Friday, March 25, 2011

The Top Albums of the 1980s

You can check out the top albums of all time or for other decades by clicking here.

Here are the top 100 albums of the 1980s according to Dave’s Music Database:

1. Michael Jackson...Thriller (1982)
2. U2...The Joshua Tree (1987)
3. AC/DC...Back in Black (1980)
4. Prince...Purple Rain (1984)
5. Guns N’ Roses...Appetite for Destruction (1987)
6. Paul Simon...Graceland (1986)
7. Prince...Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987)
8. Public Enemy...It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
9. The Smiths...The Queen Is Dead (1986)
10. Bruce Springsteen...Born in the U.S.A. (1984)

11. The Police...Synchronicity (1983)
12. Dire Straits...Brothers in Arms (1985)
13. The Stone Roses...The Stone Roses (1989)
14. Talking Heads...Remain in Light (1980)
15. Joy Division...Closer (1980)
16. Bon Jovi...Slippery When Wet (1986)
17. Bob Marley & the Wailers...Legend (1984)
18. Peter Gabriel...So (1986)
19. Pixies...Doolittle (1989)
20. Metallica...Master of Puppets (1986)

21. Beastie Boys...Licensed to Ill (1986)
22. R.E.M....Murmur (1983)
23. N.W.A....Straight Outta Compton (1989)
24. George Michael...Faith (1987)
25. Sonic Youth...Daydream Nation (1988)
26. Def Leppard...Hysteria (1987)
27. De La Soul...3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
28. Beastie Boys...Paul’s Boutique (1989)
29. Pixies...Surfer Rosa (1988)
30. Whitney Houston...Whitney Houston (1985)

31. Pretenders...Pretenders (1980)
32. Michael Jackson...Bad (1987)
33. The Jesus and Mary Chain...Psychocandy (1985)
34. Tracy Chapman...Tracy Chapman (1988)
35. Tom Waits...Rain Dogs (1985)
36. Tom Waits...Swordfishtrombones (1983)
37. Van Halen...1984 (1984)
38. Various artists...Dirty Dancing (soundtrack, 1987)
39. Bruce Springsteen...Nebraska (1982)
40. The Cure...Disintegration (1989)

41. Kate Bush...Hounds of Love (1985)
42. Madonna...Like a Prayer (1989)
43. Phil Collins...No Jacket Required (1985)
44. Lionel Richie...Can’t Slow Down (1983)
45. The Replacements...Let It Be (1984)
46. Def Leppard...Pyromania (1983)
47. Tina Turner...Private Dancer (1984)
48. ZZ Top...Eliminator (1983)
49. Madonna...Like a Virgin (1984)
50. U2...The Unforgettable Fire (1984)

51. Whitney Houston...Whitney (1987)
52. The Smiths...The Smiths (1984)
53. Run-D.M.C....Raising Hell (1986)
54. Phantom of the Opera (cast album, 1986)
55. Bruce Springsteen...The River (1980)
56. The Human League...Dare! (1981)
57. Madonna...True Blue (1986)
58. Iron Maiden...The Number of the Beast (1982)
59. U2...War (1983)
60. Prince...1999 (1982)

61. Janet Jackson...Control (1986)
62. Queen...Greatest Hits (1981)
63. Bonnie Raitt...Nick of Time (1989)
64. Eric B & Rakim...Paid in Full (1987)
65. REO Speedwagon...Hi Infidelity (1980)
66. Husker Du...Zen Arcade (1984)
67. Phil Collins...But Seriously (1989)
68. Janet Jackson...Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)
69. Billy Joel...Greatest Hits Volume I & II (1985)
70. Rush...Moving Pictures (1981)

71. Richard & Linda Thompson...Shoot Out the Lights (1982)
72. Journey...Escape (1981)
73. U2...Rattle and Hum (1989)
74. The Pogues...Rum, Sodomy and the Lash (1985)
75. Aerosmith...Pump (1989)
76. The Minutemen...Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
77. Slayer...Reign in Blood (1986)
78. Anita Baker...Rapture (1986)
79. Robert Cray...Strong Persuader (1986)
80. Cyndi Lauper...She’s So Unusual (1983)

81. Duran Duran...Rio (1982)
82. Talking Heads...Stop Making Sense (1983)
83. R.E.M....Green (1988)
84. Prefab Sprout...Steve McQueen (aka “Two Wheels Good”) (1985)
85. Donald Fagen...The Nightfly (1982)
86. Metallica...And Justice for All (1988)
87. Elvis Costello...Imperial Bedroom (1982)
88. Violent Femmes...Violent Femmes (1982)
89. Men at Work...Business As Usual (1982)
90. Les Miserables (cast album, 1985)

91. Sade...Diamond Life (1984)
92. The Dead Kennedys...Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980)
93. R.E.M....Document (1987)
94. Phil Collins...Face Value (1981)
95. Tom Petty...Full Moon Fever (1989)
96. Brian Eno & David Byrne...My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981)
97. Ozzy Osbourne...Blizzard of Ozz (1980)
98. The Police...Zenyatta Mondatta (1980)
99. INXS...Kick (1987)
100. Sting...The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Del Shannon runs up the charts with “Runaway” 50 years ago (3/6/1961)

Last updated 4/13/2020.


