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My Personal Chart, April 29, 2000
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My Personal Chart, April 29, 2000
Part 6, Familial Ties and Unties (Let the Meek Be Strong) and the Ladies Who Lilith
The Eurythmics /Power To The Meek (8)
The Eurythmics went 10 years between the 1989 album “We Too Are One” and 1999’s “Peace”. In-between Annie Lennox had a successful solo career which included the fabulous album “Diva” and Dave Stewart formed the band the Spiritual Cowboys, with members of the Pretenders and Ian Dury & The Blockheads, which released 2 albums. He also released 2 solo albums later in the 90’s.
The “Peace” album was not the comeback they had anticipated with the first 2 singles failing to make the UK top 10 (“I Saved The World Today” reached #11 and “17 Again” #27). A dance remix of “17 Again did reach the summit on the U.S. Dance chart. ‘Again’ was also featured in a season 4 episode of “Will & Grace”. Those 2 songs, and another single “Peace Is Just A Word” only had minor impact on me, none rising higher than #85 on my personal chart.
I was looking for a highlight from the album and found it in ‘Meek’, the fifth single released from the album; a song that played off of their rockier side (it peaked at #3 2 weeks earlier in April). My 2 favorite songs by them, “I Need A Man” and “Missionary Man” both had a prominent guitar edge, that I feel complimented her voice well. That is not to say she couldn’t kill it on a ballad, check her solo debut single “Why”. ‘Meek’ ended up my #32 of 2000, the sixth and final time the band made my top 50 of the year.
Fiona Apple was in my top 20 this week with “Limp” (16). It was a slow burn type of song for me, taking 17 weeks to reach my top 10 (eventually it peaked at #7). Since the release of her debut album “Tidal”, Apple has taken a strange path to stardom. She just released her fifth album (and first since 2012), “Fetch The Bolt Cutters”, to critical acclaim in April. It debuted on the Billboard 200 at #4 and the single “Shameika” is her first to garner significant radio airplay in well over a decade.
A lot of her work can be described as “Art Pop”, not dwelling on the confines of a true pop structure. Rhythm changes, Jazz flourishes, deep poetic lyrics, all combine to create something singular. “Limp” follows some of these. The background of this sounds like it comes from David Lynch’s “Eraserhead”, a percolating cauldron. The song comes from her second album, When The Pawn…’’, which at the time boasted the longest album title ever; 88 words and 444 characters, actually a poem she had written.
A reviewer compared the title to Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping”. Not sure what the reference pertains to, but it was that UK band in 2008 that broke her record with a title that had 865 characters. They appeared on my chart this week with “She’s Got All The Friends” (140). If you can believe it, they released 19 albums (7 before “Tubthumper”) and were together for 30 years (1982-2012).
Apple had my #1 song of 1997 with “Criminal”, a smoldering, sexy song that was #1 for 11 weeks. The dissonant piano led song “Fast As You Can” was her only other radio top 10, making it to #8 at AAA. Her father is actor Brandon Maggert who was Buddy in the Jim & Buddy skits on the first season of Sesame Street and played the oldest brother on the Showtime sitcom “Brothers” between 1984-89. Her half-brother Garrett Maggert is also an actor.
Like Fiona Apple, Tracy Bonham is a classically trained pianist. She attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and in 1995 a Boston Phoenix reader’s poll voted her song “The One” the best single of the year. In ’96 she released the phenomenal, anguished, rage anthem “Mother Mother” as the first single from her debut album “The Burdens Of Being Upright”. The song went to #1 on Alternative radio and was my #8 song of the year. The mid-90’s was a great time for angsty female solo artists, driven by Alanis Morissette (who earlier in 2000 reached #17 on my chart with “That It Would Be Good”), though Courtney Love of Hole really deserves the credit.
Because of record label conflicts it took 4 years for her follow-up album “Down Here” to be released. “Behind Every Good Woman” (60) would become her second #1 on my chart by July but would fail to make a dent at radio. The lengthy absence could have been the problem because the song is awesome (“behind every good woman lies a trail of men”).
At the time Bonham was married to Steve Slingeneyer of the Belgian Alternative band Soulwax. They landed 2 songs in my top 40 during the following 12 months with “Much Against Everyone’s Advice” peaking at #31 in August and “Too Many DJ’s” ascending to #9 in February 1991. The band has released 6 albums over the last 25 years but became more known as remixers for songs including LCD Soundsystem’s “Daft Punk Is Playing In My House” and a 2008 remix of the Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” that’s worth checking out. That was featured in the movie “21” starring Kevin Spacey. The soundtrack also featured LCD Soundsystem, Peter, Bjorn & John’s “Young Folks” (we saw them at Lollapalooza that summer) and Rihanna’s “Shut Up And Drive”, her most rocked out hit (featuring a sample of New Order’s “Blue Monday”).
There are other crazy actor and artist connections to the next artist. UK’s Leona Naess. She was on my chart with the song “Charm Attack” (35), a song that made it to #39 on Adult Top 40 radio. Now stay with me. Though she was raised in London, her mother is Swedish, and her father was Norwegian. Arne Naess Jr. was a successful businessman and mountaineer who died in 2004 climbing near Cape Town, South Africa. He was Diana Ross’ second husband, from 1985-1999. This of course connects Leona to Evan Naess Ross (actor) and Tracie Ellis Ross from Black-ish. To further complicate things she is married to John Miller, the brother of Christa Miller who famously was in The Drew Carey Show, Scrubs and Cougar Town. Christa’s daughter, with husband Bill Lawrence who created those last 2 sitcoms, is Charlotte Lawrence, a current Pop singer-songwriter. Lawrence’s latest single is “Joke’s On You” and 1 of her first was a remake of ‘You’re The One That I Want”.
One of Naess’ influences was Tracy Chapman, whose “Telling Stories” (100) had peaked at #50 on my chart in March. After her mainstream success in the late 80’s, she re-emerged in 1996 and between 96 and 2003 she reached top AAA top 10 6 times, with “Telling Stories” reaching #1. The last time she reached my chart was in 2005 with “Change”.
The acoustic folk of Chapman is also the mainstay of the duo Indigo Girls who surfaced in 1987 with the album “Strange Fire”. Their first single was “Crazy Game”, a kind of 50’s crooner song done as an acoustic folk song. It showcased their signature harmonies. It was 1989 when they broke through with the song “Closer To Fine”. 10 years later they released “Come On Now Social”, their seventh album. They had just come off their highest charting album, 1997’s “Shaming Of The Sun” with had spawned their highest charting hit “Shame On You” (#3 AAA), though arguably ‘Fine’ is the bigger song. Three songs from ‘Social’ would reach my personal chart; “Go”, ‘Peace Tonight” (#3 AAA) and the #25 “Cold Beer And Remote Control” (#24 AAA).
Another artist to emerge out of that late 80’s female singer-songwriter, Folk-Rock era was Melissa Etheridge. From the 1999 album “Breakdown” (and another AAA #1), the first single “Angels Would Fall” was followed by “Enough Of Me” (35), that also reached the AAA top 10. She was in a dark place during the recording of this album, as her relationship with Julie Cypher was disintegrating at the time. They eventually split in September 2000. Both songs were nominated for Best Female Rock Performance in subsequent years (2000 and 2001) and she lost both to Sheryl Crow (her remake of Guns ‘N Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “There Goes The Neighborhood”). Now I have liked Crow a lot over the years (‘Neighborhood’ was my #1 song of 1999) but from a vocal standpoint, Etheridge is at a totally different level.
