Tag: pop

Club 99: Nat King Cole, “Nothing in the World”

Club 99: Nat King Cole, “Nothing in the World”

Music
In Club 99, I look at songs that peaked at position #99 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and help to put them into context. Together we can decide if the song deserved more success or got too much. The Song: “Nothing in the World" The Artist: Nat King Cole #99 Chart Date: August 11, 1958 Just one week after our last entry peaked at #99 on the Billboard Hot 100, one of the 20th century's greatest crooners grabbed the spot. And my friends, this is about as smooth and sumptuous a recording as we're likely to come across during this project. As far as I can tell, this song was actually the B-side to "Acércate Más (Come Closer to Me)", released on Capitol Records F4004, which itself peaked at #41 in September 1958. In addition to Cole's smoother-than-butter vocals,
Club 99: Billy Williams, “I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You)”

Club 99: Billy Williams, “I’ll Get By (As Long As I Have You)”

Music
In Club 99, I look at songs that peaked at position #99 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and help to put them into context. Together we can decide if the song deserved more success or got too much. The Song: "I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)" The Artist: Billy Williams #99 Chart Date: August 4, 1958 Today's entry is the first #99 in the Billboard Hot 100 era, "I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)" by Billy Williams. Williams charted several times going back to the mid-1940s, but by far his biggest hit was "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter," which hit #3 in the summer of 1957. Just over one year later he released "I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)" as the b-side of "It's Prayin' Time." In just about every important way, "I'll Get By" is a carbon c
Top 40 Radio Killed the Radio Star?

Top 40 Radio Killed the Radio Star?

TV & Radio
It's a well-worn cliche by this point, but "the more things change, the more they stay the same" is just so appropriate for what I'm sharing with you today. It's an article called "Program Monotony -- Top 40 Menace to Industry, Says D.J.," and it's from the October 27, 1958 issue of Billboard magazine (known then as The Billboard). Click on the article for a larger version if you want to read the whole thing. In the piece, a popular DJ based out of Hartford, CT named George "Hound Dog" Lorenz laments the rise of the Top 40 radio format, with its lack of variety and its potential to harm record sales and squash new artists. One of his first complaints was probably valid then -- I wouldn't know -- and is certainly valid now. "A lot of the stations are programming 24 hours a day wit...
Album Cover of the Week: Two Sides of Eydie Gormé

Album Cover of the Week: Two Sides of Eydie Gormé

Album Cover of the Week
With the passing of beloved singer Eydie Gormé (of the famed Steve and Eydie duo) at the age of 84, let's look at a pair of her album covers from the 1950s. The first is the understated sophistication of 1959's Eydie Swings the Blues (ABC-Paramount, ABC-192). Photography credit for this goes to Arthur Siegel. This cover is pretty much mid-century elegance defined, wouldn't you agree? Meanwhile, here's a fun little number from the next year. It's 1960's Eydie in Dixieland (ABC-Paramount, ABC/ABCS 343). Cover photography by Gary Wagner. RIP, Eydie.
The Best Bizarre Christmas Album Covers Ever, Part 2

The Best Bizarre Christmas Album Covers Ever, Part 2

Album Cover of the Week, Music
I had to take a year off after the first gallery of odd Christmas album covers, but I'm back with a strange vengeance. Here's another set of Yuletide records sure to leave you saying, "Ho ho huh?" The Border Brass -- Tijuana Christmas (date unknown) So outrageous it can't possibly be offensive, right? From the back cover: Take the festive spirit of the Christmas season, spice well with the merry mariachi sounds & you have a wassail bowl full of the happiest holiday music ever! Nina and Frederik -- Christmas at Home with Nina and Frederik (1960) From the looks of Frederik, there's only one of four things he wants to do this Christmas. 1. Sex you up. 2. Chop you into little pieces. 3. Sex you up and then chop you into little pieces. 4. Chop you into little pieces an...
Album Cover of the Week: The Monkees (1966)

Album Cover of the Week: The Monkees (1966)

Album Cover of the Week, Music
It was on this day, 46 years ago, that the so-called Prefab Four reached the top. For on November 12, 1966, the self-titled debut album from the Monkees hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard album chart. It stayed there for an amazing 13 weeks until it was knocked out of the top spot by... the second Monkees album. So in recognition of the band's achievement all those years ago -- and not because it's a terribly memorable cover by itself, here's The Monkees (Colgems COS-101). The photo of the Monkees -- Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones -- was taken by Bernard Yeszin, whose work also appeared on a number of other records from the 1960s. Perhaps my favorite of his is Martha and the Vandellas' Heat Wave, which I'll have to cover some other time.
Album Cover of the Week: Ben Folds Five, The Sound of the Life of the Mind

Album Cover of the Week: Ben Folds Five, The Sound of the Life of the Mind

Album Cover of the Week, Music
It probably doesn't need to be said, but I'll say it anyway -- I cannot wait until September 18th. For that's the day we get the first new Ben Folds Five album since 1999, The Sound of the Life of the Mind. Here is the snazzy album cover: The rather mysterious but comical artwork on the cover is a piece called "Submerged" by artist Eric Joyner. Joyner's work, which apparently focuses a lot on doughnuts and robots, features only the former here. It's also reminiscent of the famous Auguste Rodin sculpture The Thinker (Le Penseur). I'll likely be reviewing the album, either for this site or Popdose, so keep your eyes peeled! Related articles The Singles Bar: Ben Folds Five, "Erase Me" Discography Fever: Ben Folds Music from the Worst Album Covers - Ken, By Request Only Al
Listening Booth — No Doubt, “Settle Down”

Listening Booth — No Doubt, “Settle Down”

Listening Booth, Music
It's been waaaay too long since we got new music from No Doubt, but I guess Gwen Stefani was busy raising kids and releasing stupid clothes. But finally, after more than a decade without new music, the band is back and set to release Push and Shove in September. Here's the first single from the record, "Settle Down." Sounds like classic No Doubt to me, although not as traditionally rock as from around the Tragic Kingdom era. But it's poppy, fun, and catchy, and that's all we can ask for at this point. Welcome back!
Get to Know… Seals & Crofts

Get to Know… Seals & Crofts

Featured Posts, Music
There was once a time when the term "soft rock" wasn't used as a pejorative, but that was long before I started listening to music. These days it's just lazy music critic/fan shorthand for "boring" or "bland." Seals & Crofts often gets trotted out as one of the textbook examples of the bad kind of soft rock, and in all honesty it's not entirely undeserved. But for a time in the 1970s, they were among the finest purveyors of pop music in America -- regardless of label. If any act from the era deserves to have their legacy re-evaluated, it's the duo of Jim Seals and Dash Crofts. So that's what this edition of "Get to Know..." will set out to do. I hope by the end you'll agree with me that just because music is soft doesn't mean it's not good. (Previous editions of this series c...