Saturday, October 31, 1992

50 years ago: Bing Crosby hit #1 with "White Christmas"

White Christmas

Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra

Writer(s): Irving Berlin (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 3, 1942

Peak: 114 US, 110 HP, 77 CA, 11 HR, 12 GA, 3 AC, 13 RB, 5 UK, 120 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 50.0 US, 1.01 UK, 56.01 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 12.32 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Happy Halloween! And Merry Christmas? Hey, if the retail world can break into the yuletide spirit two months in advance, then so can Bing Crosby. “White Christmas” isn’t just a seasonal favorite – the DMDB ranks it as the #1 song of all time.

Much of its rating can be attributed to an estimated 56 million sales worldwide, putting it nearly 20 million ahead of its closest competition, Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind 1997”. Bing perched atop the charts for 11 weeks in 1942. The song recharted eleven times over the next dozen years, even picking up two more weeks at #1 in 1945 and a fourteenth overall week on top in 1947. The song logged over 100 weeks on the pop charts over 20 Christmas seasons.

Irving Berlin, who was often insecure about his work, referred to “White Christmas” not just as the best one he’d ever written, but the best anyone had ever written. LW He wrote his “beautiful, longing ode to snow and the Christmas spirit” BC for the film Holiday Inn; it even won the Academy Award for Best Song. However, much of its success had to do with its addition to the Armed Forces Radio playlist. NPR The song “captures both the celebration and underlying melancholy present for many at the holiday,” BC a theme which resonated with soldiers yearning for better times when they were back home. LW

The song also took on a life beyond Bing’s recording. The five million in sales for the sheet music made it one of the ten best-selling sheet music songs of the first half of the century. PM With over 500 versions in dozens of languages, “White Christmas” has also become the most recorded Christmas song. BC At the end of 1998, ASCAP named it the most-performed holiday song of the century. The song is also notable for helping to usher in the era in which performers outdistanced the songwriters in popularity. “Tin Pan Alley had passed into history.” NPR

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Bing Crosby
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Irving Berlin
  • BC (2005) ASCAP’s 25 Most-Performed Holiday Songs for 2000-05. By Eric Olsen.
  • JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 213.
  • LW Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 84.
  • NPR National Public Radio web site (1999). “The Most Important American Musical Works of the 20th Century
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 634.
  • TY Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. New York, NY: Quill.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc.

First posted 10/31/2011; last updated 4/22/2021.

Thursday, October 8, 1992

Simple Minds’ Glittering Prize compilation released

First posted 10/10/2020.

Glittering Prize

Simple Minds

Released: October 8, 1992

Recorded: 1981-1991

Peak: -- US, 13 UK, -- CN, 11 AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.9 UK, 1.74 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: alternative rock

Tracks: * (1) Waterfront (2) Don’t You Forget About Me (3) Alive and Kicking (4) Sanctify Yourself (5) Love Song (6) Someone, Somewhere, in Summertime (7) See the Lights (8) Belfast Child (9) The American (10) All the Things She Said (11) Promised You a Miracle (12) Ghost Dancing (13) Speed Your Love to Me (14) Glittering Prize (15) Let There Be Love (16) Mandela Day

* Track listing reflects the European/ Canadian release. See “Notes” for details about the U.S. and Australian versions.

Total Running Time: 72:55


3.898 out of 5.00 (average of 5 ratings)


About the Album:

Simple Minds formed in 1977. They released three albums with Arista before changing over to Virgin Records. This compilation covers the band’s years with Virgin from 1981 to 1991, which includes the below albums:

Each of these are spotlighted on this page. Links go to more detailed DMDB pages. In the below notes about each of these albums, songs appearing on Glittering Prize are noted. Appearing after song titles are date the song was released as a single and its peaks on various charts. Click for codes to singles charts.

Principal Players from 1981-1991:
  • Jim Kerr (vocals: 1977-present)
  • Charlie Burchill (guitar, keyboards: 1977-present)
  • Mick MacNeil (keyboards: 1978-90)
  • Derek Forbes (bass: 1978-85)
  • Brian McGee (drums: 1977-81)
  • Mel Gaynor (drums: 1982-91)
  • John Giblin (bass: 1985-89)

Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call (1981):

Simple Minds’ first three albums went by with little notice in the UK. One peaked at #30, one at #41, and the other didn’t chart at all. This pair of albums, initially released together and later separately, marked a significant change in fortunes, reaching #11.

  • The American (5/23/81, 59 UK)
  • Love Song (8/15/81, 47 UK, 38 CN, 17 AU)

New Gold Dream (1982):

Simple Minds reached #3 on the UK album chart and made their first appearance on the U.S. album chart, albeit at a lowly #69. Two singles reached the top 20 in the UK and a third made the top 40.

  • Promised You a Miracle (4/10/82, 13 UK, 10 AU)
  • Glittering Prize (8/28/82, 16 UK, 9 AU)
  • Someone, Somewhere in Summertime (11/13/82, 36 UK, 51 AU)

Sparkle in the Rain (1984):

This reached #1 in the UK and #64 in the U.S. Up on the Catwalk only appears on the U.S. version of Glittering Prize. The band chalked up three more top-20 hits in the UK, but still made no headway in the U.S.

  • Waterfront (11/26/83, 13 UK, 19 AU)
  • Speed Your Love to Me (1/28/84, 20 UK, 76 AU)
  • Up on the Catwalk (3/24/84, 27 UK)

The Breakfast Club (soundtrack, 1985):

After the band recorded Don’t You Forget About Me for the soundtrack for The Breakfast Club they broke big in America, going all the way to #1.

  • Don’t You Forget About Me (1 US, 7 UK, 1 CN, 6 AU)

Once Upon a Time (1985):

After “Don’t You Forget About Me” reached #1 in the U.S., Simple Minds reached #10 on the U.S. album chart with Once Upon a Time. It was their second chart-topper in the U.K., producing three top-10 hits, one of which – Alive and Kicking – was also a #3 hit in the U.S.

  • Alive and Kicking (10/12/85, 3 US, 2 AR, 7 UK, 3 CN, 21 AU)
  • Sanctify Yourself (12/28/85, 14 US, 3 AR, 10 UK, 17 CN, 46 AU)
  • All the Things She Said (3/22/86, 28 US, 9 AR, 9 UK, 65 CN, 46 AU)
  • Ghost Dancing (11/15/86, 13 UK, 72 AU)

Street Fighting Years (1989):

This was the band’s third consecutive #1 album in the U.K., but in the U.S. their fortunes went back to pre-Once Upon a Time days and this peaked at a lowly #70.

  • Belfast Child (2/6/89, 1 UK, 12 AU)
  • Mandela Day (4/18/89, 17 MR, 12 AU)

Real Life (1991):

After three #1 albums in the UK, this peaked at #2. In the U.S., it only reached #74. Stand by Love only appeared on the U.S. version of Glittering Prize.

  • See the Lights (3/23/91, 40 US, 10 AR, 12 MR, 20 UK, 10 CN, 10 AU)
  • Let There Be Love (3/23/91, 6 UK, 15 AU)
  • Stand by Love (6/22/91, 42 AR, 4 MR, 13 UK, 70 AU)

Notes: Glittering Prize was released in different versions in Europe/Canada, the United States, and Australia. The European/Canadian version featured 16 cuts. The Australian version had 14 songs, omitting “Speed Your Love to Me” and “Mandela Day.” The U.S. version featured only 10 of the songs from the European/Canadian version, eliminating “Love Song,” “The American,” “Ghost Dancing,” “Speed Your Love to Me,” and “Glittering Prize.” It added “Stand by Love” and “Up on the Catwalk.”

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, October 6, 1992

R.E.M. released Automatic for the People

Automatic for the People


Released: October 6, 1992

Peak: 2 US, 14 UK, 4 CN, 2 AU

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 2.27 UK, 18.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: alternative rock


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

  1. Drive [4:30] (10/3/92, 28 US, 23 CB, 11 RR, 2 AR, 1 MR, 11 UK, 7 CN, 34 AU)
  2. Try Not to Breathe [3:49]
  3. The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite [4:06] (2/20/93, 28 AR, 24 MR, 17 UK, 60 CN, 99 AU)
  4. Everybody Hurts [5:17] (4/17/93, 29 US, 18 CB, 9 RR, 21 MR, 7 UK, 8 CN, 6 AU)
  5. New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 [2:12]
  6. Sweetness Follows [4:19]
  7. Monty Got a Raw Deal [3:16]
  8. Ignoreland [4:24] (11/21/92, 4 AR, 5 MR, 43 CN)
  9. Star Me Kitten [3:15]
  10. Man on the Moon [5:12] (11/28/92, 30 US, 17 CB, 10 RR, 46 AC, 4 AR, 2 MR, 18 UK, 3 CN, 39 AU)
  11. Nightswimming [4:16] (7/24/93, 27 UK, 71 AU)
  12. Find the River [3:49] (12/11/93, 54 UK)

All songs written by Berry/ Buck/ Mills/ Stipe.