Del Shannon

Writer(s): Max Crook, Del Shannon (see lyrics here)

First Charted: March 6, 1961

Peak: 14 US, 13 CB, 14 HR, 3 RB, 13 UK, 14 CN, 16 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 24.0 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

Del Shannon was discovered by Ollie McLaughlin, a disc jockey from Ann Arbor. MA Backed by a band which included Max Crook, Shannon was playing at the Hi-Lo Club in his hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan, CR when McLaughlin dropped by to check them out. He liked Shannon and introduced him to the owners of Big Top Records. They sent him to New York to record a few songs. A few weeks later, Del received a call telling him the songs weren’t fast enough. SJ

Shannon and Crook came up with the song “Runaway” back at the Hi-Lo. Del recalled that, “We were on stage and Max hit an A minor and a G and I said, ‘Max, play that again, it’s a great change.’” Shannon wrote lyrics the next day KL about a guy deserted by his girl, only to wonder what went wrong. SF Shannon said he wrote the song about himself and his inkling to run away from relationships. MA

After performing the song for three months, they headed back to New York to record it. BR1 Del proclaimed that if the record wasn’t a hit, he was going to work in the carpet business. BR1 Once the single was selling 80,000 copies a day, Shannon was offered a chance at a gig at the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn. He would earn more there than in a year at the carpet shop. BR1

One of the song’s unique elements was the use of a musitron, kind of an early version of the electronic keyboard. RS500 Shannon explained that it was created by “’a little thing you clip under your piano and then you put an amplifier in it.” SJ Shannon added, “I think it was the first electronic machine recorded.” SJ

It was one of several features to make “Runaway” unique. The song also featured Shannon’s prominent and effective use of falsetto, not to mention the unusual structure of the song in which the conventional repeat of verse-chorus was abandoned. TB The result was the biggest hit of Shannon’s career and the U.K.’s biggest seller of 1961. SF It was “a true pop classic.” TB

Resources and Related Links:

  • Del Shannon’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books. Page 88.
  • CR Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 511.
  • 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 76.
  • MA Dave Marsh (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Pages 353-4.
  • SJ Bob Shannon and John Javna (1986). Behind the Hits: Inside Stories of Classic Pop and Rock and Roll. New York, NY; Warner Brothers, Inc. Page 179.
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 50.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cee-Lo Green peaked at #2 with “Fuck You”

Last updated 4/23/2020.

Fuck You (aka “Forget You”)

Cee-Lo Green

Writer(s): Bruno Mars, Cee-Lo Green, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine (see lyrics here)

Released: August 19, 2010

First Charted: September 15, 2010

Peak: 2 US, 11 RR, 13 AC, 2 A40, 57 RB, 33 MR, 12 UK, 7 CN, 5 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 1.2 UK, 8.73 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 94.77 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

This “gloriously catchy Motown stomper,” as Digital Spy’s Nick Levin called it, WK came out of a Los Angeles session with Bruno Mars and Phil Lawrence of the production team the Smeezingtons. When Mars came up with the piano part, he thought it was a soul riff from the ‘60s or ‘70s. “I guess I’d know by now if it wasn’t original,” he said. They played a rough demo for Green, who liked it and then contributed many of the verse lyrics. Mars said, “When Cee-Lo got in there and sang, we all got the chills.” SF

Green told Entertainment Weekly that the lyrics about a gold-digging ex were “based on something true” but weren’t strictly autobiographical. SF He told NME magazine “it’s a fictitious account of love lost. But it’s a trial that we’ve all been through some time or another, and I think that’s why people can relate to it.” SF Cee-Lo has also said creative differences with his label, Elektra Records, served as inspiration. As he said, he did the song “to be an asshole, to be spiteful toward the label…because it had taken about three years to do The Lady Killer [album] and I just felt that after recording almost 70 sings I could not please them.” SF

The song was released in an edited version to radio. In the U.K., it was retitled “FU” and the offending words were replaced with blank spaces. In the U.S., the song was retitled “Forget You” and the sixteen F-bombs were replaced with the word “forget.” WK Green has said the milder lyrics weren’t part of the original plan. “It wasn’t like we were looking for it to be a radio hit.” SF There was also a remix released in the U.S. which featured 50 Cent and a fifth version, entitled “Thank You,” which featured new lyrics as a tribute to firefighters. WK

