Saturday, December 2, 1995

Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men debuted at #1 with "One Sweet Day": December 2, 1995

First posted 12/2/2011; updated 1/23/2020.

One Sweet Day

Mariah Carey with Boyz II Men

Writer(s): Mariah Carey/Michael McCary/Nathan Morris/Wanya Morris/Shawn Stockman/Walter Afanasieff (see lyrics here)


Released: November 14, 1995


Peak: 116 US, 111 CB, 18 RR, 113 AC, 110 A40, 2 RB, 6 UK, 12 CN, 2 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.25 UK, 3.5 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 139.0 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Review:

This ballad paired “some of the best R&B ballad singers of their generation” BBC emphasizing Carey’s “vocal gymnastics, artfully supported by the more restrained vocalizing of…Boyz II Men.” JA-153 Done with “fitting and tender simplicity”, BBC “this passionate expression of loss” BBC was reportedly inspired by the death earlier that year of David Cole, half of the group C+C Music Factory and a friend of Carey’s. TB-269 However, she says the song wasn’t inspired by just one specific person. BR1-843

Meanwhile, Boyz II Men were working on a tribute to Khalil Roundtree, their road manager who had been murdered. TB-269 When Carey and the Boyz decided to pair up, they merged their efforts into what became not just the biggest pop hit of 1995, WHC-126 but the biggest hit of the latter half of the 20th century.

In fact, from 1900 to 1999, the only song to log more weeks at number one (17) was the 1947 song “Near You” by Francis Craig and His Orchestra. Interestingly enough, it was the THIRD time that Boyz II Men could claim to have the biggest hit of the rock era – first with 1992’s “End of the Road” and again with 1994’s “I’ll Make Love to You.”

Collectively, Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men had already accumulated 69 weeks (36 and 33 weeks respectively) atop the charts BB100 in just the first half of the 1990s. Mariah Carey went on to hit the top spot another eight times after this, giving her a total of 79 weeks at #1 – only one week behind Elvis Presley’s record 80 weeks. Boyz II Men only scored one more #1 (1997’s “4 Seasons of Loneliness”) and one more top 10 (1997’s “A Song for Mama”), but their total of 50 weeks in the pole position ranks them fourth all-time behind Elvis, Mariah, and The Beatles (59 weeks).


Resources and Related Links:

  • Mariah Carey’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • Boyz II Men’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • BBC BBC Radio 2 (2004). “Sold on Song Top 100
  • BB100 Billboard (9/08). “All-Time Hot 100
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books. Page 843.
  • JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 153.
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 269.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 126.

Friday, December 1, 1995

50 years ago: Bing Crosby charted with Christmas album

First posted 3/2/2008; updated 9/29/2020.

Merry Christmas (aka “White Christmas”)

Bing Crosby


Charted: December 1, 1945


Peak: 139 US, 45 UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, -- UK, 15.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: traditional pop/Christmas


Tracks:

Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Silent Night (12/21/35, 7 US, 8 UK, sales: 10 million)
  2. Adeste Fideles (O, Come All Ye Faithful) (12/12/60, 45 US)
  3. White Christmas (with the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Orchestra) (10/3/42, 114 US, 110 HP, 77 CA, 11 HR, 12 GA, 3 AC, 13 RB, 5 UK, 120, sales: 56 million)
  4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  5. Faith of Our Fathers
  6. I’ll Be Home for Christmas (12/4/43, 3 US, 8 RB, sales: 1 million)
  7. Jingle Bells (with The Andrews Sisters & Vic Schoen) (12/25/43, 19 US)
  8. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (with Carol Richards and John Scott Trotter & His Orchestra) (12/25/43, 22 US)
  9. Silver Bells (with Carol Richards and John Scott Trotter & His Orchestra) (12/27/52, 20 US)
  10. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
  11. Christmas in Killarney
  12. Mele Kalikimaka (with The Andrews Sisters & Vic Shoen)


Total Running Time: 27:24

Rating:

4.159 out of 5.00 (average of 11 ratings)


Quotable: --


Awards:

About the Album:

“Try to forget the fact that Bing Crosby probably never had to record another song in his life after he immortalized White Christmas. If you can do that, you’ll find plenty more to like in this crooning Christmas collection.” AZ

“White Christmas” is the best-selling song of all time, but this album didn’t too shabby either. When it comes to seasonal recordings, only Elvis Presley’s Christmas Album has sold more at 19 million copies worldwide. However, Merry Christmas reached the lofty heights of 39 whopping weeks at #1 on the Billboard album chart, thanks to multiple reissues, repackagings, and rereleases over the years.

The original album was packaged as five 78 records, each with two songs. All of the songs had been released previously and were Christmas-themed with the exception of “Danny Boy.” When a second edition was released in 1947, “Danny Boy” and “Let’s Start the New Year Right” were omitted and new recordings of “White Christmas” and Silent Night from March 19, 1947 were added. WK

In 1955, the vinyl reissue of the album followed the 1947 track listing and added four tracks, including Silver Bells and three tracks with the Andrews Sisters: Jingle Bells, Mele Kalikimaka, and Santa Claus Is Coming to Town. The 1955 version of the album has been continually in print ever since. Only the original cast recording of Oklahoma! has been in print longer. WK It’s also this cover with Crosby in a Santa Claus stocking cap which became the standard, replacing the original cover which had Crosby’s floating head on a blue background. WK

The album finds “‘Der Bingle’ in two distinctly different moods: from the solemnity of ‘Silent Night’ and Adeste Fidelis (sung in Latin and English) to the playfulness (‘gonna have a lotta fun’) on ‘Jingle Bells,’ with The Andrews Sisters providing some smiles with their ‘Ji-ji-jingle’ vocals.” AMG

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, October 10, 1995

No Doubt released Tragic Kingdom: October 10, 1995

Originally posted October 10, 2011.



With their third album, and major-label debut, No Doubt hit the big time. Tragic Kingdom wasn’t an immediate hit – it didn’t chart until January of 1996 and then took until December 1996 before it hit #1. However, it sold ten million copies in the U.S. and more than 17 million worldwide. At the 1997 Grammy Awards, Tragic Kingdom took home the prize for Best Rock Album while No Doubt walked away with the award for Best New Artist.

The group has been credited with bringing “Southern California’s ska scene to a national stage while elevating the band to star status” CK with its mix of ““‘90s punk, third-wave ska, and pop sensibility.” STE Naysayers like Entertainment Weekly’s David Browne attributed the band’s success to Gwen Stefani’s “leggy, bleached-blond calling card” looks and the idea that “sex still sells”, WK but even he conceded that the music provided “a hefty chunk of new-wave party bounce and Chili Peppers-style white-boy punk.” WK

The band worked with producer Matthew Wilder, who’d had a top 5 pop hit with “Break My Stride” in 1983. It made for a “a clever mainstream co-opting of new wave quirkiness, and, as such, an ideal pairing.” STE “Wilder kept his production lean and accessible, accentuating No Doubt’s appealing mix of new wave melodicism, post-grunge rock, and West Coast sunshine.” STE



The album “scored several hits” CK “led by the infectious, pseudo-new wave single Just a GirlSTE in which Stefani expressed her “exasperation with female stereotypes.” WK WK Spiderwebs, was written about a woman “trying to avoid the constant phone calls of a persistent man.” WK Both songs “positively ruled the airwaves, both alternative and mainstream.” STE

“In 1997 No Doubt cemented their cross-generational appeal” STE with Don’t Speak, which Browne called “an old-fangled power ballad.” WK The song was written about Stefani’s breakup with bandmate Tony Kanal. The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard airplay chart for a then-record sixteen weeks. It was not eligible to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 because it was not released as a commercial single.




Awards:
Resources and Related Links:



Monday, October 2, 1995

Oasis released (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

First posted 10/3/2013; updated 9/9/2019.

(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

Oasis


Released: October 2, 1995


Charted: October 14, 1995


Peak: #4 US, #110 UK, #12 CN, #15 AU


Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 5.1 UK, 22.4 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: Britpop/alternative rock


Quotable: “Quintessential Britpop masterpiece” – Dan Hyman, Rolling Stone


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Hello [3:21] [Noel Gallagher, Gary Glitter, Mike Leander]
  2. Roll with It [3:59] (8/14/1995, #2 UK)
  3. Wonderwall [4:18] (10/30/1995, #8 US, #2 UK, #9 AR, #1 MR, #33 AC)
  4. Don’t Look Back in Anger [4:48] (2/19/1996, #41a US, #1 UK, #10 MR)
  5. Hey Now! [5:41]
  6. Untitled (aka “The Swamp Song – Excerpt 1”) [0:44]
  7. Some Might Say [5:29] (5/6/95, #1 UK)
  8. Cast No Shadow [4:51]
  9. She’s Electric [3:40]
  10. Morning Glory [5:03] (9/18/1995, #24 AR)
  11. Untitled (aka “The Swamp Song – Excerpt 2”) [0:39]
  12. Champagne Supernova [7:27] (2/24/96, #20a US, #8 AR, #1 MR)

All songs by Noel Gallagher unless noted otherwise.


Review:

The rise of Oasis on the British scene was part nostalgia, part tabloid, and – as is usually the case with album’s that take on iconic status – part timing. They are accused of ripping off the Beatles. The Gallagher brothers (singer Liam and guitarist Noel) were called “tossers, wankers” TL because they “spent the ‘90s getting arrested, yelling at each other and warring with Blur’s Damon Albarn over the very important matter of which band was Britain’s best.” TL

Detractors argue that it wasn’t talent that made the band big, but their luck in being at the right place at the right time. Regarding the album’s lyrics, Q magazine said, “They say nothing much about anything.” IN Melody Maker called them “a limited band” who sounded “labored and lazy.” IN FasterLouder’s Max Easton says (What’s the Story) Morning Glory’s “lasting place in ‘90s folklore is less about the quality of the album and more about the celebrity status and faux imagery attached to it.” WK It is an album “full of anthems for the sake of anthems” and that “they’re all variations on only a couple of good ideas.” WK

This is all part of the story behind what ranks as one of the most celebrated albums of all time.

The Pinnacle of Britpop

In the late ‘80s, the UK experienced a “retro-rock renaissance” PF with more guitar-driven bands like the Stone Roses and the La’s. The “Britpop movement” also fit nicely into the American transition from more indie-oriented college rock to the wider audience of ‘90s alternative. Oasis arrived in 1994 with Definitely Maybe, a mix of “‘60s psychedelia, ‘70s glam and punk, Madchester groove” PF that became the UK’s fastest-selling debut ever. SG By the time of sophomore effort, Morning Glory, Oasis had become the major player of the Britpop movement. Despite all the expectations, the album has come to be regarded as the “quintessential Britpop masterpiece.” RS

It was a “significant record in the timeline of British indie music,” WK selling a record-breaking 347,000 copies in its debut sales week. WK The day after the album’s release, central London HMV stores were selling copies at a rate of two albums per minute, WK making it the second fastest-selling album in British history, only behind Michael Jackson’s Bad. IN The album was in the top three on the UK charts for “an astonishing seven months.” WK It went on to become the UK’s best-selling album of the 1990s WK and the third best-selling album in British history WK (behind the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Queen’s Greatest Hits). RS On a global scale, it “propelled Oasis from being a crossover indie act to a worldwide rock phenomenon.” WK

Beatles Ripoffs?

Oasis have been plagued by accusations of “ripping off The Beatles (ok, excellent stealing).” ZS They may be “guilty of some borrowing, or even plagiarism, but [Noel] uses the familiar riffs as building blocks. This is where his genius lies: He’s a thief and doesn’t have many original thoughts, but as a pop/rock melodicist he’s pretty much without peer.” AMG “The nagging familiarity of the material and the group’s stroppy self-confidence made criticism redundant.” PR

“Oasis are hardly innovators” AMG but “this powerhouse sophomore album rocks, end of story.” ZS “They have a majestic grandeur in their sound that makes ballads…or rockers…positively transcendent.” AMG Their “songs are flat-out infectious with melodies that capture their passion, sneering arrogance and good chops.” ZS Liam’s “voice is a no-frills vessel for carrying a tune;” TL he shows a knack for “turn[ing] each song into a sing-a-long.” TL Oasis “came as close as anyone to combining the tunefulness of the Beatles with the attitude of the Stones.” TL

Sibling Rivalry

While the band is musically compared to the Beatles, the relationship of brothers Liam and Noel is more akin to the sibling rivalry of Ray and Dave Davies of the Kinks. The “paparazzi-level famous” RS nature of their “bickering and in-fighting would grab most of the subsequent headlines foreshadowed the group’s eventual demise.” RS Less than six months after the album’s release, Liam told The Sunday Times “I’ve been up for leaving for the last couple of months… I reckon I can write better music, a lot better, about 100 times better, than what [Noel] can.” RS

Scroll down to comments about the song “Don’t Look Back in Anger” for a more detailed account of one of the brother’s infamous battles.

Morning Glory vs. Definitely Maybe

Noel said “the first album is about dreaming of being a pop star in a band. The second album is about actually being a pop star in a band,” RS or as All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine says, “what happens after the dreams come true.” AMG Morning Glory had “all the same intense immediacy,” SG “the same swagger, the same self-mythologizing in process, the same take-no-prisoners songwriting,” SG but “more expansiveness and…arguably more longevity.” SG It “feels like the Britpop release that was truly as massive as the movement itself in England.” SG With “Wonderwall” and “Champagne Supernova” becoming chart-topping modern rock hits in the U.S., the band also achieved “the kind of in-the-air ubiquity that makes them undying staples at coffee-shop gigs or in dorm hallways.” SG

While it is “a more pop-friendly effort than its predecessor” RS, the second album is also “relatively introspective…filled with big, gorgeous ballads instead of ripping rockers.” AMG The tone is “decidedly darker and more reflective” PF with sentiments like “the foreboding ‘it’s never gonna be the same’ prophecy of opening salvo Hello.” PF “Unlike Definitely Maybe, the production on Morning Glory is varied enough to handle the range in emotions; instead of drowning everything with amplifiers turned up to 12, there are strings, keyboards, and harmonicas. This expanded production helps give Noel Gallagher’s sweeping melodies an emotional resonance.” AMG

Noel’s songwriting now had “an expanded palette – more lush, more intricate, even vulnerable in places.” SG Steve Sutherland, the former chief editor of New Musical Express, said Noel “began to take seriously the notion of being the voice of a generation.” WK Meanwhile, “Liam’s sneer had already bloomed into a far-more-assured rock howl. He always had a hell of a voice and was always a consummate frontman, but this is probably the moment where he was at his best as an actual rock singer.” SG

”Some Might Say”

The “defiant” AMG “Some Might Say” was the lead single from the album, hitting #1 in the UK. Released in April, the song preceded the album by six months. While David Stubbs of Melody Maker was critical of the album as a whole, he called “Some Might Say” “the best single of the year.” WK The song “has the sound of an older brother, the one who grew up and learned to bottle up his sense of swagger and actually take a stroll through the outside world.” SG

”Roll with It”

The album’s second single, “Roll with It,” also preceded the album, coming out six weeks before Morning Glory, a rather “unorthodox method for the time, contrasting the standard industry procedure of releasing the lead single three weeks before its parent album.” WK

More important, however, was the song’s place in the “media-fueled and (partially) media-created” SG “Battle of Britpop” – “the greatest pop rivalry since the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.” WK In the “UK chart equivalent of an after-school fistfight,” PF Blur moved up the release of their single “Country House” to directly compete with “Roll with It” instead of getting “lost in the latter’s wake.” SG The two bands symbolized the “battle between the middle class of the south and the working class of the north” WK with Blur serving as “the London art-school yin to Oasis’ Mancunian street-tough yang.” PF.” Blur won, debuting at #1 with 274,000 copies compared to 216,000 copies and a #2 debut for Oasis.

Blur won the battle but lost the war. In retrospect, “the decision to go with Morning Glory’s weakest song was..Oasis’ cockiest gesture yet: They were willing to take the first strike…because they knew it was only a matter of time before they’d be delivering the knockout blow.” PF Indeed, that proved to be the case. While Blur’s album, The Great Escape, “garnered critical praise that grew more conflicted in ensuing years” SG while Morning Glory sold twice as many copies over the next two years PF and, despite mixed reviews initially, “became emblematic of the time,” SG serving as “the unofficial soundtrack to England’s imminent changing of the guard.” PF

”Wonderwall”

The “sympathetic” AMG “Wonderwall,” is the band’s “simplest, most universal anthem.” PF It has “a beautiful sense of sentimentality that bespeaks the despondency of a generation.” WK Noel wrote it for his then-girlfriend, Meg Matthews, who he later married and then divorced. The title was taken from the soundtrack “from an obscure film scored by George Harrison.” TL Meg explained that it was a symbol of how she was Noel’s “wall of strength. His solidity.” RS

Although it was the fourth single from the album, it gave the band it’s greatest exposure. It topped the Australian chars and was by far the band’s greatest success in the U.S., hitting the top 10 on the pop charts and #1 on the modern rock chart. It remains the band’s only top 40 U.S. hit and is one of two songs to rank in Dave’s Music Database’s top 1000 songs (the other is “Live Forever” from the band’s debut album).

”Don’t Look Back in Anger”

The album’s second #1 UK single offers a “showstopping star turn” PF for Noel as he “emerges as a more personable, sobering foil to brother Liam’s bratty swagger.” PF The song sparked a major battle between the brothers when Noel insisted on singing lead either on this song or “Wonderwall.” Initially, Noel was satisfied with Liam’s vocals on “Anger,” but tension returned when Liam strained to sing the high notes on “Champagne Supernova.” Noel then re-recorded vocals for “Anger,” which inticed Liam to corral a crowd from a local publ and crash the recording session, resulting in vicious fighting between the siblings. WK They reconciled three weeks later and spent two more weeks working on the album in what Owen Morris, the album’s producer, called “the best, easiest, least fraught, most happy creative time I’ve ever had in a recording studio.” WK

“Champagne Supernova”

British legend Paul Weller joined Oasis in the studio to provide lead guitar and backing vocals for the “epic arena rawk of ‘Champagne Supernova’,” TL as well as harmonica for the two untitled tracks. WK This song and “Wonderwall” were chart-toppers on the U.S. alternative rock chart.

Noel considered the song “his most egotistical endeavor on the album,” RS telling The Sunday Times “For Christ’s sake, how big is that title? It’s like I’m saying, ‘I am Mr. Noel Gallagher. Do you know who I am? I am the greatest. I’m like Muhammad Ali.’” RS

The line “Where were you while we were getting high?” was a casual expression the bandmates often exchanged. RS

Other Songs

This is an album “with four hit singles that attested to the strength and consistent high quality of the material.” PR However, “the real triumph of Morning Glory is measured not by the tracks that have since become karaoke classics, first-dance wedding standards, and go-to bathtub sing-alongs, but the exceptional album tracks that never got a shot at certain chart supremacy – like the jet-roard jangle of Hey Now (…the best Oasis song never to be issued as a single) and the crestfallen Cast No Shadow, dedicated to a then-mostly-unknown Richard Ashcroft of the Verve.” PF

Noel said the former was “a direct reflection of the changing dynamics and personnel of the band” RS while the latter, with its “arena-rupturing chorus,” SG is “about songwriters in general who are desperately trying to say something. I’d like to be able to write really meaningful lyrics but I always end up talking about drugs or sex. People tend to ask my advice about a lot of things. I’m good at giving it, but I’m shit at taking it. But people like Richard and Paul [Weller] will look after me; they’ll make sure I’m conscious in a chair or that I can get home.” RS

The “raging” AMG title track is marked by “a hint of regret” AMG and “layers of guitar that sound like a hurricane made up of sirens.” SG The “humorous…She’s Electric, a bawdy rewrite of ‘Digsy’s Diner,’” AMG which was an homage to the Kinks and Small Faces. IN


Review Source(s):


Awards:


Saturday, September 9, 1995

Coolio's “Gangsta’s Paradise” hit #1

First posted 10/31/2019.

Gangsta’s Paradise

Coolio with L.V.

Writer(s): Artis Ivey Jr. (Coolio), Larry Sanders (LV), Doug Rasheed, Stevie Wonder (see lyrics here)


Released: August 8, 1995


First Charted: August 19, 1995


Peak: 13 US, 13 CB, 21 RR, 2 RB, 12 UK, 5 CN, 113 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales *: 3.0 US, 1.79 UK, 6.39 world (includes US + UK)


Radio Airplay *: --


Video Airplay *: 240.75


Streaming *: --


* in millions

Review:

The original intent for the music on the Dangerous Minds soundtrack was alternative music. However, the movie’s story line was about Michelle Pfeiffer as an ex-marine who becomes a teacher at a high school in the ghetto so Kathy Nelson, who supervised soundtrack music for producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, suggested a more urban approach. She liked the sound of rapper Coolio’s voice on the song “Fantastic Voyage” and brought him in to see footage of the movie. He was sold on the movie’s positive message about school. BR1

The song “Gangsta’s Paradise” grew out of an unexpected moment. Coolio was picking up a package at a studio and heard singer Larry Sanders (known as L.V. for Large Variety) crafting a song out of Stevie Wonder’s “Pasttime Paradise.” Coolio was a big Stevie Wonder fan, but had not heard the album cut from 1976’s Songs in the Key of Life. Coolio started writing on the spot and finished the song three hours later. BR1

Wonder originally rejected it, but approved it after Coolio took out a few vulgarities he had in the song. Nelson was excited by the end result. She said, “It didn’t fit any of the trends happening in hip-hop or rap music at the time. And it was very different for Coolio. With ‘Fantastic Voyage’ everyone was expecting a fun party record from him. Instead they got this gothic, dramatic, much slower-paced song” BR1 which captured the “despair and abandonment felt by the kids at the school” SF featured in the film. Disney executive Joe Roth was sold on the song as well, even deciding to center the movie’s promotional campaign around the song and a video of Coolio and Pfeiffer which featured clips from the movie. BR1

The song hit #1 in Australia, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. WK It was the first rap single to sell more than a million copies in the UK and its 13-week stay atop the Australian charts made it the biggest #1 there until Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” broke the record 22 years later. SF While it only spent 3 weeks at #1 in the U.S.A., it spent another 9 weeks at #2, making it Billboard’s biggest song of 1995.


Resources and Related Links:

Awards: