Thursday, March 30, 2017

BMI Icon Awards

Stevie Nicks receives BMI Icon award, image from

BMI is an organization which collects royalties on behalf of artists. It gives out annual Icon awards in various categories, including country, Latin, London, pop, and urban (later changed to R&B/hip-hop), in honor of what the website calls a songwriter’s “unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.” The BMI site does not appear to offer any details when these awards were initiated (although the earliest awards appear to be given in 2002) and also fails to provide one easy-access list which would detail all recipients, categories in which they received the award, and the year. As such, the list below is cobbled together from multiple sources to provide as much detail as possible:

  • Bill Anderson (country, 2002)
  • Banda el Recodo de Cruz Lizárraga (Latin, 2013)
  • The Bee Gees (pop, 2007)
  • Chuck Berry (pop, 2002)
  • Birdman (R&B/hip-hop, 2013)
  • Don Black (London, 2010)
  • Bobby Braddock (country, 2011)
  • James Brown (urban, 2002)
  • Mariah Carey (urban, 2012)
  • George Clinton (urban, 2009)
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash (pop, 2006)
  • Charlie Daniels (country, 2005)
  • Ray Davies (London, 2006)
  • Mac Davis (country, 2015)
  • Bo Diddley (pop, 2002)
  • Dean Dillon (country, 2013)
  • Donovan (London 2009)
  • Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds (urban, 2006)
  • Gloria Estefan (Latin, 2009)
  • Bryan Ferry (London, 2008)
  • John Fogerty (pop, 2010)
  • David Foster (pop, 2011)
  • Peter Gabriel (London, 2007)
  • Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff (pop, 2009)
  • The Gap Band (urban, 2005)
  • Vince Gill (country, 2014)
  • Graham Gouldman (London, 2015)
  • Al Green (urban, 2004)
  • Juan Luis Guerra (Latin, 2006)
  • Merle Haggard (country, 2006)
  • Daryl Hall & John Oates (pop, 2008)
  • Tom T. Hall (country, 2012)
  • Isaac Hayes (urban, 2003)
  • Holland-Dozier-Holland (pop, 2003)
  • The Jacksons (urban, 2008)
  • Carole King (pop, 2012)
  • Kris Kristofferson (country, 2009)
  • Little Richard (pop, 2002)
  • Los Lobos (Latin, 2016)
  • Los Tigres Del Norte (Latin, 2007)
  • John Lydon (London, 2013)
  • Loretta Lynn (country, 2004)
  • Barry Manilow (pop, 2017)
  • Barry Mann (pop, 2016)
  • Van Morrison (London, 2004)
  • Willie Nelson (country, 2007)
  • Stevie Nicks (pop, 2014)
  • Dolly Parton (country, 2003)
  • Queen (London, 2011)
  • Antonio “L.A.” Reid (urban, 2006)
  • Tim Rice (London, 2014)
  • Nile Rodgers (R&B/hip-hop, 2015)
  • Carlos Santana (Latin, 2005)
  • Gustavo Santaolalla (Latin, 2008)
  • Billy Sherrill (country, 2010)
  • Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons (urban, 2007)
  • Paul Simon (pop, 2005)
  • Slim (R&B/hip-hop, 2013)
  • Snoop Dogg (urban, 2011)
  • Sting (London, 2016)
  • Cynthia Weil (pop, 2016)
  • Hank Williams Jr. (country, 2008)
  • Brian Wilson (pop, 2004)
  • Steve Winwood (London, 2005)


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Diana Ross/The Supremes: Top 50 Songs

image from

Diana Ross was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 26, 1944. As a member of the Supremes, she topped the Billboard charts twelve times and helped establish them as the top female group of all time. She left the group in 1970, but launched straight into a successful solo career. In celebration of her birthday, here are her top 50 songs of all time, with and without the Supremes. #1 songs are noted as follows: #1 US (Billboard pop chart), #1 AC (Billboard adult contemporary chart), #1 RB (Billboard R&B chart), and #1 UK (the UK charts).

The Top 50 Diana Ross/Supremes Songs

Where Did Our Love Go

1. Endless Love (with Lionel Richie, 1981) #1 US, #1 RB, #1 AC
2. Stop! In the Name of Love (The Supremes, 1965) #1 US
3. Where Did Our Love Go (The Supremes, 1964) #1 US, #1 RB
4. Baby Love (The Supremes, 1964) #1 US, #1 RB, #1 UK
5. You Can’t Hurry Love (The Supremes, 1966) #1 US, #1 RB
6. Upside Down (1980) #1 US, #1 RB
7. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (1970) #1 US, #1 RB
8. You Keep Me Hangin’ On (The Supremes, 1966) #1 US, #1 RB
9. Love Child (The Supremes, 1968) #1 US
10. Someday We’ll Be Together (The Supremes, 1969) #1 US, #1 RB

Stop! In the Name of Love

11. Love Hangover (1976) #1 US, #1 RB
12. Touch Me in the Morning (1973) #1 US, #1 AC
13. Do You Know Where You’re Going To (Theme from ‘Mahogany’) (1975) #1 US, #1 AC
14. Come See About Me (The Supremes, 1964) #1 US
15. I’m Gonna Make You Love Me (The Supremes with the Temptations, 1968)
16. I Hear a Symphony (The Supremes, 1965) #1 US
17. I’m Coming Out (1980)
18. Back in My Arms Again (The Supremes, 1965) #1 US, #1 RB
19. Reflections (The Supremes, 1967)
20. Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1981)

21. The Happening (The Supremes, 1967) #1 US
22. The Last Time I Saw Him (1973) #1 AC
23. Muscles (1982)
24. Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone (The Supremes, 1967) #1 US, #1 RB
25. Missing You (1984) #1 RB
26. Mirror, Mirror (1982)
27. All of You (with Julio Iglesias, 1984)
28. Remember Me (1970)
29. Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand (1970)
30. It’s My Turn (1980)

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

31. Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart (The Supremes, 1966)
32. Chain Reaction (1985) #1 UK
33. Ease on Down the Road (with Michael Jackson, 1978)
34. I’m Livin’ in Shame (The Supremes, 1969)
35. In and Out of Love (The Supremes, 1967)
36. When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes (The Supremes, 1974)
37. My Mistake Was to Love You (with Marvin Gaye, 1974)
38. My World Is Empty Without You (The Supremes, 1965)
39. The Boss (1979)
40. Gettin’ Ready for Love (1977)

Upside Down

41. Swept Away (1984)
42. Forever Came Today (The Supremes, 1968)
43. Nothing But Heartaches (The Supremes, 1965)
44. Pieces of Ice (1983)
45. You’re a Special Part of Me (with Marvin Gaye, 1973)
46. Some Things You Never Get Used To (The Supremes, 1968)
47. I’m Still Waiting (1971) #1 UK
48. I’ll Try Something New (The Supremes with the Temptations, 1969)
49. Good Morning Heartache (1973)
50. The Composer (The Supremes, 1969)

Endless Love


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Friday, March 17, 2017

50 Years Ago: Jimi Hendrix released “Purple Haze” in the UK (3/17/1967)

Updated 1/26/2019.

image from

Purple Haze

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix (see lyrics here)

Released: 3/17/1967

First Charted: 3/23/1967

Peak: 65 US, 64 CB, 66 HR, 3 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales *: -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Radio Airplay *: --

Video Airplay *: 20.0

Streaming *: --

* in millions


The man who some call the greatest guitarist of all time didn’t exactly explode out of the gate in his native U.S. His debut single, “Hey Joe,” was released in December 1966 and soared to #6 in the UK, but didn’t make a dent on the Billboard Hot 100. In March 1967, Hendrix released his second single, “Purple Haze,” in the UK. It did even better, hitting #3 there and, when released in the U.S. three months later, managed to at least show up on the charts, although at a measly #65.

