Saturday, May 30, 2020

Megan Thee Stallion “Savage (remix)” hit #1

Savage (remix)

Megan Thee Stallion with Beyoncé

Writer(s): Megan Pete, Anthony White, Bobby Session Jr. (see lyrics here)

Released: April 7, 2020

First Charted: March 28, 2020

Peak: 11 BB, 13 DG, 11 ST, 38 A40, 13a RB, 3 UK, 9 CN, 4 AU (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.6 UK, 4.83 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 156.94 video, 426.61 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Megan Jovan Ruth Pete (aka “Megan Thee Stallion”) was born in 1995, in Houston, Texas. The “feisty firecracker with complete confidence in her allure to men” SF became part of the rap game in 2017, experiencing her first big success with “Hot Girl Summer” (#11 BB, 2019). In 2020, she had her biggest success yet with “Savage,” the third single from her Suga EP. A TikTok dance challenge by choreographer Keara Wilson went viral, with celebreties even performing it. WK “Savage” amassed more than 7.5 billion views on TikTok in March 2020. WK

Consequence of Sound’s Candace McDuffie said, Megan “paints herself as the hood Mona Lisa.” WK Jessica McKinney of Complex said the song’s beat is “reminiscent of nostalgic hip-hop music videos set on a Miami beach, and its chorus is expressive, which is perfect for dancing.” WK

A remix of the song featuring Beyoncé was released on April 29, 2020 and later featured on Good News, Megan’s debut album. The remix “was met with widespread critical acclaim with praise for Megan and Beyoncé's chemistry and various delivery styles, as well as for fully transforming the song with new verses.” WK

The New York Times, Slate, and The Ringer all ranked the song as the best of the year. It also was nominated for Grammys for Record of the Year, Best Rap Song, and Best Rap Performance, winning the latter two. Megan also won the Grammy for Best New Artist.


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First posted 5/1/2024.

Top 100 Alternative Rock Songs

image from

Alternative Rock:

Top 100 Songs

More than 30 different lists were aggregated to create this list. Alternative is a widely defined collection of rock music which stretches from the garage bands of the 1960s to the indie scene of today. It generally is used to describe groups which are more left of center, but often these bands– such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, U2, and R.E.M. – move to the forefront of mainstream rock.

A brief history of the genre shows its origins to come out of the D.I.Y. aesthetic that accompanied rougher sounding, experimental bands who came out of the 1960s. Groups like the Velvet Underground and The Stooges provided a raunchier and rawer alternative to mainstream rock like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

By the mid-1970s, groups like the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Ramones spearheaded the punk scene, which grew out of angry working class kids looking for a musical outlet. By the close of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s, new wave groups like The Cure, Depeche Mode, and New Order emerged at the forefront of a more accessible, electronically-driven, and ready-for-video format. The college rock scene quickly grew out of that, also lending audiences to groups like U2, R.E.M., and The Smiths.

By the end of the 1990s, grunge became the dominant form of rock music with bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam at the helm. They revived some of the punk and D.I.Y. ethos of the 1960s and 1970s, while also crafting big songs which echoed some of the big-anthem classic rock of those decades.

Since grunge, there hasn’t been one dominant form of alternative – or what became known as “modern rock.” Groups like Green Day and Blink-182 created punk-pop while The White Stripes and The Strokes reminded listeners of the garage rock of the 1960s. Artists like Radiohead and Beck reminded listeners of the experimental nature of the genre.

So what is alternative rock exactly? It’s hard to say. This list taps into all the forms referenced above and more. I’ll just let these songs tell you what alternative is.

Click here to see other genre-specific song lists.

1. Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)
2. Radiohead “Creep” (1993)
3. Beck “Loser” (1993)
4. Nirvana “Come As You Are” (1992)
5. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Under the Bridge” (1992)
6. Pearl Jam “Alive” (1991)
7. Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun” (1983)
8. Jane’s Addiction “Been Caught Stealing” (1990)
9. The Smiths “How Soon Is Now?” (1984)
10. Sublime “What I Got” (1996)

11. Smashing Pumpkins “Today” (1993)
12. Blur “Song 2” (1997)
13. Nine Inch Nails “Closer” (1994)
14. Ramones “I Wanna Be Sedated” (1978)
15. Beastie Boys “You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party” (1986)
16. Pearl Jam “Jeremy” (1992)
17. Smashing Pumpkins “1979” (1995)
18. R.E.M. “Losing My Religion” (1991)
19. Oasis “Wonderwall” (1995)
20. Jane’s Addiction “Jane Says” (1988)

21. Beastie Boys “Sabotage” (1994)
22. The Cure “Just Like Heaven” (1987)
23. Soundgarden “Black Hole Sun” (1994)
24. Green Day “Longview” (1994)
25. U2 “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (1983)
26. Pearl Jam “Black” (1991)
27. New Order “Bizarre Love Triangle” (1986)
28. Linkin Park “In the End” (2001)
29. The Offspring “Come Out and Play” (1994)
30. Red Hot Chili Peppers “Give It Away” (1991)

31. R.E.M. “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” (1987)
32. Depeche Mode “Personal Jesus” (1989)
33. The Clash “Rock the Casbah” (1982)
34. Live “Lightning Crashes” (1994)
35. U2 “With or Without You” (1987)
36. Stone Temple Pilots “Plush” (1992)
37. Rage Against the Machine “Killing in the Name” (1993)
38. The Clash “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” (1982)
39. New Order “Blue Monday” (1983)
40. Joy Division “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (1980)

41. U2 “One” (1992)
42. Green Day “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” (1997)
43. Weezer “Buddy Holly” (1994)
44. Green Day “When I Come Around” (1994)
45. The Clash “London Calling” (1979)
46. The Verve “Bitter Sweet Symphony” (1997)
47. Green Day “Brain Stew/Jaded” (1995)
48. Foo Fighters “Everlong” (1997)
49. Metallica “Enter Sandman” (1991)
50. Green Day “Basket Case” (1994)

51. Pearl Jam “Even Flow” (1991)
52. The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” (2003)
53. The Offspring “Self Esteem” (1994)
54. Nine Inch Nails “Head Like a Hole” (1989)
55. Depeche Mode “Enjoy the Silence” (1990)
56. Nirvana “All Apologies” (1993)
57. The Pixies “Here Comes Your Man” (1989)
58. U2 “Pride (In the Name of Love)” (1984)
59. Stone Temple Pilots “Interstate Love Song” (1994)
60. Sex Pistols “Anarchy in the U.K.” (1976)

61. Soft Cell “Tainted Love” (1981)
62. Nirvana “Lithium” (1991)
63. Sublime “Wrong Way” (1996)
64. Faith No More “Epic” (1990)
65. Smashing Pumpkins “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” (1995)
66. Blink-182 “Dammit (Growing Up)” (1997)
67. Weezer “Undone (The Sweater Song)” (1994)
68. Iggy Pop “Lust for Life” (1977)
69. Smashing Pumpkins “Disarm” (1993)
70. Papa Roach “Last Resort” (2000)

71. Nirvana “In Bloom” (1991)
72. Rage Against the Machine “Bulls on Parade” (1996)
73. Devo “Whip It” (1980)
74. Blind Melon “No Rain” (1993)
75. R.E.M. “Radio Free Europe” (1983)
76. Ramones “Blitzkrieg Bop” (1976)
77. The Cure “Love Song” (1989)
78. Beastie Boys “Intergalactic” (1998)
79. The B-52’s “Rock Lobster” (1979)
80. Sex Pistols “God Save the Queen” (1977)

81. Alice in Chains “Man in the Box” (1991)
82. Radiohead “Karma Police” (1997)
83. Modern English “I Melt with You” (1982)
84. R.E.M. “The One I Love” (1987)
85. Blink-182 “All the Small Things” (1999)
86. Pearl Jam “Better Man” (1994)
87. The Pixies “Monkey Gone to Heaven” (1989)
88. Lit “My Own Worst Enemy” (1999)
89. Violent Femmes “Add It Up” (1983)
90. Elvis Costello “Alison” (1977)

91. Pearl Jam “Yellow Ledbetter” (1992)
92. Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime” (1981)
93. Talking Heads “Burning Down the House” (1983)
94. Echo & the Bunnymen “Lips Like Sugar” (1987)
95. The Cure “Boys Don’t Cry” (1979)
96. Blink-182 “What’s My Age Again?” (1999)
97. The Police “Roxanne” (1978)
98. Linkin Park “Numb” (2003)
99. Linkin Park “One Step Closer” (2000)
100. U2 “New Year’s Day” (1983)

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First posted 6/14/2012; last updated 5/30/2020.

Friday, May 29, 2020

The Top 100 Songs by Singers/Songwriters

First posted 4/22/2020; updated 5/29/2020.

Singers & Songwriters:

Top 100 Songs, 1970-1979

The Singers and Songwriters compilations were a series of albums issued in the early 2000s by Time-Life. The U.S. series covered 445 songs over 19 volumes. The focus of the albums was on the singer-songwriter era of the 1970s. That meant most songs were written and performed by the same artist and most were released from 1970 to 1979 and fit most comfortably into the genre known as “soft rock” or “adult contemporary.”

To create this list, Dave’s Music Database took all 445 songs featured on the collections and ranked them according to their overall DMDB status. Non-‘70s songs were left off this list, but songs not necessarily recorded by the same artist who initially wrote them are included. A few other lists were also factored in to include some important songs not featured on any of the collections. Here are the results:

1. Elton John “Your Song” (1970)
2. Rod Stewart “Maggie May” (1971)
3. Don McLean “American Pie” (1971)
4. Carole King “It’s Too Late” (1971)
5. Carly Simon “You’re So Vain” (1972)
6. Harry Chapin “Cat’s in the Cradle” (1974)
7. Warren Zevon “Werewolves of London” (1978)
8. Janis Ian “At Seventeen” (1975)
9. Cat Stevens “Wild World” (1970)
10. John Lennon “Imagine” (1971)

11. George Harrison “My Sweet Lord” (1970)
12. Neil Young “Heart of Gold” (1972)
13. Elvis Costello “Alison” (1977)
14. David Bowie “Life on Mars?” (1973)
15. Jackson Brown “Running on Empty” (1978)
16. Gordon Lightfoot “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” (1976)
17. Eagles “New Kid in Town” (1976)
18. Lou Reed “Perfect Day” (1972)
19. Marvin Gaye “What’s Going On” (1971)
20. Janis Joplin “Me and Bobby McGee” (1971)

21. America “A Horse with No Name” (1971)
22. Harry Nilsson “Without You” (1971)
23. Elton John “Tiny Dancer” (1971)
24. Gerry Rafferty “Baker Street” (1978)
25. Elton John “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (1973)
26. Roberta Flack “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (1970)
27. Bill Withers “Lean on Me” (1972)
28. James Taylor “Fire and Rain” (1970)
29. Commodores “Three Times a Lady” (1978)
30. The Doobie Brothers “Black Water” (1974)

31. 10cc “I’m Not in Love” (1975)
32. Elton John “Daniel” (1972)
33. The Grateful Dead “Truckin’” (1970)
34. Gladys Knight & the Pips “Midnight Train to Georgia” (1973)
35. The Temptations “Just My Imagination Running Away with Me” (1971)
36. Elton John “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (1974)
37. Todd Rundgren “Hello It’s Me” (1972)
38. Stealers Wheel “Stuck in the Middle with You” (1973)
39. Marvin Gaye “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology Song)” (1971)
40. The Doobie Brothers “What a Fool Believes” (1978)

41. Chicago “If You Leave Me Now” (1976)
42. The Doobie Brothers “Listen to the Music” (1972)
43. Daryl Hall & John Oates “She’s Gone” (1973)
44. Peter Frampton “Baby I Love Your Way” (1975)
45. Fleetwood Mac “You Make Loving Fun” (1977)
46. Eric Carmen “All by Myself” (1975)
47. Grateful Dead “Uncle John’s Band” (1970)
48. Commodores “Easy” (1977)
49. Dobie Gray “Drift Away” (1973)
50. Elton John “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (1975)

51. Gary Wright “Dream Weaver” (1975)
52. Stephen Stills “Love the One You’re With” (1970)
53. America “Ventura Highway” (1972)
54. Todd Rundgren “I Saw the Light” (1972)
55. Three Dog Night “Mama Told Me Not to Come” (1970)
56. America “Sister Golden Hair” (1975)
57. Cat Stevens “Morning Has Broken” (1971)
58. Rick Nelson & the Stone Canyon Band “Garden Party” (1972)
59. Commodores “Still” (1979)
60. Elvin Bishop “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” (1976)

61. Fleetwood Mac “Say You Love Me” (1975)
62. Brook Benton “Rainy Night in Georgia” (1970)
63. Rod Stewart “You Wear It Well” (1972)
64. Commodores “Sail On” (1979)
65. Stephen Bishop “On and On” (1977)
66. Jefferson Starship “Miracles” (1975)
67. Grateful Dead “Sugar Magnolia” (1970)
68. Grateful Dead “Friend of the Devil” (1970)
69. Gary Wright “Love Is Alive” (1975)
70. Stevie Wonder “Superstition” (1972)

71. Paul Simon “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” (1975)
72. Dolly Parton “Jolene” (1973)
73. Terry Jacks “Seasons in the Sun” (1974)
74. Dire Straits “Sultans of Swing” (1978)
75. Gilbert O’Sullivan “Alone Again (Naturally)” (1972)
76. Tony Orlando & Dawn “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” (1973)
77. Glen Campbell “Rhinestone Cowboy” (1975)
78. Jim Croce “Time in a Bottle” (1972)
79. Elton John & Kiki Dee “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (1976)
80. Rod Stewart “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)” (1976)

81. Olivia Newton-John “I Honestly Love You” (1974)
82. Eric Clapton “I Shot the Sheriff” (1974)
83. Al Stewart “Year of the Cat” (1976)
84. Joe Cocker “You Are So Beautiful” (1974)
85. Johnny Nash “I Can See Clearly Now” (1972)
86. John Denver “Take Me Home, Country Roads” (1971)
87. Charlie Rich “The Most Beautiful Girl” (1973)
88. Starland Vocal Band “Afternoon Delight” (1976)
89. Linda Ronstadt “You’re No Good” (1974)
90. Captain & Tennille “Love Will Keep Us Together” (1975)

91. Christopher Cross “Sailing” (1979)
92. Rupert Holmes “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” (1979)
93. Bill Withers “Ain’t No Sunshine” (1971)
94. Player “Baby Come Back” (1977)
95. Jim Croce “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” (1973)
96. Blue Swede “Hooked on a Feeling” (1974)
97. Tony Orlando & Dawn “Knock Three Times” (1970)
98. John Denver “Sunshine on My Shoulders” (1971)
99. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band “Mr. Bojangles” (1970)
100. Mary MacGregor “Torn Between Two Lovers” (1976)

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Friday, May 22, 2020

Dennis DeYoung released 26 East Vol. 1

26 East Vol. 1

Dennis DeYoung

Released: May 22, 2020

Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

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

Genre: veteran classic rock


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

  1. East of Midnight [5:05] (3/9/2020, --)
  2. With All Due Respect [4:48] (6/17/2020, --)
  3. A Kingdom Ablaze [5:51]
  4. You My Love [4:00]
  5. Run for the Roses [4:32]
  6. Damn That Dream [4:13]
  7. Unbroken [4:50]
  8. The Promise of This Land [5:11]
  9. To the Good Old Days (with Julian, Lennon) [4:07] (5/11/2020, --)
  10. A.D. 2020 [0:57]


3.269 out of 5.00 (average of 6 ratings)

About the Album:

Dennis DeYoung grew up on the south side of Chicago in Roseland at 26 East, hence the name for his sixth solo studio album. DeYoung formed the band Styx in the basement of his house at 26 East in 1962 with the twins John and Chuck Panozzo, who lived across the street. AZ The three locomotives on the album cover are a reference to the three of them “leaving Chicago on their journey to the stars.” AZ

Thematically, this album is DeYoung’s reflections on his past rock-and-roll life and a look at “the somewhat bleak state of the world. It all comes laced with his singular sense of humor and willingness to go for grand musical gestures, a welcome respite from the age of musical irony.” AS

This was DeYoung’s first studio endeavor in more than a decade. He “couldn’t see the point in working so hard on something that might have fallen on deaf ears.” AS He noted how his “blood, sweat and tears goes into the creative process” AS but the audience wants to hear the old stuff. It took encouragement from Jim Peterik, a fellow Chicagoan and former band member of Survivor, to light the spark. DeYoung said, “He once told me the world needed my music; to which I replied, ‘Have the world text me for verification.’” AZ The pair ended up writing nine songs together, five of which show up on Volume 1. With his band Pride of Lions, Peterik’s “writing style…tends toward the theatrical in places so this…is a pretty good pairing.” MP

DeYoung “certainly doesn’t sound as though his voices has suffered over the years.” MP He sounds good for a man of 73! MP In addition, the songs “are very well-constructed” MP and stand out as more than “the typical and generic AOR/melodic hard rock style.” MP “However, if Broadway musicals are not to your liking and…you like your music to rock hard, you’ll probably struggle with much of this album.” MP

“East of Midnight”

The first single and opening cut “is a stunning throwback to early Styx. With more pomp and circumstance than a dozen trooping the colour ceremonies, glorious 70’s prog-style keyboard sounds and with twists and turns galore in its 5 minutes and 5 seconds, this is classic pomp rock of the very highest order.” MP

“With All Due Respect”

The second song and single “doesn’t maintain the quality level.” MP It is “a searing direct hit on the polarizing nature of television news” AS but comes across a little silly. It finds DeYoung “ranting at the world over a fairly pedestrian rock backing track. He might well have a lot to rant about given the state of the world and America right now, but this track doesn’t quite cut it somehow.” MP

“A Kingdom Ablaze”

The longest song on the album isn’t “as overtly Styx-like as the opener.” MP It is “more akin to what Styx were doing…on Edge of the Century,” MP their 1990 album after a seven-year absence. It’s “a real slow burner” MP with excellent production and “many different guitar and keyboard parts popping in and out of the mix.” MP

“You My Love”

This is “a stunning piece of keyboard dominated theatrical balladry” MP which “recalls the great Styx ballads, but…also sounds like it could be in a Broadway show.” MP It “might alienate the traditional rock audience…but DeYoung’s vocal is superb throughout.” MP This is a rare “downbeat look at romance from DeYoung, who’s been happily married for 50 years to wife Suzanne. Watching his daughter go through a divorce, however, gave him the impetus for the track.” AS

“Run for the Roses”

Based on his interview with American Songwriter, it sounds like this is the song that kicked off the collaboration between Peterik and DeYoung. Peterik sent DeYoung the sketch for the song and DeYoung said, “OK, let’s get together and see what we come up with.” AS This “has all the hallmarks of the more theatrical tracks on any of Pride of Lions albums, but with DeYoung’s superb voice elevating it to be better than any any similar tracks on any of that band’s work.” MP

“Damn the Dream”

This is “a good uptempo rocker” MP which “storms out of the speakers with more Peterik influence in the writing and arrangement.” MP It is “slightly reminiscent of the more rocking tracks…from Styx’s back catalogue.” MP In it, DeYoung “finds both the bitter and the better.” AS He told American Songwriter “We’re all chasing that dream because we think it will fill a hole inside us…We think it will change us. It won’t.” AS


This has “wonderfully delicate keyboard pads and tasteful guitar.” MP It “has lots of interesting chord modulations that give it a definite Broadway feel in places.” MP

“The Promise of This Land”

The “intro of this song could be in any Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.” MP “The melodic structure remains very Broadway.” MP

“To the Good Old Days”

To the Good Old Days features Julian Lennon. DeYoung wrote it with him in mind. Originally the Beatles-inspired tune was about the effect of the Beatles on DeYoung, but he rewrote it when he realized it was his story and not Julian’s. They’d never met, but DeYoung said he’d been “an admirer since ‘Valotte.’” AZ Of the end result, DeYoung said, it was “even better than I had imagined…The moment we sang together in the studio it felt magical.” AZ

“A.D. 2020”

The closer revisits “A.D. 1928” and “A.D. 1958” from Styx’s 1981 Paradise Theater album. It gives the “feeling of the curtain coming down at the end of the show.” MP

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Dave's Music Database Hall of Fame: Album Inductees (May 2020)

Originally posted 5/22/2020.

January 22, 2019 marked the 10-year anniversary of the DMDB blog. To honor that, Dave’s Music Database announced its own Hall of Fame. This month marks the sixth group of album inductees. There have been 38 albums in history with reported sales (officially and unofficially) of 30 million or more. 21 of those featured in the DMDB book The Top 100 Albums of All Time. 11 have already been inducted: The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), The Beatles Abbey Road (1969), Fleetwood Mac Rumours (1977), Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction (1987), Michael Jackson Thriller (1982), Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV (1971), Metallica Metallica (aka ‘The Black Album’) (1991), Nirvana Nevermind (1991), Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1973), U2 The Joshua Tree (1987), and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack (1977). That leaves 10 albums to be inducted in this batch.

See the full list of album inductees here.

AC/DC Back in Black (1980)

Inducted May 2020 as “Top 100 Albums with 30 Million + Sales.”

The Australian group was on the cusp of “worldwide breakthrough success” AMG when leader singer Bon Scott died from choking on his own vomit after a drinking spree. The band mourned for two days and then went right back into action, recruiting Brian Johnson as their new lead singer and roaring back into action months later with what All Music Guide’s Greg Prato called “one of hard rock’s greatest achievements.” AMG Read more.

Dire Straits Brothers in Arms (1985)

Inducted May 2020 as “Top 100 Albums with 30 Million + Sales.”

When most albums were still being recorded on analog equipment, Dire Straits embraced new digital techniques, making this a “must-have record for serious audiophiles.” ZS It become the first album to sell one million copies in the CD format. WK Industry insiders suggested anyone who owned a CD player owned this album. PR Of course, the album was also helped by the huge #1 hit “Money for Nothing.” Anyone who had MTV saw the song’s inescapable video. Read more.

Eagles Hotel California (1976)

Inducted May 2020 as “Top 100 Albums with 30 Million + Sales.”

By their fifth album, the Eagles had shifted from country-rock to mainstream rock. While they lost two founding members along the way, they gained a larger audience than ever before. The album sported two #1 hits with “New Kid in Town” and the title cut, a classic rock staple, but the entire album got played on album rock stations. Read more.

Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)

Inducted May 2020 as “Top 100 Albums with 30 Million + Sales.”

This is Elton John’s “commercial and creative apex.” ZS It “plays like a greatest hits album, overflowing with classic songs” RV which “remain standards more than 30 years later thanks to Bernie Taupin’s sharpest lyrics, John’s propulsive keyboard skills and vocals that leap into falsetto without losing any of their power.” TL Read more.

Bob Marley & the Wailers Legend (compilation: 1973-83, released 1984)

Inducted May 2020 as “Top 100 Albums with 30 Million + Sales.”

“Ask someone to name a reggae artist, and the first name that comes to mind is always Bob Marley.” NO “For many Marley embodied the music to the exclusion of all other artists.” PR “Often called Reggae 101,” VU this compilation is “the classic Marley album, the one that any fair-weather reggae fan owns.” AMG “To many, this compilation is the reggae album,” NO setting “the standard by which all other reggae albums are judged.” VU Read more.

Meat Loaf Bat Out of Hell (1977)

Inducted May 2020 as “Top 100 Albums with 30 Million + Sales.”

“There is no other album like Bat Out of Hell, unless you want to count the sequel” AMG which came out in 1993. This collection of “mini-epics” AMG makes for “one of rock’s most theatrical, grandiose records” RS and one of the genre’s “least likely hit albums.” AZ It is “overwrought and undeniable;” AZ “gothic, operatic, and silly – and it’s appealing because of all of this.” AMG Read more.

Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill (1995)

Inducted May 2020 as “Top 100 Albums with 30 Million + Sales.”

After two dance-pop albums released in her native Canada, Alanis partnered with producer and songwriter Glen Ballard and tapped into her bitter diary entries of teen angst to transform into an “angry rocker chick.” ZS She was savvy enough, however, to give the songs enough pop gloss to churn out multiple hits from the album and inspire “a generation of soundalikes to bare their souls on record.” PR Read more.

Pink Floyd The Wall (1979)

Inducted May 2020 as “Top 100 Albums with 30 Million + Sales.”

This is “a narcissistic, double-album rock opera” AMG which “has become synonymous with, if not the very definition of, the term ‘concept album.’” BU Roger Waters, the band’s bassist and lyricist, crafted a story of “an emotionally crippled rock star” AMG and the “implications of self-imposed isolation, symbolised by the metaphorical wall of the title.” WK Ironically, the album made Pink Floyd bigger than ever thanks to the anthemic #1 hit “Another Brick in the Wall Part II.” Read more.

Bruce Springsteen Born in the U.S.A. (1984)

Inducted May 2020 as “Top 100 Albums with 30 Million + Sales.”

Prior to Born in the U.S.A., Bruce Springsteen was as close to cult status as an artist could get who’d had platinum-selling, top-10 albums and the occasional top-40 hit. However, his seventh album transformed him to pop icon on the strength of seven top-10 hits and a slew of well-received videos on MTV – all while still keeping his core album-rock audience. Read more.

Various Artists (including Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta) Grease (soundtrack, 1978)

Inducted May 2020 as “Top 100 Albums with 30 Million + Sales.”

This “high-camp classic” ZS whisked listeners away “to the ‘50s teeny-bopper days” ZS by boasting “summer-loving hits that will be on karaoke playlists until the end of time.” ZSGrease was a huge success as a Broadway musical prior to hitting the big screen in 1978…It was a runaway box office success, and then became a TV, cable, and video favorite.” AMG The soundtrack produced three top-5 hits and spent a dozen weeks atop the album chart in the U.S. Read more.

Friday, May 8, 2020

100 years ago: Al Jolson hit #1 with “Swanee”


Al Jolson with Charles Prince’s Orchestra

Writer(s): Irving Caesar/George Gershwin (see lyrics here)

First Charted: May 8, 1920

Peak: 19 US, 11 GA, 12 SM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 4.0 (includes 1.0 in sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.75 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

George Gershwin may be America’s greatest songwriter. He began his music career making piano rolls of other composers’ works, giving him valuable insight into the makings of a hit song. LW By 1919, he had already written two Broadway revues, one of which included the song “Swanee.” LW It became his first major hit and his best-selling song in terms of both sheet music and record sales. DJ

It was also the first major hit for co-writer Irving Caesar, who later wrote “Tea for Two.” Caesar worked first as a Ford Motor Company mechanic and met Gershwin in a New York restaurant. By the time they took the bus back to Gershwin’s house, Caesar had completed the lyrics and, according to legend, Gershwin had the music down 15 minutes later. LW

However, when introduced in New York City’s Demi-Tasse Revue, the number got lost amidst the lush staging. RCG It didn’t become a million seller until Caesar persuaded his friend Al Jolson to use it in his Broadway show Sinbad; LW he subsequently recorded it in January 1920. WK That year, the All-Star Trio and Peerless Quartet each got to #11 with their versions of the song. The 1954 movie A Star Is Born also featured a memorable performance of the song by Judy Garland.

However, the song is primarily attributed to Jolson NRR and specifically his performance of it in blackface. The practice of white men donning black face paint is horrifically racist in hindsight, but was popular entertainment in the minstrel shows of the day. Lyrically, “the racism remains embedded in every word, practically in every note” DS of the song.

The song parodies Stephen Foster’s 1851 song “Old Folks at Home,” WK also known as “Way Down Upon the Swanee River.” Caesar even incorporated the line “I love the old folks at home” in “Swanee.” RCG “Old Folks” had mythologized the Suwanee River (which Foster misspelled as “Swanee”) in southern Georgia as a symbol of nostalgia for emancipated slaves. DS It came to represent freedom not just for blacks, but for immigrants. On a larger scale, “the larger-than-life, tirelessly productive image America had of itself following the First World War” DS was well represented by Jolson, “the undisputed king of popular culture.” DS


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First posted 11/9/2011; last updated 1/28/2023.