Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The musical Hamilton premiered


Lin-Manuel Miranda (composer)

Premiered Off-Braodway: February 17, 2015

Opened on Broadway: August 6, 2015

Cast Album Recorded: August 16-21, 2015

Cast Album Released: September 25, 2015

Peak: 2 US, 58 UK, 2 CN, 6 AU

Sales (in millions): 9.0 US, 0.6 UK, 9.71 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: show tunes

Act One:

Song Title [time]

  1. Alexander Hamilton [3:56]
  2. Aaron Burr, Sir [2:36]
  3. My Shot [5:33]
  4. The Story of Tonight [1:31]
  5. The Schuyler Sisters [3:06]
  6. Farmer Refuted [1:52]
  7. You’ll Be Back [3:28]
  8. Right Hand Man [5:21]
  9. A Winter’s Ball [1:09]
  10. Helpless [4:09]
  11. Satisfied [5:29]
  12. The Story of Tonight (Reprise) [1:55]
  13. Wait for It [3:13]
  14. Stay Alive [2:39]
  15. Ten Duel Commandments [1:46]
  16. Meet Me Inside [1:23]
  17. That Would Be Enough [2:58]
  18. Guns and Ships [2:07]
  19. History Has Its Eyes on You [1:37]
  20. Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down) [4:02]
  21. What Comes Next? [1:39]
  22. Dear Theodosia [3:04]
  23. Non-Stop [6:25]

Act Two:

Song Title [time]

  1. What’d I Miss [3:56]
  2. Cabinet Battle #1 [3:35]
  3. Take a Break [4:46]
  4. Say No to This [4:02]
  5. The Room Where It Happens [5:18]
  6. Schuyler Defeated [1:03]
  7. Cabinet Battle #2 [2:22]
  8. Washington on Your Side [3:01]
  9. One Last Time [4:56]
  10. I Know Him [1:37]
  11. The Adams Administration [0:54]
  12. We Know [2:22]
  13. Hurricane [2:23]
  14. The Reynolds Pamphlet [2:08]
  15. Burn [3:45]
  16. Blow Us All Away [2:53]
  17. Stay Alive (Reprise) [1:51]
  18. It’s Quiet Uptown [4:30]
  19. The Election of 1800 [3:57]
  20. Your Obedient Servant [2:30]
  21. Best of Wives and Best of Women [0:47]
  22. The World Was Wide Enough [5:02]
  23. Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story [3:37]

Total Running Time: 142:13


4.440 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote one of the most successful musicals in years with Hamilton. He was inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton. The two-act musical won 11 Tonys, including Best Musical, and received a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. In 2020, a filmed version of the Broadway producted was released on Disney +.

The story, according to BroadwayMusicalHome.com: “Alexander Hamilton, a bastard orphan, is an American on the outside. With his fierce patriotism and willing perseverance, though, he rises through the military and political ranks, becoming an indispensable ally for some of America’s most renowned early heros. His story includes such struggles as the young nation’s first sex scandal and a long-time rivalry with Aaron Burr, all en route to his becoming head of the nation’s Treasury.” BMH the two-act musical about the founding father looked at how Hamilton was influenced by some of the nation’s most important historical figures, including presidents Washington, Madison, and Jefferson.

Hamilton combined traditional-style show tunes with hip hop, R&B, pop, and soul. For example, My Shot included elements of LL Cool J’s “Going Back to Cali” as well as South Pacific’s “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.” Cabinet Battle #1 interpolated Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message” while Cabinet Battle #2 pulled from the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy.”

The cast album was one of only three in 50 years to reach the top 10 on the Billboard album chart. WC It was the highest-charting cast album since Hair in 1969 WC and the first to top the rap albums chart. In 2019, it became the best-selling cast album of all time. WC

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First posted 12/16/2021; last updated 3/13/2024.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Today in Music (1965): The Impressions “People Get Ready” charted

People Get Ready

The Impressions

Writer(s): Curtis Mayfield (see lyrics here)

First Charted: February 13, 1965

Peak: 14 BB, 15 CB, 20 GR, 17 HR, 3 RB, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 9.9 video, 53.18 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler met in a Chicago church choir as teens. They formed the Impressions in 1958 when they joined up with a vocal trio from Tennessee. The lineup had changed by 1962 with Butler moving on and Mayfield writing the songs. In 1963, they teamed with producer Johnny Pate whose “polished arrangements propelled the Impressions to popular success.” NRR

The group’s most celebrated song, “People Get Ready,” may just sound like a “simple song of Christian faith” NRR and Mayfield acknowledged that the influence for this “soul song with a big dose of gospel” TC “came directly from the pulpit.” TC However, “the racial subtext was obvious to African Americans.” NRR

Mayfield composed the song in 1964, on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on Chicago. SS It became “the unofficial anthem of the Civil Rights Movement.” NRR It is “about the sin of slavery never atoned for, the systemic racism that followed, and the promise of deliverance.” NRR The song uses trains as a metaphor for freedom, which harkens back to the 1830s and the Underground Railroad, which wasn’t an actual train but a network that helped slaves escape to freedom.

Mayfield sings “in a silken falsetto over pizzicato strings and Sam Gooden responds, ‘There’s a train a-coming.’ Mayfield’s guitar marks time with staccato upstrokes over low French horns while bell-like glockenspiel tones rise to the heavens. ‘You don’t need no baggage,’ sings Mayfield; Gooden and Cash respond, ‘You just get on board.’ This is a train song; this is a gospel song delivering good news.” NRR

While the song wasn’t a big hit initially, “it has become one of the longest-lasting soul singles of all time.” TC That has been helped by Aretha Franklin’s cover version on Lady Soul and a rock version by Vanilla Fudge. There was also “Bob Marley & the Wailers’ joyful mash-up, ‘One Love/People Get Ready.’” NRR The song also marked an important reunion for Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck in 1985.


First posted 1/31/2024.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” won Grammys for Song and Record of the Year

Stay with Me

Sam Smith

Writer(s): Sam Smith, James Napier, William Phillips, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne (see lyrics here)

Released: April 14, 2014

First Charted: April 19, 2014

Peak: 2 US, 12 RR, 16 BA, 12 DG, 16 AC, 12 A40, 16 AA, 10a RB, 11 UK, 17 CN, 5 AU, 10 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 1.67 UK, 12.31 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 1150.0 video, 1808.13 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Sam Smith poured his heart and soul into this gospel-inspired, blue-eyed-soul ballad begging a one-night stand not to leave. He told 4Music that he wanted to write “an anthem for the lonely.” SF He told Tanya Rad on On Air with Ryan Seacrest that he is “willing to show that emotional side…I don’t have…bravado to put in front…I’m just showing my raw self.” SF Nouse’s Isabell Pearson called it a “euphoric, slow building love-song” WK while Digital Spy’s Amy Davidson called the song an “emotional crescendo.” WK

Smith told NME the song only took 30 to 40 minutes to write. SF James Napier and William Phillips were co-writers on the song, but after it became a hit, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne were given royalty credit as well because the song’s similarity to the melody of Tom Petty’s 1989 hit “I Won’t Back Down.” An amicable agreement was reached with no threat of a lawsuit. Petty said, “All my years of songwriting have shown me these things can happen.” SF

The song topped the charts in the UK, Canada, and New Zealand and went top ten in more than a dozen countries, including a #2 peak in the U.S. WK It was also listed in the top ten of year-end charts in Australia, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. WK USA Today named it the song of the year SF and it took home Grammys for Record and Song of the Year.

The buzz around Sam Smith had become so big on the heels of “Stay with Me” that he landed a gig performing on Saturday Night Live right before the song was officially released. SF He had, however, already been featured on Disclosure’s #11 UK hit “Latch” in 2012 and Naughty Boy’s #1 UK hit “La La La” in 2013. Two singles from his debut album, In the Lonely Hour, had already charted in the UK as well – “Lay Me Down” at #46 and “Money on My Mind” at #1.


Last updated 7/19/2023.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Today in Music (1965): The Righteous Brothers hit #1 with “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

The Righteous Brothers

Writer(s): Phil Spector/Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil (see lyrics here)

First Charted: December 11, 1964

Peak: 12 US, 13 CB, 12 GP, 13 HR, 3 RB, 12 UK, 11 CN, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.2 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 10.0 radio, 27.86 video, 72.07 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

From the first notes of “Lovin’ Feelin’,” it is clear something powerful is affot. The song builds to an explosion between the interplay of Bill Medley baritone and Bobby Hatfield’s tenor, both seemingly wrenching the word “baby” straight from their souls. This is “classic pop at its most sublime.” LW It is the kind of pop song that makes others wonder why they even try. Radio listeners support that sentiment – performing rights organization BMI says this is the all-time most-played song on the radio with more than 10 million airplays. SHOF

Legendary producer Phil Spector signed the duo after seeing them on the bill of a Ronettes show. RS500 He asked the songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil SHOF to develop a ballad that fit his signature Wall of Sound. KL Using the Four Tops’ “Baby I Need Your Lovin’” as inspiration, FB the husband and wife team found themselves forging the new genre of blue-eyed soul, which bridged “the gap between white and black musical styles.” TB

The words “You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’” were initially dummy lyrics. FB Weil recalls telling Spector that they would get something better, to which Phil responded, “No, that’s the title.” KL

Phil also threw them off with Medley’s impossibly deep intro. Mann and Weill were both concerned about “the range of the two male voices, with Medley’s bass being chased by Hatfield’s falsetto.” LW Mann remembers Phil playing it for him over the phone. Mann told him, “Phil, you have it on the wrong speed!” RS500 Hatfield was at a loss, but his concern regarded what he should do while Medley sang the entire first verse. Spector told him, “You can go directly to the bank.’” RS500


  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY.
  • 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 106.
  • LW Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Pages 124-5.
  • RS500 RollingStone.com (2011). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • SHOFSongwriters Hall of Fame
  • TB Thunder Bay Press. (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 71.

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First posted 7/13/2014; last updated 11/22/2022.