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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Eminem and Rihanna Hit #1 with “Love the Way You Lie”: July 31, 2010

Originally posted July 31, 2011.



In 2010, singer Rihanna was a tabloid fixation thanks to a very public domestic violence incident with R&B singer Chris Brown. In the aftermath, rapper Eminem tapped her as the guest vocalist on a song about – of all things – abusive relationships. As Rihanna said, though, it was something that she and Eminem “both experienced…on different sides…It was believable for us to do a record like that…He pretty much just broke down the cycle of domestic violence.” SF

As BBC Radio 1 said, Eminem “understands the psychology well, and can express the feelings with enormous clarity.” WK Billboard’s Michael Menachem added that, “Rihanna’s chorus is exquisitely melodic and surprisingly hopeful, complementing the turmoil of Eminem’s dark, introspective rant.” WK

Em’s rant and Rihanna’s chorus went all the way to #1, the fourth time for him and seventh for her. Since then, she’s graced the top of the Billboard Hot 100 three more times, making her the youngest artist (23) in the chart’s history to land ten songs in the peak position.

The video featured actors Dominic Monaghan and Megan Fox in a love-hate relationship. It broke YouTube’s record for most hits in 24 hours with 6.6 million logged 18 million views in five days. Within a year, it had been seen 360 million times. WK



The song was named Song of the Year by Dave’s Music Database and is in the DMDB list of the top 100 songs of the 21st century. It is also one of the top 100 best-selling songs in the world. Among other honors and awards – it was the United Kingdom’s best-selling single of 2010 and won awards as Billboard’s Top Rap Song, Soul Train’s Best Hip-Hop Song of the Year, and People’s Choice awards for Favorite Song and Favorite Music Video. The song was also nominated for Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Rap Song.


Resources and Related Links:



Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Top 100 Bassists of All Time

This list was created by averaging 21 lists (see sources at bottom of page). Groups or performers most associated with the bassist are listed in parentheses.

1. Geddy Lee (Rush)
2. Paul McCartney (Beatles/Wings)
3. Michael “Flea” Balzary (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
4. John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin)
5. Jack Bruce (Cream)
6. John Entwistle (The Who)
7. Les Claypool (Primus)
8. James Jamerson (Funk Brothers)
9. Larry Graham (Sly & the Family Stone/Graham Central Station)
10. Jaco Pastorius

11. Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath)
12. Chris Squire (Yes)
13. Tony Levin (King Crimson)
14. Bootsy Collins (Funkadelic)
15. Cliff Lee Burton (Metallica)
16. Louis Johnson (Brothers Johnson)
17. Steve Harris (Iron Maiden)
18. Stanley Clarke
19. Sting (The Police)
20. Donald “Duck” Dunn (Booker T & the MGs)

21. John Deacon (Queen)
22. Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead)
23. Bernard Edwards (Chic)
24. Charles Mingus
25. Victor Wooten (Bela Fleck)
26. Mike Watt (The Minutemen)
27. Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna)
28. Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)
29. Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy)
30. Bill Wyman (The Rolling Stones)

31. Marcus Miller (Miles Davis)
32. Aston “Family Man” Barrett (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
33. Adam Clayton (U2)
34. Mike Gordon (Phish)
35. Willie Dixon
36. John Wetton (King Crimson/Uriah Heep/Asia)
37. Rocco Prestia (Tower of Power)
38. John Myung (Dream Theater)
39. Chuck Rainey
40. Mark King (Level 42)

41. George Porter, Jr. (Meters)
42. Bob Babbitt (Funk Brothers)
43. Tim Commerford (Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave)
44. Peter Hook (New Order)
45. Tim Bogert (Beck, Bogert & Appice/Cactus/Vanilla Fudge)
46. Ryan Martinie (Mudvayne)
47. Duff McKagen (Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver)
48. Robert Truillo (Suicidal Tendencies/Metallica)
49. Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith)
50. Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big/Steve Vai)

51. Paul Simonon (The Clash)
52. Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
53. Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead)
54. Oteill Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band)
55. Jason Newsted (Metallica)
56. Leon Wilkeson (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
57. Billy Cox (Band of Gypsys)
58. Jah Wobble (Public Image Ltd.)
59. Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads)
60. Pino Palladino (Eric Clapton/Jeff Beck/The Who)

61. Bill Black (Elvis Presley)
62. John McVie (Fleetwood Mac)
63. Barry Oakley (Allman Brothers Band)
64. Stuart Hamm (Joe Satriani)
65. Andy Rouke (The Smiths)
66. Matt Freeman (Rancid)
67. Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam)
68. Timothy B. Schmidt (Eagles)
69. David Ellefson (Megadeth)
70. Steve Priest (Sweet)

71. Noel Redding (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
72. Mike “Tre Cool” Dirnt (Green Day)
73. Simon Gallup (The Cure)
74. Carol Kaye
75. Krist Novoselic (Nirvana)
76. Reggie “Fieldy” Arvizu (Korn)
77. Roger Glover (Deep Purple)
78. Chris Hillman (The Byrds/Flying Burrito Brothers)
79. Mike Rutherford (Genesis)
80. P-Nut (311)

81. Verdine White (Earth, Wind & Fire)
82. Bill Gould (Faith No More)
83. Rick James
84. Justin Chancellor (Tool)
85. Andy Fraser (Free)
86. Bruce Thomas (Elvis Costello & the Attractions)
87. Nathan East (Kenny Loggins/Fourplay/Eric Clapton)
88. Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy)
89. Bobby Sheehan (Blues Traveler)
90. Kim Deal (Pixies)

91. Gary “Mani” Mounfield (Stone Roses)
92. John Alderete (Racer X/Mars Volta)
93. Charlie Haden (Ornette Coleman/Pat Metheny)
94. Michael Anthony (Van Halen/Chickenfoot)
95. Cliff Williams (AC/DC)
96. Phil Kingsbury
97. Ray Brown
98. Chris Wolstenholme (Muse)
99. Jerry “Fingers” Jemmott (Lionel Hampton/Herbie Hancock/George Benson)
100. Jeff Berlin


Resources and Related Links:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Music Goes to the Movies


Check out these books by Dave Whitaker available through DavesMusicDatabase.com or Amazon.


Also check the Dave’s Music Database Facebook page for daily music-related posts.



There is a moment in Pirate Radio (2009) – an inexplicably deleted scene relegated to DVD extras status – that nails the joy of being a music geek better than anything since High Fidelity (2000). Academy Award winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman leads his band of fellow DJs through London in the late ‘60s on a bachelor party night of depravity. They pause for reflection across the street from Abbey Road studios. Hoffman points out that the Beatles might be in there recording at that very minute. In a salute to the power of music, he states “there’ll always be poverty and pain and war and injustice in this world, but there will, thank the Lord, also always be the Beatles.”



Similarly, there will always be movies about poverty and pain and war and injustice, but there will also be those about the Beatles. And Elvis. And the Rolling Stones and the Who and Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash and Ray Charles and…Anvil.

Anvil? In the mid ‘80s, these metal-also-rans seemed poised to take over the world alongside contemporaries like the Scorpions, Whitesnake, and Bon Jovi. The where-are-they-now documentary Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008) is a real-life This Is Spinal Tap (1984) that doubles as a heartwarming tearjerker about a group that should have hung it up years ago, but just can’t abandon the dream that they still might make it big. Singer Steve “Lips” Kudlow says that jumping off a cliff would be the easy way out to which drummer Robb Reiner replies, “You won’t jump off the cliff ‘cause I’ll stop you.”



Of course, music-oriented movies aren’t just about rock ‘n’ roll. The relationship between the two mediums dates to roughly the births of both art forms. The first couple decades of the 20th century saw the simultaneous rise of recorded music and the addition of sound to film, the latter most notably in 1927’s The Jazz Singer. As soon as Hollywood saw dollar signs and discovered the power of pilfering instead of creating something new, they raided Broadway. If it was big on stage, it could be big on screen (1933’s 42nd Street, 1936’s Show Boat, 1949’s South Pacific, 1956’s The King and I).

