Tag Archives: Billboard Hot 100

REWIND: A Cure For The Charts, “Just Like” That

An angelic anthem.

An angelic anthem.

Music Video:

Remembering when I was younger and constantly listening to the local pop station, I discovered a lot of new music of all genres that would influence the way my chart operated when I officially began it in September 1999. However, this particular station also added some older tracks into the mix, ones that the CHR format would absolutely never go for today. It was the place where I discovered “Connected” by Stereo MC’s and “Hey Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms, two of my favorite songs from the decade. I also took a liking to Bon Jovi and Madonna through their constant play on there. However, not all of their choices were commercially recognizable; some of them were straight out of left field.

One of those songs was called “Just Like Heaven”, which I would later find out was by a band called The Cure. It was written by frontman Robert Smith about a trip to the sea with future wife Mary Poole and recorded in France. It was my first exposure to the band and a song that particularly liked, though I knew it didn’t sound new even when I was 9. There was something about the guitar line that I instantly loved. It was the synths, it was the attitude, it was the “Show me how you do that trick/The one that made me scream, she said,” opening line that just got me. There’s an instant nostalgia about it, a remembrance of a happier time in the heat of love. So, later in life, when I found out more about the band and how the song did in the U.S., I was shocked at how little attention it was paid when actively being promoted by Elektra Records.

On this date, January 9, in 1988, “Heaven” spent its one and only week at #40 on the Billboard Hot 100, a “one-week wonder” as some of the chart community likes to call these cases. (On rival Cashbox, it peaked at #42, while on the airplay-based Radio & Records, it went to #30.) Given the much faster speed of the charts in the late 1980’s, it had an uncharacteristically slow run up, losing its bullet several times before finally edging in a week at that #40 spot on a slow week following the holidays. However, a top 40 hit is a top 40 hit, no matter what it takes to reach its final destination. After spending four months on the Hot 100, it faded away in February 1988. In Europe, the results were much the same.

“Heaven” may not have been the band’s first charting hit nor their biggest in their catalogue as a whole, but it did start what would be a particularly commercial time for the band. Parent album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me became their first Platinum certified album in the U.S. and their first to reach the top 40. One year later, they would rise to #2 on the Hot 100 with “Lovesong” and go even further with a string of six consecutive top 20 studio albums, including 1992’s Wish, which went to #2. Though new material has been released from the band since 2008, they have toured a bit, ending The Great Circle Tour a few weeks ago here in the States. It’s unclear whether the members will be out with anything this year.

This may not have received its due justice on the national surveys back in the day, but it’s certainly well-remembered today. In fact, I think I hear “Heaven” more often on satellite radio today than I do of most of the other charting entries. Both emotionally satisfying and musically pleasant, it’s a classic in my book. If you find a moment, give it a spin today.

(Buy “Just Like Heaven” on iTunes)

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REWIND: A Dreamy 20th Anniversary For Mariah Carey’s “Dreamlover”

Life is but a Dream.

Life is but a Dream.

She was once Brenda K. Starr‘s back-up singer; then, she became a star(r) in her own right. Mariah Carey made the music business revolve around her in the 90’s with fourteen #1 singles during the decade, including this chart-topper from 1993. Upon the 20th anniversary of it first charting, let’s remember the success and great pop sound of  “Dreamlover”.

After a few years of making the charts, Carey was becoming a superstar, claiming eight top 5 singles on the Hot 100, five Gold singles and two multi-Platinum singles. Most of these releases tended to be ballads, like “Vision Of Love” (1990) and “Can’t Let Go” (1991). There were even hints of gospel music in her previous two singles, “Make It Happen” and a live rendition of the Jackson 5 hit, “I’ll Be There”. When preparing the new album that would become 1993’s Music Box, she experimented with new sounds with the help of Dave Hall, best known at that point for his production on Mary J. Blige‘s 1992 album, What’s The 411? With his expertise in the R&B field, he and Carey crafted a melody around “Blind Alley” by The Emotions, an album cut from their 1972 LP, Untouched. Although this wasn’t the first time she had sampled a song in one of her own, this was pretty prominent, and it gave Carey a chance to dive deeper into an urban feel, which was incorporated on all of her albums following this, while stay leaning in a pop direction. With some extra help from longtime collaborator Walter Afanasieff, the song was ready to be heard by a wider audience several months later.

