Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Top 50 Albums of 2014

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According to 40+ lists (see bottom of page for links) aggregated by Dave’s Music Database, these are the best albums of 2014. Be sure to also check out the DMDB post of the top 50 songs of 2014. 1. The War on Drugs Lost in the Dream
2. St. Vincent St. Vincent
3. FKA Twigs LP1
4. Run the Jewels Run the Jewels 2
5. Aphex Twin Syro
6. Caribou Our Love
7. Sharon Van Etten Are We There
8. Lana Del Rey Ultraviolence
9. Taylor Swift 1989
10. Flying Lotus You’re Dead!

11. Mac DeMarco Salad Days
12. Beck Morning Phase
13. Future Islands Singles
14. Spoon They Want My Soul
15. Swans To Be Kind
16. Perfume Genius Too Bright
17. Jack White Lazaretto
18. Sun Kil Moon Benji
19. Angel Olsen Burn Your Fire for No Witness
20. Damon Albarn Everyday Robots

21. Todd Terje It’s Album Time
22. Jenny Lewis The Voyager
23. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib Pinata
24. Real Estate Atlas
25. Leonard Cohen Popular Problems
26. Wild Beasts Present Tense
27. Sam Smith In the Lonely Hour
28. Shabazz Palaces Lese Majesty
29. Ty Segall Manipulator
30. The Black Keys Turn Blue

31. Royal Blood Royal Blood
32. Alt-J This Is All Yours
33. Cloud Nothings Here and Nowhere Else
34. Against Me! Transgender Dysphoria Blues
35. La Roux Trouble in Paradise
36. Sturgill Simpson Metamodern Sounds in Country Music
37. Elbow The Take Off and Landing of Everything
38. Kate Tempest Everybody Down
39. The Tune Yards Nikki Nack
40. Ed Sheeran X

41. Robert Plant Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar
42. Temples Sun Structures
43. Eric Church The Outsiders
44. Ben Frost Aurora
45. Hurray for the Riff Raff Small Town Heroes
46. YG My Krazy Life
47. East India Youth Total Strife Forever
48. Miranda Lambert Platinum
49. Parquet Courts Sunbathing Animals
50. Strand of Oaks Heal

Resources and Related Links:

The Top 50 Songs of 2014

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Here are the best songs of 2014, based on an aggregate of more than 33 best-of song lists.


1. Iggy Azalea with Charli XCX “Fancy
2. John Legend “All of Me
3. Ariana Grande with Iggy Azalea “Problem”
4. Taylor Swift “Shake It Off
5. Sia “Chandelier”
6. Sam Smith “Stay with Me”
7. Pharrell Williams “Happy
8. Meghan Trainor “All About That Bass”
9. Future Islands “Seasons (Waiting on You)”
10. Katy Perry with Juicy J “Dark Horse”

All of Me

11. Magic! “Rude”
12. Jason Derulo with 2 Chainz “Talk Dirty”
13. FKA Twigs “Two Weeks”
14. One Republic “Counting Stars”
15. Nicki Minaj “Anaconda”
16. Drake “0 to 100/The Catch”
17. Lorde “Team”
18. Nico & Vinz “Am I Wrong”
19. Bastille “Pompeii”
20. Passenger “Let Her Go”

Shake It Off

21. Pitbull with Ke$ha “Timber”
22. Charli XCX “Boom Clap”
23. Iggy Azalea with Rita Ora “Black Widow”
24. Maroon 5 “Maps”
25. Eminem with Rihanna “The Monster”
26. One Direction “Story of My Life”
27. DJ Snake with Lil’ Jon “Turn Down for What”
28. Lorde “Royals
29. American Authors “Best Day of My Life”
30. Jessie J with Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj “Bang Bang”


31. Beyonce with Jay-Z “Drunk in Love”
32. Ariana Grande with Zedd “Break Free”
33. Taylor Swift “Blank Space”
34. Imagine Dragons “Demons”
35. Jason Derulo with Snoop Dogg “Wiggle”
36. Calvin Harris “Summer”
37. Tinashe with Schoolboy Q “2 On”
38. Clean Bandit with Jess Glynne “Rather Be”
39. Perfume Genius “Queen”
40. The War on Drugs “Red Eyes”

All About That Bass

41. Caribou “Can’t Do Without You”
42. Alvvays “Archie, Marry Me”
43. Jeremih with YG “Don’t Tell ‘Em”
44. A Great Big World with Christina Aguilera “Say Something”
45. Paramore “Ain’t It Fun”
46. I Love Makonnen with Drake “Tuesday”
47. Justin Timberlake “Not a Bad Thing”
48. Tove Lo “Habits (Stay High)”
49. Sharon Van Etten “Your Love Is Killing Me”
50. Rixton “Me and My Broken Heart”

Dark Horse

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Radio’s Most-Played Songs in History

Radio’s Most-Played Songs in History First posted 12/6/2011. Revised 12/30/2014.

These are, according to various sources (see bottom of page), the all-time most-played songs on the radio. These figures generally treat all versions of a song as one entity so in this list the title is listed first and then the artist most associated with the song. For ties, songs are listed in order of how high they rank according to the DMDB. The numbers, in millions, refer to how many plays the song has had at radio regardless of format, genre, demographic, or time slot.

Note: in creating this list, multiple sources were used to try to assure as much accuracy as possible. However, because there are different companies who measure radio airplay and some report that information readily, there are inherent flaws. For example, some assert that Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” is the most-played song in history, but it doesn’t make the list because no reference was found for an officially reported number. In addition, the focus here is on radio airplay so songs like “Happy Birthday” which is sung ad infinitum or “It’s a Small World after All” which Time magazine estimates to have been played 50 million times at Disney World (see article here) are not included. Also, this list cuts off at the 5 million mark.

    11 million:

  1. “Every Breath You Take” (The Police)

    10 million:

  2. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” (The Righteous Brothers, Hall & Oates)

    9 million:

  3. “Yesterday” (The Beatles, Ray Charles)
  4. “Baby, I Need Your Loving” (Four Tops, Johnny Rivers)

    8 million:

  5. “Brown-Eyed Girl” (Van Morrison)
  6. “Act Naturally” (Buck Owens, The Beatles)

    7 million:

  7. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Simon & Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin)
  8. “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” (Otis Redding)
  9. “Stand by Me” (Ben E. King, John Lennon)
  10. “When a Man Loves a Woman” (Percy Sledge, Michael Bolton)
  11. “Your Song” (Elton John)
  12. “Never My Love” (The Association)

    6 million:

  13. “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” (The Rolling Stones)
  14. “I Will Always Love You” (Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton)
  15. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Creedence Clearwater Revival)
  16. “Oh, Pretty Woman” (Roy Orbison, Van Halen)
  17. “Layla” (Derek & the Dominos, Eric Clapton)
  18. “All I Have to Do Is Dream” (The Everly Brothers)
  19. “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (Ray Charles, Don Gibson, Conway Twitty)
  20. “Georgia on My Mind” (Ray Charles, Willie Nelson)
  21. “Mrs. Robinson” (Simon & Garfunkel, The Lemonheads)
  22. “Strangers in the Night” (Frank Sinatra)
  23. “Only You and You Alone” (The Platters)
  24. “Wind Beneath My Wings” (Bette Midler, Gary Morris)
  25. “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher” (Jackie Wilson, Rita Coolidge)
  26. “Save the Last Dance for Me” (The Drifters)
  27. “On Broadway” (The Drifters, George Benson)
  28. “Daniel” (Elton John)
  29. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” (Frankie Valli)
  30. “Up, Up and Away” (The Fifth Dimension)
  31. “Twilight Time” (The Platters)
  32. “Oh Girl” (The Chi-Lites, Paul Young)
  33. “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” (Neil Sedaka)
  34. “Michelle” (The Beatles, The Overlanders)
  35. “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You” (Marvin Gaye, James Taylor)
  36. “Rhythm of the Rain” (The Cascades, Dan Fogelberg)
  37. “Oh Lonesome Me” (Don Gibson)

    5.8 million:

  38. “Working My Way Back to You” (The Four Seasons, The Spinners)

    5 million:

  39. “Imagine” (John Lennon)
  40. “Let It Be” (The Beatles, Aretha Franklin)
  41. “The House of the Rising Sun” (The Animals)
  42. “Suspicious Minds” (Elvis Presley, Fine Young Cannibals)
  43. “Proud Mary” (Creedence Clearwater Revival, Ike & Tina Turner)
  44. “Honky Tonk Women” (The Rolling Stones)
  45. “Killing Me Softly with His Song” (Roberta Flack, The Fugees)
  46. “The Sound of Silence” (Simon & Garfunkel)
  47. “Always on My Mind” (Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, Pet Shop Boys)
  48. “You Send Me” (Sam Cooke)
  49. “How Deep Is Your Love” (Bee Gees)
  50. “You’re Still the One” (Shania Twain)
  51. “Dreams” (Fleetwood Mac)
  52. “The Rose” (Bette Midler)
  53. “California Girls” (The Beach Boys, David Lee Roth)
  54. “The Letter” (The Box Tops, Joe Cocker)
  55. “Happy Together” (The Turtles)
  56. “You Can’t Hurry Love” (The Supremes, Phil Collins)
  57. “Something” (The Beatles)
  58. “Cherish” (The Association)
  59. “Up on the Roof” (The Drifters)
  60. “Everybody’s Talkin’” (Harry Nilsson)
  61. “Amazed” (Lonestar)
  62. “Release Me” (Engelbert Humperdinck, Little Esther Phillips)
  63. “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (Glen Campbell, Isaac Hayes)
  64. “Scarborough Fair” (Simon & Garfunkel)
  65. “Born Free” (Roger Williams)
  66. “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (Elton John, George Michael & Elton John)
  67. “Don’t Stop” (Fleetwood Mac)
  68. “Angel of the Morning” (Merrillee Rush & the Turnabouts, Juice Newton)
  69. “Hooked on a Feeling” (Blue Swede, B.J. Thomas)
  70. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” (The Police)
  71. “Gentle on My Mind” (Glen Campbell)
  72. “Sometimes When We Touch” (Dan Hill)
  73. “And I Love Her” (The Beatles)
  74. “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight” (England Dan & John Ford Coley)
  75. “Canadian Sunset” (Hugo Winterhalter with Eddie Heywood)
  76. “Sunny” (Bobby Hebb)
  77. “Goin’ Out of My Head” (Little Anthony & The Imperials)
  78. “To Love Somebody” (Bee Gees, Michael Bolton)
  79. “Born on the Bayou” (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
  80. “The Heart of the Matter” (Don Henley)
  81. “Traces” (Classics IV)
  82. “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye” (Casinos, Eddy Arnold)
  83. “More” (Perry Como, Marcello Ciorciolini)

Resources and Related Links:
  • Arbitron

    Not an indicator of specific songs played, but what musical genres dominate radio stations.

  • American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP)

    “Membership association of more than 370,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers.” Established in 1914. Their primary function is the licensing and distribution of royalties for public performances of copyrighted works. Represent more than four million copyrighted works.

  • ASCAP’s Top 25 Holiday Songs of the 20th Century (1998)

    Link broken. Updated versions of list in 2005 and 2009 (see below).

  • ASCAP’s Top 25 Songs of the Century (12/27/99)

    Unranked list of the most performed songs of the century. Topping the list was “Happy Birthday to You.”

  • ASCAP’s Most Performed Love Songs of the 20th Century (2000)

    For Valentine’s Day 2000, ASCAP named the top 5 love songs for each decade of the 20th century.

  • ASCAP’s 25 Most-Performed Holiday Songs for 2000-05 (12/1/05). Written by Eric Olsen.

    Olsen offers commentary on ASCAP’s top holiday songs of the 21st century. Updated version of 1998 list above.

  • ASCAP’s Top 25 Holiday Songs of the Decade (11/23/09)

    While this list focuses only on the 21st century, it includes many of the same songs from the 20th century list above since holiday favorites are fairly consistent year-to-year.

  • Broadcast Data Systems (BDS) – see Nielsen

  • Broadcast Music, Incorporated (BMI)

    Performance rights and royalty tracking and distribution organization for recording artists. Represents more than a quarter million songwriters, composers, and publishers. Has a repertoire of 3 million + songs. The company monitors nearly a half million hours of radio airplay.

  • BMI Announces Top 100 Songs of the Century (13 December 1999)

  • BMI’s Top 100 Songs of the Century

    There are no details offered in the link, but because this is BMI, that would make this a list of the most-played songs of the century.

  • (2001)

    While the Digital Dream Door site below is more current, this list does offer a more complete list of all songs to have aired more than a million times. Site appears to be the personal website of Oleg Grishntkin. He does not indicate the list’s origin.

  • Radio’s Most Played Artists (November 2003)

  • Digital Dream Door Most Played Songs on the Radio (December 2002)

    This appears to be a listing of those songs reaching the BMI “Million Airs” Club, but a list more current than 2002 would be nice. According to this list, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” is the most played song, with 8 million airs. Only includes songs with 3 million + airs. This same list appears at

  • Dave Masters, (4/14/09). The Sun. Abba to Wings: The Top 75 Tunes.

    List of the top 75 most played songs, via public airplay, in the last 75 years in Great Britain. List does not indicate number of airplays for each song.

  • Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems (BDS)

    Their function is to track the number of plays for songs on radio and other mediums. They are the basis of Billboard magazine’s airplay data. The site is geared toward businesses and does not appear to have any links to to an archive of songs and the airplay they’ve garnered. However, they do publish a list of BDS Certified Spin Awards each month in Billboard magazine of songs which have received 50,000+ spins. Generally, there are one or two songs each month which reach heights beyond a ½ million spins.

  • Phonographic Performance Ltd. Britain’s 75 Most Heard Song List Topped by…Procol Harum?. By Ted Spangler at (4/15/09)

    75 most played songs in public places (radio stations, sports stadiums, jukeboxes, elevators, supermarkets) in Britain over the last 75 years.

  • Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL) Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’ Most Played and Used Song of the Noughties (1/1/00)

    Top 50 list of most-played songs in the UK from 2000-2009. Also in “Lists (Songs – Best of 2000-2009)” section.


    Performance rights and royalty tracking and distribution organization for recording artists. Lesser known than ASCAP or BMI. Name originally stood for Society of European Stage Authors & Composers, organized to better represent European artists in the U.S. Today they are just known as SESAC.

  • Time Is This the Most Played Song in Music History? (30 April 2014)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Billboard - Songs of the Year

Each year since the inception of the Billboard Hot 100, the magazine has named a “song of the year” determinedby chart performance. Here are those songs from 1958 to present. This list was originally available here: here but that link is no longer active.

  • 1958: Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blue)...Domenico Modugno
  • 1959: The Battle of New Orleans…Johnny Horton

  • 1960: Theme from “A Summer Place”…Percy Faith
  • 1961: Tossin’ and Turnin’…Bobby Lewis
  • 1962: Stranger on the Shore…Mr. Acker Bilk
  • 1963: Sugar Shack…Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs
  • 1964: I Want to Hold Your Hand…The Beatles
  • 1965: Wooly Bully…Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs
  • 1966: The Ballad of the Green Berets…SSgt Barry Sadler
  • 1967: To Sir with Love…Lulu
  • 1968: Hey Jude…The Beatles
  • 1969: Sugar Sugar…The Archies

  • 1970: Bridge Over Troubled Water…Simon & Garfunkel
  • 1971: Joy to the World…Three Dog Night
  • 1972: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face…Roberta Flack
  • 1973: Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree…Tony Orlando & Dawn
  • 1974: The Way We Were…Barbra Streisand
  • 1975: Love Will Keep Us Together…Captain & Tennille
  • 1976: Silly Love Songs…Paul McCartney & Wings
  • 1977: Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)…Rod Stewart
  • 1978: Shadow Dancing…Andy Gibb
  • 1979: My Sharona…The Knack

  • 1980: Call Me…Blondie
  • 1981: Bette Davis Eyes…Kim Carnes
  • 1982: Physical…Olivia Newton-John
  • 1983: Every Breath You Take…The Police
  • 1984: When Doves Cry…Prince
  • 1985: Careless Whisper…George Michael
  • 1986: That’s What Friends Are For…Dionne & Friends
  • 1987: Walk Like an Egyptian…Bangles
  • 1988: Faith…George Michael
  • 1989: Look Away…Chicago

  • 1990: Hold On…Wilson Phillips
  • 1991: (Everything I Do) I Do It for You…Bryan Adams
  • 1992: End of the Road…Boyz II Men
  • 1993: I Will Always Love You…Whitney Houston
  • 1994: The Sign…Ace of Base
  • 1995: Gangsta’s Paradise…Coolio with L.V.
  • 1996: Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)…Los Del Rio
  • 1997: Candle in the Wind 1997 (Goodbye England’s Rose)…Elton John
  • 1998: Too Close…Next
  • 1999: Believe…Cher

  • 2000: Breathe…Faith Hill
  • 2001: Hanging by a Moment…Lifehouse
  • 2002: How You Remind Me…Nickelback
  • 2003: In Da Club…50 Cent
  • 2004: Yeah!...Usher with Lil’ Jon & Ludacris
  • 2005: We Belong Together…Mariah Carey
  • 2006: Bad Day…Daniel Powter
  • 2007: Irreplaceable…Beyonce
  • 2008: Low…Flo Rida with T-Pain
  • 2009: Boom Boom Pow…Black Eyed Peas

  • 2010: Tik Tok…Ke$ha
  • 2011: Rolling in the Deep…Adele
  • 2012: Somebody That I Used to Know…Gotye with Kimbra
  • 2013: Thrift Shop…Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with Wanz
  • 2014: Happy…Pharrell Williams

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

“As Time Goes By” immortalized by Casablanca: November 26, 1942

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Dooley Wilson “As Time Goes By”

Writer(s): Herman Hupfield (see lyrics here)

Released: 11/26/1942, First charted: --

Peak: -- US, -- 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: Herman Hupfield was a 26-year-old Tin Pan Alley writer when he composed this unforgettable ballad in 1931. NPR’99 Originally the song was sung by Frances Williams JA-13 in the Broadway musical Everybody’s Welcome. MM-150 Rudy Vallee (#15) and Jacques Renard (#13) each charted with versions in 1931. PM-472

The song took on a new life more than a decade later in the film Casablanca in 1942. Dooley Wilson played the song in a North African bar in the war-time Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman war-time classic. The song was “too sentimental…and…too backward-looking” DS but perfect “for its moment, both in the narrative of Casablanca, where its misty truisms of love and loyalty thaw Bogart’s iced-over soul, and in the larger narrative of America[ing] the challenge of producing the materials and manpower to win two wars at the two ends of the earth.” DS

Because of a musicians’ strike, Wilson couldn’t release his recording, but Vallee and Renard’s versions were re-released, hitting #1 and #3 respectively. PM-472 The song was a hit again in 1952 with Ray Anthony’s #10 version. Wilson performed the song again on screen in 1972 in the movie Play It Again, Sam. The song also showed up in What’s Up Doe?, Blue Skies Again, and Round Midnight. SHOF

In 1994, British television sit-com used the song as its title and theme song. JA-13 A rendition by Jimmy Durante was featured in the Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan film Sleepless in Seattle. Other versions were recorded and performed by Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Harry Nilsson, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, and Barbra Streisand. The song came in at #2 on the American Film Institute’s 2004 list of the top 100 movie songs of all time.

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.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Roy Acuff charted with “Wabash Cannonball”: November 24, 1938

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Roy Acuff “Wabash Cannonball”

Writer(s): A.P. Carter (see lyrics here)

First charted: 11/24/1938

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

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 10.0 world (includes US)

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

Review: This is “a genuine knight-of-the-road ballad with a touch of the Paul Bunyan flavor,” TR-367 “perhaps the greatest of all train songs.” SS-67 The song originated in the 1880s, In 1882, J.A. Roff wrote words and music for “The Great Rock Island Route!,” a song about a mythical train which traveled coast to coast. It became an anthem for hoboes. In Southern America in the late 19th century, the railroad offered a different form of work for those wishing to escape the farms and served up a touch of romanticism for those who wanted to live a less conventional life, riding the rails and going wherever the trains would take them.

William Kindt adapted Roff’s piece in 1905 under the title “Wabash Cannonball.” There were several Wabash Railroad passenger trains dating back to the 1880s while the term “cannonball” was used to reference a fast train. When the song entered the public domain in 1928, it was reworked and claimed by A.P. Carter whose group, the Carter Family, recorded the song the next year, but didn’t release it until 1932. In the meantime an unissued version was recorded by Clark & Edans in 1928 and Tennessee singer and guitarist recorded and released the song in 1929.

Roy Acuff, who was billed as “the King of Country Music,” SS-68 recorded the song in 1936 with Dynamite Hatcher on vocals, but didn’t release it until 1938. NRR He didn’t record it with his vocal until 1947, although he performed it regularly on the Grand Ole Opry, SS-67 where he first appeared in 1938 and was its top star by 1942. NRR His “voice was pure country and he was one of the first to carry the title ‘hillbilly’ proudly.” CL He embraced the plain and simple values of poor, rural Americans and gained an audience via his recordings, tours, and movie appearances. NRR In 1962, he was the first living artist elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame. NRR

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.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

“They Didn’t Believe Me” hit #1: November 20, 1915

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Harry MacDonough & Olive Kline “They Didn’t Believe Me”

Writer(s): Herbert Reynolds/ Jerome Kern (see lyrics here)

First charted: 11/13/1915

Peak: 17 US, -- UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 (sheet music) US, -- UK, 2.0 world (includes US and UK)

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

Review: Jerome Kern, best known for the landmark musical Show Boat, was “one of the most important pioneering composers of American Popular Song.” PS Born in New York City in 1885, Kern was the son of an upper-middle class family. He got a Master of Music degree at Germany’s Heidleberg University and started writing for Broadway shows by the time he was 19. PS

Over the next eight years, he wrote about 100 songs for roughly thirty Broadway musicals and wrote three full, unsuccessful musical scores. SS-353 He hit paydirt in 1914 with The Girl from Utah after several failed stage productions. He wrote eight songs for the adaptation of an English opera, one of which was “They Didn’t Believe Me.” It was Kern’s first hit song and “may well be his best,” PS marking his “graduation to the status of major composer from that of a ‘mere’ pop tunesmith.” SS-353

David Ewen said this song “stands out with beacon-like brilliance. Kern no longer submitted meekly to the song conventions of the day, but bent them to his own creative needs.” SS-353 The song is “a model for the “thirty-two bar Tin Pan Alley ballad that became standard for the time. While not exactly slangy it is written in a conversational tone, [such as] ‘And I’m cert’nly goin’ to tell them;’ it is almost spoken yet remains sung.” RCG

