Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*: #160-151

We updated our signature special for the first time since 1999 to get all Rock Era fans in the mood to celebrate the 60th birthday of the music we all love.  The next 10 songs in the special are just a click away!


Don't Speak
No Doubt

"This song is an iconic masterpiece that touches the soul."
"A classic."
"My favorite song!"
"Love this!"


"One of my favourites of all-time."

"Beyond cool."

"Still awesome..."

Shortly after Tony Kanai of the group ended a seven-year relationship with lead singer Gwen Stefani, she wrote this song with her brother Eric.  The song went through multiple rewrites before it was perfected to the amazing quality you hear on the CD. 

Billboard did not allow songs on the Hot 100 chart if they hadn't been released as singles.  There aren't many songs that have faced that fact and still been so immensely popular that they still make The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.  This is one of them. 

Matthew Wilder, who had the 1984 hit "Break My Stride", produced the song for No Doubt's album Tragic Kingdom.

Although "Don't Speak" didn't have a 45 to show for itself, radio stations played it anyway.  It was that good.  So overwhelmingly dominant was the song that it reigned on the Airplay chart for 16 weeks.  Translated, that means it was the most-played song in the U.S. for 16 weeks, which was a Rock Era record at the time.  Not surprisingly, the song finished the year as the most-played song on the radio.
Competition for airplay came from "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion, "Un-Break My Heart" by Toni Braxton, "You Were Meant For Me" by Jewel, and "Macarena" by Los Del Rios and "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" by the Backstreet Boys.

"Don't Speak" was popular for 49 weeks and spent 10 weeks at #1 on the Top 40 chart.  It also rose to #2 for five weeks on the Modern Rock chart, and ironically enough, the only song keeping it from reaching #1 was Bush with "Swallowed".  Stefani didn't get mad at songwriter and Bush lead singer Gavin Rossdale--she married him.  But the mass-appeal smash "Don't Speak" also reached #1 on the Adult Top 40 for 15 weeks and placed at #6 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
The song was a worldwide smash, reaching #1 for 3 weeks in both the U.K. and Ireland, and also reaching #1 in Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.  On the European Hot 100 Singles chart, it commanded the top spot for nine weeks, and it also was #1 in Australia for 8 weeks.  The song also hit #2 in Germany and #4 in France and Finland.
"Don't Speak" was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the Grammy Awards.  It won Best Group Video and was nominated for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards.  The song helped No Doubt sell 12 million albums.

Paperback Writer

"A great song!"

"A great classic from the pen of Paul McCartney..."

"What a Bass line.  The vocal harmonies are stunning.  It is a masterpiece of a record only gifted musicians come along once in a while."


"Great tune!"

"A classic."

"Absolutely great!"


Paul McCartney wrote this song after helping some friends set up the Indica Bookshop.  The Indica Gallery was located in the basement, where John Lennon eventually met Yoko Ono.  Paul wrote this song as homage to lots of authors, including Lennon, who had written the books In His Own Write and A Spaniard In The Works

The Beatles recorded "Paperback Writer" on April 13 and 14 of 1966 at EMI Studios in London.  McCartney boosted his bass by using a loudspeaker as a microphone and positioning it in front of the bass speaker.  There was some concern that the heavy bass line would cause record players to skip.  Lennon and George Harrison sang the French nursery rhyme "Frére Jacques" in the background.  Producer George Martin has said that the harmonies in the song were emulated from the trademark Beach Boys harmonies.  The Beatles had just been given a preview copy of the Beach Boys album Pet Sounds.

The group released the single May 30 in the United States and June 10 in the U.K., a time period that also included the following songs:  "Cherish" by the Association, the Beatles' own "Eleanor Rigby", "When A Man Loves A Woman" by Percy Sledge, "Monday, Monday" from the Mamas and the Papas, "Strangers In The Night" by Frank Sinatra, the Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love", "Sunny" by Bobby Hebb, "I Am A Rock" by Simon & Garfunkel, "Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones, "Good Lovin'" by the Young Rascals, "Summer In The City" from Lovin' Spoonful, and Donovan's "Sunshine Superman".

"Paperback Writer" recorded two weeks at #1, interrupted by "Strangers In The Night" by Frank Sinatra, which snuck in for one week at the top in between the two weeks that "Paperback Writer" was the top song.  "Paperback Writer" also reached #1 in the U.K., West Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Norway.

The Beatles won the Grammy Award For Best New Artist Of 1964, a Billboard Award for Album of the Year (for the album 1 in 2001) and World Music Awards for a Diamond Award and World's Best-Selling Pop Rock Artists/Group.

"Paperback Writer" went Gold as a single, and has contributed to an amazing 36 million albums sold.  The song has been played over one million times so far.

Irene Cara

"A timeless classic!"
"Wow!  Great song!"

"Awesome song."

"An amazing performance--this will live forever..."

"Love it!"

"Fabulous song."


"One of the most motivating songs ever."

This talented singer first began appearing on Spanish-language radio and television shows in New York City.  At age eight, she debuted on Broadway playing an orphan in the play Maggie Flynn, which starred Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones. 
When she was 10, Cara sang alongside Roberta Flack and Sammy Davis, Jr. at a tribute to Duke Ellington in Madison Square Garden.  Cara landed a part as Coco Hernandez in the movie Fame, that later led to the popular television series.  Irene Cara also recorded two great songs for the movie, the title song and the ballad "Out Here On My Own".
When the producers of the movie Flashdance were looking for someone to sing the theme song, they called upon Cara.  Irene wrote this with Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey.  Moroder, who had a hit himself with the underrated "Chase", from the movie of the same name, also wrote "Danger Zone" for Kenny Loggins, "Take My Breath Away" for Berlin, and several songs for Donna Summer.  Forsey also wrote "Don't You (Forget About Me)" for Simple Minds and "Shakedown" for Bob Seger.
Cara came up with the idea of dance, and Forsey elaborated on her idea, adding "dancing for my life".  Cara says that "'What a feeling' was a metaphor about a dancer, "how she's in control of her body when she dances and how she can be in control of her life".
"Flashdance" debuted in November of 1983, when it faced great songs such as "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" by Michael Jackson, "Every Breath You Take" by the Police, Men At Work's smash "Down Under", "Islands In The Stream" by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton, "Tell Her About It" and "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel, "All Night Long" from Lionel Richie, and "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" by Bonnie Tyler,

"Flashdance" raced to #1 for 6 weeks in the U.S., with 14 weeks inside the Top 10.  It also landed at #2 for 5 weeks on
the R&B scene and reached #4 on the Adult Contemporary char; in other words, a huge mass appeal hit.  It also hit #1 in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, and reached #2 in the U.K. and Ireland, #3 in Germany, and #4 in Austria. 
The song sold one million singles and Won Grammy Awards for Best Album Of Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special & Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song--Motion Picture.
In 2004, "Flashdance" finished ranked #55 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs feature of the top songs in American cinema history.

Money For Nothing
Dire Straits

"Best guitar riff of all-time!"
 "This song is everything."

"So hip!"


"Best song ever!"

"Great beat...awesome song!"

"The best rock and roll on the planet!"

"The start is amazing!"

In 1977, Mark Knopfler was a part-time English teacher and journalist for The Yorkshire Evening Post by day, and songwriter and pub-rock player by night.  Knopfler formed the group Café Racers with guitarist brother David and bassist John Illsley.  They brought in drummer Pick Withers, whose friend noted the group's financial struggles and dubbed them Dire Straits.
The group got 120 pounds together to record a five-song demo tape at Pathway Studios in London.  They gave the demo to disc jockey Charlie Gillett, who featured the songs on his weekly show "Honky Tonk" on BBC Radio.  Several influential people in the music business were impressed, but John Stainze of Phonogram Records got the jump and signed Dire Straits to its Vertigo Label.
Ed Bicknell also heard the tape and, after seeing the group at Dingwalls club in London, signed a management agreement that would prove fruitful.  The next month, Bicknell arranged for Dire Straits to support Talking Heads on a U.K. tour. 
While beginning work on their first album, Bicknell helped the group land a residency at the famous Marquee Club in London, and arranged for them to support both the Climax Blues Band and Styx.  Dire Straits released their phenomenal debut album in 1978, which included their first hit, "Sultans Of Swing".
Dire Straits released the highly regarded but commercially disappointing CommuniqueMaking Movies and Love Over Gold as their next three releases.  As good as those albums were, it had been six years since Dire Straits had recorded a big worldwide hit.  If those three albums didn't follow up on the success of their debut and were commercially disappointing, their next album in 1985 was anything but.
Guitarist Mark Knopfler wrote this in the first person, a story about rock star excess.  Knopfler has said that he wrote it after hearing delivery men in a department store in New York City complain about their jobs while watching MTV.  Many of the lyrics were things the men actually said.

The group recorded "Money For Nothing" in December of 1984, and released it in June of 1985 from their album Brothers in Arms.  If you were a Rock Era fan back then, you could also hear current songs such as "That's What Friends Are For" by Dionne & Friends, Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know", "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" and "Shout" by Tears for Fears, "We Are The World" by USA for Africa, "Take On Me" from A-ha, and "Crazy For You" by Madonna.  There are some great songs in there, but not enough to consider the competition for "Money For Nothing" as strong as other periods. 

"Money For Nothing" vaulted to #1 for three weeks overall, and #1 for three weeks on the Top Rock Tracks chart.  "Money For Nothing" also landed at #1 in Canada, #4 in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, #6 in Ireland and #7 in Austria.
The song has sold over two million singles, helped sell 9.5 million albums for Dire Straits, and chalked up five million in radio airplay. 

The Way We Were
Barbra Streisand

"Beautiful song!"

"So lovely..."

"A great song by an amazing singer."

"Heartbreaking and yet so touching--beautiful!"

"Amazing! Amazing! Amazing!"

"Love, Love this song "

Just wonderful."


Alan and Marilyn Bergman worked together on the lyrics to Song #156* while Marvin Hamlisch composed the music.
Barbra recorded the song September 12, 1973, with famous bass player Carole Kaye among the musicians. Kaye was part of the Los Angeles group of backing musicians known as The Wrecking Crew, and it is estimated that Kaye played on over 10,000 recorded songs.
Streisand released the single as the title song to her great 1973 movie The Way We Were, which also featured co-star Robert Redford. The song opens with "Memories, like the corners of my mind", setting the movie's nostalgic tone of two lovers who were too radically opposed to make it work, but looking back at the good times they had.
"The Way We Were" debuted in November, encountering competition in the form of "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Bennie And The Jets" by Elton John, "The Most Beautiful Girl" by Charlie Rich, "Sunshine On My Shoulders" by John Denver, "Love's Theme" from the Love Unlimited Orchestra, "Seasons In The Sun" by Terry Jacks, "Midnight Train To Georgia" by Gladys Knight & the Pips, "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye, "Time In A Bottle" by Jim Croce, "Band On The Run" by Paul McCartney & Wings, "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band, and Chicago's "Just You 'N Me".
"The Way We Were" registered 3 weeks at #1 with 9 weeks in the Top 10 overall, and #1 for 2 weeks on the Adult chart. The single sold two million copies, and helped sell 10.5 million albums. "The Way We Were" ranked #8 on the American Film Institute's (AFI) list of 100 Songs...100 Years.
The Bergman's also wrote "You Don't Bring Me Flowers", Streisand's duet with Neil Diamond that we heard earlier in The Top 500* , as well as "Windmills Of Your Mind", recorded by both Dusty Springfield and Sting for different versions of the movie The Thomas Crown Affair , as well as many other songs.
Kaye also played bass on "Light My Fire" by the Doors, "Good Vibrations", "Help Me Rhonda", "I Get Around", and "Wouldn't It Be Nice" by the Beach Boys, "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley, "I'm A Believer" and "Last Train To Clarksville" by the Monkees, "I Can't Help Myself" and "Bernadette" by the Four Tops, "Love Child", "Baby Love", "Reflections", "Stop! In The Name Of Love", "You Can't Hurry Love", "Back In My Arms Again", and "Love Is Here And Now You're Gone" (plus many others) by the Supremes, "(You're My) Soul And Inspiration" by the Righteous Brothers, "Homeward Bound", "I Am A Rock" and "Scarborough Fair" by Simon & Garfunkel, "Indian Reservation" by Paul Revere & the Raiders, "Rhythm Of The Rain" by the Cascades, "Gypsys, Tramps And Thieves" by Cher, "I Was Made To Love Her" by Stevie Wonder, "Wichita Lineman" by Glenn Campbell, "Da Doo Ron Ron" by the Crystals, "This Diamond Ring" by the Gary Lewis and the Playboys, "Somethin' Stupid" by Frank & Nancy Sinatra, "Midnight Confessions" by the Grass Roots, and "A Natural Man" by Lou Rawls, just to name some of the hits.

Call Me


"I love this song!"


"Awesome song."

"A masterpiece!"

"Such a powerful song.  It stays with you 'til the end and then some..."


"Best song of the '80s and one of the best songs ever."

Here is one of 18 classics from 1980 fortunate enough to make The Top 500*.  That ranks 1980 as one of the best years in the Rock Era--in fact, only six years place more in the elite list.
Producer Giorgio Moroder had been asked to come up with a song for the "American Gigolo" Soundtrack, and gave Debby Harry of Blondie an instrumental track called "Man Machine" and asked her to write the lyrics and melody.  Harry points out that Moroder's lyrics suffer from the language change of German to English.  What Moroder meant by "Man Machine" was that the subject was a mechanical lover, or "on call, so to speak," as Harry put it, or in fact an American Gigolo, as the movie that features it is called.
Harry said that Moroder was good to work with, but demanding in that, as Harry said:
I don't think he has a lot of patience with people who fool around or don't take what they do seriously.  I think he's very serious about what he does and he's intense and he's a perfectionist and he's very talented.  You really have to pay attention.
Blondie released the single in February of 1980, when great songs such as "Another Brick In The Wall" by Pink Floyd, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" from Queen, "It's Still Rock & Roll To Me" by Billy Joel, Michael Jackson's "Rock With You", "The Rose" by Bette Midler, "Coward Of The County" by Kenny Rogers, "Babe" from Styx, "Lost In Love" and "All Out Of Love" by Air Supply, "I Can't Tell You Why" by the Eagles, "Upside Down" by Diana Ross, "Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer" by Kenny Rogers & Kim Carnes, "Sailing" by Christopher Cross, and Olivia Newton-John's "Magic". were out.
Call Me" rose to #1 for 6 weeks with 12 weeks in the Top 10 in the United States, and #1 in the U.K., Blondie's fourth #1 there in a little over a year.  The song also reached #1 in Canada, #2 in Ireland and Norway, #3 in Sweden and Switzerland, #4 in Australia and France, #5 in Austria, #6 in New Zealand, and #9 in the Netherlands.
Call Me" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.  The song sold over one million singles, helped sell over 2.5 million albums, and has been played nearly 3 million times on the radio.

When A Man Loves A Woman
Percy Sledge
"One of the all-time classics."
Beautiful song."
Great soul music. Anyone can identify with it."
"Awesome song."
"Classic forever.
"A sexy beautiful love song."
Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright wrote "When A Man Loves A Woman".   Lewis and Wright were members of the Esquires, a group which also featured lead singer Percy Sledge.   Exactly how the some came to be, it seems, depends on which of the key players you talk to. According to Wright:
We were set to play a Friday night dance, and we were practicing…I was messing around on the organ when this riff came up out of nowhere.  There was no one in the club but us.  I told Calvin to go home and write some words.
Wright said that they rehearsed the song with Sledge, changed it around, and then played it for disc jockey Quin Ivy.   Ivy suggested that some of the lyrics be changed, so Wright said that they worked on it for several weeks after that.
Sledge tells the story that he was upset after a breakup with a girlfriend, and asked Lewis and Wright to play a slow blues number, and he improvised lyrics describing his emotions. Sledge said that Ivy was there at the time and asked the band to come up with new lyrics so that it could be recorded. Rick Hall's FAME Studios was becoming a highly respected studio in the mid-'60s, with Joe Tex, Joe Simon, and the Tams recording there.   In addition to Ivy being a DJ at WLAY radio station, he also worked as a songwriter at FAME.    Ivy founded Norala Sound Studios nearby to handle the overflow, since many artists wanted to record at FAME.  Ivy's studio doubled as a record store, and he said that he met Sledge when Percy walked into his store one day.
Sledge and the Esquires had been recording at FAME, but it didn't work out, so engineer Dan Penn sent them to Norala.  On February 17, 1966, the recording was completed.  The backing musicians, Spooner Oldham on organ, guitarist Marlin Greene, bassist Junior Lowe, and drummer Roger Hawkins, were the same musicians who recorded at FAME and later at the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studios.
The song took off when it was played for Hall at FAME Studios.  Hall contacted Jerry Wexler, an executive at Atlantic Records, who had asked him to do so if he found talent.   Wexler loved the song and signed Sledge to a recording contract.   But Wexler said that the song had to be redone again because the horns were out of tune.  David Hood, who later became the bassist in the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, remembers it well:
Wexler thought the horns on the original version were out of tune - and they were - and he wanted them to change the horns.  They went back in the studio and changed the horns, got different horn players to play on it.  But then the tapes got mixed up and Atlantic put out their original version.  So that's the hit.

The musicians re-recorded the song as requested, and Atlantic wound up releasing the first version recorded at Norala anyway on April 16.   It began receiving airplay immediately, and went up against great songs such as "Paperback Writer" and "Nowhere Man" by the Beatles, "Monday, Monday" from the Mamas and the Papas, Frank Sinatra's "Strangers In The Night", "(You're My) Soul And Inspiration" by the Righteous Brothers, "Homeward Bound" and "I Am A Rock" by Simon and Garfunkel, "Sunny" from Bobby Hebb, "Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones, and "Good Lovin'" by the Young Rascals.
"When A Man Loves A Woman" topped the U.S. charts for two weeks, with four weeks at #1 on the R&B chart.   It reached #4 in the U.K.  The song was re-released in the U.K. after it was featured in a commercial for Levi's Jeans in 1987, and it became a hit all over again, rising to #4 again.
To date, "When A Man Loves A Woman" has been played five million times. Bette Midler enjoyed a hit with it in 1980 from her movie The Rose , and Michael Bolton had a great cover in 1991, which reached #1 on both the Popular and Adult Contemporary charts.
"When A Man Loves A Woman" became one of the most requested songs at weddings, and Sledge himself showed up to sing the song for the wedding of Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.
Sledge said that he allowed Lewis and Wright to claim sole songwriting credits because they "let him sing his heart out". If he did this as a goodwill gesture, it cost him millions of dollars. Every time the song is played, whether it be by Sledge, Bolton, Midler, or another artist, it is Lewis and Wright that get paid, not Sledge or his family.
One year after the release of this song, Procol Harum used the same chord progression in their song "A Whiter Shade Of Pale".

Because You Loved Me
Celine Dion

"Such a beautiful song!"

"Great song!"
"Fantastic song by an awesome woman."
"Makes me cry tears of joy every time."
"Beautiful music."
"Love this song--very personal meaning."
"Lovely and so touching."
"The best."
Diane Warren wrote this song produced by David Foster for the movie Up Close & Personal.  In the book Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind The Song, Warren explained her role:

I saw the film with the director, Jon Avnet, on a Friday.   I thought, "What would I want to hear at the end of the movie?"
 Jon played me a tape of a gospel singer to give me a sense of what he was looking for – something really soulful.  I went into my office on Saturday, the following day, and the chorus came quickly.  Michelle Pfeiffer's character is thanking Robert Redford's character for believing in her.  The song became personal at the same time that it was telling the story of the film.
Once I began, it became a way of thanking my dad for everything he did for me and the support he has always given me.  He believed in me and my music from the time I was a little girl.  When I was 15, he took me around to music publishers.   Not only did he support my goals, he supported me financially while I was struggling in the beginning.   I had to wait for months to see if my song would be chosen to use in the film or if they would select one of the other four submissions. 
The song was recorded at Chartmarker Studios, Capitol Studios, and Rumbo Recorders.   Dion released the single February 20, 1996 from her great album Falling into You. Although "Because I Loved You" was the theme song from the movie, it was not included on the movie soundtrack.  Other songs out at the time included "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men", "Don't Speak" by No Doubt, "Macarena" by Los Del Rios, and Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise".
"Because You Loved Me" was the song that ended the 16-week reign at #1 for "One Sweet Day".  It racked up 6 weeks at #1 on the Popular chart, with 19 weeks in the Top 10, and set a then record on the Adult Contemporary chart when it stayed at #1 for 19 weeks.  In the years since, only five songs have registered more weeks at #1 on the AC chart.  "Because You Loved Me" also was #1 in Australia for three weeks and Canada for one week, and reached #2 in Ireland, #3 in New Zealand and Switzerland, #4 in the Netherlands and Scotland, and #5 in the U.K.
"Because You Love Me" was nominated for Academy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Song from a Motion Picture. The song was also nominated at the Billboard Music Awards for Hot 100 Single, Hot 100 Singles Airplay, Hot Adult Contemporary Singles Track and Hot Adult Top 40 Singles Track.
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart
Bee Gees


"A classic from one of my favorite groups."

"Such a beautiful song."

"My favorite song from the Bee Gees."

"The harmonies are so tight."

"One of my favorites of all-time."

"One of the most beautiful songs ever written."

"Such incredible music and harmonies."

We're up to one of the most amazing stories of the last 60 years.  This group was one of the most popular of the '60s, but then broke up in December of 1969 due to internal fighting after 13 years together. What made that worse than most acts that split up is that these guys were brothers.  To their credit, they worked out their differences and began making great music again.
The family emigrated from the U.K. to Australia, and the boys performed at local speedways in between races.   A local disc jockey heard their music and began playing their songs on the radio.   The Bee Gees then began an 18-month run as the house band at a club in Queensland and soon were rewarded for their hard work with a television series and a recording contract with Festival Records.  The group scored several Top 10 songs in Australia before moving back to England.
Their father mailed copies of their Australian album to management companies in England, and Robert Stigwood of NEMS loved what he heard.  Within 24 hours of their arrival in London, Stigwood arranged for an audition and subsequently signed them to a five-year contract.

