Saturday, December 31, 2016

America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame

America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame:


America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame launched in 2012 with a list of 40 nominees for potential induction. To be eligible for the Hall, an act must have charted between 1946 and 1975. There’s no indication of what chart – the site simply says “national charts.” An actual structure for the Hall was supposed to open in a modest 3000-square foot space in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania (just outside Pittsburgh) in time for the first ceremony, but as of this post, that had yet to happen. The city, which boasts native sons Perry Como and Bobby Vinton, calls itself the country’s “small town musical capital.” Here are the inductees from 2013 to 2017.

See other Hall of Fames.

Resources/Related Links:

First posted 12/31/2016; last updated 5/5/2023.

2016: Top 25 Albums

First posted 1/8/2021.

Dave’s Music Database:

Top Albums of 2016

Based on a combination of year-end lists and overall status in Dave’s Music Database, these are the top 25 albums of 2016:

  1. Beyoncé Lemonade
  2. David Bowie Blackstar
  3. Drake Views
  4. Frank Ocean Blond
  5. Rihanna Anti
  6. Solange A Seat at the Table
  7. Sturgill Simpson A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
  8. Bruno Mars 24K Magic
  9. Radiohead A Moon Shaped Pool
  10. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree

  11. Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker
  12. The Weeknd Starboy
  13. A Tribe Called Quest We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service
  14. Chance the Rapper Coloring Book
  15. Miranda Lambert The Weight of These Wings
  16. Bon Iver 22, a Million
  17. The 1975 I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It
  18. Kane Brown Kane Brown
  19. Childish Gambino Awaken, My Love!
  20. Moana soundtrack

  21. Ariana Grande Dangerous Woman
  22. Post Malone Stoney
  23. Keith Urban Ripcord
  24. Lady Gaga Joanne
  25. Kendrick Lamar Untitled, Unmastered

Resources and Related Links:

Top 50 Songs of 2016

Dave’s Music Database:

Top 50 Songs of 2016

These are the top 50 songs of the year based on their overall performance in Dave’s Music Database, which is determined by combining chart data, sales figures, streaming, video views, and aggregates from year-end lists.

Check out “Top Songs and Albums of the Year” lists here.

    DMDB Top 1%:

  1. The Chainsmokers with Halsey “Closer
  2. Drake with WizKid & Kyla “One Dance
  3. Justin Timberlake “Can’t Stop the Feeling!
  4. Sia with Sean Paul “Cheap Thrills
  5. Rihanna with Drake “Work
  6. Bruno Mars “That’s What I Like” (2016)
  7. The Weeknd with Daft Punk “Starboy

    DMDB Top 2%:

  8. Pinkfong! “Baby Shark”
  9. Twenty One Pilots “Heathens”
  10. Rae Sremmurd with Gucci Mane “Black Beatles”

  11. The Chainsmokers with Daya “Don’t Let Me Down”
  12. Beyoncé “Formation”
  13. Calvin Harris & Rihanna “This Is What You Came For”

    DMDB Top 5%:

  14. James Arthur “Say You Won’t Let Go”
  15. Bruno Mars “24K Magic”
  16. Shawn Mendes “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”
  17. Shawn Mendes “Treat You Better”
  18. Zayn “Pillow Talk”
  19. Fifth Harmony with Ty Dolla $ign “Work from Home”
  20. Post Malone with Quavo “Congratulations”

  21. Migos with Lil Uzi Vert “Bad and Boujee”
  22. Major Lazer with Justin Bieber & MØ “Cold Water”
  23. DJ Snake with Justin Bieber “Let Me Love You”
  24. Ariana Grande with Nicki Minaj “Side to Side”
  25. Clean Bandit with Sean Paul & Anne-Marie “Rockabye”
  26. Bruno Mars with Cardi B “Finesse”
  27. Florida Georgia Line “H.O.L.Y”
  28. Zayn with Taylor Swift “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”
  29. Maroon 5 with Kendrick Lamar “Don’t Wanna Know”
  30. Lizzo “Good As Hell”

  31. Rihanna “Needed Me”
  32. The Lumineers “Ophelia”
  33. Charlie Puth with Selena Gomez “We Don’t Talk Anymore”
  34. The Weeknd with Daft Punk “I Feel It Coming”
  35. Rag ‘n’ Bone Man “Human”
  36. Saint JHN with Imanbek “Roses”
  37. Leonard Cohen “You Want It Darker”
  38. D.R.A.M. with Lil Yachty “Broccoli”
  39. Childish Gambino “Redbone”
  40. Gnash with Olivia O’Brien “I Hate U, I Love U”

  41. Keith Urban “Blue Ain’t Your Color” (2016)
  42. Dwayne Johnson “You’re Welcome”
  43. Ariana Grande “Into You”
  44. Alice Merton “No Roots”
  45. Little Big Town “Better Man”
  46. Post Malone “I Fall Apart”
  47. Drake with Rihanna “Too Good”
  48. Rihanna “Love on the Brain”
  49. Future with the Weeknd “Low Life”
  50. Hailee Stenfield with Grey & Zedd “Starving”

Resources/Related Links:

First posted 12/26/2021; last updated 1/17/2023.

50 Years Ago Today: The Monkees’ hit #1 with “I’m a Believer”

I’m a Believer

The Monkees

Writer(s): Neil Diamond (see lyrics here)

Released: November 12, 1966

First Charted: December 3, 1966

Peak: 17 US, 18 CB, 15 HR, 14 UK, 12 CN, 11 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.4 UK, 10.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 21.28 video, 221.6 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Jeff Barry discovered Neil Diamond singing in a coffee house in Greenwich Village. BR They became two of the biggest talents for the hit-making machine known as the Brill Building. Diamond has become one of the most successful singer/songwriters, ranking #3 all-time on the adult contemporary charts and in the top 25 for the pop charts. However, his biggest success came via a made-for-television group.

That group, the Monkees, were modeled after the playful spirit of the Beatles’ movies. JA-95 While they fought to play their own songs, producers limited the Monkees to singing and brought in session musicians for the instruments. SF The show, which aired from 1966 to 1968, propelled the Monkees to the top of the charts with debut single “Last Train to Clarksville.”

When publisher Don Kirshner was seeking a million-selling follow-up, he turned to Barry and Elle Greenwich, Diamond’s producers, after hearing Diamond’s top 10 hit “Cherry Cherry” on the radio. BR Kirshner picked out several songs Diamond was prepping for his next album, among them “I’m a Believer.” The head of Diamond’s record company couldn’t believe he’d give away potential number ones, but, as Diamond says, “I couldn’t have cared less because I had to pay the rent.” SF After all, Diamond intended to give the song to country artist Eddy Arnold. KL-129

In the Monkees’ hands, the song became the biggest hit of 1966 WHC and “one of the Hot 100’s finest specimens of pure pop genius.” BB100 The song went to #1 for 7 weeks in the U.S. and sold 10 million copies worldwide, making it one of the world’s all-time best-selling songs. Diamond still recorded the song, releasing it on his 1967 album Just for You and as a single in 1971, peaking at #51. The song resurfaced in 2001 when the alternative rock group Smash Mouth recorded it for the movie Shrek and took it to #25 on the pop charts.

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for The Monkees
  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Neil Diamond
  • DMDB blog entry: The Monkees debuts on TV: September 12, 1966
  • BB100 Billboard (9/08). “All-Time Hot 100
  • BR Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 216.
  • JA David A. Jasen. (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc.
  • 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 129.
  • SF
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 91.

