Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Alan Jackson performed “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” at the CMAs

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning

Alan Jackson

Writer(s): Alan Jackson (see lyrics here)

First Performed: November 7, 2001

Released: November 26, 2001

First Charted: November 24, 2001

Peak: 28 US, 15 CW, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.4 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.2 radio, 7.5 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” was Alan Jackson’s heartfelt reaction to the September 11 attacks. As soon as he saw the news on television, he knew he wanted to write a song about it, but couldn’t for several weeks. As he said, “I didn’t want to write a patriotic song. And I didn’t want it to be vengeful, either. But I didn’t want to forget about how I felt and how I knew other people felt that day.” WK

At 4 a.m. on October 28, 2001, he awoke with the melody, opening lines, and chorus going through his mind. He got out of bed and sang into a hand-held digital recorder. After his family went to Sunday school that morning, he finished the lyrics. The words focus on questions about how people reacted, such as, “Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow? / Go out and buy you a gun? / Did you turn off that violent old movie you’re watchin’ / And turn on I Love Lucy reruns?” He referred to himself as “a singer of simple songs” and “not a real political man” and concludes by paraphrasing The Bible with the line, “Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us / And the greatest is love.”

Still, he wasn’t sure about recording it, much less releasing it, because he didn’t want to capitalize on a tragedy. However, when he played it for his wife, Denise, and for his producer, Keith Stegall, they both gave their approval. He went into the studio and recorded it that week. He played the finished track for executives at his record label. RCA chairman Joe Galante said, “We just kind of looked at one another. Nobody spoke for a full minute.” WK Jackson later said the song was his greatest accomplishment. SF

Jackson premiered the song at the County Music Association’s annual awards on November 7, 2001. He originally was going to perform “Where I Come From,” which was #1 on the Billboard country charts. When Jackson’s manager, Nancy Russell, played “Where Were You” for four of the CMA’s top executives, they were overcome with emotion. WK Vince Gill introduced Jackson that night and Jackson received a standing ovation at the song’s conclusion.

The next morning stations were immediately playing the song. Based almost entirely on that airplay, the song debuted at #25 on the Billboard country charts the week ending November 24, 2001 – the highest debut in a decade. It was then released as a single and, only six weeks later, became the fastest rising song to #1 in four years. WK


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First posted 8/13/2022.

Thursday, November 1, 2001

The White Stripes “Hotel Yorba” charted

Hotel Yorba

The White Stripes

Writer(s): Jack White (see lyrics here)

Released: November 10, 2001

First Charted: November 1, 2001

Peak: 26 UK, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 7.0 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Jack Gillis, a singer/songwriter and musician, and drummer Meg White married in 1996. He changed his last name to White and they formed the White Stripes a year later. The Detroit-based, garage-rock duo released a couple of singles and then a self-titled debut in 1999. That album and its 2000 follow-up, De Stilj, failed to make a dent on the U.S. charts, although both would eventually reach 300,000 in sales.

The two divorced in 2000, but kept the group together. A year later, their third album, White Blood Cells, proved to be their breakthrough. The album would sell more than a million copies in the U.S. and reach #61. In the UK, it got to #55 and sold more than 300,000 copies. It was the second single, “Fell in Love with a Girl,” which introduced the band to American audiences. However, in the UK, it was the first single, “Hotel Yorba,” which proved to be the band’s opening salvo.

The song was written about an actual hotel built in 1926 in Detroit. WK It was located in a run-down section in the southwestern part of the city at 4020 Lafayette Boulevard near a bus station. SF As a child, Jack heard rumors – which proved to be false – that the Beatles had stayed at the hotel. WK

Jack White first performed the song, which was inspired by Woody Guthrie, with hs band Two Star Tabernacle in 1998. SF Jack said Woody “wanted his songs to make people happy and make them feel good about themselves…I think ‘Hotel Yorba’ is definitely in that category.” SF The White Stripes recorded the song at the hotel in room 206 and later wanted to film the video – their first – at the hotel. According to Jack, they tried filming inside the hotel without permission, which got him banned for life. SF They ended up shooting much of the video outside the hotel.


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First posted 7/26/2022.

The Strokes “Last Nite” charted

Last Nite

The Strokes

Writer(s): Julian Casablancas (see lyrics here)

Released: October 23, 2001

First Charted: November 1, 2001

Peak: 5 MR, 14 UK, 47 AU, 8 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.6 UK, 1.74 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 121.3 video, 381.28 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Strokes formed in New York City in 1998. The quintet was comprised of singer/songwriter Julian Casablancas, guitarists Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi, bassist Nikolai Fraiture, and drummer Fabrizio Moretti. Rolling Stone described their music as “youthful angst on the Lower East Side: Lou Reed vocals and cool confusion.” RS500 The release of their EP The Modern Age and subsequent album Is This It, both in 2001, were pivotal releases in the launch of the garage rock revival of the early 21st century.

That retro-sound was apparently the goal for Casablancas who said he wanted “Last Nite” to sound “like a band from the past that took a time-trip into the future.” SF It resonated with modern audiences, though. It became the first song for the Strokes to reach the Billboard charts in the United States, peaking at #5 on the alternative rock chart.

British radio station XFM called this their “definitive song” XFM saying it “encapsulated the band’s talent for catchy guitar hooks and Julian Casablancas’ ability as a songwriter.” XFM Lyrically, “Last Nite” tells the story of someone leaving his girlfriend when she says she’s upset that he doesn’t care about her. He becomes depressed, questioning his choices. SF The song supposedly nicks the opening riff of “American Girl” by Tom Petty. He said, “I saw an interview with them where they admitted it. I was like, ‘OK, good for you.’ It doesn’t bother me.’” RS500

Q magazine ranked “Last Nite” one of the 100 greatest guitar tracks in March 2005. WK In May 2007, NME magazine ranked it the ninth greatest indie anthem ever. WK


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First posted 9/28/2023.