Sunday, May 23, 2010

50 years ago: The Everly Brothers “Cathy’s Clown” hit #1

Cathy’s Clown

The Everly Brothers

Writer(s): Don Everly, Phil Everly (see lyrics here)


First Charted: April 18, 1960


Peak: 15 US, 15 CB, 14 HR, 11 RB, 17 UK, 2 CN, 3 AU, 8 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 8.5 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Don and Phil Everly were pioneers of rock and roll, combined elements of country and pop. They found success with “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and more in the 1950s. On songs like the latter, the brothers “radiated a tremulous lost-little-kid vulnerability. That approachability might have been one key to their longevity; they were still making hits back when many of their peers were falling off.” SG “Of that initial big-bang wave of ’50s rock ‘n’ roll stars, the Everly Brothers were arguably the least threatening.” SG

In 1960, when some rock stars were already peaking, the Everlys signed a 10-year, million-dollar contract with Warner Brothers. FB It was reportedly the first million-dollar contract. KL Their first single on the new label, “Cathy’s Clown,” was the best-selling of their career. SG It was also their longest-running #1 in the UK, where they topped the charts five times. The song also has the distinction of being the first single to be atop the charts simultaneously in the United States and the UK. FB

The “perfectly solid pop song about romantic bitterness” SG was written once Don and Phil Everly were home in Nashville after a tour. Warner Brothers was eager for a hit and didn’t see one in the eight songs the Everlys had recorded so far. Don wrote the melody and the chorus while Phil wrote the verses. FB It was another example of how they “simply knew how to put a song together.” SG “They managed to make even the bitterness sound friendly and approachable.” SG

Graham Gouldman of 10cc said, “I loved the Everly Brothers and still do. They would sound like three people singing and they recorded brilliant songs, looked great, and played beautiful guitars. ‘Cathy’s Clown’ was the first record I bought and I can still hear its influence in my writing. I loved the fact that one note was being held with another melody descensing underneath it. I used that idea in ‘For Your Love’ for the Yardbirds.” KL


Resources:

  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 68.
  • KL Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Page 67.
  • SG Stereogum (2/23/2018). “The Number Ones” by Tom Breihan
  • WK Wikipedia


Related Links:


First posted 11/12/2022.

Friday, May 21, 2010

In Concert: James Taylor & Carole King

image from kpbs.com

Venue: Sprint Center; Kansas City, MO


The Set List:

1. Blossom
2. So Far Away
3. Honey Don’t Leave L.A.
4. Carolina On My Mind
5. Way Over Yonder
6. Smackwater Jack
7. Country Road
8. Sweet Seasons
9. Mexico
10. Song of Long Ago
11. Long Ago and Far Away
12. Beautiful
13. Shower the People
14. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

Intermission:

15. Copperline
16. Crying in the Rain
17. That Sweet Old Roll (Hi-De-Ho)
18. Sweet Baby James
19. Jazzman
20. Will You Love Me Tomorrow
21. Steamroller
22. It’s Too Late
23. Fire and Rain
24. I Feel the Earth Move
25. You’ve Got a Friend

Encore:

26. Up on the Roof
27. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
28. You Can Close Your Eyes

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

World Music Awards: The Legend Award

The Scorpions at the World Music Awards in 2010; image from unitedcollection.blogspot.com

The official website offers annoying little information about the awards. It appears they were launched in 1989 and have continued through 2012, although no ceremony was held the last couple years. A Legend award is given and while the website again maddeningly offers no details, it appears to be a lifetime achievement award. The Scorpions last received the Rock Legends Award at the 2010 World Music Awards. Here are the recipients of the Legends Award over the years and the year awarded when known:

  • Alizée
  • Backstreet Boys
  • The Bee Gees (1997)
  • Tony Bennett
  • George Benson
  • Beyoncé
  • Bon Jovi
  • David Bowie
  • Mariah Carey (1998)
  • Ray Charles (1994)
  • Cher (1999)
  • Clive Davis
  • Deep Purple
  • Celine Dion (2007)
  • Placido Domingo
  • Gloria Gaynor
  • Whitney Houston
  • Julio Iglesias
  • Janet Jackson
  • Michael Jackson (2000)
  • Elton John (1991)
  • Chaka Khan
  • Patti LaBelle
  • Jennifer Lopez (2010)
  • Luciano Pavarotti
  • Prince
  • Cliff Richard
  • Lionel Richie
  • Diana Ross (1996)
  • Santana (2004)
  • The Scorpions (2010)
  • Ringo Starr
  • Status Quo
  • Rod Stewart
  • Tina Turner (1993)
  • Barry White (1989)
  • Stevie Wonder (1995)

