Tag Archives: Herb Alpert

The Wheel Thing: Riding In The Top 40 “Taxi”

Music drives us.

Music drives us.

2015 was a fairly inconsistent year for rapper Pitbull on CHR/Pop radio, with just one top ten single (“Time Of Our Lives”), a top 20 (“Fun”) and then two songs that failed to reach the top 50 altogether (“Drive You Crazy” and “FREE.K”.) However, it looks like the Miami performer may have finally found a single to put him back on track, one that’s rising thanks to unsolicited airplay in the Big Apple and his hometown.

It’s “El Taxi”, a song that features Sensato, Osmani Garcia and La Musa in its original version. In a new Spanglish version, Lil Jon is also credited. It heavily samples “Murder She Wrote”, a 1993 single by Chaka Demus & Pliers that didn’t chart well, but is still quite well-known. “El Taxi” has already been a big hit in Spain, which isn’t a surprise, and now, it may be close to ranking on the U.S. charts. Currently, the single is just below the top 50 on CHR/Pop radio, with detections at more than two dozen stations.

The promising reaction of this song got us thinking about other “Taxi” songs to be released to radio, and there are plenty of them. However, only one of the songs below actually appeared on the CHR/Pop chart, a remake of “Big Yellow Taxi” (#30) in 2003. So, I’ve decided to compile all of the Hot 100 titles to use the word, for “El Taxi” could find itself cruising up that chart as well soon. I think it’s time to step in and get to our destination…

“Tijuana Taxi”, Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass (#38, 1966)
The song from Alpert and his band isn’t the most memorable in his huge repertoire, but it was also a minor top 40 hit in Australia and the United Kingdom. They hit #1 in 1968 with “This Guy’s In Love With You”, while Alpert’s 1979 song “Rise” also hit the top.

“Big Yellow Taxi”, The Neighborhood (#29, 1970)
“Big Yellow Taxi (Live)”, Joni Mitchell (#24, 1975) (#67, 1970 in studio form – see below)
“Big Yellow Taxi”, Amy Grant (#67, 1995)
“Big Yellow Taxi”, Counting Crows featuring Vanessa Carlton (#42, 2003)
The most famous “Taxi” of all managed to reach the Hot 100 in four (five, counting Mitchell’s original) different versions. That’s a whole lot of mileage. A 1995 remix by Mitchell from the soundtrack to TV’s Friends went top 40 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart.

“Taxi”, Harry Chapin (#24, 1972)
This nearly seven-minute epic from the 1972 release Heads & Tales launched the recording career of this New York singer and his many great story songs. “Sequel”, Chapin’s follow-up to this, became his last top 40 single in the fall of 1980. He died a year later.

“Taxi Dancing”, Rick Springfield with Randy Crawford (#58, 1984)
The soundtrack from Hard To Hold, which Springfield also starred in, launched several singles onto the Hot 100. The biggest one was “Love Somebody”, a top five hit from the spring of ’84. This was the only single of the four from it to peak outside the top 40.

“Taxi”, J. Blackfoot (#90, 1984)
Born John Colbert, this Mississippi artist was a former member of The Soul Children. Their biggest crossover song, 1973’s “I’ll Be The Other Woman”, went to #36 on the Hot 100. Blackfoot’s biggest solo release was his first of eight to chart on the R&B survey.

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GRAMMY WEEK: Adam Picks The Winners for Dance/Pop Fields

Gram bam, thank you, ma'am.

Gram bam, thank you, ma’am.

It’s finally here… the week before the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards, airing on Sunday, January 26 at 8PM Eastern on CBS. This week on POP! Goes The Charts, we’ll be taking a look at nearly half the categories on the list and laying out who I think will taking home a prize or two or five (maybe!) on the big day. Let’s go for the Dance and Pop fields, shall we?

(For a full list of nominations, check it out on GRAMMY.com along with more interactive features. You can also order the 2014 GRAMMY Nominees album, from Atlantic Records.)

5. Best Pop Solo Performance

Brave”, Sara Bareilles
“Royals”, Lorde (***ACTUAL WINNER***)
“When I Was Your Man”, Bruno Mars
“Roar”, Katy Perry
“Mirrors”, Justin Timberlake

PREDICTION: Difficult decision right here. “Brave” and “Roar” will probably cancel each other out (if only Bareilles and Perry would do a medley on GRAMMY night!) A safer choice would be Bruno Mars‘s “When I Was Your Man”; it’s a classic ballad.

6. Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Get Lucky”, Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers (***ACTUAL WINNER***)
“Just Give Me A Reason”, Pink featuring Nate Ruess
“Stay”, Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko
“Blurred Lines”, Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell
“Suit & Tie”, Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z

PREDICTION: This is tough too. Looks like we’re going to have another year where the winner of this category also wins one of the Big Four, whether it’s “Blurred Lines”, “Get Lucky” or “Just Give Me A Reason”. I’m going with the Pink and Nate Ruess duet.

7. Best Pop Instrumental Album

Steppin’ Out, Herb Alpert (***ACTUAL WINNER***)
The Beat, Boney James
Handpicked, Earl Klugh
Summer Horns, Dave Koz, Gerald Albright, Mindi Abair & Richard Elliot
Hacienda, Jeff Lorber Fusion

PREDICTION: Again, this isn’t my best area of expertise, but I know a lot of these names from the occasional look at the Jazz survey. A version of “Puttin’ On The Ritz” from Alpert’s album just got serviced to AC radio; it could be a sign that this this one is his.

8. Best Pop Vocal Album

ParadiseLana Del Rey
Pure HeroineLorde
Unorthodox JukeboxBruno Mars (***ACTUAL WINNER***)
Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke
The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience, Justin Timberlake

PREDICTION: Believe it or not, this is the only category in which Justin Timberlake‘s album is nominated for. Is that some major shade on the Academy’s part? Yet, the biggest album of last year has to win something, right? It would only seem fair to me.

9. Best Dance Recording

“Need U (100%)”Duke Dumont featuring A*M*E & MNEK
Adam Dyment & Tommy Forrest, producers and mixers

“Sweet Nothing”, Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch
Harris, producer and mixer

“Atmosphere”, Kaskade
Finn Bjarnson & Ryan Raddon, producers; Raddon, mixer

“This Is What It Feels Like”, Armin Van Buuren featuring Trevor Guthrie
Armin Van Buuren & Benno De Goeij, producers and mixers

“Clarity”, Zedd featuring Foxes
Zedd, producer and mixer (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

PREDICTION: With no Skrillex in the mix (and no Al Wasser, thank God), this category is probably going to go back to one of the bigger hits of the bunch, most likely “Clarity” or “Sweet Nothing”. Of the two, I prefer the Calvin Harris and Florence Welch song.

10. Best Dance/Electronica Album

Random Access Memories, Daft Punk (***ACTUAL WINNER***)
18 MonthsCalvin Harris
A Color Map Of The SunPretty Lights

PREDICTION: There was no bigger Dance album in 2013 than Random Access Memories. Daft Punk didn’t just get lucky; they knocked it out of the park. The critical acclaim of Disclosure will keep it in the running, but the French duo will likely take it.

11. Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

Viva DuetsTony Bennett and Various Artists
To Be Loved, Michael Bublé (***ACTUAL WINNER***)
The StandardsGloria Estefan
Cee Lo’s Magic MomentCee Lo Green
NowDionne Warwick

PREDICTION: This category is usually a two horse race between Bennett and Bublé, and because the Canadian crooner didn’t win last year for his Christmas album, I think Michael Bublé is overdue for yet another win here. “It’s A Beautiful Day” indeed.

67. Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical

Annie UpPistol Annies
Chuck Ainlay, engineer; Bob Ludwig, mastering engineer

The Blue RoomMadeleine Peyroux
Helik Hadar & Leslie Ann Jones, engineers; Bernie Grundman, mastering engineer

The Devil Put Dinosaurs HereAlice In Chains
Paul Figueroa & Randy Staub, engineers; Ted Jensen, mastering engineer

…Like ClockworkQueens Of The Stone Age
Joe Barresi & Mark Rankin, engineers; Gavin Lurssen, mastering engineer

The MooringsAndrew Duhon
Trina Shoemaker, engineer; Eric Conn, mastering engineer

Random Access Memories, Daft Punk
Peter Franco, Mick Guzauski, Florian Lagatta & Daniel Lerner, engineers; Antoine “Chab” Chabert, Bob Ludwig, mastering engineers (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

PREDICTION: I don’t know a ton about this category, but the winners in past years have been a real mix of commercial releases and some lesser-known works. Though I’m placing Daft Punk for the win here, it could essentially be any one of these six.

68. Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical

Rob Cavallo
Dr. Luke
Ariel Rechtshaid
Jeff Tweedy
Pharrell Williams (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

PREDICTION: I love Rob Cavallo and would be thrilled to see him win this category, but 2013 was clearly the year of Pharrell Williams, both as a producer and singer, and he’s very much deserving of this honor. Tell Dr. Luke to go back to medical school.

69. Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical

“Days Turn Into Nights”, Delerium featuring Michael Logen
Andy Caldwell, remixer

“If I Lose Myself”, OneRepublic
Alesso, remixer

“Locked Out Of Heaven”, Bruno Mars
Ned Shepard & Sultan, remixers

“One Love/People Get Ready”, Bob Marley and The Wailers
Rupert Parkes (Photek), remixer

“Summertime Sadness”, Lana Del Rey
Cedric Gervais, remixer (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

PREDICTION: Long after Lana Del Rey had been written off in the U.S., Interscope’s push of the Cedric Gervais remix of “Summertime Sadness” launched her at radio, selling over 2 million copies with all versions combined. Not so sad anymore, huh?

Check back tomorrow to see what I take a second swing at predicting the Big Four! Until then, follow the blog below and find us on social media by click the “Get Social!” tab.

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