Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lady Gaga Releases The Fame: August 19, 2008

Originally posted August 19, 2011.

In only three years, Lady Gaga has amassed ten top-ten hits in the U.S. and another nine in the U.K. While fans awaited the 2011 Born This Way sophomore album, she served up the eight-track EP The Fame Monster in 2009 and a remix collection the next year. Both were top ten U.S. albums.

It all started with 2008’s The Fame. “Just Dance” was the debut single to launch the album and was followed up by “Poker Face”. Both songs were #1 hits in the U.S. and U.K. and rank in the top 100 songs of the 21st century. “Paparazzi” and “LoveGame” were top ten hits in the U.S. as well. All four songs sold at least a million copies; the first two rank amongst the world’s all-time top 100 best-sellers.

Based on the album’s prevalent themes regarding the pursuit of celebrity and the lifestyle of the rich and famous, the spotlight was exactly where she wanted to be. She was “a self-styled, self-made shooting star, one who mocked the tabloid digital age while still wanting to wallow in it – and one who’s smart enough to pull it all off, too.” STE Her versatile personae, along with a predilection for over-the-top outfits, an ability to manipulate the press, and a provacative image suggested “that she was the second coming of Madonna, a comparison GaGa cheerfully courts and one that’s accurate if perhaps overextended.” STE

Dave’s Music Database ranks the album in the top 1000 albums of all time. The Fame also took home the Brit Award for International Album of the Year. It also won a Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album and was nominated for Album of the Year.

Click photo for more about the album.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Domenico Modugno hit #1 with “Volare”

First posted 3/13/2021.

Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blue)

Domenico Modugno

Writer(s): Franco Migliacci, Domenico Modugno, Mitchell Parish (see lyrics here)

First Charted: July 7, 1958

Peak: 15 US, 16 CB, 16 HR, 10 UK, 17 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 5.0 radio, 27.23 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blue)” translates as “To Fly (In the Blue Painted Sky).” This song definitely flew. It soared to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for five non-consecutive weeks and was named the magazine’s song of the year. It was the first foreign-language song to top the chart and also the first #1 written or co-written by its singer. SF It is the only record to originate in Italy and top the American charts. BR1 At the very first Grammy awards, the song took home the prizes for Record and Song of the Year, making it the only foreign-language recording to accomplish this feat. WK

Modugno performed the song for the first time on January 31, 1958 with Johnny Dorelli for the Sanremo Music Festival. Italian singers characteristically stood with their arms on their chests, not moving on stage. Modugno, however, opened up his arms as if he was going to fly. His performance “is now considered to be the event that changed the history of Italian music.” WK It got the song selected ast the Italian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1958. It took third place, but with combined sales of all versions of the song topping 22 million worldwide, it has become one of the all-time most popular entries in the contest. WK

The song came about when Franco Migliacci was waiting for Domenico Modugno to show up for a planned trip to the sea. Migliacci started drinking wine and fell asleep. When he woke up, he looked at reproductions of two Marc Chagall paintings on his wall. He was inspired by them and some vivid dreams to write a song about a man who dreams of painting himself blue and being able to fly. WK

Mitchell Parish wrote English lyrics for the song, as did Gracie Fields. The song has also been translated into French, Spanish, Dutch, Finnish, and Portuguese. WK The Ames Brothers, Louis Armstrong, Chet Atkins, David Bowie, Petula Clark, Ella Fitzgerald, Connie Francis, Dean Martin, the McGuire Sisters, the Platters, Cliff Richard, Barry White, and Frank Zappa have all covered the song. WK

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Domenico Modugno
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 41.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

Saturday, August 2, 2008

M.I.A. debuted with “Paper Planes”: August 2, 2008

Originally posted August 2, 2012.

image from grorg.org

Nothing says pop hit quite like a Sri Lankan-born singer using “negative, violent stereotypes of immigrants as source material,” AB’00 “mocking the perception of dark-skinned immigrants as somehow dangerous,” PD and giving “shout-outs to Third World slums.” RS’09 Rapper Maya Arulpragasam, better known as M.I.A., combined those unlikely commercial elements for “one of the unlikeliest Top 10 jams ever” RS’09 with “Paper Planes,” the third single from her second album, Kala. It was “the sound of the third world and the digital age colliding head-on, with results that were equal parts scary and thrilling.” MX She took “third-world survivalism and, while not glamorizing it, certainly [made] us feel it at a level far more elemental than easy sympathy.” LR

Paper Planes

A year after its initial release, the trailer for Pineapple Express gave the song a second life, letting it expand “from its hipster dance-music niche into broader consciousness.” PF It also packs a whollop at a pivotal moment in Slumdog Millionaire, “the Oscar-winning film that was the late-00’s other great border-hopping underdog story.” PF

The song wraps “irresistible catchiness, political relevance, and musical surprises in one tight package” AB’00 “with global-minded beats and revolutionary chic.” PF The song is built over “a beat sampled from the Clash’s ‘Straight to Hell,’” RS’09 “which itself was an indictment of immigrants’ treatment in the West, permeated with southeast-Asian tonal influences” PD and wrapped in a “gently rolling, almost lazy sounding package so laidback that the first time you hear the gunshots it may jolt you out of your seat.” AB’00 The song’s success suggested “that given the right synergy of personality, topicality, and marketing, something like a mass audience could still gather around even the unlikeliest of phenomena.” PF


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