Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Mojo – Icons: The Greatest Music Stars of All Time

image from ebay.com

This special issue of the British music magazine Mojo ranked the greatest music stars of all time. Here’s the list:

  1. John Lennon
  2. Elvis Presley
  3. David Bowie
  4. Keith Richards
  5. Kurt Cobain
  6. Madonna
  7. Bono
  8. Bob Marley
  9. Joe Strummer
  10. Bob Dylan

  11. Morrissey
  12. Johnny Cash
  13. Liam Gallagher
  14. Paul McCartney
  15. Eminem
  16. Freddie Mercury
  17. Mick Jagger
  18. Robbie Williams
  19. Jimi Hendrix
  20. Tupac (“2pac”) Shakur

  21. Kylie Minogue
  22. Thom Yorke
  23. Noel Gallagher
  24. Michael Stipe
  25. George Harrison
  26. Bruce Springsteen
  27. Sid Vicious
  28. Elton John
  29. Kate Bush
  30. Syd Barrett

  31. Marvin Gaye
  32. Rod Stewart
  33. Britney Spears
  34. George Michael
  35. 50 Cent
  36. Ian Brown
  37. Jack White
  38. Justin Timberlake
  39. John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon
  40. James Hetfield

  41. Michael Jackson
  42. Neil Young
  43. Marc Bolan
  44. Dave Grohl
  45. Axl Rose
  46. Pete Townshend
  47. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott
  48. James Brown
  49. Richey Edwards
  50. Lemmy Kilmister

  51. Jim Morrison
  52. Christina Aguilera
  53. Jimmy Page
  54. Prince
  55. Iggy Pop
  56. Shane MacGowan
  57. Elvis Costello
  58. Ozzy Osbourne
  59. Stevie Wonder
  60. Nick Drake

  61. Aretha Franklin
  62. Joey Ramone
  63. Ian Curtis
  64. Robert Smith
  65. Chris Martin
  66. Phil Lynott
  67. Slash
  68. Keith Moon
  69. Chuck Berry
  70. Slyvester “Sly Stone” Stewart

  71. Jeff Buckley
  72. Gram Parsons
  73. Ray Charles
  74. Simon LeBon
  75. PJ Harvey
  76. Angus Young
  77. Brian Wilson
  78. Jerry Dammer
  79. Frank Sinatra
  80. Marilyn Manson

  81. Elliott Smith
  82. Eric Clapton
  83. Frank Black (aka “Black Francis”)
  84. Beyonce
  85. Lou Reed
  86. Tom Waits
  87. Pete Doherty
  88. Billie Joe Armstrong
  89. Janis Jopline
  90. Siouxsie Sioux

  91. Ringo Starr
  92. Anthony Kiedis
  93. Paul Weller
  94. Snoop Doggy Dogg
  95. Courtney Love
  96. Dusty Springfield
  97. Bjork
  98. Buddy Holly
  99. John Lee Hooker
  100. New York Dolls

  • Listal.com: Mojo’s Icons (lists all 50 with comments and essential recordings)

Saturday, November 27, 2004

50 years ago: The Chordettes’ “Mr. Sandman” hit #1

Mr. Sandman

The Chordettes

Writer(s): Pat Ballard (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 11, 1954

Peak: 17 US, 18 HP, 17 CB, 13 HR, 11 UK, 14 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 79.3 video, 109.04 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This “vocal group favorite” DJ was written by Pat Ballard, the music editor of College Humor. TY2 It was first recorded by Vaughn Monroe and released in 1954 as the B-side of “They Were Doin’ the Mambo.” WK It was followed by multiple covers in late 1954 and early 1955 by the Four Aces (#5 US, #9 UK), Buddy Morrow (#20 US), the Lancers (#28 US), Dicky Valentine (#5 UK), Chet Atkins (#13 CW), and Max Bygraves (#16 UK). There were later chart versions by Bert Kaempfert (1968, #12 AC) and Emmylou Harris (1981, #10 CW, #37 US). The Andrews Sisters, Marvin Gaye, Bette Midler, and the Supremes have also recorded the song.

