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Favorite George Michael songs (including Wham)

George Michael left quite a legacy. I think that if you asked 20 people to name their favorite George Michael songs, including Wham, you would probably get 10 different answers. I recently asked that question on social media and it didn’t take me long to get to eight different songs.

Here are the top 20 songs I selected as my favorites, in reverse order. Some good ones did not make my list. Thoughts and comments welcome. What is your favorite?

george_michael

20. Praying For Time, George Michael (1989/1990)
“Praying For Time” was the first single from Listen Without Prejudice and marked his first release after the hugely successful Faith album. It was his last number one in the US and peaked at #6 in the UK. MTV Unplugged version

19. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Wham! (1984)
“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” pretty much introduced the world to George Michael and Wham. It spent two weeks at #1 in the UK, three weeks in America. The “Choose Life” shorts from the video were part of an anti-drug, anti-suicide campaign. Official video

18. Heal The Pain (Duet Version), George Michael & Paul McCartney (2005/2008)
“Heal The Pain” was first released in 1991 as the fourth single from Listen Without Prejudice. I have a slight preference for the duet version with Paul McCartney from his Twenty-Five album. Video link

17. Fastlove, George Michael (1996)
“Fastlove” was the first single released by a then-new company called DreamWorks. It hit #8 in 1996 and was Michael’s last new song to hit the Billboard Hot 100 (Wham’s “Last Christmas” charts seasonally). Official video

16. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, George Michael and Elton John (1991/1992)
There is a generation who doesn’t know that “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” was originally Elton solo. The live remake outperformed the original and hit number one in February 1992, making the line, “Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Elton John” famous. Official live video

15. Too Funky, George Michael (1990/1992)
Later that summer in 1992, “Too Funky,” from the Red Hot & Dance album, cracked the top 10. It notably starts with a sound clip of Anne Bancroft from The Graduate. Official video

14. Freedom, Wham! (1984/1985)
“Freedom” was a #1 hit in the UK from Wham’s breakthrough album Make It Big. It hit #3 in the USA right around the time that Wham was dealing with overexposure. Freedom is one of those songs I got tired of at the time but sounds better given the distance of time. The official video was shot in China, where Wham was among the first western bands to tour.

13. Round Here, George Michael (2003/2004)
“Round Here” is from George’s Patience album and was a minor hit in the UK. It’s about his recollections of life as a child and his parents when they were young. One of my favorite of his “unfamiliar songs.” Official video

12. A Different Corner – George Michael (1985/1986)
For some, “A Different Corner” is George’s best. In the USA, this was officially George Michael’s first solo hit, even though it’s on a Wham album and Andrew Ridgely performs on it. “Careless Whisper” was really Michael’s first solo, but in America it was billed as “Wham! featuring George Michael.” “A Different Corner” has a very understated production but it’s a powerful song. Official video

11. Waiting For That Day – George Michael (1990)
“Waiting For That Day” was the third single off Listen Without Prejudice and was a disappointment commercially. It’s loosely based on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards share songwriter credits with Michael. YouTube audio

10. Careless Whisper, Wham! featuring George Michael (1983/1984-85)
It was on a Wham album. was co-written by Andrew Ridgeley, but in most of the world, it was a solo song by George Michael. Because the record company did not want people to think Wham had broken up, it was credited as “Wham! featuring George Michael” in Japan, Canada and the USA. It’s one of George’s most recognizable songs and was Billboard’s biggest hit of 1985. It has become well-known recently as the walk-up music for outfielder Josh Reddick. His unusual selection has led to baseball fans singing along as he walks up to home plate. Official video

9. One More Try, George Michael (1987/1988)
The fifth single off Faith was also his third straight number one hit. “One More Try” also topped the R&B chart and the Adult Contemporary chart. The title only appears once in the lyrics–the final three words. Official video

8. Where Did Your Heart Go?, Wham! (1986)
“Where Did Your Heart Go?” was Wham’s last single in 1986. A cover of a Was (Not Was) song, it was among Wham’s more subdued tracks. It missed the top 40 in America. Clearly not Wham’s most successful singles, but in my mind “Where Did Your Heart Go?” is among their best. Official video

7. I’m Your Man, Wham! (1985)
One of the last singles by Wham has become one of my favorites. Written by George Michael, it’s a bit of a glimpse into what we would hear on his solo album, Faith. “I’m Your Man” was also the last song Wham performed on stage, at Wembley Stadium. Here is George Michael performing it live in 1991: YouTube link.

6. Faith, George Michael (1987/1987-88)
“Faith” is perhaps George Michael’s most well-known song. It spent four weeks at #1 spanning 1987 and 1988 and was the number one hit in America for the year in ’88. The organ intro into the guitar break are as recognizable as the lyrics. It has been covered by Limp Bizkit, among others. Here is a live version from 2008: YouTube link.

5. Last Christmas, Wham! (1984)
I remember resenting all the airplay this song got when it came out. I mean, they have one hit and now they get to have a Christmas song? Pay your dues, punks. Of course. “Last Christmas” became a Christmas classic and it became one of my favorite modern holiday songs. It would rank even higher if they could remix it with the ’80s synth toned down a bit. It be a bit sadder “this year” now that George Michael passed away on Christmas Day. Official video

4. Freedom! ’90, George Michael (1990/1990-91)
The second single from Listen Without Prejudice has a similar title to a Wham song, hence the year in the title. Known especially for its video featuring supermodels and no George Michael, it seemed he wanted to blow up his MTV past. Ironic that in doing so, he had a big video hit. It hit #3 in the US and #1 in Canada. Here’s a 25th anniversary video with younger models: YouTube link.

