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NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: Releases For The Week of November 23, 2018

Fall in “Love” this Thanksgiving.

Pass the turkey, stuffing and the new albums… it might be a slow date, but these are the notable digital and physical releases out this Friday:

RITA ORA – Phoenix (iTunes)
Ora has largely struggled with a U.S. audience; her latest radio single, “Let You Love Me”, is charting below the top 40 at Top 40 radio. Still, as one of the bigger titles this week, it could attain a decent debut on the Billboard 200 list.

Notable albums out this week: Amy Macdonald‘s Woman Of The World: The Best Of 2007-2018 (iTunes), Chic‘s The Chic Organization: 1977-1979 (iTunes), Cliff Richard‘s Rise Up (iTunes), Take That‘s Odyssey (iTunes), William Beckmann‘s Outskirts Of Town (iTunes), 10 Years Of Mom+Pop (iTunes)

Notable EPs out this week: Hunter Hayes‘s This Christmas (iTunes), Ward Davis‘s Asunder (iTunes)

New digital singles that you can buy this week include:
“1999 (Michael Calfan Remix)”, Charli XCX featuring Troye Sivan (iTunes)
“Ballers And Skaters”, Luke Christopher (iTunes)
“Bite My Tongue”, Sam Bluer (iTunes)
“Body”, Glowie featuring Saweetie (iTunes)
“Business”, Call Me Loop (iTunes)
“Cheering For Me Now”, John Kander & Lin-Manuel Miranda (iTunes)
“Come Out And Play”, Billie Eilish (iTunes)
“Control”, Feder featuring Bryce Vine & Dan Caplen (iTunes)
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, Brett Eldredge (iTunes)
“Don’t Call Me Back”, LA WOMEN (iTunes)
“Friends”, Jai Waetford (iTunes)
“Gold & Blue”, Van Bellman (iTunes)
“Goodbye (R3HAB Remix)”, Jason Derulo x David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj & Willy William (iTunes)
“It Is What It Is”, RuthAnne (iTunes)
“Kelly”, Kelly Rowland (iTunes)
“LA On A Saturday Night (Acoustic)”, Hearts & Colors (iTunes)
“Lay Your Worry Down (Acoustic Version)”, Milow featuring Matt Simons (iTunes)
“Leave Me Lonely”, Hilltop Hoods (iTunes)
“Mine”, VINCINT (iTunes)
“New Crowned King”, Cody Simpson (iTunes)
“Not At Peace”, Ria Mae (iTunes)
“On The 5 (RAC Remix)”, Winnetka Bowling League (iTunes)
“Perfect To Me (Back N Fourth Remix)”, Anne-Marie (iTunes)
“Piano Man (BBC Live)”, Tom Odell (iTunes)
“Polaroid (Acoustic)”, Jonas Blue, Liam Payne & Lennon Stella (iTunes)
“Reel It In (Remix)”, Aminé featuring Gucci Mane (iTunes)
“Run In The Rain (Acoustic)”, Tom Grennan (iTunes)
“Solitude”, JXN (iTunes)
“Stand Out Fit In”, ONE OK ROCK (iTunes)
“Stuck In The Middle”, Mike Posner (iTunes)
“Sundress”, A$AP Rocky (iTunes)
“Testify”, Jamie Lawson (iTunes)
“Thursday (Acoustic)”, Jess Glynne (iTunes)
“Use Me”, Shaggy (iTunes)
“Vámonos”, Kris Kross Amsterdam, Ally Brooke & Messiah (iTunes)
“When We Were Young”, M-Phazes featuring Luke Steele (iTunes)
“Zombie Bastards”, Weezer (iTunes)

Next week: look out for new albums from Alessia Cara, Clean Bandit, The 1975 and more. For Adam’s personal picks of the week, listen to the PGTC Friday Faves list on Spotify!

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Eurovisions Of Paradise: From The Song Contest To The States

Thank you for the music.

Thank you for the music.

Once a year, dozens of European nations come together for the Eurovision Song Contest, in which each country picks an act who performs their song live on television, after which they are voted upon and a winner is crowned. This year, the Contest is being held in the city of Malmö, Sweden, with a tagline of “We Are One”. 39 countries are participating in this event, and after two semi-finals earlier this week, that pack is down to 26, who will perform in the live final later on today. You can stream it at Eurovision’s official website or if you’re outside of North America, you can probably find a national broadcaster that will air the show on television.

In the U.S., we generally aren’t in the loop with what goes on at Eurovision. We don’t even have our own Amerivision where all fifty states could participate in a contest such as this. (Wouldn’t that be fun?) Despite this, we’ve seen established acts in the United States go onto success at the annual contest. Cliff Richard and Katrina & The Waves have both scored highly for the United Kingdom with their original songs, though those specific compositions were never issued in the States. In 1988, future superstar Celine Dion, representing for Switzerland, won that year’s contest with the French song “Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi” (“Don’t Leave Without Me”), competing against Luxembourg’s Lara Fabian, best known for her 2000 single, “I Will Love Again”. This year, German dance and electronic act Cascada, who hit the top ten here in 2006 with “Everytime We Touch”, will be competing for Germany with “Glorious”, which has yet to see a release here. There have also been a few cases of songs that did well at Eurovision that became hits in the United States in an alternate version or cover. For example, fourth-place entry at the 1967 Contest, “L’amour Est Bleu” by Luxembourg’s Vicky Leandros, became a #1 on the Hot 100 the following year in an instrumental version by Paul Mauriat, “Love Is Blue”.

