Wednesday, December 1, 1993

Critic Picks: Paul Williams - Top 100 Rock Songs

Paul Williams:

Rock and Roll: The 100 Best Singles

Paul Williams, the founder of American rock music magazine Crawdaddy!, picks what he considers the 100 best singles of rock and roll. Instead of being ranked, the songs are presented in chronological order.

Click here to see other lists from publications and/or organizations.

  1. Robert Johnson “Terraplane Blues” (1936)
  2. Muddy Waters “Rollin’ Stone” (1950)
  3. Little Richard “Tutti Frutti” (1955)
  4. Elvis Presley “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956)
  5. Little Willie John “Fever” (1956)
  6. The Five Satins “In the Still of the Nite (I’ll Remember)” (1956)
  7. Bo Diddley “Mona” (1957)
  8. Jerry Lee Lewis “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (1957)
  9. Buddy Holly & the Crickets “Peggy Sue” (1957)
  10. Danny & the Juniors “At the Hop” (1957)

  11. Chuck Berry “Johnny B. Goode” (1958)
  12. The Everly Brothers “All I Have to Do Is Dream” (1958)
  13. The Bell Notes “I’ve Had It” (1959)
  14. Johnny & the Hurricanes “Crossfire” (1959)
  15. Chuck Berry “Memphis, Tennessee” (1959)
  16. Del Shannon “Runaway” (1961)
  17. Ben E. King “Stand by Me” (1961)
  18. The Miracles “I’ll Try Something New” (1962)
  19. The Duprees “You Belong to Me” (1962)
  20. The Beatles “Please Please Me” (1963)

  21. The Jaynetts “Sally Go ‘Round the Roses” (1963)
  22. The Kingsmen “Louie Louie” (1963)
  23. The Beach Boys “Fun, Fun, Fun” (1964)
  24. The Beach Boys “I Get Around” / “Don’t Worry Baby” (1964)
  25. Martha & the Vandellas “Dancing in the Street” (1964)
  26. The Kinks “You Really Got Me” (1964)
  27. Them “Gloria” / “Baby Please Don’t Go” (1964)
  28. Sam Cooke “A Change Is Gonna Come” (1964)
  29. The Who “I Can’t Explain” (1965)
  30. The Rolling Stones “The Last Time” (1965)

  31. Bob Dylan “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (1965)
  32. The Beatles “Ticket to Ride” (1965)
  33. The Byrds “Mr. Tambourine Man” (1965)
  34. The Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (1965)
  35. Wilson Picket “In the Midnight Hour” (1965)
  36. Bob Dylan “Like a Rolling Stone” (1965)
  37. The Beatles “Day Tripper” (1965)
  38. The Miracles “Going to a Go-Go” (1965)
  39. Shades of Blue “Oh How Happy” (1966)
  40. Ike & Tina Turner “River Deep, Mountain High” (1966)

  41. The Four Tops “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” (1966)
  42. Eddie Floyd “Knock on Wood” (1966)
  43. The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” (1966)
  44. Spencer Davis Group “Gimme Some Lovin’” (1966)
  45. Buffalo Springfield “For What It’s Worth” (1967)
  46. Aretha Franklin “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You” (1967)
  47. The Miracles “The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage” (1967)
  48. The Kinks “Waterloo Sunset” (1967)
  49. The Doors “The Crystal Ship” (1967)
  50. The Beach Boys “Heroes and Villains” (1967)

  51. Van Morrison “Brown-Eyed Girl” (1967)
  52. Jackie Wilson “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher” (1967)
  53. The Who “I Can See for Miles” (1967)
  54. Otis Redding “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” (1968)
  55. The Who “Magic Bus” (1968)
  56. The Jimi Hendrix Experience “All Along the Watchtower” (1968)
  57. The Grateful Dead “Dark Star” (1968)
  58. The Beatles “Hey Jude” (1968)
  59. Marvin Gaye I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968)
  60. The Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Women” / “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (1969)

