Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Top 100 Alternative Rock Songs

Originally posted 6/14/12; updated 6/28/17.

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More than 30 different lists were aggregated to create this list. Alternative is a widely defined collection of rock music which stretches from the garage bands of the 1960s to the indie scene of today. It generally is used to describe groups which are more left of center, but often these bands– such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, U2, and R.E.M. – move to the forefront of mainstream rock.

A brief history of the genre shows its origins to come out of the D.I.Y. aesthetic that accompanied rougher sounding, experimental bands who came out of the 1960s. Groups like the Velvet Underground and The Stooges provided a raunchier and rawer alternative to mainstream rock like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

By the mid-1970s, groups like the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Ramones spearheaded the punk scene, which grew out of angry working class kids looking for a musical outlet. By the close of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s, new wave groups like The Cure, Depeche Mode, and New Order emerged at the forefront of a more accessible, electronically-driven, and ready-for-video format. The college rock scene quickly grew out of that, also lending audiences to groups like U2, R.E.M., and The Smiths.

By the end of the 1990s, grunge became the dominant form of rock music with bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam at the helm. They revived some of the punk and D.I.Y. ethos of the 1960s and 1970s, while also crafting big songs which echoed some of the big-anthem classic rock of those decades.

Since grunge, there hasn’t been one dominant form of alternative – or what became known as “modern rock.” Groups like Green Day and Blink-182 created punk-pop while The White Stripes and The Strokes reminded listeners of the garage rock of the 1960s. Artists like Radiohead and Beck reminded listeners of the experimental nature of the genre.

So what is alternative rock exactly? It’s hard to say. This list taps into all the forms referenced above and more. I’ll just let these songs tell you what alternative is.

Top 100 Alternative Rock Songs

Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the U.K.” (1976)

1. Nirvana…Smells Like Teen Spirit (1991)
2. Radiohead…Creep (1993)
3. Beck…Loser (1993)
4. Nirvana…Come As You Are (1992)
5. Red Hot Chili Peppers…Under the Bridge (1992)
6. Pearl Jam…Alive (1991)
7. Violent Femmes…Blister in the Sun (1983)
8. Jane’s Addiction…Been Caught Stealing (1990)
9. The Smiths…How Soon Is Now? (1984)
10. Sublime…What I Got (1996)

The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” (1978)

11. Smashing Pumpkins…Today (1993)
12. Blur…Song 2 (1997)
13. Nine Inch Nails…Closer (1994)
14. Ramones…I Wanna Be Sedated (1978)
15. Beastie Boys…You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party (1986)
16. Pearl Jam…Jeremy (1992)
17. Smashing Pumpkins…1979 (1995)
18. R.E.M….Losing My Religion (1991)
19. Oasis…Wonderwall (1995)
20. Jane’s Addiction…Jane Says (1988)

The Clash’s “London Calling” (1979)

21. Beastie Boys…Sabotage (1994)
22. The Cure…Just Like Heaven (1987)
23. Soundgarden…Black Hole Sun (1994)
24. Green Day…Longview (1994)
25. U2…Sunday Bloody Sunday (1983)
26. Pearl Jam…Black (1991)
27. New Order…Bizarre Love Triangle (1986)
28. Linkin Park…In the End (2001)
29. The Offspring…Come Out and Play (1994)
30. Red Hot Chili Peppers…Give It Away (1991)

R.E.M.’s “Radio Free Europe” (1983)

31. R.E.M….It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) (1987)
32. Depeche Mode…Personal Jesus (1989)
33. The Clash…Rock the Casbah (1982)
34. Live…Lightning Crashes (1994)
35. U2…With Or Without You (1987)
36. Stone Temple Pilots…Plush (1992)
37. Rage Against the Machine…Killing in the Name (1993)
38. The Clash…Should I Stay Or Should I Go (1982)
39. New Order…Blue Monday (1983)
40. Joy Division…Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)

U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (1983)

41. U2…One (1992)
42. Green Day…Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) (1997)
43. Weezer…Buddy Holly (1994)
44. Green Day…When I Come Around (1994)
45. The Clash…London Calling (1979)
46. The Verve…Bittersweet Symphony (1997)
47. Green Day…Brain Stew/Jaded (1995)
48. Foo Fighters…Everlong (1997)
49. Metallica…Enter Sandman (1991)
50. Green Day…Basket Case (1994)

51. Pearl Jam…Even Flow (1991)
52. The White Stripes…Seven Nation Army (2003)
53. The Offspring…Self Esteem (1994)
54. Nine Inch Nails…Head Like a Hole (1989)
55. Depeche Mode…Enjoy the Silence (1990)
56. Nirvana…All Apologies (1993)
57. The Pixies…Here Comes Your Man (1989)
58. U2…Pride (In the Name of Love) (1984)
59. Stone Temple Pilots…Interstate Love Song (1994)
60. Sex Pistols…Anarchy in the U.K. (1976)

New Order’s “Blue Monday” (1983)

61. Soft Cell…Tainted Love (1981)
62. Nirvana…Lithium (1991)
63. Sublime…Wrong Way (1996)
64. Faith No More…Epic (1990)
65. Smashing Pumpkins…Bullet with Butterfly Wings (1995)
66. Blink-182…Dammit (Growing Up) (1997)
67. Weezer…Undone (The Sweater Song) (1994)
68. Iggy Pop…Lust for Life (1977)
69. Smashing Pumpkins…Disarm (1993)
70. Papa Roach...Last Resort (2000)

The Smiths’ “How Soon Is Now” (1984)

71. Nirvana…In Bloom (1991)
72. Rage Against the Machine…Bulls on Parade (1996)
73. Devo…Whip It (1980)
74. Blind Melon…No Rain (1993)
75. R.E.M….Radio Free Europe (1983)
76. Ramones…Blitzkrieg Bop (1976)
77. The Cure…Love Song (1989)
78. Beastie Boys…Intergalactic (1998)
79. The B-52’s…Rock Lobster (1979)
80. Sex Pistols…God Save the Queen (1977)

Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)

81. Alice in Chains…Man in the Box (1991)
82. Radiohead…Karma Police (1997)
83. Modern English…I Melt with You (1983)
84. R.E.M….The One I Love (1987)
85. Blink-182…All the Small Things (1999)
86. Pearl Jam…Better Man (1994)
87. The Pixies…Monkey Gone to Heaven (1989)
88. Lit…My Own Worst Enemy (1999)
89. Violent Femmes…Add It Up (1983)
90. Elvis Costello…Alison (1977)

Radiohead’s “Creep” (1993)

91. Pearl Jam…Yellow Ledbetter (1992)
92. Talking Heads…Once in a Lifetime (1981)
93. Talking Heads…Burning Down the House (1983)
94. Echo & the Bunnymen…Lips Like Sugar (1987)
95. The Cure…Boys Don’t Cry (1979)
96. Blink-182…What’s My Age Again? (1999)
97. The Police…Roxanne (1979)
98. Linkin Park…Numb (2003)
99. Linkin Park…One Step Closer (2000)
100. U2…New Year’s Day (1983)

Beck’s “Loser” (1993)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lionel Richie: Top 30 Songs

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Born June 20, 1949 in Tuskegee, Alabama, Lionel Richie is one of chart history’s most successful crossover artists. He first found success as a member of the Commodores in the 1970s and then as a solo artist in the ‘80s. He has landed #1 songs on the pop, R&B, and adult contemporary charts and hit the country chart as well. In celebration of his birthday, Dave’s Music Database presents its list of his top 30 songs of all time, with the Commodores (noted with an *) and as a solo artist. #1 songs are noted as follows: #1 US (Billboard pop chart), #1 AC (Billboard adult contemporary chart), and #1 RB (Billboard R&B chart).

The Top 30 Lionel Richie Songs


1. Endless Love (with Diana Ross, 1981) #1 US, #1 AC, #1 RB
2. Three Times a Lady * (1978) #1 US, #1 AC, #1 RB
3. Hello (1984) #1 US, #1 AC, #1 RB
4. All Night Long (All Night) (1983) #1 US, #1 AC, #1 RB
5. Say You, Say Me (1985) #1 US, #1 AC, #1 RB
6. Truly (1982) #1 US, #1 AC
7. Brick House * (1977)
8. Easy * (1977) #1 RB
9. Still * (1979) #1 US, #1 RB
10. Stuck on You (1984) #1 AC

All Night Long (All Night)

11. You Are (1983) #1 AC
12. Sail On * (1979)
13. Dancing on the Ceiling (1986)
14. My Love (1983) #1 AC
15. Running with the Night (1983)
16. Lady (You Bring Me Up) * (1981)
17. Oh No * (1981)
18. Penny Lover (1984) #1 AC
19. Just to Be Close to You * (1976) #1 RB
20. Ballerina Girl (1986) #1 AC

Dancing on the Ceiling

21. Love Will Conquer All (1986) #1 AC
22. Sweet Love * (1975)
23. Machine Gun * (1974)
24. Do It to Me (1992) #1 RB
25. Se La (1986)
26. Don’t Wanna Lose You (1996)
27. Too Hot ta Trot * (1977) #1 RB
28. Old-Fashion Love * (1980)
29. Slippery When Wet * (1975) #1 RB
30. Deep River Woman (with Alabama, 1986)

* Commodores

Endless Love


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Friday, June 16, 2017

Some of the Longest Waits Between Albums

This list was originally posted on my Dave’s Music Database Facebook page (Some of the Longest Waits Between Albums) on 2/5/2012 and has been updated several times since. I’m reposting it now in honor of Chuck Berry, whose 38-year vacation puts him in a tie with John Lodge for the longest wait between albums.

Here’s a little history about this list. In March 2012, I penned an article for (“I Heard You Missed Us – We’re Back!”) on bands who’d had long breaks between albums. At the time, I’d waited five years for a new album from Fish, one of my favorite acts. That month Van Halen ended a 14-year silence and in recent years Guns N’ Roses received a lot of press for its 15-year delay between albums. I ended up with an extensive list of acts who have tried the patience of their fans to the max. Note: I’m only looking at album’s worth of new studio material. That includes “specialty” releases of new material for that act such as covers collections or Christmas recordings, but does not include live albums, compilations, remixes, or other reissues of previously released material. Thanks to DMDB fans who contributed to this list!

Some of the Longest Waits:
  • 38 years: Chuck Berry Rock It (1979), Chuck (2017)
  • 38 years: John Lodge Natural Avenue (1977), 10,000 Light Years Ago (2015)
  • 36 years: The Yardbirds Little Games (1967), Birdland (2003)
  • 35 years: Vashti Bunyan Just Another Diamond Day (1970), Lookingafter (2005)
  • 35 years: The Sonics Sinderella (1980), This Is the Sonics (2015)
  • 34 years: The Stooges Raw Power (1973), The Weirdness (2007)
  • 32 years: New York Dolls Too Much Too Soon (1974), One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This (2006)
  • 30 years: Magazine Magic, Murder and the Weather (1981), No Thyself (2011)
  • 28 years: Eagles The Long Run (1979), Long Road Out of Eden (2007)
  • 28 years: The Slits Return of the Giant Slits (1981), Trapped Animal (2009)
  • 28 years: Cat Stevens Back to Earth (1978), An Other Cup (2006)
  • 27 years: Big Star Third/Sister Lovers (1978), In Space (2005)
  • 27 years: Dexy’s Midnight Runners Don’t Stand Me Down (1985), One Day I’m Going to Soar (2012)
  • 25 years: Bauhaus Burning from the Inside (1983), Go Away White (2008)
  • 25 years: Levon Helm Levon Helm (1982), Dirt Farmer (2007)
  • 25 years: Throbbing Gristle Journey Through a Body (1982), Part Two: The Endless Not (2007)
  • 25 years: Roger Waters Amused to Death (1992), Is This the Life We Really Want? (2017)

