Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Top 100 Songs from 2000-2009

First posted 6/11/2015; updated 3/23/2020.

Top 100 Songs of the Decade:


These are the top 100 songs from 2000-2009 according to Dave’s Music Database. Click here to see “Song of the Year” awards.

1. Hey Ya!...OutKast (2003)
2. Lose Yourself…Eminem (2002)
3. I Gotta Feeling…Black Eyed Peas (2009)
4. Yeah!...Usher with Lil’ Jon & Ludacris (2004)
5. Umbrella…Rihanna with Jay-Z (2007)
6. Crazy in Love… Beyoncé with Jay-Z (2003)
7. Crazy…Gnarls Barkley (2006)
8. We Belong Together…Mariah Carey (2005)
9. Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)… Beyoncé (2008)
10. Low…Flo Rida with T-Pain (2007)

11. Poker Face…Lady Gaga (2009)
12. Tik Tok…Ke$ha (2009)
13. Boom Boom Pow…Black Eyed Peas (2009)
14. Gold Digger…Kanye West with Jamie Foxx (2005)
15. In Da Club…50 Cent (2002)
16. Viva La Vida…Coldplay (2008)
17. Bleeding Love…Leona Lewis (2007)
18. Irreplaceable… Beyoncé (2006)
19. Sexyback…Justin Timberlake (2006)
20. Hot in Herre…Nelly (2002)

21. Hips Don’t Lie…Shakira with Wyclef Jean (2006)
22. Just Dance…Lady Gaga with Colby O’Donnis (2008)
23. I’m Yours…Jason Mraz (2008)
24. You’re Beautiful…James Blunt (2005)
25. Fallin’…Alicia Keys (2001)
26. No One…Alicia Keys (2007)
27. Need You Now…Lady Antebellum (2009)
28. Can’t Get You Out of My Head…Kylie Minogue (2001)
29. Apologize…One Republic with Timbaland (2007)
30. Bad Romance…Lady Gaga (2009)

31. Empire State of Mind…Jay-Z with Alicia Keys (2009)
32. Boulevard of Broken Dreams…Green Day (2004)
33. Bad Day…Daniel Powter (2005)
34. I Kissed a Girl…Katy Perry (2008)
35. Dilemma…Nelly with Kelly Rowland (2002)
36. Music…Madonna (2000)
37. How You Remind Me…Nickelback (2001)
38. Beautiful Day…U2 (2000)
39. Rehab…Amy Winehouse (2006)
40. Stan…Eminem with Dido (2000)

41. Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal)…Fergie (2007)
42. You Belong with Me…Taylor Swift (2008)
43. Love Story…Taylor Swift (2008)
44. Clocks…Coldplay (2002)
45. Take Me Out…Franz Ferdinand (2004)
46. Mr. Brightside…The Killers (2004)
47. Seven Nation Army…The White Stripes (2003)
48. Use Somebody…Kings of Leon (2008)
49. Independent Women…Destiny’s Child (2000)
50. Chasing Cars…Snow Patrol (2006)

51. Lady Marmalade…Christina Aguilera with Lil’ Kim, Mya, & Pink (2001)
52. Hey, Soul Sister…Train (2009)
53. Get Ur Freak On…Missy Elliott (2001)
54. Promiscuous…Nelly Furtado with Timbaland (2006)
55. Since U Been Gone…Kelly Clarkson (2004)
56. Complicated…Avril Lavigne (2002)
57. Toxic…Britney Spears (2004)
58. Hey There Delilah…Plain White T’s (2007)
59. I Hope You Dance…Lee Ann Womack (2000)
60. Yellow…Coldplay (2000)

61. Hot N Cold…Katy Perry (2008)
62. Kryptonite…3 Doors Down (2000)
63. Where Is the Love?...Black Eyed Peas with Justin Timberlake (2003)
64. Right Round…Flo Rida & Ke$ha (2009)
65. Hollaback Girl…Gwen Stefani (2005)
66. Lollipop…Lil Wayne with Static Major (2008)
67. Disturbia…Rihanna (2008)
68. Stronger…Kanye West with Daft Punk (2007)
69. Foolish…Ashanti with Ja Rule (2002)
70. Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)…Train (2001)

71. Hero…Enrique Iglesias (2001)
72. Hurt…Johnny Cash (2003)
73. Ms. Jackson…OutKast (2000)
74. Bye Bye Bye…N Sync (2000)
75. Let Me Love You…Mario (2004)
76. The Reason…Hoobastank (2003)
77. Without Me…Eminem (2002)
78. Hung Up…Madonna (2005)
79. How to Save a Life…The Fray (2005)
80. Crank That (Soulja Boy)… Soulja Boy Tell’em (2007)

81. This Love…Maroon 5 (2002)
82. So What…Pink (2008)
83. Live Your Life…T.I. with Rihanna (2008)
84. Love Song…Sara Bareilles (2007)
85. Whatever You Like…T.I. (2008)
86. Paper Planes…MIA (2007)
87. Candy Shop…50 Cent with Olivia (2005)
88. Fireflies…Owl City (2009)
89. Beautiful…Christina Aguilera (2002)
90. Don’t Cha….Pussycat Dolls with Busta Rhymes (2005)

91. Bring Me to Life…Evanesence with Paul McCoy (2003)
92. Oops!...I Did It Again…Britney Spears (2000)
93. All Summer Long…Kid Rock (2007)
94. Get the Party Started…Pink (2001)
95. Take a Bow…Rihanna (2008)
96. It Wasn’t Me…Shaggy wih Ricardo “Rik Rok” Ducent (2000)
97. Hanging by a Moment…Lifehouse (2000)
98. Feel Good Inc….Gorillaz with De La Soul (2005)
99. Party in the U.S.A….Miley Cyrus (2009)
100. Sex on Fire…Kings of Leon (2008)

Billboard Top Pop Album Artists

image from

Based on the Billboard album chart, these are the top album artists in the history of the chart from 1955-2009:

1. Elvis Presley
2. Frank Sinatra
3. The Beatles
4. Barbra Stresiand
5. The Rolling Stones
6. Johnny Mathis
7. Elton John
8. Bob Dylan
9. Neil Diamond
10. The Temptations

11. Eric Clapton
12. The Beach Boys
13. Rod Stewart
14. Willie Nelson
15. Mantovani
16. Ray Charles
17. Neil Young
18. Ray Conniff
19. Prince
20. Paul McCartney

21. Aretha Franklin
22. George Strait
23. Jimmy Buffett
24. Pink Floyd
25. Chicago
26. David Bowie
27. James Brown
28. Bruce Springsteen
29. Andy Williams
30. The Bee Gees

31. Lawrence Welk
32. Van Morrison
33. Kenny Rogers
34. The Supremes
35. Grateful Dead
36. Henry Mancini
37. The Kingston Trio
38. Barry Manilow
39. Aerosmith
40. Jimi Hendrix

41. Michael Jackson
42. Herb Alpert
43. Stevie Wonder
44. Nat “King” Cole
45. Johnny Cash
46. Metallica
47. Madonna
48. Led Zeppelin
49. U2
50. Queen

51. Roger Williams
52. Kiss
53. Fleetwood Mac
54. Linda Ronstadt
55. The Ventures
56. Santana
57. Garth Brooks
58. Diana Ross
59. James Taylor
60. AC/DC

61. Rush
62. The Who
63. Billy Vaughn
64. Billy Joel
65. Alabama
66. Jefferson Airplane/Starship
67. Alan Jackson
68. Eagles
69. Dionne Warwick
70. Tony Bennett

71. Dave Matthews Band
72. Harry Belafonte
73. The Isley Brothers
74. The Doors
75. John Denver
76. Mitch Miller
77. Mariah Carey
78. Dean Martin
79. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
80. The Lettermen

81. Nancy Wilson
82. Journey
83. Marvin Gaye
84. Jethro Tull
85. Bon Jovi
86. Elvis Costello
87. Dolly Parton
88. Carly Simon
89. Bob Seger
90. The Kinks

91. Tupac Shakur
92. Gladys Knight & the Pips
93. Pearl Jam
94. Kenny G
95. Joan Baez
96. R.E.M.
97. Anne Murray
98. The Monkees
99. Glen Campbell
100. The Jackson 5/The Jacksons

  • Joel Whitburn (2010). Top Pop Albums (7th edition). Record Research: Menomonee Falls, WI. Page 951.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

Last week, the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were announced. At the onset of the year, I inducted myself into the world of blogging by scrawling down my humble opinions about the 2009 crop of Rock Hall inductees (“How to Get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”). Obviously someone in high-up places at the Hall read my blog and made some adjustments, albeit minor ones.

A year ago I whined about an apparent bias against progressive rock. This year Genesis has finally broken down that door. Hopefully, Yes, Rush, King Crimson, and others will follow. Now, do we get to see Gabriel on stage with Collins, Rutherford, and Banks? Performing something from Lamb Lies Down on Broadway perhaps?

I also complained about an overemphasis on R&B acts and, lo and behold, this year there are no one-hit wonder doo wop groups from the ‘50s on the list. Instead we have Jimmy Cliff, a reggae artist who is best known for the soundtrack for The Harder They Come, not exactly a must-have for the average fan.

Then again, if it were just about the fans, the Stooges might have prolonged their decade-and-a-half overdue entrance into the Hall. Amongst this year’s batch, no act has more “rock cred.” As architects of what became the punk movement in the ‘70s, Iggy & Co. also can lay claim to being the godfathers of most of the alternative music that followed. The Nirvanas and Pearl Jams that are shoo-in inductees within the next-half decade wouldn’t be here if weren’t for the Stooges.

I also lamented a year ago that being a true rock and roll act doesn’t seem to be a requirement. The Rock Hall made it clear long ago that they were more about popular music of the rock era than actual rock. As such, Abba isn’t exactly what people have in mind when they utter the phrase “rock and roll,” but there’s no question they belong in a pop music hall of fame.

Finally, there’s The Hollies, which sort of straddle the line between pop and rock, but do so in such a way that they deserve being regarded as one of the important bands of the British Invasion.

On the nonperformer end of things, apparently there was an all-out effort to correct some gross oversights. David Geffen, the man who founded Geffen Records and signed artists like the Eagles; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Jackson Browne; and Linda Ronstadt, wasn’t in yet? How about Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, who helped define the “Brill Building” sound with classics such as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” which alone should have been an automatic ticket to induction years ago. Similarly, the writing team of Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry, who crafted the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” and Ike & Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High,” have been astonishingly overlooked for years.

And when it comes to overlooked songwriters, how has Otis Blackwell been passed over for so long? Songs like “Great Balls of Fire” and “Don’t Be Cruel” are foundations of rock and roll and their creator wasn’t in the Hall yet? There’s also Mort Shuman, who along with Doc Pomus, wrote songs like “Save the Last Dance for Me” and “Viva Las Vegas.” Similarly, Jesse Stone crafted gems like “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” and “Money Honey.”

