Tuesday, June 5, 2001

Asia released seventh album, Aura

Aura

Asia


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)

Rating:

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.

Monday, June 4, 2001

The Smiths: A Retrospective, 1982-1988

The Smiths

A Retrospective: 1982-1988

Overview:

This rock quartet formed in Manchester, England, in 1982 and disbanded in 1987. They are considered one of the most important acts to emerge from the British independent music scene in the 1980s and became a staple of the college rock movement.

The Smiths released only four studio albums over their short career from 1984 to 1987. However, it was only months “after releasing their first album, [that] the Smiths issued the singles and rarities collection Hatful of Hollow, establishing” HH a “funny, annoying, and/or incredible thing about both the Smiths and Morrissey” WL – “a tradition of repackaging their material as many times and as quickly as possible.” HH This may not be entirely troublesome to Smiths fanatics, however, since “many people consider the Morrissey/Marr duo to be the last great songwriting team [hence] any release by the Smiths is indispensable” WL to “any die-hard fan of the Smiths.” WL Besides, “many of their finest songs were never issued on their studio albums” HH because “the Smiths treated singles as individual entities, not just ways to promote an album.” HH


The Players:

  • Morrissey (vocals)
  • Johnny Marr (guitar, et al)
  • Andy Rourke (bass)
  • Mike Joyce (drums, percussion)


On the Web:


Lists:

Awards:

The Studio Albums:

Hover over an album cover to see its title and year of release. Click on the album to go to its dedicated DMDB page.


Compilations:

Under each album snapshot, songs featured on the anthologies are noted. If the song charted, the date of the song’s release or first chart appearance and its chart peaks are noted in parentheses. Click for codes to singles charts.


The Smiths (1984):

  • Hand in Glove (5/13/83, 19 CO) HH, LB, VB
  • This Charming Man (10/31/83, 1 CO, 8 UK) HH, VB
  • What Difference Does It Make? (1/16/84, 5 CO, 12 UK) HH, VB
  • Still Ill (37 CO) HH, VB
  • Reel Around the Fountain (35 CO) HH
  • You’ve Got Everything Now HH


Meat Is Murder (1985):

  • How Soon Is Now? (1/28/85, 1 CO, 16 UK) HH, VB
  • Barbarism Begins at Home (4/85)
  • That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore (7/1/85, 12 CO, 49 UK) WL, VB

Hatful of Hollow

The Smiths


Released: November 12, 1984


Recorded: 1983-84


Peak: -- US, 7 UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 0.13 US, 0.3 UK, 0.43 world (includes US + UK)


Genre: college rock


Tracks: (1) William, It Was Really Nothing (2) What Difference Does It Make? * (3) These Things Take Time * (4) This Charming Man * (5) How Soon Is Now? (6) Handsome Devil * (7) Hand in Glove (8) Still Ill * (9) Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now (10) This Night Has Opened My Eyes * (11) You’ve Got Everything Now * (12) Accept Yourself * (13) Girl Afraid (14) Back to the Old House * (15) Reel Around the Fountain * (16) Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want


Total Running Time: 56:11

Rating:

4.105 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About Hatful of Hollow:

This was an odd collection gathering some of the Smiths’ early singles and B-sides alongside BBC recordings (marked with an asterisk). The BBC recordings are of cuts from The Smiths. They “are nervy and raw – and they’re also not the selling point of the record.” HH Instead, this collection deservers celebration because it includes a fair share of “classics, including the sweet rush of William, It Was Really Nothing, and the sardonic Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, the tongue-in-cheek lament of Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want, the wistful Back to the Old House, [and] Girl Afraid.” HH “With such strong material forming the core of the album, it’s little wonder that Hatful of Hollow is as consistent as The Smiths and arguably captures the excitement surrounding the band even better.” HH


Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • Handsome Devil (5/13/83, B-side of “Hand in Glove”) HH
  • Accept Yourself (10/31/83, B-side of “This Charming Man”) HH
  • Back to the Old House (1/16/84, B-side of “What Difference Does It Make?”) HH, LB
  • These Things Take Time (1/16/84, B-side of “What Difference Does It Make?”) HH, LB
  • Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now (5/21/84, 5 CO, 10 UK) HH, LB, VB
  • Girl Afraid (5/21/84, B-side, 39 CO) HH, LBj
  • William, It Was Really Nothing (8/20/84, 10 CO, 17 UK) HH, LB, VB
  • Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want (8/20/84, B-side, 9 CO) HH, LB, VB
  • This Night Has Opened My Eyes HH, LB

The Queen Is Dead (1986):

  • The Boy with the Thorn in His Side (9/23/85, 10 CO, 23 UK) WL, VB
  • Bigmouth Strikes Again (5/19/86, 2 CO, 26 UK) WL, VB
  • There Is a Light That Never Goes Out (10/24/92, 2 CO, 25 UK) WL, VB
  • Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others VB
  • I Know It’s Over VB

The World Won’t Listen

The Smiths


Released: February 23, 1987


Recorded: 1984-87


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


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


Genre: college rock


Tracks: (1) Panic (2) Ask (3) London (4) Bigmouth Strikes Again (5) Shakespeare’s Sister (6) There Is a Light That Never Goes Out (7) Shoplifters of the World Unite (8) The Boy with the Thorn in His Side (9) Money Changes Everything (10) Asleep (11) Unloveable (12) Half a Person (13) Stretch Out and Wait (14) That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore (15) Oscillate Wildly (16) You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby (17) Rubber Ring


Total Running Time: 59:26

Rating:

2.921 out of 5.00 (average of 16 ratings)

About The World Won’t Listen:

In 1987, Rough Trade released this UK-only collection of singles (including those from the Meat Is Murder and The Queen Is Dead albums) and B-sides. The album featured 16 songs, although there was an 18-track version released as well. “Shakespeare’s Sister, Panic, Ask, [and] Shoplifters of the World Unite…are all definitive, as are “the sneering, bouncing pop of You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, BabyLB and “the elegiac Unloveable, Asleep, Stretch Out and Wait, and Half a Person.” LB


Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • Oscillate Wildly (1/28/85, B-side of “How Soon Is Now?”, 39 CO) WL, LB
  • Shakespeare’s Sister (3/18/85, 11 CO, 26 UK) WL, LB, VB
  • Stretch Out and Wait (3/18/85, B-side) WL, LB
  • Rubber Ring (9/23/85, B-side of “The Boy with the Thorn in His Side,” 39 CO) WL, LB
  • Asleep (9/23/85, B-side of “The Boy with the Thorn in His Side”) WL, LB
  • Unloveable (5/19/86, B-side) WL, LB
  • Money Changes Everything (5/19/86, B-side) WL
  • Panic (7/21/86, 3 CO, 11 UK) WL, LB, VB
  • Ask (10/20/86, 10 CO, 14 UK) WL, LB, VB
  • Shoplifters of the World Unite (1/26/87, 4 CO, 12 UK) WL, LB, VB
  • London (1/26/87, B-side) WL, LB
  • Half a Person (1/26/87, B-side, 39 CO) WL, LB
  • You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby WL, LB

Louder Than Bombs

The Smiths


Released: March 30, 1987


Recorded: 1983-87


Peak: 62 US, 38 UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): --


Genre: college rock


Tracks: (1) Is It Really So Strange? (2) Sheila Take a Bow (3) Shoplifters of the World Unite (4) Sweet and Tender Hooligan (5) Half a Person (6) London (7) Panic (8) Girl Afraid (9) Shakespeare’s Sister (10) William, It Was Really Nothing (11) You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby (12) Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now (13) Ask (14) Golden Lights (15) Oscillate Wildly (16) These Things Take Time (17) Rubber Ring (18) Back to the Old House (19) Hand in Glove (20) Stretch Out and Wait (21) Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want (22) This Night Has Opened My Eyes (23) Unloveable (24) Asleep


Total Running Time: 72:44

Rating:

4.093 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About Louder Than Bombs:

In 1987, neither Hatful of Hollow nor The World Won’t Listen were available in the U.S. American audiences were thus treated to this 24-track package which featured 13 cuts from Listen and 8 from Hollow. It “makes the record a little redundant for most Smiths fans.” LB However, it “boasts a wealth of brilliant material” LB and “mostly does a great service by tidying up the Hollow and Listen collections. By whittling out the songs on those collections that appeared on the Smiths’ studio albums, Bombs fits neatly beside the studio albums without overlap. The one exception is the presence of Hand in Glove, the band’s first single. This seems an odd choice since there were still three non-album cuts (Handsome Devil, Accept Yourself, and Money Changes Everything) from Hollow and Listen that weren’t transported over to Bombs.

Bombs also adds “the bizarre travelogue of Is It Really So Strange?,” LB Sheila Take a Bow, and Sweet and Tender Hooligan, all of which rank with the Smiths’ best. In fact, in the opinion of the DMDB, Bombs showcases the best of the Smiths throughout their career, making it the ideal launch pad for beginners even more so than any of their official studio albums.


Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • Golden Lights (10/20/86, B-side of “Ask”) LB
  • Sheila Take a Bow (4/13/87, 10 CO, 10 UK) LB, VB
  • Is It Really So Strange? (4/13/87, B-side) LB
  • Sweet and Tender Hooligan (4/13/87, B-side) LB

Strangeways, Here We Come (1987):

  • Girlfriend in a Coma (8/10/87, 4 CO, 13 UK) VB
  • I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish (11/12/87, 12 CO, 23 UK) VB
  • Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me (12/7/87, 12 CO, 30 UK) VB
  • Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One Before (1/21/88, 9 CO) VB

The Very Best of

The Smiths


Released: June 4, 2001


Recorded: 1983-1987


Peak: -- US, 30 UK


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.3 UK


Genre: college rock


Tracks: (1) Panic (2) The Boy with the Thorn in His Side (3) Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now (4) Ask (5) Bigmouth Strikes Again (6) How Soon Is Now? (7) This Charming Man (8) What Difference Does It Make? (9) William, It Was Really Nothing (10) Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others (11) Girlfriend in a Coma (12) Hand in Glove (13) There Is a Light That Never Goes Out (14) Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want (15) That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore (16) I Know It’s Over (17) Sheila Take a Bow (18) I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish (19) Still Ill (20) Shakespeare’s Sister (21) Shoplifters of the World Unite (22) Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me (23) Stop Me if You Think You’ve Heard This One Before


Total Running Time: 78:34

Rating:

3.865 out of 5.00 (average of 11 ratings)

About The Very Best of:

For a group that only released four studio albums, there are WAY too many compilations out there, including Best…I, Best…II, Singles, The Sound of the Smiths, AND the three B-side collections highlighted on this page. This is the one that makes the most sense and gathers the biggest and best for the casual fan.

Resources and Related Links:


First posted 4/27/2008; last updated 2/25/2022.

Saturday, June 2, 2001

“Lady Marmalade” hit #1…again

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

Lady Marmalade

LaBelle

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.