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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s wins the Grammy for Album of the Year: February 29, 1968








Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band rates as the best album of all time according to many sources (just check out its list of awards below). Dave’s Music Database, for one, ranks it as the best album of all time (see the DMDB’s top 100 albums of all time list). However, when Sgt. Pepper’s found itself amongst the nominees for Album of the Year for the Grammys’ 10th annual celebration there was no guarantee it would go home a winner. After all, according to a DMDB blog post last December (“Past Album-of-the-Year Grammy Winners Ranked and Revisited”), the Grammys have picked the wrong album 31 out of 53 times. Considering their strong anti-rock stance in the early years, would it have been surprising to see the Beatles go home losers?





The most celebrated rock group of all time did win a dozen Grammys over the years, including Best New Artist in 1964 and Song of the Year in 1966 for “Michelle”. Still, a look at the list of those who’ve won the most Grammys reveals some of the Grammy bias. The Beatles’ 12 trophies doesn’t even rank them in the top 10. Georg Solti has the most wins with 31. Alphabetically, here are the acts who have taken home at least 17 Grammys: Pierre Boulez, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Chick Corea, Aretha Franklin, Vince Gill, Vladimir Horowitz, Quincy Jones, Alison Krauss, Henry Mancini, Pat Metheny, Al Schmitt, Georg Solti, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Sturr, U2, Kanye West, John Williams, and Stevie Wonder. There are some impressive names on this list, to be sure. However, would you rank all of these artists ahead of The Beatles? The next time you find yourself in an argument about the greatest musicians of all time, see how well it goes over to claim that polka musician Jimmy Sturr is better than the Beatles.

However, for the 1968 Album of the Year prize, the Grammys got it right. By they way, here’s what The Beatles were up against:
Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim by Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim
It Must Be Him by Vikki Carr
My Cup Runneth Over by Ed Ames
Ode to Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry

While there are notable names amongst the nominees, none of these four albums comes close to Sgt. Pepper’s. While that album ranks #1 of all time according to Dave’s Music Database, none of the others even ranks in the top 1000. Thanks for getting this one right, Grammy.




Awards:

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscar Best Song Winners Ranked








In light of yesterday’s Oscar ceremonies, the DMDB blog looks back today on all the winners in the Best Song category. How much does winning an Oscar confirm classic status on a song? 34 of the 78 Oscar-winning songs also rank in the top 1000 songs of all time. If one uses the DMDB list as a marker of iconic songs, winning an Oscar makes for just shy of a 44% chance that the song will “go down in history.” By comparison, a few weeks ago I ranked the Grammy winners for Song of the Year and Record of the Year. 56 out of 80 made the DMDB top 1000 list, a 70% rate. While a much better percentage, one still as to question why the Grammys didn’t come pretty close to perfection when picking classics.

Meanwhile, the Oscar for Best Song is, by its nature, going to be more fickle since it is a much more limited base from which to choose. There have definitely been songs which are integrally linked to their movies which haven’t been honored. Bill Haley’s “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” (The Blackboard Jungle) and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” (The Bodyguard) immediately come to mind. Still, the Oscar-winning writers are a who’s who of quintessential songwriters and composers including Harold Arlen, Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, Hal David, Marvin Hamlisch, Oscar Hammerstein II, E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, Jerome Kern, Alan Jay Lerner, Frank Loesser, Frederick Loewe, Henry Mancini, Alan Menken, Johnny Mercer, Tim Rice, Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Paul Williams. In addition, a number of notable singers have put their songwriting stamp on Oscar, including Phil Collins, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Carly Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and Stevie Wonder.

Anyway, without further ado, here are how all 78 winners stack up against each other (along with a video of one of the songs from each decade of Oscar songs):

Year: “Song” Performer Associated Most with Song * (Composers) Title of Movie

* May not necessarily be who performed the song in the movie



1. 1942: “White Christmas” Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers (Irving Berlin) Holiday Inn
2. 1997: Celine Dion “My Heart Will Go On” (James Horner/Will Jennings) Titanic
3. 1939: “Over the Rainbow” Judy Garland (Harold Arlen/E.Y. “Yip” Harburg) The Wizard of Oz
4. 1977: “You Light Up My Life” Debby Boone (Joe Brooks) You Light Up My Life
5. 1973: “The Way We Were” Barbara Streisand (Marvin Hamlisch/Alan Bergman/Marilyn Bergman) The Way We Were
6. 2002: “Lose Yourself” Eminem (Marshall Mathers/Jeff Bass/Luis Resto) 8 Mile
7. 1983: “Flashdance…What a Feeling” Irene Cara (Irene Cara/Giorgio Moroder/Keith Forsey) Flashdance
8. 1944: “Swinging on a Star” Bing Crosby with the John Scott Trott Orchestra & the Williams Brothers Quartet (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke) Going My Way
9. 1936: “The Way You Look Tonight” Fred Astaire with Johnny Green & His Orchestra (Jerome Kerns/Dorothy Fields) Swing Time
10. 1948: “Buttons and Bows” Dinah Shore & Her Harper Valley Boys (Jay Livingston/Ray Evans) The Paleface



11. 1937: “Sweet Leilani” Bing Crosby with Lani McIntire & His Hawaiians (Harry Owens) Wakiki Wedding
12. 1984: “I Just Called to Say I Love You” Stevie Wonder (Stevie Wonder) The Woman in Red
13. 1950: “Mona Lisa” Nat “King” Cole (Raymond Evans/Jay Livingston) Captain Carey, U.S.A.
14. 1971: “Theme from Shaft” Isaac Hayes (Isaac Hayes) Shaft
15. 1961: “Moon River” Henry Mancini with Audrey Hepburn (Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer) Breakfast at Tiffany’s
16. 1969: “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” B.J. Thomas (Burt Bacharach/Hal David) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
17. 1940: “When You Wish Upon a Star” Cliff Edwards (Ned Washington/Leigh Harline) Pinocchio
18. 1943: “You’ll Never Know” Dick Haymes with the Song Spinners (Harry Warren/Mack Gordon) Hello, Frisco, Hello
19. 1953: “Secret Love” Doris Day (Paul Francis Webster/Sammy Fain) Calamity Jane
20. 1976: “Evergreen” Barbra Streisand (Barbra Streisand/Paul Williams) A Star Is Born



21. 1982: “Up Where We Belong” Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes (Will Jennings/Jack Nitzsche/Buffy Saint Marie) An Officer and a Gentleman
22. 1993: “Streets of Philadelphia” Bruce Springsteen (Bruce Springsteen) Philadelphia
23. 1987: “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes (Frank Previte/John DeNicola/Donald Markowitz) Dirty Dancing
24. 1946: “On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe” Johnny Mercer & the Pied Pipers (Harry Warren/Johnny Mercer) The Harvey Girls
25. 1992: “A Whole New World” Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle (Alan Menken/Tim Rice) Aladdin
26. 1945: “It Might As Well Be Spring” Dick Haymes (Oscar Hammerstein II/Richard Rodgers) State Fair
27. 1947: “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” Johnny Mercer (Allie Wrubel/Ray Gilbert) Song of the South
28. 1985: “Say You, Say Me” Lionel Richie (Lionel Richie) White Nights
29. 1935: “Lullaby of Broadway” The Dorsey Brothers with Bob Crosby (Harry Warren/Al Dubin) Gold Diggers of 1935
30. 1981: “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” Christopher Cross (Burt Bacharach/Christopher Cross/Carole Bayer Sager/Peter Allen) Arthur



31. 1986: “Take My Breath Away” Berlin (Giorgio Moroder/Tom Whitlock) Top Gun
32. 1955: “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” The Four Aces (Sammy Fain/Paul Francis Webster) Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing
33. 1938: “Thanks for the Memory” Shep Fields with Bob Goday (Ralph Rainger/Leo Robin) The Big Broadcast of 1938
34. 1978: “Last Dance” Donna Summer (Paul Jabara) Thank God It’s Friday
35. 1934: “The Continental” Leo Reisman (Jerb Magidson/Con Conrad) The Gay Divorce
36. 1952: “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)” Tex Ritter (Ned Washington/Dmitri Tiomkin) High Noon
37. 1991: “Beauty and the Beast” Celine Dion with Peabo Bryson (Howard Ashman/Alan Menken) Beauty and the Beast
38. 1966: “Born Free” Roger Williams (John Barry/Don Black) Born Free
39. 1954: “Three Coins in the Fountain” The Four Aces (Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn) Three Coins in the Fountain
40. 1956: “Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera Sera)” Doris Day (Jay Livingston/Ray Evans) The Man Who Knew Too Much



41. 1949: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” Johnny Mercer with Margaret Whiting (Frank Loesser) Neptune’s Daughter
42. 1962: “The Days of Wine and Roses” Henry Mancini (Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer) Days of Wine and Roses
43. 1994: “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” Elton John (Elton John/Tim Rice) The Lion King
44. 1965: “The Shadow of Your Smile” Tony Bennett (Johnny Mandel/Paul Francis Webster) The Sandpiper
45. 1980: “Fame” Irene Cara (Michael Gore/Dean Pitchford) Fame
46. 1999: “You’ll Be in My Heart” Phil Collins (Phil Collins) Tarzan
47. 1959: “High Hopes” Frank Sinatra (Sammy Cahn/James Van Heusen) A Hole in the Head
48. 1970: “For All We Know” The Carpenters (Jimmy Griffin/Fred Karlin/Robb Wilson) Love and Other Strangers
49. 1958: “Gigi” Les Baxter (Frederick Loewe/Alan Jay Lerner) Gigi
50. 1941: “The Last Time I Saw Paris” Kate Smith (Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II) Lady Be Good



51. 1972: “The Morning After” Maureen McGovern (Al Kasha/Joel Hirshhorn) The Poseidon Adventure
52. 1996: “You Must Love Me” Madonna (Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice) Evita
53. 1963: “Call Me Irresponsible” Frank Sinatra (Sammy Cahn/James Van Heusen) Papa’s Delicate Condition
54. 1998: “When You Believe” Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey (Stephen Schwartz) The Prince of Egypt
55. 1951: “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening” (Bing Crosby with Jane Wyman (Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer) Here Comes the Groom
56. 1960: “Never on Sunday” Don Costa (Manos Hadijidakis/Billy Towne) Never on Sunday
57. 1957: “All the Way” Sammy Cahn (Sammy Cahn/James Van Heusen) The Joker Is Wild
58. 1975: “I’m Easy” Keith Carradine (Keith Carradine) Nashville
59. 1995: “Colors of the Wind” Vanessa Williams (Alan Menken/Steve Schwartz) Pocahontas
60. 1968: “Windmills of Your Mind” Noel Harrison (Michael Legrand/Alan Bergman/Marilyn Bergman) The Thomas Crown Affair



61. 1988: “Let the River Run” Carly Simon (Carly Simon) Working Girl
62. 1964: “Chim Chim Cheree” Julie Andrews with Dick Van Dyke, Dotrice, & Garber (Richard Sherman/Robert Sherman) Mary Poppins
63. 1974: “We May Never Love Like This Again” Seals & Croft (Dash Crofts/Jimmy Seals) The Towering Inferno
64. 1967: “Talk to the Animals” Rex Harrison (Leslie Bricusse) Doctor Dolittle
65. 1979: “It Goes Like It Goes” Jennifer Warnes (David Shire/Norman Gimbel) Norma Rae
66. 1989: “Under the Sea” Samuel Wright (Howard Ashman/Alan Menken) The Little Mermaid
67. 1990: “Sooner or Later” Madonna (Stephen Sondheim) Dick Tracy
68. 2007: “Falling Slowly” The Swell Season (Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova) Once
69. 2000: “Things Have Changed” Bob Dylan (Bob Dylan) Wonder Boys
70. 2001: “If I Didn’t Have You” Billy Crystal & John Goodman (Randy Newman) Monsters, Inc.



71. 2003: “Into the West” Annie Lennox (Fran Walsh/Howard Shore/Annie Lennox) Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
72. 2004: “Al Otro Lado Del Rio (On the Other Side of the River)” Jorge Drexler (Jorge Drexler) The Motorcycle Diaries
73. 2005: “It’s Hard Out Her for a Pimp” Three 6 Mafia (Jordan Houston/Cedric Coleman/Paul Beauregard) Hustle & Flow
74. 2006: “I Need to Wake Up” Melissa Etheridge (Melissa Etheridge) An Inconvenient Truth
75. 2008: “Jai Ho” Pussycat Dolls (A.R. Rahman/Gulzar) Slumdog Millionaire
76. 2009: “The Weary Kind” Ryan Bingham (Ryan Bingham/T-Bone Burnett) Crazy Heart
77. 2010: “We Belong Together” Randy Newman (Randy Newman) Toy Story 3
78. 2011: “Man or Muppet” Jason Segel, Peter Linz, Bill Barretta, and Jim Parsons (Bret McKenzie) The Muppets



Winners by Year:
• 1934: “The Continental” Leo Reisman (Jerb Magidson/Con Conrad) The Gay Divorce
• 1935: “Lullaby of Broadway” The Dorsey Brothers with Bob Crosby (Harry Warren/Al Dubin) Gold Diggers of 1935
• 1936: “The Way You Look Tonight” Fred Astaire with Johnny Green & His Orchestra (Jerome Kerns/Dorothy Fields) Swing Time
• 1937: “Sweet Leilani” Bing Crosby with Lani McIntire & His Hawaiians (Harry Owens) Wakiki Wedding
• 1938: “Thanks for the Memory” Shep Fields with Bob Goday (Ralph Rainger/Leo Robin) The Big Broadcast of 1938
• 1939: “Over the Rainbow” Judy Garland (Harold Arlen/E.Y. “Yip” Harburg) The Wizard of Oz
• 1940: “When You Wish Upon a Star” Cliff Edwards (Ned Washington/Leigh Harline) Pinocchio
• 1941: “The Last Time I Saw Paris” Kate Smith (Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II) Lady Be Good
• 1942: “White Christmas” Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby Singers (Irving Berlin) Holiday Inn
• 1943: “You’ll Never Know” Dick Haymes with the Song Spinners (Harry Warren/Mack Gordon) Hello, Frisco, Hello
• 1944: “Swinging on a Star” Bing Crosby with the John Scott Trott Orchestra & the Williams Brothers Quartet (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke) Going My Way
• 1945: “It Might As Well Be Spring” Dick Haymes (Oscar Hammerstein II/Richard Rodgers) State Fair
• 1946: “On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe” Johnny Mercer & the Pied Pipers (Harry Warren/Johnny Mercer) The Harvey Girls
• 1947: “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” Johnny Mercer (Allie Wrubel/Ray Gilbert) Song of the South
• 1948: “Buttons and Bows” Dinah Shore & Her Harper Valley Boys (Jay Livingston/Ray Evans) The Paleface
• 1949: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” Johnny Mercer with Margaret Whiting (Frank Loesser) Neptune’s Daughter
• 1950: “Mona Lisa” Nat “King” Cole (Raymond Evans/Jay Livingston) Captain Carey, U.S.A.
• 1951: “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening” (Bing Crosby with Jane Wyman (Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer) Here Comes the Groom
• 1952: “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)” Tex Ritter (Ned Washington/Dmitri Tiomkin) High Noon
• 1953: “Secret Love” Doris Day (Paul Francis Webster/Sammy Fain) Calamity Jane
• 1954: “Three Coins in the Fountain” The Four Aces (Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn) Three Coins in the Fountain
• 1955: “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” The Four Aces (Sammy Fain/Paul Francis Webster) Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing
• 1956: “Whatever Will Be Will Be (Que Sera Sera)” Doris Day (Jay Livingston/Ray Evans) The Man Who Knew Too Much
• 1957: “All the Way” Sammy Cahn (Sammy Cahn/James Van Heusen) The Joker Is Wild
• 1958: “Gigi” Les Baxter (Frederick Loewe/Alan Jay Lerner) Gigi
• 1959: “High Hopes” Frank Sinatra (Sammy Cahn/James Van Heusen) A Hole in the Head
• 1960: “Never on Sunday” Don Costa (Manos Hadijidakis/Billy Towne) Never on Sunday
• 1961: “Moon River” Henry Mancini with Audrey Hepburn (Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer) Breakfast at Tiffany’s
• 1962: “The Days of Wine and Roses” Henry Mancini (Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer) Days of Wine and Roses
• 1963: “Call Me Irresponsible” Frank Sinatra (Sammy Cahn/James Van Heusen) Papa’s Delicate Condition
• 1964: “Chim Chim Cheree” Julie Andrews with Dick Van Dyke, Dotrice, & Garber (Richard Sherman/Robert Sherman) Mary Poppins
• 1965: “The Shadow of Your Smile” Tony Bennett (Johnny Mandel/Paul Francis Webster) The Sandpiper
• 1966: “Born Free” Roger Williams (John Barry/Don Black) Born Free
• 1967: “Talk to the Animals” Rex Harrison (Leslie Bricusse) Doctor Dolittle
• 1968: “Windmills of Your Mind” Noel Harrison (Michael Legrand/Alan Bergman/Marilyn Bergman) The Thomas Crown Affair
• 1969: “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” B.J. Thomas (Burt Bacharach/Hal David) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
• 1970: “For All We Know” The Carpenters (Jimmy Griffin/Fred Karlin/Robb Wilson) Love and Other Strangers
• 1971: “Theme from Shaft” Isaac Hayes (Isaac Hayes) Shaft
• 1972: “The Morning After” Maureen McGovern (Al Kasha/Joel Hirshhorn) The Poseidon Adventure
• 1973: “The Way We Were” Barbara Streisand (Marvin Hamlisch/Alan Bergman/Marilyn Bergman) The Way We Were
• 1974: “We May Never Love Like This Again” Seals & Croft (Dash Crofts/Jimmy Seals) The Towering Inferno
• 1975: “I’m Easy” Keith Carradine (Keith Carradine) Nashville
• 1976: “Evergreen” Barbra Streisand (Barbra Streisand/Paul Williams) A Star Is Born
• 1977: “You Light Up My Life” Debby Boone (Joe Brooks) You Light Up My Life
• 1978: “Last Dance” Donna Summer (Paul Jabara) Thank God It’s Friday
• 1979: “It Goes Like It Goes” Jennifer Warnes (David Shire/Norman Gimbel) Norma Rae
• 1980: “Fame” Irene Cara (Michael Gore/Dean Pitchford) Fame
• 1981: “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” Christopher Cross (Burt Bacharach/Christopher Cross/Carole Bayer Sager/Peter Allen) Arthur
• 1982: “Up Where We Belong” Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes (Will Jennings/Jack Nitzsche/Buffy Saint Marie) An Officer and a Gentleman
• 1983: “Flashdance…What a Feeling” Irene Cara (Irene Cara/Giorgio Moroder/Keith Forsey) Flashdance
• 1984: “I Just Called to Say I Love You” Stevie Wonder (Stevie Wonder) The Woman in Red
• 1985: “Say You, Say Me” Lionel Richie (Lionel Richie) White Nights
• 1986: “Take My Breath Away” Berlin (Giorgio Moroder/Tom Whitlock) Top Gun
• 1987: “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes (Frank Previte/John DeNicola/Donald Markowitz) Dirty Dancing
• 1988: “Let the River Run” Carly Simon (Carly Simon) Working Girl
• 1989: “Under the Sea” Samuel Wright (Howard Ashman/Alan Menken) The Little Mermaid
• 1990: “Sooner or Later” Madonna (Stephen Sondheim) Dick Tracy
• 1991: “Beauty and the Beast” Celine Dion with Peabo Bryson (Howard Ashman/Alan Menken) Beauty and the Beast
• 1992: “A Whole New World” Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle (Alan Menken/Tim Rice) Aladdin
• 1993: “Streets of Philadelphia” Bruce Springsteen (Bruce Springsteen) Philadelphia
• 1994: “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” Elton John (Elton John/Tim Rice) The Lion King
• 1995: “Colors of the Wind” Vanessa Williams (Alan Menken/Steve Schwartz) Pocahontas
• 1996: “You Must Love Me” Madonna (Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice) Evita
• 1997: Celine Dion “My Heart Will Go On” (James Horner/Will Jennings) Titanic
• 1998: “When You Believe” Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey (Stephen Schwartz) The Prince of Egypt
• 1999: “You’ll Be in My Heart” Phil Collins (Phil Collins) Tarzan
• 2000: “Things Have Changed” Bob Dylan (Bob Dylan) Wonder Boys
• 2001: “If I Didn’t Have You” Billy Crystal & John Goodman (Randy Newman) Monsters, Inc.
• 2002: “Lose Yourself” Eminem (Marshall Mathers/Jeff Bass/Luis Resto) 8 Mile
• 2003: “Into the West” Annie Lennox (Fran Walsh/Howard Shore/Annie Lennox) Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
• 2004: “Al Otro Lado Del Rio (On the Other Side of the River)” Jorge Drexler (Jorge Drexler) The Motorcycle Diaries
• 2005: “It’s Hard Out Her for a Pimp” Three 6 Mafia (Jordan Houston/Cedric Coleman/Paul Beauregard) Hustle & Flow
• 2006: “I Need to Wake Up” Melissa Etheridge (Melissa Etheridge) An Inconvenient Truth
• 2007: “Falling Slowly” The Swell Season (Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova) Once
• 2008: “Jai Ho” Pussycat Dolls (A.R. Rahman/Gulzar) Slumdog Millionaire
• 2009: “The Weary Kind” Ryan Bingham (Ryan Bingham/T-Bone Burnett) Crazy Heart
• 2010: “We Belong Together” Randy Newman (Randy Newman) Toy Story 3
• 2011: “Man or Muppet” Jason Segel, Peter Linz, Bill Barretta, and Jim Parsons (Bret McKenzie) The Muppets


