Saturday, July 27, 1991

Bryan Adams hit #1 with “Everything I Do” for first of 7 weeks

Everything I Do (I Do It for You)

Bryan Adams

Writer(s): Bryan Adams/Robert John "Mutt" Lange/Michael Kamen (see lyrics here)


Released: June 18, 1991


First Charted: June 29, 1991


Peak: 17 US, 16 CB, 16 RR, 18 AC, 10 AR, 116 UK, 19 CN, 1AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 4.1 US, 2.0 UK, 15.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 308.5 video, 293.33 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

A tune written by “filmscore specialist” HL Michael Kamen back in the 1960s HL re-surfaced via the motion picture Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, now with the idea that it be a theme for Maid Marian, be sung by a female lead, KL and be recorded with medieval instruments. HL It ended up as a modernized rock ballad by Bryan Adams that was produced by “Mutt” Lange, who had worked with AC/DC, Def Leppard, and Foreigner.

Kamen was rejected by Kate Bush and Annie Lennox before getting Julia Fordham to demo the song with Peter Cetera. That effort was turned down, as was another by Lisa Stansfield. Finally, Bryan Adams was suggested. KL

Once Adams and Lange added their touches, “Everything I Do” bore little resemblance to the original piece by Kamen, although he still got a co-writing credit. The song now took on rock instrumentation HL because, as Adams told Q magazine: “We don’t want lutes and mandolins on this – this is a pop record!” BR Kamen disagreed, saying “they were asking us to make a transition…from 1195 to 1991 in the same breath.” BR The film producers wanted the melody rewritten, but the writers refused, BB100 resulting in the song being relegated to the end credits of the movie. TB

The banishment didn’t hurt the song at all; it was #1 in the U.K. for 16 weeks, a feat only eclipsed by Frankie Laine’s 18-week run in 1953 with “I Believe.” It was also the biggest pop hit of 1991 in the U.S., WHC topped 28 other countries’ charts, TB and sold more than eight million copies globally to become one of the biggest selling singles of all time. BBC


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Bryan Adams
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Robert John “Mutt” Lange
  • DMDB page for Waking Up the Neighbours
  • BBC BBC Radio 2 (2004). “Sold on Song Top 100
  • BB100 Billboard (9/08). “All-Time Hot 100
  • BR Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 792.
  • HL Michael Heatley and Spencer Leigh (1998). Behind the Song: The Stories of 100 Great Pop & Rock Classics. Page 40.
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Page 370.
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 249.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 122.

First posted 16/29/2012; last updated 4/13/2021.

Friday, July 26, 1991

50 years ago: Duke Ellington charted with “Take the ‘A’ Train”

Take the ‘A’ Train

Duke Ellington

Writer(s): Billy Strayhorn (see lyrics here)


First Charted: July 26, 1941


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


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


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 12.6 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Today it is hard to imagine one’s GPS inspiring a hit song. However, seventy years ago it was Duke Ellington’s directions to Billy Strayhorn which led to one of the all-time best-loved jazz standards. Strayhorn was a hopeful pianist and composer working in Pittsburgh as a soda jerk and drugstore delivery boy in 1938. NPR Ellington agreed to meet the hopeful talent. Strayhorn’s rearrangement of the Duke’s song “Sophisticated Lady” sufficiently impressed Ellington to invite Strayhorn to New York. TC Ellington gave directions to his house in New York, starting with “take the ‘A’ train”, a reference to the subway which ran from eastern Brooklyn into Harlem and northern Manhattan. WK Along the way, Strayhorn turned the directions into a song. TC He mimicked the style in which Fletcher Henderson wrote for horns. According to Ellington’s son Mercer, the song almost never became a classic because Strayhorn threw it away because of its similarity to Henderson’s arrangements. WK

The song became Ellington’s signature tune when the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) raised licensing fees in 1940 and many of its members could no longer play their compositions live on the radio, as was then common practice. Ellington needed a replacement for “Sepia Panorama”. Ellington’s son and Strayhorn were registered at BMI, a competitor of ASCAP, and “Take the ‘A’ Train” became the new song of choice. WK

Strayhorn said he wrote lyrics, but the first use of lyrics for any Ellington versions surfaced in 1944 when a seventeen-year-old Joya Sherrill made up the words at her home in Detroit while listening to the song on the radio. Ellington hired her as a singer and adopted her lyrics. However, trumpeter Ray Nance performed the song the most often with Duke, enhancing the words with his scat singing and serving up the trumpet solo on the first recording of the song. WK


Resources:


First posted 7/26/2011; last updated 12/27/2021.