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 and Related Links:

First posted 7/26/2011; last updated 4/18/2021.

Tuesday, July 2, 1991

Crowded House released Woodface

Woodface

Crowded House


Released: July 2, 1991


Peak: 83 US, 6 UK, 20 CN, 2 AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.6 UK, 0.6 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: adult alternative rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Chocolate Cake [4:02] (6/15/91, 2 MR, 69 UK, 9 CN, 20 AU)
  2. It’s Only Natural [3:32] (8/17/91, 5 MR, 24 UK, 55 CN, 15 AU)
  3. Fall at Your Feet (N. Finn) [3:18] (10/19/91, 75 US, 17 UK, 27 CN, 31 AU)
  4. Tall Trees [2:19]
  5. Weather with You [3:44] (2/20/92, 7 UK, 34 CN, 27 AU)
  6. Whispers and Moans (N. Finn) [3:39]
  7. Four Seasons in One Day [2:50] (6/20/92, 26 UK, 68 CN, 47 AU)
  8. There Goes God [3:50]
  9. Fame Is (N. Finn) [2:23]
  10. All I Ask [3:55]
  11. As Sure As I Am (N. Finn) [2:53]
  12. Italian Plastic (Hester) [3:39]
  13. She Goes On (N. Finn) [3:15]
  14. How Will You Go [4:45]

Songs by Neil and Tim Finn unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 48:11


The Players:

  • Neil Finn (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Tim Finn (vocals, piano, guitar)
  • Paul Hester (drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals)
  • Nick Seyour (bass, vocals)

Rating:

4.108 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)


Quotable: “A depth and texture…just not found in most popular music” – CdUniverse.com


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Woodface reunited the band’s front man and principal songwriter Neil Finn with his big brother, Tim, with whom he had previously played in the eccentric, influential cult group Split Enz.” EG “More than half of the album was originally conceived as a Finn Brothers project, which was Tim and Neil’s first crack at writing together. The songs are easily their finest to date, combining flawless melodies and the outstanding harmonies of the brothers’ perfectly matched voices.” AMG The album’s “consistency and complexity secured the Finns’ status as smart-pop heroes.” EG

“Where Crowded House’s previous album, Temple of Low Men, showcased the often dark side of a man alone with his thoughts, Woodface represents the joy of reunion and the freedom of a collaborative effort.” AMG This is an “album that’s filled with intelligence, grace, and humor, not to mention absolutely breathtaking vocal harmonies. There is a depth and texture to the songwriting and performance in the songs of Crowded House, which is just not found in most popular music.” CDU

Album opener Chocolate Cake “would have easily fit onto either of the two preceding albums.” GS With “its thinly veiled attack on mass culture values,” GS the song “categorized Americans as fat and greedy and didn’t exactly earn the band a top spot on U.S. airplay lists.” CDU It not only “hits really hard…metaphorically [but] literally, with a mean drum attack and angry guitar wailing.” GS

”The disc moves to the stunning Its Only NaturalCDU which is “ well-written, well-played, and well-meaning.” GS

Fall at Your Feet is “romantic without being too sappy, moderately catchy without being annoying.” GS “There’s one moment of really really pretty modulation…where [Neil] goes ‘I’ll be waiting when you call’. That moment happens to be truly captivating.” GS

”Just listen to Weather with You to find out how perfect pop music can be—it’s a track that manages the difficult task of never devolving into sentimentality or inanity.” CDU It was this song that finally broke Crowded House in the U.K. – the song crawled its way up to #7 on their song chart, one of a whopping five songs from the album to land on the U.K. singles chart.

”The stirring surrender of Four Seasons in One Day further demonstrates Neil Finn’s ability to transform his deepest, most disturbed emotions into great songs.” CDU “It is really a pretty, utterly believable ‘philosophical ballad.’” GS

An argument can be made that this album could be pared down a few songs, but weaker songs like Tall Trees, Fame Is, and Italian Plastic keep the album from tipping too heavily to an adult contemporary sound. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to lop off She Goes On and How Will You Go - they aren’t bad songs, but by the time we’ve gotten to the end of the album, there’s no need to add any slow tempo tunes to a collection that already gave us the brilliant balladry of “It’s Only Natural,” “Fall at Your Feet,” “Weather with You,” and “Four Seasons in One Day;” not to mention “All I Ask” and “As Sure As I Am.”

When all is said and done, though, this is Crowded House’s most interesting album, if not their best. Adding Tim Finn “brought an offbeat edge to Neil’s polished song craft, resulting in biting, ironic rockers…and…pointed, wistful ballads.” EG "’Beauty’ is not a word often used to describe pop music. But in the case of…Crowded House, it is more than appropriate.” CDU


Notes: In 2016, a deluxe edition was issued which included a second disc comprised mostly of demos.

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 3/3/2008; last updated 5/15/2021.