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EVERY Billboard #1 hit discussion thread 1958-Present

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

  1. Cheevyjames

    Cheevyjames Forum Resident

    Location:
    Graham, NC
    What's funny is that even though I lived through this era and heard these songs a lot on the radio, back then they sounded normal but when I listen back now I also hear how it sounds "off", like you say. It sounds amateurish.
     
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  2. KJTC

    KJTC Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    Yes! Same with New Kids On the Block. Maybe it’s a recording technology thing. By the time pop came back around again, pitch correction software and the like was in use. I think it’s a combination of that and the harshness of the backing track requiring singers to strain to be heard. The pop music that doesn’t sound as rough to me from this time period had better production and/or better singers.
     
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  3. prymel

    prymel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston
    “Blame It On The Rain” – Not much to say about MV. Their music is not nearly as bad as their reputation, but not close to good enough to make me care that they were frauds.
     
  4. Hoover Factory

    Hoover Factory Old Dude Who Knows Things

    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Blame It On the Rain

    Sure guys - whatever little lie that you need to tell yourself…
     
  5. AppleBonker

    AppleBonker Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    Yes.
     
  6. AppleBonker

    AppleBonker Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    When I See You Smile

    When You see me smile is when I rip this schlock from the turntable and put something listenable on in its place.

    I kinda like John Waite, especially his stuff with the Babys. But I had never even heard of this "Supergroup" before, and I'm not sure how it would have affected my opinion of him if I had (not for the good, that's for sure).

    Oh, and let's make something perfectly clear: Crosby, Stills, Nash and sometimes Young? Supergroup. Wilburys? Super Duper Group. Some dudes from Journey and John Waite? A bunch of sidemen with a few weeks to kill.

    And in case anyone's counting, that makes five straight #1 songs I've never heard before. That must be a record since this thread started.

    The song? I made it nearly until the end, but boy was it unremarkable. Which is why it took me five paragraphs to say anything about it at all. Next! Let's go for six straight I've never heard!
     
  7. Steve Mc

    Steve Mc Bangles Encyclopedia

    Location:
    United States
    Blame It On The Rain
    Bad. I don't think it is a particularly good song to begin with. And the singing and production are like a bad karaoke cover.
     
  8. AppleBonker

    AppleBonker Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    Man, and I thought their dancing was bad... They sure could have used Denzel and Morgan Freeman overdubbing their acting.
     
  9. Honey Bunches of Sadness

    Honey Bunches of Sadness Forum Resident

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    Woah! Mind = blown!
     
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  10. Honey Bunches of Sadness

    Honey Bunches of Sadness Forum Resident

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I like maybe two Mariah Carey songs. But if she's not in the R&RHOF already, that's completely ludicrous.....
     
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  11. Zombie Dodge

    Zombie Dodge Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dartmouth, NS
    Rob Base and DJ EZ-Rock, too. Late eighties/early nineties pop-rap is like catnip for young kids. He didn't take to MC Hammer so much, strangely.
     
  12. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    We're a few Number Ones before she first comes into the picture, so hold your horses or other four-legged animals you may have in your possession, if any . . .
     
  13. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    And this is one of a group of records where the act in question will have their last ever #1's in this stretch. Stay tuned for more.
     
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  14. AppleBonker

    AppleBonker Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    Blame It on the Rain

    Spotlight falls on Richard Harris as the familiar music of MacArthur Park plays...

    "Vanilli's art is melting like a fart,
    All the dreadlock beads are falling down,
    Someone left the beefcake in the rain,
    I don't think that they can take it,
    When the whole world learns they faked it,
    And they'll never make a video again...."

    Oh nooooo....

    Four number ones. Even fantastic talents like the Fine Young Cannibals, at the peak of their careers, only managed two #1s in 1989. How on Earth did Silly Vanilli get four? And not a single one of those tunes rises above mediocrity. You don't need to know their hidden story to find this explosive success very peculiar.

