Friday, June 19, 2015

The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era: #210-201

We have presented The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era* several times, but it will always be better than the last time, since new songs come out and bump old ones out.  Admittedly, that hasn't happened often in the last 15-20 years, but it's still fascinating to see how songs by Usher, Alicia Keys and Adele compare to those by the Beatles, Elvis Presley and Elton John.

We have 10 more songs to unveil, and you can catch those after the jump:


Can't Help Falling In Love
Elvis Presley


"This song is beautiful and I'm in love with it."
"Classic song."
"One of the best songs ever."
"Just plain beautiful."
"One of the most beautiful songs ever recorded."
"What a wondrous song."

This artist was working for Crown Electric Company as a truck driver when he paid $4 to make a private recording at Memphis Recording Service.  Sam Phillips, owner of the company, got word of the singer from his secretary, and the second time Elvis Presley dropped by to record another record, Phillips asked for his contact information.
Phillips introduced Presley to guitarist Scotty Moore and standup bass player Bill Black, and the three began practicing.  Phillips had the three work on a country ballad without any luck.  Then during a break, Presley began goofing around singing an uptempo version of Arthur Crudup's blues song "That's All Right Mama", and the other two joined in.  Phillips instructed the three to repeat the song with tape rolling.  

Phillips also recorded the three performing "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" the next day, also done with a much faster tempo than the original.  Phillips pressed "That's All Right Mama" on a 45 backed by "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", and on July 10, 1954, took it to Dewey Phillips, a disc jockey at WHBQ in Memphis, Tennessee.  From the moment Dewey played the song, his phone lit up with requests to repeat it.  

Dewey called Presley at home, but Elvis, being warned in advance that his song might be heard, went to a movie and was too embarrassed to hear his voice on the radio.  Dewey convinced his parents to track him down, and finally, Elvis came to the studio.  Two days later, Elvis signed a recording contract with Sun Records and gave two weeks notice to quit Crown Electric.  

Word was getting around about Elvis, and the major record companies came calling at Sun.  Sam Phillips, who had to pay off some debts of the company, sold Elvis's recording contract to RCA Records for what was then an astonishing sum:  $35,000.

In 1956, Presley's first single, "Heartbreak Hotel", was a monster hit, and Elvis racked up four more #1 songs before the year was out, then four more the following year.  In 1958, Elvis entered military service for two years.   

When Elvis Presley returned from the service, he began recording ballads, realizing that his audience was growing up.  He enjoyed huge hits with "It's Now Or Never" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight", then selected another ballad to record in 1961.

Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George David Weiss wrote this incredible song, basing the melody on the song "Plaisir d'amour" by Jean Paul Egide Martini in 1784.  Weiss, who died in 2010, was a military bandleader during World War II.  He wrote many songs from the '40s through the '70s, including "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" for the Tokens and "What A Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. 
Elvis Presley went into the studio at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, California on March 23, 1961 along with his backing band, which included drummer Hal Blaine.  Blaine was one of the most successful session drummers in history, playing for the Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, Neil Diamond, the Association, and others.   There must have been magic in the air that day, for here it is in The Top 500 songs of the Rock Era*.  Presley released the single October 1 from his album Blue Hawai'i.
Along the way, "Can't Help Falling In Love" faced competition from "The Twist" by Chubby Checker, coincidentally "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by the Tokens, "Big Bad John" from Jimmy Dean, and "Hey!  Baby" by Bruce Channel. 
"Can't Help Falling In Love" peaked at #2, but still managed to record 9 weeks in the Top 10.  The song went Gold and helped sell 28 million albums.   
Numerous other artists have covered the song, most notably UB40, who also hit #1 with it.


Petula Clark

"What class, style and beauty the women of my mother's generation had.  Great song!"
"Simply beautiful."
"Timeless song."
"One of my all-time favorites."
"The best song from the '60s."
"A great arrangement superbly sung."
"Great song!"

Amazingly, this classic was Petula Clark's first hit in the United States; her career was off and running several years before that in the U.K.  In the early '60s, Petula also became popular in France when she began recording her songs in French.  

In fact, Clark didn't have a recording contract in the United States until Joe Smith, executive with Warner Brothers, happened to hear one of her songs while he was vacationing in England and signed her. 

Songwriter Tony Hatch began working with Clark in 1961, but all five of his English-language songs for her had failed to chart.  In 1964, Hatch visited New York City for the time to solicit material from music publishers in the area for artists that Hatch was producing.  Hatch said: 

I was staying at a hotel on Central Park and I wandered down to Broadway and to Times Square and, naively, I thought I was downtown.  Forgetting that in New York especially, downtown is a lot further downtown getting on towards Battery Park.  I loved the whole atmosphere there and the [music] came to me very, very quickly.
The song started out as an R&B song which Hatch wanted to pitch to the Drifters. But the song evolved, and Hatch traveled to Paris, France within a few days to meet Clark, who was touring there. Hatch presented Petula with three or four songs that he had received from the publishers in New York, but she wasn't fond of any of them. Clark asked Hatch if he was working on anything else. Although the song was far from done, with only one or two lines written, Hatch played the tune he had started in New York, slipping in the word "Downtown". "That's the one I want to record," she said. "Get that finished.  Get a great arrangement and I think we’ll at least have a song we’re proud to record even if it isn’t a hit."

Hatch was aware that downtown had a different meaning on the other side of the Atlantic than it does in Great Britain.  In England, downtown generally refers to the less affluent part of a town, but in the United States, it means the heart of the city, where everything is happening.  Hatch wrote "Downtown" from the American point of view, the vibrant "heartbeat" of the city.

Two weeks later, October 16, 1994, Clark recorded "Downtown" at Pye Studios in Cambridge, England for her album of the same name.   Thirty minutes before the session was due to begin, Hatch was still polishing up the lyrics in the washroom.  He invited an orchestra that included eight violinists, two viola players, two cellists, four trumpet players, four trombonists, five woodwind players with flutes and oboes, percussionists, a bass player and a pianist, along with guitarists and a drummer.
When finished, Joe Smith, head of A&R at Pye Records said, according to an interview with Hatch on Retrosellers:  "It's perfect.  "It's just an observation from outside of America and it's just beautiful and perfect."
Clark released the song in November of 1964.  It broke in Detroit, Michigan, Miami, Florida and Washington D.C., and hit the national charts of the U.S. in December.  In early 1965, the song faced off against some greats:  "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" by the Righteous Brothers, "I Feel Fine" and "Eight Days A Week" by the Beatles, "Baby Love", "Stop!  In The Name Of Love" and "Come See About Me"  from the Supremes, "My Girl" by the Temptations, and "You Really Got Me" from the Kinks.  
"Downtown" went straight to #1 for 2 weeks and spent 9 weeks in the Top 10 in the United States. It also raced to #1 in Australia and New Zealand, #2 in the U.K., Ireland and Denmark, #3 in the Netherlands and #8 in Norway.
Clark became the first British female artist to reach #1 in the United States.  And even more remarkably, "Downtown" got there without any promotion, something that is almost unheard of.  At the time, Petula was touring in France.  She said that producers of The Ed Sullivan Show were calling her everyday trying to get her on the show.  When Clark finally made it to the U.S., "Downtown" had already reached #1.
Clark recorded versions in French, Italian and German, and the German version also reached #1.
"Downtown" sold over one million copies and won the Grammy Award for Best Rock and Roll Recording.  In 2003, "Downtown" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and Hatch was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013. 
"Downtown" has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Billy Preston, the Osmonds, B-52's, Booker T. & the MG's, Ferrante & Teicher, the Ray Conniff Singers, the Lettermen, and Mary Chapin Carpenter, among many others.


I Want To Know What Love Is

"Romantic song."
"Very, very beautiful."
"What a beautiful song.  Most powerful song indeed."

Mick Jones, guitarist of Foreigner, wrote this song about love from a personal viewpoint.  As he told Songfacts:

The song started off on more of a personal level.  I'd been through a lot of relationships that eventually failed, and was still searching for something that could really endure.  It became more of a universal feeling.  I adjusted that during the recording of it, and ended up putting a gospel choir on it.  And you know,, realized suddenly that I'd written almost a spiritual song, almost a gospel song.  Sometimes, you feel like you had nothing to do with it.  You're just putting it down on paper, or coming up with a melody that will bring the meaning of the song out, bring the emotion out in the song.

