EVERY Billboard #1 hit discussion thread 1958-Present

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

  1. Zombie Dodge

    Zombie Dodge Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dartmouth, NS
    If you're referring to what I think you're referring to, she absolutely couldn't be ignored when it came out. If anything it was peak Madonna controversy.
     
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  2. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    To me, this is actually a great pop record unfortunately spoiled by "the revelations", on its own it's a pretty timeless pop song that holds up by far the best of their five hits. I knew it was a #1 hit from the first time I heard it
     
  3. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Right. She had two big controversies, the second one largely offended radio programmers more than anything else (because at the same time a certain
    country act lost most of their audience, although Madonna and that group had very different audiences) and the general audience was largely indifferent, but the first one was a major event in her career. As she even pointed out, journalists were writing ten page articles about her career being over, which meant they obviously cared enough to waste so much energy
     
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  4. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Only one difference. I won't get into further details till we get to the timeline whereby The Revelations (Pat. Pend.) took place.
     
  5. Yam Graham

    Yam Graham 1985

    Location:
    West Midlands,UK.
    We are 30 odd years on already and I haven't seen any reapraisel yet. ABBA in the UK anyways were mostly always liked from their mid to late 70's pomp. The Carpenters? I thought they were liked back in the day.
    Trouble is, to me anyway, I instantly think of the woefull promo videos and goofy dance moves if a Milli Vanilla song comes on. If you like the songs, fine, we all have our own tastes, guilty pleasures even but I don't see the songwriting anywhere near ABBA or The Carpenters and 3 decades on I don't see that being adjusted.
     
  6. Zombie Dodge

    Zombie Dodge Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dartmouth, NS
    The Carpenters were extremely popular with record buyers. (I once read that, contrary to decades of movies, you were more likely to hear troops in Vietnam playing their music than "Fortunate Son" and Hendrix.) But they were constantly savaged by music critics at the time. They were one of these acts like Nickelback, whom everybody professed to hate yet sold albums by the truckload.

    The re-evaluation started with Karen Carpenter's tragic death, and really picked up steam when If I Were A Carpenter, the compilation album of alt-rock bands covering Carpenters songs, was released in the mid-nineties. That's also around the time ABBA regained popularity in North America. The Brits and especially the Aussies never stopped loving them, but on this side of the Atlantic - where they weren't as popular in the first place, with "only" one number-one hit on Billboard - they were considered hopelessly uncool. Muriel's Wedding and the release of ABBA Gold turned the tide.

    What they have in common might be that Generation X-ers like me grew up hearing them on the radio or in our parents' record collections, and when we got older and stopped caring what other people thought, we admitted our true feelings for them.

    A few decades from now, it might be our own kids leading the re-appraisal for critically maligned eighties and nineties artists. If my own son is any indication, young kids absolutely love Vanilla Ice. (I've even heard "Ninja Rap" on the Sirius XM kids' channel!)
     
  7. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    You know you were in the big leagues when you get a spot on Sister Kate. Remember that show? Starred post-Dynasty Stephanie Beachum and pre-90210 Jason Priestly. Only lasted about half a season but they still booked Milli Vanilli in an "acting" gig which culminates with them "singing" Blame It On The Rain for the orphanage lol.

     
  8. Zombie Dodge

    Zombie Dodge Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dartmouth, NS
    I remember this show! Casting a Dynasty star was a no-nonsense nun caring for rowdy orphans worked much better than you'd think it would.

    This was the golden age for teen pop stars appearing on sitcoms. We also had Tracie Spencer on Family Matters and the late Tommy Page on Full House.
     
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  9. KJTC

    KJTC Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    This will be fun to talk about when we get there! Of course, we’ve got three No. 1s to get through before that!
     
  10. John Harchar

    John Harchar Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey
    ...that no one really plays any more. Like was said, it's been 30 years and they're still the butt of jokes for those who remember them, maybe another 20 will go by before it happens. Is it likely? For example, has there been a case where we looked back to the late 50s or early 60s and found someone really overlooked...and everyone agreed? That's the hard part but it may happen out of nowhere. Whether or not anyone knew it, Queen underwent one thanks to streaming. They were also pretty successful when they were around, but they're on a different level now. So there's still a window, but the likelihood...not great.
     
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  11. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Stacey Q was the queen of this. She was in a few Facts Of Life episodes as Cinnamon, she played a punk rocker on Mama's Family and played herself on Full House
     
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  12. KJTC

    KJTC Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    My own opinion of their music aside, I don’t see how Milli Vanilli would ever be embraced because of the controversy. We are talking about an act that is squarely in the music video age, and music videos have more impact than ever in artists being rediscovered. I don’t see how you get past the guys on film not being the guys on tape. Maybe a song or two will be embraced or covered/sampled, but a wholesale embracing of MV themselves doesn’t seem plausible to me.
     
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  13. bare trees

    bare trees Senior Member

    I hated this at the time but you know what? "Blame It On The Rain" is actually a decent song if you are willing to get past the cheesy arrangement.
     
