Tag Archives: George Michael

TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (March 18)

What's my "Age" again?

Foster on the roster.

Feels like, feels like it’s coming… that is, a rush to buy some new singles and albums this week, right? Here’s what you need to know about on the schedule for the week of March 18:

  • In 2011, Foster The People scored a major pop and rock hit with “Pumped Up Kicks” from their album Torches. Three years later, the trio returns with their sophomore album, Supermodel, and are currently riding high on the Alternative chart with the top 5 single “Coming Of Age”. Look for the album to debut at #1 next week ahead of the soundtrack to Frozen; the cold never bothered them anyways. (iTunes)
  • After several EPs released over the past few years, DJ and GRAMMY winner Skrillex is out with his first full-length album, Recess, which was just announced mere days ago. Pre-orders have been strong on this one; I’m expecting it to be top 5 on the album chart next week. (iTunes)
  • SEX + LOVE is the title of the latest album from Enrique Iglesias, but he hasn’t been receiving the latter at radio. All three of the English singles from the record have tanked, largely due to their generic nature. However, with the kind of fan base he has, they may come through for him and deliver a top ten debut. (iTunes)
  • Believe it or not, superstar George Michael has a new effort out this week, titled Symphonica. The largely live album features new takes on some of his hits, as well as cover versions, as performed on his tour of the same name. (iTunes)
  • Other releases out this week include: Black Lips‘s Underneath The Rainbow (iTunes), Jo Dee Messina‘s Me (iTunes), John Oates‘s Good Road To Follow (iTunes), Ronnie Milsap‘s Summer Number Seventeen (iTunes), Taking Back Sunday‘s Happiness Is (iTunes), The Pretty Reckless‘s Going To Hell (iTunes), The War On Drugs‘s Lost In The Dream (iTunes), YG‘s My Krazy Life (iTunes) and the soundtrack from Muppets Most Wanted (iTunes).

New digital-only EPs and singles that you can buy this week include:

  • “Chandelier”, a new release from super songwriter and singer Sia. (iTunes)
  • “Me And My Broken Heart” (+ EP), the first release from new U.K. boy band Rixton. (iTunes)
  • “Sirens”, a second single from Cher Lloyd‘s delayed Sorry, I’m Late album. (iTunes)
  • “Summer”, the first single from Calvin Harris‘s forthcoming album. (iTunes)
  • “Surfboard”, a new single from teen singer Cody Simpson. (iTunes)

Next week, Shakira shakes it up with a self-titled album on the schedule, plus Karmin and the soundtrack from Rio 2 arrive in stores. A full preview is coming in seven!

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Monkeying Around: Pop Goes The Primates

The Ape of things.

The Ape of things.

You saw him perform it a few nights ago on MTV’s Video Music Awards and now, Bruno Mars is unleashing “Gorilla” as the fourth single from his former #1 album, Unorthodox Jukebox. Now that “Treasure” is falling down the charts, will Mars be able to rack up a fourth top 5 hit from his album? We’ll just have to wait and see. However, while we all prepare for “Gorilla” to take over the airwaves, here are some of the other characters who swung from vine to vine in order to find the treetop of top 40 hits from 1958 onward:

“The Monkey Time”, Major Lance (#8, 1963)
Mississippi-born Lance became one of the most successful acts for Okeh Records, signed to the label in 1962 after being recommended by another highly regarded singer of R&B music, Curtis Mayfield. “Time” was his first single to chart and was an instant hit, going to #8 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart. He would become best known for “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um” (#5, Hot 100), which peaked the next year.

“Mickey’s Monkey”, The Miracles (#8, 1963)
Tamla Records put Smokey Robinson and his band on the map with a series of singles that went high on the Hot 100 and even higher on the R&B charts. This song was their third top ten on Billboard’s national chart and it also went to #3 on the R&B listing. Of course, with many bigger hits to come like “I Second That Emotion” (1967) and the #1 “The Tears Of A Clown” (1970), they entertained audiences for some time.

“Harry The Hairy Ape”, Ray Stevens (#17, 1963)
Comedian and country singer Stevens has been recording music for over five decades and he’s still not run out of punch lines. His first top ten single in 1962 was “Ahab The Arab” (#5). This came the next year, and actually became a bigger hit on the R&B chart (#14) than on the pop chart (#17). Strange indeed, but he can be pretty strange sometimes. His latest release, “Guilt For Christmas”, came out earlier this year.

“One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show (Part 1)”, The Honey Cone (#15, 1972)
The R&B trio out of Los Angeles made their debut in 1969 with a handful of songs that bombed on the national survey, but in 1971, they rose to #1 with the song “Want Ads”. “One” was the third in their string of top 40 hits on the Hot 100, having previously flopped for Joe Tex in 1965. After recording one more album which received little attention, the group split in 1973, though they’ll be reuniting in 2014 for a cruise.

“Shock The Monkey”, Peter Gabriel (#28, 1983)
After splitting with Genesis and making a name for himself on the album chart in the U.S., the only thing Gabriel was missing was a hit single. His first of a handful of charting successes was “Shock”, which reached the top 40 in late 1982 and peaked in early 1983. Though it wasn’t the biggest of his releases, it would open the door for him and allowed “Sledgehammer” and “Big Time” from So to go top 5 nationally.

“Monkey”, George Michael (#1, 1988)
Why did he have to share his baby with a “Monkey”? That was question on everyone’s minds during the summer of 1988 when this energetic single was released. Following three consecutive number-one singles from Faith (the title track, “Father Figure” and “One More Try”), this also topped the Hot 100 for two weeks, as well as the Hot Dance/Club Play survey for two weeks. It wasn’t as successful internationally.

You may be wondering specifically about the gorilla itself when it comes to the record charts; after all, it is a larger species of the monkey family. While there have been a few singles released about the great monster King Kong, a gorilla, none were strong enough to make the top 40. That list includes “King Kong (Part 1)” by Jimmy Castor (#69, 1975), “Kong” by Dickie Goodman (#48, 1977), “Theme From King Kong (Part 1)” by the Love Unlimited Orchestra (#68, 1977) and “King Kong” by Jibbs featuring Chamillionaire (#54, 2006). It’s also worth mentioning that there was one minor single that mentioned the word “gorilla” by name, recorded by a now popular disc jockey of several syndicated shows. That would be Rick Dees and His Cast Of Idiots, who went to #56 in 1977 with “Dis-Gorilla (Part 1)”, the followup single to the #1 “Disco Duck”. Seems that not every animal was down with getting down back then.

For more musical monkeys and chart trivia that can’t be caged, follow the blog below or click the “Get Social!” page to find PGTC on social media.

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FRIDAY FORTY: Just A Fool Or Forty

Happy Friday! Welcome to another special edition of an occasional segment I’m putting together called The Friday Forty. Consider it a definitive list on all sorts of music-related topics (and much better than those VH1 lists!)

It’s still a few days before you have to put your April Fool’s Day pranks into action, so make it a good one this year. I’m sure you’ll come up with something extra special. In the meantime, there’s been some foolish behavior on the music charts for years, from dancing fools to fools in the rain. We’ve kissed them and believed them. We’ve even questioned ourselves about being the fool. Everybody plays the fool, and we played these records a lot, even if they didn’t peak around the Day. (Some of them indeed did.) So, instead of my yapping and fooling around, I present to you the Friday Forty: The Top 40 Fools of the Rock Era.

(I’m still figuring out the best way to compile these lists. In this case, songs are ranked by peak from the Hot 100 (1958-1973) or the CHR airplay chart (1974-present.) Ties in peak are broken up by year-end positions on the respective survey. Enjoy!)

40. The Impressions – Fool For You (#22, 1968)
39. James Ray – If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody (#22, 1961)
38. Lulu – Oh Me, Oh My (I’m A Fool For You Baby) (#22, 1970)
37. Styx – Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man) (#21, 1978)
36. The Rolling Stones – Fool To Cry (#19, 1976)
35. Frankie Valli – I Make A Fool Of Myself (#18, 1967)
34. Eddie Money – Maybe I’m A Fool (#18, 1979)
33. Dino, Desi and Billy – I’m A Fool (#17, 1965)
32. Sammy Davis, Jr. – What Kind Of Fool Am I (#17, 1962)
31. Wilson Pickett – Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You (#17, 1971)

30. Larsen-Feiten Band – Who’ll Be The Fool Tonight (#16, 1980)
29. Quarterflash – Find Another Fool (#16, 1982)
28. The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again (#15, 1971)
27. Foghat – Third Time Lucky (First Time I Was A Fool) (#14, 1980)
26. Andy Williams – A Fool Never Learns (#13, 1964)
25. Luther Vandross – Don’t Want To Be A Fool (#12, 1991)
24. Rick Nelson – Fools Rush In (#12, 1963)
23. Steve Perry – Foolish Heart (#10, 1985)
22. The Tams – What Kind Of Fool (Do You Think I Am?) (#9, 1963)
21. Aaron Neville – Everybody Plays The Fool (#9, 1991)