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Saturday, February 25, 2012

In the wake of her death, Whitney Houston surges on the charts: February 25, 2012








In her lifetime (1963-2012), Whitney Houston accomplished more than most artists ever will. She topped the Billboard Hot 100 eleven times, most notably with her record-setting seven consecutive #1 songs from 1985 to 1988 (“Saving All My Love for You”, “How Will I Know”, “Greatest Love of All”, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody Who Loves Me”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “So Emotional”, and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”).

During her late ‘80s chart dominance, she ruled the album chart as well. Her first two albums, 1985’s Whitney Houston and 1987’s Whitney, topped the charts for 11 and 14 weeks respectively. That already made her the only female artist to spend more than ten weeks atop the Billboard 200 album chart twice – and then along came The Bodyguard, the soundtrack for Whitney Houston’s first movie star turn. The album pulled off an astonishing 20 weeks at #1, making it the most successful chart run for an album driven by a female artist.



That album was fueled largely by the monstrous success of “I Will Always Love You”, a song which spent 14 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 and rates as one of The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999, according to the Dave’s Music Database book of that name.

As a testament to Whitney’s glory years, that song resurged in the wake of her death, re-entering the charts at an astonishing #7. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “Greatest Love of All” also make comebacks at numbers 35 and 41 respectively. Whitney soared on the album chart as well – Whitney: The Greatest Hits sold 64,000 copies to re-enter the chart at #6. Five other albums re-entered as well. The total sales of 100,000+ albums for the chart week ending February 25 marked more sales for Whitney Houston than all of 2011-12 combined.






Awards:

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

“I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover” gets lucky 21 years after it first charted: February 21, 1948








It isn’t often that a song has to wait 21 years to hit #1, but it took that long for “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover” to get lucky. The song was written by Harry Woods and Mort Dixon in 1927. Woods was a Tin Pan Alley lyricist who wrote the million-selling songs “When the Red Red Robin Comes Bobbing Along” (1926) and “Side by Side” (1927). AMG-1 Meanwhile, Mort Dixon did some songwriting for Broadway and Hollywood and also wrote hits such as “That Old Gang of Mine” (1923), and “Bye Bye Blackbird” (1926). AMG-2

Their collaborative efforts on “Clover” found success on April 30, 1927 when two versions of the song charted simultaneously. Nick Lucas took the song to #2 while Ben Bernie went to #3. Two weeks later, Jean Goldkette hit the charts with Billy Murray. Theirs hit #10. PM





In 1948, “Four-Leaf Clover” had a resurgence when six different acts charted with the song, including the Uptown String Band, Russ Morgan, Alvino Rey, The Three Suns, and Arthur Godfrey. PM However, the first and biggest of the batch was Art Mooney’s #1 version which featured Mike Pingatore. Originally the banjo playerwith bandleader Paul Whiteman JA on hits such as 1923’s “Linger Awhile,” TY Pingatore forged a heavy-strumming style which became a blueprint for Dixieland banjoists. JA

The song also took on a life beyond the charts. It has become Warner Brothers cartoon favorite, used for Bugs Bunny (Operation Rabbit), Daffy Duck and the Tasmanian Devil (Ducking the Devil), and Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner (Fast and Furry-ous). WK It was parodied as “I’m Looking Over My Dead Dog Rover”, first by Kevin Gershon in 1973 and again by Hank Stu Dave and Hank in 1977. The latter received play on Dr. Demento’s radio show. WK “Clover” has also become a campfire sing-a-long and Scouter favorite. JA




Awards:

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2012 Inductees for the Songwriters Hall of Fame

The Songwriters Hall of Fame has announced its 2012 class of inductees. To see more about the Hall and the full list of inductees from 1970 to 2012, check here. Here’s a bit more about each of this year’s inductees:

Gordon Lightfoot, a singer and songwriter, “is credited for helping to define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s.” SH Among his best known work are songs “Sundown,” “If You Could Read My Mind,” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” He has also had songs recorded by Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Sarah McLachlan, Barbra Streisand, Peter Paul & Mary, Harry Belafonte, Jane’s Addiction, Richie Havens, Glen Campbell, Toby Keith, Anne Murray, Nana Mouskouri and George Hamilton IV. SH “He has received five Grammy® nominations and seventeen Juno Awards in his native Canada, and was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, among his many other distinctions.” SH

Bob Seger has rocked the world with a slew of favorites including “Old Time Rock and Roll,” “Night Moves,” “Turn the Page,” and “Against the Wind.” While immensely successful at recording his own work and selling more than 51 million records worldwide, SH he has also been covered by Metallica, Kid Rock, Tina Turner, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart, Cher, Johnny Hallyday, Martina McBride, Waylon Jennings, Dottie West, The Pointer Sisters, Barry Manilow, Brooks & Dunn, Conway Twitty and Keb’ Mo’. SH In its 17-year history, Seger’s Greatest Hits album has been a continuous presence on either the Billboard Top 200 Albums or Catalog Albums charts. SH It was named the #1 Catalog Album of the Decade (2000-2010). SH Seger is also a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

Don Schlitz made his name as a country songwriter with his first recorded song. Kenny Rogers’ recording of “The Gambler” took home the Grammy for Country Song of the Year in 1978. A decade later, Randy Travis’ recording of “Forever and Ever, Amen” garnered Schlitz another such award. With songs sung by Garth Brooks, Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Judds, Alison Krauss, Reba McEntire, Tanya Tucker, and Keith Whitley, Schlitz can boast a catalog of 24 #1 hits. He has been named ASCAP’s Country Songwriter of the Year four times won the CMA Song of the Year Award three times, and took home the ACM Song of the Year trophy twice.

Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones combined as the composer and lyricist team for the 1960 musical, The Fantasticks. “Try to Remember” became the show’s most beloved song, being recorded by hundreds of artists including Ed Ames, Harry Belafonte, Placido Domingo, and Barbra Streisand. The pair also earned Tony Award nominations for Best Composer and Lyricist for 110 in the Shade and I DO! I DO!. They’ve also been inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame and the Broadway Hall of Fame.