Of course, Hendrix’s impact cannot be measured by chart performance. Rolling Stone credited the song with launching two musical revolutions – “late-Sixties psychedelia and the unprecedented genius of Jimi Hendrix.” RS500 As the lead track on the debut album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the song was “many people’s first exposure to Hendrix’s psychedelic rock sound.” WK Written in the dressing room of a London club on the day after Christmas in 1966, the song “captured the liberating rush of day-glo culture just in time for the Summer of Love.” RS500

“Purple Haze” served as “a concise showcase for his brilliant, often contradictory gifts.” RS500 It is “a three-minute blaze of overdubbed guitar sorcery” RS500 which sports “one of the unforgettable opening riffs in rock: a ferocious two-note guitar march scarred with fuzz.” RS500 “Hendrix echoed his screaming Strat in the closing solo with another shrieking guitar put through a new harmonic-manipulation device called an Octavia and played back at double speed.” RS500 Q magazine rated it the top guitar song of all time. WK

Fans have often interpreted the song as being about a psychedelic drug-inspired experience, WK but Hendrix has said the lyrics wer inspired by a dream NPR’99 he had in which he could walk underwater. RS500 He’s also said it was inspired by Philip José Farmer’s 1966 science fiction novel, Night of Light. It was set on a distant planet where sunspots produced a purplish haze which disoriented the inhabitants. WK Hendrix also suggested the song is about the protagonist liking a girl so much that he’s in a sort of daze, an account which draws from an experience where Hendrix felt a girl was trying to use voodoo to trap him and he got sick. WK

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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.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Velvet Underground released their debut album: March 12, 1967

Originally posted 3/12/12. Updated 3/12/17.

image from

Release date: 12 March 1967
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Sunday Morning / I’m Waiting for the Man / Femme Fatale / Venus in Furs (3/12/94, #71 UK) / Run, Run, Run / All Tomorrow’s Parties / Heroin / There She Goes Again / I’ll Be Your Mirror / The Black Angel’s Death Song / European Son

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

Peak: 171 US, 59 UK


Review: While it took ten years for VU’s debut to crack six figures, AMG there’s a classic line from producer Brian Eno that “everyone who bought one…started a band.” JD This is “chapter one of alternative rock” BL and made VU “the poster children of the avant-garde;” TL they “proved that rock, too, can be art.” RV “Glam, punk, new wave, goth, noise, and nearly every other left-of-center rock movement owes an audible debt to this set.” AMG
Singer/songwriter Lou “Reed portrayed edgy characters and exotic scenes that many in the ‘straight’ world and even enlightened hippies had never experienced.” JD He “visited a drug dealer in Harlem” JD on I’m Waiting for the Man and, in Heroin, “gives the listener a musical experience comparable to the rush a junky feels” RV In Venus in Furs, Reed “peered into the inner sanctum of a sado-masochistic couple.” JD
“Although they weren’t particularly adept at their instruments,” NO they “created some of the most innovative sounds anyone had ever heard.” NO John Cale “introduced the rock world to feedback through his shrieking” TL electric viola. “Percussionist Maureen Tucker and guitarist Sterling Morrison make additional noteworthy contributions.” NRR Model-turned-actress Nico “hardly sounds like a typical rock vocalist” AMG lending her “otherworldly vocals” NRR to Femme Fatale and I’ll Be Your Mirror, “but she was very effective in getting emotions across.” AD
Although pop artist Andy Warhol was credited as producer, the real work done by Tom Wilson. However, Warhol’s “notoriety allowed The Velvet Underground to record…without compromise.” AMG “Few rock albums are as important…and fewer still have lost so little of their power to surprise and intrigue.” AMG

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

3/8/1968: The Fillmore East opened

Posted 3/8/2017.

image from

The Fillmore East opened its doors on March 8, 1968. The space on Second Avenue near East 6th Street in the Manhattan borough of New York City, was built in 1925 as the Commodore Theatre, a showcase for vaudeville and film, which seated 2830. BB It later became the Loews Commodore movie theater and then the Village Theatre before legendary concert promoter Bill Graham took over in 1968 and launched it as a companion to his Fillmore Auditorium and its successor, the Fillmore West in San Francisco. WK

