Monday, June 15, 2015

The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*: #250-241

Have you partaken of all of the courses of the feast we have prepared for you?  If not, go back and use the Checklists* to catch up on past episodes of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.  You've probably heard of the expression "The Better Half" when it comes to husband and wife--The Better Half of The Top 500* begins with #250*



Maria Maria 
Santana Featuring The Product G & B

"There is only one Santana.  Just awesome.
"Love this song so much."
"Outstanding classic!
"The greatest guitarist that everrrrrr lived!
"Beautiful piece."



In 1966, Carlos Santana met keyboardist Gregg Rolie after Santana had moved from Mexico to San Francisco, California, and the two formed the group The Santana Blues Band.  After much rehearsal, the group made its public debut at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, shortening their name to Santana.

The group began to add the percussion and Latin rhythms that they would soon become famous for.  Santana joined CCR, Jefferson Airplane and others at the Atlantic City Pop Festival in New Jersey in 1969.  They earned a recording contract with Columbia Records shortly before wowing the world at Woodstock.  

Santana has undergone numerous personnel changes since then, but they have always featured two constants:  elite guitarist Carlos Santana and those hypnotic, fun-filled Latin rhythms. 

Santana came up with an amazing idea for their 1999 album Supernatural--the group collaborated with several different artists, including the Dave Matthews Band, Rob Thomas, and Everclear, sharing a song with each of them.  Through those collaborations, and more importantly their successes, Santana thus became relevant with an entire new generation.  R&B duo Product G&B sang vocals on this song.

Wyclef Jean and Jerry Duplessis helped write "Maria Maria" and also produced the song.  G&B are protégés of them.  "Maria" is the main character in the movie and play West Side Story, which is mentioned in the song.  The majority of "Maria Maria" is in English, but some of the words, including the chorus, is in Spanish.

Santana released the song as a single on November 23, 1999.  It encountered competition from the group's own "Smooth", "Breathe" by Toni Braxton, "I Knew I Loved You" by Savage Garden, and "Amazed" by Lonestar.

"Maria Maria" spent 10 weeks at #1 and 4 weeks at #2 on the Popular chart, was #1 for 3 weeks on the Top 40 chart, and topped the R&B chart for 4 weeks.  It also reached #1 in Germany, Canada, France, and Switzerland, and also hit #2 in the Netherlands, #3 in Austria, #6 in the U.K., and #7 in Norway. 

Santana won Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal and Best Rock Album, and World Music Awards for World's Best-Selling Rock Artist/Group and the Legend Award.

To date, "Maria Maria" has sold one million singles, and helped sell over 16.5 million albums in the U.S. alone. 

Jean was a member of the Fugees--he enjoyed a solo hit with "Gone Till November" in 1999, and later collaborated with Shakira on her big 2007 hit "Hips Don't Lie".

Lead guitarist Carlos Santana received the help of Chef Roberto Santibañez to open five restaurants named Maria Maria, after the song.  The restaurants are located in the Bay Area of San Francisco, as well as Arizona and Texas.



Islands In The Stream
Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton

"Such a great feel-good song."
"Classic.  Love this song!"

"A timeless piece of blissful magic."

"Great song!"

"My most favorite song."

"Evergreen song."


Kenny Rogers was a member of the New Christy Minstrels in 1966, but, unhappy with the direction of the group, he quit to form the First Edition.  After several big hits with that group, including "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town" and "Something's Burning", Kenny took his act solo, and scored hits with "Lucille" and "The Gambler".

When Kenny signed with RCA for a $20 million contract in 1983, he asked Barry Gibb to produce his first album for RCA. 

The Bee Gees were famous for their own string of hits in the '60s and '70s, and they proved that they could not only write for other artists, but write in many different styles.  In addition to this song, which incidentally started out as an R&B song written for Marvin Gaye, the Brothers Gibb wrote "Woman In Love" for Barbra Streisand, "Heartbreaker" for Dionne Warwick, many hits for Andy Gibb as chronicled above, big hits for Yvonne Elliman and Samantha Sang, and later Country-oriented hits for Rogers and others.  The Bee Gees were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994.
"Islands In The Stream" got its title from an Ernest Hemingway novel published posthumously in 1970.  To record it, Rogers called on another RCA artist, Dolly Parton.  Dolly  was one of 12 children in a poor family in Tennessee.  When she was born, the family had to pay the doctor with a sack of corn meal.  As a drummer for the Sevier County High School marching band, Parton debuted at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in 1958. 

After graduation, Dolly moved to Nashville and signed a recording contract with Monument Records.  She soon signed a major contract with RCA and joined "The Porter Wagoner Show".  After making several albums with Wagoner, Parton enjoyed solo success with "Here You Come Again" and "9 To 5".  

Kenny and Dolly recorded "Islands In The Stream" in May of 1983 at the Middle Ear in Miami Beach, Florida, with further work done at Lion Share Recording Studios and Ocean Way Recording in Los Angeles.  Parton thus became the fourth female singing partner to chart with Rogers, following Kim Carnes ("Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer", Dottie West ("What Are We Doin' In Love") and Sheena Easton ("We've Got Tonight").  "Islands In The Stream" was released in July from Kenny's album Eyes That See in the Dark.
If you were a Rock Era listener back then, you would also have heard "Every Breath You Take" by the Police, "Flashdance" by Irene Cara, "Tell Her About It" and "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel, "Jump" from Van Halen, Lionel Richie's "All Night Long", "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" from Bonnie Tyler, "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" by Elton John, and "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins.
"Islands In The Stream" was a massive hit--#1 for 2 weeks on the Popular chart, all the while racking up 12 weeks in the Top 10, #1 for 4 weeks on the more-important Adult Contemporary chart, and #1 for 2 weeks on the Country chart.  "Islands In The Stream" is one of the best examples of mass appeal music--to reach #1 on the three largest radio formats is a tremendous accomplishment that is rare.  The song also went to #1 in Canada, Australia, Austria, #2 in Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland, #3 in Sweden, and #4 in the Netherlands.  "Islands In The Stream", in fact, dominated the Australian chart with 10 weeks at #1.
"Islands In The Stream" won an American Music Award for Favorite County Single, giving Rogers his 15th AMA--no one has won more in history.  The Academy of Country Music also honored the song with Single Record of the Year and Vocal Duet of the Year awards.  The song's durability is proven by the fact that it topped County Music Television's poll of the best country duets of all-time twenty years after its release.
While country-oriented songs had done well in Popular music in the 70's and 80's, it would be another 17 years before another Country song ("Amazed" by Lonestar) went to #1.
"Islands In The Stream" sold over two million singles and helped sell over 4.5 million albums.  It has garnered four million radio airplays.
Rogers & Parton, who have remained close friends, collaborated further on the 1985 duet "Real Love".


More Than A Feeling

"Rock doesn't get any better than this."
"A classic."
"This is perfection at its finest."
"Brad Delp is unmatched as a lead singer with soaring vocals and emotions to match the music.  Perfect!"
"Awesome song from a Monster album."

"Brilliant song."

"Awesome song--play it loud!"


We're up to Song #248* and a group whose leader is one of the smartest people in The Top 500*.  Guitarist Tom Scholz graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and was working at Polaroid until the amazing debut album from Boston took off.
But the story of Boston was anything but an instant success.  For five years, Scholz and the members of the group worked on writing, practicing, and getting their sound "just right".  When they were finally finished, Boston sent demos to the record companies.  One by one, every single major label said "No" the group, until finally Epic expressed interest.  In hindsight, this seems ridiculous, but sometimes reality is stranger than fiction.
Boston released "More Than A Feeling" as the first single from their debut, and in September, 1976, the song faced competition from Barbra Streisand's "Evergreen", "Tonight's The Night" by Rod Stewart, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" from Elton John & Kiki Dee, "New Kid In Town" by the Eagles, "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight" by England Dan & John Ford Coley, Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now", "Go Your Own Way" and "Say You Love Me" by Fleetwood Mac, and "Rock'N Me" by the Steve Miller Band. 
"More Than A Feeling" went as high as #5 for two weeks in the U.S., #4 in Canada, and #9 in Switzerland.  We suspect that none of those organizations that came up with those numbers factored album sales into their rankings.  "More Than A Feeling" went Gold and helped Boston sell over 19 million albums in the United States alone.
In 2008, U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee used "More Than A Feeling" at his campaign rallies.  For a politician, Huckabee showed surprising naiveity of the law--he hadn't asked Scholz for permission to play the song.  So in February, 2008, Scholz wrote a letter to Huckabee, saying the following: 

While I'm flattered that you are fond of my song, I'm shocked that you would use it and the name Boston to promote yourself without my consent.  Your campaign's use of "More Than A Feeling" clearly implies that the band Boston has endorsed your candidacy, which is not true.  We are supporters of Obama, and ask that you cease from using the song immediately.

 In 2010, "More Than A Feeling" was used in a television commercial in the U.K., and as a result, recharted.





Shadow Dancing
Andy Gibb

"Everlasting song for the ages."
"Timeless and unforgettable."
"One of the best love songs ever."
"I love this song and his voice."
"One of the best."


The year 1978 was one of the best of the Rock Era, generating an incredible 21 songs in The Top 500*.  That is tied with the years 1967 and 1973 for second place in the Rock Era, behind only the year 1969, which places 27.  Here we have another entry from 1978. 

Here we have the younger brother of Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees.  Andy did not perform often on stage with his brothers, but his older brothers did help him write many of his songs, including Song #247*.

The Gibb family waited until Andy was old enough (6 months) before moving to Australia.  He then moved with his parents to Ibiza, Spain, and played in local clubs there before moving to Isle of Man, U.K.  Gibb released the album Words And Music in Australia, and opened for the Bay City Rollers on their Australian tour.  RSO Records were beginning to see that great talent runs deep in the Gibb family, and, like the Bee Gees, RSO signed Andy to a recording contract as well.

 Andy joined Barry, Robin and Maurice for a writing session in Hollywood, California where the Bee Gees were filming the movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.  "We literally sat down and in ten minutes, we had a group going, (singing) the chorus part," Andy said in an interview with Fred Bronson for Bronson's book The Billboard Book of Number One Hits
Andy had begun his career with the #1's "I Just Want To Be Your Everything" and "Love Is Thicker Than Water" from his debut album.  Gibb had just turned 20 years old at the time of his sensational stardom.  

"Shadow Dancing" faced songs such as "How Deep Is Your Love", "Stayin' Alive", and "Night Fever" by the Bee Gees, "Three Times A Lady" by the Commodores, Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street", "Just The Way You Are" by Billy Joel, "We Are The Champions" by Queen, "Lay Down Sally" from Eric Clapton, "If I Can't Have You" from Yvonne Elliman, "Kiss You All Over" by Exile, "Sometimes When We Touch" from Dan Hill, "Baby Come Back" by Player, "Dust In The Wind" by Kansas, and "Hopelessly Devoted To You" by Olivia Newton-John.

With "Shadow Dancing", Gibb became the first solo artist in history to see each of his first three singles reach #1.  But the song did not just settle for an appearance at #1--it was #1 for 7 weeks, with 12 solid weeks in the Top 10.  "Shadow Dancing" also landed at #8 on the AC chart.  It also topped the chart in Canada, and peaked at #4 in Norway, #5 in New Zealand, and #8 in Sweden.  
"Shadow Dancing" sold over 2.5 million copies in the U.S. alone, and has been played over one million times. 

1978 was very good to the Brothers Gibb.  The Bee Gees and Andy scored three #1 hits each that magical year, and the Bee Gees wrote three more #1's that year ("Emotion" for Samantha Sang,"If I Can't Have You" for Yvonne Elliman, and "Grease" for Frankie Valli).  Those nine #1's spent 25 weeks at the top in 1978, just shy of half of the year.    In the period from December 24, 1977 to July 29, 1978, songs written by the Gibbs spent an unprecedented 25 of 32 weeks at the top.  No other songwriter or group of songwriters has ever matched that feat.



Total Eclipse Of The Heart
Bonnie Tyler



"This is seriously one of my absolute fave songs."
"I love this incredible song."
"Hard not to tear up listening to this fantastic piece.  Memories."
"I'm speechless.  Just an amazing song."
"Absolutely love this song."

"One of my favorites--overpowering!"



Bonnie Tyler scored her first big hit with "It's A Heartache" in 1978.  After RCA Records did not renew her contract in 1981,  Tyler picked herself up and found a new manager in David Aspden.  Being impressed with Jim Steinman's work on Meat Loaf's album Bat Out of Hell, Tyler brought Steinman on board to produce her new album. 

Steinman also wrote this song for Bonnie Tyler's fifth studio album, Faster Than the Speed of Night.  Tyler said that after hearing the song for the first time, "I just had shivers right up my spine... ...I couldn't wait to actually get in and record it." 

In an interview with Playbill, Steinman said:

  I was trying to come up with a love song and I remembered I actually wrote that to be a vampire love song.  Its original title was "Vampires In Love" because I was working on a musical of Nosferatu, the other great vampire story.  If anyone listens to the lyrics, they're really like vampire lines.  It's all about the darkness, the power of darkness and love's place in dark...

Elite guitarist Rick Derringer was among the musicians on the track.  The seven-minute album version was cut to four minutes and thirty seconds for radio.  Tyler released "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" as a single on February 11, 1983 in the U.K. and on May 31 in the U.S. from her album Faster Than the Speed of Night.

The song debuted on the U.S. chart in July, competing with great songs such as "Every Breath You Take" by the Police, "Flashdance" from Irene Cara, "Beat It" by Michael Jackson, "Tell Her About It" and "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel, Lionel Richie's "All Night Long", and "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" by Elton John.

"Total Eclipse Of The Heart" went to #1 in the U.S. for 4 weeks.  It spent 11 weeks in the Top 10, and also charted at #7 on the Adult Contemporary chart.  The song also reached #1 in the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Norway, and #3 in France and Switzerland. 

The song was the fifth-best-selling song of the year in the U.K., and it was #6 for 1983 in the United States.  "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" sold over one million copies in the U.S. alone.


Against All Odds 
Phil Collins


"Such a great song--Wow!"
"Great song!"
"Only a genius could come up with this."
"Very beautiful song."
"Beautiful and deep lyrics."
"I don't know of any other song that is so painful yet beautiful at the same time."


When director Taylor Hackford signed a contract with Atlantic, he was provided a list of artists on the roster.  From that list, he chose Phil Collins.  He asked Collins to contribute a song for the great movie Against All Odds, Phil was on tour with his group Genesis, so Hackford flew to Chicago, Illinois to see the group perform.  After the show, Collins watched the movie on a videocassette recorder in his hotel room, and agreed to contribute to the soundtrack.  Collins chose a song that he left off his album Face Value called "How Can You Sit There", and changed it to fit the movie.  Collins explained the background for the song on National Public Radio in 2007:

 That song was written during my first divorce.  My first wife and the kids had gone and I was left there.  The song was written out of experience as opposed to a 'what if' song.  If that personal stuff had not happened to me at the time, I probably would never have made an album, and if I was to have made an album eventually, it probably would have been a Jazz/Rock thing.  Without that stuff I wouldn't have felt the stuff I felt sitting at a piano night after night, day after day writing stuff.
The instrumental track that included strings and piano was recorded in New York City to accommodate Genesis' tour, while Collins recorded the vocals and drums in Los Angeles.
Along with "Against All Odds" Rock Era listeners at the time could hear "What's Love Got To Do With It" by Tina Turner, "Hello" and "All Night Long" by Lionel Richie, "Thriller" from Michael Jackson, "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel, "When Doves Cry" from Prince, Van Halen's "Jump", "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins, "Let's Hear It For The Boy" by Deniece Williams, "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" by Elton John, Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time", "Missing You" by John Waite, and "Dancing In The Dark" by Bruce Springsteen.  It was one of the best times for music in the history of the Rock Era.
Hackford called "Against All Odds" a "textbook case of designing a song to reflect what the film is".  The song serves as background music for the closing credits. 