Jim Steinman started in musical theatre, but found his greatest fame when he teamed with Meat Loaf to write songs for the legendary Bat Out of Hell in 1977. With worldwide sales of more than 40 million, that album is one of the top 5 all-time best sellers worldwide. Steinman also wrote the #1 hits “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)”, and “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now,” as recorded by Bonnie Tyler, Meat Loaf, and Celine Dion resepectively. He also returned to Broadway, teaming with Andrew Lloyd Webber for the musical Whistle Down the Wind. His repertoire has sold more than 190 million records. SH


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Monday, February 20, 2012

The World's Top 100 All-Time Best-Selling Albums








You’d think it would be simple to generate this list; you just count up how many sales each album has and the one with the most is the best-seller and so on, right? Well…

There’s a couple problems. First, on a global scale, there just isn’t any solid means in place for tracking albums. Second, even those official sales measurers (such as the RIAA in the United States) favor more recent albums because of improvements in tracking over the years and simple population growth. Third, albums that preceded official tracking measures don’t even typically show up on all-time best-selling lists.

As a result, the DMDB has compiled what lists it can find to try to generate a worldwide bestsellers list. Click here for a complete list of those sources. In the event of ties, the oldest album is listed first. Click on an album to go to its DMDB page.

Note: One should certainly regard this list with at least some skepticism. Remember, these aren’t official numbers, just estimates. Also, to boost an album’s reputation, even official websites or record companies may inflate numbers. (Iron Butterfly has sold 25 million copies worldwide of In-A-Gada-Da-Vida? Really?) However, it is my opinion that these estimates come much closer to reflecting all-times sales than the official records reflect.





1. 72.4 million: Thriller – Michael Jackson (1982)
2. 49 million: Back in Black – AC/DC (1980)
3. 45 million: Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd (1973)
4. 44.5 million: Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin (1971)
5. 43 million: Bat Out of Hell – Meat Loaf (1977)
6. 42.9 million: Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 – Eagles (1976)
7. 40.4 million: Grease Soundtrack (1978)
8. 40 million: Rumours – Fleetwood Mac (1977)
9. 40 million: Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack (1977)
10. 39 million: Come on Over – Shania Twain (1997)





11. 37.3 million: The Bodyguard Soundtrack (1992)
12. 34.4 million: Gold: Greatest Hits – Abba (1993)
13. 33.2 million: Bad – Michael Jackson (1987)
14. 33 million: Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette (1995)
15. 33 million: Falling into You – Celine Dion (1996)
16. 32.6 million: Brothers in Arms – Dire Straits (1985)
17. 32 million: Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles (1967)
18. 32 million: Dirty Dancing Soundtrack (1987)
19. 32 million: Music Box – Mariah Carey (1993)
20. 31.5 million: The Immaculate Collection – Madonna (1990)






21. 31.5 million: 1 – The Beatles (2000)
22. 31.4 million: Hotel California – Eagles (1976)
23. 31.3 million: Legend – Bob Marley & The Wailers (1984)
24. 31 million: Let’s Talk about Love – Celine Dion (1997)
25. 30.7 million: The Wall – Pink Floyd (1979)
26. 30.4 million: Appetite for Destruction – Guns N’ Roses (1987)
27. 30 million: 1962-1966 – The Beatles (1973)
28. 30 million: Spirits Having Flown – Bee Gees (1979)
29. 30 million: Born in the U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen (1984)
30. 30 million: The Joshua Tree – U2 (1987)





31. 30 million: Nevermind – Nirvana (1991)
32. 30 million: Titanic Soundtrack (1997)
33. 29.8 million: 1967-1970 – The Beatles (1973)
34. 29 million: Abbey Road – The Beatles (1969)
35. 28.5 million: Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel (1970)
36. 28.3 million: Baby…One More Time – Britney Spears (1999)
37. 28 million: Boston – Boston (1976)
38. 28 million: Slippery When Wet – Bon Jovi (1986)
39. 28 million: Dangerous – Michael Jackson (1991)
40. 28 million: Backstreet Boys (U.S. version): Backstreet Boys (1997)





41. 27.6 million: Greatest Hits – Queen (1981)
42. 27.6 million: Spice – Spice Girls (1996)
43. 27 million: Greatest Hits – Elton John (1974)
44. 27 million: Supernatural – Santana (1999)
45. 26.45 million: Phil Collins – No Jacket Required (1985)
46. 26.3 million: True Blue – Madonna (1986)
47. 26 million: Purple Rain – Prince & the Revolution (1984)
48. 26 million: Like a Virgin – Madonna (1984)
49. 25.6 million: Metallica (aka 'The Black Album') – Metallica (1991)
50. 25.1 million: Greatest Hits – Simon & Garfunkel (1972)





51. 25 milion: Iron Butterfly – In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968)
52. 25 million: Tapestry – Carole King (1971)
53. 25 million: Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston (1985)
54. 25 million: Daydream – Mariah Carey (1995)
55. 25 million: Millenium – Backstreet Boys (1999)
56. 24.5 million: Led Zeppelin II – Led Zeppelin)
57. 24.4 million: But Seriously – Phil Collins (1989)
58. 24.3 million: Whitney – Whitney Houston (1987)
59. 24.3 million: Unplugged – Eric Clapton (1992)
60. 24 million: Hybrid Theory – Linkin Park (2000)





61. 24 million: Backstreet Boys – Black & Blue (2000)
62. 23.9 million: Cracked Rear View: Hootie & The Blowfish (1994)
63. 23.4 million: Eliminator – ZZ Top (1983)
64. 23.35 million: The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem (2000)
65. 23 million: No Fences – Garth Brooks (1990)
66. 23 million: Ace of Base – The Sign (1993)
67. 22.5 million: Come Away with Me – Norah Jones (2002)
68. 22.5 million: The Eminem Show – Eminem (2002)
69. 22.3 million: Greatest Hits 2 – Queen (1991)
70. 22 million: The Sound of Music Soundtrack (1965)





71. 22 million: Def Leppard: Hysteria (1987)
72. 22 million: What's the Story Morning Glory – Oasis (1995)
73. All the Way…A Decade of Song – Celine Dion (1999)
74. 21.5 million: The Beatles (aka ‘The White Album’) – The Beatles (1968)
75. 21.5 million: HIStory: Past, Present, and Future Book1 – Michael Jackson (1995)
76. 21.4 million: Greatest Hits Volume I & II – Billy Joel (1985)
77. 21.3 million: Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd (1975)
78. 21 million: Can’t Slow Down – Lionel Richie (1983)
79. 21 million: II – Boyz II Men (1994)
80. 21 million: No Angel – Dido (1999)





81. 20.4 million: Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman (1988)
82. 20.4 million: Achtung Baby – U2 (1991)
83. 20.2 million: Cross Road – Bon Jovi (1994)
84. 20 million: Tommy – The Who (1969)
85. 20 million: Parallel Lines – Blondie (1978)
86. 20 million: Off the Wall – Michael Jackson (1979)
87. 20 million: Flashdance Soundtrack (1983)
88. 20 million: Private Dancer – Tina Turner (1984)
89. 20 million: Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em – MC Hammer (1990)
90. 20 million: Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell – Meat Loaf (1993)