Total Running Time: 48:52

The Players:

  • Bill Berry (drums, percussion, etc.)
  • Peter Buck (guitar, mandolin, etc.)
  • Mike Mills (bass, piano, keyboards, etc.)
  • Michael Stipe (vocals)


4.457 out of 5.00 (average of 31 ratings)

Quotable: “A classic of modern rock…it would be asking a lot to expect any future album to match this.” –

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

The post-Nevermind era found “overzealous major labels desperately seeking the next Nirvana.” PF The “amped-up, aggressive nature of grunge threatened to make R.E.M.’s increasingly refined, mandolin-plucked pop seem, well, out of time.” PF “The knee-jerk response would’ve been to let Peter Buck pounce on the distortion pedal” PF but instead of trying “to compete in a world where teen angst was all the rage, R.E.M. set about crafting a rueful response to the onset of middle age – and remind us that life goes on even after your slam-dancing days are over.” PF

Automatic for the People “captures the group at a crossroads, as they moved from cult heroes to elder statesmen.” AMG “R.E.M.’s career up to that point had represented the platonic ideal of a left-of-center rock band infiltrating the mainstream—a step-by-step process that saw the band turn bolder and its audience get bigger with each album, culminating in the multi-platinum, MTV-saturating success of Out of Time.” PFAutomatic for the People arrived a mere 18 months after Out of Time – a swift turnaround time for a sequel to a blockbuster album that still seemed ubiquitous well into 1992.” PF

R.E.M. responded by “turning away from the sweet pop of Out of TimeAMG to create a “haunting, melancholy masterpiece.” AMG This was “an austere but nakedly emotional album” PF of “poetically introspective” BN “folk songs” AMG about “the anxiety of aging, the inevitability of death, the loss of innocence, and the impossibility of holding on to the past.” PF “R.E.M. have never been as emotionally direct…nor have they ever created music quite as rich and timeless.” AMG

“The music has a grand, epic sweep provided by layers of lush strings, interweaving acoustic instruments and shimmering keyboards.” AMG The latter was provided by Mike Mills while Bill Berry was “stepping up on bass more often than before” IB and Buck was “still fiddling with his mandolin from the Out of Time sessions.” IB “But then the early 1990s were to R.E.M. what the late ‘60s were to the Beatles – a period where the band took a break from touring to immerse itself in the possibilities of the studio, breaking down traditional instrumental roles in the process.” PK

The Album Title and Cover Art
“The phrase ‘automatic for the people’ is the satisfaction-guaranteed slogan” PF from Weaver D’s Delicious Fine Foods, “a popular diner in the band’s native Athens. It also speaks to the pressures of a band that had just sold 10 million albums and needed to serve up more hits.” PF

“That striking cover photo is actually a close-up of a star ornament” PF which is part of the sign for the Sinbad Motel in Miami, near Criteria Studios where most of the album was recorded. “Rendered in brutalist grey, it appears as fierce and fearsome as a medieval cudgel. The image bluntly reinforces the notion that while Automatic for the People isn’t a loud album, it’s certainly a heavy one.” PF

“The album’s haunting acoustic opener” PF is marked by “some nice mandolin” AD and an “ominous death march intro.” IB “The rock-into-oblivion” AZ tune is “among the quartet’s strongest hits.” AZ It “doesn’t just establish Automatic for the People’s patient pace and nocturnal atmosphere; …it sets its emotional tenor as well.” PF

“The video…gamely adopts Seattle-scene aesthetics—a never-ending mosh pit rendered in flickering black-and-white…But when Stipe crowd-surfs atop a sea of hands belonging to fans several years his junior, he’s not trying to ride a trend, but starkly illustrate just far from the alt-rock zeitgeist R.E.M. had drifted in the Year of Grunge. When he sings, ‘Hey kids, where are you?/Nobody tells you what to do,’ it’s with a combination of awe and envy.” PF It “isn’t so much a rallying cry as an expression of anxiety.” AZ

“Try Not to Breathe”
“The gentle sea-shanty sway of ‘Try Not to Breathe’ frames an ailing elderly person’s desperate pleas for a quick death.” PF This “is one of the songs…where everything is right, you can’t imagine [it] with a different section, tempo, different instrumentation or approach. Not only that…the lyric…place[s] all sorts of images in your mind, being slightly…vague in it’s poetry. And the harmonies are beautiful! Harmonies aren’t something that can be explained, they just go straight for your heart and soul.” AD

