Saturday, January 28, 2017

1/28/2017: Ed Sheeran debuts at #1 with “Shape of You”

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Ed Sheeran “Shape of You”

Writer(s): Ed Sheeran, Steve Mac, Johnny McDaid, Kandi Burruss, Tameka Cottle, Kevin Briggs (see lyrics here)

Released: 1/6/2017, First charted: 1/28/2017

Peak: 112 US, 114 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 2.88 UK, 17.03 world (includes US and UK)

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): 3129.0

Review: “Shape of You” emerged from a writing session with Steve Mac and Johnny McDaid. They set the song aside, thinking it didn’t fit Sheeran, and wrote two more songs. SF Wanting an R&B feel for the song, he added an interpolation of TLC’s 1999 #1 hit “No Scrubs.” WK When Sheeran listened to the song again at the end of the session, he wondered if it might be a good fit for Rihanna. SF

When Sheeran met with the Atlantic UK label executives, he played what he thought was the completed album – and then played “Shape of You.” The execs not only thought he should keep the song instead of giving it away, but even thought it should be the single. SF As Sheeran said, “it took…the guys I wrote it with probably about a month or two to convince me that should even be on the album, and probably took them another month to convince me that it should be a single.” SF

Sheeran decided to put it out as a single, but simultaneously released “Castle on the Hill,” since he said, they “were kind of opposing ends of the album.” SF “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill” – debuted at numbers 1 and 2 respectively on the UK chart, making him the first artist to accomplish the feat. WK The pair also debuted in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first time an artist had done that in the U.S. SF “Shape” launched at #1, giving Sheeran his first U.S. chart-topper. The song stayed on top for 12 non-consecutive weeks and stayed in the top 10 for a record-setting 33 weeks. WK

The song proved a success worldwide, reaching the pinnacle of the charts in 44 countries. WK It also amassed 1.32 billion streams on Spotify by September 2017, making it the service’s most-streamed song of all time. WK It also set a record for the most streams in a single day when, in its first 24 hours, the song was played 6.8 million times. SF Once the album was released, Sheeran broke his own record with over 10 million streams in 24 hours. SF On YouTube, it became the third most-watched music video ever with over 3 billion views. WK

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.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Book! The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era 1890-1953

The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era 1890-1953

is available at for $13.95.

Songwriters and big bands and barbershop quartets ruled. Broadway and sheet music drove popularity, not YouTube and Spotify. However, a perusal of most “best songs of all time” list suggests music didn’t exist prior to the rock era. This book remedies that problem by focusing exclusively on the music before Elvis Presley and the Beatles - the works of songwriters such as Irving Berlin and George M. Cohan and musicians like Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller, and Al Jolson. Compiled from sales figures, and chart data, and hundreds of best-of lists, these are the best songs of roughly the first half of the 20th century.