There are several things to consider when thinking about the single that could have heavily affected it negatively. By the time “Dreamlover” was released as a single, Carey was off the charts for the better part of a year after consistently racking up hit after hit, occasionally in the top 40 with two songs at the same time. During that time, the musical landscape changed a bit; mainstream radio ratings were dropping like a rock, and programmers tried to plug up the holes with more Alternative product. At the same time, rap was back on the rise with the help of acts like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. She certainly didn’t fit into either category. Also threatening the single was another charting track that contained that same sample. It was the b-side of LL Cool J‘s “Back Seat (Of My Jeep)”, titled “Pink Cookies In a Plastic Bag Getting Crushed by Buildings”. Both sides were credited on the Hot 100, which meant both songs were getting sales and/or airplay points. It could have been a mess, but luckily, the response was overwhelming good.

On the Billboard Hot 100 dated August 7, 1993, “Dreamlover” debuted in the #40 position, the Highest Debut of the week. It also entered at #21 on the Hot 100’s Airplay Chart during the same frame. A physical single wouldn’t be available until the following week. Although Carey faced some stiff competition at the time from big new releases by Billy Joel (“The River Of Dreams”), Janet Jackson (“If”) and Madonna (“Rain”), it was ultimately hers that jumped ahead of the pack and led the chart for eight weeks in September and October. (“River” went to #3, “If” went to #4 and “Rain” went to #14.) As a result, Music Box was a smash, debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200 before climbing to #1 at Christmas and occupying the top spot for eight non-consecutive weeks through the spring of 1994. Further singles “Hero” and “Without You” also made a significant impact on the Hot 100, with the former going to #1, while fourth single “Anytime You Need A Friend” missed the top ten. The airplay for the single was there, but it peaked quickly, and physical sales couldn’t make up the difference. Thus, the era ended on a low note, but still well overall.

Since then, Carey’s career has had its highs and lows: “One Sweet Day” (with Boyz II Men) going to #1 for sixteen weeks, several #1 debuts on the Hot 100, “When You Believe” (with Whitney Houston) underperforming, pulling weaves in the “Heartbreaker” music video, Virgin Records selling the “Loverboy” single for 49 cents, the “ice cream truck” incident on Total Request Love, the breakdown, “We Belong Together” breaking all sorts of records, “I’m up in my bidness like a Wendy interview”, “He’s all up in my George Foreman, the CGI-realness that was the “Auld Lang Syne” video and finally, “#Beautiful” being a #falsestart to her latest album. Obviously, I can’t cover it all, but hey, she’s an icon and that has to be the ultimate high. “Dreamlover” is just another footnote in her accomplished career, but one that’s definitely worth remembering as it celebrates this special day. Happy 20th anniversary!

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“Ready” Or Not: It Almost Charted — But It Doesn’t Exist?

The Phantom of the Record Surveys.

The Phantom of the Record Surveys.

EDIT: In July 2016, “Ready ‘N’ Steady” was aired on radio show Crap From The Past, just over 37 years after it first charted. Yes, it exists!

Grab the cake and pick out some party hats because a birthday celebration is in order this weekend. On August 4, 1958, the Billboard Hot 100 debuted in what was then The Billboard magazine, a combination of their Best Sellers in Stores and Most Played by Jockeys charts into an all-genre top 100 survey. The first song to top the chart was “Poor Little Fool” by Ricky Nelson. The magazine and the big chart have had their ups and downs over the years, but they’ve managed to survive while other trade publications, like Cashbox Magazine and Record World, folded over time. Rather than compile any sort of list of my favorites to hit the Hot 100, I thought I would take a look at one of the more peculiar cases that’s occurred in the chart’s history. It remains one of Billboard’s biggest mysteries of all-time and most likely, it will never be completely solved.

Let’s take a trip back to the disco era and the summer of 1979. Anita Ward, Chic and Donna Summer were ruling over the land with their energetic hits, but there were also some rockers on the way up the survey. On the chart dated June 16, 1979, a song called “Ready ‘N’ Steady” debuted at #106 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under survey by an act called D.A., released by Rascal Records out of Detroit. It moved up to #103 on the next chart, and then to #102 the following week (pictured above) before disappearing and failing to make the Hot 100. Now, it seems silly to report on this kind of chart action as is, and that probably should’ve been the end of the story. Who remembers a song that peaked at #102 on a national chart? No one — literally.

Absolutely no one has been able to find a copy of the song even though it placed on a Billboard chart. Longtime record collector and music historian Joel Whitburn tried to hunt it down for years, even finding a trade ad for the punk rock record label with an address, but by the time it was scoped out, the label’s building was vacant and he wasn’t any closer to finding the song. A band called DA! was also tracked down, based out of Chicago and matching the genre, who were active at the time the song charted, but none of the three members in the group at that point ever confirmed recording it or being signed to the label. So, the hunt goes on, and we’re not moving any closer to a result.

