Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pink “Just Give Me a Reason” hit #1

Just Give Me a Reason

Pink with Nate Ruess

Writer(s): Pink, Jeff Bhasker, Nate Ruess (see lyrics here)

Released: February 6, 2013

First Charted: February 16, 2013

Peak: 13 US, 12 RR, 11 BA, 14 DG, 18 AC, 111 A40, 2 UK, 17 CN, 14 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.41 US, 1.8 UK, 9.9 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.12 radio, 419.44 video, 1081.34 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Pink first charted in 2000 with the top-ten hit “There You Go.” “Just Give Me a Reason” marked Pink’s fourteenth trip to the top 10 and her fourth chart-topper on the Billboard Hot 100. It topped the charts in twenty-one countries overall WK and was nominated for a Grammy for Song of the Year. The song was the third single from her sixth album, The Truth About Love. It was her fifth platinum seller and fifth trip to the top ten of the album chart but first to go all the way to #1.

Pink and Nate Ruess wrote the song together. His group, Fun., previously topped the Billboard Hot 100 with the song “We Are Young.” Pink said the song was “a conversation…it needs the other perspective.” WK He wasn’t sure about singing with a pop star, but she tricked him into singing it by saying, “You just put the vocals down as the scratch vocal and I’ll get Gotye to sing it.” SF He said, “At the end of the day it’s so hard to argue against her because what she does is always so great.” WK

The song “is a pop ballad about the desire to hold on to a relationship even when it appears to be breaking down.” WK “The stripped-back piano piece” SF “was inspired by a hypothetical argument over butter.” SF Pink said, “Sometimes [one partner] can be like, ‘The way you passed me the butter this morning, I kinda feel like were’going to be over in a month and we need to talk’ and he’s like, ‘I just passed you the. Fucking butter, what are you talking about?’” SF’s Bill Lamb said “Just Give Me a Reason” is “a powerful, well written song that is allowed to shine by a simple, spare Jeff Bhasker production and straightforward vocals.” WK Rolling Stone’s Jody Rosen said Pink “dials back the drama, letting the melody and sentiments do their work.” WK Billboard called it “a less-schmaltzy version of those male/female duets found at the end credits of every 80s movie.” WK


First posted 7/22/2023.

Friday, April 26, 2013

George Jones – Top 50 Songs

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Farewell to the Possum (nicknamed because of the shape of his nose and facial features). Country singer/songwriter and guitarist George Jones is dead, age 81, from hypoxic respiratory failure. Born on 9/12/1931 in Saratoga, Texas, the man became regarded as one of the greatest country singers of all time (he ranks #6 according to the DMDB). Jones got his start singing on radio stations KTXJ in Jasper, TX, and KRIC in Beaumont, TX. He served in the U.S. Marines from 1950-52 and recorded rockabilly as Thumper Jones and Hank Smith. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1969, the same year he married country singer Tammy Wynette, his third of four wives.

He struggled with alcohol and drug abuse in his life, earning him the nickname “No Show Jones” for missed shows in the late 1970s. One of the famous stories about his alcoholism occurred when second wife, Shirley Corley, hid the car keys to keep him from driving to the liquor store so he hopped on a riding mower instead. However, fourth wife Nancy Sepulvado, to whom he was married from 1983 until his death, is credited with rescuing him from drinking and cocaine.

In honor of the country legend, here are his top 50 songs, according to the DMDB. As always, DMDB lists are determined by creating an aggregate list from multiple other best-of lists and factoring in chart success, sales, airplay, and awards. In addition, 13 George Jones best-of lists were figured into the mix. Also, the number of appearances on 7 different compilations of Jones’ music were factored in.

