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EVERY Billboard #1 hit discussion thread 1958-Present

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by alphanguy, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. alphanguy

    alphanguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Missouri
    Next is "Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco, # 1 from March 23 - April 12, 1986.

     
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  2. boyjohn

    boyjohn Forum Resident

    I thought it was kind of silly at the time, now I think it's kind of brilliant.
     
  3. alphanguy

    alphanguy Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Missouri
    At this time, Diana Ross was pretty much finished in the US... but having her final massive hit in the UK, at #1 with "Chain Reaction", kind of unusual, that an American iconic artist would have her final hit overseas. Only topped out at #66 here.
     
  4. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I was following the Top 40 pretty closely during that era and I was also surprised it topped off outside of the Top 10. Although I saw the video enough to be stunned when the crowd at Wembley began doing the overhead handclaps while the band played the song at Live Aid. That was fricking amazing.
     
    Jmac1979 likes this.
  5. Glenpwood

    Glenpwood Hyperactive!

    I’ll toss in that Diana’s career would stay pretty warm in the UK even after this. Her last solo top 10 came in 1999 and she even scored a duet hit with Westlife in 2005 with a remake of one of her UK only nineties hits. It certainly helped that she was on EMI outside of the US. She withered on the vine once she returned to Motown. Oddly enough, that wasn’t her plan. She signed with MCA but was asked to rejoin her former home by the execs once Berry Gordy sold them the company. Perhaps she might have endured longer had she had the proper management and guidance at any other label than Motown.
     
    pablo fanques likes this.
  6. Rock Me Amadeus

    This song really captured the attention of US audiences. It was so unique and it is always cool to glamorize geniuses, especially ones that have been out of the main public focus for generations. The music of Mozart was always there and always had a place but the attention on the man himself blew up with the movie "Amadeus" in 1984 which was fantastic (even if largely fiction). If you had told me in 1978 after Animal House came out that Tom Hulce was being considered to play Mozart in a movie I would have thought that it was a crazy idea, but he was perfect and did great. The song has a great beat and good synth work. It also is in German, which for American audiences made it sound exotic and more interesting. The fact that the chorus is in English certainly helped, as well as the added spoken dialogue for the US release. Falco seemed a charismatic guy and therefore well-liked. It seemed a cool idea to sing about Mozart over a dance beat with "Rock Me" as the main lyrical thrust. It almost has a novelty-record appeal as it is such a departure from anything else on the charts, then or now. I like the song and like Falco. I never dug into his discography and only ever heard the few hits that he had (I don't speak German so the appeal of his music would eventually reach a limit with me). I wonder what kind of thoughts were bandied about as the ideas for this song were forthcoming. I imagine there was some laughter and also excitement, and maybe some trepidation at what people would think. Job well done in my book.
     
  7. Grant

    Grant Just chillin'!

    Location:
    United States
    I've got nothing to say about these two songs.:shrug:
     
  8. The only explanation I can think of is that record company people didn't push or pay or promote this enough, because the song is good enough to have been a much bigger hit than #66, and Ms Ross was certainly enough of a legend to have generated interest based on that alone. I hate to think that the BeeGees "stink" from the anti-disco crowd was still so prevalent as to prevent widespread acceptance of their music, and this song in particular. It is a very catchy, typically great Barry Gibb number. Sad that business so often gets in the way of bringing the best music to the masses.
     
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  9. tommy-thewho

    tommy-thewho Forum Resident

    Location:
    detroit, mi
    Love Rock Me Amadeus
     
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  10. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    The film adaptation of the stage play Amadeus had come out toward the end of 1984 and became something of a sensation. It's the last film to have had more than one actor nominated for the Best Actor award - F. Murray Abraham actually won, up against Amadeus himself Tom Hulce. The film won a whopping 8 Academy Awards in all, plus a basket of Golden Globes, BAFTAs and critics awards. Newly-pressed Mozart CDs and the film's soundtrack flew off the shelves and 1985 was definitely the year of Mozart mania. Comparisons were often made between Amadeus and contemporary genius and '84 - '85's breakout pop superstar Prince.

    So it shouldn't have been too surprising that someone saw the parallels between bad boy rebel prodigy Amadeus (at least as presented in the film) and a rock star, but still, "Rock Me Amadeus" came as something of a shock. First of all, Europop had seemed to be fading on the charts - we hadn't heard much from the German invasion since Nena and Peter Schilling had charted a couple of years earlier and synth pop broadly seemed in decline. Falco was known over here, more for After The Fire's hit cover of "Der Kommissar" than Falco's original, but that was also already receding in the cultural rear view mirror.

    But leave it to an Austrian to salute an Austrian, I suppose. You couldn't deny the genius of this number, or its hilarious video. I also find it amusing a European was the first person to take a song that's half rap to the top of the American charts, the first time anything this rap got to the top since Blondie's "Rapture" in '81. Well, that's one way to break thru the color line!

    Released in the summer of '85, the single took forever to catch on here, but when it finally charted, it charted big. This was the first and only German-language single to top the American charts, and the only one by an Austrian. It wasn't just big here either, but topped the charts across most of Europe (including the UK, Ireland, and of course German) and got to #6 on the American R&B charts.

    I loved it! So little pop music has a sense of humor, and just the whole concept of the thing was brilliant and really pulled our era into some kind of context. Yeah it's annoying as a root canal, but it's a catchy root canal. Also we'd just gone thru a long boring patch of corporate rock and dull ballads - it was great hearing something fun with a beat again. Maybe 1986 wasn't destined to be the most dire year on the charts since '81...
     
  11. Hoover Factory

    Hoover Factory Old Dude Who Knows Things

    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    I like it, but The Simpsons did it better - this is simply genius!

     
  12. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Her final massive hit maybe, but not her final big hit. She'd enjoy two more #2 hits in the UK, the last in 2005. I've always found it truly bizarre she was totally frozen out of the US Top 40 after "Missing You" in '84.

    Frankly, I find "Chain Reaction" really, really annoying - more than "Rock Me Amadeus" - and probably the worst of the big hits the Bros Gibb wrote for the great divas. It's catchy but worse than most of the stuff on either Warwick's Heartbreaker or Streisand's Guilty. Still, it's shocking it wasn't at least a Top 40 hit over here. But she was on RCA at the time, and as we've already noted in this thread repeatedly recently, RCA was a T-R-A-I-N W-R-E-C-K.
     
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  13. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I was gonna post that but forgot, dangit! Yes!

    Hopefully Falco saw that (and cashed the check) before he passed away in a traffic accident in the Dominican Republic in February of 1998.
     
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  14. jimmydean

    jimmydean Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    the synth line of "amadeus" is "inspired" from the sound's "winning"
     
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  15. Yam Graham

    Yam Graham Senior Member

    Location:
    West Midlands,UK.
    Falco - Rock Me Amadeus
    Completely potty and nonsensical....but I LIKE IT!!!!!
    4/5
     
  16. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus

    Amadeus was huge, and I love it. It's a real slice of synth pop when the genre was kind of dying out. It's definitely more interesting than the last three adult contemporary songs.

    I don't have much to say it about it, because I don't understand it -- I mean, I can actually kind of understand German when it's spoken around me but I can't speak it and I can't understand this.

    Even though the song is in German, it was so catchy that I can remember many a kid singing the one-word chorus in the halls of my Junior High School.

    Isn't there a mix with an English spoken-word part that went something like "Mozart was born in 17 whatever; he lived in..." I seem to remember that from the radio back in the day. Perhaps an alternate mix?
     
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  17. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    F. Murray Abraham managed to get quite a few noted film roles (such as in The Name Of The Rose) in the wake of Amadeus. Tom Hulce, it seems (and I only say "seems"), faded into the "Who's he?" obscurity, relatively speaking.
     
  18. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Yeah there's an extended mix of "Amadeus" that's hilarious.

     
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  19. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Mark Hamill had taken over the role of Amadeus from Tim Curry in the stage production and was on the shortlist to play the role in the film, but director Milos Forman didn't think audiences could get over him being Luke Skywalker. Which is too bad, because I think he might have nailed it - he got good reviews on stage.

    Ironically as mentioned up above Hulce never particularly capitalized on the win and probably spent more time on stage - and later as a stage producer - than in front of the camera. He's won a slew of stage awards as an actor, director and producer.
     
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  20. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus

    He probably just prefers stage work, most real actors do; and it's not as if it's that easy a world to achieve success in. I'm sure the film role helped his career in stage.

    It would have been interesting to see Mark Hammil or Tim Curry in the role though!

    One of my all-time favorite films, for sure.
     
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  21. pablo fanques

    pablo fanques Somebody's Bad Handwroter

    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Last thing I remember Tom being in was the movie version of Parenthood. Far drop from his role as Amadeus
     
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  22. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus

    He's won several awards in the theatre since, including a couple of Tony Awards. He's more of a producer.

    I wouldn't say he's had a bad career, it's just that he obviously wasn't interested in Hollywood and indeed, he eventually got bored with acting.
     
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  23. Hey Vinyl Man

    Hey Vinyl Man Another bloody Yank down under...

    Rock Me Amadeus - A perfect distillation everything I dislike about '80s top 40. Hated it then, hate it now.
     
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  24. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    By the way, up until this point Mozart was certainly well-known, but I never got the impression he was the most-revered composer. It always seemed like either Bach or Beethoven fulfilled that role, with Mozart - to my teenage impression, anyhow - being considered along with Brahms, Vivaldi, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, etc. as a great, but maybe not the great. Post-Amadeus though, it seems like only Bach really rivals him, at least among the public.
     
  25. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Franz Joseph Haydn wrote more symphonies than Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms combined. Just sayin'. Although Mozart's output in that department did exceed those two 'B's'.

    And pertinent to the Falco number, on the chorus, it always sounded to me like the name was pronounced "Ama-deuce," as opposed to "Ama-day-us."
     

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