Saturday, November 26, 2005

50 Years Ago Today: Little Richard charted with “Tutti Frutti” (11/26/1955)

image from

Little Richard “Tutti Frutti”

Writer(s): Little Richard, Dorothy LaBostrie (see lyrics here)

Released: October 1955, First charted: 11/26/1955

Peak: 17 US, 2 RB, 29 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): --

Review: The 22-year-old Richard Penniman, aka “Little Richard,” was looking for a breakthrough in 1955 when he went into a New Orleans recording studio to lay down his first tracks for Specialty Records. He “started extemporizing verses of ‘Tutti Frutti,’ a risque feature of his club sets.” NRR As he said, “I’d been singing ‘Tutti-Frutti’ for years, but it never struck me as a song you’d record.” RS500

Lyrics like “Tutti frutti, loose booty/ If it don’t fit, don’t force it/ You can grease it, make it easy” were deemed too raunchy, “so Dorothy La Bostrie was called in to sanitize them; she gave Richard a gal named Sue (“She knows just what to do”) and another named Daisy (“She almost drive me crazy”). TM

“Kids scrambled to decipher the meaning of the sounds emitted by the pompadoured piano dervish…but really, the words weren’t nearly as important as the remorselessly frenetic beat, the propulsive piano work and the primal, screaming vocal.” TM Jimi Hendrix, who worked as a sideman for Richard in 1964, said, “I want to do with my guitar what Little Richard does with his voice.” TM

Little Richard “fused a unique falsetto and gospel scream that simultaneously oozed sexuality and spirituality. His performances and wardrobe were wild and outlandish. His androgynous stage persona would be reflected by Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and Prince. FR-38-9 The man who’d grown up in the South “black, gay, and outrageous…was so far out he was in.” SA His first chart single became a signature in the early days of rock and roll, cementing him as one of the genre’s forefathers.

Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Friday, October 21, 2005

Variety - 100 Icons of the Century

image from

Variety named its 100 icons of the century based on factors like their commercial and creative impact. The list consisted of people from all facets of the entertainment industry, but only those in the music arena are listed below (the top ten were ranked):

  • Louis Armstrong (ranked #2)
  • Fred Astaire
  • The Beatles (ranked #1)
  • Irving Berlin
  • Chuck Berry
  • Maria Callas
  • Johnny Cash
  • Ray Charles
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Bing Crosby
  • Miles Davis
  • Bob Dylan
  • Duke Ellington
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Judy Garland
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Oscar Hammerstein II
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Billie Holiday
  • Michael Jackson
  • Robert Johnson
  • Al Jolson
  • Janis Joplin
  • Gene Kelly
  • Little Richard
  • Madonna
  • Bob Marley
  • Edith Piaf
  • Elvis Presley (ranked #10)
  • Richard Rodgers
  • Ginger Rogers
  • The Rolling Stones
  • The Sex Pistols
  • Tupac (2pac) Shakur
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Igor Stravinsky
  • Barbra Streisand
  • The Supremes
  • Hank Williams
  • Stevie Wonder


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Kanye West hits #1 for first of 10 weeks with “Gold Digger”

Updated 1/15/2019.

image from

Gold Digger

Kanye West with Jamie Foxx

Writer(s): Kanye West, Ray Charles, Renald Richard (see lyrics here)

Released: 7/5/2005

First Charted: 7/16/2005

Peak: 110 US, 14 RB, 2 UK, 5 CN, 13 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales *: 3.08 US, 1.26 UK, 4.62 world (includes US + UK)

Radio Airplay *: 0.5

Video Airplay *: 211.54

Streaming *: 200.0

* in millions


“Gold Digger” the second single from Kanye West’s Late Registration album, flips the script on the stereotypical hip-hop song where “wealth is coveted and women are mistreated” TM to spin a “tale of a man used by his woman for financial gain.” PD It’s “unusual for one of music’s kingpins to admit he’s been suckered by a woman – much less write an upbeat song about it.” TM

This is “lighthearted Kanye at his best: his lyrics are funny (‘She was supposed to buy your shorty Tyco with your money/ [Instead] she went to the doctor [and] got lipo with your money’)” TM and “when it comes to killer beats, Kanye West is every bit as good as he thinks he is.” MX He “never dropped a beat deadlier than the stuttering bass drum that propels his biggest hit.” MX “The song’s backbone is a mixture of scratches, loops and handclaps set to follow the lyrics’ cadence.” TM

“But just when you think ‘Gold Digger’ is nothing more than a danceable screed against money-grubbing women, Kanye throws in a story about a poor black woman who stands by her man only to see him get rich and dump her for a white girl. Everybody gets played” TM in “Kanye’s most instantly pleasurable single ever.” RS’09

In addition, Kanye didn’t just stick to “contemporary mode or aping a classic pop genre sound,” AB’00 but opted for “blending the past with the present.” AB’00 Even then he aschewed the typical route when he decided to integrate Ray Charles’ “I Gotta Woman,” but not by sampling it directly. He turned to Jamie Foxx, who won an Academy Award playing Charles in the previous year’s Ray, for a “pitch-perfect Ray Charles impersonation.” MX Two years earlier, the pair worked on the #1 “Slow Jamz” with Twista, but this proved even bigger, with 10 weeks atop the charts.

Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Mariah Carey spent 14th week at #1 with “We Belong Together”

Updated 1/15/2019.

image from

We Belong Together

Mariah Carey

Writer(s): Mariah Carey/Jermaine Dupri/Manuel Seal/Johntá Austin/Kenneth Edmonds/Darnell Bristol/Bobby Womack/Patrick Moten/Sandra Sully (see lyrics here)

Released: 3/29/2005

First Charted: 4/2/2005

Peak: 114 US, 3 AC, 114 RB, 2 UK, 12 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales *: 1.7 US, 0.6 UK, 5.0 world (includes US + UK)

Radio Airplay *: 0.83

Video Airplay *: 347.36

Streaming *: --

* in millions


Mariah Carey was the singer of the ‘90s with her pop/R&B/AC blend of music, but was quickly derailing in the first half of the next decade. After signing an $80 million contract with Virgin Records, she had an infamous appearance on MTV’s Total Request Live, a huge commercial failure with her semi-autobiographical film and album project Glitter, and reportedly had a physical and emotional breakdown. It didn’t help that she largely “abandoned her girl-next-door tunefulness in favor of hip-hop whoredom.” PD

Virgin dumped her, but Def Jam gambled that the fifteen-time-chart-topper might have something left. With collaborator Jermaine Dupri, Carey found the right mix of contemporary and old-school R&B on “Together.” While “uncharacteristically restrained” AB’00 for Carey, it still had a “rapid-fire, BeyoncĂ©-esque staccato vocal” PD that just might make it “the finest single of her career.” PD

Not only did it put Carey back on top after a five year absence, but Billboard magazine named it the most successful song in history by a female artist WK and the best-selling song of the decade. SF Its 14 weeks atop the pop chart tied it with the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” as the biggest #1 of the decade and in the rock era only “One Sweet Day,” which Carey recorded with Boyz II Men, has spent more weeks (16) atop the Hot 100. Two more trips to the top before decade’s end put Carey second only to the Beatles.

The laundry list of writers (ten credits in all) suggest a written-by-committee approach, but some of the credits are due to references to other R&B heartbreak songs. In a radio-flipping session, Carey cleverly weaves lyrics from Bobby Womack’s “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” and The Deele’s “Two Occasions” into her own reflections of love lost.

Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Saturday, July 9, 2005

50 Years Ago Today: “Rock Around the Clock” launched the rock era

First posted 7/9/2010; updated 3/29/2019.

We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock

Bill Haley & His Comets

Writer(s): Max Freedman/Jimmy DeKnight (see lyrics here)

First Charted: May 10, 1954

Peak: 18 US, 12 HP, 18 CB, 14 HR, 3 RB, 15 UK, 16 (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales *: 20.0 US, 1.44 UK, 25.0 world (includes US + UK)

Radio Airplay *: --

Video Airplay *: 15.8

Streaming *: --

* in millions


Happy birthday, rock and roll! On July 9, 1955, Bill Haley & the Comets hit #1 on the Billboard singles chart with “Rock Around the Clock”. In honor of that occasion, this blog entry is an excerpt from the Dave’s Music Database book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era 1954-1999.