The song became a #1 song in 1915 in the hands of Harry MacDonough and Olive Kline. In 1916, Grace Kerns & Reed Miller took it to #8 and Walter Van Brunt & Gladys Rice reached #9. Morton Downey had a #15 hit with it in 1934. PM-594 Dinah Shore sang it in the 1946 Kern biopic Till the Clouds Roll By and Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson tackled it in the 1949 movie, That Midnight Kiss. PS Bing Crosby, Tommy Dorsey, Johnny Mercer, and Barbra Streisand were among the others who recorded the song. RCG

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, November 8, 2014

Epic Records lands its biggest hit when “All About That Bass" logs 8th week at #1

Updated 2/6/2018.

image from

Meghan Trainor “All About That Bass”

Writer(s): Meghan Trainor, Kevin Kadish (see lyrics here)

Released: 6/30/2014, First charted: 7/13/2014

Peak: 18 US, 7 AC, 14 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 1.2 UK, 13.33 world (includes US and UK)

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): 2171.75 Streaming (in millions): 200.0

Review: Right out of high school Trainor was signed to a songwriting deal with the publisher Big Yellow Dog right out of high school. She was paired with Kevin Kadish, a producer who’d worked with Jason Mraz and Stacie Orrico. Kadish had the title “All About That Bass” written in his idea notebook, always envisioning it not as a song about “the low end of the audio spectrum” but about booty. He’d pictured a male hip-hop artist singing it, but Trainor, who often used the phrase “I’m all about that…,” loved it. SF They wrote the song in 40 minutes. WK

As she said, “It’s pretty clear I ain’t no size two.” SF She made it into a message about “confidence and positive body image.” SF Trainor said she struggled in high school with self image, WK although her “beautiful, popular, skinny friends had trouble finding a good dude” while she never had a problem. SF She told Entertainment Weekly she figured they’d never make any money off the song, but that she was fine with that. SF

Trainor and Kadish gave “Bass” a retro feel with, appropriately, an acoustic upright bass as well as backing vocals and a musical backdrop which harkened back to the sound of sixties girl groups. SF Still, while Trainor’s voice sounded like a single from 1963, she gave it a modern touch with lyrics not suited to that era and in a rap vein. SF When Kadish and Trainor shopped the song, labels suggested changes, such as adding synthesizer or AutoTune, to modernize it. WK However, when Epic Records’ chairman L.A. Reid heard the song, he signed her. Other than some mastering, he resisted the urge to tweak or remix, opting to leave the song intact and release it as her debut single. SF

It was one of several popular songs in 2014 (others being Colbie Caillat’s “Try” and John Legend’s “You & I”) to celebrate women’s natural beauty, possibly a reaction to the perceived misogynistic nature of lyrics on songs like Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” SF The Guardian’s Caroline Sullivan said the song had the “aura of a hard-won victory against self-doubt” WK and Yahoo! writer Paul Grein called it “one of the biggest and best ‘message songs of recent times.” WK The song topped the charts in 21 countries and was nominated for Grammys for Record and Song of the Year. WK It was the first single to enter the UK Top 40 based purely on streams. SF It became the only debut single in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 to spend 15 weeks in the top two and, with eight weeks at #1 in the U.S., became the biggest hit in the history of Epic Records. 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.


Monday, October 27, 2014

10/27/2014: Taylor Swift released 1989

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Released: 27 October 2014
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) 1. Welcome to New York (11/8/14, #48 US) 2. Blank Space (11/10/14, #17 US, #14 AC, #16 AA, #4 UK, #16 CA, #13 AU, 5.68 million sales worldwide) 3. Style (2/9/15, #6 US, #6 AC, #1 AA, #21 UK, #6 CA, #8 AU, 1.93 million sales worldwide) 4. Out of the Woods (11/1/14, #18 US) 5. All You Had to Do Was Stay 6. Shake It Off (8/18/14, #14 US, #15 AC, #18 AA, #58 CW, #3 UK, #14 CA, #13 AU, 7.22 million sales worldwide) 7. I Wish You Would 8. Bad Blood (5/17/15, #53 US, #40 AA, #68 CA, #76 AU, sales 0.51 million US) 9. Wildest Dreams (11/15/14, #76 US) 10. How You Get the Girl 11. This Love 12. I Know Places 13. Clean

Sales (in millions): 4.68 US, 0.6 UK, 8.6 world (includes US and UK)

Peak: #111 US, #11 UK, #18 CA, #19 AU


Review: 1989 marked the official move for Taylor Swift from country to pop. The distinction seemed silly considering her status as one of the biggest, if not the biggest, music stars in the world. She’s already been the youngest recipient of the Grammy for Album of the Year, is the best-selling digital music artist in history, and has two albums which had surpassed the million mark in their first week of release. AZ

1989 became her third album to do so, selling 1.287 million copies in its first week, the highest sales week since 2002. WK 1989 would go on to sell four million copies, the first album to do so since her 2012 album Red. WK She also repeated herself in leading off with a Max Martin and Shellback produced single (“Shake It Off”) which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, jus as she’d done with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” in 2012.

Shake It Off

“Shake It Off” was a reply to Swift’s detractors, while its follow-up, the even bigger #1, “Blank Space,” was a “minimalist electropop song” WK which responded to critics who accused her of being “an overly attached man-eater who dates for songwriting material.” WK “Bad Blood” was about an unnamed female singer – speculation has suggested Katy Perry – who hired away Swift’s tour personnel to sabotage the tour. WK

The album, named after Swift’s birth year, was inspired by the synthpop of the late ‘80s, completing her transition from country music which she’d already been making on previous albums. Swift called it her most “sonically cohesive” studio album. WK It generally satisfied her critics as well. The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis said the album is full of “undeniable melodies and huge, perfectly turned choruses and nagging hooks.” WK The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica said Swift was aiming for “a mode of timelessness that few true pop stars even bother aspiring to.” WK

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Greatest Snubs

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With the announcement of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2015 nominees, it is time once again to commence with the whining, complaining, and Hall bashing. Blogs and social media everywhere will light up with people griping that the Hall is worthless because their favorite band has not been enshrined.

These are just personal opinions. Dave’s Music Database has consolidated more than 50 lists (see resources at bottom of page) to determine just who is getting overlooked most. Here are the results:

  1. The Moody Blues
  2. Cheap Trick
  3. Deep Purple
  4. Chicago
  5. Journey
  6. Electric Light Orchestra
  7. Yes
  8. Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble *
  9. The Cure
  10. Iron Maiden

  11. The Cars
  12. T-Rex
  13. Bon Jovi
  14. Joy Divison
  15. Def Leppard
  16. Judas Priest
  17. Depeche Mode
  18. Motorhead
  19. The Smiths *
  20. The Doobie Brothers

  21. Pat Benatar
  22. Warren Zevon
  23. Boston
  24. Roxy Music
  25. Jethro Tull
  26. Joe Cocker
  27. Dire Straits
  28. Devo
  29. Peter Frampton
  30. Kraftwerk *

  31. Todd Rundgren
  32. Bad Company
  33. Replacements
  34. Thin Lizzy
  35. Steve Miller Band
  36. New York Dolls
  37. The Zombies
  38. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts *
  39. Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  40. Duran Duran

  41. The Guess Who
  42. Gram Parsons
  43. MC5
  44. Foreigner
  45. Chic *
  46. King Crimson
  47. The B-52’s
  48. Styx
  49. The Monkees
  50. Steppenwolf

  51. Big Star
  52. Pixies
  53. Scorpions
  54. Motley Crue
  55. Sonic Youth
  56. Dick Dale
  57. Black Flag
  58. Kate Bush
  59. Nick Drake
  60. Barry White

  61. New Order
  62. Jimmy Buffett
  63. Three Dog Night
  64. Procol Harum
  65. The Runaways
  66. Tommy Janes & the Shondells
  67. Afrika Bambaataa
  68. Whitney Houston
  69. Dead Kennedys
  70. Love

  71. Blue Oyster Cult
  72. Slayer
  73. Joan Baez
  74. X
  75. Los Lobos
  76. War
  77. INXS
  78. Janet Jackson
  79. Meat Loaf
  80. Eurythmics

  81. J. Geils Band
  82. Television
  83. Johnny Burnette & the Rock ‘N’ Roll Trio
  84. Willie Nelson
  85. Toto
  86. Brian Eno
  87. Weird Al Yankovic
  88. Captain Beefheart
  89. Ozzy Osbourne
  90. Carole King

  91. Soundgarden
  92. Commodores
  93. Little Feat
  94. Carpenters
  95. Harry Nilsson
  96. The Jam
  97. The Buzzcocks
  98. The Spinners *
  99. The Clovers
  100. Grand Funk Railroad

* 2014 nominee

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Glenn Tilbrook at Kansas City's Record Bar

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My brother Mark and buddies Paul and Steve accompanied me to Kansas City’s Record Bar for an evening with Glenn Tilbrook, best known from Squeeze. Mark, Steve, and I saw Tilbrook a year earlier (Glenn Tilbrook at Kansas City’s Riot Room) so it was interesting to compare setlists. He played a healthy chunk of the expected Squeeze catalog both times, but the latter show was peppered with more surprises, including less-familiar cuts like “Everything in the World,” “Cold Shoulder,” “Elephant Ride,” “Vanity Fair,” and a new (!!) Squeeze song.