The venue, which became known as “The Church of Rock and Roll,” hosted two-show, triple-bill concerts several nights a week. WK Graham was all about the fan experience, printing “ornate, hand-rendered posters…to announce gigs;” commissioning the Joshua Light Show to provide “lavish psychedelic visuals;” and equipping the venue with a “35,000-watt, 26 speaker sound system custom designed by Bill Hanley.” RS

The Allman Brothers Band “Whipping Post” – live at the Fillmore East

Janis Joplin, performed the first show with her band Big Brother and the Holding Company. Led Zeppelin played in early 1969 as an opening act for Iron Butterfly. The Allman Brothers Band, whose legendary At Fillmore East was recorded at the venue, performed there so often some christened them Bill Graham’s house band. Jimi Hendrix’s New Year’s Day 1970 performance was released as Band of Gypsys and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s 4 Way Street album was also a Fillmore concert event. Other acts to perform there included the Band, Chuck Berry, Joe Cocker, Derek and the Dominos, Fats Domino, the Doors, the Grateful Dead (43 shows), Jefferson Airplane, Elton John, Janis Joplin, B.B. King, the Kinks, Taj Mahal, Joni Mitchell, Pink Floyd, Santana, Sly & the Family Stone, Ike & Tina Turner, the Who, and Frank Zappa with the Mothers of Invention.

“After arguably the most influential three years in the history of rock n roll,” BB hosted its last show – an event headlined by none other than the Allman Brothers Band – on June 27, 1971. Graham had tired of competing with bigger venues like Madison Square Garden and the “borderline cost-prohibitive” asking prices for acts he did book. RS While its time was short lived, the Fillmore East “left proverbial footprints large enough to rival those of Radio City and the Beacon.” BB As Rolling Stone said, “few venues in rock history can match the hallowed legacy of the Fillmore East.” RS



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Top 100 R&B Songs of All Time

First posted 12/18/2011; updated 3/7/2017.

image from

Like most DMDB lists, this was created by aggregrating multiple genre-specific lists. In this case, 33 R&B-focused best-of lists were aggregrated. Here are the results:

1. Marvin Gaye “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968) *
2. The Temptations “My Girl” (1965) *
3. Aretha Franklin “Respect” (1967) *
4. Al Green “Let’s Stay Together” (1971) *
5. Otis Redding “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” (1968) *
6. Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On” (1971) *
7. Percy Sledge “When a Man Loves a Woman” (1966) *
8. The Miracles “The Tracks of My Tears” (1965)
9. Marvin Gaye “Let’s Get It On” (1973)
10. Sam Cooke “A Change is Gonna Come” (1965)

11. James Brown “I Got You (I Feel Good)” (1965)
12. Ben E. King “Stand by Me” (1961) *
13. Marvin Gaye “Sexual Healing” (1982)
14. Four Tops “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” (1966) *
15. Prince “When Doves Cry” (1984) *
16. Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” (1992) *
17. Martha Reeves & the Vandellas “Dancing in the Street” (1964) *
18. Stevie Wonder “Superstition” (1972) *
19. Gladys Knight & the Pips “Midnight Train to Georgia” (1973)
20. James Brown “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” (1965)

21. Lionel Richie with Diana Ross “Endless Love” (1981) *
22. Aaron Neville “Tell It Like It Is” (1966)
23. The Temptations “Just My Imagination Running Away with Me” (1971)
24. Ray Charles “What’d I Say” (1959)
25. Bill Withers “Lean on Me” (1972)
26. The Supremes “Baby Love” (1964)
27. Jackie Wilson “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher” (1967)
28. Sam & Dave “Soul Man” (1967)
29. The Supremes “You Can’t Hurry Love” (1966)
30. The Temptations “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” (1966)

31. Michael Jackson “Billie Jean” (1983) *
32. Wilson Pickett “In the Midnight Hour” (1965)
33. Usher with Lil’ Jon & Ludacris “Yeah!” (2004)
34. Four Tops “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” (1965)
35. Mary Wells “My Guy” (1964)
36. Marvin Gaye “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” (1971)
37. Boyz II Men “I’ll Make Love to You” (1994)
38. The Jackson 5 “I Want You Back” (1969)
39. Boyz II Men “End of the Road” (1992)
40. The Jackson 5 “I’ll Be There” (1970)

