Saturday, December 25, 1993

Mariah Carey “Hero” hit #1


Mariah Carey

Writer(s): Mariah Carey, Walter Afanasieff (see lyrics here)

Released: August 31, 1993 (album cut on Music Box)

First Charted: Octobrer 15, 1993

Peak: 14 US, 2 CB, 16 GR, 15 RR, 2 AC, 5 RB, 7 UK, 3 CN, 7 AU, 8 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.27 UK, 3.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 359.9 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The second single from Music Box, Mariah Carey’s biggest-selling album, wasn’t originally supposed to be a Mariah Carey song. She and collaborator Walter Afanasieff wrote “the big, grandiose ballad” SG “Hero” for the soundtrack of Stephen Frears’ 1992 movie of the same name. It starred Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, and Andy Garcia. Gloria Estefan was slated to sing the song. SG

The song is “a big, arm-swishing ballad about finding your own sense of internal strength.” SG It’s “pure Hallmark material.” SG Carey considered it “fairly generic” and “a bit schmaltzy.” SG However, when label chief Tommy Mottola (Carey’s future husband) came into the studio while she was working on the demo, he said the song “was great and that Mariah would absolutely not give it away to another singer.” SG

Carey worked to “to find the right vocal tone,” SG wanting to “show off her vocal firepower” SG but striking “a balance between her pyrotechnic vocal runs and a more restrained style.” SG “She also manages to convey a certain level of emotional catharsis, even though she didn’t actually care about the song very much.” SG She came to love the song, saying “’Hero’ belonged to my fans and I was going to deliver it to them with all I had.” SG

After the song was released, Carey decided to donate the proceeds to the families of the victims of a December 7 shooting on the Long Island Rail Road. Carey had frequently ridden the route out of Penn Station. FB When she performed the song live, a stage light landed on a grown man with tears streaming down his face. As Afanasieff said, “I saw so many people crying and realized the power of the song.” FB


  • FB Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 823.
  • SG Stereogum (2/21/2022). “The Number Ones” by Tom Breihan
  • WK Wikipedia

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First posted 4/10/2023.

Saturday, December 4, 1993

Nirvana “All Apologies” charted

All Apologies


Writer(s): Kurt Cobain (see lyrics here)

Released: December 6, 1993

First Charted: December 4, 1993

Peak: 45a US, 22 GR, 30 RR, 4 AR, 12 MR, 32 UK, 41 CN, 58 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.2 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 128.0 video, 178.23 streaming

Awards (Nirvana):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Sinéad O’Connor):

About the Song:

Nirvana became not just the poster children for the grunge movement but one of the biggest bands in the world with their major-label debut, Nevermind, and its iconic single “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The success was daunting for the band’s singer/songwriter and guitarist Kurt Cobain, who never aspired to a life of fame and fortune. Despite the group’s concerted effort at a more underground sound with third album In Utero, Nirvana found themselves at the top of the charts again with a multi-million seller.

The album, released in September 1993, was preceded by the single “Heart-Shaped Box.” Its follow-up, “All Apologies,” came out in December. Like its predecessor, it wasn’t given a specific physical release in the United States. Nonetheless, it proved successful at radio, named by BMI as the most played song on American radio from 1994-5. WK Nirvana recorded a performance of the song in December 1993 for MTV’s Unplugged and it became the unofficial video for the song. It also reportedly gained more radio airplay than the studio version. WK

Cobain wrote the song in 1990 and the group first recorded it on New Year’s Day in 1991. When Nirvana recorded it again for In Utero, producer Steve Albini said he liked “the sound of the song as a contrast to the more aggressive ones” and that “it sounded lighter, but it didn’t sound conventional.” WK The song was remixed by Scott Litt (who’d worked with R.E.M.) to boost the volume on the vocals. WK

Cobain’s song“of regret and apology” TC took on even greater weight in light of his suicide on April 8, 1994. He “seems lost in a fog of other people’s expectations and his own low self-steem. He was sorry to his fans that he had abandoned them by being successful, he was sorry to his family, but mostly he was sorry for himself.” TC It became “a pointed look at the manner in which the media can so easily forget (or, more appropriately, ignore) the fact that its quarry might have feelings.” DT

Sinéad O’Connor, best known for her #1 hit “Nothing Compares 2 U” in 1990, recorded the song on her 1994 album Universal Mother.


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First posted 7/12/2023.

Today in Music (1943): Bing Crosby “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” charted

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Bing Crosby with John Scott Trotter’s Orchestra

Writer(s): Walter Kent (music), Kim Gannon and Buck Ram (words) (see lyrics here)

Released: October 26, 1943

First Charted: December 4, 1943

Peak: 3 PM, 7 GA, 3 HP, 5 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1.6 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” originated in 1922 as a poem by Buck Ram. The songwriter would later be known for some of the Platters’ biggest hits, including “Only You” and “The Great Pretender.” He wrote it for his mother while he was a student at the University of Illinois. WK

In 1943, lyricist Kim Gannon and composer Walter Kent turned it into a song. They were acquaintances of Ram’s mother and happened to discuss the poem at a chance meeting at a bar in 1941. WK Gannon and Kent turned it into a song sung from the point of view of a soldier stationed oversees during World War II. He writes a letter to his family, saying he’ll be home for the holidays.

Bing Crosby recorded the song as “I’ll Be Home for Christmas (If Only in My Dreams)” on October 1, 1943, with the John Scott Trotter Orchestra. His version of the “traditional Tin Pan Alley Christmas favorite” TY1 has been the most successful, reaching #3 on the pop charts and selling a million copies. It became the most requested song at Christmas U.S.O. shows. WK The G.I. magazine Yank said Crosby “accomplished more for military morale than anyone else of that era.” WK Surprisingly, the BBC banned the song, fearing it would lower morale amongst British troops. WK

Others to chart with the song include Reba McEntire (1999, #68 CW), Kenny Chesney (2003, #60 CW), Joe Nichols (2005, #56 CW), Sara Evans (2006, #46 CW), Josh Groban (2006, #96 BB, 1 AC), Elvis Presley with Carrie Underwood (2008, #54 CW), Brian McKnight (2008, #14 AC), Rascal Flatts (2008, #34 CW), Michael Bublé (2010, #7 AU), Kelly Clarkson (2011, #93 BB, 7 AC), Megan Trainor (2014, #5 AC), Seth MacFarlane (2014, #28 AC), Kanisha K (2016, #26 AC), Idina Menzel (2019, #24 AC), and Camila Cabello (2021, #71 BB, 24 UK).


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First posted 12/20/2023.

Wednesday, December 1, 1993

Paul Williams Rock and Roll: The 100 Best Singles

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 critics and individuals and 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 Nothing 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” (1979)
  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” (1982)
  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; last updated 3/26/2023.