So, how could this have happened in the first place? It would never happen in 2013, but the loopholes that existed back then when compiling data was astounding. At that point in history, there was no way to track airplay or sales via the computer methods that we have today. Reports were done by calling radio stations and record stores and having them report their statistics, and basically, they could make up anything they wanted because everything was based on estimations rather than pure accuracy. There was also the issue of payola, which still existed even if it was illegal. So, if a record label paid a retail outlet or a station to report that a song was playlisted or sold some amount, this could be done back in the day without them every having touched the record or have it purchased. It appears this is what happened. Since the label was based out of Detroit, I’m guessing that several regional places there were told to report it to Billboard, probably lower down on their own lists, and this is why it made the Bubbling Under for three weeks. It’s a good-sized market and it likely would’ve been given more weight when the chart data was analyzed; hence, whomever was behind it only needed a few reporters, and boom, a fictitious group with a fictitious song is somehow being recognized by Billboard, or so I think.

If it truly does exist and it happens to somehow find its way to YouTube one day, I think some people would be rather happy, yet perplexed about how it managed to stay under the radar for so long. Until then, it’s anybody guess as to why this was actually done in the first place. Yet, people still go back to it and the charts and the magazine every week, and that’s why it remains so popular. Happy birthday, Billboard Hot 100. You may not always be hot, but lukewarm is acceptable too.

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Things That Need To Stop: #HashtagsInSongTitles

#thatisjustnotright.

#thatisjustnotright.

If you’re an act that’s looking to make a new single and deciding on a title for it, please reflect on this post for a moment, because it will spare you the embarrassment of years to come. Now, I know it’s trendy to trend yourself on Twitter using a hashtag and get some attention by finding your tag listed on the worldwide topics list according to the social media service. It’s fun and great if it works, but please, please spare yourself and don’t put a hashtag in your soon-to-be-hit’s title. When we look back on this era in song titles, it’ll rank up there with those awful ideas like the double r in “Dirrty” or “Hot In Herre” and songs with no vowels like “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs”. It’s just all shades of wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I get the feeling you’ve probably seen that several songs lately on the charts that have hashtags in them. A hashtag, for those of you still confused, is the use of a “#” symbol followed by a short word of phrase, like #whyamiwritingaboutthis or #thisissodumbguys. For example, “#Beautiful” by Mariah Carey and Miguel just debuted on the radio last week and “#thatPOWER” by will.i.am and Justin Bieber is doing well at both radio and retail. Pretty soon, Miley Cyrus will be collaborating with Pharrell Williams on a track from her new album, “#GetItRight”, and who knows what else will come after that. Point is, if this doesn’t stop now, the top 40 will be full of songs with hashtags, and do you really want to see a chart filled with songs titles and phrases that aren’t actually trending anywhere on Twitter? Plus, what was the problem with not calling them “Beautiful” or “Get It Right” or “That Power” in the first place?

Something is inevitably going to replace Twitter someday, and when that service doesn’t use hashtags as a way of promotion, you know that people will stop referencing to these songs without the “#” sign in them. Sure, you could argue that a song with a hashtag is “trending” up the charts when it rises; why can’t all of them be that way? The national charts, the genre charts, the digital charts, etc. do not equal Twitter. A hashtag is free to tweet out; buying a song isn’t, and while there are several hundred million accounts active on Twitter worldwide, not all of them use hashtags. Plus, the United States population far surpasses that. It looks odd on the charts when the majority of songs use a normal title. It looks odd on a compact disc case because it’s not like you can trend a song title up or down a tracklisting. However, I would think it would be most awkward for the disc jockey on the duty to properly front-sell or back-sell a song as “Hashtag Beautiful” or “Hashtag That Power”. That just screams unnecessary. Plus, like a Twitter trend, what happens when the number of times the DJ says the title goes up? Do they raise their voice an octave? (Please don’t do this, I beg of you.)

Before this Twitter phenomenon, the “#” was rarely used in a top 40 hit, and it was meant to signify a number, of course. Take a look at this list of those credits with the symbol as opposed to a “Number One” or a “No. 1”:

“Hashtags” in top 40 hits prior to 2013:
“Fool #1”, Brenda Lee (#3, 1961)
“Love Potion #9”, The Searchers (#3, 1964)
“Engine Engine #9”, Roger Miller (#7, 1965)
“Rainy Day Women #12 & #35”, Bob Dylan (#2, 1966)
“Westbound #9”, The Flaming Ember (#24, 1970)
“#9 Dream”, John Lennon (#9, 1975)
“#1 Crush”, Garbage (#29 Airplay, 1997)
“#1”, Nelly (#22, 2002)

So to you cowboys and crooners, divas and disc jockeys and all you bands out there, stop the madness. Yes, you have the artistic license to do whatever you want, but this isn’t art. It’s a shameless plug. If hashtags keep being integrated into song titles, you know acts will start creating songs with 140 characters total, then Billboard will start adding hashtags into their formulas for compiling their charts, and then the RIAA will take them into account for certifications. OK, some of this may not actually happen, but I’m keeping my eye for them. Let’s be honest, though, nobody wants to see #StairwayToHeaven to show up on the charts or a media player in that form. Why do that to yourself and make yourself instantly dated? It’s not worth it.

