Tuesday, September 30, 1997

The Verve Urban Hymns released

Urban Hymns

The Verve

Released: September 30, 1997

Peak: 23 US, 112 UK, 15 CN, 9 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.3 US, 3.3 UK, 11.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: Britpop


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

  1. Bitter Sweet Symphony [5:58] (6/28/97, 12 US, 2 UK, 22 AR, 4 MR)
  2. Sonnet [4:21] (5/30/98, 74 UK)
  3. The Rolling People (The Verve) [7:01]
  4. The Drugs Don’t Work [5:05] (9/13/97, 1 UK)
  5. Catching the Butterfly (The Verve) [6:26]
  6. Neon Wilderness (Nick McCabe, The Verve) [2:37]
  7. Space and Time [5:36]
  8. Weeping Willow [4:49]
  9. Lucky Man [4:53] (12/6/97, 7 UK, 16 MR)
  10. One Day [5:03]
  11. This Time [3:05]
  12. Velvet Morning [4:57]
  13. Come On (and hidden track Deep Freeze) (The Verve) [15:15]

Songs written by Richard Ashcroft unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 75:57

The Players:

  • Richard Ashcroft (vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboard)
  • Nick McCabe (lead guitar)
  • Simon Tong (second lead guitar, keyboard)
  • Simon Jones (bass)
  • Peter Salisbury (drums)


4.105 out of 5.00 (average of 27 ratings)


“A rich album that revitalizes rock traditions without ever seeming less than contemporary” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Not long after the release of A Northern Soul, the Verve imploded due to friction between vocalist Richard Ashcroft and guitarist Nick McCabe. It looked like the band had ended before reaching its full potential, which is part of the reason why their third album, Urban Hymns — recorded after the pair patched things up in late 1996 — is so remarkable. Much of the record consists of songs Ashcroft had intended for a solo project or a new group, yet Urban Hymns unmistakably sounds like the work of a full band, with its sweeping, grandiose soundscapes and sense of purpose.” AMG

“The Verve have toned down their trancy, psychedelic excursions, yet haven’t abandoned them — if anything, they sound more muscular than before, whether it's the trippy Catching the Butterfly or the pounding Come On. These powerful, guitar-drenched rockers provide the context for Ashcroft’s affecting, string-laden ballads, which give Urban Hymns its hurt.” AMG

“The majestic Bitter Sweet Symphony and the heartbreaking, country-tinged The Drugs Don't Work are an astonishing pair, two anthemic ballads that make the personal universal, thereby sounding like instant classics. They just are the tip of the iceberg — Sonnet is a lovely, surprisingly understated ballad, The Rolling People has a measured, electric power, and many others match their quality.” AMG

“Although it may run a bit too long for some tastes, Urban Hymns is a rich album that revitalizes rock traditions without ever seeming less than contemporary. It is the album the Verve have been striving to make since their formation, and it turns out to be worth all the wait.” AMG

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First posted 4/7/2008; last updated 10/2/2023.

Bob Dylan Time Out of Mind released

Time Out of Mind

Bob Dylan

Released: September 30, 1997

Peak: -- US, 10 UK, 27 CN, 24 AU, 15 DF

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.1 UK, 2.5 world (includes US + UK)

Genre: folk rock


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

  1. Love Sick (7/11/98, 64 UK)
  2. Dirt Road Blues
  3. Standing in the Doorway
  4. Million Miles
  5. Tryin’ to Get to Heaven
  6. ‘Til I Fell in Love with You
  7. Not Dark Yet (23 DF)
  8. Cold Irons Bound
  9. Make You Feel My Love (12 DF)
  10. Can’t Wait
  11. Highlands

Total Running Time: 72:50


4.101 out of 5.00 (average of 28 ratings)


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“After spending much of the '90s touring and simply not writing songs, Bob Dylan returned in 1997 with Time Out of Mind, his first collection of new material in seven years. Where Under the Red Sky, his last collection of original compositions, had a casual, tossed-off feel, Time Out of Mind is carefully considered, from the densely detailed songs to the dark, atmospheric production.” AMG