George Jones: His Top 50 Songs

1. He Stopped Loving Her Today (1980)
2. She Thinks I Still Care (1962)
3. The Grand Tour (1974)
4. White Lightning (1959)
5. Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes (1985)
6. Tender Years (1961)
7. A Good Year for the Roses (1970)
8. A Picture of Me without You (1972)
9. Still Doin’ Time (1981)
10. Why Baby Why (1955)

11. The Window Up Above (1960)
12. I Always Get Lucky with You (1983)
13. The Race Is On (1964)
14. The Door (1974)
15. If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me, Her Memory Will (1981)
16. Golden Ring (with Tammy Wynette, 1976)
17. She’s My Rock (1984)
18. Choices (1999)
19. Tennessee Whiskey (1983)
20. Bartender’s Blues (with James Taylor, 1978)

21. We’re Gonna Hold On (with Tammy Wynette, 1973)
22. The One I Loved Back Then (The Corvette Song) (1985)
23. Color of the Blues (1958)
24. Just One More (1956)
25. Walk Through This World with Me (1967)
26. I’ll Share My World with You (1969)
27. I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair (1992)
28. We Can Make It (1972)
29. Aching Breaking Heart (1962)
30. When the Grass Grows Over Me (1968)

31. You Comb Her Hair (1963)
32. I’m Not Ready Yet (1980)
33. Take Me (1965)
34. Wine Colored Roses (1986)
35. Who Shot Sam (1959)
36. Near You (with Tammy Wynette, 1976)
37. Mr. Fool (1963)
38. Accidentally on Purpose (1960)
39. Love Bug (1965)
40. Yesterday’s Wine (with Merle Haggard, 1982)

41. I’m a People (1966)
42. The King Is Gone (So Are You) (1989)
43. A Girl I Used to Know (1962)
44. As Long As I Live (1968)
45. Once You’ve Had the Best (1973)
46. We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds (with Melba Montgomery, 1963)
47. These Days I Barely Get By (1975)
48. Her Name Is… (1976)
49. I Can’t Get There from Here (1967)
50. What My Woman Can’t Do (1973)


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The Death Knell Sounds Again: The History of Music Industry Whining

Originally published in my "Aural Fixation" column on on April 25, 2013. See original post here.

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If the Chicken Little music industry pundits are to be believed, the sky is falling. A business which makes billions of dollars a year can’t stop whining about how illegal downloading, streaming, and Internet radio are sending them to the poor house. There’s one problem with their complaints – we’ve been hearing them since the beginning of recorded music history more than a century ago.
I blame Thomas Edison. Thanks to his indefatigable curiosity and perpetual instinct to invent, he steered the world into the dawn of a new age: recorded music history. In 1877, he laid down a recitation of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, and shortly thereafter, we fell down the rabbit hole.

If it weren’t for his voice-recording phonograph, we might not presently be enduring the horrible curse of being able to listen to any music we want anytime, anywhere, and any way we choose. Damn you, Mr. Edison! Look what fury you hath wrought!

Edison ruined the music industry – or at least how the form in which it was known 136 years ago. Before the invention of sound recording, the music business was built on sheet music sales. Once Edison let the cat out of the bag, the big bucks moved to recording music, away from sheet music distribution.

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Stuart Banner wrote a piece for (“The First Time Tech Ruined the Music Business”, 14 December 2012) stating:

“The music business was in turmoil at the turn of the century. Technological innovation had made songs much easier to copy, and established artists foresaw their sales plummeting. The companies that had once dominated the industry were rapidly losing ground to upstarts who produced new devices for playing music. The established companies urged Congress to tighten up the law to prohibit copying, while the innovators argued that any such change would only harm consumers.”

Here’s the kicker. While this sounds like a modern assessment of the music industry, it actually describes the state of the business in 1900. Record execs haven’t stopped griping since.

So let’s take a look at the current reasons why a multi-billion-dollar industry would have the public belief the whole system is falling apart – and when these supposedly new problems first surfaced.

The music industry can’t survive with competing formats or delivery systems.

We’ve heard for more than a decade how the compact disc is suffering a slow death at the hands of the MP3. Clearly this is a late-20th/early-21st century development, right? Uh, no. Try 19th century.

Edison's phonograph, image from

Within roughly a decade of Edison’s invention of the phonograph, Emile Berliner thrust his alternative, the gramophone, upon the world in 1888. It relied on a disc instead of a cylinder, thus introducing the first “my format’s better than your format” battle.

Thankfully, the dilemma never reared its ugly head again – except for the introduction of piano rolls (1896), 78 RPM records (1906), 33 1/3 RPM records (1928), the LP (1948), the 7” single (1951), the cassette (1964), the 8-track (1966), the compact disc (1978), MTV (1981), the MP3 (1990), streaming (1995), Napster (1999), Pandora (2000), iTunes (2003), YouTube (2005), and Spotify (2008). If some of these dates sound earlier than you expected, well, let that be a lesson to you. These formats did not storm the industry and decimate them overnight.  (Source: (““Chronology: Technology and the Music Industry”, 24 May 2004).

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The industry can’t compete with free, or nearly free distribution of music.

Record companies have lobbed their legal heft at Internet radio and streaming services like Pandora and Spotify in the claim that such services are ruining the recording industry. However, radio first “threatened” the music business over 80 years ago.

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The ‘20s saw the mass-production of commercial radio. Record companies were so terrified of the new medium that they signed their major artists to contracts forbidding them from doing radio work. As we all know, once every household in America had a radio, recorded music went away forever.

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Oh, wait. It didn’t. As has happened dozens of times, the music industry adapted – even if it had to get over its initially panicked reaction, first – and transformed radio into a means to promote music sales.

As for the effect of modern-day services like Pandora and Spotify, Hugo Vanessen notes in a article (“The Effect of Spotify and Pandora on the Music Industry”, March 2013) that the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said sales actually saw a slight rise in 2012 after 14 years of decline. The article suggests the industry may owe the turn of fortune to Spotify and Pandora. Spotify founder Daniel Ek is quoted in the article as saying, “Old media are always afraid of new media… because when a new media appears on the scene you have to change in order to keep up.” In other words, if the industry would stop panicking and embrace progress, it would be much better off.

No one will buy music if they can listen and share for free.

This brings us to the dumbest move in the music business in recent memory. After Napster hit in 1999, peer-to-peer file sharing exploded. Convinced illegal downloading would bring the industry to its knees, record companies screamed bloody murder and got the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to take on the image-shattering move of suing everyday music fans. After all, if your customer is fleeing from your company, the best way to woo them back is to chase them down with a legal machete and mercilessly (and publicly) flog them, right?

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As far back as the 1890s, the invention of the jukebox meant no one needed to buy music for their home ever again. At the height of its popularity in the ‘50s, the jukebox was a staple at diners and drive-ins. Teens could hang out with friends at the local burger joint and wait for someone else to drop a dime to listen to the latest rock ‘n’ roll chartbuster. Ah, that fateful day when the record companies announced they were closing up shop for good because no one was buying music, anymore.

Oh wait. That didn’t happen? Well, at least not until blank cassettes threatened to destroy the sale of the beloved LP. The record honchos got the 1909 Copyright Statute amended in 1971 so that those horrible teens who swapped albums with friends could be chased down with legal machetes and mercilessly (and publicly) flogged. Wait – is anyone else experiencing déjà vu?

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Don’t shed too many tears for those poor record execs. In the ‘80s, they pulled off a major coup: a percentage of the profits from the sale of every blank tape. Once again, they managed to weather the storm.

The availability of individual songs will kill the album.

In 1948, the 12” disc, better known as the LP, was introduced. Within three years, a 7” format – the single – hit the market. The funeral procession for the death of the music industry began immediately.

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Yeah, yeah. I think you see the pattern by now. The reality was that both formats stuck around for decades and gave customers choices. Of course, with billions of potential bucks to be made, the record company fat cats considered customer choice a negative factor on their bottom lines and set out to destroy the single.

In the ‘80s, blockbuster albums like Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A., and Prince’s Purple Rain generated hit after hit and sent fans to record stores in droves. By the ‘90s, record company execs made a concentrated effort to squash the single, often creating massive radio hits (No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak”, Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris”) which weren’t available as commercially available singles. Fans had no choice but to buy the more expensive album.

The CD Era: Death of the Single,
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Think of it like this. If you go to the grocery store to buy potatoes, they are available individually or by the bag. In the digital age, the return of customer choice – and the ability to buy one song at a time – sent the music biz into a tizzy because it can no longer sell you a sack of potatoes when you only want one. Let the violins play.

* * *

I won’t deny that record companies have taken a hit in the 21st century. However, for all their finger-pointing, they may be pointing at the wrong culprits. In an article (“The real reason why the music industry collapsed”, 25 May 2012), Nick Ross graphs the number of albums sold per person from 1973 to 2009. There’s an obvious spike in the ‘90s to more than five album purchases per person. The number peaked in 1994, so when Napster launched five years later, the numbers were already in decline. Numbers dipped back to pre-‘90s levels of two to four album purchases per person. The record industry didn’t so much tank as return to normalcy. 

Matthew Lasar acknowledges in an article (“Did file-sharing cause recording industry collapse? Economists say no”, 23 March 2011) that global recorded music sales had dropped to about $15 billion in 2010 after being just shy of $27 billion in 2000. However, he argues, these numbers coincide with a global economic downturn in the ‘00s.

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A graph at (“Why Music Industry Observations Suck”, 1 November 2011) looks at US sales dating back to 1999 up to projected sales for 2014. It suggests that since 2009, sales have practically leveled off to just shy of $6 billion a year.

Wake up, music industry folks. Technology and consumers are constantly evolving. Instead of fighting to derail technological advances in the music industry you are certain will destroy your livelihood. Figure out how to embrace change. Or don’t. It doesn’t matter. Music, and the way it is delivered and heard, will change whether you like it or not. If you want to blame anyone, though, I say it’s that evil Thomas Edison’s fault.

Thomas Edison with - an iPopd?,
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Monday, April 22, 2013

Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” named a Songwriter Hall of Fame Towering Song

A Change Is Gonna Come

Sam Cooke

Writer(s): Sam Cooke (see lyrics here)

Released: December 22, 1964

First Charted: January 9, 1965

Peak: 31 US, 46 CB, 53 HR, 9 RB, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 42.41 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The song which “became an anthem of the civil rights movement in the United States” NRR owed its existence to a black man determined to outdo a white man’s commentary on racism. Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” “profoundly inspired and disturbed” RS500 Sam Cooke, who said at the time, “Jeez, a white boy writing a song like that?” RS500

Cooke responded with an introspective protest song in which he “preaches a sermon on humanity,” MA tapping into his personal experiences and capturing the pain and suffering of a greater whole. He gave first-person accounts of segregation and an event in which he and members of his entourage were arrested for disturbing the peace at a white motel in Shreveport, Louisiana, RS500 while also mourning the accidental drowning death of his infant son. RS500

Despite its “weary tone” WK and the negative circumstances which birthed the song, it is a “hopeful tome and vision for a multi-cultural society” SH which has been called the soul singer’s “most significant and enduring composition.” SH It also served as “Cooke’s farewell address and final hit.” RS500 He recorded “Change” in December 1963, WK but it wasn’t until after he was fatally shot a year later at a Los Angeles motel that the song was released as a single.

Its reach is demonstrated by the myriad of artists who have covered the song. Among the 500+ versions are those by The Band, Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Bragg, Terence Trent D’Arby, Bob Dylan, Gavin DeGraw, Aretha Franklin, the Fugees, Al Green, Greta Van Fleet, R. Kelly, Otis Redding, the Righteous Brothers, Seal, The Supremes, Three Dog Night, Tina Turner, and Bobby Womack.


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First posted 4/22/2013; last updated 8/16/2022.