#HashtagsInSongTitles. They’re not stopping anytime soon, but they may be gone just around the trend.

Let me know what you think about this in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Five x Five: The Top 5 Five Acts For Cinco De Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo! First celebrated on May 5, 1862, the day represents the best in Mexican culture and heritage, so get ready for a little tequila and a quesadilla or two. To feed our never-ending feast of music, I thought it might be cool to take a look back at top-ranking acts with a “cinco”, or rather, a “five”, in their name. After all, quite a few quintets over the decades have taken pride in their top-selling singles. In fact, over a dozen acts have made the top 40 with the number in their name, from We Five to the Five Man Electrical Band to 5ive to Five For Fighting, and the list goes on. Can you guess which one has had the most top 40 hits on the Hot 100? Scroll down below… and a high-five to you if you guessed correctly!

Still playing hard to get.

“Way” too cool.

05. HI-FIVE

This group formed in Texas during the late 1980’s and had a string of big hits beginning in 1991, including “I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)” (#1) and 1992′s “She’s Playing Hard To Get” (#3).  A total of five of their singles made the top 40 on the Hot 100 through 1994. Lead singer Tony Thompson died in 2007. They band returned in 2012 with new members and a self-released single, but it failed to chart.

This chart has taken control of them.

This chart has taken control of them.

04. MAROON 5

Here’s the most recent act on the list. The quintet, led by Adam Levine, has had eleven songs make the top 40 on the Hot 100 since their debut in 2003. That includes #1 hits like 2007’s “Makes Me Wonder” and 2012’s “One More Night”, their most recent of seven to hit the top 5 region. Can the fourth single from their album Overexposed, “Love Somebody”, add to that growing amount? We’ll see very soon.

** Thanks to reader Mike B. for noticing an error with this!

They'll be there.

They’ll be there.

03. THE JACKSON 5

The family band out of Gary, Indiana took the charts by storm in 1969 and 1970 with four number-ones in a row: “I Want You Back”, “ABC”, “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There”. In total, seven of their singles made the top 5, and sixteen of their hits made the top 40 through 1975’s “I Am Love”. When the group transferred to Epic Records in 1976, they changed their name to The Jacksons, and thus, songs like “Enjoy Yourself” and “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)” aren’t included in their total. They made the Hot 100 through 1989. Brothers Jermaine and Michael charted with solo entries.

Still "Glad" with #2.

Still “Glad” with #2.

02. DAVE CLARK FIVE

The Beatles may have started the British Invasion, but the Dave Clark Five continued that momentum with a total of seventeen top 40 hits over the span of a little over three years. They first made the top 40 in 1964 with “Glad All Over”, which went to #6, and broke through the top 5 with songs like “Because” (#3) and the #1 “Over And Over” from 1965, the last of their five top-5 singles. The group broke up by 1970 as their success in the U.K. faded. They were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2008. There are two living members left: drummer Clark and lead guitarist Lenny Davidson.

One more chart to answer.

One more chart to answer.

01. THE 5TH DIMENSION

This five-piece band is the only mixed group in the pack, three males and two females. The group had a number of moderately successful singles and a handful of top tens, including four top five hits. 1969 remains their peak year on the Hot 100 when the band took two songs to the #1 spot: a medley of “Aquarius” and “Let The Sunshine In” from Hair (six weeks) and “Wedding Bell Blues” (three weeks). They continued to hit into the 70’s, last making the top 40 in 1973 after a total of twenty songs to hit that portion of the chart. They last entered the Hot 100 in 1976 with their first of many lineup changes. The group remains together today with one original member left, Florence LaRue.

For Cinco De Mayo chart trivia and more, keep it here on POP! Goes The Charts by following the blog below or contact me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Growing Pains: The Hits That Hike To New Heights

Grow a pair!

Grow a pair! (Of singles, that is.)

One of the most popular posts in the past week and a half has belonged to Canadian singer Avril Lavigne‘s newest single, “Here’s To Never Growing Up”. The pop ditty is already building feverishly at radio and recently debuted at #52 on the Billboard Hot 100. She may not want to grow up, but other song titles take the affirmative side on the matter. At this point, fourteen songs with the word “grow” (or a variation like “grown”, “grows” or “growing”) have made the top 40 since the Hot 100 began in 1958, meaning Lavigne could potentially have the fifteenth such title to do so. Have these songs aged well or should we leave them in the past? You be the judge.

1962
The first of our big “grow” singles on the list comes from a performer who was successful as an actor before he became a singer, first starring on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1955. By 1962, a then sixteen-year-old Johnny Crawford had charted with a pair of hits before his third, “Your Nose Is Gonna Grow”, went to #14. He last entered the Hot 100 in 1964, then went back into acting and later on joined the Army. He now leads a dance orchestra in California.

1964
Here’s the first of three years where two songs managed to rank in the top 40. After launching hits like “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “Surfin’ U.S.A” into the top ten, the Beach Boys climbed back there in the fall of 1964 with “When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)”. It peaked at #9 on the Hot 100. They consistently hit that region for another two years before things fell apart. They reunited last year for an album and tour before three of its members left the group again.

The second of the two came from New York girl group The Cookies, who were then a trio. Their last of three top 40 hits, “Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys”, rose as high as #33. They’re still together today with a different lineup.

1965
After reaching the top spot with “My Girl” earlier that year, the followup single to it by The Temptations, “It’s Growing”, only went to #18 on the charts. The group would go onto score fifteen top ten hits after that single, mostly from 1966-1973. A remake by singer-songwriter James Taylor from his Covers album reached a peak of #11 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 2009, his biggest at the format in over a decade, but failed to make the Hot 100.

1966
The duo of Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni got together in 1966 under the name Just Us. Their only top 40 single, “I Can’t Grow Peaches On A Cherry Tree”, was also the name of their sole album. The song hit #34 on the Hot 100. Taylor wrote for a number of Country artists afterwards and had one minor top 40 hit on the Country survey in 1975, while Gorgoni played on #1 Hot 100 hits for Melanie, The Archies and The Monkees.

1967
Singer Bobby Vee became a teen idol in early 60’s with big singles like the #1 “Take Good Care Of My Baby” from 1961. His singles faltered as the British Invasion came around, but he had one last hurrah with “Come Back When You Grow Up”, reaching #3 on the Hot 100. It is, thus far, the highest peaking of all the “grow” titles on this list. It was also Vee’s first single credited to Bobby Vee & The Strangers. They last hit in 1970.

Also during the year, pop group The Four Seasons went to #30 with one of their lesser singles, “Watch The Flowers Grow”. It wasn’t until 1975 that the group would reappear in the top ten with the #3 “Who Loves You”.

1970
The first and only “grow” top ten hit during the decade came in the spring, when “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” climbed to a peak of #5 for Edison Lighthouse. It was the group’s only top-40 hit, but lead singer Tony Burrows would also appear on hits by three other bands within that year: “Gimme Dat Ding” by The Pipkins (#9), “My Baby Loves Lovin'” by White Plains (#13) and “United We Stand” by The Brotherhood of Man (#13).

A second more minor song, “Do You See My Love (For You Growing)”, charted for R&B group Jr. Walker & The All-Stars. It rose to #32 and was their last of a dozen top-40 hits. They would continue to make the Hot 100 until 1972.

1971
If you were alive in the 60’s, you probably remember the #1 hit “Honey” from 1968, but for all the wrong reasons. It’s often credited as one of the worst songs of all-time. (I’m not a fan either.) Well, three years after that musical mess, Bobby Goldsboro struck again with a not-so-horrible song, “Watching Scotty Grow”. It went to #11. Goldsboro last hit the top 40 in 1973, but continued to make the Country survey until 1982.

1973
Soul group The 5th Dimension made a name for themselves starting the mid-60’s with a handful of big singles and even more moderate charters. By the mid-70’s, their mainstream success quickly dried up, beginning with this last top-40 single. “Living Together, Growing Together”, the title track from one of their last studio albums, only mustered up to #32. The band still tours today with one founding member, Florence LaRue.

1976
After eight top 5 singles in a row, the streak had to end for the legendary Elton John in 1976 with a double a-sided single that only charted in North America. One of the two songs featured on it was “Grow Some Funk Of Your Own”, which fits our look back, which was backed with “I Feel Like A Bullet (In The Gun Of Robert Ford)”. It peaked at #14 in the United States. He would rebound quite quickly and have many more top ten singles.

1977
The last of the 70’s growers was by Kenny Nolan, who took his second and final top 40 hit to #20, a song called “Love’s Grown Deep”. Nolan had a total of four songs make the Hot 100 through 1980, the biggest of them being the #3 “I Like Dreamin'”. This would be the last top 40 single overall to contain the word “grow” or a variation of it for nearly three decades! Why such a long time? I don’t know, but it kept on growing for over thirty years.