  61. Creedence Clearwater Revival “Green River” (1969)
  62. The Velvet Underground “Foggy Notion” (1969)
  63. Sly & the Family Stone “Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin” (1969)
  64. James Brown “Get Up, I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine” (1970)
  65. Joe Simon “Drowning in the Sea of Love” (1971)
  66. The Rolling Stones “All Down the Line” (1972)
  67. Bob Dylan “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (1973)
  68. Bachman-Turner Overdrive “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” (1974)
  69. Bob Marley & the Wailers “No Woman, No Cry” (1974)
  70. Bob Dylan “Hurricane” (1975)

  71. Patti Smith “Gloria (In Excelsis Deo)” (1976)
  72. Sex Pistols “Anarchy in the U.K.” (1976)
  73. Television “Marquee Moon” (1977)
  74. James Taylor “Handy Man” (1977)
  75. The Modern Lovers “Roadrunner” (1977)
  76. Sex Pistols “Holidays in the Sun” (1977)
  77. Queen “We Will Rock You” / “We Are the Champions” (1977)
  78. The Only Ones “Another Girl, Another Planet” (1978)
  79. Talking Heads “Take Me to the River” (1978)
  80. Dire Straits “Sultans of Swing” (1978)

  81. Anita Ward “Ring My Bell” (1979)
  82. Lipps Inc. “Funkytown” (1980)
  83. Joy Division “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (1980)
  84. Yoko Ono “Walking on Thin Ice” (1981)
  85. R.E.M. “Radio Free Europe” (1981)
  86. Prince “When You Were Mine” (1981)
  87. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five “The Message” (1982)
  88. Modern English “I Melt with You” (1983)
  89. U2 “New Year’s Day” (1983)

  90. George Clinton “Atomic Dog” (1983)
  91. Pretenders “Middle of the Road’ (1983)
  92. Prince “When Doves Cry” (1984)
  93. U2 “Pride (In the Name of Love)” (1984)
  94. Tears for Fears “Shout” (1984)
  95. Tramaine “Fall Down” (1985)
  96. Peter Gabriel “Sledgehammer” (19866)
  97. R.E.M. “The One I Love” (1987)
  98. The Waterboys “Fisherman’s Blues” (1988)
  99. Neil Young “Rockin’ in the Free World” (1989)
  100. Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)

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First posted 4/1/2021.

Saturday, November 6, 1993

Meat Loaf hit #1 with “I’d Do Anything for Love”

First posted 2/8/2021; updated 3/16/2021.

I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)

Meat Loaf

Writer(s): Jim Steinman (see lyrics here)


Released: September 15, 1993


First Charted: September 5, 1993


Peak: 15 US, 16 CB, 3 RR, 9 AC, 10 AR, 17 UK, 12 CN, 18 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.4 US, 0.79 UK, 2.83 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 157.0 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

The debut album from Meat Loaf (born Marvin Lee Aday), 1977’s Bat Out of Hell, has been estimated at 50 million in worldwide sales, making it one of the three best-selling albums of all time. Subsequent releases over the next decade didn’t even reach a million in sales in the U.S., and by the 1990s it looked like his career was over. However, he reteamed with Jim Steinman, who’d written the songs on Bat Out of Hell, and they created Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell in the same “bombastic, piano-driven style.” SF

The original album charted three top-40 hits, but his highest charting song had been “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” at #11. With “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” the first single from Bat Out of Hell II, Meat Loaf didn’t just chart again, he went all the way to the top. In addition to spending five weeks at the pinnacle of the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., the song reached #1 in 27 other countries. WK The song was the UK’s best seller in 1993 and earned a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo.

Meat Loaf and Steinman had talked about reuniting as far back as 1984, but Meat Loaf’s record label at the time wasn’t interested. When he moved to MCA, Steinman was busy working with the group Pandora’s Box, who released an album in 1989. They did finally reunite and Steinman played “I’d Do Anything for Love” for Meat Loaf in 1990. The version that they recorded for the album was 12-minutes long, but was cut down to a five-minute version for the single.

As he did for all his songs, Meat Loaf assumed the role of a character. In this case, he said he imagined he “was a 14-year-old looking at this girl trying to figure out how to get up the nerve…to ask her out.” BR1 Listeners seemed puzzled over what it was that Meat Loaf wouldn’t do for love, but he said the answer’s right there in the song. “I’ll never forget the way you feel right now…I’ll never stop dreaming of you every night of my life.” BR1 At the end of the song, the female singer, Lorraine Crosby, declares “You’ll see that it’s time to move on” and “You’ll be screwing around” to which Meat Loaf responds, “I wont do that!”