3. Father Figure, George Michael (1987/1988)
“Father Figure” was the song that really got George Michael noticed by R&B radio. He would go on to win two American Music Awards in the Soul/R&B category. It was also his first Grammy-nominated solo song. The video really propelled its success, but the haunting R&B sound proved memorable. A #1 hit in America, “Father Figure” only reached #11 in the UK, although it is reportedly one of his most requested songs on British radio. Official video

2. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), Aretha Franklin & George Michael (1986/1987)
Probably my favorite superstar duet of all time. “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” hit number one in both the USA and the UK in 1987. Despite its success, it almost seems to have become a somewhat forgotten track for both artists. Official video

1. Kissing A Fool, George Michael (1987/1988)
People. If “Father Figure” established Michael as an R&B star, the final single from Faith, “Kissing A Fool” showed that he had some crooner chops. He recorded the vocals a cappella in a single take. His phrasing and timing are impeccable. By the time “Kissing A Fool” was released, very few fans did not already own the Faith album. Still, this one reached #5 in America and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Video link

Bob’s Top 10 Pop Songs of 2016

For the eighth year, I am counting down my top 10 pop hits of 2016. That’s pop hits–not necessarily the best songs of the year. When I started this in 2009, I decided that limiting the countdown to songs that have been heard by a wider audience would generate more commentary. So while others do their favorites regardless of chart success, I limit my countdown to any song that hit the Billboard top 10 at any time in 2016. This year, there were 57 top 10 hits.

However, my selection was limited to 54 songs. As with other years, any song that I chose in my 2015 top 10 is not eligible, even if it was still in the top 10 going into 2016.  That eliminates Adele’s “Hello.” As with Whitney Houston a few years ago, I decided not to rank songs that charted after a singer’s death. So while “When Doves Cry” and “Purple Rain” hit the top 10 this year, those songs really belong to other years in my mind.

It was a big year for Justin Bieber, who had the top two songs of the year according to Billboard. Will that success translate to my top 10? Tay-Tay only had one top 10 song this year, a duet at year’s end. Do I dare include Taylor Swift for a second straight year? What about the Chainsmokers? Or twenty-one pilots? Drake? Or J.Cole, who obliterated a record by having 10 singles in the top 40 on the December 31 chart? Stay tuned to find out.

I’ll release a few songs daily and reveal my number one song on New Year’s Eve. I think many will figure out my number one. Comments and heavy criticism are welcomed as always. I love a good debate.

-Bob

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1. Can’t Stop The Feeling!, Justin Timberlake, DreamWorks/RCA
Quite predictable, I’m sure. The big summer dance-pop smash, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” is my number one song of the year. Justin Timberlake co-wrote “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” with prolific Swedish songwriters Max Martin and Shellback for the movie, Trolls. Timberlake first performed it in May as a guest at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm. That performance marked the first time that a major star who was not a former contestant was invited to perform. The song took off quickly. It topped the charts in 17 countries and was the best-selling single in the United States in 2016. It was the number one song in America for only a week in late May, but it stayed in the top 10 the entire summer and is still on the charts at year end. Timberlake has had quite a bit of chart success, however, it’s a bit hard to believe that “Cant Stop The Feeling!” marked his first number one hit in over nine years. The version heard in the movie begins with Anna Kendrick singing. James Corden, Zooey Deschanel and Gwen Stefani also can be heard. There have been a few covers—perhaps one of the more unlikely ones by Lady Antebellum, not necessarily known for dance-pop.

Official Video: Vevo link
Lyric video: YouTube link
Official film clip from Trolls: YouTube link
Performance at Eurovision 2016 (medley with “Rock Your Body”): YouTube link
Lady Antebellum on stage: YouTube link
Season seven winner Mateusz Grędziński on The Voice of Poland: YouTube link

2. Piece By Piece, Kelly Clarkson, 19/RCA
My number two song of the year wasn’t even a hit when it was first released in February 2015. The second single was the title track from Kelly Clarkson’s album, Piece By Piece. She first performed it to the public on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on March 2, 2015. Co-written by Clarkson and Greg Kurstin, the lyrics refer to family and fatherhood. According to Clarkson, it’s inspired by abandonment (by her father) and support (by her husband). The February 2015 release was promotional, not commercial, to promote her album. The song was re-recorded and released as a single in November 2015. It spent eight weeks on the chart and peaked at number 32. But the song wasn’t yet done. The producers of American Idol brought back the first winner to perform in the show’s final season. Clarkson performed “Piece by Piece” on the February 25, 2016 live episode, a year after the song’s initial release. The reception of the live and home audience revived the single. An “Idol version” of her performance was also released to radio. A second televised performance on the March 3 episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show enhanced the buzz around “Piece By Piece.” Remarkably, well over a year after the song’s debut, “Piece By Piece” re-entered the Hot 100 at #8 the week of March 19. Based on its unusual chart run, “Piece By Piece” will likely be remembered as one of Clarkson’s minor hits, but it’s among her best performances to date.

Official Video: Vevo link
Acoustic video released in March 2015: YouTube link
February 2016 performance on American Idol: YouTube link
On The Ellen DeGeneres Show: YouTube link
Caitlyn Vanbeck’s audition on The X-Factor UK: YouTube link
Nancy Ponto on The Voice Indonesia: YouTube link

3. Sorry, Justin Bieber, Schoolboy/Raymond Braun/Def Jam
I overlooked Justin Bieber a year ago when three singles from Promise were in the midst of a long stretch of chart dominance that lasted well into 2016. The second single, “Sorry,” was released in October 2015 and debuted at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. It was stuck behind Adele’s “Hello” and finally hit number one the last week of January. “Sorry” stayed at #1 for two weeks before Bieber’s third single from Promise knocked it out of that spot. The music was written by producer Michael Tucker (aka “Blood”). Justin Tranter and Julia Michaels penned the lyrics. Bieber sings falsetto in a song with a reggaeton feel and a touch of brass. The mysterious backup vocal motif was the result of producer Skrillex manipulating the voice of Julia Michaels from her demo tape. The song was a worldwide smash and was the number one song of the year in Canada; number two for the year, behind Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” in the United States.