First posted 3/1/2012; updated 4/25/2021.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Today in Music (1966): Buffalo Springfield released “For What It’s Worth”

For What It’s Worth

Buffalo Springfield

Writer(s): Stephen Stills (see lyrics here)

Released: December 23, 1966

First Charted: January 14, 1967

Peak: 7 US, 7 CB, 8 HR, 1 CL, 9 CN (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 52.6 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“It feels like an anti-war song, but ‘For What It’s Worth’ was far more domestic than that.” DT “It sprang out of the civil war in miniature that [songwriter Stephen] Stills was witnessing on Los Angeles’s Sunset Strip at the time.” TB It became “a defining sound of the time period, in which inter-generational discord was rampant and youth were attempting to assert themselves against authority figures.” KW It “established Stephen Stills as a spokesman for ‘60s youth.” SJ

Pandora’s Box, a nightclub on L.A.’s Sunset Strip, closed down and there were, as Stills said, “a bunch of kids having a funeral for a bar.” TC “The LAPD decided to run a line-up across the street, like there was some kind of revolution going on.” TC Stills had just visited Latin America “and was horrified at how similar the tensions in that region on the brink of revolution were to those in a developed democracy.” TB “The Summer of Love was unraveling before it even began.” RS500

Another account suggests the “crowds of longhairs” MA were “blocking sdewalks, smoking dope, spilling into the streets…Neighborhood businessmen complained of the disruptions,” MA concerned the “scruffy hippies were chasing away legitimate customers.” SJ When the Los Angeles police force was “called upon to rid the street of ‘undesirables,’ they busted heads.” MA

“When song lyrics stick in our minds…the reason is not to be found in the lyrics alone, but in the combination fo lyrics and tune and beat and performance and, most of all, sound.” PW “The song is a call to awareness and, at least implicitly, resistance, but there is also a plea for brotherhood, a rejection of ‘us and them’ thinking.” WK That message is accompanied by “Neil Young’s guitar [which] tolled like a funeral bell;” RS500 it “had a beautiful ringing...basically one note…that sounded like heaven opening. The entire apocalypse was in that one note.” TC


  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Buffalo Springfield
  • TC Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Pages 357-8.
  • SJ Bob Shannon and John Javna (1986). Behind the Hits: Inside Stories of Classic Pop and Rock and Roll. Page 183.
  • MA Dave Marsh (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Pages 838-9.
  • KW (12/25/2013). “30 Songs That Changed the Course of Musical History” by Kayli Woods
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (4/7/2011). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • DT Dave Thompson (2011). 1000 Songs That Rock Your World. Krause Publications: Iola, WI. Pag 69.
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 96.
  • PW Paul Williams (1993). Rock and Roll: The Best 100 Singles. New York, NY: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc. Pages 45-6.

First posted 4/19/2020; last updated 7/24/2022.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era (1890-1953)


The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era, 1890-1953

Also available through

The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era, 1890-1953 book is available through Amazon or through

This is a companion book to The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999, available at as a standard book or ebook! In the beginning stages of writing that book, my intent was to write a “top 100 songs of all time” book. As I quickly discovered, most lists proclaiming to highlight “the best of all time” seem to be under the impression that music didn’t exist prior to 1950. I decided to retool my project to focus on the rock era and put together another book focused on the “forgotten years.”

This is the result. As always with DMDB lists, the rankings are determined by aggregating multiple best-of lists and factoring in songs’ sales, chart stats, and awards. It should be noted that in the pre-rock era there were often multiple versions of a song. In fact, some best-of lists did not list a specific version. When the latter occurred, all versions of a song were given points. Once all points were compiled, only the top version of a song was included in this list.

1. Bing Crosby “White Christmas” (1942)
2. Judy Garland “Over the Rainbow” (1939)
3. Fre Astaire “Night and Day” (1932)
4. Arthur Collins with Byron Harlan “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1911)
5. Glenn Miller “In the Mood” (1939)
6. Artie Shaw “Stardust” (1941)
7. Fred Astaire “Cheek to Cheek” (1935)
8. Bessie Smith with Louis Armstrong “St. Louis Blues” (1925)
9. Gene Austin “My Blue Heaven” (1927)
10. Artie Shaw “Begin the Beguine” (1938)

11. American Quartet “Over There” (1917)
12. Paul Whiteman “Whispering” (1920)
13. Al Jolson “Swanee” (1920)
14. Al Jolson “April Showers” (1922)
15. Ethel Waters “Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin' All the Time)” (1933)
16. Billy Murray “You’re a Grand Old Flag (aka “The Grand Old Rag”)” (1906)
17. Peerless Quartet “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” (1911)
18. Tommy Dorsey with Jack Leonard “All the Things You Are” (1939)
19. Fred Astaire “The Way You Look Tonight” (1936)
20. Haydn Quartet “Sweet Adeline (You’re the Flower of My Heart)” (1904)

21. Gene Autry “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1949)
22. Patti Page “Tennessee Waltz” (1950)
23. Bing Crosby “Pennies from Heaven” (1936)
24. The Harmonicats “Peg O’ My Heart” (1947)
25. Dooley Wilson “As Time Goes By” (1942)
26. The Mills Brothers “Paper Doll” (1942)
27. Paul Robeson “Ol’ Man River” (1928)
28. Al Jolson “You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)” (1913)
29. Billy Murray with the Haydn Quartet “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (1908)
30. Coleman Hawkins “Body and Soul” (1940)

31. American Quartet “Moonlight Bay” (1912)
32. Ben Selvin “Dardanella” (1920)
33. Billy Murray “Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis” (1904)
34. Billy Murray “Give My Regards to Broadway” (1905)
35. Jo Stafford “You Belong to Me” (1952)
36. Billy Murray with Haydn Quartet “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” (1910)
37. Thomas “Fats” Waller “Ain’t Misbehavin’” (1929)
38. The Weavers “Goodnight Irene” (1950)
39. Marion Harris “Tea for Two” (1925)
40. Ella Ftizgerald with Chick Webb “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” (1938)

41. Duke Ellington “Mood Indigo” (1931)
42. Vernon Dalhart “The Prisoner’s Song” (1925)
43. Vaughn Monroe “Riders in the Sky (A Cowboy Legend)” (1949)
44. Haydn Quartet “In the Good Old Summertime” (1903)
45. Les Brown with Doris Day “Sentimental Journey” (1945)
46. Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra “I’ll Never Smile Again” (1940)
47. Francis Craig with Bob Lamm “Near You” (1947)
48. Cliff Edwards I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” (1928)
49. Harry MacDonough with Miss Walton “Shine on, Harvest Moon” (1909)
50. Byron Harlan “School Days (When We Were a Couple of Kids)” (1907)

51. Glenn Miller “Chattanooga Choo Choo” (1941)
52. Nat “King” Cole “The Christmas Song” (1946)
53. Isham Jones “It Had to Be You” (1924)
54. Cliff Edwards “When You Wish Upon a Star” (1940)
55. Ben Selvin “Happy Days Are Here Again” (1930)
56. Paul Whiteman with Bob Lawrence “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” (1933)
57. Original Dixieland Jazz Band “Tiger Rag” (1918)
58. Kate Smith “God Bless America” (1939)
59. Les Paul with Mary Ford “How High the Moon” (1951)
60. Glen Gray with Kenny Sargent “Blue Moon” (1935)

61. Red Nichols “I Got Rhythm” (1930)
62. Nat “King” Cole “Mona Lisa” (1950)
63. Dinah Shore & Her Harper Valley Boys “Buttons and Bows” (1948)
64. Billy Murray “Yankee Doodle Boy” (1905)
65. Henry Burr with Albert Campbell “Till We Meet Again” (1919)
66. Bing Crosby “I’ll Be Seeing You” (1944)
67. Chauncey Olcott “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” (1913)
68. Arthur Collins “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home” (1902)
69. John McCormack “It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary” (1915)
70. George Olsen with Fran Frey, Bob Rice, & Edward Joye “Always” (1926)

71. Larry Clinton with Bea Wain “Deep Purple” (1939)
72. The Ink Spots “The Gypsy” (1946)
73. Billie Holiday “Strange Fruit” (1939)
74. Al Jolson “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody” (1918)
75. Byron Harlan “My Gal Sal” (1907)
76. Bing Crosby “Swinging on a Star” (1944)
77. Al Jolson “Sonny Boy” (1928)
78. Byron Harlan “Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie” (1906)
79. Van & Schenck “Ain’t We Got Fun?” (1921)
80. Harry James with Helen Forrest “I’ve Heard That Song Before” (1943)

81. Artie Shaw “Frenesi” (1940)
82. American Quartet with Billy Murray “Casey Jones” (1910)
83. Ted Lewis “On the Sunny Side of the Street” (1930)
84. Little Jack Little “I’m in the Mood for Love” (1935)
85. Gertrude Lawrence “Someone to Watch Over Me” (1927)
86. Pee Wee Hunt “Twelfth Street Rag” (1948)
87. Marion Harris “After You’ve Gone” (1919)
88. Perry Como “Some Enchanted Evening” (1949)
89. Judy Garland with Gene Kelly “For Me and My Gal” (1942)
90. Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” (1918)

91. Gene Austin “My Melancholy Baby” (1928)
92. Woody Herman “Blues in the Night (My Mama Done Tol’ Me)” (1941)
93. Henry Burr “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now” (1909)
94. Bing Crosby “Silent Night” (1935)
95. Haydn Quartet “Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet” (1909)
96. Billy Murray “In My Merry Oldsmobile” (1905)
97. Harry MacDonough “Down by the Old Mill Stream” (1911)
98. Ben Selvin “Blue Skies” (1927)
99. Rudy Vallee “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” (1932)
100. Duke Ellington “Take the ‘A’ Train” (1941)

Resources and Related Links:

Originally posted 6/23/2012. Last updated 4/3/2021.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Today in Music (1966): Jimi Hendrix “Hey Joe” released

Hey Joe

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Writer(s): Billy Roberts (see lyrics here)

Recorded: October 23, 1966

Released: December 16, 1966

First Charted: December 31, 1966

Peak: 1 CL, 6 UK, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 64.38 video, 271.82 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

In 1962, Billy Roberts, “an obscure figure in the California music scene” TC copyrighted the song “Hey Joe.” However, it’s unclear who Roberts was and if that was a pseudonym. It has since been covered more than 800 times. TC “It was a big hit on the folk scene and amongst garage rock bands in the mid-‘60s,” TC recorded by the Byrds, Cher, King Curtis, Deep Purple, Love, Mothers of Invention, Wilson Pickett, Tim Rose, and the Shadows of Knight. It became “a repertoire requirement for every halfway hip high school band in the country.” DM

The Leaves had the biggest hit with the song, taking it to #31 in 1966. Their version was credited to Chester Powers, which was supposedly a pen name for Dino Valentie, who was later a member of Quicksilver Messenger Service.

Supposedly the Animals’ Chas Chandler was convinced to sign on as Jimi Hendrix’s manager after seeing him perform the song at New York’s Café Wha? Chandler brought Hendrix back to London where Jimi formed the Experience with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. They’d been together three weeks when they recorded “Hey Joe” in one take. TC

The story feels “tacked together from a batch of staple blues concepts – the badman, betrayed by his woman, shoots her and her boyfriend and cuts out for parts unknown.” DM Hendrix “didn’t just cover the song, he possessed it. It’s slowed down, the tempo making the undercurrent of violence in to the song’s most tangible quality.” DMDM The lyric “is full of suppressed rage and Hendrix’s guitar is similarly holding back, but you can feel the pressure. There’s a heavy, almost ponderous feel at work, a sense of doom.” TC

The single wasn’t a showcase for the guitar wizardry that would come to be associated with Hendrix, but it still “lays the foundation ofr one of the most incendiary careers in rock.” XFM


Related Links:

First posted 9/19/2023.