Elephant Ride

Non-Squeeze material included some surprises as well. He trotted out a 1981 single he’d done with Elvis Costello and an unrecorded song from 1974. There was also a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well.” He highlighted his newest album (2014’s Happy Ending) with four cuts, compared to a half dozen on the last outing when the album had yet to be released.

From a Whisper to a Scream

On his last outing, Tilbrook was accompanied by a band, but this excursion was a solo endeavor. It works both ways, namely because of his easy rapport with the audience. Fun moments included him tasking the audience with singing “Ice Cream” and doing a hand clap to “Hourglass.” All in all, a great night with great friends and great music.

Ice Cream

The Setlist:

1. Best of Times 17
2. Persephone 19
3. Ter-Wit Ter-Woo 18
4. Monkey in a Tree (song written in 1974)
5. Annie Get Your Gun 6
6. Black Sheep 17
7. Dennis 19
8. From the Cradle to the Grave (new Squeeze song)
9. Elephant Ride 5
10. Take Me I’m Yours 1
11. Untouchable 16
12. Is That Love 4
13. Up the Junction 2


14. Ice Cream 19
15. Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac cover)
16. Everybody Sometimes 19
17. Cold Shoulder 12
18. Slap and Tickle 2
19. Vanity Fair 4
20. From a Whisper to a Scream (1981 single with Elvis Costello)
21. Still 17
22. If I Didn’t Love You 3
23. Everything in the World 12
24. Tempted 4
25. Hourglass 9
26. Black Coffee in Bed 5
27. Another Nail in My Heart 3


28. Pulling Mussels from the Shell 3
29. Goodbye Girl 2

Glenn Tilbrook Discography:

1 U.K. Squeeze (Squeeze, 1978)
2 Cool for Cats (Squeeze, 1979)
3 Argybargy (Squeeze, 1980)
4 East Side Story (Squeeze, 1981)
5 Sweets from a Stranger (Squeeze, 1982)
6 45’s and Under (Squeeze compilation, 1982)
7 Difford & Tilbrook (Difford & Tilbrook, 1984)
8 Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti (Squeeze, 1985)
9 Babylon and On (Squeeze, 1987)
10 Frank (Squeeze, 1989)
11 Play (Squeeze, 1991)
12 Some Fantastic Place (Squeeze, 1993)
13 Ridiculous (Squeeze, 1995)
14 Domino (Squeeze, 1998)
15 The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook (solo, 2001)
16 Transatlantic Ping Pong (solo, 2004)
17 Pandemonium Ensues (Fluffers, 2009)
18 The Co-Operative (with Nine Below Zero, 2011)
19 Happy Ending (solo, 2014)

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Fifty Years Ago Today: The Kinks chart with “You Really Got Me” (10/10/1964)

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The Kinks “You Really Got Me”

Writer(s): Ray Davies (see lyrics here)

Released: 8/4/1964, First charted: 10/10/1964

Peak: 7 US, 12 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Radio Airplay (in millions): 4.0 Video Airplay (in millions): --

Review: “You Really Got Me” has been called “a cornerstone of garage rock and punk,” CR-684 “the track which invented heavy metal,” WK and the song that “introduced the sound of distorted guitars into rock & roll.” CR-684 Sadly, Dave Davies, the Kinks’ lead guitarist, isn’t always credited with what is considered “one of the great riffs of rock ’n’ roll.” KL-103Legendary axeman Jimmy Page was an active session man in the ‘60s before gaining fame with Led Zeppelin. His appearance on rhythm guitar on some of the tracks on the You Really Got Me album SJ-223 has led to a common misconception that it is he, and not Davies, who played the song’s guitar solo.

The band was convinced that their first two singles pristine sound was responsible for their failure. RS500 When they headed into the studio in the summer of 1964, the group wanted a rawer sound RS500 which captured the energy of their live shows. SF Dave was inspired to create “the world’s trashiest riff” MA-391 by the “cracked and dirty” sound of his broken hi-fi system CR-684 to take a razor to his amplifier’s speaker cone. RS500 The result was an effect known as “fuzz” in which the vibration of the fabric distorted the sound. SF

The approach worked, giving the group a British chart-topper and their first hit in the U.S. The song also established the Kinks as one of the bands at the forefront of the British Invasion in the United States. WK

More than a decade later, the song launched another classic rock band. In 1978, Van Halen’s debut hit was a cover of “You Really Got Me.” Interestingly, Van Halen went on to mine the classics of August 1964 for two more charting cover songs – Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman” and Martha & the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street.”

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.