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:

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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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blender Magazine's 100 Greatest American Albums

First posted 10/18/2008; updated 8/3/2020.

Blender Magazine:

100 Geatest American Albums

In October 2008, Blender Magazine created a list of the 100 Greatest American Albums. I’m sure Canada will be surprised to learn that two of their favorite singers – Neil Young and Joni Mitchell – have been declared American by Blender. The magazine is now defunct, but here’s the original list, flaws and all:

1. Madonna The Immaculate Collection (1990)
2. Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill (1986)
3. Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
4. Stevie Wonder Innervisions (1973)
5. Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (1987)
6. Ramones Ramones (1976)
7. Blondie Parallel Lines (1978)
8. Chuck Berry The Great Twenty-Eight (compilation: 1955-64, released 1982)
9. Nirvana Nevermind (1991)
10. Joni Mitchell Blue (1971)

11. Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
12. Metallica Metallica (1991)
13. Michael Jackson Off the Wall (1979)
14. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds (1966)
15. Marvin Gaye Let’s Get It On (1973)
16. Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962)
17. The Velvet Underground & Nico Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
18. Prince & the Revolution Purple Rain (soundtrack, 1984)
19. Neil Young & Crazy Horse Rust Never Sleeps (1979)
20. James Brown Sex Machine (live, 1970)

21. Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde (1966)
22. Robert Johnson King of the Delta Blues Singers (archives: 1936-37)
23. R.E.M. Murmur (1983)
24. Parliament Mothership Connection (1976)
25. The Notorious B.I.G. Life after Death (1997)
26. Van Halen Van Halen I (1978)
27. Al Green Call Me (1973)
28. Aerosmith Rocks (1976)
29. Beck Odelay (1996)
30. Little Richard Grooviest 17 Original Hits! (compilation: 1955-59)

31. Louis Armstrong The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings (box set, recorded 1925-28, released 2000)
32. Curtis Mayfield Superfly (soundtrack, 1972)
33. Hank Williams 40 Greatest Hits (compilation: 1947-53)
34. Steely Dan Katy Lied (1975)
35. The B-52s The B-52s (1979)
36. Chic Risqué (1979)
37. Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique (1989)
38. Aretha Franklin I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967)
39. Elvis Presley The Sun Sessions (archives, recorded 1954-55, released 1976)
40. Hole Live Through This (1994)

41. The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland (1968)
42. Patti Smith Horses (1975)
43. Sly & the Family Stone There’s a Riot Goin’ On (1972)
44. Dr. Dre The Chronic (1992)
45. Pearl Jam Vs. (1993)
46. Run-D.M.C. Raising Hell (1986)
47. Various Artists produced by Phil Spector Back to Mono (box set: 1958-69, released 1991)
48. Miles Davis Kind of Blue (1959)
49. Eminem The Slim Shady LP (1999)
50. Kiss Destroyer (1976)

51. Joni Mitchell Court and Spark (1974)
52. Randy Newman 12 Songs (1970)
53. A Tribe Called Quest The Low-End Theory (1991)
54. Frank Sinatra In the Wee Small Hours (1955)
55. Bob Dylan & The Band The Basement Tapes (recorded 1967)
56. Rage Against the Machine Evil Empire (1996)
57. Mary J. Blige My Life (1994)
58. Grateful Dead American Beauty (1970)
59. Wu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)
60. Paul Simon Graceland (1986)

61. The Coasters 50 Coastin’ Classics (compilation: 1954-68)
62. Bruce Springsteen Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)
63. Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison (live, 1968)
64. Gram Parsons Grievous Angel (1974)
65. Billie Holiday Lady in Satin (1958)
66. The Modern Lovers The Modern Lovers (recorded 1973, released 1976)
67. Pavement Slanted and Enchanted (1992)
68. TLC Crazy Sexy Cool (1994)
69. Lynyrd Skynyrd Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd (1973)
70. Prince Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987)

71. LL Cool J Radio (1985)
72. Carpenters Singles: 1969-1981 (compilation: 1969-81)
73. Pixies Surfer Rosa (1988)
74. Aretha Franklin Lady Soul (1968)
75. Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
76. Muddy Waters At Newport (live: 1960)
77. Jane’s Addiction Nothing’s Shocking (1988)
78. Elvis Presley From Elvis in Memphis (1969)
79. Woody Guthrie Dust Bowl Ballads (1940)
80. Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral (1994)

81. Various Artists Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (compilation: 1965-68)
82. De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
83. Minutemen Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
84. Buddy Holly 20 Golden Greats (compilation: 1955-59)
85. Willie Nelson Red Headed Stranger (1975)
86. Neil Young After the Gold Rush (1970)
87. R.E.M. Automatic for the People (1992)
88. DJ Shadow Endtroducing… (1996)
89. Talking Heads Remain in Light (1980)
90. Weezer Weezer (aka “The Blue Album”) (1994)