41. Puff Daddy with Faith Evans & 112 “I’ll Be Missing You” (1997)
42. The Drifters “Under the Boardwalk” (1964)
43. Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” (1972)
44. The Flamingos “I Only Have Eyes for You” The Flamingos (1959)
45. Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1967)
46. Booker T. & the MG’s “Green Onions” (1962)
47. Sam Cooke “You Send Me” (1957)
48. Etta James “At Last” (1961)
49. Brandy with Monica “The Boy Is Mine” (1998)
50. Ray Charles “Georgia on My Mind” (1960)

51. Barry White “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” (1974)
52. Fats Domino “Blueberry Hill” (1956) *
53. Ray Charles “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (1962) *
54. Junior Walker & the All Stars “Shotgun” (1965)
55. Roberta Flack “Killing Me Softly with His Song” (1973)
56. Toni Braxton “Un-Break My Heart” (1996)
57. The Platters “The Great Pretender” (1955)
58. Mariah Carey “We Belong Together” (2005)
59. The Miracles “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” (1962)
60. Tina Turner “What’s Love Got to Do with It” (1984)

61. Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” (1956) *
62. The Supremes “Stop! In the Name of Love” (1965)
63. The Penguins “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” (1954) *
64. R. Kelly “I Believe I Can Fly” (1996)
65. The Isley Brothers “It’s Your Thing” (1969)
66. Martha Reeves & The Vandellas “Heat Wave” (1963)
67. The Marvelettes “Please Mr. Postman” (1961)
68. The Miracles “Shop Around” (1960)
69. Jimmy Ruffin “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” (1966)
70. The Drifters “Save the Last Dance for Me” (1960)

71. Commodores “Three Times a Lady” (1978)
72. Otis Redding “Try a Little Tenderness” (1966)
73. Sister Sledge “We Are Family” (1979)
74. The Jackson 5 “ABC” (1970)
75. Janet Jackson “That’s the Way Love Goes” (1993)
76. Aretha Franklin “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” (1967)
77. Lionel Richie “All Night Long (All Night)” (1983)
78. Al Green “Love and Happiness” (1977)
79. Otis Redding “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (1965)
80. Chubby Checker “The Twist” (1960) *

81. Isaac Hayes “Theme from ‘Shaft’” (1971)
82. Chuck Berry “Maybellene” (1955)
83. The Shirelles “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (1960)
84. Gloria Gaynor “I Will Survive” (1978) *
85. Gladys Knight & the Pips “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1967)
86. Fats Domino “Ain’t That a Shame” (1955)
87. Mariah Carey with Boyz II Men “One Sweet Day” (1995)
88. Sly & the Family Stone “Everyday People” (1968)
89. Little Richard “Long Tall Sally” (1956)
90. The Temptations “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” (1972)

91. The Isley Brothers “This Old Heart of Mine” (1966)
92. The Staple Singers “I’ll Take You There” (1972)
93. The Impressions “People Get Ready” (1965)
94. James Brown “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” (1966)
95. The O’Jays “Love Train” (1973)
96. Arthur Conley “Sweet Soul Music” (1967)
97. The Platters “Only You and You Alone” (1955)
98. The Emotions “Best of My Love” (1977)
99. The Four Tops “Baby, I Need Your Loving” (1964)
100. Mariah Carey “Vision of Love” (1990)

* Those songs marked with an asterisk are featured in the DMDB book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era 1954-1999 available from or Amazon.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Ed Sheeran released Divide

Originally posted March 7, 2019.

