Saturday, April 29, 2006

4/29/2006: Gnarls Barkley charts with “Crazy”

image from

Gnarls Barkley “Crazy”

Writer(s): Brian Burton/ Thomas Callaway/ Gianfranco Reverberi/ Gian Piero Reverberi (see lyrics here)

Released: 3/13/2006 First charted: 4/29/2006

Peak: 2 US, 19 UK, 7 AC, 53 RB, 7 MR (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 1.2 UK, 5.96 world (includes US and UK)

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): 128.95

Review: When Goodie Mob rapper and soulman Cee-Lo Green teamed with noted producer Danger Mouse (Gorillaz’ Demon Days and his own Jay-Z/Beatles mash-up The Grey Album), the average radio listener would stare blankly if quizzed on songs associated with either of the pair. With a name that played on Hall of Fame basketball star Charles Barkley, the duo were seemingly carefree about whether or not achieved success.

Thus the success of “Crazy” was based not on the band’s image or personality, but the strength of the unique and catchy song – “the audio equivalent of a hippie rainbow.” BX It featured “an impassioned vocal, an old-fashioned bassline,” MN and a “thoroughly authentic retro sound and indelibly genius melody…It’s chord progression and melody is a songwriter’s joy.” WX The duo “packed a career’s worth of genius…into three minutes” RS’09 “and just enough oddness to stand out on the radio dial.” MN

The song emerged from a discussion between the duo about how artists aren’t taken seriously unless they’re insane. Green used the conversation as a springboard for the song’s lyrics and paired it with a strings sample Danger Mouse took from a spaghetti Western score by Ennio Morricone.

“Crazy” was the first song to top the British charts on the strength of downloads alone. It became the best-selling single of 2006 and, by the end of the next year, was the most downloaded song ever in the U.K. SFThe music video fit the insanity theme, done in the style of the famous psychiatric Roschach test in which patients are evaluated on their responses to inkblot patterns. SF

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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, April 1, 2006

Shakira and Wyclef Jean charted with “Hips Don’t Lie”: April 1, 2006

Originally posted April 1, 2012.

“Hips Don’t Lie” was a truly international effort. Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean, known originally for his work with the Fugees, wrote and recorded a song with U.S. singer Claudette Ortiz called “Dance Like This” which was used for the Dirty Dancing (Havana Nights) 2004 soundtrack. SF Part of the instrumentation came from Puerto Rican salsa singer Jerry Rivera’s “Amores Como El Nuestro” while some of the lyrics were taken from a meringue song, “Carnaval (Baila en la Calle),” by Luis “Terror” Diaz, a Dominican composer. The latter was the unofficial theme song of the Dominican Republic’s Carnival.

The song was a late edition to Shakira’s Oral Fixation Vol. 2. That 2005 album was released as a sort of partnering album with her FijaciĆ³n Oral Vol. 1. The latter was released six months earlier. Despite being a Spanish-language album, it outsold its English counterpart. WK The record company, Epic, approached Jean to do a remake of the album’s single, “La Tortura,” but he suggested a reworking of “Dance Like This.” SF

The song celebrated a woman’s power to seduce through dance. The title was inspired Shakira’s in-studio mantra about how to tell if a song was working or not. As she’d tell her band members, “Listen, hips don’t lie. If they’re not moving, this isn’t working.” SF

After it was reworked for Columbian singer Shakira’s second English-language album, it became a massive global success, topping the charts in 25 countries and becoming the most successful worldwide single of 2006 WK and the top-selling single in the world for the 2000-2009 decade. SF In the United States it made history for racking up more plays on the radio in a single week – 9,637 times for the week ending June 2, 2006 – than any other song. SF It also reached the one-million download mark faster than any prior song in history. WK

Hips Don't Lie


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