Sunday, July 28, 1996

In Concert: Styx

image from

Venue: Sandstone Ampitheatre; Bonner Springs, KS
Tour: Return to Paradise
The Players: Dennis DeYoung (vocals, keyboards), Tommy Shaw (vocals, guitar), James Young (vocals, guitar), Chuck Panozzo (bass), Todd Sucherman (drums)
Opening Act: Kansas

The Set List: *

1. A.D. 1928/Rockin' the Paradise
2. Blue Collar Man (Long Nights)
3. Lady
4. Too Much Time on My Hands
5. Snowblind
6. Suite Madame Blue
7. Crystal Ball
8. The Grand Illusion
9. Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)
10. Show Me the Way
11. Boat on the River
12. Lorelei
13. Babe
14. Miss America
15. Come Sail Away


16. Renegade
17. The Best of Times

* Setlist unknown so listing comes from 1997 Return to Paradise live album

Saturday, July 27, 1996

Spice Girls hit #1 in UK with “Wannabe”


Spice Girls

Writer(s): Spice Girls (Melanie Chisholm, Melanie Brown, Geri Halliwell, Victoria Adams, Emma Bunton), Matt Rowe, Richard Stannard (see lyrics here)

Released: June 26, 1996

First Charted: July 20, 1996

Peak: 14 US, 2 GR, 4 RR, 27 A40, 17 UK, 9 CN, 111 AU, 8 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.91 US, 1.71 UK, 7.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 668.64 video, 793.31 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Spice Girls consisted of Victoria Adams (later Beckham, aka “Posh Spice”), Melanie Brown (aka Mel B or “Scary Spice”), Emma Bunton (aka “Baby Spice”), Melanie Chisholm (aka Mel C or “Sporty Spice”), and Gerri Halliwell (aka “Ginger Spice”). The group was assembled in 1994 by the father-and-son team of Bob and Chris Herbert, a management team who, in the mid-‘90s, set out to create a girl group to compete with popular UK boy groups at the time like Take That and East 17. WK2

“None of the girls had great voices, but they excuded personality, energy and charisma.” LW The group impressed songwriter Richard Stannard at an industry showcase that November and he and Matt Rowe, his songwriting partner, started writing with the group. WK1 The uptempo dance-pop “Wannabe,” which was written in 30 minutes and recorded in less than an hour, was designed as a showcase of their personalities WK1 and a celebration of female friendship and empowerment.

By 1995, the group left the Herberts’ Heart Management group and signed with Simon Fuller, WK2 best-known for creating American Idol. Brown and Halliwell were adamant that “Wannabe,” “a glorious mix of pop, R&B-lite with a hint-of hip-hop,” LW should be the group’s lead single despite Fuller and the record company’s objections. The Spice Girls won in the end and a video was assembled for the song in May 1996. Within two hours of its appearance on British cable network The Box, the video had topped the viewers’ chart. It became the most requested track in the channel’s history. WK1

Between the success of the video, an early single release in Japan, and a flurry of promotion, the Spice Girls exploded in the UK immediately. The song debuted at #3 on the UK charts and climbed to the top the next week, where it stayed for 7 weeks. In the U.S., the song wouldn’t hit the top of the charts until February 1997, by which time the Spice Girls had already landed three #1’s in the UK and were on the brink of their fourth consecutive chart-topper, making them the first act in UK chart history to do so. FB All told, “Wannabe” hit the top in 37 countries and became the best-selling single in the world by a girl group. WK1 In 1997, it received the Brit Award for British Single of the Year. In 2014, it was named the most easily recognizable pop song of the last 60 years. WK1

The Spice Girls hit #1 eight times in the UK during the ‘90s, becoming the biggest act of the decade. Their debut album Spice sold 31 million sales worldwide, making it the best-selling album in history by a female group. With more than 85 million records sold worldwide during their career, they became the best-selling girl group of all time and the biggest pop success since the Beatles. WK2


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First posted 10/31/2019; last updated 11/25/2022.

Saturday, July 20, 1996

2pac “California Love” hit #1

California Love

2pac with Dr. Dre & Roger Troutman

Writer(s): Tupac Shakur, Andre Young, Roger Troutman, Larry Troutman, Mikel Hooks, Norman Durham, Ronald Hudson, Woody Cunningham, Joe Cocker, Chris Stainton, James Anderson (uncredited) (see lyrics here)

Released: December 3, 1995

First Charted: February 9, 1996

Peak: 12 US, 2 CB, 31 GR, 35 RR, 6 RB, 6 UK, 51 CN, 4 AU, 25 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.4 US, 0.6 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 284.66 video, 586.14 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Tupac Shakur was born in 1971 in New York City but lived in Baltimore and eventually the San Francisco Bay Area. Both his parents were political activists and members of the Black Panther Party. His “revolutionary pedigree was one of his big selling points” SG when he launched his solo career in 1991 with the album 2Pacalypse Now. In 1993, he scored a pair of top-20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Get Around” and “Keep Ya Head Up.” He was also becoming a movie star and finding himself in legal trouble. In 1993, he was arrested after a gunfight with two off-duty cops in Atlanta. He shot and wounded both of them, but claimed self-defense and the charges were dropped.

