Friday, October 31, 2014

50 years ago: The Supremes hit #1 with “Baby Love”

First posted 3/12/2021.

Baby Love

The Supremes

Writer(s): Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland (see lyrics here)


Released: September 17, 1964


First Charted: October 3, 1964


Peak: 14 US, 12 CN, 14 HR, 14 RB, 12 UK, 10 CN, 26 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.25 UK, 1.25 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 21.0 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

The Supremes first topped the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1964 with “Where Did Our Love Go.” When “Baby Love” also made it to #1, it made the trio the first Motown act to top the Billboard Hot 100 two times. They would top the chart a dozen times total, more than any other Motown act or American pop music group. WK This was the first #1 in the UK for a Motown group and the Supremes’ only chart-topper there. It “catapulted [them] to the top of Motown’s artist roster.” BR1

The song was written by the Motown writing team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland. The trio wrote many of the Supremes chart-toppers, including “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Back in My Arms Again,” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” They also wrote #1 songs for the Four Tops (“Reach Out (I’ll Be There),” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”) and the Marvelettes (“Please Mr. Postman”).

Dozier explained that this song was about “my first love who I never really got over.” He said many of the songs he wrote for Motown were inspired by her. SF Brian Holland explained “We pictured a simple story about a girl whose boyfriend has left her and who loves him very dearly and would like the boy to come back.” SF

Motown head honcho Berry Gordy insisted that the Holland-Dozier-Holland team produce a sound-a-like follow-up for “Where Did Our Love Go.” That mean more of Diana Ross’s “cooing lead vocal and oohing, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson’s ‘baby-baby’ backup, the Funk Brothers’ instrumental track, and teenager Mike Valvano’s footstomping.” WK The stomping percussion became a trade mark on early Supremes’ songs. SF

The song received a Grammy nomination for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording.


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for The Supremes
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 159.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

Monday, October 27, 2014

Taylor Swift released 1989

Last updated 12/23/2020.

1989

Taylor Swift


Released: October 27, 2014


Peak: 111 US, 11 UK, 19 CN, 19 AU


Sales (in millions): 9.0 US, 1.25 UK, 12.71 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: pop


Tracks:

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

  1. Welcome to New York (Taylor Swift/Ryan Tedder) [3:32] (11/8/14, 48 US)
  2. Blank Space (Swift/Max Martin/Shellback) [3:51] (11/10/14, 17 US, 14 AC, 16 A40, 4 UK, 16 CA, 13 AU, sales: 11.68 million worldwide)
  3. Style (Swift/Martin/Shellback/Ali Payami) [3:51] (11/15/14, 6 US, 12 AC, 12 A40, 21 UK, 6 CA, 8 AU, sales: 2.98 million worldwide)
  4. Out of the Woods (Swift/Jack Antonoff) [Antonoff/Swift/Martin] (11/1/14, 18 US, 8 CN, 19 AU, sales: 0.5 million)
  5. All You Had to Do Was Stay (Swift/Martin) [3:13] (11/15/14, 92 CN)
  6. Shake It Off (Swift/Martin/Shellback) [3:39] (8/18/14, 14 US, 15 AC, 18 A40, 58a CW, 3 UK, 14 CA, 13 AU, sales: 10.36 million worldwide)
  7. I Wish You Would (Swift/Antonoff) [3:27]
  8. Bad Blood (Swift/Martin/Shellback) [3:31] (11/15/14, 11 US, 11 AC, 13 A40, 4 UK, 11 CN, 13 AU, sales: 2.55 million worldwide)
  9. Wildest Dreams (Swift/Martin/Shellback) [3:40] (11/15/14, 5 US, 2 AC, 14 A40, 40 UK, 4 CN, 3 AU, sales: 3.62 million worldwide)
  10. How You Get the Girl (Swift/Martin/Shellback) [4:10] (11/15/14, 81 CN)
  11. This Love (Swift) [4:10] (11/15/14, 84 CN)
  12. I Know Places (Swift/Tedder) [3:15]
  13. Clean (Swift/Imogen Heap) [4:30]


Total Running Time: 48:41

Rating:

3.648 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)


Quotable: 1989 is the Thriller of the 2010s.” – Consequence of Sound


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

1989 is the Thriller of the 2010s.” CS’19 The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica said Swift was aiming for “a mode of timelessness that few true pop stars even bother aspiring to.” WK “It’s the true-blue pop album that doesn’t die, storming through one month after another, until you sit back and go, ‘Jesus Christ, that came out two years ago?’” CS’19 “Every song feels and sounds like a smash hit, and half of them actually were.” AV “Shake It Off,” “Blank Space,” and “Bad Blood” “became part of our American life the same way ‘Beat It,’ ‘Billie Jean,’ and ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Something’ became American FM traditions.” CS’19

“Out of all of Swift’s post-country albums, 1989 remains her most fully realized,” UD the moment that “saw her shake off any remaining country trappings to become a gleaming synthpop behemoth.” GU Swift had experimented with “blatant pop music on the still country-tinged RedRS’19 but with 1989 she took “the biggest risk of her career.” RS’11

The album, named after Swift’s birth year, saw Swift “replacing acoustic guitars and pedal steel with multi-layered synthscapes, drum machines, and densely packed vocal tracking.” SL She maintained the “savvy, self-aware lyrics” NME she’d honed in “writing astutely observed country ballads” SL such that 1989’s “standout tracks retain the narrative detail and clever metaphor-building that distinguished Swift’s early songs.” SL “Shedding her younger skin and going for broke with a new identity” BB proved fruitful. “Everything on this blockbuster collection sounded timeless.” NME

Swift called it her most “sonically cohesive” studio album. WK It generally satisfied her critics as well. The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis said the album is full of “undeniable melodies and huge, perfectly turned choruses and nagging hooks.” WK Billboard said “it was big, bright and fun, even in her more lovelorn moments” BB and the AV Club said “it’s smart and cheeky by turns, expertly produced but also resolutely human.” AV “Every note and marketing stunt seems carefully planned, sure, but…[it] was far from pre-fab. It’s one of those incredibly rare records that unites everyone from jaded music critics to tweens, a phenomenon that might seem perfectly manufactured but is in fact a kind of rare cosmic event.” AV

1989 became Swift’s third album to sell more than a million copies in its first week, making her the first artist to do so. WK The 1.287 million tally was the highest sales week since 2002 WK and 1989 was the only album in 2014 to exceed a million in sales. WK Swift also won her second Grammy for Album of the Year.

“Shake It Off”

She also repeated herself in leading off with a Max Martin and Shellback produced single (Shake It Off) which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, just as she’d done with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” in 2012. With its “undeniable energy” AV her reply to detractors was “the ‘Hey Ya’ of 2014.” AV It was certified double platinum by the RIAA before the album was even released and became her biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit to date, amassing 50 weeks on the chart. IS The song, a reply to Swift’s detractors, was supported by a video which would surpass 2 billion views.

“Blank Space”

Lyrically, Swift is at her most experimental and self-referential, like on the cheeky Blank Space.” RS’19 The “minimalist electropop” WK of the official second single and gave Swift the distinction of being the first artist to knock herself from the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. WK The song was an “imperious meta-pop takedown of her image of a serial Dater who uses her exes as score-settling songwriting fodder…using a humour and lightness of touch she’s never equalled.” NME She constructed “a delightfully psychotic version of herself in one of her best songs ever.” BB Like its predecessor, it amassed more than 2 billion YouTube views.

“Bad Blood”

The “vitriolic” RS’11 Bad Blood was about an unnamed female singer – speculation has suggested Katy Perry – who hired away Swift’s tour personnel to sabotage the tour. WK A remixed version of the song featuring rapper Kendrick Lamar was the third #1 single from the album and racked up over 1 billion views on YouTube. It won MTV’s Video of the Year.

“Style”

Style was also a top-10 hit. Insider’s Ahlgrim described it as a “transcendent experience,” IS and said that “Lyrically, Swift has rarely been more in control. Each winking detail has been carefully chosen; each image is precisely painted. The song's narrative builds and smolders, gradually, until the climactic lament…blows it all wide open…The moment feels like an explosion, or a rebirth.” IS

Other Songs

Wildest Dreams, with its “atmospheric romance,” RS’19 was the fifth single from the album to reach the top 10 in the U.S. The sixth, and final, official single was the top 20 hit Out of the Woods, with what Insider described as “the perfect bridge.” IS

The album also included the “atmospheric Clean, easily the holy grail among Swift’s closing tracks.” IS while “songs like I Know Places ride a reggae swagger and trap-influenced snare beats before launching into a soaring, Pat Benatar-esque chorus. It’s an effortless fusion that, like much of 1989, displays Swift’s willingness to venture outside her comfort zone without much of a safety net, and test out an array of sonic experiments that feel both retro and of the moment.” SL


Notes: A deluxe edition added tracks “Wonderland,” “You Are in Love,” and “New Romantics.” A Target deluxe edition also added alternate versions of “I Know Places,” “I Wish You Would,” and “Blank Spaces.” In 2015, Ryan Adams released a track-by-track covers album of 1989.