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Tuesday, November 2, 1993

Bryan Adams released So Far So Good compilation

First posted 9/11/2020.

So Far So Good

Bryan Adams


Rating:

3.840 out of 5.00
(average of 6 ratings)


Released: November 2, 1993


Recorded: 1983-1993


Peak: 6 US, 1 UK, 1 CN, 114 AU


Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 0.9 UK, 15.9 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks: (1) Summer of ’69 (2) Straight from the Heart (3) It’s Only Love (with Tina Turner) (4) Can’t Stop This Thing We Started (5) Do I Have to Say the Words? (6) This Time (7) Run to You (8) Heaven (9) Cuts Like a Knife (10) Everything I Do I Do It for You (11) Somebody (12) Kids Wanna Rock (13) Heat of the Night (14) Please Forgive Me


Total Running Time: 62:28


Awards:

A Brief History:

Born November 5, 1959, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Bryan Adams started his career in the mid-‘70s. At only 15 years old, he became the lead singer of Sweeney Todd, a pub band. In 1978, he met Jim Vallance from the rock band Prism. The two formed a songwriting partnership which produced dozens of hits throughout Adams’ career.

Adams released his first solo album in 1980 and another followed in 1981. His third album, 1983’s Cuts Like a Knife, proved to be his breakthrough, giving him his first top-10 hit in the U.S. His 1984 Reckless album was a multi-platinum smash, as was his 1991 Waking Up the Neighbours, which gave Adams the biggest hit of his career with “Everything I Do (I Do It for You).”

So Far So Good captures tracks from Adams’ four studio albums released between 1983 and 1991. Links go to dedicated DMDB pages, but these albums are all spotlighted on this page.

Songs featured on So Far So Good are noted below in the album snapshots. Following the song titles the date of the song’s release or first chart appearance, and its chart peaks are noted in parentheses. Click for codes to singles charts.


Cuts Like a Knife (1983):

After two solo albums, Adams third effort, Cuts Like a Knife, proved to be his breathrough. The album gave him his first top-ten hit in the U.S. and brought him attention on the album rock chart with the title cut.

  • Cuts Like a Knife (2/12/83, 15 US, 6 AR, 12 CN, 55 AU)
  • Straight from the Heart (3/12/83, 10 US, 32 AR, 51 UK, 20 CN, 98 AU)
  • This Time (8/13/83, 24 US, 21 AR, 32 CN)


Reckless (1984):

Reckless proved to be a monster success, producing six top-20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including Heaven, his first #1 hit. Five of those songs are featured on So Far So Good. “One Night Love Affair” is omitted in favor of the less well-known, minor album rock hit Kids Wanna Rock.

  • Heaven (1/28/84, #1 US, 9 AR, 12 AC, 38 UK, 11 CN, 4 AU, airplay: 2 million)
  • Run to You (11/3/84, 6 US, 1 AR, 11 UK, 4 CN, 4 AU)
  • It’s Only Love (with Tina Turner) (11/24/84, 15 US, 7 AR, 29 UK, 14 CN, 57 AU)
  • Summer of ‘69 (12/8/84, 5 US, 40 AR, 42 UK, 11 CN, 3 AU, airplay: 1 million)
  • Kids Wanna Rock (12/15/84, 42 AR)
  • Somebody (1/19/85, 11 US, 1 AR, 35 UK, 13 CN, 76 AU)


Into the Fire (1987):

While Into the Fire didn’t meet with near the success of Reckless, it was still a platinum-selling, top-ten album. Only one song is represented on the So Far So Good collection although the album did produce the top 40 hits “Hearts on Fire” and “Victims of Love.” All three songs were top-10 album rock hits.

  • Heat of the Night (3/28/87, 6 US, 2 AR, 50 UK, 7 CN, 25 AU)


Waking Up the Neighbours (1991):

After the relative disappointment of Into the Fire compared to the success of Reckless, one wouldn’t be off base to assume Adams’ career was on the down slide. However, he roared back with the huge #1 hit Everything I Do (I Do It for You) and a follow-up album which produced seven songs which made appearances on various charts. It’s surprising only three of those make appearances here. “Thought I’d Died and Gone to Heaven” was a top-20 hit and “There Will Never Be Another Tonight” hit the top 40.

  • Everything I Do (I Do It for You) (6/29/91, 1 US, 1 UK, 10 AR, 1 AC, sales: 3 million, airplay: 3 million)
  • Can’t Stop This Thing We Started (9/14/91, 2 US, 12 UK, 2 AR, 40 AC, sales: ½ million)
  • Do I Have to Say the Words? (8/1/92, 10a US, 30 UK, 5 AC)


So Far So Good (1993):

This collection includes one song, the top-ten ballad Please Forgive Me. Originally, the album was supposed to have another new song entitled “So Far So Good,” but it was dropped. WK Overall, this hits package does a decent job of capturing the past decade of Adams’ career, but it could easily have included three or four more songs given that the running time is just over the hour mark.

  • Please Forgive Me (10/23/93, 7 US, 2 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU)

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Tuesday, August 10, 1993

Billy Joel’s River of Dreams released

First posted 5/9/2011; updated 9/22/2020.

River of Dreams

Billy Joel


Released: August 10, 1993


Peak: 13 US, 3 UK, 6 CN, 14 AU


Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 0.3 UK, 10.1 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: pop/rock singer-songwriter


Tracks:

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

  1. No Man’s Land (8/7/93, 18 AR, 50 CN, 71 CN)
  2. The Great Wall of China
  3. Blonde Over Blue
  4. A Minor Variation
  5. Shades of Grey
  6. All About Soul (11/6/93, 29 US, 6 AC, 32 UK, 9 CN, 34 AU)
  7. Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel) (3/26/94, 77 US, 18 AC, 27 CN)
  8. The River of Dreams (7/19/93, 3 US, 1 AC, 3 UK, 2 CN, 1 AU)
  9. Two Thousand Years
  10. Famous Last Words


Total Running Time: 49:10

Rating:

3.186 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)

About the Album:

“Billy Joel had never taken as much time to record an album as he did with River of Dreams, and its troubled birth is clear upon the first listen.” AMG “His marriage in peril – he and Brinkley would divorce the following year – Joel sounded, not surprisingly, cranky and disillusioned on his final pop album.” DB

“Out of the strife came a few highs (the doo-wop world beat of the title track and the rocking swipe at consumerist culture, No Man’s Land), along with plenty of grating lows (way too much white-soul grunting).” DB “Never before had he recorded an album that sounded so labored, as if it was a struggle for him to write and record the songs.” AMG

He “surrounded himself with ace studio musicians and star producer Danny Kortchmar, all of whom have the effect of deadening an already self-consciously serious set of songs. There are no light moments on the album, either lyrically or musically -- all the songs are filled with middle-age dread, even the two best moments, the gospel-inflected ‘title track’ and his song to his daughter, Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel). Those two songs have the strongest melodies, but they’re not as natural as his best material.” AMG

“Everywhere he tries too hard – the metaphors of The Great Wall of China, the bizarre vocal intro to Shades of Grey, minor-key melodies all over the place. He may be trying different things, but he doesn’t sound comfortable with his detours, and by the end of the record, he sounds as exhausted as the listener feels. By that point, the closing track, Famous Last Words, seems prophetic – River of Dreams feels like a sad close to an otherwise strong career…It’s an unworthy way to depart.” AMG

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Tuesday, August 3, 1993

Sheryl Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club released

First posted 2/15/2008; updated 10/6/2020.

Tuesday Night Music Club

Sheryl Crow


Released: August 3, 1993


Peak: 3 US, 8 UK, 5 CN, 12 AU


Sales (in millions): 7.6 US, 0.6 UK, 12.9 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: mainstream rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Run, Baby, Run [4:53] (8/3/93, 24 UK, 86 CN)
  2. Leaving Las Vegas [5:10] (2/12/94, 60 US, 8 MR, 66 UK, 29 CN)
  3. Strong Enough [3:10] (11/14/94, 2a US, 33 UK, 10 MR, 11 AC, 33 UK, 1 CN, 3 AU)
  4. Can’t Cry Anymore [3:41] (7/8/95, 30a US, 38 MR, 22 AC, 33 UK, 3 CN, 41 AU)
  5. Solidify [4:08]
  6. The Na-Na Song [3:12]
  7. No One Said It Would Be Easy [5:29]
  8. What I Can Do for You [4:15] (11/11/95, 43 UK)
  9. All I Wanna Do [4:32] (7/23/94, 2 US, 35 AR, 4 MR, 1 AC, 4 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, gold single)
  10. We Do What We Can [5:38]
  11. I Shall Believe [5:34]

