Tuesday, November 29, 2016

11/29/1941: Glenn Miller hits #1 with “Chattanooga Choo Choo”

image from barnesandnoble.com


Glenn Miller with Tex Beneke & the Four Modernaires “Chattanooga Choo Choo”


Writer(s): Mack Gordon/ Harry Warren (see lyrics here)

First charted: 9/13/1941

Peak: 19 US, 12 HP, 12 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.2 US

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): --


Review: The team of Mack Gordon and Harry Warren wrote the song while travelling on the Southern Railway. “Chattanooga Choo Choo” didn’t refer to a particular train, but Chattanooga, Tennessee, had been on the route for most trains passing through the American South since 1880. WK The song was used in the film Sun Valley Serenade, a story about a train travelling south from New York. SS-603 Tex Beneke and Paul Kelly from Glenn Miller’s band sang the song in the film with the Modernaires – but actress Dorothy Dandridge lent her pipes to the song in the film as well. SS-603 It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song from a movie in 1941.

A week after finishing work on the movie, the band went into the studio to record “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” SS-603 It became Miller’s biggest hit after “In the Mood.” In Recorded Music in American Life, William Howland Kenney notes how the song resonated with GI’s coming home. It reminded them “of the excitement of entering Penn Station, ticket in hand for a trip home, getting a shine, hopping board and…eat[ing] and drink[ing] while watching the Carolina countryside flash by.” SS-603

“Chattanooga” achieved the distinction of being the first record to be formally certified as a million seller. PM-311 although Gene Austin’s “My Blue Heaven” had accomplished the feat a dozen years earlier. SS-603 To celebrate the event, RCA Victor presented a gold-laquered facsimile disc to Miller on February 10, 1942. TY-105 Years later the Recording Industry Association of America picked up on the idea and awarded gold records to million-sellers. SS-603

In addition to Miller’s #1 version of the song in 1941, it found success in 1962 with Floyd Cramer’s #36 version and again in 1978 when the female disco quartet Tuxedo Junction took the song to #32. JA-35 Others who rcorded the song include the Andrews Sisters, George Benson, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Harry Connick Jr., Ray Conniff, John Denver, Bill Haley & the Coments, the Muppets, Oscar Peterson, Elvis Presley, and Hank Snow. WK “It remains a vocal-group standard.” JA-35


Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Award(s):


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

11/23/1946: Nat “King” Cole charted with “The Christmas Song”

image from georgetownradio.com


Nat “King” Cole “The Christmas Song (Chesnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)”


Writer(s): Mel Torme/Robert Wells (see lyrics here)

First charted: 11/23/1946

Peak: 3 US, 16 AC, 3 RB, 45 HR (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): --


Review: A Two-time Grammy winner Mel Tormé had a career spanning more than 50 years. Because of “his smooth and caressing crooning style” SHOF he was nicknamed “The Velvet Fog.” When he wrote “The Christmas Song,” however, he was at the beginning of his career. He was 19 and his friend Robert Wells was 22 when they wrote what BMI says is the most-performed Christmas song of all time. SB According to Tormé, they penned the song in the heart of summer, trying to “stay cool by thinking cool.” SB

Tormé and Nat “King” Cole were both managed by Carlos Gastel. Tormé and Wells presented the song to Cole, who was used to recording with the King Cole Trio, which he’d established in 1937. Cole served as pianist alongside guitarist Oscar Moore and bassist Wesley Prince. Gastel and the executives at Capitol Records insisted Cole should record with strings and a studio orchestra – and suggested Cole stand and sing instead of taking up his usual position behind the keyboard. SS-66

Despite the objections of Capitol Records, Cole made two recordings – the first with the Trio in June 1946 and the second, in August, WK with a small section of strings. It was the latter which became the “seasonal classic,” AMP peaking at #3, but returning every season. In 1953, Cole recorded the song again with the same arrangement, but this time with a full orchestra arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle. JA-37 He recorded it again in 1961 with an orchestra conducted by Ralph Carmichael. SB

“The Christmas Song” ranks as the fifth most-recorded song of the rock era. SS-66 Other artists who recorded the song include Christina Aguilera, Julie Andrews, Tony Bennett, Justin Bieber, Michael Bolton, Garth Brooks, James Brown, Chicago, Natalie Cole, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, John Denver, Celine Dion, Bob Dylan, Gloria Estefan, Aretha Franklin, Judy Garland, Whitney Houston, Etta James, Peggy Lee, Demi Lovato, Barry Manilow, Paul McCartney, The Miracles, New Kids on the Block, Kenny Rogers, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Sinatra, Rod Stewart, Barbra Streisand, The Supremes, James Taylor, The Temptations, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder. WK Cole’s version was one of the first eight inductees into the Grammy Hall of Fame.


Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Award(s):


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Prince’s 4Ever released: 4th compilation covering 1978-1993

First posted 6/29/2019.

This page overviews four Prince compilations covering his work from 1978 to 1993 – The Hits/The B-Sides (1993), The Very Best of (2001), Ultimate (2006), and 4Ever (2016).

The Hits/The B-sides

Prince


Released: September 14, 1993


Covers: 1978-1993


Peak: #4 US, #6 RB, #4 UK, #4 AU, #67 CN


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.4 UK, 2.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: R&B/pop


The Very Best of


Released: July 31, 2001


Covers: 1979-1992


Peak: #11 US, #2 UK, #2 AU, #11 CN


Sales (in millions): 2.66 US, 0.6 UK, 3.75 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: R&B/pop


Ultimate


Released: March 14, 2006


Covers: 1978-1992


Peak: #6 US, #3 UK, #6 AU, #12 CN


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.3 UK, 0.3 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: R&B/pop


4Ever


Released: November 22, 2016


Covers: 1978-1993


Peak: #33 US, #4 RB, #21 UK, #36 AU, #40 CN


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.1 UK, 0.1 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: R&B/pop


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)


    For You (1978):
  1. Soft and Wet (6/7/78, #92 US, #94 CB, #12 RB) H1,4E

    Prince (1979):
  2. I Wanna Be Your Lover (9/22/79, #11 US, #12 CB, #12 RB, #41 UK, #62 CN) H2,VB,U,4E
  3. Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad? (1/23/80, #13 RB) H1,4E
  4. I Feel for You H1

    Dirty Mind (1980):
  5. Uptown (9/10/80, #5 RB) H1,U,4E
  6. Head (10/11/80) H2,4E
  7. Dirty Mind (11/26/80, #65 RB) H2
  8. When You Were Mine (9/2/81, B-side of “Controversy”) H1,4E

    4Ever (2016):
  9. Gotta Step Messin’ About (5/29/81 single-only release) 4E

    Controversy (1981):
  10. Controversy (9/2/81, #70 US, #72 CB, #3 RB, #5 UK, #15 AU) H2,U,4E
  11. Let’s Work (1/6/82, #9 RB) U,4E
  12. Do Me Baby (7/16/82) H2

    4Ever (2016):
  13. Moonbeam Levels (recorded 7/6/1982, released 2016) 4E

    1999 (1982):
  14. 1999 (9/24/82, #12 US, #14 CB, #33 A40, #4 RB, #2 UK, #6 CN, #2 AU) H1,VB,U,4E
  15. Little Red Corvette (2/26/83, #6 US, #6 CB, #15 RB, #17 AR, #2 UK, #5 CN, #8 AU) H2,VB,U,4E
  16. Delirious (8/17/83, #8 US, #9 CB, #18 RB, #27 CN) H2,U,4E

    Purple Rain (1984):
  17. When Doves Cry (5/16/84, #15 US, #14 CB, #18 RB, #31 AR, #4 UK, #13 CN, #11 AU) H1,VB,U,4E
  18. Let’s Go Crazy (7/18/84, #12 US, #12 CB, #11 RB, #19 AR, #7 UK, #2 CN, #10 AU) H1,VB,U,4E
  19. Purple Rain (9/21/84, #2 US, #12 CB, #4 RB, #18 AR, #6 UK, #3 CN, #41 AU) H2,VB,U,4E
  20. I Would Die 4 U (11/28/84, #8 US, #10 CB, #11 RB, #58 UK, #12 CN, #96 AU) H2,VB,U,4E
  21. Take Me with U (with Apollonia, 1/25/85, #25 US, #27 CB, #40 RB, #7 UK) 4E

    Around the World in a Day (1985):
  22. Raspberry Beret (5/10/85, #2 US, #11 CB, #12 RB, #40 AR, #25 UK, #8 CN, #13 AU) H2,VB,U,4E
  23. Paisley Park (5/24/85, #18 UK, #38 AU) 4E
  24. Pop Life (7/10/85, #7 US, #7 CB, #8 RB, #60 UK, #65 CN, #67 AU) H1,U,4E

    Ultimate (2006):
  25. She’s Always in My Hair (5/10/85, B-side of “Raspberry Beret”) U

    Parade (1986):
  26. Kiss (2/5/86, #12 US, #12 CB, #14 RB, #6 UK, #4 CN, #2 AU) H2,VB,U,4E
  27. Mountains (5/7/86, #23, US, #19 CB, #15 RB, #45 UK, #45 AU) 4E
  28. Girls & Boys (8/4/86, #11 UK) 4E