The song topped the charts in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and was a top ten in multiple countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United States. SF In the U.S., the song originally peaked at #9 and was slipping down the charts, but after he performed it at the Grammys, it had a resurgence and hit #2 in its 26th week on the Billboard Hot 100. WK Despite never reaching the pinnacle, it became the United States’ best-selling song of 2011. WK

The song was nominated for Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Urban/Alternative Performance. Spin magazine named it the best song of 2010. SF

Resources and Related Links:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Jazz - Top 100 Songs of All Time

image from

A few weeks ago, did a listeners’ poll to determine the top 100 jazz songs of all time (see list here). DMDB fan Steve Sullivan sent me another list from Ted Gioia’s book The History of Jazz. I then compiled 16 lists focused on the best jazz songs of all time (see sources at bottom of page) and consolidated them into an aggregate list originally posted on the DMDB Facebook page and now posted here on the DMDB blog:

1. So What…Miles Davis (1959)
2. ‘Round Midnight…Thelonious Monk (1944)
3. Strange Fruit…Billie Holiday (1939)
4. Body and Soul…Coleman Hawkins (1940)
5. One O’Clock Jump…Count Basie (1937)
6. What a Wonderful World…Louis Armstrong (1967)
7. Take Five…Dave Brubeck (1961)
8. Take the “A” Train…Duke Ellington (1941)
9. God Bless the Child…Billie Holiday (1941)
10. Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)…Benny Goodman (1938)

11. Mood Indigo…Duke Ellington (1931)
12. Blue in Green…Miles Davis (1959)
13. In the Mood…Glenn Miller (1939)
14. Goodbye Pork Hat…Charles Mingus (1959)
15. My Favorite Things…John Coltrane (1960)
16. The Girl from Ipanema…Stan Getz with Joao Gilberto (1964)
17. In a Sentimental Mood…Duke Ellington & John Coltrane (1962)
18. Blue Rondo a la Turk…Dave Brubeck (1961)
19. Georgia on My Mind…Ray Charles (1960)
20. Unforgettable…Natalie Cole with Nat “King” Cole (1991)

21. Giant Steps…John Coltrane (1959)
22. West End Blues…Louis Armstrong (1928)
23. Salt Peanuts…Dizzy Gillespie (1945)
24. Begin the Beguine…Artie Shaw (1938)
25. Birdland…Weather Report (1977)
26. Naima…John Coltrane (1959)
27. Waltz for Debby…Bill Evans (1961)
28. Feeling Good…Nina Simone (1965)
29. Don’t Know Why…Norah Jones (2002)
30. Satin Doll…Duke Ellington (1953)

31. My Funny Valentine…Chet Baker (1953)
32. Bumpin’ on Sunset…Wes Montgomery (1965)
33. Song for My Father…Horace Silver (1964)
34. Sophisticated Lady…Duke Ellington (1933)
35. Moanin’…Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers (1958)
36. Manteca…Dizzy Gillespie (1947)
37. Chameleon…Herbie Hancock (1973)
38. Ko-Ko…Charlie Parker with Miles Davis & Dizzy Gillespie (1945)
39. Nuages…Django Reinhardt (1940)
40. Maiden Voyage…Herbie Hancock (1965)

41. Potato Head Blues…Louis Armstrong (1927)
42. Minnie the Moocher…Cab Calloway (1931)
43. Summertime…Ella Fitzgerald (1960)
44. Acknowledgement (A Love Supreme, Part I)…John Coltrane (1965)
45. All Blues…Miles Davis (1959)
46. Freddie Freeloader (1959)
47. Fever…Peggy Lee (1957)
48. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy…Cannonball Adderley (1966)
49. Someone to Watch Over Me…Ella Fitzgerald (1958)
50. Stompin’ at the Savoy…Benny Goodman (1936)

51. Just the Two of Us…Bill Withers with Grover Washington, Jr. (1981)
52. Solitude…Billie Holiday (1952)
53. Rhapsody in Blue…Paul Whitman with George Gershwin (1924)
54. Straight, No Chaser…Thelonious Monk (1967)
55. Straighten Up and Fly Right…Nat “King” Cole (1944)
56. A Remark You Made…Weather Report (1977)
57. Misty…Erroll Garner Trio (1954)
58. A-Tisket, A-Tasket…Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb (1938)
59. Epistrophy…Thelonious Monk (1948)
60. Ain’t Misbehavin’…Fats Waller (1929)

61. Big Chief…Professor Longhair (1964)
62. Bemsha Swing…Thelonious Monk (1952)
63. A Night in Tunisia…Dizzy Gillespie (1946)
64. Autumn Leaves…Cannonball Adderley (1958)
65. April in Paris…Count Basie (1955)
66. Spain…Chick Corea (1972)
67. Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)…Billie Holiday (1945)
68. The Sidewinder…Lee Morgan (1963)
69. It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing…Duke Ellington (1932)
70. Red Clay…Freddie Hubbard (1970)

71. I Can’t Get Started…Bunny Berigan (1938)
72. Song of India…Tommy Dorsey (1937)
73. Flying Home…Lionel Hampton (1942)
74. Opus No. 1…Tommy Dorsey (1943)
75. Artistry in Rhythm…Stan Kenton (1944)
76. Summertime…Sidney Bechet (1939)
77. Moonlight Serenade…Glenn Miller (1939)
78. Green Onions…Booker T. & the MG’s (1962)
79. La Vie En Rose…Louis Armstrong (1950)
80. I Surrender, Dear…Thelonious Monk (1931)

81. Mack the Knife…Ella Fitzgerald (1960)
82. How High the Moon…Ella Fitzgerald with the Daydreamers (1947)
83. At Last…Etta James (1961)
84. Speak No Evil…Wayne Shorter (1964)
85. Watermelon Man…Herbie Hancock (1962)
86. Autumn in New York…Billie Holiday (1935)
87. The Creator Has a Master Plan…Pharaoh Sanders (1969)
88. Come Away with Me…Norah Jones (2002)
89. This Masquerade…George Benson (1976)
90. Tea for Two…Art Tatum (1939)

91. Breezin’…George Benson (1976)
92. Poinciana…Ahmad Jamal (1955)
93. Oh, Lady Be Good…Ella Fitzgerald (1924)
94. Breakfast Feud…Benny Goodman with Charlie Christian (1941)
95. Lester Leaps In…Count Basie (1939)
96. Django…The Modern Jazz Quartet (1954)
97. Parker’s Mood…Charlie Parker (1948)
98. In a Mist…Bix Beiderbecke (1927)
99. Struttin’ with Some BBQ (1927)
100.Misterioso…Thelonious Monk (1948)

Resources and Related Links:

  • Aol Radio Blog 10 Greatest Jazz Songs. By Tad Hendrickson (year?).

    Ranked list with commentary.

  • List of Top Jazz Songs. By Tulika Nair (6/19/2010).

    Ranked top 100 list. No commentary.

  • Digital Dream Door 100 Greatest Jazz Ballads. Edited by Alvin. (11/24/2004).

    Ranked list with no commentary. As the page says, ballads were “chosen based on influence, originality, impact, dedication, beauty, and if it became a multiple-recorded standard by different jazz artists.” As for being recorded by multiple artists, most of the songs have at least two artists listed. The higher ranked version in Dave’s Music Database was generally given the points.

  • Digital Dream Door 100 Greatest Jazz Instrumentals. By Rick Varner (2/26/2010).

    Ranked list with no commentary.

  • Digital Dream Door 300 Greatest Swing Era Songs. Edited by Tom B. and John B. (8/7/2009).

    Ranked list with no commentary. The Swing Era, as indicated by the page was “when big band music was at its most popular in America between the years 1935-1945.”

  • Ted Gioia. The History of Jazz (1997).

    Pages 413-425 offer up a list of the “270 All-Time Recommended Performances.”

  • HubPages Greatest Jazz Songs of All Time by Illminatus (2009).

    Top 100 ranked list with commentary on the top 20.

  • The Jazz 100: One Hundred Quintessential Jazz Songs (2011).

    Top 100 ranked list with no commentary. Listeners’ poll at jazz24 collected thousands of votes.

  • Tiffany’s Top 10 Jazz Songs by lucyinthesky (2009).

    Top 10 ranked list with commentary.

  • Listverse 10 Truly Great Jazz Performances by gabi319 (5/25/2009).

    Top 10 ranked list with commentary and video clips.

  • 10 Best Jazz Songs of All Time by Mike Harris (10/18/2010).

    Top 10 ranked list with commentary. Mike Harris is credited as a Break Studios Contributing Writer.

  • My Top 20 Jazz Songs of All Time by Jazzman528 (2007).

    Top 20 ranked list with no commentary.

  • 100 Best Jazz Vocal Standards edited by Chris F. (10/1/2004).

    Top 100 ranked list with no commentary. Generally two artists are listed for each song; only the first is credited in Dave’s Music Database. Link is for Digital Dream Door. Same list appears at Nutsie.

  • 100 Greatest Swing Era Songs (year?).

    Title says 100 songs, but list only has 64 songs.

  • Top 100 Jazz Songs (3/2/2011).

    Best-selling jazz songs on iTunes.

  • Top 10 Best Jazz Songs by Alexandr (year?).

    Top 15 ranked list with no commentary.