While multiple songs claim they birthed rock-n-roll, “Clock” is generally regarded as the place keeper that separates the pre-rock era from the rock era. As the best selling rock record of all time, KL it makes for a more than suitable launching pad.

The song focused more on the bass and drums than the melody, KL making for a song with youth appeal in an era dominated by adult contemporary fare. Initially, the record company didn’t know what to do with it, calling the single a “novelty foxtrot.” SF

Although he started as a yodeler (!), Haley converted to rock when he saw its effect on audiences. RS500 In 1953, Freedman, a 63-year-old Tin Pan Alley writer, and Myers, Haley’s agent, reworked the blues number “My Daddy Rocks Me with a Steady Roll” for Haley. SJ Dave Miller, who signed Haley to Holiday Records, wouldn’t let him record it because he disliked Myers. BR1 Sonny Dae & His Nights tackled it in October 1953, SF but it flopped. Haley got another shot when he jumped to Decca and “Clock” landed on the B-side of novelty song “Thirteen Women.” SF

When featured in the movie The Blackboard Jungle, its rioting teen audience trumpeted it as their theme for alienation and hostility. SJ Billboard’s Top 40 chart was only a few months old SF when this went #1, making it a signpost for the birth of rock-n-roll and top 40.

Haley’s music was more country-oriented and he was plump, balding, and over thirty, so his teen idol appeal was limited, but Haley has said “‘I started it all. They can’t take that away from me.’” HL The song was revived in 1974 as TV series Happy Days’ opening theme.

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB music maker encyclopedia entry for Bill Haley & the Comets
    original post on Facebook
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). New York, NY; Billboard Books. Page 1.
  • HL Michael Heatley/Spencer Leigh (1998). Behind the Song: The Stories of 100 Great Pop & Rock Classics. Page 186.
  • KL Jon Kutner/Spencer Leigh. (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits. Page 35.
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (2004). ”The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
  • SF
  • SH Arnold Shaw (1974). The Rockin’ ’50s. Page 138.
  • SJ Bob Shannon/John Javna (1986). Behind the Hits: Inside Stories of Classic Pop and Rock and Roll. Page 171.

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Saturday, February 19, 2005

Kerrang! Top 100 Albums

image from

This is an exclusive DMDB list which consolidates six lists from the British hard-rock-oriented music magazine Kerrang!:

Here are the results:
  1. Sex Pistols…Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)
  2. Led Zeppelin…Physical Graffiti (1975)
  3. Black Sabbath…Black Sabbath (1970)
  4. Metallica…Master of Puppets (1986)
  5. Iron Maiden…The Number of the Beast (1982)
  6. Nirvana…Nevermind (1991)
  7. Led Zeppelin…Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
  8. AC/DC…Back in Black (1980)
  9. Guns N’ Roses…Appetite for Destruction (1987)
  10. Green Day…Dookie (1994)

  11. Slayer…Reign in Blood (1986)
  12. Def Leppard…Hysteria (1987)
  13. The Clash…London Calling (1979)
  14. Black Sabbath…Vol. 4 (1972)
  15. Bon Jovi…Slippery When Wet (1986)
  16. The Stooges…Raw Power (1973)
  17. Def Leppard…Pyromania (1983)
  18. Motorhead…Ace of Spades (1980)
  19. Bad Brains…Rock for Light (1982)
  20. Discharge…Hear Nothing, Say Nothing, See Nothing (1982)

  21. Napalm Death…Scum (1987)
  22. Fugazi…Repeater (1990)
  23. Journey…Escape (1981)
  24. The Clash…The Clash (1977)
  25. Korn…Korn (1994)
  26. Led Zeppelin…Led Zeppelin II (1969)
  27. Refused…The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombation in 12 Bursts (1998)
  28. Operation Ivy…Energy (1989)
  29. Black Flag…Damaged (1981)
  30. Pearl Jam…Ten (1991)

  31. Sepultura…Roots (1996)
  32. Black Sabbath…Paranoid (1970)
  33. The Damned…Machine Gun Etiquette (1979)
  34. Rage Against the Machine…Rage Against the Machine (1992)
  35. Manic Street Preachers…Everything Must Go (1996)
  36. Ramones…Ramones (1976)
  37. Alice in Chains…Dirt (1992)
  38. Rancid…And Out Come the Wolves (1995)
  39. Hole…Live Through This (1994)
  40. Sublime…Sublime (1996)

