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 (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, 157.5 video, -- streaming

Awards: (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

Resources and Related Links:

Last updated 3/31/2021.

Friday, April 21, 2006

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 (Click for codes to singles 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

Awards: (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. BR 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.

“Heartbreak Hotel” was among the songs recorded at Elvis’ first RCA recording session in January 1956. BR 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 which Sun Records founder Sam Phillips called “a morbid mess.” RS500 It went on to become the first number one song and first million-seller for Presley. RS500 “The king of rock and roll had just ascended to his throne.” BR

The song developed out of a newspaper story which Tommy Durden brought to Mae Axton. The front page article was about a suicide in which the victim left a note that simply said “I walk a lonely street.” BR Axton was inspired, suggesting to Tommy that they put a Heartbreak Hotel at the end of the lonely street. TC She was so confident with the results that she called Elvis and said he should meet her to hear his first million-selling single. BR

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. BR 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. BR

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Elvis Presley
  • BR Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY.
  • RS500 (2011). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • TC Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 46.
  • SA David Sadowski (1999). Haven’t Named It Yet: A Rock ‘N’ Roll Prehistory, 1926-55.

First posted 7/13/2014; last updated 4/13/2021.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Daniel Powter topped the charts with “Bad Day”

Last updated 2/5/2021.

Bad Day

Daniel Powter

Writer(s): Daniel Powter (see lyrics here)

Released: June 27, 2005

First Charted: August 27, 2005

Peak: 15 US, 2 RR, 119 AC, 112 A40, 2 UK, 7 CN, 3 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.6 UK, 5.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.7 radio, 243.97 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” was definitely not an overnight success. The Canadian singer first recorded the song with producer Jeff Dawson in 2002, who he partnered with in 1997. WK They couldn’t find a label to release it, but finally signed a contract with Warner Bros. Records in April 2003. WK The song was eventually used in a French TV ad for Coca Cola during the 2004 Christmas season. WK

After that, the song was released in Europe as the lead single for Powter’s self-titled sophomore album in January 2005. It went on to become the most played song on European radio. WK In July 2008, the British Performing Rights Society announced that “Bad Day” was the most-played song in the U.K. over the previous five years. SF

The song wouldn’t find success in the U.S. until 2006, when it was used as the goodbye song to departing contestants on the hugely successful U.S. television talent show American Idol. SF It finally charted in the U.S. in February of that year and reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in April. It became the first song to sell two million digital copies in the United States. WK

A writer for The Daily Edge said it was “so sweet it gave you a toothache” WK while People magazine said the song “may be catchy enough to overcome its trite lyrics.” WK On the flip side, On the flip side, others were complimentary of the song’s message. Entertainment Weekly’s David Browne said the song was “addressed to anyone who’s feeling depressed…but its grand panoramic arrangement wants to pump you up.” WK All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine echoed the latter statement, calling it a “sunny tune that pretty much has the opposite sentiment of its title.” WK Powter himself said the song is “not literally about having a bad day. It’s more about not taking yourself too seriously and complaining about trivial things.” WK

Resources and Related Links: