Saturday, December 13, 2008

Beyoncé hit #1 with “Single Ladies”

Last updated 3/16/2020.

Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)

Beyoncé

Writer(s): Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, Terius "The-Dream" Nash, Thaddis Harrell, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (see lyrics here)


Released: October 12, 2008


First Charted: October 25, 2008


Peak: 14 US, 13 RR, 16 A40, 112 RB, 7 UK, 2 CN, 5 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 0.6 UK, 7.7 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.5 radio, 765.0 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

With “Single Ladies” Beyoncé gave the world “a dance craze that requires little more than the deployment of jazz hands with a wrist twist.” NPR’09 It helped that the song was accompanied by a “stunning, iconic black and white video” AB’00 which featured Beyoncé and two other dancers. It was famously lampooned on Saturday Night Live by Justin Timberlake and launched more than a few parodies on YouTube. Rapper Kanye West thought it so worthy of attention that he infamously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video at the Video Music Awards to tell the world so.

With a message “as complicated as half a decade of psychotherapy,” TM the song captured the persona of Beyoncé as a woman “who won’t settle for less than the best.” TM She “sounds like a total pro: contained, on-message,” NPR’09 as she issues “her definitive statement for ladies stuck in limbo with a dude who can’t commit.” RS’09

Musically, “Single Ladies” “encapsulates the lessons pop songs have picked up from hip-hop: that a great beat and a great voice can carry a lot of weight, that a slightly sour sound (the little electronic swoop that keeps tugging at the song’s fringe) can make everything else sweeter, that looping your audience into a hook is a great idea.” TM

The song also established The-Dream and Tricky Stewart as “the premier pop songwriters and producers of the late 2000s” NPR’09 and even let Beyoncé “stake a claim to the title Queen of Pop,” NPR’09 even if the likes of Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry were waiting in line to swipe it from her.


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Sunday, November 23, 2008

American Music Award of Merit

Annie Lennox, the last recipient of the American Music Award of Merit;
image from zimbio.com

After a four-year layoff, the American Music Award of Merit returned in 2008. The award was initiated in 1974 as one of the original awards for the first annual American Music Awards show, which was televised on February 19, 1974. Here are the recipients from 1974 to 2008:

  • Alabama (2003)
  • The Beach Boys (1988)
  • Irving Berlin (1976)
  • Chuck Berry (1981)
  • Bon Jovi (2004)
  • Garth Brooks (2002)
  • James Brown (1992)
  • Johnny Cash (1977)
  • Perry Como (1979)
  • Bing Crosby (1974)
  • Neil Diamond (1990)
  • Gloria Estefan (2000)
  • Ella Fitzgerald (1978)
  • Benny Goodman (1980)
  • Berry Gordy Jr. (1975)
  • Bill Graham (1993)
  • Merle Haggard (1991)
  • Whitney Houston (1994)
  • Janet Jackson (2001)
  • Michael Jackson (1984)
  • Billy Joel (1999)
  • Annie Lennox (2008)
  • Little Richard (1997)
  • Loretta Lynn (1985)
  • Paul McCartney (1986)
  • Willie Nelson (1989)
  • Elvis Presley (1987)
  • Prince (1995)
  • Kenny Rogers (1983)
  • Frank Sinatra (1998)
  • Stevie Wonder (1982)
  • Tammy Wynette (1996)

Resources:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taylor Swift’s Fearless released

First posted 11/30/2009; updated 12/3/2020.

Fearless

Taylor Swift


Released: November 11, 2008


Peak: 111 US, 135 CW, 5 UK, 11 CN, 2 AU


Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 0.3 UK, 12.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: country/pop


Tracks:

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

  1. Fearless (11/1/08, 9 US, 69 CN, sales: 1 million)
  2. Fifteen (11/29/08, 23 US, 10 CW, 34 AA, 19 CN, 48 AU, sales: 1.5 million)
  3. Love Story (9/27/08, 4 US, 1 CW, 1 AC, 3 AA, 2 UK, 4 CN, 1 AU, sales: 8.1 million worldwide, airplay: 0.6 m)
  4. Hey Stephen (11/29/08, 94 US)
  5. White Horse (11/29/08, 13 US, 2 CW, 60 UK, 43 CN, 41 AU, sales: 2 million)
  6. You Belong with Me (11/22/08, 2 US, 1 CW, 1 AC, 2 AA, 30 UK, 3 CN, 5 AU, sales: 4.9 million, airplay: 0.5 m)
  7. Breathe (with Colbie Caillat) (11/29/08, 87 US)
  8. Tell Me Why
  9. You’re Not Sorry (11/15/08, 11 US, 11 CN, sales: 0.7 million)
  10. The Way I Loved You (11/29/08, 72 US)
  11. Forever & Always (11/29/08, 34 US)
  12. The Best Day (5/23/09, 56 CW, gold single)
  13. Change (8/30/08, 10 US, 57 CW)

    Platinum Edition:

  14. Jump Then Fall (11/14/09, 10 US, 59 CW)
  15. Untouchable (11/14/09, 19 US)
  16. The Other Side of the Door (11/14/09, 23 US)
  17. Superstar (11/14/09, 26 US)
  18. Come in with the Rain (11/14/09, 30 US)


Total Running Time: 53:41

Rating:

3.643 out of 5.00 (average of 21 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Swift’s sophomore album did anything but slump. Once you count five charted songs from the 2009 re-release known as the platinum edition, Fearless was responsible for landing an astonishing 17 hits on the charts. 16 of those made it on the U.S. Hot 100 and five of those were top 10 hits. It was “the first album in music history to produce thirteen top forty hits. Swift now holds the record for most singles on the Hot 100 at the same time by a female artist with nine.” WK

“The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling 592,304 copies in its first week, the best first-week sales for a female artist in 2008. Fearless became the first album to sell one million copies in 2009.” WK In addition to 11 non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard 200, giving it the most weeks at #1 since Santana’s 1999 Supernatural album. “The album has spent 45 weeks in the top ten on the Billboard 200, becoming the longest run for a country album in the top ten since Shania Twain’s Come On Over, which had 53 weeks from 1997-1999.” WK The album also spent 35 non-consecutive weeks on top of the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. WK

The album also cleaned up on awards. It is the only album in history to take home the Country Album of the Year prizes from the Academy of Country Music, American Music Award, Country Music Assocation, and the Grammys. It also won the Grammy for Album of the Year.

It wasn’t just that the album was a success based on awards and sales, though. It was also a display of her growth as an artist. She “abandons any pretense that she’s a teen…which isn’t to say that she suddenly tarts herself up, running away from her youth in a manner that’s all too familiar to many teen stars. Swift’s maturation is deliberate and careful, styled after the crossover country-pop of Shania Twain and Faith Hill before they turned into divas. Despite the success of her self-titled 2006 debut, there’s nothing at all diva-like about Swift on 2008’s Fearless: she’s soft-spoken and considerate, a big sister instead of a big star.” STE

“There may be a hint of youthfulness to her singing but that’s the only hint of girlishness here; her writing – and she had a hand in penning all 13 tracks here, with six of them bearing her solitary credit – is sharply, subtly crafted and the music is softly assured, never pushing its hooks too hard and settling into a warm bed of guitars and keyboards. Like many country-pop albums of the 2000s, the pop heavily outweighs the country – there aren’t fiddles here, there are violins – yet Fearless never feels garish, a crass attempt at a crossover success. It’s small-scale and sweetly tuneful, always seeming humble even when the power ballads build to a big close. Swift’s gentle touch is as enduring as her songcraft, and this musical maturity may not quite jibe with her age but it does help make Fearless one of the best mainstream pop albums of 2008.” STE

The album’s first official single, Love Story, “was her first song to achieve commercial success outside the United States; it reached number one in Australia [and Canada] and number two in the United Kingdom.” WK The song also won CMT’s Video of the Year award.

White Horse was the second official US single from FearlessWK but “like its predecessor, …became successful before its single release.” WK

You Belong with Me was the third official US single from Fearless.” WK It “has become the biggest hit of Swift’s career domestically, and became the highest charting country single since 2005, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.” WK It won Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. “Controversy ensued while during Swift’s acceptance speech for the award, rapper Kanye West stole her microphone away from her, and said that Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’, which was one of the videos ‘You Belong With Me’ beat out, deserved to win the award…Beyoncé, after winning the award for Video of the Year for ‘Single Ladies’, invited Swift to the stage to finish her acceptance speech, instead of delivering her own.” WK

Fifteen, which was one of the many album tracks to chart when the album was released, “was announced to be the fourth official US single from Fearless.” WK The song is “a kind warning for a teen to watch her heart sung from the perspective of a woman who’s perhaps twice that age – a sly trick for the 18-year-old Swift.” STE

“On the chart week of November 14, 2009, Swift set a record for the most songs on the Billboard Hot 100 by a female artist at the same time with eight singles from the re-release of her 2008 album Fearless.” WK Three of those had previously charted or were still on the charts from the previous week, but with a non-Fearless song (Boys Like Girls’ ‘Two Is Better Than One’, which featured Swift) also debuting that week, Swift also had “six debuts in one week, the biggest number of debuts by any female artist of all time. It also lifts the number of her simultaneously-charting songs to nine, setting another record for the biggest number of charting songs by the same female artist in the same week.” WK That same week, Swift became the artist with the most number of Top 20 debuts in her career. WK


Notes: The platinum edition of the album added five new songs.

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Vocal Group Hall of Fame

image from vocalgroup.org

The Vocal Group Hall of Fame was conceived by Tony Butala, a member of the group The Lettermen. In 1998, he and a financial partner opened The Vocal Hall of Fame & Museum Company in his hometown of Sharon, Pennyslvania. That year, the first class was inducted and that was continued through 2008. According to the website, the 10th anniversary (and last) induction ceremony was held November 6-9, 2008, at the Chevrolet Center in Youngstown, Ohio.

Only groups and duos are eligible. Inductees must have at least a ten-year history in the music business, have had a significant hit record or composition, and have a minimum of three-party harmony. There are also categories for each year’s slate of inductees incluing ‘40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and duos. Here are the inductees during that time with their years of induction in parentheses:


A

  • Abba (2002)
  • Alabama (2005)
  • America (2006)
  • American Quartet (2005)
  • The Ames Brothers (1998)
  • The Andrews Sisters (1998)
  • The Angels (2005)
  • The Association (2003)

B

  • Hank Ballard & The Midnighters (1999)
  • The Bangles (2000)
  • The Beach Boys (1998)
  • The Beatles (2004)
  • The Bee Gees (2001)
  • The Boswell Sisters (1998)
  • Bread (2006)
  • Brooklyn Bridge (2005)
  • The Byrds (2006)

C

  • The Cadillacs (2004)
  • The Chantels (2002)
  • The Charioteers (2003)
  • The Chiffons (2005)
  • The Chi-Lites (2005)
  • The Chordettes (2001)
  • The Chords (2007)
  • The Clovers (2002)
  • The Coasters (1999)
  • The Commodores (2003)
  • The Crests (2004)
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash (1998)
  • The Crystals (2005)

D

  • Danny & The Juniors (2003)
  • The Dells (2004)
  • The Del Vikings (2005)
  • Deep River Boys (2006)
  • The Diamonds (2004)
  • 5th Dimension (2002)
  • Dion & The Belmonts (2000)
  • The Dominoes (2006)
  • The Doobie Brothers (2004)
  • Dixie Hummingbirds (2000)
  • The Drifters (1998)
  • The Duprees (2006)

E-F

  • The Eagles (2001)
  • Earth Wind & Fire (2003)
  • The Everly Brothers (2004)
  • The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi (1998)
  • The Five Keys (2002)
  • The Five Red Caps (2007)
  • The Five Satins (2003)
  • The Flamingos (2000)
  • The Fleetwoods (2006)
  • Fleetwood Mac (2005)
  • The Four Aces (2001)
  • The Four Freshman (2001)
  • The Four Knights (2002)
  • The Four Lads (2003)
  • The Four Preps (2007)
  • The Four Seasons (1999)
  • The Four Tops (1999)
  • The Four Tunes (2004)

G-H-I

  • The Golden Gate Quartet (1998)
  • Hayden Quartet (2006)
  • The Harptones (2002)
  • The Hi-Lo’s (2006)
  • The Hilltoppers (2005)
  • The Hoboken Four (2007)
  • The Hollies (2006)
  • The Impressions (2003)
  • Isley Brothers (2003)
  • Ink Spots (1999)