    Adam Ant comes on next:

    "They can't dance, can't sing, what can they do?
    can't dance, can't sing, what can they do?"

    There are many stars in the future on this thread whose success leaves me utterly puzzled, but these guys might be the biggest mystery of all. Their tunes sort of simulate current trends, but even when they come close to the 'hip now sound', they seem a bit... off. "Amateur" is a good word for it. It sounds like they had the studio for a few hours after an actually important act finished, and they tried to filch as much from that act as they could, but were so rushed that the result was sloppy, first-take-is-good-enough quality. They are to music what 'The Room' is to film: an epically weird simulation of hit records that doesn't seem remotely correct, trying but failing to fake it til they make it.

    Blame it on the Bossa Nova is a good example. There are the makings of a real song here, but the elements don't cohere. All you need to do is replace every single part and you might have something releasable. Yeah, that's all, no biggie. We're not talking minor surgery. You'd need to get out the electric panels and jump start its heart.

    Notice that I'm not even attacking the Vanillis themselves. By the time they got to their part of this tragedy, it was already hopeless. They just added the perfect anodyne face to the audio diarrhea. The Beatles and Stones combining their talents couldn't have done much with this nightmare, let alone two musical neophytes without an iota of ability between them. (Of course, we know that Milli were better than any old Mick Jagger/Paul McCartney/Dylan, they said so themselves. OK, I couldn't resist poking them one final time for that legendary bit of stupidity.)

    Alice Cooper takes the stage for the final say:

    "Welcome to my Nightmare"

    Amen.

    PS - six straight - never heard this song before, either!
     
  15. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    MV actually "only" had three. Girl You Know It's True stopped at #2. They would have one further hit that reached #4 in the early months of 1990
     
  16. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    We'll see in our Year-End Review, where it went #1. But it certainly wasn't here.
     
  17. DesertHermit

    DesertHermit Now an UrbanHermit

    Oh beautifully put as always! :righton:
     
  18. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    We are doing a bit of slight alteration to the schedule, as the last #1 of the year (and the decade) will be put here on a Sunday, owing to the three days usually reserved for Year-End Reviews of other #1's from other charts, personal favorites, songs that didn't make it, etc. This will mean that the next #1 will be brought up now . . .
    #709 (31st of 1989): "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel
    (#1 for 2 weeks - December 9-16, 1989)

    plus the 45 release

    And so the "Piano Man" has his last #1 with this ditty, which one book said took guts to rhyme "Eichmann" with "Stranger In A Strange Land." And at this juncture, he has ceased working with his producer since 1977, Phil Ramone, and gone here with Mick Jones (the Foreigner guy, not the one from The Clash - though one wonders what a collaboration with the Clash guy would have sounded like).

    Cash Box was the only other publication to declare this #1, but only for one week. Over at Radio & Records, it was a different story - stalled at #2, blocked by the next topper on here. Meanwhile, in the UK, this got all the way to #7 on the Gallup-compiled "official" chart, and #6 on MRIB's "Network Top 50" back in October. Two songs were #1 in the UK in this period.

    And now it can be told: In this song's last week at #1, former UK #1 "Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)" by Soul II Soul (featuring Caron Wheeler) reached its U.S. peak of #4.
     
  19. prymel

    prymel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston
    “We Didn’t Start The Fire” – This is far and away the worst single Billy Joel ever released. It has the one of the most awkwardly angular and unpleasant melodies of any Top 40 song I can think of. Reunion and R.E.M. covered this territory with far more panache, melodic sense and creative wordplay. Joel sounds like he’s trying way too hard and fails miserably.
     
