Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rihanna “Disturbia” hit #1



Writer(s): Brian Kennedy, Chris Brown, Robert Allen, Andre Merritt (see lyrics here)

Released: July 22, 2008

First Charted: June 14, 2008

Peak: 12 US, 14 RR, 20 A40, 88 RB, 3 UK, 2 CN, 6 AU, 21 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.6 UK, 13.2 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.4 radio, 330.1 video, 467.39 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

A year after Rihanna released her third album, 2007’s Good Girl Gone Bad, she reissued the album as Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded. The original version had twelve songs; the reissue featured included a duet with Maroon 5, “If I Never See Your Face Again,” which shockingly stalled at #51 but two other songs – “Take a Bow” and “Disturbia” – went all the way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

“Disturbia” was a top-10 hit in more than twenty countries. Time magazine’s Josh Tyrangiel described it as a “fun-packed electro treat filled with sizzling beats and crazy vocal effects.” WK In fact, it was Rihanna’s first use of Auto-Tune, which gave vocals a “slightly robotic sound,” on one of her hits. SF Lyrically, the song is about “the experiences of anguish, anxiety, and confusion.” WK described it as “like a horror movie set to song.” SF

The song was written by Chris Brown and his team with the original intent to add it to a reissue of his own 2007 Exclusive album. Brown was dating Rihanna at the time (he pled guilty to felony assault of her in 2009), and thought the song was better suited for a female singer.

The video reflected the creepy vibe of the song. Rihanna is imprisoned in a facility where she is tortured. According to the director, Anthony Mandler, the label was freaked out enough by the video that they considered shelving it. SF


Related Links:

First posted 2/10/2023.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lady Gaga Released The Fame

The Fame

Lady Gaga

Released: August 19, 2008

Peak: 2 US, 17 UK, 12 CN, 1 AU

Sales (in millions): 6.0 US, 3.3 UK, 18.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: dance pop


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

  1. Just Dance [with Colby O’Donis] (6/17/08, 1 US, 1 UK, 72 RB, 28 AC, 7 AA, sales: 7.7 m, air: 0.5 m)
  2. LoveGame (3/21/09, 5 US, 19 UK, 91 RB, 23 AA, sales: 1.4 m, air: 0.2 m)
  3. Paparazzi (1/31/09, 6 US, 4 UK, 14 AA, sales: 1.0 m, air: 0.1 m)
  4. Beautiful, Dirty, Rich (2/21/09, 83 UK)
  5. Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) (1/31/09, –)
  6. Poker Face (9/23/08, 1 US, 1 UK, 75 RB, 12 AA, sales: 9.8 m, air: 0.5 m)
  7. The Fame
  8. Money Honey
  9. Again Again
  10. Boys Boys Boys
  11. Brown Eyes
  12. Summerboy
  13. I Like It Rough


3.934 out of 5.00 (average of 31 ratings)


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Has an album title ever been so self-prophetic? In its first year, this electropop opus rocketed Lady Gaga from unknown New York lounge singer to the world’s biggest pop star this side of Britney Spears” ET “The times were crying out for a pop star like Lady GaGa – 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. That self-awareness and satire were absent in the pop of the new millennium, where even the best of the lot operated only on one level, which may be why Lady GaGa turned into such a sensation in 2009: everybody was thirsty for music like this.” STE

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. However, while Gwen Stefani, to whom GaGa is often compared, “simply celebrates celeb consumer culture, GaGa bites, her litany of runway models, pornographic girls, and body plastic delivered with an undercurrent of disdain, even as she loves all the glitz.” STE In addition, “Gaga’s vocals are in fact richer and rounder, allowing her a certain stylistic versatility, and her personae alternate from wild party kid to vulnerable lover.” ET

That versatile personae, along with a predilection for over-the-top outfits, an ability to manipulate the press, and a provactive image suggested “that she was the second coming of Madonna, a comparison GaGa cheerfully courts and one that’s accurate if perhaps overextended. Like the marvelous Madge, Lady GaGa ushers the underground into the mainstream – chiefly, a dose of diluted Peaches delivered via a burbling cauldron of electro-disco – by taming it just enough so it’s given the form of pop yet remains titillating.” STE

While some critics painted The Fame as unoriginal and lyrically simplistic, there seemed to be consensus on Gaga’s gift for melodious hooks and Gwen Stefani-sounding vocals that would give her exactly the fame she desired. Genevieve Koski of the The A.V. Club said that the album is "fueled by a glitter-laced, dance-inciting energy that bodes well for extended club play, which is really the whole point.” WK Indeed, the album would win a Grammy for Best Electronic/ Dance Album and even get nominated for Album of the Year.

Like Madonna, Gaga rose up through the New York club scene. The song “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich summed up her time of self-discovery, living in the Lower East Side and dabbling in drugs and the party scene.” WK Both artists hit big with their debut albums, but while Madonna’s first album was an unquestionable success led by a top 20 hit, a top 10 hit, and two top 5 hits, it wasn’t until “Like a Virgin,” her first single from album #2, that she hit the pinnacle. Gaga, however, shot to #1 right out of the gate with Just Dance, which “talks about being intoxicated in a party, with lyrics like ‘What’s going on on the floor? / I love this record, baby but I can’t see straight anymore.’” WK Gaga said it was “is a joyous, heart-themed song which appeal[s] to people going through tough times in their life.” WK Come Grammy time, “Just Dance” earned a nomination, but not the prize, for Best Dance Recording.

She followed that up with the even bigger Poker Face, a song “inspired by Gaga’s boyfriends who enjoyed gambling, and also dealt with her personal experience of bisexuality; her fantasies about women while having sex with men, thus representing her ‘poker face’.” WK Like its predecessor, it hit #1 in the U.S. and U.K. While “Just Dance” lost the Grammy for Best Dance Recording the year before, “Poker Face” garnered a win in the same category – as well as nominations (but no trophies) for Song of the Year and Record of the Year. The pair of songs went on to cement places in the top 10 best-selling digital songs of all-time.

Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say), which “was about breaking up with a boyfriend and finding someone new,” WK and incorporated “the ‘Eh, Eh’ hook from Rihanna’s single ‘Umbrella,’” WK was released in parts of the world as the third single, but in the U.S. LoveGame was next up. The song is “about love, fame and sexuality which is akin to the central theme of album.” WK It was inspired by “Gaga’s sexual crush on a stranger in a night club to whom she said, ‘I wanna ride on your disco stick.’ It was written in four minutes based on the disco stick hook.” WK

In the U.K., Paparazzi was released as the third single while it was the fourth release in the U.S. and the fifth through other parts of the world. In the song, GaGa “casts herself as the photographic parasite chasing after her crush,” STE pondering “whether one can have both fame and love.” WK The song appears to be about “a stalker who is following somebody being his or her biggest fan. The lyrics also portray the desire of capturing the attention of the camera as well as achieving fame.” WK However, the song “has been interpreted with different meanings.” WK Gaga told that it “was inspired by her struggles and hunger for fame and love.” WK

Beyond the singles, were songs infused with a variety of musical backgrouns. Boys, Boys, Boys was intended to be a female version of Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” that would be embraced by the rock crowd. WK Elsewhere, “Summerboy has influences of the music of Blondie.” WK There’s also the glam rock style of David Bowie and Queen, the latter inspiring the song Brown Eyes. WK

In the end, The Fame “is commandeering enough, bizarre and beguiling enough, to ensure that she’ll be basking in our attention for a very long time.” ET


A U.S. edition of the album bumped “Again Again” and inserted the songs “Starstruck” and “Paper Gangsta.” Another edition added “Disco Heaven” as well. A U.K. edition added all three of these songs to the original thirteen. On top of all that, The Fame Monster, which was an eight-cut follow-up put out in 2009, was released in a deluxe edition version that paired The Fame Monster with the aforementioned U.S. edition of The Fame.

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 8/12/2011; last updated 3/3/2024.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Domenico Modugno hit #1 with “Volare”

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, 4 DF (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, 27.5 video, 41.59 streaming


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. FB 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 Bob Dylan described it as “a whimsical song” that is “zooming and whizzing…it gets up to speed and barges into the sun, ricochets off the stars, smokes pipe dreams and blasts into cloud cuckoo land.” BD

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


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Domenico Modugno
  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 41.
  • BD Bob Dylan (2022). The Philosophy of Modern Song. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Pages 153-4.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 3/13/2021; last updated 10/23/2022.

Monday, August 4, 2008

50 years ago: The Big Bopper “Chantilly Lace” charted

Chantilly Lace

The Big Bopper

Writer(s): J.P. Richardson (see lyrics here)

First Charted: August 4, 1958

Peak: 6 US, 4 CB, 4 HR, 3 RB, 12 UK, 2 CN, 2 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 11.0 video, 24.37 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Big Bopper was born Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr. in 1930 in Texas. The singer/songwriter and guitarist tragically died in an airplane crash in 1959 along with other rock and roll pioneers Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. In his short life, he worked as a radio disc jockey (where he picked up the nickname “The Big Bopper”) and served a stint in the Army before launching his career as a songwriter and eventually singer.

He only charted three times as a singer on the Billboard Hot 100 – all in 1958 – with “Chantilly Lace” (#6), “Big Bopper’s Wedding” (#38), and “Little Red Riding Hood” (#72). He is credited with creating the first music video, something he did for all three of his chart hits. He also wrote “White Lightning,” which was George Jones’ first #1 country hit, and “Running Bear,” a #1 pop hit for Johnny Preston. Still, the Big Bopper is most associated with “Chantilly Lace.”

The song, which used the same chord progression as Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen,” WK was originally called “That’s What I Like.” SF It was originally released as the B-side for “The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor,” a parody of Sheb Wooley’s “The Purple People Eater” and David Seville’s “Witch Doctor.” WK DJs preferred the flip side and “Chantilly Lace” became the third most played song of 1958. WB

Richardson’s background as a DJ played into the song’s success. The intro of the song had him announcing, in typical DJ patter, “this is the Big Bopper speakin’.” The technique helped people closely identify the song with him and made it easier for listeners to ask for the song at record stores. SF


First posted 10/30/2022.