Another AAA top 10 from Joan Osborne, “Safety In Numbers”, made it to #39 on my chart in November 2000. She never repeated the success of her monster 1995 hit “One Of Us” on radio, but has consistently released albums every few years for the last 25. That hit was written by Eric Bazilian (mentioned in the earlier Ricky Martin post for writing “Private Emotion”). His Hooters bandmate Rob Hyman co-wrote a couple of songs for her 2000 album ‘Righteous Love”. The album also includes a bluesy, funked up version of Gary Wright’s “Love Is Alive”.
From here we move to a Blues guitar prodigy, Shannon Curfman. The Fargo, North Dakota native was 14 when she released her debut album. Like her male teen counterpart, Jonny Lang (whom I also discussed in an earlier post and is featured on her album), she has a voice that belies her age. Songwriter Bruce McCabe wrote her #27 Rock radio song “True Friends” (80) as well as Lang’s biggest hits “Lie To Me” and ‘Still Rainin’”. She also shares songwriter and producer Kevin Bowe with Lang and the also aforementioned Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
Curfman charted 2 other songs on radio, “Playing With Fire” (#37 Rock) and “I Don’t Make Promises (I Can’t Break)” (#13 AAA). After this she only released an EP in 2006 and as of 2010, she has been a vocalist in Kid Rock’s touring band Twisted Brown Trucker. Rock started to see his star rise in 1999 with “Bawitdaba” (taking the Beastie Boys style to a different place) and “Cowboy” (adding humor and twang). Both these were big Rock and Alternative hits, with the latter reaching my top 10. His style combined elements of Hard Rock, Rap and Country. In March, his first Pop crossover, the #6 Southern Rock style ballad “Only God Knows Why” peaked at #54 on my chart.
Rap is what eventually brought the next artist, Dido, into the larger public conversation. It was the Eminem song “Stan” that catapulted the British songstress and made her song “Thank You” an international smash, rising to #3 on the Hot 100. Even though “Stan” was a huge song, by the numbers, its chart performance in the U.S. (only #33 Pop and #36 R&B/Hip Hop) would indicate otherwise. It was #1 in countries all over the world though. It is a disturbing song about a fan who spirals out of control and drives off a bridge with his pregnant girlfriend tied up in the trunk. Despite the subject matter, over time I would have to say that it was quite well done. Rolling Stone ranks it as the #296 Greatest Song of All-Time. It was the fourth single from his debut album “The Slim Shady LP” to reach the Pop top 40, the biggest of those being “The Real Slim Shady”, reaching #4 on the Hot 100.
Back to Dido, she had been around for about a year and a half before “Stan” came out. Her album “No Angel” would become the second best-selling album of the 2000’s in the UK (behind James Blunt’s “Back to Bedlam”). The 1st single “Here With Me” was a top 5 UK hit, #21 at Adult Pop here and peaked at #8 on my chart in September 1999. Interesting that the song was released in the States first (May 1999) and wasn’t released in the UK until February 2001, after the success of “Thank You”. The dreamy quality of that song permeated the entire album.
The second stateside release, “Don’t Think Of Me” (67),wasn’t even released in Britain. It did not rise above this position om my chart though it did make the Adult Pop top 40. In retrospect this song should have performed much better on my chart. Her brother Rollo is a music producer and part of the UK Dance trio Faithless, which had a string of 3 #1 Dance songs in the late 90’s, including “Insomnia”. In 2002 she was featured on their song “One Step Too Far”.
As might be suspected, many of these women graced the stages of the Lilith Fair over its 3-year run between 1997-99. This last handful of artists are were all a part of it. Canadian Tara Maclean had a folky-ethereal sound akin to Dido. “If I Fall” (77) would make it to #24 on my chart in June. In keeping with another sub-plot here, her mother is actress Sharlene Maclean and the song was featured in Kevin Williamson’s move “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” starring Katie Holmes. Williamson is best known as the creator of Dawson’s Creek and the “Scream” franchise.
Maclean was part of the folk trio Shaye through much of the 2000’s, a group that had a similarity to the Dixie Chicks (though not as Country). Their debut single was “Happy Baby”. The Chicks had just come off 2 songs on my personal chart earlier in the year, “Cowboy Take Me Away” and “Goodbye Earl”. The former was a Country #1 while ‘Earl’ only reached #13 because of its violent theme, the abusive “Earl had to die”. Of course, this was not the last controversy the girls would be a part of.
Country artists were not a major part of the Lilith Fair (in fact only 2 that I saw from the Wikipedia page). Ironically the second was Martina McBride, who in 1994 made a huge splash on my chart with the similarly themed “Independence Day”. This one is sung from the perspective of the daughter; whose mother killed her abusive husband in a house fire on July 4. Unlike the dark comedy of ‘Earl’, this song is sobering. The chorus lyrics are as such: “Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing. Let the whole world know that today is a day of reckoning. Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong. Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay. It’s Independence Day”. The song still gets me.
“Independence Day”, I believe, jumped from 25-1 on my chart (I don’t have my charts from that year). When I put together my favorite songs of that year more recently, it ended up as my #2 song of 1994. Like ‘Earl’, there was some radio push back and it only peaked at #12 on the Country chart. “Power To The Meek” could be a companion to this song (“bless these bones, bless this skin, all of me and the mess I’m in”). McBride had 3 songs grace my personal chart in 2000; “Love’s The Only House” (54), “There You Are”, peaking at #53 and “Whatever You Say” that rose to #4 in August (a late discovery from the previous album that reached #2 on the Country chart in 1999).
Other Lilith artists that were on my chart in 2000 were Sinead O’Connor with the #20 “No Man’s Woman”, Nina Gordon (formerly with Veruca Salt of “Seether” fame) reaching #34 in July with “Tonight And The Rest Of Your Life”, and K’s Choice (the #49 “Hide” in February), a Belgian Alternative band fronted by siblings Sam and Gert Betten. Funny I would have thought Gert was the sister but in a fabulous twist, Sam is a transgender man (came out in 2019), whose name was formerly Sarah! Some of you may get the Lilith Fair reference. The organizer of that traveling summer concert was Sarah MacLachlan.
My Personal Chart, April 29, 2000
Part 5, Clueless In Minneapolis, A Basement Full of Music and Indie in the Heartland
Camel Junkies /Beats The Hell Outta Me (4)
I have extraordinarily little information about this indie band. This is a brooding rock song with an impassioned, if not perfect, vocal. I cannot pinpoint what it was that struck me most about this song even though it spent 2 weeks at #1 on my chart at the beginning of April. It starts with acoustic guitar, eventually brings in fuzzy electric guitar, has modulation and gets more intense as the song goes on. The song is not available on any streaming services, YouTube or sites like LastFM of Bandcamp.
I knew I had the CD, so I went to my CD graveyard in the basement. My basement is mostly unfinished with a dirt floor and minor moisture problems. Most of my CDs, albums and singles are down there as we don’t really have space to display them; sad. I was trying to wear a mask as I went through boxes but, oy was it humid. It was not the most fun I’ve ever had though it made me want to figure out how to get these things displayed. I had separated the CDs and books from their cases for the most part and some were in alphabetical order, but not the Camel Junkies. After a third attempt (I have a lot of music down there), I found a promotional case with a sticker listing 5 of their songs. The CD was actually in it! It was blank so I was not even sure that it would have music on it, but it did. I know I have the full album “Random Events & Narrow Escapes” as well but have not found that yet. It was great to hear this angsty song again (I’ve now probably listened to it 10 or 15 times in the last week).
The internet provides scant info on the band. I do not know where they are from. I do know that a Camel Junkies song was added to 2 college radio stations in Jan/Feb 2000, one in Great Falls, Montana and the other in Hoboken, New Jersey. The CD is available on Amazon for $38.99 and one of the 3 reviews on Amazon is from a guy whose friend’s sister dated the lead singer. I love random, stupid stuff like this.
The track that was pitched to radio I believe was “Fuzzy”, which I remember but did not chart. It is a bit of a raunchy song but lively and perfect for college radio at the time. I did chart 2 others though, “I’m Okay” and “Lack Luster Life”.
A good amount of American indie music at the time had an Alt-Country framework. The Scott Laurent Band from Minneapolis was among those. “The Next One” (116) had just spent a couple months in my top 100. In the 80’s the Minneapolis rock scene had produced 2 influential Alternative bands in The Replacements (their biggest hit was 1990’s “I’ll Be You”) and Husker Du (“Makes No Sense At All” peaked at #2 on the UK Indie chart in 1985), and both the Junkies and Laurent seem to be born out of that wheelhouse.
I have to stay with Husker Du for a second. The B-side to ‘Sense’ was a remake of the Mary Tyler Moore show theme “Love Is All Around”. Bob Mould, the lead singer, had a solo #4 Alternative hit in 1989 with “See A Little Light” and went on to form the band Sugar in the early 90’s and had 3 songs make my top 100 of year in 1992 including “Helpless”.
The next band, also Minneapolis bred, is Johnny Clueless, a band that credits their sound to a mix of the Heartland Rock of Indiana’s John Hiatt with the Pop Rock of the Bay City Rollers. You can hear these influences on different tunes from the album “What’s Your Flavour?”. I was clearly enamored with the band in the spring of 2000 with 4 songs on my chart this week.
**UPDATE May 19: I searched through the last 2 boxes of CD’s this morning and I found the actual Camel Junkies CD. It was the third to last of the bunch (a few hundred), of course.The liner notes said it was recorded at Oarfin studios and that record label also was the home of Johnny Clueless and the Scott Laurent Band. They were indeed from the Minneapolis area. In googling the band members I found one, Shaun Felegy, who still lives there.
My introduction to them was a rocked-up version of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” (6), a late addition to the album. It was a concert favorite and gave them some national attention. “You’re My Flavour” (15), to me has a Cheap Trick feel, another Midwest (Illinois) band. “What’s My Disease” (26) had a more jangly rootsy sound and “Make Believe” (55) veers closer to the Replacements sound.
The band had also been compared to R.E.M. and Crowded House though I am not completely on board with either of those comparisons. R.E.M.’s Athens, Georgia brethren Widespread Panic had just come off their only #1 on my chart the week before the Camel Junkies with “Bear’s Gone Fishin’” (11). The staccato organ, bongos, strummy guitar and sexy vocals of the verses creates a cool, moody vibe. The chorus brings in a reference to “Spy vs. Spy” from Mad magazine.
This so-called jam band has been together for over 30 years. Michael Houser, the co-founder and primary songwriter, died in 2002 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 40. The name of the band partly came from the fact that he was called panic in high school, as he had frequent panic attacks. In the mid-90’s they had a number of songs that charted on the Rock and Adult Alternative charts, 1995’s “Can’t Get High” reached #34 Rock and “Hope In A Hopeless World”, peaking at 35 (AAA) #13 (Rock) in 1997. In 2001 and 2002 they made the AAA top 20 with “This Part Of Town” and “Little Lily”.
Louisiana’s Cowboy Mouth, another from the jam band circuit, hit #65 in February with “Turn Me On” and in 1999 reached #11 on my personal chart with “Whatcha Gonna Do”. In 1997 they had a moderate Rock and Alternative hit with “Jenny Says”. The 2 main members of the band came from 80’s band Dash Rip Rock, early purveyors of cowpunk, (I’m sure you can figure out that genre) and the Red Rockers (best known for their 1983 song “China”, an MTV staple). Though they were dropped by their label in 2000, they have been a strong live act and have self-released a number of albums in the last 20 years. Dash Rip Rock released a song in January this year called “Dick in The Dirt”. Their first song in 1986 was “Let’s Smoke Some Pot”, a parody of “At The Hop”. Spin magazine has called them “undeniably the South’s greatest rock band.”
Another Louisiana artist, blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd was in the middle of his 1995-2005 presence on Rock radio, coming off his Rock #1 from 1998 “Blue on Black”, his follow-up album “Live On’ spawned 3 top 15 rock songs including “Last Goodbye”, that had peaked at #64 on my chart in January. The vocalist on most of his songs from this era was Noah Hunt.
More heartland music can be heard on the song “Directions” (101) by Tennessee’s Josh Rouse. This song, from his second album “Home”, was featured in the Cameron Crowe movie “Vanilla Sky” with Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz. Interestingly Rose now lives in Spain, from where Cruz was born.
Like Rouse, Ben Harper has had only 1 song make it to my personal chart. The reggae influenced “Steal My Kisses” (104) made it up to #75. This has also become his biggest hit, reaching #1 on AAA and #15 on Adult Pop. The Californian credits Australia for his success. He has had 6 top 10 albums there between 1999 and 2011. This song was on the 1999 album “Burn To Shine” which peaked at #2 on the Australian album chart but the single did not chart there (though #2 in New Zealand). The title track was another AAA top 5. He has been married 3 times; his second wife was Laura Dern, from 2005-2012.
These last 2 bands are not from the heartland though there are connections. The Belgian band Arid cites Ben Harper as 1 of their many influences. The strummy “Believer” (36) was 1 of 3 songs that made my chart between 2000-2002 including “All Will Wait” and “Everything Changes”. The lead singer Jasper Steverlinck had a #1 solo single in Belgium with a beautiful piano/vocal only cover of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars”. Those last 2 songs are not on Spotify though you can find ‘Mars’ on YouTube.
Another song that could have come out of the heartland playbook is “We Haven’t Turned Around” (42) by Brit band Gomez. Folky with acoustic and fuzzy electric guitars that brings me almost full circle to the Camel Junkies. Even vocally there are similarities. And both end quietly. Their first album “Bring It On” won the Mercury Prize in 1998, an award that goes to the best album released by a British or Irish act. The title track was bluesy track that fits into that Roots Rock space like most of these bands.
Their last album “Whatever’s On Your Mind” spawned 2 more the 100 songs on my personal chart with the title track and “Options”. Between 2006-2011 the band saw 4 songs reach the AAA top 10, with “See The World” reaching #1. The others were “Options” (10), “How We Operate” (#8) and “Airstream Driver” (#7).
My Personal Chart, April 29, 2000
Part 4, Cover Your Jazz Hands and the Long and Winding Road to #1
Guster /Fa Fa (Never Be The Same Again) (4)
This Boston band first hit my chart in 1998 with “Airport Song” from their second album “Goldfly”, which hit #19 on my chart. It starts with an acoustic guitar line; it brings in their signature harmonies and the lead vocals are traded off. Bongos, bass and electric guitar eventually enhance the song and it builds to a cacophony by the end (with the sound of a ping pong game to close it out). This sets the tone for a lot of their work. Interesting instrumentation, alternate percussion, and humor.
The 1999 album “Lost and Gone Forever” solidified my appreciation with 2 #1’s on my personal chart, “Barrel Of A Gun” (which uses a typewriter in the bridge) and “Fa Fa”. This song ended up as my #2 of the year. ‘Barrel’ would have been in the top 10 if it didn’t straddle 2 years. These 2 songs established their presence on the Adult Alternative chart (AAA as it is commonly known), both reaching the top 20 (#12 and #17 respectively). “Fa Fa” also made the top 30 on Adult Pop. The addition of horns, flute and sax in the last third of the song bring a nice nuance to the song. 2 other songs from the album charted for me “Center Of Attention” and “Happier’ in 2000 and third this year “What You Wish For” after producing 1 of the current episodes of the podcast which featured ‘Barrel’ (Castlist 005, Ep. 2, posted April 24).
The band met at Tufts University and scored a number of movie and TV placements for their songs over the years, including “Wedding Crashers” (“I Hope Tomorrow Is Today”) and “The OC” (“Keep it Together”). At concerts they like to do humorous covers of other artists’ songs like Temple of The Dog’s “Hunger Strike” (a thoroughly unfunny song). Last year they landed another top 10 AAA hit with “Overexcited”, a song sung in a British accent by member Ryan Miller, who felt it was the best way to get into character. The song, which is sung from the protagonist’s point of view, is about a “nice guy looking for a future lover”. There are now 7 or 8 versions with guest vocalists in different languages (French, Hebrew, etc.). The best is the Canadian version with Tyler Stewart of Barenaked Ladies.
The well-known producer Steve Lillywhite worked on this Guster album and also with the next band on the album “Hard Candy” in 2002. Berkeley, California’s Counting Crows have been consistent if erratic performers on my personal chart. In the fall of 1999, they reached #1 on my chart with “Hanginaround” the first single from the album “This Desert Life”. The effervescent song with lots of hand clapping was a multi-format hit, from Pop to AAA where it also went to #1. I love its messy ending. Sounds like they may have been drunk recording it.
On the record it seamlessly flows into “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” (9). This 7 minutes plus song was the next single, driven by a rolling piano line. The song was written about the actress Monica Potter (of “Con Air” and the TV series “Parenthood” fame). It was fictional as they had never met, but they eventually did, and she ended up being responsible for the song making the album. It was almost ditched after many tkes and she had a copy of the version that is on the album. The song “All My Friends” had just fallen off my chart the previous week, only to return later in the year when it became the third single.
The band has made the top 12 of the year on my personal chart 4 times. In 2013 they had my #3 song of the year with “Meet On The Ledge”. This song traveled a long road to achieve that and chart-wise would have one of the highest point totals ever on my chart ever (I’ve never looked across years to see what that would look like). The song debuted in my top 150 at #135 on April 22, 2012. On August 19, 2012 in peaked at #96 and almost fell out on October 14 when it was #145. That is when is started an upward trajectory, reaching my top 10 on January 6, 2013. It spent 15 weeks in the top 10 with 4 weeks at #2 and an additional 4 at #1 through February and March. If finally fell off my chart in August after a staggering 71 weeks.
When the song stalled at #2 it was behind my #1 song of 2013, “Walk Over Me” by All-American Rejects. I so love this song, it starts off with a therapist with a German accent saying “so, tell me about your musser”. In-between them we go back to Hanson for a moment. They had my #2 of 2013 with “Get The Girl Back” one of the happiest songs in my life. Horn section, hand claps (again), raucous and a video with fans Nikki Reed (“Twilight”) and Kat Dennings (“2 Broke Girls”).
One more point about Hanson and Guster. For those who know I have an annual music party with a countdown fueled by the friends and family that participate. It started as a January party in 1984 and by the mid-90’s it became a summer party. Once that happened the chart year for the party went from June through May (similar to the MTV Video Awards). At the 2001 party “This Time Around” was #8 (1 of my sister’s all-time favorite songs) and “Fa Fa” was #27.
I cannot leave the ‘Ledge’ discussion without mentioning the original version from 1968 by Fairport Convention. I had heard of the British Folk-Rock band but did not know their music. When I listened to this flower power era version, I hated it. The vocals were whiny and seemingly off key a bit. Probably a product of the time. It became their most well-known song. Adam Duritz totally made it his own. Not the first or last time a song I disliked was turned around by a cover version. Again, on that same podcast from April 24, I discussed The Interrupters ska cover of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy”. It peaked at #2 on my chart in February. It’s a totally fantastic version and my podcast partner, Jeff Morris, loved it as well.
The album “Underwater Sunshine” was a covers album, some known, some obscure. One of those songs was “Coming Around” by the Scottish band Travis. I know the song, but I never charted either version. The song “Why Does It Always Rain On Me” (44) was their first UK top 10 and was written while the lead singer was in Israel. In his hometown of Glasgow, it rains a lot and where he was on vacation is usually sunny, but it rained for 2 days while he was there. Back in January of this year the band came close to making the Beyond Radio 250 with the song “Kissing In The Wind”. Their mellow rock tunes can be seen as an influence on bands like Keane and Coldplay.
Guster was joined on the “Wedding Crashers” soundtrack by The Flaming Lips and their song “Mr. Ambulance Driver” by the Flaming Lips. They have also been known to inject humor into their songs like “She Don’t Use Jelly”, an Alternative top 10 hit from 1993 that also made the Hot 100 at #55. On my chart this week was “Waiting For Superman” (90) from the album “The Soft Bulletin”. That album from the Oklahoma City band was the magazine New Music Express’ #1 album of 1999 and Pitchfork magazine named it the #3 album of the 90’s. Overall they have performed better on the opposite side of the Atlantic. They placed 6 songs the UK top 40 between 1999-2006, starting with another song from this album “Race For The Prize”.
In 1997 Ben Folds Five did a phenomenal Lounge-style cover version of “She Don’t Use Jelly” on the “Lounge-A-Palozza” album, a great compilation album also featuring an amazing cover of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” by Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme. I highly recommend this album. It also features James Taylor, PJ Harvey and Flea doing a cover of “Love Will Keep Us Together” with Jazz singer Jimmy Scott.
In 1999 the band released the album “The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner”. Messner was the first person to climb to the summit of Mount Everest alone. The actual name of the band refers to a name that the drummer used on fake ID’s. They did not know of the real Messner.
“Magic” (19) was the fourth song to hit my chart from it. A piano ballad along the lines of their 1997 hit “Brick”. This third album by the band, expanded on the jazzier side of the band. “Army”, the initial single was my #9 song of 1999. It starts out with the line “well I thought about the Army and my dad said your eff’in high” though the middle instrumental section is the best part of the song. It starts with honky-tonk piano and ends in a horn section flurry, totally an all-time favorite. The next single, “Don’t Change Your Plans” has a very Burt Bacharach instrumental break, which makes me feel very nostalgic.
I saw the band during this tour and have seen Ben Folds quite a number of times. Between the band and solo work, he has been on my personal chart 59 times with at least 11 #1’s (probably more since I am missing chart information from a lot of the 90’s). The band is a trio but the name Ben Folds Five sounded better.
On his first solo album, Neil Finn (best known a member of Spilt Enz and founder of Crowded House) also dabbled in some jazz elements. His initial single “Sinner” reached my top 5 and was my #44 of 1998. It begins with aching strings that sound as if they were pulled from a 30’s movie and then a piano flourish. This becomes the backdrop of the AAA #12, which at first feels like the piano part is off beat. Bringing in the other layers makes it a really compelling tune.
Overall, the album was not nearly as poppy as his work with Crowded House. I was such a big fan of that band (their debut was my favorite album of the 80’s) that I charted 6 songs from his #1 Australia album “Try Whistling This”, including “Astro” (29) and “King Tide” (53); though none followed “Sinner” into the top 10. Radiohead’s guitarist Ed O’Brien has hailed Finn as popular music’s “most prolific writer of great songs” (He wrote the Enz “I Got You” and Houses signature “Don’t Dream It’s Over” among others).