Resources and Related Links:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Greatest Snubs

image from earthsmightiest.com

With the announcement of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2015 nominees, it is time once again to commence with the whining, complaining, and Hall bashing. Blogs and social media everywhere will light up with people griping that the Hall is worthless because their favorite band has not been enshrined.

These are just personal opinions. Dave’s Music Database has consolidated more than 50 lists (see resources at bottom of page) to determine just who is getting overlooked most. Here are the results:

  1. The Moody Blues
  2. Cheap Trick
  3. Deep Purple
  4. Chicago
  5. Journey
  6. Electric Light Orchestra
  7. Yes
  8. Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble *
  9. The Cure
  10. Iron Maiden

  11. The Cars
  12. T-Rex
  13. Bon Jovi
  14. Joy Divison
  15. Def Leppard
  16. Judas Priest
  17. Depeche Mode
  18. Motorhead
  19. The Smiths *
  20. The Doobie Brothers

  21. Pat Benatar
  22. Warren Zevon
  23. Boston
  24. Roxy Music
  25. Jethro Tull
  26. Joe Cocker
  27. Dire Straits
  28. Devo
  29. Peter Frampton
  30. Kraftwerk *

  31. Todd Rundgren
  32. Bad Company
  33. Replacements
  34. Thin Lizzy
  35. Steve Miller Band
  36. New York Dolls
  37. The Zombies
  38. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts *
  39. Emerson, Lake & Palmer
  40. Duran Duran

  41. The Guess Who
  42. Gram Parsons
  43. MC5
  44. Foreigner
  45. Chic *
  46. King Crimson
  47. The B-52’s
  48. Styx
  49. The Monkees
  50. Steppenwolf

  51. Big Star
  52. Pixies
  53. Scorpions
  54. Motley Crue
  55. Sonic Youth
  56. Dick Dale
  57. Black Flag
  58. Kate Bush
  59. Nick Drake
  60. Barry White

  61. New Order
  62. Jimmy Buffett
  63. Three Dog Night
  64. Procol Harum
  65. The Runaways
  66. Tommy Janes & the Shondells
  67. Afrika Bambaataa
  68. Whitney Houston
  69. Dead Kennedys
  70. Love

  71. Blue Oyster Cult
  72. Slayer
  73. Joan Baez
  74. X
  75. Los Lobos
  76. War
  77. INXS
  78. Janet Jackson
  79. Meat Loaf
  80. Eurythmics

  81. J. Geils Band
  82. Television
  83. Johnny Burnette & the Rock ‘N’ Roll Trio
  84. Willie Nelson
  85. Toto
  86. Brian Eno
  87. Weird Al Yankovic
  88. Captain Beefheart
  89. Ozzy Osbourne
  90. Carole King

  91. Soundgarden
  92. Commodores
  93. Little Feat
  94. Carpenters
  95. Harry Nilsson
  96. The Jam
  97. The Buzzcocks
  98. The Spinners *
  99. The Clovers
  100. Grand Funk Railroad

* 2014 nominee


Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Glenn Tilbrook at Kansas City's Record Bar

image from holdmyticket.com

My brother Mark and buddies Paul and Steve accompanied me to Kansas City’s Record Bar for an evening with Glenn Tilbrook, best known from Squeeze. Mark, Steve, and I saw Tilbrook a year earlier (Glenn Tilbrook at Kansas City’s Riot Room) so it was interesting to compare setlists. He played a healthy chunk of the expected Squeeze catalog both times, but the latter show was peppered with more surprises, including less-familiar cuts like “Everything in the World,” “Cold Shoulder,” “Elephant Ride,” “Vanity Fair,” and a new (!!) Squeeze song.

Elephant Ride

Non-Squeeze material included some surprises as well. He trotted out a 1981 single he’d done with Elvis Costello and an unrecorded song from 1974. There was also a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well.” He highlighted his newest album (2014’s Happy Ending) with four cuts, compared to a half dozen on the last outing when the album had yet to be released.

