Saturday, December 21, 1985

Bing Crosby charted with “Silent Night” fifty years ago today (12/21/1935)

First posted 7/8/2012; updated 1/25/2020.

Silent Night

Bing Crosby with the Guardsmen Quartette

Writer(s):Joseph Muhr/Franz Gruber (see lyrics here)


First Charted: December 21, 1935


Peak: 7 US, 30 HR, 19 GA, 8 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 30.0 US


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, -- video, -- streaming

Awards:

Review:

We might never have heard this popular Christmas carol if it hadn’t been for mice rendering a church organ useless. Popular accounts have suggested that mice ate out the bellows of the organ SF at Nikolaus-Kirche (Church of St. Nicholas) in Oberndorf, Austria. WK Father Joseph Mohr was concerned about having music for the 1818 Christmas Eve service. He’d written a poem called “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” and presented it to his friend Franz Xaver Gruber, a headmaster and amateur composer, hoping he could do something with it for guitar. SF The pair gave the first public performance of the song with only Mohr’s guitar accompaniment at the service. SF

Since then, the song has become one of the most popular in the world, having been translated into more than 44 languages. WK However, it is John Freeman Young’s English translation published in 1859 that is the most frequently sung today. WK

It became the most recorded song of the first half of the 20th century. PM In Britain, it is the most recorded Christmas song of all time. SF To date, it has been recorded by more than 300 artists including Elvis Presley, Simon & Garfunkel, Linda Ronstadt, Boyz II Men, Stevie Nicks, Tori Amos, Mannheim Steamroller, Mahalia Jackson, Andrea Bocelli, Sinead O’Connor, and Brad Paisley. WK

The best known version is the 1935 recording by Bing Crosby with sales estimated as high as 30 million. PM Bing proved to be successful with a few other tunes as well; he sold over 300 million records with well over 300 charted songs over 35 years time (1928-63) and landed 36 songs at #1, more than any other recording act in history. PM


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Saturday, December 7, 1985

Asia's third album, Astra, hit the charts

First posted 4/19/2008; updated 9/20/2020.

Astra

Asia


Buy Here:


Charted: December 7, 1985


Peak: 67 US, 68 UK, -- CN, -- AU


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


Genre: classic rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Go (11/9/85, #46 US, #7 AR)
  2. Voice of America
  3. Hard on Me
  4. Wishing
  5. Rock and Roll Dream
  6. Countdown to Zero
  7. Love Now Till Eternity
  8. Too Late (1/11/86, #30 AR)
  9. Suspicion
  10. After the War


Total Running Time: 45:06


The Players:

  • Geoff Downes (keyboards)
  • Mandy Meyer (guitar)
  • Carl Palmer (drums)
  • John Wetton (vocals/ bass)

Rating:

3.104 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

When Asia’s “debut album came out in 1982…they seemed like a repudiation of the new wave movement, the pop music equivalent of the Reagan revolution in politics. Like Ronnie, however, Asia ran out of gas around mid-decade.” WR

After two albums with the supergroup lineup of John Wetton, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer, and Geoff Downes the group showed signs of wear. Howe left the group because of tension with Wetton. WK Howe said the record company asked him to play on the album, but he declined after hearing the material. WK The group brought in Mandy Meyer who’d previously wielded his axe for hard rock band Krokus. It wasn’t quite the same as having a future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer on guitar.

“With less lyrics about love, Astra was a bit different from its predecessors,” WK but the band was “still constructing keyboard-dominated, heroic-voiced arena pop.” WR Unfortunately, “nobody cared anymore, or at least not enough customers to vault them into the Top Ten, and for this kind of band, it’s platinum or don’t bother.” WR

The band did still land a top-ten album rock track with Go and songs like Voice of America, Rock and Roll Dream, and Countdown to Zero all felt like they should have been similarly embraced by radio stations focused on album rock, even if they didn’t quite feel right for pop radio.

However, the ho-hum reception to the album signaled the end of the band as fans had known them. Wetton left the band soon after the release of the album and a tour was cancelled. They resurfaced in 1990 for a tour and a greatest-hits collection, but subsequent studio albums were really Asia in name only as Geoff Downes was the only consistent member. The credential-free singer John Payne stepped in for Wetton and Howe and Palmer made only occasional appearances. The four original members wouldn’t work together again until they reunited for a tour in 2006 and three subsequent studio albums.

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