91. 20 million: The Colour of My Love – Celine Dion (1993)
92. 20 million: Dookie – Green Day (1994)
93. 20 million: The Score: The Fugees (1996)
94. 20 million: Ricky Martin – Ricky Martin (1999)
95. 20 million: Oops!...I Did It Again – Britney Spears (2000)
96. 19.9 million: Top Gun Soundtrack (1986)
97. 19.6 million: Faith – George Michael (1987)
98. 19.1 million: Houses of the Holy – Led Zeppelin (1973)
99. 19 million: Christmas Album – Elvis Presley (1957)
100. 19 million: Ropin’ the Wind – Garth Brooks (1991)






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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Blues Hall of Fame

image from crossharpchronicles.wordpress.com

The Blues Hall of Fame announced its 2012 inductees:

  • Billy Boy Arnold (Chicago blues harp player)
  • Michael Bloomfield (guitarist with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Bob Dylan, Electric Flag)
  • Buddy & Ella Johnson (jump-blues bandleader in the 1940s and ‘50s with his sister as the main vocalist)
  • Lazy Lester (Louisiana blues harpest)
  • Furry Lewis (country bluesman)
  • Horst Lippmann and Fritz Rau (German concert promoters behind the American Folk Blues Festival)
  • Matt "Guitar" Murphy (played with Howlin’ Wolf, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and Memphis Slim; appeared in the Blues Brothers movies)
  • Doc Pomus (blues and R&B songwriter)
  • Pervis Spann (Chicago radio personality)
  • Frank Stokes (Memphis acoustic bluesman circa the 1920s and 1930s)
  • Allen Toussaint (New Orleans musician, songwriter, producer).

As stated on the website, the Blues Hall of Fame “is a historical record of those who have made the Blues timeless through performance, documentation, and recording.” It was launched by the Blues Foundation in 1980. Inductee categories include performers, non-performers, songs, albums, and literature. The following performers and non-performers have been inducted:

  • Bill “Hoss” Allen (1994, non-performer)
  • Luther Allison (1998)
  • Clifford Antone (2009, non-performer)
  • Billy Boy Arnold (2012)
  • Dave Bartholomew (2007)
  • Ralph Bass (2003, non-performer)
  • Chuck Berry (1985)
  • Big Maybelle (2011)
  • Bihari Brothers (2006, non-performer)
  • Bobby “Blue” Bland (1981)
  • Blind Blake (1990)
  • Mike Bloomfield (2012)
  • Jimmy Bracken (2011, non-performer)
  • Bruce Bromberg (2011, non-performer)
  • Lonnie Brooks (2010)
  • Big Bill Broonzy (1980)
  • Charles Brown (1996)
  • Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown (1999)
  • Roy Brown (1981)
  • Ruth Brown (2002)
  • Paul Butterfield (2006)
  • Gus Cannon (2010)
  • Leroy Carr (1982)
  • Vivian Carter (2011, non-performer)
  • Ray Charles (1982)
  • Samuel Charters (2011, non-performer)
  • Clifton Chenier (1989)
  • Leonard Chess (1995, non-performer)
  • Phil Chess (1995, non-performer)
  • Albert Collins (1986)
  • James Cotton (2006)
  • Robert Cray (2011)
  • Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup (1994)
  • Reverend Gary Davis (2009)
  • Walter Davis (2005)
  • Bo Diddley (2004)
  • Willie Dixon (1980)
  • Fats Domino (2003)
  • Dr. John (2007)
  • Champion Jack Dupree (1993)
  • David “Honeyboy” Edwards (1996)
  • Ahmet Ertegün (2007, non-performer)
  • Sleepy John Estes (1991)
  • Blind Boy Fuller (2004)
  • Lowell Fulson (1993)
  • Peter Guralnick (2010, non-performer)
  • Buddy Guy (1985)
  • John Hammond (2008, non-performer)
  • John Hammond, Jr. (2011)
  • W. C. Handy (2010)
  • Slim Harpo (1985)
  • Wynonie Harris (1994)
  • Billie Holiday (1991)
  • John Lee Hooker (1980)
  • Lightnin’ Hopkins (1980)
  • Big Walter Horton (1982)
  • Son House (1980)
  • Howlin’ Wolf (1980)
  • Alberta Hunter (2011)
  • Mississippi John Hurt (1988)
  • J. B. Hutto (1985)
  • Bruce Iglauer (1997, non-performer)
  • Elmore James (1980)
  • Etta James (2001)
  • Skip James (1992)
  • Blind Lemon Jefferson (1980)
  • Buddy Johnson (2012)
  • Ella Johnson (2012)
  • Lonnie Johnson (1990)
  • Robert Johnson (1980)
  • Tommy Johnson (1986)
  • Eddie “Guitar Slim” Jones (2007)
  • Louis Jordan (1983)
  • Albert King (1983)
  • B. B. King (1980)
  • Freddie King (1982)
  • Bob Koester (1996, non-performer)
  • Denise LaSalle (2011)
  • Lead Belly (1986)
  • Mike Leadbitter (2009, non-performer)
  • J. B. Lenoir (2011)
  • Lazy Lester (2012)
  • Furry Lewis (2012)
  • Horst Lippmann (2012, non-performer)
  • Little Milton (1988)
  • Little Walter (1980)
  • Robert Lockwood, Jr. (1989)
  • Alan Lomax (1994, non-performer)
  • John Lomax (1994, non-performer)
  • Magic Sam (1982)
  • Taj Mahal (2009)
  • Percy Mayfield (1987)
  • Jimmy McCracklin (2008)
  • Fred McDowell (1991)
  • Brownie McGhee (1997)
  • Lillian Shedd McMurry (1998, non-performer)
  • Jay McShann (1988)
  • Blind Willie McTell (1981)
  • Lester Melrose (1999, non-performer)
  • Memphis Minnie (1980)
  • Memphis Slim (1989)
  • Big Maceo Merriweather (2002)
  • Amos Milburn (2010)
  • Roy Milton (2006)
  • Mississippi Sheiks (2008)
  • Matt "Guitar" Murphy (2012)
  • Charlie Musselwhite (2010)
  • Theresa Needham (2001, non-performer)
  • Robert Nighthawk (1983)
  • Gene Nobles (1994, non-performer)
  • Jim O’Neal (2002, non-performer)
  • Paul Oliver (2008, non-performer)
  • Johnny Otis (2000)
  • Robert Palmer (2001, non-performer)
  • Little Junior Parker (2001)
  • Charley Patton (1980)
  • “Sunshine” Sonny Payne (2010, non-performer)
  • Pinetop Perkins (2003)
  • Sam Phillips (1998, non-performer)
  • Doc Pomus (2012, non-performer)
  • Bob Porter (2009, non-performer)
  • Professor Longhair (1981)
  • Ma Rainey (1983)
  • Bonnie Raitt (2010)
  • Fritz Rau (2012, non-performer)
  • Jimmy Reed (1980)
  • John Richbourg (1994, non-performer)
  • Bobby Robinson (2006, non-performer)
  • Jimmy Rogers (1995)
  • Art Rupe (2007, non-performer)
  • Bobby Rush (2006)
  • Otis Rush (1984)
  • Son Seals (2009)
  • Johnny Shines (1992)
  • Bessie Smith (1980)
  • Otis Spann (1980)
  • Pervis Spann (2012, non-performer)
  • H. C. Speir (2005, non-performer)
  • Frank Stokes (2012)
  • Chris Strachwitz (1999, non-performer)
  • Hubert Sumlin (2008)
  • Sunnyland Slim (1991)
  • Roosevelt Sykes (1999)
  • Tampa Red (1981)
  • Eddie Taylor (1987)
  • Hound Dog Taylor (1984)
  • Koko Taylor (1997)
  • Sonny Terry (1986)
  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe (2007)
  • Irma Thomas (2009)
  • Rufus Thomas (2001)
  • Big Mama Thornton (1984)
  • Allen Toussaint (2012)
  • Ike Turner (2005)
  • Big Joe Turner (1983)
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan (2000)
  • T-Bone Walker (1980)
  • Sippie Wallace (2003)
  • Dinah Washington (2003)
  • Dick Waterman (2000, non-performer)
  • Muddy Waters (1980)
  • Johnny “Guitar” Watson (2008)
  • Pete Welding (1996, non-performer)
  • Junior Wells (1998)
  • Jerry Wexler (2006, non-performer)
  • Peetie Wheatstraw (2008)
  • Bukka White (1990)
  • Big Joe Williams (1992)
  • J. Mayo Williams (2004, non-performer)
  • Sonny Boy Williamson I (1980)
  • Sonny Boy Williamson II (1980)
  • Johnny Winter (1988)
  • Jimmy Witherspoon (2008)
  • John W. Work III (2011, non-performer)

