Saturday, January 26, 1991

Queensrÿche “Silent Lucidity” charted

Silent Lucidity


Writer(s): Chris DeGarmo (see lyrics here)

Released: February 1991

First Charted: January 26, 1991

Peak: 9 US, 15 CB, 13 GR, 15 RR, 11 AR, 18 UK, 7 CN, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 54.4 video, 67.09 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The progressive heavy metal band Queensrÿche formed in 1982 in Bellevue, Wasington. After two gold albums, the band’s third release, Operation: Mindcrime was a platinum-selling concept album buoyed by the album rock hits “Eyes of a Stranger” and “I Don’t Believe in Love.” Still, the band had yet to crack the top 40 in the United States with one of their albums.

That changed with 1990’s Empire, a triple-platinum release which reached #7 on the album chart. At first it appeared it would follow a similar trajectory as its predecessor. “Empire” and “Best I Can” were both top 30 hits on the album rock chart, but didn’t dent the Billboard Hot 100. However, the album’s third single, “Silent Lucidity,” propelled the band into new territory. Not only did it top the album rock chart, but it became the band’s first (and, so far, only) Hot 100 hit – climbling all the way to the top 10.

The power ballad was sung by the band’s lead singer, Geoff Tate, with an emotive quality that recalled Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” It was written by the band’s guitarist Chris DeGarmo, who wrote or co-wrote most of the songs on Empire. He was inspired by the book Creative Dreaming, which explains how to tap into one’s subconscious mind. SF Tate said that even though he didn’t write it, “I love that song. I think it’s a beautiful, beautiful piece.” SF

The song was a departure from the band’s more metal leanings, even incorporating cello. It was built on vocals and acoustic guitar with other instrumentation only being added in the last week the band worked on the record. The producer, Peter Collins, initially didn’t want to release it because he didn’t think it was developed enough. SF

The song received Grammy nominations for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.


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First posted 12/22/2022.

Tuesday, January 22, 1991

Sting The Soul Cages released

The Soul Cages


Released: January 22, 1991

Peak: 2 US, 11 UK, 12 CN, 3 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.1 UK, 6.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: rock


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

  1. Island of Souls [6:41]
  2. All This Time [4:54] (12/31/90, 5 US, 5 CB, 9 RR, 9 AC, 1 AR, 1 MR, 22 UK, 1 Cn, 26 AU)
  3. Mad about You [3:53] (2/28/91, 56 UK)
  4. Jeremiah Blues, Pt. 2 [4:54]
  5. Why Should I Cry for You? [4:46] (5/4/91, 24 CB, 32 AR)
  6. Saint Agnes and the Burning Train [2:43]
  7. The Wild Wild Sea [6:41]
  8. The Soul Cages [5:51] (2/9/91, 7 AR, 9 MR, 57 UK)
  9. When the Angels Fall [7:48]

All songs written by Sting.

Total Running Time: 48:11


3.896 out of 5.00 (average of 19 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Emboldened by the enthusiastic response to the muted Nothing Like the Sun and reeling from the loss of his parents, Sting constructed The Soul Cages as a hushed mediation on mortality, loss, grief, and father/son relationships (the album is dedicated, in part, to his father; its predecessor was dedicated to his mother).” AMG

Using the same basic band as Nothing Like the Sun, the album has the same supple, luxurious tone, stretching out leisurely over nine tracks, almost all of them layered mid-tempo tunes (the exception being grinding guitars of the title track). Within this setting, Sting hits a few remarkable peaks, such as the elegant waltz Mad About You and All This Time, a deceptively skipping pop tune that hides a moving tribute to his father.” AMG

“If the entirety of The Soul Cages was as nimbly melodic and urgently emotional as these two cuts, it would have been a quiet masterpiece. Instead, it turns inward – not just lyrically, but musically – and plays as a diary entry, perhaps interesting to those willing to spend hours immersing themselves within Sting’s loss, finding parallels within their own life. This may be too much effort for anyone outside of the devoted, since apart from those two singles (and perhaps Why Should I Cry for You), there are few entry points into The Soul Cages – and, once you get in there, it only rewards if your emotional state mirrors Sting’s.” AMG

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Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 8/26/2021.