While on trial for sexual assault, he was shot five times. He was convinced it was set up by former friend and rapper Biggie Smalls and the subsequent rivalry between them “mushroomed into the East Coast/West Coast feud, which became the dominant narrative in rap music in the late ’90s.” SG While in prison for the assault charge, his third album Me Against the World debuted at #1, making him the first incarcerated artist to top the Billboard album chart. SG He would also land his first top-10 hit with “Dear Mama.”

Suge Knight, the “the notorious co-founder of Death Row Records,” SG arranged for 2Pac’s bond and appeal in exchange for him signing with Death Row, a move which furthered the East Coast/West Coast rivalry. 2pac’s label debut was the double album All Eyez on Me in 1996. It debuted at #1 and has since been certified diamond for ten million in sales.

The double A-side single “How Do U Want It” and “California Love” topped the Billboard Hot 100. The latter “might be the anthem that filled up the air in the summer of 1996.” SG It “might not be the best 2Pac song, and it may not be Pac’s definitive song” SG but “so much about ‘California Love’ is just perfect. There’s the Dr. Dre production with the royal horn-fanfares and the stabbing pianos. There’s computer-funk wizard Roger Troutman slathering his voicebox bleat all over everything…There’s Pac himself, bringing unreal levels of charisma to his verse.” SG

Dre built the “celebration fo the California hip-hop lifestyle” SF on a sample from Joe Cocker’s 1972 song “Woman to Woman” and incorporates Troutman’s 1981 song “So Ruff, So Tuff.” Dre and 2Pac “rap about the vibrant activity and creativity they constantly encounter, but also warn about the gang violence, crime and social ills.” SF

Less than two months later, 2Pac was murdered after a Mike Tyson boxing match in Las Vegas. “After he died, he became a symbol for a lot of things — Black pride, defiance, outlaw romance, unresolved internal conflicts, senseless slaughter.” SG The case remains unsolved.


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First posted 8/7/2023.

Tuesday, July 2, 1996

Asia released sixth studio album, Arena



Released: July 2, 1996

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

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

Genre: rock

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Into the Arena
  2. Arena
  3. Heaven
  4. Two Sides of the Moon
  5. The Day Before the War
  6. Never
  7. Falling
  8. Words
  9. U Bring Me Down
  10. Tell Me Why
  11. Turn It Around (1996, --)
  12. Bella Nova

The Players:

  • Geoff Downes (keyboards)
  • John Payne (vocals/ bass)
  • Michael Sturgis (drums)
  • Elliott Randall (guitar)
  • Aziz Ibrahim (guitar)


3.526 out of 5.00 (average of 11 ratings)

About the Album:

“This is not your father's Asia.” AMG Their original lineup consisting of guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Carl Palmer, vocalist John Wetton, and keyboardist Geoff Downes only lasted only two albums and by 1994’s Aria, only Downes remained. While numerous players would come and go throughout Asia’s career, the 1992-2004 phase was anchored by Downes and vocalist John Payne. Arena saw the departure of guitarist Al Pitrelli; stepping in were guitarists Elliott Randall, who’d worked with Steely Dan, and Aziz Ibrahim, who’d worked with Simply Red.

“In its beginnings Asia was a band frequently called the first progressive rock supergroup, although that title really belonged to Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The Asia of old actually had an arena rock sort of sound that, while espousing prog elements and textures, was pretty much straightforward rock. At times the band was definitely a bit formulaic. As Asia has continued on, with members coming and going, the tone of the group has changed. The bandmembers seem to struggle a bit with direction, not going completely prog, but certainly not eschewing that direction altogether.” AMG

“This disc reveals one element that could definitely be seen as an improvement over the old days, though: the music has lost much of its slick and almost contrived texture. Sometimes the cuts here come off a bit…adrift, but they…seem…less contrived than a lot of the classic Asia catalog. All that said, the disc is very listenable and has some definite strong points, calling to mind the classic Asia era at times as well as other groups, including Trevor Rabin-era Yes and Dream Theater.” AMG

Notes: The song “That Season” was added to later editions as a bonus track.

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 4/20/2008; updated 8/6/2021.