Tag Archives: Don McLean

A Bakery Of Hits: “Cake” And Other Pop Pastries

Sweet, sweet singles.

Sweet, sweet singles.

After garnering a big add at Z100 in New York City after its premiere earlier this week, it looks like the debut single by DNCE, a song called “Cake By The Ocean”, may provide the perfect recipe for pop radio playlists. The lead singer of the new group brings a familiar name back to the music scene: Joe Jonas, brother of Nick and one of the three Jonas Brothers. The middle Jonas released his solo debut in the fall of 2011, Fastlife, but its two singles, “See No More” and “Just In Love”, just didn’t connect (the former went to #43 at pop radio and the latter didn’t chart) and the set came and went. In 2013, an ill-fated project that brought the brothers back together yielded two more self-released singles, “Pom Poms” (#45) and “First Time” (#36), before a cancelled album and tour derailed the whole thing. That essentially brings us to the current day, as DJ Jonas gets back into singing… and a potential run up the radio listings with a cool chart confection.

Now, you’re not likely going to find a baklava or an éclair or a macaron in the title of a charting single anytime soon, but when a cake comes into the picture, there have been some of those and more top treats providing a nice aroma in the air that we call the musical mesosphere. How will “Cake By The Ocean” fare over the next few weeks and will its chart peak be the icing on it? Will it taste like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, perhaps something else? Mmmm… I’m making myself hungry. Anyways, fresh out of an oven near you, a guide to this latest batch of sweet and successful singles:

* denotes peak from Radio & Records CHR/Pop chart (and later Mediabase 24/7)
** denotes peak from the Billboard Hot 100

CAKES
“Birthday Cake”, Rihanna featuring Chris Brown (#24**/#41*, 2012)
“Cut The Cake”, Average White Band (#10**/#34*, 1975)
“Hot Cakes”, Dave “Baby” Cortez (#91**, 1963)
“Strawberry Shortcake”, Jay & The Techniques (#39**, 1968)
“The Wedding Cake”, Connie Francis (#91**, 1969)

Honorable mention goes to Cake, who almost went top 40 (#44) on R&R in 1999 with “Never There”. A “Poundcake” also hit #1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart in 1991 for Van Halen.

COOKIES
“Cookie Jar”, Gym Class Heroes featuring The-Dream (#47*/#59**, 2008)
“Pink Cookies In A Plastic Bag Getting Crushed By Buildings”, LL Cool J (#96**, 1993)

Don’t forget about Cookie And The Cupcakes and their string of charting singles, or The Cookies and the one top ten hit of their career, 1963’s “Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad (About My Baby)”, a #7 record on the Hot 100.

PIES
“American Pie”, Don McLean (#1**, 1972)
“American Pie”, Madonna (#15*/#29**, 2000)
“Cherry Pie”, Warrant (#10**/#20*, 1990)
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”, Bonnie Pointer (#40**, 1980)
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”, Donnie Elbert (#22**, 1972)
“I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”, The Four Tops (#1**, 1965)
“Sweet Potato Pie”, Domino (#27**, 1994)

Hot Apple Pie made the Country survey about a decade ago, and Humble Pie reached the Hot 100 four times in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Want a slice?

Sweet tooth still has you craving more music? Have a favorite pop pastry from the ones above? Let me know in the comments or on social media by using the “Get Social!” tab.

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Filed under Charts/Trade Papers

Living In America: Four Chart Toppers For The 4th

Celebrating America's birthday.

Celebrating America’s birthday.

Happy Independence Day! It’s been 237 years since we separated from Great Britain and became the independent United States. While you’re bound to find yourself at a cookout or two this weekend and maybe watching a fireworks show, you can also honor the holiday with a little bit of American-made music. In the history of the Hot 100, three songs with “American” in their title (rather than just U.S. or U.S.A.) have made it to #1, all in the 1970’s. For the sake of July 4th, I’ve included an “honorary” #1 that went the top elsewhere, but should’ve made it on Billboard. It’s pretty well-known regardless of what number it actually peaked at. So, raise your flag in one hand and your spatula in the other, because these chart smashes are grilling and smoking hot:

“American Woman”, The Guess Who (1970)
Here’s the only act on the list that isn’t actually from the United States. They formed in Canada and first made the American charts in 1965, though they weren’t regularly reaching the Hot 100 until 1969. The following year, this song came out, and ruled for three weeks, becoming their biggest hit. They last hit the Hot 100 in 1975 before lead singer Burton Cummings pursued a solo career to much success in his native Canada and more limited charting in the United States. A version of “Woman” by Lenny Kravitz was featured in the 1999 movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. It was a minor hit.

“American Pie”, Don McLean (1971)
It was an ode to “The Day The Music Died” in 1959, an eight-and-a-half minute story song that swept over the charts at the end of 1971. It was the debut single on the Hot 100 for New Rochelle, NY born Don McLean and it eventually spent four weeks at #1 in January and Feburary 1972, ranking as the third biggest song of the year. Many have tried to interpret all the characters and situations that McLean’s lyrics have to offer, but he won’t give a straight answer as to what it all actually means. A version by Madonna from the soundtrack to The Next Best Thing made the top 40 in the spring of 2000.

“We’re An American Band”, Grand Funk (1973)
The Michigan band led by Don Brewer originally formed in 1969 and very quickly became a popular album act with only a handful of mid-charting top 40 singles through the year 1972. Their fortune soon changed in 1973 when the title single from their seventh album, We’re An American Band, went to #1 for one week in September. They eventually changed their name to the fuller Grand Funk Railroad and continued to make the top ten. Their hit streak abruptly shut off in 1975 and with their album sales faltering, the group split shortly afterwards, though they’re back together and still playing live today.

“Theme From The Greatest American Hero (Believe It Or Not)”, Joey Scarbury (1981)
The series starring William Katt debuted in the spring of 1981 and just weeks afterwards, this theme song from it was already in the top 40. Recorded by Joey Scarbury, it was composed by another top 40 artist, Mike Post, who also charted with the themes to The Rockford Files and Hill Street Blues. Although the song made it to #1 on Billboard’s competitors at the time, Cashbox Magazine (August 8, one week) and Radio & Records (July 24, one week), it got stuck in the #2 slot for two weeks on the Hot 100, believe it or not. His followup single missed the top 40 later that year and he never charted again.

For more patriotic pop music posts, follow the blog below and find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel. Have a great day!

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Filed under Playlists, Retro