2008
After a dry spell of 31 years, “When I Grow Up” by the Pussycat Dolls hit the national charts, becoming their last top ten single to date with a #9 charting. It led off their sophomore album, Doll Domination. It didn’t dominate, however, and was the beginning of the end for the Dolls as lead singer Nicole Scherzinger began to be credited as a featured artist on their final two Stateside singles. Scherzinger eventually went solo to mixed success.

Check back soon to see how Lavigne’s song ends up doing on the national charts and don’t forget to follow the blog below and find me on Twitter at @AdamFSoybel.

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Boston, You’re My Home: Beantown’s Best After A Marathon Monday Like No Other

Standing strong.

Standing strong.

It’s hard to understand how and why something as horrible as the Boston Marathon tragedy could happen yesterday, leaving two adults and one child dead along with dozens of other injured runners and spectators. However, the love and support that the city has received all across the nation and abroad is really comforting in these sad times. Living about an hour away from Boston, it’s hard to not be affected, especially since it hits so close to home. However, we always recover, and this time will be no different. Things won’t go back to normal immediately, but they will, and we’ll all be stronger because of it. Sometimes music helps to heal us when situations are bad, and so, I thought I’d compile a bit of a post about Boston and the Billboard charts, from successful acts to songs that we take pride in being Bostonians. Maybe you’ll find yourself listening to a few of these as these next few days continue on.

Songs with “Boston” in the title

“Boston”, Augustana (2006)
From San Diego, the song was originally recorded for a small 2003 independent release before making it onto their major label debut, 2005’s All The Stars And Boulevards. It wasn’t until the fall of 2006 that things really took off for the band; with placement on an episode of One Tree Hill, the buzz kept building, and the song eventually gained a ton of airplay. Though it only went to #34 on the Hot 100, it certainly felt bigger around here. It spent six weeks at #1 on my chart. They’ve had some live dates here and there since the beginning of the year.

“Please Come To Boston”, Dave Loggins (1974)
This musician from Tennessee released this tune as the first single from his first album with Epic Records, Apprentice (In A Musical Workshop). It’s best remembered by the opening line, “Please come to Boston for the springtime.” “Please” climbed to #5 on the Hot 100 in 1974 and the #1 spot on the Adult Contemporary survey, becoming the only top-40 hit for Loggins. After his big song, he became a successful songwriter in the world of Country, scoring a #1 duet with Anne Murray in 1984. He hasn’t reached any chart since 1985.

It’s also worth noting that another favorite from the area peaked in the #1 Bubbling Under position back in 2007, the equivalent to #101. That was “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by the Celtic rockers from Quincy, MA, The Dropkick Murphys.

Songs with lyrics associated with Boston

Of course, you don’t have to have the city’s name in your song title to have a charting hit about it. In 1966, the California band named The Standells went to #11 on the Hot 100 with “Dirty Water”. Of course, we all know the famous lyric in that chorus: “Well, I love that dirty water/Boston, you’re my home.” There’s also a lyric towards the beginning of the song about being around the Charles River. It’s been recorded several other times since it was a hit, though the location of it has changed depending on what act’s version you’re listening to.

In 1983, the theme song from Cheers made the Hot 100; that show, of course, was set at the bar of the same name located in the city. The single release title was “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” and it was sung by Gary Portnoy. It likely suffered because nothing on the label of it mentioned the show, and thus, it peaked at a lowly #83. The series ran from 1982 to 1993.

Lastly, Karmin‘s “Hello”, which only got to #62 on the Hot 100 last year, features this rapped lyric: “Touch down in the middle of the city/Mass. Ave Street, jam up to Newbury.” Both of these streets run through Boston.

Acts with Boston in their name

In the history of the Hot 100, only two acts have hits the charts with Boston in their name. The biggest, as you probably know, was simply Boston. The band took a total of ten songs into the Hot 100 beginning with the #5 song “More Than A Feeling” in 1976. Their biggest was “Amanda”, spending two weeks at #1 in 1986. They last charted in 1994. Lead vocalist Brad Delp took his life in 2007.

The only other act on the list is a bit of a surprise, but a well-known group both locally and on a national level. They are the Boston Pops Orchestra. Now, you’re probably wondering how in the heck they made it onto the Hot 100, and the very simple answer is: Beatlemania. The Pops peaked out at #54 in 1964 with a version of “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. The original by The Beatles went to #1 for seven weeks beginning in February; this instrumental held its best position in July.

Of course, these two acts join the dozens of other acts to chart from the Boston area, including Aerosmith, New Kids On The Block and more.

See any songs or are acts I missed on the list? Comment below! For more on the charts, song premieres and other music-related items, keep it here on the blog, or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel, and don’t forget to keep the victims in your thoughts. As President Obama stated yesterday, “Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people. I’m supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city.” Amen to that.