To date, only four finalists from the Eurovision Song Contest have ever made the top 40 on the Hot 100 in their original form by the original artist or band. Remember these pop ditties?

“Nel Blu Dipino Di Blu (Volare)”, Domenico Modugno (#1, 1958) [English: “In The Blue-Painted Sky (I Will Fly)”]
Though the Eurovision Song Contest began in 1956, it gained worldwide popularity two years later when this song competed in it. Though Italy’s entry only made it to third place, it became a smash hit in the United States, spending five non-consecutive weeks at #1 on the then-newly created Hot 100, becoming the top song of the year. Furthermore, it also received Record and Song Of The Year honors at the very first GRAMMY Awards in 1959. Modugno would only ever chart one other song in the U.S., his next year’s entry in the Contest: “Piove (Ciao, Ciao Bambina)” (#97). [English: “It’s Raining (Bye, Bye Baby)”.]

“Waterloo”, ABBA (#6, 1974)
Here’s the biggest act to come out of Eurovision with the amount of international success that the group has had. Back in 1974, the quartet competed with their debut single, “Waterloo”, and it won the Contest by six points, giving the country their first ever win. Released in both English and Swedish versions, the song did very well all over Europe and also cracked the top ten in the U.S., going as high as #6. ABBA would have a total of fourteen songs hit the Hot 100’s top 40, with “Dancing Queen” going to #1 in 1977, their biggest single. They last charted in 1982 and have never created new material together since that date.

“Save Your Kisses For Me”, Brotherhood Of Man (#27, 1976)
You may recall that this group first made the top 40 in the U.S. as a quintet with their song “United We Stand”. It went to #13 during the summer of 1970. Six years later, a totally revamped group reduced to a quartet, all new members, won that year’s Eurovision Song Contest for the United Kingdom, and became so popular that it registered a minor charting here nationally, as well as a #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Though it reignited their career in their homeland for several more years, this was it for them in the U.S., and the song quickly faded away. The quartet is still together today and play live on occasion.

“Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit”, Gina G (#11, 1997)
Australian-born Gina G was the United Kingdom’s pick for the 1996 Eurovision Contest, though her song ranked in 8th place when all was said and done. However, it did climb to #1 in the United Kingdom, the last single (thus far) by any participating act from the U.K. to hit #1 on that country’s Singles Chart. Several months later, the song charted in the United States, becoming a top ten radio hit and a #11 smash on the Hot 100. Though she had a string of large singles overseas, she only charted one more time here with the #46 “Gimme Some Love” in the summer of 1997. She’s largely done with recording and performing.

Check out the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest when it airs later today. I’m personally rooting for Denmark, Finland, Ireland and the United Kingdom! Let me know your picks in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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What Fiscal Cliff? Here’s Four That Fell Off (The Charts, That Is)

It's all in the name.

It’s all in the name.

By now, you’ve probably been hearing about the Fiscal Cliff if you’re in the States, with potential tax hikes and government cuts coming at the end of the year, but hey, this isn’t a blog about politics unless it’s about the politics of the music industry. Here are four Cliffs that you may find a little bit more entertaining than the one you’ve been hearing about almost every day on the news.

CLIFF DEYOUNG
Cliff DeYoung, best known for his role in the movie Sunshine, scored his only top-40 hit with a song from that a film, a cover of the John Denver track “My Sweet Lady”. It got to #17 on the Hot 100 in 1974. DeYoung did more film work after scoring his one hit single.

CLIFF NOBLES
In 1968, R&B singer Cliff Nobles released a vocal single entitled “Love Is All Right”, but it didn’t become a hit. However, the instrumental backing, dubbed “The Horse”, of which Nobles didn’t sing or play a note of, became a huge hit, rising to #2 on the Hot 100 during the same year. Nobles is credited for two other charting singles that were also instrumentals: “Horse Fever” (#68, 1968) and “Switch It On” (#93, 1969).

CLIFF RICHARD
It wouldn’t be a topic of Cliffs without mentioning the king of them all, Cliff Richard. With sixty-nine top ten hits in the United Kingdom stretching way back to 1958, he’s one of the most successful singers of all-time… except for in the United States. Though his single “Living Doll” reached a modest #30 in 1959 and “It’s All In The Game” a better #25 in 1964, that was the extent of his hits until 1976, when he scored a surprise comeback smash with the #6 “Devil Woman”. His commercial peak came beginning in the fall of 1979 when he scored five top-40 hits in a row, including the #7 “We Don’t Talk Anymore” in 1979 and the #10 “Dreaming” in 1980. Richard’s last top-40 hit, a remake of the oft-covered “Daddy’s Home”, reached a high of #23 in 1982, while his last Hot 100 entry, “Never Say Die (Give A Little Bit More)”, came the following year in 1983. It only reached #73. Richard was in the U.K. Singles Chart as recent as 2009.

JIMMY CLIFF
This Jamaican singer with surname Cliff first charted at age 21 when he peaked at #25 on the Hot 100 with “Wonderful World, Beautiful People”. After one minor followup single in 1970, he disappeared from the charts, but reemerged twenty-three years later at age 45 when his remake of “I Can See Clearly Now” from the soundtrack of Cool Runnings hit a high of #18. You may also recognize his voice from the single version of “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King. It was a minor Adult Contemporary entry in 1995.

Have a favorite by any of the four? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel. Until then, keep enjoying that Fiscal Cliff coverage. It may have a longer shelf life than even Cliff Richard’s career.

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