Saturday, October 30, 2010

In Concert: Roger Waters - The Wall

image from

Venue: Sprint Center; Kansas City, MO
Tour: The Wall Live

Best concert I’ve ever seen in terms of theatrics. This was on the top of my concert bucket list since I first heard about the Pink Floyd The Wall concerts in 1980-81 which only hit a handful of cities because the show was too costly and complicated. It took nearly 30 years before Waters tackled the project again, turning it into one of the most successful concert runs of all time.

The Set List:

1. In the Flesh?
2. The Thin Ice
3. Another Brick in the Wall Part 1
4. The Happiest Days of Our Lives
5. Another Brick in the Wall Part 2
6. Mother
7. Goodbye Blue Sky
8. Empty Spaces
9. What Shall We Do Now?
10. Young Lust
11. One of My Turns
12. Don't Leave Me Now
13. Another Brick in the Wall Part 3
14. The Last Few Bricks
15. Goodbye Cruel World


16. Hey You
17. Is There Anybody Out There?
18. Nobody Home
19. Vera
20. Bring the Boys Back Home
21. Comfortably Numb
22. The Show Must Go On
23. In the Flesh
24. Run Like Hell
25. Waiting for the Worms
26. Stop
27. The Trial
28. Outside the Wall

Paul Whiteman’s “Whispering” hit #1 90 years ago (10/30/1920)

First posted 10/30/2011; updated 4/11/2020.


Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra

Writer(s): John Schonberger (l)/Richard Coburn (l)/Vincent Rose (m) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 30, 1920

Peak: 111 US, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 (includes 1.0 in sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.48 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

This was the debut chart single for Paul Whiteman, and what a beginning it was. The song was the second biggest hit of the year WHC and the biggest chart success of Whiteman’s career. It was the first of Whiteman’s 30 songs to go all the way to the top and helped him to become the most popular bandleader of the pre-swing era and the dominant force in American popular recording. PM “Whispering” sold over two million copies which, considering the number of record players in use then, would be the equivalent today of sales of 20 million. TY

The Whiteman orchestra started playing the song early in 1920 in Los Angeles during a gig at the Ambassador Hotel, TY but Ray Miller & His Black and White Melody Boys recorded it first on July 1, 1920. WK By year’s end, Victor Records released Whiteman’s version which TY backed by “The Japanese Sandman” (also a #1), became the first charted version.

As was common for songs from that time, “Whispering” “has a basic stepwise melody, simple harmony, and no syncopation.” TY In addition, “the harmony lends itself to banjo and guitar accompaniment, and the melody encourages group singing.” TY In 1920, many families still carried on the pre-victrola tradition of gathering for sing-along sessions. TY

The online All Music Guide says more than 700 different versions of the song have been recorded, including versions by Harry Belafonte, Miles Davis, Tommy Dorsey, George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, Oscar Peterson, Sonny Rollins, and Frank Sinatra. WK It has also charted in four different decades. Art Hickman and John Steel followed with top-ten versions of the song. Thirty years later, Les Paul had a million-selling, top-ten hit with his 1951 recording of the song. Unlike the original slow ballad, theirs was a rhythmic version. TY Gordon Jenkins also had a minor hit with it that year and then Paul Whiteman himself re-recorded the song in 1954 and took it to #29. PM The song charted again in 1964 when Nino Tempo & April Stevens took it to #11. In 1977, Dr. Buzzard’s Original “Savannah” Band hit #27 with a disco medley including the song.

Resources and Related Links:

  • Paul Whiteman’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 213.
  • TY Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. New York, NY: Quill. Page 17.
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 447.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 35.
  • WK

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bruno Mars released Doo-Wops & Hooligans

First posted 12/12/2020.

Doo-Wops & Hooligans

Bruno Mars

Released: October 4, 2010

Charted: October 23, 2010

Peak: 3 US, 11 UK, 12 CN, 2 AU

Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 1.8 UK, 15.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop/R&B


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

  1. Grenade (9/28/10, 14 US, 15 RR, 11 AC, 3 A40, 12 UK, 13 CN, 13 AU, sales: 10.9 million)
  2. Just the Way You Are (Amazing) (7/20/10, 14 US, 13 RR, 120 AC, 15 A40, 11 UK, 14 CN, 11 AU, sales: 13.7 million)
  3. Our First Time
  4. Runaway Baby (10/29/11, 50 US, 19 UK)
  5. The Lazy Song (10/23/10, 4 US, 3 RR, 13 AC, 2 A40, 11 UK, 5 CN, 6 AU, sales: 7.28 million)
  6. Marry You (12/11/10, 85 US, 11 UK, 10 CN, 8 AU, sales: 3.18 million)
  7. Talking to the Moon
  8. Liquor Store Blues (w/ Damian Marley)
  9. Count on Me (11/7/11, 78 UK, 19 AU, sales: 0.41 million)
  10. The Other Side (w/ CeeLo Green & B.o.B.)

Total Running Time: 35:24


3.814 out of 5.00 (average of 29 ratings)

Quotable: --

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Bruno Mars was already a star when he released Doo-Wops & Hooligans, his first album, in 2010. He’d had hits with Travie McCoy (“Billionaire,” #4) and B.o.B. (“Nothin’ on You,” #1) and was writing and producing songs (such as Cee-Lo Green’s #2 hit “Fuck You”) with Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine as the Smeezingtons. As such, it wasn’t a big surprise when “the lushly romantic” AMG Just the Way You Are and Grenade, “a darker song with a masochistic message,” WK topped the Billboard Hot 100.

Mars pulled off “a record that sounds like it was written and recorded on a warm, sleepy summer Sunday afternoon.” AMG “Lyrically, the album visualizes carefree optimism along with failed relationships, pain and loneliness.” WK He plays all the instruments and “his voice is the kind of smooth instrument that slips into your ear like honey.” AMG

Most of the tracks on Doo-Wops capture this laid-back groove, especially The Lazy Song and the reggaefied midnight love jam Our First Time. Mars barely raises a sweat on these tracks, cruising in low gear but with a very likeable style. It’s not very deep and it’s not poetry, but sweetly played and sung songs like Count on Me,” AMG which has been compared to Boyz II Men, WK “or ‘Just the Way You Are’ project a cuddly image and will melt hearts from tweens to old folks.” AMG

The biggest criticism may be that “the album tried too hard to appeal to all groups” WK as it integrates pop, soul, reggae, R&B, and rock. Mars himself confirmed an effort to reach as wide an audience as possible, explaining “I have records that women are going to relate to and men are going to relate to. So doo-wops are for the girls, and hooligans are for the guys.” WK

“When he turns up the volume and boosts the tempo, however, the album suffers a little. Runaway Baby is a pretty cheesy rocker, suffering from clich├ęd lyrics and production. Faring better thanks to some dynamics and nuanced production is the pleasantly silly Marry You.” AMG The latter was used for a fantastic viral video proposal. In the comments section, Emily said, “Honestly a total stranger could propose to me like this and I would say yes.”

“The only glimpse of Mars as something more than an innocuous charmer is…The Other Side.” AMG The song, which features Cee-Lo Green and B.o.B., “has been called the album’s highlight, with its most experimental and complex production.” WK It “has the most complicated melody, and the best production and singing; it sounds like the only song that Mars truly invested with some soul and grit. It was also recorded way before the rest of the album, and featured on the EP that came out earlier in 2010. It points to a direction Mars could have taken with the album but didn’t. As it is, Doo-Wops & Hooligans is an uneven debut that shows why Mars is likeable and popular, but doesn’t tap into his full potential as a writer or producer.” AMG

Notes: The European version added the song “Somewhere in Brooklyn” and an acoustic piano version of “Talking to the Moon.” Both of those songs are also featured on the deluxe/tour version as well as a remix of “Just the Way You Are” featuring Lupe Fiasco, and live versions of “Just the Way You Are,” “Grenade,” and “The Other Side.” The Japanese platinum edition included those songs and three remixes of “Grenade.” The iTunes deluxe version of the album also included “Somewhere in Brooklyn” as well as music videos for “Just the Way You Are” and “The Other Side” and the remix of “Just the Way You Are.”

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bruno Mars landed his first #1 as a solo artist with “Just the Way You Are”

Last updated 2/14/2021.

Just the Way You Are (Amazing)

Bruno Mars

Writer(s): Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Khalil Walton, Khari Cain (see lyrics here)

Released: July 20, 2010

First Charted: August 1, 2010

Peak: 14 US, 13 RR, 120 AC, 15 A40, 11 UK, 14 CN, 11 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 1.8 UK, 13.7 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.5 radio, 1524.6 video, 200.0 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“Just the Way You Are” was Bruno Mars’ debut single as a solo artist, but it wasn’t his first time on the charts. He’d already been a guest artist on B.o.B.’s “Nothin’ on You” (#1 on the Hot 100) and Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire” (#4) and was a member of the production trio The Smeezingtons, who produced hits such as Flo Rida’s “Right Round” (#1). SF The song was, at different times, intended for Lupe Fiasco and Cee-Lo Green. Green thought the song was better for Mars, but did record Mars’ song “Fuck You,” with which he had a #2 hit. SF

When Mars’ topped the charts with the song, it became the first #1 hit for Elektra Rcords in 17 years, the last being “Freak Me” by Silk in 1993. SF Its 20 weeks atop the adult contemporary chart gave it the record for longest-reigning debut on that chart. WK It was also the best-selling digital single of 2011 with 12.2 million in sales WK and named ASCAP’s Most Performed Song of the year at their Pop Music Awards. WK

Mars has said, “I’m a big fan of just classic love songs,” SF citing songs like Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful” and Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight,” which he said “go straight to the point…They just come directly from the heart.” WK He continues that, “I wasn’t thinking of anything deep or poetic. I was telling a story. Get ready to fall in love!” SF He also said, “There’s nothing really lyrically mind-blowing in the song” SF and that “I’m just telling a woman she loks beautiful the way she IS.” WK The song was an inspiration for Meghan Trainor’s debut single “All About That Bass.” WK

Billboard’s Megan Vick said the lyrics “aim to make femal listeners feel nothing short of perfect in their own skin.” WK The song served as an inspiration for the #1 hit “All About That Bass,” the body-empowerment debut single from Megan Trainor. WK Digital Spy’s Nick Levin described the song as “a huge-hearted urbany piano ballad with a similar instant classic feel to ‘Empire State of Mind.’” WK

Resources and Related Links: