Tag Archives: Wings

Shot In The Chart: “Arrows” With A Top 40 Target

Pointed pop power.

Some pointed pop power.

You may be hearing a lot of “Broken Arrows” on your radio this spring and summer. It is a new collaboration from Avicii and Zac Brown, with the latter performer being uncredited. It goes for adds today at the CHR/Pop format. Brown’s never had a profile at CHR radio, though his band did find some minor crossover airplay on the Hot AC chart several years ago. Meanwhile, the Swedish producer continues on a cold streak, last making the top 40 as a main-credited artist nearly two years ago. (A series of singles were pulled or under-performed in the meantime.) The odd pairing may not have created the next “Justified And Ancient”, but it will be interesting to see what happens with it.

The musical “arrow” doesn’t really point itself towards pop potential anymore. In fact, there have only been five titles in pop radio and Hot 100 history to include the word in them. Hey, even Cupid gets hit by the recession once in a while. So, watch out while the latest one launches, but keep these musical missiles in mind:

HOT 100

“Little Arrows”, Leapy Lee (#16, 1968)
Lee’s only charting hit on the Hot 100 nearly made the top ten on the Country chart. Two of his later singles also hit that survey. A limited amount of overseas success followed that hit through the 70’s, but the Gold-certified release remains his best-known song.

“Me And My Arrow”, Nilsson (#34, 1971)
After a reissue of “Everybody’s Talkin'” made the top ten, thanks to the movie Midnight Cowboy, the New York singer struggled a little to find his next big hit. This was another minor entry along the way, but his epic ballad “Without You” was just months away.

RADIO & RECORDS (CHR/Pop)

“Arrow Through Me”, Wings (#17, 1979)
This “Arrow” was the final chart hit in the U.S. for Paul McCartney’s successful band, as he would be credited as a solo act with his next single, the chart-topping “Coming Up”. Parent album Back To The Egg got as high as #6, their lowest-charting set since 1971.

“Poison Arrow”, ABC (#17, 1983)
The English band’s second top 40 hit in the U.S., which peaked in the spring of 1983, became their first top ten in the U.K. about a year earlier. At the time, the band was playing as a quartet. Currently, lead vocalist Martin Fry is the only member using the name.

“Broken Arrow”, Rod Stewart (#9, 1991)
Though it’s largely forgotten about in 2016, this legendary singer’s hit helped his Vagabond Heart set to become a Platinum seller in the States. 1991 marked Stewart’s first year with three top ten hits at CHR radio (“Rhythm Of My Heart”, “The Motown Song”.)

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Ready To Fly: Birdy’s “Love” Takes Second U.S. Flight

Who could it be? Believe it or not, it's Birdy.

Who could it be? Believe it or not, it’s Birdy.

Music Video:

At the tender age of 17, Jasmine Van den Bogaerde, better known as the singer named Birdy, has left the nest and is taking to the fair skies of the music industry with two commercially successful albums in Europe and a handful of well-charting singles. However,  the atmosphere has been a little more crowded here in the U.S., where the performer has yet to see any significant numbers in the national spotlight. Sure, the album’s ranked in the lower rungs on the Billboard 200, going as high as #62 last year, but as far as being a household name, she’s no rockin’ robin just yet. However, a now three-year-old cover song and a new life/strategy to it could finally bring the single soaring up the charts as it should’ve in the first place.

The song in question is “Skinny Love”, first recorded by Bon Iver in 2007 and then covered by her and released in the U.K. in January 2011. It debuted in the top 40 in March at #25 and stalled out for some time before climbing to a peak of #17 in its ninth week, before falling down, then returning, then falling again, etc. As a result, it’s logged a run of 45 non-consecutive weeks in the official Top 75 there, which is immense given its peak. Even more exciting were the #2 peaks for the song in Australia, France, New Zealand and The Netherlands, and its worldwide sales of over one million copies in total. The piano-driven pop song struck a nerve with many audiences… so why has the U.S. been left behind in all of this?

As the title suggests, this isn’t the first go-around for Atlantic Records and Birdy when it comes to radio promotion for the song. In fact, “Skinny Love” was actually serviced to Hot AC radio in Q2 of 2012, picking up nine stations between April and July before ultimately burning out and missing the top 50 at the format. I thought that would’ve been it. However, beginning in October of last year, “Love” garnered some action on the Alternative format, and is now up to ten stations in total, including two top ten markets. It’s also currently ranking in that top 50. Given that, the label’s gone and put out a CHR adds date on February 11, which seems a little bit premature in the short term, but should be alright in the long run. However, that pop radio trajectory is dependent on its Alternative success, which may be long and drawn-out. Stay tuned.

Given the better acceptance of ballads and sparsely-arranged pieces at radio now, this could be a better opportunity for “Skinny Love” to succeed, even with its age. After all, I doubt many people in the U.S. actually know about how the long the song’s been out or even a lot about the performer herself. Still, it begs the question of whether a fresher song like “Wings”, which was released a few months in Europe and bares the Ryan Tedder attachment, could’ve led to her big breakthrough here in the States rather than a remake that’s already weathered the surveys overseas to some big success, but generally modest results. (Actually, Tedder has too many compositions on the air as is, so best to wait in that case.)

With the pressure to introduce another Lana Del Rey or Lorde-type act into the U.S. music market, it’s worth noting that birds of a feather flock together. In that case, I think we may be seeing Birdy up in the clouds through this new year.

(Download “Skinny Love” on iTunes)

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TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (May 28)

It's all in the Mix.

Mixing it up.

The day after Memorial Day isn’t the most eventful for new music, but if you’re looking for something to freshen up your playlist, here are the new album and single releases for May 28:

  • My pick of the week is the first album by U.K. girl group Little Mix, titled DNA. It’s been out in Europe since November, where the group has now had four top-40 singles off the effort. The 12-track (standard) or 16-track (deluxe) album features the recent single “Wings”, which made the top 30 on CHR radio. (iTunes)
  • Rocker John Fogerty is back with his first album in four years, Wrote A Song For Everyone. It’s an album of collaborations with artists like Bob Seger and Keith Urban covering Fogerty’s classic cuts. (iTunes)
  • Seattle band Alice In Chains release their second album with singer William DuVall entitled The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. Two songs have made the top 5 at Active Rock radio for the band, including newest single “Stone”, which is at #3. (iTunes)
  • R&B singer and hit songwriter The-Dream is out with his IV Play album. The current single is the title track, which is struggling at Urban radio. (iTunes)
  • A remastered edition of the classic 1976 album by Paul McCartney and Wings, the live Wings Over America, is out in several different digital and physical combinations this week. It went to #1 on the U.S. album chart back in 1977. (iTunes)
  • The Tony-nominated soundtrack to the play Kinky Boots, with music by Cyndi Lauper, is released this week. The production has a total of thirteen nominations. (iTunes)
  • The television show True Blood is out with a fourth compilation of songs from the series, including acts like Alabama Shakes and My Morning Jacket. (iTunes)
  • Legend Tony Bennett and late jazz icon Dave Brubeck release Bennett & Brubeck: The White House Sessions, Live 1962, which features songs like ‘”I Left My Heart In San Francisco” and “Take Five”. (iTunes)
  • Lastly, British act BΔSTILLE are out with a new EP for the States, Haunt, featuring their international hit “Pompeii”. (iTunes)

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

  • “L.A. Story”, new from rapper Sammy Adams and singer Mike Posner. (iTunes)
  • “Walks Like Rihanna”, the latest single from boy band The Wanted. (iTunes)
  • “Wild”, a fresh new single from Jessie J featuring rapper Big Sean. A European version also features rapper Dizzee Rascal. (iTunes)

Next week features a ton of rock acts: Filter, Queens Of The Stone Age and Portugal. The Man are among them. Can any of them rock it to the top? A preview is coming in seven!

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Lucky Charms: A Pack Of Fine And Fortunate Songs

They should be so lucky.

They’re magically delicious.

Just like that, the French electronic duo named Daft Punk have scored their very first top 40 hit as a main act on the Hot 100, “Get Lucky”, featuring a vocal from Pharrell Williams. Though they’ve managed to chart here with other songs like “Around The World”, “One More Time”, and “Stronger” (as a featured artist on Kanye West‘s #1 single), the group still aren’t a household name here, though this is anticipated to be their biggest era ever. “Get Lucky” has already made it up to #14 and with an album, Random Access Memories, a few days away, I thought we could look back at the luck that we listened to when we were little (and still do today.) At least two dozen titles have crashed the top 40 with “luck” or “lucky” in their title, but only seven has gone as high as Daft Punk‘s current record. So, take seven of those, plus seven more that I like, and I think we’ve got a whole lot of good luck to contend with. Let me share some with you:

“Lucky Ladybug”, Billy & Lillie (#14, 1959)
The duo of Billy Ford and Lillie Bryant got together in 1958 to record for Swan Records. Their debut single, “La Dee Dah”, written and produced by Bob Crewe and Frank C. Slay, Jr., went to #9 on the Hot 100 in 1958 and sold over 1 million copies. That pairing also wrote their second and final top 40 hit, “Lucky Ladybug”, which went to #14. The group split shortly afterwards after a few failed singles.

“Happy-Go-Lucky Me”, Paul Evans (#10, 1960)
Queens-born Evans struck it big in his early 20’s with a handful of hit singles, including the 1959 record “Seven Little Girls (Sitting in the Back Seat)”, which went to #9. (You’d think it would’ve peaked at #7.) “Me” was his only other top ten hit, and after a couple more charting songs, he was done. He later went into songwriting and production of film and television scores, including CBS This Morning.

“Lady Luck”, Lloyd Price (#14, 1960)
R&B singer Price started making the R&B survey in the early 50’s, but it wasn’t until after a stint in the military that he began to crash the pop charts. He’s best known for his 1959 version of the song “Stagger Lee”, which went to #1 on the Hot 100. He last hit the top 40 in 1963 with a remake of the song “Misty”, though he continued to put out original music for some time. He continues to perform.

“Good Luck Charm”, Elvis Presley (#1, 1962)
He was the King of Rock and Roll and he was still at the top on his golden throne when this song came along, cut in 1961 and released the following spring. “Good” spent two weeks at #1 in April and was one of eighteen number ones on the Billboard Hot 100 for Mr. Presley. Long after his death in 1977, his songs are continually played on the radio, and his home, Graceland, remains a popular tourist spot.

“With A Little Luck”, Paul McCartney & Wings (#1, 1978)
1978 was another hot year on the charts for this group who released their latest studio album, London Town. This first single from the effort made a huge splash and quickly climbed into the #1 spot, which it held for two weeks, with its parent album going to #2. McCartney, having made music for over fifty years now, is still on tour frequently and making original material. There’s definitely no stopping him now.

“Lucky Star”, Madonna (#4, 1984)
The megastar from Michigan first made it into the top 40 a year prior with “Holiday”, but this was her first single to make the top 5 on the Hot 100. Featured on her self-titled album, it is one of her most remembered songs, thanks in part to a music video which established her as a fashion icon. It also prepared her for her forthcoming era, the Like A Virgin album, and a whole lot more luck on the singles survey.

“Some Guys Have All The Luck”, Rod Stewart (#10, 1984)
First done by R&B group The Persuaders in 1973, it became a minor single for them, peaking at #39 on the Hot 100. The Stewart version became the singer’s second top ten hit in a row from his Camouflage album, which was certified Gold in the United States. It still gets a bit of adult contemporary play today. Stewart recently released his first album of all original material in twelve years, Time, on Capitol Records.

BONUS: these singles could have used a little more luck (but I still enjoy them a lot):
“Hard Luck Woman”, KISS (#15, 1977) / remake by Garth Brooks (#45, 1994)
The original comes from the Platinum-certified Rock And Roll Over album; the Brooks remake appears on a tribute album, Classic KISS Regrooved.

“The Lucky One”, Amy Grant (#18, 1994)
Oh, baby baby, this one didn’t do as well as her #1 hit from 1991. This was one of her last major hits to see any attention from mainstream radio.

“Lucky”, Britney Spears (#23, 2000)
“This is a story about a girl named Lucky.” The down sides of fame couldn’t stop it from reaching the #2 spot on my personal chart in the summer of 2000.

“I Should Be So Lucky”, Kylie Minogue (#28, 1988)
She should be so lucky (lucky, lucky, lucky) to appear on the list. “Should” went to #1 in Australia and the United Kingdom, among other countries.

“Lucky Love”, Ace Of Base (#30, 1996)
Following “Beautiful Life”, which came and went, this single didn’t stay around for much time either. The group had one last top 40 hit here in 1998.

“Just Got Lucky”, JoBoxers (#36, 1983)
They were a little more “lucky” in their native United Kingdom where this hit #7 on the Singles Chart. This was their only charting release here.

“Lucky”, Jason Mraz featuring Colbie Caillat (#48, 2009)
This soft rock ballad blended their two voices perfectly and garnered a lot of adult contemporary airplay. It went to #2 on my personal chart for three weeks.

Which song is the luckiest of all in your book? Let me know! Comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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Record Store Day 2013: What I’m Looking At

Viva la Vinyl.

Viva la Vinyl.

Ah, yes, it’s a nice spring day. The birds are singing and the sun is shining… but wait, where are all the people to enjoy this? Well, duh, they’re waiting in line outside their local record store for Record Store Day! The 2013 edition of RSD is tomorrow, April 20, and big things are going down once again. The Day was founded back in 2007 in a more regional form before it expanded nationally in 2008. I remember buying my first two vinyl singles then: 7″ records of “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz and “Supernatural Superserious” by R.E.M., both songs I loved at the time. Today, there are hundreds of items available for purchase, from pop to rock to soul to country and everything in-between. Just, remember to get there early, or you may miss out on what you want! I thought I’d highlight some of the pieces that I’m looking to find on my hunt around some of the stores here. I’m up for the challenge — are you? Then, let’s get groovy.

BON JOVI – Live EP
Format: 12″ vinyl EP
View artwork

On the heels of their latest studio album, What About Now, comes this EP exclusively for Record Store Day. It contains four tracks, including hits like “Keep The Faith” and “Livin’ On A Prayer”. This has the distinction of being one of the few picture disc releases up for purchase, which is very cool.

CHEECH & CHONG featuring ALICE BOWIE – “Earache My Eye”
Format: 7″ vinyl single
View artwork

It wouldn’t be 4/20 without an offering from Cheech & Chong, am I right? Their biggest hit, a top ten single in 1974, comes in its original form with the same picture sleeve and tracklisting: “Earache My Eye” as the a-side; “Turn That Thing Down” as the b-side. Did I mention it’s on green-colored vinyl? Wicked, man.

FITZ & THE TANTRUMS – “Out Of My League”
Format: 12″ vinyl single
View artwork

“Out Of My League” is currently occupying the #2 spot on my personal chart, so I’d love to find a copy of it on Saturday. The 12″ single is pressed on a clear-colored vinyl with “League” as the a-side and a song called “Spark” as the b-side. Both songs appear on the band’s forthcoming album, More Than Just A Dream, which is out on May 7.

FRANK TURNER – “Recovery”
Format: 7″ vinyl single
View artwork

Turner’s single is making some waves at Alternative and Adult Alternative radio and I’ve been liking it for a few weeks now. “Recovery” is on the a-side, while a song called “We Shall Not Overcome” is on the flip side. The English singer releases Tape Deck Heart on April 23, the Tuesday after Record Store Day.

MUMFORD & SONS – Live At Bull Moose EP
Format: 10″ vinyl EP, CD
View artwork

This four-track effort was recorded last year at the Bull Moose location in Scarborough, Maine. It features three tracks from their Grammy-winning album Babel, including the single “I Will Wait”, as well as one from their debut album, Sigh No More. There are more pressed copies on CD than vinyl, so be on the lookout.

PAUL MCCARTNEY & WINGS – “Maybe I’m Amazed (Live)”
Format: 7″ vinyl single
View artwork

I’m sure you hear this song quite a lot of Adult Contemporary and Classic Hits stations. It peaked at #10 on the Hot 100 in 1977. The short and long versions on both sides of this single are of the live version from the Wings Over America LP. Last year, McCartney put out another 7″ single for the Day, “Another Day”, backed with “Oh Woman Oh Why”.

TEGAN & SARA – “Closer”
Format: 12″ vinyl single
View artwork

This one recently made it as high as #26 on my personal chart, but I would definitely purchase it on vinyl. I believe this is meant to bear the same tracklisting as this six-song EP released digitally last month. This comes from their album entitled Heartthrob, which recently debuted in the top ten on the Billboard 200 album chart.

There are a few other things I’m looking at, including releases from David Bowie and Walk The Moon, but of course, I don’t think I’ll be able to find everything on my wish list. I’ll update this on Saturday. Are you looking forward to Record Store Day and is there a release that you’ve got to have? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

EDIT: The only release I didn’t find out of the eight was the Frank Turner 7″ single. Otherwise, I found everything I wanted, plus more! You can view pictures of what I purchased here, here and here.

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Winging It: Taking Flight In The Forty

Flying away on a wing and some air.

Flying away on a wing and some air.

British girl group Little Mix has already started their journey towards dominating the United States with their first single, “Wings”. It currently stands at #44 on the CHR chart, though it hasn’t quite cracked the Billboard Hot 100 yet. In preparation for their debut, however, I thought it might be interesting to see how some other winged titles flew up the charts. In total, eight songs with “wings” in the title have hovered onto the Hot 100, and I’ve picked out my five favorites. So, let’s soar along with some sailing songs.