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Styx’s Dennis DeYoung was born: February 18, 1947






The oft-mocked Kilroy Was Here and its hit song “Mr. Roboto” loom large in the background of whatever DDY does.



Happy birthday, Dennis DeYoung! Most know him as the voice of Styx, although even from its earliest days that rock band switched off vocals between singers of different styles. James Young mostly stuck to guitar, but occasionally took a lead vocal (“Miss America”, “Snowblind”). When Tommy Shaw came into the fold in 1975 after John Curulewski’s departure, he struck a balance between the more balladry style of DDY and the full-on rock approach from JY to craft classics like “Crystal Ball”, “Renegade”, “Blue Collar Man”, and “Too Much Time on My Hands”.

When Styx ended their initial run in 1984, the three chief songwriters embarked on solo careers with DDY’s being the most successful. In 1990, they reunited without Shaw, who was busy with supergroup Damn Yankees. However, the lineup which brought Styx its greatest fame came back together in the mid-‘90s to record new material for a couple compilations and then did a tour. The 1999 Brave New World album saw DDY, JY, and Shaw back together on a studio album for the first time in 16 years, but it didn’t last. In what has now become a clichéd move in the rock industry, DDY got sick and the band unceremoniously dumped their founder and soldiered on without him. Check out my article, “Are These the New Faces of Classic Rock?” on Pop Matters for an in-depth look at this trend.





Regardless of the bumpy spots in their history and some of their questionable musical endeavors, Styx has always remained a favorite of mine. In 2010, I penned a blog entry (“The Styx Defense”, available in my book No One Needs 21 Versions of ‘Purple Haze’) in which I used the band as an example of why people love what they love regardless of what critics say. DDY has endured a healthy chunk of the criticism for his tendencies toward Broadway and ballads.

Regardless of the criticisms, the Dennis DeYoung-led Styx will always be a favorite of mine. In celebration of the man behind so many classic rock standards, here’s a look at ten of my favorite DDY songs.

What Has Come Between Us (1972). It wasn’t a hit, but this cut from the first Styx album showcased DDY’s simultaneous ability to craft a ballad and a pseudo-prog-rock tune.



Lady (1973). A quintessential DDY ballad which also bares the distinction of launching Styx’s career when it was picked up a year after its initial release and turned into a national hit, going top 10 on the Billboard charts.



Golden Lark (1974). This is my favorite of the Wooden Nickel era Styx (the first four albums before they signed with A&M records). This was an early example of DDY shunning the rock side (for better or worse) and going for over-the-top schmaltz with violins instead of guitars.



Suite Madame Blue (1975). This is perhaps the Styx song best deserving of the tag “epic”. DDY crafted this homage to America in the wake of its Bicentennial celebration. It captures the keyboards and sweeping sound that defined Styx.



Mademoiselle (1976). This was a minor top 40 hit notable mostly for a rare duet between DDY and new bandmate Tommy Shaw. Frankly, I think it belongs in the canon of Styx classics, but it is often overlooked.



Come Sail Away (1977). This may well be the definitive Styx song. Like “Suite Madame Blue”, this captures DDY at his bombastic best with a keyboard-driven slice of classic rock that also found a home in the Billboard top 10.



Babe (1979). For better or worse, this #1 song may just be the place to start when criticizing bands for their obligatory forays into rock balladry which belong on radio stations devoted more to adult contemporary than classic rock.



The Best of Times (1981). This was the lead single from Paradise Theater, my favorite Styx album and one of my ten favorite albums period. DDY was showing some of his Broadway leanings with the concept behind this, but he hadn’t gone over the top yet. “Best” shows how to strike just the right balance between a conceptual album and a song that stands just fine on its own.



Mr. Roboto (1983). This one, however, does not. Timing wise, this came out when I was at the height of my “show Styx the love” phase so I unashamedly loved this one. It may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, though, when DDY forced a goofy concept about a Big Brother-style world where rock and roll is outlawed and DDY comes to save the day in robot gear. Yeah, it was as ridiculous as it sounds.



Desert Moon (1984). This one is a nod to DDY’s post-Styx years. It was a top ten hit and suggested he might do just fine commercially without Styx. He didn’t, but this slice of nostalgia was well crafted and deserving of the airplay it got.




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Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Till We Meet Again" charts for the first time: February 15, 1919








Henry Burr was one of the most successful recording artists of the first quarter of the 20th century, landing 15 songs at #1 as a solo artist. However, he also regularly worked with Albert Campbell (who sent three songs to the top on his own) and they landed another seven songs atop the charts. “Till We Meet Again” was their most successful pairing. PM

This “heartfelt farewell of a beau who promises to return and wed his love” RCG was “the most successful of all the ballads of the First World War,” RCG selling 5 million in sheet music. The United States had already entered the war when Richard Whiting and Raymond Egan penned this waltz. However, they threw it away because they disliked it. Luckily, their secretary heard the song, liked it, salvaged it from the trash, and sent it to the publisher. RCG

In 1919, five versions of the song charted – Nicholas Orlando’s Orchestra and the duo of Charles Hart & Lewis James also went to #1 with it, but Burr & Campbell had the most successful version (9 weeks at #1). Vernon Dalhart & Gladys Rice took their duet to the top 10, as did Prince’s Orchestra. PM

World War II saw the song revived and recorded by Kay Starr, Rosemary Clooney, Patti Page, Mitch Miller, and Jaye P. Morgan. RCG Doris Day and Gordon MacRae performed it for the 1951 film On Moonlight Bay. JA The song was also played for years at the adjournment of the United States Congress. RCG