Writing credits: David Baerwald (1-3, 5-6,8-9), Bill Bottrell (1-7, 9-11), Wyn Cooper (9), Sheryl Crow (1-11), Kevin Gilbert (2-3,5-7,9-10), Kevin Hunter (5), Brian MacLeod (3,5-6), David Ricketts (2-3,5-6), Dan Schwartz (7,10).


Total Running Time: 49:42


The Players:

  • Sheryl Crow (vocals, guitar, piano)
  • David Baerwald (guitar)
  • Bill Bottrell (guitar, pedal steel)
  • Kevin Gilbert (keyboards, guitar, drums)
  • David Ricketts (bass)
  • Dan Schwartz (bass, guitar)
  • Brian MacLeod (drums)

Rating:

3.751 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)


Quotable: “A peak of mainstream pop-rock” – Rickey Wright, Amazon.com


Awards:

About the Album:

It is difficult to review this album honestly because of “the controversy that dogged this album once it succeeded.” JW Crow’s involvement with the collective of musicians who helped her craft their namesake album went sour when they perceived her as taking more credit than was due.

After “gigging as a backing vocalist for everyone from Don Henley to Michael Jackson,” STE Crow’s first attempt at recording her own album resulted in “a slick set of contemporary pop, relying heavily on ballads. Upon hearing the completed album, Crow convinced A&M not to release the album.” STE Then-boyfriend Kevin Gilbert and producer Bill Bottrell tried to salvage the album, but eventually aborted it.

Gilbert, however, introduced her to the Tuesday Night Music Club, a group of “Los Angeles-based songwriters and producers, including David Baerwald, David Ricketts, and Brian McLeod.” STE The loose collective “would get together, drink beer, jam, and write songs.” STE

Crow “decided to craft her debut album around the songs and spirit of the collective. It was, for the most part, an inspired idea, since Tuesday Night Music Club has a loose, ramshackle charm that her unreleased debut lacked.” STE

“With her gruff, edgy delivery and sweet, seductive timbre, singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow evokes comparisons to tough yet tender blues-rockers like Bonnie Raitt. But Sheryl Crow is too talented to be plugged into any one stylistic bag. Tuesday Night Music Club is a striking debut recording, teeming with the kind of musical curiosity all too rare in contemporary pop.” CDU

“While the songs all feature Crow on lead vocals and were all co-composed by her, the reality is she was part of a collective, yet only she got the record contract and therefore, the bulk of the credit for the resulting effort.” JW

“The opening quartet of [songs] are remarkable testaments to their collaboration, proving that roots rock can sound contemporary and have humor” STE while exhibiting “remarkable storytelling skills.” CDU That same spirit, however, also resulted in some half-finished songs…Still, even with the weaker moments,” STE “Crow and [Co. usually] strike just the right tone” RW and “Crow manages to create an identity for herself – a classic rocker at heart but with enough smarts to stay contemporary.” STE

The TNMCers’ “playing is typically on the mark, loose and limber…But the group has a weakness for mid-tempo arrangements that don't always do justice to Crow's range; her later efforts branch out more into harder rock and slower, more intense ballads, to good effect.” JW

The album kicks off with “the Beatles overtones of her freedom cry Run, Baby, Run.” CDU By just “the second line of this album [which] references the day Aldous Huxley died – it's obvious this is going to be a musical horse of a different color.” JW Of course, that same line also demonstrates how the album “occasionally reaches too far in attempting Significance.” RW Nonetheless, the “Retro Hammond organ, slinky blues licks, nicely synchopated piano and Crow's keening vocals propel the steady-building ‘Run, Baby, Run.’ Some soaring slide work on the break and Crow's quirky lyrics embellish the song's classic verse-chorus-verse structure into something special.” JW

“Crow has a gift for taking familiar song structures that fit like a comfortable shoe and imbuing them with fresh twists. On the otherwise Joplinesque blues grind Leaving Las Vegas, it’s the way the muted electronic drums and laconic bass line counterpoint the chorus of background vocals surrounding Crow's impassioned lead voice.” JW The song “mixes…metaphors to equate relationships to games of chance, tolling themes of duty and resignation.” CDU

Those two songs were both released as singles. The former was a minor UK hit and the latter a top-10 alternative rock hit in the U.S. The album really, broke, however, upon the release of third single All I Wanna Do. While “somewhat lightweight and widely misunderstood,” JW “the deceptively infectious” STE song “put this otherwise rather unassuming album on the map” JW first as a #2 pop hit and then as a Grammy-winner for Record of the Year. The “’Stuck in the Middle with You’ homage” RW “was slotted number nine in the run order for a reason…it's a relative throwaway of a song – a slacker fantasia set to vibes, percussion, slide guitar and a simple, endlessly repeating bass figure – that was never intended to characterize this album.” JW It “might not be Hall of Fame material, but it was good enough to launch a career.” JW

After the success of that song, Crow followed up with another top-5 U.S. hit with the balld Strong Enough, “a mostly-acoustic tune that strongly recalls Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac.” DBW The album pulled off one more top-40 hit in the U.S. with Can’t Cry Anymore. The song’s “clanking guitar riff” RW makes for an irrestible “pulsing rhythm.” JW

Elsewhere on the album, Crow “seems to want to channel Sly & the Family Stone” JW with Solidify, “but the style just doesn’t suit Crow at all.” JW She does better with “the funky threat of What I Can Do for You,” RW even if “the chirpy background vocals (‘you – you’) grate” JW and “her speak-singing on the verses…doesn’t come off well.” JW

The “surreal” CDUNa-Na Song offers a “pure delirious rush of…chanted free-association lyrics,” JW although it can come across as “an embarrassing stream-of-consciousness ripoff of John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace a Chance.’” DBW

Crow invests an “emotional charge” JW on the “touching” CDUNo One Said It Would Be Easy, “a song about trying to salvage a troubled relationship” JW Backed by a “dreamy lead guitar,” JW “Sheryl Crow brings a post-modern country sensibility to bear.” CDU

Next up is “the jazzy We Do What We CanCDU followed by the “sweet pedal-steel inflected gospel of I Shall Believe,” CDU “a strong cut that shows off Crow's burgeoning skills as a composer and singer of moving, contemplative ballads.” JW

“Overall, Tuesday Night Music Club is an occasionally spotty but generally solid debut” JW that is “a peak of mainstream pop-rock.” RW “That’s the lasting impression Tuesday Night Music Club leaves.” STE


Notes: The deluxe edition included a second disc of previously unreleased tracks (“Coffee Shop,” “Killer Life,” “Essential Trip of Hereness,” “You Want More”), B-sides (“Reach Around Jerk,” “Volvo Cowgirl 99,” “All by Myself,” “On the Outside,” “D’yer Mak’er”), and a new remix of “I Shall Believe.”

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Monday, June 14, 1993

Aha released Memorial Beach

First posted 1/18/2009; updated 9/10/2020.

Memorial Beach

A-ha


Released: June 14, 1993


Peak: -- US, 17 UK, -- CN, 132 AU


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


Genre: synth pop


Tracks:

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

  1. Dark Is the Night for All (5/24/93, 19 UK)
  2. Move to Memphis (10/14/91, 47 UK)
  3. Cold as Stone
  4. Angel in the Snow (9/6/93, 41 UK)
  5. Locust
  6. Lie Down in Darkness
  7. How Sweet It Was
  8. Lamb to the Slaughter
  9. Between Your Mama and Yourself
  10. Memorial Beach


Total Running Time: 49:33


The Players:

  • Morten Harket (vocals, guitar)
  • Magne Furuholmen (keyboards, guitar, bass)
  • Pål Waaktaar-Savoy (guitars, drums, percussion)

Rating:

3.200 out of 5.00 (average of 5 ratings)

About the Album:

“For its fifth album, a-ha varies its style somewhat, trying for a U2 approach on lead-off track Dark Is the Night for All. This is a long way from the peppy appeal of ‘Take on Me,’ but just as far from an improvement.” AMG

“An earlier version of Move to Memphis appeared on the compilation, Headlines and Deadlines ,” WK released in 1991.