  41. Therapy?...Trouble Gum (1991)
  42. Led Zeppelin…Led Zeppelin I (1969)
  43. Offspring…Smash (1994)
  44. Nine Inch Nails…The Downward Spiral (1994)
  45. Kyuss…Welcome to Sky Valley (1994)
  46. The Descendents…Milo Goes to College (1982)
  47. The Wildhearts…Earth Vs. the Wildhearts (1993)
  48. The Prodigy…The Fat of the Land (1997)
  49. Bryan Adams…Reckless (1984)
  50. Aerosmith…Rocks (1976)

  51. Deep Purple…Machine Head (1972)
  52. The Stooges…Fun House (1970)
  53. Deep Purple…In Rock (1970)
  54. Pantera…Vulgar Display of Power (1992)
  55. Manic Street Preachers…The Holy Bible (1994)
  56. Red Hot Chili Peppers…Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)
  57. Kiss…Alive! (1975)
  58. Bon Jovi…Bon Jovi (1984)
  59. Reef…Glow (1997)
  60. Ash…1977 (1996)

  61. Smashing Pumpkins…Siamese Dream (1993)
  62. Van Halen…Van Halen (1978)
  63. Michael Bolton…Everybody’s Crazy (1985)
  64. Quicksand…Manic Compression (1995)
  65. Aerosmith…Toys in the Attic (1975)
  66. Terrorvision…How to Make Friends and Influence People (1994)
  67. Rainbow…Rising (1976)
  68. The Dead Kennedys…Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980)
  69. Thin Lizzy…Live and Dangerous (1977)
  70. Judas Priest…Screaming for Vengeance (1982)

  71. The MC5…Kick Out the Jams (1968)
  72. Iron Maiden…Iron Maiden (1980)
  73. Rocket from the Crypt…Scream, Dracula, Scream! (1995)
  74. Boston…Boston (1976)
  75. Motorhead…No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith (1981)
  76. Queensryche…Operation: Mindcrime (1988)
  77. Helmet…Meantime (1992)
  78. Magnum…On a Storyteller’s Night (1985)
  79. Bush…Sixteen Stone (1994)
  80. Metallica…Kill ‘Em All (1983)

  81. Motorhead…Overkill (1979)
  82. The Ruts…The Crack (1979)
  83. Queen…A Night at the Opera (1975)
  84. Killing Joke…Killing Joke (1980)
  85. Venom…Black Metal (1982)
  86. Skunk Anansie…Paranoid & Sunburnt (1995)
  87. Foo Fighters…Foo Fighters (1995)
  88. Stiff Little Fingers…Inflammable Material (1979)
  89. Sisters of Mercy…Floodland (1987)
  90. Judas Priest…Stained Class (1978)

  91. Iron Maiden…Killers (1981)
  92. Saxon…Wheels of Steel (1980)
  93. Nirvana…In Utero (1993)
  94. Faith No More…Angel Dust (1992)
  95. Icon…Night of the Crime (1985)
  96. Montrose…Montrose (1973)
  97. Strangeways…Native Sons (1987)
  98. Journey…Raised on Radio (1986)
  99. Tool…Aenima (1996)
  100. Muse…Absolution (2003)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

In Concert: Finn Brothers

image from

Venue: Liberty Hall; Lawrence, KS

The Set List:

1. Six Months in a Leaky Boat *
2. A Life Between Us ***
3. Weather with You **
4. There Goes God **
5. Nothing Wrong with You ***
6. Part of You, Part of Me ***
7. World Where You Live **
8. Bold As Brass *
9. Edible Flowers ***
10. Disembodied Voices ***
11. Give It a Whirl *
12. What’s the Matter with You? *
13. Anything Can Happen ***
14. It’s Only Natural **


15. Gentle Hum ***
16. Shark Attack *
17. I Got You *
18. All the Colours ***
19. Distant Sun **
20. Into Temptation **

* Split Enz (6 songs)
** Crowded House (6 songs)
*** Finn Brothers (8 songs – all from the new album)