Awards:

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Monday, February 13, 2012

National Medal of Arts

Medal of Arts, image from Wikipedia.org

On February 13, 2012, President Barack Obama gave the Medal of Arts to the eight 2011 recipients including singer/songwriter Mel Tillis and classical pianist André Watts. The award was established by Congress in 1984 to be selected by the National Endowment for the Arts and be awarded by the President. It is given to artists and art patrons who are, as the site says, “deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States.” Nearly 300 artists in areas from dance, film, design, architecture, literature, music, painting, sculpture, theater, and more have been given the honor over its 26-year history. Here is a list of the music-related recipients from 1985 to 2011:

  • Maurice Abravanel (1991)
  • Roy Acuff (1991)
  • Licia Albanese (1995)
  • Marian Anderson (1986)
  • Eddy Arnold (2000)
  • Harry Belafonte (1994)
  • William Bolcom (2006)
  • Dave Brubeck (1994)
  • Sarah Caldwell (1996)
  • Cab Calloway (1993)
  • Benny Carter (1993)
  • Betty Carter (1997)
  • Elliott Carter Jr. (1985)
  • Johnny Cash (2001)

    Johnny Cash receives the Medal of Arts from President Bush, image from bbc.co.uk

  • Ray Charles (1993)
  • Van Cliburn (2010)
  • Aaron Copland (1986)
  • John O. Crosby (1991)
  • Celia Cruz (1994)
  • Dorothy DeLay (1994)
  • James DePriest (2005)
  • David Diamond (1995)
  • Fats Domino (1998)
  • Paquito D’Rivera (2005)
  • Bob Dylan (2009)
  • Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (1998)
  • Fisk Jubilee Singers (2008)
  • Ella Fitzgerald (1987)
  • Carlisle Floyd (2004)
  • Aretha Franklin (1999)

    President Bush awards Aretha Franklin the Medal of Arts, image from bet.com

  • Dizzy Gillespie (1989)
  • Francis Goelet (1988)
  • Eduardo “Lalo” Guerrero (1996)
  • Buddy Guy (2003)
  • Lionel Hampton (1996)
  • Kitty Carlisle Hart (1991)
  • Marilyn Horne (1992)
  • Vladimir Horowitz (1989)
  • George Jones (2002)
  • Henry “Hank” Jones (2008)
  • Quincy Jones (2010)
  • Gene Kelly (1994)
  • B.B. King (1990)

    1990 Medal of Arts recipient B.B. King, image from longshotsblues.files.wordpress.com

  • Erich Kunzel (2006)
  • Morten Lauridsen (2007)
  • James Levine (1997)
  • Alan Lomax (1986)
  • Yo-Yo Ma (2001)
  • Wynton Marsalis (2005)
  • Lydia Mendoza (1999)
  • Robert Merrill (1993)
  • Bill Monroe (1995)
  • Rita Moreno (2009)
  • Mormon Tabernacle Choir (2003)
  • Jessye Norman (2009)
  • Odetta (1999)
  • Dolly Parton (2005)

  • Les Paul (2007)
  • Minnie Pearl (1992)
  • Itzhak Perlman (2000)
  • Roberta Peters (1998)
  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band (2008)
  • The Presser Foundation (2008)
  • Leontyne Price (1985)
  • Tito Puento (1997)
  • Smokey Robinson (2002)
  • Sonny Rollins (2010)
  • William Schuman (1987)
  • Earl Scruggs (1992)
  • Pete Seeger (1994)

  • Rudolf Serkin (1988)
  • Robert Shaw (1992)
  • Richard Sherman (2008)
  • Robert Sherman (2008)
  • Beverly Sills (1990)
  • Leonard Slatkin (2003)
  • Stephen Sondheim (1996)
  • Ralph Stanley (2006)
  • Isaac Stern (1991)
  • George Strait (2003)
  • Barbra Streisand (2000)
  • Billy Taylor (1992)
  • James Taylor (2010)
  • Michael Tilson Thomas (1988)
  • Mel Tillis (2011)

    President Barack Obama awards singer Mel Tillis the Medal of Arts, image from zimbio.com

  • University of Idaho Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival (2007)
  • Doc Watson (1997)
  • Andre Watts (2011)
  • John Williams (2009)

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The Top 60 Songs of Peter Gabriel and Genesis








In honor of Peter Gabriel’s birthday (born February 13, 1950) here are the top songs from him as a solo artist and as the frontman of Genesis. A similar list was done in honor of Phil Collins’ birthday on January 30, 1951. This list was created by considering chart status, sales, airplay, awards, placement on the DMDB’s overall list, appearances on compilations, and an aggregate of Genesis and Peter Gabriel-focused best-of lists.

1. Sledgehammer (1986)
2. In Your Eyes (1986)
3. Solsbury Hill (1977)
4. Biko (1980)
5. Shock the Monkey (1982)



6. Games without Frontiers (1980)
7. Don’t Give Up (with Kate Bush, 1986)
8. Steam (1992)
9. Big Time (1986)
10. The Carpet Crawlers (1974) *



11. Digging in the Dirt (1992)
12. I Know What I Like in Your Wardrobe (1973) *
13. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974) *
14. Supper’s Ready (1972) *
15. Red Rain (1986)



16. Firth of Fifth (1973) *
17. The Musical Box (1971) *
18. In the Cage (1974) *
19. Family Snapshot (1980)
20. I Don’t Remember (1980)



21. The Cinema Show (1973) *
22. Kiss That Frog (1992)
23. I Have the Touch (1982)
24. Watcher of the Skies (1972) *
25. Here Comes the Flood (1977)





26. Counting Out Time (1974) *
27. Come Talk to Me (1992)
28. That Voice Again (1986)
29. San Jacinto (1982)
30. Shaking the Tree (with Youssou N’Dour, 1989)



31. No Self Control (1980)
32. Blood of Eden (with Sinead O’Connor, 1992)
33. The Knife (1970) *
34. Washing of the Water (1992)
35. Lovetown (1994)



36. More Than This (2003)
37. Secret World (1992)
38. I Go Swimming (1983)
39. Mercy Street (1986)
40. I Grieve (2002)



41. The Family and the Fishing Net (1982)
42. On the Air (1978)
43. When You’re Falling (with Afro Celt Sound System, 2001)
44. Dancing with the Moonlit Knight (1973) *
45. After the Ordeal (1973) *



46. Walk Through the Fire (1984)
47. The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging (1974) *
48. Lilywhite Lilith (1974) *
49. Sky Blue (2002)
50. D.I.Y. (1978)



51. A Different Drum (1989)
52. The Fountain of Salmacis (1971) *
53. The Return of the Giant Hogweed (1971) *
54. It (1974) *
55. Humdrum (1977)



56. Happy the Man (1972) *
57. Not One of Us (1980)
58. Growing Up (2002)
59. Love to Be Loved (1992)
60. Intruder (1980)
61. Kiss of Life (1982)

* Genesis song






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