“Sonically, the album is reminiscent of Oh Mercy, the last album Dylan recorded with producer Daniel Lanois, but Time Out of Mind has a grittier foundation – by and large, the songs are bitter and resigned, and Dylan gives them appropriately anguished performances. Lanois bathes them in hazy, ominous sounds, which may suit the spirit of the lyrics, but are often in opposition to Dylan’s performances.” AMG

“Consequently, the album loses a little of its emotional impact, yet the songs themselves are uniformly powerful, adding up to Dylan’s best overall collection in years.” AMG

“Lead track, Not Dark Yet appealed to sentimentalists because it felt like Dylan was revealing a truth (‘Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear/ It’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there’) and bearing down for arts’ sake, too.” TL

“Forget truth – Dylan always has – and focus on the sly, world weary atmospherics of Dirt Road Blues and Highlands, Dylan’s funniest song since the 60s. (‘She got a pretty face and long white shiny legs/ She says ‘what’ll it be/ I say ‘I don’t know, you got any soft-boiled eggs’).” TL

This is “a better, more affecting record than Oh Mercy, not only because the songs have a stronger emotional pull, but because Lanois hasn’t sanded away all the grit. As a result, the songs retain their power, leaving Time Out of Mind as one of the rare latter-day Dylan albums that meets his high standards.” TL

Interestingly, for Dylan’s first top ten album on U.S. soil in twenty years, and with a Grammy for Album of the Year to boot, “it was cover versions of To Make You Feel My Love by Garth Brooks and Billy Joel that generated the bulk of the cash Dylan made from Time Out of Mind.” TL

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First posted 3/7/2011; last updated 5/16/2024.

Tuesday, September 23, 1997

The Rolling Stones’ Bridges to Babylon released

Bridges to Babylon

The Rolling Stones

Released: September 23, 1997

Peak: 3 US, 6 UK, 2 CN, 19 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.1 UK, 4.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock veteran


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

  1. Flip the Switch [3:28] (11/22/97, 14 AR, 26 CN)
  2. Anybody Seen My Baby? (Jagger/ Lang/ Mink/ Richards) [4:31] (9/20/97, 45 RR, 2 AA, 3 AR, 22 UK, 1 CN, 58 AU)
  3. Low Down [4:26]
  4. Already Over Me [5:24]
  5. Gunface [5:02]
  6. You Don't Have to Mean It [3:44]
  7. Out of Control [5:02] (8/17/98, 51 UK)
  8. Saint of Me [5:15] (11/1/97, 94 US, 7 AA, 13 AR, 26 UK, 24 CN, 100 AU)
  9. Might As Well Get Juiced [5:23]
  10. Always Suffering [4:43]
  11. Too Tight [3:33]
  12. Thief in the Night (DeBeauport/ Jagger/ Richards) [5:15]
  13. How Can I Stop [5:53]

Songs written by Jagger/ Richards unless indicated otherwise.

Total Running Time: 61:20

The Players:

  • Mick Jagger (vocals, guitar, percussion)
  • Keith Richards (guitar, vocals, bass)
  • Ronnie Wood (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Charlie Watts (drums)


3.413 out of 5.00 (average of 23 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“It’s no use comparing Stones albums to Exile on Main Street anymore; the world’s greatest rock & roll band clearly substitutes finances for passion these days. But compared to, say, Soul Asylum or the Black Crowes, the band still produces worthwhile records.” AZVoodoo Lounge confirmed that the Stones could age gracefully, but it never sounded modern; it sounded classicist.” AMG

Bridges to Babylon finds the Rolling Stones swaggering towards the millenium with a record that confidently asserts that rock & roll is far from a young person’s game. Don Was returns behind the boards, and joining him at Mick Jagger's behest are uber-technophiles The Dust Brothers. Rather than leaping headlong onto an ill-fitting bandwagon, The Stones wisely gild their rock & roll lily with subtle electronic nuances.” CD Additional collaborators like “Beck, the Beastie Boys, and Danny Saber (of Black Grape)…give the veteran group an edge on their explorations of drum loops and samples.” AMG