Sunday, January 20, 1991

50 years ago: Bartók's last string quartet debuts (January 20, 1941)

Last updated 11/20/2020.

String Quartets

Béla Bartók

Composed: 1908-1939

Debut of Final Quartet: January 20, 1941

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

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

Genre: classical > chamber music > quartet for four strings

Quartets [Duration] (Year(s) Composed/Debuted):

  1. String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Sz. 40, BB 52 (1908) [29:40] (1909, 3/19/1910)
  2. String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Sz. 67, BB 75 (Op. 17) [27:00] (1915-17, 3/3/1918)
  3. String Quartet No. 3 in C sharp major, Sz. 85, BB 93 [15:10] (1927, 2/19/1929)
  4. String Quartet No. 4 in C major, Sz. 91, BB 93 [22:50] (1928, 3/20/1929)
  5. String Quartet No. 5 in B flat major, Sz. 102, BB 110 [30:30] (1934, 4/9/1935)
  6. String Quartet No. 6 in D major, Sz. 114, BB 119 [29:00] (1939, 1/20/1941)


4.419 out of 5.00 (average of 6 ratings)


About the Album:

Bartók’s six string quartets, written “for the usual forces of two violins, viola and cello” WK have “become part of the mainstream repertoire” AZ and cited as influences for numerous composers, including Benjamin Britten and King Crimson’s Robert Fripp. WK The Juilliard Quartet, formed at the Juilliard School of Music in 1946, have much to do with the quartets’ success, having “presented the complete cycle publicly in New York for the first time” AZ in 1949. Their recording of the quartets the next year was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987.

String Quartet No. 1:
Bartók was unrequitedly in love with violinist Stefi Geyer, for whom he developed a musical portrait with his 1908 violin concerto. This quartet was the culmination of him dealing with his rejection. He described the opening movement in a letter to Geyer as his “funeral dirge.” MS1 Indeed, “sadness and despair are the prevailing sentiments in this work” MS1 and the three movements “plainly trace a course from the…anguish of the convoluted first movement to the heady, forceful finale.” MS1

String Quartet No. 2:
During World War I, Bartók lived in seclusion outside Budapest and that “isolation may have made its way into” MS2 this quartet. Like “other works from the era, especially the yet-to-come violin sonatas, Bartók’s…melodies…have clear and easily comprehended shapes [which] intertwine…in ways that produce great…harmonic tensions; yet…also yield gem-like moments of diatonic triads, all the more beautiful for their rarity.” MS2

String Quartet No. 3:
Bartók’s single-movement third quartet “is the most concentrated in thematic material and structure,” MS3 lasting just over fifteen minutes. With his native Hungary losing “two-thirds of its land and population under” MS3 the terms of the Treaty of Trianon, Bartók’s primary source of folk music was cut off, leading him to “a more cosmopolitan style, such as he had encountered during his tours of post-war Europe.” MS3 He “subjected folk-style themes and motifs to a technique he called ‘expansion in range,’ wherein melodic shape and intervallic relations were stretched to produce themes that develop freely without compromising musical unity.” MS3 “The mood is desolate, though the folk-like themes are clear and immediately comprehensible.” MS3

String Quartet No. 4:
“A dark, nocturnal mood…prevails through the entire work.” MS4 The fourth quartet “represents both an intensification and relaxation of elements present in Bartók’s previous quartet…While the radically dissonant harmonic language and rigorous motivic development found in the third string quartet are intensified…the third’s tightly interwoven single-movement structure is…‘opened out’ into a more easily comprehended, five-movement span arranged in Bartók’s characteristic ‘arch’ form. The composer did point out, however, that the five movements functioned collectively according to the template of sonata form.” MS4

String Quartet No. 5:
Bartók wrote comparatively less music in the six years between his fourth and fifth quartets, but the work he did “pointed to his mature style of the 1930s and 1940s, in which directness of compositional technique is coupled with a new concern for clear communication.” MS5 They paved the way for his fifth quartet “easily Bartók’s most virtuosic essay in the form.” MS5 Here he again uses “the five-movement arch form, this time employing a more distinctive variation technique in which the first and fifth movements, and the second and fourth, closely mirror each other.” MS5

String Quartet No. 6:
“Bartók’s last completed quartet exemplifies the composer’s continuing search for new forms, even as he sought to distill and clarify his mode of expression. The form he devised for the String Quartet No. 6 is ingenious: each movement is preceded by an introductory section marked ‘Mesto’ (‘sadly’), with increasing complexity at each appearance. The ‘mesto’ theme functions both as a motto and as the source of much of the quartet’s thematic substance. In the fourth movement, rather than giving way to a lively finale (the original plan as indicated by Bartók’s sketches), the motto continues on to become the conclusion itself.” MS6

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Friday, January 18, 1991

Today in Music (1941): Artie Shaw charted with “Stardust”


Isham Jones

Writer(s): Hoagy Carmichael, Mitchell Parish (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 13, 1930

Peak: 11 US, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music)

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


Artie Shaw

First Charted: January 18, 1941

Peak: 2 US, 8 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.5 US (includes 1 million in sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.28 video, -- streaming

Awards (Hoagy Carmichael):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Isham Jones):

Awards (Louis Armstrong):

Awards (Artie Shaw):

Awards (Nat “King” Cole):

Awards (The Dominoes):

About the Song:

Hoagy Carmichael’s first major songwriting success NRR grew out of a visit to his University of Indiana alma mater when the inspiration for a melody came to him while he was reminiscing about a lost college love. TY Stuart Gorell, who had been a fellow student and the lyricist for Carmichael’s “Georgia on My Mind,” offered the idea for the song title when he said it “sounded like dust from the stars drifting down through the summer sky.” TY

The melody came so easily that Carmichael wondered if he’d actually recalled someone else’s composition. LW However, his melody didn’t follow the traditional Tin Pan Alley format of the day; instead he crafted two separate melodies for the chorus and the verse. LW Originally conceived as “an up-tempo dance instrumental” NPR in 1927. However, publisher Irving Mills suggested reworking it as a romantic vocal ballad. LW In 1929, Mitchell Parish penned the lyrics MM although Hoagy’s son claims they were based on words already written by his father. LW

Mills had the first chart version of the song in 1930 (#20 US), but it was Isham Jones who had the greatest success with his version in the slower tempo format, taking it to #1 in 1931. By decade’s end, Bing Crosby (#5 US, 1931), Louis Armstrong (#16 US, 1931), Wayne King (#17 US, 1931), Lee Sims (#20 US, 1931), Jimmie Lunceford (#10 US, 1935), Benny Goodman (#2 US, 1936), and Sammy Kaye (#16 US, 1939) all charted with the song. In the 1940s, additional versions charted by Glenn Miller (#20 US, 1940), Tommy Dorsey (#7 US, 1941), and Baron Elliott (#18 US, 1943). All told, the song charted fifteen times from 1930 to 1943, PM helping brand it as “a certifiable American classic.” NPR Other later charting versions included the Dominoes (#12 US, 1957), Nat “King” Cole (#79 US, 1957), Frank Sinatra (#20 AC, 1962), Nino Tempo with April Stevens (#32 US, #10 AC, 1964), Johnny Mathis (#4 AC, 1975), and Harry Connick Jr. (#46 AC, 1993).

Dorsey seemingly had “a stranglehold on the song” JA after returning to the top ten in 1941 with a new version sporting vocals by Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers. That same version recharted in 1943. However, in a 1956 Billboard poll, disc jockeys rated Artie Shaw’s arrangement not just the best version of “Stardust,” but as their favorite record of all time. PM

It has been recorded more than 2000 times LW in more than forty languages, RCG making it one of the most recorded songs in popular music, JA the most recorded love song of all time, PM and “the standard that defines the meaning of the word.” MM Country singer Willie Nelson calls it his all-time favorite song and Bette Midler has the lyrics carved in the stone of her fireplace. LW


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First posted 1/8/2012; last updated 11/22/2022.