The Dayton, Ohio band Guided By Voices has had a career that has spanned nearly 40 years through different incarnations but it was this late 90’s/early 2000’s era that saw their greatest success. “Hold On Hope” (39) would eventually peak at #23. It is a plaintive ballad, similar to that side of Ben Folds work and was featured on the TV series “Scrubs”. It was covered by Glen Campbell in 2011. His album “Ghost On The Canvas” was recorded after his 2010 Alzheimer’s diagnosis. I am listening to this version for the first time now and it’ll make my personal chart next week. The title song had a brief stay on my chart after the album came out.
Guided By Voices were always a college level band with a cult following. The previous single, a first on my chart, “Teenage FBI” has an R.E.M. meets late 60’s Pop sound. Ric Ocasek was chosen to produce this album “Do The Collapse”, as it was supposed to be their major label debut; that never came to be. They would grace my personal twice more, “Glad Girls” in 2001 and “Back to The Lake” in 2002.
R.E.M. had reached #35 on my chart in February with the #1 AAA song and multi-format hit “The Great Beyond”. It was written for the Andy Kaufman autobiographical film “Man On The Moon” starring Jim Carrey, which the band scored as well. It was their biggest hit in the UK (#3) and nominated for Grammy. The Fray covered the song in 2007. The soundtrack also features the great 70’s hit Exile’s “Kiss You All Over”.
I am going to be discussing the Eels in an upcoming podcast, revolving around their 2018 song “The Deconstruction”. That song, like Neil Finn’s “Sinner”, operates around a really interesting jazzy or even Classical music line with violin and oboe. Their song “Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues” (122) was forced onto the album “Daisies of the Galaxies” in 2000 by the record company and hit #11 in the UK (their third in the 9-11 range). To make matters worse it was featured in the movie “Road Trip” (another record company move) and the video features actors from the movie. The mainstay of the band, and most times, only member is Mark Oliver Everett. He has said this has been his biggest regret. On this album they were joined by Peter Buck of R.E.M. They have had 16 albums since 1992. Their biggest hit in the U.S. was “Novocaine For The Soul”, a #1 Alternative hit from 1997.
Back to Boston and another cover song. Buffalo Tom’s “Going Underground” (63) came from a tribute album for the influential UK band, The Jam. Between 1977-1982 they had 19 singles, 8 of which would reach the top 5, 3 of those #1’s. the original ‘Underground’ was 1 of those and this version reached #6 in the UK as well. It was their last single before going on hiatus until 2007. The band was quite successful in Boston and did have national success through the 90’s. They were the last act to perform on the MTV’s “The Jon Stewart Show” in the mid-90’s and recorded the theme to the very short-lived TV series (2 episodes) the Mike O’Malley Show” in 1999. Lead singer Bill Janowitz has contributed articles to both Boston Magazine and the Boston Phoenix.
In the end here we connect Jim Carrey to another Boston band, The Push Stars. They are featured in the 2000 movie “Me, Myself and Irene” with “Bad Sneakers”, a cover of the 1975 Steely Dan song. It was not their only film placement. In 1998 “Everything Shines” made its way into “There’s Something About Mary” and “Drunk is Better Than Dead” (with its drunken trumpet) popped up in “Gun Shy” with Liam Neeson and Sandra Bullock. ‘Drunk’ had peaked at #13 on my chart in February and appeared again later in the year with “Any Little Town”. In 1998 won the award for “Outstanding Indie Rock Band” by the Boston Music Awards. Oh and Guster won the the award for “Indie Album of the Year” for Goldfly.
My Personal Chart, April 29, 2000
Part 3, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi , pronounced “Ricky, Mickey, Robbie”
Ricky Martin featuring Meja /Private Emotion (3)
I cannot say I was deeply influenced by the Latin invasion of Pop in 1999 and 2000 but Ricky Martin was an exception. He reached my top 10 4 times during that period with this ballad placing the best, peaking at #2 (though in Dec/Jan “Shake Your Bon-Bon” spent 4 weeks at #3). “Private Emotion” was written by Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman of the Philadelphia band the Hooters. It was featured on their 1993 album “Out Of Body”. They saw their greatest success in the mid-80’s with songs like “All You Zombies” and “Day By Day”.
His duet partner Meja is a Swedish singer who had modest top 40 hit (#36) in 1998 called “All ‘Bout The Money”. This song as well, was not a huge hit, only making it to #29 on the Pop airplay chart. It was the harmony on ‘Emotion’ that hooked me. Martin had a large following in Turkey and recorded a separate version with Turkish singer Sertab Erener.
On ‘Bon-Bon’ he paid homage to his Middle Eastern fan base, mixing musical influences from that region with the Latin vibe. This was a top 10 hit and was also featured in an ad for the Toyota Corolla featuring Brad Pitt that only aired in Japan. There was a remix of the song that is hard to find. “Shake Your Super Bon-Bon” (69) which mixes it with Soul Coughing’s 1996 Alternative hit “Super Bon Bon”.
His self-titled album from which these are culled sold 15 million copies. He has been dubbed the King of Latin Pop and started his career at the age of 12 in the Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, that had a revolving cast of teenage boys between 1977-2009. Martin was a member from 1984-89. During his tenure they had their only Hot 100 hit, “Hold Me”, peaking at #63. The lead singer of that song, Draco Rosa, has gone to be a Grammy winning songwriter and record producer who was involved in most of the tracks on this album. Of note, the previously discussed William Orbit co-wrote and produced with Madonna, her duet with Martin on the album “Be Careful”.
The 2008 incarnation of Menudo made it into the Pop airplay top 40 with “Lost”. It was a re-forming of the group that was chronicled on an MTV series “Making Menudo”. The new group was managed by Johnny Wright who also through the late 90’s managed some of the biggest Teen-Pop artists including N-Sync, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. These 3 artists all had varying degrees of success on my chart at the time.
In late March N-Sync released their second album “No Strings Attached”, distinguished by setting the record for first week sales of an album with 2.42 million sold. Eventually Adele would surpass them in 2015. The first single “Bye Bye Bye” (31) spent 10 weeks atop the Pop airplay chart though only hit #4 on the Hot 100. The band’s name was formed from the last letter of each members first name, though that was when Jason Galasso was part of the group. Lance Bass eventually replaced him, and they nicknamed him Lansten so they could keep the name. Whatever.
The band was created by Lou Pearlman, who had successfully created Backstreet Boys a few years earlier. Member Chris Kirkpatrick had missed the cut for that group and Pearlman considered a second group if Chris could find the boys. 2 of the recruits, Justin Timberlake and JC Chavez, had been part of the Mickey Mouse Club in the early 90’s. Both groups were established in the European market before they debuted in the States, even though Orlando, Florida was home base.
Pearlman was eventually sued by both groups (and all but 1 of his other music projects) because he was holding onto most of the profits from the records and appearances, plus being paid like he was a member of each group in addition to payment for being manager and producer (triple dipping?). In 2006 he was arrested for running a Ponzi scheme. In 2008 he was sentenced to 25 in prison, where he died in 2016.
“It’s Gonna Be Me” (72) was the band’s only Hot 100 #1 with6 weeks at #1 on Pop airplay. The song was inspired by Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out” (bassline) and Rupert Holmes’ “Him” (love triangle subject matter), a strange combination. It was co-written by Max Martin who was responsible for much of the Backstreet Boys hit songs including “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely” (85), another Pop airplay #1. Martin’s songwriting and production resumes are extensive. He has written 23 Hot 100 #1’s and produced 21, his most recent for both is The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights”, earlier this year.
Interesting that none of BSB’s 8 top 10’s ever reached #1 on the Hot 100. One of those, “The One”, became the band’s second top 25 of 2000 on my chart in July. In October 1999 “Larger Than Life” spent 3 weeks at #1 on my chart and remains a big fav. “The One” was co-written by group member Brian Littrell along with Max Martin. Between 2005-07 Littrell had 5 top 20 singles on the Contemporary Christian Chart. The youngest member of the group, Nick Carter, who joined at the age of 13, was offered a $50,000 contract to join the Mickey Mouse Club but chose BSB instead.
Mickey Mouse and Max Martin are also part of Britney Spears history. Martin wrote and produced her first hit “Baby One More Time” and had some additional credits on her first album but was a much bigger player on her second album and lead single “Oops…I Did It Again” (137). This was another Pop airplay #1 that only reached #9 on the Hot 100. She did well on my chart with ‘Baby’ (#3) but ‘Oops’ only peaked at #83. To my surprise nominated for the Best Female Pop Performance Gammy for this song; especially considering the stupid spoken word middle section, referencing “Titantic”.
On the surface, Christina Aguilera whose rise was happening at the same time as Spears, was achieving greater Pop chart success (her first 6 and 9 out of her first 10 singles all made the top 10). On the Hot 100 they are close together on the list of all-time artists. Aguilera is #107 and Spears is #98. The Diane Warren ballad “I Turn To You” reached #3 on the Hot 100 but did not make my personal chart. The song had originally been performed by the group All-4-One, who had the 1994 Hot 100 #1 “I Swear”. Their version appeared on the “Space Jam” soundtrack. The screenplay of the movie featuring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny was co-written by my namesake Timothy Harris, a British author and screen writer. He was nominated for a British film award for his work on the movie “Trading Places”.
Aguilera’s follow-up single “Nobody Wants To Be Lonely” was a duet with Ricky Martin that reached #12 on my personal chart in 2001 and was a major international hit. This came out as the second single from Martin’s late 2000 album “Sound Loaded” (though the album version did not include Aguilera). “She Bangs”, the first, was another top 10 Pop hit for Martin and an across the board international success. The Salsa-tinged Dance-Pop song strangely only peaked at #83 on my chart (like Spears’ “Oops”). My fickle ears, I guess. Oh and of course, Aguilera was another member of the new Mickey Mouse Club, along with actors Ryan Gosling and Keri Russell. Quite a roster that show had.
On the other side of the Atlantic England had their own Teen-Pop explosion throughout the 90’s that mostly did not translate to the States. 1 of the biggest UK artists of the last 25 years, Robbie Williams, started his career in the boy band Take That. They had a string of 16 hits (including 8 #1’s) in the UK between 1991 and early 96 when they broke up. Williams, who sang lead on their remake of Barry Manilow’s “Could It be Magic” left earlier in 95 after escalating drug use and an ultimatum from the band.
It was at this time they achieved their only Stateside hit “Back For Good”. The group re-formed in 2006 with Williams returning for 1 album in 1999. The single “The Flood”, with Williams on lead vocals, made it to #26 on personal chart and #2 in Britain. In February 2019 the band reached #2 on my chart with the very retro sounding “Out Of Our Heads” with big band style horns, hand claps and a toe tapping feel. The style of this song in a review is referred to as Skiffle. The origins of the Skiffle, often related to jug bands, came out of the American south in the early part of the 20th century. In the 1950’s there was a Skiffle revival in the UK. Lonnie Donegan was the biggest artist using this style at the time. Over there he achieved 17 top 10 songs between 1955-62 (and another 13 making the top 40), with 2 reaching the top 10 in the States, including “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor (On The Bedpost Over Night)”.
Starting in August 1996 Williams solo career took off, starting with a UK #2 remake of George Michael’s “Freedom”. To me an inauspicious start, though surprisingly the original Michael version only reached #28 there, but top 10 here. A year later Robbie released his debut album “Life thru a Lens”, becoming his first #1. He has since had 11 of his 12 studio albums hit #1, the other peaking at #2. The inaugural single “Old Before I Die” followed “Freedom” to #2. It had a more rock bent, as did the whole album. Williams co-wrote it with Desmond Child who I’ve spoke of previously, and as I giggle, Eric Bazilian (Private Emotion!). I totally did not see that coming.
It wasn’t until mid-1999 that Williams got some exposure in the U.S. The album “The Ego Has Landed” (yes, he has that rep), which was a compilation of songs from his first 2 UK albums, hit the North American market in May. It was mostly the UK single releases from those albums. I charted the first single “Millennium”, but it only reached #50, though it did make the Pop top 20 here. The main melody of this song, a string line, was taken from the Nancy Sinatra song and James Bond theme “You Only Live Twice”.
It was the next single that started my long-lasting love for Robbie Williams. I must have bought the album the week of Sept. 18 because 3 songs from the album debuted on my chart, the rollicking “Let Me Entertain You”, peaking at #56 (easily should have been a top 10 for me in retrospect), the very Oasis-y “Strong”, hitting #22 in November and the gorgeous “Angels” which would go to #1 in December. Though “Angels” peaked at #4 in the UK when it came out, it is his best-selling single there. The song also won the award for Best Song of the last 25 years at the Brit Awards in 2005. The same year in a poll voted as the favorite song that Brits would want to have played at their funeral.
By the end of April 2000, I had charted 12 songs by Williams including “It’s Only Us” (70), falling from a #46 peak and “South Of The Border” (99), which had topped out at #6. 5 of those songs made the top 10. “She’s The One” was Williams second UK #1 (#9 on my chart in January). It’s a cover of a World Party song from 1997 and went on to win the 2000 Brit Award for Best Song and Best Video of the Year.
The prior April, the Irish boy band Westlife released their first single “Swear It Again” (62) a ballad that pushes all the right boy band buttons. In February 2000 they brought it stateside and it just missed the Pop top 20. This one could have easily been done by BSB or N-SYNC. On my chart it reached #12. In Britain and Ireland, they were consistent top 10 hitmakers through 2011. They came back in 2019 and released 4 singles which all made the top 10 in Scotland but not nearly as successful in England proper.
Steve Mac, Westlife’s producer, connects to the next act Five, who had 11 top 10 songs in the UK between 1997-2001. They were created and managed by the same team as the Spice Girls before they ascended to fame. Their song “Keep On Movin’” had peaked at #38 on my chart in March and has Mac as a featured performer. The tidbits you find on Wikipedia; this was the 16th best-selling single by a boy band in the UK in the 90’s. We all needed to know that! One of their 1998 singles. “Everybody Get Up” is built around the same melody line of Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘N Roll”. They also did a cover of “We Will Rock You” with an assist by Queen. They were pathetic rappers, trying to be a pop-oriented Beastie Boys.
To close out we have 3 co-ed groups, 2 from the UK, Steps and S Club 7, plus 1 from Sweden A*Teens. There were 2 remakes that made a minor impact on me at the time. Steps had “Tragedy” (142) the fabulous Bee Gees song from 1979 and A*Teens had “Mamma Mia” (127), of course originally done by Abba. You can see where this teen group got their name from. They eventually started doing original songs. They certainly had their greatest success in Sweden, but they did manage to have 2 songs reach the Hot 100 in 2000: a remake of “Dancing Queen” and an original, “Upside Down” (95 and 93 respectively).