Official Video: Vevo link
Lyric video: Vevo link
On The Ellen DeGeneres Show: YouTube link
Live at the 2015 American Music Awards: YouTube link
From The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon: YouTube link
Piano performance on the Fall 2015 finale of NBC’s The Voice: YouTube link
Contestant Bryan Bautista on NBC’s The Voice: YouTube link

4. Cake By The Ocean, DNCE, Republic
So what happened to the Jonas Brothers? Well, Joe Jonas and his longtime friend & roommate Jack Lawless formed DNCE, which is not an acronym, but rather an imperfect spelling of “dance.” Lawless played drums for the Jonas Brothers, Korean female guitarist JinJoo Lee had backed the Jonas Brothers and Cee Lo Green, and bassist Cole Whittle came from the band, Semi Precious Weapons. The concept of DNCE is for a rock band to play dance-friendly uptempo disco, R&B and funk. Their first single, “Cake By The Ocean,” was released in September 2015. The previously unknown group’s hit took some time to catch on. Their break may have come on January 31, 2016, performing on Fox’s live version of Grease. One of the songs that the band played was a ’50s-style version of “Cake By The Ocean.” Two weeks later, the single entered the top 20 and spent eight nonconsecutive weeks in the top 10 in March/April. Although it peaked at #9, “Cake By The Ocean” continued to get significant airplay well into the summer and fall. Billboard ranked it as the 18th biggest single of the year. With mysterious lyrics and an infectious beat, “Cake By The Ocean” will be associated with mid-2010s music for quite some time.

Official Video: Vevo link
Slowed down ’50s version from Grease live (audio): YouTube link
On The Ellen DeGeneres Show: YouTube link
In the BBC Radio Live Lounge: YouTube link
On stage from Jimmy Kimmel Live!: YouTube link
Alvin and the Chipmunks cover: YouTube link
Contestant Mateusz Grędziński on The Voice of Poland: YouTube link

5. Starboy, The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk, XO/Republic
My #5 song of 2016 is the first number one hit of 2017. After 12 weeks in the top five and eight straight at #2, “Starboy” has been announced as the new number one song on the first Billboard chart of 2017, replacing Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles.” Abel Tesfaye is the Canadian singer who uses the purposely misspelled pseudonym, “The Weeknd.” He had a fabulous breakthrough year in 2015, and in my mind, deserved the Best Song Oscar for “Earned It,” from the horrifically awful movie Fifty Shades of Grey. The first single from the new album, also titled Starboy, is a collaboration with the French superstar electronica duo Daft Punk. The collaboration works–“Starboy” has an almost futuristic moody sound with an excellent grove. A song called “Starboy” immediately brings to mind the late David Bowie’s song, “Starman.” Whether that influenced The Weeknd and Daft Punk is unknown, but the video does suggest reinventing a persona. The lyrics contain some clever references to several luxury cars and even Star Trek.

Official Video: Vevo link
Lyric video (NSFW): YouTube link
From Saturday Night Live: YouTube link
The Weeknd live on NBC’s The Voice: YouTube link
Victoria’s Secret 2016 Fashion Show Performance: YouTube link

6. 24K Magic, Bruno Mars, Atlantic
Bruno Mars has had some success with retro-funk with recent hits such as “Treasure” and the Mark Ronson collaboration, “Uptown Funk.” His newest album, 24K Magic, is his first release of new music since “Uptown Funk” debuted in November 2014. The first single, also titled “24K Magic,” dropped on October 7, 2016, the same day as the album. This song sticks with that funk, R&B, disco throwback sound, centered on synthesizer chords. Mars is primarily a showman. The vocals on “24K Magic” allow the performer to shine. The single debuted at #5 the week of October 29 coming off a performance on Saturday Night Live. After falling to #7, it rebounded and spent the final four weeks of 2016 in the top five. So far, it has hit #1 in Argentina, France, Israel and New Zealand. Mars included his newest hit on a December 13 edition of “Carpool Karaoke,” a popular feature of The Late Late Show with James Corden. Corden will host the upcoming Grammys, but “24K Magic” was released after the deadline for Grammy consideration this year. “It’s Showtime!”

Official Video: Vevo link
American Music Awards performance: YouTube link
From Saturday Night Live: YouTube link
Live in Rotterdam at the 2016 MTV European Music Awards: YouTube link
Victoria’s Secret 2016 Fashion Show Performance: YouTube link

7. Love Yourself, Justin Bieber, Schoolboy/Raymond Braun/Def Jam
Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” was ranked the number one song of 2016 by Billboard. Bieber has had a pretty good year, one of the most successful calendar years of all time by a pop artist. “Love Yourself” was the third single from Bieber’s Purpose album, and his third straight number one hit from that album. Co-written by Ed Sheeran, Benny Blanco and Bieber, “Love Yourself” is basically a nasty way to tell an ex where he/she can go. Released on November 9, 2015, it debuted at #4 the week of December 5, giving Bieber three of the top five songs that week. Stuck behind Adele’s “Hello” and Bieber’s “Sorry” for two months, “Love Yourself” finally hit the top in February 2016. In the United Kingdom, Bieber broke an all-time record when “Love Yourself,” “Sorry” and “What Do You Mean” held the top three spots on the British chart. Additionally, he broke a record held by the Beatles by having the top two songs on that same chart for four straight weeks. The “Love Yourself” video has logged over one billion views. It’s up for two Grammys: Song of the Year (the songwriters award) and Pop Solo Performance. I think you get the idea—this was a huge hit!

Video: Vevo link
From The Ellen DeGeneres Show: YouTube link
At the 2015 Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball: YouTube link
Alessia Cara cover version: YouTube link
Halsey cover (NSFW lyrics): YouTube link
Moushumi on NBC’s The Voice: YouTube link

8. Closer, The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey, Disruptor/Columbia
The Chainsmokers first hit, “#Selfie,” didn’t endear me to this DJ duo. It’s still one of the worst songs I’ve heard on radio in recent years. They followed that song up with a few more conventionally sounding hits before releasing their big breakthrough, “Closer.” The collaboration with singer Halsey spent 12 weeks on top the Billboard Hot 100, a rare achievement, indeed. Halsey is a 22-year-old singer from New Jersey named Ashley Frangipane. She broke through late in 2015 using her pseudonym, a rearrangement of her first name, with a hit on the alternative chart called “New Americana.” “Closer” is the first top 40 hit for Halsey and the fourth for the Chainsmokers, and is the first number one hit for both. Internationally, “Closer” topped the charts in 10 countries on five continents. Both members of the Chainsmokers and Halsey were listed as songwriters upon its July release, however, in early September, Isaac Slade and Joe King of The Fray were added as co-writers. Apparently, “Closer” is somewhat similar to “Over My Head (Cable Car).” Although it was the longest running number one hit of 2016, Billboard ranked “Closer” as the 10th biggest hit of the year. It’s up for one Grammy, for Pop Duo/Group Performance.

Official video: Vevo link
Live at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards: YouTube link
At the 2016 American Music Awards: YouTube link

9. I Hate You, I Love U, gnash featuring Olivia O’Brien, Atlantic/Warner Brothers
“I Hate You I Love U” is a breakthrough hit for both rapper/DJ gnash and 17-year-old singer-songwriter Olivia O’Brien. Their collaboration began after gnash heard a cover of one of his songs that O’Brien performed and posted online. He asked if she had material and she sent a demo of “I Hate U, I Love You.” They re-wrote it and released it in February. This song began to take off after they performed it on Late Night with Seth Meyers. It started climbing the charts in September and peaked at number 10 the week of October 22, making it barely eligible for this countdown. O’Brien’s vocals work well with this sad song about a breakup aftermath. The rap verses from gnash are pretty low-key but they fit well with O’Brien’s voice. O’Brien released her own solo version as a single in December.

Official video: Vevo link
In the Live Lounge: YouTube link
Olivia O’Brien solo version (audio): Vevo link

10. Bad Things, Machine Gun Kelly & Camila Cabello, Bad Boy/Interscope/Epic
Okay, I knew nothing about Machine Gun Kelly until watching this video. “Bad Things” was released in mid-October, and just hit the top 10 the week of December 24. It fell from number 10 to number 14 on December 31, but that may have been the effect of three J. Cole songs debuting ahead of it. So it’s still on the charts now and may or not hang around a while longer. I am familiar with Camila Cabello, formerly of Fifth Harmony. That “formerly” is also very recent–she left the group put together by Simon Cowell for The X-Factor, via an announcement on December 18. The 19-year-old Cabello’s vocals far outshine Kelly’s rapping, which brings to mind a bland Pitbull imitation. However, Kelly, a white rapper from Cleveland, really just provides a backdrop that allows Cabello to shine.  The song is based on “Out Of My Head,” a Fastball hit from the late 1990s. The video seem to combine Bonnie and Clyde with Romeo and Juliet. Not so subtly, the characters’ names are Bonnie and Romeo.

Official video: Vevo link
Performance from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: YouTube link
Performance from The Late Late Show with James Corden: YouTube link
Live at the Z100 Jingle Ball concert: YouTube link

State Songs: Maine – New Jersey

Let’s keep going. Here are the next 10 states. The challenge is to pick one song for every state and it has to clearly refer to a place in that state. Common sense rules still apply. Here are the middle 10 states alphabetically.

Massachusetts: Dirty Water – The Standells (1965/1966)
I lived in Boston for a few years and thus became very familiar with this song. That was before it was played at the end of every Red Sox home win, but radio there did play it quite a bit. It edges out Massachusetts by the Bee Gees for me. The Standells were an L.A. band who took this song to #11 in July 1966. Here is a televised lip-sync version.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5apEctKwiD8

Michigan: Dancing In The Street – Martha & the Vandellas (1964)
One person in the group posted this for Maryland and I resisted the temptation to say “coming soon to another state.” I originally had “Don’t Stop Believin'” penciled in here but I couldn’t pass on this Motown classic that references “the motor city.” It spent two weeks at #2 in October 1964 behind “Do Wah Diddy Diddy.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2wSiOs2rs8

Minnesota: Leader Of The Band – Dan Fogelberg (1981/1982)
“One went to Chicago and the other to St. Paul.” Fogelberg was on a soft rock roll in the early 1980s. “Leader Of The Band” hit number 9 in March 1982. He did better on the Adult Contemporary Chart, with two weeks at number one in February. It’s a bit sad–he wrote it for his father who had passed away, Even more sad that Fogelberg died young.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYFVEB4j6zI

Mississippi: Ode To Billie Joe – Bobbie Gentry (1967)
One of the greatest and most mysterious story songs of all time, the mentioned Tallahatchee was indeed in Mississippi. If that’s not enough, there is a reference to Tupelo as well. Gentry reached rare air with this megahit–she hit the top 20 on the pop, R&B and country charts. It spent four weeks at number one at the end of the summer of love….and oh, by the way……The Tallahatchie Bridge of which she sang collapsed in 1972.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZt5Q-u4crc

Missouri: Kansas City – Wilbert Harrison (1959)
Written by Leiber & Stoller in 1952, “Kansas City” has quite the history and has been covered many times. Wilbert Harrison has be far the most successful version, released in 1959. It spent two weeks at number one in May of that year.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlN-JA1u1JY

Montana: Come Monday – Jimmy Buffett (1974)
Not surprised to see that others agreed. This was a far bigger Easy Listening hit that a pop hit. Peaked at number three on the softer chart and at #30 on the Hot 100 in 1974. Buffett had not yet blown up into a big star by that point.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKGw_hrlaOY

Nebraska: You And I – Lady Gaga (2010/2011)
“You And I” was the fourth single from Born This Way. The song spent five weeks in the top 10 in the fall of 2011 and peaked at number six in September. She had already performed it on the Today show as early as July 2010. The single features Brian May on guitar but in her live shows, it’s a piano power ballad. Nebraska is mentioned six times. I’ll start with the studio/video version:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9YMU0WeBwU
Live on The View:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUliJz26clg

Nevada: Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash (1955/1956; 1968)
It’s one of Cash’s signature songs. Originally recorded and released on Sun Records in December 1955, the song was already a Cash classic when he released his live version in 1968. The live version hit #1 on the country chart and was a Grammy winner.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1xSt7iganA

New Hampshire: New Hampshire – Jason Reeves (2007)
I really couldn’t find much else. From the album The Magnificent Adventures Of Heartache (And Other Frightening Tales…). Reeves is best known for writing “Bubbly.” the Colbie Caillat song. That’s about all I’ve got.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=af3077-gVG8

New Jersey: Palisades Park – Freddy Cannon (1962)
Freddy Cannon’s biggest hit was intended to be a B-side. A DJ in Flint, Michigan played “Palisades Park” by mistake and several weeks later, Cannon had a #3 hit. Who wrote this unintended classic? Chuck Barris, the TV producer host who would later create The Newlywed Game and The Gong Show, was working for ABC in the early 1960s. One of his roles was to keep an eye on Dick Clark after the 1959 payola scandal. Barris wound up producing records and writing songs. “Palisades Park” was by far his most successful composition.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBgaf5gXJcc

So that’s it. Done with 30 states and 20 more to go. Thoughts and opinions?

 

Bob’s Top 10 Songs of 2014

Hard to believe that this is the sixth year already. As usual, I will be counting down my top 10 songs of the 2014. Beginning December 26, I’ll reveal my number 10 song of the year. Then two songs a day, followed by my favorite song of the year to be revealed on New Year’s Eve. There are rules, because, well, it’s my countdown. The only songs that are eligible are those that hit the Billboard Top 10 on the Hot 100 at any time during 2014. I just think it’s more fun to discuss songs that most people have heard of. In 2014, 59 songs hit the top 10. Rule #2: I eliminate any song that was in my 2013 Top 10, even if it spilled over into 2014. “Royals,” “Wake Me Up!” and “Say Something” are therefore not eligible for this year’s list.

Taylor Swift has never made my year-end top 10. Will this be the year? Or will she occupy a “Blank Space” on my list yet again? Will Iggy Azalea be “Fancy” enough to make my list?  Would it be “Rude” to leave out MAGIC!? Is it really  “All About That Bass?” And will you be “Happy” with my choice for number one song of the year?

As always, comments are welcomed. I will make an attempt to post good comments from other social media sites—this countdown is now on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Diaspora.  And what are your top songs (top 10 or not)? Feel free to congratulate, criticize or tell me I’m out of my mind (as if I didn’t know).

-Bob

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1. All Of Me, John Legend, G.O.O.D./Columbia
“All Of Me” replaced “Happy” as the number one song in the country in mid-May after six weeks at number two. John Legend’s piano ballad, inspired by his now-wife Chrissy Teigen, became his first number one single. It spent three weeks at the top and topped the charts in eight countries. Released in August 2013, it took some time to catch on. A remix was released early in 2014, but the remix is dreadful and should never have been done to this fine song. The video features Legend and Teigen and well, it’s more than a little bit steamy. Legend had performed the song several times in 2013 on television, but his January 2014 performance at the Grammys really boosted the track’s popularity.  By early March, it was in the top five and was the number three song of the year according to Billboard. Legend’s voice carries a well-written song with some memorable lines. Two gems include: “You’re my end and my beginning/Even when I lose I’m winning” and “Love your curves and all your edges/All your perfect imperfections.” Because the original recording of “All Of Me” was released too early for consideration at the upcoming Grammys, the song is only up for two, one for a live version and the other for that wretched remix.

Official video: Vevo link
Live on The Late Show with David Letterman: Vevo link
Legend with violinist Lindsey Stirling, live at the Kennedy Center: YouTube link
Grammy performance, January 2014: YouTube link
Glee version: YouTube link
Josh Kaufman version, season 6, The Voice: YouTube link

2. Happy, Pharrell Williams, Back Lot Music/Columbia
Pharrell Williams was a featured artist on two of the biggest hits of 2013. Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” was the number two song of the year, Billboard‘s Song of the Summer and the year’s longest-running number one single with 12 weeks at the top. Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” was the Grammy Record of the Year and topped my year-end list a year ago. As a solo artist, Williams continued his run of success with the biggest hit of 2014, “Happy,” which spent 10 weeks at number one, was Oscar-nominated and was the number one song of the year. The song from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack was a bit slow out of the gate, but once it caught on, it became a worldwide phenomenon, going to number one in 24 countries. The catchy dance tune spawned many parodies and tribute videos, including one called “Tacky” from “Weird Al” Yankovic. Shortly after Pharrell Williams appeared at the Grammys wearing an unusual brown Vivienne Westwood hat, Pharrell’s Hat had its own Twitter account. He wore a similar hat to perform “Happy” at the Oscars, where he danced with Amy Adams and other actors in the front row. He lost on the Best Original Song category to Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go.” Hard not to sing and dance along to this one.

Official video: YouTube link
Oscar performance (recap): YouTube link
“Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Tacky:” YouTube link

3. I’m Not The Only One, Sam Smith, Capitol
Sam Smith had a huge breakthrough year in 2014. His first big solo hit, “Stay With Me” peaked at number two and barely missed my top 10. His followup is still on the charts, at number five to close the year. “I’m Not The Only One” covers the heartbreak of knowing that one’s partner was unfaithful. The vocals soar. It was a top 10 hit in many countries, but so far has only hit number one in South Africa. His performance of this song on many awards and music competition shows cemented Smith’s status as major vocal talent, compared frequently to Adele. Smith is nominated for six Grammys, including four major ones–Record of the Year, Song of the Year (both for “Stay With Me”), Album of the Year and Best New Artist. Sorry Iggy, I have to think 22-year-old Sam Smith is the overwhelming favorite to take the Best New Artist trophy.

Official video: Vevo link
Smith with A$AP Rocky at the AMAs: Vevo link
Damien cover from The Voice: YouTube link

4. All About That Bass, Meghan Trainor, Epic
Safe to say that one year ago, not many people had heard of Meghan Trainor, who turned 21 recently. Trainor co-wrote the song with singer-songwriter Kevin Kadish in 2013. Trainor was a songwriter at the time, and the song was offered to Beyonce and other record executives who all turned it down. Because the is about body image and suggests a “not skinny” protagonist, many singers signed to record deals were too thin to be taking on that subject matter. Kadish suggested Trainor record it and when L.A. Reid heard it, he signed Trainor as a singer in February 2014. In the United States, it hit number one in September and spent eight weeks there. It has now hit number one in 58 countries and has become one of the biggest worldwide hits of all time. While the vocals are odd, in some cases perhaps intentionally childlike, Trainor does sing the chorus well. I have to give credit for the “silicone stick-figure Barbie doll” line. To work that in without losing the catchiness is not easy. The musical sound is outstanding–this song sounds both fresh and retro. It’s clearly the most parodied song of the year and that’s saying something in a year when Pharrell’s “Happy” was also a big hit. It’s up for two Grammys and they are the big ones: Song of the Year and Record of the Year.

