Tag Archives: Nancy Sinatra

FRIDAY FORTY: A Passion For Fashion

Dressed to impress.

Dressed to impress.

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!)

I guess we’ve decided recently that if you want to have a big hit nowadays, it needs to be fashion forward. Look at “Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z. That one’s a formal affair. “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis recently topped the charts and explored the less expensive side of things. It wasn’t exclusively about clothing, but it’s so hard to ignore a bargain. So, inspired by these two songs, especially the former one, I give you the Top 40 Most Fashionable Titles of the Rock Era. The list contains those song titles that either mention a specific article of clothing (pants, shirt, etc.), a major component of it (a collar or a pocket, but not a button) or a style of clothing. So, you won’t be seeing titles with the generic word “clothes” in them (like Shakira‘s “Underneath Your Clothes”), songs with solely materials in the title (like “Black Velvet” by Alannah Myles) or other songs that may otherwise use “dress” or “wear” but without something else to complete it (like “You Wear It Well” by Rod Stewart.) Oh, and no songs about a “sock” when its clearly meant to be a verb. Now, get ready to run down the aisles, ’cause this sale on singles won’t last long.

(Statistics are from the Hot 100, 1958 to the present, with ** indicating Hot 100 Airplay peaks, thus releases like the original “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis Presley from 1956 are left off.  You didn’t want to see “Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy” at the top, did you?)

Just so you can make some room in your closet, the majority of these songs are about pants and shoes (10 each). Four are about hats, two mention sunglasses, another two dive into some swimwear, and I’ll let you figure out the rest.

40. Chris YoungGettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song) (#33, 2009)
39. TLCHat 2 Da Back (#30, 1993)
38. James BrownI Got Ants in My Pants (and I Want to Dance) (#27, 1973)
37. Dr. HookBaby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk (#25, 1982)
36. Morris DayFishnet (#23, 1988)
35. StyxBlue Collar Man (Long Nights) (#21, 1978)
34. Neil DiamondForever In Blue Jeans (#20, 1979)
33. Timbuk3The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades (#19, 1986)
32. Eddie KendricksShoeshine Boy (#18, 1975)
31. Nigel OlssonDancin’ Shoes (#18, 1979)

30. David DundasJeans On (#17, 1977)
29. ApplejacksMexican Hat Rock (#16, 1958)
28. Elton JohnWho Wears These Shoes? (#16, 1984)
27. James BrownHot Pants (She Got to Use What She Got to Get What She Wants) (#15, 1971)
26. Alanis MorissetteHand In My Pocket (#15**, 1995)
25. The Ohio PlayersSkin Tight (#14, 1974)
24. RoxetteDressed For Success (#14, 1989)
23. The PretendersBrass In Pocket (I’m Special) (#14, 1980)
22. Joe South & The BelieversWalk A Mile In My Shoes (#12, 1970)
21. Adam AntGoody Two Shoes (#12, 1983)

20. Tommy TuckerHi-Heel Sneakers (#11, 1964)
19. GinuwineIn Those Jeans (#8, 2003)
18. David BowieBlue Jean (#8, 1984)
17. Jimmy ClantonVenus In Blue Jeans (#7, 1962)
16. Corey HartSunglasses At Night (#7, 1984)
15. Del ShannonHats Off To Larry (#5, 1961)
14. Natasha BedingfieldPocketful Of Sunshine (#5, 2008)
13. Connie FrancisLipstick On Your Collar (#5, 1959)
12. Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-ZSuit & Tie (#4, 2013)
11. TacoPuttin’ On The Ritz (#4, 1983)

The top ten:
10. Mitch Ryder & The Detroit WheelsDevil With A Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly (#4, 1966)

I think I’ve heard this medley a few too many times on the local classic hits station. The original song, combined with the Little Richard hit, became the biggest of their five singles to make the top 40, hitting #4. Ryder also made the Hot 100 as a solo artist later in the decade. The Michigan native still tours in the U.S. and in Europe.

9. H-TownKnockin’ Da Boots (#3, 1993)

Named after their hometown of Houston, Texas, this trio catapulted to the #3 slot in 1993 with the first single. It led them to a win at the Soul Train Music Awards the following year in the category of Best R&B New Artist. They largely struggled to find a hit single after “Boots”, charting three other times below the top 40. They haven’t recorded any music during this decade… yet.

8. Helen ReddyLeave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress) (#3, 1973)

Australia’s darling was taking over the charts here in the States in the early 70’s, which included three number-one singles like “Angie Baby” and “I Am Woman”. “Alone” only got to #3, but it was one of six top ten hits Reddy collected on the Hot 100. As disco infiltrated the mainstream, Reddy could no longer make the top 40 by 1977, and she last hit nationally in 1981. She occasionally performs today.

7. NellyAir Force Ones (#3, 2003)

The rapper from St. Louis took us to Nellyville back in 2002 and this song about Nike-brand shoes (rather than the presidential aircraft) from the multi-Platinum album went #3 in the early 2003. He’s recorded several albums since then and recently made the Hot 100 with his latest single, “Hey Porsche”. He’s also featured on a new remix of Florida-Georgia Line‘s “Cruise”.

6. Dodie StevensPink Shoe Laces (#3, 1959)

She was born Geraldine Pasquale, but was given her stage name on a local talent show. Stevens was just 13 years old when she found herself in the pop spotlight with her Gold-certified debut single about a wacky guy’s sense of clothes. It took her to #3 on the Hot 100, her highest charting position. She had several other minor singles make the big chart. She has a daughter and performs with her today.

No ordinary "Song".

No ordinary “Song”.

5. SisqoThong Song (#3, 2000)

After taking a break from Dru Hill, it was clear that Sisqo was the frontrunner from the group to achieve a solo career. The goals of a long career, however, were stunted rather quickly when his novelty “Thong Song” blew up. Whether you were at the beach or the club, you couldn’t ignore it. “Thong” went to #3 on the Hot 100, which was followed by the #1 “Incomplete”, which secured the spot thanks to big R&B airplay and strong physical sales. His second album ultimately tanked, and Dru Hill‘s next release couldn’t measure up to the success of their 90’s material. In other words, he bottomed out.

When "Cool" goes hot.

When “Cool” goes hot.

4. The HolliesLong Cool Woman (In A Black Dress) (#2, 1972)

After several charting records on the Hot 100 in the 60’s, including a handful of top-ten hits like “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”, these Brits scored their biggest entry in 1972 with the #2 “Woman”, just stuck behind the monster that was “Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan. It’s the highest song on this list about a dress. The group would have one more big single two years later, “The Air That I Breathe”, before largely disappearing from the U.S. charts. They last made the top 40 in 1983 and remain together with a few replacement members.

A man of many hats.

A man of many hats.

3. Prince & The RevolutionRaspberry Beret (#2, 1985)

Prince and his band The Revolution were on fire in 1985 after just coming off the success of Purple Rain and its corresponding soundtrack full of hits like “Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry”. “Beret” was the first single from Around The World In A Day, which went to #1 on the Billboard 200, though the single itself only made it to #2. One other song from the album, “Pop Life”, went to top ten. The video for “Beret” was combination of both live performance and animation which the Purple One ended up editing himself. Let’s just say juggling all those berets didn’t quite help him on that one.

She won't be defeeted.

She won’t be defeeted.

2. Nancy SinatraThese Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (#1, 1966)

As the daughter of the iconic Frank Sinatra, Nancy was bound for big things once she decided to pursue a career in music. After a single failed to achieve a high position in 1965, Sinatra went to the top of the Hot 100 the next year with “Boots”, which became her signature song. She enjoyed some modest success with the occasional top ten single for the rest of the decade, last reaching the Hot 100 in 1969. She hosts a weekly show on a SiriusXM Radio channel named after her father, Siriusly Sinatra.

Taking the Hy-Road.

Taking the Hy-Road.

1. Brian HylandItsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (#1, 1960)

Watching the snow melt away day after day brings us closer to the summer season, and now, a musical memory from the summer of 1960. It’s the most popular song on this list about articles of clothing. 16-year-old Brian Hyland was objection of affection for many a young girl back then as he went to the top of the Hot 100 with his mouthful of a song title. Sales of the garment skyrocketed because of the song’s popularity, and it’s been featured in a number of movies and advertisements in the nearly 53 years since its release. Hyland went onto other top ten singles like “Sealed With A Kiss” (1962) and “Gypsy Woman” (1970), but he’ll always be remembered as the teen idol who sang the sweet sounds of swimsuits. Not surprisingly, it’s still his most requested song on his tours.

That’s going to do it for this Friday Forty. Hope you enjoyed this look back in the glamorous genre of pop music, and let me know if I missed any along the way! Or, suggest a topic for the next Friday Forty! Leave a comment below or contact me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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GRAMMY Flashback: The Year Without A Best New Artist

They got the "Boot".

Two of the acts that got the “Boot”.