“Of course, the Stones are the Stones, and no production is going to erase that, but the group is smart enough – or Keith Richards is stubborn enough – to work within their limitations…As a result, Bridges to Babylon sounds like the Stones without sounding tired. The band is tight and energetic, and there’s just enough flair” in the “noirish mood” CD of “the sultry Anybody Seen My Baby?, the menacing Gunface, and the low-key, sleazy Might as Well Get Juiced, to make them sound contemporary.” AMG

The latter features “swooshing laser sounds” CD while “Anybody Seen My Baby?” includes a sampled rap, both of which offer “present-day window dressing for a legacy deeply rooted in rhythm and blues.” CD “Anybody Seen My Baby?” was released as the lead off single and received a nomination for a Grammy for Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocal. The album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Album.

“But the real key to the success of Bridges to Babylon is the solid, craftsman-like songwriting. While there aren’t any stunners on the album, nothing is bad.” AMG “The Stones stop long enough to cleverly acknowledge their past by dropping a harp playing the main riff of ‘Papa Was a Rolling Stone’ into the mid-tempo Out of Control.” CD Rockers like that, Flip the Switch and Low Down, along with “the closing Keith Richards suite all give Bridges the edge over the Stones’ spotty previous Voodoo Lounge.” CD

Richards’ winners include “and the slow-burning How Can I Stop.” AZ He “remains the soul of the Stones. His riffing and his endearing rasp continue to stand out.” CD “His crooning” CD on “the reggae workout You Don’t Have to Mean ItAZ and “the emotive one-two punch of Thief in the NightCD and “the slow-burning How Can I StopAZ “shows Keef to be a closet romantic camouflaged by a bad-ass strut.” CD

There are also ballads like Already Over Me and “Saint of Me to revel in their bad-boy persona.” CD They “cap off another fine latter-day Stones record.” AMG “The Stones don’t deserve our indifference just yet.” AZ

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First posted 3/23/2008; last updated 10/25/2021.

Thursday, September 11, 1997

On This Day in Music (1847): “Oh! Susanna” first performed

Oh! Susanna

Stephen Foster (words & music)

Writer(s): Stephen Foster (see lyrics here)

First Performed: September 11, 1847

Published: 1848

First Charted: July 19, 1924 (Wendell Hall & the Shannon Four)

Peak: 8 PM (Hall) (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 19.48 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Stephen Foster is often referred to as “the Father of American Music.” BA The Pennsylvania-born songwriter wrote over 200 songs during his short 37 years. BA He was 18 when he published his first song, “Open They Lattice, Love” MF and 21 when he composed “Oh! Susanna,” which has been called “the first huge hit song in American popular music” BA and “one of the most famous American songs ever written.” WW

Foster wrote the song in Cincinnati, Ohio, after moving there to work as a bookkeeper for his brother’s steamship company. WW The song was first performed by a local quintet at a concert in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at Andrews’ Eagle Ice Cream Saloon on September 11, 1847. WW It was first published in Cincinnati in 1848 by W.C. Peters & Co., WW a local music store. SA

However, a New York publisher pirated the song and published it under the name E.P. Christy. It gained popularity through performances by the Christy Minstrels in Manhattan, becoming the first minstrel song to infiltrate the middle-class market. SA Within three years, more than 20 editions of the sheet music – mostly illegal – had spread throughout the United States, making it difficult to say just how successful the song was. MF However, the original publisher still made $10,000 MF and Foster said the $100 he received for the song “had the effect of starting me on my present vocation as a songwriter.” BA Firth, Pond & Company then hired him at a royalty rate of two cents per copy of sheet music sold, making him America’s first professional songwriter. WW

The song “became emblematic of Westward expansion,” BA having been embraced by ‘49s during the California gold rush and others who headed west during the mid-19th century. BA The name “Susannah” may come from Foster’s sister Charlotte, who died, but had the middle name “Susannah.” WW The chorus of the song bears similarities to “Rose of Alabama” and both songs tell stories about lovers traveling from one state in the South to another, looking for his sweetheart and carting a banjo around along the way. WW

Foster’s works were inspired by and often mistaken for Negro spirituals “with their smoother and more accessible melodies than the intricate, opera-inspired tunes of the time.” MF He only visited the South once, but many of his songs portrayed black people and slave life. They were often performed by minstrel singers in blackface. BA

“Oh! Susanna” was written in the dialect of blacks who worked on plantations. While common at the time, today’s standards deem such lyrics “extremely racially offensive.” BA Foster even became aware of this when white, middle-class Americans grew more sympathetic to those suffering in slavery as the country moved towards Civil War. Foster later worked to replace the dialect in his earlier songs with verses in standard English. BA

The song has only charted once. Wendell Hall & the Shannon Four reached #8 with their cover in 1924. It has been covered by The Byrds, Bing Crosby, Vernon Dalhart, Connie Francis, Jewel, Al Jolson, Taj Mahal, Mitch Miller, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Pete Seeger, Nat Shilkret, Dinah Shore, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Fats Waller, and Neil Young.


First posted 8/30/2023.

Saturday, September 6, 1997

Elton John performed “Candle in the Wind” at Princess Di’s funeral

Candle in the Wind

Elton John

Writer(s): Elton John, Bernie Taupin (see lyrics here)

Released: February 4, 1974

First Charted: March 2, 1974

Peak: 6 US, 7 CB, 8 GR, 8 RR, 2 AC, 2 CL, 5 UK, 5 CN, 5 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 4.0 radio, 40.54 video, -- streaming

Candle in the Wind 1997

Elton John

Writer(s): Elton John, Bernie Taupin (see lyrics here)

Released: September 13, 1997

First Charted: September 6, 1997

Peak: 114 US, 31 GR, 32 RR, 5 AC, 22 A40, 15 UK, 11 CN, 16 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 11.0 US, 5.4 UK, 37.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 4.0 radio, 44.4 video, -- streaming

Awards (1973):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (1997):

About the Song:

According to Elton John, lyricist Bernie Taupin called “Candle in the Wind” “the best song we’ve ever written.” KL It charted three times in three decades with three versions. The original was a a tribute to legendary film star Marilyn Mornoe “from the somewhat tragic viewpoint of a sentimental and obsessive young Monroe fan.” LW ”Essentially a piano ballad rooted in a series of gospel-tinged chords, the song actually breaks away from the more traditional structure of a rock ballad but doe’n't fail to include some typical John piano flourishes.” LW “It had pathos and a generalized emotional truth that underscored and informed Elton John’s otherwise flamboyant and hugely camp character.” LW

It hit #11 in 1974 in the U.K. In the U.S., when DJs latched on to “Bennie and the Jets” the planned single release was aborted, RS500 but a live version would hit #6 on the pop chart and #2 on the adult contemporary chart in 1987.

The song’s greatest success came when Princess Diana died in a car crash on August 31, 1997. Elton proposed the idea to Taupin of revising the lyrics as a eulogy. Within the hour, Taupin had faxed the new words to John. HL Elton performed the only public performance of the revamped version at Diana’s funeral for a televised worldwide audience of more than 2.5 billion people. FB After the funeral, Elton headed to the studio with famed Beatles’ producer George Martin to record the song. FB

When released in the U.K., the song went straight to #1 on the strength 658,000 copies sold in a single day. The song amassed 2 million in sales by the end of its second week and logged another million in the next week. MG In 2008, the song had moved more than 5 million, making it the U.K.’s biggest seller ever. MG

The U.S. matched that number just in advance orders FB and would go on to 11 million in sales. MG Worldwide, it ranks as one of the top 100 best-selling songs in the world. Only Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” with estimates as high as 56 million, has sold more. The song topped the charts in 11 countries,” BB most notably with an astonishing 45 weeks at #1 in Canada. MG Its 14 weeks atop the U.S. charts make it one of the biggest #1 pop songs in U.S. chart history.


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First posted 9/6/2011; last updated 7/25/2023.