Collins scored the first of what was to be seven #1 solo hits in the U.S. with "Against All Odds", a chart-topper for three weeks on the Popular chart that also spent 10 weeks in the
Top 10. The song was lodged at #2 for six solid weeks on the more important Adult Contemporary chart.  It also raced to #1 in Canada, Ireland, and Norway, #2 in the U.K., #3 in Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden, #4 in Switzerland, #5 in Finland, #9 in Germany, and #10 in the Netherlands.

"Against All Odds" earned the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, and was nominated for the prestigious Song of the Year.  It was also nominated for Best Original Song at both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards, but lost to Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You".  But Phil did eventually get his Oscar for the song "You'll Be In My Heart" in 1999. 
"Against All Odds" sold over one million singles and helped sell over five million albums.  Several artists have covered the classic, including Mariah Carey and Westlife.



You Send Me
Sam Cooke

"So sweet and so romantic."
"Brilliant tune."
"A classic."
"Music for all-time."

"Great voice and song."


This artist spent the summer of 1957 living in his producer's apartment.  On the strength of this song, he became a star.

Sam Cooke was originally signed to Specialty Records, a Gospel label.  When owner Art Rupe got wind that Cooke was planning to use a choir on his new song, Rupe was afraid it would alienate the label's Gospel fans.  Rupe offered to release Sam from his contract in exchange for outstanding royalties.  The song was passed to Keen Records.  
 Cooke wrote this song, although it was credited to L.C. Cook, his younger brother (L.C. used the original family spelling of Cook).  Sam reportedly did this because he didn't want his own publisher to get paid for it, and he intended for L.C. to record it for himself.

Cooke recorded the song June 1, 1957 at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, California, with Bumps Blackwell producing.  Among the musicians backing Cooke was drummer Earl Palmer.  You may not know him, but you should.  Palmer played drums on "I Can't Stop Loving You" by Ray Charles, "Take Good Care Of My Baby", "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes", and "Devil Or Angel" by Bobby Vee, "Donna" and "La Bamba" by Ritchie Valens, "The Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley, "Tutti Frutti", "Good Golly, Miss Molly" and "Lucille" by Little Richard, "Ramblin' Rose" by Nat King Cole, "I'm Walkin'" by Fats Domino, "Summertime Blues" by Eddie Cochran, "Rockin' Robin" by Bobby Day, "Surf City" by Jan & Dean, and "The Lonely Bull" by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. 

 Palmer also played for artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, the Everly Brothers, Glen Campbell, Ricky Nelson, Jackie DeShannon, Bobby Darin, Willie Nelson, and Duane Eddy.  Earl was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

As was customary in the music business at the time, a white singer (Teresa Brewer) recorded the song for purposes of making the Hot 100.  But Sam not only crossed over with his own version, but his was far more popular than Brewer's.

Sam released the song as a single in October, 1957 from Cooke's self-titled album, the first release of Keen Records.

"You Send Me" faced the Elvis Express ("All Shook Up", "Jailhouse Rock", and "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear") as well as "At The Hop" from Danny & the Juniors, and "Wake Up Little Susie" and "Bye Bye Love" from the Everly Brothers. 

"You Send Me" got to #1 for 3 weeks with 15 weeks in the Top 10, a highly impressive number for that period.  It was one of The Top R&B Songs of All-Time* as well, with six weeks at #1 on that chart. 

"You Send Me" has gone over five million radio airplays, to rank in the top 100 of the Rock Era in that department.

"You Send Me" was named as one of The Most Important Rock and Roll Recordings by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.




Down Under 
Men At Work

"One of my faves."
"Such a happy song."
"A great track with superb vocals."
"Love this song!"

"Epic quality."


Men at Work co-founders Colin Hay and Ron Strykert wrote an early version of this song, which was released in 1980 as the B-side to their Australian single "Keypunch Operator".  That version features a slightly different tempo and arrangement than the one the world knows.