However, the Chordettes had the first – and most successful – charting version. Theirs topped the Billboard, Cashbox, and Your Hit Parade charts. The Chordettes were a female vocal group comprised of Carol Buschmann, Lynn Evans, Jinny Osborn, and Nancy Overton. They formed in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. They were known for their “barbershop-type close harmony…with a doo wop and pop twist.” DD They were “the stylistic bridge between the barbershop harmony vocalizing of predecessors such as the Andrews Sisters and the rhythm & blues pop of the Shirelles.” TB

“Mr. Sandman” is “an excellent example of their main form, singing close harmony a cappella with minimal accompaniment.” SF This was the first chart hit for the foursome. They went on to reach the top 40 on the Billboard pop charts eight more times, including four top-10 hits. Their next biggest hit was “Lollipop,” which reached #2.

Their version features an iconic male voice in the third verse in simply responding, “Yes?” one time after the quartet sings “Mr. Sandman.” The voice was supplied by Archie Bleyer, the founder of Cadence Records, the company which released the Chordettes’ version of the song. WK The version by the Four Aces is featured in the movie Back to the Future when Marty, played by Michael J. Fox, first realizes he’s in 1955. WK


First posted 9/8/2021; last updated 3/23/2023.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Kelly Clarkson “Since U Been Gone” charted

Since U Been Gone

Kelly Clarkson

Writer(s): Max Martin, Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald (see lyrics here)

Released: November 16, 2004

First Charted: November 26, 2004

Peak: 2 US, 17 RR, 22 AC, 2 A40, 5 UK, 4 CN, 3 AU, 21 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.74 US, 1.2 UK, 4.23 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.7 radio, 120.96 video, 585.45 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Kelly Clarkson was born in 1982 in Forth Worth, Texas. She shot to fame as the winner of the first season of television’s American Idol talent contest in 2002. Her debut single, “A Moment Like This,” topped the Billboard Hot 100 and became the biggest selling song of the year. The song was featured on her debut album, 2003’s Thankful, which topped the album chart and sold over two million copies.

She went with a more pop-rock sound for her second studio album, 2004’s Breakaway. It sold six million copies in the U.S. on the strength of four top-ten singles. The most successful of these was “Since U Been Gone,” “an uptempo pop rock and power pop ballad that infuses electronic sounds with a mixture of a soft and loud pop rock sound.” WK It peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The songwriters/producers Max Martin and Dr. Luke were both involved in the song. Max Martin previously worked on Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” and Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” and later on #1 hits for Taylor Swift (“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “Shake It Off,” “Blank Space”) and Pink (“So What,” “Raise Your Glass”). This was Dr. Luke’s first hit although he and Martin later collaborated on #1 hits by Katy Perry (“I Kissed a Girl,” “California Gurls,” “Roar,” “Dark Horse”). Dr. Luke would go on to work on #1 hits by Flo Rida (“Right Round”), Ke$ha (“Tik Tok”), Pitbull (“Timber”), and Miley Cyrus (“Wrecking Ball”).

The song is written “from a woman’s point of view where she expresses her sense of relief with the end of her troubled relationship.” WK It was inspired by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ 2003 song “Maps.” Dr. Luke explained that he and Martin were listening to more alternative and indie music and loved this song, but thought it lacked a pop chorus so they essentially wrote their own version WK with a “big, juicy chorus.” SF

Martin had Pink in mind for the song, but she turned it down. Then Hilary Duff rejected it because she couldn’t reach the higher notes. WK Clive Davis, the chief creative artist at Sony (Clarkson’s label) convinced the writers to give the song to Clarkson. SF They were reluctant because they were wanting to move in a more rock direction, but after hearing the stronger rock influence of her nearly finished album, they agreed. WK Even then, Clarkson added heavier guitar and drums to the song. WK

Rohin of Blogcritics called the song “almost one of the best pieces of throwaway pop in recent history.” WK NPR Music’s Stephen Thompson said it was “one of the decade’s finest pop anthems.” WK Billboard’s Gary Trust said it was a defining song of the 2000s and a blueprint for female pop songs. WK


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First posted 8/6/2023.