Official video: Vevo link
Trainor with Miranda Lambert at the CMAs: YouTube link
Avi Kaplan (Pentatonix bass guy) cover: YouTube link
Trainor’s ukelele performance on Entertainment Tonight: YouTube link

5. Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran, Atlantic
Ed Sheeran’s biggest American hit to date spent only one week in the top 10 in 2014. That was the final week of 2014; “Thinking Out Loud” is still climbing headed into 2015. It’s likely to be a big hit in 2015, but I thought this song was too good to leave out of this year’s countdown. It has already been to number one in four countries, including the United Kingdom. It is apparently available is a 7-inch vinyl single, which makes it a must-buy for me. “Thinking Out Loud” is destined to become a wedding classic. There’s not much to say about the song itself. There is a very light acoustic guitar melody and the lyrics are pretty basic love song stuff. What carries the song is Sheeran’s vocal delivery.

Official video: YouTube link
Capital FM session, London: YouTube link
Sheeran on The Voice finale, December 16: YouTube link
Duet with X-Factor UK winner Ben Haenow: YouTube link

6. Turn Down For What, DJ Snake & Lil Jon, Columbia
The song has 12 words total, but mostly the repeated title punctuating an infectious groove. It became a sports anthem and party classic. It entered the Billboard top 10 in April 2014 and spent 15 weeks there, topping out at number four. “Turn Down For What” came in at number 15 on the Billboard year-end chart. I think the impact of this song goes beyond its chart performance. It will be one of the most, if not the most, remembered track of the year. Its appeal to hip-hop, dance and rock audiences and use at sporting events made it ubiquitous–it’s hard to imagine anyone in the nation not hearing this song at some point. In a year dominated by dance pop, Australian rap, sappy ballads and Taylor Swift, this song stood out and didn’t fit that mold. Its video is up for a Best Music Video Grammy.

Official video: Vevo link
Michelle Obama’s “Turnip for What:” Vine link
AT&T ad featuring “Turn Down For What:” YouTube link

7. Rude, Magic!, Latium/RCA
If ever a song quietly spent six weeks at number one it might be “Rude.” The debut hit from the Canadian band Magic! dominated the charts at the end of the summer of 2014 and prevented Sam Smith’s smash, “Stay With Me” from hitting number one. Its run at the top came between two more talked about number one singles, Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” and Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” Perhaps it’s the simplistic nature of the song. “Rude” is a very laid back reggae song that’s quite catchy, although the song’s understated vibe led some critics to dismiss the song quickly. It didn’t catch on right away. Released on October 10, 2013, “Rude” cracked the top 10 in June 2014 and hit number one at the end of July. It ranked at number seven on Billboard’s year-end chart. Seems people either loved or hated this one. Outside of the USA, “Rude” hit number one in the U.K,. Poland, Slovakia and Colombia. A New York Post feature suggested that Rude may be the worst number one single of all time. I liked it enough to make my top 10.

Official video: Vevo link
Unplugged on the beach in Sydney: YouTube link

8. Story Of My Life, One Direction, Syco/Columbia
One Direction spent seven non-consecutive weeks in the top 10 spanning 2013 and 2014. It peaked at number six in its first week on the chart in November 2013, It bounced in and out of the top 10 for months and lingered until April 2014. It marked a different turn for the popular boy band, who had been relying on uptempo pop songs and sappy ballads. “Story Of My Life” is a more mature song with modern folk influences. It reached number one in six very different countries: Bulgaria, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Lebanon and New Zealand. It was considered for my 2013 top 10, but not selected and therefore qualifies for this year’s countdown. All five members of the group are given songwriter credit, along with Jamie Scott and John Ryan. Scott is a frequent collaborator on One Direction songs and fronts his own band, James Scott and the Town.

Official video: Vevo link
One Direction on X-Factor USA, November 2013: YouTube link
Glee cast version: YouTube link

9. Love Never Felt So Good, Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake, MJJ/Epic
Paul Anka co-wrote “Love Never Felt So Good” with Michael Jackson in 1983 and Jackson recorded a demo version. It would up on a 1984 album from Johnny Mathis. The Mathis album, A Special Part Of Me, spawned two adult contemporary hits in 1984, but Love Never Felt So Good was never released as a single. In 2013 as part of the Xscape project, the demo was remixed from a simple unplugged version with Anka on piano into a modern dance song. There were two versions: a solo version and a duet version that added vocals by Justin Timberlake. The duet version was released in May 2014 and peaked at number nine later that month. It hit number one in Croatia, Israel and Denmark. Two videos were released featuring classic Michael Jackson footage. There was a “live performance” on May 1 at a music awards show that featured Usher and others performing classic Jackson dance moves. Perhaps nostalgia helped put this into my top 10, but it sounds like a classic Michael Jackson song that could have fit well on the Off The Wall album.

Johnny Mathis version from 1984: YouTube link
Michael Jackson solo version video: Vevo link
Video of the duet version with Justin Timberlake: Vevo link
“Live performance” by Usher and others: YouTube link

10. Pompeii, Bastille, Virgin/Capitol
The first major hit from the British band Bastille peaked at number five in March. Actually it plateaued, spending four weeks at number five followed by five more weeks at number six. It topped the Billboard rock and alternative charts in America and peaked at number two in the U.K. Oddly enough, the song’s release coincided with the release of an unrelated movie called “Pompeii.” Both the song and the movie refer to the volcanic disaster from the first century that destroyed the Roman city. Perhaps even more strangely is that “Pompeii” (the song) was being used as a promo in movie ads, but not for the movie “Pompeii,” but for a different movie also in theaters at that time, “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.” Between the movie and the song, it’s likely that a new generation of school kids are very familiar with Mount Vesuvius and its famous eruption.

Official video: YouTube link
Ad for Mr. Peabody and Sherman: YouTube link
Glee cast version: YouTube link

Favorite 25 Songs from 2000+

From a countdown in which I participated, here are my favorite 25 songs since 2000. Although the countdown had no rule, my choices tended to be pop-oriented. Below is the list of my 25 songs. I actually ranked 69 songs, and I’ll try to put the best of the rest in another post.

These are my favorite songs, not necessarily my favorite artists. I have Fergie at number two and I can’t think of another Fergie song that even comes close to my countdown.

The list:

1. Yeah! by Usher featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris
2. Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal) by Fergie
3. Say It Right by Nelly Furtado
4. Crazy by Gnarls Barkley
5. We Are Young by fun. featuring Janelle Monae
6. All Of Me by John Legend
7. Happy by Pharrell Williams
8. Get Lucky by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams
9. F**kin’ Perfect by Pink
10. I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas
11. Can’t Fight The Moonlight by LeAnn Rimes
12. Rolling In The Deep by Adele
13. No One by Alicia Keys
14. Royals by Lorde
15. It Feels So Good by Sonique
16. F**k You (Forget You) by Cee Lo Green
17. Viva La Vida by Coldplay
18. Don’t Know Why by Norah Jones
19. Brokenhearted by Karmin
20. Don’t Tell Me by Madonna
21. In Da Club by 50 Cent
22. The Game Of Love by Santana featuring Michelle Branch
23. Grenade by Bruno Mars
24. Family Affair by Mary J. Blige
25. TiK ToK by Ke$ha

Two artists appear twice. Pharrell Williams is at #7 and at #8 while Cee Lo Green is at #4 (with Gnarls Barkley) and at #16.

Opinions welcome.

British Invasion Countdown: 40-31

This is a countdown of my personal favorite of a Best of the Rest British Invasion Countdown. The countdown is of the top 40 British hits that hit the U.S. Billboard Top 40, minus the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Here are songs 40 through 31 on the list. More to come.

40. Ferry Cross The Mersey, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Laurie 3284
Like the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers hailed from Liverpool and were managed by Brian Epstein. After the success of A Hard Day’s Night, Epstein followed that up with a similar movie starring Gerry Marsden and his group. Ferry Cross The Mersey, the film, was widely seen as a copy of A Hard Day’s Night and has all but disappeared from public consciousness. If the Beatles scared an older generation in America, Gerry and the Pacemakers did their part to sugarcoat it. Far more easy listening than rock and roll, Gerry and the Pacemakers hit the American top 10 twice in 1964. “Ferry Cross The Mersey,” the song, was their third and final top 10 hit. It spent four weeks in the Billboard top 10, including two weeks at its peak position of number six in March 1965. George Martin produced the song and Marsden’s vocals work well with this light ballad. The song would prove to have multiple lives. In 1989, following a tragedy at a Liverpool soccer game at Hillsborough in which 96 fans were killed, Marsden re-recorded a charity version of the song. Joining him were Paul McCartney and other artists from Liverpool. The remake spent three weeks atop the British charts. Several years later, a musical was written about Gerry and the Pacemakers during their heyday. The musical was called, you guessed it, Ferry Cross The Mersey. From Top of the Pops in 1965: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08083BNaYcA

39. Tell Her No, The Zombies, Parrot 9723
The Zombies only had three hits in America, but all three hit the top 10. “Tell Her No” was the second of the three and was a far bigger hit in the states than it was in the UK. Written by bandleader/keyboardist Rod Argent, Tell Her No had a bit more of a jazzy feel than most British hits of that time. “Tell Her No” spent two weeks in the top 10 early in 1965, and it proved to be the last Zombies hit until Time Of The Season, which was a hit in 1969 after the band had broken up. Rod Argent went on to form the band Argent, who had a 1972 hit with “Hold Your Head Up.”  As for “Tell Her No,” Juice Newton covered it in 1983 with some success on the country and pop charts. I’ve always liked Newton’s version, but the original is still a classic. Here is a lip-synched Zombies performance from the NBC series, Hullabaloo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezSMbQKQEJI

38. I’m Henry VIII, I Am, Herman’s Hermits, MGM 13367
“Second verse, same as the first.” This placement is primarily based on early childhood nostalgia. It’s a classic novelty song and at the time, it set a record for fewest weeks in the Billboard Top 40 for a number one single. Released in June 1965 right in the middle of the British invasion, it was aimed primarily at American artists that were eating up anything British. It was written in 1910 for the British music hall scene, which essentially was their equivalent to American vaudeville. So, how do you get American audiences to buy a record? Have Peter Noone exaggerate the British accent and don’t even try to be subtle. The result was the fastest selling song in American music history at that time. After two weeks at number two behind “Satisfaction,” “Henry VIII” climbed to the number one spot for the one week ending August 7, 1965. By September, it was already gone from the Top 20. It’s a pretty simple, repetitive song. Easy to learn the words quickly. Very easy to see how a young child might like this song. Here is a clip from an episode of All in the Family that features the song (begins around 11:40): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zehWqkz1tU. Here are the Hermits from a television show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4OS17lqHiE.

37. Mellow Yellow, Donovan, Epic 10098
Donovan followed up his only number one song, “Sunshine Superman,” with a song that fell just short of the top spot. “Mellow Yellow” spent two weeks at number two in December 1966, stuck behind the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” for the first week, and behind the New Vaudeville Band smash, “Winchester Cathedral” for the second week. It’s a bit slower than “Sunshine Superman” but has that same classic Donovan sound. While “Sunshine Superman” charted higher, I would say that Donovan is most known for “Mellow Yellow,” at least in the United States. So what does it mean and just why is he mad about saffron? One thing we do know: the electrical banana is indeed a reference to a vibrator. And Paul McCartney sings backup on the record, but is not the one who recites “quite rightly.” Donovan would go on to have two more top 10 songs and continued charting through 1973. Younger fans may associate his daughter with a Peter Gabriel song. Ione Skye played Diane in Say Anything and was memorably serenaded by John Cusack holding a boom box blasting “In Your Eyes.” Here is Donovan from 2007 in Los Angeles, joined by his daughter and Mike Love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT0mZWo-g_0.