  • 24 years: The Cars Door to Door (1987), Move Like This (2011)
  • 24 years: The Who It’s Hard (1982), Endless Wire (2006)
  • 23 years: The Zombies Odessey and Oracle (1968), New World (1991)
  • 22 years: Jeff Lynne Armchair Theatre (1990), Long Wave (2012)
  • 22 years: Mission of Burma Vs. (1982), ONoffON (2004)
  • 22 years: My Bloody Valentine Loveless (1991), MBV (2013)
  • 22 years: The Soft Boys Underwater Moonlight (1980), Nextdoorland (2002)
  • 21 years: The Vaselines Dum-Dum (1989), Sex with an X (2010)

    20 Years

  • The Del-Lords Lovers Who Wander (1990), Under Construction (EP, 2010)
  • Devo Smooth Noodle Maps (1990), Something for Everybody (2010)
  • The Feelies Time for a Witness (1991), Here Before (2011)
  • Pink Floyd The Division Bell (1994), Endless River (2014)
  • Steely Dan Gaucho (1980), Two Against Nature (2000)

    19 Years

  • Grace Jones Bulletproof Heart (1989), Hurricane (2008)

    18 Years

  • Black Sabbath Forbidden (1995), 13 (2013)
  • Faith No More Album of the Year (1997), Sol Invictus (2015)
  • Was (Not Was) Are You Okay? (1990), Boo! (2008)

    17 Years

  • Blondie The Hunter (1982), No Exit (1999)
  • The Go-Go’s Talk Show (1984), God Bless the Go-Go’s (2001)
  • Kraftwerk Electric CafĂ© (1986), Tour de Force Soundtracks (2003)
  • Steve Miller Band Wide River (1993), Bingo (2010)
  • Squeeze Domino (1998), From the Cradle to the Grave (2015)

    16 Years

  • The Beach Boys Stars and Stripes Vol. 1 (1996), That’s Why God Made the Radio (2012)
  • The B-52’s Good Stuff (1992), Funplex (2008)
  • Dr. Dre 2001 (1999), Compton (2015)
  • Gang of Four Shrinkwrapped (1995), Content (2011)
  • Gil Scott-Heron Spirits (1994), I’m New Here (2010)
  • Kansas Somewhere to Elsewhere (2000), The Prelude Implicit (2016)

    15 Years

  • Camper Van Beethoven Key Lime Pie (1989), New Roman Times (2004)
  • Electric Light Orchestra: Balance of Power (1986), Zoom (2001)
  • Foreigner: Mr. Moonlight (1994), Can’t Slow Down (2009)
  • Roky Erickson All That May Do My Rhyme (1995), True Love Cast Out All Evil (2010)
  • Guns N’ Roses The Spaghetti Incident? (1993), Chinese Democracy (2008)
  • Don Henley Inside Job (2000), Cass County (2015)
  • Nitzer Ebb Big Hit (1995), Industrial Complex (2010)
  • The Rainmakers Skin (1996), 25 On (2011)

    14 Years

  • Accept Predator (1996), Blood of the Nations (2010)
  • Alice in Chains Alice in Chains (1995), Black Gives Way to Blue (2009)
  • Big Country Driving to Damascus (1999), The Journey (2013)
  • Lindsey Buckingham Out of the Cradle (1992), Under the Skin (2006)
  • Crowded House Together Alone (1993), Time on Earth (2007)
  • D’Angelo Voodoo (2000), Black Messiah (2014)
  • Electric Light Orchestra Zoom (2001), Alone in the Universe (2015)
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer Love Beach (1978), Black Moon (1992)
  • Hooters Out of Body (1993), Time Stand Still (2007)
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd Street Survivors (1977), Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 (1991)
  • New Kids on the Block Face the Music (1994), The Block (2008)
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark Universal (1996), History of Modern (2010)
  • The Swans Soundtrack for the Blind (1996), My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky (2010)
  • Television Adventure (1978), Television (1992)
  • Van Halen: Van Halen III (1998), A Different Kind of Truth (2012)

    13 Years

  • Garth Brooks Scarecrow (2001), Man Against Machine (2014)
  • Jane’s Addiction Ritual de lo Habitual (1990), Strays (2003)
  • The Zombies New World (1991), As Far As I Can See… (2004)

    12 Years

  • Kate Bush: The Red Shoes (1993), Aerial (2005)
  • The Go-Betweens 16 Lovers Lane (1988), The Friends of Rachel Worth (2000)
  • Wire The First Letter (1991), Send (2003)
  • Hole Celebrity Skin (1998), Nobody’s Daughter (2010)
  • The House of Love Audience with the Mind (1993), Days Run Away (2005)
  • Billy Idol Cyberpunk (1993), Devil’s Playground (2005)
  • Loretta Lynn Van Lear Rose (2004), Full Circle (2016)
  • Polvo Shapes (1997), In Prism (2009)
  • Styx Big Bang Theory (2005), The Mission (2017)

    11 Years

  • Boston Life, Love & Hope (2013), Corporate America (2002)
  • ESG ESG (1991), Step Off (2002)
  • Grandmaster Flash Flash Is Back (1998), The Bridge: Concept of a Culture (2009)
  • Heart Desire Walks On (1993), Jupiter’s Darling (2004)
  • Kiss Psycho Circus (1998) Sonic Boom (2009)
  • The Libertines The Libertines (2004), Anthems for Doomed Youth (2015)
  • The Rolling Stones A Bigger Bang (2005), Blue and Lonesome (2016)

  • No Doubt Rock Steady (2001), Push and Shove (2012)
  • Portishead Portishead (1997), Third (2008)
  • The Power Station The Power Station (1985), Living in Fear (1996)
  • Bob Seger It’s a Mystery (1995), Face the Promise (2006)
  • The Verve Urban Hymns (1997), Forth (2008)
  • Scott Walker Climate of Hunter (1984), Tilt (1995)
  • Scott Walker Tilt (1995), The Drift (2006)

    10 Years

  • American Music Club San Francisco (1994), Love Songs for Patriots (2004)
  • David Bowie Reality (2003), The Next Day (2013)
  • Bush Golden State (2001), The Sea of Memories (2011)
  • Dinosaur Jr. Hand It Over (1997), Beyond (2007)
  • Eurythmics We Too Are One (1989), Peace (1999)
  • Peter Gabriel Us (1992); Up (2002)
  • Gin Blossoms Congratulations I’m Sorry (1996), Major Lodge Victory (2006)
  • The Human League Secrets (2001), Credo (2011)
  • Journey Raised on Radio (1986), Trial by Fire (1996)
  • The Knack Round Trip (1981), Serious Fun (1991)
  • The Lemonheads Car Button Cloth (1996), The Lemonheads (2006)
  • Matchbox 20 More Than You Think You Are (2002), North (2012)
  • Steve Perry Street Talk (1984), For the Love of Strange Medicine (1994)
  • Sade Lovers Rock (2000), Soldier of Love (2010)
  • Suicide Why Be Blue (1992), American Supreme (2002)
  • Supertramp Free As a Bird (1987), Some Things Never Change (1997)
  • Scott Walker We Had It All (1974), Climate of Hunter (1984)
  • Stevie Wonder Conversation Peace (1995), A Time to Love (2005)
  • Yes: Magnification (2001), Fly from Here (2011)

    9 Years

  • The Allman Brothers Band Brothers of the Road (1981), Seven Turns (1990)
  • The Allman Brothers Band Where It All Begins (1994), Hittin’ the Note (2003)
  • Leonard Cohen The Future (1992), Ten New Songs (2001)
  • Deep Purple Come Taste the Band (1975), Perfect Strangers (1984)
  • Styx Edge of the Century (1990), Brave New World (1999);

    8 Years

  • AC/DC Stiff Upper Lip (2000), Black Ice (2008)
  • Aerosmith Honkin’ on Bobo (2004), Music from Another Dimension! (2012)
  • Berlin 4Play (2005), Animal (2013)
  • Blondie The Curse of Blondie (2003), Panic of Girls (2011)
  • Boston Don’t Look Back (1978), Third Stage (1986)
  • Boston Third Stage (1986), Walk On (1994)
  • Boston Walk On (1994), Corporate America (2002)
  • Camper Van Beethoven New Roman Times (2004), virus_installer.exe (2012)
  • Chicago Chicago XXV: The Christmas Album (1998), XXX (2006)
  • Leonard Cohen Dear Heather (2004), Old Ideas (2012)
  • Fleetwood Mac Time (1995), Say You Will (2003)
  • Michael Jackson Invincible (2001); Michael (2010 – released posthumously; Jackson died in 2009).
  • Mick Jagger Wandering Spirit (1993), Goddess in the Doorway (2001)
  • Modest Mouse We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (2007), Strangers to Ourselves (2015)
  • The Rolling Stones Bridges to Babylon (1997), A Bigger Bang (2005)
  • Rush Test for Echo (1996) Vapor Trails (2002)
  • Sade Love Deluxe (1992), Lovers Rock (2000)
  • The Smithereens God Save the Smithereens (1999), Christmas with the Smithereens (2007)
  • Stevie Wonder Characters (1987), Conversation Peace (1995)

    Still Waiting…
  • 38 years: Led Zeppelin In Through the Out Door (1979)
  • 24 years: Billy Joel River of Dreams (1993)
  • 23 years: Emerson, Lake & Palmer In the Hot Seat (1994)
  • 23 years: Steve Perry For the Love of Strange Medicine (1994)
  • 20 years: Genesis Calling All Stations (1997)
  • 19 years: Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
  • 18 years: Dr. Dre 2001 (1999)
  • 16 years: Mick Jagger Goddess in the Doorway (2001)
  • 15 years: David Baerwald Here Comes the New Folk Underground (2002)
  • 15 years: Supertramp Slow Motion (2002)
  • 15 years: Shania Twain Up! (2002)
  • 14 years: The Allman Brothers Band Hittin’ the Note (2003)
  • 14 years: Fleetwood Mac Say You Will (2003)
  • 14 years: Kraftwerk Tour de France Soundtracks (2003)
  • 14 years: Steely Dan Everything Must Go (2003)
  • 13 years: Tears for Fears Everybody Loves a Happy Ending (2004)
  • 11 years: Tool 10,000 Days (2006)
  • 11 years: The Who Endless Wire (2006)
  • 10 years: Hooters Time Stand Still (2007)

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  • Friday, June 9, 2017

    The Top 100 New Wave/College Rock Songs

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    As the upcoming Dave’s Music Database on pre-1989 alternative rock hits barrels toward publication, here’s a tease of what’s to come. In creating the book, multiple lists of various forms of alternative rock were aggregrated and here are the results for the top 100 new wave/college rock songs:

    1. New Order “Blue Monday” (1983)
    2. Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun” (1983)
    3. The Cure “Just Like Heaven” (1987)
    4. The Smiths “How Soon Is Now?” (1984)
    5. Soft Cell “Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go?” (1981)
    6. Joy Division “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (1980)
    7. Modern English “I Melt with You” (1983)
    8. The B-52’s “Rock Lobster” (1979)
    9. Devo “Whip It” (1980)
    10. New Order “Bizarre Love Triangle” (1986)

    11. The Clash “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” (1982)
    12. R.E.M. “Radio Free Europe” (1983)
    13. The Clash “Rock the Casbah” (1982)
    14. Depeche Mode “Personal Jesus” (1989)
    15. Jane’s Addiction “Jane Says” (1988)
    16. A Flock of Seagulls “I Ran” (1982)
    17. R.E.M. “It’s the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine” (1987)
    18. Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime” (1981)
    19. Simple Minds “Don’t You Forget About Me” (1985)
    20. Dexy’s Midnight Runners “Come on Eileen” (1982)

    21. The Pixies “Here Comes Your Man” (1989)
    22. Gary Numan “Cars” (1979)
    23. U2 “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (1983)
    24. Depeche Mode “People Are People” (1985)
    25. The Human League “Don’t You Want Me” (1981)
    26. Talking Heads “Burning Down the House” (1983)
    27. Frankie Goes to Hollywood “Relax” (1983)
    28. Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This” (1983)
    29. Echo & the Bunnymen “Lips Like Sugar” (1987)
    30. Pet Shop Boys “West End Girls” (1986)

    31. U2 “With Or Without You” (1987)
    32. Madness “Our House” (1982)
    33. Talking Heads “Psycho Killer” (1977)
    34. Depeche Mode “Enjoy the Silence” (1990)
    35. Midnight Oil “Beds Are Burning” (1988)
    36. Depeche Mode “Just Can’t Get Enough” (1981)
    37. Duran Duran “Hungry Like the Wolf” (1982)
    38. Tears for Fears “Shout” (1984)
    39. A-ha “Take on Me” (1984)
    40. U2 “Pride (In the Name of Love)” (1984)

    41. The Church “Under the Milky Way” (1988)
    42. The Cure “Boys Don’t Cry” (1979)
    43. XTC “Dear God” (1986)
    44. Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (1985)
    45. Talk Talk “It’s My Life” (1984)
    46. The La’s “There She Goes” (1990)
    47. New Order “True Faith” (1987)
    48. Dead or Alive “You Spin Me Round Like a Record” (1985)
    49. Psychedelic Furs “Pretty in Pink” (1981)
    50. The Pixies “Monkey Gone to Heaven” (1989)

    51. Oingo Boingo “Dead Man’s Party” (1985)
    52. The English Beat “Save It for Later” (1983)
    53. Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star” (1981)
    54. Love & Rockets “So Alive” (1989)
    55. Big Country “In a Big Country” (1983)
    56. Wall of Voodoo “Mexican Radio” (1983)
    57. Squeeze “Tempted” (1981)
    58. After the Fire “Der Kommissar” (1983)
    59. The Cure “Close to Me” (1985)
    60. The Vapors “Turning Japanese” (1980)

    61. Blondie “Heart of Glass” (1979)
    62. Violent Femmes “Add It Up” (1983)
    63. The Cure “Love Song” (1989)
    64. The Clash “Train in Vain (Stand by Me)” (1980)
    65. Men Without Hats “The Safety Dance” (1983)
    66. Naked Eyes “Always Something There to Remind Me” (1983)
    67. Sonic Youth “Teen Age Riot” (1988)
    68. Nine Inch Nails “Head Like a Hole” (1989)
    69. The Cult “She Sells Sanctuary” (1986)
    70. Peter Schilling “Major Tom (Coming Home)” (1983)

    71. Billy Idol “Dancing with Myself” (1981)
    72. Yazoo “Situation” (1982)
    73. The Cure “In Between Days” (1985)
    74. Thomas Dolby “She Blinded Me with Science” (1982)
    75. When in Rome “The Promise” (1989)
    76. Men at Work “Down Under’ (1981)
    77. Billy Idol “White Wedding” (1982)
    78. INXS “Don’t Change” (1982)
    79. U2 “I Will Follow” (1980)
    80. The Jesus & Mary Chain “Just Like Honey” (1985)

    81. Pretenders “Brass in Pocket (I’m Special)” (1979)
    82. Erasure “Oh L’Amour” (1986)
    83. The Sugarcubes “Birthday” (1988)
    84. The Stone Roses “I Wanna Be Adored” (1989)
    85. Spandau Ballet “True” (1983)
    86. Blondie “One Way Or Another” (1979)
    87. Duran Duran “Girls on Film” (1981)
    88. Elvis Costello “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding” (1979)
    89. Psychedelic Furs “Love My Way” (1982)
    90. Kajagoogoo “Too Shy” (1983)

    91. World Party “Ship of Fools (Save Me from Tomorrow)” (1986)
    92. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark “If You Leave” (1986)
    93. INXS “Need You Tonight” (1987)
    94. Yazoo “Don’t Go” (1982)
    95. The Jam “A Town Called Malice” (1982)
    96. General Public “Tenderness” (1984)
    97. Boomtown Rats “I Don’t Like Mondays” (1979)
    98. Split Enz “I Got You” (1980)
    99. The Go-Go’s “We Got the Beat” (1982)
    100. Missing Persons “Destination Unknown” (1982)

    Saturday, June 3, 2017

    Aretha Franklin hit #1 with “Respect” 50 years ago today (6/3/1967)

    First posted 6/3/2012; updated 1/25/2020.