“BROKEN WINGS”, Mr. Mister (#1, 1985)
After an underperforming album, 1984’s I Wear The Face, this Arizona band was on the verge of breaking up after lead singer Richard Page was extended offers to be the lead singer in both Chicago and Toto. Page refused, focusing his attention on his band and what was about to become their biggest era ever. As the lead single from Welcome To The Real World, “Broken” spent two weeks at #1, propelling both the album and followup single, “Kyrie”, to the top spot in the spring of 1986. After a third album that did very little, the band broke up. A version done by Rick Springfield, featuring Page on backing vocals, garnered some minor adult contemporary airplay in 2005.

“FLYING WITHOUT WINGS”, Ruben Studdard (#2, 2003)
Back when American Idol wasn’t a sinking ship in the ratings, season 2 brought us a big battle between Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard. Studdard won the competition in a very close race, and his winning single was a cover of a song Irish boy band Westlife took to #1 in the U.K. in 1999. His version, issued with a b-side of “Superstar” (the old Carpenters hit), debuted at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 behind runner-up Clay Aiken‘s “This Is The Night”, which ruled for two weeks total. Studdard returned to the top ten the next year with “Sorry 2004”, but hasn’t had anything nearly as big since, though he’s had some moderate-sized R&B entries. He currently records for Shanachie Records.

“ON THE WINGS OF LOVE”, Jeffrey Osborne (#29, 1982)
Osborne first made a name for himself in the 70’s as the lead singer of L.T.D., but departed the group by 1980 and started up a solo career. “Love” was his second top-40 hit on the Hot 100 (following the #39 “I Really Don’t Need No Light”) and peaked at #29 around the Christmas holiday. His biggest crossover success wouldn’t come until 1986 and 1987 with a pair of top-20 singles. He last made the Hot 100 in 1988 and his regular chartings on the R&B chart were largely over by 1991. You may remember that he performed this song on The Bachelor several seasons ago when pilot Jake Pavelka was the star of that cycle. Too bad Pavelka’s relationship ended with an emergency landing.

“PRETTY WINGS”, Maxwell (#33, 2009)
This R&B singer had a pretty consistent track record from his 1996 debut, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, until his 2001 release, Now. All of studio albums were at least certified Platinum, and his singles generally did well on the R&B survey, including “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” (1996, #8) and “Fortunate” (#1, 1999). Then, he simply disappeared. No new releases, no touring, no television appearances. He suddenly reemerged in 2008 with a series of live performances, which was followed by BLACKsummers’night in 2009. “Pretty”, the leadoff single, was welcomed with open arms by Urban radio, spending fourteen weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Three other singles from the effort charted. A new album is expected by him later this year.

“WIND BENEATH MY WINGS”, Bette Midler (#1, 1989)
Here’s a song that has quite a bit of history. Originally published in 1982, versions by Roger Whittaker and Sheena Easton were both recorded during that year, but neither rendition became a single. Lou Rawls made his last appearance on the Hot 100 with his take in 1983, but it only went to #65. Two other versions charted that year on genre-specific charts, one by Gladys Knight & The Pips (titled “Hero”, #23 AC) and the other by Gary Morris (#4 Country), which won a few accolades at the ACM and CMA Awards. However, the best known version of “Wind” is by the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler. Released on the soundtrack to Beaches, which she also starred in, the song went to #1 for one week in 1989. It won Record and Song Of The Year at the GRAMMY Awards the following year. Shortly afterwards, Midler saw most of her success on the adult contemporary survey (and a few dance hits.) Her last studio album, Cool Yule, was out in 2006.

The other three high-fliers:
“BUTTERFLY WITH BULLET WINGS”, Smashing Pumpkins (#22, 1995)
Years after they began charting at rock radio, the band finally cracked the top 40 on the Hot 100 with this song. It was their first of four big hits on the chart, the biggest of which was “1999”, which went to #12. They’ve made the Alternative survey as recently as last year.

“IF MY HEART HAD WINGS”, Faith Hill (#39, 2001)
“Heart” was the fourth single to be released from Hill’s 8x platinum album, Breathe. It hit the top 5 on the Country chart, which she wouldn’t achieve for another four years. Hill’s material has been underperforming as of recent, though she still performs live. Beginning in April, she and her husband, Tim McGraw, begin their Soul2Soul residency in Las Vegas.

“WINGS OF A DOVE”, Ferlin Husky (#12, 1961)
Beginning in 1953, Husky began a chart run of over twelve years on the Country chart, landing a total of eleven songs in the top ten. “Dove” was his last crossover hit to make the top 40, peaking at #12, as well as his final #1 single on the Country survey. He passed away in 2011.

Do you have a favorite flier in the flock? Maybe you prefer the band Wings better? Let me know! Comment below or find me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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