36. There’s A Kind Of Hush, Herman’s Hermits, MGM 13681
From 1965 through 1967, Herman’s Hermits had far more success in the United States than in the United Kingdom. Many of their U.S. hits were not even released in Britain, but “There’s A Kind Of Hush” was and it hit the top 10 there. What I did not know is that it had already been recorded by the New Vaudeville Band, a group which strangely is ineligible for this countdown. When Herman’s Hermits released their version, the New Vaudeville Band re-released theirs and both versions were were simultaneous hits in South Africa and Australia. There is even more to that story. In between the New Vaudeville Band recording in 1966 and the Herman’s Hermits release in February 1967, an Ohio band called Gary and the Hornets covered it. It was a fairly big regional hit in January 1967, but Herman’s Hermits cover proved to be the bigger hit nationwide. Almost a decade later, Carpenters covered it and hit number one with it in 1976 on the Billboard Easy Listening chart (#12 Pop). While it’s hard to compare any song to a Carpenters version, Peter Noone did a fine job singing on the Herman’s Hermits version.  It spent four weeks in the Top 10 in March/April 1967, including two weeks at its peak position of number four. Gary and the Hornets (audio only): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyypvokNjnI. Herman’s Hermits on BBC in 1970: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9oH1-9hgXo. Carpenters live: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJDvhNszkRc.

35. For Your Love, The Yardbirds, Epic 9790
The Yardbirds’ first and biggest hit was the one that drove Eric Clapton away from the band. While many band would find a guitarist like Clapton irreplaceable, they did manage to plug in Jeff Beck and later Jimmy Page. “For Your Love” was written by Graham Gouldman, who would go on to fame in the 1970s with 10cc. The song begins with the sound a harpsichord, highly unusual for 1960s pop music. Legend has it that American jazz musician Dave Liebman wrote what was supposed to be an organ intro, but they could only find a harpischord in the studio. The serendipitous formula worked–“For Your Love” hit number one in Canada and number three in the U.K. In America, it spent three weeks in the top 10 in the summer of 1965, including two weeks at number six, its peak position. For Clapton, who played guitar on “For Your Love,” selling out for pop success meant that it was time to move on. Here is a clip of with Beck performing in Clapton’s place: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU5zqidlxMQ.

34. Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Laurie 3251

Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1964. (from Wikipedia)
Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1964. (from Wikipedia)

By the time Gerry and the Pacemakers hit the U.S. market with “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying,” they had already set a record in the U.K. by having their first three releases all hit number one. Hailing from Liverpool, managed by Brian Epstein and produced by George Martin, they along with the Beatles were dominating British music. Lead singer Gerry Marsden shared writing credits on “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” along with his band mates. They gave it to British singer Louise Cordet, who released it in February 1964. Gerry and the Pacemakers released their own version in April and it peaked at number six on the U.K. chart. However, with Beatlemania hitting America, the time was right for this group’s fifth single to be released in the states. On May 3, 1964, Gerry and the Pacemakers appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and performed what was their current U.K. hit. Their easy sound and proper look made them seem far less threatening to American adults than the edgier Beatles. “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” spent five weeks in the Billboard top 10 in the early summer of 1964, peaking for two weeks at number four.  Cordet’s version in French: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxTKgx-YXjU. Gerry and the Pacemakers on The Ed Sullivan Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryRQkWYXHIE.

33. Here Comes The Night, Them, Parrot 9749
Them followed up their seminal hit “Gloria,” with “Here Comes The Night.” Although Van Morrison’s 1960s group is best known for “Gloria,” that song barely charted in America, so “Here Comes The Night” was the first U.S. hit for Them. The song was written by Bert Berns, an American who also wrote “Twist And Shout” and “Hang On Sloopy.” Tragically, Berns died at 38 of a heart attack in 1967. The guitarist on the record version of “Here Comes The Night” was Jimmy Page, who often played on many British groups’ records during that era. It was meant to be an album track for Them, and the first single release came from Lulu in November 1964. Them did eventually release it as a single in the U.K. in March 1965 and shortly after that in the states. The U.K. version hit number two and the U.S. version peaked at number 24.  It’s a nice mix of British pop/rock and a soulful vocal, provided by Morrison. The Lulu version (audio only): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In7ieVRP3zg. Them performing live: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnY84iaxV_g.

32. I Only Want To Be With You, Dusty Springfield, Philips 40162
Trivia buffs could take a few notes. The long running British television show Top Of The Pops premiered January 1, 1964, and on that episode, Dusty Springfield sang her first solo hit, “I Only Want To Be With You.” On the American side of the pond, Springfield was the second British Invasion artist (after The Beatles) to hit the Billboard chart. “I Only Want To Be With You” hit number two in the U.K. and peaked at number 12 in America. It probably would have been a Top 10 hit but for The Beatles hogging the top three spots on the charts of March 1964. Springfield’s original version of “I Only Want To Be With You” features a strong percussion track arranged by co-writer Ivor Raymonde.  There have been several notable covers, the most successful by The Bay City Rollers, who matched Springfield’s #12 peak in 1976.  In 1979, The Tourists, a group with Annie Lennox, hit the U.K. top five.  Samantha Fox had a minor hit with it in 1988, and Luis Miguel recorded it in Spanish a year prior and hit number one on the Billboard Latin chart. As for foreign language versions, Dusty Springfield recorded a German version as well. Dusty in a black-and-white television performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6d_2ucCnkA. Dusty in German (audio only): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNA_I_7JJqk. The Bay City Rollers in 1976 on Countdown: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0oSHtxdPus.

31. A Well Respected Man, The Kinks, Reprise 0420
The Kinks had their biggest success with some of their earliest singles, that featured electric guitars and helped give rise to hard rock and heavy metal. They took a different turn with the recording of Ray Davies’ “A Well Respected Man,” from the British EP Kwyet Kinks. In the U.S., they added a few tracks to make the full-length album, Kinkdom. Sounding more like a pop standard than a rocker, “A Well Respected Man” on its surface is an ode to a conservative financial sort of fellow, but the tribute is far from sincere. Because it was part of the EP release in Britain, it did not chart in the U.K. In America, “A Well Respected Man” was released as a single in October 1965, but it did not catch on immediately. It spent five weeks in the Top 20 beginning in late January 1966, peaking at number 13. They stuck with the theme and took it even further on their next release, “Dedicated Follower of Fashion.” Here are the Kinks on black-and-white television: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WsmSgBRUe4.