The magnificent choir on the song was the New Jersey Mass Choir.  Jennifer Holliday also sang backing vocals.  Holliday sang for Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, and Luther Vandross, among others, before becoming famous herself in the play Dreamgirls.  

Foreigner recorded the song for their album Agent Provocateur.  By early 1985, "I Want To Know What Love Is" was competing against "Like A Virgin", "Material Girl", and "Crazy For You" by Madonna, "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by Tears for Fears, Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You", "Careless Whisper" by Wham!, "Can't Fight This Feeling" from REO Speedwagon, "We Are The World" by USA for Africa, "You're The Inspiration" by Chicago, "One More Night" by Phil Collins, "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince, and "Caribbean Queen" by Billy Ocean. 
"I Want To Know What Love Is" went to #1 for 2 weeks, and showed mass appeal by also peaking at #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart.  The song also spent five weeks at #1 in Australia, and landed at #1 for 3 weeks in the U.K.  It also reached #1 in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden, #2 in Switzerland, #3 in West Germany, #5 in the Netherlands, and #7 in Austria. 
"I Want To Know What Love Is" was nominated for Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards.  The single went Platinum and has helped sell over 13 million albums. 

Lean On Me
Bill Withers 

"This song will never die."
"One of the greatest songs ever done."
"Love it!"
"Goose bumps..."

"An awesome, classic gem!"

"It's an anthem, almost religious."

"Such an awesome song."

This artist was a late bloomer; he did not record his first record until he was 32 years old.  Prior to that, Bill Withers was in the U.S. Navy for nine years, then he worked at a factory making parts for airplanes. 

This great soul artist was inspired to write Song #207* when he missed his hometown of Slab Fork, West Virginia after moving to Los Angeles.  As Bill told Songfacts:

I bought a little piano and I was sitting there just running my fingers up and down the piano.  In the course of doing the music, that phrase crossed my mind, so then you go back and say, "OK, I like the way that phrase, 'Lean On Me', sounds with this song."

Withers then thought to himself, "What would I say before that phrase that I would reply "Lean On Me"?  He says his experience in West Virginia gave him the background to write this song:

 Being from a rural, West Virginia setting, that kind of circumstance would be more accessible to me than it would be to a guy living in New York where people step over you if you're passed out on the sidewalk, or Los Angeles, where you could die on the side of the freeway and it would probably be 8 days before anyone noticed you were dead. Coming from a place where people were a little more attentive to each other, less afraid, that would cue me to have those considerations.


Withers recorded the song with several members of the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, and a string section.  He released the song April, 21, 1972 from his album Still Bill.

If you were a Rock Era fan back then, you would have heard "Lean On Me" on the radio the same time as "Nights In White Satin" from the Moody Blues, "Without You" from Nilsson, Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", "Alone Again (Naturally)" by Gilbert O'Sullivan, America's "A Horse With No Name", "Heart Of Gold" from Neil Young, "Take It Easy" by the Eagles, "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me" by Mac Davis, "Song Sung Blue" from Neil Diamond, and "Saturday In The Park" by Chicago.

"Lean On Me" is another across-the-board winner:  #1 for 3 weeks overall, #4 on the Adult chart, and #1 on the R&B Chart.  When you have that kind of exposure and those kind of results, it tells you a lot about the popularity of the song.  And it has stood the test of time. 

Club Nouveau released their remake of the song, and when their version went to #1, it made "Lean On Me" one of just nine songs in the Rock Era to go to #1 for different artists. 

The song sold one million singles, helped sell three million albums, and has been played over three million times.

When Withers was inducted by Stevie Wonder into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, it marked Bill's first major appearance since he left the music business in the '80s.


California Girls 
Beach Boys

"The harmonies in this song are second to none!"
"Classic surf song--nothing better."
"Doesn't get better than Wilson the musical genius and the Beach Boys."
"The best introduction ever...The first 20 seconds are magical."
"I absolutely love this song!"
"Amazing, awesome song!"
"Great, great music from FUN times!"

Brian Wilson and Mike Love combined to write this classic at #206*.
Wilson talked about the song with Goldmine magazine:

I came up the introduction first. I'm still really proud of that introduction.   It has a classical feel.   I wrote the song "California Girls" in the same key as the introduction.   It took me some time.  I wanted to write a song that had a traditional country and western left hand piano riff, like an old country song from the early '50s.   I wanted to get something that had kind of a jumpy feeling to it in the verses.

The Boys worked on this song from April 6 to June 4 of 1965 at United Western Recorders in Hollywood, California and CBS Columbia Square Studios in Los Angeles.  Mike Love handled lead vocals, but "California Girls" marked the first appearance on a Beach Boys song for Bruce Johnston.  Johnston was brought in to tour with the group when Brian decided to stay off the road.

The song begins with an orchestral prelude that biographer Peter Ames Carlin (in the book Catch a Wave:  The Rise, Fall and Redemption of Brian Wilson) said was "as spare and stirring as anything by Aaron Copland."  It took 44 takes of the instrumental track at United Western Recorders before the genius of Wilson was satisfied.  The Beach Boys had a stellar cast of musicians helping them, including drummer Hal Blaine, bassist Carol Kaye, Al de Lory on organ, and Leon Russell on piano.

The Beach Boys released the single on July 12, 1965 on Capitol Records from their album Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!).  "California Girls" faced some tough competition that included "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones, "Help" and "Yesterday" by the Beatles, "I Can't Help Myself" by the Four Tops, "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers, "I Got You Babe", from Sonny & Cher, and "Crying In The Chapel" by Elvis Presley.

"California Girls" reached #3 for two weeks in the U.S. and peaked at #2 in Canada, #6 in Sweden, and #8 in Australia. 
The song has helped sell 19 million albums, and has gone over the five million mark in radio airplay.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included "California Girls" in its permanent section called "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll".  


Take It Easy

"Love the guitars and the vocals are unbeatable."
"This song always calms me down when I'm feeling stressed out."
"Awesome song."
"Easy on the ears classic."
"One of the top songs of all-time.  A classic."
"Beast of a tune."
"Great song."

Up next, an example of a song that radio sorely missed out on at the time, but has since realized the mistake.
Jackson Browne wrote the song with help from Glenn Frey, who was a friend and neighbor in Los Angeles.  Browne included the song on his self-titled debut album, and, since Frey helped him with the second verse, allowed Frey's new band, the Eagles, to record it as well.  Browne told the story of the song in a radio interview:

I knew Glenn Frey from playing these clubs - we kept showing up at the same clubs and singing on the open-mike nights.  Glenn happened to come by to say "hi," and to hang around when I was in the studio, and I showed him the beginnings of that song, and he asked if I was going to put it on my record and I said it wouldn't be ready in time.  He said "well, we'll put it on, we'll do it," "cause he liked it," Browne explained.  But it wasn't finished, and he kept after me to finish it, and finally offered to finish it himself.  And after a couple of times when I declined to have him finish my song, I said, 'all right.' I finally thought, 'This is ridiculous.  Go ahead and finish it. Do it.'  And he finished it in spectacular fashion. And, what's more, arranged it in a way that was far superior to what I had written.  

The Eagles played the song live in their early shows in Aspen, Colorado, where they would often do four sets a night.  They recorded "Take It Easy" at Olympic Sound Studios in London and released the single May 1, 1972 on their self-titled debut album. 

The song was out at the same time as classics such as "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack, "Alone Again (Naturally)" by Gilbert O'Sullivan, "Lean On Me" from Bill Withers, "Nights In White Satin" by the Moody Blues, "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me" from Mac Davis, "Song Sung Blue" by Neil Diamond, and Chicago's "Saturday In The Park".

"Take It Easy" peaked at #12 in the U.S. and #8 in Canada, but in retrospect, should have been much higher.  The millions of album sales that came pouring in since 1972 have proven it to be formidable.  "Take It Easy" has helped sell a stunning 36 million albums in the U.S. alone.  And with four million airplays, "Take It Easy" is easily one of the most-played songs of the Rock Era. 

"Take It Easy" is included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's collection of The 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
The mention of Winslow, Arizona in the song is something that the town was very proud of, as you can see in the statue and mural above (at the corner of West Second Street and Kinsley Avenue) featuring, yes, a red flatbed Ford truck.


Del Shannon 

"Great music is timeless, and this song definitely will last forever."
"What a classic."
"One of the best of the '60s."
"One of a kind.  Magical."
"What a sound.  Surreal."
"Amazing song."
This artist played kazoo, ukulele, and guitar in his youth.  He learned how to play guitar by watching other guitarists in clubs near Coopersville, Michigan.  Charles Westover sold carpets by day, and played in clubs at night, eventually adopting the stage name of Del Shannon. 
Ollie McLaughlin, a disc jockey from WGRV in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was impressed with Shannon and helped him sign a recording contract with Big Top Records.  One night while playing with the group Charlie Johnson and the Big Little Show Band, Shannon heard a chord progression form keyboardist Max Crook, and wrote "Runaway" from those chords.  The group performed it for the next three months, then drove to New York City in 10-degree weather with a broken heater so they record the song.  Shannon said to himself, "If this record isn't a hit, I'm going to go into the carpet business."
Shannon didn't have to worry about that.  "Runaway" debuted on the charts in March, 1961 from the album Little Town Flirt.  When the single was selling 80,000 copies a day, Harry Balk at Big Top told him to quit selling carpets and come to Brooklyn, New York for a show at the Paramount Theater.  Shannon made more money in that night than he made in a year at the carpet shop. 
The competition for "Runaway" came from "Tossin' And Turnin'" by Bobby Lewis, "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King, and Elvis Presley's "Surrender".
"Runaway" reached #1 for 4 weeks in the U.S., with 9 weeks inside the Top 10.  It also peaked at #3 on the R&B chart. 

It has been played over two million times in the U.S. alone.


The Theme From "A Summer Place" 
Percy Faith and his Orchestra 


"It is amazing how the memories come pouring out of a beautiful song like this."
"So classy and so classic."
"Most perfect instrumental ever."
"A timeless song."
"Simply brilliant composition."
"This isn't just a song; it's a feeling."
"Still sounds as fresh and beautiful as ever."

This classic instrumental placed at #2 in Inside The Rock Era's presentation of The Top 100 Instrumentals of the Rock Era*.  It is one of two instrumentals in The Top 500*

Max Steiner wrote this song for the 1959 movie A Summer Place, which starred Sandra Dee, and the song was recorded by Hugo Winterhalter. 
But French conductor Percy Faith recorded by far the biggest version of the song at the Columbia Studio in New York City.

At the time, "Theme From 'A Summer Place'" set the Rock Era record with nine weeks at #1, a record that was not topped until Debby Boone lasted 10 weeks at #1 with "You Light Up My Life" in 1977.  Faith still owns the longest-running instrumental #1 of the Rock Era.  It also placed at #1 in Italy (under the title "Scandalo Al Sole") and #2 in the U.K. 

This was the first instrumental to win Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards.  

Dozens of artists, including Andy Williams, Cliff Richard,  the Ventures, Billy Vaughn, and the Lettermen, have recorded their version.


Unchained Melody 
Righteous Brothers

"Beautiful music and lyrics."
"Absolutely beautiful."
"Timeless classic."
"Still great after all these years."
"Takes my breath away--beautiful classic."
"Perhaps the most amazing song ever written and performed."
"So Righteous!"

We're up to the timeless classic "Unchained Melody" at #202*.  Hy Zaret wrote the lyrics while Alex North composed the music.  In 1936, North played the still untitled song for Bing Crosby.  Crosby turned it down, and the song remained unrecorded for almost 20 years.  North finally used the song in the 1955 movie Unchained, which explains the name.  Todd Duncan sang the vocals for the soundtrack, and the song was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song from a Motion Picture, losing out to "Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing".  

Bandleader Les Baxter recorded an instrumental version of the song which hit #1, and Al Hibbler's vocal version was a big hit as well.  Jimmy Young and Roy Hamilton subsequently had hits with it shortly afterwards.  But it was a vocal version by the Righteous Brothers that took the song to another level, establishing it as a Rock Era standard. 

"Unchained Melody" is credited to the Righteous Brothers, but Bobby Hatfield sang solo on the song.  It was customary for each of the members of the duo to choose songs to sing solo for their albums.  Bill Medley of the group produced the song, even though Phil Spector took credit for it.  Medley explained that Spector produced the duo's singles, but Bill would produce the albums.  Since "Unchained Melody" was not selected as a single, the job fell to Medley.  When the song became a big hit instead of the one Spector produced, Spector was infuriated. 
 As Hatfield's Righteous Brother singing partner Bill Medley said, Hatfield would often record a song in a few takes, then leave to consider the performance.  In this circumstance, Hatfield returned to say he wanted to record it again, which with only four tracks available meant he would have to record his vocal over the existing one.  Medley agreed, and Hatfield turned in his vocal performance for the ages.  After he was through, Bobby said "I can do it better."  To which Medley replied "No, you can't."   
The Righteous Brothers released their version of "Unchained Melody" as the "B" side to their single "Hung On You".  But radio disc jockeys ignored the single and flipped the 45 over to play "Unchained Melody" instead. 