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Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood: A Multitude Of Musical Languages

They' can "Rock"; they have "Style".

Ready to “Rock” out one more.

I thought he was over, but he’s not going quietly, is he? PSY, the hit maker behind the #2 smash, “Gangnam Style”, is back with a new song that’s already burning up social media and climbing on iTunes. The new single, entitled “Gentleman”, is another catchy ditty from the performer that’s primarily sung in Korean, but has a few lines in English, at least more so than what’s in “Style”. Plus, it has its own dance and quirky video, etc., so expect that to at least be another top-40 hit for me. With Billboard changing their Hot 100 formula several months ago to include data from YouTube, it may even go to #1, meaning the magazine will essentially “right their wrongs” for denying “Style” a place at the top. (Although, who knows? With that kind of strategy, every single by him could shoot up to the top now.)

Plenty of performers have sent one song into the top 40 that’s sung in a foreign language: “Dominique” by The Singing Nun, “Macarena” by Los Del Rio, and others. It would basically look like the One-Hit Wonder Hall Of Fame. However, now that PSY is on the verge of another massive success, shall we take a look at those acts who had at least two top-40 hits in another language? It’s quite rare. I could only find three of them since the Hot 100 began in 1958, and like “Gangnam Style” and “Gentleman”, they all have some English lyrics in them. They all charted about twenty years apart from one another. Let’s see who the South Korean singer may be joining in the next few weeks.

THE SANDPIPERS
This trio turned quartet based out of California went through a few name changes before they hit it big, including The Four Seasons (another group took that one  first), The Four Grads and The Grads. However, it was The Sandpipers that gave them success, even though at least one other group at the time was recording under the name. They’re best known for their 1966 remake of the “Guantanamera” (“Woman From Guantánamo”), a Spanish song, which went to #9 in a version adding one middle section in English. Their second single,  a version of “Louie Louie” that was slowed down and translated into Spanish, went to #30. The group had one other top 40 single completely sung in English: “Come Saturday Morning”, from the movie The Sterile Cuckoo. It went to #17 in early 1970. They broke up in 1975.

FALCO
From Austria, Falco had a very successful career in Europe starting in the early 80’s. One of his first hits, 1981’s “Der Kommissar” (“The Commissioner”), couldn’t crack the Hot 100, but an English version by the group After The Fire went to #5 in 1983. It wasn’t until 1986 that he became huge in the U.S. with his #1 smash, “Rock Me Amadeus”, sung primarily in German with some English. It spent three weeks at the top. His followup single, “Vienna Calling”, was remixed for the U.S. market with more background vocalists, one less verse in German and an updated instrumental track, though the album version played in the music video (see above; you can hear the single mix here.) It went to #18, his final charting single here. He died in 1998 at the age of 40 from the injuries he suffered in a motor vehicle accident.

DADDY YANKEE
36-year-old Daddy Yankee (born Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez) has been recording since the early 90’s, but began charting in the U.S. nearly a decade later. The rapper was first featured on the 2004 hit “Oye Mi Canto” by New York rapper N.O.R.E., which went to #12 on the Hot 100. However, that song was essentially a half-English, half-Spanish collaboration record, with his rap falling into the latter category. In addition, he only appears on one version of it. His first solo single to make the Billboard charts, “Gasolina” (“Gasoline”), rose as high as #32 the next year. In 2006, he went a tad higher to #24 with “Rompe” (“Break It”), which was also issued with a remix featuring G-Unit rappers Lloyd Banks and Young Buck, as well as singer Nelly Furtado. He’s bubbled under the Hot 100 as recently as last year.

(NOTE: I was going to include Shakira on the list for her 2005 single “La Tortura” featuring Alejandro Sanz (#23) and her 2010 single “Loca” (#32), but the latter release has an English version and Spanish version that are both credited on the Hot 100 with their respective featured rappers (Dizzee Rascal for the English; El Cata for the Spanish.) Though both went to retail, the English edit was the only one serviced to radio here, so it’s a hard call. She’s still great, though!)

Keep your eye on the charts to see what goes on from here! If any of you can think of any acts that I missed, 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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Consciously Charting: A Reasonable Roundup Of Hits

Even more reasons.

Even more reasons.

As the Pink and Nate Ruess duet, “Just Give Me A Reason”, spends a third week at #1 on my chart, as well as becomes the brand new #1 song on iTunes, I figured it was a good time to dip into the archives to see where it fit among the other voices of “Reason”. It turns out that the song becomes the eleventh title in the history of the Hot 100 (1958 onward) to feature the word and make the top 40. It’s currently at #8 thanks to already strong sales and a major lift at radio. Will it eventually beat some of these reasonable releases? Let’s take a look back at what’s happened so far.

