Tag Archives: James Taylor

TOP TEN: A Very Merry Musical Month

Pass the eggnog.

Pass the eggnog.

In addition to this month’s regular Radio Report, I’ve compiled a special top ten listing of the top seasonal songs for this year. You may have noticed a few of them ranking just below my weekly top 40 in the past couple of weeks, but there are certainly more new releases than that both on the radio and at retail right now. It’s a fun mix of original pop and soul singles, and a few remakes of the standards. Let’s just hope you aren’t sick of hearing them yet; it’s only December 1, but some radio stations have been pumping up the endless “Jingle Bells” and “O Holy Night” covers for about six weeks now. Yikes.

Anyways, hope you enjoy the list, and visit the link below for our four-hour mix of merry and modern holiday cuts on Spotify.

10. JAMES TAYLOR, “SnowTime”
Album: Before This World
Label: Concord Music
Radio: T30 (Adult Contemporary)

09. STRAIGHT NO CHASER, “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree/Winter Wonderland”
Album: (single only)
Label: Atlantic
Radio: –

08. A SILENT FILM, “Christmas At Our House”
Album: Indie For The Holidays
Label: Amazon/Sony Music
Radio: –

07. JIM BRICKMAN featuring CHARLIE ALAN, “Hitch A Ride With Santa”
Album: Comfort & Joy: The Sweet Sounds Of Christmas
Label: self-released
Radio: T40 (Adult Contemporary)

06. MARC BROUSSARD, “Almost Christmas”
Album: Magnolias & Mistletoe
Label: G-Man Inc.
Radio: –

05. SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS, “8 Days Of Hanukkah”
Album: It’s A Holiday Soul Party
Label: Daptone
Radio: –

04. MICHAEL BUBLE, “The More You Give (The More You’ll Have)”
Album: (single only)
Label: Warner Bros.
Radio: T50 (Adult Contemporary)

03. CARLY RAE JEPSEN, “Last Christmas”
Album: (single only)
Label: Interscope
Radio: –

02. BAND OF MERRYMAKERS featuring NATASHA BEDINGFIELD, “Wishlist”
Album: Welcome To Our Christmas Party
Label: Portrait/Sony Masterworks
Radio: T40 (Adult Contemporary)

01. TRAIN, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
Album: Christmas In Tahoe
Label: Sunken Forest/Crush Music
Radio: T10 (Adult Contemporary)

Other great songs out this year:
LEANN RIMES with GAVIN DEGRAW/“Celebrate Me Home” (Prodigy Ent.)
MICKEY GUYTON/“Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” (Capitol Nashville)
SEAL/“This Christmas” (Warner Bros.)
TRAIN/“Merry Christmas Everybody” (Sunken Forest/Crush Music)
TUXEDO/“Holiday Love” (Amazon/Sony Music)

(Check out these songs and more on our Current Christmas playlist on Spotify!)

Missing any new holiday favorites? Let me know! Comment below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.

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RADIO REPORT: POP! Goes The Picks (June 2015) (Part Two)

It’s time once again to analyze the airwaves and find out if your favorite new singles will be lighting up the national charts during the month. Which tracks will climb to the top and which ones will hit a stop? Here’s a small selection of new songs being serviced in June on the Alternative and AAA formats in the second part of this month’s Radio Report:

ALTERNATIVE (*) and TRIPLE A (**)

Meg Mac
MEG MAC – “Roll Up Your Sleeves” (June 2) (**)
Label: 300 Entertainment
From Melbourne, Australia, Megan McInerney has seen quite a bit of buzz online thanks to love from station Triple J and several music blogs that have covered her since 2013’s “Known Better”, her debut song. “Roll” was first released last June and its Spotify numbers now stand at just under 1.9 million streams. Though her label is more known for its Urban roster, she’s amazing as well.

Phases
PHASES – “I’m In Love With My Life” (June 2) (* + **)
Label: Warner Bros.
In 2012, a group called JJAMZ made their debut with an album called Suicide Pact and a single titled “Heartbeat”, which was able to pick up a little bit of airplay. Unfortunately, not much happened after that. However, the band is back under a new name and a membership change, down to a quartet from a quintet. They also have a catchy hit on their hands with some nice synch potential.

ROMANS
ROMANS – “Uh Huh” (June 2) (**)
Label: Def Jam/Roc Nation
You may have seen this one debut on my top 40 recently as I’ve been enjoying it for a few weeks now. Formerly credited with first name intact, Sam, the performer now seeks to score at multiple radio formats with his first main-credited release, and it’s a lovely introduction to U.S. radio for the talented musician. Energetic and feel good, the song will definitely be riding up my chart nicely.

Anderson East
ANDERSON EAST – “Satisfy Me” (June 9) (**)
Label: Elektra/Atlantic
Here is a shining singer and songwriter who is currently based in Nashville, TN. East has been catching some attention with an EP he released to the streaming services in April, The Muscle Shoals Sessions, a five song set that was recorded at FAME Studios. He is also on the road with folk singer Brandi Carlile, so be sure to catch them during the month. I’m sure the show will satisfy you.

George Ezra
GEORGE EZRA – “Blame It On Me” (June 9) (*)
Label: Columbia
Turning 22 on the weekend, the English singer is still rising up the CHR and Hot AC lists with his previous track, the international smash called “Budapest”. Now, his former top ten in the United Kingdom makes its way to the Alternative airwaves this month. It is already making waves in the top five on the AAA survey. The only thing you may be blaming him for is a solid follow-up release.

