Saturday, April 29, 2006

Gnarls Barkley charts with “Crazy”


Gnarls Barkley

Writer(s): Brian Burton, Thomas Callaway, Gianfranco Reverberi, Gian Piero Reverberi (see lyrics here)

Released: March 13, 2006

First Charted: April 29, 2006

Peak: 2 US, 6 RR, 7 AC, 13 A40, 16 AA, 53 RB, 7 MR, 19 UK, 2 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 1.2 UK, 5.96 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.6 radio, 347.26 video, 744.17 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

When Goodie Mob rapper and soulman Cee-Lo Green teamed with noted producer Danger Mouse (Gorillaz’ Demon Days and his own Jay-Z/Beatles mash-up The Grey Album), the average radio listener would stare blankly if quizzed on songs associated with either of the pair. With a name that played on Hall of Fame basketball star Charles Barkley, the duo were seemingly carefree about whether or not achieved success.

Thus the success of “Crazy” was based not on the band’s image or personality, but the strength of the unique and catchy song – “the audio equivalent of a hippie rainbow.” BX It featured “an impassioned vocal, an old-fashioned bassline,” MN and a “thoroughly authentic retro sound and indelibly genius melody…It’s chord progression and melody is a songwriter’s joy.” WX The duo “packed a career’s worth of genius…into three minutes” RS’09 “and just enough oddness to stand out on the radio dial.” MN

The song emerged from a discussion between the duo about how artists aren’t taken seriously unless they’re insane. Green used the conversation as a springboard for the song’s lyrics and paired it with a strings sample Danger Mouse took from a spaghetti Western score by Ennio Morricone.

“Crazy” was the first song to top the British charts on the strength of downloads alone. It became the best-selling single of 2006 and, by the end of the next year, was the most downloaded song ever in the U.K. SFThe music video fit the insanity theme, done in the style of the famous psychiatric Roschach test in which patients are evaluated on their responses to inkblot patterns. SF


Last updated 10/23/2022.

Friday, April 21, 2006

“Falling Slowly” released...for first time

Falling Slowly

The Swell Season (Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová)

Writer(s): Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová (see lyrics here)

Released: April 21, 2006

First Charted: September 16, 2007

Peak: 61 US, 15 AA, 8 CN, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.99 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 17.3 video, 101.35 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Glen Hansard is a folk-rock singer/songwriter and musician born in Dublin, Ireland in 1970. He became the frontman of the rock band the Frames in 1990; they have released six studio albums. In 2001, he met a then-thirteen-year-old Markéta Irglová, a singer and pianist born in Czechoslavokia. Her parents organized a musical festival and booked the Frames.

Hansard and Irglová formed a folk-rock duo known as the Swell Season. Hansard took the name from a 1975 novel by Czech-Canadian writer Josef Škvorecký. The pair released a self-titled album in 2006 which featured the song “Falling Slowly.” Hansard also released it that same year on the Frames’ album, The Cost. It also appeared in the 2006 Czech movie Beauty in Trouble. The song, however, was written and composed while the movie Once was in production WK1 and would appear on the movie’s 2007 soundtrack.

Hansard and Irglová starred as struggling musicians in the romantic musical drama written and directed by John Carney. He was a bassist with the Frames in the early ‘90s and approached Hansard about writing songs for the movie. SF It was a surprise hit, receiving the Independent Spirt Award for Best Foreign Film. It was developed into a musical in 2011 and won the Tony Award for Best Musical.

Carney thought the success was due in part to the chemistry between the actors, who he called his “Bogart and Bacall.” WK1 They did become a couple in real life. Hansard acknowledged, “I had been falling in love with her for a long time, but I kept telling myself she’s just a kid.” WK1

The song “Falling Slowly” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media. During the acceptance speech at the Oscars, Irglová said, that “Falling Slowly” “was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are.” WK2


First posted 9/22/2022.

50 years ago: Elvis Presley hit #1 with “Heartbreak Hotel”

Heartbreak Hotel

Elvis Presley

Writer(s): Mae Axton/Tommy Durden (see lyrics here)

Released: January 27, 1956

First Charted: March 3, 1956

Peak: 18 US, 16 CB, 17 HR, 117 CW, 3 RB, 2 UK, 1 CN, 3 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 5.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 15.76 video, 23.71 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

RCA Records made a deal on November 22, 1955 that may be the best ever made in music history; for $40,000, an unprecedented amount at the time, they bought Elvis’ contract from Sun Records. FB At times, Presley accounted for 25% or more of RCA’s record sales. SA His blend of R&B with country made him rock music’s first and greatest superstar. It should also be noted how that contract didn’t just launch Elvis’ career, but gave Sun Records the cash to promote future stars such as Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. AH

“Heartbreak Hotel” was among the songs recorded at Elvis’ first RCA recording session in January 1956. FB RCA was looking for more rockabilly tunes in the vein of what he had recorded for Sun, but for his first RCA single, Presley delivered “this gloomy, downtempo number.” RS500 “Could there have possibly been a less likely song to introduce a new teen-idol star for the fledging genre of rock and roll to a national audience?” SS Sun Records founder Sam Phillips called “a morbid mess.” RS500

It became Presley’s “breakthrough record, a performance that still resonates today with all the spine-tingling power and dignity and mystery of a classic rock and roll single.” PW “The power of the song is its ferocious intimacy.” PW Elvis serves up “a smoldering, echo-drenched vocal.” TB He “sings the chorus backed only by the beautiful, lonesome sound of a walking electric bass…Only a great voice can hang out there that naked.” PW “The king of rock and roll had just ascended to his throne.” FB

The song developed out of a Miami Herald newspaper story SS which Tommy Durden brought to Mae Axton, an English teacher and freelance journalist. AH The front page article was about a middle-aged man who committed suicide, leaving a note that simply said “I walk a lonely street.” Axton was inspired, suggesting to Tommy that they put a Heartbreak Hotel at the end of the lonely street. TC She played a demo featuring rockabilly singer Glenn Reeves for Elvis, AH confidently insisting it would be his first million-selling single. FB She was right.

On January 10 – just two days after his 21st birthday – Elvis recorded the song at RCA Studios in Nashville. Guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, who’d worked with Elvis at Sun Records, were there along with guitarist Chet Atkins, drummer D.J. Fontana, and pianist Floyd Cramer. SS The latter two came to be considered “principal architects of what became known as ‘the Nashville Sound’ or ‘Countrpolitan,’” AH “styles of country music that pulled the music away from its roots and twards…the pre-rock pop sound.” AH

The song was released in late January, but didn’t take off TB until April. On the 3rd, Elvis sang the song before an estimated fourth of the U.S. population on NBC’s Milton Berle Show. FB By the end of the month, it had landed atop the Billboard charts. By year’s end, the magazine crowned it the number single of 1956. FB


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First posted 7/13/2014; last updated 3/30/2023.