Thursday, April 29, 1993

100 years ago: George J. Gaskin hit #1 with “After the Ball”

After the Ball

George J. Gaskin

Writer(s): Charles K. Harris (see lyrics here)


Published: 1891


First Charted: April 29, 1893


Peak: 110 US (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 5.0 (sheet music)


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

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Charles K. Harris wrote this classic waltz in 1891 for an amateur minstrel show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The first time it was performed, the singer, Sam Doctor, forgot the words and the song made a poor impression. PG However, Harris believed in the song and paid well-known performer J. Aldrich Libbey to include it in his A Trip to Chinatown show. SS It grew in popularity and John Philip Sousa and his band performed it daily at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. PG That same year, George J. Gaskin and John Yorke Atlee recorded the song. The former was a #1 for 10 weeks while the latter peaked at #2. It was the fourth chart-topper for Gaskin, who was known as “The Silve-Voiced Tenor.” He had a total of 19 songs reach the peak from 1891 to 1901. It was one of only three chart hits for Atlee. PM

In the song, an old man explains to his niece that he never married after seeing his sweetheart kissing another man at a ball. He left, and refusing to hear her explanation, WK only to find out years later that it was her brother. SS Harris got the idea from a dance in Chicago where he saw two lovers get in a fight and leave separately. SF

The song “exemplifies the sentimental ballads published before 1920, whose topics were frequently babies, separation, and death.” WK It “is sometimes credited with beginning the commercial exploitation of popular music.” SF Before 1893, most songs became regional hits and then word spread, but the aggressive marketing behind “After the Ball” set a new standard. SS According to Songfacts.com, it was the first song to sell a million copies of sheet music. SF It would go on to rack up five million in sales, becoming the best seller in Tin Pan Alley’s history. WK Tin Pan Alley was the name given to a group of 19th century and early 20th century music publishers and songwriters in New York City.

The song resurfaced in 1927 when it was used in the groundbreaking musical Show Boat. Norma Terris performed it during its original Broadway run and Irene Dunne performed it for the 1936 film version. It was made into a film again in 1951 and performed by Kathryn Grayson. WK In 1940, it was featured in the biographical musical film Lillian Russell and performed by Alice Faye. WK It has also been performed by Nat “King” Cole, Bing Crosby, Guy Lombardo, Julie London, and Lawrence Welk. WK


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for George J. Gaskin
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for John Yorke Atlee
  • PG Peter Gammond (1991). The Oxford Companion to Popular Music. Page 7.
  • SF Songfacts
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Pages 511-2.
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954 (1986). Record Research, Inc: Menomonee Falls, WI. Pages 467 and 642.
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 4/15/2021; last updated 4/17/2021.

Tuesday, April 20, 1993

Aerosmith released Get a Grip

First posted 4/2/2008; updated 9/11/2020.

Get a Grip

Aerosmith


Released: April 20, 1993


Peak: 11 US, 2 UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.3 UK, 20.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Intro (Tyler, Perry, Jim Vallance) [0:24]
  2. Eat the Rich (Tyler, Perry, Vallance) [4:11] (5/1/93, 34 UK, 5 AR)
  3. Get a Grip (Tyler, Perry, Vallance) [3:59]
  4. Fever (Tyler, Perry) [4:15] (9/4/93, 5 AR)
  5. Livin’ on the Edge (Tyler, Perry, Mark Hudson) [6:07] (4/10/93, 18 US, 19 UK, 1 AR)
  6. Flesh (Tyler, Perry, Desmond Child) [5:57]
  7. Walk on Down (Perry) [3:39]
  8. Shut Up and Dance (Tyler, Perry, Jack Blades, Tommy Shaw) [4:56] (7/2/94, 24 UK)
  9. Cryin’ (Tyler, Perry, Taylor Rhodes) [5:09] (6/5/93, 12 US, 17 UK, 1 AR, gold single)
  10. Gotta Love It (Tyler, Perry, Hudson) [5:58]
  11. Crazy (Tyler, Perry, Child) [5:14] (5/21/94, 17 US, 23 UK, 7 AR)
  12. Line Up (Tyler, Perry, Lenny Kravitz) [4:03]
  13. Amazing (Tyler, Richard Supa) [5:57] (10/30/93, 24 US, 57 UK, 3 AR)
  14. Boogie Man (instrumental) (Tyler, Perry, Vallance) [2:17]