    Aretha Franklin

    Writer(s): Otis Redding (see lyrics here)

    Released: April 10, 1967

    First Charted: April 29, 1967

    Peak: 12 US, 12 CB, 13 HR, 18 RB, 10 UK, 3 CN, 14 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

    Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.14 UK, 1.14 world (includes US + UK)

    Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 50.39 video, -- streaming



    “Respect” was first recorded by Otis Redding backed by Booker T. & the MG’s along with the Memphis Horns. It was a 1965 top five R&B hit and “considered among the best Southern blues-soul records of the era,” TB but Aretha Franklin transformed it into an anthem for blacks and women and made it her signature song in launching her reign as the Queen of Soul.

    Aretha had recorded with Columbia Records from 1960-1966. In her years there, she developed neither a signature sound nor much commercial success. When she jumped to Atlantic Records, she was paired with producer Jerry Wexler, who had worked with Wilson Pickett and Dusty Springfield. He backed her with the Muscle Shoals rhythm section, which would become legendary, but was then in their infancy. For “Respect,” initially comprised only of verses and no bridge, Wexler blended a King Curtis’ tenor-sax solo with the studio band playing the chord changes from Sam and Dave’s “When Something Is Wrong with My Baby.” RS500

    Also giving the song heft was Aretha‘s addition of the “sock it to me” lines SF and the spelling out of the title, an idea which engineer Tom Dowd attributed to Aretha‘s sister Carolyn, who sang backup on the album. “I fell off my chair when I heard that!” RS500

    Aretha defiantly demands respect without playing the part of a victim. As Wexler said, “Aretha would never play the part of the scorned woman.” RS500 Mix that with the gospel flavor of the call-and-response vocal arrangement, and a classic was born. Wexler reported Otis’ reaction to Aretha’s version: “He looked at me with a big grin and said, ‘That girl done stole my song.’” CR-455

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    Thursday, June 1, 2017

    Fifty Years Ago Today: The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s

    First posted 6/1/2013; updated 3/30/2019.

    Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

    The Beatles

    image from

    Released: 6/1/1967

    Charted: 6/3/1967 (UK)

    Peak: #115 US, #128 UK, #1 CN, #130 AU

    Sales (in millions): 11.0 US, 5.1 UK, 32.0 world (includes US and UK)

    Genre: classic psychedelic rock

    Quotable: “the single most influential album in the history of pop” – Chris Speicher, The Review

    Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

    1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band [2:02]
    2. With a Little Help from My Friends [2:44]
    3. Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds [3:28]
    4. Getting Better [2:47]
    5. Fixing a Hole [2:36]
    6. She's Leaving Home [3:35]
    7. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite [2:37]
    8. Within You, Without You (Harrison) [5:05]
    9. When I'm Sixty-Four [2:37]
    10. Lovely Rita [2:42]
    11. Good Morning, Good Morning [2:41]
    12. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) [1:18]
    13. A Day in the Life [5:33]
    All songs written by Lennon/McCartney unless otherwise noted.


    “The Beatles were undoubtedly the most successful and significant rock group in history” NRR and Sgt. Pepper was their masterwork. It is “one of the most influential albums of all time,” BA “the album that many regard as having changed the course of popular music forever” CDU and that “revolutionized rock & roll.” RS’87 “When Sgt. Pepper’s dropped, everything about it – its ambition, conceptual unity, drug references, elaborate cover art, bizarre sound effects - made an immediate, incalculable impact.” RS’97

    “Critics [say] that this is the most experimental, the most groundbreaking album ever produced by rock, after which inspired listeners go and put on Freak Out! or The Piper at the Gates of Dawn or, well, even The Velvet Underground & Nico and say: ‘THAT was experimentation? C’mon, that was just a bunch of pretty pop songs!” GS

    However, “the songs are breathtaking,” TL “each masterfully arranged.” NRR “The musicianship [is] unparalleled, the production [is] perfect.” TL “The songs embrace a myriad of divergent styles yet, through the collective genius of these musicians, they are melded into a cohesive whole. The album makes use of novel studio techniques in creating an enchanting musical experience which transcends genre.” NRR “There has never been another band that could do so many different things – [the] songs…cover more ground than you get in most rock careers.” TL

    “It was this album, and not any other, that led serious music lovers, many ‘classical snobs’ included, to finally recognize rock music” GS “as actual art.” BA While Frank Zappa was too ‘crazy’ to be considered ‘worthy’, the Beach Boys spoiled all the fun with their Hollywood arrangements, and Bob Dylan was still primarily a lyricist, the Beatles did it exactly the right way, and nobody can get away from the fact.” GS

    “It is the peak of the Beatles’ recorded output, representing their last truly collaborative effort. Sgt. Pepper was also one of the finest albums conceived as a complete listening experience. Previously popular albums were generally a couple of hit singles patched together with some album tracks and some filler to create the necessary minutes for two LP sides. The Beatles changed all of that forever by releasing this very psychedelic work at the peak of the summer of love, influencing hundreds of up-and-coming musicians.” TM

    In 1966, the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album “created a new landmark in ambition and beauty in rock” BW while the Beatles cranked out their own music-altering masterpiece with Revolver, “reaching a previously unheard-of level of sophistication and fearless experimentation.” STE “With Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles completely altered the face of popular music for the second time” (Rolling Stone; 5/15/97).