Men at Work sing of an Australian man traveling around the world telling people about his country.  In the line "Traveling in a fried-out Kombi, on a hippie trail, head full of zombie", "fried-out" means overheated, Kombi is the Volkswagen Type 2 combination van, and "a head full of zombie" refers to a type of marijuana.  The great flute part is based on the tune of "Kookaburra", a well-known Australian children's rhyme. 

Hay said about the song:

The chorus is really about the selling of Australia in many ways, the overdevelopment of the country.  It was a song about the loss of spirit in that country.  It's really about the plundering of the country by greedy people.  It is ultimately about celebrating the country, but not in a nationalistic way and not in a flag-waving sense.  It's really more than that.

Australia was fortunate to be the first to hear the new version in December of 1981, and "Down Under" quickly went to #1 there as well as in New Zealand shortly afterwards.  The song then spread like wildfire across the globe. 

Men At Work released the single in November, 1982 in the U.S. as the third single from the album Business As Usual.

If you could take a time capsule back to 1982, you would also hear these songs:  "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor, "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" from Michael Jackson, "Maneater" by Hall & Oates, "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago, "Jack & Diane" from John Cougar Mellencamp, "Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes, and "Truly" from Lionel Richie.

"Down Under" rocketed to #1 for 4 weeks, with 10 weeks in the Top 10.  It also reached  #1 in the U.K., Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and Switzerland, #2 in the Netherlands and Norway, #4 in Finland, #6 in Sweden, and #9 in Germany.  The song was a major reason why Men at Work won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

The crew of the ship Australia II used "Down Under" as their theme song when they captured the America's Cup in 1983.  Men at Work played their famous song in the closing ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.  Fans of the home team sang the song when Australians won a gold medal at the game.  
"Down Under" sold one million singles and helped sell 6.5 million albums in the U.S. alone.  It has been played over two million times on the radio.

"Down Under" was named as the fourth best Australian song in history in 2001 when the Australasian Performing Right Association named the Best Australian Songs on the occasion of their 75th anniversary.


Kiss You All Over

"And so many babies were born nine months later."
"Incredibly sexy song."
"Absolute classic."
"A great song."
"For me the first 16 measures of this song exude more sexual desire for someone that you love than anything other song that I've ever heard."

"So awesome!  Love this song!"

In 1963, a group of high school students from Madison Central and Madison High School started a band called the Exiles in Richmond, Kentucky.  The group toured from 1965-1968 with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars, opening for artists such as B.J. Thomas and Freddy Cannon.  The Exiles recorded several songs but could only achieve regional success.  To their credit, they soldiered on.
The group honed their sound, and shortened their name to Exile.  In 1973, the group released their debut album on Wooden Nickel Records.  Again, singles were unsuccessful, and it took five years before Exile released another album.  Australian producer Mike Chapman, who was just beginning to show his magic, came to the U.S. looking for an experienced group.  He heard a demo of Exile and went to see them live.  Chapman liked what he saw and heard, and reached an agreement to collaborate with the group on their next album. 
 Chapman and Nicky Chinn wrote this killer song from 1978.  Jimmy Stokely and JP Pennington shared lead vocals on "Kiss You All Over", which Exile released on the album Mixed Emotions.
"Kiss You All Over" was released at a great time in music.  Competition included "Three Times A Lady" by the Commodores, Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street", "Too Much Heaven" by the Bee Gees, Billy Joel's "My Life", "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond, Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive", "Shadow Dancing" by Andy Gibb, "Le Freak" by Chic, "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" from Rod Stewart, "Hopelessly Devoted To You" by Olivia Newton-John, and "You're The One That I Want" from Newton-John & John Travolta.

"Kiss You All Over" dominated the scene with four weeks at #1 and racked up 12 weeks inside the Top 10; it was a #1 Country song as well.  The song hit #6 in the U.K.

"Kiss You All Over" sold over one million singles and one million albums. 


Man In The Mirror 
Michael Jackson

"A legendary song.  Jackson's song is phenomenal."
"Brilliant song from a legend."
"Touching song that reaches into the heart."
"One of my all-time favs--wonderful message."
"Such an amazing song."
"Messages buried deep within the context of human conciseness."