Total Running Time: 62:17


The Players:

  • Steven Tyler (vocals, keyboards, harmonica, percussion)
  • Joe Perry (guitar)
  • Brad Whitford (rhythm guitar)
  • Tom Hamilton (bass)
  • Joey Kramer (drums, percussion)

Rating:

3.563 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

Aerosmith released their first seven albums, from 1973 to 1982, with Columbia Records. Their last effort, 1982’s lackluster Rock in a Hard Place, saw the band splintering as neither Steven Tyler and Brad Whitford was involved in the making. The original lineup returned for 1985’s Done with Mirrors, but the magic seemed like it might be, well, done.

When Run-D.M.C. recorded a remake of Aerosmith’s classic “Walk This Way,” they tapped Steven Tyler and Perry for guest spots. The song served not only as one of the most important songs for establishing rap music as a commercial entity that was here to stay but signaled that Aerosmith was far from done.

The band roared back on 1987’s Permanent Vacation in one of rock’s great comeback stories. Just to prove it wasn’t a fluke, they followed it up with the even bigger Pump. The rockers seemingly had nothing left to accomplish, but their next album, 1993’s Get a Grip, gave the band yet another milestone – their first #1 album.

It also became their best-selling studio effort with 20 million sold worldwide. WK “Janie’s Got a Gun,” from the previous album, had snagged the band its first Grammy – for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group. They repeated the feat not once, but twice, with Livin’ on the Edge and Crazy from Get a Grip.

Surprisingly, the album which produced seven charting hits on various charts, including four top-40 hits on the Billboard pop chart, was sent back to the drawing board after originally being planned for release in the third quarter of 1992. John Kalodner thought the album lacked a radio-friendly song. He’d pushed the band to work with outside songwriters like Desmond Child and Jim Vallance on Permanent Vacation and Pump. The band went to Child, who helped write Flesh and “Crazy.”

Child was just one of many outside songwriters. While Tyler and/or Perry is credited on every song on the album, the only song written by just the two of them is Fever, a song which became a top-five album rock track and, interestingly, was covered by Garth Brooks, who took it to the top 40 of the country chart. Otherwise, the album featured Vallance lending his pen to a few songs, including a couple of “trademark raunch-rock” AMG songs such as the title cut and Eat the Rich, another top-five album rock track, which kept “adolescent fans in their corner.” AMG

The group also worked with Lenny Kravitz (Line Up) and the duo of Tommy Shaw and Jack Blades (Shut Up and Dance), who’d respectively worked with Styx and Night Ranger before working together in Damn Yankees. The latter was a minor hit in the UK. Mark Hudson, the uncle of actress Kate Hudson, also co-wrote a couple of songs, including “Livin’ on the Edge,” the album’s lead single. He would continue to work with the band, most notably as a producer on the band’s 2001 album Just Push Play.

The presence of so much outside help can make the album feel like it’s trying to hard to be everything. “Crazy,” Cryin’, and Amazing are “radio-ready hit ballads” AMG all of which feature actress Alicia Silverstone in their videos. Meanwhile, songs such as the latter and “Livin’ on the Edge” can feel like studied efforts to make “a stab at social commentary.” AMG Of the song “Amazing” and the title cut, Tyler said they reflected on the band’s history with drug abuse. “We ere saying you can point ot back to some of those old beliefs about the crossroads and signing up with the devil, that you can look at the drugs as that: It can be fun in the beginning but then it comes time to pay your debt, and if you’re not sharp enough to see that it’s taking you down, then it really will get you.” WK

All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine said, “it’s a studied performance – it sounds like what an Aerosmith album should sound like. Most of the album sounds good; it's just that there isn’t much beneath the surface.” AMG While “fitfully entertaining, Get a Grip pales against its predecessor’s musical diversity.” AMG Famed rock critic Robert Christgau, however, called it the band’s best album since Rocks. WK


Notes: “Can’t Stop Messin’” was added to the UK version.

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, April 17, 1993

Radiohead charted with "Creep": April 17, 1993

First posted 4/17/1992; updated 2/27/2021.

Creep

Radiohead

Writer(s): Radiohead, Albert Hammond, Mike Hazlewood (see lyrics here)


Released: September 21, 1992


First Charted: April 17, 1993


Peak: 34 US, 37 CB, 25 RR, 20 AR, 2 MR, 7 UK, 30 CN, 6 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.6 UK, 1.1 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 479.0 video, 454.0 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

By the close of the ‘90s, Radiohead was hailed as one of rock’s most experimental bands, loved by critics and a loyal fan base. However, when the group’s maiden single, “Creep,” was released in 1992, it initially landed with a thud. The singles “Anyone Can Play Guitar” and “Pop Is Dead” followed, but then DJ Yoav Kutner started playing “Creep” on Israeli radio. WK The song was re-released and became what has been called “one of the great loser anthems of our time” HL and a “potent outsider anthem,” MC hitting the top 40 in the U.S. and top 10 in the UK. Its “ironic self-loathing” CR tapped into the same disenfranchised Generation X vibe of the grunge movement even though the group fell more in line with the likes of XTC and R.E.M. CR

Still, lead singer Thom Yorke saw himself as a misfit in much the same way as Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and the song bore the “loud-soft dynamics and bleak lyrical sentiments” similar to songs by Nirvana and The Pixies. TB Regarding the former, guitarist Jonny Greenwood infused the song with blasts of guitar noise which he added because he didn’t like how quiet the song was. WK As bandmate Ed O’Brien said, “That’s the sound of Jonny trying to fuck the song up…And it made the song.” WK

Yorke wrote “Creep” about a drunk guy following a woman to whom he is attracted. WK The song captures what Guy Capuzzo called “the self-lacerating rage of an unsuccessful crush.” WK As he says, “the lyrics strain toward optimism...[but then] the subject sinks back into the throes of self-pity.” WK

The song first surfaced for Radiohead during the recording of their first album. According to bassist Colin Greenwood, Yorke wrote the song during his days at Exeter University in the late 1980s. During rehearsal, Yorke described it to the producers as “our Scott Walker song,” leading them to assume it was a cover. WK While it was original, its similarities to The Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe” led to Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood, who wrote “Breathe,” receiving co-credit. WK


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Radiohead
  • DMDB page for parent album Pablo Honey
  • CR Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 761.
  • HL Michael Heatley and Spencer Leigh (1998). Behind the Song: The Stories of 100 Great Pop & Rock Classics. Page 117.
  • MC Neil McCormack (3/13/09). Telegraph.co.uk “100 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 255.

R.E.M. charted with “Everybody Hurts”

First posted 2/10/2021; last updated 2/27/2021.

Everybody Hurts

R.E.M.

Writer(s): Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe (see lyrics here)


Released: April 15, 1993


First Charted: April 17, 1993


Peak: 29 US, 18 CB, 9 RR, 21 AR, 7 UK, 8 CN, 6 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK, 0.75 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 160.13 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“Everybody Hurts” was R.E.M.’s third top-40 hit from their eighth album, Automatic for the People. In the UK, it was even more successful. Its #7 peak made it the most successful song of the album’s four top-20 hits there. It was also a top-10 hit in Australia, Canada, France, Iceland, and the Netherlands.

While the song is credited to all four members of the band, drummer Bill Berry wrote much of it. He “wanted to reach out to people who felt they had no hope.” SF Singer Michael Stipe “purposely sings indecipherably” on many R.E.M. songs, but “sang very clearly on this one…because he didn’t want his message getting lost.” SF Guitarist Peter Buck noted that the lyrics – which Entertainment Weekly’s Greg Sandow called an “almost unbearable passionate argument against suicide” – are more direct than typical R.E.M. songs because it was aimed at teenagers. WK

Despite his lyrical contribution, Berry didn’t actually play on “Everybody Hurts.” Instead the task was covered by a Univox drum machine. Bassist Mike Mills says they “wanted to get this flow around…human and non-human at the same time.” SF The song is also notable for the string arrangement written by bassist John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin.