Disney spawned its own version, complete with animated princesses, woodland creatures, and puppets (1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1940’s Pinocchio, 1940’s Fantasia, 1941’s Dumbo, 1942’s Bambi, 1950’s Cinderella).

When Elvis started swiveling his hips the musical gasped for breath. The rock ‘n’ roll era saw the arrival of vanity projects from the genre’s biggest stars. The King of Rock and Roll churned out Jailhouse Rock (1957) and a slew of other B-grade movies while the Beatles made A Hard Day’s Night (1964), which some call the greatest music movie ever made.

The traditional movie musical sounded a few last hurrahs (1961’s West Side Story, 1965’s The Sound of Music) before going largely mute until the new millennium (2001’s Moulin Rouge!, 2002’s Chicago). In the meantime, though, Hollywood figured out how to marry the musical to rock ‘n’ roll (1973’s Jesus Christ Superstar, 1979’s Hair) and churn out celluloid treatments of classic rock albums (The Who’s 1975 Tommy, Pink Floyd’s 1982 The Wall). The Wall and Heavy Metal (1981) also de-Disneyed the cartoon world with decidedly non-kid-oriented animated fare.

Shooting a dose of electric guitar into the film community didn’t just banish the musical to has-been status, but also birthed new genres. The tradition of seeing rock legends on stage and off kicked into high gear with 1967’s Don’t Look Back, 1970’s Woodstock, and 1970’s Gimme Shelter and has continued to the present with the aforementioned Anvil movie, Michael Jackson’s This Is It (2009), and It Might Get Loud (2008). How can you not be awed into rock star worship by the scene in the latter movie of Jack White crafting an electric guitar out of scrap material?

Of course, reality isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be so the film industry also embraced the biopic. This allowed film makers to more liberally edit which details of real-life personalities to embellish and which to forget. While telling the story of a musical legend was nothing new – the story of composer George M. Cohan in 1942’s Yankee Doodle Dandy comes to mind – the zest and decadence of rock star lives (1986’s Sid & Nancy, 1987’s La Bamba, 1989’s Great Balls of Fire) gave the format a new twist, for better or worse. On the plus side, the past decade has rewarded us with Academy-Award-winning performances in the depictions of musical icons Ray Charles (2004’s Ray!) and Johnny Cash (2005’s Walk the Line).

On the negative side, the rock-and-roll lifestyle is little more than a cliché in other movies. The Runaways (2010) had its moments, including Kristen Stewart’s spot-on Joan Jett look, but what should have been deeper commentary on the exploitation of girls in a predominantly male-driven business was yet another look-how-drugs-destroyed-them cautionary tale.

Then there was Crazy Heart (2009). While seemingly about a fictional character, it played like a biopic about Kris Kristofferson in an alternative world where he:

a) passes out nightly in a drunken or drugged stupor
b) is relegated to performing in small-town seedy bars and bowling alleys
c) has an inevitable meltdown on stage as “a” clashes headlong into “b”
d) still commands more than his share of sexual conquests no matter how old, fat, or drug-addled he becomes

Don’t get me wrong – Jeff Bridges earned his long overdue Best Actor Oscar – but did we need another musical journey through the life of a damaged soul who beds much younger women on his hopeful road to redemption?

Movies don’t always take music so seriously. The Blues Brothers (1980) reminded us just how fun music is. This Is Spinal Tap delighted in its absurdities. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) gave us the full-on participation of live performance in all its camp and bad movie-making glory.

Speaking of camp, the ‘80s saw the MTV-inspired era of “is this a film or one big soundtrack promo?” with Flashdance (1983), Footloose (1984), Dirty Dancing (1987). Not that light, adolescent-oriented fare was new – Elvis’ movies weren’t exactly competing for Oscars and the Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon music-fueled Beach Party romps of the ‘60s weren’t focusing energy on commentary about the political relationships of the world’s super powers.

Of course, the very birth of rock ‘n’ roll, and subsequently its introduction in film, is tied to marketing to teens. Bill Haley & the Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock” provided the soundtrack for the opening of 1955’s Blackboard Jungle. While the movie aimed for anti-social commentary, it incited its audience to riot more than ponder the consequences of delinquent behavior.

Okay, so what’s the point of this music-goes-to-the-movies history lesson? Well, the first point is a music-goes-to-the-movies history lesson. Second, though, is this: at its worst, music-meets-film can evoke eye-rolls with over-the-top portrayals of people inspired to delinquency or decadence. At its best, however, a cherished musical film moment serves up a metaphor for pondering the human condition.

It doesn’t have to be that deep, though. Sometimes a movie simply prompts people to dance in the aisles or be transported beyond their surroundings for the moment. One afternoon, my sons and I were walking home from school during a light drizzle. We were all equipped with umbrellas but I soon noticed my boys twirling theirs on the ground and dancing around them instead of holding them aloft. Sure enough, their impromptu rain-soaked musical number was inspired by – what else? Singin’ in the Rain.




For daily doses of my musical obsession, check out the Dave’s Music Database Facebook page.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Birth of the Rock Era (July 9, 1955)

Note: this blog entry has been modified since its original post on July 9, 2010. To see the original, check out the DMDB blog archives on Facebook.



Happy birthday, rock and roll! On July 9, 1955, Bill Haley & the Comets hit #1 on the Billboard singles chart with “Rock Around the Clock”. In honor of that occasion, this blog entry is an excerpt from the Dave’s Music Database book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era 1954-1999.

While multiple songs claim they birthed rock-n-roll, “Clock” is generally regarded as the place keeper that separates the pre-rock era from the rock era. As the best selling rock record of all time, KL it makes for a more than suitable launching pad.



The song focused more on the bass and drums than the melody, KL making for a song with youth appeal in an era dominated by adult contemporary fare. Initially, the record company didn’t know what to do with it, calling the single a “novelty foxtrot.” SF

Although he started as a yodeler (!), Haley converted to rock when he saw its effect on audiences. RS500 In 1953, Freedman, a 63-year-old Tin Pan Alley writer, and Myers, Haley’s agent, reworked the blues number “My Daddy Rocks Me with a Steady Roll” for Haley. SJ Dave Miller, who signed Haley to Holiday Records, wouldn’t let him record it because he disliked Myers. BR1 Sonny Dae & His Nights tackled it in October 1953, SF but it flopped. Haley got another shot when he jumped to Decca and “Clock” landed on the B-side of novelty song “Thirteen Women.” SF



“Rock Around the Clock” as featured in ‘The Blackboard Jungle’


When featured in the movie The Blackboard Jungle, its rioting teen audience trumpeted it as their theme for alienation and hostility. SJ Billboard’s Top 40 chart was only a few months old SF when this went #1, making it a signpost for the birth of rock-n-roll and top 40.

Haley’s music was more country-oriented and he was plump, balding, and over thirty, so his teen idol appeal was limited, but Haley has said “‘I started it all. They can’t take that away from me.’” HL The song was revived in 1974 as TV series Happy Days’ opening theme.



“Rock Around the Clock” as featured in ‘Happy Days’



Resources and Related Links:
  • the Dave’s Music Database book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era 1954-1999
  • DMDB music maker encyclopedia entry for Bill Haley & the Comets
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). New York, NY; Billboard Books. Page 1.
  • HL Michael Heatley/Spencer Leigh (1998). Behind the Song: The Stories of 100 Great Pop & Rock Classics. Page 186.
  • KL Jon Kutner/Spencer Leigh. (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits. Page 35.
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (2004). ”The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
  • SF Songfacts.com
  • SH Arnold Shaw (1974). The Rockin’ ’50s. Page 138.
  • SJ Bob Shannon/John Javna (1986). Behind the Hits: Inside Stories of Classic Pop and Rock and Roll. Page 171.