Mike Posner
MIKE POSNER – “Be As You Are” (June 9) (**)
Label: Island/Republic
I know what you’re thinking — why is the guy who did “Cooler Than Me” going to a radio format that plays all that folk stuff? That would seem rather peculiar, but 27-year-old Posner has changed styles a bit since his pop days and his record label as well. With a lack of an album on the market since 2010, the odds are against him, but we’ve seen stranger comebacks in 2015. Watch out for it.

James Taylor
JAMES TAYLOR – “Today Today Today” (June 16) (**)
Label: Concord
The legendary singer/songwriter is back and his single title is so nice, he has to say it thrice. His new album, Before This World, is his first set of original material since 2002’s October Road, which included three minor AC tracks. “Today” is looking like it might also chart at the format, making Taylor one of only a few artists to rank in five consecutive decades. That is a very impressive stat.

COASTS
COASTS – “Oceans” (June 23) (*)
Label: Virgin/Capitol
Another English band makes their way to the Alternative airwaves this month, a quintet based in Bristol. With all the songs about rivers at the format right now, like “Hold Back The River” and “Like A River Runs”, it’ll be nice to have a single about an ocean. At the beginning of the year, they released a self-titled EP, and it’s a good listen if you’re liking “Oceans”. Time to quench your thirst.

Coin
COIN – “Run” (June 23) (*)
Label: Columbia
Grab your pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, because the quartet with a mint name and sound is headed to Alternative in a few weeks. “Run” is the first radio single from this Nashville group, though they’ve been churning out great songs for about two years now. A music video for this premiered back in March and they’ve been touring, currently opening for pop chanteuse Betty Who.

machineheart
MACHINEHEART featuring VANIC – “Circles” (June 30) (*)
Label: Columbia
This one’s been kicking around for over a year as a blog item with several popular remixes, but now that the band is signed, it’ll be off to radio this month. The Los Angeles act is led by Stevie Scott, a former member of the duo He Is We, who had a minor entry on the Hot AC chart in 2011 with “Happily Ever After”. Perhaps this ending will leave the act a little more content with the results.

Which of these new songs would you like to see on top of the charts? Let me know! Comment below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.

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REWIND: No Pain, No “Vain” – 40 Years Of Mystery

Legend in her own time.

Legend in her own time.

January 6 marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark song “You’re So Vain” going to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Carly Simon‘s biggest hit of all-time. It’s often been regarded as the greatest mystery song to ever hit the charts, a song that’s been the subject of many a guess as to whom Simon is actually referring to; a man who is so vain that he thinks that the song is about him. In a bit of irony, the album it’s included on is called No Secrets, which also took a fast rise to the top. Maybe it was intentional. We’ll go through the clues later on in this post. First, the statistics.

The chart action on “Vain” was super fast and it was gone almost as quickly as it appeared. On Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, it debuted at #99 on the date of December 2, 1972, bolting to #60 the next week, and then to #37 on December 16. The week before Christmas, it soared all the way up to #8, a 29-spot leap, the fourth biggest climb within the top 40 of all-time. So, after a holiday break (when “Vain” rose to #4), it was no surprise that it stood at #1 beginning on that January 6, 1973 date and stayed there for three weeks. It was in the top ten through early March, but suddenly sank, from #11 to #26 to #49 and then out entirely, all before the month was over. It ranked as the #9 song of the year and the #29 song of the decade. Obviously, it’s very well-remembered today, more so than any of her other songs. This is all despite having other big hits after her only chart-topper, like “Mockingbird” with then-husband James Taylor and “Nobody Does It Better”.

The song itself was produced by Richard Perry, sometimes referred to as “The Hit Doctor” for reviving many careers of faded singers in the late 1970’s. This was one of his earlier numbers. Simon wasn’t in a rut career-wise, more of an up-and-comer. Lyrically, it tells of a man who goes to parties and is admired by women, saw a solar eclipse in Nova Scotia, and went to Saratoga Springs, where he bet on a horse and it won the race. He’s clearly a lucky guy, but once Simon’s poison pen struck the page, everyone was wondering who exactly it could be.

So, the suitors – which of them made Simon so frustrated that she had to write a song about them? Well, according to her, it’s a “composite of three men” from her days living in Los Angeles. Mick Jagger was initially suggested to be one of them; he does the background vocals on the song and Simon took a liking to him for a while. However, this was proven to be not true. James Taylor was also proposed as he was married to the singer; Simon denied it. Actor Warren Beatty has always been seen as one of the leading candidates and Simon has stated at least on one occasion that it’s partially inspired by him. The list goes on and on.

A number of letters found in the names of the men have been revealed over the years: A, E and R, not that it does much for the detective in us. There are also three names whispered backwards in the song: “Warren”, referring to Beatty, “David”, and one that can’t be clearly heard. The second name was initially thought to be referring to label head David Geffen, but Simon’s publicist said that the rumor was untrue. Singers David Bowie and David Cassidy have also been suggested to fill that slot; no word on whether one of them is indeed the “David”. There’s also been a suggestion of Dan Armstrong, a guitarist, as the name of the person that can’t be made out. He and Simon were together for quite some time before they both went onto other relationships.

Whoever it may or may not be, the song did exactly what Simon wanted: fostered a discussion that will likely never end. Maybe we don’t want to know who the song is about. It’s influenced thousands of other performers to write their own breakup songs without revealing the name of who it’s actually about. Some have one, some have too many. (Taylor Swift.) Yet, “Vain” is always going to be seen as the one that started it all, the perfect mix of great instrumentation and a heavy lyric that makes you think. Happy anniversary, Carly.

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