Saturday, December 14, 1991

Michael Jackson debuted at #1 with Dangerous

First posted 3/21/2008; updated 12/1/2020.


Michael Jackson

Released: November 26, 1991

Charted: December 14, 1991

Peak: 14 US, 112 RB, 11 UK, 3 CN, 16 AU

Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 1.98 UK, 32.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop/R&B


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Jam (7/11/92, 21a US, 13 UK, 3 RB)
  2. Why You Wanna Trip on Me
  3. In the Closet (4/25/92, 5a US, 8 UK, 1 RB, sales: ½ million)
  4. She Drives Me Wild
  5. Remember the Time (1/25/92, 1a US, 3 UK, 1a RB, 15 AC, sales: ½ million)
  6. Can’t Let Her Get Away
  7. Heal the World (12/5/92, 24a US, 2 UK, 62 RB, 9 AC)
  8. Black or White (11/23/91, 1 US, 1 UK, 3 RB, 23 AC, sales: 1 million)
  9. Who Is It? (7/25/92, 14 US, 10 UK, 6 RB)
  10. Give in to Me (2/27/93, 2 UK)
  11. Will You Be There? (7/10/93, 6a US, 9 UK, 53 RB, 5 AC, sales: ½ million)
  12. Keep the Faith
  13. Gone Too Soon (12/18/93, 33 UK)
  14. Dangerous

Total Running Time: 77:10


4.012 out of 5.00 (average of 25 ratings)

Quotable: --

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Despite the success of Bad, it was hard not to view it as a bit of a letdown, since it presented a cleaner, colder, calculated version of Thriller – something that delivered what it should on the surface, but wound up offering less in the long run. So, it was time for a change-up, something even a superstar as huge as Michael Jackson realized, so he left Quincy Jones behind, hired Guy mastermind Teddy Riley as the main producer, and worked with a variety of other producers, arrangers, and writers, most notably Bruce Swedien and Bill Bottrell.” STE

“Michael Jackson was still going for pop hits with 1991’s Dangerous,” RW but “the end result of this is a much sharper, harder, riskier album than Bad, one that has its eyes on the street, even if its heart gets middle-class soft on Heal the World. The shift in direction and change of collaborators has liberated Jackson, and he’s written a set of songs that is considerably stronger than Bad, often approaching the consistency of Off the Wall and Thriller.” STE In fact, the “six straight Teddy Riley-assisted cuts” RW that front-load the album make for a “ half-hour swoop of tense, aggressive, often angular funk [that] was Jackson’s most interesting music since Thriller.” RW

There is the challenge of Jackson’s “suffocating stardom, which results in a set of songs without much real emotional center, either in their substance or performance.” STE “But, there’s a lot to be said for professional craftsmanship at its peak, and Dangerous has plenty of that, not just on such fine singles as In the Closet, Remember the Time, or the blistering Jam, but on album tracks like Why You Wanna Trip on Me.” STE

“The sprightly Black or White is explicitly pro-interracial romance, an angle its video didn’t go near, and the urgent Give in to Me is almost scary…good.” RWGone Too Soon, a non-Jackson composition about teen AIDS casualty Ryan White, is a quiet statement (particularly played next to the choir-laden ‘Heal the World,’ Keep the Faith, and Will You Be There) showing that the star doesn’t always have to get showy.” RW

The album isn’t “perfect – it has a terrible cover, a couple of slow spots, and suffers from CD-era ailments of the early ‘90s, such as its overly long running time and its deadening Q Sound production, which sounds like somebody forgot to take the Surround Sound button off.” STE

“Even so, Dangerous captures Jackson at a near-peak, delivering an album that would have ruled the pop charts surely and smoothly if it had arrived just a year earlier. But it didn’t – it arrived along with grunge, which changed the rules of the game nearly as much as Thriller itself. Consequently, it’s the rare multi-platinum, number one album that qualifies as a nearly forgotten, underappreciated record.” STE

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Thursday, December 5, 1991

Today in Music (1791): Mozart died, leaving his unfinished Requiem surrounded by myth

Requiem Mass in D Minor

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (composer)

Composed: 1791

First performed: ?

