Friday, October 31, 2008

100 years ago: “Take Me Out to the Ball Game" hit #1

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Billy Murray & the Haydn Quartet

Writer(s): Jack Norworth/Albert von Tilzer (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 24, 1908

Peak: 17 US, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.03 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“The unofficial anthem of American baseball” RCG has been “affectionately referred to…as the ‘other’ national anthem.” SH It is “one of the most easily recognized songs in America,” SH behind only “Happy Birthday” and “The Star Spangled Banner.” SH

Surprisingly, neither the song’s composer (Albert Von Tilzer) nor lyricist (Jack Norworth) had ever seen a baseball game prior to writing the song. PS Rumor has it that Norworth’s lyrical inspiration came from a sign reading “Baseball Today – Polo Grounds” which he saw while riding the subway. SH

The song has become a “seventh inning stretch requirement” PS which has been sung at nearly every U.S. professional baseball game for the last 100 years, PS but it got its start on vaudeville where Norworth’s wife, singer Nora Bayes, introduced it. JA-188 In 1908 Billy Murray’s recording of the song with the Haydn Quartet became the biggest song of the year. WHC Harvey Hindermeyer and Edward Meeker also had top 5 hits with their 1908 recordings of the song. PM

Most people only know the refrain, but the full song showcases a story in which Katie tells her beau she would rather go to a baseball game than a show, only to find her team losing. RCG Norworth “shrewdly crafted [the words] so as not to name or favor any one team” SH while Von Tilzer gave the song its “waltz-like rhythms and unforgettable melody.” SH

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Billy Murray
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for The Haydn Quartet
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc.
  • PS Lessons in America’s Popular Music History
  • RCG The Old Songs (1900-1929)
  • SH Songwriters Hall of Fame Towering Song Award
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954 (1986). Record Research, Inc: Menomonee Falls, WI. Page 589.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Record Research, Inc.: Menomonee Falls, WI. Page 15.

First posted 7/10/2012; last updated 4/17/2021.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blender Magazine's 100 Greatest American Albums

First posted 10/18/2008; updated 8/3/2020.

Blender Magazine:

100 Geatest American Albums

In October 2008, Blender Magazine created a list of the 100 Greatest American Albums. I’m sure Canada will be surprised to learn that two of their favorite singers – Neil Young and Joni Mitchell – have been declared American by Blender. The magazine is now defunct, but here’s the original list, flaws and all:

1. Madonna The Immaculate Collection (1990)
2. Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill (1986)
3. Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
4. Stevie Wonder Innervisions (1973)
5. Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (1987)
6. Ramones Ramones (1976)
7. Blondie Parallel Lines (1978)
8. Chuck Berry The Great Twenty-Eight (compilation: 1955-64, released 1982)
9. Nirvana Nevermind (1991)
10. Joni Mitchell Blue (1971)

11. Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
12. Metallica Metallica (1991)
13. Michael Jackson Off the Wall (1979)
14. The Beach Boys Pet Sounds (1966)
15. Marvin Gaye Let’s Get It On (1973)
16. Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962)
17. The Velvet Underground & Nico Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
18. Prince & the Revolution Purple Rain (soundtrack, 1984)
19. Neil Young & Crazy Horse Rust Never Sleeps (1979)
20. James Brown Sex Machine (live, 1970)

21. Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde (1966)
22. Robert Johnson King of the Delta Blues Singers (archives: 1936-37)
23. R.E.M. Murmur (1983)
24. Parliament Mothership Connection (1976)
25. The Notorious B.I.G. Life after Death (1997)
26. Van Halen Van Halen I (1978)
27. Al Green Call Me (1973)
28. Aerosmith Rocks (1976)
29. Beck Odelay (1996)
30. Little Richard Grooviest 17 Original Hits! (compilation: 1955-59)

31. Louis Armstrong The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings (box set, recorded 1925-28, released 2000)
32. Curtis Mayfield Superfly (soundtrack, 1972)
33. Hank Williams 40 Greatest Hits (compilation: 1947-53)
34. Steely Dan Katy Lied (1975)
35. The B-52s The B-52s (1979)
36. Chic Risqué (1979)
37. Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique (1989)
38. Aretha Franklin I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967)
39. Elvis Presley The Sun Sessions (archives, recorded 1954-55, released 1976)
40. Hole Live Through This (1994)

41. The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland (1968)
42. Patti Smith Horses (1975)
43. Sly & the Family Stone There’s a Riot Goin’ On (1972)
44. Dr. Dre The Chronic (1992)
45. Pearl Jam Vs. (1993)
46. Run-D.M.C. Raising Hell (1986)
47. Various Artists produced by Phil Spector Back to Mono (box set: 1958-69, released 1991)
48. Miles Davis Kind of Blue (1959)
49. Eminem The Slim Shady LP (1999)
50. Kiss Destroyer (1976)

51. Joni Mitchell Court and Spark (1974)
52. Randy Newman 12 Songs (1970)
53. A Tribe Called Quest The Low-End Theory (1991)
54. Frank Sinatra In the Wee Small Hours (1955)
55. Bob Dylan & The Band The Basement Tapes (recorded 1967)
56. Rage Against the Machine Evil Empire (1996)
57. Mary J. Blige My Life (1994)
58. Grateful Dead American Beauty (1970)
59. Wu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)
60. Paul Simon Graceland (1986)

61. The Coasters 50 Coastin’ Classics (compilation: 1954-68)
62. Bruce Springsteen Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978)
63. Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison (live, 1968)
64. Gram Parsons Grievous Angel (1974)
65. Billie Holiday Lady in Satin (1958)
66. The Modern Lovers The Modern Lovers (recorded 1973, released 1976)
67. Pavement Slanted and Enchanted (1992)
68. TLC Crazy Sexy Cool (1994)
69. Lynyrd Skynyrd Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd (1973)
70. Prince Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987)

71. LL Cool J Radio (1985)
72. Carpenters Singles: 1969-1981 (compilation: 1969-81)
73. Pixies Surfer Rosa (1988)
74. Aretha Franklin Lady Soul (1968)
75. Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
76. Muddy Waters At Newport (live: 1960)
77. Jane’s Addiction Nothing’s Shocking (1988)
78. Elvis Presley From Elvis in Memphis (1969)
79. Woody Guthrie Dust Bowl Ballads (1940)
80. Nine Inch Nails The Downward Spiral (1994)

81. Various Artists Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (compilation: 1965-68)
82. De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
83. Minutemen Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
84. Buddy Holly 20 Golden Greats (compilation: 1955-59)
85. Willie Nelson Red Headed Stranger (1975)
86. Neil Young After the Gold Rush (1970)
87. R.E.M. Automatic for the People (1992)
88. DJ Shadow Endtroducing… (1996)
89. Talking Heads Remain in Light (1980)
90. Weezer Weezer (aka “The Blue Album”) (1994)

91. Eagles Hotel California (1976)
92. Lucinda Williams Lucinda Williams (1988)
93. Tori Amos Under the Pink (1994)
94. Nirvana In Utero (1993)
95. Harry Nilsson Nilsson Schmilsson (1972)
96. Kid Rock Devil Without a Cause (1998)
97. The Doors The Doors (1967)
98. The Replacements Let It Be (1984)
99. Stevie Wonder Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974)
100. Otis Redding Otis Blue (1965)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Kings of Leon charted with “Use Somebody”

Last updated 2/27/2021.

Use Somebody

Kings of Leon

Writer(s): Caleb Followill, Nathan Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill (see lyrics here)

Released: October 4, 2008

First Charted: December 8, 2008

Peak: 4 US, 13 AC, 12 AAA, 25 AR, 13 MR, 2 UK, 8 CN, 2 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.07 US, 1.8 UK, 6.64 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.7 radio, 323.5 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“Kings of Leon took several years and several albums to catch on with American audiences, but 2008’s Only by the Night finally did the trick. ‘Use Somebody’ is the album’s peak, an elegant and soulful mid-tempo song about being separated by geography from the one you love. Vocalist Caleb Followill was perfection at making longing seem sexy and romantic.” TG New Musical Express magazine’s Gavin Haynes called the song “the best ‘80s power ballad of 2008.” WK

Caleb wrote it as an apology to bandmates after a drunken fight. He was recovering from shoulder surgery at his farmhouse in Tennessee and, as he said, “allowed myself to be vulnerable in my writing…No longer trying to be a tough guy and admitting I need the people around me.” SF

Still, he didn’t want to embrace its hit potential. He told Q magazine “It’s got the exact same chords as Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes ‘Up Where We Belong.’ It was so immediate that I thought it was terrible. I thought it was a pop song.” SF That may be why he told Uncut magazine that he “felt immediately that it was a big song and it scared me away.” SF

The song spent 77 weeks in the top 75 of the UK charts, making it one of the five longest runners of all time. One of the other five? “Sex on Fire,” the first single from the Only by the Night album. WK The song won Grammys for Record of the Year, Best Rock Song, and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.

Resources and Related Links: