Saturday, June 17, 2006

Shakira and Wyclef Jean hit #1 with “Hips Don’t Lie”

Hips Don’t Lie

Shakira with Wyclef Jean

Writer(s): Wyclef Jean, Shakira, Jerry “Wonder” Duplessis, Omar Alfanno, LaTavia Parker, Vinay Rao (see lyrics here)

Released: February 28, 2006

First Charted: March 3, 2006

Peak: 12 US, 17 RR, 13 BA, 13 DG, 24 AC, 18 A40, 15 UK, 2 CN, 19 AU, 10 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.99 US, 1.2 UK, 10.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.4 radio, 618.91 video, 1310.07 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Hips Don’t Lie” was a truly international effort. Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean, known originally for his work with the Fugees, wrote and recorded a song with U.S. singer Claudette Ortiz called “Dance Like This” which was used for the Dirty Dancing (Havana Nights) 2004 soundtrack. SF Part of the instrumentation came from Puerto Rican salsa singer Jerry Rivera’s “Amores Como El Nuestro” while some of the lyrics were taken from a meringue song, “Carnaval (Baila en la Calle),” by Luis “Terror” Diaz, a Dominican composer. The latter was the unofficial theme song of the Dominican Republic’s Carnival.

The song was a late edition to Shakira’s Oral Fixation Vol. 2. That 2005 album was released as a sort of partnering album with her FijaciĆ³n Oral Vol. 1. The latter was released six months earlier. Despite being a Spanish-language album, it outsold its English counterpart. WK The record company, Epic, approached Jean to do a remake of the album’s single, “La Tortura,” but he suggested a reworking of “Dance Like This.” SF

The song celebrated a woman’s power to seduce through dance. The title was inspired Shakira’s in-studio mantra about how to tell if a song was working or not. As she’d tell her band members, “Listen, hips don’t lie. If they’re not moving, this isn’t working.” SF

After it was reworked for Columbian singer Shakira’s second English-language album, it became a massive global success, topping the charts in 25 countries and becoming the most successful worldwide single of 2006 WK and the top-selling single in the world for the 2000-2009 decade. SF In the United States it made history for racking up more plays on the radio in a single week – 9,637 times for the week ending June 2, 2006 – than any other song. SF It also reached the one-million download mark faster than any prior song in history. WK


Last updated 7/20/2023.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

50 years ago: Gene Vincent “Be-Bop-A-Lula”


Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps

Writer(s): Gene Vincent, Donald Graves Bill “Sheriff Tex” Davis (see lyrics here)

First Charted: June 15, 1956

Peak: 7 US, 5 CB, 6 HR, 7 CW, 8 RB, 16 UK, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 8.36 video, 31.75 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Singer and guitarist Gene Vincent was born in 1935 in Norfolk, Virginia. He only had four Billboard Hot 100 entries, but was considered one of rock and roll’s pioneering artists and in the UK “became one of the biggest influences on everyone who sang or played a guitar.” AH He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. His biggest hit, “Be-Bop-A-Lula,” drew comparisons to Elvis Presley.

It was Elvis, in fact, who inspired Vincent to pursue a music career. After seeing Elvis perform in September 1955, Vincent went to the radio station which had promoted the show and got an audience with DJ Bill “Sheriff Tex” Davis. Soon afterward, Vincent was the opening act for Carl Perkins when he came through town. Davis asked Perkins for his thoughts on the singer. Perkins though the boy had potential, particularly noting the song “Be-Bop-A-Lula.” AH Davis would become Vincent’s manager.

Different stories have circulated about how the song originated. Supposedly Vincent wrote the music for the song while recuperating from a motorcycle accident at the US Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. However, the words have also been credited to Donald Graves, who may or may not have met Vincent in the hospital and may or may not have sold the song to Vincent for $25. TB Davis claims he and Vincent wrote the song after listening to “Don’t Bring Lulu.” WK Vincent claimed the lyrics were inspired by the comic strip “Little Lulu.” WK

The title is similar to the 1945 #3 hit “Be-Baba-Leba” for Helen Humes. Lionel Hampton re-recorded the song as “Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop.” The phrase was widely used in the 1940s in jazz circles, lending its name to the bebop style. It supposedly was derived from the shout by Latin American bandleaders of “Arriba! Arriba!” WK Then there’s the melody. It’s nearly identical to the Drifers’ “Money Honey.” AH

A demo of “Be-Bop-A-Lula” was given to Capitol Records, who wanted a young singer to rival Elvis Presley. Vincent had “the rebel image and swagger they were looking for” SF along with “Presley-like good looks” DM and “a sulky country-blues baritone that fit the new rock and roll songs.” DM Vincent would never attain that level of stardom. He was troubled and dark and a slave to painkillers because of his motorcycle accident. TC However, “Be-Bop-A-Lula” earned Vincent a place in rock history nonetheless.

