Tag Archives: Eurythmics

BEHIND THE GROOVE: Better Off A Clone

That beat hits "Hard".

That beat hits “Hard”.

He may not create the most original production numbers, but somehow, he manages to keep cranking out the hits with no stop in sight. That would be the work of 45-year-old David Guetta, the DJ and producer originally from Paris, France. He’s collaborated with the top names in music, becoming one of the most recognizable names on the pop scene today. His latest single, “Play Hard”, features R&B singer Akon and Ne-Yo. It’s already charted internationally, with top ten peaks in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, just to name a few of the countries. Now, it’s headed for the United States this summer. “Hard” is based around a dance sample that you may recognize that also has some roots in the 80’s pop scene. Let’s go behind the groove and see how this record was spun together.

The vocal sample:
“Here Comes The Rain Again”, Eurythmics (#4, 1984)
Annie Lennox and David Stewart made quite a name for themselves in the 1980’s, forming as Eurythmics in 1980 after splitting from their bands at the time. The two are best known for their 1983 single, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)”. It went to #1 on the Hot 100 in the fall. “Here Comes The Rain Again” was the third chart single for the duo, which mixed new wave production with the strings of a disco record, marrying them into a dramatic pop sound. The song debuted on the national charts just after the new year in 1984, peaking at #4 in late March and became their second biggest hit behind “Dreams”. They last hit the Hot 100 in 1989 with a minor single, though they’ve reunited on two occasions after taking a hiatus in 1990 to small sales. Both have also seen solo success, most notably for Lennox in the mid-90’s.

Followed by:
“Better Off Alone”, Alice Deejay (#27, 2000)
This group out of the Netherlands consisted of a pack of disc jockeys and producers, as well as one singer, Judith Pronk, who is heard on this recording and throughout their sole album, Who Needs Guitars Anyway? The group interpolated one phrase out of “Rain”, the simple “talk to me”, which was plucked out of the line “Talk to me like lovers do.” Combined with one other line, “Do you think you’re better off alone?”, and a thumping post-disco production, “Better Off Alone” became an international smash for the group. While it got a lot of play in major cities here in the United States, it didn’t catch on on a national level, and only peaked at #27 on the Hot 100 that summer. “Back In My Life”, the followup single to it, got limited mainstream airplay and a top 30 peak on the Dance/Club Play Chart. They broke up in 2002.

Samplers:
“Say Yeah”, Wiz Khalifa (#119, 2008)
After putting out a few mixtapes and independent albums, rapper Khalifa signed to Warner Brothers Records in 2007. “Say Yeah” was the first song to sample Alice Deejay‘s dance ditty, looping the instrumental part of it, but with little promotion, the song bubbled under the Hot 100 at #111 before falling off the radar. It was his only single to be released with the label as the two parties had disputes over promoting what would have been his major label record, First Flight. After parting with them in 2009, he soon signed to Atlantic Records and went to #1 on the Hot 100 with “Black And Yellow” in 2011. Though it appears the promotion of his latest album, O.N.I.F.C., has been halted after two singles, he still appears as a featured artist on Sean Kingston‘s newest release, “Beat It”, which also features Chris Brown.

“Play Hard”, David Guetta featuring Akon and Ne-Yo (2013)
Now, we come to 2013 and find this collaboration. David Guetta has been hitting in the U.S. charts since 2008 to varied success with an array of solo males and females. Guetta’s 2011 album, Nothing But The Beat, has been rereleased two times since it first came out. Five singles from that original album made it onto the Hot 100, including top ten hits with Nicki Minaj, Sia and Usher. A second collaboration with Sia from the 2.0 edition failed here several months ago, and now this seventh overall single from it goes to radio in about two and a half weeks. Akon, our favorite screeching cat, hasn’t gone top ten in three years – since the last song he did with Guetta, “Sexy Chick”. Ne-Yo‘s “Let Me Love You” went to #4 late last year, but a followup single failed, so it’s a mixed bag here. Stay tuned to see what happens with this.

For more on your favorite music, from sampling to singles to statistics, keep it here on the blog or follow me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

Leave a comment

Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Music News

Home “Sweet” Home: A Collection Of Chart Candy

This sweet talkin' woman won't slow down.

This sweet talkin’ woman won’t slow down.

It’s still gaining on the radio even if it’s fallen back a bit on the Hot 100, but the single between producer Calvin Harris and singer Florence Welch is a hit, “Sweet Nothing”. It peaked at #1 in the United Kingdom back in October, but we’re always late when it comes to these kind of songs from overseas. In fact, “Nothing” peaked at #10 on the Hot 100 just last week. Today, we’ll be taking a look at some pretty sweet facts when it comes to these pop confections. Although we had some “sweet” singles in the 60’s like Brenda Lee‘s similarly titled “Sweet Nothin’s” (#4, 1960) and Neil Diamond‘s “Sweet Caroline” (#6, 1969), this list will be focused on those songs that hit the charts since 1970. The Harris/Welch collaboration marks the 25th song to pull off the feat since then. Get ready to sink your teeth into this.

(Information is based on the Hot 100 from 1970-1989. The Radio & Records airplay chart is used after 1990.)

THE 70’s
The 70’s were the sweetest of the decades of the list with eleven different top ten singles. Of them, only one went to the #1, the very first of them: “My Sweet Lord”, the 1970 single by George Harrison. It held down the top for three official charts and a one-week holiday break for a combined amount of four weeks. Another went as high as #3: Tony Orlando and Dawn‘s “Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose?” from 1973. Four top ten titles from 1971 featured the word “sweet” in them, the most of any year regardless of the decade on this list. They were “Sweet Hitch-Hiker” by Creedence Clearwater Revival (#6), “Sweet And Innocent” by Donny Osmond (#7), “Sweet Mary” by Wadsworth Mansion (#7) and “Sweet City Woman” by The Stampeders (#8). The latter two acts are generally considered one-hit wonders, though The Stampeders would find their way back to the top 40 for a grand total of one week in 1975 with a cover of “Hit The Road Jack”.

Of the other five, three were by groups: Commodores (“Sweet Love” – #5 in 1976), Lynyrd Skynyrd (“Sweet Home Alabama” – #8 in 1974) and Rufus with Chaka Khan (“Sweet Thing” – #5 in 1976). Two singer-songwriters finish our look at the decade: Carole King, who went to #9 in 1972 with “Sweet Seasons”, and James Taylor, who in 1975 went to #5 with his remake of “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)”. The original version by Marvin Gaye went to #6 ten years prior. A third version by Jr. Walker & the All Stars just missed the top ten in 1966.

THE 80’s
The sugar lingered into the electronic 80’s with another eight “sweet” top tens, including two #1 songs in “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” by Eurythmics (1983) and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses (1988). Another two besides those chart-toppers were the debut top-40 singles on the Hot 100 for the respective two acts. In 1981, Franke and the Knockouts scored a #10 hit called “Sweetheart” and in 1986, Anita Baker rose to #8 with her soulful “Sweet Love”. On the other hand, one was also the last top-40 single for a solo male singer, Michael McDonald, with his #7 “Sweet Freedom” from 1986. McDonald continued to make the Adult Contemporary survey from several more decades.

Rounding out the pack are two #5 singles by Air Supply (“Sweet Dreams”, 1982) and Sade (“The Sweetest Taboo”, 1985) and a #7 charter from Juice Newton, 1982’s “The Sweetest Thing (I’ve Ever Known)”. “Taboo” was the second of two number-one singles for the band on the Adult Contemporary chart; “Thing” was the first of four number-one Country hits for Newton.

THE 90’s
Here’s where things cut off sharply. Despite a lot of close calls by acts like Mary J. Blige, Mötley Crüe and Sarah McLachlan, only two songs made it to the top ten during the 90’s and both within a few months of each other. In late 1995, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men created a massive duet in “One Sweet Day”. It officially spent eight frames at the top between 1995 and 1996, though a two-week holiday freeze in-between technically lifts that total to ten weeks. It fell pretty sharply after it peaked, but understandably so. The other song to pull off the trick was “Sweet Dreams” by La Bouche, their second hit on the pop chart. It peaked at #5.

THE 00’s
For eleven years, not a single “sweet” song could break the top ten. How sour! That curse was broken in 2007 by a gal named Gwen and her Harajuku girls. That, of course, is Gwen Stefani, and she just missed the coveted top spot in 2007 with “The Sweet Escape”, featuring Akon. It was the highest ranking #2 single on that year’s end of the year chart. Returning as a featured artist the next year, Akon, along with rapper Lil Wayne and singer Niia were all included on Wyclef Jean‘s #10 single, “Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)”. Lastly, before “Sweet Nothing” came along, the most recent top ten title that brought the “sweet” factor was “Sweet Dreams” from the multi-talented Beyoncé. It reached #5 in 2009.

What song do you think is the sweetest of the sweet? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

1 Comment

Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Retro