Tag Archives: Billboard

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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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Music News, Retro

12-12-12: Decades Full Of Dozens

Something about those twelves.

Something about those twelves.

Today marks an important date when it comes to numbers: 12/12/12. December 12, 2012. It’s not going to happen again until December 12, 2112, if the Mayans are wrong, that is. It’s not like there’s going to be a 13/13/13, unless we get an extra month somehow. I guess anything could happen. To celebrate this momentous occasion, here are some lists of my favorite #12-peaking songs throughout the decades. All data comes from the archives of the Billboard Hot 100. For now, it’s the 1970’s and 1980’s, though I may update this post with a 1990’s playlist later on. There are plenty of songs that still get regular airplay today on your classic hits and classic rock-formatted radio stations, while others have been gone from radio stations for many years now, maybe even since the end of the songs initial release. It was so hard to narrow the songs down when so many charted way back when, so even if you don’t see your favorites in here, just know that I did go through everything that I could. That being said, I’m sure you’ll remember most of the well. Let’s dig into these dozens, shall we?

THE 1970’S
1970: Charles Wright and The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm BandExpress Yourself
You’ve probably heard this one sampled in an advertisement lately for Windows 8. It’s a funky soul classic, which has been remixed into several tracks, including a 1989 single by N.W.A. of the same name.

1972: Don McLeanVincent
It doesn’t compare to his ode about “the day the music died”, but it’s still a good track from his earlier period. This, of course, was a tribute to artist Vincent van Gogh.

1972: EaglesTake It Easy
Before their stay at the Hotel California, the group charted with this classic rock radio regular. They’d chart with bigger singles in just a few years.

1973: Elton JohnSaturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
One of the Rocket Man’s rockier numbers. It missed the top ten, but people remember it like it did nowadays.

1974: Bachman-Turner OverdriveTakin’ Care Of Business
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. One of the Canadian’s band best chart successes, even though their only top ten hit was a #1 tune from the same year.

1975: KISSRock and Roll All Nite (Live)
Prepare to paint your face. This was the breakthrough hit from the Big Apple rockers, which is still remembered well.

1975: QueenKiller Queen
First big hit for Freddy Mercury and the boys, which showed off their dramatic style, as well as some excellent instrumentation. It’s also one of the few times a band’s name was featured in the name of the single.

1976: Peter FramptonBaby, I Love Your Way (Live)
From the huge album Frampton Comes Alive, this one remains a big hit on the airwaves today. It became a bigger hit for the group Big Mountain in 1994.

1976: Thin LizzyThe Boys Are Back in Town
One of the first big songs in the Irish rock movement. This one endures very well, even though they’re a one-hit wonder here in the States.

1978: Chris ReaFool (If You Think It’s Over)
Rea usually gets some seasonal airplay overseas with his song “Driving Home For Christmas”, but this was his only major U.S. hit, a pop ballad.

1979: G.Q.Disco Nights (Rock Freak)
A disco classic with plenty of funky guitar and synthesizers. It was later sampled in a number of songs, including 1989’s “I Beg Your Pardon” by Canadian group Kon Kan.

1979: Nick LoweCruel to Be Kind
As new wave rolled in in the late 70’s, Lowe scored his only hit to date, a great pop tune.

Twelve More Twelves:
1971: The Staple SingersRespect Yourself
1973: Bob DylanKnockin’ On Heaven’s Door
1973: The Moody BluesI’m Just A Singer (In A Rock ‘N’ Roll Band)
1974: Jim StaffordMy Girl Bill
1975: Barry ManilowIt’s A Miracle
1975: J. Geils BandMust Of Got Lost
1976: Bay City RollersI Only Want To Be With You (strangely enough, Dusty Springfield‘s original also hit #12!)
1977: Dave MasonWe Just Disagree
1978: ABBAThe Name Of The Game
1978: Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet BandHollywood Nights
1978: Gerry RaffertyRight Down The Line
1979: Cheryl LynnGot To Be Real

THE 1980’s
1980: The JacksonsLovely One
After their big dance hits in the late 70’s, the group remained on a disco kick in 1980 when “One” rose on the charts. It has a great groove.

1981: Climax Blues BandI Love You
First dance at the wedding, anyone? This tender ballad has been a favorite for many lovebirds throughout the years.

1982: Fleetwood MacGypsy
Wonderful track from their album Mirage with Stevie Nicks taking on the lead vocals. This was their last top-20 hit from the album.

1983: Def LeppardPhotograph
One of the big breakthroughs of the “Rock 40” era, the band continued to have success well beyond their first rockin’ hit.

1983: Elton JohnI’m Still Standing
Good song with an even better message about staying strong. Fun video in the hot summer sun too.

1984: The CarsMagic
The band from Boston scored this one off of their album Heartbeat City. It’s a memorable pop song from what could be their best LP.

1985: ForeignerThat Was Yesterday
Doesn’t really stack up to anything they put out in the 70’s, but it’s enjoyable. Much more dark and haunting than their usual fare.

1986: Boys Don’t CryI Wanna Be A Cowboy
One of the odd spoken word records to hit the charts during the decade. It’s a catchy song, but extremely dated-sounding.

1987: Level 42Lessons In Love
Though it didn’t fully duplicate the top ten success of “Something About You”, this was another solid single by the band, who would never make the top 40 in the U.S. again.

1988: D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh PrinceParents Just Don’t Understand
Remember when rap music was fun and playful? The first big hit for Will Smith saw him chasing after girls and crashing his parents’ new car.

1988: Lita FordKiss Me Deadly
Just to prove that girls could rock in the 80’s, Ford’s anthem was rough and tough, inspiring a new generation of ferocious females. Ford would have several other songs chart in the next few years.

1989: Howard JonesEverlasting Love
He’s had much bigger, but this was a really pleasant song that also cracked the top ten on the airplay chart. Jones never had a single as big as this one for the rest of his career.

Twelve More Twelves:
1983: Adam AntGoody Two Shoes
1983: Prince & The Revolution1999
1984: New EditionMr. Telephone Man
1984: “Weird Al” YankovicEat It
1985: Ashford & SimpsonSolid
1986: Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet BandLike A Rock
1986: Culture ClubMove Away
1987: Cyndi LauperWhat’s Going On
1987: Glenn MedeirosNothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You
1987: Motley CrueGirls, Girls, Girls
1988: ErasureChains Of Love
1989: Tom PettyI Won’t Back Down

Hope you enjoy all the memories! Thanks for checking in on all these twelves.

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SINGLE REVIEW: Phillip Phillips – “Gone, Gone, Gone”

Phillip Phillips: Over the Moon.

Phillip Phillips would probably tell you that he’s had an excellent 2012. After winning the latest season of American Idol back in May, his winning single, “Home”, became a huge and enduring hit in the States, still in the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100. That position, no doubt, was bolstered by the song’s placement during The Olympics coverage about the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team. It’s only the second debut top ten single at Top 40 radio for an Idol winner, the first one being “A Moment Like This” way back in 2002 for first season winner and now superstar Kelly Clarkson. With its folky sound and simple lyric, it’s been one of the leaders during a shift at radio where more left-of-center songs are becoming crossover successes, Phillips being one of them, even if he’s coming from such a mainstream show. So many people can just relate to the song and wanting to be in a place that’s their own. In short, he’s more than just a white guy with a guitar. He can do that and make hit singles that stand out in the market.

The second single off of his recent top 5 album, The World From The Side Of The Moon, will go to radio in early 2013 and the selection is “Gone, Gone, Gone”. The song was co-written by three people: Derek Furhmann, former lead singer of the band Omnisoul (you may remember their minor single from 2005, “Waiting (Save Your Life)”), Todd Clark, and Gregg Wattenberg, who has also worked with Daughtry, Five For Fighting, O.A.R. and Train. It was also produced by Wattenberg.

Now, titles with the same word repeated three times can be tricky. Some have become big hits in the U.S. with a good amount of longevity: “Baby-Baby-Baby”, “Bye, Bye, Bye”, “Fun, Fun, Fun”, “Say, Say, Say”, “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, etc. Some don’t and drop like a rock after they peak: “Blah, Blah, Blah”, “Money, Money, Money”, “Shame, Shame, Shame”, and the list goes on, but that’s a risk that Phillips is going to have to take with this release, which I’m sure he’s hoping ends up in the former category.

(By the way, trivia buffs, Phillips isn’t the first act to include the word “gone” three times in a song title that hit the top 40. Can you name the other? Find out the answer below. Hint: it has to do with the subtitle.)

Some critics have compared this second Phillips single to the band Mumford & Sons and their sound, which it certainly does vocally for the singer, but in terms of the arrangement, it sounds to me like more of something that the John Butler Trio would do. Whatever you compare it to, it’s a solid recording, combining some guitar, building drums, and a few faint strings in the background. Phillips sings about how he’ll be around even in times of danger, like “when enemies are at your door / I’ll carry you away from war.” Now, honestly, I’m not sure how much Phillips bench presses, but I wouldn’t advise picking up someone if they’re much heavier than he is. Nothing worse than throwing out your back, right? Phillips does make the ultimatum, however, that the girl has to do the same for him, and if he trusts in that, than he shall go through with it and protect her. The chorus provides a needed burst of energy, where the singer promises his girl that he’ll love her “long after you’re gone gone gone,” even when she’s been dismissed by other men. He also mentions something about a well being empty, but does anybody really use well water anymore? I mean, does the girl live like way out in the boondocks, because that probably isn’t going to fly for someone with national television exposure. Just sayin’.

Jokes aside, this is already a much stronger release than “Home”, just because it packs more of a punch than that safer lead single. It also cleverly incorporates the line, “Like a drum baby / Don’t stop beating”, amidst the noise of some banging drums. I don’t know if I would use it as a pick-up line, but I’ve heard worse. If you’re already a fan of Phillips, than you’ve heard this song at least a few times already. If you’re not a big fan of “Home”, than perhaps you should give the singer another shot with this release. The hook has a great sing along quality and I can already tell that it’s going to be a superb driving song. Get ready to crank it up on your stereo.

As for whether or not the song will actually be a hit or not, it’ll probably be a mid-charter, and prove those wrong that thought “Home” was a fluke. Once again, it’ll do best at Hot Adult Contemporary radio, where “Home” is still #2. His body of work is already stronger than some of the other works of other similar-type Idol winners (I’m looking at you, David Cook, Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze) but how high it climbs will probably be a matter of how long the folk sound is a relevant trend at mainstream radio. It’ll last through the GRAMMY Awards (where The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons are nominated), but after that, anything can and will change. We’ll just have to see if Phillips finds that “home” is where the chart is. –AFS

(Trivia: Did you guess what other song is long “gone” off the charts, but managed to used the word three times in its title? It’s “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)”, which became the first top-40 hit for Canadian band Chilliwack in 1981. It just missed the top 20 on the Hot 100.)

Think another song should have been the next single? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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