In July of 1965, "Unchained Melody" was heard at the same magical time in the Rock Era as "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones, "The Sound Of Silence" and "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel, "Yesterday", "We Can Work It Out" and "Help!" by the Beatles, "I Can't Help Myself" from the Four Tops, "California Girls" by the Beach Boys, "I Got You Babe", by Sonny & Cher, Elvis Presley's "Crying In The Chapel", and "California Dreamin'" by the Mamas and the Papas.

"Unchained Melody" reached #4 for 2 weeks overall, but went to #1 for 2 weeks on the Adult chart, or the Easy Listening chart as it was known back then.  It also reached #6 on the R&B chart, so it was obviously a huge mass-appeal song. 

After the success of this song, MCA bought the contract to the Righteous Brothers, and the duo subsequently scored their huge hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling".

The song's durability was cemented when it became a hit all over again after its inclusion in the great movie Ghost in 1990.  It peaked at #19 overall a second time in the U.S., but advanced to #1 for two weeks on the more important Adult Contemporary chart.  The Righteous Brothers' second run of "Unchained Melody" proved to be  a huge smash in Europe.  Not only did it hit #1 there, but it was the top-selling single of the year in the U.K., and went to #1 for seven weeks in Australia.     

"Unchained Melody" has sold 2 million singles, helped sell 3.5 million albums, and has been played over four million times.

The song is one of the most recorded in the last 100 years, with over 500 versions in several languages.  Barry Manilow, Perry Como, Cyndi Lauper, Sam Cooke, Harry Belafonte, Gene Vincent, Leo Sayer, and LeAnn Rimes are just some of the artists who have covered the song. 

"Unchained Melody" ranked #27 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Songs in 2004.

When Doves Cry 

(Prince doesn't allow his music to be played on the World Wide Web.  It is a new invention that he hasn't figured out yet how to use.  We apologize on his behalf.)

Prince wrote this classic for his movie and soundtrack album Purple Rain.  In the film, the song expresses Prince's fear of repeating the mistakes of his parents.  When the doves cry, that's his musical refuge - the barrage of keyboards in the chorus represents the doves crying.  Prince also played all of the instruments on the song, recorded at Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood, California.

Engineer Peggy McCreary gave some insight into the recording of the song to Billboard magazine:

[Prince] took the bass out and he said, "There's nobody that's going to have the guts to do this."'  And he was smiling from ear to ear.  He felt this was the best and he knew he had a hit song... so he decided to do something really daring. That's what Prince was all about.

In June of 1984, "When Doves Cry" was part of one of the best times in the Rock Era, along with great songs such as "What's Love Got To Do With It" by Tina Turner, "Hello" and "Stuck On You" by Lionel Richie, "I Just Called To Say I Love You" from Stevie Wonder, "Against All Odds" from Phil Collins, "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper, "Missing You" by John Waite, "Footloose" from Kenny Loggins, "Dancing In The Dark" by Bruce Springsteen, Billy Ocean's "Caribbean Queen", "Let's Hear It For The Boy" by Deniece Williams, and Prince's own "Let's Go Crazy". 

"When Doves Cry" soared to #1 for 5 weeks, with 11 weeks in the Top 10, and it is one of the greatest R&B songs ever recorded, with 8 weeks at #1 there.  "When Doves Cry" also hit #1 in Canada and Australia, #2 in Ireland and New Zealand, #4 in U.K., and #6 in the Netherlands.

Prince captured Grammy Awards for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal and Best Album Of Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special .

"When Doves Cry" sold 2 million singles, and helped sell 16 million albums.  The song was the last song by a solo artist to be certified Platinum before the certification standards were lowered in 1989 to 500,000 for a Gold single and 1 million for a Platinum single. 
With that, we find ourselves perched just outside the all-time Top 200*.  We'll dive into that tomorrow--be sure to join us then!

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