number about a man eager to earn his money and build it up. Unfortunately, the song didn’t earn them a lot of riches, but it remains one of the group’s best.

“(How To Be A) Millionaire” went to #20 on the Hot 100 in the spring of 1986.

PET SHOP BOYS – “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money)” (1986)
One of the biggest Dance acts of all-time scored their second U.S. hit with this positive Pop track about a twosome who is one-half brains and one-half looks. Together, they’ll make it big, just like their stacks of bills.

“Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money)” was a #10 hit on the Hot 100 in the summer of 1986. It was the followup to “West End Girls”, which hit #1.

SIMPLY RED – “Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)” (1986)
Mick Hucknall and the boys of Simply Red first hit the U.S. shores with their #1 hit “Holding Back The Years”, but this was the song that launched them in their native U.K., an attack on the Ronald Reagan era economic reforms. Did the Earth move for you, Nancy? Heavy stuff, but oh, but you can dance to it!

“Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)”, a remake of a minor early 80’s R&B entry for The Valentine Brothers, hit #28 on the Hot 100 in the fall of 1986.

CALLOWAY – “I Wanna Be Rich” (1990)
This duo became one of the biggest one-hit wonders of the 90’s with this song about a guy who wants some mean green. Looking for their “pie in the sky”, they got it, at least for one brief moment in Pop history.

“I Wanna Be Rich” made the runner-up spot on the Hot 100 in the spring of 1990.

TONY! TONI! TONE! – “If I Had No Loot” (1993)
One of the last big New Jack Swing hits, the song became the trio’s biggest crossover success. Once you start earning those dollars, “friends” just want your cash; the message seemed to resonate with a lot of people.

“If I Had No Loot” got as high as #7 on the Hot 100 in 1993.

BARENAKED LADIES – “If I Had A Million Dollars” (1996)
The boys of BNL liked to have a little fun and this one was no exception. Originally a hit in Canada in 1992, it never received a single release in the United States, but garnered some unsolicited airplay beginning in 1996 after a version recorded live at the Bryant Street Theatre in Chicago was featured on their release Rock Spectacle. You wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner, but you would.

“If I Had A Million Dollars” hit #13 on Canada’s National Singles Chart in 1992 and was rereleased in the United Kingdom in 1996.

WHITNEY HOUSTON – “Million Dollar Bill” (2009)
The late Miss Houston may have passed away earlier this year, but she still managed to get up and boogie on one of the highlights from her last studio album, I Look To You. It’s a retro-tinged jam that’s more about feeling like a million rather than making it, but it’s still an anthem.

“Million Dollar Bill” only hit #100 on the Hot 100 back in September 2009. It became a top-20 R&B and number-one Dance hit as well.

FITZ & THE TANTRUMS – “MoneyGrabber” (2011)
This group from Los Angeles have made a name for themselves recalling that classic Stax Records sound. “MoneyGrabber” was their breakout song, where the protagonist is fed up of their lover and kicking them to the curb. Way to go.

“MoneyGrabber” hit the top-40 on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart in 2011 and also hit #1 for a week on my own personal chart.

Further listening:
SHALAMAR – “Take That To The Bank” (1978)
DONNA SUMMER – “She Works Hard For The Money” (1983)
CYNDI LAUPER – “Money Changes Everything” (1985)
PRINCE & THE NEW POWER GENERATION – “Money Don’t Matter 2Night” (1992)
FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE – “Strapped For Cash” (2007)

Did I miss anything? Have suggestions for other songs? Comment below or contact me: @AdamFSoybel on Twitter.

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Filed under Playlists, Retro