“The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite”
“Dr. Seuss turns up in a spin on ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight.’” PF While “Sidewinder” “borrows a vocal hook from ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’…It owes little else” AD to it. While some consider it “a perfectly fine REM pop song,” AD others consider it “a tune that threatens to join ‘Stand’ and ‘Shiny Happy People’ in the R.E.M. silly-song sweepstakes.” PF However, it “manages to stay on just the right side of the charming/cloying divide.” PF

“Everybody Hurts”
“Even the album’s karaoke-ready sing-alongs cast dark shadows…Everybody Hurts’ is either the most depressing song ever about trying to stay optimistic or the most sanguine song about coping with depression.” PF In his Amazon review, Steve Knopper has a more upbeat take, suggesting that this “sympathetic ballad…must have prevented countless suicide attempts.” AZ

Musically, this is a song largely absent of “traditional percussion,” PF which is especially interesting when one considers that it was “crafted by drummer Bill Berry.” PF In addition, “the string section is tastefully done and suitably soaring.” AD

“New Orleans Instrumental No. 1”
This is “beautifully short and concise, and wonderfully evocative.” AD

“Sweetness Follows”
“The whole album feels as though it’s in recovery from, or preparing for, some great trauma.” PF “‘Sweetness Follows’ renders its funereal scene of family dysfunction with church-organ sounds clashing against dissonant drones.” PF Despite dealing with the “fear of parental and fraternal death,” IB this “sounds lovely.” AD

“Monty Got a Raw Deal”
This is an “elegy for 1950s screen heartthrob Montgomery Clift cross-wired with allusions to Let’s Make a Deal host Monty Hall.” PF It “contains some great little guitar parts and develops very well over the course of just over three minutes… it’s just a good, solid song.” AD

Automatic for the People contains only one explicitly political song.” PF The “Crazy Horse-cranked ‘Ignoreland’” PF “addresses the alienation and vitriol political campaigning breeds.” IB It is the “most seething, spiteful track R.E.M. ever produced.” PF

It is also “the only guitar rock song on the entire album, but still doesn’t sound out of place, which is a strange thing. The production over the course of this album is very rich, very detailed and all the songs arrangements and instrumentation are suitable, and ‘correct.’” AD

“Star Me Kitten”
This has a “beautiful organ/keyboard part, wonderful minimal musical backing with just the right amount of guitar to make your spine chill. Stipe sounds in good voice here.” AD

“Man on the Moon”
“The luminous country-rock reverie ‘Man on the Moon’” PF is an “empathetic Andy Kaufman tribute” BL complete “with Michael Stipe affecting an Elvis Presley imitation.” AZ The song “centers on a subtly subversive chorus line – ‘If you believe they put a man on the moon’ – that effectively presents conspiracy theory as fact and truth as a matter of opinion, an unwittingly ominous harbinger of the info wars that would eventually be waged in U.S. politics.” PF It “is a perfect REM pop song, and very happy sounding too. It’s an uplifting song and a highlight,” AD marked by a “wistful guitar chord.” IB

This is “essentially a demo embellished by John Paul Jones’ wondrous string arrangements” PF – yes, this is the famed bassist and keyboardist from Led Zeppelin. Otherwise, it only features Mike Mills – usually a bassist – on piano and Stipe on vocals. It possesses an “aching grace.” BL The “repeating piano parts are very pretty.” AD Among the song’s “stream-of-consciousness memories…there is mourning for the loss of the exuberance and fearlessness of adolescence.” IB

“Find the River”
”The promise to symbolically keep trying to ‘Find the River’ with its hint of acceptance and growth of spirit optimistically concludes an album of intense opinion, expression, and ultimately, lamentation.” IB It is “a song to float off to, a song to dream to, a song to fall asleep to…It’s also a song to awake to – open your sleep filled eyes, look up at the window and see a day breaking in orange and yellow, wiping away the darkness.” AD

Final Thoughts
Automatic for the People is “a classic of modern rock…it shows the band on a creative roll with no shortage of original ideas.” CD It “doesn’t just prove that R.E.M. have stood the test of time, it proves to be R.E.M.’s finest moment” IB and “the band’s most emotional, most human album.” BL “While the record is not an easy listen, it is the most rewarding record in their oeuvre.” AMG “It would be asking a lot to expect any future album to match this.” CD “It’s an album that—in surveying a fraught political landscape, the fragility of our mental health, and the fate of our planet – still speaks emphatically to our current condition.”

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 10/6/2011; last updated 9/5/2021.