20. Chris Rea – Fool (If You Think It’s Over) (#9, 1978)
19. Rick Springfield – What Kind Of Fool Am I? (#9, 1982)
18. Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb – What Kind Of Fool (#7, 1981)
17. Diana Ross – Why Do Fools Fall In Love? (#7, 1981)
16. Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 – The Fool On The Hill (#6, 1968)
15. George Michael – Kissing A Fool (#6, 1988)
14. Kenny Loggins – Nobody’s Fool (#6, 1988)
13. Lesley Gore – She’s A Fool (#5, 1963)
12. The Shirelles – Foolish Little Girl (#3, 1963)
11. Brenda Lee – Fool #1 (#3, 1961)

The top ten:
10. The Main Ingredient – “Everybody Plays The Fool”
PEAK: #3, 1972

9. Elvin Bishop – “Fooled Around And Fell in Love”
PEAK: #3, 1976

8. Elvis Presley – “A Fool Such As I”
PEAK: #2, 1959

7. Aretha Franklin – “Chain Of Fools”
PEAK: #2, 1968

6. Ashanti – “Foolish”
PEAK: #2, 2002

Not just a "Little" hit.

Not just a “Little” hit.

5. RICKY NELSON – “Poor Little Fool”
PEAK: #1 in 1958

Teen idol Ricky Nelson blew up at an early age, starring on the 50’s sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet along with the rest of his family. In 1957, Nelson began his recording career with a #1 album, Ricky, and a #2 single, “A Teenager’s Romance”. “Poor” was issued in the spring of 1958 and went to #1 for two weeks in August. It holds the distinction of being the first #1 song on the then newly introduced Billboard Hot 100 chart. Nelson had a number of big singles into the early 60’s, but by the middle of the decade, his success experienced a sharp cutoff. “Garden Party” became his final top-40 hit in 1972, peaking at #6, his biggest single in nearly a decade. He had 35 top-40 hits total. Nelson died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve, 1985.

"Somebody" familiar to the top ten.

“Somebody” familiar to the top ten.

4. CONNIE FRANCIS – “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”
PEAK: #1 in 1960

She was on the last Friday Forty about fashion-themed hits, and now, Connie Francis is back again. Like Nelson at #5, Francis also hit the charts for the first time in 1957 with the #4 “Who’s Sorry Now?” but her track record was a little more inconsistent. “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool” was originally the b-side of another single, “Jealous Of You”, which only went to #19. However, in this rare case, the song that was demoted to a b-side actually went to the top spot, spending two weeks there. Francis followed it up with “My Heart Has A Mind Of Its Own”, which also went to #1. She last hit the top 40 in 1964, but she occasionally made the Hot 100 until the end of the decade. Francis is now 74 years old and sometimes performs.

Couldn't quite "Beat" the top two.

Couldn’t quite “Beat” the top two.

3. DEBBIE GIBSON – “Foolish Beat”
PEAK: #1 in 1988

New Yorker Debbie Gibson wanted to make it big very young, performing in community theater and playing multiple instruments. In 1987, Atlantic Records signed her, and her debut album Out Of The Blue became a multi-Platinum success. This fourth single from the effort became the only #1 hit from it, and, at the tender age of 17, made her the youngest act to write, produce and perform a chart-topping single. Electric Youth, released in 1989, went to #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart on the strength of “Lost In Your Eyes”, but her sales slowly diminished at this point. Gibson last cracked the national charts in 1993, though she’s made some genre-specific surveys since then. She still performs today; in fact, I’ll be seeing her on April 12 at a local event here.

For your chart, your intuition...

“Games” people play.

2. JEWEL – “Foolish Games”
PEAK: #1 in 1997

After two big singles from her Pieces Of You album, this dark track from the Batman & Robin soundtrack was one of two from it to make the mainstream radio chart. (The other was the mid-charter “Gotham City” by R. Kelly.) “Foolish Games” spent four weeks at #1 in the fall, the most out of any song on the list. Jewel scored hits for a number of years afterwards, including 1998’s “Hands” and 2003’s “Intuition”, and also leaped into the world of Country music. Still, her days of big national hits are behind her. She recently put out a Greatest Hits album and a new song from it, “Two Hearts Breaking”, is receiving some minor airplay at the adult contemporary format. She’ll be on tour through the late spring and early summer.

You better "Believe" it.

You better “Believe” it.

1. THE DOOBIE BROTHERS – “What A Fool Believes”
PEAK: #1 in 1979

Now, the most foolish of the fools at #1 on the countdown. After lead singer Tom Johnston fell ill in 1975, The Doobie Brothers took on a different sound with new leader Michael McDonald. “What A Fool Believes” was the first single from Minute By Minute and was a huge and unexpected hit, spending three weeks at #1 on the airplay chart (including over April Fool’s Day) in the spring of 1979. (It only spent one week atop the Hot 100.) The group had a handful of other charting singles, then disbanded in 1982, until they reunited in 1987. They managed to take one more single into the top 40, 1989’s “The Doctor”, though McDonald had left the band at that point. The group still tours today with different lineups and Johnston reinstated as lead singer.