Steps did not translate much success out the UK and surrounding countries. The name of the group was based on the premise that the videos would be choreographed, and the dance steps would be included in the liners of the singles. Sounds like a reason to hate them. Their first single “126.96.36.199” was a kind of Techno Pop-Country hybrid, a la “Cotton Eye Joe”. This Swedish band, a one-hit wonder in the U.S. had 10 top 10’s in Sweden between 1994-2008 and did well in a number of northern European countries. ‘The Spirit Of The Hawk”, a #1 song in Austria and Germany was (you’re gonna laugh) my #926 of 2000. It spent 10 weeks trying to get into my top 200 of the week, finally peaking at #196, LOL. At least I’m having a good time.
S Club 7 circles back to the Spice Girls as well. Simon Fuller, the man behind the “Idol” franchise and “So You Think You Can Dance”; along with managing a myriad of artists from the Girls, Annie Lennox, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Winehouse and Kelly Clarkson, created the group. The 7 members (4 women and 3 men) starred in a UK TV series “Miami 7” where they played fictionalized versions of themselves. It lasted 13 episodes in 1999 but was also shown on Fox Family in the U.S. between 1999-2002. They had 1 top hit in the States, “Never Had A Dream Come True” and 11 top 5 singles in the UK. The song made it to #66 on my chart in 2001.
My Personal Chart, April 29, 2000
Part 2, April in Paris (Well Actually London)
Sting/After The Rain Has Fallen (2)
20 years ago, I spent 10 days in London working on a business plan for Beyond Radio. I had started corresponding with a DJ from Cape Town, South Africa in October of 1999. His name is Kieno Kammies and he was looking for a partner in developing an international countdown show. After 6 months with lots of back and forth emails, instant messaging and phone calls we met to finalize plans.
He came to the States later in the year and we went on a number of meetings (so much of it is a blur to me now) but the end result was a non-starter. It was a genuinely exciting period that I would not give up for anything. In reading some of the emails there was lots of energy and enthusiasm. There was also maybe an aspect of naivety. This was a time when the internet business boom was in full swing and we felt we could ride that wave.
Kieno’s gone on to a successful talk radio career in South Africa and I had a great second half of my restaurant career, running events at a number of locations for a local New England company and eventually for celebrity chef, Ming Tsai. Never did I give up my work on Beyond Radio, though certainly it was back burner and more sporadic in nature.
Our time In London was mostly dank. Rainy, chilly weather for the most part. I do remember at least one nice day where we went to a woman’s cottage that we had met. Of course, I don’t remember the circumstances of that but I’m confident it was orchestrated by Kieno (he was definitely more outgoing than me). I do recall eating a lot of Aubergine and meat from a small restaurant that was delicious. Neither of us had a lot of disposable money but we decided to treat ourselves to a pub crawl by hiring a livery who gave us a nice tour of the city. That was a great day.
The other part that was memorable was the new music I discovered while there. The first of these was a song I already knew. I had the Sting album “Brand New Day” and this song was the third single release, though it wasn’t released until the end of April. I heard it in a store in London and it sounded like they had done a more pop radio version. It was a radio edit of the Tin Tin Out remix. Back then when a song that I knew hit radio it evoked a certain change, one of excitement. The song hit my chart on April 8, the first week we were in London and moved up quickly, 41-16-4-2 in 4 weeks. I do not recall what kind of airplay it got in the States. It reached #31 in the UK (but only on the chart for 1 week) and did not make the Hot 100 in Billboard.
The song starts with a Middle Eastern flavor and ends in an anthemic “there’ll still be love in the world” repeated lyric. The loose subject of the song is about freeing a Saharan princess. There were a lot of world beat sounds on the album which won a Grammy for best Pop Vocal album. The title track was the first single and did marginally well and featured Stevie Wonder on harmonica. The album sold 3.5 million copies, propelled in large part by the second single “Desert Rose” (43), which features Algerian vocalist Cheb Mami. The song was not looking as if it would be a hit until it was featured in a Jaguar commercial in March 2000. While older songs had been used in commercials prior to this, ‘Rose’ was the first new song to be used like that. Since then there have been a myriad of songs that have risen in popularity because of commercial placement.
There were other songs that I heard in London that did not get airplay in the States. The song “Pure Shores” (7) by British/Canadian girl group All Saints has had lasting endurance for me. It had a similar trajectory to Sting’s song, moving 43-18-7-7 over those first 4 weeks, ultimately peaking at #4 on my chart. In total they charted 9 top 10’s in the UK but only 1 song, 1998’s “Never Ever” (the spoken intro is cringe-worthy) was a hit in the States, peaking at #5. ‘Shores’ was featured in the Leonardo DeCaprio movie “The Beach” (there is a line “take me to the beach” in the song), so it did get some exposure here.
The song was the second best selling single of 2000 in the UK (behind “Can We Fix It?” by Bob The Builder, ROFL. It had a great dreamy ambient sound that made it really stand out. The song was co-written and produced by William Orbit. The Ferry Corsten dance remix of his “Barber’s Adagio For Strings” (13), was a top 5 UK hit. His production style was also evident on their song ‘Black Coffee”, another UK #1 that reached #28 on my chart later in the year. In the 80’s he was in a band called Torch Song, who had a song “Prepare To Energize” featured on the Bachelor Party Soundtrack (I spoke of another song from that movie by Oingo Boingo in a past article). Orbit wrote a song with Beck and Jay Ferguson (of “Thunder Island” fame), “Feel Good Time”, the first single from Pink’s third album “Try This” in 2003.
All Saints returned to my chart in 2016 with “One Strike”. The song addresses the end of member Nicole Appleton’s marriage to Liam Gallagher, formerly of Oasis. In the I can’t make this stuff up department, on April 14 of this year, All Saints and Sting released a remake of the Police song “Message In A Bottle”. Really.
This foursome came out at the same time as the Spice Girls meteoric rise. By 2000 they had split up and were starting to release solo work. Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) had a string of 4 UK #1’s including “Bag It Up” (109) and a remake of “It’s Raining Men”. Sporty Spice, Melanie C, scored a UK #1 with “Never Be The Same Again” (136) featuring Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez of TLC. She reached my top 100 3 times between 1999-2000 with “I Turn To You”, “Northern Star” and a duet with Bryan Adams, “When You’re Gone”.
The next song would eventually reach #1 on my chart on June 24 but had a slower start out of the gate. “Summer Moved On” (115) by Norwegian’s A-Ha is a wispy but stately ballad, sounding nothing like a song that would be played in the States. Once the song clicked with me it moved fast like the other 2, 113-55-15-6, but that took over a month. Towards the end the lead singer Morten Harket holds a note for 20.2 seconds (a European record for a pop song). Similar to Sting, they reached #33 in the UK with the song but #1 in Norway.
The band had been on hiatus since 1993 and wrote this song quickly, for a one-off appearance at the 98 Nobel Peace Prize concert. Afterwards they decided to record again, releasing 5 more albums between 2000-2015. I charted 5 songs from “Minor Earth, Major Sky”, the title track reaching #7 in November. There is a creepy video for the song “Velvet”, where the 3 band members are portrayed as murder victims. In 2015 they returned to my chart with “Under The Makeup”, peaking at #17, their first time back since 2003.
Another Norwegian, female singer-songwriter Lene Marlin was getting substantial airplay for her song “Sitting Down Here” (123) which had hit #5 in the UK in March. This song did not have a big impact on me, but another, “Unforgivable Sinner” would hit #12 on my personal chart in April of 2001. That song was her first release, in 1998 and was fastest selling single in Norwegian history and spent 8 weeks at #1 there.