Resources:

The Black Keys Brothers released

Brothers

The Black Keys


Released: May 18, 2010


Peak: 3 US, 29 UK, 4 CN, 8 AU


Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.1 UK, 2.34 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Everlasting Light [3:24]
  2. Next Girl [3:18]
  3. Tighten Up [3:31] (4/23/10, 87 US, 12 AA, 110 MR, 57 CN)
  4. Howlin’ for You [3:12] (1/8/11, 9 AA, 39 AR, 3 MR, 50 CN)
  5. She’s Long Gone [3:06]
  6. Black Mud [2:10]
  7. The Only One [5:00]
  8. Too Afraid to Love You [3:25]
  9. Ten Cent Pistol [4:29]
  10. Sinister Kid [3:45]
  11. The Go Getter [3:37]
  12. I’m Not the One [3:49]
  13. Unknown Brother [4:00]
  14. Never Give You Up (Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff, Jerry Butler) [3:39]
  15. These Days [5:12]
Songs by Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 55:29


The Players:

  • Dan Auerbach (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards)
  • Patrick Carney (drums, percussion)

Rating:

4.020 out of 5.00 (average of 33 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

The Black Keys formed in Akron, Ohio in 2001. They built an underground following through the decade while releasing five albums. Then came 2010’s Brothers which launched the band’s widespread commercial success when it reached #3 on the U.S. Billboard chart, sold more than a million copies, and won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.

Before that point, the band had a handful of songs reach the lower reaches of the UK charts, but had never made any headway in their native U.S. The lead single, Tighten Up, changed the band’s fortunes, landing at #1 on the modern rock chart. The song was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Song and won for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

Buzzbin magzine’s Mark C. Horn said, “the song intros with the distinct whistling ofrom Ennio Morricone’s The Good, The Bad and the Ugly composition, backed up by Carney’s monster thump drumming and Auerbach’s soulful voice.” WK

The song was followed by Howlin’ for You, another success on the modern rock charts. The video, directed by Chris Marrs Pillero, parodied action movie trailers. It starred Corbin Bernsen, Todd Bridges, Shaun White, and others. It also received a nomination for an MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video.

Auerbach and Carney were at a crossroads prior to the making of Brothers. Auerbach made a solo album without Carney’s knowledge and Carney feared it was the end of the band. Carney also went through a painful divorce. However, when Auerbach and Carney got together, they acknowledged how important the band was to both of them.

They wanted to record in a historic old studio and Auerbach suggested Muscle Shoals in Alabama. The first song they recorded, Next Girl, shaped the direction of the rest of the sessions. Musically, they took a rhythm-first approach to songs throughout the session while lyrically that first song’s lyrics about moving on set a tone. They found their time at Muscle Shoals to be “productive and inspirational.” WK


Notes: “Ohio” and an alternate version of “Howlin’ for You” were added as bonus tracks. A 10th anniversary deluxe edition added “Chop and Change,” “Keep My Name Outta Your Mouth,” and “Black Mud Part II.”

Resources and Related Links:


First posted 3/13/2022.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Best Frontmen and Women of All Time

Note: This blog entry was modified on 7/2/11. Click here to see the original post, now archived on the DMDB Facebook page in the Notes section.



Wow. The latest list from Q Magazine (think British Rolling Stone – if RS actually devoted all their attention to music) is maddening. As a music list fanatic, I frame each list in context. It is important to know that Q debuted about the same time as the Britpop movement (helmed by acts such as the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays) in the late ‘80s. As a result, they have an understandable bias toward the acts that helped them establish their cred and, perhaps even more importantly, sell magazines.

Hence it is no surprise that the mag salivated over the Blur vs. Oasis rivalry of the ‘90s like the National Enquirer drools every time Brad and Angelina break wind. Q is similarly giddy over every noise that Thom Yorke and Radiohead fart out. I’m not a big fan, but there is no arguing with the success and influence they’ve mustered and Q embraces that like a proud parent.

It also is forgivable that Q has wet themselves all over again, thanks to the new breed of Britpop faves in the last decade. The over-hyped Coldplay leads the pack, but other bands, including Keane, Kasabian, Muse, and Razorlight also figure prominently.

This is all well and good when reporting on new music – what’s hot, what’s going to be hot, and what won’t really be hot at all. However, when making big and bold proclamations like “the best ever” or “greatest of all time,” biases should be set aside. Some of the aforementioned bands might merit inclusion on best-of lists somewhere. Even the best of these, however, don’t belong at or close to the top – not in the context of ALL TIME. Those lofty heights should be reserved for the established giants.

In this case, the list is for the greatest frontmen of all time. Even the title is a misnomer since it implies that 1) everyone on the list is male, and that 2) these males all front bands. The presence of both solo stars and female singers invalidates the term. Granted, “singer” is too simplistic – the term “frontman” suggests a quality beyond vocal talent; it is also about a stage presence that captivates an audience. I don’t have a better term yet; “singers who know how to command an audience” seems a bit too wordy, but I’m working on it.

Anyway, without further ado (‘cause God knows I’ve overloaded with you “ado”), here’s their list:




Q Magazine’s “Top 100 Greatest Frontmen” (May 2010 issue)



Liam Gallagher “picked” as the best frontman of all time.



1. Liam Gallagher (Oasis)
2. Bono (U2)
3. Freddie Mercury (Queen)
4. Damon Albarn (Blur/Gorillaz)
5. Chris Martin (Coldplay)
6. Jim Morrison (The Doors)
7. Bob Marley
8. Matt Bellamy (Muse)
9. John Lennon/ (The Beatles)
10. Paul McCartney (The Beatles)


Q readers says Matt Bellamy is better than the Beatles’ John Lennon AND Paul McCartney. So there.



11. Robbie Williams (Take That)
12. Debbie Harry (Blondie)
13. Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones)
14. Morrissey (The Smiths)
15. John Lydon (Sex Pistols/Public Image Ltd.)
16. James Brown
17. Bruce Springsteen
18. Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)
19. Tom Meighan (Kasabian)
20. Joe Strummer (The Clash)


Robbie Williams is prepared to challenge Mick Jagger to a sing-off any day, any time.



21. Chuck D (Public Enemy)
22. Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day)
23. Ian Curtis (Joy Division)
24. Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses)
25. Jarvis Cocker (Pulp)
26. Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon)
27. Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode)
28. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
29. Roger Daltrey (The Who)
30. Thom Yorke (Radiohead)


Even Thom Yorke can’t get his head around the idea of being ranked higher than Elvis Presley.



31. Jack White (The White Stripes/Raconteurs/Dead Weather)
32. Mark E. Smith (The Fall)
33. Iggy Pop (The Stooges)
34. Elvis Presley
35. Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters/Nirvana)
36. Ian Brown (Stone Roses)
37. Nick Cave
38. Florence Welch (Florence + the Machine)
39. Paul Weller (The Jam/Style Council)
40. Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)

41. Keith Flint (Prodigy)
42. Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music)
43. Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
44. Jon Bon Jovi (Bon Jovi)
45. Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys)
46. Michael Stipe (R.E.M.)
47. Bon Scott (AC/DC)
48. Michael Hutchence (INXS)
49. Sly Stone (Sly & The Family Stone)
50. Eminem

51. Rod Stewart
52. Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders)
53. Julian Casablancas (The Strokes)
54. Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
55. David Bowie
56. Shane MacGowan (Pogues)
57. Prince
58. Shaun Ryder (Happy Mondays)
59. Jay-Z
60. Richard Ashcroft (The Verve)


Yes! Chris Martin says that I, Richard Ashcroft, am the best singer of all time. He should know what he’s talking about – he’s ranked #5 while nobodies like Elton John are ranked below me.