91. Eagles Hotel California (1976)
92. Lucinda Williams Lucinda Williams (1988)
93. Tori Amos Under the Pink (1994)
94. Nirvana In Utero (1993)
95. Harry Nilsson Nilsson Schmilsson (1972)
96. Kid Rock Devil Without a Cause (1998)
97. The Doors The Doors (1967)
98. The Replacements Let It Be (1984)
99. Stevie Wonder Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974)
100. Otis Redding Otis Blue (1965)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Kings of Leon charted with “Use Somebody”

Updated 1/19/2019.

image from phillymixtape.co

Use Somebody

Kings of Leon

Writer(s): Caleb Followill, Nathan Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill (see lyrics here)


Released: 10/4/2008


First Charted: 12/8/2008


Peak: 4 US, 13 AC, 12 AAA, 25 AR, 13 MR, 2 UK, 8 CN, 2 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales *: 4.07 US, 1.29 UK, 5.5 world (includes US + UK)


Radio Airplay *: 0.7


Video Airplay *: 210.77


Streaming *: --


* in millions

Review:

“Kings of Leon took several years and several albums to catch on with American audiences, but 2008’s Only by the Night finally did the trick. ‘Use Somebody’ is the album’s peak, an elegant and soulful mid-tempo song about being separated by geography from the one you love. Vocalist Caleb Followill was perfection at making longing seem sexy and romantic.” TG New Musical Express magazine’s Gavin Haynes called the song “the best ‘80s power ballad of 2008.” WK

Caleb wrote it as an apology to bandmates after a drunken fight. He was recovering from shoulder surgery at his farmhouse in Tennessee and, as he said, “allowed myself to be vulnerable in my writing…No longer trying to be a tough guy and admitting I need the people around me.” SF

Still, he didn’t want to embrace its hit potential. He told Q magazine “It’s got the exact same chords as Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes ‘Up Where We Belong.’ It was so immediate that I thought it was terrible. I thought it was a pop song.” SF That may be why he told Uncut magazine that he “felt immediately that it was a big song and it scared me away.” SF

The song spent 77 weeks in the top 75 of the UK charts, making it one of the five longest runners of all time. One of the other five? “Sex on Fire,” the first single from the Only by the Night album. WK The song won Grammys for Record of the Year, Best Rock Song, and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.


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.

Awards:


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Taylor Swift charts with “Love Story”: September 27, 2008

First posted 9/27/2011; updated 3/22/2020.

Love Story

Taylor Swift

Writer(s): Taylor Swift (see lyrics here)


Released: September 12, 2008


First Charted: September 27, 2008


Peak: 4 US, 11 RR, 16 AC, 3 A40, 12 CW, 2 UK, 4 CN, 12 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 0.65 UK, 9.3 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.7 radio, 553.0 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

With her debut album, teen singer Taylor Swift became a major country star, landing two songs atop the country charts and another three in the top 10. While setting up a seemingly inevitable sophomore slump, Swift opted instead to conquer the pop world as well. “Everything you need to know about Taylor Swift’s talent is summed up here in four star struck minutes. Wide-eyed innocence served up in slick, perfectly calibrated Nashville pop? We’ll take four million, please.” MX

Swift wrote the song about a love interest but she never had a relationship with him. He was not popular with her friends and family. Swift wrote the song from the perspective of Juliet in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. As she said, “The only people who wanted them to be together were them.” WK She replaced the play’s tragic ending with a happy one – the ending she felt the characters deserved and the one which females hoped for. WK

Paste magazine’s Kate Kiefer said it is impossible not to sing along with the song. WK Slant magazine’s Jonathan Keefe saw the song’s success hinging on its prominent hook while The Boston Globe’s James Reed saw its strength in the songwriting. WK The BBC’s Fraser McAlpine said that the song, “although obvious, a bit dramatic, and probably targeted towards younger audiences, was just lovely and that Swift proved herself a true princess of pop with the song.” WK About.com’s Sean Dooley deemed the song responsible for transitioning Swift from a “fresh-faced star to crossover star.” WK

“Love Story” was only the fifth song to top both the adult contemporary and country charts, following Rascal Flatts’ “What Hurts the Most”, Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance”, Faith Hill’s “Breathe”, and Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One”. SF It became Swift’s best-selling single WK and was once the best-selling country single of all time. WK Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) declared it the Country Song of the Year while it took Video of the Year honors at the CMT Music Awards and the Country Music Association Awards.


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