My introduction the UK band Stereophonics had come in the late fall of 1999 with “Pick A Part That’s New” (12) which peaked at #3 in March. They were all over the airwaves during our visit. This week in 2000 I had 4 songs by them on my chart including “Hurry Up And Wait” (48), “Is Yesterday, Tomorrow, Today” (76) and “Mama Told Me Not To Come’ (64), a remake of the Three Dog Night song. That was a collaboration with Tom Jones, who had an album of duet remakes out. He had a song called “Sex Bomb” (134) with German DJ Mousse T (the 1 original song on the album) and earlier in the year his cover of “Burning Down The House” with the Cardigans. Surprisingly that version did not perform as well as I would have thought on my chart, only peaking at #87. All 3 were top 10 hits in England.
Stereophonics won the Brit Award for Best New Group in 1998. They have been mainstays on the UK charts with 29 charted singles. Their only UK #1 was in 2005 with “Dakota”. That was 1 of the lowest performers (#116 peak) of the 27 songs that have reached my personal chart. Their highest so far is 2014’s “In A Moment”. The band has 2 songs from the latest album, 2019’s “Kind”, on my personal chart right now. “Bust This Town” at #19 and “Don’t Let The Devil Take Another Day” at #42.
The man at the core of the UK band The Verve (best known for the monster “Bitter Sweet Symphony”) was lead singer Richard Ashcroft. He was embarking on a solo career at this moment in time, with “A Song For Lovers” (105) his first single. This top 3 song had a short initial run on my personal chart but re-surfaced in the fall, finally reaching #62. That song would be eclipsed in early 2001 with another song from the album, “C’mon People (We’re Making It Now)” which just missed the top 10 at #11. Chris Martin of Coldplay called him the best singer in the world. That seems to be a wicked overstatement. In 2011 he hit my chart again with the very Verve-y “Are You Ready?” (#29). His most recent album came out in 2018.
Supergrass was another Brit band that had reasonable success from 1995 ‘til the early 2000’s. Their UK top 10 “Moving” (10) was peaking on my chart at #7 while we were in England. The song starts out as a mid-tempo ballad and then goes into a sprightly hand-clapping chorus. I like the juxtaposition. I am almost certain they charted for me earlier with “Cheapskate” in 1997. I do not have all my weekly personal chart information for that year (and none from 1991-1996). That song was a North American only release and reached #35 on the Alternative chart. Their fist major hit in the UK was “Alright” in 1995 which I remember as well.
The final 2 artists here are from France and Denmark and the songs are in their respective languages. I believe I heard these, not because of the trip, but because I was exchanging mixed tapes with a gentleman from Germany, Matthias Schulz. It was always fun the get the cassettes and see what I was going to find. I have tried to find them in my basement but so far, they have eluded me.
David Hallyday is from France and he had 3 songs on my chart this week. “Pour Toi” (22) would eventually peak at #4, “Un Petit Peu De Toi” (49) on its way to #21 and “Tu Ne M’as pas laisse le Temps” (83) reaching #33. All 3 were ballads. ‘Tu Ne M’as’ would hit #1 in France and #2 in Belgium. His father, Johnny Hallyday, was a phenomenally successful artist in the 60’s, said to have brought rock ‘n roll to France. David’s first cousin is Michael Vartan, who starred in the TV show “Alias” with Jennifer Garner.
Like ‘Pour Toi”, “Jeg Kender en Engel” (71) by Danish band Dodo and the Dodos would make it up to #4 in June. The band, lead by female singer Dodo Gad, had 5 albums between 1987-1998 and another in 2008, with the super boring titles 1, 2, 3, etc. In listening to snippets of the album this is from I would place them somewhere between T’Pau and Basia, upbeat pop of the time.
My Personal Chart, April 29, 2000, Part 1
Part 1, Brotherly trios and 2 degrees of Separation
Hanson/This Time Around (1)
For those who know me well or follow our podcast Beyond Radio Presents, my love of the sibling band Hanson is well documented. Earlier this year the band spent 6 weeks at #1 on my personal chart with the orchestral version of the 1997 hit “Where’s The Love” from their 2018 album “String Theory”. We discuss this on the first episode of Castlist 005, “Old Man Grammy Rant, All Time Rave and Music Therapy For the Masses”.
This week in 2000 the band was in its second week at #1 with “This Time Around”, the first single from the album of the same name that would be released the following week. It went on to spend 5 weeks atop my chart. It was a bit of an evolution from their 1997 debut. This song had a more pronounced rock feel, setting them apart from the other so-called boy bands of the era. It is ends in a rollicking blast that I absolutely loved.
The song reached #20 on the Hot 100 but the release of the album was ill timed. In May 2000, their record label Mercury merged with the Def Jam label. The band kind of fell through the cracks with Def Jam not allocating much in the way of promotional funds for the album or tour. The album did manage to go gold but the band actually self-funded their tour. They were dropped in 2003 after the label rejected over 80 songs from the band, saying they were not marketable. Since then they have released 6 albums on their own label, the first one, “Underneath” reached #25 on the Billboard 200 and at the time was the best-selling independent album release.
Outside the U.S. the first single from the album was “If Only”, a song that was closer to the sound of the hits from their breakthrough hits. It reached #9 in Australia and #15 in the UK. It would eventually reach #5 on my chart. The song features John Popper of Blues Traveler on harmonica. They reciprocated the favor in 2015 on a Blues Traveler album with the song “Top Of The World”.
A funny connection to the album, it was co-produced by Mark Hudson who was from another brotherly trio, the Hudson Brothers. They were featured on the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and then had their own summer variety show on CBS in 1974 (and a Saturday morning kids show that fall). Their Beatlesque “So You Are A Star” peaked at #21 on the Hot 100 that September. One of the brothers, Bill, was married to Goldie Hawn from 76-82 (and father of Kate Hudson) and then Cindy Williams from 82-2000. Mark Hudson also co-wrote Aerosmith’s “Livin’ On The Edge” (my favorite song by them), in addition to 11 other songs by the band.
9 songs from the album would hit my personal chart over the course of the next 15 months. This includes one of my all-time favorite songs “Runaway Run”. The last time I created my personal all-time favorites list was 2001 (slowly working on an update). At that time three of their songs made the top 100 (‘Around’ at #90, “Where’s The Love” at #24 and “Runaway Run” at #17). This song has my hands down favorite bridge of any song, 50 seconds of pure bliss. Interesting that the bridge has a string section backing it, arranged by David Campbell, who was brought in for the orchestral arrangements of “String Theory” 18 years later. Campbell is Beck’s father. This should have been released as a single.
Not among the 9 songs that hit my chart back then, the most rocked out song on the album, “In The City” is debuting on my personal chart this week. It starts by sounding like a Jethro Tull song, with a little 2000 era scratching. 60’s guitar and harmonica (with a frenzied harmonica solo bridge). I remember it from the time but 2 decades later it sounds fresh and fabulous. This would be fantastic live. They could possibly hit #1 on my chart again in 2020.
Johnny Lang, a young singer and blues guitarist (he was 19 at the time) was also a guest player on this album. I would think probably on this song. He had reached #8 on my personal chart in 1999 with “Still Rainin’”. In 2007 he went on to win a Grammy for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album for his 2006 release “Turn Around”. Another of my all-time favorite artists, Keith Urban, also debuts on my personal chart this week with his version of Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” from the “One World: Together At Home” concert.