There’s still acts that need to be inducted (Kiss, Deep Purple, Rush, and more), especially in light of the head-scratching acts whose influence on rock and roll is questionable. Nonetheless, I tip my hat to some of the oversights which the Rock Hall has corrected this time around. I’m so glad I could be a voice of reason for you last year.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Farewell, Eric Woolfson

It was the last week of March in 1984 that I became an Alan Parsons Project fan. “Don’t Answer Me” was climbing the charts, eventually becoming a top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. I knew of the Project before that – “Damned if I Do” and “Games People Play” were album rock staples and “Eye in the Sky” had been a huge pop hit (the biggest of the Project’s career) a couple years before. However, I hadn’t plunked down change for an APP album – until that week when I took the leap and grabbed up not just Ammonia Avenue, which featured “Don’t Answer Me,” but also The Best Of collection which had been released just a few months earlier.

A year later I would joyously plump for 1985’s Vulture Culture and a year after that for Stereotomy. As I was prone to do when discovering music in the ‘80s, I started dipping into the back catalog. Beyond the hits, I stumbled across gems like “Old and Wise” and “Turn of a Friendly Card.” Most amusingly though was, in May 1986 when I was anticipating a new album by Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung. I fell in love with this song on the radio that I thought was surely by him. I was wrong – it turned out to be “Breakdown,” from the nearly-decade old APP album I, Robot.

I learned the requisite back story necessary to claim a band as a new favorite. It turns out the Project’s namesake did engineering work on classic albums such as The Beatles’ Abbey Road and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. However, Alan Parsons wasn’t alone in the creation of those prog-lite concept albums forged from 1976 to 1987 that sold over 40 million albums worldwide. The group owed as much to Eric Woolfson – a songwriter, keyboardist, singer, and manager who lent his chops to some of the group’s best-known songs such as the aforementioned “Eye in the Sky” and “Don’t Answer Me.”

Following 1987’s Gaudi, the Project disappeared for three years, returning in 1990 with Freudiana. The thing confusingly was not credited to anyone, suggesting that it was a new group called Freudiana. However, this Eric Woolfson-helmed project was clearly the Project with Parsons producing and credits including longtime APP players Ian Bairnson on guitar, Stuart Elliott on drums, and orchestral arrangements from Andrew Powell. John Miles and Chris Rainbow, who’d warbled on past-Project tunes, also put in appearances.

There was something different, though. Peppered with far more guests and stretched to twice the length of the average APP album, this felt more like a musical cast album. Sure enough, there in the liner notes was the statement that “the first stage production of Freudiana has its world premiere in December 1990 in Vienna.” Hmm. This was definitely a new direction for the band.

It proved to be a new direction, but for Woolfson, not Parsons. While Woolfson was eager to explore musical theater, it was the jumping off point for Parsons. The Project was no more. Woolfson went on to craft the musicals Gaudi (1995), Gambler (1996), and Poe (recorded 2003, premiered 2009). He also wrote the music and lyrics for 2007’s Dancing Shadows, which won for Best Musical at the Korean Tony Awards.

This year, I was overjoyed to stumble across The Alan Parsons Project That Never Was, an album from Woolfson that combined some unreleased material from the Project days alongside songs crafted for his musicals. Sadly, it would be Woolfson’s finale. As I scanned the various comments on Facebook this morning about who was headed off to work and who needed coffee and who wasn’t enjoying the weather, I stopped sharply upon a fan notice: Eric Woolfson had died of cancer at the age of 64 on December 2, 2009 – a date that will now, sadly, overshadow that wonderful week in March 1984 when I became a fan. Farewell, Eric. You will be missed.

“Somewhere in the midst of time/ When they ask you if you knew me
Remember that you were a friend of mine
As the final curtain lifts before my eyes/ When I’m old and wise.”

- “Old and Wise” – Alan Parsons Project

Click here to hear an early version of the song that featured Eric Woolfson’s guide vocal.

Also check out my page on the detailed history of the Alan Parsons Project as well as the solo work of Parsons and Woolfson at

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Jay-Z hit #1 with “Empire State of Mind”

Updated 1/19/2019.

image from

Empire State of Mind

Jay-Z with Alicia Keys

Writer(s): Angela Hunte, Alicia Keys, Alexander Shuckburgh, Burt Keyes, Janet "Jnay" Sewell-Ulepic, Shawn Carter, Sylvia Robinson (see lyrics here)

Released: 10/20/2009

First Charted: 9/19/2009

Peak: 15 US, 39 A40, 13 RB, 2 UK, 3 CN, 4 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales *: 5.51 US, 0.77 UK, 6.49 world (includes US + UK)

Radio Airplay *: 0.4

Video Airplay *: 213.07

Streaming *: --

* in millions


“Empire State of Mind” was written by Angela Hunte and Jane’t Sewell Ulepic as a tribute to their hometown of New York City. They wrote it while overseas in London and feeling homesick. They submitted the song to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label and it was initially rejected. However, EMI’s Jon Platt heard the track at a barbeque and sent it to Jay-Z again.

Jay-Z kept the singing part of the hook, but changed the verses. WK Initially Hunte was still going to sing the hook, but she suggested Alicia Keys. WK Because of the track’s piano loops, Jay-Z wanted Key’s piano and vocal talents. He called her and said, “I feel like I have this record that’s going to be the anthem of New York…and it couldn’t be the anthem of New York without you.” WK She went by the studio and listened to it and, as she said, “I really felt the energy of New York all through it…I said ‘I love it, so let’s do it.’” SF

Complex magazine agreed with Jay-Z’s assessment, saying that the song “has replaced Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ as the city’s go-to anthem.” WK The New York Racing Association concurred when they replaced “New York, New York” with “Empire State of Mind” as the opening song at the 142nd running of the Belmont Stakes. WK The song also got attention during the New York Yankees’ World Series run and Jay-Z performed it at their victory parade. SF

The song was Jay-Z’s fourth time to reach the pinnacle of the Billboard Hot 100, but his first time as a lead artist. WK The song was a top ten hit in Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. WK The song won Grammys for Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Entertainment Weekly named it the best single of 2009. WK

Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

40 Years Ago: Led Zeppelin chart with “Whole Lotta Love” (11/15/1969)

Updated 1/27/2019.

image from

Whole Lotta Love

Led Zeppelin

Writer(s): John Bonham, Willie Dixon, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant (see lyrics here)

Released: 11/7/1969

First Charted: 11/15/1969

Peak: 4 US, 2 CB, 4 HR, 21 UK, 2 CN, 12 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales *: 1.0 US, 0.2 UK, 1.2 world (includes US + UK)

Radio Airplay *: --

Video Airplay *: 75.6

Streaming *: --

* in millions


“Whole Lotta Love” can be traced back to a 1962 Willie Dixon song, although he wasn’t credited until 1985. Dixon was a Chicago blues songwriter who penned the song “You Need Love” in 1962 for Muddy Waters. The Small Faces, a British rock band, covered the song as “You Need Loving” on their debut album in 1966. According to Steve Marriott, the band’s singer and guitarist, future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant came to some of their gigs and expressed interest in the song. WK

Jimmy Page was the guitarist in the Yardbirds in the late 1960s. When the group folded, Page set about creating a group originally dubbed “The New Yardbirds” which included Plant on vocals. The group eventually settled on the monker “Led Zeppelin” and set about “jamming on the blues standards they loved, stretching them out into psychedelic orgies.” RS500 On its first two albums, Led Zeppelin covered “You Shook Me,” “I Can’t Quit You, Baby,” and “Bring It on Home” – all by Willie Dixon. RS500

The band’s reworking of “You Need Love” bore similarities to the Small Faces’ version. Marriott pointed out that Plant “sang it the same, phrased it the same, even the stops at the end were the same.” WK However, it wasn’t until Dixon brought legal action in 1985 that he got a rightful share of the credit. RS500 The band settled out of court for an undisclosed amount and, on subsequent releases, included Dixon’s name in the credits. WK Dixon used the money to set up a program which provided instruments for schools. SF

Plant also tossed in lines from “Shake for Me” and “Back Door Man,” a pair of Dixon songs written for Howlin’ Wolf. RS500 The band also borrows a phrase from Blind Lemon Jefferson and Robert Johnson, in asking to have one’s lemon squeezed “till the juice runs down my leg.” RP-124

Page developed the riff in the summer of 1968 on his houseboat on the River Thames in England, although bassist John Paul Jones said it came out of improvisation on stage during their song “Dazed and Confused.” WK In 2014, a BBC radio listeners’ poll rated “Whole Lotta Love” as having the greatest guitar riff of all time. WK The song was also rated in the top 5 on similar lists from Q magazine and VH1. WK

Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Taylor Swift hit #1 on the AC charts with “You Belong with Me”

Last updated 3/22/2020.

You Belong with Me

Taylor Swift

Writer(s): Taylor Swift, Liz Rose (see lyrics here)

Released: April 18, 2009

First Charted: November 22, 2008

Peak: 2 US, 11 RR, 114 AC, 2 A40, 12 CW, 30 UK, 3 CN, 4 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.4 UK, 8.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.7 radio, 1046.6 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

Taylor Swift took the world by storm in 2008-2009. Her second album, Fearless, pulled off the astonishing feat of sending twelve of its 13 songs into the Billboard Hot 100. Four went top ten, with “You Belong with Me” being the biggest. The song also gave her a fourth trip to the top of the country charts and marked her second ascension to the pinnacle of the adult contemporary chart (following “Love Story”). It was also the first song in nearly a decade (the last being Faith Hill’s “Breathe” in 2000) to simultaneously chart in the top 5 of the Hot 100 and country charts. WK and the first country song to top the Billboard Hot 100 radio airplay chart AB’00

Swift somehow “made teen love, angst, and romance sound incredibly fresh again.” AB’00 She explained that she overheard a friend’s conversation and wrote the song’s first line, “You’re on the phone with your girlfriend/ She’s upset, going off about something that you said.” SF The song hit on the idea that, as she told MTV News, “somehow the popular girl gets the guy every time” even though she “doesn’t appreciate him at all.” WK She extended the idea “that I’m in love with him and he should be with me instead of her,” SF and highlighted the differences between the two women with lines like “She wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts.” SF

The video for the song was shot at the high school in Hendersonville, Tennessee, where her brother went. SF Lucas Till, from Hannah Montana: The Movie, starred as her love interest and in case of life imitating art, the two dated for a short time after doing the video. SF The video’s director, Roman White, said the sparks between the two were evident to everyone on set. He joked, “How many kisses did we go through? I stopped counting at, like, 45.” SF

Swift became the first country artist to win an MTV Video Music Award, landing the prize for Best Female Video at the 2009 Awards. Her win was overshadowed when rapper Kanye West interrupted her acceptance speech to proclaim his opinion that Beyoncé should have won the award. When Beyoncé won Video of the Year for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” she graciously invited Swift back on stage to finish her speech.

Resources and Related Links:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Thrill of the New

I am a download junkie. There’s no denying it – the 28,000+ songs on my hard drive weren’t all ripped from my CD collection that now does little more than keep one of the basement walls from being bare. A healthy chunk of my music has known no other home but the computer and isn’t likely to find its way to disc. Occasionally I still buy a CD (they still make ‘em, can you believe it?), but generally out of necessity – some of the stuff is obscure enough that I can’t find it to download.

Still, I get nostalgic for my former music buying habits – paying for an actual, tangible object that might have even required unwrapping. Hmm…I guess a benefit of the mp3 is that you don’t have to wait for your fingernails to grow before you can get the shrink wrap off a CD. How about those awful plastic cases CDs and cassettes used to come in that required super human strength or a machete to open?

I’ve survived a few music formats. Beyond 45 records, my first-ever album music purchase was a K-Tel compilation eight track. That might evoke more than a few chuckles, but there’s even more ammo when it comes to the cassette department, considering my first venture into the tape world was the Xanadu soundtrack. I am proud of my first CD buy – Marillion’s Clutching at Straws, even if I didn’t own a CD player when I bought it. I already had the cassette, but the CD had a bonus track and my buddy across the hall in the dorm let me play it on his CD player.

In my pre-digital adult life, Tuesdays were weekly holidays since that’s when new releases came out. In my college days, the only game in town was (shudder) Wal-Mart, but I occasionally hopped a ride with a buddy to Streetside Records thirty minutes away. In post-college days, my musical hunts often took me to Westport. For those unfamiliar with the Kansas City area, Westport is the kind of neighborhood where, well, there were lots of used record shops. My favorite was Music Exchange. It was one of those places that smelled of dust from the crates of old records and whose door and windows were wallpapered with notices of when and where local bands were playing.

Once the CD dominated, my most frequent stop was Disc Traders. Neither would win a best-name contest, but at the latter they knew me by name, knew my tastes well enough to make recommendations, and weren’t wearing brightly-colored smocks and asking if I needed a shopping cart. It was a relief to know that even in suburbia, I could hit a store that didn’t have a TM after their logo – or even a logo for that matter.

Wrapped or unwrapped, once the acquisition was home or in the car, I’d check out the album packaging, read off song titles, peruse the liner notes and lyrics, and plop the thing in for that virgin listen. What really heightened the experience is when the tunes of choice were either 1) new stuff by a favorite act, or 2) a been-on-my-most-wanted-list-forever item.

I can’t remember the last time I plopped down cash or credit card on an actual counter instead of clicking on the “Pay Now” button. While grabbing up 7 Worlds Collide on may not be the same as stumbling across that long-sought 3rd Matinee disc (complete with a “For Promotional Use Only” label) at whatever-the-name-of-that-place-was-on-75th-Street, both methods can still elicit joy.

Last Friday, two new Kevin Gilbert CDs greeted me in my mailbox. There hasn’t been a “new” KG album since 2002’s Kaviar Sessions. Of course, unless you’re Elvis, Hendrix, or 2pac, you aren’t moving a lot of product from the grave. To the credit of KG’s estate, they’ve released a handful of gems since his untimely passing in 1996, most notably The Shaming of the True in 2000 – my favorite album of the last decade. No worries if you don’t know the name – his solo stuff hasn’t even scraped the bottom of the Billboard charts. His greatest fame comes from his 1990 Toy Matinee project that sold a few hundred thousand shy of gold on the strength of minor album-rock hit “Last Plane Out” and his stint as one of the under-appreciated musicians behind Sheryl Crow’s success with Tuesday Night Music Club. If you’re curious about him, check out my Dave’s Music Database page on him or go straight to the official website.

However, I digress. The point of this blog wasn’t to convert you to KG’s music (well, maybe a little), but to simply relive those music buying experiences in era when phrases like “backmasking” and “dropping the needle on a stack of vinyl” dominated instead of “iTunes” and “synching up your musical device.” The names and formats in your own collection will vary, but there remains one constant among anyone who’s ever bought music – the elation of that perfect purchase, the discovery of a lost treasure, the arrival of a long-awaited must-have. Go ahead and break out that Xanadu soundtrack again – nobody has to know but you.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Favorite 50 Albums of the Decade

My Favorite 50 Albums of the Decade, 9/20/09

Thanks to a Facebook invitation, I’m compelled to engage in one of the most inane and narcissistic endeavors – the compilation of a personal favorites list – and not a moment too soon – there’s barely 100 days left in the decade. Of course, I have a whole website ( devoted to music lists, but I’ve convinced myself that throwing in the occasional personal favorites list amongst bigger and more important lists passes for acceptable. A list entitled “The Biggest Selling Albums of All Time” just seems to carry more import than one called “The Best 50 Albums of the Decade – According to Me.”

It is hard to imagine why anyone would care what my #12 album is from the last 9 years and 9 months, so I won’t delude myself that the world is waiting with baited breath. It comes down to this – I just love music lists. I was drawn in to music charts and countdowns in my pre-teen years and my interest has yet to wane.

If you’ve read this far, I’ll assume you are mildly interested in my list – maybe not #49, but you might want to check out my top few faves. I’ll take this as a misguided sign that I can test your patience a bit more and offer some insights into my tastes of the past decade. If you’ve had enough already, you can scroll to the list below or just close this monster up and roll your eyes at my obsession. It’s not like I’ll know the difference.
First, there’s just no denying what drives tastes. I’m still enamored with the same acts I liked 25 years ago – and I won’t apologize for their decidedly mainstream leanings. I will, however, attempt to prop up my rep by saying my listening pleasures gravitate toward “intelligent pop” – what is largely referred to today as triple A or adult alternative music. What can I say – I fit perfectly into the demographic.

Unlike some of my forty-something peers, it isn’t that I can’t name a new band from the last quarter century – I’ll get to my discoveries in a minute – but like memories of long ago crushes, the albums from one’s youth just won’t go away. Hence my love of Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood (my favorite album of any era), Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. or U2’s The Joshua Tree hold lingering effects – those acts all register in my top 10 two decades after releasing what I consider their masterworks.

At least those acts and others such as John Mellencamp, Tori Amos, and Fish have steadily pumped out new product for 20 years or more. Others haven’t been quite so prolific. Amongst acts like the Hooters, Crowded House, the Eagles, Toni Childs, Tears for Fears, Guns N’ Roses, and the Who, the most recent pre-2000 release of new material was 1995. Not only had all those acts had at least nine year droughts since their last releases, but the well has dried up again since. The “one and done” comeback trend. Sigh.

My list isn’t devoid of new music, but the new stuff largely rehashes tastes I’ve had for years. The White Stripes, the Strokes, the Hives, and the Vines are all a return to the garage rock ethos of the ‘60s and ‘70s. The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and Scissor Sisters recall the dance-oriented new wave stuff of the early ‘80s.Finally, I have to give props to the Tuesday Night Music Club. This may click for people as the name of Sheryl Crow’s 1993 debut (and indeed she makes the cut here with Detours), but I’m referring to the collective behind it. In a much publicized spat at the time, Crow took credit for music that had been created by the most underrated supergroup that ever wasn’t. Amongst that talent was Kevin Gilbert, whose posthumous Shaming of the True claims my top spot on this list, Gilbert’s Kaviar project, and David Baerwald. Believe me, this list would be saturated with their contributions if only there were more. Sadly, KG died in 1996 and Baerwald all but retired from the music industry by the close of the ‘90s. What does show up on this list are retreads of their mostly ‘90s work, but the official release dates qualifies them for this list.

Well, I’ve blabbered enough. Here’s the list. Roll those eyes, scratch your heads in puzzlement, and stare in disbelief. Then, just maybe, give a few albums on this list a spin. You’ve still got time to make it one of your favorites of the decade! Click on the links below to read more extensive reviews at

1. Kevin Gilbert The Shaming of the True (2000)
2. Bruce Springsteen The Rising (2002)
3. Hooters Time Stand Still (2007)
4. Crowded House Time on Earth (2007)
5. The Finn Brothers Everyone Is Here (2004)
6. Eagles Long Road Out of Eden (2007)
7. Marillion Marbles (2004)
8. Tori Amos Strange Little Girls (2001)
9. U2 How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004)
10. Bruce Springsteen Magic (2007)
11. David Baerwald Here Comes the New Folk Underground (2002)
12. John Mellencamp Life, Death, Love & Freedom (2008)
13. U2 All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000)
14. Toni Childs Keep the Faith (2008)
15. Dennis DeYoung One Hundred Years from Now (2007)
16. Uncle Devil Show A Terrible Beauty (2004)
17. Bob Walkenhorst The Beginner (2003)
18. Styx Big Bang Theory (2005)
19. The White Stripes Elephant (2003)
20. The Strokes Is This It (2001)
21. Green Day American Idiot (2004)
22. Mika Life in Cartoon Motion (2007)
23. The White Stripes White Blood Cells (2001)
24. Kevin Gilbert/Kaviar The Kaviar Sessions (2002)
25. Tears for Fears Everybody Loves a Happy Ending (2004)
26. Keb’ Mo’ Peace - Back by Popular Demand (2004)
27. Lyle Lovett My Baby Don’t Tolerate (2003)
28. Amy Winehouse Back to Black (2006)
29. Styx Cylcorama (2003)
30. The Killers Hot Fuss (2004)
31. Sheryl Crow Detours (2008)
32. The Who Endless Wire (2006)
33. John Mellencamp Freedom’s Road (2007)
34. Fish Field of Crows (2004)
35. Glenn Tilbrook Transatlantic Ping Pong (2004)
36. Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand (2004)
37. Ray Charles Genius Loves Company (2004)
38. Guns N’ Roses Chinese Democracy (2008)
39. Green Day 21st Century Breakdown (2009)
40. U2 No Line on the Horizon (2009)
41. Johnny Cash American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002)
42. Scissor Sisters Scissor Sisters (2004)
43. The Vines Highly Evolved (2002)
44. Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)
45. The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
46. Eddie Vedder Into the Wild (2007)
47. Eric Clapton/B.B. King Riding with the King (2000)
48. Del Amitri Can You Do Me Good? (2002)
49. The Hives Veni Vidi Vicious (2000)
50. Eric Woolfson The Alan Parsons Project That Never Was (2009)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sept 18, 2009: Madonna released career-spanning Celebration

Last updated September 15, 2018.

Madonna Compilations

These are some of the most prominent Madonna collections released over the years.

  1. The Immaculate Collection
  2. GHV2
  3. Celebration

Click here to see all the album tracks featured on the above collections.

Genre: pop/dance

Related DMDB Link(s):

Madonna: The Immaculate Collection

Recorded: 1983-1990

Released: Nov. 9, 1990

Sales (in millions): US: 10.0, UK: 3.4, IFPI: --, World: 31.5

Peak: US: 2, UK: 19, Canada: 19, Australia: 15

Quotable: The Immaculate Collection…captures everything Madonna is about and it proves that she was one of the finest singles artists of the ‘80s” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide



“Yes, she’s a colossal star, one who has been both mall icon and cultural radical for almost two decades.” BL “Madonna was a change-agent of Hollywood-blockbuster proportions, embodying womanhood’s power while simultaneously upending musty notions of femininity. Whether she’s extolling escapism, wrestling with heartbreak, personalizing big issues or just breathing heavily, each listen shows that Madonna’s unerring musical instincts – let’s go ahead and call it genius – were as formidable as her more famous ambition.” BL

“On the surface, the single-disc hits compilation The Immaculate Collection appears to be a definitive retrospective of Madonna’s heyday in the ‘80s.” E-I In its October 2008 issue, Blender magazine went so far as to name it the #1 Greatest American Album, calling it “a flawless hits package.” BL “After all, it features 17 of Madonna's greatest hits, from Holiday and Like a Virgin to Like a Prayer and Vogue. However, looks can be deceiving.” E-I

The Immaculate Collection contains the bulk of Madonna’s hits, but there are several big hits that aren’t present, including ‘Angel,’ ‘Dress You Up,’ ‘True Blue,’ ‘Who’s That Girl,’ and ‘Causing a Commotion.’” E-I It still “remains a necessary purchase, because it captures everything Madonna is about” E-I – “whip-smart, mega-sexy, covertly dangerous and heart-stoppingly, ass-shakingly, world-shapingly fun.” BL “It proves that she was one of the finest singles artists of the ‘80s.” E-I

Madonna: GHV2

Recorded: 1991-2000

Released: Nov. 13, 2001

Sales (in millions): US: 1.48, UK: 0.8, IFPI: 2.0, World: 7.0

Peak: US: 11, UK: 2, Canada: 3, Australia: 8



“During the ‘90s, Madonna was a true album artist, even as she was making singles as tremendous as Take a Bow, Deeper and Deeper, Ray of Light, Don’t Tell Me, and the non-LP Beautiful Stranger.” E-G “These songs don't really hold together when taken together, since they were designed to be part of a bigger context – either their parent album or the airwaves of the time.” E-G

As such, the GHV2 collection, released to collect the hits from Madonna’s next decade, “seem[s] to have songs missing when it really doesn’t.” E-G In addition, “the non-chronological sequencing…tends to rob this collection of Madonna’s ‘90s hits of any momentum it might have had.” E-G Also, “the very presence of Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, which simply does not feel comfortable next to the rest of the savvy, modern music here.” E-G

“Taken on their own, most of these are still pretty tremendous, but tossed together on GHV2, the end result is less than the sum of its parts, even if this is a good way to get all of Madge’s ‘90s hits at once.” E-G

Madonna: Celebration

Recorded: 1982-2009

Released: Sept. 18, 2009

Sales (in millions): US: 0.5, UK: 0.6, IFPI: 1.0, World: 4.0

Peak: US: 7, UK: 11, Canada: 11, Australia: 6




At the close of the century, Madonna released a career retrospective, making for a large overlap with Immaculate Collection and GHV2. The double-disc Celebration omitted some songs and added another eleven songs not included on either of the previous compilations, including eight songs released after GHV2. While her hits dwindled in that era, she still managed three top ten hits in the U.S. (Die Another Day, Hung Up, 4 Minutes). The latter two, as well as Sorry, were #1 hits in the U.K.

Among the post-2000 songs were two new cuts. Celebration was included on all versions of the album and released as the first single. It “became Madonna's 40th number-one song on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs chart.” WK Revolver was released as a second single and is included on the double-disc deluxe edition. WK The iTunes Store deluxe digital versions also included It’s So Cool as a bonus track. WK

Celebration was appreciated by contemporary critics, who noted the vastness of Madonna's back-catalogue. The album debuted at the top of the charts in Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Madonna became tied with Elvis Presley as the solo artist with the most number-one albums in the United Kingdom.” WK

Album Tracks – All Collections

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Check out the DMDB Beatles’ singles page for a complete singles discography.


  1. Everybody (10/6/82) C
  2. Burning Up (3/9/83) C
  3. Holiday (9/7/83, #16 US, #2 UK, #25 RB) IC, C
  4. Lucky Star (9/8/83, #3a US, #14 UK, #19 AC, #42 RB) IC, C
  5. Borderline (2/15/84, #10 US, #2 UK, #23 AC, sales: 0.5 m) IC, C
  6. Like a Virgin (11/6/84, #1 US, #3 UK, #29 AC, #9 RB, sales: 0.5 m) IC, C
  7. Material Girl (1/30/85, #2 US, #3 UK, #38 AC, #49 RB) IC, C
  8. Crazy for You (3/1/85, #1 US, #2 UK, #2 AC, #80 RB, sales: 0.5 m) IC, C
  9. Into the Groove (4/27/85, #1 UK, #19 RB. B-side of “Angel,” sales: 0.5 m) IC, C
  10. Dress You Up (7/24/85, #5 US, #5 UK, #32 AC, #64 RB) C
  11. Live to Tell (4/12/86, #1 US, #2 UK, #1 AC) IC, C
  12. Papa Don’t Preach (6/26/86, #1 US, #1 UK, #16 AC, sales: 0.5 m) IC, C
  13. Open Your Heart (12/6/86, #1 US, #4 UK, #12 AC) IC, C
  14. La Isla Bonita (3/21/87, #4 US, #1 UK, #1 AC) IC, C
  15. Who’s That Girl (6/30/87, #1 US, #1 UK, #5 AC, #78 RB) C
  16. Like a Prayer (3/18/89, #1 US, #1 UK, #20 RB, #3 AC, sales: 1.0 m) IC, C
  17. Express Yourself (6/3/89, #2 US, #5 UK, #12 AC, sales: 0.5 m) IC, C
  18. Cherish (8/19/89, #2 US, #3 UK, #1 AC) IC, C


  1. Vogue (4/14/90, #1 US, #1 UK, #23 AC, #16 RB, sales: 2.0 m) IC, C
  2. Justify My Love (11/17/90, #1 US, #2 UK, #42 RB, sales: 1.0 m) IC, C
  3. Rescue Me (3/2/91, #5a US, #3 UK, sales: 0.5 m) IC
  4. Erotica (10/17/92, #2a US, #3 UK, sales: 0.5 m) G2, C
  5. Deeper and Deeper (12/5/92, #7 US, #6 UK) G2
  6. Secret (10/8/94, #3 US, #5 UK, #2 AC, sales: 0.5 m) G2, C
  7. Take a Bow (12/17/94, #1 US, #16 UK, #1 AC, #40 RB, sales: 0.5 m) G2, C
  8. Bedtime Story (2/25/95, #42 US, #4 UK) G2, C
  9. Human Nature (6/24/95, #46 US, #8 UK, #57 RB) G2, C
  10. Don’t Cry for Me Argentina (12/28/96, #8 US, #3 UK, #21 AC) G2, C
  11. Frozen (2/28/98, #2 US, #1 UK, #8 AC, sales: 0.5 m) G2, C
  12. Ray of Light (5/16/98, #5 US, #2 UK, sales: 0.5 m) G2, C
  13. Drowned World / Substitute for Love (9/5/98, #10 UK) G2
  14. The Power of Goodbye (10/17/98, #11 US, #6 UK, #14 AC) G2
  15. Beautiful Stranger (6/12/99, #11a US, #2 UK, #23 AC) G2, C


  1. Music (8/12/00, #1 US, #1 UK, sales: 1.0 m) G2, C
  2. Don’t Tell Me (12/9/00, #4 US, #4 UK, sales: 0.5 m) G2, C
  3. What It Feels Like for a Girl (4/10/01, #23 US, #7 UK, #27 AC) G2
  4. Die Another Day (10/22/02, #8 US, #3 UK) C
  5. Hollywood (6/14/03, #2 UK) C
  6. Hung Up (10/17/05, #7 US, #1 UK, #29 AC, sales: 3.35 m) C
  7. Sorry (3/11/06, #58 US, #1 UK) C
  8. 4 Minutes (with Justin Timberlake, 3/17/08, #3 US, #1 UK, sales: 4.0 m) C
  9. Miles Away (10/17/08, #39 UK, sales: 0.8 m) C
  10. Celebration (8/22/09, #71 US, #3 UK) C
  11. Revolver (12/14/09) C

IC The Immaculate Collection
C Celebration

Review Source(s):

  • BL Blender Magazine’s “100 Greatest American Albums” (10/08) (Immaculate Collection)
  • E-I Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide (Immaculate Collection)
  • E-G Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide (GHV2)
  • WK Wikipedia (Celebration)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Forty Years Ago Today: Elvis Presley charts with “Suspicious Minds” (9/13/1969)

image from

Elvis Presley “Suspicious Minds”

Writer(s): Mark James (see lyrics here)

First charted: 9/13/1969

Peak: 11, 4 AC, 2 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 7.0 world (includes US and UK)

Radio Airplay (in millions): 5.0 Video Airplay (in millions): 158.8

Review: The BBC called this song “the last great moment in the career of Elvis Presley” BBC while a 2002 readers poll in New Musical Express made the even bolder proclamation that it was the best song of Elvis’ career. TB-116 In 1969, the crown of the King of Rock and Roll had greatly tarnished thanks to a decade’s worth of poor choices both in song and film. CR-52 “Suspicious Minds” was more than just a symbolic return to the top – it also marked his first #1 on the U.S. pop charts in seven years.

This song emerged in the first recording sessions after Elvis’ NBC television special on December 3, 1968, which was largely seen as his comeback. BR1-260 The sessions brought him back to his Memphis roots JA-185 where he hadn’t recorded since his Sun sessions in July 1955. BR1-260

His renewed zest is evident in his vibrant singing backed by a “Stax-like chorus alternating with the slow-burning verses” BBC which find Elvis begging a lover not to derail their relationship with distrust. The song also sports the famous fake-out ending in which the song has nearly faded out, only to see Elvis jump back in to spit out the chorus repeatedly. BBC

Memphis singer Mark James wrote the song and recorded a version, but it went nowhere. Chips Moman, a soul producer in Memphis, SF produced the original AMG and brought it to Elvis in 1969. SF As had typically been the case in the past, Elvis’ manager Colonel Parker demanded that the song’s copyright owner hand over part of the publishing royalties. BBC However, Elvis weighed in with better judgment when his love of the song trumped The Colonel’s love of money. BBC

Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.