    Sign ‘O’ the Times (1987):
  29. Sign O’ the Times (2/18/87, #3 US, #4 CB, #13 RB, #10 UK, #5 CN, #29 AU) H1,VB,U,4E
  30. If I Was Your Girlfriend (4/6/87, #67 US, #78 CB, #12 RB, #20 UK) H2,4E
  31. U Got the Look (w/ Sheena Easton, 7/14/87, #2 US, #3 CB, #11 RB, #11 UK, #22 CN, #90 AU) H2,VB,U,4E
  32. I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (11/3/87, #10 US, #10 CB, #29 UK, #33 CN) H1,U,4E
  33. Hot Thing (11/3/87, #63 US, #69 CB, #14 RB) U
  34. Adore H1

    Lovesexy (1988):
  35. Alphabet Street (4/23/88, #8 US, #9 CB, #3 RB, #9 UK, #14 CN, #20 AU) H1,VB,U,4E
  36. Glam Slam (7/11/88, #44 RB, #29 UK) 4E

    Batman (soundtrack, 1989):
  37. Batdance (6/8/89, #11 US, #13 CB, #11 RB, #18 MR, #2 UK, #11 CN, #2 AU) 4E

    Graffiti Bridge (1990):
  38. Thieves in the Temple (7/17/90, #6 US, #11 CB, #11 RB, #7 UK, #5 CN, #16 AU) H1,VB,U,4E

    Diamonds and Pearls (1991):
  39. Gett Off (6/7/91, #21 US, #6 RB, #4 UK, #25 CN, #8 AU) H2,VB,U,4E
  40. Cream (9/9/91, #12 US, #12 CB, #15 UK, #2 CN, #2 AU) H2,VB,U,4E
  41. Diamonds and Pearls (11/25/91, #3 US, #11 CB, #40 AC, #11 RB, #25 UK, #5 CN, #13 AU) H1,VB,U,4E
  42. Money Don’t Matter 2 Night (3/3/92, #23 US, #20 CB, #4 RB, #19 UK, #19 CN, #18 AU) VB,U

    Love Symbol Album (1992):
  43. Sexy M.F. (6/30/92, #66 US, #55 CB, #76 RB, #4 UK, #11 CN, #5 AU) H2,4E
  44. My Name Is Prince (9/29/92, #36 US, #20 CB, #25 RB, #7 UK, #5 CN, #9 AU) U,4E
  45. 7 (11/17/92, #7 US, #6 CB, #61 RB, #27 UK, #3 CN, #25 AU) H1,U,4E

    The Hits 1/The Hits 2 (1993):
  46. Pink Cashmere (8/31/93, #50 US, #33 CB, #14 RB, #7 CN, #87 AU) H1
  47. Peach (10/16/93, #14 UK, #28 AU) H2,4E
  48. Nothing Compares 2 U (live, 12/18/93, #62 RB) H1,U,4E
  49. Pope H2

    Ultimate (2006):
  50. Purple Medley (3/14/95, #84 US, #74 RB, #33 UK, #40 AU) U

H1 The Hits 1 (1993) H2 The Hits 2 (1993)
VB The Very Best of (2001)
U Ultimate (2006)
4E 4Ever (2016)


Review: The Hits/The B-Sides (1993)

The Hits/The B-Sides was Prince’s first compilation. The three-box set consisted of two discs known as The Hits 1 and The Hits 2, which were also sold as individual albums, and a third disc of B-sides. While the majority of the important hits are present (#1 “Batdance” is noticeably absent), the non-chronological nature is distracting.

Review: The Very Best of (2001)

The Very Best of covered the same years as the previous The Hits/The B-Sides, but was a welcome addition to fans looking for a single-disc retrospective of Prince’s work. A few top tens are absent (“Delirious,” “Pop Life,” “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man,” “7”) and, once again, the #1 hit “Batdance.” Overall, though, this is an ideal starting point for someone looking for a quick overview. After Prince’s death in 2016, this collection skyrocketed back on the charts to #1.

Review: Ultimate (2006)

This two-disc compilation is a completely unnecessary and obvious cash grab. It still covers the same years as the previous collections, adding the unnecessary Purple Medley and a handful of minor hits which hadn’t been on previous collections (Let’s Work, Hot Thing, My Name Is Prince). With one disc focused on hits and the other on remixes, it is a disappointment for fans who just want the hits as they are familiar with them and it is a sleazy way to get Prince die-hards to plop down for a two-disc collection when they really just want the remixes.

Review: 4Ever (2016)

This collection reaks of being another cash grab, considering it was released within a year of Prince’s death and covers the same years as the previous three collections. However, as a two-disc set, this is actually superior to The Hits, if you aren’t interested in the B-sides which come with the latter. Once again, we maddeningly get songs in non-chronological order, but we get eight songs never released on a previous Prince collection: Gotta Stop Messin’ About (1981 single-only), Moonbeam Levels (unreleased song from 1982), Take Me with U, Paisley Park, Mountains, Girls & Boys, Glam Slam, and, finally, Batdance.


