There was a lot of hoopla earlier this year over the fact that the Billboard Hot 100 saw its 1000th Number One record (Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way), but I have to admit I thought it would just be a passing footnote. Luckily, the folks over at Billboard thought otherwise and are currently marking that milestone with a video a day through the month of December talking to artists and producers about those hits.
Fun fact: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the dynamic duo behind Janet Jackson’s early success, didn’t have much interest in making “When I Think of You” a hit, but Janet’s brothers instantly saw its potential. Check out Jimmy’s description of that conversation below:
Other artists featured so far include Kelly Clarkson, Hanson, BoB and Def Leppard. I’m hoping they are able to hook up some stories going all the way back to the 50s, but it’s still a great concept even with the more contemporary songs they’ve featured so far.
Towleroad.com is reporting today that, after weeks of speculation, it will be Country singer Chely Wright coming out in this week’s issue of People magazine. While coming out stories seem to be popping up more and more frequently, this one should be interesting to watch develop.
The TMZ quote that Towleroad cites that “Wright is the first major Country artist ever to come out”, and several commenters argued that kd lang should be given that distinction. However, kd never had a big hit on the Country charts, with “I’m Down to My Last Cigarette” and “Full Moon Full of Love” being her only two top 40 Country hits at #21 and #22 respectively. Chely had a massive #1 record with “Single White Female”, which was pretty much everywhere Country music was played in 1999. Her most recent hit came in 2005 with “The Bumper of My SUV”, a powerful song that questioned the black and white responses to the war in Iraq. Chely caught a LOT of flak for this song from both sides of the debate because she wasn’t fully on one side or the other, but I respected her that much more for allowing gray into an otherwise black and white debate. The video below tells the whole story.
I have been a fan of Chely’s since the mid-90s, when “Shut Up and Drive”, her first Country top 20 record, proved to be my mantra after the breakup of my first serious relationship. Chely doesn’t have a problem fitting into the mainstream when she wants to, but there’s always a bit more depth to her music than many of her contemporaries, and the personal connection is usually quite evident. For me, one of the big missteps of her career was “Jezebel”, which was written by Jay DeMarcus from Rascal Flatts. It was kind of a fun song, but it sure didn’t strike me as Chely Wright song. I would much rather you listen to a song like “I Already Do” which connects much more directly with the listener. For some more highlights of her career, you have to check out Kevin’s recap at Country Universe.
So who knows how this plays out, but I wish her well. There have been a few country artists that have been out in the business without being out in public, so I don’t know that you can draw any full-fledged comparisons between them and Chely. Hopefully the people who have known and worked with Chely behind the scenes will continue to visibly support her now that she’s done keeping up a facade simply to be more widely accepted. If the first single from her new album Lifted Off the Ground that comes out this week is any indication, she’s got a lot of potential hits left in her.
– So maybe we DO get to see the JLS vs Taio Cruz throwdown after all! JLS are supposedly going to get the full-court press here in the States, although I think it’s a little dubious. Press releases last week touted that “influential” top 40 station WXSS in Milwaukee is getting calls for the track. Well, Milwaukee isn’t exactly an “influential” market, and right now the song is #44 in their rotation, so someone is grasping pretty deep. I just don’t see “Everybody” breaking them big, and I SURE don’t see “One Shot” doing the job either. Take “Beat Again”, add in a cameo from Pitbull or Flo Rida, and redo the video, and I think that might be their one shot (pun intended).
– One song that WILL continue to climb the charts is Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”, which is currently sitting at #1 on the iTunes singles chart. They peaked at #5 back in November after the CMA Awards, but with another surge in sales, along with still high country airplay and rapidly growing airplay at both Top 40 and Adult Top 40, you may see Lady A achieve an even higher peak. Stay tuned…my review of Need You Now will be posted tonight or tomorrow at the latest.
Matt has announced that he will be playing a concert at the Bluebird Theater here in Denver, and I already have my tickets. His opening acts are listed as John Common & Blinding Flashes of Light, but I read that there might be some unannounced guests. Considering that Matt is signed to Justin Timberlake’s new Tennman Records, certain educated guesses could be made, no? Or since he lives in Denver, home of the Fray, 3OH!3, and the Flobots, maybe a more local surprise gues would be in order. Either way, I’m looking forward to hearing how his music translates live.
– So I didn’t do too badly on the predictions for the Grammys, but I had a couple of big misses, primarily on Album of the Year. While I was flying during the telecast, I saw Taylor Swift’s performance with Stevie Nicks, and based on that alone, Taylor should never receive another major nomination outside of the Country category. It has become very clear over the last year that Taylor just cannot handle live performances with a paper-thin voice.
So with the holidays here in the US, I have been a bit out of the loop with my normal updates and blogs, but I got a little surprise this morning in the form of new video blogs from Shayne Ward over at his website. Turns out that he’s been a busy guy recently, even though he’s been flying under the radar. Being the literary sacrificial lamb that I am, I put myself through the arduous task of watching these videos to pull out bits of information for you. In no particular order:
– Shayne expects that the album will be done in December, but is still looking at material to add into the mix.
– Shayne is sporting a full-fledged beard.
– Shayne aspires to be on the cover of Rolling Stone.
– Shayne lists the Bee Gees, the Stylistics, Elvis, Michael Jackson, and Kings of Leon in his musical top 5.
– Shayne seems hell-bent on sharing his chest hair with the camera, even in heavy clothing.
– Shayne hasn’t been to the dance studio recently, but will as the album release gets closer.
– Shayne will definitely have an album to release in 2010.
This is all promising, but it’s all stuff that we’ve heard before. Hopefully Shayne’s management are committed to making release #3 a success, and possibly bringing some of that success over to the US. He’s not going to make the cover of Rolling Stone without it!
– Current songs that sound really good on the radio: Alphabeat’s “The Spell”, which is up on Radio 1 in advance of its release on October 18th, and REALLY needs to see a US release; Britney’s “3”, which I heard coming out of David Guetta’s “Sexy Bitch”, making for a pretty impressive (and surprising) one-two punch; and Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova”, which needs to see a pop radio push at some point in the near future. Even in its original form, it is incredibly catchy.
– Who decided that Crazy Frog needed a new album, let alone one that’s an exclusive to Wal-Mart? And how disturbing is it that “Cha Cha Slide” is among the tracks covered? Or “Last Christmas”? Thankfully, there aren’t samples on the website, or I might be typing wounded right now.
So for the record, how many bloggers even collect a paycheck for what they do, let alone get freebies from a record label? Personally, I can count on one hand the number of times I have received promotional material from a label, and even then, I let them know point blank that I will not promote anything that I do not believe in. I can see the potential for a class-action lawsuit against the FTC on this, but when was the last time you paid money into the music blog lobbying fund? Yeah…me either.
– The new Usher? Good, but not great, although it’s a definite return to Confessions-style slowjams.
One last paper, and the summer semester is done. I love my schoolwork, but this degree can’t be over with soon enough.
– First MJ, then John Hughes. I was a bit stunned when the headline came up, then had a moment of denial, since “John Hughes” is a somewhat common name. But the man who single-handedly kept me at movie theaters through high school passed away today. Of course the movies were great, but for me, it was always about the music. How brilliant is the placement of Yello’s “Oh Yeah” in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Would Sixteen Candles have had the same punch without mood-setting music like the Thompson Twins’ “If You Were Here”? And is it possible that a group like Simple Minds would never have broken in the US with “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” without the help of The Breakfast Club? I seriously doubt it. Rest in peace, John, and thanks for inspiring me to hang around for the credits.
– If you haven’t checked it out yet, Yuri has our most recent dissdiscussion of Kelly Clarkson, Ryan Tedder, Beyonce, Mimi and Eminem. I’ve now been dubbed the “radio and records guy”, and I will wear that badge proudly. As a little epilogue to the Mariah saga, let me share with you the lame performance of “Obsessed” from last night’s episode of America’s Got Talent. Let’s just say the photo montage on the back wall had more life in it than she did.
– Almost two months later, I am still loving the Gossip’s Music For Men, and they have already unleashed single number two on the world in the form of “Love Long Distance”. The video premiered a few days ago, and it’s a very simple premise with some cool effects. Hopefully they are holding back on “Pop Goes the World” to coincide with the physical release of the CD here in the States in October.
– Paul’s already beaten me to the punch on this, but I fell in love with Elouise yesterday as she spoke with Larry Flick on Sirius-XM’s Out Q. She could not have been any sweeter or cuter if she tried, and I’m just as excited as Paul is for the release of “Another Day”, which is almost as epic as a song by her idol Shirley Bassey. And if you’re not checking Larry out in the morning, you really should. He had a great (and raunchy) interview with Nelly Furtado this morning in advance of her upcoming Spanish CD Mi Plan, and he plays a great mix of music from both sides of the Atlantic.
– One last video, and it’s our fine friend Chris Richardson. It would be great if it were new music, but instead, it’s a little comedy to end your day with.
A music publisher that has accused Australian band Men at Work of stealing the melody to their 1980s smash hit “Down Under” from a campfire song won the first stage of its lawsuit on Thursday seeking royalties from the Aussie anthem.
First off, who knew that “Kookaburra” was actually copyrighted? In my mind, that’s a bit like saying that the publishing rights to “Kumbaya” were owned by Michael Jackson. I was a bit traumatized by this song as a child when I found out that gumdrops did NOT grow on trees. Leave it to the Aussies to portray their country as being even MORE loveable than it already is!
The bigger question here is about how different one melody has to be from another melody to not infringe on copyrights. The whole “My Sweet Lord”/”He’s So Fine” lawsuit from 1971 was one of the first cases I ever encountered as a young music fan that made me question the sanity of people in the industry. Long story short, George Harrison was accused of ripping off “He’s So Fine” in his 1971 hit “My Sweet Lord”, and he lost. This was a big deal, because he was a Beatle, and the Beatles were still seen as other-worldly. Besides, the song was a favorite of mine early on (I loved the cover of Harrison’s album, and it was a double, which meant fold-out cover), and for anyone to malign a song I loved was grounds for…something. The history of this lawsuit is just amazing, and to read it is to read the history of several musical legacies (Beatles, Doo-Wop, Allen Klein) all colliding in an amazingly drawn-out legal dispute that just shows how much greed has ruled much of the music industry.
I really don’t know what to make of the Men at Work lawsuit, although I hope it can be resolved amicably. You have to imagine that the vast majority of that money has already been spent, and that there has to be SOME statute of limitations on what can be recovered 28 years later. In the meantime, here’s the source of the controversy…
My two cents on the whole Perez Hilton/will.i.am dust-up in Toronto. First, please read Duane’s dead-on commentary, if you haven’t already. Second, I don’t believe that violence is ever the answer, but karma’s a bitch, Perez. Just like you.
Showing one more reason why I like her, here is Kelly Clarkson’s reaction. She was also in town for the concert, but was not at the party. [And make sure you check out Will-W’s YouTube page for some great footage of rehearsals for the concert.]
New update today from our favorite X Factor winner, with a new piece of info that I hadn’t heard before:
But back to work now as usual and I’m in Syco Music getting groomed for a new TV music show which will hopefully get commissioned before Christmas, exciting. Well that’s what I thought. Instead I was being set up for a Punk’d style hidden camera show by none other than Louis Walsh, ejit LOL!
Classic! Not sure where this will be aired, but I’m looking forward to it. Shayne goes on to say that the album is still coming along, and he’s staying fit in advance of the new record’s release. Which means a couple of new photo shoots, right?