Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Asia released seventh album, Aura



Released: June 5, 2001

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. Awake
  2. Wherever You Are (2001, –)
  3. Ready to Go Home (2001, --)
  4. The Last Time
  5. Forgive Me
  6. Kings of the Day [Regis Diem]
  7. On the Coldest Day in Hell
  8. Free
  9. You’re the Stranger
  10. The Longest Night
  11. Aura

The Players:

  • Geoff Downes (keyboards)
  • John Payne (vocals/ bass)
  • Steve Howe, Ian Crichton, Guthrie Govan, Elliott Randall, Pat Thrall (guitar)
  • Chris Slade, Michael Sturgis (drums)


3.874 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings)

About the Album:

Keeping track of Asia’s ever-changing lineup can be a nightmare. Its greatest consistency comes from the 1992-2004 run of albums spearheaded by keyboardist Geoff Downes (the only Asia member on every album) and vocalist John Payne. 2001’s Aura followed a five-year delay since the band’s last studio effort, 1996’s Arena. The interim was flooded with a pair of Downes/Payne era archival releases, three separate hits compilations (Anthology, The Collection, and Heat of the Moment – The Very Best of), and four live albums released in 1997 alone, although recorded at different phases of the band’s career. And that wasn’t everything! Even die-hard fans had to wonder if it was worth it.

The band’s eventual return to recording new material brought a similar rehash approach. Downes and Payne reached back over the years to bring in former guitarists Steve Howe, Pat Thrall, and Elliott Randall. As if that weren’t enough, Ian Crichton and Guthrie Govan put in a few licks as well. Drummer Michael Sturgis, who’d worked on the last couple albums, was here again, but split time with Chris Slade.

With such a hodge podge lineup, it isn’t surprising that there isn’t a “powerful and striking…thread throughout.” AZ However, this album “is not so much about dynamics, power, anthemic velocity and…perfection” AZ as it is about “melancholy, mellowness, warmness, appeal and thematic soundness;” AZ in essence, “subtle sensory stimulation (as the name of album indicates).” AZ

Notes: The special edition of the album also featurd “Under the Gun,” “Come Make My Day,” and “Hands of Time.”

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Asia
  • AZ Tigran Haas, Amazon.com customer review

Other Related DMDB Pages:

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

Saturday, June 2, 2001

“Lady Marmalade” hit #1…again

First posted 2/2/2021; updated 2/11/2021.

Lady Marmalade


Writer(s): Bob Crewe, Kenny Nolan (see lyrics here)

Released: November 5, 1974

First Charted: December 14, 1974

Peak: 11 US, 11 CB, 11 HR, 3 RR, 11 RB, 17 UK, 11 CN, 13 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 15.2 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

Lady Marmalade

Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, & Pink

First Charted: April 6, 2001

Peak: 15 US, 19 RR, 25 A40, 43 RB, 11 UK, 17 CN, 13 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.26 US, 0.97 UK, 5.5 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio,389.7 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“Lady Marmalade,” written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan, was first recorded in 1974 by the Eleventh Hour, a studio group fronted by Kenny. The song was inspired by New Orleans’ prositutes in the red-light district of the French Quarter. SF Producer Allen Toussaint heard the track and wanted LaBelle – comprised of Patti LaBelle, Noan Hendryx, and Sarah Dash – to record it. The Philadelphia trio had been around more than a decade and landed five top-40 hits on the R&B chart, but they hadn’t charted since 1966. Personnel and label changes led them to Epic in 1974 where their recording of “Lady Marmalade” became “an outrageous party anthem” SF and an early favorite of the disco era. The song ruffled the feathers of some who saw it as glamorizing prostitution. SF

The song reached the top in 1975, knocking Frankie Valli’s “My Eyes Adored You” from the pinnacle. It marked only the third time in history that a songwriting team succeeded themselves at #1. BR1 LaBelle didn’t make it back to the top-40 on the pop chart, but as a solo artist Patti LaBelle resurfaced in the mid-‘80s with the top-20 hit “New Attitude” and the #1 duet with Michael McDonald, “On My Own.”

Meanwhile, the song experienced several revivals. In 1987, Italian pop star Sabrina recorded the song and had some minor success in Belgium and France. In 1998, the girl group All Saints took their version to #1 in the UK. Three years later, Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, and Pink recorded “their naughtier version” AMG with the song’s setting changed from New Orleans to the Paris nightclub Moulin Rouge. WK

The song was used in director Baz Luhrmann’s modern-day musical Moulin Rouge! about a brothel in Paris at the turn of the century. A number of big name artists were tapped to do cover songs for the soundtrack, but the version of “Lady Marmalade” had the most superpower behind it. When it topped the charts in June 2001, it marked the ninth time in chart history for two versions of a song to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart. BR1 It became the only song to top the UK and U.S. charts twice. SF It also gave Crewe and Nolan the distinction of the longest span of #1 hits, dating back more than 38 years to “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by the Four Seasons. BR1

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Patti LaBelle
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Christina Aguilera
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Lil’ Kim
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Mya
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Pink
  • AMG All Music Guide review of the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack by Brad Kohlenstein
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). New York, NY; Billboard Books. Pages 399 and 913.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

50 years ago: “Too Young” topped Your Hit Parade for the first of 12 weeks

Too Young

Nat “King” Cole with Les Baxter’s Orchestra

Writer(s): Sid Lippman (music), Sylvia Dee (words) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: April 14, 1951

Peak: 15 US, 112 HP, 17 CB, 112 UK, 19 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 5.5 video, -- streaming

Awards (Nat “King” Cole’s version):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Toni Arden’s version):

Awards (Jimmy Young’s version):

About the Song:

On June 2, 1951, “Too Young” ascended to the top of the Your Hit Parade chart. By the time it finished its reigned, it had logged a dozen weeks at #1, making it the biggest song in the history of Your Hit Parade. The radio program launched in 1935 and evolved into a television program, running until 1958. The charts didn’t list specific artists as this was an era when it was common for multiple artists to record the same song. “Too Young” came about when lyricist Sylvia Dee mentioned to the song’s co-writer Sid Lippman that her brother was getting married but she thought he was too young. According to Sid they looked at each other and said, “Title?” MS

It was first recorded by Louanne Hogan with Victor Young & His Orchestra on November 22, 1950. MS It was Nat “King” Cole’s version, however, which was the first to chart and became the most successful. Nelson Riddle arranged the song – as he had also done for Cole’s version of “Mona Lisa” – but in both cases the credit was given to Les Baxter, who conducted the orchestra. MS Cole recorded his million-selling version on February 6, 1951 and it topped Billboard magazine’s three major pop charts – Best Sellers, Disc Jockey Hits, and Jukebox Hits. It also topped the Cashbox charts and reached #1 in the UK and Australia.

Other versions to chart in 1951 included Toni Arden (#15 US), Patty Andrews (#19 US), Fran Allison (#20 US), Richard Hayes (#24 US), and Jimmy Young (#1 UK). Bill Forbes revived the song in 1960 (#29 UK) and Donny Osmond – then fourteen years old – brought it back in 1972 (#13 US, #5 UK). Michael Jackson recorded it in 1973.

Cole once said this was perhaps his favorite of all the songs he recorded. MS Michael Winter, the host of “The Greatest Hits Explained,” called it “one of the most beautiful love songs ever.” MS Billboard magazine named Cole’s version the top song of 1951. MS

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 9/8/2021.