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  14. KJTC

    KJTC Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    My sister had both the “Two of Hearts” and “We Connect” 45s, and searched for a long time for the “Insecurity” 45, which I don’t think she ever found.

    I am three years younger than her, so I couldn’t have been older than 7 or 8. But I still vividly remember watching that Facts of Life episode and being baffled as to why Tootie thought “Cinnamon” was so much better than her.

     
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  15. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Now, this is a great pop tune, no question. I think it's probably the best thing Dianne Warren ever wrote. The actual band behind Milli Vanilli isn't that great - even the singer is just kinda "meh" - but that probably helps the song since it probably works as a less-polished affair. It's got a hip-hop tinged talk-singy verse that's nevertheless memorable and a killer earworm of a chorus. I love that it's melancholy and low-key without being a low-energy drag. That's difficult to pull off.

    How the heck Milli Vanilli got their hands on a Dianne Warren song isn't entirely clear to me. Did she write it for them? Did she write it for someone else and they either declined it or cut an earlier version? Wikipedia doesn't have any info. I guess they'd already been successful overseas by the time they cut this for their US debut, so maybe they already had enough clout to get dibs on a Dianne Warren song. However it came into their possession, they sure won the lottery with this one. One of the best hits of '89. Admittedly, that's like being the tallest midget in the room, but still...
     
  16. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    One other thing - "Blame It On The Rain" is one of the few songs from this era that just randomly pops into my head, and fairly frequently as well. The title phrase is just a killer lyric and melody. It harks back to Otis Redding or something, and feels timeless in spite of the amusingly-cheezy late '80s production (which truthfully is kinda charming in its own right).
     
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  17. Zombie Dodge

    Zombie Dodge Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dartmouth, NS
    Producer Frank Farian had been the guy behind Boney M (which also had its own fake-vocalist controversy) so he had some clout in Europe at least. And being on Clive Davis' label didn't hurt.

    Farian would actually survive this mess and had some hits in the mid-nineties with the Latino boy band No Mercy.
     
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  18. KJTC

    KJTC Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    Warren would either pitch her songs directly to artists or to labels that she trusted. In the case of “Blame it On the Rain,” she had pitched it to the Jets, and when they chose not to record or release it, she pitched it to Clive Davis, who she would meet with once a week to share material. He wanted four of the songs on the original Milli Vanilli album to be replaced for US release, and gave them the song.
     
  19. KJTC

    KJTC Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    Here is a direct quote from Warren, including her comments on the controversy, from the essential Fred Bronson book of No. 1 hits:

    I (would) submit a song for somebody big, like Whitney Houston, and he’d say, “I don’t want it for Whitney, but I want it for Expose or Taylor Dayne. And I’d say, “No, no, I want somebody big. I want Whitney.” Then these new artists would sell, like, three million copies and have all these hits. So when Clive said, “Milli Vanilli,” I said, “Yeah, I trust you.”

    Whoever sang it did a good job. I’m really proud of the song. It’s a good record. I had heard that they really didn’t sing, but I didn’t know for sure because I’d never been in the studio with them. As a songwriter, I just give my songs to people. And when I found out, I said, “I’m still proud of the song. I made my contribution.
     
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  20. Zombie Dodge

    Zombie Dodge Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dartmouth, NS
    Arista eventually deleted the album from its catalog and gave refunds to fans, but at first, Clive Davis was unapologetic about the lip-syncing controversy. He made the not-unreasonable point that when you bought the album you were buying the music, regardless of who actually made it.

    At the time we didn't appreciate just how much classic rock and pop music was actually made by The Wrecking Crew (Roger McGuinn is the only member of The Byrds actually playing on "Mr. Tambourine Man") though you could argue there's a difference between fake musicians and fake vocalists. The musicians at least had to learn how to play the songs live.

    Milli Vanilli took all the blame, but many dance-pop acts were using fake vocalists. Technotronic, C&C Music Factory and Black Box (the latter two with Martha Wash as the actual singer) all got caught but somehow escaped total cancellation.
     
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  21. Zombie Dodge

    Zombie Dodge Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dartmouth, NS
    To paraphrase what Michael Caine said about Jaws: The Revenge: even if she hated it I'm sure she loved the house it bought her.
     
  22. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    She came back later that season and performed "We Connect" which was her other top 40 single, George Clooney's character got written out in the second appearance as he becomes her manager
     
  23. Grant

    Grant Life is a rock, but the radio rolled me!

    Location:
    United States
    This song was one of the better MV ballads. This was quite popular where I lived.
     
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  24. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I'm still annoyed that only the UK version of the album is available on streaming services. The mixes were different than what appeared on "Girl You Know It's True" and for my ears largely inferior. Say what you want about Clive but his remixing of the album made it better
     
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  25. KJTC

    KJTC Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    The Wrecking Crew approach remains a big thing in Nashville, where for decades, most bands have barely played on their records. There have been a few high profile exceptions to that rule, most notably The Chicks and Diamond Rio, but even Hall of Famers like Alabama were given only token instrumental appearances on their own albums.
     

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