Thanks for logging on and checking out another of the Friday Forty posts and if you have any suggestions for themes or a favorite song on the list, let me know! Post away in the comments or find on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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What “Child” Is This? Youngsters In The Top Ten

Burning down the House.

Burning down the House.

Swedish House Mafia finally have their first big hit in the States as “Don’t You Worry Child”, featuring vocalist John Martin, sits at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week. Though this may be the only time the group charts together (they’re currently on a farewell tour), they’ve it done with a song that becomes the first top ten title since the 90’s to feature the word “child” in it.

In total, 59 song titles with the word “child” (or some variation like “children”) in them have made the Hot 100 since it began in 1958, 27 of those making the top 40. The first of them, in early 1959, was “The Children’s Marching Song (Nick Nack Paddy Whack)” by Cyril Stapleton and His Orchestra, which was quickly followed by a version from Mitch Miller and his “Sing Along With Mitch” Chorus. The Stapleton version rose to #13 and the Miller version got to #16.

Just eleven of those nearly sixty top-40 hits made it into the top ten. Here are the other ten besides “Worry”:

“Little Children”, Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas (#7, 1964)
This English band came to the States as a part of the British Invasion in 1964 and launched four songs into the top 40, this one being the biggest. After two additional Hot 100 singles in 1965, the group experienced several membership changes and ultimately folded several years later. They’ve reunited since, but haven’t charted again.

“Love Child”, Diana Ross & The Supremes (#1, 1968)
Girl groups don’t come bigger than this. In just about five years, they accumulated twelve #1 singles on the Hot 100, this two-week topper being the eleventh of them. Ross departed the group roughly a year after this single and they had several years of top-40 hits without her, including two top tens. Ross, of course, did quite a bit better, with six additional #1 hits on her own. Dance group Sweet Sensation took their version onto the charts in 1990, just missing the top ten with a peak of #13.

“Runaway Child, Running Wild”, The Temptations (#6, 1969)
Another of Motown’s biggest acts makes the list with this single, which also spent two weeks at #1 on the R&B chart in March. All five members sang lead on the song. The quintet scored Hot 100 and R&B hits for several decades to come, including songs like the #1 “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”.

“O-O-H Child”, The Five Stairsteps (#8, 1970)
After years of top-40 misses, this song from the Chicago group featuring the Burke siblings cracked the top ten during the summertime. They made the Hot 100 several other times after this song hit, but nothing placed within the top 40. A remake by Dino in 1993 hit the top ten in CHR airplay, but managed a lower #27 on the Hot 100. One other cover, done by Daryl Hall and John Oates, became a minor adult contemporary hit in 2005.

“Mother And Child Reunion”, Paul Simon (#4, 1972)
After his partnership with Art Garfunkel dissolved in 1970, Simon began his string of solo successes with this first hit, which also made the top 5 in countries like Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. Simon would soon eclipse this solo peak with bigger entries like his only #1, 1976’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”.

“Hot Child In The City”, Nick Gilder (#1, 1978)
English-born, Canadian-raised Gilder only made the top-40 once in the States with this #1 hit. He scored several other big singles in Canada, including a #1 with his former group Sweeney Todd, “Roxy Roller”, in 1976.

“Sweet Child O’ Mine”, Guns N’ Roses (#1, 1988)
Axl Rose and the boys garnered their first and only chart-topper with their first single to make the Hot 100, spending two weeks at #1 in September. The Los Angeles band took five other songs into the top ten through 1992. Their long-awaited Chinese Democracy album was finally released in 2008 and they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame just last year.

“When The Children Cry”, White Lion (#3, 1989)
This ballad was the second and final top-40 hit for this rock band from Denmark, placing just behind songs from Paula Abdul and Sheriff. The first, “Wait”, hit the top ten the previous year. They continued to make the Billboard 200 album chart in the U.S. until 1991.

“This One’s For The Children”, New Kids On The Block (#7, 1989)
In 1989, one of the biggest bands out of Boston managed to place six songs in the top 40, all within that one chart year. This was the last of them, from the album Merry, Merry Christmas, and appropriately peaked during the week of Christmas. NKOTB managed two other top ten hits after this, then broke up in 1994 and experienced a successful reunion in 2008. They release a new studio album, 10, in April.

“Jesus To A Child”, George Michael (#7, 1996)
From his album Older, the single marked a major comeback for Michael, his first top ten hit in four years on the Hot 100. Followup single “Fastlove” would be his last single to make the Hot 100, peaking at #8, though he’s had a top-40 single in the United Kingdom as recent as last year.

For the young at heart and on the charts, make sure to click the follow button to get updates from POP! Goes The Charts and follow me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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