From a Whisper to a Scream

On his last outing, Tilbrook was accompanied by a band, but this excursion was a solo endeavor. It works both ways, namely because of his easy rapport with the audience. Fun moments included him tasking the audience with singing “Ice Cream” and doing a hand clap to “Hourglass.” All in all, a great night with great friends and great music.

Ice Cream


The Setlist:

1. Best of Times 17
2. Persephone 19
3. Ter-Wit Ter-Woo 18
4. Monkey in a Tree (song written in 1974)
5. Annie Get Your Gun 6
6. Black Sheep 17
7. Dennis 19
8. From the Cradle to the Grave (new Squeeze song)
9. Elephant Ride 5
10. Take Me I’m Yours 1
11. Untouchable 16
12. Is That Love 4
13. Up the Junction 2

Intermission

14. Ice Cream 19
15. Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac cover)
16. Everybody Sometimes 19
17. Cold Shoulder 12
18. Slap and Tickle 2
19. Vanity Fair 4
20. From a Whisper to a Scream (1981 single with Elvis Costello)
21. Still 17
22. If I Didn’t Love You 3
23. Everything in the World 12
24. Tempted 4
25. Hourglass 9
26. Black Coffee in Bed 5
27. Another Nail in My Heart 3

Encore:

28. Pulling Mussels from the Shell 3
29. Goodbye Girl 2


Glenn Tilbrook Discography:

1 U.K. Squeeze (Squeeze, 1978)
2 Cool for Cats (Squeeze, 1979)
3 Argybargy (Squeeze, 1980)
4 East Side Story (Squeeze, 1981)
5 Sweets from a Stranger (Squeeze, 1982)
6 45’s and Under (Squeeze compilation, 1982)
7 Difford & Tilbrook (Difford & Tilbrook, 1984)
8 Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti (Squeeze, 1985)
9 Babylon and On (Squeeze, 1987)
10 Frank (Squeeze, 1989)
11 Play (Squeeze, 1991)
12 Some Fantastic Place (Squeeze, 1993)
13 Ridiculous (Squeeze, 1995)
14 Domino (Squeeze, 1998)
15 The Incomplete Glenn Tilbrook (solo, 2001)
16 Transatlantic Ping Pong (solo, 2004)
17 Pandemonium Ensues (Fluffers, 2009)
18 The Co-Operative (with Nine Below Zero, 2011)
19 Happy Ending (solo, 2014)


Resources and Related Links:

Friday, October 10, 2014

50 years ago: The Kinks chart with “You Really Got Me”

You Really Got Me

The Kinksh2>

Writer(s): Ray Davies (see lyrics here)


Released: August 4, 1964


First Charted: September 26, 1964


Peak: 7 US, 5 CB, 8 HR, 1 CL, 12 UK, 4 CN (Click for codes to singles charts.)


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


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 4.0 radio, 23.7 video, 176.8 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“You Really Got Me” has been called “a cornerstone of garage rock and punk,” TC “the track which invented heavy metal,” WK and the song that “introduced the sound of distorted guitars into rock & roll.” TC Sadly, Dave Davies, the Kinks’ lead guitarist, isn’t always credited with what is considered “one of the great riffs of rock ’n’ roll.” KLLegendary axeman Jimmy Page was an active session man in the ‘60s before gaining fame with Led Zeppelin. His appearance on rhythm guitar on some of the tracks on the You Really Got Me album SJ has led to a common misconception that it is he, and not Davies, who played the song’s guitar solo.

The band was convinced that their first two singles pristine sound was responsible for their failure. RS500 When they headed into the studio in the summer of 1964, the group wanted a rawer sound RS500 which captured the energy of their live shows. SF Dave was inspired to create “the world’s trashiest riff” MA by the “cracked and dirty” sound of his broken hi-fi system TC to take a razor to his amplifier’s speaker cone. RS500 The result was an effect known as “fuzz” in which the vibration of the fabric distorted the sound. SF

The approach worked, giving the group a British chart-topper and their first hit in the U.S. The song also established the Kinks as one of the bands at the forefront of the British Invasion in the United States. WK

More than a decade later, the song launched another classic rock band. In 1978, Van Halen’s debut hit was a cover of “You Really Got Me.” Interestingly, Van Halen went on to mine the classics of August 1964 for two more charting cover songs – Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman” and Martha & the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street.”


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for The Kinks
  • TC Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 684.
  • MA Dave Marsh (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Page 391.
  • 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 103.
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (4/7/2011). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • 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 223.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

Last updated 4/25/2021.