The top tens:
“THE REASON”, Hoobastank (#2, 2004)
After a few years of charting on Alternative radio and one minor crossover single (2002’s “Running Away”), this California band had a huge pop breakthrough with this ballad. It remains the band’s biggest crossover single, spending eight weeks at #1 on CHR radio. They never recovered from the success of it; their singles had lower peaks on rock radio and album sales diminished. They still remain together.

“GIVE ME ONE REASON”, Tracy Chapman (#3, 1996)
In 1988, Chapman released her debut album, a self-titled effort which hit #1 on the strength of the story song “Fast Car”, which went to #6 on the Hot 100. Fast forward to 1996 and in a surprisingly return, “Give” managed to peak even higher with this bluesy number, going so far as the #1 spot on mainstream radio. It also achieved some R&B success. Chapman’s last studio album, Our Bright Future, was released in 2008.

“YOU’RE THE REASON I’M LIVING”, Bobby Darin (#3, 1963)
In an accomplished career full of big hits like “Mack The Knife” and “Splish Splash”, “Living” was another of Darin’s ten top ten and twenty-two top 40 hits between 1958 and 1966. He last made the Hot 100 in 1973 with the #67 “Happy” and died several months later during a heart operation. He received a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2010 Grammy Awards.

“SIXTEEN REASONS”, Connie Stevens (#3, 1960)
Best known as an actress, Stevens starred on the television show Hawaiian Eye from 1959 to 1962. She also appeared in several movies. In 1958, she recorded her first album, and launched several songs onto the Hot 100 over the next few years. This was her biggest single to make the chart. She occasionally directs now.

“LOVE ME FOR A REASON”, The Osmonds (#10, 1974)
The brothers from Utah became huge starting in 1971 with songs like “One Bad Apple” (#1) and “Yo-Yo” (#3), but as fast they took the charts by storm, they were dumped pretty quickly as well. “Love” was their last top ten hit. Brother Donny continued to hit the charts with sister Marie and also as a solo act. The other four brothers took on a Country sound and had some limited success on that survey in the 80’s.

The top forties:
“YOU’RE THE REASON”, Bobby Edwards (#11, 1961)
Edwards was born in Alabama and had a number of regional singles before scoring his biggest hit with Crest Records in 1961. It was one of two singles to make the Hot 100 for him, though “You’re” was the only one to hit the top 40. He retired from music shortly afterwards after his singles failed to chart. He’s still around, currently at the age of 87, though he hasn’t performed live in some time.

“REASON TO BELIEVE (UNPLUGGED)”, Rod Stewart (#19, 1993)
Stewart’s original version of “Believe” was released in 1971 from Every Picture Tells A Story, peaking at #62. It also became the b-side of his #1 hit “Maggie May” after the two swapped sides. However, it finally became a top-40 hit on its own in 1993 when it was released as a single from his MTV Unplugged performance. Stewart’s latest album, Time, is out May 7; believe that it’ll sell well on the album chart.

“ONE GOOD REASON”, Paul Carrack (#28, 1988)
Carrack’s voice has been behind classics for Ace (“How Long”), Mike + The Mechanics (“Silent Running” and “The Living Years”) and Squeeze (“Tempted”), but he scored the most U.S. top-40 hits as a solo act. “Good” was the title track to his third solo album and the followup to “Don’t Shed A Tear”, which went to #9 a few months earlier. Carrack still records and performs today.

“TO GIVE (THE REASON I LIVE)”, Frankie Valli (#29, 1967)
In era where both his solo records and his songs with the Four Seasons were charting concurrently, this became a minor hit for the singer. Shortly after this, he and the group would not make the to 40 again until the mid-70s, when they enjoyed several big charting singles. Valli still performs today and his songs, along with many by the Four Seasons, are featured in the musical Jersey Boys.

“I’LL THINK OF A REASON LATER”, Lee Ann Womack (#38, 1999)
Beginning in 1997, Womack had a string of singles make the top 40 on the Country chart, including this one, which became her fourth #2 on that survey. She finally hit #1 the next year with “I Hope You Dance”. Womack last released an album in 2008, Call Me Crazy, best known for the single “Last Call”. She currently has a new full-length effort in the works.

Honorable Mention: Though this came way before the Hot 100 even existed, one of the best known “Reason” titles is “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons”, which was written back in 1945. A version by Nat King Cole went to #1 when Billboard had a Best Sellers Chart (only ten positions) in early 1947 and versions by Eddy Howard, Dinah Shore and Charlie Spivak also made the top ten.

Keep watching the charts to see how “Just Give Me A Reason” ranks among not only these titles, but the current big national hits as well. For more chart stories just like this, follow the blog using the tab below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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