Divide (÷)

Ed Sheeran

Released: March 3, 2017

Peak: #12 US, #120 UK, #19 CN, #127 AU

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 2.1 UK, 6.1 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Eraser (3/25/17, 90 US, 14 UK, 36 CN 31 AU, UK sales: 0.2 million)
  2. Castle on the Hill (1/6/17, 6 US, 7 AAA, 2 UK, 2 CN, 2 AU, worldwide sales: 3.9 million)
  3. Dive (3/25/17, 49 US, 8 UK, 19 CN, 5 AU, UK sales: 0.2 million)
  4. Shape of You (1/6/17, 112 US, 124 AC, 112 A40, 114 UK, 116 CN, 115 AU, worldwide sales: 17.03 million)
  5. Perfect (remix with Beyonce, 3/25/17, 16 US, 122 AC, 19 A40, 16 UK, 16 CN, 18 AU, worldwide sales: 13.5 million)
  6. Galway Girl (3/17/17, 53 US, 2 UK, 16 CN, 2 AU, worldwide sales: 2.546 million)
  7. Happier (3/25/17, 59 US, 6 UK, 22 CN, 16 AU, UK sales: 0.4 million)
  8. New Man (3/25/17, 72 US, 5 UK, 21 CN, 20 AU, UK sales: 0.4 million)
  9. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here (3/25/17, 93 US, 15 UK, 42 CN, 32 AU, UK sales: 0.2 million)
  10. What Do I Know? (3/25/17, 83 US, 9 UK, 26 CN, 24 AU, UK sales: 0.4 million)
  11. How Would You Feel (Paean) (2/17/17, 41 US, 2 UK, 19 CN, 2 AU, worldwide sales: 0.51 million)
  12. Supermarket Flowers (3/25/17, 75 US, 8 UK, 31 CN, 19 AU, UK sales: 0.4 million)


With his sophomore album, X, Sheeran soared to new heights any pop star would envy. In his native UK, every song from the album either charted or sold 200,000 copies. With Divide (÷), a Grammy winner for Pop Vocal Album, Sheeran replicated that feat in the UK, but also pulled it off in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. All 16 songs from the deluxe edition hit the top 20 in the UK. Sheeran set a record by landing 9 songs in the top 10 simultaneously when the album debuted. WK His dominance on the UK chart was so prevalent, the Official Charts Company changed their rules for streaming songs to hit the charts. WK

“Sheeran long ago perfected his rapping busker schtick, which frees him to fulfill his destiny as an adult alternative troubadour.” AMG He blends “acoustic sensitive-guy vibes with digital-age craft” RS to help “make over pop’s sound.” RS “Like its predecessors, …[it] is colorful and lithe, casually hopscotching from style to style without ever drawing attention to its range.” AMGIt all helps to make this “his easiest album to enjoy.” AMG

Rolling Stone’s Maura Johnston noted that on Divide “Ed is still showcasing pop savvy.” WK Rosie O’Connor of The Independent praised it as “astonishing for its sheer ambition alone.” WK NME’s Jordan Bassett said the album “somehow adheres to his perfect pop template while also being quietly weird.” WK Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press said the album would “definitely multiple [Sheeran’s] bank account.” WK

His biggest hit from X was “Thinking Out Loud,” a ballad which hit #2 on the US charts and would, for most artists, be their career song. Sheeran, however, topped that feat in the US with two #1 hits from Divide: the “beat-heavy, body-focused track” RS Shape of You and Perfect, “a lushly arranged love song that evokes golden-age pop.” RS

The former was one of two lead singles to support the album. Castle on the Hill was released simultaneously. “Castle” “balances jittery guitars and a massive chorus” RS as it “strives for a Glastonbury-ready rock grandeur à la U2, Arcade Fire and Mumford & Sons.” RS

Galway Girl was the official follow-up single to the one-two punch of “Shape” and “Castle.” Sheeran puts “his own spin on the Irish drinking song to the present-day pop world in a modern-day jig that recalls a synthesis of Justin Timberlake meets the Pogues.” RS The song “pays tribute to a fiddle-playing Irish lass who isn’t above chowing down on Doritos when bringing a guy home – and it even brings some Emerald Isle-inspired bounce into the mix.” RS

Dive finds Sheeran easing into old-fashioned Memphis soul.” AMG “The deceptively breezy alt-acoustic New Man is an acidic rebuke of an ex’s new boyfriend’s faults.” RS “The album closer, Supermarket Flowers, is a wispy ballad Sheeran wrote as a tribute to his late grandmother, a retelling of the aftermath of her funeral from the perspective of his mother.” RS

Review Source(s):