Welcome to GRAMMY Week! This week, from Monday to Friday, you’ll be treated to some special GRAMMY related topics, from the past to the present, all leading up to the music’s biggest night on Sunday at 8PM eastern on CBS. Let’s dive into today’s post…

As you’re probably aware, Best New Artist is one of the big four categories presented on the night, first given out in 1959 to Bobby Darin. The award’s been presented to some performers that have gone on to illustrious careers: The Beatles, The Carpenters, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Maroon 5 and more. The award also cursed more than a few acts it was given to: Bobbie GentryThe Starland Vocal Band, Rickie Lee Jones, Marc Cohn, Arrested Development, and others. Oh, let’s not forget Milli Vanilli, whose win was taken away after it was revealed that the two men weren’t singing their own records. Oops. Yet, what happens when the Award isn’t awarded to anyone at all even when there was plenty of new talent out there? Then, you get the 1967 GRAMMY Awards.

For some reason that’s still unclear to this day, no Best New Artist was appointed at the 1967 ceremony, which reflected the music of 1966. I figure I could highlight some of the acts that released their first big singles during that year and would’ve been eligible for the Award. Then, you can decide who should have been the big winner. I have my pick(s). The 1966 GRAMMY Awards had seven nominees for Best New Artist; I’ll limit my category to five, as is the standard today. And, the nominees are…

NANCY SINATRA
The daughter of the iconic Frank Sinatra had a big year in 1966. After a failed single in “So Long, Babe”, Sinatra went to the top of the Hot 100 with “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'”, which became her signature song. Written by Lee Hazlewood, it spent one week at #1. It also led Sinatra to three other top-40 singles during the year, including “Sugar Town” (#5) and “How Does That Grab You, Darlin’?” (#7). Her father won Best Album for A Man And His Music and Record Of The Year for “Strangers In The Night” at the 1967 GRAMMY Awards… who’s to say she couldn’t have followed him?

PERCY SLEDGE
The R&B singer from Alabama crooned his way to the #1 spot on the Hot 100 in May 1966 with “When A Man Loves A Woman”. It spent two weeks at the top. He managed two other top-20 hits during the year, both of which hit the top ten on the R&B chart. He wouldn’t have been the strongest choice to win, but with a big debut single, he could have swayed some of the voters to go his way. (He ultimately wouldn’t hit the top ten on the Hot 100 again, though he came close with the #11 “Take Time To Know Her” in 1968.)

SIMON & GARFUNKEL
This duo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel spent years under an assortment of names trying to hit the big time, but it wasn’t until 1965 that a song from their album released the year prior, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., began receiving airplay at a few markets. Officially released in the fall, “The Sound Of Silence” spent two weeks at #1 in January 1966. The band went onto release four other top-40 hits during 1966, including the #3 “I Am A Rock” and “Homeward Bound” (#5). The duo garnered several GRAMMY Awards for later hits like 1968’s “Mrs. Robinson” and 1970’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Was it to make up for the lack of a Best New Artist win? They certainly would’ve been a huge act in the hunt for it had there been a category that year.

THE ASSOCIATION
Another of the big vocal groups out of California, they first the Hot 100 in 1966 with “Along Comes Mary” (#7) with a lead vocal by Jim Yester. However, it was a song sung and written by vocalist Terry Kirkman that took the band to #1 for three weeks in September: “Cherish”. Both releases can be found on And Then… Along Comes The Association, which made the top 5 on the Billboard 200 album chart. If the voters on the panel wanted a more traditional-sounding act to win the Award, the baroque pop flavor of their material may have worked out for them.

THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS
In terms of success in 1966, this group had the biggest and most consistent pack of singles during the year. The quintet out of New York City took the charts by storm, first with a #4 hit, the classic “Calfornia Dreamin'”. That record was followed by three other consecutive top-5 singles: “Monday, Monday” (#1 for three weeks), “I Saw Her Again” (#5) and “Words Of Love” (#5). Up to that point, a mixed group of men and woman had never won the Award. Could the band have achieved that feat before The Carpenters took it at the 1971 ceremony? Might have happened “for all we know”.

Other acts to make their debut that year that might have been nominated:
Neil Diamond: his first big top ten, “Cherry Cherry”, may have come too late in the year to get him a nomination. Plus, he’s only received two nominations total and both have been for movie soundtracks.
The Rascals: had a big #1 in “Good Lovin'”, but their other 1966 singles weren’t big successes. They continued to make the top 40 until 1969.

So, who do you think would’ve won it all? I’d say Nancy Sinatra and Simon & Garfunkel had the best chance of getting it, the former based on name and the latter based on how the Academy lavished them with Awards at future ceremonies. How about you? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel. Stay tuned for more GRAMMY posts as the week continues!

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