Saturday, June 28, 2008

Coldplay landed their only #1 in the U.S. with “Viva La Vida”

Last updated 4/15/2020.

Viva La Vida

Coldplay

Writer(s): Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion, Chris Martin (see lyrics here)


Released: May 25, 2008


First Charted: May 24, 2008


Peak: 11 US, 11 RR, 11 AC, 16 A40, 111 AA, 12 MR, 11 UK, 4 CN, 2 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 6.14 US, 1.44 UK, 8.23 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.6 radio, 590.0 video, 200.0 streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

Chris Martin, Coldplay’s lead singer, saw the phrase “Viva La Vida” on a painting by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. He told Rolling Stone he “loved the boldness of it” and decided the use the phrase – which loosely translates to “long live life.” SF Guy Berryman, the band’s bassist said the song – which never actually uses the phrase “Viva La Vida” – was “about a king who’s lost his kingdom.” SF Martin echoed that idea, saying it was about a deposed dictator reduced to sweeping the streets. He saw it as a “turning-over-a-new-leaf kind of song.” SF He also explained that lines like “I know Saint Peter won’t call my name” referred to the “idea of finishing your life and then being analyzed on it.” SF Berryman also said the song reflects the idea that “We're human beings with emotions and we're all going to die and the stupidity of what we have to put up with every day.” SF

Musically, the song eschewed the band’s usual guitar or piano base for a riff consisting mostly of a string section and digital piano. WK IGN critic Chad Grischow said it was “their one and only foray into unabashed orchestral pop” but that it was “far too charming and lively to dislke and even harder not to love.” WK

Several acts accused Coldplay of plagiarizing the song. Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens, claimed the song resembled his 1973 “Foreigner Suite.” SF Guitarist Joe Satriani filed a lawsuit accusing Coldplay of lifting the melody from his 2004 song “If I Could Fly.” The case was settled out of court. SF Music professor Dr. Lawrence Ferrara showed in a 2011 documentary how the melodies of all three songs resembled “Se Tu M’ami” by Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, who died in 1736. WK

Creaky Boards’ singer Andrew Hoepfner alleged Martin attended one of their concerts in October 2007 and lifted the melody from “The Songs I Didn’t Write.” It turned out “Viva La Vida” was written and demoed seven months before the night in question. SF Creaky Boards later suggested both songs might have been inspired by the video game The Legend of Zelda. WK Will Champion, Coldplay’s drummer, said, “It’s tough when people accuse you of stealing something, when you know that you didn’t…There are only eight notes in an octave and no one owns them. And there are probably about 12,000 songs that feature the exact same chord progression.” SF

Coldplay was the first British male group since Jesus Jones and Escape Club in 1991 to land a second top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100. SF When the song went to #1, it made Coldplay the first British group since the Spice Girls (“Wannabe”) in 1997 to top the U.S. charts. SF The song, which won a Grammy for Song of the Year, was iTunes’ best-selling song of 2008> WK The band opened their 2016 Super Bowl halftime performance with “Viva La Vida.”


Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Journey’s Revelation released

First posted 10/10/2008; updated 9/11/2020.

Revelation

Journey


Released: June 3, 2008


Peak: 5 US, 68 UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Never Walk Away (2008, --)
  2. Like a Sunshower
  3. Change for the Better
  4. Wildest Dream
  5. Faith in the Heartland
  6. After All These Years (5/24/08, 9 AC)
  7. Where Did I Lose Your Love (2008, 19 AC)
  8. What I Needed
  9. What It Takes to Win
  10. Turn Down the World Tonight
  11. The Journey (Revelation)


Total Running Time: 66:08


The Players:

  • Arnel Pineda (vocals)
  • Neal Schon (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Jonathan Cain (keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals)
  • Ross Valory (bass, backing vocals)
  • Deen Castronovo (drums, backing vocals)

Rating:

4.089 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings)

About the Album:

Over the years, Journey has gone through a few incarnations, most notably their transition from a Latin-tinged rock group (due to a couple Santana alums) to the more pop-driven years with Steve Perry as their lead singer. When the band reconvened in 1996 after a ten-year hiatus, it looked like they were determined to restore their glory years by returning with the same line-up that had recorded their biggest hits, 1981’s Escape and Frontiers. Alas, the reunion didn’t last.

Perry left the fold. “New Yorker Steve Augeri seemed to be the perfect replacement…, his voice being a natural fit for Journey. Sadly that voice failed him. In 2006, after eight years and two albums with the band, Augeri left Journey amid rumours that he had lip-synced on stage. He was later diagnosed with a serious throat infection.” CRM

The predicament threw Journey into the hunt for a lead singer yet again. “Schon scouted literally hundreds of singers via online video website YouTube before finding the band’s new frontman,” JM Arnel Pineda. Once again, the band seemed like they were a cover band of themselves with a frontman who did an uncanny impression of Steve Perry. Ironically, the band decided to rework one of their songs with Pineda on vocals. However, they chose to do Faith in the Heartland Meanwhile, the remainder of the line-up included founding member Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain, who joined the band at the onset of their heyday in 1981. Returning for his third consecutive album was drummer Deen Castronovo, celebrating ten years with the band after first working with Schon and Cain in the short-lived late-‘80s/early-‘90s supergroup Bad English. Returning to the fold after a dozen years is bassist Ross Valory, a founding member who’d been with the band through their glory years and was part of their 1996 reunion.

Never Walk Away kicks Revelation off with the resilient air and upbeat optimism fans have come to expect from Journey, a melody-soaked and guitar-driven anthem sure to ignite the live circuit just as it lights up the new release. The heartwarming sentiment offered by Like a Sunshower gives a more poetic and reflective look at relationships. It’s an uncharacteristic ballad from the more hard rock-inclined Schon. There’s even an instrumental, The Journey (Revelation)…the band’s first instrumental since Departure (1980).” JM

“Cain’s keyboards elevate After All These Years to new emotional heights. What I Needed is a power ballad, driven by heavy guitars, reminiscent of the early Journey that so many bands have modeled themselves after. Deen Castronovo drums up a frenzy during the hard-driving rock song, Wildest Dream. The talented Castronovo also sings most of the high harmonies heard throughout the album, proving that not only is he an amazing drummer, but he’s a dynamic vocalist as well. Schon’s smoking guitars rip through this track with a cool, eastern flavor. Bassist Ross Valory is steady throughout, a stabilizing force through the albums more driven highs and heartfelt lows.” JM


Notes: -- Revelation was released as a three-disc CD and DVD package exclusively through Wal-Mart and Journey’s online store. The track listing on this page is only for the collection’s first CD, which contained all new songs. The other two discs in the collection are a CD of newly-recorded songs and a live DVD from a March 6, 2008 Las Vegas concert.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

The Everly Brothers achieve a “Dream”: #1 on 4 charts simultaneously - 50 years ago (6/2/1958)

Last updated 4/13/2020.

All I Have to Do Is Dream

The Everly Brothers

Writer(s): Felice Bryant, Boudeleaux Bryant (see lyrics here)


First Charted: April 14, 1958


Peak: 15 US, 14 CB, 14 HR, 13 CW, 15 RB, 17 UK, 15 CN, 3 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 6.0 radio, 0.43 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

Don Everly was working as a writer in Nashville in 1954, having crafted songs for Kitty Wells and Justin Tubb. KL When the Everly Brothers tried to launch their own careers, they struck out on their first recording session, but then tapped the husband-and-wife writing team of Felice & Boudleaux Bryant, KL who’d written hits for Little Jimmy Dickens, Joe Smith, and Eddy Arnold. BR1

The Bryants went on to write the Everlys’ first three big singles – “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” and “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” All three topped the country charts and the latter two topped the pop charts. However, “Dream,” “with Chet Atkins’ innovative tremolo chording backing the brothers’ high-lonesome harmonies,” RS500 also topped the R&B and UK charts, making it the biggest hit of the Everlys’ career. On June 2, 1958, the song became the only record to hit #1 on all four of Billboard’s singles charts simultaneously. WK

Phil Everly recalls first hearing the song “on an acetate and it was just Boudleaux and his guitar. I said, ‘You could put that out and it would be a hit.’” KL “‘It’s just a great, great song. It’s beautiful.’” SF

Phil’s sentiments have been echoed in subsequent decades. Richard Chamberlain had a #14 hit with it in 1963. In the ‘70s, Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell had a top 40 version of the song and in 1981 Andy Gibb dueted with Victoria Principal for yet another charted version. In the end, though, it is the Everlys who own the “definitive version.” HL Theirs is “so pretty, so evanescent, so – dreamlike” WI that they “don’t sound like two guys. But they don’t sound like one guy, either. They sound…like an angel.” WI


Resources and Related Links:

  • Act Name’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • Everly Brothers’ DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books. Page 37.
  • HL Michael Heatley and Spencer Leigh (1998). Behind the Song: The Stories of 100 Great Pop & Rock Classics. London, England: Blandford Books. Page 13.
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Page 50.
  • WI Paul Williams (1993). Rock and Roll: The Best 100 Singles. New York, NY: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc. Pages 41-2.