The Bee Gees were one of The Top Artists of the '60s, scoring big hits with "New York Mining Disaster 1941", "To Love Somebody", "(The Lights Went Out In) Massachusetts", "Words", "I've Gotta' Get A Message To You", and "I Started A Joke" in the space of a little over a year. 
Then, Robin Gibb split from the group and recorded a solo album.   The Bee Gees continued for a brief time without him but with no hits.   Barry and Maurice Gibb planned solo albums of their own, until Robin reconciled with his brothers and rejoined.
Barry and Robin wrote two songs in August of 1970--Song #152* is one of them, and "Lonely Days" is the other.  Barry was thrilled to begin working with his bros again:
Robin came to my place, and that afternoon we wrote "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" and that obviously was a link to us coming back together.  We called Maurice, finished the song, went to the studio and once again, with only 'Broken Heart' as a basic structure, we went in to the studio with that and an idea for "Lonely Days", and those two songs were recorded that night.
The Bee Gees recorded the song January 28, 1971 at IBC Studios in London, and released the single May 28 from their album Trafalgar.  It faced great competition from "Joy To The World" by Three Dog Night, Carole King's "It's Too Late", "Maggie May" from Rod Stewart, "Brown Sugar" by the Rolling Stones, "You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor, "Superstar" and "For All We Know" by the Carpenters, "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves" by Cher, "Indian Reservation" from Paul Revere &the Raiders, and "Spanish Harlem" by Aretha Franklin.
"How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" became the group's first #1 in the U.S, holding on for 4 weeks and compiling an impressive 10 weeks in the Top 10.  It also reached #1 in Canada, #2 in Australia, and #6 in New Zealand. 
The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus.  To date, the song has sold over 1 million singles, helped sell 2.5 million albums, and has achieved 5 million radio airplays.

Heart Of Gold
Neil Young
"Beautiful song."
"The harmonica is Gold."
"Such a killer song."
"Awesome song.  Still stands up today!"
"Unforgettable song."
"One of the greats ever."

This heavyweight of the Rock Era performed in several rock bands while he was in high school in Winnipeg, Ontario, Canada.  When he moved to Toronto in the '60s, Neil Young met Stephen Stills, Rick James, and Richie Furay, and formed the Mynah Birds.  That group soon broke up, and Young moved to California along with bassist Bruce Palmer.
Young, Stills and Furay then formed Buffalo Springfield with drummer Dewey Martin. That group, with its perfect blend of rock, folk and country and great musicianship, was greatly admired but split up far too soon.  Stills bounced back by teaming with ex-Byrd David Crosby and ex-Hollie Graham Nash to form Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Young soon agreed to join the three, provided he could have freedom to come and go as he pleased and record his own music.  Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded songs such as "Woodstock" and "Teach Your Children", before Neil took his act solo.
Neil recorded his classic at Quadrafonic Sound Studios in Nashville, Tennessee in February, 1971, with Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor singing backup vocals.  Linda and James had been guests, as had Young, for the taping of The Johnny Cash Show the night before and both stayed in town to help Neil out.  Linda spoke to Mojo magazine about the session:
We were sat on the couch in the control room, but I had to get up on my knees to be on the same level as James because he's so tall. Then we sang all night, the highest notes I could sing.  It was so hard, but nobody minded.  It was dawn when we walked out of the studio.
Young turned to acoustic songs because of a back injury that left him unable to stand for long periods of time.  Neil was not able to play his electric guitar so he wrote songs for his acoustic guitar.  Neil also played the harmonica during the three instrumental portions of the song.
He released the single from his 1972 album Harvest"Heart Of Gold" debuted on the charts in February, when it encountered stellar competition from classics such as "American Pie" by Don McLean, "Stairway To Heaven" by Led Zeppelin, "Without You" by Nilsson, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack, America's "A Horse With No Name", "Lean On Me" from Bill Withers, "Song Sung Blue" by Neil Diamond, "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green, and "Family Affair" by Sly & the Family Stone.
"Heart Of Gold" reached #1 in the U.S. with eight weeks in the Top 10.  The song went to #1 in Canada, #8 in the Netherlands, with the U.K. bringing up the rear at #10.
The song did indeed go Gold and helped sell 5.5 million albums.  It has now achieved 4 million in radio airplay.
With those 10 amazing songs, we are now ready for The Top 150*.  And you can hear them exclusively on Inside The Rock Era!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.