“Some lyrics from Locust were reused on the Savoy single ‘Whalebone.’” WK Savoy was a side project launched by guitarist Pal Waaktaar and keyboardist Magne “Mags” Furuholmen during aha’s hiatus. Aha wouldn’t release another album until 2000.

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Tuesday, June 1, 1993

Ace of Base’s The Sign released

First posted 11/15/2010; updated 11/24/2020.

Happy Nation/The Sign

Ace of Base


Released: December 1992 HN,
June 1, 1993 TS


Peak: 12 US, 12 UK, 113 CN, 9 AU


Sales (in millions): 9.0 US, 0.6 UK, 23.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: dance pop


HN Happy Nation
TS The Sign

Tracks on Happy Nation: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Voulez-Vous Danser
  2. All That She Wants (5/8/93, 2 US, 1 UK, 22 AC, 17 MR, platinum single)
  3. Just Chaos *
  4. Happy Nation (11/13/93, 40 UK)
  5. Waiting for Magic
  6. Fashion Party *
  7. Wheel of Fortune (8/28/93, 20 UK)
  8. Dancer in a Daydream
  9. My Mind
  10. W.O.F. (original club mix) *
  11. Dimension of Depth *
  12. Young and Proud
  13. All That She Wants (Banghra Version)

* not on The Sign

Tracks on The Sign:

  1. All That She Wants (5/8/93, 2 US, 1 UK, 22 AC, 17 MR, platinum single)
  2. Don’t Turn Around ** (5/7/94, 1a US, 5 UK, 7 AC, gold single)
  3. Young and Proud
  4. The Sign ** (1/1/94, 1 US, 2 UK, 2 AC, platinum single)
  5. Living in Danger ** (10/22/94, 16a US, 18 UK, 35 AC)
  6. Dancer in a Daydream
  7. Wheel of Fortune (8/28/93, 20 UK)
  8. Waiting for Magic
  9. Happy Nation (11/13/93, 40 UK)
  10. Voulez-Vous Danser
  11. My Mind
  12. All That She Wants (Banghra Version)
** not on Happy Nation

Rating:

3.872 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

Tracking the development of these two albums (of which each has at least two versions) is confusing. First, this was “released in Europe as Happy Nation in 1992” WK with Wheel of Fortune being the lead single in Scandanavia in the summer of 1992. However, the album didn’t really take off until All That She Wants was a #1 hit in the U.K. in the spring of 1993.

Then the album was “re-issued with a different track listing in the US as The Sign September 25, 1993.” WK Four songs were left off Happy Nation and replaced with three songs that became major hits – The Sign, Don’t Turn Around, and Living in Danger. “It’s easy to see why they were hits – the beat is relentless and the hooks are incessantly catchy.” STE

However, “Ace of Base’s strong point is not versatility – all of their hit singles have exactly the same beat. But that doesn’t matter.” STE Ace of Base “managed to create a piece of melodic Euro-disco that was a huge hit all over the world, appealing to both dance clubs and pop radio.” STE

As far as the albums go, matters were confused even more when the album was released again in Europe as The Sign and the bonus track ‘Hear Me Calling’ was added. As if this didn’t muddle the waters enough, now this new version of The Sign was then released again in the U.S. as Happy Nation: U.S. Version.

In the end, the album that really is responsible for generating multi-million in sales worldwide is the original U.S. album entitled The Sign. It featured three top 5 hits in the U.S., another top 20 hit, and two more songs that were minor hits in the U.K. Only true fans need to seek out the original Happy Nation album.


Notes: To really confuse matters, this album has been released in several variations. However, The Sign featured all the singles noted above, whereas those noted with an asterisk (*) did not appear on the original album Happy Nation.

After The Sign was released in the U.S., it was also “re-issued in Europe with the same track listing as The Sign plus the previously unreleased track ‘Hear Me Calling.’” WK In the U.S., that album was then released “at the end of 1993 as Happy Nation U.S. Version.” WK

Information on this page refers primarily to the U.S. version of The Sign, unless noted otherwise.

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