Charted: --

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: classical > choral music


  1. Requiem aeternam
  2. Kyrie
  3. Dies irae
  4. Tuba mirum
  5. Rex tremendae
  6. Recordare
  7. Confutatis
  8. Lacrimosa
  9. Domine Deus
  10. Hostias
  11. Sanctus
  12. Benedictus
  13. Aguns Dei
  14. Lux aeterna

Average Duration: 51:33


4.502 out of 5.00 (average of 5 ratings)


“The sublimest achievement that the modern period has contributed to the church.” – E.T.A. Hoffmann WK


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Work:

Mozart’s “deathbed composition…ascended to truly iconic status. It did so despite fundamental mysteries of its composition and even its authenticity.” TD His widow, Constanze, “was responsible for a number of stories…including the claims that Mozart received the commission from a mysterious messenger who did not reveal the commissioner’s identity, and that Mozart came to believe that he was writing the requiem for his own funeral.” WK

“A tangled skein of myths and fairy tales imagine the deathbed genius collapsing upon his manuscript (myths powerfully reinforced by the 1984 film Amadeus), but many facts about the piece are clear.” TD “The Countess von Walsegg passed away in February 1791. The Count commissioned a requiem mass from Mozart via a clerk (the ‘Grey Messenger’ of Requiem-mythology). Mozart accepted the job for his unknown patron, having desired to compose some ‘higher form of church music.’” TD

In October and November of 1791, Mozart worked on the piece, TD “but it was unfinished at his death on 5 December the same year.” WK Constanze “arranged for his friends and pupils to complete the other movements.” TD “A completed version dated 1792 by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was delivered to Count Franz von Walsegg.” WK “It cannot be shown to what extent Süssmayr may have depended on now lost ‘scraps of paper’ for the remainder; he later claimed the Sanctus and Agnus Dei as his own.” WK

“Walsegg probably intended to pass the Requiem off as his own composition, as he is known to have done with other works. This plan was frustrated by a public benefit performance for…Constanze.” WK

“Mozart’s Requiem contains five sections, each capped by a fugue: ‘Requiem/Kyrie,’ ‘Sequence (Dies Irae),’ ‘Offertory,’ ‘Sanctus,’ and ‘Agnus Dei.’ Throughout, choral writing drives Mozart’s music; even the four soloists rarely sing alone. The darkly colored orchestra supports the choir with often vivid motives. This pictorial aspect is most evident in the Sequence: Tuba mirum (solo trombone), Rex tremendae (regal dotted-rhythms), Confutatis (fiery accompaniment), and Lachrymosa (sighing strings). Not only do individual movements display an extraordinary level of motivic unity, Mozart carefully creates motivic relationships across the entire Requiem. The very first melody sung by the basses (Requiem aeternam), for instance, is repeated at the very end and also echoes throughout the work; the opening melody of ‘Dies irae’ translates into major mode to open the Sanctus. Mozart is never afraid, however, of acknowledging his debt to earlier traditions of church music. His fugues deliberately reference Bach, and in the first movement alone he quotes from Michael Haydn’s Requiem, Handel’s funeral anthem for Queen Caroline, Messiah, and the Gregorian chant known as the ‘Pilgrim’s Tone.’” TD

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Last updated 12/4/2023.

Friday, November 29, 1991

On This Day (1941): Glenn Miller hit #1 with “Chattanooga Choo Choo”

Chattanooga Choo Choo

Glenn Miller with Tex Beneke & the Four Modernaires

Writer(s): Mack Gordon, Harry Warren (see lyrics here)

Recorded: May 7, 1941

First Charted: September 13, 1941

Peak: 19 US, 12 HP, 12 GA (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.2 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 21.05 video, 13.69 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The team of Mack Gordon and Harry Warren wrote the song while travelling on the Southern Railway. “Chattanooga Choo Choo” didn’t refer to a particular train, but Chattanooga, Tennessee, had been on the route for most trains passing through the American South since 1880. WK The song was used in the film Sun Valley Serenade, a story about a train travelling south from New York. SS Tex Beneke and Paul Kelly from Glenn Miller’s band sang the song in the film with the Modernaires – but actress Dorothy Dandridge lent her pipes to the song in the film as well. SS It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song from a movie in 1941.

A week after finishing work on the movie, the band went into the studio to record “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” SS It became Miller’s biggest hit after “In the Mood.” In Recorded Music in American Life, William Howland Kenney notes how the song resonated with GI’s coming home. It reminded them “of the excitement of entering Penn Station, ticket in hand for a trip home, getting a shine, hopping board and…eat[ing] and drink[ing] while watching the Carolina countryside flash by.” SS

“Chattanooga” achieved the distinction of being the first record to be formally certified as a million seller. PM although Gene Austin’s “My Blue Heaven” had accomplished the feat a dozen years earlier. SS To celebrate the event, RCA Victor presented a gold-laquered facsimile disc to Miller on February 10, 1942. TY Years later the Recording Industry Association of America picked up on the idea and awarded gold records to million-sellers. SS

In addition to Miller’s #1 version of the song in 1941, it found success in 1962 with Floyd Cramer’s #36 version and again in 1978 when the female disco quartet Tuxedo Junction took the song to #32. JA Others who rcorded the song include the Andrews Sisters, George Benson, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Harry Connick Jr., Ray Conniff, John Denver, Bill Haley & the Coments, the Muppets, Oscar Peterson, Elvis Presley, and Hank Snow. WK “It remains a vocal-group standard.” JA


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Last updated 9/5/2023.