    “Weary of performing in stadiums full of screaming teeny-boppers” (Rolling Stone; 5/15/97), The Beatles permanently retreated from stage to studio, leading to the creation of what “is regarded by many music critics and fans alike as not only the climax of the Beatles career, but also one the finest albums ever recorded.” RM “…removed, essentially for the first time, from the nonstop hoopla of Beatlemania, they also had time to question their identity as Beatles. A chasm had begun to open between their growing musical sophistication and the public’s perception of them as lovable mop tops. The magnitude of the Beatles phenomenon was starting to encroach on the band – and their experience with psychedelic drugs made that phenomenon seem increasingly surreal. Already trapped, in their early twenties, the Beatles had to find a way out…” RS’87

    The subsequent 700 hours of studio time RM and “four meticulous months spent putting the album together were like an aural experiment in some laboratory. The Beatles used the studio as an instrument: changing tape speeds, experimenting with microphone placement, using unconventional instruments…etc.” TM “The 129 days it took…to complete Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band are sometimes referred to as the most creative 129 days in music history.” CS

    “Inspired by Eastern influences, classical music, Pet Sounds and mind-altering substances, The Beatles pushed the envelope of recording capabilities,” CS experimenting “with music that was too complex …to perform onstage.” RS’97 They “consciously synthesized such disparate influences as psychedelia, art-song, classical music, rock & roll, and music hall, often in the course of one song. Not once does the diversity seem forced.” STESgt. Pepper was the most breathtaking and innovative piece of modern music the world had ever heard.” LS

    “This four-track recording is still a masterpiece.” CL “The musical experimentation was dynamic and fresh, several tracks were edited to create seamless transitions, and even the visual design was more elaborate than anything previously attempted.” VH1

    George Martin “was the chemist who made their crazy ideas work. He shaped their glorious songs and fantasmagorical lyrics with melody and harmony, pushing recording technique into unknown waters.” CL “Martin and The Beatles searched for new sounds and studio effects. They added crowd sounds and animal cries from sound-effects recordings, sped up Paul McCartney’s vocals in ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ (to make him sound younger), and sustained a single piano chord for 40 seconds to end ‘A Day In The Life.’ The orchestrations, scored by Martin, were hailed by critics as bridging the gap between pop and classical music, and many people who had never bought a rock record bought Sgt. Pepper’s.” VH1

    “The project was to be a song cycle based on the Beatles’ lives starting with ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane.’ However, the recording process became expensive and behind schedule, so the two songs were released as a single and the song cycle was dropped. The Lonely Hearts concept joined the individual songs together,” TM “cutting and bending [them] until they created a perfect, seamless album” CS and “cohesive package.” TM

    While the original concept was dropped, a new idea sprang forth. Paul McCartney suggested, “‘Why don’t we just make up some incredible alter egos and think, ‘Now how would he sing it? How would he approach this track?’ And it freed us. It was a very liberating thing to do.’” RS’87

    However, “apart from some relatively modest touches - the colorful uniforms, the opening theme song, the reprise near the end and Ringo’s entertaining turn as ‘the one and only Billy Shears’ in ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ – the alter egos make no discernible appearances on the album. But one look at the cover of Sgt. Pepper – festooned with the band’s wildly eclectic gallery of heroes and…wax figures of the youthful Fab Four standing next to their far more…serious-looking real-life counterparts - eloquently tells how greatly removed the group had grown from what they were.” RS’87 “The Fab Four wax statues fossilized the formerly frivolous pop sensations, or the Ghost of Beatles Past.” LS “Under the guise of alter egos the Beatles had finally allowed their real selves to emerge.” RS’87

    Consquently, “even though this isn’t a concept album as such it remains the very first concept album in popular public consciousness.” AD “It is the first Beatles album conceived as an album, not just a bunch of songs (their first released identically in the US and the UK), and the first rock album where the songs blend into each other with no breaks.” DBW

    “The preponderance of whimsy and self-conscious art gives the impression that Paul McCartney is the leader...He dominates the album in terms of compositions, setting the tone for the album with his unabashed melodicism and deviously clever arrangements.” STE “There’s McCartney’s effortless mastery of all manner of pop styles, including…the ballad ‘She’s Leaving Home,’” the rock-classic title song, and “the music-hall cameo” BW of the “vaudevillian ‘When I’m 64’ [which] seems like a logical extension of ‘Within You Without You’ and how it provides a gateway to the chiming guitars of ‘Lovely Rita.’” STE

    “In comparison, Lennon’s contributions seem fewer…but his major statements are stunning,” STE including his “wild excursions into psychedelia” BW and the evocative word/sound pictures [of] the trippy ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’ [or] the carnival-like ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.’” BA

    There are also the “sly inside jokes…take, for example, the dog whistle – which humans can’t hear – buried on the album’s second side. “We’re sitting around the studio, and one of the engineers starts talking about wavelengths, wave forms and stuff, kilohertz,” McCartney recalls…‘We were all saying, ‘Wow, man. Hey, wow…We gotta have it on! There’s going to be one dog and his owner, and I’d just love to be there when his ears prick up.’” RS’87

    With its “cool guitar solo and the trombone-led band anthem.” GS “the introductory title track immediately sets Sgt. Pepper apart…George Harrison’s distorted guitar couples with classical horns before John Lennon informs listeners ‘It was 20 years ago today / Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.’” CS This song and the reprise at the end of the album before the epic “A Day in the Life,” are “almost a Cavern-style throwback as if to remind you who exactly you are listening to” AD and “are actually two of the least interesting things here.” AD Jimi Hendrix famously covered the song just days after its release.

    The title cut flows into With a Little Help from My Friends, with an introduction of “the one and only Billy Shears,” in what is really the only other attempt to hang on to the we’re-another-band idea. The song “was the last track to be recorded for the album. It was included…as it was felt by the group that a happy sing-along tune was all that was missing from the finished product.” RM It is the ideal Ringo tune, a rolling, friendly pop song that hides genuine Lennon anguish, ala ‘Help!.’” STE The song is “possibly Ringo’s finest ever Beatles vocal” AD showcasing his “steady drumming and his timeless, everyman vocals.” BW Joe Cocker recorded a version in 1969 which became one of his signature hits.

    Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds remains one of the touchstones of British psychedelia.” STE The song “was said to have been written with Alice in Wonderland in mind and was not a reference to the drug culture at the time, despite the ‘coincedental’ LSD of the shortened title.” RM Also theorized is that John Lennon named the song after a drawing by his son Julian. GS

    “The guitar riff that opens” AD the “giddy ‘60s anthem” JA Getting Better “sets the tone for a straightforward pop/rock song,” AD an “optimistic and uptight Paul rocker.” GS “McCartney is most noticeable with the extremely melodic bass lines that push the song forwards. The handclaps are attention to detail. Nothing is missed for what is essentially a simple song” AD “said to have been written after a remark McCartney made to a friend one spring day whilst out walking his dog.” RM

    The introspective Fixing a Hole “benefits from McCartney’s melodic bass lines, and the harmonies [which are] perfectly and subtly placed but always in exactly the right places.” AD Accusations that it was “influenced by drugs…were denied by McCartney, who claimed that the song was actually about ‘the hole in your personal make-up’ and also about himself “examining his own thoughts.’” RM

    The “beautiful” AD She’s Leaving Home, “certainly Paul’s most gorgeous ballad ever,” GS is “written around a newspaper story about a girl who runs away from home to find excitement.” RM The song “could have been a chamber piece done centuries before.” LS It is “the four at their most wise.” BL

    Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite is supposedly John Lennon’s lyrical transformation of an 1843 circus advertising poster. RM The song is “a very visual track” RM with a “great Lennon vocal” AD and a “swirly sounding steam organ.” RM The song also “experiment[ed] with backwards tapes as well as a silly but groovy experiment with cutting up tapes and stitching them again in random order.” GS The song was covered in Julie Taymor’s 2007 movie musical tribute to the Beatles, Across the Universe.

    George Harrison was “engulfed in Indian Mysticism” RM when he wrote the “dramatic sitar composition Within You Without YouBW that is filled with “Indian-influenced pearls of wisdom” JA and “the paradoxical wisdom of Eastern religious philosophy.” RS’87 While “many people seem to hate” the song, Harrison “manages to fit into the Indian pattern and make a catchy melody at the same time.” GS

    When I’m 64 is a “happy sing-along type of song” RM with a “stupidly happy base line [and] and English music hall feel” AD that McCartney wrote “as a tribute to his father,” RM supposedly about ten years before. GS In 1982, the song was used as the intro for the Robin Williams’ movie The World According to Garp.

    That is followed by Lovely Rita, another McCartney composition, which “is said to have been influenced by a chance meeting with a London traffic warden, although the finished song leans towards the seduction of a woman in uniform.” RM The “vocal apes Lennon, the bass rises and falls, the lyrics are a storytelling humorous delight, and then these wonderful harmonies come in.” AD

    Good Morning Good Morning, one of John Lennon’s “abrasive, slice-of-life rockers” JA “is all about being tired of the same old routine, day after day.” RM It “is the only real rock song here, with some cooking guitar solos and lots of wailing animals in the end.” GS

    After a reprise of the title track, the album closes with the “avant-garde mini-suite” BA A Day in the Life, “a haunting number” STE and “standout track on the album.” BL The song disects “the sterile absurdity of mainstream values” RS’87 and “skillfully blends Lennon’s verse and chorus with McCartney’s bridge.” STE “This is pure Lennon and McCartney genius and is without doubt the highlight track on the album.” RM It “may be the most ambitious song ever recorded, veering in unexpected directions and pushing the boundaries of experimentation.” CS “It would be worth buying the album just for this track alone.” RM Lennon’s “soulful vocals” LS sound “weary as the song begins, with his Everyman describing the suicide of a member of the House of Lords. ‘And though the news was rather sad,’ he sings, ‘I just had to laugh / Having seen the photograph.’” CS

    “The simple phrase ‘I’d love to turn you on’ sends the song swirling until it emerges into McCartney’s version of his morning” CS and then one last blast from Lennon. The song then tumbles into a “musical orgasm of the whole orchestra building up a terrific crescendo” GS that makes the song seem to “teeter on the edge of a musical abyss until a thundering piano chord” CS ends what is “arguably rock music’s most empathetic, sublime creation: a suicide, a ringing alarm clock, and the chord to end all chords.” BW

    “Quite how producer George Martin squeezes so much sound into this track is incredible, especially when you consider the equipment available to him at the time.” RM With its “complex orchestration,” JA the song “sounds like the end of the world with the noise and the strings and everything else…a more than impressive production” AD to end “the single most influential album in the history of pop.” CS

    Of course, from a completely technical standpoint, the album isn’t over. There’s still “the famous Inner Groove – the snippet of pointless conversation that sticks in the album’s run-out groove… – has [a]…zany genesis…McCartney explains, ‘a lot of record players didn’t have auto-change. You would play an album and it would go, ‘Tick, tick, tick,’ in the run-out groove - it would just stay there endlessly…We said, ‘What if…every time it did that, it said something?’ So we put a little loop of conversation on.’” RS’87

    “It’s possible to argue that there are better Beatles albums, yet no album is as historically important as this. After Sgt. Pepper, there were no rules to follow – rock and pop bands could try anything, for better or worse.” STE “This one album revolutionized, altered, and reinvented the boundaries of 20th century popular music, style, and graphic art.” CLSgt. Pepper captures the British sixties atmosphere to perfection, probably better than any other album from the era…Along with Revolver, Abbey Road and The White Album, Sgt. Pepper should be in everyone’s album collection.” RM “A splendid time is still guaranteed for all.” TL

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