Review and Resources:


Awards for The Hits/The B-Sides (1993):


Awards for Very Best of (2001):


Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Chainsmokers spend 12th week at #1 with “Closer”

Last updated 3/20/2020.

Closer

The Chainsmokers with Halsey

Writer(s): Andrew Taggart, Ashley Frangipane, Shaun Frank, Frederic Kennett, Isaac Slade, Joe King (see lyrics here)


Released: July 29, 2016


First Charted: August 20, 2016


Peak: 112 US, 110 RR, 8 AC, 14 A40, 14 UK, 113 CN, 19 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 1.8 UK, 15.39 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 2972.6 video, 1667.0 streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

“Closer” was about a couple rekindling their romance. The Chainsmokers’ Andrew Taggart and guest vocalist Halsey each sing their sides of the story before coming together by chance at the end. SF Right after the song’s release, the Chainsmokers tweeted “This song is dedicated to anyone that hooked up with their EX and right after remember all the reasons why they broke up.” SF

Taggart said the “EDM song with a retro style synthesizer” WK was inspired by Blink-182. SF Taggart crafted the beat during a studio session with Freddy Kennett (from EDM duo Louis the Child) and then wrote the words with Shaun Frank – a Canadian DJ, singer, and producer. SF Taggart said Shaun convinced him he could sing – so Taggart sang on a Chainsmokers’ song for the first time. SF

When similiarities were noted between “Closer” and the Fray’s “Over My Head (Cable Car),” the Chainsmokers reached out to the Fray’s Isaac Slade and Joe King. SF King told ABC Radio that “There was no friction or tension…So it’s all good.” SF Slade and King were added to the songwriting credits on September 2, 2016. WK

Billboard’s Matt Medved said the song “sounds like an instant classic” and boasts “an earworm chorus and evocative verses.” WK MTV’s Deepa Lakshmin called it “an upbeat dance-worthy jam that deserves a spot on your summer playlist.” WK

The Chainsmokers became the first duo or group since Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (“Thrift Shop”) more than two years earlier to top the Billboard Hot 100. WK It was the longest-running #1 song of the year and also spent more time in the top 5 (26 weeks) than any song in history SF and was only the second song – the other being LeAnn Rimes’ “How Do I Live” – to spend 32 weeks in the top ten. WK It also topped the charts in 10 other countries WK and was the first song since “Harlem Shake” by Baauer to top the Hot 100 and Hot Dance/Electronic Songs charts. SF In May 2017, it became only the second song to surpass one billion streams on Spotify. WK


Resources and Related Links:

11/19/1932: “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” hits the charts

image from ebay.com.au


Rudy Vallee “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”


Writer(s): E.Y. “Yip” Harburg/ Jay Gorney (see lyrics here)

First charted: 11/26/1932

Peak: 12 US, 8 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Radio Airplay (in millions): -- Video Airplay (in millions): --


Review: “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” is “probably the song most associated with the Great Depression.” JA-28 When it was released, thirteen million Americans – a quarter of the working population – were out of work, a ripple effect created by the 1929 stock market crash. LW-66 Mainstream pop songs largely steered clear of the uncomfortable subject area, but when E.Y. “Yip” Harburg was penning tunes for Broadway revue New Americana, the topic was unavoidable. SS-37-8

The “deeply political” SS-38 Harburg, who also wrote the classic Wizard of Oz tune “Over the Rainbow,” crafted lyrics which were simultaneously tongue-in-cheek and illustrative of his social consciousness. TY-63 Along with Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein, and Lorenz Hart, he was a gifted lyricist born around the turn of the century who was inspired by Gilbert and Sullivan’s light operettas. LW-66 Unlike most of his contemporaries, though, Harburg wrote songs which spoke to the underprivledged who hadn’t benefited from the American dream. LW-66

Harburg knew he wanted to write about the bread lines he’d seen throughout New York City. SS-38 Composer Jay Gorney said that he and Harburg were walking in Central Park and were approached by a well-dressed man who said, “Buddy, can you spare a dime?” SS-38 The idea for the song was born. Harburg tapped President Roosevelt’s campaign imagery of the Forgotten Man as the focal point for the song. SS-38

Rex Weber performed the song in the revue while standing in a bread line. TY-63 The show opened on October 5, 1932, and three weeks later, Bing Crosby recorded it. SS-39 A week after his version charted, Vallee followed suit. Both songs topped the charts for two weeks, with Rudy’s version unseating Bing’s. Rudy’s is the higher-ranked version according to Dave’s Music Database.


Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Award(s):