Tag Archives: Art Garfunkel

GRAMMY Flashback: The Year Without A Best New Artist

They got the "Boot".

Two of the acts that got the “Boot”.

Welcome to GRAMMY Week! This week, from Monday to Friday, you’ll be treated to some special GRAMMY related topics, from the past to the present, all leading up to the music’s biggest night on Sunday at 8PM eastern on CBS. Let’s dive into today’s post…

As you’re probably aware, Best New Artist is one of the big four categories presented on the night, first given out in 1959 to Bobby Darin. The award’s been presented to some performers that have gone on to illustrious careers: The Beatles, The Carpenters, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Maroon 5 and more. The award also cursed more than a few acts it was given to: Bobbie GentryThe Starland Vocal Band, Rickie Lee Jones, Marc Cohn, Arrested Development, and others. Oh, let’s not forget Milli Vanilli, whose win was taken away after it was revealed that the two men weren’t singing their own records. Oops. Yet, what happens when the Award isn’t awarded to anyone at all even when there was plenty of new talent out there? Then, you get the 1967 GRAMMY Awards.

For some reason that’s still unclear to this day, no Best New Artist was appointed at the 1967 ceremony, which reflected the music of 1966. I figure I could highlight some of the acts that released their first big singles during that year and would’ve been eligible for the Award. Then, you can decide who should have been the big winner. I have my pick(s). The 1966 GRAMMY Awards had seven nominees for Best New Artist; I’ll limit my category to five, as is the standard today. And, the nominees are…

NANCY SINATRA
The daughter of the iconic Frank Sinatra had a big year in 1966. After a failed single in “So Long, Babe”, Sinatra went to the top of the Hot 100 with “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'”, which became her signature song. Written by Lee Hazlewood, it spent one week at #1. It also led Sinatra to three other top-40 singles during the year, including “Sugar Town” (#5) and “How Does That Grab You, Darlin’?” (#7). Her father won Best Album for A Man And His Music and Record Of The Year for “Strangers In The Night” at the 1967 GRAMMY Awards… who’s to say she couldn’t have followed him?

PERCY SLEDGE
The R&B singer from Alabama crooned his way to the #1 spot on the Hot 100 in May 1966 with “When A Man Loves A Woman”. It spent two weeks at the top. He managed two other top-20 hits during the year, both of which hit the top ten on the R&B chart. He wouldn’t have been the strongest choice to win, but with a big debut single, he could have swayed some of the voters to go his way. (He ultimately wouldn’t hit the top ten on the Hot 100 again, though he came close with the #11 “Take Time To Know Her” in 1968.)

SIMON & GARFUNKEL
This duo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel spent years under an assortment of names trying to hit the big time, but it wasn’t until 1965 that a song from their album released the year prior, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., began receiving airplay at a few markets. Officially released in the fall, “The Sound Of Silence” spent two weeks at #1 in January 1966. The band went onto release four other top-40 hits during 1966, including the #3 “I Am A Rock” and “Homeward Bound” (#5). The duo garnered several GRAMMY Awards for later hits like 1968’s “Mrs. Robinson” and 1970’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Was it to make up for the lack of a Best New Artist win? They certainly would’ve been a huge act in the hunt for it had there been a category that year.

THE ASSOCIATION
Another of the big vocal groups out of California, they first the Hot 100 in 1966 with “Along Comes Mary” (#7) with a lead vocal by Jim Yester. However, it was a song sung and written by vocalist Terry Kirkman that took the band to #1 for three weeks in September: “Cherish”. Both releases can be found on And Then… Along Comes The Association, which made the top 5 on the Billboard 200 album chart. If the voters on the panel wanted a more traditional-sounding act to win the Award, the baroque pop flavor of their material may have worked out for them.

THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS
In terms of success in 1966, this group had the biggest and most consistent pack of singles during the year. The quintet out of New York City took the charts by storm, first with a #4 hit, the classic “Calfornia Dreamin'”. That record was followed by three other consecutive top-5 singles: “Monday, Monday” (#1 for three weeks), “I Saw Her Again” (#5) and “Words Of Love” (#5). Up to that point, a mixed group of men and woman had never won the Award. Could the band have achieved that feat before The Carpenters took it at the 1971 ceremony? Might have happened “for all we know”.

Other acts to make their debut that year that might have been nominated:
Neil Diamond: his first big top ten, “Cherry Cherry”, may have come too late in the year to get him a nomination. Plus, he’s only received two nominations total and both have been for movie soundtracks.
The Rascals: had a big #1 in “Good Lovin'”, but their other 1966 singles weren’t big successes. They continued to make the top 40 until 1969.

So, who do you think would’ve won it all? I’d say Nancy Sinatra and Simon & Garfunkel had the best chance of getting it, the former based on name and the latter based on how the Academy lavished them with Awards at future ceremonies. How about you? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel. Stay tuned for more GRAMMY posts as the week continues!

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, GRAMMY Awards, Playlists, Retro

The Trouble With “Trouble”: A Swift Ascent To The Top

A girl in "Trouble" is a temporary thing.

A girl in “Trouble” is a temporary thing.

This week, Taylor Swift takes a two-notch climb to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 with yet another winner of a hit, “I Knew You Were Trouble”. It’s off her latest disc, Red, which has sold close to 3 million copies in the States in just the three or so months it’s been out. However, if you thought she was the only one to cause a little chaos at the top of the charts, then take a seat on the “cold hard ground” and tune yourself to five other “Trouble” smashes that broke into the top ten on the Hot 100, one of which was a huge #1 song.

THE FORTUNES – “You’ve Got Your Troubles” (1965)
In the heat of the British Invasion of the 1960’s, one of the bands to follow the mighty Beatles was this band from Birmingham, England. It was their biggest hit to date in the U.S., peaking at #7, though it hit the #2 spot in the United Kingdom. Other than that, the group was rather unfortunate in the States with several low charters until a surprise top-20 hit in July 1971, “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again”. The group never charted that strongly again.

SIMON & GARFUNKEL – “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1970)
It’s a classic and one of my favorite songs of all-time, but exclusively this version of it. Written during a period of conflict within the duo, this beautiful ballad stormed the Hot 100 and spent six consecutive weeks at #1, ensuring its status as the #1 song of the year and the #2 song of the decade (only beat by Debby Boone‘s “You Light Up My Life”.) It’s by far the biggest “Trouble” single to make it onto the charts, though we’ll see if Swift can top it. The duo had a handful of top-40 hits after this and both had solo material that did well, particularly Paul Simon‘s early to mid-70’s catalogue.

ARETHA FRANKLIN – “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1971)
Almost a year after the Simon & Garfunkel version had left the charts, the Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin, took her R&B rendition of the song to #6 on the Hot 100, her first top ten hit at the time in nearly three years. This version was also heard on the television show Glee, with actress Amber Riley providing the lead vocal. Linda Clifford took her discofied version of the song to #41 on the Hot 100 in 1979. It was also the original a-side to Clay Aiken‘s first post-American Idol single, but was listed on the charts under the b-side’s title, “This Is The Night”, for most of its run because it received more airplay.

MARVIN GAYE – “Trouble Man” (1972/3)
From the soundtrack to the film of the same name, this became another hit for Gaye, peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 in early 1973. It also hit the top 5 on the R&B chart. Rapped T.I. recently released an album that was titled Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head, partially inspired by the song. Gaye caused some major trouble on the charts for the next ten years with songs like “Let’s Get It On” (1973) and “Got To Give It Up” (1977) until his untimely death in 1984.

LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM – “Trouble” (1981/2)
During a break from Fleetwood Mac in the early 80’s, both Buckingham and Stevie Nicks recorded solo projects. Though the solo LP from Nicks, Bella Dolla, was more successful, Buckingham also managed to score a top ten song of his album, Law And Order. It peaked at #9 in January 1982, just before Billboard changed chart policies, which sent it flying downward as it soon as it exited the top 40 in early February. Buckingham continued with the Mac for a few more albums and had one additional solo top-40 hit in 1984, “Go Insane”.

A number of other “Trouble” titles have cracked the Hot 100 over the years, the first of which was “Trouble In Paradise” by vocal group The Crests. It hit #20 in 1960. Some of my favorites include “A Girl In Trouble (Is A Temporary Thing)” by Romeo Void (1984), “Trouble Me” by 10,000 Maniacs (1989) and “Trouble” by Pink (2003), plus two songs that have only made the CHR chart: “The Trouble With Love Is” by Kelly Clarkson (2004) and “Troublemaker” by Olly Murs, which was may just see topping the Hot 100 in 2013. Stay tuned, and stay out of trouble, okay?

Have another favorite “Trouble” song? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Music News