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


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First posted 2/10/2023.

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”

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.