J-K

  • The Jackson 5 (1999)
  • Jay & The Americans (2002)
  • The Jive Five (2007)
  • The Jordanaires (2004)
  • Journey (2006)
  • The Kingston Trio (2000)
  • Gladys Knight & The Pips (2001)
  • Kool & The Gang (2007)

L

  • The Lennon Sisters (2001)
  • The Lettermen (2001)
  • Little Anthony & The Imperials (1999)
  • The Lovin’ Spoonful (2006)
  • Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers (2002)

M

  • Manhattan Transfer (1998)
  • Mamas & The Papas (2000)
  • The Marcels (2002)
  • The Marvelettes (2004)
  • The McGuire Sisters (2001)
  • The Mel-Tones (2005)
  • Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (2007)
  • The Merry Macs (2003)
  • The Mills Brothers (1998)
  • The Miracles (2001)
  • The Modernaires (1999)
  • The Moody Blues (2006)
  • The Moonglows (1999)
  • The Monkees (2007)

N-O

  • The Neville Brothers (2005)
  • The Oak Ridge Boys (2001)
  • The O’Jays (2004)
  • The Orioles (1998)
  • Tony Orlando and Dawn (2007)

P-Q

  • The Peerless Quartet (2003)
  • The Penguins (2004)
  • Peter, Paul & Mary (1999)
  • The Pied Pipers (2001)
  • The Platters (1998)
  • The Pointer Sisters (2005)
  • Queen (2006)

R

  • The Rascals (2005)
  • The Ravens (1998)
  • Martha Reeves & The Vandellas (2003)
  • The Revelers (1999)
  • The Righteous Brothers (2005)
  • The Ronettes (2004)
  • Ruby & The Romantics (2007)

S

  • The Shangri-las (2006)
  • The Shirelles (2002)
  • Simon & Garfunkel (2006)
  • The Skylarks (2000)
  • The Skyliners (2002)
  • Sly & The Family Stone (2007)
  • Sons of the Pioneers (2005)
  • The Soul Stirrers (2000)
  • The Spaniels (2005)
  • The Spinners (1999)
  • The Stylistics (2004)
  • The Supremes (1998)
  • The Swan Silvertones (2002)

T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

  • The Temptations (1999)
  • Three Dog Night (2000)
  • The Tokens (2004)
  • The Traveling Wilburys (2007)
  • The Tymes (2005)
  • The Vogues (2001)
  • The Weavers (2001)
  • The Whispers (2003)
  • Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs/The Gladiolas (2007)

Resources:

Friday, October 31, 2008

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game" hit #1 100 years ago today (10/31/1908)

First posted 7/10/2012; updated 4/12/2020.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Billy Murray & the Haydn Quartet

Writer(s): Jack Norworth/Albert von Tilzer (see lyrics here)


First Charted: October 24, 1908


Peak: 17 US, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.03 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

“The unofficial anthem of American baseball” RCG has been “affectionately referred to…as the ‘other’ national anthem.” SH It is “one of the most easily recognized songs in America,” SH behind only “Happy Birthday” and “The Star Spangled Banner.” SH

Surprisingly, neither the song’s composer (Albert Von Tilzer) nor lyricist (Jack Norworth) had ever seen a baseball game prior to writing the song. PS Rumor has it that Norworth’s lyrical inspiration came from a sign reading “Baseball Today – Polo Grounds” which he saw while riding the subway. SH

The song has become a “seventh inning stretch requirement” PS which has been sung at nearly every U.S. professional baseball game for the last 100 years, PS but it got its start on vaudeville where Norworth’s wife, singer Nora Bayes, introduced it. JA-188 In 1908 Billy Murray’s recording of the song with the Haydn Quartet became the biggest song of the year. WHC Harvey Hindermeyer and Edward Meeker also had top 5 hits with their 1908 recordings of the song. PM

Most people only know the refrain, but the full song showcases a story in which Katie tells her beau she would rather go to a baseball game than a show, only to find her team losing. RCG Norworth “shrewdly crafted [the words] so as not to name or favor any one team” SH while Von Tilzer gave the song its “waltz-like rhythms and unforgettable melody.” SH


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