Tag Archives: Bobby Darin

Syne Of The Times: Out With The Auld, In With The New

It's a "Lang" thang.

It’s a “Lang” thang.

It’s almost time for the New Year’s celebrations — time to be with friends and family and toast to 2014’s beginning, hopefully a good one at that. While tonight you’re gonna party like it’s 2013 (while it still is, of course!) one of the songs you’re bound to hear, whether on the television or sung by a crowd, is “Auld Lang Syne”. Popularized in a poem by Scottish writer Robert Burns in 1788, its use as a New Year’s anthem originates somewhere in the 20th century, even though the song itself is more about a general companionship and not exclusively about the holiday. As with any post on here, “Auld” has made its way onto the charts in several decades, so “take a cup of kindness yet” and sip on these songs:

“Christmas Auld Lang Syne”, Bobby Darin (#51, 1960)
After hits like “Dream Lover” and “Mack The Knife” the previous year, Darin charted with this around the holidays, which was the same melodically but with altered lyrics to create a more Christmas-themed record. The result was just a minor entry on the Hot 100, but he would be back in the top 40 a few months later with a cover of “(Up A) Lazy River”.

“Same Old Lang Syne”, Dan Fogelberg (#9, 1981)
Singer-songwriter Fogelberg’s first single from The Innocent Age was another of his tender ballads and went as high as #9 on the Hot 100. The song is based on the performer’s chance meeting with an old girlfriend on Christmas Eve in 1975. Most stations only play this song around the holidays nowadays, but truth be told, “Same” actually peaked in February.

“Auld Lang Syne (The Millenium Mix)”, Kenny G (#7, 2000)
Kenneth Gorelick made a name for himself with his saxophone in the 80’s and 90’s, and this rendition, which was mixed in with audio bits of significant 20th century events, was big. The album version ran almost eight minutes, and the edit was just under five. I heard this mix on the radio a total of one time, and that was one more time than I needed to hear it.

Beyond these three songs, there are a number of other songs that name-check “Auld” in their lyrics. One of the biggest came in 1999, when Will Smith rapped, “Get ready to hum “Auld Lang Syne” / ‘Cause a person that know the words is hard to find,” in one of his last top 40 (#25) hits, “Will 2K”. Plus, with many more covers from acts like the Beach Boys and Mariah Carey, you can get your fill and then some. Just consume responsibly.

Happy New Year to all you PGTC readers and see you in 2014!

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Take A Bite Out Of This: Your Official Shark Week Playlist

Fishin' for songs.

Fishin’ for songs.

If you’re a fan of aquatic adventures and the terrors that lie underneath the sea, then you’re probably glued to the Discovery Channel for their annual Shark Week, full of original content about those curious creatures. The extravaganza continues at 9PM Eastern tonight with a few new specials, including Sharkpocalypse (because we really needed it.) Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the sharks have also showed up in a handful of popular singles over the past few decades, although I’d like to think this retrospective is a little safer to dive into. So, grab a towel and dry off with this playlist that’s making waves:

“Mack The Knife”, Bobby Darin (#1, 1959)
Going way back to the late 50’s, “Knife” originates from the show The Threepenny Opera, which originally debuted in an English translation in the U.S. in 1933. A New York City revival in the mid-50’s won a Tony Award and played for over 2,000 performances. While Louis Armstrong recorded a cover in 1956, the song is mostly identified as one of Darin’s signature songs, going to #1 on the Hot 100 for six weeks.

“Mr. Jaws”, Dickie Goodman (#4, 1975) / “Main Title from Jaws, John Williams and His Orchestra (#32, 1975)
Jaws Fever swept over the U.S. during the summer of 1975, but it was a song that added a comical twist to the shark film that was all over the charts. Goodman had been producing his classic break-in records for years, with a reporter on scene at a significant event asking questions, with clips of hit songs placed as the answers. Using samples of songs by the Bee Gees and the Eagles, it was a smash, anchoring down at #4.

The theme from the movie itself was also a top 40 hit for Williams, one of the best film composers, but he would have bigger successes with the themes from Close Encounters Of A Third Kind and Star Wars.

“Fins”, Jimmy Buffett (#35, 1979)
Buffett’s last top 40 hit on the Hot 100 talks about a girl who “came down from Cincinnati” only to have sharks “schoolin’ around” her at the bar. It was the first song to be released from his album Volcano, and it went to #35 in November. He still plays it at nearly all of his concerts. The now 66-year-old Buffett will be releasing his 27th studio album, Songs From St. Elsewhere, on August 20 via his own Mailboat Records.

“Shooting Shark”, Blue Öyster Cult (#83, 1984)
Best known for their 1976 hit, “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” as well as the minor single “Burnin’ For You” from 1981, the quintet pulled off one last charting single in this leadoff release from The Revölution by Night. It peaked in early 1984, and though it didn’t do well on the pop survey, it did go top 20 on the Rock chart. The band is still together under a different lineup, but there’s been no new material from them since 2001.

“Shark In The Water”, V.V. Brown (#67, 2010)
This song by Brown is the closest we’ve come to having a top 40 hit with “Shark” in the title. It also became a minor hit in several European countries, and also has the distinction of going to #1 on my personal chart. It was her only charting single. After a shelved second album under Capitol Records, she parted ways with the label, going independent for a full-length album due in September. It’s called Samson & Delilah.

If that bait didn’t get you, how about rocking out to some Great White or Hammerhead? They’re two of the few acts that named themselves after types of sharks, and that’s going to do it for this wade into the chart waters.

For more chart trivia to sink your teeth into, follow the blog below or find us on Facebook and Twitter by clicking on the widgets at right. Thanks!

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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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