"Art at its best."


Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, the artist and the producer who combined for the phenomenal Thriller, teamed up once again for the album Bad in 1988.  The two had the goal of looking for "an anthem", as Jones said, that would "spread some sunshine on the world".  Jones solicited his stable of songwriters for suggestions, and Siedah Garrett, who was a member of the group Deco, came through with this classic.  

Amazingly, Garrett had never written a song before when Jones invited her to a meeting at Quincy's home.  The meeting was scheduled for 11 a.m., but Garrett got lost and arrived late.  It didn't cost her.  After finding out what Jones was looking for, she took the project to her writing partner, Glen Ballard.  At the time, most people didn't know Ballard, either, but that would change.  Ballard became a highly successful songwriter and producer with Alanis Morrisette on her first few albums, and also wrote "Hold On" for Wilson Phillips and "Believe" by Josh Groban.

Garrett sparked Ballard's interest with lyrics about a man looking in the mirror.  She told SongTalk magazine that she had been holding on to the title "for about a year.  I have a book and when I hear things I like, I write it down.  I keep a pad in my car at all times." 

By week's end, the two completed a demo with Garrett's vocal.  Garrett continued the story with SongTalk:


We had the demo of the song done on a Friday evening. Knowing that Quincy Jones' offices were going to be closed until Monday, I called [Quincy] and said, 'I can't wait until Monday.'  He told me to bring the tape over.  I did.  Four hours later – four hours! – he called me.  He said, 'Baby, the song is great.  It's really good.  But– '...  I said, 'But what?' And he said, 'I don't know.  I've been playing songs for Michael for two years.  And he has yet to accept an outside song.'  Three days later I got a call from Quincy and he told me that Michael loved the song and wanted to cut it.  I screamed! Couldn't believe it.


Garrett, The Winans, and The Andre Crouch Gospel Choir sang backing vocals on the song--Crouch's choir also sang on Madonna's "Like A Prayer" and Rick Astley's "Cry For Help".  Crouch, who was dyslexic, drew a mirror with an image in it to help him.  "I memorized everything through sight, the shape of the word," he told The Associated Press.  "So when I finish a song, I thank God for bringing me through.  You have to press on and know your calling.  That's what I've been doing for all my life.  I just went forward."

Jackson released the single January 9, 1988.  The record sleeve contained a dedication to Yoshiaki Ogiwara, a five-year-old boy from Japan who was murdered in September of 1987.  The killing deeply affected Jackson, who was touring Japan at the time and subsequently dedicated concerts in Osaka and Yokohama to the boy's memory.

"Man In The Mirror" faced limited competition from "One More Try", "Faith", and "Father Figure" by George Michael, a factor that diminishes the song's chart achievements.

But Jackson was red-hot, as "Man In The Mirror" became his fourth consecutive #1 song from Bad.  It rose to #1 for two weeks on the Popular chart, #2 for one week on the AC chart, and #1 for one week on the R&B chart, another example of a huge across-the board, multi-format hit.  The song also topped charts in Ireland, and reached #3 in Canada and #4 in New Zealand.  "Man In The Mirror" stalled at #21 in the U.K. at the time, but following Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, renewed interest took the song to #2.

"Man In The Mirror" was instrumental in winning a host of awards:  it won the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Recording, American Music Awards for Jackson for Artist of the Century, Favorite Pop/Rock Album (Number Ones), Favorite Soul/R&B Album (Number Ones), and Favorite Single Soul/R & B, a World Music Diamond Award, Billboard Awards for Spotlight Award, Top Black Artist, Blues & Soul and Outstanding Artist of the Year and a Soul Train Music Award for Album of the Year, Male.  "Man In The Mirror" was also nominated for Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards.

"Man In The Mirror" helped sell over 25 million albums in the United States alone.

Garrett also landed a spot opposite Jackson in the duet "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" on the album.


 As great as these 10 songs are, most people will agree that the 10 songs coming tomorrow are better.  Stay tuned for those, on Inside The Rock Era!

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