Saturday, December 14, 1991

Michael Jackson debuted at #1 with Dangerous

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

Dangerous

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


Tracks:

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

Rating:

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

Resources and Related Links:

Friday, November 29, 1991

50 years ago: 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 singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.2 US


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

Awards: (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


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Glenn Miller
  • JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 35.
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Pages 603.
  • TY Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. New York, NY: Quill. Page 105.
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 311.
  • WK Wikipedia

Last updated 4/18/2021.

Tuesday, November 19, 1991

U2 released Achtung Baby

Achtung Baby

U2


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


Tracks:

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

Rating:

4.463 out of 5.00 (average of 32 ratings)


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


Awards: (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 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

“Coaxed to Berlin by producer Brian Eno, 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

“This radical shift in style is loudly declared on Zoo StationRV with “crashing, unrecognizable distorted guitars” AMG and “postmodern, contemporary European music. 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

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

“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 “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 The song “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

“Unlike other U2 albums, it’s filled with sexual imagery, much of it quite disturbing, and it ends on a disquieting note. 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


Notes: 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.

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 3/23/2008; last updated 8/13/2021.