Saturday, May 28, 2016

Justin Timberlake debuted at #1 with “Can’t Stop the Feeling”

Can’t Stop the Feeling!

Justin Timberlake

Writer(s): Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Johan Schuster (see lyrics here)

Released: May 6, 2016

First Charted: May 21, 2016

Peak: 11 US, 12 RR, 15 BA, 110 DG, 116 AC, 19 A40, 2 UK, 11 CN, 3 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 7.6 US, 1.52 UK, 12.77 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.59 radio, 1157.7 video, 1562.18 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Justin Timberlake wrote and produced the “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” with Max Martin and Shellback for the movie Trolls, for which he served as the executive music producer. Timberlake said the movie felt “like one big, trippy disco experience” WK which needed a disco song. They initially had Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September,” but Timberlake wanted a more modern song. He noted the challenge of crafting a song which characters in the movie would sing.WK The film version featured vocals from James Corden, Zooey Deschanel, Anna Kendrick, and Gwen Stefani. Timberlake’s effort snagged a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. It took best song honors at the iHeartRadio Music Awards and Peoples’ Choice Awards. WK

The uptempo single was released six months before the film came out and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, the 26th song to do so. WK It was Timberlake’s fifth song to reach the summit in the United States and topped the charts in 18 other countries. WK It became the best-selling song of 2016 in the U.S. and was named the most-played song in the U.K. WK Billboard magazine named it the year’s Top Selling Song and Top Radio Song. WK

It was described as a “funky mix of disco and pop” (Entertainment Weekly) which “gives off a feeling of pure joy that only a talent as great as Timberlake could bring to the table” (Music Times’ Jon Niles). WK AZCentral’s Ed Masley said, ‘the lyrics sound like they were custom-made to be the soundtrack to your favorite summer memories.” WK The A.V. Club’s Annie Zaleski said, “The tune doesn’t have to be meaningful – in fact, the more lightweight, the better – and it should offer a few minutes of unadulterated escapism.” WK “If Friday had a sound,” said CNN Entertainment’s Lisa Respers France, “it would be…’Can’t Stop the Feeling!’” WK

The video shows Timberlake in everyday places such as a laundromat, diner, and barbershop. People dance to the song at each stop and then congregate at a highway overpass at the end of the song to dance with Timberlake. WK Mark Romanek, the director, said it was “the overall feeling of unironic and sincere humanism…It makes people smile for four minutes.” WK


Last updated 7/19/2023.

50 years ago: Percy Sledge hit #1 with “When a Man Loves a Woman"

When a Man Loves a Woman

Percy Sledge

Writer(s): Cameron Lewis, Arthur Wright (see lyrics here)

First Charted: April 9, 1966

Peak: 12 US, 12 CB, 13 GR, 12 HR, 14 RB, 2 UK, 11 CN, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 7.0 radio, 121.5 video, 104.91 streaming

When a Man Loves a Woman

Michael Bolton

First Charted: August 31, 1991

Peak: 13 US, 12 CB, 13 GR, 13 RR, 14 AC, 8 UK, 4 CN, 100 AU, 10 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 7.0 radio, 195.5 video, 174.13 streaming

Awards (Sledge):

Awards (Bolton):

About the Song:

Percy Sledge was born in 1940 in Alabama. He had been an amateur boxer and was working as a hospital orderly when he got his music break. SS After his music teacher asked him to sing at a Christmas party, he resumed singing at local clubs as part of the Esquires Combo. SS One night, thanks to what Sledge called “a happy accident,” FB the song “When a Man Loves a Woman” was born.

The group was touring the South RS500 and Sledge was so distraught from a break-up that one night he couldn’t do the regular setlist. HL He asked bassist Cameron Lewis and organist Andrew Wright to improvise something to which he could sing along. SJ The descending riff created by the pair HL gave Sledge an outlet from which to pour out his soul HL over his “real-life romantic woes.” SS

Percy later polished up the song (originally called “Why Did You Leave Me”) SS and won over Quin Ivy, who was “one of the movers and shakers in the music industry in Alabama.” FB Ivy was a DJ who owned a record store and a recording studio. SS Percy recorded the song – his first recording ever – SS at Fame studios under producer Rick Hall, who would put Muscle Shoals, Alabama, on the map, establishing it as the world headquarters for deep soul music. PA

Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler was sent a copy. He called it “a holy love hymn” SS but wanted a new recording done at the expense of Atlantic TB because Sledge was off-key and the horn section was out of tune on the original. TB After much time and expense, a new version was created, but a mix-up led to Atlantic releasing the original version instead. TB

It didn’t matter. The “soulful to the max” KX song was a hit in any rendition. Sledge “works himself into such an ecstasy of passion that, until a full horn section jumps in at the last moment, it’s easy to forget that there’s anybody on earth except him, his girl, and you.” DM It was the song that put Muscle Shoals on the map. SS

Thanks to its use in a UK TV commercial for Levi’s,” HL the song recharted in England in 1987 at #2, besting its original #4 peak. In 1991, Michael Bolton topped the U.S. pop & AC charts and won a Grammy with his version. When Bolton’s version hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, it marked only the seventh time in chart history that two different recording acts took the same song to the pinnacle.

Although this “titanic soul ballad” SS has generated millions in royalties, Percy has likely seen very little of it TB having given the writing credit to Lewis & Wright.


First posted 4/9/2013; last updated 4/5/2023.

50 years ago: Ike & Tina Turner charted with “River Deep, Mountain High”

River Deep, Mountain High

Ike & Tina Turner

Writer(s): Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector (see lyrics here)

First Charted: May 28, 1966

Peak: 88 US, 91 HR, 1 CL, 3 UK, 57 CN, 14 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.2 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 18.1 video, 85.36 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Producer Phil Spector has said this was his best work. WK He wrote the song with the famed writing writing time of Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, who also wrote “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and “Leader of the Pack.” Spector was known for his “Wall of Sound” technique in which songs had layers upon layers of sound. The approach made for “very dense recordings that required a strong vocalist to cut through.” SF The song was written specifically for Tina Turner because he knew “her flamethrower voice could handle it.” SF

Spector wanted total control over the production, which meant using his own session musicians. As a result, he paid Ike Turner $20,000 to stay away from the sessions, although his name still appeared on the record. SF Because Spector was such a perfectionist (and abusive), he made Tina sing the song repeatedly for several hours. WK The result? Record World called it “perhaps the greatest single of all time.” WK George Harrison declared it “a perfect record from start to finish. You couldn’t improve on it.” WK

At the time of its release, however, the song didn’t exactly storm the charts. It only reached #88 on the Billboard Hot 100. Ike Turner said “because Tina Turner’s name was on it, the white stations classified it an R&B record and wouldn’t play it. The white stations say it was too black, and the black stations say it was too white, so that record didn’t have a home.” WK Spector was reportedly so disillusioned with the song’s poor performance that he retreated from the recording industry for two years, largely becoming a self-destructive recluse and only returning to the studio intermittently after that. WK

The song did reach the top 20 on the U.S. pop charts and top 10 on the R&B charts in 1970, but it was a version recorded by the Supremes with the Four Tops. The Animals, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion, Deep Purple, and Darlene Love have also recorded the song. A version was recorded for the television show Glee reached #41 on the Billboard Hot 100.


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First posted 10/7/2021; last updated 7/11/2023.