Sandow also said the song “surely will be played on radio for generations to come, right next to unforgettable anthems like ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water.’” WK Critic Troy J. Augusto said the “silky vocals and the song’s lush string section provide this track’s main appeal.” WK Billboard’s Larry Flick called the song a “spare, honest, and emotional track.” WK Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot said it was “a ballad that would border on the maudlin if Stipe didn’t sing with such conviction.” WK A poll by PRS for Music in the UK rated this the song “most likely to make a grown man cry.” SF


Resources and Related Links:

Monday, April 5, 1993

David Bowie Black Tie White Noise released

Black Tie White Noise

David Bowie


Released: April 5, 1993


Peak: 39 US, 11 UK, 13 CN, 12 AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.1 UK, 1.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: glam rock/classic rock veteran


Tracks:

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

  1. The Wedding [5:04]
  2. You’ve Been Around (Bowie/Gabrels) [4:45]
  3. I Feel Free (Bruce/Brown) [4:52]
  4. Black Tie White Noise [4:52] (6/12/93, 36 UK, 74 AU)
  5. Jump They Say [4:22] (3/27/93, 9 UK, 4 MR, 53 AU)
  6. Nite Flights (Engel) [4:30]
  7. Pallas Athena [4:40]
  8. Miracle Goodnight [4:14] (10/23/93, 40 UK)
  9. Don’t Let Me Down & Down (Tarha/Valmont) [4:14]
  10. Looking for Lester [5:36]
  11. I Know It’s Going to Happen Someday (Morrissey/Neven) [4:14]
  12. The Wedding Song [4:29]
  13. Jump They Say (alternative mix) [3:58]
  14. Lucy Can’t Dance [5:45]

Songs written by David Bowie unless indicated otherwise.


Total Running Time: 65:35


The Players:

  • David Bowie (vocals, guitar, saxophone, production)
  • Nile Rodgers (production, guitar)
  • Poogie Bell, Sterling Campbell (drums)
  • Barry Campbell, John Regan (bass) Richard Hilton, Dave Richards, Philippe Saisse, Richard Tee (keyboards)
  • Michael Reisman (harp, tubular bell, string arrangement)
  • Gerardo Velez (percussion)
  • Fonzi Thornton, Tawatha Agee, Curtis King Jr., Dennis Collins, Brenda White-King, Maryl Epps (backing vocals)

Rating:

2.880 out of 5.00 (average of 24 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Black Tie White Noise was the beginning of David Bowie's return from the wilderness of post-Let's Dance, the first indication that he was regaining his creative spark. To say as much suggests that it’s a bit of a lost classic, when it's rather a sporadically intriguing transitional album, finding Bowie balancing the commercial dance-rock of Let's Dance with artier inclinations from his Berlin period, all the while trying to draw on the past by working with former Spider From Mars guitarist Mick Ronson, collaborating with Let's Dance producer Nile Rodgers, and even covering inspiration Scott Walker's Nite Flights.” AMG

“On top of that, the record was inspired by his recent marriage to supermodel Iman — the record is bookended with The Wedding and The Wedding Song — and then tied up and presented as a sophisticated modern urban soul record, one that draws from uptown soul (including, rather bafflingly, a duet with Al B. Sure!) and state-of-the-art dance-club techno, while adding splashy touches like solos from avant jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie and a nod to modern alt-rock via a nifty cover of Morrissey's I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday.” AMG

“That's a lot of stuff for one record to handle, so it shouldn't come as a great surprise that the album doesn't always work, but its stylish restlessness comes as a great relief, particularly when compared to the hermetically sealed previous solo Bowie record, 1987's Never Let Me Down. Black Tie White Noise displays greater musical ambition than any record he'd made since Scary Monsters, and while much of the record feels like unrealized ideas, there are songs where it all gels, like on the paranoid jumble of Jump They Say, the aforementioned covers, the impassioned You've Been Around, and the self-consciously smooth title track.” AMG

“Moments like these are the first in a long time to feel classically Bowie, and they point ahead toward the more interesting records he made in the second half of the '90s, but they are encased in a production that not only sounds dated years later, but sounded dated upon its release in the spring of 1993, two years into the thick of alternative rock. At that point, the club-centric, mainstream-courting Black Tie White Noise seemed as an anachronism during the guitar-heavy grunge-n-industrial glory days — something Bowie tacitly acknowledged with its 1995 successor, Outside, which was every bit as gloomy as a Nine Inch Nails record — but separated from the vagaries of fashion, it's an interesting first step in Bowie's creative revival.” AMG


Notes: Virgin Records reissued the album in 2004 with a bonus CD and DVD. The song “Real Cool World” is added to the original album; the bonus CD is remixes of tracks from the album and the DVD has all three music videos (“Miracle Goodnight,” “Jump They Say,” and “Black Tie White Noise”) from the album.

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 2/20/2008; last updated 8/3/2021.