Tag Archives: Ace Of Base

Lucky Charms: A Pack Of Fine And Fortunate Songs

They should be so lucky.

They’re magically delicious.

Just like that, the French electronic duo named Daft Punk have scored their very first top 40 hit as a main act on the Hot 100, “Get Lucky”, featuring a vocal from Pharrell Williams. Though they’ve managed to chart here with other songs like “Around The World”, “One More Time”, and “Stronger” (as a featured artist on Kanye West‘s #1 single), the group still aren’t a household name here, though this is anticipated to be their biggest era ever. “Get Lucky” has already made it up to #14 and with an album, Random Access Memories, a few days away, I thought we could look back at the luck that we listened to when we were little (and still do today.) At least two dozen titles have crashed the top 40 with “luck” or “lucky” in their title, but only seven has gone as high as Daft Punk‘s current record. So, take seven of those, plus seven more that I like, and I think we’ve got a whole lot of good luck to contend with. Let me share some with you:

“Lucky Ladybug”, Billy & Lillie (#14, 1959)
The duo of Billy Ford and Lillie Bryant got together in 1958 to record for Swan Records. Their debut single, “La Dee Dah”, written and produced by Bob Crewe and Frank C. Slay, Jr., went to #9 on the Hot 100 in 1958 and sold over 1 million copies. That pairing also wrote their second and final top 40 hit, “Lucky Ladybug”, which went to #14. The group split shortly afterwards after a few failed singles.

“Happy-Go-Lucky Me”, Paul Evans (#10, 1960)
Queens-born Evans struck it big in his early 20’s with a handful of hit singles, including the 1959 record “Seven Little Girls (Sitting in the Back Seat)”, which went to #9. (You’d think it would’ve peaked at #7.) “Me” was his only other top ten hit, and after a couple more charting songs, he was done. He later went into songwriting and production of film and television scores, including CBS This Morning.

“Lady Luck”, Lloyd Price (#14, 1960)
R&B singer Price started making the R&B survey in the early 50’s, but it wasn’t until after a stint in the military that he began to crash the pop charts. He’s best known for his 1959 version of the song “Stagger Lee”, which went to #1 on the Hot 100. He last hit the top 40 in 1963 with a remake of the song “Misty”, though he continued to put out original music for some time. He continues to perform.

“Good Luck Charm”, Elvis Presley (#1, 1962)
He was the King of Rock and Roll and he was still at the top on his golden throne when this song came along, cut in 1961 and released the following spring. “Good” spent two weeks at #1 in April and was one of eighteen number ones on the Billboard Hot 100 for Mr. Presley. Long after his death in 1977, his songs are continually played on the radio, and his home, Graceland, remains a popular tourist spot.

“With A Little Luck”, Paul McCartney & Wings (#1, 1978)
1978 was another hot year on the charts for this group who released their latest studio album, London Town. This first single from the effort made a huge splash and quickly climbed into the #1 spot, which it held for two weeks, with its parent album going to #2. McCartney, having made music for over fifty years now, is still on tour frequently and making original material. There’s definitely no stopping him now.

“Lucky Star”, Madonna (#4, 1984)
The megastar from Michigan first made it into the top 40 a year prior with “Holiday”, but this was her first single to make the top 5 on the Hot 100. Featured on her self-titled album, it is one of her most remembered songs, thanks in part to a music video which established her as a fashion icon. It also prepared her for her forthcoming era, the Like A Virgin album, and a whole lot more luck on the singles survey.

“Some Guys Have All The Luck”, Rod Stewart (#10, 1984)
First done by R&B group The Persuaders in 1973, it became a minor single for them, peaking at #39 on the Hot 100. The Stewart version became the singer’s second top ten hit in a row from his Camouflage album, which was certified Gold in the United States. It still gets a bit of adult contemporary play today. Stewart recently released his first album of all original material in twelve years, Time, on Capitol Records.

BONUS: these singles could have used a little more luck (but I still enjoy them a lot):
“Hard Luck Woman”, KISS (#15, 1977) / remake by Garth Brooks (#45, 1994)
The original comes from the Platinum-certified Rock And Roll Over album; the Brooks remake appears on a tribute album, Classic KISS Regrooved.

“The Lucky One”, Amy Grant (#18, 1994)
Oh, baby baby, this one didn’t do as well as her #1 hit from 1991. This was one of her last major hits to see any attention from mainstream radio.

“Lucky”, Britney Spears (#23, 2000)
“This is a story about a girl named Lucky.” The down sides of fame couldn’t stop it from reaching the #2 spot on my personal chart in the summer of 2000.

“I Should Be So Lucky”, Kylie Minogue (#28, 1988)
She should be so lucky (lucky, lucky, lucky) to appear on the list. “Should” went to #1 in Australia and the United Kingdom, among other countries.

“Lucky Love”, Ace Of Base (#30, 1996)
Following “Beautiful Life”, which came and went, this single didn’t stay around for much time either. The group had one last top 40 hit here in 1998.

“Just Got Lucky”, JoBoxers (#36, 1983)
They were a little more “lucky” in their native United Kingdom where this hit #7 on the Singles Chart. This was their only charting release here.

“Lucky”, Jason Mraz featuring Colbie Caillat (#48, 2009)
This soft rock ballad blended their two voices perfectly and garnered a lot of adult contemporary airplay. It went to #2 on my personal chart for three weeks.

Which song is the luckiest of all in your book? Let me know! Comment below or find me 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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