Monday, April 22, 2019

Dave's Music Database Hall of Fame Song Inductees: April 2019

Originally posted 4/22/2019.

In honor of the 10th anniversary of the DMDB blog on January 22, 2019, Dave’s Music Database launched its own Hall of Fame. The first dozen inductees were the top songs of each decade from 1900-2010 (see here). This second set of inductees were selected for appearing on more than 80 lists and/or receiving various awards.


The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” (1966)

Inducted April 2019 for 80+ lists/awards.

The song is the “crowning achievement” RS500 for Brian Wilson, who has been called “rock and roll’s finest composer ever.” WI At the time of its release, “Good Vibrations” was the most expensive single ever released BR1-215 with one claim putting the total recording cost as high as a million dollars. JA-66 The song was pieced together from hundreds of recording sessions NPR and more than seventy hours of tape CR-779 generated in four studios over seventh months time. RS500

The Beatles “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (1963)

Inducted April 2019 for 80+ lists/awards.

On February 9, 1964, the Beatles performed “I Want to Hold Your Hand” for a record-setting 73 million TV viewers on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was their first number one in the United States, launching Beatlemania and the British Invasion. Only two British acts had previously topped the U.S. charts, but in 1964 and 1965, the Brits occupied a whopping 52 weeks at the American chart pinnacle. LW

Bob Dylan “Like a Rolling Stone” (1965)

Inducted April 2019 for 80+ lists/awards.

“No other pop song has so thoroughly challenged and transformed the commercial laws and artistic conventions of its time.” RS500 Regarding Dylan’s 1965 Newport Folk Festival performance of this song, Joni Mitchell said, “The American folk song has grown up.” NPR Folk music fans had seen their genre as carrying intellectual import while rock-n-roll was “adolescent trash.” TB This song, however, proved that lyrical prowess need not be an impediment to commercial success BBC and suddenly rock was not just teen music, but an art form on par with any other. TB

Eagles “Hotel California” (1976)

Inducted April 2019 for 80+ lists/awards.

By their fifth album, personnel changes in the Eagles had transformed them from a country rock group to the classic rock arena. “Hotel California,” with the dual guitars of Don Felder and Joe Walsh served as a marker of the band’s new sound. The song’s tale of a luxury resort where “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave” prompted multiple interpretations with singer Don Henley saying merely that it was about “the decadence and escapism of the ‘70s.’” LW-138 It has also been considered an allegory about the music industry and the destructive influence it had on the Eagles. RS500

Aretha Franklin “Respect” (1967)

Inducted April 2019 for 80+ lists/awards.

“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. Redding reportedly responding, saying “That girl done stole my song.” CR-455

Marvin Gaye “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968)

Inducted April 2019 for 80+ lists/awards.

Norman Whitfield, a producer for Motown, had a habit of pushing the same song on multiple acts. The Miracles, the Isley Brothers, BR1-249 and Gladys Knight & The Pips tackled it WK before Marvin Gaye. He didn’t want to record it RS500 and Motown head honcho Berry Gordy thought it was horrible BR1-249 and was initially reluctant to release it as a single. TB-106 Naturally it became Gaye’s first pop #1 and biggest hit, as well as Motown’s longest running #1 to date. BR1-249

Michael Jackson “Billie Jean” (1982)

Inducted April 2019 for 80+ lists/awards.

With its “insanely catchy melody atop an insistent beat,” BB100 “this fabulously funky slice of disco-pop” BBC is “the single that made Jackson the biggest star since Elvis.” RS500 The Thriller album, from which this was the second single, became the best-selling album of all-time with a record-breaking seven top ten pop singles.

Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)

Inducted April 2019 for 80+ lists/awards.

As producer Bruce Vig said, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain “had the dichotomy of punk rage and alientation…but also this vulnerable pop sensibility.” RS500 That all combined to give the grunge movement of the 1990s its signature song. The song owes its inspiration to perspiration. Kathleen Hanna of punk band Bikini Kill scrawled the phrase “Kurt smells like Teen Spirit,” a reference to a deodorant, on Cobain’s bedroom wall. He interpreted it as a suggestion “that he could incite teenage rebellion” LW-170 and crafted an anti-commercial message in what became an ironically monstrous commercial success.


Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975)

Inducted April 2019 for 80+ lists/awards.

Called “one of the most complex singles ever recorded,” KL-216 “Bohemian Rhapsody” begins as a ballad, veers into opera, and ends as rock. When record execs wouldn’t release it, singer Freddie Mercury gave a copy to a DJ friend. This prompted fans to try to buy the non-existing single, which finally led to its release. WK It went top 10 in the U.S. and topped the British charts with more than a million sales. MG In the wake of Mercury’s death in 1991 and inclusion in the 1992 movie Wayne’s World, the song re-charted, peaking at #2 in the U.S. and topping the UK charts again – the only song to ever do so. MG

The Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (1965)

Inducted April 2019 for 80+ lists/awards.

This has often been hailed as the best rock song of all time and “one of the defining records of...its era.” AMG Richards and Jagger didn’t want to release it, but were outvoted by their band mates who wanted what they considered an unusual sound for a rock record. SF It was the Stones’ first chart topper on both sides of the pond and the biggest song of 1965. WHC-90

Simon & Garfunkel “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1970)

Inducted April 2019 for 80+ lists/awards.

Paul Simon originally wrote the song on guitar TB-121 and tried to sing it in falsetto, before deciding Art Garfunkel’s voice was better suited to the song. AMG Garfunkel disputed Simon’s contention that it was the best song he’d ever written AMG and thought Simon should sing it. As Simon said in 1972, “Many times I think I’m sorry I didn’t do it.” RS500 The duo disagreed with Clive Davis, then CBS Records president, over releasing the ballad as the album’s lead single, but Davis won out. AMG The result was the top pop single of the year. AMG

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