The record company invited Vincent to Nashville, Tennessee, where he recorded the song in Owen Bradley’s studio on May 4, 1956. WK It was released as the B-side to “Woman Love.” The BBC banned it and radio stations in the U.S. weren’t interested, but Capitol Records then made “Be-Bop-A-Lula” the A-side and it became a significant crossover hit reaching the top 10 on the pop, country, and R&B charts. It is “a gibberish song with no real lyrical content at all – but that doesn’t matter.” AH It “is probably the record which, more than any other, epitomizes 1956.” AH


First posted 10/23/2022; last updated 3/30/2023.

Monday, June 5, 2006

50 years ago: Elvis Presley performed "Hound Dog" on Milton Berle

Hound Dog

Big Mama Thornton

Writer(s): Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller (see lyrics here)

First Charted: March 28, 1953

Peak: 17 RB, 6 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 10.6 video, 26.18 streaming

Hound Dog

Elvis Presley

Released: July 13, 1956

First Charted: July 27, 1956

Peak: 111 US, 4 HP, 14 CB, 2 HR, 16 RB, 2 UK, 17 AU (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 0.2 UK, 10.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 68.68 video, 143.63 streaming

Awards (Big Mama Thornton):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Elvis Presley):

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the writers of “Hound Dog,” became the most successful songwriters of the 1950s. TB “Hound Dog” was a country-blues song they wrote at the request of bandleader Johnny Otis, who was working with blues belter Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, a black woman who weighed in around three hundred pounds. These two white, Jewish teenagers “correctly surmised that a song in which she lambasted her cheating man in comically outlandish terms as a mangy dog snooping around the door was well-suited to her style.” SS “Her gritty, raucous, sometimes hilarious performance made it an R&B classic” SS that topped the R&B charts for 7 weeks.

At least six versions and a couple of parodies were released before Elvis stumbled across it. TB It shouldn’t have worked considering the original perspective of the song, but “Elvis Presley not only made it work (albeit with changes in the lyrics that he only partially remembered from the original, and a modified melody)” SS but made it “a massive international smash.” TB

Elvis had a stint at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas in April 1956. One night he caught a performance of Freddie Bell & the Bellboys. They performed “Hound Dog,” “livening the tempo and coming up with some new lyrics.” DM Elvis was enamored with their “show-stopping arrangement” SS of “Hound Dog” and decided to incorporate it into his own act. Guitarist Scotty Moore said, “We were just looking on it as comic relief, if you will, just another number to do onstage.” TB

In fact, Presley performed it on national television a couple of times before even recording it. TB The first appearance was on The Milton Berle Show on June 5, 1956. 40 million people saw Elvis’ take on “Hound Dog,” complete with controversial gyrations that “caused the nationwide uproar over his ‘lewdness.’” DM Critics called him “Elvis the Pelvis” and said the song was a showcase for his “caterwauling voice and nonsense lyrics.” WK

Interestingly, Leiber and Stoller initially “hated his light-hearted approach to their song.” SS Stoller said, “It just sounded terribly nervous, too fast, too white. But you know, after it sold seven or eight million records, it started to sound better.” TC In fact, Leiber and Stoller went on to work with Elvis on the 1957 Jailhouse soundtrack.

With all the attention, he was tapped to perform on The Steve Allen Show for July 1. Allen wasn’t a great fan of rock ‘n’ roll and demanded that Elvis wear a tuxedo. Elvis also had to sing to a top-hat-wearing basset hound. Allen claimed that he wasn’t out to halt Elvis’ presentation style, but the combination of formal wear and singing to a dog reigned in his performance. However, it made for one of The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s most memorable appearances, even if it wasn’t his best.

The following day, Elvis entered the RCA studios in New York City to record the song. “Hound Dog” was originally intended as the B-side for “Don’t Be Cruel,” another song from the session. After the single’s release, it became clear that RCA had two hits on their hands and it became billed as a double A-sided single. The pair of songs became Elvis’ best-selling single and the first single in history to top Billboard magazine’s pop, country, and R&B charts. WK The pair of songs jointly spent 11 weeks atop the pop chart, making it the longest-reigning #1 of the rock era until 1992’s “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men spent 13 weeks at the pinnacle.


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First posted 7/1/2011; last updated 3/30/2023.