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  20. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Funny . . . The Worst Rock 'N' Roll Records Of All Time book, in naming Mr. Joel the worst rocker of all time (I.T.N.S.H.O.), said pretty much the same thing, hinting he may have written it on the spot - and it shows. (B.T.W., in that list, he beat out Macca, Duran Duran . . . and the one who will have the #1 after this.) Indeed, they said his attempts to "rock out" always came out lame. They noted that the "soporific ready-made" "Don't Ask Me Why" was on the same album as "You May Be Right," and that it would be enough to "put James Taylor to sleep." They further opined that his pose on the cover of the album in question, Glass Houses, was totally unconvincing.
     
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  21. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I remember the guy from Stereogum really went on a rant about his hate for this song largely because of his hatred of baby boomers and this song was basically Billy's love letter to his generation
    The Number Ones: Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire”

    I honestly don't think the song is that bad. At the time it stood out on radio in the midst of all the NKOTB, Milli Vanilli, etc... songs. I think it does come off as a novelty track and I'm sure more than a few History teachers were lazy and used this song (I know my husband told me they used this song in high school to check off things in the middle of the 20th century -- this would've been around 2004) but it's fun for what it is though it was played so much in late 1989 that I understand the need never to hear it again

    I do agree with the analysis about the boomer obsession with the 60s that he literally uses the last verse to list everything that happened 1969-1989 while he was pretty much spending a verse on a year earlier on lol
     
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  22. Yam Graham

    Yam Graham Senior Member

    Location:
    West Midlands,UK.
    Billy Joel - We Didn't Start The Fire
    I have always been indifferent to this. He's trying to be clever but just ends up sounding tricky.
    Its a mess of a song...no real melody...nonsensical lyrics that are trying to be....I don't know!!!!
    Big silly video that goes hand in hand with the song.
    Bring on the 90's.
    2/5
     
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  23. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    He sure timed the release of this one right, coming at both during a period of great nostalgia on the pop charts and also smack dab at the end of the '80s, with all of the end-of-decade articles in magazines and newspapers and programs on TV. And then plop, here's Billy's single running thru the history of the entire cold-war period.

    You can complain that it's awkward and that the lyrics are straining for rhymes, but once you've heard it a few times you'll probably remember all of it. It's like a #1 cynical Schoolhouse Rock song. A friend of mine was in college at Cornell when parent album Storm Front came out and she asked her Billy Joel-lovin' buddy what he thought of the album. All he said was, "JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say?"

    :biglaugh:

    (That having been said, his next hit off this album is one of my favorite late-period Joel singles, so there's that...)

    I still tend to think of Joel as a '70s act, but there's no question that on the singles charts the '80s - after a brief stumble in the first part of the decade - were really his imperial period. He wasn't quite done charting Top 10 hits, but the end was coming up fast.
     
  24. Jmac1979

    Jmac1979 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I would say there's a difference between Billy vs. Elton and Rod in terms of being an aging 70s hitmaker who just kept scoring hits through the 80s and carrying even into the 90s is that Rod and Elton (although Elton actually has a hit single on the charts right now, but it's a fluke collaboration with a much younger star who draws in the streaming crowd) slowly aged out of the hitmaking phase of their careers naturally, Billy went out on his own terms. After Storm Front, there's only one more album, and even that record sold 5 million copies and had a top 5 smash even when he was looking out of place next to the much younger acts competing on the charts. Billy's been in "I'm done making music, but I'll tour until I drop" territory since 1993. It wasn't like where some of his contemporaries have continued to make new music to varying degrees of success but are long past their hitmaking days, Billy bowed out while he was still there. He did a few new songs in 1997 for a compilation but they were covers, and he did a one-off jazz type single in the mid-2000s, but for the most part his musical story ends with the 1993 record.

    Part of me thinks we've possibly been robbed of some decent latter day music, but at the same time Billy simply admitted his heart wasn't in it any longer and that he felt like he'd said all he needed to say as a songwriter and performer, which is better than grinning through "Billy Joel Sings The Great American Songbook" type albums like what kept Rod Stewart's career active for a number of years.
     
  25. Zombie Dodge

    Zombie Dodge Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dartmouth, NS
    The only good thing about this song is the Simpsons version.

     

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