Tuesday, November 19, 1991

U2 released Achtung Baby

Achtung Baby


Released: November 18, 1991

Peak: 11 US, 2 UK, 11 CN, 11 AU

Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 1.2 UK, 20.4 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: alternative/mainstream rock


Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

  1. Zoo Station [4:36]
  2. Even Better Than the Real Thing [3:41] (6/7/92, 32 US, 21 CB, 13 RR, 1 AR, 5 MR, 8 UK, 3 CN, 11 AU)
  3. One [4:36] (1/4/92, 10 US, 3 CB, 2 RR, 24 AC, 1 AR, 1 MR, 7 UK, 1 CN, 4 AU)
  4. Until the End of the World [4:39] (2/1/92, 5 AR, 4 MR)
  5. Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses? [5:16] (1/25/92, 35 US, 2 AR, 7 MR, 14 UK, 5 CN, 9 AU)
  6. So Cruel [5:49]
  7. The Fly [4;29] (11/2/91, 61 US, 1 UK, 2 AR, 1 MR, 1 UK, 6 CN, 1 AU)
  8. Mysterious Ways [4:04] (11/23/91, 9 US, 3 CB, 5 RR, 1 AR, 1 MR, 13 UK, 1 CN, 3 AU)
  9. Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World [3:53]
  10. Ultra Violet (Light My Way) [5:31]
  11. Acrobat [4:30]
  12. Love Is Blindness [4:23]

All lyrics are written by Bono and the music is composed by U2.

Total Running Time: 55:27

The Players:

  • Bono (vocals, guitar)
  • The Edge (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
  • Adam Clayton (bass)
  • Larry Mullen Jr. (drums, percussion)


4.463 out of 5.00 (average of 32 ratings)


“Arguably their best album.” – Clarke Speicher, The Review


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Reinventions rarely come as thorough and effective as Achtung Baby,” AMG an album in which “U2 discarded the arena-rock sound that catapulted it into stardom on The Joshua Tree in favor of feedback, electronic beats and introspective lyrics.” RV “Drawing equally from Bowie’s electronic, avant-garde explorations of the late ‘70s and the neo-psychedelic sounds of the thriving rave and Madchester club scenes of early-‘90s England, Achtung Baby sounds vibrant and endlessly inventive.” AMG

“U2 spent several chilly months arguing over how they wanted to sound in their second decade. Larry Mullen Jr. and Adam Clayton were in the ‘Ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ camp while Bono and The Edge campaigned for changing everything.” TL They “ultimately emerged from a period of internal strife with another landmark album.” UCR

“Unlike other U2 albums, it’s filled with sexual imagery, much of it quite disturbing…Few bands as far into their career as U2 have recorded an album as adventurous or fulfilled their ambitions quite as successfully as they do on Achtung Baby, and the result is arguably their best album.” AMG

They “detour[ed] into the darker realms of irony, decay and turmoil on accessible avant-garde rock tunes recorded in Berlin.” UT In addition, U2 loosened up “after fostering a dour public image for years…cracking jokes and even letting themselves be photographed in color. ‘It’s a con, in a way,’ Bono admitted to Rolling Stone in 1992. ‘…It’s probably the heaviest record we’ve ever made.’” RS500

The band went to Berlin with producer Brian Eno to record “in a studio that once served as a Nazi ballroom, amid the groans of an industrial town. Metallic dance music leaked out of every discotheque and passing car.” UCR

“Zoo Station”

“This radical shift in style is loudly declared on Zoo StationRV with “crashing, unrecognizable distorted guitars” AMG and “postmodern, contemporary European music.” AMG The song “represents the jagged line between the U2 of the past and the U2 of an exciting new future.” UCR “Gone were the grand statements of purpose, the calls to action, the sometimes mockable earnestness.” UCR

For “Zoo Station,” “Bono built a theme of dangerous escapism from pieces of a World War Ii-era tale where animals escaped from the Berlin Zoo after an overnight bombing.” UCR It was one one of the last tracks completed for the album because Bono wasn’t satisfied with the vocal.

“Even Better Than the Real Thing”

This started as a leftover idea from Rattle and Hum. Eno spiced up the “Stones-y main riff” UCR with an effects pedal, which Bono said made the song “much more reflective of the times we were living in, when people were no longer looking for the truth. We are all looking for instant gratification. It’s not substantial as a lyric, but it suggests a certain sexual tension and desire to have some fun playing in the shadows.” UCR


“U2 capped its reinvention with…One,” RV “one of the most beautiful songs U2 ever recorded.” RS500 It is “a fragile ballad that shines amidst a whirling soundscape of strings, guitars and Bono’s anguished voice.” RV “Bono wonders whether individuality also means eternal loneliness and comes down on the side of hope.” RS500 “In some ways, this is U2’s most important song.” UCR

“In such a dense musical setting, it isn’t surprising that U2 have abandoned the political for the personal on Achtung Baby, since the music, even with its inviting rhythms, is more introspective than anthemic.” AMG “Bono has never been as emotionally naked as he is on Achtung Baby, creating a feverish nightmare of broken hearts and desperate loneliness.” AMG

“One” “started as a bitter take on Bono’s relationship with his father, twisted into a commentary on the state of the band, became a staple at weddings and now is used as an anthem to fight global poverty.” TL It also represented the band coming together after arguments over their new musical direction.

“Until the End of the World”

Throughout the album, U2 “use the thick dance beats, swirling guitars, layers of effects, and found sounds to break traditional songs out of their constraints, revealing the tortured emotional core of their songs with the hyper-loaded arrangements.” AMG They experimented “with a wall of sound, using waves of melody emanating in Until the End of the World and Ultra Violet.” RV

This song emerged from a demo called “Fat Boy.” Bono became “intrigued by the idea of a mythical conversation between Jesus Chris and his betrayer, Judas Iscariot. UCR They gave the song to director Wim Wenders for his movie of the same name, but told him they stole the title and would be using it on their Achtung Baby album as well. UCR

“Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses”

U2 originally demoed this song in 1990. The song nearly fell by the wayside until Steve Lillywhite came on board for some late production work on Achtung Baby. His mix sounded a lot like the original demo – a selling point for the band’s label management who were “wary about the album’s more industrial-sounding elements.” UCR

“So Cruel”

This grew out of an improv session with Bono playing around on guitar. The rest of the band “caght the groove” and Bono gave the song “lyrics that touch on the heartbroken themes of divorce, among other things.” UCR The Edge, the band’s guitarist, had just separated from his wife, Aislinn O’Sullivan.

“The Fly”

This was the first single from the album. “Americans didn’t seem thrilled with U2’s change in musical direction.” UCR The band whose last three albums were launched with “Pride (In the Name of Love,” their first top 40 hit, the #1 “With Or Without You,” the #3 “Desire” now found themselves stalled at #61. However, four other singles from the album reached the top 40, including the top-10 hits “Mysterious Ways” and “One.”

Bono also used this song to introduce his “new leather-clad, wraparound-sunglasses wearing persona.” UCR In the song, The Edge “buzzes around like the title character, twisting his guitar to the breaking point.” UCR

“Mysterious Ways”

While there was agreement that bassist “Adam Clayton’s performance on the early demo was outstanding” UCR Bono and producer Daniel Lanois had one of their most intense arguments regarding how to proceed with “Mysterious Ways.” Bono called it “a bass line in search of a song.” UCR It was the Edge who was able to propel the song forward with a funky riff and drummer Lary Mullen Jr. added his parts last, “giving the song a heavier presence than anything on the drum-machine-propelled demo.” UCR

“Trying to Throw Your Arms Around the World”

The band called this “a drinking song,” UCR inspired by “a lost weekend when U2 were finally able to blow off steam after years of working so hard.” UCR It “joined a teetering pile of sorry-babe songs from Bono, who we find stumbling home after a night of over-imbibing.” UCR

“Utraviolet (Light My Way)”

This was pieced together from what were originally two different demos – “Ultraviolet” and “Light My Way.” The latter finds “its hopelessly dependent main character ‘in the black’ where he ‘can’t see or be seen.’” UCR Bono references “baptism and the Book of Job’s image of God serving as a lamp as he walked through darkness.” UCR


This grew out of a riff from a 1989 soundcheck in New Zealand. The song “had a super-weird time signature” and “plenty of rage at the ready.” UCR Lanois didn’t think it sounded like U2; Bono argued that was the point. He said, Daniel “was trying to get us to play to our strengths, and I didn’t want to. I wanted to play to our weaknesses. I wanted to experiment.” UCR It may be “the most venomous moment on Achtung Baby and perhaps all of their discography.” UCR

“Love Is Blindness”

This song was originally intended for Nina Simone. It dated back to Rattle and Hum but “took on new resonance when the Edge’s marriage ended.” UCR Bono called it “the first cracks on the beautiful porcelain jug with those beautiful flowers in it that was our music and our community.” UCR Mullen slowed down the drum pattern from “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” to “a grief-stricken pace” UCR and the “Edge’s exorcising solo put everything in context for a song about acts of terrorism, emotional and otherwise.” UCR


A 20th anniversary reissue packaged the album with 1993’s Zooropa, two discs of remixes, a fifth disc with B-sides and bonus tracks, and finally a sixth disc of an alternate remix of Achtung Baby.

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First posted 3/23/2008; last updated 9/18/2023.