61. James Hetfield (Metallica)
62. Siouxsie Sioux (Siouxsie & The Banshees)
63. Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age)
64. Courtney Love (Hole)
65. James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers)
66. Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd)
67. Lou Reed (Velvet Underground)
68. Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)
69. Joey Ramone (Ramones)
70. Peter Gabriel (Genesis)

71. Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips)
72. Terry Hall (The Specials)
73. Elton John
74. Lemmy (Motorhead)
75. George Clinton (Funkadelic/Parliament)
76. Marc Bolan (T-Rex)
77. Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden)
78. Kelly Jones (Stereophonics)
79. Little Richard
80. Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath)

81. Alice Cooper
82. Pete Doherty (The Libertines)
83. Kevin Rowland (Dexy’s Midnight Runners)
84. Ian McCulloch (Echo & The Bunnymen)
85. Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist (The Hives)
86. Bjork (Sugarcubes)
87. Mike Patton (Faith No More)
88. Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy)
89. Gene Vincent
90. Brandon Flowers (The Killers)


I’m Kevin Rowland and I’m a better frontman than David Lee Roth.



91. George Michael (Wham!)
92. Noddy Holder (Slade)
93. Johnny Borrell (Razorlight)
94. Andre 3000 (Outkast)
95. Black Francis (Pixies)
96. Henry Rollins (Black Flag)
97. David Lee Roth (Van Halen)
98. Ian Dury (The Blockheads)
99. Howard Devoto (Buzzcocks)
100. Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction)


I’m not sure what planet Q lives on where Liam Gallagher outrates Freddie Mercury and James Brown is inferior to Chris Martin, but there you have it. In Q’s world, seeing Mick Jagger prancing about singing “Satisfaction” holds less appeal than seeing Robbie Williams (America can now sigh a collective “who?”). And who the hell would pay to see Robert Plant front Led Zeppelin when they can see Matt Bellamy with Muse? And don’t you really want to see Kasabian’s Tom Meighan instead of Roger Daltrey belting out Who songs? And let’s face it, if you gotta choose, aren’t you gonna opt for the Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones over Ozzy Osbourne and Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell over David Lee Roth?


That’s right. I’m Tom Meighan and I beat Roger Daltrey on the Q poll. Screw your generation! We’re talkin’ ‘bout my generation now!



For those unfamiliar with Dave’s Music Database, let me clue you in to what happens next. It goes something like this – I find a list like the one above. Its imperfections spark frustration and I seek out other similar-themed lists. Then I average these lists together to create a still-imperfect list, but one which weeds out some of the most glaring errors. The end result is featured as a “best of…according to Dave’s Music Database.”

Note: that list was originally part of this blog entry. The DMDB list of The Top 100 Singers of All Time has now been updated and appears on the DMDB Facebook page. Click here to see the original post as archived on the DMDB Facebook page in the Notes section.

Here’s the commentary that followed the DMDB list and the differences between it and the Q list:

So just how flawed is the Q list? Well, more than half the Q list got bumped from the DMDB list. You’ll just have to contend with a list that opts for Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison, Sam Cooke, and Ray Charles instead of Damon Albarn, Chris Martin, Robbie Williams, and Tom Mieghan. If that has you singing the blues, well, at least try to do it with stage presence.



Aretha Franklin got no “respect” on the Q list.


The DMDB list still absurdly short changes any singer who dared utter a note before Elvis came along – apparently Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat “King” Cole, Etta James, and many others existed before time began, at least according to some of the lists gathered by the DMDB. What other explanation is there for these vocal greats missing the cut on so many of these “all time” lists?


Links:
  • DMDB Facebook page
  • Original post for The Best Frontmen and Women of All Time (5/13/10)
  • The Top 100 Singers of All Time (updated version)




  • Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    The National High Violet released

    High Violet

    The National


    Released: May 11, 2010


    Peak: 3 US, 5 UK, 2 CN, 29 AU


    Sales (in millions): 0.33 US, 0.13 UK, 0.53 world (includes US and UK)


    Genre: post-punk revival


    Tracks:

    Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks)

    1. Terrible Love [4:39] (11/22/10, --)
    2. Sorrow [3:25]
    3. Anyone’s Ghost [2:54] (6/28/10)
    4. Little Faith [4:36]
    5. Afraid of Everyone [4:19]
    6. Bloodbuzz Ohio [4:36] (5/3/10)
    7. Lemonworld [3:23]
    8. Runaway [5:33]
    9. Conversation 16 [4:18] (10/25/10)
    10. England [5:40]
    11. Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks [4:12]


    Total Running Time: 47:40


    The Players:

    • Matt Berninger (vocals)
    • Aaron Dessner (guitar, bass, keyboards, etc.)
    • Bryce Dessner (guitar keyboards, etc.)
    • Bryan Devendorf (drums, percussion)
    • Scott Devendorf (bass, guitar)

    Rating:

    4.135 out of 5.00 (average of 29 ratings)


    Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

    About the Album:

    These Cincinnati, Ohio natives formed the National in Brooklyn, New York, in 1999. They released their self-titled debut in 2001 and followed it with two more albums before they finally reached the U.S. Billboard album chart in 2007 with Boxer. That set the stage for their fifth album, 2010’s High Violet, to soar to #3 on the charts.

    The album was received with widespread critical acclaim. Channing Freeman of Sputnik Music called it the band’s “third masterpiece in a row” WK while BBC Music critic Mike Diver called it the band’s “finest disc to date.” WK Pitchfork’s Andrew Gaerig said the album is “the sound of a band taking a mandate to be a meaningful rock band seriously.” WK

    The A.V. Club’s Steven Hyden said the album is “richly detailed without being fussy” WK while Dave Simpson of The Guardian praised it as “beautifully subtle.” WK The Independent’s Andy Gill called it “a masterclass in subtle emotional shading.” WK


    Notes: The Japanese edition included “Walk Off” and “Sin-Eaters” as bonus tracks. There was also an expanded edition which included a bonus disc, which included live material, alternates, and other songs.

    Resources and Related Links:


    First posted 3/12/2022.

    Sunday, May 9, 2010

    Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” first YouTube video to hit 200 million views

    Bad Romance

    Lady Gaga

    Writer(s): Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga), Nadir “RedOne” Khayat (see lyrics here)


    Released: October 26, 2009


    First Charted: October 25, 2009


    Peak: 2 US, 12 RR, 20 AC, 4 A40, 12 UK, 15 CN, 2 AU, 10 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


    Sales (in millions): 5.9 US, 1.2 UK, 13.26 world (includes US + UK)


    Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.5 radio, 1646.7 video, 818.93 streaming

    Awards:

    Click on award for more details.

    About the Song:

    Lady Gaga followed her hugely successful debut The Fame (which produced #1 songs “Just Dance” and “Poker Face”) with 2009’s The Fame Monster. Despite having enough songs (8) to be considered a new album, it was originally packaged as an extended version of The Fame and later as a separate EP. Whatever the new product was called, it was promoted with four singles, the first of which was “Bad Romance.”

    The song, “which is imbued with elements of German-esque house and techno,” WK was a collaboration with RedOne, with whom she also co-wrote “Just Dance” and “Poker Face.” The lyrics explore the idea of being attracted to people with whom romance never works. She references several Alfred Hitchcock films, explaining that “What I’m really trying to say is I want the deepest, darkest, sickest parts of you that you are afraid to share with anyone because I love you that much.” WK

    Rolling Stone called it “the best song in Gaga’s discography” and noted that the song was simultaneously joyful and melancholy. WK USA Today’s Edna Gundersen called it “a ferocious club thumper.” WK Billboard’s Monica Herrera said it wasn’t as catchy as previous Gaga efforts, but had “wicked sex appeal.” WK

    “Bad Romance” topped the charts in over 20 countries WK and was the top-selling single of 2010 in Europe. SF It was also the most-played song in the UK in 2010 SF and earned Grammys for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Short Form Music Video. It also won MTV’s Video of the Year award and Billboard magazine readers voted it the best video of the 2000s. WK The video finds Gaga kidnapped and sold as a sex slave. In the end, she incinerates the man who buys her. WK On May 9, 2010, it became the first YouTube video to reach 200 million views. WK It surpassed one billion views by the end of 2018. WK


    Resources:


    Related Links:


    Last updated 10/21/2022.